– November 20, 2014

Brick closing doors, temporarily open for private events

Brick Restaurant, Bar & Nightclub in downtown Fresno announced it will be closing up because the owner of the building is being foreclosed upon. 

Brick, located near the intersection of Van Ness Avenue and Inyo Street across from the Fulton Mall parking terrace, had been under different management and known as Austin’s and Heroes at different times.

We had a lot of nice feedback from customers but with the uncertainty around the foreclosure/sale of the building, we thought it best to step back,” the restaurant posted on its Facebook page.

However it also noted it will be available for private events until Nov. 30.

Brick was owned by Kyle Kirkland and general managed by Erin Cathcart.

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gordonwebstergordonwebster Gordon Webster - Publisher
gordonwebstergordonwebster Gabriel Dillard - Managing Editor

Latest Local News

Written on 11/20/2014, 1:47 pm by Business Journal staff
Central Valley Community Bancorp, parent company of Central Valley Community Bank of Fresno, announced a regular quarterly cash dividend of 5 cents per...
Written on 11/20/2014, 1:45 pm by TOM MURPHY, 
JENNIFER AGIESTA, Associated Press
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Written on 11/20/2014, 1:40 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — U.S. stocks are back at record levels as investors were encouraged by good news on housing, the job market and corporate earnings. Best Buy jumped 7 percent Thursday after its quarterly results came in far ahead of what analysts were expecting. That bodes well for the holiday shopping season in the U.S. Homebuilder stocks rose after sales of U.S. homes increased last month. Beazer Homes rose 2 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,052. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 33 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,719. The Nasdaq composite added 26 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,701. Oil rose $1 to $75.58 a barrel in New York. Bond price rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.33 percent.
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:39 am by Lisa Leff, AP Writer
(AP) — The University of California voted Thursday to approve a tuition increase of as much as 5 percent in each of the next five years unless the state devotes more money to the 10-campus system. The Board of Regents adopted the increase proposed by UC President Janet Napolitano with a 14-7 vote. They had to shout their votes over students chanting "Hey, hey, ho, tuition hikes have got to go." Demonstrators said they were angry not only about the tuition hikes but also because the outcome seemed certain even before the proposal could be debated. "Seeing you all come in laughing and smiling and talking about stuff made me sick to my stomach," UC Davis student Amelia Itnyre, 23, told the board through tears before the vote. "Students, we aren't just angry, we are sad. You should be crying, you should be praying, you should be figuring out what you are going to do to fix this." The increase was opposed by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders who decide how much funding the university gets each year. Napolitano says the amount the governor has budged is inadequate to maintain the quality of the nation's largest public university. Brown says UC needs to come up with a more frugal way of doing business. Tuition rates have been frozen for three years. Napolitano and other UC officials say the pending hikes could be reduced or eliminated if the governor and Legislature boost the university's budget beyond what is now planned. In anticipation of the vote, dozens of students slept inside a classroom building at the University of California, Berkeley. The vote came a day after students tried to stop a meeting where a board committee gave preliminary approval to the proposal. Tuition has risen more rapidly at other public universities in the nation in recent years, and even with the increases, the cost of an education in the California system will still be cheaper than many others in the nation. On Wednesday, students formed human chains to block committee members from entering the conference center at the University of California, Mission Bay. Pushing and shoving occurred as protesters surrounded the board members and police tried to clear a path. Student Regent Sadia Saifuddin, who voted against the increases, told the board that while the demonstrators' tactics might be "unsavory to you all," the anger and fear students are feeling should not be disregarded. "This is not just $612 more a year. This is rent. This is another job they need to get. This is food they cannot buy," Saifuddin said. "Let's get real about the situation. Students have always had to pay the price for financial mismanagement by the board and the state." Napolitano, former U.S. Homeland Security secretary and governor of Arizona, clashed with Brown on Wednesday when she insisted the system is underfunded and bristled at her fellow Democrat's suggestion that the university needs to come up with a more frugal way of doing business. Before the vote, the governor said he wants to create a task force to look into ways to make the UC budget go further by educating more students in less time, such as offering more online classes and making it easier for community college students who transfer to a UC campus to complete their degrees. "I don't think you considered all the alternatives," he said. Napolitano shot back that the money Brown has budgeted for the campuses next year still leaves it $460 million below 2008 funding levels. "This is the budget we think we need so we can get off this year-to-year, feast-or-famine budget process for the university," Napolitano said. "We don't have time to wait for another commission. We can have it and maybe we will get some really nifty ideas out of it, but the budget process moves along." Under the plan, the average annual cost of a UC education for a California resident would rise $612 to $12,804 next fall and to $15,564 by fall 2019. Tuition rates have been frozen for three years. UC Executive Vice President Nathan Brostrom, who oversees the system's budget, told the committee that only students with annual family incomes above $175,000 would pay the entire increase, and more than half of all UC students would continue paying no tuition thanks to financial aid. The regents committee voted 7-2, with the minority including Brown and Saifuddin, who, like other members, had to shout over the chants of angry collegians to make their votes heard.
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:34 am by Associated Press
(AP) — California regulators have approved a settlement to divide billions of dollars in costs from the closed San Onofre nuclear power plant. Consumers will get refunds and credits of about $1.4 billion. But they will pay about $3.3 billion in costs over 10 years, including for power purchased after the plant shut down. The vote by the California Public Utilities Commission Thursday was 5-0. At issue has been who should take the financial hit for the plant's premature demise — company shareholders or customers. San Onofre shut down for good last year after a long fight over whether it was safe to restart. The settlement stems from negotiations among operator Southern California Edison, minority owner San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and consumer advocates. Critics argued that the deal shortchanged ratepayers.
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:32 am by Sudhin Thanawala, AP Writer
(AP) — State regulators have decided to fine Pacific Gas & Electric Co. $1 million and require its shareholders to cover as much as $400 million of a gas rate increase because of backroom negotiations between the utility and regulators. The California Public Utilities Commission voted 3-0 on Thursday in favor of the penalty. The decision stems from recently released emails that show a PG&E executive and California Public Utilities Commission officials discussing which judge to appoint to a case over gas rates, with the executive objecting to one judge for having a history of being hard on the utility. Ratepayer advocates have demanded that the commission release tens of thousands of additional emails that they say may also show illegal contact between the CPUC and the state's largest utility. The commission did not address that request.
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:28 am by Associated Press
(AP) — A Southern California doctor has agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve allegations that he submitted fraudulent bills and received improper payments from federal and state health insurance programs. The settlement concludes a federal whistleblower lawsuit filed by an individual who used to provide billing and collection services to Dr. Narinder S. Grewal's Chatsworth pain management clinic. The suit alleged that Grewal and his clinic obtained improper reimbursements from government-run health insurance programs, including Medicare and Medi-Cal. He was accused of collecting on fraudulent claims by submitting bills that were not justified by the services that were actually provided. The Daily News ( ) cites court records unsealed Wednesday that reveal Grewel has agreed to pay a total of $1.2 million to the federal government and the state of California.
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:23 am by Associated Press
(AP) — A storage company in the desert east of San Diego has pleaded guilty to illegally disposing of untreated human waste that may have totaled more than 1 million gallons. Federal prosecutors say Glamis Dunes Storage Inc. and owner Michael Mamelli entered the plea Wednesday. The storage site is off Highway 78 near the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and in 2007 it received a permit to install and operate a 20,000-gallon tank for holding human waste from recreational vehicles. The company agreed under the permit that a licensed hauler would come and take the waste to a wastewater treatment plant. But the defendants admitted that in 2010 they installed a leaching system that would pump waste from the tank to under a nearby field, and expanded that system in 2012.
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:00 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Democratic Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno narrowly avoided one of the biggest upsets of the midterm elections, edging out his Republican challenger Wednesday in a contest that neither of the two parties expected to be so close. His re-election to a sixth term leaves just one California congressional race undecided. Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, who won his suburban Sacramento seat just two years ago, was clinging to a narrow lead over his Republican challenger, former Congressman Doug Ose. Costa won after the three counties included in his 16th Congressional District — Fresno, Merced and Madera — released updated ballot counts Wednesday afternoon. He was up by about 1,300 votes out of more than 90,000 ballots cast, and his opponent, Johnny Tacherra, could not catch up with the relatively few ballots that remained uncounted. The robust challenge to Costa, whose family has farmed in the San Joaquin Valley for more than 80 years, was a surprise. Tacherra, a dairy farmer, flew so far under the radar that national and state Republicans pretty much ignored him. Costa outspent Tacherra by a margin of roughly 3-to-1, and he benefited from a 16-point voter registration edge for Democrats in the district. He had won his 2012 race by a comparable margin. But Costa, a longtime member of the state Legislature before entering Congress, also represented a heavily agricultural district that has been struggling with the effects of California's three-year drought. Many farmers blamed the federal government for making the situation worse. Tacherra seized on that frustration, accusing Costa in ads as being a rubber stamp for the "Obama agenda" and "failing us on our basic rights to water."
Written on 11/20/2014, 10:56 am by Gabriel Dillard
In the wake of a high-profile security breach, Fresno’s United Security Bank has adopted tighter security measures in hopes of protecting customers. The move comes as the banking and retail industries focuses its attention to cyber security as more hacking incidents emerge compromising millions of customers. United Security Bank agreed in June to pay $350,000 to Bakersfield oil company TRC Operating Co. to settle litigation stemming from a 2011 cyber fraud incident. Dennis Woods, president and CEO of United Security Bank, said the bank has taken on additional security measures to protect corporate customers that frequently use the online money-wiring system. TRC accounts were compromised in 2011 when 12 unauthorized transfers totaling more than $3.45 million were sent through United Security Bank’s system. The bank was able to recover all but $299,600 from the scam, which is believed to have originated in Ukraine. To help prevent such activity, Woods said the bank has added a second layer of authentication in the form of a token in addition to a password. In addition, certain online wire transfers — especially ones to foreign countries — will generate a manual call back from the bank to the customer to verify the activity, he added. Customers who use the wire transfer system are also required to take a 30-minute online training course on how to protect their own private information. “It’s a little more work, but a lot more security for them,” Woods said. “We are going back to Internet banking 101,” he added. High threat levelA recent article in American Banker magazine notes that as it gets less expensive for hackers to use the Web to steal data, it’s more expensive for banks to protect against those intrusions. Julie Bonnel-Rogers is a business litigation attorney with the Mezzetti Law Firm in San Jose. Bonnel-Rogers represented TRC in its lawsuit against United Security Bank. She said the global cyber security threat is increasing each day. "The wrongdoers are becoming more sophisticated,” she said. “It’s an ongoing war.” When it comes to online banking, Bonnel-Rogers said any small business is susceptible to any type of security breach. And once thieves have stolen what they were looking for, it’s hard for the customer to get that money back from the bank, she added. Litigation is often the only redress, and that can be a losing proposition for the customer in terms of cost. The escrow industry — with its large deposits of money sitting idle in accounts — is especially susceptible, Bonnel-Rogers said. A February report from California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris relayed the story of Efficient Services Escrow Group in Huntington Beach. The company was a victim of a cyberheist worth $1.5 million, and was forced to close and lay off its entire staff. The company’s other money is in the hands of a court-appointed receiver as the company preps a lawsuit against its financial institution. Communication is keyBonnel-Rogers suggests that banking customers be aware of the measures their institution takes to protect data. Customers should seek out multiple-factor authentication systems, and not be afraid to shop around and compare among banks. She said large national banks and banks that use a third-party solution for their banking system are best positioned to protect customers. She said it’s also the bank’s responsibility for the information technology department to be in contact with the sales and marketing departments to effectively communicate those measures to customers. Some insurance company’s also offer data breach insurance to business clients that would protect the company in the case of an incident. The state Attorney General report illustrates how pervasive the problem is among small companies. It found that that 50 percent of all targeted attacks in 2012 were aimed at business with less than 2,500 employees. Businesses with fewer than 250 employees were the target of 31 percent of all cyber attacks. --- Steps businesses should take to protect data 1.    Assume you’re a target — any company can be a victim, regardless of size or profile in the community. 2.    Lead by example — business owners and executive management shouldn’t see cyber security as the domain of the IT person. 3.    Map your data — know what types of data you have and the location of the data. 4.    Encrypt your data — encrypting data encodes it so those without encryption keys cannot read it. 5.    Bank securely — business owners should only perform online banking functions on a secure browser connection, and in a browser’s “private mode” so browser cache, temporary Internet files, cookies and browser history will not be recorded. 6.    Defend yourself — use available security measures, including firewalls, antivirus software and other Internet security solutions, including the ability to remotely locate or “wipe” a device that has gone missing. 7.    Educate employees — confer to your workers the value of your business’s intellectual property to help prevent data loss or insider risks. 8.    Be password wise — change any default username or passwords on any device, since anything is better than the default, and don’t let browsers remember your passwords. 9.    Operate securely — use layered security defenses and keep all operating systems and software up to date, and don’t install software you did not specifically seek out. 10.     Plan for the worst — every business should have a disaster recovery plan so when an incident occurs, there will be a defined incident response team with a leader, and everyone has clear responsibilities should an incident arise. Source: “Cybersecurity in the Golden State” report by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.

Latest State News

Written on 11/20/2014, 11:39 am by Lisa Leff, AP Writer
(AP) — The University of California...
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:34 am by Associated Press
(AP) — California regulators have...
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:32 am by Sudhin Thanawala, AP Writer
(AP) — State regulators have decided to...
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:28 am by Associated Press
(AP) — A Southern California doctor has...

Latest National News

Written on 11/20/2014, 1:45 pm by TOM MURPHY, 
JENNIFER AGIESTA, Associated Press
(AP) — Employers squeezed by years of...
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Written on 11/20/2014, 10:49 am by MATTHEW PERRONE, AP Health Writer
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Written on 11/20/2014, 10:48 am by SCOTT MAYEROWITZ, 
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