– August 21, 2014

Reyes appointed new Tulare Co. judge

Antonio Reyes was appointed the newest judge for the Tulare County Superior Court.Antonio Reyes was appointed the newest judge for the Tulare County Superior Court.Governor Jerry Brown appointed Visalia attorney Antonio Reyes as the newest judge for the Tulare County Superior Court.

Reyes, 60, has been in his own private practice since 1990. Formerly, he was a partner at various firms dating back to 1983, including Duarte and Reyes, Orduno and Reyes and Valdez Silva Orduno Candeleria and Reyes.

Before that, Reyes was an attorney at Nunez Silva and Orduno and at the Legal Services Program for San Gabriel Valley.

Reyes earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary's College of California.

Reyes fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gerald F. Sevier last September. He will be paid an annual salary of $178,789.

With his appointment, the Tulare County Superior Court now has 19 judges.

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gordonwebstergordonwebster Gordon Webster - Publisher
gordonwebstergordonwebster Gabriel Dillard - Managing Editor

Latest Local News

Written on 08/21/2014, 8:58 am by John Lindt
Fresno-based homebuilder Wathen Castanos purchased the remaining 84 lots owned by McMillin Homes in Visalia this month.
Written on 08/21/2014, 8:40 am by Business Journal staff
A former Army barracks at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport is becoming useful again for recycled products and as an exhibit honoring the airport's military roots. Built in the 1940s, the Army barracks building at the airport's northeast corner on Aircorp Drive was used during World War II when FYI was known as Hammer Field Army Base. Although it was torn down recently to make way for improvements at the airport, the building is still reaping benefits. Because of their historical significance, several of the windows will go on display at the Fresno Veteran's Museum to reflect life at Hammer Field in the '40s, while others will be salvaged by Habitat for Humanity as building material. Much of the wood, plastics, metals, concrete and cables have also been sorted to be used as recycled products. The Fresno Fire Department got use out of the building as well as a search and rescue training site before being razed. "The project significantly revitalized that area of the airport property by enhancing operational efficiencies for long-standing airport tenant SkyWest and the surrounding neighborhood, which supports the airport's ongoing effort to attract potential new tenants to Fresno," said FYI's Director of Aviation Kevin Meikle, in a release.
Written on 08/20/2014, 4:45 pm by Business Journal staff
Suncrest Bank of Visalia was included in a list of the 200 healthiest banks in the country by bank rating website DepositsAccounts evaluates the financial health of more than 6,500 federal insured bank when preparing its Top 200 Healthiest Banks list. Each bank is graded on factors like capitalization, deposit growth and loan to reserve ratios. Suncrest Bank came in as the 64th healthiest bank on the list. In the past year, the bank increased its total deposits by $49.42 million, resulting in a growth of 57.29 percent for the year for a grade of A+ by DepositAccounts. Suncrest Bank posted $152.36 million in assets in the latest quarter and $17.86 million in equity, resulting in an A grade for a capitalization level of 11.72 percent. The bank was also graded A+ for the Texas Ratio, an indicator of how much capital a bank has available compared to the total value of loans considered at risk. With $409,000 in non-current loans and owned real estate with $17.86 million in equity and loan loss allowances on hand to cover it, Suncrest Bank had an "excellent" Texas Ratio of 2.29 percent. That's down from 9.48 percent in March 2013 for a Texas Ratio Trend also graded at A+.Suncrest Bank reported a net income of $42,000 as well as $97.45 million in loans and $135.67 million in deposits. Established in 2008, Suncrest Bank has 32 employees at bank locations in Visalia and Porterville. DepositsAccounts also rated the 200 healthiest credit unions in the country. On that list, San Joaquin Power Employees Credit Union of Fresno ranked No. 74 with an A+ capitalization level of 17.12 percent, a B+ for deposit growth at 2.69 percent in the year and an A+ Texas Ratio of 0.24 percent, down from 4.39 percent the year before. Established in 1934, the credit union has one branch in Fresno and another in Sandy, Utah serving 5,910 members.
Written on 08/20/2014, 2:19 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — A late round of buying is leaving stock indexes mostly higher. Bond prices fell, sending yields higher, on word that Federal Reserve policymakers were leaning toward raising interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 59 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 16,979 Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose four points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,986. The Nasdaq was flat at 4,526. The S&P 500 is just one point below its record high close from July 24. J.M. Smucker fell 1 percent after the food company cut its full-year sales outlook. Bond prices fell after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest policy meeting which revealed that many policymakers were pushing to raise interest rates. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.43 percent.
Written on 08/20/2014, 2:13 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — State auditors have found Medi-Cal was hit with $93 million in potentially fraudulent bills by substance abuse clinics across California. The Los Angeles Times reports ( the audit released Tuesday reviewed five years of billing data for Medi-Cal's Drug Treatment program, which reimburses outpatient rehabilitation clinics. The report says the state's Department of Health Care Services and the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs failed to administer the program "and created opportunities for fraud." DHCS spokesman Norman Williams tells the Sacramento Bee ( ) a review led the department to cut ties with more than 200 clinics and refer their operators for criminal prosecution. The department plans to visit every clinic in the state as part of a sweeping recertification review.
Written on 08/20/2014, 2:08 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — A nonprofit group in Fresno says a massive reservoir that serves over two million people in the San Francisco Bay Area is harming endangered fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability filed a lawsuit against the National Park Service this week arguing the park service has failed to ensure Hetch Hetchy reservoir doesn't negatively impact endangered species. The group says Hetch Hetchy takes fresh water from the Delta, increasing its salinity and hurting endangered salmon, smelt and sturgeon. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday ( ) that the nonprofit has ties to Fresno's Westlands Water District, which supplies farmers with irrigation water from the Delta. The National Park Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Written on 08/20/2014, 2:06 pm by Business Journal staff
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to join the HERO program, giving property owners another financing tool to make water and energy improvements. Fresno County follows cities like Fresno and Clovis that enrolled in the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program earlier this year. Reedley, Sanger and Kingsburg are expected to launch the program over the next few weeks. Under HERO, property owners can invest in energy and water efficiency projects through loans that can be repaid over 20 years via a special assessment on their property tax bills. As part of its brand of the PACE program, HERO has contractors at its disposal that will see through more than 150,000 water and energy remedies, including heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) repairs, solar panel installations, cool roofs, energy-saving windows, lighting upgrades, insulation, drip irrigation and gray water systems. Property owners can borrow up to 15 percent of the property value for the improvements and household income or credit scores are not a factor to qualify for the loans. The HERO program was started up in December 2011 with a partnership between the Western Riverside Council of Governments and Renovate America, Inc. Since then, the program has been extended to 174 communities in California, helping to fund more than 13,000 residential projects totaling more than $240 million in financing and creating more than 2,400 jobs in California.
Written on 08/20/2014, 1:53 pm by Ben Keller, Business Journal staff writer
A handful of companies in the Central Valley were featured in the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. The list, released by, is now in its 33rd year of ranking companies by revenue growth over a three-year period. Ranking 684 on the list was Barney Butter. The Fresno company, which produces a line of all-natural, GMO-free almond butters, grew its revenue 661 percent from 2010 to 2013, going from $1.1 million to $8.6 million during the period. Founded in 2006, the company added seven jobs over the last three years for 18 employees total. Fresno's Integrated Prescription Management, which manages pharmaceutical prescriptions for its customers, made it to No. 1,221, growing its revenues 358 percent from 2010 to 2013. Founded in 2009, the company went from $15 million in earnings to $68.7 million over the last three years and also added 23 jobs to now 31 helping to process prescriptions. Last year, the company was included on's Inc. 500 list, ranking 380 for a 1,167 percent increase in revenue from 2009 to 2012. Visalia's Pro-PT ranked 3,285 on the list, growing 104 percent from $1.8 million to $3.7 million and adding 34 jobs. Founded in 2001, the physical therapy company has 63 employees specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries, sport injuries, spine conditions and post-surgical care. At No. 3,439 was Oakhurst-based Pizza Factory, which has swelled to 110 restaurant franchises throughout five western states since it was founded in 1979.. The company went from $1.4 million in revenues in 2010 to $2.9 million in 2013 for an increase of 97 percent. Fresno-based market research software firm Decipher ranked 3,497 on the list. The company, founded in 2000, grew its revenues 94 percent in the last three years, going from $13 million to $25.4 million. Decipher also added 29 jobs during the same period to now some 140 employees working out of its north Fresno office. BCT Consulting of Fresno made the list at No. 4,237. In 2013, the technology services company reported $4.2 million in earnings, an increase of 67 percent over 2010. The firm, founded in 1996, also added 19 jobs in the period to now has 50 total employees. At 4,826 on the list, Fresno accountancy firm The Garabedian Group reported a 48 percent growth in revenues, going from $1.4 million in 2010 to $2 million in 2013. Since it's founding in 2009, the family-owned company has grown to 14 employees, adding three over the last three years.
Written on 08/20/2014, 11:56 am by Business Journal staff
One of the Fulton Mall's key investors has announced plans to expand the residential portion of the Pacific Southwest Building. Building owner Sevak Kachadurian has announced a press conference and tour of the building on Aug. 21. At the event, he is expected to announce plans to add 20 residential units and a community room. In February, Kachadurian promised Fresno City Council that if it voted to renovate the Fulton Mall and reopen it to traffic, he would begin his investment in the restoration of the 100,000-square-foot building. “The City of Fresno has signaled to the private sector that they are serious about investing in downtown,” Kachadurian said in a press release. “Now it is the private sector's turn.” Formerly known as the Security Bank Building, the 16-story building is situated in the middle of the Fulton Mall, between Fresno and Tulare streets. Currently, the building has two floors of residential units which are full and have a wait list. The pedestrian mall has been closed to traffic for 50 years and many downtown business owners are hoping the decision to reopen it to traffic will revitalize the area. “Every downtown that has re-opened their pedestrian mall has revitalized. Invest now or miss the opportunity of a lifetime,” Kachadurian said.
Written on 08/20/2014, 11:43 am by Business Journal staff
Sal's Mexican Restaurant and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have settled federal charges regarding an alleged incident of sexual harassment. Four year ago a hostess at the Fresno location filed a sexual harassment claim against a supervisor with the EEOC. Sal's Mexican Restaurant did not admit liability in the case resulting from the complaint, but Lorraine Salazar, president and co-owner of the eatery, said the company supports the right of employees to work in a harassment-free environment. "As a result of this resolution and our own internal review, we have implemented additional management and employee training programs as well as third party incident reporting processes and accountabilities that will allow employees to address any concerns to management immediately," Salazar said in a statement. "We are committed to ensure our valuable employees continue to have a positive and safe workplace experience." Sal's will pay $15,000 as part of the settlement.

Latest State News

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