TODAY

– April 18, 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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Written on 04/17/2014, 4:38 pm by Business Journal staff
fresno-state-included-in-green-college-guideFor the third consecutive year, Fresno State was named by the Princeton Review as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and...
Written on 04/17/2014, 2:08 pm by MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer
(AP) — The government's latest report card on food poisoning shows a dip in salmonella cases but an increase in illnesses from bacteria in raw shellfish. The report counts cases in only 10 states for some of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but is believed to be a good indicator of national food poisoning trends. Highlights from Thursday's report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: WHAT'S MAKING US SICK? Salmonella remains at the top of the chart, far ahead of most other foodborne germs. Only campylobacter (camp-ee-loh-bak-tur) — a bacteria commonly linked to raw milk and poultry — comes close. Other causes, listeria, shigella (shih-GEHL'-uh) and E. coli, trail behind. IS FOOD POISONING GETTING WORSE? Overall, no. Last year, there were no significant changes in most kinds of food poisoning, compared to the previous three years. The new report tallied about 20,000 illnesses and 80 deaths in the 10 states, similar to previous years. The CDC estimates that 1 in 6 Americans get sick from contaminated food each year, though most cases are not reported. ANY GOOD NEWS? Yes, for salmonella. The rate of new cases dropped 9 percent — the biggest drop in about a decade. But officials are cautious about making too much of it, since it was compared to a time period that included a big outbreak linked to eggs in 2010. Last year's rate is similar to what it was about five years ago. CDC officials hope new regulatory proposals, like one to prevent salmonella in chicken parts, will keep pushing rates down. WHAT ABOUT BAD NEWS?There was in increase in infections from vibrio (VIB'-ree-oh) bacteria found in raw shellfish, like oysters. Last year, cases were up 32 percent from the previous three years and 75 percent from about five years ago. But the numbers remain very small — only 242 of the 20,000 illnesses recorded in the 10 states. Climate change is warming coastal waters in some places, and that may be helping spread some vibrio strains to new locations, said Dr. Robert Tauxe, a CDC food-germ expert. "The warmer the water, the more vibrio," he said. A strain traditionally found in the Pacific Northwest, is now showing up along the East Coast. Tauxe said it might have been spread through water in ships' ballast tanks. CAN YOU PREVENT FOOD POISONING? Carefully wash and clean food, and cook meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Avoid raw milk and unpasteurized juices. Promptly refrigerate leftovers. A government report last year showed leafy greens like lettuce and spinach were the leading source of food poisoning, and produce in general accounted for nearly half of all illnesses. There were slightly more deaths attributed to poultry than to vegetables in the decade studied.___Online:Food safety: http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/
Written on 04/17/2014, 2:06 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — Stocks are mostly higher on Wall Street as upbeat earnings news from several big U.S. companies encouraged investors. General Electric, Morgan Stanley and PepsiCo all moved higher after reporting their first-quarter results Thursday.The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 1,864. A drop in IBM's stock pulled the Dow Jones industrial average lower. UnitedHealth Group also weighed on the Dow. The Dow fell 16 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,408. The Nasdaq composite rose nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,095.Three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.72 percent from 2.63 percent late Wednesday.U.S. markets will be closed for Good Friday.
Written on 04/17/2014, 2:03 pm by Business Journal staff
Homes sales increased throughout the San Joaquin Valley in March although activity was still sluggish compared to last year. According to a new report from the California Association of Realtors, home sales increased 16.6 percent in Fresno County during the month but dropped 19.1 percent year-over-year. The price of a median home in Fresno County stood at $202,100 in March, up 10.9 percent from $182,270 the prior month and 25.9 percent from $160,510 a year ago. Sales in Tulare County climbed 30.5 percent in the month but fell 15.1 percent compared to last year. The county's median home price inched up 1.3 percent to $165,380 over January's $163,330. That's also up 20.2 percent over $137,560 a year ago. Kings County made even more progress. Sales grew 38.6 percent in March but slipped 4.8 percent from last year. The median home price in the county stood at $179,230 in the month, down 1.8 percent from $182,500 in February but up 22.8 percent from $146,000 a year ago. Madera County saw its sales drop by 18.5 percent in March and 21.4 percent from last year. However, home prices in the county picked up in the month to $190,000, up 28.8 percent from February's median price of $147,500 and 39.7 percent from $136,000 in March 2013. Fresno County's unsold inventory index, or number of months to deplete the supply of homes at the current sales rate, stood at 5.2 months in March, down from 5.8 months in February but up from 3.8 months a year ago. Tulare County's index dropped to 4.7 months compared to 5.9 months in February but picked up from 3.2 months in March 2013. Kings County's inventory stood at 3.2 months in March, down from 4.4 months in February but a little better than 2.7 months a year ago, while Madera County home supply improved from 3.9 months in February and 3.5 months a year ago to 4.3 months in March. Statewide, home sales totaled 367,000 units in March, up 1.4 percent from 361,790 in February but down 12.3 percent from 418,310 a year ago. "While the demand for housing was up from February, the market is taking a hit from lower housing affordability compared to a year ago, which led to a decline in home sales from last year," said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown. "Moreover, concerns over tighter lending standards and increased borrowing costs are also contributing factors to the sluggish market as they both negatively impact the bottom line of home buyers who obtain financing through mortgages."
Written on 04/17/2014, 1:58 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — Tens of thousands of spring-run Chinook salmon are being released into the San Joaquin River, marking a major milestone in the federal plan to restore native fish populations to the state's second-longest river. The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released 54,000 hatchery-produced salmon into the river from a site near Fresno on Thursday. Though environmentalists are celebrating the release, federal water managers say the state's drought means not all of the fish will return to spawn. The San Joaquin River carried the continent's southernmost salmon run until the Friant Dam was built above Fresno to capture its water for crops. The restoration effort is the result of a 2006 legal settlement that ended a decades-long legal tussle between farmers, environmentalists and the federal government.
Written on 04/17/2014, 1:54 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — A late surge of sign-ups pushed California's health insurance exchange beyond the original enrollment projections of the Obama administration. Through Tuesday's end of the enrollment period, nearly 1.4 million Californians had selected a policy through the state's online marketplace, about 1 million more than the federal government had projected last fall. Covered California, the agency that runs the exchange, released the final sign-up data on Thursday. Still unknown is how many of those who signed up for insurance plans have paid their first month's premium, which will allow them to begin receiving health coverage. An additional 1.9 million people gained coverage through Medi-Cal, California's version of Medicaid. The state opted to accept the expansion of the low-income health insurance program that was offered under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Written on 04/17/2014, 1:52 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — Two members of a San Diego County Native American tribe have filed suit to stop a planned $360 million casino, saying the bodies of deceased relatives were illegally exhumed at the site. U-T San Diego reports (http://bit.ly/1nedMfD ) Walter Rosales and Karen Toggery of the Jamul Indian Village tribe are suing the state Department of Transportation. They say the bodies were moved to Caltrans property in Jamul. Their lawyer appeared in court Wednesday to follow up on a request for a temporary restraining order to stop work on the casino. Caltrans holds the encroachment permit that allows San Diego Gaming Ventures to use State Route 94 to bring trucks and other equipment and anything they haul to and from the site. A Caltrans spokeswoman said the agency cannot comment on litigation.
Written on 04/17/2014, 1:51 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — Workplace safety officials have fined a San Francisco Bay Area commuter rail line $210,000 over the deaths of two of its workers on tracks. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued the fine against the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency on Thursday, citing BART for what it said were three serious safety violations. Fifty-eight-year-old Christopher Sheppard and 66-year-old Laurence Daniels were struck and killed by a BART train while they inspected tracks in October. The incident occurred while BART workers were on strike. BART has said Sheppard and Daniels were working under a practice that made them solely responsible for their safety. The agency later changed those rules, requiring trains to slow down, stop or change course as they approach track workers.
Written on 04/17/2014, 1:50 pm by 
STACY A. ANDERSON, Associated Press
(AP) — First lady Michelle Obama says a high school education is not enough in today's global economy. Mrs. Obama tells a group of students that young people must go to college or get some type of professional training. The first lady toured Howard University on Thursday with high school juniors and seniors from her hometown of Chicago. They visited a dorm, the grassy quadrangle area known as "The Yard," and the Punch Out cafeteria. The visit is a part of Mrs. Obama's push to promote higher education, especially President Barack Obama's "North Star" goal for America, by 2020, to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. After the campus tour, the first lady led a discussion moderated by rapper and TV host Bow Wow.
Written on 04/17/2014, 1:48 pm by Business Journal staff
Central Valley Community Bank increased its earnings by nearly 50 percent in the first quarter over the same period last year. The Fresno-based bank reported revenues of $2.62 million, or 24 cent per share, for the three months ended March 31. That's up 46.7 percent compared to $1.78 million, or 18 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2013. The bank attributed much of the increase to a higher net interest income in 2014 due to the collection of non accrual loans totaling $1.62 million, which resulted in a recovery of interest income of $721,000. Net interest income before the provision for credit losses during the first quarter of the year was $10.09 million compared to $6.85 million the year before. The bank also increased its assets from $870.42 million in the first quarter of 2013 to $1.13 billion in the latest quarter. Non-performing assets decreased 35.93 percent over the year to $4.98 million. Deposits increased 33.89 percent from $735.73 million to $985.05 million, while loans were up 31.6 percent from $390.67 million to $514.38 million. Shareholders' equity increased by 5.1 percent since December to $6.13 million President and CEO Dan Doyle said asset quality ratios have continued to improve with the reductions in non-performing loans and the overall increase in total loans from the bank's recent acquisition of Visalia Community Bank last July. He added, however, that the bank continues to feel the impact of low loan demand and a low interest rate environment driven by the Federal Reserve's influence on the control of interest rates, as well as strong competition for loans throughout the San Joaquin Valley. "The current concern for the Central Valley's food and agriculture-related industry is the reduced supply of and demand for affordable water," said Doyle, who retires at the end of the year to be replaced by veteran banker James Ford. "This is the third year with below-average snow and rainfall, which is negatively affecting agribusiness as a whole, including those employed directly or indirectly in the service business supporting this critical industry in our region."Established in 1979, Central Valley Community Bank has 21 full-service branches from Sacramento to Visalia. The bank also operates commercial real estate lending, SBA lending and agribusiness lending departments.

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Written on 04/17/2014, 1:54 pm by Associated Press
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