TODAY

– October 2, 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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Latest Local News

Written on 10/01/2014, 3:53 pm by Business Journal staff
Self-Help Federal Credit Union is planning to open a new branch in southwest Fresno with help from the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission.
Written on 10/01/2014, 2:15 pm by Business Journal staff
A two-day sting operation by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) in Fresno found 15 individuals to be contracting illegally.  The operation was conducted on September 24-25 at a home near the Fresno Yosemite International Airport and targeted individuals who had used the craigslist.org website.  "Many of the suspects who are caught in sting operations have been unable to get a CSLB license because of a criminal background," CSLB Registrar Steve Sands said in a prepared statement. "Check CSLB's website first to make sure the person you're considering hiring is licensed." CSLB worked in conjunction with the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT), Fresno County District Attorney's Office, California Department of Industrial Relations and the California Highway Patrol.  The team posed as homeowners and called potential suspects to solicit bids for interior painting, flooring, concrete and fencing. The bids they received ranged from $912 (labor only) to $2,800, well above the $500 legal limit for unlicensed contractors. A CSLB-issued license is required for all construction-related work that costs $500 or more in combined labor and materials.  Of the 18 suspects who showed up, 13 were cited for contracting without a license and 12 will face a misdemeanor charge for illegal advertising. State law requires contractors to place their license number in all print, broadcast and online advertisements. Those without a license can still advertise for jobs valued at less than $500 but the ad must state that they are not licensed.  Three suspects face additional charges of not carrying worker's compensation insurance information. One unlicensed suspect, Sean Willis of Fresno, has been caught in three sting operations so far but continues to advertise with the business name "Fresno Craftsman" on craigslist. He faces charges of contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.  Suspects are scheduled to appear at Fresno County Superior Court at 8:30 a.m. on either November 18 or 19.  CSLB encourages customers to always check if a contractor has a license by visiting www.cslb.ca.gov. The organization licenses and regulates 290,000 contractors in California and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the country. In fiscal year 2013-14, CSLB helped recover nearly $51 million in ordered restitution for consumers. 
Written on 10/01/2014, 1:56 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — A former eBay executive has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for his role in insider trading.A federal judge in Philadelphia sentenced 45-year-old Christopher Saridakis on Wednesday. Saridakis had pleaded guilty to securities fraud in May. Saridakis, of Wilmington, Delaware, was a senior executive at GSI Commerce in March 2011 when it was about to be acquired by eBay Inc. Saridakis acknowledged tipping off a friend by text message to buy GSI stock. The friend purchased 25,000 shares, and made more than $260,000 in profit when eBay bought GSI. GSI Commerce became eBay Enterprise, and Saridakis served as president. He later resigned.
Written on 10/01/2014, 1:54 pm by Business Journal staff
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities announced two awards to Fresno State recently in honor of its excellence and innovation in some major areas of campus life and leadership.The annual awards will be given out to seven colleges this year that have made great advances in the areas of student success and college completion, regional and economic development, leadership and diversity and international education. Among them, Fresno State will be awarded with the Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award for working with Central Valley school districts to improve achievement among K-12 students as part of its Partnership for Exemplary Teachers. The award, also being given to Hunter College in New York, was established in 1987 to honor the first teacher in space, who died in the 1986 Challenger disaster. It recognizes exemplary models of teacher preparation that link professional training to students’ learning outcomes. Fresno State will also be honored with the Leadership Development Award for its development of an initiative to train a diverse pool of leaders ready to step into higher administrative posts on campus. The initiative, known as the Regional Education for Achievement in Leadership program, also included California State University, Bakersfield and California State University, Northridge to impart leadership skills and knowledge of effective practices to 30 participants over the course of a year. Fresno State will accept the awards during the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' annual meeting Oct. 19-21 at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Written on 10/01/2014, 1:44 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — U.S. stocks are slumping to a third straight loss as investors fret over poor economic news.Airline stocks sank over worries that the first diagnosis of Ebola in the U.S. would cause people to curtail their travel plans. American Airlines and Delta each fell 3 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 238 points, or 1.4 percent, to close at 16,804 Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 26 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,946. The Nasdaq composite fell 71 points, or 1.6 percent, to 4,422. Bonds and utility stocks rose as investors shifted money into less risky assets. Utility stocks were the only sector in the S&P 500 index to rise. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.39 percent and prices for the notes rose.
Written on 10/01/2014, 1:28 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — Facebook is apologizing to drag queens and the transgender community for deleting accounts that used drag names like Lil Miss Hot Mess rather than legal names such as Bob Smith.The world's biggest online social network caught heat recently when it deleted several hundred accounts belonging to self-described drag queens, other performers and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Facebook has long required its users to go by their "real names" on the site for security purposes. Now, the company says that won't mean a person's legal name but "the authentic name they use in real life." Facebook says it plans to provide "much more deliberate customer service" to users whose accounts are flagged as fake.
Written on 10/01/2014, 1:25 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — San Francisco is rolling out free Wi-Fi at more than 30 public parks, plazas and recreation areas, thanks to a city partnership with Google.The San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1wYEeMi) reports that Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials will officially unveil the expanded wireless access Wednesday. Google has donated $600,000 to help the city buy and install Wi-Fi equipment and cover maintenance cost for two years. Users can log in by choosing the "#sfwifi" option on their smartphones, tablets or laptops. Supervisor Mark Farrell says the expanded Wi-Fi will help address the "digital divide" that often leaves low-income families with little Internet access. City officials have been talking about providing free Wi-Fi citywide for the past seven years, but the rollout has been slower than anticipated.
Written on 10/01/2014, 1:19 pm by Business Journal staff
Fresno was named among the safest real estate markets for investors looking into single family homes, according to quarterly data by HomeVestors of America, Inc. HomeVestors considered job growth, unemployment, latest price changes and similar income to compile its Best Markets report for the third quarter. The Fresno area landed in the low risk category for investments in single family homes, ranking 63 out of 300 U.S. markets identified in the report. With an overall score of 7.2, Fresno was rated for a 3-year population growth of 2.9 percent and job growth of 4.2 percent. An average home price of $186,000 also helped. Unemployment in Fresno lagged behind at 10.8 percent, while prices versus income price ratio (total cost of a home compared to the price of a home relative to an area's median annual income) came in at -18 percent and the latest price change was listed at 13 percent. The Madera metro was also considered a low-risk area for investment, ranking 107 on the list and achieving an overall score of 6.1. The data listed the area as having an average home price of $212,000, a 3-year population growth of 2.2 percent and job growth of of 0.2 percent. Unemployment was listed at 10 percent, while price versus income price ratio was shown at -25 percent and the latest price change came in at 18 percent. In the medium risk category, the Visalia-Porterville metro landed at No. 115 on the list with an overall score of 6. That considered an average home price of $169,000, a 3-year population growth of 3.5 percent and job growth of 0.6 percent. Unemployment was high at 12.6 percent, while prices versus income price ratio was low at -24 percent and the latest price change was up at 11 percent. The Hanford-Corcoran metro was also considered medium risk for investment, ranking 266 overall with a score of 3.4. With an average home price of $187,000, the area showed nothing for its 3-year population growth and just 0.3 percent for job growth, as well as a higher unemployment rate of 11.5 percent.Hanford also had a prices versus income price ratio of -34 percent and a latest price change of 8 percent. Topping the list was Orlando, Florida, which managed an average home price of $185,000, a 3-year population growth of 5.3 percent and job growth of 3.5 percent, as well as a low unemployment rate of 6.3 percent. The area had a -13 percent prices versus income price ratio and a latest price change of 11 percent.
Written on 10/01/2014, 11:16 am by Business Journal staff
Moody's Investor Service has changed its outlook of Fresno's long-term ratings from stable to positive and affirmed the city's overall bond ratings.  "This reflects the smart choices we've made in recent years to discipline ourselves to focus on managing the fiscal crisis at hand while at the same time keeping an eye on the responsibilities of tomorrow," Mayor Ashley Swearengin said in a prepared statement.  According to Moody's, the change in the city's outlook reflects recent positive changes in Fresno's economy which have helped create increases in property and sales taxes which are some of the city's most important revenue sources. The rating service said the new outlook reflects its expectation that the city's ongoing commitment to rein in expenditures and rebuild depleted reserves will continue to pay off in the future.  The decision to upgrade Fresno's long-term outlook also recognized the city's ongoing fiscal challenges and suggested confidence that the city's management has laid the foundation for a credible turnaround. Moody's said the local economy is poised for improvement if the city continues to address its reserve levels and increase it fiscal flexibility. 
Written on 10/01/2014, 10:58 am by Business Journal staff
Several community colleges in the Central Valley are busy developing training courses as part of a new state program imparting skills to workers displaced by California’s ongoing drought.The program began with $1 million in federal disaster aid the state Legislature provided to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency in March to help rural communities hit hardest by the drought. Earlier this month, the agency announced an agreement with the Employment Training Panel and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office that will provide funding for credential programs in areas like irrigation efficiency, water treatment and warehouse operations. With funds good until June 30, 2016, $150,000 each will go to the College of the Sequoias, Fresno City College, Reedley College, Merced College, Modesto Junior College and West Hills College Coalinga for free job training courses. As the project’s lead fiscal agency, Modesto Junior College will receive an additional $100,000 for grant administration purposes. According to Nancy Gutierrez, sector navigator for Agriculture, Water and Environmental Technologies with California Community Colleges, the effort was initially geared toward farmworkers looking for new jobs in agriculture but that soon evolved into training opportunities for all kinds of new skills. “That’s when we incorporated the contract education at some of these colleges,” said Gutierrez, who was tasked with recruiting the participating colleges, “They looked at some of their existing training programs to get people great skills that are more prevalent in the area and provide great jobs like warehouse and logistics.” At Reedley College, administrators are hammering out the details for a food safety course training students in microbiology, quality assurance and sanitary standards needed to become specialists in inspecting food processing plants. With the course starting up next spring, Reedley College’s Dean of Instruction David Clark said he’s aiming for 20 students to go through the semester ending with an industry-developed test to earn their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points certification. Another course starting up next fall at the college will have students working with curriculum of the Irrigation Association to become agriculture irrigation specialists advising farmers on how to make their watering systems more efficient. “One of the latest terms in education is industry credentials. It’s not a credential by the college,” said Clark. “We’ve had an irrigation class and plant soil class and nutrition but we’ve never grouped it together, and we’ve never used the industry associations’ material. This is really short term training so they can get a job and be employable.” Also in the preliminary stages, Fresno City College is looking at plans for a forklift driver and warehouse technician class offered in the spring at its Career and Technology Center at Jensen and Annadale avenues in southeast Fresno. While similar to the 12-week warehouse technician program already in place there, Fresno City College’s Dean of Workforce Development Natalie Culver-Dockins said there would likely be an English as a Second Language (ESL) component mixed in for a target population consisting largely of displaced farmworkers. “We’re looking at the ag industry because that’s who’s doing most of the laying off,” Culver-Dockins said. She mentioned that some of the 30 to 40 initial enrollees may also be fed in from any of the center’s five other automotive or industrial programs, including auto collision repair, engine repair, engine performance, maintenance technician and warehouse technician. Registration and specific curriculum will be decided after working with the Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board, the Department of Social Services and the Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to hone its marketing efforts to companies and communities in the greatest need. “We have a little more flexibility,” Culver-Dockins said. “Since it’s grant funding we can tweak it and can add new curriculum components.” For those who pass the courses, she said, job placement assistance will also be available through the college’s Employment Resource Center and the Workforce Investment Board. College of the Sequoias in Visalia is working on a certified production technician class with a vocational ESL component. West Hills College Coalinga is preparing for a class training students to become agriculture irrigation specialists and another offering a qualified applicator license needed by pesticide technicians. Farther north, Merced College is readying to start up classes on water treatment operations and electrical industrial maintenance, while Modesto Junior College has in mind programs for logistics and warehouse technicians and irrigation technicians. Each college will offer two classes at 250 hours each at no cost to participants. Eligible students must be residents of the counties where the classes are offered. They must also declare how the drought or economic downturn has affected their work status, whether they be farm workers or employees in related industries. “We left it kind of open ended of who’s going to be displaced,” said Clark with Reedley College. “It could be a lot of the agribusinesses that supply products to agriculture, it could be seed companies and the list goes on and on.” Little data exists on the amount of jobs and economic output that has been lost due to California’s drought. However, a September forecast produced by the Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific in Stockton showed employment dropping by about 1 percent throughout the San Joaquin Valley this year due to the drought’s impact on agricultural production. With the exception of Sacramento, all metro areas in the San Joaquin Valley have job growth about a percentage point lower than in 2013, according to the forecast. Nonfarm employment in the Fresno metro area is predicted to grow 3.4 percent this year and 2.4 percent next year, still above the state average of 2.2 and 2.3 percent, respectively. On the bright side, Stockton, Modesto and Fresno should see their unemployment rates finally get back to single digits in 2016.

Latest State News

Written on 10/01/2014, 1:56 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — A former eBay executive has been...
Written on 10/01/2014, 1:28 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — Facebook is apologizing to drag...
Written on 10/01/2014, 1:25 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — San Francisco is rolling out...
Written on 09/30/2014, 12:47 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown's...

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