– October 20, 2014

Truck emissions inspectors scour Fresno area

California Air Resources Board inspectors check a truck engine for compliance with the Truck and Bus regulationCalifornia Air Resources Board inspectors check a truck engine for compliance with the Truck and Bus regulationTeams of inspectors from the California Air Resources Board were in Fresno today checking big rig engines for compliance with the agency's Truck and Bus regulation.

The regulation requires all trucks in the state to have 2010 model year engines or the equivalent particulate matter (PM) retrofits by 2023.

Beginning January 1, heavy duty diesel trucks with engines dating from 2000 to 2004 are required to have soot filters, making them 2010 equivalent for emissions.

Working with the California Highway Patrol, teams of CARB inspectors set up five locations in the Fresno area to stop passing truck drivers for a check of their equipment. Inspectors checked for emissions control labels, exhaust smoke and other signs of excess emissions.

CARB's Public Information Officer Karen Caesar said the average person may not always notice, but 2010 or equivalent engines reduce emissions by 85 percent when compared to 2000 engines.

"Diesel engines last forever and when you have truck 30 to 40 years on the road, it's not good for the air," she said.

Trucks originating outside of California are also subject to the regulation, she added, so the agency is working hard to make sure truck operators everywhere are informed about the requirements and get into compliance.

"These regulations are important and compliance is not optional," she said. "We have to let these folks know and give them the information."

The latest checkpoints were one of dozens that go on throughout the year in California but the first this year for the Fresno area.

Last August, similar teams were set up at 40 different weigh stations, distribution centers and other locations throughout the state to inspect some 4,000 trucks as part of the "Gear Up For Clean Trucks" campaign.

From that effort, CARB noted a rate of 80 percent of trucks compliant with the regulation either through diesel soot filters or new and upgraded engines.

When truck operators aren't in compliance, penalties start at a minimum of $1,000 per violation per month and will increase significantly over time. Non-compliance can also result in a registration block by the Department of Motor Vehicles on the truck or having the vehicle impounded by the CHP until it in compliance.

Small fleets with three or fewer trucks can delay compliance until January 2014 by reporting their truck information to CARB.

More information on how to comply with the Truck and Bus regulation as well as incentive money is available at ARB's TruckStop website at or by calling 1-866-6-DIESEL (634-3735).

California is home to 200,000 trucking business and 450,000 registered heavy duty diesel trucks.

Trucks and buses account for about 32 percent of the statewide emissions of NOx and about 40 percent of diesel PM emissions.

How will you vote on Fresno County's Measure Z zoo sales tax?


gordonwebstergordonwebster Gordon Webster - Publisher
gordonwebstergordonwebster Gabriel Dillard - Managing Editor

Latest Local News

Written on 10/20/2014, 1:58 pm by ANICK JESDANUN, AP Technology Writer
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Written on 10/20/2014, 1:47 pm by 
BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer
(AP) — Facebook is suing several law firms that represented a man who claimed he owned half of the social network and was entitled to billions of dollars from the company and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The case was dismissed in April and the man, Paul Ceglia, is facing related criminal charges. Facebook Inc. and Zuckerberg filed a lawsuit Monday against DLA Piper and other law firms and lawyers, saying they conspired to file and prosecute a fraudulent lawsuit. DLA Piper is one of the world's largest business law firms. Ceglia claimed in a 2010 lawsuit that he and Zuckerberg signed a 2003 software development contract that included a provision entitling him to half-ownership of Facebook in exchange for $1,000 in startup money for the budding company. Facebook's lawyers had claimed that while the two did have a contract, references to the company were slipped in for the lawsuit. In its lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court, Facebook claims that the lawyers representing Ceglia "knew or should have known" that his lawsuit was fraudulent and "based on an implausible story and obviously forged documents." Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, California, is seeking unspecified damages along with reimbursement of its expenses racked up in defending itself against the lawsuit. "We said from the beginning that Paul Ceglia's claim was a fraud and that we would seek to hold those responsible accountable," Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel, said in a statement. "DLA Piper and the other named law firms knew the case was based on forged documents yet they pursued it anyway, and they should be held to account." DLA Piper called the suit "baseless" and said it was filed to intimidate lawyers from suing Facebook. "DLA Piper, which was not part of this case at its outset or its conclusion, was involved for 78 days," Peter Pantaleo, the firm's general counsel, said in a statement. "Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg claim that they were damaged in those 78 days, yet a mere 10 months after DLA Piper withdrew from the case and while the litigation was still pending, Facebook went to market with an initial public offering that valued the company at $100 billion." Other law firms named in the suit, including Milberg LLP and Paul Argentieri and Associates, could not immediately be reached for comment Monday afternoon. Ceglia is awaiting trial on criminal fraud charges related to the case. He is accused of doctoring and destroying evidence to support his Facebook claim, and has pleaded not guilty. Facebook's lawsuit says Zuckerberg and Ceglia signed a two-page contract in April 2003, "months before Zuckerberg had even conceived of the idea that became Facebook." "That contract had nothing to do with Facebook or any other social networking service," the lawsuit says, adding that Ceglia and Zuckerberg stopped communicating in 2004. Facebook, then called, launched in February 2004 out of Zuckerberg's Harvard dorm room. It was first open only to Harvard students and the decade since it expanded into the world's largest online social network with more than 1.3 billion users. The company went public in 2012. It now has a market value of nearly $200 billion.Its stock ended Monday up $1, or 1.3 percent, at $76.95.
Written on 10/20/2014, 1:43 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — Teenage soccer players in San Francisco won an off-field victory over the city's technology workers after a videotaped confrontation gained national attention. Parks officials have agreed to stop allowing adults to reserve a soccer field in the Mission District neighborhood, a decision that followed an August standoff pitting young, longtime residents against workers at online companies Dropbox and Airbnb, The San Francisco Chronicle reported ( ). The soccer-field confrontation heightened some people's resentment against the Bay Area's well-paid tech workers, who are seen as contributors to rising rents in San Francisco. The creation of thousands of new tech jobs in the Bay Area has helped give San Francisco the fastest-growing income gap between rich and poor in the country, according to a 2013 report by the Brookings Institution. The video, posted in September, shows tech workers arguing with younger soccer players over the field. In the recording, tech workers show up at a Mission Playground soccer field to say they had paid $27 online to reserve the field for their soccer game. The younger players said they had played pickup games there, without reservations, all their lives. "You guys think just because you got money you can buy the field," a young man, who said he had played games there since childhood, told tech workers on the video. Dropbox said in a statement that it was "disappointed to learn that a couple of our employees weren't respectful to this community." The recording has received more than a half-million views on YouTube and spurred at least one protest at City Hall. San Francisco's parks department announced the policy change for the field after a meeting last week with some of the neighborhood soccer players shown on the recording.
Written on 10/20/2014, 1:39 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — U.S. stocks are closing with modest gains following last week's turbulence. All three main stock indexes ended higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 17 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,904 Monday. The Nasdaq rose 57 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,316. The Dow Jones industrial average eked out a gain after spending most of the day in the red. The Dow was held back by a sharp decline in IBM, which reported disappointing results. The Dow ended up 19 points, or 0.1 percent, at 16,399. Sears jumped 23 percent after saying it would raise cash and had signed a leasing deal with the European fashion retailer Primark. Bond prices didn't move much. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was flat at 2.19 percent.
Written on 10/20/2014, 1:34 pm by MAE ANDERSON, AP Technology Writer
(AP) — Cord cutters rejoiced last week after HBO and CBS announced plans to sell stand-alone streaming services, a move that cable and satellite television providers have resisted for years. Customers tired of paying big fees for hundreds of channels they never watch just to have access to a few favorite shows might be expected to start cancelling cable service in droves. Get Netflix, throw in HBO, add a network here and there — why would anyone sign up now for cable? Well, don't sound the death knell for cable companies yet. Some would-be customers may balk when they see just how much paying a la carte actually costs. Stations that offer services a la carte will have to pay for marketing that the cable and satellite companies usually cover. Fewer eyeballs on live TV could mean less advertising revenue, since online ads are generally cheaper, and that will boost the network's cost of running the channel. And smooth streaming costs money: to avoid so-called "throttling" during peak evening viewing times, Netflix buckled to broadband distributors like Comcast and Verizon and paid up so that its streaming service would run at a higher bandwidth and work more smoothly. Those added costs might be passed on to customers. And for all those cable haters out there, sorry: Cutting the cord won't mean cutting out your cable provider. They often own some of your favorite channels (Comcast owns NBC Universal, parent of Bravo and USA) and in most areas they are the gatekeepers to the Internet. Offering popular channels like HBO over streaming could actually help cable companies sell more expensive broadband services to customers. "The cable business is evolving from mainly selling you a pay TV package to mainly selling you a broadband Internet service," says FBR Research analyst Barton Crockett. "Content companies and cable companies are evolving from being very worried about making their content available through Internet services to very excited about that. It's a way to sell their Internet and get people to pay for faster speeds." The cable and satellite television industry is going through major consolidation, to mitigate the higher cost each year of carriage fees that the networks charge for their channels and boost pricing power. Comcast Corp. is in the process of buying Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45 billion, which would make it by far the largest TV and broadband provider. AT&T Inc. is planning to buy satellite service DirecTV for $48.5 billion. Both are under regulatory review; customers complain such deals would create monopolies that would hijack choice. Meanwhile, pay-TV subscriptions have flatlined at about 101 million, according to data from research firm SNL Kagan. The number of high-speed Internet subscribers rose about 1 percent during the same period to 90.1 million. By comparison, pay-TV nemesis Netflix Inc. has about 37.2 million U.S. subscribers and expects to add 1.85 million during the final months of this year. The growth in streaming services will appeal "to a segment of consumers that the traditional pay-TV providers have a harder and harder time communicating with: the millennials and so called 'cord-nevers'" who haven't viewed Pay TV as a compelling option until now," says MoffettNathanson partner Craig Moffett. In fact, HBO said its stand-alone HBO Go service is largely aimed at the 10 million U.S. households that have broadband Internet service but do not pay for TV. So as more channels start to offer a la carte services, cable providers will shift to focus on their broadband services, Moffett thinks. "Cable companies will become increasingly reliant on broadband, and gradually evolve their business models to be less and less video-centric and more broadband-centric over time," he said. That leaves satellite pay-TV companies like DirecTV and Dish Network Inc., which have no broadband capability, as the "odd man out," he said. Cable companies say they want to offer customers more choice, and if customers want to go online, they plan to be a part of that transaction. "The overwhelming majority of our customers prefer to access video content via digital cable bundles for convenience, service quality and value of the total package, but cable broadband provides the fastest and most reliable connection to online content for those who choose to access it," says Todd Smith, spokesman for Cox Communications, which offers cable and broadband to 6 million customers. Other cable and satellite services did not respond to a request for comment or declined to comment.
Written on 10/20/2014, 1:18 pm by Business Journal staff
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Written on 10/20/2014, 1:09 pm by Business Journal staff
Pieology Pizzeria is hosting a grand opening of its first Fresno location at Fig Garden Village Tuesday. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the location at 5068 N. Palm Avenue by Jamba Juice and Amenities Salon. Pieology Pizzeria allows guest to custom build their own personal pizzas with 30 fresh ingredients. They also have seven signature pizzas which can also be customized on request, all for under $8. The restaurant is open Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9:30p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.  The restaurant can be contacted at (559) 225-2546. Rancha Santa Margarita-based Pieology Pizzeria was founded in 2011 and currently has more than 30 restaurants in eight states, with plans to double in size by the end of the year.
Written on 10/20/2014, 12:59 pm by Business Journal staff
Sierra Bancorp, parent company of Bank of the Sierra, reported income of more than $3.5 million for the third quarter, up 5 percent from the same quarter last year. In addition, for the first nine months of the year, income stood at more than $11.5 million, a jump of 22 percent over the same period last year. The third-quarter increase is attributed to higher net interest income and lower credit costs. Total assets for the bank were nearly $1.5 billion on Sept. 30, up 7.6 percent from $1.3 billion at the same time last year. A perviously announced acquisition is also near its completion, according to a news release. “With regard to the acquisition, we continue to recognize the growth potential for us in Ventura County and Santa Clarita, and look forward with excitement to the addition of talented Santa Clara Valley Bank employees to our capable and dedicated staff at Bank of the Sierra," CEO James C. Holly said in a statement. "We’re still on track to complete our acquisition of Santa Clara Valley Bank and convert their computer systems prior to year-end,”
Written on 10/20/2014, 12:37 pm by Business Journal staff
For Fresno residents, owning a car is still cheaper than using ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft.  This was the finding of a recent study by personal finance site NerdWallet. According to the 50-city study, car ownership costs Fresno residents $11,762 a year. This figure was calculated by using the costs associated with the purchase of the car and operating and maintenance costs like gas, insurance and parking.  Compared to ownership costs, Lyft ride-sharing services would cost Fresno residents $16,572 while UberX would cost $23,263 in a year. In addition, while car ownership affords drivers a countless number of trips, the Nerdwallet study found that residents would only be allowed 15.05 rides a week using Lyft and 10.72 with Uber. The study also placed a cap of 782.60 rides per year for those prices. In the study, the number of UberX and Lyft rides possible were calculated by dividing ownership costs by average ridesharing charges. While the cost for ridesharing services and car ownership were closer in other cities, NerdWallet reported that maintaining a car is still the most affordable option in every city surveyed. The study did however suggest that drivers who have a checkered history, drive a luxury car or have little occasion to use their car might be able to save money by switching ridesharing services. 
Written on 10/20/2014, 11:38 am by MARILYNN MARCHIONE, MIKE STOBBE, Associated Press
(AP) — About 120 people are now being monitored for possible infection with Ebola because they may have had contact with one of the three people in Dallas who had the disease, Texas health officials said Monday. Officials said 43 of 48 people on an original watch list have passed the 21-day maximum incubation period for the viral disease and are now in the clear. But others who cared for a Liberian man who died Oct. 8 at a Dallas hospital remain at risk, along with two nurses he infected and their close contacts. That brings the total to 120 people now being monitored, with their wait period ending Nov. 7, said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. He said the number may fluctuate. Clay Jenkins, the top administrator for Dallas County, said he was unaware that other health officials had allowed one of the nurses, Amber Vinson, onto an airplane the day before she was diagnosed. Vinson had contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dallas County, and she was given permission to fly home to Dallas after visiting family in Ohio. "It was a mistake" for Vinson to have flown "and we apologize," Jenkins said during a news conference Monday morning. Still, health officials said they were breathing a little easier Monday as the monitoring period ended for many, and after a cruise ship scare ended with the boat returning to port and a lab worker on board testing negative for the virus. Among those no longer in isolation are the family and friends who were hosting Thomas Eric Duncan before he was diagnosed with Ebola. The Liberian man — who became the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. — died from the disease Oct. 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. "I want to breathe, I want to really grieve, I want privacy with my family," Louise Troh, whose family had been hosting Duncan before he became ill, told The Associated Press. Rawlings, the Dallas mayor, thanked Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas for providing housing for Troh and her family while they were monitored. Rawlings said the family was staying at a Catholic retreat in Dallas owned by the Diocese. The incubation period also has passed for many health workers who encountered Duncan when he went to the Dallas hospital for the first time, on Sept. 25. Duncan was sent home, but then returned by ambulance and was admitted on Sept. 28. Two nurses who treated him during that second visit — Vinson and Nina Pham — are now hospitalized with Ebola. Vinson's family issued a statement saying they have hired a lawyer and are troubled by comments and media coverage that "mischaracterize" Vinson, who is being treated at Emory University in Atlanta. Vinson "has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else," and "suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful," the statement says. On Sunday, a Carnival Cruise Lines ship returned to Galveston, Texas, from a seven-day trip marred by worries over a health worker on board who was being monitored for Ebola. The lab supervisor had handled a specimen from Duncan and isolated herself on the ship as a precaution, though she later tested negative for Ebola. About 4,000 passengers on the cruise had to miss a stop in Cozumel, Mexico, where the boat was not allowed to dock because of the scare. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said those caring for Duncan were vulnerable because some of their skin was exposed. The CDC is working on revisions to safety protocols. Earlier ones, Fauci said, were based on a World Health Organization model for care in remote places, often outdoors, and without intensive training for health workers. "So there were parts about that protocol that left vulnerability, parts of the skin that were open," Fauci said. Health officials had previously allowed hospitals some flexibility to use available covering when dealing with suspected Ebola patients. The new guidelines are expected to set firmer standards: calling for full-body suits and hoods that protect worker's necks; setting rigorous rules for removal of equipment and disinfection of hands; and requiring a "site manager" to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment. The guidelines also are expected to require a "buddy system" in which workers check each other as they come in and go out, according to an official who was familiar with the guidelines but not authorized to discuss them before their release. Hospital workers also will be expected to exhaustively practice getting in and out of the equipment, the official said. Nurses have been clamoring for more guidance and better garb, saying they have never cared for Ebola patients before and feel unprepared and underequipped. "If hospital administrators had to take care of Ebola patients, they would have the gold standard and hazmat suits," said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, a union with 185,000 members. In some places where they have the suits, nurses have not practiced taking them on and off. "The hospital is sending them essentially a link to the CDC website. That's not preparation. That's like a do-it-yourself manual," DeMoro said. The Pentagon announced Sunday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had ordered the formation of a 30-person military support team to assist civilian medical professionals in the U.S. to treat Ebola. The team won't be sent overseas, and will "be called upon domestically only if deemed prudent by our public health professionals," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement. ___Stobbe reported from Atlanta.___Associated Press writers Emily Schmall in Fort Worth, Texas; Jill Craig in Galveston, Texas; and Josh Hoffner in Dallas contributed to this report.

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Written on 10/20/2014, 1:58 pm by ANICK JESDANUN, AP Technology Writer
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