– October 26, 2016

Fresno County is bright spot in biz sales

Business sales in California fell by 46 percent in April compared to the month before.Business sales in California fell by 46 percent in April compared to the month before.Business sales shot up in Fresno County during April, an anomaly compared to most of the state.

According to the BizBen Index, which collects and reports data on the rate of small and mid-sized business transfers, 40 small businesses changed hands in Fresno County in the month compared to 13 the prior month and 26 a year ago.

In Tulare County, eight sales were reported to the website in April, down from 18 in March and nine last year.

Madera County businesses reported zero sales to BizBen in the month, the same as in March and in April 2013.

The same was true in Kings County, where BizBen showed only three sales so far this year and another three in all of 2013.

Among cities, Fresno had the most business sales on BizBen in April with 27 followed by four in Reedley and three each in Clovis, Sanger, Tulare and Visalia.

One sale each went through in Coalinga, Caruthers, Dinuba, Porterville, Selma and Strathmore.

Throughout the state, business sales on the site totaled 1,014 in April, down from 1,480 in March but up from 905 in April 2013.

According to BizBen, a high rate of business sales is an indicator of economic growth as banks are making more loans and buyers are growing confident in the profit potential of new investment opportunities.

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Written on 10/25/2016, 1:18 pm by MARLEY JAY, AP Markets Writer
(AP) — U.S. stocks are slipping Tuesday as corporate earnings dominate the news and consumer companies like athletic apparel maker Under Armour and...
Written on 10/25/2016, 12:32 pm by BRIAN SLODYSKO, Associated Press
(AP) — A data analysis firm hired by a voter registration group said on Tuesday that Indiana's voter database is riddled with errors, including thousands of people over the age of 110 who would likely be deceased but are still on the registration list. TargetSmart conducted a review of the state voter file maintained by Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson's office on behalf of Patriot Majority, a voter registration group with deep ties to the Democratic Party that says it was trying to register black voters in Indiana. Patriot Majority has been the focal point of a state police probe of possible voter fraud. The group said the discovery of numerous problems in the voter database does not necessarily mean this was the result of fraud. Lawson's spokeswoman Valerie Warycha said there is a simple explanation for why some voters might be listed as over the age of 110. She said some people, including judges or those who have taken out orders of protection, have their dates of birth listed in the year 1900 as a means of protecting their identities. TargetSmart said it also found 837,000 voters with out-of-date addresses when compared to the United States Postal Service address database, or roughly one-in-five of all Indiana registered voters. The review found 4,556 duplicate registrations, 3,000 records without dates of birth and 31 records of registered voters who are too young to cast a ballot. More than 2,500 people on the rolls were listed over the age of 110. The analysis comes after Lawson's office last week raised the possibility that "thousands" of changes to voters' first names and dates of birth in her records could be cases of voter registration fraud. She later acknowledged that many of the changes could come from voters rushing to update their online information ahead of the Nov. 8 election. "There is clearly bad, missing and incomplete data," said Tom Bonier, the CEO of TargetSmart, which is affiliated with the Democratic Party. "So if you're seeing a lot of names changing or dates of birth changing, that's likely because the information she had on the file is incorrect." Warycha said inconsistencies with the database will not prevent anyone from voting during the Nov. 8 election. State police launched the investigation of Patriot Majority in late August after a clerk in Hendricks County, near Indianapolis, flagged roughly a dozen registration forms that had missing or suspicious information. Since then it has expanded to 56 counties in the state. It has also become highly politicized both in Indiana as well as on the national level, where Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, have raised the possibility of a "rigged" election without offering proof. Experts say cases of actual voter fraud are low and Indiana has a voter ID law that requires people to show photo identification before casting a ballot. Indiana state police Superintendent Doug Carter said in an interview last week with RTV6-TV that he believes "there's voter fraud and voter forgery in every state of America." Thus far, both Carter and Lawson have declined to release specifics, including any confirmed cases of voter registration fraud or approximate estimates of how many suspicious cases they are reviewing. Carter, a former Republican sheriff elected in Hamilton County north of Indianapolis, served as a GOP county commissioner before Pence appointed him to the state police job. TargetSmart's analysis also identified inconsistencies in the state's voter file over the last year, including names, middle initials and dates of birth that either appeared or disappeared after an update. Warycha said the secretary of state took control of maintaining the state's voter database in 2014 and has launched a highly publicized campaign to get voters to update their records. Warycha said individual counties previously were in charge of updating their voter files, but not all regularly did so. By federal law, Warycha said purging out-of-date registrations takes at least four years. "We've been very proactive in making sure that Hoosiers' voting information is up-to-date," she said. This is not the first time Indiana's voter database has come under scrutiny. In 2006, the state reached an agreement with the Justice Department intended to bring the state into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act by purging its voter rolls of those who had died or were listed more than once. That agreement came after the Justice Department found that Indiana had hundreds of thousands of ineligible voters on its registration lists, including possibly 29,000 dead people, and 290,000 duplicates. Two voter watchdog groups, Judicial Watch and True the Vote, then sued Indiana in 2012, accusing the state of failing to maintain clean voter registration lists as required by the National Voter Registration Act. The two groups dropped their suit in June 2014 after state lawmakers approved changes in Indiana's election laws the groups had sought. In May 2014, a month before the suit was dropped, Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced that her office had started a postcard drive to identify invalid voter registrations that she said would help restore "integrity" to the state's voter rolls. She said at the time that "it is estimated that at least one in eight voter registrations (nationwide) contains inaccurate information."
Written on 10/25/2016, 12:30 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — Anheuser-Busch says it has completed the world's first commercial shipment by self-driving truck, sending a beer-filled tractor-trailer on a journey of more than 120 miles through Colorado. The company says it teamed with self-driving truck maker Otto and the state of Colorado for the feat. The trailer, loaded with Budweiser beer, began the self-driving trip Thursday at a weigh station in Fort Collins, Colorado, and ran along Interstate 25 through Denver before wrapping up in Colorado Springs. The company says a professional truck driver was on board for the entire route and monitored the trip from the cab's sleeper berth. Anheuser-Busch says it hopes to see self-driving technology widely deployed.Otto was recently acquired by Uber.
Written on 10/25/2016, 12:28 pm by MICHAEL BIESECKER, Associated Press
(AP) — Poring through thousands of private, stolen emails from Hillary Clinton's confidants has become a daily ritual in Washington. The hacked emails — some mundane, others laced with intrigue about election strategy, snarky barbs, whining about salaries or perceived slights — provide an inside, real-time view of the insecurities, sniping and self-promotion that churn beneath the surface of a heated presidential campaign. Yet it's also uncharted territory fraught with ethical dilemmas: Should a private individual's stolen correspondence be read? How does someone respond publicly when they're the subject of a private email? Have the emails been altered? Nearly every morning since Oct. 7, WikiLeaks has tweeted out an alert that it was publishing on its website another couple thousand messages stolen from the email accounts of John Podesta, chairman of Clinton's presidential campaign. As of Tuesday, it had published more than 31,000 of Podesta's emails dating to 2008. WikiLeaks appears on track to continue releasing batches of Podesta's emails right up until Election Day. The Podesta emails follow a string of notable illicit caches released during the 2016 election campaign, including thousands of messages stolen from the Democratic National Committee and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The FBI has opened a criminal investigation into the DNC thefts, but U.S. intelligence agencies are firmly pointing to the Russian government. Donald Trump says he doubts the Russians are behind the cyberattacks. For weeks the Republican nominee has highlighted the contents of the hacked emails on Twitter and in his speeches, as his campaign issues multiple news releases a day. Despite Trump's bombast, no bombshell revelation has emerged to significantly alter the presidential race or prompt calls for the Democratic nominee to drop out — as happened with Trump following the leak of a decade-old video of him vulgarly bragging about groping women. In a few instances, the messages have actually undercut Trump's talking points. Rather than the well-oiled, octopus-tentacled cartel of international conspiracy painted by Trump, the Clinton Foundation in Podesta's emails is riven by rumors, funding woes and internal feuds — among them a bitter rift between the candidate's daughter, Chelsea Clinton, and a former aide of her father, former President Bill Clinton. While the leaks do underscore the coziness between the Clintons and well-heeled donors, Trump's reliance on the hacked emails has given even some in his own party pause, especially as he has continued to express admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin. "As our intelligence agencies have said, these leaks are an effort by a foreign government to interfere with our electoral process, and I will not indulge it," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who backs Trump, said recently in an interview with ABC News. "Further, I want to warn my fellow Republicans who may want to capitalize politically on these leaks: Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow it could be us." The releases from WikiLeaks put journalists in the uncomfortable position of receiving and reviewing stolen property for its potential news value. There has undisputedly been some real news to emerge, such as Clinton's secret Wall Street speech transcripts. Emails obtained through public records requests or other official means often contain redactions, but not the WikiLeaks emails. They contain personal financial details, medical information, phone numbers and even an account of purported suicide threats made by a key staffer at the Clinton family foundation. Still, media ethicists say, news organizations have little choice but to wade through the daily email dumps looking for news. "Journalists must ask themselves, 'To whom do you owe your primary loyalty?' The answer is your audience, the American public," said Kelly McBride, a media ethicist at the Poynter Institute, a journalism education foundation in St. Petersburg, Florida. "Ignore the emails and you fail to serve the American public, and play into the hands of the manipulative, destructive narrative that the media is on Hillary's side." The stolen emails do provide an unvarnished and sometimes profane glimpse of the inner workings of a campaign that has a reputation for being guarded. In a 2015 exchange with Podesta, liberal operative Neera Tanden wrote of Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig, "I f(asterisk)(asterisk)king hate that guy," calling him a "smug," ''pompous," loathsome man whom a reasonable person might wish "to kick the s(asterisk)(asterisk)t out of on Twitter." Lessig, an advocate of campaign finance reform who launched a modest protest campaign for president, wrote on his blog that he got off an airliner after a flight to visit his father to find his email inbox flooded with messages about the hacked exchange. "I can't for the life of me see the public good in a leak like this — at least one that reveals no crime or violation of any important public policy," Lessig wrote. "We all deserve privacy. The burdens of public service are insane enough without the perpetual threat that every thought shared with a friend becomes Twitter fodder."
Written on 10/25/2016, 12:02 pm by Business Journal staff
The Fresno company behind Me-N-Ed’s has launched a new franchise concept emphasizing fast-casual pizza and self-pour beer. Milano Restaurants International, parent company of Blast & Brew, announced the franchise has already inked a 12-unit deal on the Central Coast. Blast & Brew features artisanal Neapolitan-style pizzas with more than 40 locally-source ingredients, fast-baked in an 825-degree oven, as well as sandwiches, salads and appetizers. In addition, a pre-paid program allows guests to select their own beer choices from more than 30 taps, similar to the recent Me-N-Ed’s location that debuted in Fresno recently.  “People have always had control over their pizza, but Blast & Brew offers a 100 percent customer-crafted dining experience, from the meal to the beverage that accompanies it,” said John Ferdinandi, CEO of Milano Restaurants International. “Our team has been hand crafting pizzas for over 50 years, and has partnered with California-grown craft breweries since the 90s – creating a recipe for success at Blast & Brew.” California-based franchise group Cristallo Ventures L.L.C. has signed a 12-unit agreement to develop Blast & Brew locations throughout Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties over the next eight years. The group currently operates a franchised Blast & Brew in San Luis Obispo, which opened in March. Blast & Brew is seeking franchise partners to develop stores in territories across the southwestern region of the U.S., including metropolitan areas such as Phoenix and Dallas, as well as heavily populated college towns. Blast & Brew locations require between 1,200 and 3,400 feet of retail space, with patio, dine-in and carry out opportunities. Franchise prospects should have restaurant or retail experience, and the total investment to become a Blast & Brew franchisee ranges from $700,000 to $950,000.
Written on 10/25/2016, 12:00 pm by Business Journal staff
The American Heart Association’s 2016 Central Valley Heart and Stroke Walk and Lawyers Have Heart Run raised a record-breaking $235,851 to help in the fight against heart disease and stroke. The figure is the highest fundraising total this particular event has ever raised. Nearly 2,000 people took part in the 24th annual Central Valley Heart Walk on Oct. 22 at Tesoro Viejo, an upcoming McCaffrey Homes community in Madera County. Karen McCaffrey, the vice president of The McCaffrey Group and chair of the 2016 Heart and Stroke Walk said it was a pleasure to host the event. “It’s truly inspiring to see so many people come together for the Heart Walk and we are thrilled with the turnout and record-breaking success,” McCaffrey said in a statement. Though the event has passed, there is still time to donate. Donations made on the Heart Walk website before Dec. 31 will count toward this year’s walk. For more information or to make a donation, visit

Latest State News

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Latest National News

Written on 10/25/2016, 1:18 pm by MARLEY JAY, AP Markets Writer
(AP) — U.S. stocks are slipping Tuesday...
Written on 10/25/2016, 12:32 pm by BRIAN SLODYSKO, Associated Press
(AP) — A data analysis firm hired by a...
Written on 10/25/2016, 12:30 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — Anheuser-Busch says it has...
Written on 10/25/2016, 12:28 pm by MICHAEL BIESECKER, Associated Press
(AP) — Poring through thousands of...