TODAY

– November 26, 2014

New Fresno State president starts job tomorrow

Fresno State's eighth president Joseph CastroFresno State's eighth president Joseph CastroNew Fresno State President Joseph Castro starts his first day on the job tomorrow with a full itinerary of stops to learn about the campus.

The Hanford native was selected by the California State University Board of Trustees in May to replace retiring President John Welty, who filled the position for 22 years.

Castro's day starts early with a new employee orientation in the Joyal Administration Building at 7:15 a.m. for some paperwork and fingerprinting by the Fresno State Police Department.

Next, he will be ushered off to the Thomas Building at 9 a.m. to meet the university's Interim Provost Dr. Andrew Hoff—filling in since the departure of Dr. William Covino in May—and the Academic Senate, whose job it is to devise Fresno State's educational policies.

Castro will then make a brief stop at the Exploring Regional Institutional Research Collaboration meeting in the Henry Madden Library at 9:45 a.m. followed by a 10 o'clock stop in the Speech Arts Building for a photo session with university photographer Cary Edmonson.

A press conference will then take place in the Peters Ellipse room back in the library at 11 a.m. followed by lunch with Associated Students Inc. President Moses Menchaca in the University Student Union pit.

The weekend will be spent like any other mover with the Castro family unpacking boxes and settling in to the University House located at 4411 N. Van Ness Blvd.

Castro, 46, is Fresno State's eighth president. Previously, he served as vice chancellor of student academic affairs at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Written on 11/26/2014, 2:58 pm by joev
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Written on 11/26/2014, 2:53 pm by ben
While Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is an ideal way to prove a building’s green status, many property owners are content to show energy efficiency through an Energy Star rating.Developed in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Star rating system has become a stamp of superior energy performance for banks, schools hospitals, retail stores, offices and several other types of buildings, though it may be more well-known to consumers as a ratings system for home appliances.Nationwide, more than 25,000 commercial buildings have received the Energy Star certification by performing better than at least 75 percent of similar buildings on the EPA’s 1-100 point scale.That score, based on one year of energy data, factors in everything from a building’s size, use and equipment to operating hours, the number of workers and monthly energy consumption — attributes that must all be verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect.Although Energy Star certification lasts for one year, property owners can resubmit their energy use data each year to retain the distinction.Of the nearly 4,500 buildings that have been certified across California, roughly one hundred are located throughout Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Madera counties, with Fresno claiming almost half.Energy Star has been a source of pride for developer Civic Center Square, Inc., with the certification awarded to three buildings in downtown Fresno totaling 146,000 square feet.Michele Tutelian, chief financial officer with Civic Center Square, said the newer four-story office building at 2440 Tulare St. was already pretty efficient when it was certified this year with a high score of 93 on the Energy Star scale.However, the two others at 2525 Capitol St. and 865 Fulton Mall are both more than 30 years old, she said, requiring extensive renovations to meet the standards.“The building at 2525 Capitol St. we completely rehabbed for the IRS,” she said. “We did a new roof, new HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) systems, new film on the windows. All the lighting got changed so you get automatic lights.”While energy efficiency just makes sense with rising electricity rates, Tutelian said the certification also works as a marketing point, especially to government tenants that have certain requirements when it comes to energy use.Fresno developer Lance-Kashian & Co. went a step further when it was certified for its Park View Plaza office building in north Fresno, first in 2003 and then again in 2012 following upgrades.Performing at 39 percent above the national median level for energy efficiency, the building went on to achieve LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council a year later thanks to several energy saving projects.One project saved the company 55 percent on energy in the building's parking lot by replacing older metal halide bulbs with 30,000-hour, low-mercury xenon bulbs.“It’s done wonders,” said Lance-Kashian Property Manager Don Veatch. “It improved lighting and it’s saving us 55 percent on energy in the parking lot.”Additional savings came when the building’s ventilation system was upgraded with energy efficient Merv 13 air filters.Park View Plaza was not the first for Lance-Kashian in the Energy Star system. In 2003, the company earned the certification for its Plaza del Rio office building at 8405 N. Fresno St., achieving a score of 84 out of 100. Its Village Courtyard West office building at 8355 N. Fresno St. was certified the following year with a score of 77.Retailer Sears has been among the commercial leaders in the Energy Star roster, with 544 building certified nationwide, including Sears stores, Kmart stores and distribution centers.Together with two stores in Clovis and another in Visalia, the label follows various energy improvements the company has taken over the last six years to meet its energy goals.According to Sears’ Manager of Energy Reporting and Analysis Corryn Antonizio, each store maintains temperature and humidity set points, while many are equipped with electric vehicle charging stations for members and customers as well as energy management systems that allow staff to remotely monitor HVAC equipment. In addition, all stores were retrofitted with energy-efficient lighting while 26 stores in California are currently undergoing a pilot project to install LED (light-emitting diode) lights. “Over the last six years, we have reduced our energy use by 700 million kWh,” Antonizio said. “That is the equivalent of 483,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions or taking over 100,000 cars off the road for one year.“We know that the American public trusts the Energy Star brand, so we want them to feel comfortable knowing they’re shopping in a store that meets a high standard for energy efficiency.””Other energy conscious retailers include Target with six buildings certified in the Central Valley, Kohl’s with six and JC Penney with two. Union Bank has five Energy Star branches in the region. Schools are big players as well, as the Clovis Unified School District is Energy Star certified for 22 of its schools and the Sanger Unified School District certified for nine.According to the Environmental Protection Agency, energy use in commercial buildings totals more than $107.9 billion annually and accounts for 17 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.Energy Star certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy, costing $0.50 less per square foot to operate than average buildings, and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings.
Written on 11/26/2014, 2:48 pm by hannahesqueda
Teppanyaki restaurant Hino Oishi Sushi and Japanese Steakhouse has signed a lease for a 6,600-square-foot space at The Square at Campus Pointe in Fresno.Developed by Lance-Kashian & Co., the retail center's close proximity to Fresno State and the Save Mart Center was a major draw for restaurant owner Jason Lin. “You know, everyone is trying to make a name for themselves and it’s hard when you’re in a strip mall with a larger big chain,” he said. “When I saw this development I liked that it was full of local businesses and is new.”The restaurant will be the fourth for Lin, and the second location for Hino Oishi Sushi. Lin’s other restaurants are in Carmel, Indiana but his roots in the Central Valley have brought him back to Fresno. Lin said the new restaurant will be very similar to the sushi restaurant in Carmel but he plans to tweak the menu in order to better accommodate the average Fresnan’s palate. “In Indiana they like things sweeter and not as spicy. Here, the taste is more towards spicy and the people really like hot things,” he said. The menu will feature sushi, teppanyaki and Japanese food options, some with an American twist while others will remain more traditional. Lin said he is excited to introduce one of the most popular menu items at the Carmel restaurant — the Hot Rok lettuce wrap, which allows customers to select from a variety of ingredients and options to create a custom meal.While construction on the retail portion of The Square is wrapping up, Lin said he doesn't expect to open Hino Oishi Sushi until late spring 2015 and plans to begin hiring in March. All three of Lin’s other restaurants remain open in Indiana but will be run by his business partner while he prepares for the opening of the Fresno location.  Lin said he is excited about the development's proximity to Fresno State and is hoping to get business from large groups and parties heading to and from the Save Mart Center. “We believe the location is going to be good for us with the college students so close by and the locals able to take the [Highway] 168 right there,” he said. D & L Roses adding Fig Garden kioskFresno’s D & L Roses is expanding with a new kiosk in Fig Garden Village this winter. Prisca Shiralian, who purchased the business from past owner Dan Booye last year, said she hopes to open the kiosk by December and take advantage of the extra traffic generated by Christmas Tree Lane. “So far it’s been a huge process. We just got the key [last week] and we still need to make some cosmetic changes,” she said. The kiosk is located near the Hallmark store on an island in the parking lot. The space was previously used as a storage shed, but Shiralian said she thought it would be the perfect spot for a small retail hut and approached Fig Garden's property management several months ago. D & L already has two other kiosk locations — one at Cedar and Shaw avenues and another at Blackstone and Shaw avenues — as well as the main store on Blackstone and Minarets avenues near the River Park shopping center. Shiralian said the new location will continue to feature the company's signature $5 and $10 rose bouquets while also promoting some of its newer offerings. “As far as I know, we’re the only shop in Fresno to offer rainbow roses and black roses,” she said. “They’re from South America and are injected with dye to get those nice colors. They’re pretty cool.”In addition to the extensive selection of roses, the new kiosk will offer a variety of long-stem flowers so customers can create their own bouquets. While the florist has traditionally been known for its selection of roses, Shiralian said she has boosted the selection of flowers and plans to eventually change the name to D & L Floral. Shiralian said she plans to open several more kiosk locations and hopes D & L Roses will grow to be associated with affordable options for centerpieces and wedding services.“Our prices are just awesome and that’s something that's really important to me. I never want people to feel like they’re breaking the bank,” she said.
Written on 11/26/2014, 2:46 pm by joev
Marymount California University is a liberal arts institution offering associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees and serving students in three California communities: Palos Verdes and San Pedro in Los Angeles County and Lucerne in Lake County. Not to be confused with another Catholic university Loyola Marymount, Marymount California is a four-year and graduate level college, billed as an independent, Catholic, coeducational, and residential university. New missionNow Marymount California, on a new mission to establish multi-site campuses in the state, is looking at a location in the San Joaquin Valley, in Visalia, a city of 125,000 that currently has but one university — evangelical-based Fresno Pacific University — offering upper level classes.“After a community meeting held in Visalia October 23, we are ready to take the next step toward establishing a four-year higher educational program in Visalia,” said Marymount Board Member Bonifacio (Bonny) Garcia, who works as the city attorney for Delano.Garcia was urged to consider Visalia after talking to a friend, long-time educator Dr. Bob Aguilar of Visalia. Aguilar set up the community meeting at the Visalia Holiday Inn inviting about 40 community leaders to attend to hear from Garcia as well as president of the college Michael S. Brophy, Ph.D.“We felt we got an excellent reception,” said Aguilar, who explains the college is exploring the possibility of a campus here if the right formula can be found.President Brophy recently said the college was ready to move forward on a collaborative study. Priority oneVisalia has hungered for a four-year college for decades. Visalia City Council Member Greg Collins, who attended the community meeting, stood up and recounted that “for 23 annual city council strategy sessions held early each year to set priorities, bringing in a four-year college has been No. 1 on the list every year.”Warren Gubler, another Visalia councilmember, had reason for optimism.“I agree this would be just wonderful for Visalia,” he said. “It could start out small and go from there.”Also in attendance at the meeting were Visalia City Manager Mike Olmos, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak as well as various business, nonprofit and educational leaders.“There will be more next time,” Aguilar said.Marymount Board Member Garcia sees it as a good fit.“With the need here for four-year education opportunities, I would say both for Marymount and for the community, Visalia is in the sweet spot,” he said. “This looks like a win-win.” Multi-site campusesThe college’s main campus is located along the coastline of Rancho Palos Verdes in Southern California on 26 acres. The institution is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.In 1968, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, a Roman Catholic community, established Marymount California University. In 1975, they transferred responsibility for the university to a lay board of trustees. In summer 2011, Marymount California University opened the Waterfront Campus in San Pedro, Los Angeles.Just last year, Marymount College (MCU) announced that it was changing its name to Marymount California University to “reflect the gradual transformation of the 45-year-old institution of higher education to a future multi-site institution with undergraduate and graduate programs,” according to a press release. Classes possible by ‘16University President Brophy offered the following perspective in an email sent to this reporter Nov. 11.“Based on our experience in establishing an extension campus in Northern California (Lake County) MCU would like to lead a study of the Visalia region’s need for a four-year and graduate degree programs. This study will include working in partnership with your excellent community colleges, College of the Sequoias and Porterville Community College. The study will provide regional leadership with the information it would need to commit to hosting a four-year university like MCU in community provided facilities as early as 2016-2017.“Resourcing this study would be important, so our proposal would include the estimated financial investment the region would need to make to support a thorough and thoughtful study,” Brophy added.MCU is also looking to offer an 18-month Professional Leadership Graduate Certificate Program aimed at working professionals to study leadership through four graduate courses to be delivered by MCU professors, mentors, local professionals and business owners, he said.“The goal would be to provide Visalia area leaders with access to best practices in leadership and mentors who have made a difference in their community,” Brophy said.
Written on 11/26/2014, 2:43 pm by hannahesqueda
A former dry-cleaning business in downtown Fresno is facing an $18,000 fine and the cost of an environmental assessment and cleanup on property that will soon be taken over and leveled by the state's high-speed rail authority.In 2010, the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board requested an assessment for potential contaminants at 1304 G. Street. The building, owned by the former family business Lamoure's Cleaners, is along the train tracks in downtown Fresno. Buildings in that section of the city are currently being purchased and demolished to make room for the Central Valley corridor of the California high-speed rail project.
Written on 11/26/2014, 2:31 pm by joev
Founder St. Francis Homeless Project What’s the story behind St. Francis Homeless Project, Inc.? I happened to see people freezing on the streets in New York, and the only thing keeping them warm was their dogs. I decided that maybe I may be being selfish in my life, by thinking I didn’t have enough, and it made me realize that I wanted to explore dog’s helping homelessness. I simply Googled that, and only one thing came up, a shelter in Kansas. I called and they were helping homeless people in their shelter to get work skills in a bakery environment. We have been collaborating ever since, about five years now. They mentored our program and even came to California to help, and we traveled to Kansas to be trained. What a journey to this point. Also, our Facebook has been helpful, in drawing attention to our non-profit. Is the project a full-time endeavor for you?  Not right now, but certainly looking at that seriously, but would prefer to have the full-time position belong to a women who has survived a bad situation. I believe that is a job as well and better suited to someone that knows the “ropes” better than me. Why dog treats?  Well, glad you asked. The average number of dogs per home nationally is 1.47. The natural treat business is one of the few businesses that has shown steady increases, even in a recession. The number of treats sold per year is a staggering number.  We wish to “carve out” that potential to help our community to help those women who have chosen to help themselves. We want Dogs Dig Em’ biscuits to become the treat of choice so the dog gets a healthy threat and the women get a chance to improve their self-confidence through employment. What has your program meant to the women involved?We have seen the smiles, and the pride and the encouragement to help their success. How has the community supported the St. Francis Homeless Project?  Our community has supported all our fundraising efforts, and helped us on all levels. It is a very generous and loving place to live. All the negativity that you hear every day should be second guessed by the many persons who live here that absolutely care about making Fresno a better place to live for all. We are grateful and appreciate the charitable community and we are proud to be growing. What’s in the future for the St. Francis Homeless Project, Inc.? Expansion with help, and the changing of more women and children’s’ lives. We are very excited that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development just sent us a Technical Assistance Grant to help us grow our organization. We appreciated that very much.   What was your first job and what did you learn from it?  My first job was at 16 ½, as a cobbler. I was taught that hard work is something that will always benefit you. My parent’s made all us kids get a work permit, and help the family. What was the best advice you ever received?Don’t be afraid to ask — if you don’t you’ll never know. What are your roots in the Valley?My husband Tom and myself have owned and operated Your Home Interiors for 22 years in Fresno. Our roots are here in business and spirit. What do you like to do in your spare time?I love to cook gourmet meals, spend time with my husband, garden and drive my dogs crazy with treats.
Written on 11/26/2014, 1:45 pm by ben
A number of factors look to prep Kings County for some economic growth in the year ahead.Perhaps the most anticipated new development follows a recent decision by the U.S. Navy to base a total of 100 F-35C aircraft at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore. The new aircraft, made up of seven Navy Pacific Fleet Squadrons and one Fleet Replacement Squadron, will arrive in phases beginning next year to replace 70 aging F/A-18 Hornets currently on location by 2028.“The basing of the F-35C fleet is estimated to require 751 new military and contractor personnel for mission support,” said Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) in a release. “With an estimated $36.5 million in annual payroll, this will inject much needed economic stimulus into our suffering region.”Already with a workforce exceeding 7,500, NAS Lemoore remains well ahead of other major employers like Avenal State Prison with a staff of more than 1,300.But while government accounts for some 30 percent of jobs in Kings County, several projects are now moving forward next year that might provide a boost to the weakened construction industry.Among them are multi-million dollar overpass projects at 19th and 12th avenues, an expansion of the Kings County jail and a new $124.3 million Kings County Superior Court in Hanford, a $40 million family birth center at Adventist Health Medical Center and a new student union at West Hills College Lemoore.“You look at that and that’s half a dozen very significant construction projects that are multi-year,” said John Lehn, CEO of the Kings County Economic Development Corp. “It’s significant from an employment and materials standpoint.” Lehn said he’s also seeing consistent activity in solar development throughout the county as well as coming additions in retail, including a Tractor Supply Co., Hobby Lobby and a Dollar General store on the way.The Hanford City Council in August also approved a 59-acre shopping center to be anchored by a Costco at the northwest corner of Highways 198 and 43.Even more promise was seen in the county’s agricultural sector, where the value of all crops increased 2.4 percent to $2.267 billion in 2013, according to the latest crop report from the county ag department.The greatest increases were seen in nut crops such as almonds and pistachios, driven by higher prices and growing demand in Asia.  Milk continued to be the top commodity, its total value rising 11.4 percent to $769.2 million as demand and drought drive up milk prices.According to Lehn, there’s been steady growth in milk processing for products like cheese and yogurt that’s likely to continue as milk prices rise.Meanwhile, food processors and many other niche businesses are also growing to support the farmers in the field, he said.“Irrigation or fertilizer or chopping or transportation — there’s so many industries,” he said. “The food and ag culture has a pretty significant multiplier effect.”While farm employment hasn’t changed much in the last year, however, the county has seen impressive job growth overall since the recession ended. Bouncing back from a peak unemployment rate of 18.15 percent in January 2011, the rate dropped from 15 percent to its current 9.8 percent this year alone.Hanford, in particular, has shown significant strides in employment. Out of 325 cities in the U.S. rated on employment growth by consumer information website NerdWallet, Hanford came in at 50 on the list with an overall growth score of 47.4. Although the city's employment fell 0.7 percent from 2009 to 2012, income was up 6.2 percent and population grew 8.4 percent.According to a projection by the state Employment Development Department last year, annual average employment is expected to grow 14.7 percent in Kings County from 2010 to 2020 to 53,900 workers.Leading the way is the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector rising 37.5 percent, followed by manufacturing at 34.1 percent, leisure and hospitality by 25.9 percent and educational services, health care and social assistance by 22.2 percent.Although government is only expected to rise 6.7 percent in that time, Lehn said that’s where most in the county are hinging their hopes considering 14,200 of the 44,400 jobs in the county are employed in the sector. “That’s generally a trailing indicator because government jobs are slow to grow and slow to come back,” said Lehn. “You’re starting to see schools hiring and municipalities hiring. To me, that’s a sign of a recovering economy”
Written on 11/26/2014, 1:40 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — Twitter said it is now tracking what other apps its users have installed on their mobile devices so it can target content and ads to them better. Twitter Inc. said Wednesday that users will receive a notification when the setting is turned on and can opt out using settings on their phones. On iPhones, this setting is called "limit ad tracking." On Android phones, it's "opt out of interest-based ads." San Francisco-based Twitter said it is only collecting the list of apps that users have installed, not any data within the apps. It won't collect the app lists from people who have previously turned off ad targeting on their phones. Besides advertising, Twitter said knowing what apps people have downloaded can improve its suggestions on what accounts to follow and add relevant content to their feeds that isn't advertising. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that people sometimes have conflicting views on privacy. About 80 percent of Americans who use social networking sites are concerned about third parties, such as advertisers, accessing data that they share on the sites, according to the poll. At the same time, most are willing to share some information about themselves in exchange for using such services for free.
Written on 11/26/2014, 1:35 pm by gabrieldillard
Local economic development professionals see bright skies ahead for Fresno County in 2015, but the lack of rainclouds could signal continued trouble.When it comes to the nonfarm economy, most agree the Valley is continuing on a positive trajectory. The unemployment numbers bear that out. In September, Fresno County’s jobless rate reached 9.5 percent — the first single-digit unemployment rate in six years.In fact, an Arizona State University study released last month found that Fresno ranked 15th in job growth so far this year out of nearly 360 US metro areas from January to September. The trend line remains favorable over a longer span of time. A recent report by research firm Beacon Economics found that between 1990 and March of this year, the South San Joaquin Valley region — including Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties — expanded nonfarm employment by more than 50 percent. That gives the region the 8th largest expansion among California’s 26 metropolitan regions.Given all of that, Mike Dozier, executive director of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State, is bullish on the job market in 2015.“We have been growing economically, in high-skilled and low-skilled jobs,” Dozier said. “I have no reason to believe that won’t continue.”Dozier sees continued growth in the service sector and construction as being significant to Fresno County.The professional and business services sector added 1,500 jobs in September compared to the same month in 2013, according to the state Employment Development Department.Fresno County’s construction sector also grew by 1,100 jobs in the period, with nearly 82 percent of the increase in specialty trade contractors.The Valley as a whole is also seeing a resurgence in construction activity. There were 12,106 residential construction permits issued in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties so far in 2014 (as of Nov. 15). In the same period last year, there were 8,606 residential permits issued.On the subject of construction, one major project stands out from the rest in terms size and scope. Work has already begun on the state’s high-speed rail project, with significant construction kicking off in late 2014 and wrapping up in 2017.The rail plan’s Construction Package 1 — stretching from Avenue 17 in Madera County to East American Avenue in Fresno — includes 12 grade separations, two viaducts, one tunnel and a major river crossing over the San Joaquin River.The work is expected to create thousands of construction jobs. The activity will ripple through the economy, said Lee Ann Eager, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corp. serving Fresno County.For example, Eager said there are about 300 Fresno businesses in the path of the rail line, and most will need to be relocated.The EDC is helping some of those businesses find new locations, but considering all that goes into helping a business relocate, more help is required, Eager said.“We are talking engineers, architects, moving companies,” Eager said.  “When it comes to fruition, I wonder if we will even have enough movers.”For its part, the EDC continues to try and lure new businesses to Fresno County, and Eager said a few big fish are on the hook. Within the next six months, Eager believes three or four companies may choose Fresno as a place to do business, resulting in up to 350 jobs combined.Manufacturing and biotechnology are two sectors the EDC is targeting for expansion in Fresno, Eager said, given that traditional biotech centers like Silicon Valley and the San Diego region have limited real estate that commands top dollar.Fresno County’s industrial real estate market vacancy rate was 6.6 percent in the third quarter of this year, marking more than a year of consistent improvement, according to a report from broker Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. As the California High-Speed Rail Authority continues real estate acquisitions for the project, local buyers are becoming more active.“This trend is expected to continue until the authority's land acquisitions are complete,” according to the report.Eager said there is also more interest from foreign investors from countries including China, Japan and India. Five or six different groups from China, including business owners and elected officials, have visited the Fresno area recently to learn more about opportunities for trade. The EDC is also planning a reciprocal trip to China in August 2015, and plans to bring local businesses along.The Central Valley has long been a center of international commerce when it comes to agriculture, but continued drought conditions continue to be of concern, said Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. In 2013, the value of Fresno County agriculture fell 2.2 percent to $6.4 billion. Jacobsen expects an additional 1 or 2 percent drop for 2014. While various nut       crops and tomatoes have been strong commodities of late, environmental restrictions on pumping in the Delta hang like a sword over growers’ heads.“Looking at 2015, the conversation first and foremost will be on water,” Jacobsen said. “That will be the limiting factor.”While some people hold out hope for an El Niño weather pattern to bring some rain to the state, even a banner snow year in Northern California wouldn’t spell relief for farmers in certain regions given the restrictions on conveyance, said Les Wright, Fresno County ag commissioner.“Even if average rainfall comes this winter, it is likely that the Westside will be dealing with lowered allotments,” Wright said.There is good news on the processing side, as more capacity is built and companies such as Cargill Meat Solutions expand in the county.The value-added processing is one area that Fresno County has traditionally missed out on, Jacobsen said.“That’s where you truly get the benefit of upstream and downstream activity,” he said.
Written on 11/26/2014, 1:30 pm by joev
The following bills were among the 900 measures signed into law by Governor Brown of interest to the business community: AB 877(Bocanegra)For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, AB 877 disallows a deduction for the amount of any fine or penalty paid or incurred by an owner of all or part of a professional sports franchise where that fine or penalty is assessed or imposed by the professional sports league that includes that franchise. AB 1143 (Skinner)AB 1143 requires that the regulations issued by the Franchise Tax Board related to the classification of a business entity be consistent with federal regulations as in effect May 1, 2014. AB 1443 (Skinner)AB 1443 provides that discrimination against any person in the selection, termination, training, or other terms or treatment of that person in an unpaid internship, or another limited duration program to provide unpaid work experience for that person, or the harassment of an unpaid intern or volunteer, is an unlawful employment practice. AB 1522 (Gonzalez)AB 1522 enacts the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 to provide that an employee who, on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment is entitled to paid sick days for prescribed purposes, to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked. An employee is entitled to use accrued sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment. AB 1522 authorizes an employer to limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours or 3 days in each year of employment. AB 1522 prohibits an employer from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who requests paid sick days. AB 1522 requires employers to satisfy specified posting and notice and recordkeeping requirements. AB 1560 (Quirk-Silva)AB 1560 authorizes the Director of the Department of Finance to increase the aggregate amount of the economic development tax credits that may be allocated to taxpayers each fiscal year by $25 million per fiscal year through the 2017-18 fiscal year. AB 1723 (Nazarian)AB 1723 expands a penalty, restitution, and liquidated damages provision for a citation to also subject the employer to payment of any applicable penalties for the willful failure to timely pay wages of a resigned or discharged employee. AB 1839 (Gatto)AB 1839 extends the scope of the credits for a qualified motion picture to the applicable percentage of qualified expenditures up to $100 million, extends the credit to qualified expenditures for television pilot episodes, and determines an applicable percentage of 25% or 20% for qualified expenditures, with an additional credit amount available. AB 1839 limits the aggregate amount of these new credits to be allocated in each fiscal year to up to $330 million and allows the credit under the Corporation Tax Law for qualified expenditures for the production of qualified motion pictures to reduce the tentative minimum tax. AB 1897 (Hernandez)AB 1897 requires a client employer to share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for all workers supplied by that labor contractor for the payment of wages and the failure to obtain valid workers’ compensation coverage. AB 1897 prohibits a client employer from shifting to the labor contractor legal duties or liabilities under workplace safety provisions with respect to workers provided by the labor contractor. AB 1897 exempts from the definition of labor contractor specified nonprofit, labor, and motion picture payroll services organizations and 3rd parties engaged in an employee leasing arrangement, as specified. AB 1897 specifies that it does not prohibit client employers and labor contractors from mutually contracting for otherwise lawful remedies for violations of its provisions by the other party.AB 2053 (Gonzalez)AB 2053 requires training and education include, as a component of the training and education, prevention of abusive conduct in the workplace. AB 2074 (Hernandez)AB 2074 provides that a suit for liquidated damages may be filed at any time before the expiration of the statute of limitations for bringing the underlying action alleging payment of less than the state minimum wage. AB 2109 (Daly)AB 2109 requires the Controller to include specified information in local government financial transaction reports relating to the imposition of locally assessed parcel taxes, including the type and rate of a parcel tax and the number of parcels subject to or exempt from the parcel tax. AB 2494 (Cooley)AB 2494 deletes the December 31, 1994, date limitation on a trial court’s authorization to award reasonable expenses incurred as a result of bad-faith actions or tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay, thus making both of the provisions described above applicable commencing January 1, 2015. AB 2494 includes in the definition of “actions or tactics” the filing and serving of an answer or other responsive pleading, and would exclude from that definition disclosures and discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions.AB 2617 (Weber)AB 2617 prohibits a person from requiring a waiver of the protections afforded under civil rights statutes as a condition of entering into a contract for the provision of goods or services, including the right to file and pursue a civil action or complaint with, or otherwise notify, the Attorney General or any other public prosecutor, or law enforcement agency, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or any court or other governmental entity.  AB 2617 applies to contracts entered into, altered, modified, renewed, or extended on and after January 1, 2015. AB 2751 (Hernandez)AB 2751 includes in the definition of unfair immigration-related practice the threatening to file or the filing of a false report or complaint with any state or federal agency. AB 2751 authorizes a civil action for equitable relief and any applicable damages or penalties by an employee or other person who is the subject of an unfair immigration-related practice. AB 2751 prohibits an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating, retaliating or taking any adverse action against an employee because the employee updates or attempts to update personal information based upon a lawful change of personal information. Chris Micheli is an attorney and lobbyist at the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. He can be contacted at 916-448-3075 or cmicheli@apreamicheli.com.

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