The Focus

Nonprofit facilitates governance discussion in Fresno

A slew of local community leaders gathered in Fresno last week to have a frank discussion on what is working and not working in California governance.
The forum was hosted by California Forward, which was formed in 2008 with a vision from the bipartisan Leadership Council on ways to break government gridlock, strengthen fiscal management and facilitate relationships between state and local government.

At all time highs, tourism spending faces drought woes

When it comes to Central Valley tourism, it’s the best of times and the driest of times.
Local tourism officials and statewide statistics reveal that tourism spending in California has never been higher.
At the same time, the state’s lakes and waterways are reaching new lows, creating the potential of pain for local destinations dependent on tourist dollars.

South Valley consortium hooks $14.7M for work-based learning

After years of emphasizing college readiness in high school curriculum, school districts throughout the Central Valley are now focusing on work-based learning.
The switch came shortly after the California Department of Education poured $250 million into the California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT) last year. School districts throughout the state are now competing for one-time grants in order to update their career-based offerings.

Local technology industry sees ‘tide is rising’

Expansions, mergers indicate a dynamically growing sector

Employment surveys and job reports have traditionally drawn attention to the lack of science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) degrees held by Central Valley residents. However, recent activity by local technology companies suggests the industry is experiencing a steady growth spurt.

Valley hospitals note uptick in ER visits post-Obamacare

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect last year, hospitals across the Central Valley have seen a dramatic increase in the number of patients visiting their emergency departments.

Bullet train no bonanza for Valley eminent domain attorneys

California’s $68 billion bullet train project has yet to provide the bonanza of eminent domain lawsuits some Valley lawyers had been anticipating.
With the High-Speed Rail Authority’s land acquisition process now well underway, to date, not a single parcel of private property in the path of construction has been taken through a formal eminent domain preceding, according to the rail authority.

New water heater rules could spell headaches for Valley homeowners

Beginning April 16, changes in government regulations may cause a routine water heater replacement to become an unexpectedly expensive endeavor for Valley homeowners.  
Next month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is set to begin enforcing new energy efficiency standards for residential water heaters.

Outdoor advertising thrives in increasingly digital world

The rise of social media and new technology has led many companies to increasingly rely on sleek new digital marketing techniques. However industry experts warn that it’s too soon to write off more traditional strategies like outdoor advertising.

Valley patients win in expansion of medical residency programs

As the second open enrollment period for health insurance comes to a close, the number of Central Valley residents with medical coverage continues to increase, stressing local hospitals and rural health care clinics. The region already faces a chronic shortage of trained physicians and the newly insured have prompted health care groups to expand and create new medical residency programs.

Female business owners share stories of success

The number of women-owned businesses has grown at one and a half times the national average for new businesses during the last decade, according to a recent study by the National Association of Women Business Owners.