The Focus

Air district program grants $7.2M for technology projects

Local innovations are showing promise in alleviating the Central Valley’s air problem since being bolstered with funding from the Technology Advancement Program.
Launched by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District in 2010, the program relies on locally generated funds and support from the Environmental Protection Agency to reimburse projects or inventions that focus on renewable energy, waste treatment or minimizing pollution from vehicles and other mobile sources.

Contractor donates $300K to Community Regional Medical Center

Local contractor Quiring General has pledged $300,000 to help Community Regional Medical Center pay for needed surgical department renovations.
The gift helps pay for renovations including new LED lighting, new equipment booms with electrical outlets to keep cords off the floor, surgical vacuums and updated electrical wiring.
Community Regional's central surgical suites are among the oldest rooms in the hospital, and 11 operating rooms needed the upgrade.

Expert: Valley cover crops could fuel biomass generation

During a recent presentation by Stephen Kaffka an extension agronomist at UC Davis, Kaffka addressed the question, “does California have in-state feedstock production for bioenergy?”
The short answer is that it does, but only a fraction is now going to biofuel use.

Fresno County grasps for more agritourism dollars

Agritourism has helped highlight the Valley’s farm and tourist industries, but its full revenue potential has yet to be fully harvested.
To provide a greater push for agritourism and traveler visits to the Valley, the state’s CA Grown and Visit California programs have partnered to promote agritourism in the state. The cornerstone of the campaign is a media program with national publication Food & Wine to highlight the seasonality, diversity and uniqueness of Californian grown specialty crop products.

Architects support tax credit bill for historic preservation

Restoration and renovation of historic buildings and structures can be costly, even with modern-day solutions to fixing floors, walls and ceilings.
So builders seek money-saving incentives from the state to cushion the blow of high price tags for bringing back beautiful buildings that are historical to the San Joaquin Valley. State Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego, has responded with Assembly Bill 1999 that would offer a 25 percent tax credit for most renovations of registered historic buildings.

Experts: Farm equipment manufacturing needs a boost

The San Joaquin Valley stands unparalleled for its crop production.
At the same time, its manufacture of farm related goods — including harvest and tilling equipment — has plenty of room to grow.
The Valley has numerous farm equipment sales offices, but is somewhat limited in terms of farm equipment manufacturing capability. Much of that production is done at other U.S. locations.

Employment legislation; forecasting the drought

Today is the state Legislature’s deadline for bills to pass the house in which they were introduced. A number of “job killer” bills — as designated by the California Chamber of Commerce — are in contention. And one local legislator has taken aim at the rules governing professional licensing.

Nonprofit vs Community Benefit Organization

Sector seeks to move past ‘nonprofit’ moniker
There’s a movement afoot locally to change the way people talk about the nonprofit sector, in the most literal sense of the word.
Many of the region’s top nonprofit professionals feel the phrase “community benefit organization” more accurately represents what the industry does.

City of Fresno dives into needed sewer system upgrades

Sewer construction and repairs are plunging ahead as the City of Fresno upgrades an aging system that has been in place 100 years or more in some parts of the city.
Kevin Norgaard, Fresno’s supervising professional engineer, said downtown sewer lines were installed in the 1890s and most don’t last more than 130 years.

Student-run bank inspires two more in Los Angeles

The success of the student-run Union Bank branch at McLane High School in Fresno has inspired the bank to open up two similar branches in the Los Angeles area.
Union Bank opened the first branch operated by teens in April 2011, with a dozen students on the McLane High campus serving customers while learning skills like finance, management, marketing, teamwork and how to work with computer programs like Excel.