The Focus

Home automation more common in new homes

Walk into a new model home and you may be surprised by how much modern technology has changed the look and feel of even the most basic home features. From light dimmers, and thermostat control to locking the doors as you drive away from your house, many tasks can now be managed through your cell phone or mobile device.

Around the South Valley

Sequoia park visitation up 8 percent this year

The National Parks Service reports that August saw 180,619 visits to Sequoia National Park in August, an 11.25 percent increase over August 2013.Year to date visits are up 8 percent.  Overnight visits to Wuksachi Lodge on a year to date basis number 47,115 compared to 32,420 in 2013 — a 45-percent increase.

Sanger livestock genetics bank truly a global effort

A United Nations sponsored animal genetic research facility could open in Fresno County within the next two years. The non-profit conservation facility will house livestock breeds from more than 100 nations, bring world-class scientists to the area and offer training opportunities to local veterinarian students.

Fresno show shines spotlight on trucking industry

The Central Valley’s first trade show for heavy duty truckers was just as much about educating the industry as it was about showing off all the shiny new toys.
Taking place Sept. 6-7 at the Fresno Convention Center, the West American Truck Show featured some 60 exhibitors pitching everything from new tires, trucks and trailers to loans, insurance and logistics services.
Around eight of those companies were also lined up to recruit visitors with job opportunities, while other booths were offering information on emissions regulations, fuel efficiency and other trucking related topics.

Where to fin d that angel investor in the Valley

While many startups aspire to earning a big Silicon Valley venture capital deal, many are more likely to land an angel on their shoulder.
Angel investment is less formal than venture capital funding, said Tim Stearns, executive director of the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. While venture capital firms are often backed by pension funds and other institutional investors, angel investors can be groups of people or even an individual.

Retail construction projects back on track in Fresno

While retail developments in north Fresno continue to offer residents a wide-range of dining and shopping options, developers are also looking to quench the thirst of south Fresno with mixed-use projects.
TFS Investments is behind the Fultonia and Fultonia West projects just south of the Tower District in Fresno. The company said it hopes to meet the growing need for safe, low-income housing in the neighborhood and bring vital businesses to the area.
Across town, Lance-Kashian and Co. is close to completing the first phase of the retail development near Fresno State. The Square is part of the larger Campus Pointe project that has already completed two out of three planned housing areas.

Firm releases new version of electronic health records software

Total conversion to electronic health records has been slow for hospitals and medical practices across the country, but California-based Meditab Software is seeking to make the transition as painless as possible.

Aaron Blair

aaronblairPresident and CEO,

The Downtown Fresno Partnership

What we do:

We oversee the Property and Business Improvement District in downtown Fresno — everything from events to business retention and marketing to fundraising and economic development. 


Majored in architecture at Ohio State University

Earned bachelor’s degree in urban design and urban planning from the University of Cincinnati 




Wife, Jessica; daughters Sierra (17) and Hannah (15)

Madera County tourism funding bolstered by tax renewal

Beginning in January, the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau in Oakhurst will kick off another ten years as one of several organizations in the Central Valley promoting tourism with funds generated by local lodges.

Obamacare rules put 600 Visalia jobs at risk

Visalia city officials traveled to Washington last week to urge lawmakers to support special legislation that could save about 700 jobs at the Visalia Cigna call center.
Visalia City Manager Mike Olmos, Councilman Bob Link and county Supervisor Steve Worthley and others bent the ears of Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to support a waiver of rules under the Affordable Care Act.