The News

New ‘gastropub’ to fill former Fajita Fiesta in Fresno

Guri’s Grubhouse & Taps, a new Fresno restaurant focusing on locally produced ingredients and craft beers, is opening next month in the former Fajita Fiesta at the corner of Shaw and Cedar avenues.

Pacific Ethanol plant lands sweet new neighbor

It’s better times for California’s ethanol producers, with investment dollars flowing into technology to make production plants more efficient and diverse in the feedstocks they accept.

DiCicco’s owners file for Ch. 13 bankruptcy protection

Gregory and Heather Vitucci, owners of two DiCicco’s restaurants, recently filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, according to court documents.
Gregory Vitucci is the son of Frank Vitucci, one of the original “Four Sons of Italy” who founded the restaurant in 1956. Gregory operates the DiCicco’s location in Fresno at First and Shaw avenues and the Sanger location with his wife Heather, according to the DiCicco’s website.

Dairies see better milk price, higher feed costs

Lofty milk prices have helped to stabilize the Valley dairy industry, but high feed costs continue to cut into profits.
“Milk prices are at or near record levels,” said Michael Marsh, CEO of Western United Dairymen in Modesto. “Global demand has driven the price.”

Tulare County firm builds solution for odd-shaped produce

The difficulties commercial packinghouses have had in sorting odd-shaped fruits and vegetables may be a thing of the past.
Exeter-based Exeter Engineering has developed a high-tech produce-sorting machine called the “Sidewinder” that can handle oblong and irregular-shaped fruits and vegetables like potatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions and avocados.

Tulare hospital to pay $7.9M in construction settlement

Tulare Regional Medical Center will pay Fresno’s Harris Construction $7.9 million to settle a lawsuit over the construction of its new 5-story tower.

Water officials stress importance of surface supply, storage

Drought and slashed water allocations are taking its toll on Valley farmers.
At the same time, the groundwater table continues to fall. Water agencies would like to see the proposed Temperance Flat Dam built on the San Joaquin River to hold more water, especially in wet years.

Rail advocates stree jobs, economic development

High-speed rail in California remains a highly charged subject of contention by opponents who see it as a costly boondoggle that slices up valued farmland.
And although initial building demolition for the project has begun, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors is reconsidering its support of high-speed rail, which it has supported for the past seven years. The board is scheduled to reconsider the matter July 29.
Supporters of the project believe it could sharply reduce Fresno’s unemployment rate while providing new employers and jobs for years to come. In addition, they point out that Fresno could become the high-speed rail capital of the United States.

Pitman Family Farms continues poultry expansion

Following two large property purchases last year in Kings County, Pitman Family Farms of Sanger is moving its growth northward with the expansion of its poultry farms in Madera County.
Earlier this month, the Madera County Planning Commission approved two conditional use permits for new buildings at its ranches in Madera and Chowchilla, said Robert Mansfield, lead planner with Madera County.
With the approval, the company, known for its pasture-raised chickens, turkeys and ducks, will add three new poultry barn structures totaling 75,000 square feet at its ranch at Road 20 1/2 and Avenue 18 west of Madera.

Five carriers vying for Visalia’s municipal airport

The federal Department of Transportation announced late last month that Merced’s city-owned airport would lose its flight subsidy under the Essential Air Service program this fall after falling short on the threshold of serving at least 10 passengers per day.
Under a 2012 Federal Aviation Administration requirement, airports within 175 driving miles of a large- or medium-hub airport must average at least 10 enplanements a day to qualify for the program (Alaska and Hawaii are excluded). In California, El Centro also lost eligibility