This Week Online

Fresno Food Expo moved to July

Planners and participants in the 2014 Fresno Food Expo gathered at Fowler Packing in south Fresno Tuesday to encourage participation in what is expected to be a larger event with the move to July 24.
Previously, the expo was held in the spring and although processed foods were in good supply, locally grown fruits and vegetables were limited by the season. This year’s event promises to provide potential buyers with plenty of ripe summer fruits and vegetables, new packaging, juices, wines, beef and dairy products.

Survey: 13.5M tons of tomatoes under contract

The USDA-NASS California Field Office surveyed the state’s tomato processors for their intended contract acreage and tonnage and found contract sales will total 13.5 million tons this year.
The data reported by processors was either tonnage with derived acreage, or acreage with derived tonnage.

Fresno firm buys Sacto Wendy’s

A Fresno-based restaurant management firm has purchased 19 Sacramento-area Wendy’s franchises.
Desmond Foods, L.P. has been a Wendy’s franchisee since 1973, operating 17 Wendy’s restaurants in the Fresno area along with seven in the Bay Area.

Covered California opens call center

Covered California officially opened its Fresno service center Wednesday with 150 representatives already handling calls for the health insurance exchange set up as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Located at the 7201 N. Palm Ave., the office is occupying the 570,000 square-foot northwest Fresno office building that was filled by Bank of America’s call center until the company vacated in July.
Speaking at the opening, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said 150 representatives started taking calls there on Monday while as many as 280 will be hired by the end of December.
Together with call centers already set up and running in Rancho Cordova and Contra Costa County, Covered California has nearly 500 representatives answering questions and helping people and businesses sign up with one of 11 carriers offering health insurance through the exchange.

Habitat for Humanity building Fresno homes

Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin, councilmember Sal Quintero and Habitat for Humanity Fresno County representatives met in southwest Fresno Tuesday to announce plans to build nine homes on vacant parcels at Belgravia and Laval avenues.
The $1.3 million project will feature a mixture of three-, four and five-bedroom homes. The parcels are in the middle of two existing neighborhoods and the project is designed to bring together the entire area.

ALRB reverses denial of petition

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board’s Sacramento office has reversed a decision by the regional director that would have blocked a group of Gerawan farm workers’ in their second attempt to hold an election to determine if the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) should represent them.

Fresno runs key trade surpluses

Fresno is well known for exporting its agricultural products, but it’s also a significant source of textiles and mixed freight in the country, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.
The study, Metro-to-Metro: Global and Domestic Goods Trade in Metropolitan America, examines the country’s largest 100 metropolitan areas and their trade data.

Survey: Obamacare hinders Valley economy

While the San Joaquin Valley’s economy continues to growth, the rate of growth in September fell compared to August.

That’s the word from the San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index, produced by Fresno State’s Craig School of Business. The overall September index is 50.2, compared to 55.4 in August.

An index of more than 50 indicates an expanding economy over the course of the next three to six months.

Clovis ACE Hardware closes doors

After serving local customers for more than 20 years, Clovis ACE Hardware shuttered its doors just months after the opening of a Wal-Mart supercenter across the street.

The store, located at 295 N. Clovis Ave., opened in 1993 and closed on Monday due to a number of factors, including the opening of the new Wal-Mart on Herndon Avenue in March.

Storeowner Norm Bishop also said congestion caused by construction along Herndon Avenue made the store less accessible. He also cited the increasingly competitive nature of the retail industry.

Kings Co. blocking rail soil work

083013 TWO railThe Tulare County Board of Supervisors is being asked to approve a permit for California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) engineering contractors to do soil borings — geotechnical sampling — along county rights-of-way, mostly roads.
The work is already under way in Fresno County along the expected path of the proposed bullet train, part of the first 29-mile segment that appears closest to breaking ground.
A Tulare County staff report says that in Kern County, an application to do the same has been made from the Tulare/Kern county line south to near Bakersfield on what would be the third leg of the Central Valley 120 mile segment.
Kings County is a different story.