Weekly Issues

Green continued to be king in 2013

Alternative energy technology vied to replace traditional resources throughout the last year, many launching to a lot of fanfare.
In May, Propel Fuels cut the ribbon on the Fresno area’s first alternative fuel station, offering drivers not just gasoline, but also E85 ethanol/petroleum blend and biodiesel from local producers Community Fuels in Stockton and Calgren Renewable Fuels in Pixley,

Builders were encouraged in 2013 by improvements in the economy and a low inventory of existing homes, but they remained cautious about building large new projects until the job market picks up and the economy shows greater strength. So home construction

Builders were encouraged in 2013 by improvements in the economy and a low inventory of existing homes, but they remained cautious about building large new projects until the job market picks up and the economy shows greater strength.
So home construction continued on a slow, but steady growth rate in 2013 with more building than in the previous year.

Rail slowed, but other projects revving

High-speed rail remained the great new hope for transportation in the Valley this year — for some.
Others grew leery over the cost and intrusion of the 520-mile project meant to link the Bay Area to Los Angeles.

Despite threats, profitable year abounds

Nut and grape growers enjoyed another prosperous year in 2013, but a mostly dry season and reduced water supplies posed a serious threat to agricultural production, especially on the Valley’s Westside.
For orange growers — apart from a December freeze scare — the main threat was a pest called Asian citrus psyllid, which were found in Dinuba and other locations in Tulare County. The psyllid spreads a deadly citrus tree disease called huanglongbing.

Tulare hospital gets boost, fiscal woes

Tulare Regional Medical Center recently got a boost in court and potentially in operations as it moves into 2013, but financial troubles linger.

A federal judge last week denied a request by Fresno-based Harris Construction to impose an injunction against Tulare Regional Medical Center (TRMC), a necessary action, claims the contractor, because the hospital has failed to pay it $9.7 million owed.

A sketchy debut

Health care may be the industry that saw the most change in 2013, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
In what is widely regarded as a botched debut, Oct. 1 marked the first day that individuals could purchase health coverage through online exchanges. The performance of the federal site HealthCare.gov was widely panned. California’s exchange, Covered California, also debuted on that day, and has not been immune to people criticizing its technical performance, including insurance agents frustrated while trying to help customers.

Most expensive home sold for $2.8M in Clovis

Continued economic growth in 2013 led to more luxury million-dollar-plus homes being sold in the Central Valley.
This year three homes sold for more than $2 million and one just missed at $1.93 million, according to The Business Journal’s annual list of Most Expensive Home Sales (page 10).

Growing sales prompt milk investment

With the world in economic recovery, Tulare County dairymen are finally getting some relief on improved milk prices. Meanwhile, demand for milk from the nation’s No. 1 dairy county is surprisingly strong.
This month, the US Department of Agriculture said dairy exports were up 52 percent in October, with butter exports up 137 percent.

Sanger efforts bear fruit, save money, draw business

A positive evaluation of its municipal construction bond represents more than just a good credit rating for Sanger, a city once plagued by financial problems and difficulty attracting businesses.

For whom the horn tolls

Latest deadline looms for state diesel truck rule

The state’s truck emissions rule takes effect for thousands of diesel engines beginning next year, a wake-up call to some trucking companies still seeking compliance funding.
As part of the California Air Resources Board’s Truck and Bus Rule, heavier trucks with 2005 or newer model year engines will be swept in on Jan. 1, requiring them to be retrofitted with particulate matter filters or else replaced with a 2010 vehicle.