Weekly Issues

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.

Kings County judge grants rail testing access

Last week, visiting Kings County Superior Court Judge Leslie Nichols sided with the California High Speed Rail Authority in a dispute with Kings County.
The county last year denied access to HSR engineers wanting to do soil testing at 58 sites along the proposed HSR route. An encroachment permit had been refused last summer, forcing the State of California to seek a court order to allow street access for its geotechnical testing.

Catalyst settles into new downtown digs

When staff at Catalyst Marketing Co. started planning a move into the old Pearson building at 1466 Van Ness Ave. in Fresno, it was uncertain whether the 7,400 square-foot building could be converted into a modern advertising and marketing agency.

Dickey’s Barbecue chain Fresno-Clovis bound

Barbecue tri-tip, ribs and pulled pork have become favorites in the Fresno-Clovis area and a planned addition of two new Dickey’s Barbecue Pit restaurants — one in Fresno and the other in Clovis — will add to the area’s already impressive list of barbecue establishments, each offering its own brand of beef and pork, seasoned with tasty barbecue sauces and rubs.

Javier Gomez

Chief Operations Officer,
F&M Restaurants, Inc.

How did you come to establish F & M Restaurants, Inc.?
Before, we were H&S Services, which stands for Howard and Sterling. There were two partners and they got together and built Rally’s in Fresno in 1998, and they used to own Jack’s Car Wash and Rally’s together. Then in 2008 and they went their separate ways and I took Rally’s and the other took Jack’s.”

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.

Visalia Civic Center plan wins backing

The majority of the Visalia City Council is backing a preliminary plan put forward by Councilmember Greg Collins to lay out the new Civic Center facing a planned park and waterway.
The council earlier this month approved the location of the first building in the East Downtown plan. The Visalia Emergency Communications Center (VECC) along School Street will cost $15 million and be completed by December 2015.

Climate change has water experts concerned

Speaking at the recent Water Technology Conference in Clovis, national, state and local water and sustainability experts warned that time is running out to replace Valley groundwater supplies that have been lost because of drought and overdraft.
They warned that climate change could lead to longer drought periods in the Central Valley and that it would become more difficult to obtain water from distant locations.

Quench thirst, give back

Family embraces charitable snow cone biz

It was more than just seeing happy crowds enjoying tasty cups of shaved ice that drew Fresno residents Ray and Amanda Asklof to Kona Ice.
As the new Valley franchise of the Kentucky-based snow cone chain, driving around Fresno and Madera selling America’s favorite frozen treat was a literal chance to give back to the community.

Earl "Sticks" Brown

Earl-Sticks-Brown-Portrait-1Owner / CEO
Sticks Brown Group / Radiant Ride

EDUCATION: BA Communications, University of the Pacific

AGE: 57

FAMILY: Married to Ruth, with two adult children

Tell us about Radiant Ride.
Radiant Ride is a vehicle appearance maintenance program for new car buyers. What makes our program unique is our all-inclusive coverage. We cover the costs for most cosmetic repairs as well as surface protection damage. Today’s consumers keep their cars longer, so maintaining a vehicle’s appearance is more important than it was in the past.