Weekly Issues

To your health

083013 focus-rail

The majority of area small business owners plan to bypass the state’s health insurance exchange when it opens next month, according to an online poll conducted by The Business Journal earlier this month.
Sixty-one percent of respondents will not go to the Covered California exchange — created as part of the federal health care law — seeking coverage through its Small Business Health Options (SHOP) Program. Only 19 percent plan to use the exchange, while 20 percent are not sure either way.

Pacific Ethanol seeks granary partner for Madera plant

083013 MaderaplantThe Madera County Planning Commission has approved a tentative parcel map split requested by Pacific Ethanol in July allowing the sale of the granary next to the idle ethanol plant on Avenue 12 near Madera.
The granary has also been idled since the ethanol plant shut down in January 2009 after operating for less than three years. The whole acreage was a lumber mill that closed down in 1995.
In its parcel map application, Pacific Ethanol asked that the 137-acre parcel be split to allow the granary and the huge loop track that covers most of the property to be on one parcel and the 40-million-gallon ethanol plant on the other. Currently, a conveyor belt crosses the parcel. The train track infrastructure allows 100-car trains brimming with corn to be parked to unload at the feed mill. The granary will in turn feed the ethanol plant. But the granary units could do much more, the application says.

Fresno, Madera work on Friant-area growing pains

083013 Friant-Study-Boundary-Central-Fresno-County4CloseupA-3As both Fresno and Madera counties plan to aggressively expand along their respective sides of the San Joaquin River, the two counties are essentially locked in a duel to lure residents.
Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea said, although both counties are friendly and cooperative, he believes it’s crucial to his county to remain competitive with Madera County in developing its side of the river
“The last thing we want is people jumping across the river because we don’t have those amenities here in Fresno County,” Perea said.
Ronald Wells, a Friant resident and former president of the Brighton Crest Homeowners Association, said he believes this is a chance for many of the residents to see the potential value of the area.

Zoo to start $55M African exhibit work

083013 maxresdefaultFresno Chaffee Zoo hopes to break ground by October on its largest project to date as it nearly doubles its footprint with an exhibit that mimics Africa’s wild Savannah grasslands.
Sited on an expanse currently taken up by Roeding Park, the planned African Adventures exhibit will provide a more suitable home for elephants, giraffes, zebras, meerkats and wildebeest while also bringing new animals including lions, cheetahs, rhinos, hippos and gorillas.The first phase, being built by Fresno contractor Harris Construction over the next year, will span out over 12 acres as it winds through realistic African habitats unlike what the zoo has presented before.

Leap of liability

083013 leapofliabilityCase Lawrence is among a growing number of trampoline park owners faced with the task of providing a safe environment while satisfying the adrenaline rush of an ever-demanding consumer base.
“This generation wants a form of recreation that is extreme or edgy, or they’re not going to leave their Xbox,” Lawrence said.
The heightened excitement comes with inherent risks. The number of high-profile accidents involving trampoline parks has risen in recent years. In response, state Sen. Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrance) has proposed Senate Bill 256, which would impose tighter regulations on trampoline arenas, similar to those governing amusement parks.
Lawrence — who opened the 7,000 square-foot SkyWalk Trampoline Arena in Madera in 2011 and is in the process of opening nine more arenas across the country — is part of a growing trend.

Granville seeks change for farm

Granville Homes seeks a change to the City of Fresno’s zoning ordinance that would allow it to farm almonds at the former Running Horse site in West Fresno.
The move would permit commercial agriculture operations on vacant property zoned R-1 — single-family residential — within city limits.

Still swingin’ Golf courses on the mend, on the market

082313golf ball-4843Although the golf industry as a whole appears to be headed in the right direction, local courses are still reminded of the myriad of elements beyond their control, ranging from mother nature to altered recreational spending behaviors.
The month of August started out strong for Hank Swank Par 3 Golf Course, but the recent weather, which included seven straight days of triple-digit highs as of Wednesday, cut into the bottom line for the course.

Blanca Partida

082313BlancaPartidaCo-Owner

Parsley Garden Café

What inspired you to open a café in downtown Fresno?
That was my husband’s dream to start a business of our own. He was the one that always wanted to have a business and he was always looking for something. I wasn’t sure about it, but he was the one that envisioned this.

Why did you guys decide to open a café specifically?
The Parsley Garden Café was already established here when we bought it. Although it was a little slow we didn’t want to change anything — we liked it the way it was already. We didn’t want to change the menu to Mexican food or any other type. We just liked what we saw and we just wanted to continue with it.

Kings Canyon Expressway to carry goods, consumers eastbound

Local officials applaud the business benefits of expanding Highway 180, also known as the Kings Canyon Expressway, 2.7 miles to the east, concluding just west of Smith Avenue near Centerville.
Construction crews will build a four-lane expressway for the 2.7-mile stretch that passes just north of Sanger. The segment is slated for completion in spring of 2015.
It is the second part of a Measure C-funded project that, with additional money from state and local sources, comes to $41.6 million.

Linked Learning program stresses real-world application

Businesses have lent their time and talents to nine school districts around the state in promotion of Linked Learning, a new approach to education that combines academic rigor with career-based teaching and real-world workplace experiences.
One of the first to sign on with the idea was the Porterville Unified School District, whose nine career-themed pathways give students a real-world taste of industries such as health and environmental science, agriculture, engineering, digital design, performing arts, law and justice and finance.