Weekly Issues

Visalia vehicle sales up 13 percent

Visalia’s largest car dealer Don Groppetti said auto and truck sales in the Visalia market are up a strong 13 percent year over year. That’s more than double the state average for new registrations of 5.6 percent in the first quarter of the year. The sales pickup is good news for more than dealers since car sales are a major component of tax revenues for the city. The City of Visalia just passed its new two-year budget this week estimating a 3 percent increase each year in sales tax revenue.

Study: Mexico’s farm labor supply drying up

A decline in farm workers from Mexico has some Fresno-area farmers investing in automated harvesters and planting crops that are less labor intensive, such as almonds.
As another alternative, some farmers are simply cutting back on the crops they grow in response to labor shortages and lack of water.

Valley projects look to the sun for clean water

Following a full build out next year, developers of an unlikely system in the farming fields near Firebaugh are counting on desalination as a solution to California’s water shortage.
Unlike conventional desalination that uses an energy intensive process of reverse osmosis to remove salt and impurities, the Aqua4 technology by WaterFX relies on the sun’s rays to treat brackish groundwater.
Since June 2013, the company has been turning out fresh distilled water for the Panoche Water and Drainage District from its pilot test facility located along North Russell Avenue just west of Firebaugh.

Tom Howard

President
Lee’s Air, Heating, and Building

What we do:
We are a commercial and residential air conditioning company specializing in service, repair, and retrofits. A typical day at Lee’s Air depends on the time of the year.  Nobody is looking to replace their air conditioner when it is 70 degrees outside. We spend the spring and the fall doing extensive training. 

Expert: Valley cover crops could fuel biomass generation

During a recent presentation by Stephen Kaffka an extension agronomist at UC Davis, Kaffka addressed the question, “does California have in-state feedstock production for bioenergy?”
The short answer is that it does, but only a fraction is now going to biofuel use.

William E. Chaltraw, Jr.

Partner
Fishman, Larsen, Chaltraw & Zeitler

What we do:

As a law firm, we provide our clients with preventative solutions, while building long-term and fulfilling relationships through vital accessibility. Our areas of specialty include: Health Care Law, Employment Law, Tax & Business Planning, Estate Planning, Real Estate and Business Litigation.

Education:
 
University of California, Los Angeles, 1994 — B.S. in Biology
University of Houston Law Center, 1999 — J.D. (Cum Laude)

Age:
 
43

Family:

My wife of eight years, Leslie, and our two children,
Kate, age seven, and Jake age four.

Double whammy hits proposed Tulare cheese plant

Supporters of more economic development in Tulare suffered a set back in recent weeks as the start-up cheese maker CaliCheese, which expects to hire 200 employees, was hit by a double whammy.
About a month ago the president of the company, Jeff Lee, became ill with breathing problems while staying in Tulare County, was seen at Kaweah Delta and flown to a Los Angeles hospital where he later died. “It was a tragic irony on the eve of seeing his dream come true,” said Robert Moultrie, a friend and fellow investor in the project who will now be spearheading it

Dr. Lynnette Zelezny

Dr.-Lynnette-ZeleznyProvost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
California State University, Fresno

What we do:
We serve about 25,000 university students in the Central California Valley. We are a Hispanic Serving Institute, and an Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institute. Over 70 percent of our students are first-generation college students.
Education:
M.B.A., 2005, California State University, Fresno, Fresno CA.
Ph.D., 1998, Psychology, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA
M.A., 1981, Psychology, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
B. A., 1979, Psychology, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
Age: 57
Family: Married to John Zelezny, Senior Vice President, Community Medical Centers, for 34 years. Three grown children Serena, Reed and Stephen Zelezny.

Fresno County grasps for more agritourism dollars

Agritourism has helped highlight the Valley’s farm and tourist industries, but its full revenue potential has yet to be fully harvested.
To provide a greater push for agritourism and traveler visits to the Valley, the state’s CA Grown and Visit California programs have partnered to promote agritourism in the state. The cornerstone of the campaign is a media program with national publication Food & Wine to highlight the seasonality, diversity and uniqueness of Californian grown specialty crop products.

Carol Velez

Carolina Profile PictureOwner,
CV Design Interiors, Inc.
dba Green Office Furnishings

What we do:
Green Office Furnishings provides full service design, space planning, consulting and quality reclaimed and new furnishings to clients throughout the Central California. Through our environmentally conscious designs we engage in waste prevention by reusing, recycling, reclaiming and thinking green. We are driven to preserving our environment by doing our part in preventing products from ending up in landfills.

Education:
California State University, Fresno, Bachelor’s of Art Degree in art,
Option in Interior Design

California State University, Fresno,
Master of Arts Degree - in progress,
Emphasis in art history

Age: 46

Family:
I am a first generation immigrant from Nicaragua. In 1998 I married the love of my life, Fernando Velez, a British immigrant from Spain. We have been married 25 years. We were blessed with three lovely daughters, Irene, Marisabel, and Anna who are our pride and joy. My unique coveted design style can be in part attributed to my world travel and experiences living in Nicaragua and Spain.