Weekly Issues

Foundation plans new $10M ice skating arena in Fresno

The Fresno Monsters hockey team may soon have a new venue to play games when a planned 1,800-seat arena is built at the Gateway Ice Center.
But hockey is just one program proponents hope to expand when the 44,000 square-foot multi-purpose facility comes to fruition at Marks and Clinton avenues.

Corporate wellness programs gain speed

As more Americans gain insurance coverage through work, employers are increasingly turning to wellness-based incentives and other health care programs to help keep their staff healthy.
According to a 2014 study by Fidelity and National Business Group on Health, corporate employers are expected to spend an average of $594 per employee on wellness programs this year. That’s up 15 percent from the average of $521 per employee in 2013 and nearly double the amount reported in 2009.

Brooke Ashjian

CEO

Seal Rite Paving and Grading

What we do:
We build roads, streets, bridges and parking lots.

Event, competition promotes business plans, pitches

The City of Kingsburg will once again host a business plan contest with the winner receiving $25,000 worth of goods and services to help start a business.
It is the second year of The Launching Pad contest, which will culminate with three finalists pitching their business ideas to a panel of local judges during Kingsburg’s Swedish Festival on May 16, 2015.
Contestants have until Dec. 1 to fill out a short application for the contest. A panel will review the application and select up to five semi-finalists to receive help in preparing their own business plan. From there, three semi-finalists will be selected to pitch their business in front of a live audience May 16, with the winner announced that day.
Sherman Dix, a member of the Kingsburg Economic Development Committee, created the program.
Economic Development Coordinator Jolene Polyack said in a statement, “Sherman’s contest is perfect for Kingsburg.  We focus on fostering the small start-up businesses and this contest is a way to get the word out that we really do want those types of businesses here in Kingsburg.

Tulare County wells continue to go dry

Some 724 private residential wells in Tulare County have gone dry this year, says an October 21 Drought Task Force report heard by the Tulare County Board of Supervisors this week.
The pace of well failure in the county has increased this month with numbers climbing around 40 percent since the first of the month as the long hot summer has dragged on.

Group reports settlement between Westlands, U.S. over drainage

An environmental group last week released documents it contends show the federal government and Westlands Water District nearing a settlement of litigation regarding drainage problems on the Westside of the Valley.

As housing market recovers, roadblocks remain

Despite median home prices and sales of homes in the Central Valley increasing since the recession, industry experts warn that many obstacles still remain for homebuyers.
Concerns over job security and market stability are some of the main reasons we are becoming a nation of renters, said Selma Happ, senior economist with the California Association of Realtors. Happ was the keynote speaker during the 2014 Fresno Housing Market Symposium at Fresno State last week.

Virna L Santos

Partner

Santos & Santiago Law Group, LLP

What we do: We are a woman- and minority-owned Limited Law Partnership offering legal services in four practice areas: immigration; criminal defense; bankruptcy; and employment discrimination

How business owners can harness social media opportunities


In the digital age, social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook have begun replacing traditional marketing methods. The websites allow business owners to instantly connect with potential customers for free. But while advertising on social media is less complex, business leaders warn that it can be a double-edged sword.

Sizzling market for gourmet burger chains

Two new Habit Burger Grill locations are coming to the Valley. Leases have been signed for a 2,400-square-foot location in Hanford and a 2,400-square-foot facility in Bakersfield.
The Hanford restaurant will be at the southwest corner of 12th Avenue and Lacey Boulevard in the same shopping center as Lowe’s, Target and Michael’s. The Bakersfield restaurant will be at the northwest corner of the California Avenue and Easton Drive in the same shopping center as Starplex Cinemas and Burlington Coat Factory.