Business & Economy

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

It’s the second day of the World Ag Expo in Tulare. People from around the globe come to the three day event to experience the latest in agricultural technology.  All these farmer types get hungry and that’s why food is a big deal at the show. Think giant steak sandwiches, cinnamon rolls and beer.  FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports that for some community groups all those hungry people make for a big fundraiser.

Nancy Hammel’s peach cobbler sold at the World Ag Expo is baked on site.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio / White Ash Broadcasting

The World Ag Expo began its three day run in Tulare Today/Tuesday. FM89's Ezra David Romero reports this year’s show is as much about software as it is farm equipment.

There are plenty of new tractors this year at the World Ag Expo. But it's not companies like John Deere and Caterpillar stealing the limelight. It’s rather groups that make products that fit in the palm of a hand. Marisa Carpenter is a spokesman for the expo.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

California farmers sold crops worth a record $54 billion, according to new numbers released from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The annual crop report is for the 2014 year. The numbers show a 5 percent increase in crop value versus the previous year, despite the drought. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Americans come into contact with cotton every day. It’s a staple we use for clothing, food products and even cosmetics. But not all cotton is of equal quality. In fact many times higher grade cotton products have been laced with inferior fiber. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on how the cotton industry is fighting back.

American Pima cotton is claimed as some of the finest cotton in the world. Debbie Fletcher only buys cotton products made out of the plant.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Arno Smit isn’t a household name in the valley.

But starting in the 1990’s the South African immigrant pulled off a scam the likes of which the valley hasn’t seen before or since. The story of this self-fashioned cattle baron who was actually running a ponzi scheme is the subject of a new piece in the California Sunday Magazine by journalist Tessa Stuart. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Drive anywhere in Central California and you’ll see fields of almonds.  Some people wonder if the growth of the almond industry is sustainable. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the price of the nut just may have met a slippery slope.

  

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A shuttered casino in the hills near Coarsegold may come back to life this spring. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

A little more than a year ago the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino was forced to close its doors after a violent takeover.  Today, the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians reached a settlement with the National Indian Gaming Commission.  Claudia Gonzalez is on the tribal council.

GONZALEZ: “We’re one tribe, we’re looking to move forward in a positive way and we’re in the middle of a healing process."

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

UPDATE 12/17/15:
The Fresno City Council has approved an enhanced tax incentive plan to lure Nordstrom's fulfillment center to the city. The new plan includes up to $12 million in sales tax rebates to the company, based on the number of jobs created by the center. Fresno is competing with Visalia as possible sites for the 1 million square foot building.

ORIGINAL POST:

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For years, Hanford has enjoyed one of the most vibrant downtowns in the Central Valley. However, in the last decade, the area has seen its fortunes decline as vacancies have risen. Recently the city council eliminated laws that prevented things like movie theaters and hotels to be built outside of downtown, in favor of a more "free market" approach. 

CAHSR

With the current controversy over how much it will cost to actually build high speed rail, there’s been relatively little discussion about what Californians are actually getting with the planned bullet train. And when it comes to how the train system will function in the lives of passengers, the role of high speed rail stations becomes even more important.

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