Business & Economy

Business & Economy
10:50 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Photo Blog: Google, Castle Air Force Base, Weeds And Air Force One

This buidling houses Google's Project Loon, says Scott Malta the base manager.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

Central California isn't necessarily known for advancing the world of technology, but Ezra David Romero reports that some are trying to change that. Merced County, a region know for milk and almonds, is working to attract high tech companies to fill what was once Castle Air Force Base in Atwater. 

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Business & Economy
5:32 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Drought Hurts Fresno County Crop Value, Dropping Behind Tulare County

For the first time, almonds topped grapes as Fresno County's number one crop in 2013.

A report released today shows that Fresno's agricultural industry has slipped out of its first-place standing in the state.  The 2013 Fresno County crop report shows that its total gross value of agricultural products last year was $6.4 billion, over $1.3 billion behind Tulare County--the first time since 2002 that Tulare swung to the top of the list.

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Drought
5:05 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Drought Could Cost California Economy $2.2 Billion In 2014, Says Study

Managing groundwater reserves is key to the state surviving a long-term drought. Here, Senior Engineering Geologist Chris Bonds from the California Department of Water Resources monitors flow rate from a well.
Credit John Chacon / California Department of Water Resources

The California economy could lose $2.2 billion this year because of the drought. Max Pringle reports on a UC Davis study that shows the agriculture industry alone could lose $1.5 billion.

The study says California will have to make do with a third less water this year and that could lead to 430 thousand acres of fallow farmland. Former UC Davis Economist Richard Howitt says the pain won’t be spread evenly throughout the state.

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Business & Economy
11:16 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Google's Self-Driving Car And Others Use Merced As A Landing Pad

Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, Calif., was once a booming military base, but nearly two decades after it closed the miltary installation is coming back to life.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

This is the first story in a two week series by Ezra David Romero about what some are calling a tech boom in Central California. This week we talk Merced, next we explore Fresno. 

Meet a guy who wakes up and spends his entire day with Google.

“I’m Daniel Galindo, I’m a student at the Merced JC,” Galindo says.

This 22-year-old won’t label himself as nerd or a techie; he doesn’t have a programming degree or write code.

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Business & Economy
8:48 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Fresno Bar Is First To Go On California High Speed Rail

California high speed rail is one step closer to becoming a reality with the demolition of this building.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The jaws of a giant excavator tore through what was the old Annie’s Hollywood Inn bar in West Fresno Monday morning.

“The excavator right there is going to hit the back of that building and because it’s so small it’s not going to take long; probably if we blink it’ll be down in five minutes,” says Jill Kroeker with J. Kroeker Inc.

The demolition of the 66-year-old bar is the first of many to be reduced to smithereens as part of construction along the first 29 mile segment of California High Speed Rail.

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Business & Economy
6:25 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Levee Break On Canal Will Delay Water Deliveries

Water floods Highway 180 on Saturday evening after the levee was breached.
Credit CalFire/Fresno County Fire Twitter / https://twitter.com/FresnoCoFire/status/485972454439780353/photo/1

A major canal that supplies Kings River water to east side valley farmers will be out of commission for one week at the height of the  growing season. 

A levee on the Alta Irrigation's District's Alta Main canal east of Sanger gave way on Sunday evening, flooding several homes and closing Highway 180 for a short time. Crews were able to control the flooding and turn off the water supply.

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Business & Economy
2:19 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Organizers Say Fresno Software Competition So Successful, It's No Longer Necessary

Downtown Fresno is just 163 miles from Mountain View, the heart of Silicon Valley and the home of tech giant Google, but in many ways it's a world away. But while the San Joaquin Valley may be known more for its produce than its programmers a local competition has been working for the past five years to change that.

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Business & Economy
6:28 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Report: Drought Won't Hurt California Economy

Farm laborers work in a citrus grove near Fresno (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California’s drought may have a lot of negative consequences, but a new report out today says the state’s economy won’t be one of them. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The report from Moody’s Investors Service finds, short term, California’s economy won’t suffer as a result of the drought. It finds the state’s reliance on income taxes and sales taxes will largely provide a buffer. H.D. Palmer with the governor’s Department of Finance, agrees the state’s economy has weathered the drought so far. 

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Drought
3:55 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Drought Could Cost California Agriculture Industry $1.7 Billion

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new study shows that California’s drought could result in severe economic losses for Central Valley farmers. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the analysis also shows the drought will mean thousands of job losses.

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Labor
7:03 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Yosemite Workers Rally To Keep Jobs Amid Contract Uncertainty

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Concessions workers at Yosemite National Park held a rally today over concerns that a new contractor could leave some longtime employers out of work. 

The Delaware North Corporation has held the park's exclusive food service and lodging contract since the early 1990's. The National Park Service recently announced that it is soliciting new proposals for the deal. 

Sarah McDermott is with the Unite Here Local 19 union: 

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Business & Economy
10:39 am
Fri May 9, 2014

New Bill Would Make Dining With Dogs Legal In California

You may love bringing your dog to brunch, but if you’re going to a restaurant, you’re actually breaking the law. A new bill in the California Legislature would change that.
Credit Flickr user https://www.flickr.com/photos/jillchen/ / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

It’s becomes common to see dogs sitting next to their owners on restaurant patios. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, dining with a dog that is not a service animal is actually against California law.

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Business & Economy
12:06 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Downtown Fresno's Cosmopolitan Restaurant Headed To Selland Parking Lot

The Selland Arena parking lot could become the new home of one of Fresno's oldest restaurants if the city council approves the sale of the property to Cosmopolitan owner Gary Lanfranco.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

One of Fresno's oldest restaurants could soon have a new home, in what is now a parking lot at the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center.

On Thursday the Fresno City Council is set to vote on a proposal to sell a portion of the city-owned lot at the corner of Ventura and O streets to Gary Lanfranco, owner of the Cosmopolitan Bar & Grill. 

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Business & Economy
4:11 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Kern County Officials Hope To Lure Embattled Sriracha Factory

The hot sauce company Huy Fong Foods was founded in 1980 in Los Angeles.

Back in 2010, the city of Irwindale was so excited to lure the factory that makes Sriracha hot sauce to their area, they helped finance the $40 million project.

But earlier this month that same city council designated this once desired business as a public nuisance, over complaints from residents about spicy odors and burning eyes.

Sriracha sauce creator David Tran is now being peppered with offers to relocate his plant to other states and counties, including the San Joaquin Valley. The move could create hundreds of jobs and bolster the local economy.

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Agriculture
9:34 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Farmer Suicides Cast Shadow Over U.S. Agriculture

America’s farmers are dying. But it’s not just because they’re aging. In 1978 the average age of the American farmer was 50, today it’s around 58. But there’s another even more troubling issue facing those who grow our food -  farmers taking their own lives.

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Development Watch
4:42 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

City of Fresno Envisions New Downtown Developments Near Chukchansi Park

A conceptual rendering from the Fulton Corridor Specific Plan shows a vision for a mixed use area with entertainment and housing along the Kern Mall gate to Chukchansi Park
City of Fresno

Downtown Fresno's Chukchansi Park could get some new mixed-use neighbors and a makeover, if a new development plan advanced by city officials moves forward.

According to a copy of the proposal obtained by KVPR,  the City of Fresno and the city's redevelopment successor agency are asking developers to submit plans to purchase publicly owned land near the stadium and build housing and retail developments. The project, which would cover over 5 acres, could also include a portion of land within the city-owned Chukchansi Park along Inyo Street. 

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Business & Economy
12:17 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

In Fresno, Tioga-Sequoia Brews Both Beer And Culture

Lee Morphew is the head brewer at Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company in downtown Fresno.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

Craft beer has swept the country and can be found in almost any grocery store in California. One local brewery has helped spearhead the movement in the Central California. FM89 reporter Ezra David Romero visits Fresno based Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company to hear about their latest innovation in brewing.

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Its 7:45 in the morning and Lee Morphew’s work day has just begun. He’s busy prepping for a day of beer making at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company in downtown Fresno. He’s Tioga-Sequoia’s head brewer and he loves to create new beer infusions.  

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Agriculture
10:14 am
Mon March 31, 2014

California Bill Would Mandate Paid Rest Breaks for Farm Workers

file photo
Credit Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

Paid rest breaks would become mandatory for farm workers and other outdoor workers under a bill now in the California legislature. The measure is an attempt to prevent heat related illnesses. From Sacramento, Max Pringle reports.

People who work outdoors are susceptible to dizziness, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal. Nicole Marquez with the advocacy group Worksafe says farm workers are commonly paid based on how much they pick.

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Business & Economy
5:37 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Fresno At The Top Of The Pack For Solar Energy

Fresno County alone has 5,553 solar unit installs since 1999.
Credit http://openpv.nrel.gov/visualization/index.php

It’s no secret that solar energy is a trend, but did you know that the Fresno metropolitan area is ranked first in the top 10 metro areas for solar power in the US?

The organization One Block Off the Grid – the Priceline of solar installations – was on a mission to find out which parts of the US use the most solar energy. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory held their answer through their database the Open PV Project.

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Business & Economy
11:58 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Visalia Woman Builds Better Hammer, Smashes Stereotypes

Megan Murphy is 25-years-old and the president of Hammer Works Manufacturing in Visalia, Calif.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In an ag industry that is dominated by older men, 25 year-old Megan Murphy is hard at work. Not just demonstrating her company’s top product, something called the Dead Blow Hammer, but also in challenging stereotypes: in agriculture, manufacturing and entrepreneurship. She’s the president of Hammer Works Manufacturing in Visalia.

“It doesn’t matter whether or not a woman is normally in that business you can learn it and take over it,” Murphy says.

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Business & Economy
11:38 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Could Delano's Former VOA Radio Station Become A Homeless Shelter?

A photo of some of the radio towers at the 800 acre site west of Delano at 11015 Melcher Road.
GSA.gov

For over 60 years, a mammoth cluster of radio towers and transmitters just west of Delano beamed the Voice of America network to shortwave listeners across the globe. 

Now according to the trade publication Radio World, the property could soon get a new use as housing for the homeless.

Built in 1944, the 500,000 watt station turned off its transmitters for the last time in 2007, a victim of government cutbacks and rapidly changing technology.

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