Business & Economy

Business & Economy
5:02 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

In Tulare County, A Group Turns Manure Into Clean Energy

The anaerobic digestor collects the fumes from manure and uses it to help power an ethanol plant.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

With the kickoff of the largest agriculture expo this week in Tulare County, innovation in technology is the buzz all across the region. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports from Pixley where a new project is helping one local dairy turn their waste into biofuel.

About 15 miles south of the World Ag Expo in Tulare, a unique exchange is taking place between a dairy and an ethanol plant. The currency? Think manure. 

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Business & Economy
4:41 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Feds To Help Fresno Plan A Bike Share Program

Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/ddotphotos/5638201983/in/set-72157626541197176

With the popularity of bike-share programs growing across the nation, Fresno is one step closer to a system of its own. 

In order to improve air quality and to provide another low-cost transportation option, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is helping Fresno State and the City of Fresno plan a bike-sharing system.

Fresno is one of 21 communities to receive the grant, which will help start a pilot program on the university campus. Thomas Gaffery Fresno State’s parking and transportation manager.

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Agriculture
4:36 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Robots Could Be Headed To Central Valley Farms

Research at UC Davis includes using fluorescent seedlings that will help a robotic cultivator target weeds.
Credit Steve Fennimore / UC Davis

Robots may soon be pulling weeds on Central Valley farms. At UC Davis researchers have received  $2.7 million dollars from the USDA to study how new technology could replace field labor. 

Automated devices pick cotton. Machines shake nut trees. But, there are a three tasks  for which farmers rely solely on humans. 

David Slaughter: "These include hand weeding, thinning and harvesting."

David Slaughter is the lead researcher working on robotic cultivators. 

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Agriculture
5:17 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

California Farmers Turn Sugar Beets Into Energy

Mendota Bioenergy aims to turn sugar beets into biofuel.
Credit Mendota Bioenergy

Struggling sugar beet farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are turning their crop into energy instead of sweetner. A pilot plant could prove to be good for the environment and the economy. 

They're called "energy beets." They look like a red table beet but, but they're larger, white, and very high in sucrose. Sugar beets in California date back to the late 1800's.

Kaffka: "Beets have been grown here commercially longer than any other place."

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Agriculture
5:35 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Six Things To Know About Central Valley Agriculture In 2015

Valley melon farmer Joe Del Bosque (file photo)
Credit Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

2014 was a year of ups and downs for the valley's largest industry, agriculture. The year began with virtually no rain and snow and fears of another dust bowl.

And while farmers and ranchers had a tough year, most survived and some even thrived. Rising milk prices boosted the bottom line for California dairymen and women and crops like tomatoes actually set new records.

So what will 2015 bring? We asked two industry experts to join us and offer their perspectives on six issues that will help define the valley's largest industry in the new year:

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Business & Economy
1:24 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Falling Crude Prices Have Oil Industry In Kern County Worried

Oil production near Taft in Kern County
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The recent drop in oil prices may be a good thing for consumers at the gas pump, but has oil producers in Kern County worried. For a look ahead at what this means for the economy of the south valley in the new year, we talked to John Cox, energy industry reporter for the Bakersfield Californian on FM89's Valley Edition. 

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Agriculture
10:03 am
Mon January 5, 2015

New Laws: California Implements New Egg Standards

Credit nickwheeleroz / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

Starting January 1st, every egg sold at a grocery store in California must meet new standards that require hens have more space. It’s a requirement of Proposition 2 approved by voters in 2008, which requires farm animals have enough room to turn around, lie down, stand up and stretch their limbs.

Egg farmers sued in 2012 on grounds the law is unconstitutionally vague. The law has also prompted concerns of an egg shortage. But Ronald Fong with the California Grocers’ Association says that’s unlikely.

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New Laws
2:14 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Sexual Harassment Training Required For Farm Employees

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

California’s farm fields can be threatening places for agriculture workers. But a new law going into effect next year is designed to make those fields a bit safer. As part of our annual new law series, Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The law will require farm labor contractors to provide all supervisors, foremen and employees with sexual harassment training. Democratic Senator Bill Monning authored the bill. He says there’s an epidemic of harassment and assault of California farm workers.

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Agriculture
4:44 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

2014 Was A Rough Year for California's Farmers and Ranchers

file photo
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

California's farmers and ranchers have endured a challenging 2014. Capital Public Radio's Lesley McClurg reports on how they're weathering the drought.

Paula Getzelman says recent rain brings a deep sigh of relief. She and her husband run Tre Gatti Vineyards in Monterey County. 

Getzelman: "We were extremely nervous in 2014. The harvest was a real nail biter."

Production at Tre Gatti was down twenty percent. Getzelman says she feels luckier than some of her neighbors who were down thirty percent. 

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Agriculture
10:45 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Midwest Recruiting California Dairies To Pump Up Rural Economy

Many California diaries are struggling through drought and feeling crowded by urbanization. Midwestern states are hoping to capitalize by offering abundant water, feed, and open spaces.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

This is the second story in a two-part series reported in partnership with Harvest Public Media. The first story explores why a Merced family is on the move to South Dakota: California Dairies Look To Midwest’s Greener Pastures.

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Agriculture
9:49 am
Mon December 15, 2014

California Dairies Look To Midwest’s Greener Pastures

Brian Azevedo says that if he kept his family dairy in California he would most likely have to change careers.
Credit Ezra David Romero

This is the first story in a two-part series reported in partnership with Harvest Public Media. The second story explores why a Chino family moved to Nebraska a few years back: "Midwest Recruiting California Dairies To Pump Up Rural Economy."

 

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Business & Economy
8:58 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

New Buyer, Restoration Plan Emerges For Historic Hotel Fresno

The hotel was designed by noted architect Edward T. Foulkes who also designed the iconic Oakland Tribune Tower. (file photo)
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

The historic Hotel Fresno, a landmark on the city's skyline since 1912, could soon be reborn as the latest residential development in the downtown district.

The Fresno City Council is set to vote Thursday on a plan that would allow potential new owners APEC International, LLC to move forward with the $21 million restoration project. Their vision would transform the vacant hotel into a 70 unit apartment building.

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Business & Economy
2:10 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Jerry Greenfield Talks Entrepreneurship, Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's co-founder Jerry Greenfield
Credit San Joaquin Valley Town Hall

Jerry Greenfield is a many of many talents - entrepreneur, activist,  and ice cream innovator, just to name a few. The co-founder of Ben & Jerry's will visit Fresno on Wednesday November 12th to deliver a speech for the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Lecture Series. He recently joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his life and career, including how he met his longtime business partner, and his strategy for success. We also talked about his activism on a number of issues including GMO foods and more. 

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Business & Economy
4:31 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Federal Judge Keeps Chukchansi Casino Closed

The Chukchansi Gold Casino remains closed in Coarsegold. (file photo)
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Today a federal judge in Fresno issued a preliminary injunction to keep Chukchansi Gold and Resort casino closed.

During a morning hearing prior to issuing the order to keep the casino closed, federal judge Lawrence O’Neil says there’s been little to no progress made by the split factions.

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Tribal Gaming
9:46 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Judge Rules Chukchansi Casino Closed For At Least Two More Weeks

Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino could be close for weeks, which leaves 1,500 employees without a paycheck.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The federal judge who issued the temporary closure of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold last week ruled Wednesday that the operation will remain closed for at least until the end of the month.

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Tribal Gaming
11:10 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Fight Over Chukchansi Has Deep Roots, Casino Still Closed

Tex McDonald leads the faction that attempted an ambush of the casino last Friday.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

Factions of the Chukchansi Indians have been going at it for decades. Last week their tribal dispute escalated to a boiling point endangering the public. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports from Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino near Coarsegold.

In the hills of Madera County a 25 year old family dispute has surfaced.

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Business & Economy
8:45 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Fits and Starts: Central Valley Economy Beginning To Bounce Back

Tom Barcellos, owner and operator of T-Bar Dairy stands in front of his Holstein herd in Porterville, Calif. (Tulare County)
Julia Mitric Capital Public Radio

As brutal as the Central Valley economy has fared over the last several years, it’s starting to bounce back. Our series “Fits and Starts” on California’s uneven economic recovery continues with a look at the Central Valley.  

The collapse of the housing market devastated cities like Stockton and Modesto. But the Central Valley’s agriculture industry weathered The Great Recession just fine. It even saw record growth, with one painful exception: dairy.

“It was a bloodbath,” says Tom Barcellos, who owns T-Bar Dairy in Porterville.

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Business & Economy
8:45 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Fits and Starts: Bay Area Housing Boom Prices Out Some People

: Joann Avila (left) and Lorraine Nessel, with their dog Bijou, in the West Oakland home they’ve rented for the last six years. They’re moving out in December because their landlord is moving back in.
Capital Public Radio / KPCC

Editor's Note: Five years after the Great Recession officially ended, the California economy looks like a patchwork quilt. All this week, we feature a series from our partners at Capital Public Radio and KPCC on how the strength of California’s economic recovery varies depending on where you live. Capital Public Radio’s Ben Adler kicks the series “Fits and Starts” with a look at the Bay Area, where the tech boom has driven the unemployment rate down – and housing prices up.
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  The recession hit Damon Grow swiftly and very hard.

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Tribal Gaming
4:53 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Fight For Control Of Chukchansi Tribe Escalates, Casino Shuttered

Member of a rival faction of the Chukchansi Tribe attempted to take boxes out of the casino but were stopped by Madera County Sheriff's Deputies.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

A tribal dispute that began Thursday night at a hotel and casino outside of Coarsegold continue Friday. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on the standoff that led to the evacuation of 500 guests and employees.

The impromptu closure of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino has left the mountain communities around it with more questions than answers.

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Business & Economy
5:41 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

California Economist: No Surprise Tesla Chose Nevada

In a big blow to California, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval says Tesla Motor Company will build a car battery plant in the Silver State. Sandoval says it will be the world’s biggest and most advanced of its kind.
Credit Tesla Motors

In a big blow to California, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval says Tesla Motor Company will build a car battery plant in the Silver State.  Sandoval says it will be the world’s biggest and most advanced of its kind. 

California was one of five states vying for the plant that is estimated to build enough batteries to power a half-million vehicles by the year 2020.

Stephen Levy  with the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy says he wasn’t surprised the electric car company chose Nevada over the Golden State.

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