Business & Economy

Business news

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, much of what's grown Central California is of the highly prized Pima variety known for its softness and high price. But many times higher grade cotton fabrics have been laced with inferior fiber. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on how the cotton industry discovered the problem and how they’re fighting back.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Small could be the new big, at least when it comes to houses. The so-called "Tiny House Movement" has taken off in the last year with numerous shows and even a popular Netflix documentary about living in homes of just a few hundred square feet. For one local company, tiny homes are huge business.

At a time when many potential homeowners are going big, a small but growing number of people are downsizing into homes that are smaller than your average garage.

That is where Nick Mosley and his father Pat come in.

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.


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. 


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.

Bitwise Industries

Fresno is about to get its very own technology cluster, much like those seen in cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Austin. The hub of innovation is known as the Bitwise South Stadium in Downtown Fresno. 

The 50,000 square foot building will host 90 technology companies, a gym, two restaurants and a theater seating 200. The self proclaimed "mothership of technological education" sits in a 100-year-old renovated indoor car dealership.