Business & Economy

Business news

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.

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.

Joe Moore/ Valley Public Radio

The Club One Casino in downtown Fresno has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy but the casino’s owner says this is not a sign of trouble.

In a Bankruptcy filing, the Club One Casino detailed more than $9-million in debt it owes to its top 20 creditors.

Chapter 11 allows a business to reorganize that debt.

Casino owner Kyle Kirkland says they have no intention of closing.

“We have been open 7300 days in a row. We are not going to close,” Kirkland said.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Fresno Tuesday singing the praises of the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership and its potential positive impact on farms in the valley. 

Secretary Vilsack visit was to highlight the potential benefits of opening foreign markets to local agricultural products.

Vilsack says the TPP not only opens up the market for valley farmers by lowering foreign trade restrictions, build access to millions of new consumers, and level the playing field to make US produce more competitive.

Best-selling author Bill George is one of the country's top experts on corporate leadership. The former CEO of Medtronic and current faculty member of the Harvard Business School is author of the books Authentic Leadership and Discover Your True North. George will visit Fresno on Tuesday October 13th for an event at Fresno Pacific University. 

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