Business & Economy

Summer Scoop
4:51 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

A Scoop of Peru In North Fresno

Limón Peruvian Cuisine serves Peruvian fare with hints of flavor from around the globe including influences of India, China and Japan.
Credit Ezra Romero / Valley Public Radio

With the official start of summer just three days away, the Valley Public Radio news team decided to take our weekly meeting out of the the office and into North Fresno.

We landed at a restaurant with cuisine from the America’s south of the Hemisphere.  The place:  Limón Peruvian Cuisine

Our meal was wonderful. Between the three of us we ordered a whole chicken spiced with citrus and herbs, sweet potato fries and a tasty sirloin, pea and mushroom risotto.

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Business & Economy
12:14 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Big Ice Cream: Valley Factories Lead Nation in Frozen Delights

Ice cream tasters are not only looking for the right flavor in an ice cream, but presentation and ratio as well.
Ezra Romero Valley Public Radio

Consumers nationwide love big ice cream names like Dreyer’s and Haagen-Dazs. But do they know that the milk in these ice creams flow from San Joaquin Valley cows? To answer this question, Valley Public Radio's Ezra Romero visits ice cream factories in Kern and Tulare counties to report on how Big Dairy in the San Joaquin Valley is contributing to the nation's ice cream supply.

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Development Watch Blog
7:44 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Fresno To Get High-End, High-Rise Downtown Restaurant?

The top two floors of the 16-story Pacific Southwest Building could soon be home to a new restaurant and lounge, according to city officials.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

UPDATED: 5/17/13 (see below)

Could Fresno foodies soon be enjoying a gourmet meal at the top of the tallest privately-owned building in Central California?

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin suggested as much  with this interesting nugget of information during her State of the City address today:

"Plans were just submitted in this particular city's downtown for a high-end restaurant and lounge on the 15th and 16th floors of the tallest building in Central California."

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Innovation
11:34 am
Tue April 23, 2013

''Mini Maker Faire' Highlights Fresno's Quirky Creativity, Innovation

Chris McCoy, with the depart of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley, tinkered with a 3D printer at the event.
Ezra Romero Valley Public Radio

In a region of the country known for its agriculture exploits and groundbreaking farming techniques a new sort of innovation is developing.  The Fresno Grizzlies along with Fresno Idea Works held the first ever Mini Maker Faire in Fresno on Sunday. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra Romero has this report.  
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It was a regular day at the ballpark. The crack of the bat, the crowd cheering as a player hits a ball out of the stadium and Parker -- the Fresno Grizzlies mascot – making the audience smile between innings.

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Agriculture
5:55 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

USDA to Give Hispanic and Female Farmers More Time to File Discrimination Claims

Decades of discriminatory practices by the U.S. Department of Agriculture against women and Hispanic farmers are playing out in a $1.3 billion claims process. FM89’s Rebecca Plevin reports on a new deadline for those who allege discrimination.

For around 20 years, critics say the USDA’s farm loan program denied applicants because of their gender or race, and gave white male farmers preferential treatment in their dealings with the agency.

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Business & Economy
11:34 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Bill Would Phase Out Plastic Bags in California

Democratic Senator Alex Padilla has introduced legislation that would ban single-use plastic bags at all grocery, convenience, liquor stores, and at pharmacies.
Credit Office of Alex Padilla

Plastic bags may not be an option much longer at California grocery stores. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban the bags. Despite previous attempts, supporters believe this time the bill will pass. Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento.

California retailers hand out more than 14 billion single use plastic bags every year. The state’s own figures show only 5 percent are recycled. Mark Murray is with Californians Against Waste.

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Agriculture
9:55 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Reedley Farmer Goes 'Farm to School' With Strawberries

Pao Saephan is the first small farmer to sell his produce directly to Fresno Unified School District.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

Pao Saephan crouches down in his sun-drenched field. He cups a red jewel in his hand.

In a few more days, his strawberries will be fully ripe. He’ll pick them once they are garnet-colored from stem to tip.

“We want all the strawberries, to be full ripe, full flavor, with 100 percent sugar in them,” says Saephan.

In the past, he would sell the fresh berries at his roadside stand - called Sam’s Strawberry Patch. It’s located at the intersection of Manning Avenue and I Street in Reedley.

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Jobs
6:29 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

California Tied With Rhode Island For Highest Unemployment in Nation

Credit Valley Public Radio

California now has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the latest figures from the California Employment Development Department show no improvement in the state’s jobless rate for January.

California’s unemployment rate remained at 9.8 percent in January. That ties the state with Rhode Island for the highest unemployment rate in the country. 

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Business & Economy
4:59 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Report: California Women Faring Worse than Men During Economic Recovery

A new study finds women in California aren’t faring as well as men during the economic recovery.  The analysis was done by The California Budget Project and the Women’s Foundation of California.  

It finds employment among the state’s women declined by a little less than one percent over the past two years – while it was increased nearly two percent among men.

Chris Hoene with the Budget Project says cuts to programs such as CalWorks, the state’s welfare to work program, and cuts to state subsidized child care have largely affected women:

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Seniors
3:30 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

For Many Seniors Working Well Beyond 65 Is New Reality

Felipe Barraza of Visalia, Calif., is 68 and has no plans to retire. He says his children, of whom the youngest is 13, keep him young. If he ever retires he plans to travel the globe with his wife.
Credit Stephanie Barraza

The world for the retiree is evolving. For some retirement means a chance to globe-trot or travel across the country in an RV, but for many 65 is just another milestone, a reminder of poor financial decisions earlier in life or a chance to explore a second career.

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Agriculture
1:45 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Honey Bee Shortage Could Sting Almond Growers

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A honey bee shortage in California could sting almond growers this season. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, there aren’t enough bees to pollinate the crops of California’s largest export.

California gets about 75 percent of its bees from other states. But drought, malnutrition and disease killed many of the bees over the winter. The winter losses are still being counted.

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Business & Economy
11:23 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Fresno's Twee Boutique To Close

A downtown Fresno gift store that specializes in handmade and "indie" arts and craft products is set to close.

Store owner Melanie Davis announced that she plans to shut down retail operation on the boutique's Facebook page Tuesday morning. She says the shop will stay open through the end of March:

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Development Watch
4:28 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

10-Story Office Tower Gets Initial OK For Fresno's River Park

An artist's rendering of the planned 10-story tower at Highway 41 and Friant Road
Fresno City Planning Commission

Drivers along Highway 41 may soon see a major new addition to the Fresno skyline, as the city's planning commission last night approved plans for a 10-story tower at Friant Road and Highway 41. 

The 234,000 square foot office tower from Fresno developer DeWayne Zinkin is expected to cover 12 acres, and will rise to a height of 150 feet. It is planned for a site just to the east of Highway 41, and north of Friant Road.

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Agriculture
6:21 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Possible Hard Freeze Threatens Citrus Industry, Mandarins At Risk

Citrus groves near Orange Cove will endure as many as 12 hours of below freezing temperatures tonight, according to weather forecasters. (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Update: Saturday, 8:45 AM: Unexpected cloud cover late Friday and early Saturday kept temperatures slightly higher than forecast, enough to prevent damage to most commercially grown fruit. Lows in most places were in the upper 20's. Forecasts call for more extreme cold over the weekend.  ORIGINAL REPORT:

Valley citrus growers are in for a long night tonight, as what is expected to be the coldest evening of the year threatens to damage the region's citrus crop, with the most popular new variety, the mandarin orange,  most at risk.

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Business & Economy
12:06 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Fresno's Guarantee Real Estate Acquired By Berkshire Hathaway Company

A company controlled by billionaire investor Warren Buffett announced today it has acquired Fresno-based brokerage firm Guarantee Real Estate. The terms of the deal were not released.

Guarantee will now be a division of Minneapolis-based Home Services of America, Inc., which is affiliated with Buffet's firm Berkshire Hathaway.

Guarantee was one of Central California's largest real estate brokerage firms, with over 400 employees in 13 offices. In 2011, the company handled transactions for over 3,700 units, totaling over $600 million.

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Business & Economy
11:49 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Bakersfield Blaze Announce Plans for New Ballpark

A view of the proposed stadium from the northwest
Bakersfield Blaze / Bakersfield Commons

The Bakersfield Blaze minor league baseball team announced today that it will construct a new 3,500 seat stadium at Coffee and Brimhall Roads.

Team officials say construction on the facility will begin in the first quarter of 2013, and the stadium is expected to open in 2014. 

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Business & Economy
8:29 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Foreclosure Process Speeds Up in California

file photo
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Banks are speeding up the home foreclosure process in California, according to data out today. But one analyst says the process may start to slow down again.

It took lenders an average of 335 days, or about 11 months to complete the foreclosure process on California properties in the third quarter.

Daren Blomquist with foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac says that was down three percent from the previous quarter and an eight percent drop from a year ago.

"These foreclosures, if they’re going to happen, it’s better that it’s more like a band-aid that you rip off."

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Business & Economy
11:31 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Zacky Farms Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Fresno based poultry producer Zacky Farms has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing the high cost of grain the company uses for feed. 

The 70 year old firm is the second largest poultry company in California and employs around 1,500 workers. The company filed its petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento on Monday.

The company released a statement saying that it "has been under severe stress due to historically high corn and soybean meal prices." A drought throughout much of the Midwest has caused grain prices to rise in recent months. 

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Technology
6:35 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

California Governor Signs Driverless Car Bill

State Senator Alex Padilla, Google co-founder Sergy Brin (center) and California Governor Jerry Brown answer questions from the crowd at Google headquarters in Mountain View
Official Google YouTube channel

Legislation aimed at getting the first driverless vehicles on the road in California was signed into law today. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill at Google headquarters in Mountain View.

Google has a dozen computer controlled cars – most of them Toyota Priuses -- equipped with self-driving technology. Designers say the robotic vehicles could make roads safer, since most car accidents are the result of human error.

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Real Estate
5:58 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

RealtyTrac: California Leads Nation In Flipped Homes

Homes in Merced, one of areas of the country hid hardest by the foreclosure crisis
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Data out today show a big spike in the rate of California homes purchased and resold within six-months.

People in the real estate business call it “flipping.”

“Flipping is the process of buying a home or other property, usually at a discounted price, improving that property through rehab and repairs and then reselling that.”

Daren Blomquist is with RealtyTrac. The research firm has released new nationwide figures on flipped properties.

“Not surprisingly the state with the most flips in the first-half of 2012 was California with nearly 26,000.”

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