Business & Economy

Agriculture
6:07 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Large Raisin Crop Expected for 2013

(file photo)
Credit Flickr user Mariam - http://www.flickr.com/photos/70123617@N00/ / Creative Commons license

A new crop forecast from the USDA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture indicates this year's raisin crop could be as much as 25 percent larger than last year's.

It's expected to be the largest raisin crop since 2008, at 2.4 million tons. Last year's crop was just over 1.9 million tons. Over 200,000 acres of raisin grapes are in production this year. 

Officials say that warm weather has been good for crop development, which is a few days ahead of normal.

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Business & Economy
8:08 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Could Fresno Be A Stop on Elon Musk's Proposed Hyperloop?

An artist's rendering of Elon Musk's proposed "Hyperloop" transportation system
Elon Musk

It's an ambitious project that would connect San Francisco and Los Angeles with a high speed transportation system running through the San Joaquin Valley. But it's not California's planned high speed train system. Instead it's called the Hyperloop -  the latest concept from billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.

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1:24 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Dole Food Agrees to $1.2 Billion Buyout Offer From CEO

Dole Food, which operates several packing and storage facilities in the San Joaquin Valley has agreed to a buyout offer from its CEO David Murdock. Dole's Packaged Foods division operates a plant in Atwater. The company also has facilities in Terra Bella and Bakersfield.
Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images Dole Food Company Inc. has evolved from a Hawaiian pineapple purveyor into the world's largest producer of fresh fruit and vegetables. Dole's board has accepted an offer from CEO David Murdock and his family are offering to buy the business and take it private.
Agriculture
1:09 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Bakersfield Produce Grower Sun World International Sold to LA Group

Bakersfield-based produce grower and packer Sun World International has been acquired by Renewable Resources Group, a Los Angeles-based asset management firm.

Terms of the sale, which closed on August 9, were not disclosed. Sun World grows, packs and markets a variety of agricultural products ranging from grapes and stonefruit to vegetables. 

Sun World began operation in 1976, and had been owned since 2005 by Black Diamond Capital Management, a Connecticut-based investment firm. Black Diamond purchased Sun World assets at a bankruptcy auction for $127.8 million.

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12:55 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Urban Outfitters to Remove UFW Merchandise After Legal Dispute

Jackets bearing a logo that is similar to the one used by the United Farm Workers labor union will be removed from Urban Outfitters stores after a dispute over the trademark.
They say that fashion trends are cyclical in nature, but hipster chain Urban Outfitters will no longer be selling denim shirts with a logo extremely similar to the iconic symbol that has been used to represent the agricultural workers union United Farm Workers (UFW) for nearly four decades.
Business & Economy
12:42 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

'The Economist' Profiles the San Joaquin Valley's Struggling Economy

Credit The Economist

Three years ago, The Economist published an article that chronicled the toll the great recession had taken on the people and the economy of the San Joaquin Valley, calling the region the Appalachia of the West.

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Business & Economy
6:06 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Investigation Launched Into Bakersfield Demolition Accident

A YouTube video by user Doug Winston captures the explosion at the plant in Bakersfield
Credit YouTube user Doug Winston / http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkMxEZUAoS8

State officials have launched an investigation into a demolition accident at a former PG&E power plant in Bakersfield which injured several bystanders on Saturday.

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5:07 pm
Sat August 3, 2013

Implosion of Bakersfield Power Plant Injures Spectators

The planned implosion of a former PG&E power plant injured several early Saturday morning in Bakersfield.
Several spectators were injured, including a 44-year-old man who could lose at least one leg or maybe two, after shrapnel flew from an abandoned steam power plant Pacific Gas and Electric imploded at 6 a.m. Saturday. At least three people were injured in the parking lot of Lowe's on Cofee Road, including a man facing "one obvious amputation, possibly two," said Bakersfield Police Lt.
Business & Economy
6:02 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

California Economy Inches Up in World Ranking

There’s new evidence that California’s economic outlook is improving. A new study shows the state is regaining its place as the world’s eighth-largest economy this year after falling to ninth during the recent downturn. 

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Summer Scoop Blog
5:52 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

On the Way to the Parks, Reimer's Makes For A Tasty Treat

Sierra Wild Blackberry is one of Reimer's signature flavors
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

For decades, the summertime family road trip has been an enduring tradition for most Americans. Nearly all of us share memories of piling into the family station wagon, minivan or SUV (depending on your generation) to hit the road in search of the summer fun. But sometimes the journey can be just as memorable as the destination itself. Roadside attractions, from classic to kitsch, are a vital part of the American road trip tradition. 

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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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