Business & Economy

Business news

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:

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.

Honey Bee Shortage Could Sting Almond Growers

Feb 15, 2013
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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Foreclosure Process Speeds Up in California

Oct 11, 2012
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."

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. 

California Governor Signs Driverless Car Bill

Sep 25, 2012
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.

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.”

A federal judge in Los Angeles has upheld California's law that bans the use of tightly confined cages for some farm animals.

An egg producer challenged 2008's proposition 2, saying it was too vague for farmers because it didn't specify cage size.

But US District Judge John F. Walter said in his ruling it wouldn't require QUOTE "the investigative acumen of Columbo to determine if an egg farmer is in violation of the statute."

Food and Drug Administration

DFI Marketing of Fresno has announced a recall of 28,000 cartons of cantaloupe after a sample tested positive for Salmonella bacteria. Dresick Farms Inc grows produce on a farm in Huron, in western Fresno County.  

Amazon "Tax" Begins Saturday

Sep 13, 2012

If you need to make a purchase on Amazon, now would be a good time to do it. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, starting Saturday, Californians will have to pay sales taxes on purchases.

AAA: Labor Day Holiday Travel Up

Sep 1, 2012
Michael R Perry / Licensed via Creative Commons via Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelrperry/6868181303/

The latest AAA forecast says a higher number of Californians will be traveling over this Labor Day holiday weekend.

According to the auto club, 3.7 million Californians will travel 50 miles or more.

“This is a modest increase of 3.4 percent over last year," said Cynthia Harris, who is with AAA Northern California. She says “modest” increases in travel numbers have been the norm over the past four years.

Foreclosures Drop, But Still Remain High

Aug 30, 2012
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Foreclosure-related home sales fell 10 percent in California during the second-quarter compared to last year. But repossessions still accounted for a big percentage of homes sold. Listing service RealtyTrac says four out of every 10 California homes sold between April and June were foreclosures.

Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac’s Vice-President said that number, "is extremely high. We’d expect to see less than 5 percent of all sales be foreclosure-related in a normal, healthy market."

A new UC Berkeley study says temporary workers in California are more likely to live in poverty than their co-workers.

Miranda Dietz is with the university’s Center for Labor Research and Education. She says “temps” hired through staffing agencies to work in data entry, nursing, accounting and other jobs, earn an average of 18 percent less per hour than their co-workers.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Three bills that would regulate California’s “Buy Here, Pay Here” used car industry are moving through the State Capitol despite some growing opposition. The critics include several used car dealers associations and some local chambers of commerce.

Former Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello is with the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. He’s also the owner of several auto dealers. He says efforts to crack down on what the bills’ authors call “predatory lending” would backfire on the very people the legislation is intended to help.

Congressmen Call For Hanford Slaughterhouse to Re-Open

Aug 23, 2012

Three Central Valley Congressmen have called on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vislack to allow the Hanford slaughterhouse at the center of an animal cruelty controversy to re-open. In a letter released today, Republican House members Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes and Jeff Denham called the shutdown of the Central Valley Meat Company unnecessary, and said the closure is causing economic hardship in the area. They said that the investigation into the plant's practices can continue should the plant re-open.

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