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Around The Region: HS Rail / Tulare Hospital / New Welcome Sign

High Speed Rail and farmers settle. The Merced and Madera Farm Bureaus and others announced a settlement yesterday to a lawsuit  that aimed to hold up construction of the Merced to Fresno section of the California High Speed Rail route, the first expected to break ground. This is the fourth suit to be settled and leaves only the suit from Kings county farm interests. The 60 mile Merced to Fresno segment could break ground this summer.

Separately, the board of the CHSRA will select an alignment for the  next 114 mile segment from Fresno to Bakersfield at its May 2 meting. Staff of the agency has suggested  the west of  Fresno option but concerns over water table issues in the Armona area could impact plans to build the track in a trench say sources.

Tulare Regional Medical Center get OK to restart construction of their stalled  medical tower this week. CEO Shawn Bolouki announced the decision by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD)  allowing construction to continue on the third and fourth floor of the new medical building that has been stalled for a year. Issues over the strength of the concrete held the project up.

Visalia will get new Welcome To Visalia sign on 198 at the new Plaza Drive bridge across from the airport. The widened interchange and the sign should be complete  this summer. There is also a mountain silhouette along the length of the bridge.

State awards Kaweah Delta full NICU community level status

California Children’s Services (CCS) has awarded Kaweah Delta Medical Center with full approval as a CCS Community Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.The community designation, awarded on Thursday, April 11, allows Kaweah Delta to continue caring locally for babies who require intensive care and begin receiving reimbursements from the state for providing advanced care to NICU patients.
“It is our priority to provide the best care possible to the babies of our community,” said Marie Young, BSN RNC, Nurse Manager of Kaweah Delta’s NICU. “Keeping these babies close to their families is an important part of the care and healing process. This designation allows us the ability to continue providing this crucial service.”
Kaweah Delta Breaks  Ground on 4th rural clinic on April 16 in Visalia
Kaweah Delta Health Care District broke ground on its fourth rural health clinic on Tuesday.April 16, in Visalia at 243 E. Caldwell Ave. The clinic is expected to open in 2014 and will be the district’s fourth rural health clinic to open in Tulare County. Kaweah Delta operates rural health clinics in Exeter, Lindsay and Woodlake.

International credit rating agency Fitch Ratings affirmed stable credit
ratings today for Tulare County*s implied general obligation and
certificates of participation (COPs) series.

County officials say the stable credit ratings will have positive
implications should the County seek to finance future capital projects
such as new construction, expansion, renovation, or replacement projects
to facilities.

Citing Tulare County*s stable economy, healthy financial position,
and manageable long term liabilities, Fitch Ratings affirmed the implied
general obligation at AA- and the COPs series at A+. An *A*
assignment denotes high credit quality while an *AA* assignment
denotes very high credit quality, according to Fitch Ratings.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Pete Vander Poel said the affirmation of
stable credit ratings is reflective of Tulare County*s strong
financial performance during tough economic times.

*The Fitch rating issued today is fantastic news,* Chairman Vander
Poel said. *This rating is validation of the County*s strong
financial position that has resulted from fiscally responsible actions
by the Board and County Administration.*

County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau said the stable credit
ratings will save taxpayers* money should Tulare County choose to
borrow money in the future because the positive ratings allow for more
flexibility and lower interest

The U.S. Navy has extended the public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the potential environmental effects that may result from home basing the Navy F-35C (Joint Strike Fighter) at either Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, Calif., or Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, Calif. In response to public and elected official requests, and in order to ensure everyone in the community has ample opportunity to provide input into this document, the Navy has extended the public comment period until Tuesday, May 7. The original deadline for public comment was April 22.

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