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Around Tulare County: Jobs, Solar, More Dead Trees, Bad Water

December 14,2017

VUSD solar storage project set

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 7.34.39 AMGreen Charge, based in Santa Clara, announced recently that the Visalia Unified School District will install 1.6-megawatt hours of energy storage at five schools in the district. The energy storage system, coupled with solar, is expected to save the school district more than $1,000,000 over the 10-year contract. The Visalia school district invested in the energy storage system, which will become the largest installation of energy storage systems in a Tulare County school district. Adding energy storage to solar PV, allows Visalia to smooth out peaks and gaps in generation and energy use caused by facility operations.

City of Tulare plans 100% solar generation

The city of Tulare plans to add an additional 2.4MW of solar power to its 1MW system enabling the total 3.41MW to supplant their current electrical demand across all city facilities including parks, city hall and fire department buildings supplied by SCE. The city hopes to borrow $3 million at 1 percent from the state to do the installation. The contract would be with Borrego Solar Systems, Inc. of San Diego.

Tulare to contract to filter wells for TCP contaminent

Similar to Visalia, Tulare plans to filter some of its water wells to insure they meet the new state mandated TCP Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). To do this they will spend $715,000 with Provost & Pritchard to clean the problem up 6 of 13 wells.The state water board has established a notification level of 0.05 micrograms per liter — equivalent to five parts per trillion — for the pollutant, which is now recognized as a carcinogen by the state.
The chemical was an ingredient in farm pesticides sold by Dow and Shell to to fight nematodes since the 1940s.The material moves easily in aquifers causing major contamination problems across the valley. Cities sued the companies and have received funds to mitigate the problem. The law requires water purveyors to meet the new standard by January 1 2018, a deadline that Cal Water in Visalia will meet but Tulare, having just approved the cleanup plan, may not meet.

Record 129 Million Dead Trees in California- Tulare County Leads State in Die-off

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 12.46.31 PMThe US Forest Service announced this month that an additional 27 million trees, mostly conifers, died throughout California since November 2016, bringing the total number of trees that have died due to drought and bark beetles to an historic 129 million on 8.9 million acres.

The dead trees continue to pose a hazard to people and critical infrastructure, mostly centered in the central and southern Sierra Nevada region of the state.

“The number of dead and dying trees has continued to rise, along with the risks to communities and firefighters if a wildfire breaks out in these areas,” said Randy Moore, Regional Forester of the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region. “It is apparent from our survey flights this year that California’s trees have not yet recovered from the drought, and remain vulnerable to beetle attacks and increased wildfire threat. The USDA Forest Service will continue to focus on mitigating hazard trees and thinning overly dense forests so they are healthier and better able to survive stressors like this in the future.”

Tulare County leads the state in the number of dead trees identified in 2017 at 4.8 million and also with the 2010-2017 cumulative total in the county of 25.2 million dead trees out of 96 million statewide found in the 10 highest priority counties says the report.

Don Rose Oil has new owner

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 7.12.48 AMForty five year old Don Rose Oil company went through bankruptcy proceedings this summer and now a new owner has taken over from Don Rose. The company has outlets in Farmersville and Visalia and has built up some 2000 residential and commercial accounts for its oil, gas and propane business over the years.The company has a 160,000 gallon propane bulk storage plant. The new CEO for Don Rose Oil, John Castellucci has secured a $8.2 million credits facility through a lender,Rising Bird, it was announced.

Job Fair at Visalia Industrial Park

The Visalia Economic Development Corporation is hosting its second job fair Tuesday, January 9, at Fresno Pacific University – Visalia campus. Employers are seeking to fill various openings from entry level to skilled level employees. Some of the participating business members are Hilti, Jostens, Fresno Pacific University, Seals Construction, VWR, Electric Motor Shop, Visalia Ceramic Tile, Visalia Marriott, California Water Services, VF Outdoor, the County of Tulare and USA Staffing.

Thrifty Nickel closes office but continues publication

Long time classified newspaper The Thrifty Nickel has closed their office at 1516 W Mineral King in Visalia, but continues to serve customers out of a residence and is still publishing. Their office number is 627-0471.

Visalia Dairy CEO lobbies for NAFTA in Washington

California Dairies Inc (CDI) based in Visalia, sent its CEO to Washington to meet legislators recently along with other industry reps. The goal, retain the benefits of the NAFTA trade pact. Andrei Mikhalevsky says Mexico buys 25% of US dairy exports. That includes plenty of milk from CDI, 400 local farmers that produce 9% off the US milk supply and 23% of all US butter.

President Trump looks to shake up the market for US goods in both Canada and Mexico but speaking to Politico recently when he was in DC, Mikhalevsky was practical.“We’d prefer to win both battles, but if you were to ask me if I had to choose one or the other, I’d pick south of the border and give up north of the border. Simply because of the math and the number of consumers.” A group called Farmers4NAFTA did a ‘tweet storm’ of their own lobbying Congress to press Trump to retain key provisions of NAFTA.

Chevron laying off more Valley workers

Bakersfield’s office in Chevron will lay off 122 – part of its previously announced reorganization of its San Joaquin Valley Business Unit. The company said it would be reduce its workforce by 26% at its facilities in Bakersfield, Taft, Lost Hills and Coalinga, and at the Kern River and Cymric oil fields.

Paying a premium for premium?

A new study from the Automobile Club of Southern California reveals that some drivers using premium gasoline because it is recommended for use in their vehicles may be wasting their money.

According to the research, premium gasoline offers some benefit to select vehicles that recommend or require it, but is becoming increasingly expensive for drivers across the U.S.  In some areas, premium fuel is as much as 25 percent more per gallon than regular unleaded, although in Southern California, the price gap is about 7.7 percent. The new testing conducted in Southern California indicates that some vehicles – those that recommend, but do not require, premium gasoline – may see increased fuel economy and performance under certain driving conditions when using higher-octane premium gasoline.

Unfortunately, premium gasoline’s higher cost may outweigh that advantage for many drivers. As a result, AAA recommends drivers weigh the potential benefits against the cost of using premium gasoline, if their vehicle recommends but does not require it.

Gas Prices Drop Across California

California gas price are down about 8 cents from late November when the average was $3.20. Still, regular is up around 45 cents from year ago. The lowest price for gas in Visalia is $2.75 at Costco and in San Luis Obispo at Costco for $2.89 as of December 14. AAA says stations are selling a gas blend that is cheaper to refine this time year.

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