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Around Kings County : County Drops Suit / More

 Kings County Wont Appeal Judge’s HSR Decision

Screen shot 2012-07-02 at 8.33.40 AMThe Kings County Board Of Supervisors voted this week not to appeal a Sacramento judge’s decision on high speed rail. Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny ruled against Kings County in March rejecting the claim by opponents that the authority’s plans for the bullet train system violate state law. Speculation was that the county would appeal the ruling to a state appellate court arguing that California High-Speed Rail Authority violated Proposition 1A. But that appeal was not to be. County Counsel Colleen Carlson says the supervisors’ will release a statement soon. Board chair Doug Verboon has pointed out that as a result of their lawsuit the authority will have to be accountable.

Summer Jobless Rate To Drop To Single Digits

EDD says the unemployment rate in the Kings County was 10.0% in April 2016, down from a revised 11.3% in March 2016, and below the year-ago estimate of 10.8%. Starting in May and through the summer months the county jobless rate tends to decline more – meaning it is likely that for the first time since the great recession beginning in 2008, the Kings unemployment rate will be consistently in single digits. During the recession years in spring months the county has had around 10,000 people without jobs.As of this April that number is down to 5800. The last time April’s jobless rate was below 10% was in 2007 when it was 9.6%.

Lemoore /Developer See Round About As Solution

The City of Lemoore and developer William Stone are negotiating over 80 acres at the northeast corner of Hwy 41 and Idaho Ave, the southern gateway to the community.“This is a chance for the city to bring in development of a mixed-use commercial center” says Public Works Director  Nathan Olson. Olson would not name the developer but Mr Stone’s name has been listed on closed door talks in recent months. “We are talking with Cal Trans about the idea of putting in a roundabout at that corner that will safely move traffic” adds Olson. Construction of a roundabout is still being negotiated with the state agency but it could be underway in 18 months, he estimates. Olson says the plan would be to build a commercial center on about 40 acres but it “makes sense we plan for 80 acres” that the city owns at that corner of the industrial park.The center – fronting Hwy 41 – would include a hotel and restaurants among other uses.
Olson says the city is also looking at a possible roundabout – traffic circle at Cinnamon and Fox in town, where the police station is. “CalTrans is favoring more roundabouts at busy corners” sometimes to accommodate more traffic spurred by new development like at Hwys 198 at 43 where the new Costco is rising. “There are fewer accidents and less danger than street lights.”

Drones to Inspect Electric & Gas Infrastructure

PG&E, with FAA approval,is testing unmanned aircraft – drones, to help inspect electric and gas infrastructure including monitoring electric infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas and to detect methane leaks across its 70,000-square-mile service area. These aircraft are small and controlled by human operators through remote commands. Drones are flown safely over PG&E’s electric and gas infrastructure and always within the visual line of sight of operators.
PG&E recently conducted its first drone test flight at the Balch Powerhouse, a hydroelectric facility located in the high Sierra Mountains outside Fresno. Currently, assessments of facilities like the Balch Powerhouse require employees to use fall-restraint equipment due to the height and the steep angle of the terrain as they visually inspect equipment.” This is a hazardous task that requires significant investment in training and protective equipment to perform safely. Drones are able to accomplish such inspections easily and without safety risk to employees.”
PG&E is also working with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the University of California, Merced’s Mechatronics Embedded Systems and Automation Lab (MESA Lab), and Pipeline Research Council International to conduct testing of NASA’s Open Path Laser Spectrometer sensor on a drone. The miniature methane sensor developed by JPL is similar to the technology developed to find life on Mars and is 1,000 times more sensitive than most commercially available technology. The first flight was performed at UC Merced on February 24, 2016; the next series of tests will take place in June.. ‘The ability to deploy an aerial methane detection tool over long distances and in remote areas could signal a major turning point in future gas leak detection capabilities for PG&E, and the larger utility industry as a whole,” said Jesus Soto, senior vice president, Gas Operations, PG&E.
Undetected gas leaks in California have caused major headaches and safety issues for utilities and customers in recent times.

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