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Around Kings County: Westlake & Vidovich / More

12 Years Later LA’s Big Compost Facility Operational

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.17.00 AMLA County’s Department of Sanitation has changed the name of their Kings County compost facility just as it has finally become operational. Approved by the BOS back in 2004 it has taken 12 years to make this happen in what is a remote part of the old lakebed. No longer part of Westlake Farms the $130 million facility is now called Tulare Lake Compost.”We should have our first batch of finished compost to sell in a few weeks” says engineer Paul Prestia. The plant sits on 200 acres surrounded by 14,500 acres owned by the district used to make piles of compost and leased out for farming. The complex takes biosolids from LA – trucked to the location where it is mixed with ag clippings and piled to make compost. Right now the clippings come from shuttered biomass plants in the Valley.The facility has the capacity to convert up to 500,000 tons of anaerobically digested and dewatered biosolids and 400,000 tons of agricultural waste materials each year into a valuable compost product. Nine people work at the facility

John Vidovich Joins Westlake Farms As Partner

Central Valley farmer and Bay Area developer John Vidovich has joined  forces with the Howe family as a partner in one the county’s largest spreads, Westlake Farms, west of Stratford. Mr Vidovich has been in the news in recent years over his water trades and legal squabbles.He was on the losing side in the Quay Valley lawsuit. His Sandridge Partners and other entities is said to own around 60,000 acres in the Central Valley. Now Ceil Howe Jr says Vidovich – as a partner in Westlake  “brings capital” to the table. Both Howe and Vidovich have their roots in the cotton business back when cotton was king here. Today Westlake has under 25,000 acres in the old lakebed along Hwy 41. Mr Howe has leased off or sold 3 large parcels to solar power companies as well as 15,000 acres to LA sanitation district for a composting operation reducing the size of their holdings from 40,000 acres back in 2000. Today Ceil says they will farm just 4000 acres,pistachios,almonds, wheat and alfalfa. He says they are removing silt from their big irrigation canal along side of Hwy 41 to restore its carrying capacity. Their farm should get more water this year than last.

March Home Sales Jump 51%

Existing home sales in Kings County jumped 51% year over year says California Association of Realtors.The median price of a home here sold in March 2016 was $205,000, an 8% increase in a year’s time.

Kings County Enrollment In Health Plan

Covered California says Kings County enrollment as of late 2015 was 3090 persons who signed up for health care insurance.

Clinic Buys City Lot For New Complex

Family HealthCare Network will build a new clinic in Hanford three times larger than their 10,000sf leased space Downtown.The nonprofit has signed a purchase agreement with the city to buy a 2-acre lot behind Comfort Inn on 5th between Dowdy and Redington. The deal was finalized at this weeks city council meeting.FHCN paid $307,500 for the property. The new Hanford project is in development, and set to open within two years.It will be the first FHCN health center in the county that will offer all services including primary care, pediatrics, OB, dental, pharmacy, optometry, and extended hour walk in services.

Homebuilder Plans New Subdivision

Hanford’s planning commission will hear plans for a new 150 home subdivision on April 26. San Joaquin Valley Homes wants to build near Hume and 12th, near their current project, Hartley Grove, in Hanford.

Sheep Cheese Startup Here

The Etchebehere family has been Kings sheep farmers for years but only now will be getting into sheep cheese making here.”We should be making it on our own in 5 or 6 months” says Debbie Etchebehere who owns a farm at 19154 Jersey Ave near Lemoore with husband Jean. It is a Basque tradition to make craft cheese from sheep milk. Pete Etchebehere, the couple’s 27 year-old son and other family members will use recipes and equipment from Chateau Fresno’s operation that will be closing down. Sheep cheese is growing in popularity especially at California famers markets.

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