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Around The Central Valley

Screen shot 2013-01-19 at 11.41.42 AMTulare County Jobless Rate Falls To 9.5 Percent

The unemployment rate in the Tulare County was 9.5 percent in May 2016, down from a revised 10.8 percent in April 2016, and below the year-ago estimate of 10.8 percent. This May was below double digits for the first time since 2005 when the jobless rate rate was 8.1 percent. That May was the lowest rate between the year 2000 to the present. As of May 2015 there were 22,500 people jobless compared to 19,700 in May 2016.

Navy Base Commander Tells Growth Projection – Solar Plan

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 11.41.51 AM

NAS Lemoore base commander Monty Ashliman in a presentation to the Lemoore City Council June 8 said to expects growth of 20% in base personnel by next year as Lemoore will be home to almost 60% of the US Navy’s strike fighter power.The projection is that NASL will add some 2300 personnel with the realignment of two VFA squadrons and the arrival of the first new F-35Cs in January. A total of 150 F-35Cs are expected to be based here by 2025.
Captain Ashliman also referenced the plan to be add 150 megawatts of of solar power on some of its surplus land, a project that was announced last fall as the US military seeks to generate 50% of its power needs from renewables. Lemoore would be largest solar plant on US military land. Ashliman says the power will be sold to the grid as the base needs just 20MW to power the facility.

DPR Chief Asks Growers to Reduce Chlorpyrifos Use

One of the more popular pesticides used in Tulare County continues to be targeted by regulators looking to reduce its use.According to the Director of the state Department of Pesticide Regulation, Brian R. Leahy, the pesticide is sprayed on 60 different crops, which also include alfalfa, walnuts, oranges and cotton. It is an active ingredient in Lorsban and Dursban for example. In the recent past up to 2 million pounds each year were sprayed in California. Today, while the use of chlorpyrifos on California farms has greatly diminished, slightly more than one million pounds are still applied annually on over two million acres, much of it by airplanes and air blasters
In the past this was a favorite pesticide in orange groves where it was used  to fight insects. But as of last year it became a restricted-use pesticide. Potentially harmful to children a 2004 study found elevated levels in the air around Lindsay after spraying. Leahy adds “We now understand that the use of chlorpyrifos can pose a potential threat to both human health and wildlife. It inhibits the activity of cholinesterase, an enzyme necessary for proper functioning of the nervous system.”
In his statement of June 13 Leahy says “DPR understands that chlorpyrifos can be an important tool when reserved for especially challenging pest outbreaks. Unfortunately, however, it seems it is often used on a regular basis because it is inexpensive, powerful, and familiar.
Given the risks posed by chlorpyrifos use this should not be the norm. For most insect control, there are newer, safer alternatives that are just as effective as chlorpyrifos.”

How’s Business?

California’s economy grew by 4.1 percent in 2015, according to a June 14 release from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis – tied with Oregon for the fastest state growth in 2015. The GDP growth in California was  3.1 percent in 2014 – also one of the highest in the US.

Kings Co Sees 30% Loss Of Cherry Crop

Kings County Agricultural Commissioner asking for the State to designate a disaster for local Cherry growers from the storm events from April 8-May 6, 2016 with a 30% reduction of crops.

New Deadline For Water vs Train Initiative

The same Kings County-based group that tried unsuccessfully to get a measure on the November ballot to take money from high speed rail and use it for water projects will try again for 2018. A California Water Alliance press release says the signatures that have been gathered thus far – about 300,000  can still be used to qualify for the 2018 General Election ballot, if they can submit them to the State by July 25, 2016. Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Visalia) said on KMJ Radio recently they need about $700,000 to fund the remaining signature gathering effort.

HSR Green Energy Plan

The California Energy Commission and the state high speed rail authority have singed an MOU touting the rail project’s green energy plan.“Transportation is the single largest source of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Robert B. Weisenmiller, California
Energy Commission Chairman. “California high-speed rail can provide an alternative, greener transportation option for residents. The plan to power the system with 100 percent renewable energy, have zero net energy stations and use alternative fuels in support vehicles shows, once again, the state’s commitment to a more sustainable future.”

RV Shipments Up 11% In First Quarter

There is good news for the RV market as wholesale RV shipments climbed 11.5% through the first quarter of the year to 108,195 units, according to RVIA’s March survey of RV manufacturers.
Monthly RV shipments to retailers totaled 40,740 units in the month of March this year, up 13.9% over the previous month and ahead of this same month last year by 11.5%. This was the largest single monthly total for all RVs since March 2006.

Visalia Steel Building Contractor Buys Former Lindsay Olive Plant

Eric Hanson who owns Fisher Metal Products of Visalia, a steel building contractor has purchased the former Lindsay Olive plant in Lindsay at a June 6 tax auction.He purchased the eight buildings on the 35 acre property for $890,000 according to county records. Mr Hanson did not return phone calls at press time.Fisher Metal Products has been in business since 1969.

Why Workers Leave The Farm

A Bloomberg story says the average hourly wage of a U.S. agricultural field worker in April was $12, according to a survey conducted by the USDA. That’s up 5.6 percent from a year earlier.In contrast, a worker in construction, commonly considered a step up from farm work, makes $17.57 on average, according to the Labor Department. In California, where farmworker needs are greatest, field workers made $12.35 an hour, while construction workers made $20.24 an hour.”As soon as farmworkers gain legal status, they abandon agriculture for better work,”  says immigration reform advocate Ira Mehlman. “That puts the employers right back where they were.” Increased use of machinery for harvesting and higher wages for workers would be better fixes,he believes.

Loss of AMR Ambulance Service Should Not Affect Consumers Says Agency

Tulare County is losing its largest ambulance operation,but consumers will not see a difference says administrator Brandon Hill of the Central California Emergency Medical Services Agency (CCEMSA), which oversees ambulance service in Tulare, Kings, Madera and Fresno Counties. American Medical Response (AMR) – the nation’s largest ambulance service – announced that it will close operations in Tulare County as of the end of August.Some 71 people will be laid off although Hill says only about 40 will be left without jobs as of now. As for ambulance service ”there are still 7 ambulance providers left to pick up the slack.”He say AMR did mostly transfers from Kaweah Delt to hospitals outside the area.

 Porterville Irrigation District Getting new Friant Canal Connection

The Bureau of Reclamation has released an EIR for a project to construct new water conveyance facilities that would allow Porterville Irrigation District (PID) to supply surface water to 2,120 acres that currently utilize groundwater for irrigation purposes.The project  comes as the agency fulfills its obligation to help water contractors as a result of loss of water due to river restoration on the San Joaquin. Construction would occur over a single phase beginning in the fall of 2016 and take place over a period of approximately 8 months.

Del Taco Coming To Riggin / Dinuba Bld Corner

Looks likes Dinuba Blvd (Hwy 63) and Riggin will get a new Del Taco fast food eatery on the southeast corner, the big vacant parcel.Developer Harvey May has filed a preliminary plan.

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