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Around Tulare County

September 15,2017-

Tulare Mayor: Bring In Kaiser Permanente

Tulare Mayor Carlton Jones is on a campaign to bring in a Kaiser Permanente Hospital to Tulare even as the local district hospital struggles to survive. “My post as mayor is just ceremonial and I have no power with the hospital board” he cautions. But Jones says nevertheless, “I’m working my butt off to convince Kaiser to come to town.” Jones works in Fresno “where all the hospitals, including Kaiser, get along”and all are well-respected, he says. Kaiser would bring new business to the community, he believes. Jones says he does not think his efforts will undermine what the district board is trying to accomplish.Nor does he expect Kaiser to buy the Tulare hospital.

Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plans, serving 11.8 million members, with headquarters in Oakland, California. Highly regarded, the hospital tends to locate in urban areas with high employment bases, not rural areas where a large portion of the residents are on Medi-Cal.

Noble Ave WalMart Getting New Signs To Advertise Groceries

Visalia Planning Commission will hear an application to increase both store and monument signage to accommodate a 50,000sf expansion at the Noble Ave Walmart store in Visalia. The proposed expansion,the subject of years of litigation by a rival but now over, will include selling a full-line of groceries at this location.The Commission meets September 25.

Exeter Has Glassy-winged Sharpshooter Infestation

An infestation of the deadly pest the glassy-winged sharpshooter has been discovered in Exeter says Ag Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita. Residents have been notified the area will be sprayed.

Some attribute the uptick of the sharpshooters here to winter storms that helped some citrus groves making them attractive as hosts. The disease the insects carry are no threat to oranges – but fatal to Valley grape vineyards.

Pro-Youth Visalia To Take Over Wittman Center 

The Visalia City Council is expected approve consent item at the September 18 meeting approving of the lease of the Wittman Center to Pro-Youth Visalia who would run the drop-in center, taking over from Proteus.

City May Lease Golf Course

The company CourseCo would lease the city-operated Plaza Park Golf Course according to an agenda item to be discussed at the September 18 council meeting.”This would be a big deal for us with the operator taking responsibility for the profit and loss at the golf course” says Visalia Mayor Warren Gubler. That would mean the city would no longer  have to subsidize the operation. Helping to influence the deal are plans to connect the golf course to the “purple pipe”  clean, recycled wastewater that will soon be flowing from the city treatment plant back across Hwy 99. “They won’t have to worry about where water for the greens is going to come from”observes Gubler. A state permit will allow use of the recycled water to help green-up all of Plaza Park as well. The proposed lease would be for 10 years with two 5-year extensions.

Tulare Ag Commissioner Warns On Use of Drones

Tulare County Ag Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita recently warned the local ag community about use of drones.

“This spring, the FAA found that 21% of commercial drones were being used for agricultural purposes. As an Agricultural Commissioner, my concern lies when they are used to as an application method for applying pesticides. I am sure many of you have seen advertisements for drones that are retrofitted with spray tanks. They look really cool, but you cannot just buy a drone and start making applications, even for your personal use. Do not get caught in any social media blunder because the Federal Aviation Administration takes complaint calls and investigates cases as needed. Federal drone regulations apply to both private and commercial agricultural aircraft.

You cannot apply water, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, seeds, or fertilizers from a UAS without an FAA Part 137 certification.

Part 137 regulations require that pilots must become certified in order to operate aircraft that fall under 137 regulations. As of this writing, Tulare County has no licensed UAS pilots.

Making Progress Widening Hwy 99 From Goshen To Tulare

Cal Trans and its contractor are making progress on expanding Hwy 99 from Goshen to Tulare from 4 to 6 lanes. The project has been been divided into three sections with the northern part complete and the middle segment from Ave 272 north to near Ave 280 (Caldwell) expected to be finished by the end of September 2017. Widening the key highway through the Central Valley should relieve congestion and make it safer and quicker to travel here.

The third segment, from Ave 272 just north of Tagus, will start at the end of 2018 at the soonest. This segment will add a frontage road to connect Tagus Rd to Ave 272 on the east side of Hwy 99.

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