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Biz Watch : Milk,Rain,Hotels & Flights

June 18,2015-

Sierra Storms Offer Drought-Year Surprise for Kings River Farmers

Kings River Water Association Watermaster Steve Haugen says Kings runoff expectations are “dramatically different” than just a month ago based on the unseasonable storms in the Sierra the past month.

”We were forecasting April to July runoff on the Kings at 120,000 acre feet.But after a series of storms in late May and June we now estimate we will get 210,000 acre feet.”  That’s a jump of about 190% or almost twice as much. If the summer storms continue they could add to that forecast, he says.

Milk Money Makes Billion Dollar Difference

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 1.54.32 PMKings County reported this week (see below) but Tulare County’s 2014 Crop Report is not out yet for a couple of weeks. But it is likely we will again by Number One ag producer. You can thank the high price of milk last year in California, nearly $22 per hundredweight average for the year – the highest ever.

In 2013, the Tulare County average was $18.40 per cwt and $16 in 2012.In 2009 the price sunk to $11.40 per cwt tied to the global meltdown. After that – dairymen bled red ink spawning a bunch of local bankruptcies and even suicides.

From the high to the low – in 2009 milk was valued at $1.2 billion to around $2.8 billion last year – the spread was a cool $1.6 billion impact on the Tulare County economy.

Now after the sky-high prices last year local dairymen are suffering again with an average price this year in the $14 range. Ouch!  That would translate to a milk value – if the trend stays the same – of $1.7 billion in 2015, down from $2.8 billion in 2014 – an amazing billion dollar drop, year-over-year.

Work To Begin On New Plaza Drive Hotel

Work is expected to begin on building a new 4-story Plaza Drive hotel in Visalia now that escrow has closed on 2.5 acres says broker Doug Burr. A Bakersfield developer, Raj Verma,will build a 95-room Marriott Residence Inn next to Fresno Pacific University. The property was purchased from the Bruno family. Building plans have been submitted to the city who already has approved a preliminary site plan. The project is part of the Plaza Business Park.

Seaport Airlines Had Near 1000 Visalia Passengers in May

Seaport Airlines flew 967 passengers through Visalia in May and for the first 4 months of operation has carried 4054 passengers,more than all of the previous airline did all year. Their load factor was 56% compared to a federal ESA standard of 45% says city council member  Warren Gubler.”They have had a good start” to serve Visalia, he says, adding that he hopes the airline can ”build business” here enabling them to operate in the future without the ESA subsidy. Especially popular are the new flights to Sacramento says Gubler.

Gas Prices Continue To Fall

California average gas price is down 31 cents this week from a month ago with the state’s lowest price at $2.85 Cheapest in Visalia now is Costco at $3.07 a gallon creeping down to that $3 level again.

More Stays In Sequoia/Kings Canyon

Sequoia/Kings Canyon lodging activity was up in May. Grant Grove concessionaire lodging numbers are up 26% so far this year says the NPS with RV overnight stays also up 26%. In Sequoia, Wuksachi Lodge numbers are 11% higher and RV stays up 143%. Tent camping in Sequoia was down 2% and up 1.7% in Kings Canyon.

FHCN Adding Pharmacy In Cutler

Family Healthcare Network is adding a pharmacy and is expanding at its Cutler clinic, what will be the only drug store in the Cutler Orosi community.

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