Category: New Developments

Valley Children’s moving forward with plans for new Merced medical facility

Central Valley Business TImes

October 16, 2018

  • Will be on site of former police headquarters
  • “This is a great addition to the medical landscape”

Valley Children’s Healthcare has entered into negotiations to buy a 4.54-acre parcel in North Merced to create a specialty medical building. The Merced City Council unanimously approved the agreement at its Monday meeting.

The proposed purchase price is $2.1 million. The property is the former police headquarters site on the northwest corner of Yosemite Avenue and Mansionette Drive.

“This is a great addition to the medical landscape,” says Mayor Pro Tem Jill McLeod, a nurse practitioner. “Valley Children’s is a name that parents and doctors have trusted for decades, with caring, knowledgeable staff and excellent service. We are very fortunate to have them expanding their operations in Merced.”

Each year, more than 14,000 children from Merced County are cared for by Valley Children’s team of pediatric specialists. Since 1989, Valley Children’s has provided outpatient support  at Olivewood Specialty Care Center. Today, only 23 percent of outpatient visits are able to be made in Merced. A new pediatric primary and specialty care medical office in the city will expand that figure to 90 percent, the city says.

“As demands for pediatric services in Merced continue to grow, we are committed to keeping as many families as close to home as possible,” says Valley Children’s Healthcare President and CEO Todd Suntrapak. “Our ultimate goal is to have every family throughout the Valley be within 30 minutes or 30 miles from a Valley Children’s pediatric doctor, because that is what is bestfor kids and their families.”

“This ties in well to our existing medical community,” adds Economic Development Director Frank Quintero. “Mercy Medical Center is just blocks away, Golden Valley Health Center will be around the corner and we have other medical facilities nearby.”

Since 1989, Valley Children’s has operated a pediatric specialty care center in the city of Merced and since 1996, it has owned and operated a level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Mercy Medical Center. Valley Children’s Healthcare is one of the biggest pediatric healthcare networks in the country, serving more than 1.3 million children in 12 counties throughout Central California and the Central Coast.

The new outpatient center in Merced will offer several pediatric specialties, including pediatric cardiology and pediatric neurology. The first phase of the building would be 15,000 to  20,000 square feet and could grow to 40,000 square feet as demand for pediatric services increases.

It’s expected to have 50 to 60 full-time equivalent employees at build-out with salaries and benefits totaling $4-$5 million. Mr. Quintero says the purchase is just the first step in a long process before the medical center is constructed and opened.

“We will help them move through the planning and permitting process as quickly as possible, but Valley Children’s has several other projects ahead of us, so it will take some time before they have this one shovel-ready.”

The city purchased the property in 2010 with the intention of building the new police headquarters on the site. Construction was put on hold during the Great Recession and subsequently the site was re-evaluated and it was determined that the location wasn’t the best for a police station. The city purchased the Merced Sun-Star property on G Street for the police headquarters and decided to surplus the Yosemite Avenue land.

http://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/abecb6e8-5a01-407c-bc4d-acc97b11a634.pdf

A new store is taking over two empty Shaw Ave. spots. It’s a familiar name – with a twist

September 27, 2018 08:59 AM

Updated September 27, 2018 11:34 AM

Adventist Health to build new hospital in northwest Bakersfield

Adventist Health will be building a new hospital in Northwest Bakersfield.

Sharlet Briggs, president/CEO of Adventist Health Bakersfield, said the hospital will be built off Coffee Road near Brimhall Road, next to what will become the Bakersfield Commons, a 250-acre mixed-use development that will include retail, residential, recreational and other types of space.

Briggs said the new hospital, which will be the third in Kern County once the new Tehachapi hospital opens, is still in the early stages of planning, with construction work expected to start in 2021 for an opening in 2024.

“At Adventist Health, we’re known for our quality,” she said. “As we look at opening a new site, we take that with us there. We look at how do we take the best, safest care available to our citizens of Bakersfield and Kern County? That’s our responsibility.”

Briggs said hospital employees were notified about the new facility last week and will be having talks with them to get their feedback on the new hospital.

Briggs said Adventist Health is still looking into what kind of specialties the hospital will have and what is most in need.

“We’ll get our employees involved, our physicians involved and the community involved in really defining what this next hospital is going to be,” she said.

Why a new hospital in town? Briggs said the current hospital off of Chester Avenue in downtown Bakersfield has been near or exceeded capacity with the 254 beds it provides for years. She said the hospital has considered a new facility in town for the past several years.

“We keep looking at how can we better serve the community so that next patient who walks into the hospital has a bed ready for them,” she said. “This has been on our radar for a long time, and now we’ve gotten approval to move forward.”

Briggs said the new facility won’t be as large as the downtown hospital. She said Adventist Health will be hiring workers for the hospital but said the exact number of hires has yet to be determined.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/breaking/adventist-health-to-build-new-hospital-in-northwest-bakersfield/article_b988aa4a-b60a-11e8-8b72-e75817c3886a.html?utm_source=bakersfield.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletters%2Fbreaking%3Ffast-method&utm_medium=email&utm_content=read%20more

‘Upscale’ hotel and conference center could be coming to Oakhurst

The Madera County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote next month on a $20 million project that would bring an upscale hotel and conference center to Oakhurst.

You can get a job at Caltrans in two days. It still has 1,100 openings.

 

 

By Adam Ashton

September 12, 2018 05:15 AM

 

Forget the stereotypes of California state government’s painfully slow process for hiring new workers.

This summer, it was possible to walk into a Caltrans hiring fair and leave with a job offer.

Motivated by a wave of retirements and an urgency to fill new positions created by the state’s gas tax increase, Caltrans devised a bureaucracy-defying human resources program that let it bring on hundreds of new employees at a time during hiring events. Almost 600 people have joined the department through those two-day job fairs.

“It was a very quick turnaround,” said Andy Chou, 29, a new Caltrans structural engineer who went to a hiring fair at Sacramento State in May had a job offer within days. He started work last month. “I was definitely surprised by” the speed of the department’s hiring.

There’s more good news if you know someone looking for a job – Caltrans still has another 1,100 vacancies.

The rush to hire comes mainly from Senate Bill 1, the 10-year gas tax and vehicle fee increases the Legislature adopted in 2017 to fund a decade’s worth of transportation projects.

Voters in November will see a bid to repeal the tax on the ballot which would jeopardize funding. So far, unions, contractors and local governments working to defend SB 1 have raised more than $26 million to defeat the repeal. Groups that want to repeal the tax have raised about $2.5 million.

Caltrans is moving forward as if the repeal initiative would fail, and is filling jobs at a fast clip. The state budget Gov. Jerry Brown signed in June sets Caltrans on track to add 1,150 new positions over the next 11 months, up from 19,109 last year.

“We are making a dent,” said Michelle Tucker, the department’s human resources director. “I’m really pleased with the innovative hiring techniques we’ve done this summer.”

California’s web site for applying for state jobs – jobs.ca.gov – has been redesigned to guide applicants through the hiring process.

It’s racing to add staff in a hot economy in which other engineering firms and local governments also are bulking up.

“They need design staff to deliver state highway projects,” said Ted Toppin, executive director of Professional Engineers in California Government. “That’s what Californians expect. Right now they’re competing with other state and local departments and the private sector for engineers, so the need to on-board them is real or they’re going to lose them.”

Caltrans had a long-approaching retirement wave, especially among its engineering ranks. In 2016, the average age of the state’s civil engineers was 51, and 52 among electrical engineers.

Meanwhile, the Brown administration shrank the headcount at Caltrans over much of the past decade. The department had 10,143 employees in the division that plans road projects in 2013. That number shrank to about 7,000 two years ago. It’s expected to grow again to 8,700 by next year.

“The department did not hire engineers and related staff for over 10 years,” Toppin said. “From 2007 to 2017 they sort of shed 3,500 positions,” he said. “Year after year, it was no replacement of folks who retired, so they’re an older workforce.”

PECG’s three-year contract that expired in July also did not give engineers a reason to stay. Brown did not commit to a raise this year when his administration negotiated the contract with the union in 2015.

Between July 2017 and July 2018, 922 Caltrans employees retired.

PECG’s new contract includes some incentives that would keep longtime engineers in the workforce developing projects funded by the gas tax increase, including an immediate 4.5 percent raise and an escalating seniority differential that rises to an extra 5.5 percent for engineers with 23 years of experience at Caltrans by 2021.

Caltrans crafted four rapid-hiring events it held this year with the state human resources department. They allowed people to apply for jobs in person, be interviewed by panels of managers, have their qualifications reviewed and references checked within two days. If they passed, they’d walk out with a conditional job offer.

“We’re able to do hundreds of interviews in a day,” Tucker said.

Usually, landing a state job takes much longer. The only other state departments that regularly use rapid-hiring events are the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Prison Industry Authority, Cal HR spokesman Andrew LaMar said.

Jeff Wiley, Caltrans’ assistant division chief for project management, said the department has been attracting engineers with a range of experience, from new graduates to veterans from other states.

The department and PECG negotiated a compromise to get more experienced engineers working on projects as soon as possible. The agreement lets Caltrans slightly increase the amount of work it sends to private contractors, although the department has not yet exceeded its traditional outsourcing cap.

“We’ve got some plans out for making those goals,” Wiley said.

Toppin said the agreement was reasonable considering the department’s “sudden increase in revenue” and shortage of experienced engineering staff.

 

Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article218170925.html#storylink=cpy

Could autonomous car testing be the rebirth of Castle Airport in Atwater?

September 03, 2018 12:22 PM

Component Coffee Lab brings big city flair, community values to Downtown Visalia

University researchers say coffee can help people achieve better scores on math tests, if they do this with it. Buzz60

Jonathon Anderson and Greg Amend had one mission opening Component Coffee Lab in Downtown Visalia: “To pour the best cup of coffee in town.”

The jury is still out on whether the business partners have succeeded, but if their consistently full parking lot and seating area — a behemoth 1,500 square foot industrial space on 513 E. Center St. (just off of Santa Fe Street) — is any indication, the Visalia natives are doing something right. (Component also has an entrance from Main Street through its patio.)

Amend and Anderson bring over a decade of combined coffee experience to Visalia. Anderson spent years as a Starbucks barista, while Amend won accolades as one of Fresno’s leading coffee luminaries with his Slow Train roasting operation.

They’re joined by fellow co-owners Miguel and Mikayla Reyes, who started Quesadilla Gorilla, another fixture of downtown dining.

Together, the four are serving specialty coffee and eats the likes of which Visalia has not yet seen, with an inviting atmosphere to match.

The shop’s signature drink, for instance, is an espresso tonic: Topo Chico topped with a lightly roasted Peruvian espresso shot. It’s a bold but simple concoction that’s particularly refreshing on a sweltering summer day.

Component have all the traditional bases covered, too, with Americanos, sweet lattes, fresh drip coffee, and an assortment of teas.

“We source high quality beans from sustainably operated farms, who are paying their workers above-average wages, throughout Central and South America,” Amend said.

This concept applies to all of Component’s ingredients. Their eggs and fruit come from the farmers market, for example, and their milk is delivered fresh from Tulare’s Top O’ The Morn Farms.

Amend’s roasting expertise is matched by the establishment’s cutting edge espresso machine, the Slayer 17. This Seattle-built beauty allows Component baristas unprecedented control over critical brewing variables such as extraction, pressure, time, and weight.

Geekery aside, the result is a smooth cup of joe that even those who don’t identify as coffee snobs will appreciate, for prices comparable to big chains like Starbucks.

Prior to Component’s late-June grand opening at the Center Street location, Anderson and Amend could be seen carting their fancy Slayer 17 espresso machine around the Downtown Visalia Farmers Market, serving drinks to curious shoppers.

“We wanted to build hype and give people in the community a chance to see what we were all about,” Anderson said .

The gambit paid off.

Amend and Anderson were unprepared for the success Component’s physical location saw right out of the gate. They attribute their success to their “focus on executing one idea very well.”

This single-minded devotion applies to the kitchen, as well. Miguel and Mikayla translate their monomania from quesadillas to donuts with predictably delicious results.

“We had a layover in Portland last year, so we chanced a visit to Voodoo Donuts, and they were amazing,” Miguel said. “We realized Visalia had no place like it.”

In February, the couple returned to Portland for what sounds like a dream vacation: A donut tour of the city. Upon returning, however, they went to work in the kitchen to perfect a variety of eclectic and classic flavors.

Miguel can arrive as early as 4 a.m. on busier days to prepare an assortment of donuts, including current favorites strawberry and raspberry mint.

Beginning in September, Component will offer a seasonal donut menu that changes with each month. Patrons can look forward to a PB&J donut with house-made plum jam — just in time for the back-to-school crowd.

Component also offers a weekend brunch menu from 8 a.m.to 11 a.m. featuring staples  with a unique twist.

The Reyes’ take on a breakfast burrito, for example, features sunny-side up eggs instead of scrambled and a chipotle sour cream. Their Nashville-inflected fried chicken and waffles, meanwhile, comes served in a waffle cone with maple whiskey syrup drizzled on top.

The four co-owners met through attending Radiant Church just next door to Component. Though they barely knew each other at the time, Anderson had attended the Reyes’ wedding five years ago. The party favors? Amend’s coffee beans.

This week, the Reyeses celebrate both the birth of a new child and a successful second Downtown Visalia venture.

“It’s all come full circle,” Miguel said. “We couldn’t be happier.”

Anderson hopes Component can be a hub for the community, similar to the role the church has played in his own life. He envisions people of all faiths — or none — united around a great cup of coffee.

It’s a vision that seems fully realized only two months out from Component’s launch: snuggling couples and frazzled students share tables with Kaweah Hospital employees and retired schoolteachers; oil paintings from staff and community members line the interior walls; music from a personal record collection fills the room.

“I don’t just come for the coffee,” said Danny Sciacqua, a recently retired Porterville College professor and Component regular.”I’m here for the atmosphere, the ambiance and the staff, who are all polite and fun to talk with”

“But the delicious donut holes and pour over don’t hurt, either.”

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/life/food/2018/08/29/component-coffee-lab-brings-big-city-flare-downtown-visalia/1114176002/

Now that Amazon and Ulta are open, what jobs will be coming to the Valley?

August 31, 2018 08:49 AM

Car fuel from trees? Cutting-edge plant coming to Riverbank

BY GARTH STAPLEY

June 23, 2018 03:42 PM

Sometime next year, a first-of-its-kind biofuel plant three miles north of Modesto will begin turning old almond and walnut trees into transportation fuel.

The intriguing process should keep growers from burning millions of tons of orchard waste, spewing unhealthy smoke into Valley air. That wood instead would be transformed into cellulosic ethanol, a superclean liquid that’s mixed with gasoline and goes into our vehicle gas tanks.

Is it safe? And will there be new jobs?

Yes and yes, says Aemetis Inc., the Cupertino-based company willing to take a chance on Riverbank, and on new technology.

The future plant will need about 40 workers when it joins 38 other businesses at the former army ammo plant southeast of town, now known as the Riverbank Industrial Complex. About 1,000 other people will get indirect jobs trucking orchard waste to the Aemetis plant, trucking away low-carbon cellulosic ethanol, maintaining trucking fleets, and related services.

“It is a significant, meaningful impact on the community,” said Andy Foster, president of the firm’s renewable fuels division.

Aemetis has a track record in this area, having operated a biofuel plant 14 miles down the road in Keyes since 2011. The Keyes plant uses corn to make conventional ethanol, while the Riverbank plant will consume nut shells and almond, walnut and pistachio trees, saving them from landfills or from being burned in fields.

“Cellulosic ethanol is thought to be better for the environment than corn ethanol, as they make (cellulosic) ethanol from woody waste rather than growing corn just to make into ethanol,” said Jaime Holt, spokeswoman for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

Experts calculate benefits with complex formulas taking into account everything needed to grow and harvest whatever is used to make transportation fuel. The so-called carbon intensity score for gasoline, 95, drops to 70 for corn ethanol. But the score for wood ethanol is less than zero; that’s how beneficial it is to reuse a product that otherwise would belch smoke when burned in the open.

Aemetis already has a 20-year deal with a tree waste broker who will capitalize on the almond explosion in these parts, with trees covering 1.5 million acres in recent years. The average life of an almond tree is 20 to 25 years, and the Valley produces about 1.6 million tons of tree waste each year.

Aemetis also has a 55-year lease on land at the former ammo plant, at Claus and Claribel roads. The company will renovate some old buildings and erect others for the new wood ethanol plant, which could produce 12 million gallons per year.

Byproducts include fish meal to be sold to big salmon farms, and others will be announced in time, Foster said. Together, wood ethanol and byproducts could bring annual revenue of $70 million, according to a BioFuels Digest report.

Neighbors need not worry, Foster said, because wood ethanol — although flammable — doesn’t explode like propane or petroleum, and Aemetis will install state-of-the-art firefighting equipment that will be second to none, like they did at the Keyes plant, he said.

The process does include “advanced arc furnace technology,” or burning; wood is superheated at 3,000 degrees, about the same needed to melt glass, turning wood into a gas before it’s cleaned and fed to microbes in a fermentation chamber. A resulting broth is distilled into cellulosic ethanol, or wood ethanol.

“We treat it with respect and care and take all the precautions,” Foster said. “The community shouldn’t be worrying about a big explosion.”

Well, this is somewhat uncharted territory. Although scientists figured out how to turn plants into fuel back in the 1800s, companies have had a hard time making a profit since with feedstock other than corn, despite best efforts of heavy hitters like DuPont and Abengoa. Those persevering reached a production high-point exceeding 10 million gallons last year, but that’s a fraction of the federal goal set in 2007, of blending 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply by 2010.

“The bottom line is that cellulosic ethanol has fallen far short of the hype and the expectations,” wrote Robert Rapier in February for Forbes magazine.

Some view government subsidies, giving a leg up to emerging renewable fuels technology, as a negative. Aemetis will rely on a $125 million USDA loan for the Riverbank plant; loan requirements included the company successfully operating a demonstration plant in Washington state for 120 days, which Aemetis achieved in a March announcement.

The company hopes to produce 12 million gallons per year of wood ethanol in Riverbank, with plans to someday expand to 40 million gallons. The Keyes plant puts out 60 million gallons per year of corn ethanol.

Aside from Riverbank, Aemetis hopes eventually to announce additional wood ethanol plants in this area, Foster said. All would employ mechanics, engineers and other manufacturing workers at decent wages, he said.

Aemetis apparently is sold enough on Riverbank to compete for the job of taking over the entire 105-acre Riverbank Industrial Complex.

Started in 1943, the ammo plant produced shell, grenade and mortar cartridges as a major area employer until 2009. After nearly 30 years of cleaning contaminants from the land and water underneath, the U.S. Army last year conveyed some of the property to an entity overseen by Riverbank City Hall, and is expected to give the rest this summer.

“The city is not interested in continuing to be an industrial developer out there forever,” said City Manager Sean Scully. So city leaders in October asked for proposals from prospective master developers, and now are negotiating with Aemetis for the job. Rules set by the city require an employment boost, with priority for people living within 50 miles, and prevent new housing.

“This is our opportunity to create something where people can get jobs so they can work and live here,” Scully said. “We are blessed to have that opportunity.”

https://www.modbee.com/news/local/article213221279.html

GreenPower Announces Plans to Triple Production Capacity

Porterville, California –

August 27, 2018 –

Greenpower Motor Company Inc. (TSXV: GPV) (OTCQX: GPVRF) (“Greenpower” or the “Company”) today announced plans to triple its production capabilities of its zero-emission all-electric buses. The Company has leased a facility with over 50,000 square feet in the City of Porterville as a manufacturing and assembly center, which will open on October 1, 2018. Initial production will focus on EV Stars and then Synapse Type-D school buses. Should the Company reach full capacity, it could lease additional space to increase the size of the facility to over 90,000 square feet. The lease is for a term of four years with an option to extend the term for an additional three years.

“With our current order book with over 120 buses and growing, this additional facility will allow us to meet our production demand. The close proximity of this location to our current and under construction production sites also helps ensure we maintain simplified and efficient logistics.” said Brendan Riley, President of GreenPower. “We are on track to produce 25 buses per month by the end of this fiscal year.”

The Company currently operates out of a 20,000-square-foot facility in Porterville. This property will be retained for additional service and office space. Over the past year, the Company has completed plans for the civil work, obtained a grading permit and submitted plans for the construction of a 144,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on the 9.3 acres owned by the Company. All three phases are scheduled to be completed by 2020, with the first phase consisting of 50,000 square feet to come online next year. Total investment in the manufacturing facility is expected to be $6 million to $7 million, which the Company plans on funding from operating cash flow over the next few years.

“We are excited that we are increasing our production capabilities in the City of Porterville and the San Joaquin Valley,” said Fraser Atkinson, Chairman of GreenPower. “Our plan allows us to take advantage of current sales opportunities in a cost effective manner while we develop our longer term production facility out of cash flow from operations.”

About GreenPower Motor Company Inc.

GreenPower designs, builds and distributes a full suite of high-floor and low-floor vehicles, including transit buses, school buses, shuttles, and a double decker. GreenPower employs a clean-sheet design to manufacture all-electric buses that are purpose built to be battery powered with zero emissions. GreenPower integrates global suppliers for key components, such as Siemens or TM4 for the drive motors, Knorr for the brakes, ZF for the axles and Parker for the dash and control systems. This OEM platform allows GreenPower to meet the specifications of various operators while providing standard parts for ease of maintenance and accessibility for warranty requirements. For further information go to www.greenpowerbus.com

 

Forward-Looking Statements

This document contains forward-looking statements relating to, among other things, GreenPower’s business and operations and the environment in which it operates, which are based on GreenPower’s operations, estimates, forecasts and projections. Forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts, but rather on current expectations and projections about future events, and are therefore subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from the future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “may”, “should”, “will”, “could”, “intend”, “estimate”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “expect”, “believe” or “continue”, or the negative thereof or similar variations. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict or are beyond GreenPower’s control, such as the regulations and requirements in different jurisdictions. A number of important factors including those set forth in other public filings (filed under the Company’s profile on www.sedar.com) could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. Consequently, readers should not place any undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. In addition, these forward-looking statements relate to the date on which they are made. GreenPower disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 

For further information contact:

 

GreenPower Motor Company

Fraser Atkinson, Chairman

(604) 220-8048

 

GreenPower Motor Company

Brendan Riley, President

(510) 910-3377

 

Elevator Communications, LLC

John Reed, Media Relations

(415) 846-4862