• Official opening comes Friday
• A 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art medical center
Valley Children’s Hospital officially opens its new Modesto medical center on Pelandale Road on Friday. The Specialty Care Center, a 40,000-square-foot, state-of-theart medical center, is expected to bring more pediatric specialists closer to families who need care. Valley Children’s will continue to provide expert care in several service lines, including pediatric cardiology, pediatric neurology, pediatric gastroenterology and pediatric orthopaedics.
Pelandale Specialty Care Center will help Valley Children’s meet the needs of families in Stanislaus County and nearby communities, and keep them closer to home and to their own primary care physicians.
Last year, providers at Valley Children’s former outpatient center saw more than 12,000 visits. That number is expected to grow
to more than 27,500 within the next decade.
Black Bear Diner is taking over the former Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery space on West Shaw Avenue. It is slated to open in February or March of 2019.
The first Black Bear Diner in Fresno is one step closer to opening.
The owner of the restaurant said Thursday that the location at 3602 W. Shaw Ave. is scheduled to open in February. She has not set an exact date.
The restaurants are hugely popular among diners in the central San Joaquin Valley, who have long wanted to open one in Fresno.
The Fresno Black Bear is owned by Amy Rose, who revealed new details about the restaurant Thursday.
It is taking over the 7,108-square-foot former Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery near West Shaw and Marty avenues. It will seat 226 people.
The diner will have a meeting room with Wi-Fi available for large groups.
Black Bear Diner will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
The location will employ 92 people and has hired some workers, but is looking for more. Available positions include cooks and prep cooks and experienced servers, hosts and bussers.
Interested applicants can apply online at Indeed.com. Positions range from minimum wage to $16 an hour, according to the website.
This will be Black Bear’s seventh restaurant in the area owned by the Rose family, including Bob Rose, who owns locations in Visalia, Madera, Tulare, Porterville, Hanford and Los Banos. The family had been planning to build a location in Clovis, but decided to open the restaurant in Fresno instead.
PREVPREVIOUSROBERT PRICE: The man who literally cleared the way for the …
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Dec 19, 2018
Employees at Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds in Lost Hills clap on Wednesday after hearing that full-time employees will be getting a $15 minimum wage starting Jan. 1. Courtesy photo
Employees at Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds in Lost Hills clap on Wednesday after hearing that full-time employees will be getting a $15 minimum wage starting Jan. 1.
The Wonderful Co. announced on Wednesday that it is increasing its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all its full-time California employees as of Jan. 1.
The change will give more than 2,000 of its employees a 36 percent jump in pay, as the company currently pays a minimum wage of $11 an hour. The company said the increase marks an $80 million investment in its workers across all of its divisions and is the largest wage increase in company history.
The move comes as the state is working toward a $15-an-hour minimum wage by 2022. Gov. Jerry Brown approved a law in 2016 that steadily increases the minimum wage by a dollar every year, from $10 to $15.
“This substantial investment in our workers will have an immediate and meaningful impact on their lives,” co-owner Lynda Resnick said. “In addition to providing our Central Valley employees and their families free health care and education, we are now able to help them achieve a significantly improved standard of living.”
The company said employees were notified of the pay increase on Wednesday during meetings at some of the company’s facilities in the county.
“It felt like: Is this really happening?” said Julio Roja, who works as a forklift driver for Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds in Lost Hills. “We were just in shock. Everybody was happy.”
Roja said he thinks the wage increase is going to make a difference not just for his co-workers but for their families as well.
“I feel like it was a good thing they’re doing. I’m excited for everything that’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s going to make a big difference for my family, and for all of us. This is good news for everybody.”
Fellow employee Yesenia Osornio said the wage increase is just one way the company has shown support for its employees and their families.
“It’s a great company to work for, not only for the wages but the charter schools, scholarships and other things that they do,” she said.
Company officials said full-time employees who make more than the benchmark $15 per hour also will benefit with higher wages; however, it’s unclear what the amount might be or when it might happen.
Dave Szeflin, executive vice president of Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds, was excited to see the response the announcement about the increase would get from employees.
“What we’re trying to do is make The Wonderful Company the employer of choice in the Valley, and this is a big step in getting us there,” he said.
Szeflin said he hopes other Kern County companies will follow The Wonderful Co.’s example, but said that is unlikely to happen immediately.
“I don’t think we’re going to see anything in the next few weeks,” he said. “It takes some time to figure out the logistics.”
Wednesday’s announcement caught some industry insiders off guard.
“It certainly surprised us,” said Jeff Huckaby, president and CEO of Grimmway Farms, a leading agricultural company in Kern County. “We currently are evaluating the potential impact and what it means for the future.”
Huckaby said his company will continue to offer their workforce competitive wages and benefits that allow for a sustainable future. He cautioned about equating Grimmway to other ag companies, as it’s not an “apples to apples” comparison.
“Wonderful operates at the higher end of the industry spectrum … higher earnings, higher margins,” he said. “That’s not our business model.”
Bolthouse Farms, another leading agricultural company in Kern County, didn’t return a request for comment on Wednesday
UC Merced is growing and changing and one of the biggest changes will be a new standalone business and management school.By Nathalie GrandaFriday, December 14, 2018 04:18PMMERCED, Calif. (KFSN) –UC Merced is growing and changing and one of the biggest changes will be a new standalone business and management school.
The university is working to create a new interdiscplinary school, one that university officials are calling the “management school of the future”.
“We’re taking existing programs, putting them together and focusing them together on this complex system,” Gallo School Planning Initiative Director Paul Maglio said.
The new Gallo school will bring together educators from the schools of engineering, natural sciences and humanities to teach students under one main focus. The university is already known for its focus on research and science, and the new school will be incorporating those science components into their program.
“In a business school, you tend to focus on profit. In natural resources you tend to focus on the planet. In cognitive science, you tend to focus on people. We’re bringing all that together to have a sustained focus all at the same time,” Maglio said.
The university’s Ernest & Julio Gallo School of Management already has graduate business programs.
Graduate student Taylor Fugere said the science-based business program is what drew her to UC merced, and she’s hopes a new school will bring more interested students.
“I think UC merced moving in that more specialized direction is going to be really helpful in people being able to explore different career options, and being able to have more opportunities for a hands-on educational experience.”
The process will take a few years. Ultimately, the new school will need to be reviewed and approved by several campus administrators, and the University of California regents. University officials hope to have the school in place by 2021.
The hot markets that drove U.S. housing in recent years (we’re looking at you, coastal tech hubs) will give way in 2019 to a new group of affordable, young, opportunity-filled, desirable – and largely inland – cities primed to drive growth in the years to come.
Of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, Trulia identified 10 that we think are poised for takeoff, based on the following five key metrics:
Job growth over the past year, as a measure of a robust economy.
Vacancy rates, as an indicator that housing supply does not exceed demand.
Good starter-home affordability, as a signal that first-time home buyers stand a chance at buying a home.
More inbound than outbound home searches on Trulia, as a gauge that more people are interested in that market than those looking to leave.
A large share of the adult population under the age of 35, which represents more potential first-time buyers.
These are the markets to watch. So long Silicon Valley, and hello Heartland:
Trulia’s Top 10 Housing Markets to Watch in 2019
Y-o-Y Job Growth (Rank)
Vacancy Rate (Rank)
Share of Income Needed
to Afford Median Priced Starter Home (Rank)
Ratio of Inbound-to-Outbound Home Searches on Trulia (Rank)
Share of Population Under 35 (Rank)
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
El Paso, Texas
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Note: Rankings from among the 100 largest metros.
Strong employment growth and a large share of young residents helped put Colorado Springs, Colo. at the top of the list of markets to watch (the area ranked in the top 10 of the largest 100 metros for both metrics). After topping last year’s list, Grand Rapids, Mich., came in second this year, with employment growth and low vacancy rates contributing to its strong performance. Jacksonville, Fla., is third due in large part to its strong inbound-to-outbound search ratio. Two Central California markets – Bakersfield and Fresno, the lowest-priced California housing markets among the largest 100 metros – also made the list this year.
Keen-eyed readers will notice a few things in common amongst the 2019 stars on this list. It does include a couple well-known growth areas including Phoenix, Ariz., and Austin, Texas. But it also highlights markets relatively close to more-expensive metros, but far enough away to offer their own attractions and opportunities without many of the mounting affordability concerns that mark those marquee names. Think Colorado Springs instead of Denver, and Bakersfield and Fresno instead of Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
We also identified the hottest neighborhoods in these markets, based on both local price appreciation and how quickly homes are flying off the market.
Note: Rankings for housing markets to watch from among the 100 largest metros.
While there will certainly be local bright spots like the ones we’ve identified, in general we expect 2019 to be a year of moderation and continued transition in the U.S. housing market. After several years of breakneck appreciation following the end of the housing recession, the latter half of 2018 may have marked a turning point and the beginning of a return to more normalcy and balance in the market. Next year will continue to bring more sanity to the market for home buyers frustrated by years of stiff competition and chronically low inventory. But affordability concerns will still plague the market, especially as mortgage rates rise, putting buyers in a wait-and-see mode. Sellers will also respond to changes, potentially thinking twice before listing in an environment that may not be as lucrative as it was in recent years and further slowing buying and selling activity.
For more on Trulia’s outlook on housing next year, check out our predictions for 2019 here.
To calculate the markets-to-watch metrics, we used a number of data sources:
Employment growth is measured as the percentage increase in employment between September 2017 and September 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics program.
Residential vacancy rates (October 2018) are reported by the U.S. Postal Service’s Delivery Statistics and retrieved through Moody’s Data Buffet.
Starter home affordability is determined using the median listing price of starter homes on Trulia in the third quarter of 2018. Household incomes are derived from 2016 American Community Survey microdata, adjusted to the current period using the Employment Cost Index.
The ratio of inbound-to-outbound searches on Trulia is calculated using site traffic from October 2017 to the present.
The share of population under 35 comes from U.S. Census Bureau estimates as of July 2017, released in June 2018.
The final score is tabulated by averaging the rank of these five metrics.
The “hot hoods index” is calculated by ranking neighborhoods within metros by:
Year-over-year change in home values (faster price appreciation indicates a hotter market)
Median days on market (fewer days on market indicates a hotter market)
The change in days on market since last year (where bigger drops in days on market indicate a hotter market).
A neighborhood’s “hotness” is based on the sum of these ranks. Neighborhood-level days on market metrics are calculated using data for the 12 months ending September 2018. Neighborhood-level home values are based on the month of September 2018.
By design, the Coyote Entertainment Center is the kind of place you’ll want to bring the family for the day.
Like a full eight-hour day.
“Basically, it’s a one-stop shop,” says Nichole Castillo, director of sales and marketing for the center, which opens Nov. 30 next to Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore.
“It’s almost like a perfect entertainment spot.”
The glass-faced building comes in at close to 90,000 square feet and puts several options under one roof.
The eight-screen Palace Cinemas has 1,100 luxury seats with Christie Pure laser cinema projectors, QSC Theater and Dolby Atmos sound systems, and delivered-to-your-seat food options.
Tachi Palace’s new Coyote Entertainment Center includes eight multiplex movie theaters with reclining leather chairs.
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Tachi Lanes is a 30-lane bowling alley that’s heavy on flashing neon and swank leather seating with a separated six-lane VIP room.
The shoes are old school.
Mit’si Little Arcade has more than 45 games — franchise games like Halo and The Walking Dead, plus classics like Ice Ball (better known as skee-ball). All games use the point system (ala Dave & Buster’s) and players can earn reward points redeemable in the arcade shop.
There’s a stuffed poop emoji, for example, but also Xbox gaming consoles and the like.
Red Bud Billiards is set up with nine tournament-style tables, a full bar and a video wall made up with nine large-screen TVs.
Red Bud Billiards at Tachi Palace’s new Coyote Entertainment Center also features a sports bar with large-screen TVs.
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Along with the standard theater-style concessions, there is also the Ch’ox’l Eagle Lounge, which features a full menu of flatbreads, salads and paninis, plus pizzas, chicken wings, beer-battered fish and chips, and burgers. For those of drinking age, the restaurant features 30 craft beers along with specialty cocktails and an expansive bourbon selection.
The center will be open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Taken with the existing casino and hotel (and with the World Surf League hosting events nearby), Tachi Palace is an obvious draw for those from the area — at the naval air base or in nearby towns — but also for people across the state, Castillo says.
“It’s like a hidden gem in the middle of all this ag land,” she says.
Luis Hernandez, Visalia Times-DeltaPublished 9:58 a.m. PT Nov. 12, 2018
With the recent openings of Ross Dress for Less and dd’s Discounts, the Tulare Pavilion shopping center is near tenant capacity, recovering from a double-gut punch of having two anchor stores close.
Mervyn’s closed at the shopping center in 2009. Kmart closed in 2016.
Coupled with the openings of Harbor Freight Tools and a Dollar Tree store earlier this year, the vacant spaces are now filled.
“We saw the Mervyn’s building was empty for a long time,” Tulare Council member Carlton Jones said. “It’s nice to see that filled.”
Harbor Freight Tools and the Dollar Tree store moved into the former Mervyn’s building while Ross and dd’s took over Kmart’s former location.
Donnette Silva-Carter, Tulare Chamber of Commerce CEO, said the stores’ openings mean new jobs in Tulare and a boost to the local economy.
“It’s exciting to see activity there,” she said. “We are seeing that parking lot busy.”
The activity means an increase to the city’s sales tax revenue, Silva-Carter said. Already the shopping center features Big Lots, restaurants, a travel agency, shoe and apparel stores, and an insurance company.
Sales tax revenue is how municipalities pay for services such as police, fire, parks, and roads.
Shoppers seem to enjoy visiting the new stores.
On a recent afternoon, Lisa Palomino, a Visalia resident, walked out of Ross with a couple of large plastic bags filled with merchandise. She said likes shopping in Tulare.
“The store is clean. There’s ample parking. The employees were friendly with customers,” she said. “They have good selections in the store.”
Palomino didn’t mind driving to Tulare for her shopping, she said. After dropping off the bags in her car, Palomino walked to dd’s to continue her shopping.
Viridiana Velasquez, a Tulare resident, said she planned on shopping at the two stores. She said it was the stores’ opening that drew her to the shopping center.
And Velasquez household members were planning on additional trips to the Tulare Pavillion shopping center: Her husband was planned to pick up some items at Harbor Freight Tools.
With the opening of Ross and dd’s in Tulare, the clothing stores now have locations in Visalia, Hanford, and Delano.
Velasquez likes having those stores in her hometown, she said.
“We don’t have to go elsewhere to go to those stores,” she said. “We have them here.”
Silva-Carter called on residents to support the recent store openings.
“We ought to stay in our town and shop in our town before shopping elsewhere,” she said. “Stay here first.”
Besides the openings at the Tulare Pavilion, there’s plenty of business activity around Tulare, including the openings of The Habit and Wayback Burgers and the recent opening of a Starbucks in downtown.
Additional businesses are expected to open in Tulare, the result of a recruiting trip to a Southern California conference, Jones also said. Seemingly, business activity comes in waves.
“I hope it’s a wave that lasts a long time,” Silva-Carter said.
Say organic food and some might envision earthy-crunchy concoctions that are high on health and low on flavor.
But at Hughson’s new Don’t Panic It’s Organic, good for you and good tasting collide in a pleasant package. The family-run eatery offers organic cafe food — like sandwiches and salads, chili bowls and smoothies. They also offer a full juice bar, smoothies, coffee and tea.
Owner Katherine Bertolotti and her family began eating organic close to two years ago. The Modesto native now lives in Hughson, as do her mother, sister and brother in the heart of the community’s farming land. But then, her now 7-year-old son began to develop severe allergies — including rashes and asthma attacks. She worried that the pesticides on their food and used in their surrounding orchards might be part of the problem.
So she switched her family to organic foods at home and stopped using pesticides on their trees, and then convinced the rest of her family to
“I was cooking and preparing food at home all the time. And I thought, ‘Man, this is a lot of work. If only I could get someone to do it for me,’” she said.
Siblings Sarah, left, and David Mingham, middle, and Katherine Bertolotti at Don’t Panic It’s Organic eatery in Hughson, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.
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But instead of that, she decided to do it for other people. Bertolotti and her brother David Mingham opened the eatery Don’t Panic It’s Organic in late October. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and light dinner options as well as specialty fresh juice, coffee, tea and smoothie drinks. And to prove organic food isn’t all wholesome, they also offer wine and grape-liquor based cocktails like bloody marys and margaritas. Heck, they even have kombucha (a fermented tea) on draft, along with a handful of beers.
Mingham serves as the restaurant manager, and his sister Sarah and mother Lisa also work behind the counter. They source many of their products locally, from small organic farms like Burroughs Family Farms and We the People Farms from Denair. The vast majority of the products they use are organic, while others are gluten-free and some of their meat and poultry are free-range or grass-fed.
Salami sandwich at Don’t Panic It’s Organic eatery in Hughson, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.
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The restaurant doesn’t have a full kitchen, so its fare is on the lighter side. But you can still get a heaping plate of grass-fed beef chili nachos ($12) or a large organic salami sandwich on roll from Berkeley’s Acme Bread ($9).
Another attraction is the fresh juice bar. You can order a Healthy Heartbeat made from apple, beet, celery, lemon and ginger or the Immunity Booster with celery, spinach, kale, lemon, ginger and garlic. Juices run $7.49 each. Power up any drink with a wheat grass shot for $3 or a “gut shot” of ginger beet, golden turmeric and smoked jalapeno for $1. Smoothies, which also run $7.49 each, range from superfood favorites and fruit-based options to a peanut butter and banana sweet treat and classic strawberry and banana.
Bertolotti said she initially thought about opening possibly in Modesto or elsewhere, but decided on Hughson because it was so close to home. While she worried that the small farming community might not be receptive, she said, people have generally been pleased when they’ve come in. Though there have been a lot of questions.
“People say, ‘Oh, you’re organic. So this is vegan.’ And we’re like, no, we eat meat. It’s just grass-fed and healthier,” she said.
The restaurant has options for people looking for organic meals, gluten-free or probiotic options, paleo menus and more. And it joins a small spate of eateries in and coming to Hughson which have made the small town a mini-foodie destination. They include the new joint Slick Fork BBQ and upcoming Callahan’s Brewing Company. Don’t Panic It’s Organic is also in the same shopping center as the popular Agave Azul Kitchen & Tequila Bar.
Katherine Bertolotti pours koumbucha on tap at Don’t Panic It’s Organic eatery in Hughson, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.
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As for that great name, well, it came from her father, who used to reassure her when her kids came over and he fed them.
“My dad would say, ‘Don’t panic, it’s organic.’ And I’d say, ‘Sure, let me read the label,’” she said. “We really just want to cook and feed people good food.”
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.
The facilities would be built near the Hounds Tooth Inn over a projected three to four years. The hotel would consist of about 120 rooms and the 10,000-square-foot conference center would fit as many as 500 people, said District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler.
“I think it would be one more straw in our hat. One more reason to come up here to eastern Madera County,” Wheeler said. He said it would also create at least 100 jobs for the community.
The development group tasked with planning and building the facilities, Zero Capital, came to an agreement with Madera County that, in exchange for its involvement with the project, they would receive 50 percent of the transient occupancy tax (TOT) from the proposed hotel over 25 years.
TOT is a tax placed on all lodging costs across California, which varies from region to region. Madera County’s TOT is 9 percent.
Wheeler estimated the county and Zero Capital would split $15 million over those 25 years.
Gautam Patel, principal of Zero Capital, explained the incentive was requested due to the group not seeing any financial return from the conference room, the driving force of the project. He assured the group is not making out with any extra money.
“The way that it’s structured is that we will be recouping the investment we put into this over 25 years. We’re not trying to get anything that we’re not putting into the project,” Patel said.
Also, Zero Capital will not begin to receive their incentive until the project is completed.
Patel said the goal of the facility is to bring people to the area when the tourism dies down by providing a conference center and hotel suitable for corporate meetings and gatherings. He said facilities of the quality of the proposed hotel and conference center are not available in Oakhurst.
“It’s gonna be on par with something you would see at resort, but with a bit of a natural touch to it,” he said.
Hotel rooms will draw inspiration from cabins, while also maintaining an “upscale” feel.
Since the announcement of the project, the community has already begun voicing concerns. Wheeler said one of the community’s biggest was the hotel and conference center’s water supply and whether it would impact the community’s.
He said the hotel would be operating on a private water well, completely separate from what the public uses.
Others argue that Tenaya Lodge offers the same exact capabilities as this proposed project. But Tenaya Lodge is actually located in Mariposa County — so Madera County does not benefit from any of its foot traffic.
Last year, visitors spent a total of $145.3 million on stays in hotels and motels in Madera County and Wheeler said there is always room for growth.
“If you’re not growing all the time, you’re going to die on the vine,” Wheeler said.
There are three other hotels still being constructed in Oakhurst. They have been under construction for five years due to a number of delays caused by a number of procedural violations, including starting work before building permits were issued.
Zero Capital has already made tentative renderings of what the hotel could look like, but Patel was quick to point out that these are in no way finished and development will continue if the project is approved.
The supervisors will vote on the project during an Oct. 16 public forum at the Oakhurst Community Center, as part of their “On the Road” series.