PG&E on Wednesday launched a new network for charging electric vehicles, a web of green energy that will eventually include 7,500 charging stations.
Condominiums, apartment buildings and workplaces throughout PG&E’s service territory in northern and central California are among the types of locations planned for the EV-charging stations.
Over the first three months of 2018, PG&E will install new electric vehicle charging sites through partnerships with business customers. Merced College, the first participating customer, was among the first round of installations.
The $130 million program will extend over three years and end in 2020, PG&E said.
All hosts of the EV-charging sites will be allowed to own the vehicle-charging equipment, PG&E said.
San Francisco-based PG&E will be allowed to own 35 percent of the charging stations installed over the three years, which would be up to 2,625 out of the 7,500.
“We have just installed chargers at our first customer site, which is the Los Banos campus of Merced College,” said Ari Vanrenen, a PG&E spokeswoman.
PG&E installed six chargers at the campus on Wednesday. Each charging station can accommodate two vehicles at the same time. Merced College has decided to own the first six chargers.
Equipment for this program includes what are known as Level 2 chargers.
“Level 2 charges a vehicle in four to six hours,” Vanrenen said.
In January 2017, PG&E proposed a $253 million plan to expand use of electric vehicles in California in a quest for cleaner air, but customers would be forced to pay more in monthly power bills to bankroll the company’s project.
The proposal’s elements include helping ease the process of conversions to electric vehicles of existing large- and medium-sized vehicles now running on diesel or gasoline, and expanding deployment of fast-charging electric vehicle stations that power up electric cars in roughly 25 minutes.
But that plan would come with a cost: Monthly power bills would rise an average of 28 cents a month for residential customers of PG&E, Vanrenen estimated at the time.
An expansion of PG&E’s initial efforts is already in the works through a series of pilot programs, Max Baumhefner, a San Francisco-based official with the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental activism group, stated in a blog post on Wednesday.
“These programs will be soon followed by 15 different pilots that were recently approved by the state Public Utilities Commission and which target cars, trucks, buses, cranes, airport equipment, forklifts and other things that move,” Baumhefner wrote in the blog post.
The stations that PG&E would own would most likely be in multi-family residential apartment or condominium complexes, as well as in disadvantaged communities.
“These would be in places where cars would be more likely to sit for extended periods of time,” Vanrenen said.
The walls are up at Ulta Beauty’s new distribution center in Southwest Fresno. But it’s taken months to turn Ag land into a commercial business that will soon house hundreds of employees, sending beauty products around the country.
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said, “We had the right business elements. The right geographical location in California, the right weather, a big enough urban base to have a substantial labor supply, the cost of the building. All of that works in our favor.”
Brand likes the progress he’s seeing, he said the area in Southwest Fresno, known as the “Reverse Triangle”, features an e-commerce business boom with Amazon and Ulta going up. The nearby 41 and 99 will help drivers goods get shipped far north to Canada and as far south as Mexico.
Both Ulta and Amazon combined are expected to fill about 3,000 positions for their new centers.
Brand said, “The bad news is we have a lot of underemployed people. The good news is, now we have solutions to fill these slots. These people are working with social services and other agency sought to get them trained.”
The city is working to get people trained and ready. Ulta has hired its leadership positions to work in the new 670,000 square foot distribution center at the Northeast corner of East and Central Avenues.
Recently they started hiring mechanics and clerks. Online, people can start applying for material handlers or associate positions.
Brand said, “The orders come in, the computerized labels, they’re sorted, probably electronically and robotically– but there’s always humans there making sure those things get out and are done properly.”
The city offered companies a tax incentive per job, which they say will in turn, over a long period of time, will bring a $40-million to $50-million impact to our area.
Now other companies are looking at expanding.
“I think we are on the forefront here in Fresno on this new type of economy, and we’re hoping to really capitalize on it,” said Brand.
Ulta will be hiring during the next six months. They plan to begin shipping to stores and online guests in July.
Sunset Magazine calls Fresno “California’s most affordable big city,” which sounds like something you might see on the archway coming into town.
It’s better than nothing.
The lifestyle magazine put Fresno on its list of 20 game-changing places to live – in the western part of the United States, anyway. More specifically, the city ranked fourth out of four in the northern region of California, behind Sacramento, Eureka and Truckee.
In its brief description of the city, the magazine mentions the money (millions) spent to refurbish Fulton Street and the promise of the high-speed rail project.
“Once the nation’s first bullet train links it to Silicon Valley via high-speed rail, watch out,” it wrote.
This isn’t the first time Fresno has gotten love in the pages of Sunset. Sea Lion Cove at Fresno Chaffee Zoo was featured as on of the magazine’s favorite-things lists. Christmas Tree Lane was one of its favorite holiday lights displays. The magazine even ran a feature on the event.
What better way to celebrate the Central Valley than to exhibit photos that highlight life in this area?
The Carnegie Arts Center will be doing just that with an upcoming exhibit entitled Valley Focus. Eighty photo pieces by 50 photographers will be on display from Jan. 17 to Mar. 18.
Santa Cruz-based photographer Ted Orland selected the pieces from over 250 entries. Orland has worked for designer Charles Eames and was an assistant to Ansel Adams. He currently teaches master class workshops throughout the country.
An opening reception and awards ceremony will be held on Jan. 18, from 5-8 p.m. at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock, 250 N. Broadway.
Artists Included in the Exhibition:
Leslee Adams, Modesto
Rosalva Aguilar, Escalon
Janet Alcalde, Murphys
Ann Bailey, Turlock
Clifford H. Bailey, Turlock
Martin Baker, Modesto
Anna Barber, Ripon
Tracy Barbutes, Groveland
Fred Benz, Fresno
Barry Buttress, Turlock
William Calvin, Modesto
Carrie Anne Castillo, Turlock
Neil Cervenka, Turlock
Roberto Chiesa, Modesto
Susan Conner, Altaville
Scott Fergusson, Modesto
Michael Frye, Mariposa
Franka Gabler, Coarsegold
Charlotte Gibb, Lafayette
Clayton Gomez, Turlock
William Harris, Modesto
David Hoffman, Mariposa
Greg Hubbard, Merced
Gary Hunter, Oakdale
Alexis Isley, Delhi
Karen Jensen, Hughson
Linda Knoll, Modesto
Peter David Lee, Modesto
Alice Lessard, Merced
Larry Lew, Ceres
Lisa Livingston, Modesto
Emela McLaren, Manteca
John Moses, Fresno
Jodie Parolini, Turlock
James Quinley, Turlock
Evan Russel, Yosemite Village
Cassaundra Salvanera, Modesto
Joseph Scalero, Modesto
Tara Schendel, Turlock
David Schroeder, Modesto
Roberto Serrato, Riverbank
Jen Smith, Turlock
Elisa Solorio-Ontiveros, Turlcok
Lindsey Tallcott, Modesto
Andy Tolsma, Merced
Arturo Velasquez, Modesto
Christopher Viney, Atwater
James Weber, Discovery Bay
Dennis Wister, Modesto
Roger Wyan, Merced
Now that Fulton Street – closed to cars for more than 50 years – is reopened, people are waiting to see what new businesses appear there.
There still are many vacancies and metal gates pulled across storefronts. But restaurants are among the first new businesses working on plans to open on Fulton Street. It might take a while – not all have signed leases yet – but there is plenty of prep work happening.
As always, restaurant openings are notorious for their delays, so you’ll have to be patient. Several may not open for many months
Chicken Shack – The former Payless ShoeSource will be home to the second location of The Chicken Shack from Hanford. The store, at 1108 Fulton Street at the corner of Mariposa Mall, will be divided into two restaurants. It’s still a big, empty space without kitchens, though, so many months of work are ahead.
Chicken Shack owner Damon Miller hopes to open this summer.
The menu will be much like the restaurant in Hanford, featuring jumbo chicken wings and tenders with more than 30 sauces.
Miller was looking at spaces all over Fresno and got excited about downtown’s future.
“I’m pretty optimistic it’s going to do well,” he said. “There’s still a lot of rejuvenation to come to downtown Fresno and it’d be good to get in early.”
Renoir’s washer woman sculpture stands outside what will be known as Renoir Corner, where two restaurants, The Chicken Shack and Toshiko Japanese Cuisine, are planned at Mariposa and Fulton streets in downtown Fresno.
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The corner has been dubbed Renoir Corner for the washer woman sculpture there inspired by painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. (Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, Renoir directed an assistant to create the statue. Fresno’s version is one of six worldwide and the only one the public is allowed to touch.)
Building owner Robert Gurfield – who also owns the two buildings just north of there – plans to put a sign with the Renoir Corner name on the building.
Toshiko Japanese Cuisine – Also hoping to open in the other half of the Payless space is another Hanford business, Toshiko Japanese Cuisine. The sushi and ramen restaurant has a banner up but has yet to sign a lease, so nothing is definite.
Tutis Fruties – The cart selling aguas frescas drinks, fruit and hot dogs on Fulton since 1986 is opening a storefront.
Called Tutis Fruties (not to be confused with the frozen yogurt franchise Tutti Frutti), the business will serve ice cream, aguas frescas, fruit cups and Mexican desserts and snacks like raspados and tostilocos.
The owners hope the restaurant will open by mid-January. They want to continue running the cart, but aren’t sure about its future
Tutis Fruties ice cream parlor nears opening on Fulton Street near Tulare Street in downtown Fresno.
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Quail State – This bar and restaurant doesn’t exist yet, but its sophisticated Instagram photos of cocktails has people intrigued.
The founder says he has the money to open and is in the final stages of negotiating for a space on Fulton Street. But a deal isn’t signed, so he’s not saying where.
Quail State would serve farm-to-table cuisine inspired by Fresno and California’s multicultural population. The name is nod to California and its state bird.
It would sell craft cocktails made from local, seasonal ingredients. The bar would make its own simple syrups, bitters and vermouth, and barrel-age its own cocktails.
If all goes as planned, it could open this summer.
Josh Islas and his partners are the people behind Quail State. Islas was born and raised in Dinuba and lived in Fresno for a year before moving to Southern California. He has spent 10 years working in bars and restaurants, including in management and marketing.
He has joined with his girlfriend, Hayley Wolf, who will be the chief financial officer, and Fresnan Clinton Jeffries.
His search for a spot on Fulton Street didn’t pan out, but he’s landed a location 100 feet away from the street.
He will sell coffee and tea out of Raizana Tea Co. at the corner of Fulton and Tuolumne streets, next to Warnors Theatre.
You see, he bought Raizana with the help of “angel investors.”
He will continue to fulfill orders for Raizana’s wholesale business, which includes selling through Amazon. He will roast coffee and run his coffee business out of the location, too.
“Our plan is to make it where Fulton Street Coffee and Raizana continue to grow separately, but as sister companies,” Vargas said.
The tea-bar part of the business, where people can come in and order a cup, also will sell coffee. It’s not clear what it will be called and Vargas has some prep work to do first, but he hopes it will be open with regular hours by the beginning of February.
But it hasn’t been smooth sailing for everyone. During Fulton’s grand reopening celebration in October, another entrepreneur previewed the business she wanted to open.
It would have been the city’s first cider bar, plus bring a coffee shop to the northern end of Fulton. She couldn’t reach a deal on the Fulton Street location she wanted to rent, however.
She’s now managing the BroadwayEvents Center not far from Fulton. She still wants to open the cider and coffee business, but it’s probably going to take a little longer.
“I do still want to be on Fulton,” she said. “It’s unfortunate how many storefronts are still just sitting.”
Another business that was up and running when the mall was still closed to cars, Antojitos Mexican Restaurant, has closed. The owners of the business at 1234 Fulton Mall could not be reached for comment.
Little Bean Cafe plans to reopen in 2018 at its location on the corner of Mariposa and Fulton streets in downtown Fresno.
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Little Bean Cafe – This coffee shop was open on Fulton back when it was for pedestrians only. It closed after some electrical problems.
But Little Bean Cafe is planning a comeback. The shop, at the corner of Fulton Street and Mariposa Mall, has signs up that say “Coming Back 2018.”
Owner Guillermo Moreno confirmed the shop should open this year, but he couldn’t pin down a more specific time.
Just the Tip – This restaurant serving tri-tip sandwiches, salads and wraps moved to the area in October. It had outgrown its digs on Divisadero Street near Fresno Community Regional Center.
It moved to 2017 Mariposa Mall, near the corner of Fulton and Mariposa.
“It was perfect timing because of Fulton Street,” said Bianca “Binx” Lopez, one of three partners behind the restaurant.
The trio wasn’t necessarily looking to be on Fulton Street, but they are happy to be part of the changes downtown. They even renamed its sandwiches to reflect nearby streets. The Van Ness, for example, is their French dip sandwich.
Existing restaurants, from left, Donut Downtown, La Cocina de Mamá, Just the Tip and Kids Cafe 2019, are located in what will be known as Renoir Corner, near the artist’s washer woman sculpture at the corner of Mariposa and Fulton streets in downtown Fresno.
The first day of a three-day job fair in downtown Fresno Tuesday marked the kickoff for people hoping to find work at Amazon’s huge order-processing center under construction at the city’s south edge.
Hundreds of hopeful job-seekers showed up at the DoubleTree hotel. Some waited outside for hours on a foggy, chilly morning for a chance to apply and interview for work.
But dozens left disheartened when representatives of JLL – the company that works as a vendor to Amazon for technical and mechanical staff – told the crowd that they are not hiring for jobs with Amazon itself. People without a technical background were told they need to apply through Amazon’s recruiting website.
The job fair started at the hotel at Ventura and M streets and will continue Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is aimed at recruiting applicants for about 80 technical and mechanical positions – jobs that are separate from about 1,500 employees expected to be employed when the e-commerce fulfillment center opens later this year. Construction on the 855,000-square-foot building began last summer.
Amazon plans to open a 855,000-square-foot warehouse in Fresno expecting to employ about 1,500 workers when it opens.
One of the JLL staffers told the waiting crowd the building will open June 3, but that technicians and mechanics are being hired first to prepare for the start of operations. Those who are hired will be employees of JLL – effectively outsourced by Amazon, but working in the Amazon facility.
Amazon representatives said Tuesday afternoon that they cannot confirm the June 3 date, only that the warehouse is set to open this summer. They anticipate hiring their hourly rank-and-file workers in the mid- to late spring, six to eight weeks before the facility opens.
Amazon also sought to temper the disappointment of those who were turned away from the job fair Tuesday. “We’re encouraged by the outstanding interest we saw today in roles connected to the Amazon fulfillment center,” the company said in a statement. “To be clear, these are roles created by a third-party vendor, not Amazon positions.”
The company added that “When we get closer to the date when hiring will begin for 1,500 full-time Amazon roles later this year, information will be available on www.amazondelivers.job. So far, no jobs for the Fresno fulfillment center are listed yet. Amazon has about a dozen human resources and management positions for the Fresno site at another web page, www.amazon.jobs.
Christian Jackson of Fresno said he and two friends, Rocco Giuseppe and Jordan O’Neill, got in line at about 5 a.m., but walked away dejected after hearing that only people with technical, electrical or mechanical backgrounds were being sought by JLL.
“It’s kinda stupid” to announce a job fair for such a limited range of jobs, Jackson said. He was looking forward to interviewing for one of the more general jobs at the warehouse. “I’m just trying to get ahead and move up in the world.”
Jackson said he most recently worked for a sporting goods store. “It’s not hard to find a job, but it’s hard to find a good job,” he said.
Robert Ortiz Jr. arrived at the hotel about 12:30 a.m. to be the first in line. He said he’s hopeful his experience in building and mechanical maintenance will land him a job with benefits.
Job applicants Tia Mouya, left, and Ulyssa Velaquez, right, go over paperwork as they and hundreds of other job-seekers wait in line up outside DoubleTree hotel for the Amazon job fair on Tuesday, Jan. 16. 2017. Velaquez said she arrived at 4 a.m. to get in line.
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Chris Hunter of JLL said the company is taking applications and doing on-site interviews “for the technicians that make the building run.” That refers to people with experience in robotics, mechanical maintenance, conveyor operations and other technical fields.
Hunter said JLL likely will begin hiring a few management positions in February, with a few more hires in March and most in April, all to get the building and equipment ready for the warehouse opening in June.
The technical and mechanical jobs are needed because the Fresno building will rely heavily on technology, especially robotics, for the speed and efficiency required to fill orders. Kelvin Downes, Amazon’s West Coast operations director, said last summer that robots will retrieve merchandise from the warehouse shelves and ferry it to workers who will sort and pack the items for shipping. The robots will “allow us, in some cases, to ship (an order) in minutes rather than hours,” Downes said.
Most of the hourly employees who will work at the Fresno warehouse “will be putting items on shelves, picking items from a shelf, packing it all together to make sure we get the right items in the right box at the right time, and then shipping it out to the customer,” Downes said. He added that the Fresno center will likely handle orders for smaller-sized goods, such as books, electronic devices and toys.
Twenty-seventeen has proven to be yet another exciting year in technology.
We’ve seen Google’s artificial intelligence create its own ‘AI child,’ which outperforms those created by humans, growth of blockchain, rapid advancements in quantum computing, flying cars and expanded use of the precise gene editing technique CRISPR/Cas-9.
Scientists are even beginning to develop potential roadmaps to reverse aging.
As we close out the year and look forward to 2018, let’s take a moment to see which upcoming technology trends will be the most impactful for the Central Valley.
On a side note, isn’t it interesting that as collective human knowledge grows exponentially, individual humans appear to be less capable? Some of us are losing the ability to read maps, spell correctly and do arithmetic in our heads. As voice-enabled smart devices evolve into wearables and then implantables, some people may find literacy to be unnecessary in a few years.
Back to 2018 tech trends.
Safe-driving vehicles, not self-driving vehicles
Despite all the attention that Tesla and the GM/Cruise Automation combo have been getting, Level 5 fully-autonomous vehicles are still several years away. 2018, however, will see the launch of collision avoidance, automatic braking and lane monitoring technologies from most major vehicle manufacturers.
Besides saving lives and reducing injuries, the elimination of fender-benders will eventually drastically lower our auto insurance premiums. Delivery fleets are now testing these same features, and semi-trucks may well be the application that pushes the pace for adoption of fully autonomous vehicles in the Central Valley.
Agtech hits its stride
Agriculture and construction are two of the last large industries yet to be disrupted by advanced software. Progress has been slow in these sectors, but momentum is now accelerating in agtech. John Deere’s $305 million acquisition of Blue River Technologies has lit a fire under venture firms to investigate opportunities and make investments in this space. We are still a few years away from viable protein reactors that literally produce food out of thin air or lab-grown meat (our grandkids will surely find it barbaric that we had to actually kill animals for meat), but many agtech companies are already being funded to improve yields and reduce pesticide use through intelligent software.
Ceres Imaging (ceresimaging.net), an Oakland-based VC-funded company is led by agricultural and technology professionals including agronomists, hydrologists, and remote sensing experts. The company’s products, which include agronomic insights through aerial spectral imagery, proprietary sensors and analytics, and artificial intelligence software is already being used to help local almond farmers optimize nut harvests and profits.
Local software and digital marketing talent expands
The next generation of agtech won’t drive productivity gains solely from mechanization as in the past. Instead this new generation will leverage state-of-the-art machine learning and artificial intelligence software. Fortunately, as I mentioned in a previous column, Stanislaus County has established itself as a software development hub, with local companies employing over 1,000 programmers. Several initiatives will further accelerate growth of the county’s software talent pool and even expand it into the Stockton area.
Valley Hackathon (valleyhackathon.com) a fast-growing programming contest that highlights local programmers continues to expand and draw coders into the tech community. The next event will be held at Modesto’s ValleyWorx (valleyworx.com) tech and digital design co-working space on January 26 and 27.
ValleyWorx now hosts a rapidly expanding coding meetup every Wednesday from 3-8 p.m. The collaboration with Free Code Camp is providing an easy entry point for developers to accelerate their growth.
Bay Valley Tech’s (bayvalleytech.com) coding camps and advanced software development classes taught by professional programmers will also grow the local talent pool.
In 2018, Bay Valley Foundation (bayvalleyfoundation.com) will begin raising money for a technology scholarship fund to provide tuition assistance to Central Valley students seeking careers in software development.
The Entrepreneur Lab, based in downtown Stockton’s Huddle co-working space, is a 21-week, intensive incubation program which cultivates high-growth startups.
In addition to software, the Central Valley’s digital design and marketing capabilities are also expanding rapidly.
Final Cut Media (finalcutmedia.com) saw their business and headcount triple in the last year alone. As experts in marketing strategy, design and digital video creation, they help leading brands such as Bay Area-based Fit Republic Health Clubs successfully plan and execute integrated, digital-focused marketing campaigns. Final Cut is also a trusted advisor to large organizations like Stanislaus County, developing digital/social communications strategies for their human resources and recruiting teams.
Mike Daniel, Partner and Chief Marketing Officer at Final Cut, advises companies to build a solid digital content/distribution strategy and then leverage data to create an effective lead funnel. Final Cut’s success is further driving rapid tech and digital marketing growth in the Valley.
Expanding Bay Area companies bring more high-paying tech jobs
Bay Area technology firms winning in the global marketplace have created tremendous wealth in the form of profits, salaries and stock options. The resulting competition for tech workers and housing have raised salaries but diminished affordable housing in the San Francisco/San Jose region.
Some communities now require an annual income of $218,000 to qualify for a median-priced home.
Tech firms looking for relief have traditionally expanded out of state to destinations such as Denver, Austin and Seattle. The recent surge in Central Valley software talent, however, is beginning to catch the attention of Bay Area companies.
The Modesto/Stockton area now has both affordable housing and tech talent, making the region an attractive option for Bay Area companies who want to keep satellite offices closer to home.
American Medical Response, Novo Technologies and Oportun have all been expanding and hiring software professionals in their Modesto offices. Recently, Varsity Technologies (varsitytechnologies.com), a San Francisco-based company providing outsourced IT services to organizations that want to make a difference (non-profits, schools and healthcare organizations) opened a second office in Modesto within the ValleyWorx tech co-working space.
Local businesses and techies are thrilled to have Varsity bring their expertise and jobs to our community and are confident more Bay Area companies will see the value of investing in our region and our people in 2018.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal income experienced growth in 2016 in San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties.
San Joaquin led the charge, coming in above state and national averages at 5 percent personal income growth from 2015 to 2016. Stanislaus County and Merced County came in at 3.6 and 2.1 percent, respectively.
California counties enjoyed an average of 3.7 percent gains in personal income in 2016 and nationwide averages were 2.3 percent.
Personal income refers to all money made by people in the U.S., including total earnings from wages, investment enterprises and other ventures.
These numbers are part of a nationwide trend the BEA reported has continued in 2017, with personal income in the U.S. growing $65.1 billion, or 0.4 percent, in October.
In the second quarter of 2017, California personal incomes grew 0.7 percent on average after increasing 1.4 percent in the first quarter, according to estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
While the numbers indicate growth, percentages are down from the previous two years in all three counties, following state and national trends.
Data for 2017 by county will not be released until November 2018.
A small piece of developer Terance Frazier’s dream to turn a block of downtown Fresno into a housing and entertainment district is getting ready to open. But it may be awhile before the major transformation happens.
After plans for a brewery at 721 Broadway St. fell through, Frazier, whose partner told him to sell the building, decided to turn the 10,000-square-foot space into the Broadway Event Center for private parties, corporate and special events.
“There are very few urban event centers in downtown” that give the true urban feel of exposed brick walls, concrete floors and garage-style doors opening into a back alley, said Frazier, owner of TFS Investments.
“I love this building,” he said with a big smile. “There’s no way I’m going to sell it.”
Frazier painted the facade of the building, which was previously home to Pool Tables R Us. Inside, he installed decorative lights, put art work and wood shelves on the walls and had two custom wood bars made by Santiago’s Custom Made Furniture for the two rooms.
Developer Terance Frazier stands behind the bar in one of the rooms in his Broadway Event Center, located just south of Chukchansi Park, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The center features large warehouse rooms for corporate events or parties. It is possibly the first step to realizing Frazier’s dream of creating a housing, retail and entertainment superblock near Chukchansi Park.
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The front room has big windows letting in natural light and is a little fancier than the room in the rear, which Frazier describes as a speakeasy because of its underground, hidden feel.
Imagine the possibilities, Frazier said while pulling a garage door open to show the alley that separates the event center from a row of warehouses that he owns on H Street between Inyo and Mono, south of Chukchansi Park. People attending events at the center will be able to pull around to the back of the building and use valet service to park their cars, he said, then walk into the building for live performances.
The rear of the event center faces a section of the H Street warehouses where Frazier plans to open a bowling alley. Both buildings would have back patios that face each other.
Developer Terance Frazier looks over one of the rooms in his Broadway Event Center, located just south of Chukchansi Park, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The center features large warehouse rooms for corporate events or parties. It is possibly the first step to realizing Frazier’s dream of creating a housing, retail and entertainment superblock near Chukchansi Park.
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“People say, ‘oh my God, this is trash,’” Frazier said about the old buildings. “I’m like, ‘oh my God, this is beautiful.’”
The event center will host its first party on Dec. 15. It has two more events booked this month.
“This will be my best chance to figure out what people want,” Frazier said. “It’s going to teach me what I need to do on the block.”
Frazier wants to create a superblock of apartments, restaurants, brew pubs and entertainment in the area. He is also partnering with developer Mehmet Noyan to build 51 apartments on top of 10,000 square feet of retail and commercial space on the south end of Fulton Street. Construction on the South Stadium project was slated to begin after the completion of Fulton Street.
Terance Frazier is working to develop a block of H Street and some of Broadway, seen at left center in this aerial drone photo on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, into a housing, retail and entertainment superblock near Chukchansi Park.
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But Frazier said the projects are on hold because they did not receive state Transformative Climate Communities grants to help cover the cost of road and utility improvements. He’s calling on the city to help.
“I’m fully invested by buying the block and trying to buy more,” Frazier said. “H Street is on hold until the city can say what it can do.”
• Florida produced twice as much citrus as California as
recently as 2012
For the first time in 70 years, California has surpassed Florida
in citrus production, according to the University of California,
Florida groves have been decimated by a disease called
huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease, that threatens
citrus production in California, too.
“HLB is not just bad for farmers and the economy,” says Carolyn
Slupsky, a biochemist and nutritionist with the University of
California, Davis. “The loss of fresh oranges and other citrus is
a real possibility and that would seriously impact our health.”
Ms. Slupsky and other UC Davis experts are working with
farmers and fellow scientists to develop early detection
methods, boost tree immunity and find a cure for the
California farmers sold nearly 4 million tons of citrus in the
2016-2017 marketing season, compared to 3.5 million tons from
Florida, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Florida
produced twice as much citrus as California as recently as the
Florida didn’t lose its top spot because the Golden State is
producing more citrus. In fact, California farmers produced 14
percent fewer fresh oranges this season.
Citrus greening disease is caused by a bacterium that is spread
by the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny insect that feeds on the leaves
and stems of citrus trees. A tree infected with HLB can live for
years without symptoms, allowing the pathogen to spread
undetected to other trees. Symptoms emerge over time as a
tree’s fruit starts to turn green and misshapen with a bitter,
HLB is a global threat. Beyond Florida, the disease has
destroyed groves in Asia, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
The disease has been spotted in about 250 backyard trees in
Southern California, but so far California’s commercial orchards
— many of which are in the Central Valley — have been spared.
Researchers are hard at work to keep it that way. An
international team of scientists led by UC Davis chemical
ecology expert Walter Leal recently identified the molecule that
attracts the Asian citrus psyllid, which may help researchers
develop a less toxic way to trap the insect to slow the disease’s
Ms. Slupsky is taking a different tack. She and her team are
using nuclear magnetic resonance technology to study how the
pathogen affects the metabolism of the tree. Her research
shines a light on HLB’s mode of attack.
“The pathogen seems to cause havoc with a tree’s ability to
defend itself from infection,” Ms. Slupsky says. “That’s a
spectacular discovery, because when we understand the
mechanisms behind the attack we have a chance at blocking
them and boosting a tree’s natural immunity.”
Working with Kris Godfrey, an associate project scientist at the
UC Davis Contained Research Facility, and Michelle Heck at
Cornell University, Ms. Slupsky found differences in the
chemical fingerprint of leaves starting very early in the infection
process. With further research, she believes that she can
develop a chemical profile to provide a reliable, rapid and early
indicator of the presence of infection.
“Early detection is key,” Ms. Slupsky says. “If we can catch the
disease early in the infection and get rid of the infected trees,
we can hopefully slow down the spread of HLB enough to give
scientists time to find a cure.”
Breeders are working to develop HLB-resistant rootstock, which
is one of the most promising avenues to a cure. Researchers
are also looking at whether they can transform the psyllid to
prevent its ability to spread HLB. UC Davis plant pathologist
Bryce Falk is leading a search to find and engineer viruses that
can induce traits in the insect that prevent it from transmitting
Breeding rootstock and engineering viruses takes time. In the
meantime, backyard citrus growers can help keep HLB at bay
by monitoring their trees for signs of psyllids or infection and
removing trees that are infected or near infected trees.
Ms. Slupsky says that together, farmers, gardeners and science
can help save citrus and the nourishment it provides.
“From a nutritional standpoint, it’s hard to beat fresh citrus,” she
says. “Oranges provide energy, fiber and a wide variety of
nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They’re one of the most
consumed fruits in the United States. I can’t imagine life without