Robots spotted roaming Modesto streets

Residents have been noticing some strange sights in Modesto over the past few days.

Small robotic machines have been going up and down the streets of a northeast neighborhood. One side of the robot says “Hungry? I can help.”

On Friday, six robots were seen cautiously navigating crosswalks and traffic, getting long glances from drivers.

The robots are from Starship Technologies, a company based out of San Francisco. The company said it is testing its navigational systems and did not release any other details.

https://www-kcra-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.kcra.com/amp/article/robots-spotted-roaming-modesto-streets/34082194

$15.66-Million Apartment Building in Central Valley Sold by The Mogharebi Group

(“TMG”) has completed the sale of Oak Valley Apartments, a 109-unit community, in Tulare. The property sold for $15,660,000 with multiple offers. Alex Mogharebi, Otto Ozen, Robin Kane, Brendan Kane and Mark Bonas of The Mogharebi Group represented the seller, IDEAL Capital Group based in Central California. The buyer was a private investor, based in Southern California. “The property is a recently renovated high quality asset with a strong unit mix with proven upside. This Central Valley community presents solid upside-value”

“The property is a recently renovated high quality asset with a strong unit mix with proven upside. This Central Valley community presents solid upside-value,” said Otto Ozen, Executive Vice President of The Mogharebi Group. “Through our proprietary 1031 exchange platform that includes a robust network of private high net-worth and exchange buyers, we were able to drive the value and successfully close.”

Built on a 7.06-acre site in 1988, Oak Valley Apartments is located at 2001 East Cross Avenue in Tulare. The property has great exposure on their fronting roads and is within a 30- to 60-minute commute to over 661,000 jobs.

The property features attractive community amenities, including a large resort-like swimming pool, fitness center, business/media center, outdoor BBQ/Picnic area, and reserved covered parking. It is walking distance to Live Oak Middle School, Super Target and less than one mile of Tulare Outlet Center and other retail shops.

About The Mogharebi Group (TMG): The Mogharebi Group is a brokerage firm specializing in the multifamily property sector throughout California. With unrivaled local knowledge, an extensive global network of top real estate investors, state of the art technology, and direct access to capital, The Mogharebi Group is the best choice to meet the needs of major private investors and investment funds.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200918005066/en/15.66-Million-Apartment-Building-in-Central-Valley-Sold-by-The-Mogharebi-Group

Central California Storage Facility Trades for $12M

Olive Drive Self Storage, a 106,041-square-foot facility in Bakersfield, Calif., has sold for $11.5 million. A private investor traded the property to an individual buyer based near San Francisco, according to Yardi Matrix data.

Located on an 8-acre parcel at 5250 Knudsen Drive, the property encompasses 14 single-story buildings completed in 2004. The facility provides a mix of drive-up access units ranging between 25 and 400 square feet and paved parking lots with sizes from 150 to 600 square feet for RVs, boats and cars. The store has an on-site manager, security cameras and individually fitted alarms within each unit and also sells packing and moving supplies.

There are 10 other self storage properties encompassing 928,772 net rentable square feet within a 3-mile radius, Yardi Matrix data shows. Situated close to the busy retail corridor along Olive Drive, the facility is 4 miles northwest of downtown Bakersfield.

The site is also 4 miles north of Cal Twin Towers, a 151,124-square-foot office property which traded for $26.1 million in February. Cushman & Wakefield assisted seller Adler Realty Investments in the disposition to Blumer Construction.

https://www.cpexecutive.com/post/central-california-storage-facility-trades-for-12m/#:~:text=The%20property%20delivered%20in%202004,square%20feet%20in%2014%20buildings.&text=Olive%20Drive%20Self%20Storage%2C%20a,has%20sold%20for%20%2411.5%20million.

Stan State Among Top 30 Colleges in the West

California State University, Stanislaus continues to be consistently recognized as one of the best universities in the Western United States as the campus earned spots on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2021” rankings in several categories.

The publication announced today the results of its annual assessment of colleges and universities, and Stanislaus State placed in the top 30 on four rankings of colleges located in the West:

  • No. 7, Social Mobility
  • No. 11, Top Public School 
  • No. 18, Best Colleges for Veterans 
  • No. 29, Regional Universities (West) 

The announcement markanother year in which Stan State earned inclusion in the esteemed rankings that provide data-driven information and guidance to prospective students and their families as they weigh college options. 

U.S. News & World Report’s methodology gathered data from 15 areas related to academic excellence including retention, graduation rates, faculty resources, peer assessment, financial resources and other metrics, then ranked schools according to a composite score. 

In addition to the online report, the publication will issue most of its college rankings with more robust datasets in its Best Colleges 2021 guidebook, available in bookstores Oct. 27.

Stan State’s repeated recognition as one of the best universities in the West reinforces its reputation for fostering a vibrant learning environment where students can develop a passion for lifelong learning while preparing for their future careers.

https://www.csustan.edu/article/stan-state-among-top-30-colleges-west

CSUB makes U.S. News’ ‘Best Colleges’ lists

CSUB has made the cut for the annual U.S. News and World Report 2021 Best Colleges report, which ranks 1,452 higher education institutions that offer bachelor’s degrees.

The university was ranked No. 31 on a list of “Top Performers on Social Mobility.” The list ranks colleges that do well at both enrolling economically disadvantaged students who are awarded Pell Grants and then graduating them. Fresno Pacific University, a private school, ranked third on this list. Many other schools in the CSU system made the list, including CSU-Long Beach which came in ranked No. 2. CSUB made the rankings of regional lists in the West. It was No. 52 in “Regional Universities.” Among “Top Public Schools,” it ranked No. 24.

Its engineering programming was also given a nod, making No. 91 in “Best Undergraduate Engineering.” This is the 36th year of the college rankings from U.S. News and World Report, which says it weighs 17 different factors when calculating rankings. Some calculations are a bit more cut-and-dry like graduation rates. Others, like peer reputation, which accounts for 20 percent of scores, are more qualitative.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/csub-makes-u-s-news-best-colleges-lists/article_d3ec39c8-f79f-11ea-b169-176d77f4bc9e.html#:~:text=CSUB%20has%20made%20the%20cut,Top%20Performers%20on%20Social%20Mobility.%E2%80%9D

FRENCH GROUP BUYS KRAFT CHEESE DIVISION, INCLUDING TULARE PLANT

French dairy company Lactalis Group has entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition by its U.S. affiliate of Kraft Heinz’s Natural, Grated, Cultured and Specialty cheese businesses in the U.S. With this acquisition, Lactalis will acquire a portfolio of iconic, strongly-positioned brands that include Cracker Barrel, Breakstone’s, Knudsen, Polly-O, Athenos, Hoffman’s and — outside the U.S. and Canada only — Cheez Whiz.

In addition, Kraft Heinz will partner with Lactalis on a perpetual license for Kraft in Natural, Grated and International cheeses and Velveeta in Natural and International cheeses. Under the terms of the transaction, Lactalis will acquire three  Kraft Heinz production facilities located in Tulare; Walton, New York and Wausau, Wisconsin, and a distribution center in Weyauwega, Wisconsin.

Approximately 750 Kraft Heinz employees will be joining Lactalis. The company expects to add additional American jobs to support this business following the closing of the transaction, which is expected in the first half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals. Kraft Tulare’s plant was originally a Louis Rich turkey plant in the 1990s but closed and later was converted by the parent company to make cheese — mostly mozzarella and Parmesan.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/french-group-buys-kraft-cheese-division-including-tulare-plant-%E2%80%A8/

California High-Speed Rail Authority approves alignment for Central Wye Valley section

THE California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has confirmed its choice of alignment for the 80.5km Central Valley Wye section of the Merced – Fresno high-speed line, following the unanimous approval of an environmental impact report for the section by the authority’s board.

California-HS

The section comprises two elements. A west-east alignment follows State Highway 152 from the the terminus of the previous section from San Jose and Gilroy at Carluccio Road to Madera where the high-speed line continues to Fresno. The south-north element runs alongside Road 11 west of Chowchilla to an intersection with the Union Pacific line from where the high-speed line will run north to Merced. This is the final section of the route to be approved after all other sections in May 2012.

The decision commits CHSRA to minimise impact of the project on the communities and local environment, and enables the authority to begin land purchases for the section. The decision was made as part of a three-part process, in which CHSRA certified the environmental analysis under state law, formally confirmed its choice of alignment from a shortlist of four options, and approved the environmental analysis and route under federal law.

The section was subsequently placed under more detailed consideration to address the concerns of local residents about the potential impact of the junction on their communities. The State Highway 152/Road 11 alignment was previously confirmed as the preferred option by CHSRA in January 2017, following preliminary assessments which suggested that the route offered the best balance between achieving the project’s objectives, reducing environmental impact and satisfying the concerns of communities and stakeholders. The alignment was also seen to be the most cost-effective option at $US 3.6bn.

Following this initial assessment, the alignment was submitted for an in-depth environmental analysis. The Merced – Fresno line is part of Phase 1 of California’s high-speed rail project, which will connect San Francisco to Anaheim. Phase 2 will extend the line north to Sacramento and south to San Diego. Around 1287km of line is planned for the project when completed.

Phase 1 is estimated to cost around $US 98.1bn, up from $US 64.2bn in 2016. The phase is currently expected to open for operation in 2029, having been delayed by four years from its previous launch date in 2025. No launch date for Phase 2 has been set. “Today’s approval represents another major milestone for this project as we have now completed the environmental reviews for the entire 275km stretch between Merced and Bakersfield,” says Mr Brian Kelly, CEO of CHSRA.

https://www.railjournal.com/regions/north-america/california-high-speed-rail-authority-approves-alignment-for-central-wye-valley-section/

Amazon to bring over 2,500 jobs to the Central Valley as part of widespread hiring spree

Amazon is recruiting more than 100,000 workers across the U.S. and Canada in anticipation of the holiday season, over 2,500 of which will be hired across the Central Valley.

According to an Amazon spokesperson, the company is adding over 4,000 jobs throughout Northern California, with 1,700 in the Sacramento area and 2,600 planned for the Central Valley. Brittany Parmley, a PR manager for Amazon Operations, said the Central Valley jobs will be available in Tracy, Patterson and Stockton. She added that jobs range from packing customer orders to positions in HR and finance within the individual buildings.

Wages will start at $15 per hour, Parmley said, and benefits like health and dental insurance, as well as a 401(k) match, will be available “on day one.” Select positions also come with a sign-on bonus of up to $1,000. Jobs are available for those with and without a college degree, and those interested can apply immediately on Amazon’s website. She also added that the company has an internal program available to employees called “career choice”, which helps workers get certifications in fields that they’re interested in order to set them up for their chosen long-term career paths.

The company’s most recent hiring spree is the fourth it has rolled out this year. E-commerce sales have skyrocketed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic as people were forced to stay home and limit their trips to physical retailers. Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, experienced a 40% revenue rise last quarter and the biggest profit in its 26-year-history. In March, the company added 175,000 new jobs across the region as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold across the globe.

Amazon has faced criticism surrounding worker safety during the pandemic, but Parmley said the company has implemented “hundreds of safety process changes” to ensure compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. She said warehouse employees are subject to regular temperature checks and that there are designated “social distancing ambassadors” in each building. There are acrylic shields partitioning workers and sanitizing stations throughout the warehouses, and Parmley said Amazon has doubled its janitorial staff.

The new job openings are available at 100 new warehouse and operations sites across the United States and Canada. As of June 30, the Seattle-based company employed 876,800 people, excluding temporary personnel and contractors. “Amazon is proud to be a part of the Central Valley community,” Parmley said. “We’re excited to welcome members of the community to apply for these jobs.

https://www.modbee.com/news/business/article245757780.html#:~:text=Amazon%20is%20recruiting%20more%20than,hired%20across%20the%20Central%20Valley.

Fresno agriculture company completes major expansion during pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Despite a drop in demand in some markets due to the pandemic, a Fresno ag company has just completed a major expansion. Expansion at Baloian Farms in Fresno came at a good time with so many vegetables now in season – like mini bell peppers. They were picked, packed and then shipped out to stores across the US and Canada.

Company CEO Tim Baloian said, “There’s three major retailers that we’re working with right now on consolidation, and then we work with wholesalers and there’s been increased demand.” The cold storage space has been expanded and the loading area has doubled in size from eight to 16 docks. That keeps the product moving in and out of the facility. Additional big rig parking has also been added.

Baloian said, “We can back a lot more trucks in and get these orders out much quicker than without these facilities.” In addition to bell peppers, Baloian also grows lettuce, squash and egg plant in the Fresno area, all the way to the central coast to keep up with demand. Baloian explained, “We do a lot of these commodities on a year-round basis, loading them either in Fresno or in Nogales, Arizona so we try to build our business as a year-round supplier of certain commodities.”

The retail market remained strong but the struggles continued for ag producers which supply restaurants and school cafeterias during this pandemic. Baloian said, “The food service sector of our business, which is a big part of what we do, is still suffering and is still down.” Baloian Farms survived its trial by fire. In October of 1993, Action News was there as fire destroyed its warehouse. The company was able to not only rebuild but gradually expand over the next few decades. Baloian said, “It’s by the grace of God we’re still in business.”

https://abc30.com/agriculture-fresno-ag-central-valley/6397620/

Madera Wine Trail has fresh stories to celebrate Wine Month

Central California’s Madera County is the largest rural county in the state and home to the Madera Wine Trail. The landscape stretches from productive farmlands to rolling foothills and upward into the High Sierra. It’s no mystery why this countryside has been winemaking since the 1800s, the weather is warm, the skies are clear and the snowcapped mountain tops nourish the foothills and central valley.

“Visitors from across the state are taking notice of the amazing adventures they can find in the heart of California. People don’t have far to travel to find outdoor options that give plenty of space for social distancing. Plus, we have sunshine more than 300 days of the year,” said Rhonda Salisbury, CEO, Visit Yosemite | Madera County. “Not only can people play here year-round, but excellent wine grapes grow here, too. Maximizing a trip to Bass Lake, Yosemite or the Sierra National Forest means tasting award-winning wines along the Madera Wine Trail. It adds something special to a getaway.”

“We are proud to continually share the Yosemite regions ‘best-kept-secret’ of the Madera Wine Trail with the world. We celebrate California Wine Month with a short film by an acclaimed videographer all about what makes this historic American Viticulture Area so unique,” said Wendy Eachus, Madera Vintners Association. “Five of the nine wineries along the Madera wine trail have moved tastings exclusively outdoors. All of the wineries are open for curbside pick-ups and private appointments. It’s true, this year, current events are complicated. However, everyone can absolutely enjoy handcrafted wines from Madera’s vintners and dream about their next visit.”

“The major differences between a connoisseur and the common consumer are adjectives. Everybody is an expert at what they like,” said Owner and Winemaker Ray Krause, Westbrook Wine Farm. “I have people that come in and say, ‘I don’t know much about wine’ to which I respond, I bet you know a whole lot about what you like.”

Californians know what they like; beautiful scenic views, relaxing outdoor patios, and engaging conversation over award-winning wines. There is still plenty to celebrate this September. Find it at the doorstep of Yosemite National Park along the Madera Wine Trail.

http://www.maderatribune.com/single-post/2020/09/02/Madera-Wine-Trail-has-fresh-stories-to-celebrate-Wine-Month#:~:text=September%20is%20National%20Wine%20Month,to%20the%20Madera%20Wine%20Trail.