Tulare prepares for new mixed-use development project

TULARE – Tulare’s economic development continues to grow with new projects all the time, over 200 acres of land is in the works to be used for mixed-use development.

At the Oct. 4th Tulare City Council meeting, Traci Myers, Tulare’s community and economic developer, gave an economic development update. Along with some of the major projects in Tulare like the update to Zumwalt Park, downtown redevelopment and the homeless shelter, Tulare is taking advantage of its first transit oriented development overlay (TOD). In order to qualify as a TOD, the development must be focused on access to public transit.

Arun Toor with Toor Capital is planning the development that will house apartments, townhouses, single family homes, a school and additional amenities on over 200 acres in between Mission Oak High School and College of the Sequoias (COS) Tulare campus.

“The city of Tulare was one of the first cities to say, ‘okay, we’re gonna do this transit oriented development concept,’ which is an overlay over our general plan update,” Myers said. “With that, we’re going to encourage walkability. It’s transit oriented, it’s near Mission Oak, it’s near COS, it’s near a high density residential area, it’s going to have a commercial component and it’s going to have a transit component.”

Toor is the first developer to bring in the option for a TOD to the city of Tulare. The multi use development area will be known as Chandler Grove. To follow the TOD, the development must allow for a mix of land uses focused on access to public transit, according to the staff report. The Chandler Grove project will be on a total of 231 acres of land.

Once complete, there will be 1,197 total residential units accounting for 163 of the 231 acres. There will be a school, a park, a neighborhood commercial center and community center. The parks will act as natural areas and provide stormwater detention with playgrounds, plazas and open fields for sports and activities.

This development will ultimately be connected to COS, and Tulare city manager Marc Mondell said that is a key factor in this type of development. Connecting a college with a residential and commercial area can only provide growth for multiple parties involved. The goal of this type of subdivision is to provide everything a resident would need in an area within walking distance. As it stands now according to the staff report, there will be 552 apartment units, 281 townhome style homes and 364 single family homes.

“It’s focused on public access and walkability, so it’s kind of its own little entity of a development,” Myers said. “That’s why the acreage is so much.”

Toor had to put together an economic impact report (EIR) for the city because of the size of the project and its potential to have significant environmental impacts. Toor’s EIR is now out for public review according to Myers. If all goes well Toor will be one step closer to annexation. According to Myers, ground won’t be broken for another two years on this project due to its magnitude.


Myers said the city is excited for the additional distribution centers that are making their way to the city. CA Ventures has purchased 80 acres of land on East Paige Avenue with the opportunity to expand on a neighboring 80 acres. The plan is to build two industrial buildings, each will be approximately 550,000 square feet each. With this project leading by example, the city is hopeful it will prompt additional businesses to move to Tulare and bring thousands of jobs to the city.

The new interchange, International Agri-Center Way, south of Paige Avenue, is projected to open an entire area of Tulare that has not been easily accessible before. The interchange is expected to be completed in 2025. By opening this interchange it expands the possibilities for developers to take advantage of all the undeveloped land in the areas surrounding the International Agri-Center.

The city continues to grow and that is visible in the year to date permit activity. Myers’ economic update report showed from this year to last year, single family residential building permits went from 93 to 246. It does not look as though those numbers will begin declining any time soon, as more and more subdivisions are being built throughout the city.

At the Sept. 30 city council meeting, council approved the purchase of two acres of property in the city limits of Tulare for the purpose of a temporary homeless encampment. Now that the city owns the property, city staff is preparing to come back to council with an operational plan for review. The city’s hope is to reduce the impacts of homelessness in the downtown residential areas as well as other public and private areas according to Myers’s presentation to council. The temporary encampment is expected to commence in January 2023.

The temporary encampment is a short term solution. The city is also working on the plans for a permanent homeless shelter. It will be a 200 bed facility that is expandable up to 400 beds. The shelter will provide three internal levels of residency–entry, participation and recovery. The city is still working out the details and most importantly is waiting to hear back from the county on a lease agreement for the property. Once the lease is signed, construction of the facility should take about 12-18 months.

The city continues to grow and that is visible in the year to date permit activity. Meyers’ economic update report showed from this year to last year, single family residential building permits went from 93 to 246. It does not look as though those numbers will begin declining any time soon, as more and more subdivisions are being built throughout the city.

At the Sept. 30 city council meeting, council approved the purchase of two acres of property in the city limits of Tulare for the purpose of a temporary homeless encampment. Now that the city owns the property, city staff is preparing to come back to council with an operational plan for review. The city’s hope is to reduce the impacts of homelessness in the downtown residential areas as well as other public and private areas according to Myers’s presentation to council. The temporary encampment is expected to commence in January 2023.

As for the rest of the city, staff has been working hard to get some pre existing projects rolling. The renovation of Zumwalt Park with the addition of the amphitheater, splash pad and playground has 30% design review complete and expects 75% design review to be completed by mid October. Construction should take place from March to October of 2023, with the completion in October.

The downtown master plan is moving along as well. The city met with their consultant, MIG Inc., in August and had a walkthrough of the downtown area. They are working on data collection and will be meeting with the community, stakeholders and elected officials before the end of the year. Once the masterplan is complete it will act as a road map for the next several years for the downtown area.

As for the downtown rehabilitation grant program, the city’s grant committee has made a conditional award to Adrian Herrera for his renovation of the old Toledo Jeweler’s building. He plans to have a tap room on the first floor, filled by Tap 78, and a golf lounge, four apartments on the second floor as well as a rooftop lounge. Herrera was the first to complete the application for the grant. The city still has the opportunity to review and grant additional awards for those who are looking to renovate buildings in the downtown area.

The courthouse remodel for the Tulare Chamber of Commerce’s business accelerator is currently at 60% design review, meaning they have completed 60% of the designs. By December of this year, the final design review should be complete and construction should begin in March 2023. The finished product is expected to be done in October or November of 2023.

As the city continues to grow, so does commercial development. In January 2023, Myers said Tulare will see a Panera Bread on Prosperity Avenue next to Raising Cane’s; a Crumbl cookie shop will be going in the old T-Mobile building near Target; and in the spring of 2023, a Panda Express with a drive thru will be going in on Bardsley Avenue.

Both Cannabis retail shops are projected to open before the end of the year. Valley Pure will be opening in October 2022 and Token Farms will be opening in December 2022.


Federal officials visit Fresno to launch ag initiative

FRESNO, Calif. – A local coalition aimed at creating new agricultural innovations in the Central Valley was recently awarded $88.1 million in federal funds.

The Fresno-Merced Future of Food Initiative, also known as F3, was the only recipient in the country out of more than 500 applicants to get two federal grants aiming to provide sustainable food production in the Central Valley. “It’s a land of contrasts, largest food production in the country, maybe the world but yet extreme poverty and challenges with food deserts,” says Congressman Jim Costa.

The day started with a tour of the Yo’ville Community Garden and Farm, which provides residents in this neighborhood access to land so they can eventually sell their produce and have a source of income. “Unfortunately, there are a lot. Access to land is a huge problem with that, and also the resources you need to get something like this really going,” says Rasheed Hislop, a farm-to-market specialist at Community Alliance of Family Farmers (CAFF).

Officials also toured the old Bank of Italy building in Downtown Fresno, which will be the official site of iCREATE, the headquarters of F3. “In this building, you’re gonna see the services and information being provided,” says Senator Alex Padilla. The 45,000-square-foot building will house a food hall, conference room, and robotics incubators which are expected to be completed by the end of next year. “The location is not a coincidence, right in the heart of Fresno, not too far from where the high-speed rail that will be coming,” says Padilla.


Valley awarded $118M for clean ag equipment

More clean machines are coming to valley farms. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution District has accepted an additional $118.8 million to replace agricultural equipment in the San Joaquin Valley, with the funding from the California Air Resources Board seen as a step in reducing agricultural emissions through regulatory and incentive-based strategies. The FARMER Program (Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions) is a collaborative effort between the agricultural community, the air district and CARB in addressing emissions from agricultural sources, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley.

To date, the district has been the recipient of $432,129,600 in FARMER Program funding during the first four funding cycles. “The district appreciates the state recognizing the public health benefit that results from the FARMER funding,” said Samir Sheikh, executive director for the Valley Air District. “The San Joaquin Valley agricultural sector feeds the world and programs like FARMER are critical to supporting the ongoing transition to more sustainable and air-friendly practices.”

Valley agriculture, in partnership with the district and CARB, has invested more than $1.7 billion in public and private funding towards replacing nearly 17,000 pieces of old, higher-polluting equipment and implementing other measures to reduce emissions associated with valley agricultural operations. In March, the valley district approved increases to incentive levels for its Agriculture Tractor Replacement program and added two new incentive tiers for smaller farming operations. Operations of 100 acres and less in size can now receive up to 80% off the cost of equipment, and operations between 101 and 500 acres in size can now receive up to 70% off.

Funding opportunities can be found on the program’s webpage at ww2.valleyair.org/grants/tractor-replacement-program. Smaller farmers also receive an increased incentive under the district’s Alternatives to Agricultural Burning program. The Valley Air District covers eight counties including San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and portions of Kern.

More jobs announced as Turlock’s new Amazon fulfillment center opens. How much do they pay?

The new Amazon fulfillment center in Turlock opened Thursday morning with big smiles and news of more jobs.

The massive 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse was built from the ground up at Fulkerth Road and Fransil Lane over the last year and a half. The grand opening celebration included the announcement of some 500 more jobs than previously predicted to staff the facility once fully operational. Initially, the online retail giant said it planned to hire some 1,000 workers in Turlock, but now expects to employ 1,500. “This is huge!” said Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak, who was among a handful of dignitaries and their representatives at the ribbon-cutting for the center. “It was just a dream that we get this area together and that we start to bring big businesses here, big opportunities for jobs. …. This will be a benefit for decades for our community.”

Turlock Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gina Blom, left, and Yosemite Community College District Chancellor Henry Yong, Amazon Turlock Senior Operations Manager Steve Ramirez and Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak cut the ceremonial ribbon Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, to open the new fulfillment center on Fulkerth Road in Turlock, Calif.

The new facility, the first for Turlock and only the second in Stanislaus County from the e-commerce company, received its first shipment Sept. 25 and has been slowly ramping up production as it works to get fully staffed. The fulfillment center, which began construction in April 2021, had to push back its original projected opening date of “mid-2022” to late September. Like its smaller counterpart in Patterson, which opened in 2013, the new Turlock facility is a so-called nonsortable fulfillment center, meaning it stocks, picks, packs and ships large, bulk or otherwise unusually sized items.

Inside, the floor is filled with 40-foot-high rows that are being filled with everything from patio furniture to outdoor grills, mini-fridges and area rugs. Senior Operations Manager Steve Ramirez, a Modesto native turned Turlock resident who previously worked in a Tracy Amazon site, said the new center is only about 7% stocked. Inventory is expected to be at 30% by the holidays, with the facility stocked at full capacity by February. A worker sorts items inside the new Amazon fulfillment center in Turlock, Calif. Oct. 20, 2022.

Already, Amazon has hired hundreds of workers to begin filling its shifts. The facility operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has 12 shifts across its schedule. Hundreds of more openings are expected, with new workers joining daily, Ramirez said.

Starting salary for the new floor positions start at $18.75, or $39,000 a year for full-time workers. The Turlock starting wages are just shy of the new $19 average hourly wage the company announced in September that it was rolling out for most of its front-line warehouse and transportation workers across the country. But Amazon spokeswoman Natalie Banke said wages vary “city by city,” and the $19 was a national average, not the national minimum starting salary. The Turlock salary is the same as Patterson’s, which employs about 600 workers. A worker moves items Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, inside the new Amazon fulfillment center in Turlock, Calif.

The company also plans to hire an additional 200 to 300 seasonal workers in Turlock, starting now, who will help with the holiday rush. Ramirez said he expects it to take six months to a year for the new Turlock center to be fully staffed. Banke said about 92% of employees so far live in Stanislaus County. On the warehouse floor, a small armada of red hydrogen-powered forklifts zip along rows and rows of 40-foot racks. Associates are lifted 30-plus feet into the air to stock and pick items, with others sorting and shipping on the floor of its two levels. Items then go from the warehouse directly to Amazon delivery vehicles or third-party package carriers for delivery.

A worker drives a power lift inside the new Amazon fulfillment center that recently opened in Turlock, Calif Oct. 20, 2022. “People are very excited about the opening,” said senior site safety manager Myranda St. John, a Modesto rsident who previously worked in one of the company’s Stockton facilities and has seen her commute time cut in half. “Amazon has provided a lot of opportunities for myself and for the larger community. I’ve been able to go from an hourly employee to a salaried employee in less than five years.”

In March of this year, Amazon announced its partnership with Turlock’s California State University, Stanislaus, and Modesto Junior College for the company’s Career Choice program. Hourly employees at the new Turlock facility are eligible for free tuition at both institutions. Full- and part-time employees are eligible, but only full-time employees will have all their tuition paid (part-time workers receive half). The entrance to the warehouse floor inside the new Amazon fulfillment center in Turlock, Calif. is seen Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022.

The new facility, like all Amazon distribution centers, is named after a nearby airport. The Turlock site is named MCE1 for the Merced Regional Airport, which is about 30 miles to the south. “We are very blessed being here in Turlock and we have had amazing response to our hiring and have had no constraints there at all,” Ramirez said. “We will continuously be on-boarding a few hundred associates throughout the remainder of the year.” Amazon Senior Operations Manager Steve Ramirez inside the new large and bulky item fulfillment center that has opened in Turlock, Calif., on Oct. 20, 2022.

Job seekers interested in applying for full-time, part-time or seasonal work at the Turlock Amazon facility can find open positions and applications online at amazon.com/flexiblejobs. Job seekers can also sign up for text alerts for upcoming Amazon jobs in the region. To sign up, text “AMAZONJOBS” to ” 77088 ,” and then you will receive a series of texts asking you to opt-in for jobs in your ZIP code.


High-speed rail stations ‘one step closer to reality’ in the Central Valley

FRESNO, Calif. – The design contract for the Central Valley’s high-speed rail stations has been approved by the California High-Speed Rail Board – another step towards making the project a reality.

On Thursday, the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority) Board of Directors unanimously approved awarding the design and support services contract for the Merced, Fresno, Kings/Tulare, and Bakersfield stations that will serve high-speed rail passengers on the initial 171-mile segment. The Authority awarded an approximately $35 million station design contract to Foster + Partners and Arup for the first two separately funded phases. The first to advance the design work at the four station sites. This includes identifying right-of-way and utility relocation requirements necessary for construction. This phase is estimated to take 30 months. The second is to progress to the final design and construction-ready documents, construction support, and commissioning.

“The first four Central Valley high-speed rail stations are one step closer to reality. High-speed rail stations will transform cities, spur economic development and create community hubs within the heart of our state.”


Currently, the California high-speed rail project is under construction along 119 miles in California’s Central Valley at more than 30 active job sites. In the past several months, the Authority also started advanced design work on the alignment to extend work north into Merced and south into Bakersfield.


California About to Become the World’s 4th-Largest Economy

With many California companies outperforming their U.S. and international peers, the Golden State is poised to become the world’s fourth-largest economy. That was the projection delivered Monday by analyst Matthew A. Winkler in a Bloomberg opinion column. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who faces challenger state Sen. Brian Dahle in the Nov. 8 election, quickly touted the analysis on social media.

California Attracts Talented People

Predictions about California’s demise are hardly a new phenomenon. But they’ve heated up in recent years because of the state’s wildfires, housing shortage, rise in the cost of living, and the appeal of low-tax states such as Texas to both families and businesses. But, Winkler writes, “California’s economy has proven relatively resilient, first through the pandemic and now through the current period of elevated inflation. So much so, that the Golden State’s gross domestic product is poised to overtake Germany’s as the fourth largest in the world after the US, China, and Japan.”

According to Winkler, the California economy is being turbo-charged by investments in renewable energy and the ability to attract talented entrepreneurs and employees. “We value innovation but we also value diversity and equity,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “It’s nice to see those values are economically rewarded because California was very much lambasted” during the Trump administration.

Golden State GDP at $3.35 Trillion and Growing

Economists calculated the state’s gross domestic product at $3.357 trillion last year. Although California’s new GDP won’t be known until 2023, estimates suggest the state may have already caught Germany. Winkler wrote that at least one forecast has California already ahead of Germany by $72 billion.


Fresno Unified gets ‘game-changing’ $20 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson was poised to announce great news at a gala event this week: The district’s new foundation had successfully raised $200,000 in college scholarships, mainly from employees. Then he received an unsolicited and unexpected call that MacKenzie Scott, the former spouse of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is giving the foundation 100 times that amount – $20 million – no strings attached. The bank transfer arrived last Friday. Nelson, normally garrulous, didn’t know what to say. “I’m rarely at a loss for words, but this might be one of those times,” he said. Scott, whom Forbes listed as the 18th richest American in 2022 with a net worth of $38 billion, is a novelist turned philanthropist who appears in a hurry to meet her pledge to give most of her fortune away – and then some. Since 2019, she has donated $12 billion to more than 1,200 non-profit organizations. Fresno Unified apparently is the first school district in the United States to receive a grant.

Representatives of Scott are tight-lipped about her donations. They refer all inquiries to essays on the website Medium in which Scott lists all recipients and discusses her philosophy of giving.  No other school district was listed. The last entry was in March. Scott has given hundreds of millions of dollars each to big-name charities: YMCAs-YWCAs; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; Planned Parenthood; United Ways; Second Harvest. Her education giving in California includes CSU Northridge and other California State University campuses, Long Beach City College and other community colleges, advocacy and research nonprofits, including Learning Policy Institute, NewSchools Venture Fund, Kingmakers of Oakland, which focuses on developing Black boys to reach their potential, College Track, and the parent empowerment organization The Oakland REACH.

Nelson doesn’t know why Fresno Unified, the state’s third largest school district with 76,000 students, was chosen. The word from Scott’s representative, Nelson said, was “We’ve heard through multiple venues that the work happening in Fresno is meaningful, worthwhile, and something that we want to support.” “It’s left to us to connect the dots,” Nelson said. One initiative that could have drawn attention, he said, is the district’s dual-enrollment partnership with Benedict College, a historically Black college in South Carolina, and discussions to locate an HBCU in the Central Valley. About 8% of Fresno Unified’s students are Black. Education equity in higher education has been a focus of Scott’s giving.

Or perhaps, he said, it was the district’s efforts to promote student mental health. In August, Gov. Gavin Newsom chose McLane High to promote a $4.7 billion effort to ensure mental health and substance abuse help for Californians to age 25. McLane High has established a mental health hub with a dedicated staff of psychologists and social workers and “is a model for what we hope to achieve,” Newsom said.

Or, he speculated, it was the district’s participation in the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, a national initiative that involves Fresno. The city’s big nonprofits, hospitals, Fresno City College, Fresno State, Fresno Pacific University are working together to improve health and education outcomes for kids, particularly the proportion of kids pursuing a BA degree, Nelson said. One of the funders of StriveTogether is Blue Meridian Partners, a philanthropic organization whose chief investment and impact officer is Jim Shelton, a former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. Scott is also a funder of Blue Meridian. “I suspect many of the grants are relationship-driven,” said Don Shalvey, former deputy director of K-12 education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who is now CEO of San Joaquin A+, a nonprofit working to improve education outcomes in Stockton “I am thrilled for Fresno; this is terrific for the Central Valley,” said Shalvey. “They are unique where they are located and how they are thinking about doing things differently to meet the needs of all students.”

A message about the Valley

Unlike most foundations, Scott’s giving is based on trust. She sets no specific demands for using the money and doesn’t require filing quarterly expense reports. The only requirement is to report back on how the money will benefit Fresno children, Nelson said. The $20 million will enable the new Foundation for Fresno Unified Schools to create an endowment, producing $800,000 to $1 million annually, said Nelson, who is on the foundation board. Initially at least, the grant will enable the foundation to more than quadruple college scholarships. “I’m sure other interests will surface, but fundamentally the idea is that this provides college opportunities for our youth,” Nelson said. But as important as the money, which Nelson calls “a game changer,” is the message the grant sends.

With 90% of students qualifying for subsidized school meals, Fresno is the poorest large urban area in the state. It is not a place high on people’s list of places to move to. “I mean, as a Californian, Fresno’s the last pick for kickball on most occasions, right?” “From a very personal point of view, it’s just incredibly gratifying because I’ve been on this journey of constantly saying, ‘Really good things are happening here. Really wonderful people live here. The diversity of the valley, the agricultural roots of the valley, there’s so much good that’s here,’ “Nelson said. “Now there’s a philanthropist who is well known nationally saying, ‘Fresno, we really believe in the work you’re doing.’ That’s probably worth $20 million easily. The amount of perceptual change that can be generated by a gift such as this to the Valley – it’s almost immeasurable,” he said.


Irvine farm technology company may set up operations center in Bakersfield

An ag-tech startup in Irvine is considering establishing operations in Bakersfield in coordination with city government. M8 Systems, founded by the executive credited with inventing cashier-less retail stores for Amazon, proposes to locally engineer, assemble, test and sell automated irrigation systems that would use sensors and control systems to help farmers use water more efficiently.

No agreement has been finalized to bring the company to Bakersfield, but founder and CEO Max Safai said he hopes to employ six people in the city by the end of this year. By the end of 2024, he said, nearly 20 M8 workers could be working locally — three-quarters or more of its workforce. He said the company’s headquarters would to Bakersfield. “We want to have a close relationship with the city of Bakersfield, and we also want to be where the action is in the Central Valley,” Safai said.

Director Paul M. Saldaña of Bakersfield’s Economic and Community Development Department said companies like M8 are “exactly the type of innovative companies that we’d like to see come to Bakersfield.” He pointed to a $150,000 deal the city recently struck to attract another tech startup, North Carolina battery company SineWatts Inc. “There are a number of innovative companies that we continue to have conversations with, and we hope … to see similar opportunities in the very near future,” Saldaña said. He said the city might offer a financial incentive to M8.

Safai said M8 started in March 2019 after avocado farmers he knows in San Diego County expressed concern about rising irrigation costs. After some tinkering, he performed two “proofs of concept” in his garage that demonstrated the viability of a system to measure water use precisely, detect leaks and then turn off valves as appropriate before issuing a digital alert that a problem has been found. The idea now is to combine irrigation-control equipment — new or already installed in ag fields — with satellite and drone imagery, weather information and cloud-data technology in what Safai called a new application of “smart ag.”

M8’s system would sense changing conditions, including potentially adverse events such as wind that could waste irrigation water, and make automated suggestions around the clock to save farmers money. Any water leaks would automatically result in pressure shutoffs to specific pipes, along with the transmission of text messages to nearby farmworkers. The system would take into account soil status, relative humidity and temperature readings.

The company’s biggest test yet is expected to take place during the next two weeks as M8 brings 23 San Diego County farmers online to test out the system. Safai said the company is also negotiating its first large investment of outside money. While orchards would benefit, Safai said the best application of the technology might be row crops such as the carrots grown in and around Kern. He noted the Central Valley produces revenues of about $17 billion per year, or about a quarter of the U.S. food supply. “This is a very big market for us,” he said.

It will be important to show M8’s customers the company is responsive to their concerns and near enough to do something about them quickly, Safai said. For that reason, he hopes to find a local home for not only product assembly and testing but also procurement, logistics and repairs ready within 24 hours. There will need to be local electrical engineering and mechanical engineering labs, as well as an area for working with fluid flow technology. A small presence would remain in Irvine to perform tasks such as software engineering, human resources management, some sales and finance, partly to serve customers in San Diego County. Eventually the company may lease its products to farmers, as a way of helping them fix their costs, but Safai said the initial plan is to sell the systems directly to farmers and charge them for the company’s data plan. Safai noted he has come to Bakersfield to meet with people about the proposal to set up a local operation. Once here, he found the people he met were “amazingly wonderful, motivated people.”

Fresno State awarded a $2.9M grant to support future health professionals

The California Department of Health Care Access and Information announced $40.8 million in grant awards to 20 organizations that support and encourage students from underrepresented regions and backgrounds to pursue healthcare careers, including Fresno State.

Fresno State will receive a $2.9 million award over five years, to be issued through the Health Professions Pathways Program. Other California State Universities awarded include California State University, Dominguez Hills ($3.3 million), San Diego State University ($2.5 million), and California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt’s Sponsored Programs Foundation ($498,000).

“The Health Professions Pathways Program will strengthen preexisting relationships and support building new partnerships,” said Lilia DeLaCerda, the principal investigator on the project and director of the Health Careers Opportunity Program at Fresno State.


High-Speed Rail completes second structure in Kings County

The High-Speed Rail Authority has completed the second Kings County structure for the state project — the Kent Avenue Grade Separation located at Kent Avenue west of Highway 43 and south of Hanford. The Authority announced the completion of the 215-foot-long overcrossing, which will take vehicles over the future high-speed rail tracks, on Wednesday. Work crews placed 12 pre-cast concrete girders spanning 56 to 91 feet long to form the structure’s deck.

The new structure is the project’s latest progression in the Central Valley, following the summer completion of the Jackson Avenue separation, which was also in Kings County, and the Avenue 15½ grade separation in Madera County.

In addition, the Authority recently awarded contracts to advance design along the Merced to Madera and Fresno to Bakersfield project sections, expanding the 119-mile segment to 171 miles of electrified high-speed rail under development and construction.