High Speed Rail crosses 198 | John Lindt

Last week, crews from the California High Speed Rail project worked late night and early morning to place 84 pre-cast concrete girders across Lacey Boulevard and over State Route 198 to extend the Hanford Viaduct over the highway.

Girders ranged between 53 and 78 feet long and weighed as much as 79,000 pounds each.

The Hanford Viaduct spans more than a mile — 6,330 feet long and connects to the future Kings/Tulare Regional High-Speed Rail Station.

Hanford company sells just four cars in 23′

Start-up luxury car maker Faraday Future sold just four cars in the past year, the company reported recently. They leased six more.

The LA-based company has its only manufacturing plant in Hanford. But production at the million-square-feet facility has been slow. Faraday Future is facing delisting from NASDAQ as it looks to maintain its stock value above one dollar.

Adding to woes, Faraday has withdrawn its production guidance for 2024, citing current market conditions and lack of funding. Last November, the company planned to assemble 1,000 vehicles this year, “subject to availability of requisite capital.”

The company filed their annual report late with revenue of $0.8 million for 2023 and cost of goods sold of $43 million, compared with no revenue and cost of goods sold in 2022. This reflects that the company only began delivering vehicles in the third quarter 2023. Loss from operations was $286 million for 2023, as compared to a loss from operations of $437 million for 2022.

Last December Nasdaq notified the company that the bid price of its listed securities had closed at less than $1.00 per share over the previous 30 consecutive business days and, as a result, did not comply with Listing Rule 5550(a)(2). The company was provided 180 calendar days, or until June 25, 2024, to regain compliance with this rule. On April 18, 2024, Nasdaq notified the company that since it had not yet filed its Form 10-K it no longer complied with Listing Rule 5250(c)(1).This deficiency is now an additional basis for delisting. Now that report has been filed.

On April 24, 2024, the company received a letter from Nasdaq indicating that the company was not in compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5810(c), as the company’s securities had a closing bid price of $0.10 or less for ten consecutive trading days. The letter indicated that, as a result, the Nasdaq staff had determined to delist the company’s securities from The Nasdaq Capital Market. On May 1, 2024, the company timely requested a hearing to appeal the Delisting Determination and requested an extended stay of the suspension pending such hearing with the Panel.

Faraday Future stock briefly climbed over a dollar in May for two weeks but, since May 28, has been below that threshold at about 50 cents as of this writing.

Faraday’s future is uncertain.

Williamson Act cancelation bill shelved

A bill in the California Assembly to make it easier for farmers in the Central Valley to cancel their Williamson Act contract due to water shortage had divided the farm community. The California Land Conservation Act of 1965, otherwise known as the Williamson Act, authorizes a city or county to enter into contracts with owners of agricultural land to preserve the land for agricultural use, as specified, in return for reduced property tax assessments.

To preserve farmland, it imposes a 25 percent cancelation fee.

This bill proposed by Fresno Assembly member Joaquin Arambula would authorize a landowner, if their land is located in the counties of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, or Tulare, with a water basin in condition of critical overdraft, to petition the board or council to cancel a Williamson Act contract or a farmland security zone contract without penalty if the land meets specified criteria, including, among other things, not having permanent access to sufficient water.

That could speed its conversion to energy projects like solar farms and provide income to the land owner.

As of mid-May the bill was placed in the “suspense file” as it did not garner enough support in committee to move forward.

BOS dumps green energy saving project

Kings County Board of Supervisors had been studying making substantial investments in energy savings at the county campus similar to a project that the same supplier had done in past years. The supplier, Engie Energy, promised net savings over $4 million for the county. The County has completed four successful projects with ENGIE  — a $3 million microturbine co-generation project in 2005, an $8.4 million central heating and cooling plant upgrade in 2009, a $4.1 million solar project in 2011, and an $11.9 million solar project in 2020.

This year an earlier staff report noted that the County has been seeing huge increases in its electricity cost recently, as high as 15% per year. They would like its energy consumption to be reduced as much as possible to reduce the effect of utility price hikes.

Also, the HVAC units at many of the facilities are well past their useful lives and the County would like to use this project to replace its old HVAC infrastructure without dipping into the General Fund.

But in late May the staff and board decided not to move forward with the green energy project.

A staff report says, “Essentially, this project is viewed as being cash neutral, providing more of a benefit in the way of allowing the County a vehicle to replace aging infrastructure, not necessarily providing the County with additional cash on hand, due to project savings, that could be used for other County initiatives and priorities. Additionally, the County recently initiated a comprehensive debt analysis which looked at all current and potential future debt, which included this project, to identify the financial health of the County if it were to take on debt for this project.”

At the conclusion of the debt analysis, staff recommended not to incur long-term debt for this project at this time. The Board agreed.

Egg farmers worried about new bird flu

The current avian influenza outbreak is the “greatest threat” to American egg producers, according to United Egg Producers President and CEO Chad Gregory.

“On-farm biosecurity is at its most stringent levels, and despite these robust precautionary measures, the egg industry has lost flocks to [bird flu] in recent weeks,” Gregory said in a statement. This is a sad and difficult time for affected farmers, who must act swiftly to prevent the spread of the disease and go through an extensive recovery process.”

A massive flock of over 4.2 million egg-laying chickens in Iowa was detected to have bird flu last week.

Walnut acreage down 4%

California’s 2023 walnut acreage is estimated at 420,000 acres, with 385,000 acres bearing and 35,000 acres non-bearing. Bearing acreage was down 4% from 2022.

Strong summer outlook as clean energy grows

Elliot Mainzer — California Independent System operator president — says CAISO is in a stronger position heading into the summer compared to previous years. The agency manages the grid and guides energy investment in the Golden State.

CAISO expects its resources will be able to meet forecasted demand plus an 18.5% reserve margin for all summer months, according to its summer assessment. The grid operator anticipates it will have more than 3,500 MW of surplus supplies over forecasted demand plus the reserve margin during key early evening peak net load hours in September, Mainzer said in the memo.


XB-1 Program Developments

Boom Supersonic completed the inaugural flight of XB-1, the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet, at Mojave Air & Space Port. The flight occurred in the “same hallowed airspace where the Bell X-1 first broke the sound barrier in 1947,” according to the company’s founder and CEO, Blake Scholl. The flight testing will aid the development of Overture, a supersonic jet designed to transport passengers up to 1,300 mph at an altitude of 60,000 feet. For more information about today’s milestone achievement


Heirloom unveils America’s first commercial Direct Air Capture facility

TRACY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Heirloom, alongside President Biden’s Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm, announced the United States’ first commercial Direct Air Capture (DAC) facility, which will use limestone rocks to pull already-emitted CO2 from Earth’s atmosphere in an effort to mitigate the impacts of global climate change. The announcement highlights Heirloom’s rapid technical and business progress and marks a critical milestone for both America and California’s leadership in the race to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees celsius.

Located in Tracy, California, the facility is being formally unveiled today at a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Secretary Granholm, California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Koulanakis, the CEO of PG&E Corporation, the head of the California State Building Trades Union, the City of Tracy, elected officials, and community members.

Today’s announcement represents the first DAC facility in the United States to capture CO2, permanently sequester it, and fulfill commercial removal purchases – supporting and helping to cement the leadership of both the United States and State of California to deploy critical climate solutions to meet net zero commitments.

“Heirloom Carbon Technologies, right here in Tracy, California, is the blueprint for how America can beat climate change,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M Granholm, speaking at the official unveiling ceremony.

“This first commercial direct air capture facility is the closest thing on Earth that we have to a time machine, because it can turn back the clock on climate change by removing carbon dioxide that has already been emitted into our atmosphere,” said Heirloom’s CEO and Co-Founder, Shashank Samala. “The capacity of Heirloom’s limestone-based technology to capture CO2 from the air has gone from 1 kilogram of CO2 to up to one million, or 1000 metric tons, in just over two years. We owe it to every climate vulnerable citizen to continue to deploy our technology at the urgent pace required to reach billion-ton scale and beyond in time to stop the worst of climate change.”

“We’ve set ambitious, nation-leading climate goals to cut pollution and accelerate our transition to clean energy,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “Projects like this Heirloom facility are exactly the sort of big and innovative ideas that we’re embracing – using renewable energy to directly remove pollution from our air, all while creating good-paying jobs in the Central Valley. California is creating the model for expanding the economy and fighting climate change.”

This first-of-its-kind domestic DAC facility helps to advance President Biden’s 2050 net-zero goal and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2045 state net-zero targets.

Fully powered by renewable energy – supplied locally by Ava Community Energy – and constructed with union labor, Heirloom’s Tracy facility has been operational for nearly 1,000 hours and is actively capturing atmospheric CO2, which will be permanently sequestered in concrete through a partnership with CarbonCure Technologies. The facility has a capture capacity of up to 1,000 tons of CO2 per year and will deliver net removals to early, catalytic buyers of Heirloom’s CO2 removal credits, including Microsoft, Stripe, Shopify, and Klarna.

This facility was constructed and is being operated consistent with Heirloom’s recently-outlined principles for the responsible deployment of carbon removal – which include commitments that no carbon dioxide removed will be used for enhanced oil recovery and that no equity will be granted to companies whose core business is the production of oil and gas. The Tracy facility was constructed with union labor – in partnership with local affiliates of the State Building Trade Union, including UA Plumbers & Pipefitters (Local 442) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW 595) – demonstrating that green jobs can also be good quality jobs.

Heirloom also announced today a community governance model, which kicks off a process in January of 2024 where community groups will be convened by nonprofits — across the City of Tracy and the broader San Joaquin County — with a mission to bring together the climate technology industry and local concerned citizens. Via quarterly meetings, this process will gather routine community feedback on the facility and its operations and help to steer input for how Heirloom will provide financial and programmatic investments in community organizations.

This first commercial facility demonstrates the rapid pace at which Heirloom’s technology and business has developed since its founding in 2020. Just two years ago, the company – which uses limestone to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere – was conducting experiments in the lab to capture grams of CO2 in a petri dish. Since then, Heirloom has become one of the leading DAC companies in the world. The company raised a $53 million Series A in 2022, with backing from some of the world’s leading climate investors, including Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Earlier this year, Heirloom and CarbonCure pioneered the world’s first-ever demonstration of DAC-to-concrete storage – an important, immediately-available storage pathway that is being used to sequester CO2 captured by the Tracy facility. In August, Heirloom and other partners were selected for one of the largest projects under the Biden Administration’s DAC Hub program, with eligibility for up to $600 million in federal funding for a DAC facility in Louisiana. And in September, Heirloom and Microsoft announced one of the largest CO2 removal deals to date, with Microsoft agreeing to purchase up to 315,000 metric tons of CO2 removal from Heirloom over a 10+ year period.

Heirloom’s technology works by using limestone, an abundant, easy-to-source and inexpensive material, to pull CO2 from the air. Using a renewable-energy-powered kiln, the limestone is heated to extract the CO2, leaving a mineral powder that is thirsty to absorb more CO2. This powder is then spread onto vertically stacked trays where it acts like a sponge – pulling CO2 from the air. Once saturated with CO2, the material is returned to the kiln, the CO2 is extracted, and the process begins again. The captured CO2 gas is then permanently stored safely underground or embedded in concrete.

By using easy-to-source materials like limestone, harnessing the power of algorithms to increase the capture capacity of that material, and scaling with modularity, Heirloom’s technology represents one of the lowest cost pathways to permanent CO2 removal. The company’s goal is to remove 1 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2035 – a figure which represents 20% of today’s annual U.S. emissions and 10% of global carbon removal needed annually by 2050.



“California continues to lead the world toward a clean energy future. With the opening of Heirloom’s facility, California is the first state in the nation where CO2 will be permanently and durably removed from the atmosphere through Direct Air Capture and the first among nations to store atmospheric CO2 in concrete, supporting construction projects across the state,” said California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. “As a California-born company, Heirloom has helped us achieve an incredible milestone that further cements our state as a global climate leader and brings us closer to achieving our goal of carbon neutrality by 2045.”


“Tracy is no stranger to the impacts of climate change, so we are excited to make history by welcoming Heirloom’s first commercial direct air capture facility to our community. Not only have they brought innovative technology to Tracy to scrub our air of pollution, but they have also sponsored the planting of additional trees to enhance our urban forest. We are proud to be part of the solution when it comes to the impacts of climate change, as advancing ‘green projects’ and supporting climate initiatives are consistent with the goals set by our City Council to improve our quality of life here in Tracy.”


“Here in California, our customers and hometowns are experiencing the impacts of climate change now. All of us need to be a part of the solution to not only help reach net zero emissions but to begin to heal the planet. That’s why we’re proud to enable innovative projects like Heirloom’s direct air capture facility in Tracy, supporting our shared, statewide goals for a decarbonized future.”


“Last year, I authored Senate Bill 905 to power the deployment of carbon removal projects, enable its infrastructure, and develop smart regulations. Today, we bear witness to how such projects are coming to life in California, removing greenhouse gas emissions from our atmosphere, while ensuring our state’s strict environmental standards,” said State Senator Anna Caballero. “What’s on display in Tracy, underscores that California’s climate policy is catalyzing private-sector-led and government-enabled solutions, which honor the scientific consensus that we must cut emissions and remove climate-harming carbon. We can achieve our goals, create environmental and economic benefit because of the partnership between our local communities, government, and industry.”


“Carbon removal is necessary to get California and the world to net zero and start restoring a safe climate, and our state has a vital role to play when it comes to enabling the very carbon removal markets and clean-energy transformation that we need. Here at Heirloom, we see tremendous progress and they are doing it right: powered by clean energy and creating high-tech, good quality, green jobs in our state. We must continue to accelerate this progress by passing legislation to establish carbon removal markets that can drive demand for carbon removal and mobilize financing of many more projects like this.”


“Building Trades’ craftspeople brought this groundbreaking facility to life and our skilled and trained members are leading the way in building and supporting carbon capture innovation across the state and country. We are meeting the climate crisis by supporting technology like Heirloom’s direct air capture as well as hydrogen, biofuels, offshore wind and battery storage. We are training the next generation of skilled construction worker in these exciting technologies. California is renowned worldwide for both our innovation and our hard working, highly trained construction workforce—both of which you see reflected in this important project.”


This electric flying taxi has been approved for takeoff — sort of

Electric air taxis got one step closer to liftoff this week, when federal regulators gave one company the green light to start flight testing its new production prototype. California-based transportation company Joby Aviation announced Wednesday that the Federal Aviation Administration had granted its aircraft a “Special Airworthiness Certificate,” which allows it to operate in U.S. airspace with certain restrictions.

The FAA confirmed in an email to NPR that it had issued the certificate “for research and development purposes” on June 21. It said it had also granted one to a similar vehicle made by another company, Archer, the week before. This is actually the third Joby aircraft to get this certification, the FAA confirmed. The company has been building and flying pre-production prototypes thousands of miles since 2017. But this time around is significant, because it’s the first of its factory-built vehicles to be approved for test flights. Until now, Bloomberg explains, the company could only demo a prototype made by hand — as opposed to the ones now coming off its production line.

Joby aims to begin commercial passenger operations in the U.S. in 2025, pending FAA certification. It has partnered with Delta Air Lines to deliver a “transformational, sustainable home-to-airport transportation service” for fliers, set to roll out first in New York and Los Angeles. That means customers in those cities would be able to reserve a seat for air taxi trips to and from the airports when booking Delta flights, the companies say. An animation on Joby’s website shows one such journey, from a heliport in downtown Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport, completed in seven minutes (as opposed to 49 minutes by car). Beyond airport trips, Joby advertises its air taxis as “an aerial rideshare service” that customers can book through an app, as an alternative to ground transportation — at least in some ways.

“Flying with us might feel more like getting into an SUV than boarding a plane,” its website says.

But, as safety regulators and urban planning experts told NPR, there’s a lot that needs to happen before then — and many accessibility and sustainability questions to address along the way.

What exactly is a flying taxi?

These Jetson-esque contraptions are technically known as eVTOL aircraft, which stands for “electric vertical take-off and landing.” Joby says theirs is designed to carry four passengers and one pilot at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, and can travel up to 150 miles on a single charge. The company says it will be significantly quieter than helicopters — and more affordable, too. Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt told the Washington Post in 2021 the company hopes to begin services at an average price of around $3 per mile — comparable to that of an taxi or Uber — and eventually move that down to below $1 per mile.

“Our goal is to actually be competitive with the cost of ground transportation, but to deliver you to your destination … five times faster and with a dramatically better experience,” Bevirt told Bloomberg TV on Wednesday.

Many eVTOL companies are working closely with automakers to make their products a reality (which Flying Magazine attributes to automakers’ interest in electrification and manufacturing expertise). In Joby’s case, that partner — and its largest external shareholder — is Toyota. Toyota has invested some $400 million in the company since 2020, and collaborated on the design of its production line and the manufacturing of the aircraft itself. Dozens of its engineers work with the Joby team in California, and the two signed a long-term agreement in April for Toyota to supply key parts for the aircraft’s production.

What happens next?

On Wednesday, Joby unveiled the first aircraft to come off its pilot production line in Marina, Calif., in front of a crowd of employees and guests including California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“Today’s achievement is the culmination of years of investment in our processes and technology and it marks a major step on our journey to scaled production,” Bevirt said in a statement.

Despite this week’s major milestones, Bevirt says the company is still in the “crawl phase” of its journey. The pilot manufacturing line currently has the potential to build just “a few tens of aircraft per year,” according to Bevirt. He says Joby is working with states to select a site for the first phase of manufacturing, where it can increase that number to hundreds. And before the air taxis will be available for airport rideshares, they’re going to the U.S. military. Several are headed to Edwards Air Force Base in California next year as part of Joby’s $131 million contract with the U.S. Air Force. They will be used to “demonstrate a range of potential logistics use cases, including cargo and passenger transportation.”

Regulators — and competitors — are laying the groundwork

The FAA says it’s steadily preparing for air taxi travel to become a reality — at least, at some point. In May, the agency released an updated blueprint for airspace and procedure changes to accommodate this type of aircraft. Earlier this month, it proposed a comprehensive rule for training and certifying pilots. And it says it will be releasing an implementation plan next month that shows how all of its efforts can help the industry scale safely.

“Safety will dictate the certification timeline, but we could see air taxis in the skies by 2024 or 2025,” the FAA said.

While Joby appears to be towards the front of the pack, it’s competing with dozens of companies. Another frontrunner, Archer, said earlier this month that it — and its partner, automaker Stellantis — are pivoting from the “concept” to “execution” phase, with its Georgia-based manufacturing facility set to come online by mid-2024. And companies in other countries, including Germany and China, are also working on similar vehicles. Europe could see flying taxis taking off relatively soon: French officials are hoping to offer a small fleet of them to people attending the Paris Olympics next summer.

Who gets to fly first?

Joby bills itself as providing a “faster, cleaner, and smarter way to carry people through their lives,” with “a green alternative to driving that’s bookable at the touch of an app.” But, experts say, that doesn’t necessarily mean this kind of transportation is going to be available to just anyone who wants to spend less time in rush hour traffic. It’s a great innovation for those with means, says Daniel Sperling, the founding chair of the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and Economy at the University of California, Davis.

But, he writes in an email, the industry faces challenges, from noise to NIMBY concerns. There’s also the optics, he says: “Rich people flying above the rest of us normal folks.” Because this type of transportation will likely mainly be provided by private sector companies, there are concerns that it will exclude low-income people, says Petra Hurtado, the director of research and foresight at the American Planning Association.

“Unless there will be funding mechanisms to make this an affordable option to all, integrating it into existing transit systems, I don’t think it will be accessible to all,” she tells NPR over email, adding that local governments may not have a say in how they operate because the skies are regulated by the FAA.

Hurtado also points out that while air taxis are being billed as sustainable, that depends on how they’re being used.

“If it replaces the person who would be driving or taking a taxi, it might generate less [greenhouse gas] emissions for that one trip, but how many air taxis would we need to replace the majority of cars in one particular route?” she added. “I wouldn’t want to see a sky crowded with air taxis.”

In an ideal world, Hurtado says, air taxis would fill existing gaps in urban transportation systems rather than create new ones. She’d also like to see cities take a more proactive approach to transportation planning in general, and learn from past mistakes. That would mean, for example, considering the negative impacts not only of where air taxis land and take off, but along their route as well.

“Too often in the past have transportation projects impacted marginalized communities and disadvantaged populations,” she wrote, pointing to highways as an example. “I hope these mistakes won’t be repeated with this type of transportation system.”


Amazon’s started to deliver orders by drones in California and Texas

Amazon is now delivering orders by drones in California and Texas with the aim to ultimately fly out packages to customers’ homes within an hour, Ars Technica reports. The retail giant’s drone delivery service, Amazon Prime Air, already dropped a small number of packages via drone in the backyards of customers in the run-up to Christmas in Lockeford, California, and College Station, Texas.

“Our aim is to safely introduce our drones to the skies. We are starting in these communities and will gradually expand deliveries to more customers over time,” Amazon Air spokesperson Natalie Banke told KTXL Fox 40.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave Amazon Part 135 approval to send packages by drone in 2020, as well as filing Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact/Record of Decision documents for Lockeford on November 14th and College Station on December 12th.

The rural town of Lockeford, California, is located 50 miles southeast of Sacramento and has only about 3,500 residents, while College Station, Texas, is a medium-sized city 100 miles northwest of Houston that’s home to Texas A&M.

Those living in either town are eligible to sign up and place orders, while Amazon will notify customers elsewhere when drone delivery is available in their area. The most recent filings indicate Amazon’s deliveries will be available within 3.73 miles of its delivery center in Texas and within four miles of its drone depot (aka Prime Air Drone Delivery Center, or PADDC) in California.


Operations from the College Station PADDC would occur during daylight hours up to five days per week. The operating area is divided into four sectors, with each sector having a maximum of approximately 50 delivery flights per operating day. Only one aircraft in each sector can be airborne at any time. Operations from the Lockeford PADDC would occur during daylight hours up to five days per week. The operating area is divided into four sectors, with each sector having a maximum of approximately 50 delivery flights per operating day. Only one aircraft in each sector can be airborne at any time.

After placing an order, customers will receive both tracking information and an estimated delivery time they can expect the drone to drop off the package in their backyard.

The drones are intentionally shaped in a hexagonal fashion with six propellers to improve stability and minimize high-frequency sound waves, Amazon claims. Still, though the MK27-2 delivery drones fly autonomously and are programmed to avoid running into obstacles like chimneys, Amazon says it’s currently using humans to monitor deliveries.

Safety will continue to be a consideration, particularly given some setbacks Amazon faced in developing the drone delivery program, including crashes. In one incident at its test site in Pendleton, Oregon, a drone fell 160 feet and sparked a brush fire that stretched across 25 acres, as reported by Insider and Bloomberg.

At current, Amazon is currently working on a new and reportedly safer MK30 drone that will be available to use in 2024. It should be lighter and smaller than MK27-2 delivery drones, handle high temperatures and light rain better, and go further. Amazon is just one of many companies working on their own drone delivery services. Alphabet and Walmart, for example, launched versions of their own in the past year to select customers in certain areas.



Fresno-based Xobee Networks announced Wednesday that it has acquired Myers Network Solutions, a tech solutions provider based out of San Jose.

The acquisition aims to build on Xobee Networks managed IT service clientele as well as allow Xobee to provide resources and products to even more businesses in the Bay Area.

“Through this investment, Xobee will embolden and scale our resources and services to clients within San Jose and across the state,” said Eric Rawn, Xobee Networks founder and CEO. “We are investing in Myers Network Solutions because they are the marquee computer business solutions experts in San Jose, and we are well-positioned to help strengthen their team, resources, and products toward current and future clients.”

Xobee Networks agreed to purchase Myers Network Solutions for $1.7 million. Xobee plans to maintain the entire staff at Myers as they welcome them into the Xobee Networks brand.

Xobee Networks’ addition of Myers Network Solutions adds strength to a workforce of more than 100 skilled tech professionals already at Xobee.

With this acquisition, Xobee hopes to expand its managed support, cloud computing, cybersecurity, telecommunications, web development and networking services at an affordable cost.

“Since the agreement between Xobee Networks and Myers Network Solutions earlier this year, Xobee has been able to increase revenue month over month with an 18% growth in host services offerings,” according to a Xobee news release.

Xobee Networks was founded in 1996 by Eric Rawn, and has since grown to serve thousands of clients throughout California.

Rawn also owns tech solutions firm BCT Consulting in Fresno.


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.

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.


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.


High-Speed Rail Authority Completes Overpass, Opens Roadway to Traffic in Madera County

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority), in collaboration with contractor Tutor-Perini / Zachry / Parsons, announced today the Avenue 15 ½ Grade Separation in Madera County is now open to traffic. The new overpass is located at Road 29 / Santa Fe Drive, east of the City of Madera. It took 16 pre-cast concrete girders and nearly 117 pre-cast concrete deck panels to complete the structure, which spans 468 feet, is 40 feet wide and takes traffic over the existing BNSF rail and future high-speed rail lines.

Completing another structure in the Central Valley is the latest sign of progress for the high-speed rail project. At its Board of Directors meeting earlier this month, the Authority awarded two contracts to advance design along the Merced to Madera and Fresno to Bakersfield Locally Generated Alternative project sections, expanding the 119-mile segment to 171 miles of electrified high-speed rail under development and construction.

In addition, the Board also approved the environmental documents for the San Francisco to San Jose project section, meaning 422 of the 500-mile high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles has been environmentally cleared. Earlier this summer, the Authority announced the creation of more than 8,000 jobs since the start of the project, with a majority going to residents in the Central Valley.

NEWS RELEASE: High-Speed Rail Authority Completes Overpass, Opens Roadway to Traffic in Madera County – California High Speed Rail