Press Room

The Central Valley’s Madera Community College becomes California’s newest community college

California has its newest college: Madera Community College. The college, located in California’s Central Valley north of Fresno, was recognized Monday by the California community college system’s Board of Governors as the 116th college in the system. Previously, the campus was Madera Community College Center and operated as a satellite campus of Reedley College. “This accomplishment is something that our community has been waiting for a long time and much needed,” Angel Reyna, president of the college, said in a statement. The new college’s goals include becoming “student and community centered,” and providing “equitable outcomes for each of our students, and to that end we commit towards transforming ourselves into an anti-racist institution while producing the future workforce our community needs,” Reyna added.

As a college rather than an educational center, Madera Community College will receive more state funding that will go toward additional programs and staffing. The college will also be eligible to have athletic programs in the California Community College Athletic Association. The campus enrolls about 5,600 students and opened in 1996.  The college will now operate independently within the State Center Community College District, the district that also includes Clovis College, Fresno City College and Reedley College.  Monday’s unanimous vote by the Board of Governors came after the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) voted in June to grant Madera its accreditation. The ACCJC is the commission responsible for accrediting all of California’s community colleges.

Assemblymember Jose Medina, who is chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, in a statement said that Madera Community College “will help fill a great need in the Central Valley and increase access to quality educational and career opportunities for local students.” Monday marked the first time the system has recognized a new college since establishing Calbright College, a fully online college, last year. Before Calbright, Compton College became the 114th college in the system in June of last year when it regained its independence after operating for years as a satellite campus of the El Camino Community College District.

Tom Epstein, president of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, said in a statement that the system is “proud to welcome Madera Community College to the family of California community colleges. We congratulate the dedicated faculty and district leadership for providing this underserved area of the Central Valley with expanded learning opportunities to help more students achieve their educational goals.”

https://edsource.org/2020/the-central-valleys-madera-community-college-becomes-californias-newest-community-college/636810

OmniTRAX’s Stockton Terminal and Eastern Railroad Works with San Joaquin Partnership to Launch Rail-Ready Sites Program

DENVER & STOCKTON, CA – OmniTRAX, one of the fastest growing railroads in North America and an affiliate of The Broe Group, is bringing its Rail-Ready Sites program to the Stockton Terminal and Eastern Railroad (STE). The program, started last year at the Winchester & Western Railroad (WW) in West Virginia and New Jersey, delivers the benefits of rail to shipping customers through rail-served sites.
OmniTRAX is working closely with the San Joaquin Partnership to promote the best developable, rail-ready property adjacent to the STE. The initial three sites, which total 83 acres and include a 65 acre parcel, are ideal locations for rail-served agriculture, manufacturing, asphalt, cement, chemicals, food processing, lumber, steel and distribution facilities.  “San Joaquin County and the greater Stockton region are going through an industrial and agricultural renaissance that our Rail-Ready Sites program will help to support. Working with the San Joaquin Partnership, OmniTRAX will bring new jobs and economic growth to the area through increased rail-served development,” said Ean Johnson, Vice President, Industrial Development at OmniTRAX. “We are strategically located in the heart of Northern California with the right land, infrastructure and workforce that will maximize success for rail-served sites. We provide a business-friendly climate and local government support that when partnered with the expert experience that OmniTRAX brings to the table, generate a winning formula for our community,” said Bob Gutierrez, Interim President & CEO of the San Joaquin Partnership.
About OmniTRAX, Inc.
As one of North America’s largest and fastest growing private railroad and transportation management companies, OmniTRAX’s core capabilities range from providing transportation and supply chain management services to railroad and port companies, to providing intermodal and industrial switching operations to railroads, ports and a diverse group of industrial companies. Through its affiliation with The Broe Group and its portfolio of managed companies, OmniTRAX also has the unique capability of offering specialized industrial development and real estate solutions, both on and off the rail network managed by OmniTRAX. More information is available at omnitrax.com.
About The Broe Group
Based in Denver, The Broe Group and its affiliates form a privately-owned, multi-billion-dollar real estate, transportation, energy and investment organization with assets owned and managed across North America. Together, Broe managed companies employ more than 1,000 people and support employment of thousands of others through operations such as its Great Western Industrial Park in Northern Colorado. Its transportation affiliate, OmniTRAX, Inc., is one of North America’s largest private railroad and transportation management companies specializing in: management services, railroad and port services, intermodal solutions and industrial switching operations. Its energy affiliates include Great Western Petroleum LLC, the largest private operator in the third most prolific U.S. basin. Broe Real Estate Group acquires, develops and manages office and industrial properties, medical office buildings and multi-family communities across the country, including premier assets in many of the most desirable markets. The Broe Group also has multiple investment affiliates, including Three Leaf Ventures, which is focused on innovative healthcare technology start-ups. For more information, visit broe.com.
About San Joaquin Partnership
The San Joaquin Partnership is a public/private non-profit economic development corporation serving all of San Joaquin County and its seven incorporated cities. For the past 30 years, the Partnership has attracted business and industry to the region with marketing and outreach strategies.  Our team provides custom tailored marketing plans, confidential due diligence, site selection, government affairs and match making with local businesses that will assist your company in establishing a successful future in San Joaquin County.

Destination California: Madera Wine Trail is a hidden gem in the Valley

FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Some call it the wine industry’s best kept secret. The Madera Wine Trail in the Central Valley is a unique boutique experience, offering award-winning wines. “The Madera Wine Trail is so important to this community,” said Erica Magarian, the Estate manager at Fäsi Estate Winery. Considered the agricultural center of the United States, the Central Valley has reason to show off its wine growing region in Madera. “We can create wines that are unique — vintage to vintage.  And not only that, we can play around with different varieties that are not as common,” said Shayne Vetter, who’s a winemaker for Toca Madera Winery.

The wineries are on a smaller scale in Madera, giving an intimate feel that wine lovers can take advantage of. “We’re able to be very hands on from start to finish.  Whether that be, as you can see behind me, our vineyard, being very hands on with harvesting all the way through to maybe hand bottling,” said Magarian. “And not only that, you’re going to taste some wines that are a little different in style because we have the ability to be different and not have to follow kind of the status quo,” added Vetter.

Winery staff are rich in knowledge and the area is one of the oldest grape growing regions in America.  The wineries on the wine trail are part of the AVA. “A lot of people don’t realize that Madera is a American Viticultural Area meaning it has some distinction apart from the surrounding areas.” Renowned neighbors, Napa and Paso Robles might be touting best in show, but Madera wines are up and coming–already winning several awards and the county has long been known for its dessert wines and ports. “A lot of wine grape growing regions are known for maybe one or two particular varietals, but here in Madera, it’s very interesting and exciting that we all kind of have our own little niche.  So, that’s very cool.” The Madera Wine Trail is just minutes North of Fresno.

https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/destination-california/madera-wine-trail-is-a-hidden-gem-in-the-valley/

FRESNO COMPANY ACQUIRES PRODUCT LINE FROM GLOBAL BEHEMOTH

Published On July 1, 2020 – 3:05 PM
Written By The Business Journal Staff

Vie-Del Co., one of the largest and the oldest grape processors in the U.S., has announced it intends to acquire Constellation Brands U.S. Operations, Inc. (CBUSO) grape concentrate and high-color concentrate business. Under the agreement, the terms of which were undisclosed, Vie-Del, which is headquartered in Fresno, will be acquiring CBUSO’s Mega Purple, Mega Red, MegaNatural, and Canandaigua Concentrates brands used in the high color concentrate business. The agreement also includes CBUSO’s certain intellectual property, inventory, goodwill, interests in certain contracts, assets and liabilities.

Vie-Del plans to incorporate the MegaNatural High Color concentrate produced under the corporate Vie-Del Co. brand and legacy product lines. “This acquisition provides a seamless complement to our existing lines of grape juice concentrates, allowing our operation to further build upon the success we’ve created for more than 70 years,” said Dianne Nury, president of Vie-Del Company. “We look forward to continuing to serve the needs and help fuel growth for our industry partners with the same personalized business approach our family-owned company has become known for.” Constellation Brands is one of the largest distributors of beer, wine and spirits in the world.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/fresno-company-acquires-product-line-from-global-behemoth/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=ee924e4a35-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_07_01_09_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-ee924e4a35-78934409&mc_cid=ee924e4a35&mc_eid=a126ded657

Malouf Expands Distribution Network to 5.3 Million Square Feet with Acquisition of California Property

LOGAN, Utah—Malouf™ recently acquired a new warehouse distribution property in Delano, California. The strategically located building adds 1.2 million square feet to the company’s distribution network and will allow the company to better serve its clientele in the Western United States. “Based on feedback from our retail partners, we know that efficient shipping and proper inventory levels are essential to their success,” said Malouf™ VP of Sales Mike Douglas. “As our company continues to grow, we will strengthen our capabilities to meet our customers’ needs.”

The new warehouse is fitted with a storage racking system and 185 dock doors, and miles of conveyers connect through the building to promote increased productivity and efficiency. Prior to the acquisition, the facility functioned as a distribution center for Sears. With this new property, Malouf’s distribution centers total 5.3 million square feet, and the company can now offer next-day ground shipping to 35 percent of the continental United States. Ryan Egbert, national director of distribution for Malouf™, commented, “With an ever-evolving product mix and the addition of Salt Flat furniture, this new facility provides ample space for future growth and allows us to increase our outbound capacity for our customers.” With the acquisition, Malouf™ also expects to create 100 local jobs within the next two years. Egbert explained, “We’re excited to be in an area with an excellent labor pool with a strong work ethic, and we look forward to welcoming them to our family.”

Malouf™ is currently preparing the building for operations and plans to start shipping product out of the facility later this year. The company will transition the majority of its West Coast distribution to California. Malouf™ was represented by Eric Dienstbach with Binswanger, and the property owner was represented by Stephen Haupt, an industrial specialist with Colliers International.

https://kernedc.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Malouf%E2%84%A2-Expands-Distribution-Capabilities-with-Acquisition-of-California-Property-2.pdf

Idemitsu Renewables Completes $60 Million Financing for 50 Megawatt Central 40 Solar Project in California

SAN FRANCISCOJune 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Idemitsu Renewables, the US-based renewable energy business of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd, announced today it has closed on debt financing for its 50 MWp Central 40 solar project in Stanislaus County, California.

Debt financing was provided by KeyBank National Association. KeyBanc Capital Markets served as sole arranger of the financing. “This project expands Idemitsu Renewables’ operating business in California,” said Cary Vandenberg, Managing Director of Idemitsu Renewables. “We were happy to build upon our existing relationship with KeyBank and to close a successful transaction even amidst the difficulty of the current COVID environment.” “As a part of our continuing support for renewable energy, we are pleased to support the growth of Idemitsu Renewables’ solar business in California,” said Andrew Redinger, Manager Director & Group Head, Utilities Power & Renewables at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

The renewable power generated by Central 40 will be sold through a power purchase agreement with Silicon Valley Power, which serves the City of Santa Clara. Idemitsu Renewables, the US-based renewable energy subsidiary of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd, is a leading solar and storage developer and IPP. The company acquires, develops, owns, and operates utility-scale solar power generation plants; selling the clean energy to help communities both economically and ecologically live in healthier environments. With offices in California and Nevada, Idemitsu Renewables continues to develop its growing pipeline of energy projects. Learn more at http://idemitsurenewables.com/.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/idemitsu-renewables-completes-60-million-120500052.html

RazzleDazzle Grapes will be Transitioned to Central California by mid-July

This year’s Mexican grape season was slightly different from past seasons, according to Mike Asdoorian of DLJ Produce. “A lot of growers have pulled out their early season varieties and planted later season premium varieties, which has changed up the structure of the season,” he says. For the RazzleDazzle grapes, there are about 2-3 weeks left in the Mexican season, and after this they will switch over to their Central California production.

The RazzleDazzle crop started out of Mexico in the beginning of June and will likely stretch to the beginning of July. Asdoorian shares: “The main focus is the quality of the grapes. We waited with packing the product at the start of the Mexican season so assure the highest quality. We also don’t want to overextend the season too much because we don’t want to affect the quality.”

Mexico has seen some high temperatures lately which has worried growers in the area. “There have been some heat related issues in Mexico that we want to keep our eyes on. The fruit’s quality is still good, the heat is just slowing everything down a bit. The transition to California is coming up, though, so that should alleviate the worries about the temperatures in Mexico. We’re expecting to have good volumes out of California by the second week of July,” Asdoorian shares. Some logistical challenges, but good demand despite pandemic
The spike in COVID-19 cases in Arizona has caused some additional challenges for companies in the area. Asdoorian explains: “There are some really strict regulations, such as not letting truck drivers into facilities to reduce possible exposure. It’s been difficult getting the product across the border because of the strains on the infrastructure. Trucks rates are slightly elevated, and there are limited numbers of USDA inspectors available. Those who are available are also subject to the extra precautions and restrictions. So, getting product into the US has been a challenge, but I’d say we’ve adjusted well to it.”

The majority of the product goes directly into retail, and the demand for the RazzleDazzle grapes has been good, Asdoorian says. “The combination of the exclusivity of the program with the benefit of the fact that people aren’t eating out as much has driven demand. The grape category as a whole might not be up by any significant amount, but in general people are buying more produce. We, specifically, are seeing a double-digit growth for our grapes, so we’re looking forward to moving along the season, have a good transition and do the best we can,” he concludes.

https://www.freshplaza.com/article/9229996/we-ll-be-transitioned-to-central-california-by-mid-july/

EV Connect, Trillium Complete California’s Central Valley Electric Highway

Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers traveling through California’s Central Valley now have more than 150 miles of State Highway 99 supported by fast-charging stations at three Love’s Travel Stops. The expansion is a result of a partnership between EV Connect and Trillium, Love’s alternative fuel business unit.

The California Electric Highway is an extensive network of charging stations along Interstate 5, Highway 99, and other primary roads throughout California. The completion of the new charging stations expands California’s portion of the nearly 4,000-mile West Coast Electric Highway aimed at providing charging stations every 25 to 50 miles. The initiative is funded through incentives and grants from the California Energy Commission. Funding support is provided by the California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which invests in transportation and fuel technology innovation that helps California meet its energy, clean air and climate change goals. EV Connect will operate the charging stations, while Trillium will build the sites and provide ongoing management.

The three Love’s charging sites will feature rates of 50 or 150 kilowatts and accommodate charging for up to four vehicles at one time. The new charging stations, including DC fast chargers (DCFC) and level-2 chargers at Love’s stations in Ripon, Madera and Tulare, use EV Connect’s EV Cloud, an innovative cloud-based software platform for managing electric vehicle charging infrastructure. “We can now provide electric vehicle drivers the same safe and well-maintained travel stop services that we’ve provided to professional truck drivers and everyday motorists since 1964,” said Frank Love, co-CEO of Love’s. “We’re excited to welcome motorists along Route 99 and play a part in reducing emissions through our electric vehicle infrastructure.”

EV Connect provides the industry’s largest open-standards EV charging cloud platform for managing networks of charging stations, their interaction with utilities and the improvement of the driver experience. “Love’s Travel Stops are a mainstay of the American road trip, and we are excited to help roll out charging locations on the nation’s highway system and bring long-distance mobility to electric vehicles,” said Jordan Ramer, founder, and CEO of EV Connect. “We are pleased to work with Trillium to deploy their DCFCs in strategic locations to fulfill part of EV Connect’s deployment program under the California Energy Commission grant program.”

https://www.saurenergy.com/ev-storage/ev-connect-trillium-complete-californias-central-valley-electric-highway

Amazon may hire more than 3,000 people in Kern

A local college official says Amazon is looking to hire more than 3,000 people — three times the total required under a subsidy agreement worked out with Kern County officials — to work full- and part-time at a large distribution center the e-commerce giant expects to open this summer just north of Meadows Field Airport. Amazon has never specified publicly how many jobs total it expects to create at the warehouse. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the estimate included in a blog post Sunday by Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian.
Christian’s blog announced the college’s Student Employment Office has partnered with the company to host a series of four virtual job-recruitment events. The first two of the one-hour Zoom events are set for 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday, with the rest scheduled for exactly one week later. Christian wrote that Amazon representatives will provide step-by-step information about how to apply for a job at the warehouse and what are its requirements, expectations and benefits packages. Job applicants may pre-register online for the recruitment events at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/event/amazon-day.
Amazon has already started hiring upper-level jobs to work at the distribution center, which will also be staffed by robots. The company has advised job-seekers interested in working at the new building to check its hiring website, amazon.com/jobs. It said the best way to get updates is to text “amazon” to 77088. Kern’s Board of Supervisors agreed in 2018 to give Amazon $3 million in local tax rebates in exchange for employing 1,000 county residents at an average wage of $31,000 per year at the distribution center. The subsidy package would award the company annual refunds totaling about $287,000 for more than a decade.

Aemetis provide updates of RNG, cellulosic ethanol projects

By Erin Voegele | March 13, 2020
Aemestis Inc. released fourth quarter financial results on March 12, reporting increased revenues and progress with the development of its cellulosic ethanol and renewable natural gas (RNG) projects. During an earnings call, Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis, said the company has signed participation agreements with 17 dairies for its RNG project. The company has also built and tested two dairy lagoon digesters, and has designed and permitted a 4-mile pipeline that is now under construction to connect the dairy digesters to its corn ethanol plant in Keyes, California. The RNG project is currently expected to begin generating revenue for Aemetis during the second quarter of this year. According to McAfee, the company plans to complete construction of the next 15 digesters by the end of 2021.

McAfee also provided an update of the company’s proposed 12 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant in Riverbank, California, that will employ LanzaTech gas microbe ethanol production technology. Last year, Aemetis signed three significant financings related to the Riverbank project, including a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commision, a $12.5 million tax waiver that offsets equity funding required for the project, and the signing of a $125 million United States Department of Agriculture conditional commitment letter for a 20-year debt financing under the 9003 biorefinery program, according to McAfee. Currently, he said the company is focused on completing engineering of the plant required for the negotiation of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. McAfee said financial closing to being construction of the Riverbank plant is dependent on completing the engineering and procurement work required for the signing of the construction contract. During the call, McAfee also described several upgrades that are being made to the company’s Keyes ethanol plant. One upgrade involves the development of a carbon dioxide liquification plant by Linde Gas adjacent to the Keyes plant. McAfee said construction on the CO2 capture equipment and piping for the Keyes plant was complete in January. Once the project becomes fully operational in the second quarter, the new liquification plant is expected to convert approximately 150,000 tons per year of CO2 produced by the Keyes plant into liquid CO2 for sale to local food processors, beverage producers and other industrial users.

The Keyes plant is also adding a Mitsubishi membrane dehydration system to the Keyes plant. That dehydration unit was delivered to the Keyes plant in late February, McAfee said, and is currently being installed. Aemetis is also working to add a solar microarray, high-efficiency heat exchanger, and mechanical vapor recompression system to the Keyes plant. Aemetis also operates a biodiesel plant in India. The company reported revenues of $52.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, up from $38.8 million for the same period of last year. Gross profit was $5.8 million, compared to a gross loss of $1.9 million. Operating profit was $1 million, compared to an operating loss of $6.7 million reported for the same period of 2018. Net loss attributable to Aemetis was $6.7 million, compared to a net loss of $11.4 million for the fourth quarter of the previous year. For the full year, revenues reached $202 million, up from $171.5 million in 2018. Gross profit was $12.7 million, up from $5.4 million. Operating loss for 2019 reached $4.9 million, compared to an operating loss of $10.9 million for 2018.

http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/16886/aemetis-provide-updates-of-rng-cellulosic-ethanol-projects