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– April 1, 2015

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Written on 04/01/2015, 4:58 pm by Business Journal staff
The City of Fresno is asking the public to vote for one of three local parks to receive a $20,000 grant as part of a national revitalization...
Written on 04/01/2015, 3:22 pm by Business Journal staff
Momentum Broadcasting's 106.7 KJUG Country has announced that this year's JugFest will be held May 30 at the International Agri-Center in Tulare.  The festival is currently in its ninth year and is one of the largest music events in the Central Valley. JugFest will announce its line-up during the American Country Music Awards show on April 19 on CBS 47 and Good Day on KMPH April 20.  The concert has had multiple locations in the past, including the Tulare Fairground with 5,000 concertgoers and Twilight Park with 10,000 attendees. Last year, Momentum Broadcasting brought the festival back to Visalia's Plaza Park with headliner Justin Moore and the festival saw its largest attendance ever at 20,000.  The new venue was selected to help prepare for more growth and can accommodate more than 30,000 attendees.  "We are so excited to be able to bring JugFest to more country music lovers than ever with a larger venue. Every year, we plan on getting bigger and better to continue bringing unprecedented country music talent to the Central Valley," said Rik McNeil, KJUG program director.  KMPH Fox 26 is the main media sponsor for JugFest 2015 and the station will be hosting contests leading up to the event. For more information on the festival visit www.KJUG.com.
Written on 04/01/2015, 1:33 pm by Business Journal staff
Wild Water Adventure Park in Clovis is hosting a job fair Saturday in hopes of filling some 350 seasonal positions. The job fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the park, located at 11413 E. Shaw Ave. in Clovis. Applications and job descriptions are available at http://www.wildwater.net/employment.php The positions are for the summer season, which kicks off May 23 through Labor Day weekend in September.
Written on 04/01/2015, 12:06 pm by Business Journal staff
Homeowners and commercial property owners in Parlier, Selma and unincorporated parts of Fresno County can now take part in the HERO (Home Energy Renovation Opportunity) Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program.  The program allows owners to make energy- and water-efficiency improvements to their properties and pay them off through their property tax bill.  "Fresno residents want to do the right thing when it comes to saving energy and water, and the HERO PACE program will make it easier and more affordable for homeowners to improve efficiency," said Henry Perea, Fresno County supervisor. "The county is proud to make this service available to local residents so that they can afford to install the most efficient technology available when it comes time to replace that water heater or furnace." Fresno, Kingsburg, Clovis, Reedley and Sanger have already launched the HERO program and Kerman is expected to begin its participation this summer. Property owners who participate can repay the assessment over five, 10, 15 or 20 years. The interest is tax deductible and homeowners often see savings on electric and water utility bills.  A wide variety of energy-saving products and contractors available through HERO including solar panel installations, whole-home heating and cooling (HVAC) systems, energy-saving windows and doors, roofing and insulation services.  The HERO program now serves 10 million households in California and has helped fund 28,000 residential efficiency projects totaling more than $550 million in financing. The program has also helped increase demand for contractor services, creating 4,700 jobs since 2011. 
Written on 04/01/2015, 11:44 am by Business Journal Staff
The City of Fresno announced that the Department of Development and Resource Management has released a draft of the first major update of the city’s development code in more than 50 years. The development code deals with permitting, zoning, land use, public works and other topics and is required to be consistent with the vision presented in the General Plan Update. Since the passage of the existing Zoning Ordinance in 1962, the City has adopted numerous General Plans but neglected to address significant deficiencies in the Code. Although there have been several piecemeal efforts to make modifications, city officials said those amendments have resulted in a fragmented code that was often difficult to comprehend. “This update was long overdue,” said Jennifer Clark, director of development and resource management.  “We took an outdated, arcane document and made sensible changes that not only reinforce our new General Plan, but also allow properties to be developed in ways that enhance the quality of life in our community,” Clark added. “We’re looking forward to getting comments and suggestions from Fresnans that will help make our development code work for everyone.” The Zoning Ordinance update incorporates contemporary planning and business practices, sets objective criteria for new development, reduces the need for conditional use permits, and incentivizes development by offering flexible property development standards.  The new development code was drafted by City staff after extensive discussion and input by industry professionals. The Draft of the Development Code is available for public comment until June 1 at 5 p.m. The Draft Code will be available for download at www.fresno.gov/code. Hardcopies may also be obtained at the City of Fresno Development Department on the 3rd Floor of City Hall after 1 p.m. A hardcopy may be viewed at the central branch of the Fresno County Library at 2420 Mariposa Street in Downtown Fresno and at libraries and community centers around the city. For additional information, or to submit comments please contact Arnoldo Rodriguez at (559) 621-8172 or Arnoldo.Rodriguez@fresno.gov.  
Written on 04/01/2015, 10:36 am by The Associated Press
The 33-year-old woman killed in a murder-suicide Tuesday in downtown Fresno has been identified as Zyang Vang. Vang was an employee at SANG Pediatrics. “There are no words to describe how saddened we feel today upon learning of this horrific tragedy,” said clinic owner Dr. New Sang, who was traveling out of town with his family when the shooting occurred. Vang, a mother of seven, had worked for SANG Pediatrics for more than ten years. “Zyang was an amazing mother, colleague and employee. She was loyal, warm and caring and always will to help everyone,” said Dr. Sang in a statement released on Wednesday. “We will do everything in our power to help the family get through this loss.” Vang’s estranged husband, identified by police as Neng Moua, 43, of Clovis, had a history of domestic violence. Late Tuesday morning, he stormed into the medical office building and after exchanging words with Vang, shot her and then himself. During the incident, panicked employees and patients hid in bathrooms and were seen climbing from the building's ground-level windows as police arrived. Fresno Deputy Police Chief Pat Farmer said no other injuries were reported and investigators recovered a shotgun inside the clinic. Farmer said the couple lived separately but have five children together. Vang also had two other children from a separate relationship. The ages of the children have not been released. Detectives searching Moua's home after the shooting removed two rifles, a backpack and two evidence bags. Moua's neighbor Russ Stidston said he was a hardworking roofer who was friendly and outgoing and who would have parties his children attended. "To find out what he did, it just doesn't meet his character," Stidston said, adding that he never saw or heard any problems. A motive for the murder-suicide was not immediately known, but a custody dispute could have sparked the shooting, Farmer said. He said police had one prior domestic dispute contact with Moua 11 years ago. On Tuesday, the call came in as a domestic disturbance shortly before 11 a.m., police said. Police said officers surrounded the building and ordered people to evacuate. Believing they had a shooter on the loose, police called in SWAT team members who entered the building. Raquel Castillo, a 31-year-old caregiver, said she heard shots while inside with a patient visiting the clinic. "I heard him shoot three times and I heard people screaming," Castillo said. A short search of the building led police to the bodies. Several nearby businesses were evacuated and Fresno City Hall was locked down during the search. "This is a tragedy and we are grateful no one else was hurt during this incident," Farmer said. ---The Business Journal contributed to this report.
Written on 04/01/2015, 10:14 am by Business Journal staff
Granville Homes will unveil a mural at its newest downtown residential development during a ceremony at 5 p.m. Thursday as part of the monthly ArtHop event. The mural was designed by A.S. Angelo and painted by local artist FranCisco Vargas at Brio on Broadway, located at 1636 Broadway St. The pair were selected for the project through a contest hosted by Granville and the Fresno Arts Council.  Vargas has created several other downtown murals including the "Welcome to Fresno" wall at 746 Broadway St. and the "postage stamp" mural on the side of the Pacific Publishing building at 1315 Van Ness Ave.  Both Vargas and Angelo will be present during the unveiling event, along with Lilia Chavez of the Fresno Arts Council and Granville President Darius Assemi.  Work from featured artist Ashleigh Fleenor will also be on display for ArtHop and light refreshments will be served. Tours will be given of the new apartment units which are currently available for pre-lease. 
Written on 04/01/2015, 8:35 am by 
DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press
(AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday shortened the prison sentences of nearly two dozen drug convicts, including a Fresno man, in an act the White House said continues Obama's push to make the justice system fairer by reducing harsh sentences that were handed down under outdated guidelines. The effort could lead Obama to grant clemency more often as his second and final term in office winds down. In December, Obama issued his first round of commutations under new guidelines that were put in place to cut costs by reducing the growing prison population and grant leniency to nonviolent drug offenders sentenced to yearslong terms of confinement away from society. A commutation leaves the conviction in place and ends the punishment. Amado Garcia of Fresno will see his 240-month sentence expire July 28. He was convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; aiding and abetting the possession of methamphetamine; aiding and abetting the possession of heroin. Neil Eggleston, the White House counsel, said many of the 22 people whose federal sentences will be cut short by Obama's action would already have served their time and paid the debt they owed society had they been sentenced under current laws and policies. "Because many were convicted under an outdated sentencing regime, they served years — in some cases more than a decade — longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime," Eggleston said in a post on the White House blog. The 22 individuals were sentenced between 1992 and 2006. Eggleston said Tuesday's commutations underscore Obama's "commitment to using all the tools at his disposal to bring greater fairness and equity to our justice system." Obama has now approved a total of 43 commutations during more than six years in office. Eggleston noted that Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, had commuted 11 sentences during his two terms. In a letter, Obama urged each individual to take advantage of the second chance he is giving them. The White House said it was the first time Obama had sent such letters. "I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around. Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity," he wrote. "It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances. "But remember that you have the capacity to make good choices," Obama said. The nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for less stringent drug sentences, praised the commutations. "The president's actions today are welcome," said Michael Collins, policy manager at DPA's office of national affairs. Collins called on Congress to "act quickly on substantive sentencing reform," adding, "It's time to rectify the U.S.'s embarrassing record on mass incarceration." The other 21 individuals whose sentences will expire on July 28 are: —Terry Andre Barnes, East Moline, Illinois. Conspiracy to distribute cocaine base; violation of supervised release. Sentenced to 246 months imprisonment. —Theresa Brown, Pompano Beach, Florida. Conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Sentenced to life in prison. —Donel Marcus Clark, Dallas. Conspiracy; use of a communication facility; distribution and/or possession of cocaine or manufacturing in or near a school facility, aiding and abetting. Sentenced to 420 months in prison, later amended to 360 months. —Ricky Bernard Coggins, Tallahassee, Florida. Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base. Sentenced to life imprisonment. —Samuel Pasqual Edmondson, of Junction City, Kansas. Conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Sentenced to life in prison. —Dwight Anthony Goddard, Decatur, Georgia. Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base. Sentenced to 235 months in prison. —Lionel Ray Hairston, of Ridgeway, Virginia. Distribution of cocaine base. Sentenced to 262 months in prison. —Francis Darrell Hayden, Loretto, Kentucky: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants or 1,000 or more kilograms of marijuana; manufacture of 1,000 or more marijuana plants. Sentenced to life imprisonment. —Harold Kenneth Herring, Havana, Florida: Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base. Sentenced to life imprisonment. —Tommie Lee Hollingshed, Memphis, Tennessee. Distribution of a controlled substance. Sentenced to 324 months imprisonment. —Derrick DeWayne Johnson, Birmingham, Alabama. Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Sentenced to 360 months imprisonment. —Robert Martinez-Gil, San Antonio, Texas. Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin. Sentenced to life imprisonment. —David Navejar, Brooksville, Florida. Conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 240 months imprisonment. —Rudolph Norris, Washington, D.C. Unlawful distribution of cocaine base; unlawful possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base. Sentenced to 360 months imprisonment. —Tracy Lynn Petty, Shelby, North Carolina. Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. Sentenced to 240 months imprisonment, later amended to 204 months. —Luis Razo, Davenport, Iowa. Conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Sentenced to 240 months imprisonment. —Antwon Rogers, Cleveland. Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 139.8 grams of cocaine base. Sentenced to life imprisonment. —Herman Rosenboro, Kingsport, Tennessee. Conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine and over 50 grams of cocaine base; distribution of a quantity of cocaine base; distribution of a quantity of cocaine. Sentenced to life imprisonment. —Lawrence Elmo Scott, Lynchburg, Virginia. Distribution of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school. Sentenced to 283 months imprisonment. —Levar V. Wade, Chicago, Illinois. Possession of 50 or more grams of crack cocaine with intent to distribute. Sentenced to 240 months imprisonment. —Eugene Winters, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Conspiracy to distribute cocaine base. Sentenced to 240 months in prison.
Written on 03/31/2015, 1:22 pm by The Associated Press
A man and a woman in a romantic relationship were found dead after a shooting at a medical office building in downtown Fresno, police in central California said Tuesday. In a chaotic scene, people hid in bathrooms at the Eye Medical Clinic and were seen climbing from the windows of the ground level building as police arrived. Officers heard one gunshot as they arrived, Fresno police Lt. Joe Gomez said. To help the 10 to 15 people inside the building get out, police smashed windows and helped people climb to safety, Gomez said. No other injuries were reported, Gomez said. Investigators found a shotgun inside the clinic, Gomez said. It wasn't immediately clear if authorities consider the shooting a murder-suicide, but police were not searching for anyone. Gomez identified the shooter as a 43-year-old man and the victim as a 34-year-old woman. The exact nature of their relationship was not immediately clear. The call came in as a domestic disturbance shortly before 11 a.m., police said. Officers surrounded the building and ordered people to evacuate, Gomez said. A short search of the building led to the bodies. Several nearby businesses and Fresno City Hall were evacuated during the search, but people have since returned to those buildings. Police released few details about the shooting but planned to provide more information at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Written on 03/31/2015, 1:20 pm by Business Journal staff
Fresno's Reading and Beyond will host an open house April 2 to share plans to expand the Fresno Bridge Academy thanks to a new $12 million grant. The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the Fresno County Department of Social Services the grant as one of ten pilot projects aimed as reducing dependency and increasing work effort under the state's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The county in 2010 tasked Reading and Beyond with operating the program, which provides employment placement and job training to underserved communities, so far graduating 700 families. The grant is expected to enable the Fresno Bridge Academy to serve an additional 2,300 families through 2019. Another 400 families are currently enrolled. The grant will expand services from two to six urban sites, and from one to three rural sites. Services are currently centered in Southeast Fresno, the Lowell Neighborhood as well as Coalinga. The Thursday open house kicks off at 10 a.m. at the Reading and Beyond office at the Mosqueda Community Center, 4670 E. Butler Ave. in Fresno.

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