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– October 21, 2014

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Latest Local News

Written on 10/20/2014, 1:18 pm by Business Journal staff
Forever 21 will open to customers on Oct. 25 at the Tulare Outlet Center.
Written on 10/20/2014, 1:09 pm by Business Journal staff
Pieology Pizzeria is hosting a grand opening of its first Fresno location at Fig Garden Village Tuesday. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the location at 5068 N. Palm Avenue by Jamba Juice and Amenities Salon. Pieology Pizzeria allows guest to custom build their own personal pizzas with 30 fresh ingredients. They also have seven signature pizzas which can also be customized on request, all for under $8. The restaurant is open Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9:30p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.  The restaurant can be contacted at (559) 225-2546. Rancha Santa Margarita-based Pieology Pizzeria was founded in 2011 and currently has more than 30 restaurants in eight states, with plans to double in size by the end of the year.
Written on 10/20/2014, 12:59 pm by Business Journal staff
Sierra Bancorp, parent company of Bank of the Sierra, reported income of more than $3.5 million for the third quarter, up 5 percent from the same quarter last year. In addition, for the first nine months of the year, income stood at more than $11.5 million, a jump of 22 percent over the same period last year. The third-quarter increase is attributed to higher net interest income and lower credit costs. Total assets for the bank were nearly $1.5 billion on Sept. 30, up 7.6 percent from $1.3 billion at the same time last year. A perviously announced acquisition is also near its completion, according to a news release. “With regard to the acquisition, we continue to recognize the growth potential for us in Ventura County and Santa Clarita, and look forward with excitement to the addition of talented Santa Clara Valley Bank employees to our capable and dedicated staff at Bank of the Sierra," CEO James C. Holly said in a statement. "We’re still on track to complete our acquisition of Santa Clara Valley Bank and convert their computer systems prior to year-end,”
Written on 10/20/2014, 12:37 pm by Business Journal staff
For Fresno residents, owning a car is still cheaper than using ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft.  This was the finding of a recent study by personal finance site NerdWallet. According to the 50-city study, car ownership costs Fresno residents $11,762 a year. This figure was calculated by using the costs associated with the purchase of the car and operating and maintenance costs like gas, insurance and parking.  Compared to ownership costs, Lyft ride-sharing services would cost Fresno residents $16,572 while UberX would cost $23,263 in a year. In addition, while car ownership affords drivers a countless number of trips, the Nerdwallet study found that residents would only be allowed 15.05 rides a week using Lyft and 10.72 with Uber. The study also placed a cap of 782.60 rides per year for those prices. In the study, the number of UberX and Lyft rides possible were calculated by dividing ownership costs by average ridesharing charges. While the cost for ridesharing services and car ownership were closer in other cities, NerdWallet reported that maintaining a car is still the most affordable option in every city surveyed. The study did however suggest that drivers who have a checkered history, drive a luxury car or have little occasion to use their car might be able to save money by switching ridesharing services. 
Written on 10/17/2014, 1:31 pm by Business Journal staff
Children's Hospital Central California saw a record 99,908 visits during fiscal year 2014, making it one of the busiest pediatric emergency departments in California.  The hospital announced the record in conjunction with the ribbon-cutting ceremony today for its newly remodeled emergency department. The four-month project was designed to improve patient care. Currently, the average patient wait time to see a doctor is less than 45 minutes, and the remodeling is expected to further increase efficiency in the emergency department. The 39-bed unit is staffed by 125 nurses and 26 physicians and provides emergency pediatric and trauma care for infants, children and adolescents up to 21-years-old. The department saw 90,385 visits in fiscal year 2013, and 77,994 in fiscal year 2012.     
Written on 10/17/2014, 10:44 am by Business Journal staff
Unemployment rates fell across the Valley last month, according to new data from the state Employment Development Department. Fresno County's September unemployment rate was 9.5 percent, down from 10 percent in August and below 11.1 percent in September 2013. Between August and September, non farm employment grew by 3,300 jobs in Fresno County while farm employment fell by 1,400 jobs. Government reported the largest month-over increase with an additional 2,200 jobs. On a year-over basis, non farm employment increased by 7,600 jobs while the farm sector shed 300 jobs. Educational and health services reported the largest year-over increase with 2,800 jobs. The September unemployment rate in Tulare County was 11.2 percent, down from 11.7 percent the month prior and below 12.7 percent last year. Year over year in Tulare County, the farm industry gained 800 jobs while the non farm sector grew by 1,800 jobs. The professional & business services sector led the year-over growth with 700 jobs. In Kings County the unemployment rate in September was 9.8 percent, down from 10.5 percent in August and below 11.5 percent a year ago. Year over year, farm industry employment remain unchanged while the non farm sector gained a net 300 jobs. Madera County's September unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, down from 8.9 percent in August and below 9.6 percent a year ago. Year over year in Madera County, the farm industry gained 700 jobs while the non farm industry lost 100 jobs. California's unemployment rate in September was 6.9 percent.
Written on 10/17/2014, 10:27 am by Business Journal staff
Porterville-based Sierra Bancorp, parent company of Bank of the Sierra, announced a regular quarterly cash dividend of 9 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Nov. 13 to shareholders of record as of Oct. 30. The announcement marks Sierra Bancorp's 63rd consecutive regular quarterly cash dividend.
Written on 10/16/2014, 4:21 pm by Business Journal staff
Visalia's Valley Commerce Bancorp, parent company of Valley Business Bank, announced third quarter net income of $930,000, up nearly 3 percent from the same quarter last year. For the nine months ending Sept. 30, net income was $3.2 million, down slightly from $3.3 million in the same period last year. Allan W. Stone, president and CEO, said in a statement: "I am pleased to report Valley Business Bank ended the third quarter of 2014 with net loans at a record high of $255 million, a $20 million 9 percent increase since December 31, 2013.  Our net interest income has improved in 2014 and our loan growth should continue to propel revenue growth in future periods. "In addition, we continue to benefit from our ongoing emphasis on loan credit quality.  Thus far in 2014, we've experienced no loan losses and loss recoveries of $433 thousand.  Although agricultural loans comprise only 2 percent of our loan portfolio, we are located in a regional economy that is heavily dependent on revenue from agricultural production so we are keeping a close watch on the severe drought conditions affecting California."
Written on 10/16/2014, 4:05 pm by Business Journal staff
Fresno-based Premier Valley Bank reported third-quarter earnings of $1.9 million today, up about 19 percent from $1.6 million in the same quarter of 2013. In addition, year-to-date earnings are also up about 22 percent to $5.5 million compared to the first nine months of the year in 2013. J. Mike McGowan, president and CEO of Premier Valley Bank, said he expects the upward trend to continue. “The slow but steady economic recovery continues, with local conditions improving but still lagging national and state trends. Throughout this period, Premier Valley Bank has continued to perform very well, reporting record profitability years in 2011, 2012 and 2013, followed by strong performance for the first three fourths of 2014. And, with these trends likely to continue, we remain optimistic that 2014 will end on a positive note as well," McGowan said in a statement. As of Sept. 30, Premier Valley Bank's total assets stood at $619 million, compared to $576 million at the end of 2013 and $568 million on Sept. 30, 2013. 
Written on 10/16/2014, 11:37 am by SCOTT SMITH, Associated Press
(AP) — Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino, shut down after an armed confrontation last week between tribal factions, will remain indefinitely closed pending court-mandated talks, a judge ordered Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Lawrence O'Neill said at the outset of a hearing that he did not see a good outcome if he imposed settlement negotiations among three disputing factions behind the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold. His mind changed by the end of the two-hour hearing when attorneys said they felt there was room for agreement. "Take your job seriously, and get it done," O'Neill said. The judge on Friday, acting on an emergency request by the state attorney general, ordered the casino closed when armed members of one the factions entered the casino to try to collect boxes of records. The National Indian Gaming Commission also ordered the casino closed, citing a need to protect the safety of casino patrons and employees.About 500 people fled the casino, some leaving chips on the tables. In his ruling Wednesday, the judge also banned any members of the tribe's factions from bringing firearms into the casino. The casino's general manager will be allowed to handle the finances, such as depositing money into the bank, while the dispute is resolved, which could take weeks or longer. Until then, the casino, which takes in more than $1 million a day from gambling, remains closed to the public. Madera County Sheriff John Anderson, whose deputies responded to last week's confrontation, said after the hearing that he was encouraged by the three sides agree to court mediation. Anderson said he is hopeful the dispute will finally be resolved. "That's the first time I've heard somebody say they'll sit down and figure it out," he said. "Everybody in open court agreed to it." No criminal charges have been filed stemming from the physical confrontation. In another case, a federal judge in Sacramento earlier this year also ordered mediation for divided members of a Native American tribe vying for control of the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning.

Latest State News

Written on 10/21/2014, 9:15 am by The Associated Press
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Written on 10/21/2014, 9:11 am by MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Technology Writer
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Latest National News

Written on 10/21/2014, 9:27 am by CANDICE CHOI, AP Food Industry Writer
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Written on 10/21/2014, 9:26 am by MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press
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Written on 10/21/2014, 9:22 am by CANDICE CHOI, AP Food Industry Writer
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Written on 10/21/2014, 9:20 am by The Associated Press
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