Economy

Chef Paul's Cafe, Max's Bistro and Bar, and Vino Grille & Spirits

Restaurant dining rooms have been closed since the stay-at-home order was issued in March in response to COVID-19. To learn more about how the dining industry is coping with the pandemic, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with the owners and operators of three well known Fresno restaurants: Chuck Van Fleet from Vino Grille and Spirits, Paul Pearson of Chef Paul’s Cafe and J.J. Wettstead from Max’s Bistro & Bar. 

Kern County Public Health Department Facebook Page

This week throughout the San Joaquin Valley calls to lift the stay-at-home order grew louder among some elected officials, business leaders - and even two Bakersfield physicians. So how are public health officials reacting to the growing push to reopen local economies? To find out, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Kern County Public Health Department epidemiologist Kimberley Hernandez and public information officer Michelle Corson.

Office of the Lieutenant Governor

With recent data indicating that the COVID-19 curve is flattening in some parts of California, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke to the state's Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis about the planning process to reopen the economy and efforts to increase testing capacity.

On this week's Valley Edition: With children home from school and concern about COVID-19 on the rise, how do parents protect the mental health of their kids? We talk to pediatric psychologist Dr. Amanda Suplee for some guidance.

We also speak with Fresno County Director of Behavioral Health Dawan Utecht, UCSF Fresno emergency room physician Dr. Manavjeet Sidhu, and University of California, Merced economist and professor Ketki Sheth to answer some of the mental health, physical health and economic questions sent in by listeners about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted the state’s economic wins today in his keynote address at the California Economic Summit in downtown Fresno, citing big investments in regional education. 

Economic growth, he said, tends to happen along the coast and is not shared statewide. 

Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

As the U.S. trade war with China continues, farmers in California’s Central Valley are feeling the pinch.

Jay Mahil is one such farmer: he grows almonds in Madera, and is the fourth generation in his family to do so. He says he normally exports a lot of his crop overseas to China, but with the trade war, he and other nut growers are starting to get edged out.

“You know, some of the other countries have been capitalizing on this, especially Australia,” says Mahil.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Last month, business news company Bloomberg released its annual Brain Drain Index. It uses Census data to analyze which American cities are losing advanced degree holders, white-collar jobs, and STEM career opportunities. Topping that list this year is Hanford, California.

Shelsy Hutchison, a teacher with the Business Academy at Sierra Pacific High School, has a few ideas why Hanford might be at the top.

Alex Charner / Latino USA

There’s an industry here in the Central Valley that’s not particularly new, but has grown significantly in recent years, especially with an Amazon fulfillment center on it’s way to Fresno. That industry is in warehouses, where employees fulfill online orders. Latino USA reporter Sophia Paliza-Carre got a firsthand look at some of these warehouse jobs, and how they’re changing the idea of blue-collar labor, both in California and for the Latino community.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

This month marks the 170th anniversary of the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill. The legacy of the gold rush is ever-present in northern California, particularly in Mariposa County. It’s visible in mining museums, at roadside historical sites, and in county buildings on Bullion Street.

What hasn’t persisted in this region is gold mining itself. But one Canadian company wants to change that.

CIty of Fresno

This Thursday the Fresno City Council will vote on a proposal for a major new industrial development in south Fresno. Covering 110 acres at Central and Cedar Avenues, the development would allow up to 2,000,000 square feet of new construction for heavy industry. However, developer Richard Caglia is likely to target a very specific type of tenant for the project – warehouse operations known as distribution or fulfillment centers.

nickchapman / Flickr - Creative Commons

While the stock market is up, many cities in the valley are still struggling. Bakersfield perhaps faces the biggest cash crunch, as rising costs tied to health care and retirement expenses have coincided with a countywide economy that is struggling due to a decline in activity in the oil industry. One city projection indicates the city could face a $5 million deficit next year, growing to around $15 million in five years. Now the city council is considering what to do about the shortfall, and that could include a tax increase.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Kern County Board of Supervisors is set to review a proposal Tuesday from local economic development officials that would lift existing caps on tax rebates, and bring new jobs to the county.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Last week oil industry giant Chevron announced it would cut around 26 percent of the workforce in its San Joaquin Valley Business Unit. That's the part of the company that produces oil from fields in Kern and Fresno Counties. It's not the first big job cut in the industry but it could hurt the local economy, especially in Bakersfield. But is this latest news the result of low oil prices, or other factors?

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California's multi-billion dollar citrus industry is asking the Trump administration to ensure that Canadian and Mexican markets remain open to oranges, lemons and grapefruit from the San Joaquin Valley. Joel Nelson, president of Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual says he hopes negotiators "do no harm" as they re-open talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement. Speaking on KVPR's Valley Edition, Nelson also said that other export markets remain a concern. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

When new presidential administrations come into office, they often make changes to agencies and appoint people who share their political outlook. The same is true under the leadership of President Donald Trump.

However, one seemingly obscure reorganization involving leadership of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development program is sending shockwaves throughout Central California and beyond. One of those concerned is Farmersville Mayor Paul Boyer.

Fresno Chamber of Commerce

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand focused on job creation as he delivered his first state of the city speech today at the Fresno Convention Center. Brand says he wants to build upon this year’s announcements of new fulfillment centers for retail giants Amazon and Ulta Beauty, which are both now under construction.

The plan is to create 10,000 new jobs in the city in the next 10 years with similar operations, and another 10,000 spillover jobs in other sectors.  

BRAND: “The goal is to make Fresno the e-commerce capital of the west coast.”

State Farm To "Exit" Bakersfield Facility By 2021

May 4, 2017
bakersfieldvision2020.com

Insurance company State Farm has announced that it plans to close eleven facilities nationwide over the next four years, including one in Bakersfield that employs about 740 people.

The company says the plan to “exit” the facilities will help it run more efficiently. The changes will affect over 4,000 employees nationwide.

However, Justin Tomczak with State Farm says that these jobs will not be lost entirely.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Ulta Beauty may be the biggest beauty product supplier in the country, but the announcement the company will build a distribution and fulfillment center in Fresno could be about much more than eyeliner and lipstick. Some experts think the Central Valley could develop into the hub that supplies on demand products for the entire west coast. But why is the area so enticing for internet retailers, and do these centers provide good jobs?

In the bathroom of her central Fresno home, Roe Borunda looks through tote after tote filled with all manner of makeup.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The City of Bakersfield is searching for ways to tighten its fiscal belt thanks in part to lower oil prices. Over the past twelve months, city sales tax revenue has been nearly 5 percent below budget expectations. That’s left the city council considering mid-year budget adjustments, seeking to trim $1.4 million  from this year’s books.

Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

2014 was a year of ups and downs for the valley's largest industry, agriculture. The year began with virtually no rain and snow and fears of another dust bowl.

And while farmers and ranchers had a tough year, most survived and some even thrived. Rising milk prices boosted the bottom line for California dairymen and women and crops like tomatoes actually set new records.

So what will 2015 bring? We asked two industry experts to join us and offer their perspectives on six issues that will help define the valley's largest industry in the new year:

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