Saturday News Briefs

STOCKTON
July 15, 2011 9:00pm
Comment Print Email

•  Will Valley farmers derail the bullet train?

•  Grape crop looking good, despite the weather

•  Plus, 15 minutes of aim….

Aim here!

Distinguished professor Bruce Hammock taunts his fellow water warriors with his hat.

See last item in Briefs

(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)


Arrest made in elder abuse case that may span the Valley

Joseph Varrella, 48, whose hometown was not immediately available, has been arrested by Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies on 21 felony counts of elder abuse and insurance fraud charges.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says Mr. Varrella’s arrest is in connection with the swindling of a 67-year-old woman who lives in a retirement facility in Stockton.

Detectives say the woman was the victim of mortgage fraud, insurance fraud, and potentially bankruptcy fraud perpetrated by Mr. Varrella.

According to the sheriff’s office, he concocted an elaborate scheme to defraud elderly women and their insurance companies, using the victims’ insurance to file false theft claims. Upon receiving insurance reimbursement, he used the money to purchase large amounts of personal items. Adding insult to injury he then stole the previously reported stolen items.

Detectives recovered at least $150,000 worth of jewelry, stereo equipment, and tools that had been fraudulently reported as stolen and had insurance claims paid. Detectives also recovered $20,000 in cash.

-oo0oo-

Lawmakers probe bullet train’s impact on Valley agriculture

With threats of a farmers’ lawsuit to derail the proposed California High-Speed Rail service in the air, two state senators listened to concerns at a meeting in Merced Friday.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, and Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Chairman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, hosted the joint informational hearing about the impact of high-speed rail on California’s agriculture industry.



“With the first section of California’s high-speed rail system proposed to be built right through the heart of our state’s most fertile agriculture region, it is important that we fully understand the impact the project will have on this multibillion-dollar industry,” says Mr. Cannella.

Kings County farmers are threatening a lawsuit challenging the environmental impact report for the bullet train’s Valley route, once it is released by Aug. 12. The agribusiness interests say a proposed route east of Hanford would be too distruptive to their operations.

But rail officials say the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are opposed to putting the tracks in either the I-5 corridor or along Highway 99.

-oo0oo-

Despite cool, wet weather, grape crop is holding its own

The California grape forecast for this year is now estimated at 6.7 million tons, down less than 1 percent from last year’s crop, according to a new report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Here are the specifics:

• The wine grape forecast is 3.4 million tons, down 6 percent from last season.

• The expected table grape production is 1.1 million tons, up 9 percent from 2010.

• The raisin grape production is forecast at 2.2 million tons, an increase of 6 percent from last year’s crop.

This year’s California grape crop is one to two weeks behind normal, due to the cool and wet spring.

Bunch counts are reported to be down significantly from last year for wine grapes, but up for Thompsons. Frost damage in the spring affected some areas of the state, but the extent of the damage is still unknown.

Mildew and fungus have been a problem for many growers, due to the wet weather.

-oo0oo-

Fresno State sets deadlines for spring 2012 admissions

California State University, Fresno says it will begin accepting applications Aug. 1 for admission of returning students, upper division transfer students, graduate and post-baccalaureate students for the spring 2012 semester. The application deadline is Aug. 31.

However, the university is closed to applications for spring 2012 to first-time freshmen, lower-division transfer students, second baccalaureate (except nursing) and post-baccalaureate unclassified students.

The spring 2012 admission cycle is based upon anticipated funding to accommodate enrollment growth for 2011-12. Because of that, admissions will be made on a space-available basis, says Vivian Franco, director of Admissions, Records and Evaluations at Fresno State.

The university is impacted at the transfer level and will implement supplementary screening criteria for admission.

Based on space availability, upper-division transfer applicants from the following community colleges will be accommodated first: College of the Sequoias, Fresno City College, Merced Community College, Modesto Community College, Reedley College, West Hills Community College and West Hills College-Lemoore.

Transfer applicants from other colleges or universities will be considered on a space available basis if they have a minimum 2.70 GPA.

-oo0oo-

Community forum sponsored by Restore the Delta

Celebrate the Delta, Restore the Delta’s community forum, is scheduled for Friday, July 29 at the San Joaquin County Administration Building in downtown Stockton.

The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 7:15 a.m. The program will run from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

Featured speakers include event facilitator, Stockton City Council member Susan Talamantes Eggman; retired state Sen. Mike Machado; water attorney Dante Nomellini; Delta Chambers Executive Director Bill Wells; outdoor writer Pete Ottesen and Delta land owners Mike Robinson and Rogene Reynolds.

“Our goal is for area residents to grow in appreciation of the historical, cultural, environmental, and economic importance of the Delta. We also want the public to understand what is happening presently with Delta planning processes, and to think about what is at stake for the future of our region,” says Restore the Delta’s Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla.

Topics covered at the forum will include a history of Delta agriculture and reclamation, a look at the history of water exports, the impacts of new conveyance on Delta communities, the value of the Delta recreation and fishing communities, and a dialogue on the future.

-oo0oo-

Fifteen minutes of aim

As scientists, they know water by its chemical formula of H2O: two parts hydrogen combined with one part oxygen.

But for 15 minutes a year, they think of it as the key substance inside balloons.

Three dozen scientists at the University of California, Davis, left their labs Friday afternoon for the ninth annual Bruce Hammock Water Balloon Battle, held on the Briggs Hall lawn.

They tossed 2,000 pre-filled water balloons in 15 minutes, amounting to “15 Minutes of Aim” or “Bruce’s Big Balloon Battle at Briggs.”

Mr. Hammock, a distinguished professor of entomology, launched the water balloon fest in 2003 as a way to build camaraderie and gain relief from the heat. Christophe Morisseau, associate research scientist in the Hammock lab, coordinates the annual event.

When it was all over, the scientists, including professors, visiting scientists, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and undergraduates, picked up the balloon remnants and went home.

Mr. Hammock, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, holds a joint appointment in cancer research with the UC Davis Medical Center. He directs the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Program on the UC Davis campus, as well as the National Institutes of Health training program in biotechnology and the NIEHS combined analytical laboratory.

But for 15 minutes a year, he helps turn the Briggs Hall lawn into a waterfest.

Or an H2O battle.


Comment Print Email












  • How to compete against Wal-Mart
  • Stockton mom turns a need into a business
  • The entrepreneur is in
  • Writing her own success story
  • Growing a small business the family way
  • The future pencils positive for this company
  • Niche marketing -- Italian style
  • Sipping success with niche marketing
  • Roasting a business out of his passion
  • Success as an independent consultant takes more than expertise
  • Avoiding the traps of employee law violations
  • Cracking the voice-over market
  • The American Dream realized, one package at a time
  • Female winemaker plunges into business
  • A new take on nurse education
  • Family sees moving business success
  • STEM thrives in pockets of education innovation
  • STEM goes solar in Stockton
  • Quick! There’s a robot in my pool
  • Retiring seniors can mean new business
  • Predawn biotech class trains next generation of science workers
  • Staying ahead of the competition the old fashioned way
  • Central Valley sees mismatch between high-tech jobs and job seekers
  • STEM starts young
  • Get ready – the future is here now
  • STEM Education: Growing the Valley's Future
  • They’re low power in wattage only, not ideas
  • Thinking success spawns Successful Thinkers
  • Small business success can mean finding the right niche
  • This franchise has real muscle behind it
  • Getting the scoop on small business success
  • Reshoring could rebuild America's manufacturing
  • Marketing that’s deliberately anchored to the past
  • Guitar artist plays his way to success
  • Paralysis no handicap for this entrepreneur
  • Boost sales with better communication
  • Making sandwiches sexy with a franchise
  • Going solar without spending a lot of money
  • They’re cute and cuddly. But are they a business?
  • Opportunity sails forth in the Delta
  • How bad etiquette on the job could kill your career
  • Growing their way out of hunger and poverty
  • Finding small business success from floor to ceiling
  • Why he’s public enemy #1 – for gophers
  • Running a home-based business successfully
  • Your boss needs a vacation – really
  • Couple makes transition from big corporations to small business
  • Carving a small business niche with a better idea
  • Calm is the goal of computer service and education franchisor
  • Developer squeezing new life into downtown with juice franchise
  • Signs of a recovering economy
  • How to keep a family business in the family
  • Ford dealership expands despite the Great Recession
  • Utility Telephone connects with customer service
  • Crowdfunding basics
  • The roar from crowdfunding is getting louder
  • California water wars’ bulldog
  • Water wars heat up in California
  • Helping businesses grow with a stronger STEM
  • How to retain your best employees
  • Small business runs success up the pole
  • Winery expands in Lodi
  • Lodi wineries tapping into growing Chinese market
  • Has the jobs picture brightened for the Valley for 2012?
  • The right education will be needed for 21st Century jobs
  • Where new jobs for San Joaquin will come from
  • Developing jobs for San Joaquin – Part 2
  • Developing jobs for San Joaquin
  • Fruits of his labor
  • Helping grow food security in the Valley of plenty
  • Doing a business turnaround despite the recession
  • Keeping customers loyal helps build her business
  • Expo exposes businesses to utility contracting ideas
  • Drink mix maker taps expertise to blend success
  • Entrepreneur finds success in a basket
  • Tips for catching resume fraud
  • There’s no checking out for this small business owner
  • Entrepreneurs take Valley sports play-by-play to the world
  • Starting a winery from scratch
  • Job hunting tips for the long-term unemployed
  • In the Central Valley, opera isn’t always the Grand Ole Opry
  • Branding ideas for small businesses
  • The ump’s not blind, but the players are
  • Finding success by tapping your brain in a new way - Part Two
  • Finding success by tapping your brain in a new way
  • Machines talking to machines is the future
  • Getting involved in the fight against AIDS
  • Franchised divorce says it’s a better way
  • Small business owner is brewing a success story
  • To beat the Great Recession, they’ve expanded
  • Taking a swing at strokes
  • Alert your taste buds – here comes Taste of San Joaquin
  • This franchise has real muscle behind it
  • Passion for his city drives him
  • Vicente Fox speaks out on U.S.-Mexico relations
  • Give your support staff recognition and reap top performance
  • Central Valley baker gets top honors for Royal Wedding pie
  • Asparagus Festival ends on high note
  • Stockton close to annual ‘tipping’ point
  • Framing small business success
  • Small business sees Affordable Care Act helping its bottom line
  • What you eat – and when – helps local restaurants
  • Coping with the aftermath of foreclosure
  • How to raise charming children
  • Central Valley grad school goes all-iPads
  • Solution to Delta water wars voiced
  • Making sure your personal bottom line is covered
  • Small California winemaker is all family
  • Small winery relies on family and innovation to compete
  • Central Valley company says it has a better way to store solar power
  • What’s wrong -- and right -- about local TV news
  • What planning means to small business success
  • Making the leap to small business
  • Out of work at middle age? Experts offer advice
  • Small business marketing, one article at a time
  • Congress on your corner as it’s supposed to be
  • Central Valley city’s heritage rediscovered
  • Central Valley school is building students’ foundations
  • Job tips from the expert
  • Long-term jobless worker re-invents himself
  • Building a new power plant means jobs for Central Valley
  • Sacramento reaches for the stars with new science center
  • Lodi Chamber opens China’s doors to small business
  • Writing books for fun – and sometimes profit
  • Black Friday shopping? How to protect yourself from scams
  • California winemakers can find added rewards overseas
  • Wine makers tap overseas markets from Lodi
  • A new revenue stream for Central Valley small businesses
  • Food bank seeks more business support
  • Tips for finding a job in the Great Recession
  • State may solve some of its prison woes with new Stockton facility
  • A solution to underwater mortgages
  • Should public libraries be managed by private firms?
  • Central Valley moves ahead with critical water project
  • Dee Dee Myers and the increasing impact of women on small business
  • How women are growing their small businesses
  • A market with a mission
  • Retailer 'paints' solutions to cash flow challenge
  • An answer for the unemployed – return to school
  • A ‘golden’ small business success story
  • Central Valley winegrapes blessed
  • Rubbing out the recession with a franchise
  • Surviving the recession as a small business
  • It’s personal, union says of Stockton fire cuts
  • How old it too old to start a new business?
  • They've found the recipe for small business success
  • MBA students help revive Central Valley farmers market
  • Classic wooden yachts anchor in Stockton for weekend
  • Foreclosures, short sales – a bank president comments
  • The strength of family helps this small business compete
  • Festival spears success in Central Valley
  • Social media helps keep family business prospering
  • Central Valley students get training in ‘green’ futures
  • Knives readied as Valley cities slash services
  • Central Valley jobless picture still grim
  • Delta residents told to ready for water war
  • Opportunities outlined for Central Valley small businesses
  • Rewiring your brain for success
  • Central Valley no longer ‘shell shocked’ by recession
  • To fix California’s government, look to London
  • Taking your sales pitch to the next level