Saturday News Briefs
July 6, 2012
High-speed reaction to High-Speed rail vote
• Reaction to high-speed rail vote
• Helps for small town’s water purity
• And more, including insight about a gustatory, if not Olympian, contest.…
Reaction to Friday’s approval by the Legislature to release money to begin construction of the nation’s first high-speed train system is mixed, but follows expected lines.
Here’s a summary:
• Gov. Jerry Brown: “The Legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and puts California out in front once again.”
• Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres: “California has traditionally been at the cutting edge and this project would redefine regional travel in this state. Unfortunately, because of our current fiscal crisis, we cannot afford to undertake this project at this time. Not only is the debt service a strain on the general fund, but the plan for future financing of the project relies too heavily on federal funding that has not yet been offered.”
• Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar: “On the same week we have new survey results that highlight the link between voters' declining support for new taxes should High Speed Rail be forced upon us, the legislative Democrats have done precisely that — forced High Speed Rail upon us.
“The voters want a do-over vote on High Speed Rail, but the Democrats blocked legislation for a new HSR ballot measure.”
• California High-Speed Rail Authority Board Chairman Dan Richard: “Not only will California be the first state in the nation to build a high-speed rail system to connect our urban centers, we will also modernize and improve rail systems at the local and regional level. This plan will improve mobility for commuters and travelers alike, reduce emissions, and put thousands of people to work while enhancing our economic competitiveness.”
State to spend $8 Million to Kettleman City of safe drinking water
Grants totaling $8 million from the state are to be used to develop a supply of clean drinking water for Kettleman City. To do that, the Kings County city and the state plan to develop surface water supplies to replace the arsenic-laced water from the city’s wells.
Preliminary studies have been completed, and the next step will be pilot testing of different treatment methods to determine the most cost-effective alternative.
The construction grants have conditions that must be met before the state will write the checks. These include demonstrating sufficient water rates for operations and maintenance of the treatment facility, demonstrating a sufficient reserve fund, and approval by the California Department of Public Health of final technical elements.
The Kettleman City drinking water supply exceeds both federal and state standards for arsenic.
Plans call for a surface water supply from the California Aqueduct and required surface water treatment.
Former El Dorado Hills man sentenced for embezzling
Thomas Tanke, 68, previously of El Dorado Hills, was sentenced Friday in Sacramento federal court to five years and 10 months in prison for mail fraud and five counts of bank fraud for embezzling funds from his employer, Azteca Construction Inc.
Mr. Tanke was also ordered to pay $243,403 in restitution to the victims of his crimes, says U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.
According to court documents and trial testimony, Mr. Tanke oversaw the company’s east coast division from Azteca’s corporate office in Rancho Cordova and conducted construction management for various California projects. Construction Equipment Rental & Services owned much of the construction equipment and trucks that Azteca leased in its operations.
Pacific Ethanol raises $12 Million with public offering
Sacramento-based ethanol maker Pacific Ethanol, Inc.(NASDAQ: PEIX) says it raised $12 million from its recent public offering of stock and warrants.
The company says it intends to use approximately $10 million of the net proceeds together with senior unsecured notes in the original principal amount of approximately $10 million, to purchase 33 percent of the outstanding ownership interests in New PE Holdco LLC, after which Pacific Ethanol will hold a 67.25 percent ownership interest.
The rest of the money will be used for general corporate purposes, which may include working capital requirements, capital expenditures, acquisitions, and the repayment of outstanding indebtedness, the company says.
Yumm! State Fair plans another corn dog eating contest
Here’s something you’ll want to clear your calendar for: the second annual corn dog eating contest at the California State Fair.
“It’s fun. It’s something different,” observes Milo Franks of Milo Enterprises, who will provide the corn dogs for the 2012 contest.
The preliminary round is set for 5 p.m. July 20. The final round starts at 4 p.m. July 21. All of the action will take place on the Promenade Stage.
Lest you think this is idle sport, consider this: The purse for this year’s event is $2,500, up $500 from 2011, and will be divided among the top finishers.
Last year the winner ate 15 corndogs in seven minutes. Table manners are optional.
Corn dogs are the No.1 fair food at the California State Fair with 175,000 sold last year.
Mr. Franks, who apparently has resisted naming his company Frank’s Franks, has sold corn dogs at the California State Fair for 43 consecutive years.
He plans to prepare about 10 corn dogs per entrant and, at the last minute, will add a few more.
“You don’t want to run out of corn dogs while the contestants are on stage,” he says. “That would be inopportune timing.”