LEMOORE — Only a little over a third of businesses in the U.S. last longer than 10 years according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Business Employment Dynamics program. Around 19 percent of businesses last longer than 22 years.
Bressler and Company of Lemoore have served the community for 30 years as an accounting business, and the owners plan to continue and expand their abilities to aid clients in handling and saving money.
The business began in 1988 when Tracy Bressler bought the business from her former business partner.
Tracy, originally from Los Angeles, moved to Lemoore to be closer to her husband’s family. Her husband, Bill Bressler, is also a Certified Public Account. After Bressler and Company opened, he joined a year later to provide quality control.
Now semi-retired, Bill still helps with quality control during tax season. Tracy is still going strong and said she doesn’t see retirement plans in the near future.
Tracy said that the main part of the success that she has had in her business is due to her team.
“We have become like a family to one another,” she said.
One of those full-time team members is literally her family member. Her son Joe Bressler joined the company 12 years ago.
Before officially working at Bressler and Company, Joe started answering technical questions his mother had for the company. He graduated with a degree in computer science from California State University, Fresno. In his first week of just answering questions, he worked overtime at his mother’s business.
At the time, he owned Paranoid Paintball. He joined Bressler and Company as IT director in 2006 and three years later sold his paintball business.
Joe ended up going back to school to become a CPA.
“Seeing how vastly we change our clients’ lives made me want to become a CPA,” he said.
Joe also saw how technology could help the team of accountants become more efficient. He said that each employee has a minimum of four screens at their desk.
Tracy explained how she is able to do different tasks easily with the multiple monitors and not use a piece of paper to do them.
“We are completely paperless,” Tracy said. “The only real paper we have in this office is what the clients bring us.”
In their home-style office, Bressler and Company offers business accounting and financial reporting, payroll, tax planning, tax return preparation and QuickBooks consulting and training.
Joe said that Bressler and Company is working on providing wealth management services.
Joe said currently he sees that wealth management companies often don’t know the tax info of the client and when the client later comes to Bressler and Company to do their taxes the company sees that there were ways they could have advised the client to save more money.
Joe said the company is working to find more ways to advise clients on better business practices and to save money.
Joe became the majority shareholder last year.
“He is the succession plan for the business,” Tracy said.
Joe plans on staying with the company for at least 20 years. He said he eventually wants to retire to spend more time with his family and potentially his grandchildren.
For now, Joe said he will continue to try to find new ways to better service Bressler and Company’s clients.
HANFORD — Volunteers are needed to share their love of literature by reading to students at the Children’s Storybook Garden and Museum.
The museum and garden, which held its grand opening in November 2017, hosts field trips from local and regional schools daily.
The museum currently has about 50 rotating volunteers, ranging from readers, gardeners, carpenters to build the structures on the property and volunteers to sell and take tickets.
“We can’t really rely on the same 50 people every day,” Meaghan Hahn, education director and lead teacher, said.
The museum’s main need in terms of volunteers is readers. Each field trip is comprised of two or three classes — grades TK through second — usually totaling between 50 and 75 children.
“Rather than try to teach 60 kids at once, it’s more effective to break them up into smaller groups,” Hahn said. And more groups mean more volunteers.
Currently, every elementary school in Hanford is signed up for field trips to the museum, as well as schools in Huron, Lemoore and Laton. Hahn hopes schools from Visalia and Tulare are added to the list.
Hahn acknowledges that reading to a room full of second graders “can be intimidating,” so instructors at the museum are available to give tips to any potential readers and Hahn said a YouTube channel with a full instructional video on how to keep students’ attention during stories is in the works.
The certified instructors put an emphasis on activities to underline what they’ve read. For example, after reading a story about farming, the students will then go out and plant seeds in the garden.
“We teach through literature and hands-on experiences,” Hahn said. “The literature part is very important to us.”
The museum is also working on plans to build a stone cottage and a gazebo that can be used for weddings, receptions and ceremonies.
Earth Day will be celebrated at the museum with a day of health and wellness. Museum officials are seeking doctors, dentists and fitness instructors to teach children about ways to become, and stay, healthy. Eating healthfully, after all, starts with keeping the earth where food is grown healthy, Hahn said. Children will also learn how to make wind chimes out of recycled materials.
A fatal accident occurred early Sunday morning in the area of State Route 41 and Bush Street according to the California Highway Patrol.
At approximately 6 a.m. in foggy conditions, a 2014 Honda traveling northbound on SR-41 drifted off the road and collided into a wall resulting in the death of the driver, Jessica Lee Sauceda, 27 of Lemoore, according to the CHP.
She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
The CHP said that for an unknown reason the driver drifted from the northbound lanes onto the right shoulder. The car continued to hit a tree, go through a chain-link fence and strike a concrete block wall.
The driver was not wearing her seatbelt and was ejected from her vehicle, CHP officials said.
She was the only occupant of the vehicle.
WASHINGTON — Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have completed a draft report concluding there was no collusion or coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, a finding that pleased the White House but enraged Democrats who had not yet seen the document.
After a yearlong investigation, Texas Rep. Mike Conaway announced Monday that the committee has finished interviewing witnesses and will share the report with Democrats for the first time Tuesday. Conaway is the Republican leading the House probe, one of several investigations on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
"We found no evidence of collusion," Conaway told reporters Monday, suggesting that those who believe there was are reading too many spy novels. "We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment in taking meetings. But only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, or meetings or whatever, and weave that into sort of a fiction page-turner, spy thriller."
Hours later, Trump tweeted his own headline of the report in excited capital letters: "THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION."
Conaway previewed some of the conclusions, but said the public will not see the report until Democrats have reviewed it and the intelligence community has decided what information can become public, a process that could take weeks. Democrats are expected to issue a separate report with far different conclusions.
In addition to the statement on coordination with Russians, the draft picks apart a central assessment made by the U.S. intelligence community in the months after the 2016 election. The January 2017 assessment revealed that the FBI, CIA and NSA had concluded that the Russian government, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, waged a covert influence campaign to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with the goal of hurting Democrat Hillary Clinton's candidacy and helping Trump's campaign.
"We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump," the intelligence community report reads, noting later that the Kremlin "aspired to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton."
House intelligence committee officials said they spent hundreds of hours reviewing raw source material used by the intelligence services in the assessment and said it did not meet the appropriate standards to make the claim about helping Trump. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the intelligence material. Conaway said there will be a second report just dealing with the intelligence assessment and its credibility.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement soon after the GOP announcement Monday, saying it stood by the intelligence community's findings. DNI spokesman Brian Hale said the office will review the findings of the committee's report.
Democrats have criticized Republicans on the committee for shortening the investigation, pointing to multiple contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia and saying they have seen far too few witnesses to make any judgment on collusion. The Democrats and Republicans have openly fought throughout the investigation, with Democrats suggesting a cover-up for a Republican president and one GOP member of the panel calling the probe "poison" for the previously bipartisan panel.
The top Democrat on the intelligence panel, California Rep. Adam Schiff, suggested that by wrapping up the probe the Republicans were protecting Trump. He called the development a "tragic milestone" and said history would judge them harshly.
Republicans "proved unwilling to subpoena documents like phone records, text messages, bank records and other key records so that we might determine the truth about the most significant attack on our democratic institutions in history," Schiff said.
According to Conaway, the report will agree with the intelligence assessment on most details, including that Russians did meddle in the election. It will detail Russian cyberattacks on U.S. institutions during the election and the use of social media to sow discord. It will also show a pattern of Russian attacks on European allies — information that could be redacted in the final report. It will blame officials in former President Barack Obama's administration for a "lackluster" response and look at leaks from the intelligence community to the media.
It will include at least 25 recommendations, including how to improve election security, respond to cyberattacks and improve counterintelligence efforts.
The report is also expected to turn the subject of collusion toward the Clinton campaign, saying an anti-Trump dossier compiled by a former British spy and paid for by Democrats was one way that Russians tried to influence the election. Conaway did not suggest that Clinton knowingly coordinated with the Russians, but said the dossier clearly "would have hurt him and helped her."
He also said there was no evidence that anything "untoward" happened at a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between members of the Trump campaign and Russians, though he called it ill-advised. Despite a promise of dirt on Clinton ahead of the meeting, there's no evidence that such material was exchanged, he said.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is also investigating the Russian intervention, and is expected to have a bipartisan report out in the coming weeks dealing with election security. The Senate panel is expected to issue findings on the more controversial issue of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia at a later date.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, also investigating the meddling, is expected to release transcripts soon of closed-door interviews with several people who attended the 2016 meeting between the Trump campaign and Russians. It's unclear if the Judiciary panel will produce a final report.
The congressional investigations are completely separate from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, which is likely to take much longer and has already resulted in charges against several people linked to Trump's campaign. Unlike Mueller's, congressional investigations aren't criminal but serve to inform the public and to recommend possible legislation.