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Local
Trampoline park coming to Hanford

HANFORD — Things may be jumping at The Hanford Mall after Urban Air Adventure Park announced on its website that it secured the location as its next trampoline park site.

“We are excited to bring our state-of-the-art adventure park attractions to the wonderful city of Hanford,” Michael Browning, CEO of Urban Air Adventure Park, said in a press release online. “Residents of Hanford and nearby communities of Visalia, Tulare, Lemoore and Selma, can look forward to experiencing our modern approach to safe and affordable family fun and one-of-a-kind birthday party packages with our innovative adventure attractions.”

Urban Air describes itself as a “full-service family entertainment center” that includes attractions like trampoline parks, foam pits, dodgeball courts and obstacle courses for all ages.

The press release states Urban Air Hanford will be furnished with wall-to-wall trampoline arenas, dodgeball courts, a stunt airbag, slam dunk tracks, tumble track, various obstacle courses and a battle beam.

The release also said the site will be home to the Urban Air Adventure Hub, which is set to include attractions that can only be found at Urban Air such as an indoor rope course, indoor climbing walls, pro-zone performance trampoline pit and an indoor coaster.

Malory Sheffield, special event coordinator at Urban Air’s corporate office, said in an email Thursday that the company is excited about moving into the location.

Urban Air’s website said the Hanford location will feature 45,000 square feet of trampoline and adventure park attractions. It said there will also be a “state-of-the-art arcade” and café.

It's unclear where in the mall the park will be located, but the Forever 21 85,000-square-foot space that has been vacant since last year seems to be the only site large enough to hold what Urban Air said it plans to have.

Sheffield said the opening date for the Hanford location is still to be determined, but the website said it’s aiming for a spring 2018 opening.

Mall officials declined to provide details or an official announcement pending ongoing negotiations.

[LINK: Urban Air Adventure Park's webpage on “What's Happening in Hanford, CA” features photos and video of other parks that may show what the Hanford location will look like.]


San Diego utility can't pass 2007 fire costs onto customers
San Diego utility can't pass 2007 fire costs onto customers

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California regulators rejected a request Thursday from a San Diego utility to force customers to shoulder $379 million in costs from deadly blazes ignited by power lines in 2007 — a decision seen as possibly precedent-setting for cases in which devastating wildfires tore through wine country this fall.

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to uphold an August decision by two judges, who said San Diego Gas & Electric did not act reasonably in managing its equipment and could not pass along costs from the three fires to ratepayers. State law allows utilities to recover costs from customers only if they act in a "prudent" manner.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and Southern California Edison had pushed regulators to rule in the utility's favor, saying the case highlighted a need to fairly distribute costs from wildfires, which are proving to be more destructive due to drought conditions and home construction in backcountry areas.

Environmental and consumer groups and some elected officials had said ruling for the San Diego company could set a precedent for other utilities to pass along the costs of wildfires ignited by power lines and discourage them from properly maintaining their infrastructure.

In the San Diego case, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and utility commission investigators concluded that three blazes from 2007 were caused by San Diego Gas & Electric's electrified wires.

"There is no dispute that each of the fires were caused by SDG&E facilities and in each instance we find that SDG&E did not meet its burden to show that it acted as a prudent manager," Commissioner Laine Randolph said.

Lee Schavrien, San Diego Gas & Electric's senior vice president and chief regulatory officer, said the decision is not consistent with findings made by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which determined the utility "acted reasonably" and approved the portion of the wildfire cost request it had jurisdiction over.

"We find it difficult to understand how federal regulators understood the law and applied it appropriately, while the CPUC adopted a flawed interpretation," he said.

Schavrien said SDG&E "will vigorously pursue all available avenues to overturn this decision."

The blazes destroyed more than 1,300 homes, killed two people and injured 40 firefighters. The utility faced 2,500 lawsuits from people with fire damage and settled most of them for $2.4 billion.

The $379 million it wanted to charge ratepayers remained after court proceedings, settlements and insurance payouts.

"If the commission had sided with the utility companies, it could have set a dangerous precedent for the future of disaster cost recovery, or at the very least, created a perception of a precedent," Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill said. "Today's decision concludes a decade long process to rightly assign the costs of the tragic fires to the company responsible for causing them."

Hill pointed out that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has said if it is found liable in last month's devastating Northern California wildfires, which killed 44 people and destroyed 8,900 homes and other buildings, it also will seek regulators' permission to pass along the costs.

Hill and other legislators have said they will introduce a bill in January to prevent electrical utilities found responsible in wildfires from passing their uninsured liabilities along to customers.


Crime
Corcoran Police investigate shooting

CORCORAN — A man was shot Tuesday in Corcoran and police said they are looking for any information on the incident.

On Tuesday just before 7 p.m., Corcoran Police officers said they were dispatched to the 1500 block of Estes Avenue regarding shots fired.

Upon arrival, officers said they found a man who had been shot multiple times.

Police said officers and emergency medical personnel gave aid to the man on scene before he was transported to the hospital. They said the victim underwent surgery and remains in serious condition.

Officials said officers from the Corcoran Police Department and the Kings County Gang Task Force are investigating this case.

Anyone with information regarding this attempted homicide is encouraged to contact Sgt. John Harris at 992-5151 or leave information on the confidential crime line at 992-3591.


Local
Main Street Hanford and executive director part ways

HANFORD — Main Street Hanford announced Thursday that the organization is parting ways with Shelly Johnson, who was the executive director of the nonprofit for eight years.

Johnson was in charge of the two-person team that organized 27 downtown events every year, including the popular Thursday Night Market Place. She was hired in 2009 after nine years of working with the Reedley Downtown Association.

A statement from the Main Street Hanford board of directors reads: “Effective November 30, 2017, Shelly (Talbert) Johnson has left her position as Executive Director of Main Street Hanford after eight years of service. The Main Street board of directors and everyone associated with Main Street thank Shelly for her hard work and accomplishments and wish her the best.

"Effective December 1, Michelle Brown will become interim Director and will serve in that capacity until the board completes its search for a new executive director.”

Davis Taylor, secretary of the executive board of directors, said Main Street will conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director that will begin soon and run through about mid-January. Taylor is also the publisher of The Sentinel. 

Steve Bannister, president of the executive board of directors, said an application should go online through the National Main Street organization’s website within the next week.

Taylor said the organization will look for someone with experience running similar downtown operations and can “hit the ground running.”

“We want to make sure we find the right person,” Bannister said.

For now, Taylor said Main Street will continue to focus on the future. He said the past year has been good for the organization, with record-breaking attendance and ticket sales to events, and there are even talks to add more nights to Thursday Night Market Place.

Bannister said National Main Street — a larger organization of which Main Street Hanford is a part — is also rolling out a new approach to downtown revitalization that he looks forward to adopting.

“We’re looking to make 2018 a really productive year,” Bannister said.