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Local
Jose Ramirez brings Operation Gobble to Avenal families

AVENAL – Local boxer Jose Ramirez and Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle teamed up Tuesday to knock out hunger with “Operation Gobble,” a program that provides Thanksgiving turkeys to local families in need.

“I want to extend my gratitude to Jose Ramirez and the wonderful organizations that came through with their generous support this year,” Valle said. “With their help, we were able to provide a healthy and happy Thanksgiving to many families in Kings County."

In what has become an annual tradition for District 2, Ramirez and Valle gave away approximately 675 turkeys to families throughout the district.

“On behalf of the residents of Avenal and throughout Kings County, I thank Supervisor Valle for his leadership and continued effort to distribute Thanksgiving turkeys to families,” Ramirez said.

“To be able to help so many families is both personally and professionally rewarding for me,” Valle said. “This time of year is a time for giving thanks for all that we have. I am blessed to have wonderful friends and family and am proud to serve the communities of District 2."


Local
Black Friday is upon us

HANFORD — Right on the heels of Thanksgiving looms Black Friday, a day that has become somewhat of a holiday for those looking to score a great shopping deal.

Robin Boyer and Brittany Young are Black Friday purists, saying they prefer to go shopping on Friday rather than Thanksgiving Day, which they said is a holiday and should be about spending time with family.

“We don’t go shopping on Thanksgiving,” Young said. “I don’t think it’s fair to the employees.”

“It’s just not the same spirit,” Boyer said. “You don’t have everybody out there on Friday anymore; they’re all out there on Thanksgiving.”

Black Friday used to be different, Boyer said, saying in her 28 years going Black Friday shopping she’s seen people getting in “knock-down, drag-out” fights over deals.

Boyer has never camped-out overnight, but said she has woken up very early to wait in line.

“The people were very nice and helpful, though,” Boyer said. “Everyone wants to get a good deal, that’s all.”

Boyer and Young were checking out board games Wednesday at Target and Boyer said most of the time she doesn’t shop for Christmas on Black Friday, she shops to find good deals on things she needs.

This year, Boyer said she hopes to pick up a couple televisions.

Jennifer Diaz was at Target on Wednesday with her 7-year-old son, Trevor, and said they usually go to the stores before Black Friday starts so she can get a feel for what her son likes and takes note of what he wants for Christmas so she can get it on sale.

“We take pictures and email them to Santa Claus,” Diaz said. “And hopefully on Friday the Elf on the Shelf comes out.”

Diaz said she has been going Black Friday shopping for the last five years and likes to go shopping at the stores on Thursday night.

Diaz said she is also happy that people with Target debit or credit cards have access to all the Black Friday deals already.

“I do like the deals,” Diaz said. “There are some really good deals out there.”

Several local stores will be participating in Black Friday events, with some starting as early as Thanksgiving Day.

TARGET

In years past, Target would open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and remain open throughout the night and into Friday. This year, however, they are doing something a little different.

Cierra Parker, the human resources manager for the store, said the store will open at 6 p.m. Thursday, but will close at midnight and reopen at 6 a.m. Friday. Shoppers who head to the store Friday will have until 11 p.m. to score on some shopping deals.

“It’s a huge change,” Parker said. “We don’t really know what to expect this year. We just have our fingers crossed that everything goes well.”

WALMART

Over at Walmart, Black Friday sales will begin at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and the store will remain open all night and all day Friday.

Amber Gutierrez, co-manager at Walmart, said preparation for the day started months ago, with associates receiving a Black Friday playbook and toolkit that told them how the store should be set up and highlighted all the safety protocols.

Gutierrez said the store always monitors the flow of customers and there will be plenty of security and associates to make sure things run smoothly and safely.

This year, Gutierrez said the store will be color-coded by department. She said the change not only makes it more visual for the customers, but will help them figure out where they need to go and which associate answers the appropriate questions.

Walmart is expecting five particular items to be popular and is aiming to make the shopping experience easier and safer by designating specific lines within the store for the items

The items include:

  • 55-inch Sharp television
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Xbox One
  • 39-inch Element television
  • Pre-paid iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy 7 with Straight Talk

Gutierrez said customers can find the color-coded department store map and where to line up for the above items at Walmart.com or through the Walmart app.

Gutierrez said she has heard from many customers who are looking for good deals and are excited to shop at the store

“We look forward to having a safe, friendly and fun event,” Gutierrez said.

THE HANFORD MALL

The Hanford Mall will also celebrate Black Friday with a visit from the HITZ 104.9 radio station, which will broadcast live from the mall’s food court area from noon to 2 p.m.

The station will be giving away two tickets to see Pink in concert at the Save Mart Center in Fresno in May 2018.

The mall will be open at 7 a.m. and all of the stores will be participating in Black Friday with deals and promotions.

JC Penney will open at 2 p.m. Thursday and stay open all through Friday; and Kohl’s will open Thursday at 5 p.m. and will stay open all night and all day Friday as well.

All of the stores mentioned also have Black Friday deals online at their individual store websites.


Business
Kings County business
Hanford apartment lawsuit settled

The city of Hanford went to court on the Bajun property behind Walmart, last week. It was a lawsuit filed by Richard Harriman two years ago on behalf of HEAT (Hanford Environmental Awareness Team) and the San Joaquin Environmental Defense Center on a 216-unit apartment project.

According to Community Development Director Darlene Mata, the city agreed to “consider” removing a fence that would allow the service road next to the project at the ponding basin allowing a walking path for locals. The basin is considered part of the old Mussel Slough. The matter will now go to Hanford City Council.

The settlement, not yet finalized by a judge, will not include any payment by the city of opponents' court costs. Mata says with the settlement, the stalled apartment complex can obtain a building permit.

Lemoore multi-family project moves forward despite opposition

Despite opposition from NAS Lemoore and nearby Leprino Foods, the Lemoore Planning Commission in September approved a plan submitted by Fresno’s Granville Homes to build a 141-unit multi-family development west of Highway 41 at the northeast corner of Bush Street and College Avenue.

City Manager Nathan Olson says, as a result, construction has already begun. As to the opposition, Olson says the two entities are concerned about noise complaints in the future. He adds that the Navy has “signed off” on future development allowed in the general plan as long as it is east of the college.

Bird Street brewing permit approved

Looks like Lemoore will get its first micro-brewery now that the city Planning Commission has approved a conditional-use permit for Bird Street Brewing at 242 Heinlen Street. The brewery is owned by Philip Wren and Rosalind Wong. They brew beer under the “Highway 198” label.

Home sales climb 18 percent

Kings County existing home sales climbed 18 percent in August, year over year, says the California Association of Realtors. The median price of a home was $225,000, up from $209,000 a year earlier.

Kings jobless rate 7.4 percent in October

Kings County’s jobless rate was another single-digit number last month - 7.4 percent in October 2017, down from 9 percent as of October 2016 and 10 percent in October 2015. Boosting the number of jobs was an increase of 600 non-farm jobs year over year and 400 more farm jobs, due likely to the increased water supply.