Subscribe for 33¢ / day

IRVINE — Foreclosure rates in Kings County declined for the month of November compared to the same period in 2012, according to new data from real estate analysis firm CoreLogic.

The rate of foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 1.11 percent for the month of November 2013, a decrease of 0.97 percentage points compared to November of 2012, when the rate was 2.08 percent.

Foreclosure activity in Kings was lower than the national foreclosure rate, which was 2.18 percent.

Also in Kings, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased. Only 4.81 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 6.44 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 1.63 percentage points.

Audio equipment maker recognized

LAS VEGAS — Hanford company Vandersteen Audio was recognized by the audio industry’s leading consumer publication, Stereophile, for best sound at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month.

The show includes notable companies in the audio industry worldwide. Stereophile’s editor, John Atkinson, said that while some exhibits approached the sound quality of the Vandersteen equipment in some respects, “none were quite so musically perfect across the board.”

Atkinson went on to say that when a recording by jazz performer Diana Krall was played on the Vandersteen audio system, “the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, so powerfully physical was the presence of the singer in the room.”

The system featured Vandersteen Audio’s flagship Model 7 loudspeakers, and represented the debut of the company’s liquid-cooled M7-HPA High-Pass Amplifiers. The equipment is manufactured at the company’s Hanford production facility.


Lunch ‘n’ Learn series to focus on leadership

HANFORD — The Professional Latin American Association will present a Lunch ‘n Learn Leadership Development series starting Friday.

The series will provide valuable tools and techniques for enhancing leadership skills. The facilitator will be Noe Ambriz, manager of training and development with the Leadership Development Institute at Adventist Medical Center-Hanford.

Those who attend all sessions will receive a certificate of completion.

Here’s a list of the offerings:

  • Friday: Essentials of Leadership/Communicating for Leadership Success
  • March 13: Building an Environment of Trust
  • April 18: Leading Change
  • May 23: Coaching for Peak Performance
  • June 25: Retaining Talent
  • July 10: Leading High Performance Teams

Classes will be held at the Kings Community Action Organization main office, located at 1130 N. 11th Ave. To reserve a seat, email or call Carol Hernandez at 582-7515.

Liberty Tax Service opens Lemoore office

LEMOORE — Liberty Tax Service, with an office in Hanford, is expanding to Lemoore.

The new office, at 55 East D St., is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during tax season. There will be a grand opening celebration Friday at 1 p.m. at the new office. Employees will be on hand to provide free tax advice.

Liberty Tax Service employs numerous tax preparers, marketers and other office staff for the tax season. Call 345-6951 for more information.


Business/education partnerships workshop slated

CLOVIS — The Central Valley Career Technical Education Conference will take place Tuesday.

The conference, hosted by the State Center Consortium, is intended for business owners/managers, employers, community organizations, career counselors, educational leaders and school board members. The conference will bring together business, community and educational leaders to explore how building partnerships proves beneficial to students and the local economy.

It will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Clovis Veterans Memorial District, 808 4th St.

Breakout sessions cover such topics as vocational education, examples of successful business/education partnerships and a legislative update.

For more information, call 324-6440.


Cooperative extension to host tri-county Walnut Day

VISALIA — Kings County walnut growers will have the chance to bone up on several topics at the annual tri-county Walnut Day in Visalia.

The conference is Feb. 6 at the Holiday Inn, 9000 W. Airport Drive, from 7 a.m. to noon. Topics include:

  • Fumigation in walnut replant sites
  • Botryosphaeria and Phomopsis
  • Navel orangeworm management
  • Help update the walnut cost study
  • Walnut breeding achievements
  • Wood disinfestation and thousand cankers disease
  • How walnut pruning and training affects productivity

Pre-registration is $10 and due by Jan. 30. Registration at the door is $15. Go to for more information.

Labor law update scheduled

HANFORD — The Kings County Employer Advisory Council will present a labor law update Feb. 11 at the College of the Sequoias conference room, 925 13th Ave.

The conference is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and is free of charge. Complimentary coffee and donuts will be served.

Anthony Raimondo, a labor law attorney who represents employers, will provide the training. A certificate of training will be provided if present for the entire two-hour period.

RSVP by email to or call James Bradford at 585-3551. Reservations must be received by Feb. 7.

World Ag Expo coming soon

TULARE — World Ag Expo, the world’s largest annual agricultural exposition, returns to the International Agri-Center in Tulare Feb. 11-13 for its 47th installment.

More than 1,400 exhibitors will display the latest in farm equipment, communications and technology on 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space. The exhibition also offers free seminars on a variety of topics important to dairy producers, farmers, ranchers and agribusiness professionals.

The show runs Feb. 11-12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission is $15.

For more information, email, check out or call 999-9186 and 688-1030.

Chamber seeks nominations for top awards

HANFORD — The Hanford Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the 2013 Distinguished Citizens of the Year and Business of the Year awards.

The Hanford Chamber’s annual Distinguished Citizens & Business of the Year Round Up will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. March 29 at the Hanford Civic Auditorium. Recognition will be given to the Man and Woman of the Year, Business of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award. The deadline for nominations is Jan. 31.

Tickets are $50 or $360 for a table of eight. For more information, contact the chamber at 582-0483.

Dairy convention hotel deadline extended

MODESTO — Feb. 14 will be the last day to get the discounted rate of $129 at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo for the Western United Dairymen convention in San Luis Obispo March 5-7.

To automatically be added to the WUD room block and receive the discounted rate starting at $129 per night, go to and click the “Hotel/Location” tab to find the link to the hotel.

For telephone reservations, call 805-549-0800 and provide dates and the group name, which is either Western United Dairymen or group code “XWU”.

Dairy Leaders Program accepting applications

MODESTO — April 4 is the deadline to apply for Western United Dairymen’s California Dairy Leaders Program. Designed to train the next generation of California’s dairy leaders, the leadership program consists of several sessions devoted to developing a better understanding of the economic, legislative, marketing and environmental issues facing the industry.

Eligible participants must be actively involved in milk production, be able to spend the necessary time in class, as well as studying resource materials, and be able to commit to visits to locations such as Sacramento and Washington.

The program is being opened up this year to individuals in allied industries. Application forms can be downloaded at

Class enrollment will be limited. The $750 fee should be submitted with letters of recommendation. Further information is available by contacting Western United Dairymen at 209-527-6453.


Reservists eligible to apply for SBA working capital loans

WASHINGTON — Small firms that suffered economic losses when the owner or a key employee was called up to active duty are eligible to apply for a low interest loan of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Small businesses can apply any time from the date of notice of expected call-up and ending one year after the date of discharge or release.

The interest rate is 4 percent, with terms up to a maximum of 30 years. In general, no collateral is required to secure a loan of $50,000 or less. The loan cannot be used to replace lost income or profits, refinance long-term debt or to expand the business.

Businesses can apply online at To get an application by mail, or for other questions about the loan program, contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955.

USDA announces agricultural producer grants

WASHINGTON — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the availability of nearly $10.5 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture grants to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities designed to give them a competitive business edge.

Grants are available to help producers create new products, expand marketing opportunities, support further processing of existing products or goods, or to develop specialty and niche products.

The maximum working capital grant is $200,000; the maximum planning grant is $75,000. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups.

Funding priority is given to socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers or ranchers, and to small- to medium-size family farms, or farmer/rancher cooperatives. Grant applications are due Feb. 24. More information about how to apply is available at or by contacting any USDA rural development state office.

Deadline extended for conservation program

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has extended the deadline for new enrollments in the Conservation Stewardship Program for fiscal year 2014. Producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications through Feb. 7. 

The program is in its fifth year. So far, NRCS has partnered with producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation.

The program emphasizes conservation performance. Producers earn higher payments for higher performance. Producers install enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy use.

While local NRCS offices accept applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods. To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.

Go to for more information or call 202-720-0693.

Business Technology Center sponsors classes

HANFORD — The Business Technology Center, sponsored by the Kings Regional Occupational Program, is offering business classes for interested community members.

The classes are Business Fast Track, Modern Office Occupations and a Microsoft Office workshop covering the basics of Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Access. Classes run Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, call 589-7026.

Job Training Office seeks work sites

HANFORD — The Kings County Job Training Office has introduced a short-term work experience strategy designed as a bridge from unemployment to gainful employment.

The Job Training Office will fully underwrite the cost of worker wages and worker’s compensation insurance. The participating employer provides training and work site supervision. The training is planned to run for a maximum of six months.

Work sites are being sought to sponsor a worker for up to 40 hours per week, with a possibility of moving to the employer’s payroll if the person demonstrates the appropriate initiative and work skills. Additionally, these workers are qualified to receive state tax credits for businesses located in the Kings County Enterprise Zone.

For more information, call 585-6699 or email

Free counseling services offered

VISALIA — The Central California Small Business Development Center is offering free one-on-one business counseling to local residents interested in the marketplace.

The free services include training in starting a new business, marketing, making business plans, business structure, strategic planning, financing and market research and demographics.

These consulting sessions are guaranteed to be confidential and are held at the center’s office at 220 N. Santa Fe St. Free workshops are also available to provide ongoing training to business owners and prospective entrepreneurs.

For more information, call 625-3051 or visit

Kings EDC offers business loans

HANFORD — The Kings County Economic Development Corp. offers 90-percent, fixed-rate, long-term loans on commercial and industrial property business loans to businesses in Kings County.

Loans may be used for the purchase or construction of a building; renovation of an existing building; purchase of machinery and equipment; purchase of furniture/fixtures/leasehold improvements; or to provide working capital

For more information, contact Steve Stone at 585-3578.

Corcoran Chamber holding Fourth Friday Coffee

CORCORAN — The Corcoran Chamber of Commerce is holding an open discussion over coffee with Chamber Ambassador Mike Graville on the fourth Friday morning of every month.

The discussions start at 7:30 a.m. at El Capitan, and topics focus on local issues in and around Corcoran. The coffee is free, and topics are open to those who attend.

El Capitan is located at 1220 Whitley Ave. For more information, call the chamber at 992-4514.

Please email business and ag briefs a week prior to publication to

Load comments