Fresno-based Granville Homes has expressed interest in developing a multifamily residential project in Lemoore, west of State Route 41 and north of West Hills College, and is lobbying the city to facilitate the project. The well- known homebuilder has no projects currently in Kings County. It offers multifamily options in downtown Fresno although they recently announced they will halt new development there. The company says they have built over 5,800 homes in the Central Valley in the past four decades. Regarding any Kings County project, the company said they have no comment.

New Arco station in works

The Chandi Group purchased the property located at 1771 W. Bush St., in Lemoore and has submitted applications to the city for approval of an ARCO fuel station with underground tanks and convenience store. The Imperial Valley-based developer has similar operations in Visalia.

Growth forecast spurs housing shortage fears

The Board of Supervisors heard a request to support state funding for homeless programs here recently. The application says Kings County’s housing stock is tight and demand is making it worse led by an influx of people coming here to work at NAS Lemoore. Around 3,000 new military and civilians will move into installation by 2019. The base is home to more than 12,000 sailors, Marines and civilians and plans for a 25 percent personnel expansion is expected over the next three years. That’s both good news and bad - beneficial to the economy as a whole but making it tougher for low income people to find adequate housing.

Central Valley biofuel plants get funding

Several Central Valley entities are building new biofuel facilities in part due to California Energy Commission (CEC) funding approved this month. Among them is well-known ag enterprise, the Wonderful Company, which is planning to build two new plants near Lost Hills, one converting almond shells to 4.8 million gallons per year of renewable diesel fuel. The second will process 40 million tons of waste pistachio hulls to make 2 million gallons of renewable diesel fuel. Owned by Stewart Resnick, the company will receive over $3.2 million for each facility to match around $6.3 million the company will spend on each of the projects. The developments will take a major disposal problem and turn it into clean burning fuel.

Also receiving funds is Calgren Renewable Fuels of Pixley which will get $3.6 million to build a 5 million gallon biodiesel plant adjacent to its ethanol production facility on Highway 99. The waste heat from the $9 million biodiesel plant, built on half an acre, will be used at the plant, making the whole operation more efficient, says a state report. The plant should in operation in early 2018.

The state is pushing to give incentives for more production of clean burning biodiesel in California with total production now at 77 million gallons a year. In California all diesel is blended with biodiesel.

The state’s largest plant is owned by Crimson Renewables in Bakersfield, which will expand from 24 million gallons to 36 million gallons under the program.

Also gaining funding is the city Of Manteca waste-to-fuels program using waste food and solid waste material to convert to renewable biogas for city vehicles. The city will get $1.6 million in CEC funds.

Clothing store, rue21, will close in Hanford

Teen clothing retailer rue21 is closing one-third of its stores nationwide stepping up its online business. Their store on 12th Avenue is one on the list. The private firm is closing nearly 400 stores, keeping more than 700 stores in 48 states.

Dairymen will hear state's manure management plans

A public stakeholder listening session is scheduled for April 24 in Tulare to obtain feedback and comments on CDFA’s Alternative Manure Management Program framework. The listening sessions are designed to obtain input from a wide group of stakeholders including but not limited to dairy and livestock farmers, environmental advocates, local community members and the general public. The program receives funding from the California Climate Investments Program - proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CDFA was appropriated $50 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, authorized by the Budget Act of 2016, to provide financial assistance for methane emission reductions from dairy and livestock operations. The objective is to give incentives for the adoption of alternative (non-digester) manure management practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from California's dairy and livestock operations, including but not limited to, scrape conversion, open solar drying and composting of manure onsite, conversion of dairy operations to pasture-based management and solid separation technologies.

CDFA hopes to gather information about important components of the proposed program including management practices that will be incentivized, potential adverse impacts and community outreach.

The listening session will be held Monday, April 24, 4:30–6:30 p.m., at the Energy Education Center, 4175 S. Laspina St., Tulare.

Tomato farmer fights cap-and-trade

The Morningstar Co, with several westside tomato packing plants, is leading the charge against the state cap-and-trade program the company says requires them to purchase credits to release gas emission - in other words it is a tax, they maintain. A long legal battle has ensued with the stakes high not just for businesses but for the state and projects like high speed rail which use the funds to reduce emissions. Earlier this month Morningstar lost a 2-to-1 appeal decision but now say they will appeal to the state Supreme Court. Meanwhile the legislature appears to be preparing a re-vote on cap-and-trade to ensure it passes by a supermajority that they believe allows it to be called a tax, if it passes.

Retail pump prices expected to be higher

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that drivers in the United States will pay an average of 23 cents more this summer for gas than last year. That won’t be affected by a big jump in state taxes here that go into effect in November - adding another 12 cents to 41.7 cents per gallon. Pushing prices higher at the pump is the rising cost of crude in recent weeks. The average price for gasoline in California is now $3.01 a gallon - up from $2.78 this time last year. According to Gas Buddy the lowest price in Hanford is at Costco and Arco at $2.63 gallon.

New case of HLB found

The dreaded citrus disease Huanglongbing (HLB) was confirmed in a single citrus tree in the city of La Habra in Orange County on April 11. This new find by CDFA will result in a new HLB quarantine area, which will link the existing quarantines into a contiguous zone spanning portions of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Additionally, two samples of Asian citrus psyllids in Anaheim tested positive for carrying the bacteria that causes HLB. On April 8, intensive survey resulted in the detection of another diseased tree in the HLB core area of San Gabriel; another two positive trees in San Gabriel were confirmed April 11. The total number of diseased citrus trees detected in California is now at 53.

The detection of HLB in a La Habra citrus tree is alarming, as are the samples of Asian citrus psyllids from Anaheim that were found to be carrying the bacteria that causes HLB. So far, it is contained to urban pockets of Southern California. Not a single commercial citrus tree has been lost to the disease. Florida is left with a fraction of production after battling HLB for more than a decade.

John Lindt is an independent business reporter. He can be reached at