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The California High-Speed Rail Authority now is in legal possession of the land for the proposed Kings/Tulare rail station east of Highway 43 and is working on plans to connect its east-west to the two-county area. So says spokesperson Toni Tinoco. The site is located near the intersection of Highways 198 and 43, on the west side of the high-speed rail alignment. It is north of the existing San Joaquin Railroad or approximately half a mile south of Grangeville Boulevard.

Hanford-based seed company relocates

S&W Seed Company (Nasdaq: SANW) in November announced that it has moved its global corporate offices from 802 N. Douty in Hanford to Sacramento. Located in Old Sacramento, the office will consolidate S&W’s executive, sales and marketing, finance and administration teams. Founded in 1980 by a group of cattlemen, S&W Seed Company is a global agricultural company with hopes to be the world’s preferred proprietary seed company.

The founders, looking to develop the best alfalfa hay forage for their herd enlisted the expertise of the leading breeders and agronomist to develop varieties that would provide superior traits, while maximizing yield.

Since 1980, S&W’s breeders have developed university verified, non-dormant alfalfa seed varieties. Due to the soil conditions around the rim of the former Tulare Lake base, they developed seeds that could withstand the rigors of the highly saline conditions, these conditions are also found across the world, according to their website.

California egg law challenged

Thirteen egg-laying states are challenging a 2015 California law - Prop 2 – that sets minimum space requirements for hens that lay eggs sold in the state - they must have enough room to stretch their wings. The lawsuit launched by Missouri says it is a violation of interstate commerce rules and raises egg prices $350 million annually.

The law was challenged before but was rejected in 2016 by a court of appeal. Meanwhile, California egg producers like Central Valley Eggs in Shafter, invested heavily in California compliant cages to accommodate the hens, betting the law will not only stick here but be adopted nationwide. Major food firms like McDonald’s and Nestlé now buy only these eggs.

UC reports progress in psyllid fight

In a discovery that could help citrus growers fight a dangerous pest, University of California scientists state they have identified the sex pheromone of the Asian citrus psyllid. The psyllid can spread a disease that kills citrus trees and has been found in Southern and Central California. Pest experts say the development holds promise for both preventing the spread of the psyllid and aiding in its control. CFB reported the study.

KMJ Radio’s Cumulus Media declares bankruptcy

Radio broadcasting company Cumulus Media has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and entered into a restructuring agreement with some of its lenders to reduce its debt by $1 billion. The filing includes popular Fresno talk-radio station KMJ. The notice was filed Nov. 29.

Atlanta-based Cumulus says its programming, operations and sales will continue normally throughout the process. They say it has enough cash on hand and doesn't need to seek debtor-in-possession financing.

Cumulus owns and operates 446 radio stations nationwide. Its radio network segment, Westwood One, provides syndicated content across 8,000 affiliated broadcast radio stations and partners. It is also the lead provider of country music through its NASH brand.

Realtors complain about tax measure

In California, Realtors see more negative than positive in the new tax bill pushed by the GOP. Both the Senate and House plans would no longer allow people to write off state and local taxes.

”We are disappointed that the Senate voted to pass a tax hike bill on California homeowners. This bill will eliminate the financial benefits for homebuyers and leave hundreds of thousands of Californians worse off than they are today," said C.A.R. President Steve White. "If the goal of this bill is to help middle-class Americans keep more of their hard-earned money, this proposal fails miserably.”

The proposed cuts to real estate-focused tax deductions could cause prices in California to decrease 8 to 12 percent resulting in home values declining $37,710 to $56,550 for the typical homeowner says the National Association of Realtors.

Merry Christmas from China

Plenty of glitter. The US Census says the value of Chinese-made Christmas ornaments shipped to the USA added up to $1.5 billion in 2016. China led the way with 92.0 percent of the U.S. total imports of Christmas ornaments.

John Lindt is an independent business reporter. He can be reached at sierra2thesea@gmail.com

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