If you can plop down a critical U.S. Navy base 120 miles from the ocean, why scratch your head when you hear about a 155-acre competitive surfing event center, a ”Surf Ranch” located near Lemoore?

That’s the vision of famed surfer Kelly Slater, who owns a permitted wave generation complex originally built on a man-made lake, 700 yards long and 70 yards wide, designed for water-skiing. With some major upgrades and tweeks to the wave generation options, Slater and his investors now plan to expand the operation year-round and open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. according to a new conditional use permit application filed with the county this summer.

The application says the ranch will be staffed with 50 employees, who will continue to do development of prototype wave generation systems.

It also says the facility will have a recreational use as well, offering competitive surfing events with outdoor music and camping for visitors. They are asking for a permit to hold large events - attracting as many as 8,000 visitors, six times a year.

Called Surf Ranch, the application says:

“Operations under this SRCUP will permit up to six events per calendar year, including recreational and competitive surfing events, and ancillary music performances during a two-to-four day period (i.e. Thursday through Sunday evening). Event operation time will be from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Attendance is estimated to be up to 8,000 guests per day, over a two-to-four day period. Temporary bleachers, sound equipment, and lighting equipment may be setup for events and live music performances. Parking will be provided on site during the events. Contracted services will include traffic control, security, temporary lighting, potable water, portable toilets, wash stations, and trash services for each event. “

The project would also use the abandoned golf course to the east of the ranch located north of Jackson Avenue and west of 18th Avenue.

Baker Commodities relocation plan filed

In the way of high speed rail, Baker Commodities, who process dead dairy cows at 7480 Hanford Armona Rd., would relocate some 800 feet west of its current site according to an application filed with the county in July.

The tab would be picked up by CHSRA, funding a new facility with access off Hwy 43 once the demo of the old plant is done where rail track will be laid.

The plant accepts about 800,000 pounds of dead animals a week employing two shifts of 29 workers, five days a week. Hides are removed and the carcasses shipped to its Kerman plant for rendering.

Company spokesman Jimmy Andreoli II says while the relocation is “a big hassle,” the opportunity to get a brand new facility including some expansion options, will be beneficial. A new facility will be more energy efficient and include new technology bringing the plant up to the latest codes.

Still, it is taxing to the company based on all the time it takes.

The company made the news this summer when high temps resulted in an increase in dead cows - backing up the process, made worse by a tech snafu at its Kerman plant.

Andreoli says the goal is to have the new Hanford facility in place within two years or sooner with an 18-month construction schedule.

The new plant’s landscaping will be tree-lined.

More HS Rail updates told

Hwy 198 is likely to be depressed to the west to accommodate a bridge and track over the freeway for the bullet train says, regional director Diana Gomez with CHSRA. That would be just to the east of Highway 43. She recently told a Kings Association of Governments meeting that the Corcoran area could be one of the first stretches where contractors begin to lay down track in Kings County since the Authority has now acquired more than two and one-half miles of right-of-way. She noted that in Kings County, 172 parcels have been acquired and overall 1,100 parcels have been acquired in the central valley.

New interchange to be studied

A Kings Association Of Governments discussion recently mentioned a possible future project - a new interchange at SR 198 and Ninth Avenue. A project study report  will be needed to program any future projects, and STIP funds could be programmed to pay for the report. 

Heat makes the news

National Weather Service Hanford says yes, indeed, it is hotter than usual. Bakersfield had 39 days over 100 through July 29 this year compared to 23 in 2014, 21 in 2015, and 27 in 2016. For the month of July Hanford had 24 of 31 days above 100 with an average high of 101.6. The highest temp ever in Hanford was July 27, 1933 when it topped 116F. Makes you want to go surfing in Lemoore, right?

New solar project in works

The Kings County Planning Commission will take up a conditional use permit application Aug. 7 by Pristine Sun to build 1.88 mega Watt solar farm on land owned by John Hattesen. The proposed project is located at 18065 Lansing Ave. - southwest of the intersection of 18th Avenue, approximately two miles east of Stratford.

US RV shipments up 11.7 percent

U.S. recreation vehicle industry’s shipments are expected to reach 472,200 units in 2017, the highest annual total since the data has been collected, and a 9.6 percent increase from the number shipped last calendar year says the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.

According to a new forecast, RV shipments are expected to reach even greater heights in 2018, with production projected at 487,200 units.

Shipments totaled 120,866 in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 11.7 percent from 2016. This represented the highest shipment rate of any quarter since 1981.

Garlic farmer solves worker shortage with high pay

Christopher Ranch, the nation’s largest producer of fresh garlic, has filled all its 600 positions by offering an entry level wage of $13 an hour this year says a San Jose newspaper story. The farm, like many in California, has had trouble attracting the workforce it needs to bring in and process the crop, at least until now.

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

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