In Shape Health Clubs is getting ready to open a fourth gym in Visalia.
The new club will be at Caldwell Avenue and Mooney Boulevard behind Sears and Hobby Lobby in a 19,000-square-foot building that was formerly a gym.
The target date for opening In Shape “Fit” is June 1, said company spokeswoman Michelle Clark in Stockton.
The new gym is for the budget conscious. There’s no pool, kid’s area or live instructors, but lots of gear and self-service kiosks where individuals or groups can chose an activity — yoga, kickboxing, etc — and follow along on a screen. The best part is the price: $10 a month.
Visalia is one of the company’s most successful markets, Clark said. Other sites are Mooney Boulevard at Tulare Avenue, Demaree Street just south of Goshen Avenue, and the Winco Shopping Center on West Caldwell Avenue.
Visalia property owners are being asked to continue paying 48 cents a month for flood control. They’re currently paying the fee in their water bills.
They’ll get to vote on keeping the per-parcel fee when mail-in balloting starts Jan. 31 and ends in mid-March.
Since 1997, the money has been used to pay Visalia’s share of enlarging Lake Kaweah. But the city’s share is now paid for, so officials are proposing that the funds be used to help maintain of the city’s storm drain system.
Under the proposal, 43 cents would go to increased storm drain maintenance and the other five cents to upkeep of Terminus Dam.
Under Proposition 218, voters must approve parcel fees like this one. To date, no organized opposition has emerged.
The city will hold community information meetings Feb. 7 at Fairview Elementary School on and Feb. 21 at Visalia Unified School District. Information: www.reduceflooding.com.
Patients at Kaweah Delta Medical Center emergency room in Visalia will be checked for weapons before being taken back for treatment.
A security guard does the checking using a metal detection wand.
There’s an exception: Anyone with a serious medical emergency who needs immediate attention will be allowed to bypass security and be screened later.
The new policy also applies to family members accompanying the patient, said Dan Allain, director of emergency and critical care.
The purpose of the policy, which started Monday, is to make the emergency department safer for staff and patients.
Allain said that no violent incidents have occurred at the emergency room, but the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut and other high profile incidents nationally prompted the hospital to evaluate security.
Anyone found with guns, knives or other weapons will be asked to take them out of the hospital. That includes those who have a concealed weapons permit.
About 90,000 patients come into the emergency department yearly.
Of 500 debtors on the list released Friday, 14 are from Fresno, Madera, and Tulare counties. Their debts range from about $454,000 to more than $3.1 million, and the oldest dates back nearly 20 years.
To put additional bite into the list, state law requires the Board of Equalization to provide the Top 500 list to other state agencies. Taxpayers on the list can be subject to penalties that affect any state licenses they may have, including driver’s licenses, occupational or professional licenses, and they may be barred from entering into contracts with state agencies.
Here’s the list for the fourth quarter of 2012, along with the amounts owed and the first lien date reported by the state:
Central Valley Food Services Inc., dba Jack in the Box, Fresno — $3,110,382 (2008)
The Board of Equalization issues the Top 500 list every quarter. Businesses on the list are notified 30 days in advance, giving them a chance to settle their debt or set up an installment program. Amounts that are paid through installments, or are in the midst of bankruptcy, litigation or appeals, are not included on the list.
“We are very excited about the new Walmart Neighborhood Market,” said Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia. “Designed for convenient grocery shopping, customers will find a full line of fresh groceries, meat and dairy products, dry goods and staples, as well as household supplies, and pharmacy services.”
The 40,000-square-foot Fresno store is expected to create about 75 new jobs, Garcia said. It is scheduled to open in summer 2013.
The retailer is also building a market in Visalia on the corner of Demaree Street and Goshen Avenue, just north of Highway 198.
Soccer Mom Debbie Winsett gazes at the boxes holding her son’s old but usable soccer gear.
“What do you do with perfectly good cleats that he outgrew?” Winsett asked.
And there’s tons of soccer gear gathering dust in garages up and down the Valley, she said.
Now Winsett is putting out collection barrels at AYSO soccer games in Visalia, Odyssey South soccer games in Visalia, the Pro Soccer store at Willow and Herndon in Fresno and a handful of schools in Visalia.
She’s sending home flyers with soccer players that explain how to participate in the program.
“I want this to go to the soccer families that need it,” Winsett said. “I don’t know anybody else who is doing this.”
She and fellow volunteers are collecting the gear and sorting it. In spring or summer of 2013, they’ll have a distribution day.
“Those who donate can pick for free,” Winsett said.
Donors must include their names and contact information to be notified when the distribution will take place. The date has yet to be determined.
“If you didn’t donate or didn’t register, we’ll sell if for $3 to $5,” she said.
In a sign that a longtime dream is close to reality, ImagineU Interactive Children’s Museum in Visalia announced Thursday that Monique Miron of CM Construction Services has been hired as project manager for construction.
Groundbreaking takes place in spring 2013 and the museum will open a year later, said Cheryl Christman, chair of the museum’s board of directors. ImagineU is the only children’s museum within a three-hour drive of Visalia, she said.
The 14,000-square-foot, single-story building will be built at the southeast corner of Tipton Street and Oak Avenue. Russ Taylor of The Taylor Group is the architect.
Mill Creek runs next to the property, and Brian Kempf of the Urban Tree Foundation will design a trail along it, Christman said. Eventually, a city park will be to the east.
Construction is being covered by a $5.4 million grant from the state using Proposition 84 money. Staff and programs must be covered by local fundraising.
In city after city across the central San Joaquin Valley, President Barack Obama has attracted more donors for his reelection campaign than his challenger, Republican Mitt Romney.
But when it comes to the local cash haul, Romney rules.
Take Fresno, for instance. Obama had 2,214 donors with Fresno mailing addresses, while Romney had just 696. But those 696 donors gave Romney $438,050, while Obama’s more than 2,200 contributed $223,716.
The average per donor? It is $629.38 for Romney, and just $101 for Obama.
Across the region, it is similar story — Exeter, Visalia, Kingsburg, Hanford, Madera, Merced mailing addresses all show more Obama donors, but more total money for Romney.
It even holds true in a Republican stronghold like Clovis, where Obama had 455 donors to Romney’s 259, but Romney raised $135,107 to Obama’s $42,700.
Given Romney’s local high-dollar fundraisers, this is hardly surprising. The biggest of them all came in May, when Romney raked in more than $1 million at a fundraiser at the Sanger-area home of prominent west-side rancher John Harris and his wife, Carole.
Obama, by comparison, has never held a Valley fundraiser. All his campaign donations came from local people who took the initiative and sent in a check. The only exception would have been if a local wealthy Democrat attended one of Obama’s Los Angeles or Bay Area fundraisers.
Getting rid of needles just got easier in Visalia. The city is accepting home-generated medical sharps at quarterly Dump On Us events for free.
The county had a program to take needles for free but state funding ran out. It’s illegal to put needles in the regular trash.
Dump on Us lets Visalia residents toss out old junk for free, and now there’s a separate line to accept needles and lancets, which must be in an approved container.
But the city program is temporary.
Kim Loeb, the city’s natural resources conservation director, said the city is preparing to ask the Visalia City Council to pass an ordinance requiring pharmacies and businesses that sell needles to accept used needles for free.
San Luis Obispo County has a similar ordinance.
It’s an issue everywhere.
Fresno County, including Fresno, has a free needle disposal program twice a year at its household hazardous waste disposal events. But Fresno County will not be pushing an ordinance, said Linda Kline, the county’s recycling coordinator.
Instead, there’s a list of options, including businesses that take needles for a small fee, at the recycling division’s household hazardous waste web page on the county’s website.
Visalia police are vaulting into the 21st century by buying new radio gear.
The buy is for 125 new handheld radios, 40 car radios and nine motorcycle radios from Motorola.
They each have 1,000 frequencies and can communicate with law enforcement agencies outside Visalia in case police get called to an emergency. That’s the new P25 national “interoperabilty” standard in law enforcement radios.
They are also digital for a clearer signal.
The city is spending about $300,000 on radio replacement. By trading in the old 1993 radios, the city gets a $58,000 discount.