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National foreclosure settlement sends another $440000 to Wisconsin



Wisconsin residents who lost houses to foreclosure because of the housing crisis may be eligible for additional relief from a settlement with the nation's five biggest banks.

Wisconsin residents who lost houses to foreclosure because of the housing crisis may be eligible for additional relief from a settlement with the nation’s five biggest banks.









Sean Ryan
Reporter- Milwaukee Business Journal

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Almost 300 Wisconsin residents who lost houses to foreclosure will collect about $1,480 apiece under a national settlement with the country’s five largest banks, according to state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

The combined $440,000 is for borrowers whose homes were foreclosed in 2008 through 2011. The payment is through the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement between 49 states and five banks: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Ally Bank, formerly GMAC.

Wisconsin borrowers previously had received a combined $21.85 million in payments and $175 million in other relief through the settlement.

Reporter Sean Ryan covers commercial and residential real estate for the Milwaukee Business Journal and through the Real Estate Roundup blog on the website. He also covers construction, highways and public transit.


Article source: http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2014/01/31/national-foreclosure-settlement-sends.html

Free foreclosure prevention seminars offered in Vancouver

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Article source: http://www.columbian.com/news/2014/jan/31/free-foreclosure-prevention-seminars-vancouver/

NJ may soon lead nation in foreclosures – The Star-Ledger

New Jersey may lead the nation with the highest percentage of foreclosed homes by the summer.

“It’s just a matter of time,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, an online analytic firm that released new data yesterday.

Since the housing market crash in September 2008, Florida has had the highest percentage of mortgaged homes in foreclosure, while New Jersey has ranked second.

At the start of 2013, 10.3 percent of the Sunshine State’s homes with a mortgage had completed the foreclosure process. In New Jersey, the figure was 7.2 percent.

But Florida has been moving through the process at a much faster rate than New Jersey, according to Fleming.

In the past 12 months, nearly 119,000 homes completed foreclosures in Florida as compared with 5,138 in the Garden State.

The percentages of foreclosed homes last month were 6.7 and 6.5 respectively.

“New Jersey may top the list within the next six months,” Fleming said.

About 11.2 percent of homes with a mortgage in Florida are at least 90 days behind on their mortgage payments, while 10.5 percent are in serious delinquency in New Jersey.

Fleming suggested New Jersey’s slower pace may be attributed to the courts. New Jersey and Florida are among 26 states that require the foreclosure process goes through the court system.

It takes an average of 1,002 days to settle foreclosures in New Jersey, but only 883 days to settle them in Florida.

Foreclosure filings in New Jersey slowed to a trickle in 2010, when the state Supreme Court required the six largest banks to review their lending procedures. The number of filings fell from 58,000 in 2010 to 6,000 by July 2011 and created a backlog the courts are still trying to unclog.

According to a December report by real estate consultant firm Otteau Valuation, the state has begun to work through its backlog with a 71 percent increase in foreclosure filings in 2013.

Article source: http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2014/01/nj_may_soonlead_nation_in_foreclosures.html

‘Zombie’ properties haunt Chicago area housing recovery

Thousands of Cook County residents are being haunted by their former homes. A recent study from the Woodstock Institute shows there are more than 11,700 “zombie properties,” or unresolved foreclosures, in the area, including 5,800 in Chicago.

According to the study, a property becomes a “zombie” when a bank files for foreclosure but does not actually take ownership for more than three years. Many homeowners are either left unaware that they still hold title to the property or have moved out of the area, under the impression that they can no longer legally live there.

The study examines the extent of the foreclosure crisis that hit Chicago from 2008 to 2012, which resulted in more than 217,035 foreclosures.

Researchers found 60 percent of foreclosures filed from 2008 to 2009 remained unsold by 2012. Eighteen percent of them are now considered “zombie properties.”

While properties sit in foreclosure limbo, it is unclear who actually owns them and is responsible for maintaining them. As a result, zombie properties often remain vacant and neglected for years.

This causes a major problem for realtors like Earnell Hooper, who represents properties in the Englewood area for Coldwell Banker.

“They’re dragging the entire neighborhood down,” Hooper said. “A first time home buyer does not want to live on a block with two or three vacant lots on it, no matter how low the price is.”

According to the study’s findings, zombie properties are largely concentrated in low-income, non-white communities, like Englewood, Woodlawn and Washington Park. In addition, researchers found these properties are more harmful in less affluent areas, where there is less pressure to maintain the property.

Some housing experts say the prevalence of zombie properties could explain why these particular neighborhoods have not been able to bounce back from the housing crisis of 2008.

“There is a lot of talk about the housing market coming back, but the truth is it’s not coming back everywhere,” said Katie Buitrago, senior policy associate at the Woodstock Institute. “This pattern inevitably affects the affordable housing stock and makes neighborhoods less desirable, and it sometimes even encourages people to leave the neighborhood.”

One of the issues causing delay and confusion in these foreclosures is the process; it’s inefficient and time-consuming.

“The issue is the way the process is laid out, it’s a big spiral of back and forth,” said Jarome Baker, foreclosure counselor with Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. “The banks and [Cook County Circuit] court simply do not have the capacity to deal with all of these cases.”

Researchers suggest more communication among banks, residents and courts, requiring banks to notify involved parties when they decide to stop pursuing a foreclosure.

In addition, researchers call for vacant building city ordinances that hold servicers and mortgagees accountable for maintaining homes. That is even before taking a title to a home, as a way of finding a responsible party to maintain vacant and abandoned homes when the property owner cannot be found.

However, others call for changes on a community level, by first educating the public about financial budgeting and home ownership in areas with the highest rates of foreclosures.

The study’s author, Spencer Cowan, said if the trend of unresolved foreclosures continues, there will be over 7,200 additional zombie properties in Cook County, including nearly 3,200 additional zombie properties in the city by the end of 2015.  

Article source: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=227308

Banks give fewest conventional mortgages in minority areas

It took Dante Jones four years of living with his folks and working absurdly long hours to scrape together a $15,000 downpayment for a home in southeast Queens for himself, his fiancé and his six children.

The city employee was pre-approved for a mortgage on a five-bedroom house in St. Albans last year, but just as he was expecting to close, the bank backed out of the deal.

Prospective homebuyers in St. Albans, a predominantly black neighborhood that is the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis, received the fewest number of conventional home mortgage loans from banks in the city, according to the New Economy Project.

The southeast Queens neighborhoods of Rosedale, Springfield Gardens and Jamaica, and the Brooklyn communities of Brownsville, Canarsie and East Flatbush, got the fewest numbers of conventional mortgages, the Manhattan-based financial justice group said.

“There’s a long history of banks not extending mainstream loans to neighborhoods of color — whether or not the people who live there are creditworthy,” said the project’s co-director Sarah Ludwig. “This is good old-fashioned discrimination.”

It’s also hard to get a mortgage in the South Bronx, according to the 2012 government data the project analyzed.

RELATED: BIG CHANGES IN PRICES OF HOMES CITYWIDE

“Your mortgage is going to cost you more if you live in a community of color in New York City,” Ludwig said.

Many residents of minority communities are unable to come up with 20% downpayments to secure a conventional mortgage. They can qualify for a more expensive, government-backed loan by putting only 3.5% down, but they’re likely to pay more in fees and monthly mortgage insurance premiums.

Jones, 44, of Jamaica, lost the home in St. Albans, where he had hoped to raise his family, and he’s still looking for a house of his own.

A New Economy Project report states it is hardest to secure a conventional bank mortgage in the city’s minority communities. And St. Albans, Queens, tops the list of the neighborhoods where it’s hardest to score the loan.

Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News

A New Economy Project report states it is hardest to secure a conventional bank mortgage in the city’s minority communities. And St. Albans, Queens, tops the list of the neighborhoods where it’s hardest to score the loan.

“It’s unfair,” he said. “I’m still trying to buy a home. It’s a terrible ordeal. It’s unfair. Someone really needs to look into why this is happening.”

Sadly, this is nothing new, said real estate broker Richard Gibbs, who has been selling homes in St. Albans for 37 years.

“We were raped with these fraudulent mortgages that resulted in the explosion of the foreclosure market,” Gibbs said of southeast Queens. “It’s going to be a long time for this area to rebuild.”

RELATED: EAST NEW YORK: THE NEXT HOMEBUYING FRONTIER?

Before the housing market tanked, homebuyers could get a mortgage with credit scores in the mid-600s, he said. Now those scores must be in the 700s.

“[A decade ago,] if you breathed, the banks would give you a mortgage,” Gibbs said. “Now you have to stand on your head to get mortgage.”

Expensive mortgages can lead to more vacant homes in an area, gentrification and putting homebuyers at risk for foreclosure, housing experts said.

“What if you lose your job?” said Ismene Speliotis, executive director of the Mutual Housing Association of New York, a Brooklyn-based group that helps folks get mortgages. “What if your tenants stop paying?”

But critics claim the report doesn’t tell the whole story.

“It’s just a little bit misleading to just point the fingers at the banks,” said Isa Abdur-Rahman, executive director of the Farmers Boulevard Community Development Corp., in St. Albans.

“In other communities, it’s more common that parents and grandparents are able to contribute to the down payments,” he said. “Many black families have not yet reached that point where parents and grandparents are financially able to contribute.”

ctrapasso@nydailynews.com

Article source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/banks-give-fewest-conventional-mortgages-minority-areas-article-1.1597184

RI lawmakers want to stop banks from evicting tenants in foreclosed properties

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — Two Rhode Island lawmakers are sponsoring legislation to make it harder for banks to evict tenants from foreclosed properties.

The legislation from Sen. Harold Metts and Rep. John Edwards, would allow tenants to remain in an apartment or home unless the bank can show they have good reason for the eviction, such as a lease violation.

Currently, banks must give a tenant 90 days before evicting them from a foreclosed property.

Advocates for affordable housing rallied in support of the bill Thursday at the Statehouse. Supporters say banks shouldn’t be allowed to evict tenants simply because the previous landlord lost the property in foreclosure.

The bill hasn’t been scheduled for a vote.

Article source: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/365bd981725046078ff919c1a2643280/RI--XGR-Eviction-Rules

Solvang Library hosts workshop on protecting homes from foreclosure

17 hours 18 minutes ago by Lindsay MacLeod, KSBY News

The Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County and SurePath Financial Solutions are teaming up for an informational workshop Thursday in Solvang.

The groups are hosting a free informational session called “How to Protect Your Home From Foreclosure.”

It starts at 6:00 p.m. at the Solvang Library, which is located at 1745 Mission Drive.

Experts will talk about the new California Homeowner Bill of Rights, bankruptcy, loan modification, and how to avoid foreclosure avoidance scams.

Article source: http://www.ksby.com/news/solvang-library-hosts-workshop-on-protecting-homes-from-foreclosure/

Business news: Kings foreclosure rates decrease

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.

FRIDAY

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 plaakings@yahoo.com 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.

TUESDAY

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.

UPCOMING

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 http://ucanr.edu/14 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 james.bradford@edd.ca.gov 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 info@farmshow.org, check out www.worldagexpo.com 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 www.WUDconvention.com 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 www.westernuniteddairymen.com.

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.

ONGOING

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 http://go.usa.gov/BcuA. 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 http://tinyurl.com/lpjhl94 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 http://tinyurl.com/aqp6ouk 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 Jesse.Ortiz@co.kings.ca.us.

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 www.ccsbdc.org.

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 features@HanfordSentinel.com.

Article source: http://www.hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/business-news-kings-foreclosure-rates-decrease/article_4cd0658c-89cd-11e3-b2f3-001a4bcf887a.html

Business news: Kings foreclosure rates decrease

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.

FRIDAY

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 plaakings@yahoo.com 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.

TUESDAY

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.

UPCOMING

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 http://ucanr.edu/14 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 james.bradford@edd.ca.gov 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 info@farmshow.org, check out www.worldagexpo.com 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 www.WUDconvention.com 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 www.westernuniteddairymen.com.

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.

ONGOING

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 http://go.usa.gov/BcuA. 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 http://tinyurl.com/lpjhl94 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 http://tinyurl.com/aqp6ouk 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 Jesse.Ortiz@co.kings.ca.us.

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 www.ccsbdc.org.

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 features@HanfordSentinel.com.

Article source: http://www.hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/business-news-kings-foreclosure-rates-decrease/article_4cd0658c-89cd-11e3-b2f3-001a4bcf887a.html

Coalition rallies behind RI bill to limit foreclosure evictions

PROVIDENCE, RI — An advocacy coalition announced “just cause” legislation Thursday that would prevent tenants from being evicted from foreclosed homes without just cause.

At a State House news conference, State Sen. Harold Metts, (D-Dist. 6, Providence), and State Rep. John G. Edwards, (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton) said they have filed bills to prevent banks from evicting tenants living in foreclosed homes until they sold the house to a new owner.

Members of Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) and at least a dozen other organizations have formed a “Just Cause Coalition” to fight for the legislation.

Edwards noted he had introduced the same bill six years ago when his neighbors in Tiverton were evicted after the house they were renting was foreclosed.

The man “begged the bank not to evict them, but they threw him and his family out,” Edwards said.

Metts said the evictions “affect everybody,” causing family disruption and neighborhood blight.

Article source: http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140130-coalition-rallies-behind-ri-bill-to-limit-foreclosure-evictions.ece