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Dangerous insect and disease threatens local citrus


June 26, 2013
A dangerous insect has made its way into Valley Center and is threatening local citrus trees. The Asian citrus psyllid feeds on the leaves and stems of citrus trees and can spread a fatal plant disease called Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 64 Asian citrus psyllid finds in Valley Center, and with people spending more time in their backyards this summer, now is an important time for residents to take actions to protect their beloved backyard citrus trees.

HLB has already been found in Southern California, putting all citrus trees at risk. There is no cure for HLB and once a tree is infected, it will die. Symptoms of HLB include asymmetrical yellowing of leaves, hard, bitter or misshapen fruit, and excessive fruit drop. Residents should inspect their backyard citrus trees for signs of the disease. The Citrus Pest & Disease

Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores is seeking a local entrepreneur to work with Sears to open a Sears Hometown Store in Valley Center.

According to Fred Carter, senior regional development manager for Sears Hometown Stores, "We will open the store as soon as we locate a local owner." One of the locations they are looking at is the new shopping center that will open soon at Harvest Farms on Lilac. However, no location has been nailed down.

Carter told The Roadrunner that he would be coming out to VC in a few weeks to scout out the area. The store would be a full retail store developed half to home appliances, including washers and dryers and refrigerators and half to home and garden, including Sears's signature Craftsman tools. It will also carry mattresses, said Carter.

Sears has served rural customers through its Sears Authorized Hometown Store Program since the early 1990s. As part of its strategy to provide more convenient shopping for customers, Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores is looking for a local entrepreneur in Valley Center to own and operate a Sears Hometown Store.

"We're looking for a person who wants to operate a successful business and is customer service oriented," said Carter. "This is an outstanding retail opportunity for a dedicated individual to participate in one of America's hottest growth opportunities." Since 1993, Sears has helped entrepreneurs successfully open Hometown Stores in all 50 states. The new store in Valley Center will be one of 39 to operate in California.

According to Carter, Sears Hometown Stores typically have between 6,000 and 10,000 square feet of selling space and offer a wide selection of well-known appliances, tools, mattresses, fitness equipment, and lawn and garden equipment, including Sears brands such as Kenmore appliances, Craftsman tools and lawn and garden products and DieHard car and boat batteries. Sears Hometown Stores offer the Top 10 national appliance brands at guaranteed lowest prices.

Through in store kiosks, Sears Hometown Stores are able to offer the local community the full breadth of selection available on sears.com. Local repair service is offered as well as product protection agreements and the promise of "Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back."

"The local owner is responsible for start-up and on-going operating expenses associated with the store including: building or leasing a facility; providing in-store fixtures; hiring and training employees; payroll; and insurance," Carter said. "The Sears Authorized Hometown Store Program is not considered a franchise program because Sears does not require an individual to purchase inventory or pay an annual licensing fee. The stores are supported by the Sears retail network, which includes providing all inventory, advertising, point-of-sale computer systems, delivery support and training."

"With the top national brands, at guaranteed lowest prices we want the new Sears Hometown Store to be the first choice for consumer in Valley Center for all of their needs around the home and for access to all the brands for which Sears is known." said William Powell, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, "We believe our program is a winner for everyone involved. The owner has a chance to build a successful business, our customers can shop closer to home and Sears reconnects with our local customers."

For additional information on becoming a Sears Hometown Store owner, call Fred Carter at 318-792-2648.

For more information, visit the Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores website at www.shos.com/

Prevention Program offers the following tips:

Don't move citrus — Do not bring any plant material into the area from other states or countries. Also, do not move citrus off your property, as you could accidentally spread the pest or disease and may be violating quarantines set by agriculture authorities.

Inspect your trees — Look for signs of the pest and disease each month or whenever watering, spraying, pruning or tending trees. Learn what to look for by visiting CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org.

Plant responsibly — Only buy citrus trees from reputable, licensed California nurseries.

Graft with care — Use only registered budwood with source documentation.

Be mindful of clippings — Dry or double bag plant clippings prior to disposal to avoid moving psyllids and HLB-infected plant materials.

Cooperate — Cooperate with agriculture officials on detection and suppression efforts of the Asian citrus psyllid and HLB.

If you think you've found the psyllid or the disease, contact the local agricultural commissioner or call the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture hotline at 800-491-1899. Visit CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org to learn more about this issue and how it is affecting the iconic citrus trees of California.

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