Durham Bulls Baseball: Bulls Drop Final Game of Series with Gwinnett Braves, 4-2

The Durham Bulls dropped the finale of a four-game set to the Gwinnett Braves 4-2 Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field, losing their first game of the 2017 season.

Gwinnett (1-3) got on the board first, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double by Matt Tuiasosopo. The lead doubled to 2-0 in the third inning, as Sean Kazmar led off the frame with a homer to left.

In the fourth the home side doubled its lead once more, this time when Lane Adams lined a ball to right past the diving Shane Peterson, and scampered all the way around the bases for a two-run inside-the-park home run and a 4-0 lead.

Durham (3-1) plated its first run of the contest in the fifth, as Patrick Leonard swiped second base with two outs, and scored on Curt Casali’s double down the left field line. Michael McKenry then blasted a solo dinger in the seventh inning, but the Bulls went in order the final two frames as they could not complete the sweep.

Lucas Sims (1-0) earned the win for Gwinnett with five innings of one-run ball, and David Hernandez picked up the save with a perfect ninth inning. Southpaw Ryan Yarbrough (0-1) took the loss for Durham, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings.

Round Rock Express Baseball: Middlebrooks Grand Slam Fuels 7-1 Express Win over Sounds

A grand slam by 3B Will Middlebrooks powered the Round Rock Express (2-2) to a 7-1 victory over the Nashville Sounds (2-2) Sunday afternoon at Dell Diamond. The infielder finished 3-4 at the plate with four RBI.

E-Train RHP Nick Martinez (1-0, 0.00) silenced the Sounds to the tune of five shutout innings. The righty surrendered just one hit while walking two and striking out five. Nashville starter RHP Paul Blackburn (0-1, 1.50) suffered the loss despite allowing only one earned run on five hits and two walks in six innings.

Martinez escaped minor jams in the first and second innings, then retired 10 straight to complete his dominant outing. The E-Train offense picked up their starter in the third with a two-out rally. Two of the team’s hottest hitters, RF Preston Beck and Middlebrooks collected back-to-back singles before DH Jared Hoying drove home both runners with a single of his own.

The Express broke the game wide open in the 7th. CF Cesar Puello and 1B Ronald Guzman kick-started the big inning with back-to-back singles. Newly acquired C Brett Hayes then lined a double to left-center, scoring Puello. After Beck was intentionally walked to load the bases, Middlebrooks stepped to the plate and launched a grand slam that crashed into the left field berm, giving Round Rock a 7-0 lead.

Nashville scored their lone run of the game in the top of the 9th inning. 1B Matt Olson reached on a throwing error by Express RHP R.J. Alvarez. RF Andrew Lambo followed up with a single, then SS Franklin Barreto worked a walk to load the bases. A one-out Jaff Decker single scored Olson, but Alvarez recovered to strike out 3B Renato Nunez and LF Chris Parmelee to slam the door on the win, evening the series at two.

Binghamton Rumble Ponies Baseball: Rumble Ponies Fall to NH Fisher Cats, 8-3

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats plated four runs in the first inning and defeated the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, 8-3, on Sunday afternoon at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Ponies starter Corey Oswalt struck out seven in his Double-A debut, but took the loss.

The Fisher Cats set the tone with an outburst in their first turn at the plate. Ryan McBroom put New Hampshire on the board with a two-run double into the left-field alley, and Emilio Guerrero tacked on with an RBI single to left.

Oswalt bounced back from his rocky opening frame and burned through the Fisher Cats lineup into the fourth. The righty retired eight of nine before Reese McGuire ended the stretch with a solo homer, kicking New Hampshire’s lead to five.

The advantage was more than enough for Francisco Rios. The Mexican righty kept the Ponies in check over five innings en route to his first win as a Fisher Cat. He scattered four singles and struck out two in his Double-A debut. Patrick Biondi’s run-producing fielder’s choice in the fifth was the only blemish on Rios’ tab.

New Hampshire tacked on three more runs against Ben Griset. Jonathan Diaz threaded a solo homer over the right-field wall in the sixth and Guerrero delivered a two-run single in the seventh.

Oswalt (0-1) suffered the loss in his first game as a Rumble Pony. The righty allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits over four innings. Rios (1-0) allowed one run on four hits over five innings to collect the win.

The Rumble Ponies (2-1) continue their season-opening road trip and start a three-game series against the Portland Sea Dogs on Monday at 6:00 PM. RHP Casey Delgado makes his first start of the season against RHP Jacob Dahlstrand. The Horizons Federal Credit Union Pregame Show can be heard starting a 5:45 PM on News Radio 1290 WNBF and the Binghamton Rumble Ponies channel on TuneIn.

Montgomery Biscuits Baseball: Biscuits Notch First Win of the Season Against Biloxi Shuckers, 6-1

The Biscuits (1-3) notched their first win of the year behind a phenomenal outing by Greg Harris and three solo homers by Braxton Lee, Granden Goetzman, and Justin O’Conner on Sunday afternoon against Biloxi (3-1), winning 6-1. The win ensures that this Biscuits team won’t be the first in franchise history to begin a season 0-4.

Harris (1-0), who was making his Double-A debut, silenced the Shuckers going six innings and allowing just one run with five strikeouts. The Biscuits would take their first lead of the season in the bottom of the second thanks to a Nick Ciuffo RBI-double to center that brought around Joe McCarthy.

Biloxi would tie things up in the top of the third with a solo shot to left field off the bat of Angel Ortega. The bottom half of the third would be a power explosion for the Biscuits featuring a home run from Braxton Lee, who hit his first long-ball in more than 900 at-bats in the Minors, and another from Granden Goetzman to give the Biscuits a 3-1 lead. Bubba Derby would come in for Biloxi after starter Luis Ortiz (0-1) finished throwing four innings, surrendering five runs on 7 hits and the two homers.

In the fourth neither Biloxi or Montgomery would bring across any runs, but in the fifth, the Biscuits would score two off a Justin Williams double, which brought Riley Unroe and Braxton Lee around to give the Butter and Blue a 5-1 lead.

Things would slow down in the sixth and seventh, but a Justin O’Conner blast over the left-field wall would give the Biscuits their sixth and final run. Kyle Winkler would come in the ninth and pitch a hitless inning to secure Montgomery’s first win on Sunday afternoon.

Midland RockHounds Baseball: Midland Falls to Tulsa Drillers in Finale, 7-6, But Takes Series

Four times on Saturday night the Tulsa Drillers took the lead, and three times the RockHounds came back to tie or better. Reliever Joe Broussard made sure there would not be a fourth comeback, snuffing out a potential game-tying rally in the eighth inning before retiring the side in order in the ninth to give the Drillers their first win, 7-6, in the season-opening, three-game series at Security Bank Ballpark.

Kyle Farmer reached on a one-out error that scored one run and then Paul Hoenecke drove in Edwin Rios on a sacrifice fly to right to tive the Drillers a 2-0 advantage. The ‘Hounds came right back to take what would be their only lead of the night with a three-run home half of the first. J.P. Sportman had an RBI single and catcher Argenis Raga drove in two runs with a single in his first Double-A at-bat.

A critical throwing error by third baseman Melvin Mercedes allowed Tulsa to score the tying run in the top of the second and the Drillers went on to add two more (unearned) runs for a 5-3 lead. The two-run advantage stood until Tyler Marincov blasted the first home run of the season for either club, a towering two-run shot over the left field bullpen in the fifth. He finished 3-for-5 with a double, HR and two RBI.

Tulsa took its third lead on a “what goes around comes around” moment in the seventh. Jacob Scavuzzo, whose potential game-tying home run bid on opening night was denied by Sportman’s brilliant catch at the left field bullpen railing, lined a solo shot into that same bullpen, wrapping the drive around the foul pole for a 6-5 advantage. Marincov opened the last of the seventh with a double and Raga added to his tremendous debut performance with a two-out RBI double to right, forging a 6-6 tie.

Wynston Sawyer led off the eighth with a double off Joel Seddon and Michael Ahmed’s two-out single against reliever Sam Bragg gave Tulsa the lead for the fourth and final time.

Brett Vertigan, who went 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk in his 2017 debut, singled to lead off the eighth and got as far as third base before Broussard entered the game and retired two batters, including Marincov on strikes, to end the threat.


Weekend Biz: Dell Latitude 14 3000 Series Offers Powerful Business Computing on Any Budget

Latitude-34x0-laptops-Essential for business

The Dell Latitude 14 3000 Series is a powerful notebook PC that can get the job done quickly and easily.

Designed with Windows 10 Pro in mind – fast, smooth, more secure.

Stylish and powerful: The sophisticated new Latitude 14 3000 Series features your choice of 5th or 6th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, plus Windows 10 Pro for power and productivity.

Vivid view: Enjoy your 14 ” display with an HD or Full HD anti-glare display or an optional HD touch screen. For a higher-quality visual experience, choose 2GB of optional discrete graphics

Power on the go: Work from anywhere with all-day battery life. And with the easy access bottom latch, replace your battery on the go with no tools required.

Plenty of ports: Modern performance is never far away with all the ports you need, including USB 3.0 and 2.0, RJ45, HDMI and VGA ports.

Store more: Get up to 16GB of memory and 1TB of HDD or hybrid storage options for all your important data.

Be recognized: Using Windows Hello with Dell’s infrared camera forgetting your password will no longer interrupt your day. (available on touch-enable configurations only)

Weekend Biz: Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ Coming Soon!

Samsung Galaxy S8+ Black

Samsung introduces the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, which push the boundaries of traditional smartphones with seamless hardware design and a variety of new service offerings. With a stunning Infinity Display for immersive viewing experiences and the introduction of new services and apps, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ bring a new level of functionality and convenience, opening up a galaxy of possibilities.

“The Samsung Galaxy S8 ushers in a new era of smartphone design and fantastic new services, opening up new ways to experience the world,” said DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “The Galaxy S8 is our testament to regaining your trust by redefining what’s possible in safety and marks a new milestone in Samsung’s smartphone legacy.”

See and Experience More

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ build on Samsung’s heritage of creating stunning designs and beautiful, functional devices. Available in 5.8-inch (Galaxy S8) and 6.2-inch models (Galaxy S8+), the Infinity Display and near bezel-less design form a smooth, continuous surface without harsh angles. The result is a large display, not a large phone. The compact design enables comfortable one-handed operation and features Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5 on both the front and back.

The Galaxy Foundation

In addition to the new design innovations, Samsung continues to build on the Galaxy foundation, delivering cutting-edge technology, including an advanced camera and enhanced performance that has been the hallmark of Galaxy flagship smartphones.

  • Premium Camera: The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are equipped with an advanced 8MP F1.7 Smart autofocus front camera and 12MP F1.7 Dual Pixel rear camera for the best low-light, zoom and anti-blur photos with enhanced image processing1.
  • Powerful Performance: Packing powerful performance and connectivity, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ feature the industry’s first 10 nm chip, enabling heightened speed and efficiency.
  • Robust Entertainment: As the world’s first mobile device certified by the UHD Alliance as MOBILE HDR PREMIUMTM, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ let you see much richer colors and more immersive experiences while watching your favorite shows. In addition, the devices offer next-level gaming experiences with vivid and superior graphic technology, as well as Game Pack, featuring top game titles, including select titles supported by the Vulkan API.
  • Mobile Security: Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are built on Samsung Knox, a defense-grade security platform2. In addition, the devices will offer a selection of biometric authentication, including a fingerprint scanner and iris scanner so users can select the method that works best for them.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will also come with the foundational Galaxy features that our customers have come to love, including:

  • IP68 water and dust resistance
  • MicroSD support up to 256GB
  • Always-on display
  • Fast and wireless charging capabilities

Bixby is an intelligent interface that will help users get more out of their phone. With the new Bixby button, you will be able to conveniently access Bixby and navigate through services and apps with simple voice, touch and text commands. Contextual awareness capabilities enable Bixby to offer personalized help based on what it continues to learn about the user’s interests, situation and location. Users can easily shop, search for images and get details about nearby places with Bixby’s image recognition technology.

Beyond the Phone Experience

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ power a robust portfolio of products and services, elevating the experience for premiere mobile productivity and connectivity.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are at the center of the new Gear VR with Controller, powered by Oculus. The new controller enables combined motion sensors, touchpad controls and a dedicated trigger, offering an even more intuitive, convenient and expressive way to interact and immerse in Gear VR. The new smartphones will also connect to the new Gear 360, capable of capturing up to 4K 360-degree videos, 15MP photos and 2K live streaming.

Leveraging the processing power of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ for enhanced productivity, Samsung DeX is a unique solution that transforms these Android-based smartphones into secure desktops. With DeX, users can easily display and edit data from their phone, making working from a smartphone on the go faster and smarter.

In addition, Samsung Connect simplifies smart IoT device management. With Samsung Connect, users can easily activate Samsung and SmartThings IoT-enabled devices through a quick three-step configuration process and manage all connected devices through one integrated app.

In the U.S., the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will be available in Midnight Black, Orchid Gray and Arctic Silver. Pre-orders for both Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will begin at 12:01 EDT on March 30, 20173. AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Sprint, Straight Talk Wireless, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless will carry the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ in stores beginning April 21.

U.S. Availability

In addition, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will be available at all Best Buy stores as well as BestBuy.com, ShopSamsung app, Target and Walmart.

Gear VR with Controller will be available beginning April 21, 2017 for $129.99. The Controller will also be sold separately beginning April 21, 2017 for $39.99.

Consumers who pre-order a Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ will receive a free Gear VR headset with Controller and Oculus content4. A limited edition premium bundle which adds a 256GB memory card and Bluetooth headphones by AKG will also be available for $99. Additionally, consumers who purchase Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ will be eligible for Platinum Experience Status with Samsung Rewards5. These promotions will last for a limited time and only while supplies last. Terms and conditions apply. Visit samsung.com/us/promotions and samsung.com/platinumexperience for more information.

For additional product information, please visit https://news.samsung.com/us or http://www.samsung.com/galaxy. 

Weekend Biz: Visa Checkout Reaches Milestone of 20 Million Enrolled Consumers

Visa Inc. (NYSE:V), has announced that Visa Checkout, the easier way to use a Visa card online, is sustaining tremendous growth, reaching more than 20 million enrolled accounts. Visa Checkout enables millions of consumers to pay in just a few clicks on any device around the web with some of the world’s top merchants.

“Visa Checkout continues to simplify the online checkout process for consumers, while helping merchants increase sales and convert items in the cart to completed purchases,” says Sam Shrauger, senior vice president, digital solutions, Visa Inc. “Reaching 20 million enrolled accounts is a huge achievement and further affirms Visa Checkout’s purpose of bringing the trust and security of your Visa card to the evolving digital world.”

More Merchants Join the Visa Checkout Roster

As consumer adoption of Visa Checkout grows, so too does interest among brand name merchants in joining the platform. Among the merchants who have recently adopted Visa Checkout to improve their online shopping experience in order to increase conversion rates with additional customers include HSN, Alaska Airlines, Avis Budget, Cole Haan, Emirates Airline, FIFA, Marriott, Sam’s Club and Walmart. These new merchants join a growing list of 300,000 merchants, including Best Buy, Starbucks, Papa John’s and StubHub, among others.

“At HSN, we are focused on developing innovative solutions that result in an unparalleled shopping experience,” said Ryan Ross, EVP of Marketing, Digital Commerce and Creative for HSN. “The Visa Checkout integration helped to attract new customers and drive incremental sales across all our platforms as we continue to lead the future of Boundaryless Retail at HSN.”

Continued Expansion of Visa Checkout Around the World

In addition to reaching 20 million enrolled consumers, Visa Checkout is announcing it will continue to expand to new markets in 2017 with planned expansion to Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine. They join Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China1, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States (and territories) as markets that will or currently offer Visa Checkout.

Visa Checkout and Samsung Pay Join Forces to Offer Consumers More Ways to Pay

Given the growing rate of eCommerce and mCommerce, merchants and consumers are looking for ways to further simplify the checkout experience. Last week, Visa and Samsung announced a joint partnership that will allow Samsung Pay users in the U.S. who link their Samsung Pay account with a Visa Checkout account to shop seamlessly at the more than 300,000 merchants that accept Visa Checkout.

This partnership is made possible through Visa Checkout’s open platform and streamlined set of APIs, allowing both consumers and merchants to experience the benefits. Consumers with fingerprint authentication-enabled Samsung devices will be able to click the Visa Checkout/Samsung Pay co-branded button and touch the fingerprint sensor, without entering their username and password. Merchants can continue to use their existing Visa Checkout integration and get the benefit of this partnership.

“We are very excited to be working with Visa to offer simple, fast and secure checkout experiences to millions of Samsung Pay users on their mobile devices or desktop,” said Injong Rhee, CTO of the Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. ”Our partnership benefits not only Samsung Pay users but also hundreds of thousands of online merchants who are looking for effective ways to increase their checkout conversion rates.”

The rapidly expanding list of merchants continue to make it easier for consumers to buy online, on any device, using Visa Checkout.

Weekend Biz: McDonald’s Unveils Fresh Beef Quarter-Pounders in All Restaurants by 2018

McDonald’s has announced that by mid-2018, it will serve fresh beef, prepared when ordered, in all Quarter Pounder burgers across the majority of its restaurants. The fresh beef burgers, cooked right when ordered, are the latest step the company has made to meet customers’ changing expectations. All McDonald’s burgers use 100 percent pure beef with absolutely no fillers, additives or preservatives.

“Over the past two years, we’ve made a series of bold, tangible changes for our customers,” said McDonald’s President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook. “Serving All-Day Breakfast, moving to cage-free eggs and testing delivery are all proof of our commitment to build a better McDonald’s. And we are committed to transforming more aspects of our business, including offering a more modern and enjoyable dining experience, adding new levels of convenience and technology, and making more positive changes to the food we serve.”

Delivering fresh beef, cooked right when ordered, in Quarter Pounder burgers is one of the company’s latest customer-led initiatives that builds on several other recent milestones, including:

  • In 2015, the company announced a number of changes to how it serves and sources its food by offering All-Day Breakfast, committing to only sourcing cage-free eggs by 2025, and committing to only serve chicken not treated with antibiotics important to human medicine* that was completed nearly a year ahead of schedule in 2016.
  • Last year, the company removed artificial preservatives from several menu items, including Chicken McNuggets and eliminated high fructose corn syrup from the buns used on Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, Filet-O-Fish and McChicken sandwiches.

“Today’s announcement is part of a continuing food journey for McDonald’s,” said McDonald’s USA President Chris Kempczinski. “Over the last two years, we have accelerated the pace of change around how we source and serve our food. Delivering fresh beef that’s prepared when our customers order their food is just another example of how we are raising the bar. We’re just getting started, and can’t wait to show you what’s next.”

“This represents a strong partnership between McDonald’s, Lopez Foods and their other beef suppliers to support this initiative and deliver McDonald’s quality standards,” said Ed Sanchez, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lopez Foods. “It was exciting to be part of the test and we look forward to bringing fresh beef to more McDonald’s customers in 2018.”

Quarter Pounder burgers using fresh beef, cooked right when ordered, were initially tested in 325 restaurants across the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area and 77 restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Quarter Pounder burgers include the Quarter Pounder, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, the Quarter Pounder with Cheese Deluxe and Signature Crafted Recipe burgers.

“We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers and employees and we’re proud to have been part of a test that is creating a watershed moment for McDonald’s,” said McDonald’s Dallas/Fort Worth Franchisee Joe Jasper. “This test was driven by the Franchisees, our region and insights from what our customers are asking for when they visit McDonald’s.”

Weekend Biz: Caterpillar Wins Ultimate Game of H-O-R-S-E

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

When speaking of obstacles, Michael Jordan referenced a wall – but what about a backhoe? Sure, Jordan made many fadeaways and magnificent dunks throughout his career, but what if the hoop was attached to the boom of a Cat® 420F2 Backhoe Loader 30 feet in the air?

That’s the obstacle four Peoria-area high school players faced when playing ultimate game of H-O-R-S-E. This game was definitely not your average driveway basketball showdown – see for yourself.

Weekend Biz: Fact Check Now Available in Google Search and News Around the World


Google was built to help people find useful information by surfacing the great content that publishers and sites create. This access to high quality information is what drives people to use the web and for contributors to continue to engage and invest in it.

However, with thousands of new articles published online every minute of every day, the amount of content confronting people online can be overwhelming. And unfortunately, not all of it is factual or true, making it hard for people to distinguish fact from fiction. That’s why last October, along with our partners at Jigsaw, we announced that in a few countries we would start enabling publishers to show a “Fact Check” tag in Google News for news stories. This label identifies articles that include information fact checked by news publishers and fact-checking organizations.

After assessing feedback from both users and publishers, we’re making the Fact Check label in Google News available everywhere, and expanding it into Search globally in all languages. For the first time, when you conduct a search on Google that returns an authoritative result containing fact checks for one or more public claims, you will see that information clearly on the search results page. The snippet will display information on the claim, who made the claim, and the fact check of that particular claim.

This information won’t be available for every search result, and there may be search result pages where different publishers checked the same claim and reached different conclusions. These fact checks are not Google’s and are presented so people can make more informed judgements. Even though differing conclusions may be presented, we think it’s still helpful for people to understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim and have clear information on which sources agree. As we make fact checks more visible in Search results, we believe people will have an easier time reviewing and assessing these fact checks, and making their own informed opinions.

For publishers to be included in this feature, they must be using the Schema.org ClaimReview markup on the specific pages where they fact check public statements (documentation here), or they can use the Share the Facts widget developed by the Duke University Reporters Lab and Jigsaw. Only publishers that are algorithmically determined to be an authoritative source of information will qualify for inclusion. Finally, the content must adhere to the general policies that apply to all structured data markup, the Google News Publisher criteria for fact checks, and the standards for accountability and transparency, readability or proper site representation as articulated in our Google News General Guidelines. If a publisher or fact check claim does not meet these standards or honor these policies, we may, at our discretion, ignore that site’s markup.

This effort wouldn’t be possible without the help of other organizations and the fact check community, which has grown to 115 organizations..

Weekend Biz: Boeing Energy Conservation Program Lauded by EPA

Boeing [NYSE: BA] will be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a 2017 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for the company’s continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. Boeing will receive the award April 26 in Washington, D.C. This is the seventh consecutive year Boeing has been recognized by ENERGY STAR.

“We know that strong environmental performance is good for the planet and key to long-term business success. We are excited to build on the progress we have made and to further improve the efficiency of our products and our operations,” said Ursula English, Boeing vice president of Environment, Health & Safety. “In our second century, we’re aiming to be the most environmentally progressive company in the aerospace industry and to be a leader among our industrial peers.”

Beverly Wyse, president of Boeing Shared Services Group, will accept the ENERGY STAR award on behalf of Boeing.

“We’re thankful to the EPA for this recognition, but the greater thanks truly belongs to our Boeing employees who bring a strong commitment to environmental leadership to work with them every day,” said Wyse. “It is their inspiration and innovation that allows us to keep incorporating new efficiencies and energy conservation technologies into our processes and operations.”

During 2016, Boeing improved energy efficiency, invested in key energy infrastructure and continued public outreach with its conservation message. Boeing’s key 2016 accomplishments in the U.S. include:

  • Improving energy efficiency by 4.1 percent, a cumulative improvement of over 40 percent since 2009, all while reducing absolute energy consumption in 2016 by 2 percent and still delivering commercial aircraft at near-record levels.
  • Absolute energy reduction of 863,000 MMBtu — equivalent to the annual energy use for 23,000 average U. S. homes.
  • Replacing over 6,000 inefficient lighting fixtures with more energy-saving LEDs and making direct energy conservation investments of $6.7 million to reduce energy use by over 77,000 MMBtu annually.
  • Expanding the company’s environmental “Build a Better Planet” website to enhance employee engagement and share conservation messages and best practices in key forums and conferences.
  • Expanding the Everett, Wash., site by 1.5 million square feet to include a new composite wing center built to LEED Silver specifications. Everett is home to the largest contiguous building by volume in the world.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent or 228,000 metric tons and water intake by 6 percent or 517 million gallons since 2012.

The 2017 Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Awards are given to a variety of organizations that have demonstrated continued leadership in energy efficiency. Winners comprise a spectrum from small, family-owned businesses to Fortune 500 organizations — representing energy-efficient products, services, new homes, and buildings in the commercial, industrial, and public sectors.

Weekend Biz: Exxon Mobil Plans to Expand Manufacturing Capacity Along U.S. Gulf Coast

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) is expanding its manufacturing capacity along the U.S. Gulf Coast through planned investments of $20 billion over a 10-year period to take advantage of the American energy revolution, Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer, said Monday.

The projects, at 11 proposed and existing sites, are expected to generate thousands of new high-paying jobs and $20 billion in increased economic activity in Texas and Louisiana, Woods said, highlighting the company’s Growing the Gulf initiative in a keynote speech today at the CERAWeek 2017 conference.

“The United States is a leading producer of oil and natural gas, which is incentivizing U.S. manufacturing to invest and grow,” said Woods. “We are using new, abundant domestic energy supplies to provide products to the world at a competitive advantage resulting from lower costs and abundant raw materials. In this way, an upstream technology breakthrough has led to a downstream manufacturing renaissance.”

ExxonMobil is strategically investing in new refining and chemical-manufacturing projects in the U.S. Gulf Coast region to expand its manufacturing and export capacity. The company’s Growing the Gulf expansion program, consists of 11 major chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects at proposed new and existing facilities along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Investments began in 2013 and are expected to continue through at least 2022.

Woods said that ExxonMobil’s Gulf expansion projects are expected to provide long-term economic benefits to the region, noting the creation of direct employment opportunities and the multiplier effects of the company’s investments.

“Importantly, Growing the Gulf also creates jobs and lasting economic benefits for the communities where they’re located,” Woods said. “All told, we expect these 11 projects to create over 45,000 jobs. Many of these are high-skilled, high-paying jobs averaging about $100,000 a year. And these jobs will have a multiplier effect, creating many more jobs in the communities that service these new investments.”

According to the American Chemistry Council, chemical manufacturing is one of America’s top exporting industries, accounting for 14 percent of overall U.S. exports in 2015, and exports of specific chemicals linked to shale gas are projected to reach $123 billion by 2030. Most of ExxonMobil’s planned new chemical capacity investment in the Gulf region is targeted toward export markets in Asia and elsewhere.

“These projects are export machines, generating products that high-growth nations need to support larger populations with higher standards of living,” Woods said. “Those overseas markets are the motivation behind our investments. The supply is here; the demand is there. We want to keep connecting those dots.”

Military: ‘Always On Call’ Active-Duty, Reserve Medevac Teams Train Together

Air Force Capt. Erik Spiess, 349th Aeromedical Evacuations Squadron flight nurse, left, and Air Force Master Sgt. Rard Perkins, 911th Operations Group aircrew trainer, hand off a simulated patient to members of the 60th Inpatient Squadron to load on an ambulance bus during exercise Patriot Delta at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., March 24, 2017. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Phelps

The medical manikins were gently placed on litters and wrapped in blankets and bandages. Airmen shifted restlessly, inspecting bandages and triple-checking charts to ensure they were correct. The ambulance bus was backed up with its door open, as the service members waited for a phone call.

Finally, the phone rang and the airmen from the 60th Inpatient Squadron kicked into gear. The “patients” were efficiently loaded onto the bus and taken to the flightline here, where a C-130 Hercules aircraft from Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, sat with running engines, ready to take the “injured” to their simulated final destination.

Patriot Delta Exercise

This was one of more than 700 events played out during Patriot Delta, an Air Force Reserve Command exercise designed for aeromedical evacuation squadrons. The key participants were from the 911th Airlift Wing at Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, the 908th AW at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; the 932nd Airlift Wing at Scott AFB, Illinois; and the 349th Air Mobility Wing here.

“Since all of our units are scheduled for deployment around the same time, Patriot Delta provided the opportunity for us to meet people we would work with and train on airframes we don’t have at our home stations,” said Air Force Maj. Kelly Rose, 349th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron operations flight commander and planner for Patriot Delta.

Though most of those participating in Patriot Delta were reservists, there was a team of 10 active-duty airmen from the 60th Inpatient Squadron that performed en route patient care in the exercise.

Patient Care

En route patient care consists of receiving a patient from a flight, taking them to a hospital via ambulance bus, coordinating a departure flight to the final destination, ensuring accuracy of the patient’s paperwork, and keeping the patient as healthy as possible, until they deliver the patient on the departing flight.

The airmen also staged all of the “patients” in Patriot Delta with a variety of injuries for the medical personnel to properly care for.

“We wanted to utilize all of our resources for this exercise,” Rose said. “Not all bases have [en route patient staging facilities], and they are at deployed locations. Since we have them here at Travis, and have a great relationship with them, we reached out to them.”

Reserve, Active Duty Partnership

The partnership for this exercise was mutually beneficial for both reservists and active duty participants, said Air Force Maj. David Whitehorn, 60th IPTS commander.

“We have a lot of new folks in our squadron,” Whitehorn said. “Patriot Delta provided an excellent training opportunity for them.”

The 60th IPTS is often very busy with real-world en route patient care, so new airmen often don’t have time to receive training where they can make mistakes, learn and ask questions, he added.

“Their ERPSF is always on call, so they don’t always have training time,” Rose said.

The partnership between the reservists and active duty members was important to this exercise.

“This is real world,” Whitehorn said. “When deployed, we do this together. There is no difference between active duty and reserves.”

Increased collaboration was a key component to this exercise, Rose said.

Once the patients were delivered onto the C-130, the airmen jumped back onto the ambulance bus, skirting around the flightline to a KC-135 Stratotanker where they received more patients and delivered them to the hospital.

Bookstore: Texas Country Music Comes Alive in The Broken Spoke

James and Annetta White opened the Broken Spoke in 1964, then a mile south of the Austin city limits, under a massive live oak, and beside what would eventually become South Lamar Boulevard. White built the place himself, beginning construction on the day he received his honorable discharge from the US Army. And for more than fifty years, the Broken Spoke has served up, in the words of White’s well-worn opening speech, “. . . cold beer, good whiskey, the best chicken fried steak in town . . . and good country music.”

White paid thirty-two dollars to his first opening act, D. G. Burrow and the Western Melodies, back in 1964. Since then, the stage at the Spoke has hosted the likes of Bob Wills, Dolly Parton, Ernest Tubb, Ray Price, Marcia Ball, Pauline Reese, Roy Acuff, Kris Kristofferson, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Asleep at the Wheel, and the late, great Kitty Wells. But it hasn’t always been easy; through the years, the Whites and the Spoke have withstood their share of hardship—a breast cancer diagnosis, heart trouble, the building’s leaky roof, and a tour bus driven through its back wall.

Today the original rustic, barn-style building, surrounded by sleek, high-rise apartment buildings, still sits on South Lamar, a tribute and remembrance to an Austin that has almost vanished. Housing fifty years of country music memorabilia and about a thousand lifetimes of memories at the Broken Spoke, the Whites still honor a promise made to Ernest Tubb years ago: they’re “keepin’ it country.”

DONNA MARIE MILLER is a freelance writer, photographer, and videographer living in Austin. Her work has appeared in Alternate Root, Americana Rhythm, Austin Food, Austin Fusion, Austin Monthly, Creative Screenwriting, Elmore, Fiddler, and Texas Highways magazines.

Bookstore: “Live From Aggieland” Chronicles Musical Performers Who Played at Texas A&M University

Believe it or not, Aggieland has witnessed a parade of musical icons over the years, each with an intriguing story attached. Picture a young Elvis Presley entertaining the Corps of Cadets at G. Rollie White Coliseum. Flash forward to the “Committee for Johnny Cash,” originated by students after the country singer’s post-Bonfire concert was canceled by the A&M administration amid controversy; despite official disapproval, the students brought him to perform off-campus.

Revisit the sunbaked Texas World Speedway in the summer of 1974 and Willie Nelson’s rowdy Fourth of July Picnic, complete with sex, drugs, and a grassfire that torched the car of a young Robert Earl Keen (who would later strike up a long-lasting friendship with fellow A&M student Lyle Lovett).

Rewind to Garth Brooks landing at A&M to end an enormous 1998 world tour with three sold-out shows in the newly completed Reed Arena. And many other musical legends have produced memorable moments in the area, including Nat King Cole, R.E.M., and the Ramones.

Live from Aggieland explores these stories, including photography and first-hand accounts of the shows and events. The book demonstrates how popular music has enhanced the cultural perspective of Bryan–College Station and has provided students, graduates, and residents with lasting musical memories.

ROB CLARK is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered music throughout his journalism career at The Bryan–College Station Eagle and The Dallas Morning News. He also led the writing and editing of The Eagle’s Extraordinary: Texas A&M’s Remarkable First Season in the SEC and The Power of 2: Johnny Manziel’s Legendary Career at Texas A&M.

Small Business Administration Blog: How to Attract New Customers to Your Small Business

Every small business owner wants to attract new customers. Here are 10 time-tested ways to help you bring in “new blood.”

  1. Ask for referrals. Referrals are one of the best ways to get new customers—but if you sit back and wait for your current customers to refer their friends and family members to you, you could be waiting a long time. Take charge by implementing a system for actively soliciting referrals from your satisfied customers. Build referral-generating activity into the sales process. For example, send a follow-up email asking for a referral after a customer has received their order from your e-commerce site. Have your B2B salespeople ask for referrals when they follow up with customers to answer questions after the sale.
  2. Network. Generate good old-fashioned word-of-mouth by participating in networking organizations and events relevant to your industry and your customers. Be sure to approach networking with the attitude, “How can I help others?” rather than “What’s in it for me?” By thinking about how you be of service, you’ll build relationships that lead to new customers.
  3. Offer discounts and incentives for new customers only. Introductory offers, such as a two-week course at your karate studio for $100, can lure curious customers in your door by providing a low-risk way to try your products or services. Track which customers redeem the special offer, then target them with marketing message encouraging and enticing them to keep buying from you.
  4. Re-contact old customers. Everything old can be new again—including old customers who haven’t done business with you in a while. Go through your customer contacts on a regular basis and, after six months or a year without an interaction or purchase, reach out to dormant customers with a special offer via email, direct mail or phone. They’ll be glad you remembered them and want to win them back.
  5. Improve your website. These days, consumers and B2B buyers alike find new businesses primarily by searching online. That means your website has to do some heavy lifting to attract new customers. Give your website a once-over to make sure that the design, content, graphics and SEO are up-to-date. If this isn’t your strong suit, it’s worth enlisting the services of a website design company and/or SEO expert to help.
  6. Partner with complementary businesses. Team up with businesses that have a similar customer base, but aren’t directly competitive, and strategize how you can target each other’s customers to drive new business to each other. For example, a maternity clothing website and a baby products website could pair up to offer discounts and deals to each other’s customers.
  7. Promote your expertise. Generate interest—and new customers—by publicizing your expertise in your industry. Participating in industry panel discussions or online webinars, speaking at industry events or to groups your target customers belong to, or holding educational sessions or workshops will impress potential new customers with your subject expertise.
  8. Use online reviews to your advantage. Does your business get online reviews from customers? Cultivate your reviews and make the most of them. Link to reviews on your website and post signage in your location urging customers to check you out on Yelp (or wherever the reviews are). Social proof is powerful, and new customers are more likely to give your business a try if they see others praising it.
  9. Participate in community events. All else being equal, most people like to support independent businesses in their communities. Raise your profile in your community by taking part in charity events and organizations. Sponsor a local fun run, organize a holiday “toys for kids” donation, or supply a Little League team in your city with equipment. It gets your name out there, which helps bring in new customers.
  10. Bring a friend. Offer 2-for-1, “buy one, get one free” or “bring a friend” deals to get your “regulars” to introduce new customers to your business. For instance, a restaurant could offer a “buy one entrée, get a second for free” special to attract more customers. You can even get specific: “Invite a friend to try our new happy hour specials!” to let customers know you’re looking to introduce your business to a wider customer base.

Weekend Biz: Starbucks Reserve Bar Opens its Doors in Chicago’s Wrigleyville

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. From the glamorous Gold Coast to the museums of the Magnificent Mile, each community has a personality all its own.

One of the most celebrated is Wrigleyville – home of Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs. For more than 100 years, baseball fans have enjoyed games in this walkable, lively neighborhood, with buildings so close to the stadium that fans can watch the games from nearby rooftops.

Starbucks has had a presence in Wrigleyville for more than 20 years, and is now a part of its next chapter with the opening of a Starbucks store anchored in the new Park at Wrigley. In addition to its core menu, the new location will take influence from its Seattle Starbucks Reserve®  Roastery with an immersive coffee bar where baristas bring the craft of coffee to life through brewing techniques such as Clover, pour-over, coffee press, nitro taps, Chemex, Siphon and Black Eagle manual espresso. Starbucks stores with a Reserve coffee bar will make up 20 percent of the company’s store portfolio globally over time.

“We wanted the design to be authentic to the community and to the heritage of baseball in Chicago,” said Claudine Lostao, director of store design for Starbucks in the Midwest and Mid America. “The richness of the leather and stitching details at the Reserve Bar are inspired by the game.”

Upon entry, customers are drawn in by the 68-foot long curving wood beams that start at the top of the front doors and lead the eye through the length of the space to the bar, which takes center stage as the theatre of coffee art within the space. On warm days, glass doors open up onto the adjacent open-air park which will host community festivals and farmers markets. The design team also paid tribute to the home team in the details, such as custom chairs with red baseball stitching and under-counter lighting at the bar that can glow red or blue.

The artistic focal point of the space is a 45-foot custom mural by artist Shogo Ota called “Coffee People,” which depicts the people behind coffee’s journey from farm to cup. Ota has created other similar coffee pieces for Starbucks green cup last November and the wooden doors at the Starbucks store in Ferguson, Mo.

“Wrigleyville is a community with a deep sense of history,” Lostao said. “We wanted to celebrate the spirit of the neighborhood as well as the game of baseball.”

Starbucks in Chicago

Starbucks opened its first store in Chicago in 1987, and is at the forefront of new Starbucks® experiences with distinctive stores on Michigan Avenue and fashion retailer UNIQLO. In the past year, Starbucks has also opened an express format store at Union Station, stores with Starbucks Reserve bars in Lake Forest and Wicker Park, and a new store and training center on Chicago’s South Side, to create opportunities for local jobs and provide job skills and training to youth.

Chicago will be also one of the first to showcase a new Starbucks Reserve® store format, none of which exist yet today. The store, which is slated to open in the next year, will integrate the theater and romance of the Starbucks Reserve® Roastery with the unique culinary experience of its Italian food partner, Princi.

North Carolina Government: Gov. Roy Cooper Announces SouthCorr Factory for North Carolina

NC Governor Roy Cooper.jpgSouthCorr, LLC, a manufacturer of corrugated packaging material, will expand its manufacturing facility in Randolph County, creating 22 new jobs, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company plans to invest $6.7 million in its plant in Asheboro.

“North Carolina leads the southeast in manufacturing,” Governor Cooper said. “The state’s strong commitment to workforce training guarantees we can provide the talent companies need today and in the future.”

SouthCorr Packaging, established in 1994, is owned by parent company Interstate Resources, a privately-owned manufacturing group with 18 plants located in nine states across the eastern United States. Interstate’s SouthCorr facility manufactures custom corrugated sheets that are converted into boxes, innerpack, displays, as well as a wide variety of packaging materials.

“SouthCorr’s expansion provides more evidence that manufacturing is alive and well in North Carolina,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “Not only do we have the talent companies need to succeed, the state’s location and transportation infrastructure are also ideally suited to the needs of manufacturers.” N.C. Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. were instrumental in supporting the company’s investment decision.

While compensation will vary by position, average salaries for the new jobs will be $36,200, above the current average annual wage in Randolph County of $33,974.

“Demand for paper packaging is steadily growing as consumers look for products like ours that are more environmentally friendly.” said Jeff McNeill, Operations Manager for SouthCorr. “These investments will help the company grow its manufacturing workforce and keep good paying jobs here in the U.S.”

A performance-based grant of $50,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate SouthCorr’s expansion in Randolph County. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

“SouthCorr is a valued employer in our region,” said N.C. Senator Jerry Tillman. “We welcome the company’s decision to expand in Asheboro.”

“Our region’s support for manufacturers is second to none,” said N.C. Representative Pat Hurley. “This investment marks a new chapter for one of our area’s most innovative companies.”

In addition to North Carolina Commerce and the Economic Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, the Regional Partnership Workforce Development Board, the City of Asheboro, Randolph County, and the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation.

Norway, China Ink Cooperation Plans Amid Normalization of Relations Activities

China and Norway on April 7 announced a package of cooperation initiatives during Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s visit to Beijing, normalizing relations after a six-year hiatus.

Premier Li Keqiang and Solberg held talks and witnessed the signing of cooperation documents ranging from the resumption of a free trade agreement negotiations, and science and technology, to sports and health.

Solberg’s visit is the first by a Norwegian prime minister since bilateral ties deteriorated after the Oslo-based Nobel Committee conferred the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on convicted Chinese criminal Liu Xiaobo. Liu was sentenced to 11 years in jail on December 25, 2009, after a court in Beijing convicted him of engaging in activities designed to overthrow the government.

The two countries agreed to normalize relations last December after Norway pledged to respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Receiving Solberg at the Great Hall of the People, Premier Li said that China-Norway relations had got back on track, which deserved to be treasured by both sides.

He called on Norway to adhere to the one-China principle and work with China in the spirit of mutual respect, treat each other on an equal footing, and respect each other’s core interests and major concerns to enhance political trust to reboot the relationship.

“China is willing to restart free trade agreement negotiation and political consultation mechanisms with Norway, establish an inter-governmental energy policy dialogue and increase the exchanges between the business community,” Premier Li said.

He said China and Norway could strengthen cooperation in energy and marine projects to explore third markets, enhancing exchanges in various fields, including agriculture, fishery, husbandry, science and innovation, and law enforcement.

“China is pushing forward a new round of opening-up to make the country a most attractive investment destination. China welcomes Norwegian enterprises and sovereign wealth funds to expand investment in China for win-win outcomes,” the Premier said.

Premier Li said that China and Norway would champion multilateralism and were committed to pursuing an open global economy and free trade as well as international cooperation to tackle climate change and sustainable development.

“China will enhance communication with Norway in international and regional affairs and achieve more fruitful cooperation within the Arctic Council and China-Nordic countries cooperation framework,” the Premier said.

Solberg said Norway would follow the guideline of a joint statement on the normalization of bilateral ties, uphold the one-China policy, respect China’s core interests and major concerns, and enhance political trust with China.

Solberg said Norway hoped for the early resumption of bilateral free trade agreement negotiations and would expand cooperation in areas like agriculture, fishery, environmental protection, finance, investment and winter sports.

“Norway supports China to play an active role in the Arctic Council,” Solberg said.

Metroplex Local News: Fort Worth CCPD Seeking Non-Profit Proposals for Reducing Crime, Violence

Would you like to help Fort Worth become the nation’s safest major city? Fort Worth, in partnership with the Crime Control and Prevention District (CCPD), is seeking community-based organizations interested in applying for the Community-Based Funding Program.

Programs should meet one or more of these goals:

  • Support efforts to reduce violent crime and gang-related activities through enhanced enforcement activities and crime prevention programs.
  • Support efforts to increase the safety of residents and decrease crime throughout Fort Worth neighborhoods.
  • Support efforts to increase the safety of youth and reduce juvenile crime through crime prevention and intervention programs.

Additionally, programs must include a literacy component.

Nonprofit agencies that can address one or more of these goals are invited to apply for funding. Application forms and instructions are available.

Pre-proposal conferences will be at 6 p.m. April 19 and 6 p.m. April 26 at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex, 505 W. Felix St. The conference will help ensure applicants understand the program requirements.

Deadline to submit proposals is June 1.

To learn more, contact Darian Gavin at 817-392-2057.

Texas Universities: New UT Longhorns Basketball Arena to Be Built On-Campus

Texas Basketball Arena

The next home for Longhorns basketball will be a new, on-campus arena easily accessible to student-athletes and fans, University of Texas at Austin President Gregory L. Fenves told members of the university’s Development Board on Friday.

UT Austin is considering a plan to build the arena south of Mike A. Myers track stadium but has not yet determined the precise footprint, scope or cost of the facility, which will replace the Frank Erwin Center in the next five to seven years.

“The campus master plan developed in 2012 called for the land under the Erwin Center to be used for future expansion of the Dell Medical School and the UT Health District. As we prepare for that, we will also ensure that our outstanding men’s and women’s basketball programs can continue to compete in a great arena,” Fenves told the Development Board, a 375-member group of UT alumni and supporters that advises the president.

“Coaches Karen Aston and Shaka Smart want the next facility to be on campus, where it is easier for our student-athletes to travel between their dorms, classes and practice. It also makes the games more accessible to our student fans,” Fenves said. “By choosing a central location, we will make the experience of going to a game more intimate and exciting for all who participate.”

The new facility will also serve as a venue for concerts and events, he said.

The Texas Athletics Master Plan released in 2016 identified several sites for a replacement of the 40-year-old Erwin Center and recommended it be built on campus. It listed a small parcel south of Mike A. Myers Stadium as the preferred site. That parcel is part of the larger area now being reviewed by university leadership for the new basketball arena.

“In addition to serving the needs of our student-athletes, fan experience is a top priority for Texas Athletics,” said Men’s Athletics Director Mike Perrin. “Our goal is to have an arena on our campus that can provide the platform for a great atmosphere and a positive fan experience for our men’s and women’s basketball games. While our vision is that the arena be basketball-centric, we will look to design it to allow for versatility in hosting other events.”

The university is currently developing the project’s scope and determining potential costs for the new arena.

Texas Universities: Texas Tech Named in Top 100 Public Colleges By Business Journal

Texas Tech University has been named one of the 2017 top 100 public colleges in the United States by Buffalo Business First, a publication of American City Business Journals (ACBJ).

The university jumped 35 spots from a 2016 ranking of No. 128 to make this year’s list at No. 93. Texas Tech is one of only four Texas institutions to be listed in the top 100 this year.

“This ranking includes a number of measures that reflect on the educational experience and success of our students.” said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech president. “Promoting student success is one of our top priorities, so it’s gratifying to see that we rose 35 positions over the last year.”

Schools ranked high on the list are those that offer the best educational experience for students based on data from the National Center for Education and the five-year version of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey.

Ranking eligibility was limited to institutions that awarded bachelor’s degrees or higher for more than half the degrees granted in the most recent year; submitted the full range of 2015 data – including enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices and student financial aid – to the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; were not military academies, which are excluded because of their unique admissions processes; and are classified as a baccalaureate, master’s or research institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Texas Tech achieved Tier One Carnegie designation in February 2016.

Factors in the publication’s 22-part formula included rating the institutions on admissions selectivity; advancement and retention; career and earnings prospects; instructional spending and access to resources like library books and media; on- and off-campus costs; diversity, including the percentage of out-of-state students, and the racial diversity and gender balance of students and faculty; the community make-up, including employment status, education level and age; and the school’s past performance in the rankings.

The University of Texas (No. 14), Texas A&M University (No. 36) and the University of Texas-Dallas (No. 44) were also included in the top 100.

Concho Valley Local News: San Angelo River Walk Selected as Great Places in Texas Honoree


The American Planning Association has named San Angelo’s Concho River Walk a Great Public Space by the state chapter’s Great Places in Texas program.

Great Places in Texas exemplify exceptional character and highlight the role planners and planning play in creating communities of lasting value. This year marks the inaugural year of the Great Places in Texas program, which is modeled from the American Planning Association’s ongoing Great Places in America program.

The San Angelo River Walk serves as the city’s primary social, cultural and recreational focal point, and is an exceptional example of a Great Place in Texas,” said Lori Schwarz, AICP, Chair of Great Places in Texas Selection Committee. “The selection committee was impressed with the San Angelo community and the investment to enhance a space that promotes social interaction and sense of community”.

With the support of the San Angelo residents, which allocated over $15 million in sales tax revenue for beautification and enhancement of the River Walk, this public space now boasts a wide range of amenities such as paddle-boating, fishing, miniature golf, public art, and extensive parks and trails.

Through Great Places in Texas, the Texas Chapter of APA recognizes unique and authentic characteristics found in three essential components of all communities — streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces. APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live every day, places that are enjoyable, safe, and desirable. Such places are defined by many characteristics, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality, and community involvement.

The five other Great Places in Texas designees for 2017 are:

  • Downtown McKinney.
  • North Richland Hills – HomeTown
  • Fredericksburg – Main Street
  • Georgetown Town Square – Springtown Tabernacle

Concho Valley Local News: San Angelo ISD Students Help Raise Awareness for Child Abuse

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Children’s Advocacy Center of Tom Green County brought attention to child abuse victims with their annual Pinwheels for Prevention Ceremony outside the Tom Green County Courthouse.

Students from several SAISD schools participated in the event to show their support for the cause. Students and other attendees placed blue pinwheels in the grass along the front of the courthouse to symbolize victims of child abuse and to help raise awareness of child abuse in the community.

One of the overarching messages from the ceremony was that everyone has a responisbility in protecting our children.

During the event, San Angelo Police Chief Frank Carter spoke to those present about the seriousness of child abuse and their role in helping to prevent it.

Heather Ward, Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center, said, “Child abuse affects all of us. Today, we’re recognizing that eveyone has a role to play in child abuse prevention, protecting children, and strengthening families.”

That sentiment was echoed by Gary Banks, Associate judge for the Child Protection Court for the Concho Valley, who wants “to remind people in the community that there is child abuse, and they can have a role in helping prevent it, from reporting it, to helping families deal with it, to trying to prevent it from occurring.”

A post on the Children’s Advocacy Center’s Facebook page sums up that message by saying “Its time for change, and it starts with YOU. Awareness leads to accountiblity and accountability leads to change. Help us make a change!”

To find out more about how you can help, contact the Children’s Advocacy Center at (325) 653-4673.