Banks award grant to Methodist Mission Home - The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and Broadway National Bank have awarded a $152,000 Affordable Housing Program grant to Methodist Mission Home to assist with the second phase of its $5.5 million capital campaign. The goal of the capital campaign is to build the Methodist Mission Home endowment and renovate its existing 25-acre campus. The first phase consisted of the renovation of the organization's Southwest Center for Higher Independence Dormitory, completed in May 2010.
Spurs, H-E-B back SAISD bond - A committee formed to support the $515 million San Antonio Independent School District bond issue has spent $265,452 on political consulting, advertising and other efforts, much of it financed by donations from the San Antonio Spurs. The “Vote Yes to Schools. Students. Community.” political action committee raised $307,880 through Monday, when it filed its final campaign finance report before the election on Tuesday. The Spurs gave $100,000, nearly one-third of the total contributed and significantly more than any other donor. Other top donors were: H-E-B, which made two contributions of $25,000 each; Zachry Group Inc. ($25,000); USAA ($10,000); and Kell Muñoz Architects ($10,000).
UTSA joins in Army brain monitoring research - The University of Texas at San Antonio has been awarded more than $2 million from the Army Research Laboratory. Computer scientists here are helping come up with a way to monitor brains with the goal of helping soldiers in combat focus better. Soldiers under stress have to make difficult, strategic, life-or-death decisions under less than perfect circumstances, jostling around in a tank or dodging enemy fire. “The modern soldier operates under a great deal of stress,” commented UTSA computer science professor Kay Robbins, Ph.D. “Often they’ve gone for long periods of time. They’re fatigued. And it’s very easy to make a mistake.” Now, UTSA is part of an international consortium coming up with cutting edge ways to study the problem. Robbins heads up the San Antonio team finding a way to crunch the numbers that come in from brain wave monitoring, skin testing, heart rates, etc. http://www.kens5.com/news/health/UTSA-joins-in-Army-brain-monitoring-research-105704973.html
Grant to help high-speed rail plans stay alive - New federal funds awarded to the state will keep increased Texas rail travel plans alive, but the local effects are likely to be less than groundbreaking. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday a $5.6 million grant awarded to the Texas department to complete feasibility studies, produce a service development plan and perform environmental work for what is being called a high-speed rail corridor between Oklahoma City and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with a potential extension to Austin and San Antonio. It will take nearly four years to complete the studies. http://www.tdtnews.com/story/2010/10/29/69672/
3 storefront grants awarded on East Side - Three East Side businesses have recently received grants from the area's economic development agency, San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside, to improve the look and performance of their businesses. The funds come from the agency's storefront grant program, which requires participating companies to provide matching funds for the proposed improvements. The agency's grants alone provide business owners with up to $10,000 for capital upgrades. Recipients from last month are Jane Gonzalez, owner of MedWheels at 1322 E. Houston St., Richard Leal, owner of Atlas Body Shop at 922 E. Carson St., and Gloria Rover part of a family that owns three businesses which are moving to one location at 223 N. New Braunfels Ave. Those businesses are GM&N Auto Insurance, GM&N Auto Title and J&S Bail Bond.
Students encouraged to dream big - Dream big. That was the message Thursday from Bernard Harris Jr., a 1974 graduate of Sam Houston High School and the first African-American astronaut to walk in space. Harris spoke to about 2,000 San Antonio Independent School District high school students at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center during the final day of a two-day event to expose students to careers in the STEM fields, otherwise known as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The CORE4 STEM Expo, sponsored by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with a grant from AT&T, was billed as the largest science event in the city's history. http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/education/students_get_pep_talk_from_astronaut_106128933.html
TEXAS GRANTS/GRANTMAKER NEWS
HETDEX Will Ferret Out True Nature of Dark Energy - The search for an explanation for the nature of dark energy received a boost last week, when the National Science Foundation announced it was awarding an $8 million grant to a consortium of universities dedicated to building the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment -- affectionately known as HETDEX. The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M university and Penn State University will split the funds, each carrying out their respective roles in the HETDEX mission. Once completed, the project will conduct a three-year survey to map the positions of a million galaxies some 10 billion light years away, providing precise measurements for how the universe expands over time. That, in turn, will help physicists answer a central question about dark energy: is it constant, or does it vary over time?
UT and Collaborators to Open Commercial Laboratory Facility - The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) and the city of Austin have announced the creation of the UTech Dorm Room, a cooperative research laboratory designed to provide laboratory space for entrepreneurs to develop life-sciences technologies and evaluate their commercialization potential. The UTech Dorm Room lab facility will be in the College of Pharmacy. While most labs at the university are devoted to the research of a particular faculty member, the UTech Dorm Room will enable bioscience entrepreneurs outside the university community to contractually reserve wet lab space for a period of time as they test and develop their technologies and potential products. The city of Austin has committed $35,000 of economic development funds to assist in the purchase of equipment and preparation of the lab space, and will pay $20,000 toward the salary of a lab manager dedicated to the new partnership.
Texas Community Colleges Convene for Clean Energy Jobs Summit - National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Jobs for the Future (JFF) today held the first Greenforce Initiative? summit, hosted at South Texas College. As the state's unemployment rate hovers around 8.4 percent, the summit is a critical part of the economic solution to spur green jobs education, innovation and training at Texas community colleges. The summit is organized in collaboration with partners from South Texas, Houston, Lone Star, Laredo and Alamo Colleges. With jobs in the country's emerging clean energy sector growing more than twice as fast as jobs overall, the work of NWF and JFF will help campuses take full advantage of this economic opportunity. The Greenforce Initiative? will help campuses implement or refine high quality green career pathway programs that put Texans back to work. Support for the initiative comes from a two-year, $1 million grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, while a two-year, $250,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is supporting the initiative's implementation in Michigan and beyond.
University of Texas at Arlington trying to inspire math, science majors to teach - Science and math majors are recruited for UTeach Arlington, which enables students to weave teaching experience and coursework into their college curriculum. Students start with elementary education training and then build up to high school education while still majoring in math or science fields. The program, patterned after one established at the University of Texas at Austin about 13 years ago, relies on $1.4 million in grant funds from the UTeach Institute in Austin. The money helps pay stipends for master teachers, as well as internships and $125 scholarships given to students when they complete each of the first two courses of the program.
Grant will aid UTPB studies online - A million-dollar grant will help UTPB students train in early childhood development and autism studies. University of Texas Permian Basin officials announced the $1,065,396 grant from the Department of Education on Friday. The grant spans four years and will create a track in the existing special education graduate program, said Iris Foster, UTPB’s public information officer.
Alley's House Awarded $56000 Grant from The Meadows Foundation - Alley's has been awarded a $56,000 grant from The Meadows Foundation. The grant will help support alley's house programs and services that educate and empower teen mothers to learn the necessary life skills to become successful individuals and parents, and live independent of government assistance. Alley's House is a Dallas, Texas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering teen mothers and their children to achieve independence through education, support services and mentoring. alley's house exists to break the generational, economic and social impact of teen pregnancy in the community. More than 650 teen mothers and their children have been served since its inception in 1997.
UT Jewish studies on track to become $12 million program - The state’s flagship university aims to be a hub for Texas Jewish history education and programming. The University of Texas at Austin, through the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, also plans to expand its academic and cultural offerings related to the study of Israel and Zionism. These investments will be made possible by a multimillion-dollar challenge grant, initiated by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. According to SCJS’s director, Robert Abzug, Ph.D., the center has raised $5.8 million of the $6 million needed to maximize the grant’s dollar-for-dollar match. The center has until the end of December 2010 to raise the remaining $200,000 from local donors.
Green Mountain Energy Company Installs 25th Solar Array - Green Mountain Energy Company, Texas' first competitive retail electric provider to offer cleaner energy, today dedicated its 25th solar array donation in Texas made possible by customers in its Big Texas Sun Club®. Green Mountain officially flipped the switch on a solar array for Texas Foundation for Educational Advancement, The da Vinci School's brand new campus in Dallas, Texas. Green Mountain donated $70,000 to the north Dallas early education center through its Big Texas Sun Club to fund the 28.8 kilowatt (kW) solar power system. The da Vinci campus is registered under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program with anticipated Gold Certification.
NATIONAL GRANTS/GRANTMAKER NEWS
SE Climate Consortium wins $4M grant - GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The multistate Southeast Climate Consortium has been awarded a five-year, $4 million grant that will fund climate research and outreach at the University of Florida and other institutions. The grant is part of a $23.6 million package awarded to six regional centers by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, through its Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments, or RISA, initiative.
Alabama A&M Receives A Nearly $750000 Grant- The U.S. Department of Education awarded Alabama A&M University a five-year grant worth nearly $750,000. The USDE's Rehabilitation Services Administration awarded a total of $746,665 to the Rehabilitation Counselint graduate program of AAMU's School of education. According to project director Dr. Joan Fobbs-Wilson, nearly 80 percent of teh yearly allotment of $149,333 will be used to provide students with scholarships for tuition and fees, stipends, travel to conferences, and other expenses associated with obtaining a Master's degree in the concentration of rehabilitation counseling.
KU will use $4 million grant to help improve how children are taught to read - Kansas University will get about $4 million to find ways to improve how reading is taught to children. Hugh Catts, chairman of KU’s speech-language-hearing department, said most teachers today focus on things like word recognition instead of a broader understanding of a text. The Lee’s Summit, Mo., school district is partnering with the university to help with the research, which will provide instructional materials to teachers to assist with the process. KU researchers are working with four other universities on the project, and their efforts are part of a larger, $120 million Reading for Understanding Research Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
University Receives Art Worth $30-Million - How much: a collection of 340 art works worth an estimated $30-million. Among the donated works: sculptures by Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso. Who gave it: Alvin S. and Terese Lane. Mr. Lane, who died in 2007, was a real-estate lawyer in New York. His wife died in March. Who got it: The University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Chazen Museum of Art.
Kennedy Center Gets $22.5-Million - How much: $22.5-million pledge. Who got it: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Who gave it: Betsy and Dick DeVos, who founded the Windquest Group, a privately held investment-management firm, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Mr. DeVos is a retired president of Alticor, the umbrella company of the Amway Corporation, which was co-founded by his father, Richard DeVos.
Entrepreneur’s Foundation Gives $24-Million to MIT to Accommodate More Undergraduates - How much: $24-million. Who gave it: Fariborz Maseeh, through his Massiah Foundation. Mr. Maseeh is founder and managing prinicpal of Picoco, an investment firm in Newport Beach, Calif. He also founded IntelliSense, a microelectro-mechanical design and development company. Who got it: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
SAN ANTONIO BUSINESS NEWS
Eisenhower Bank to be called Broadway Bank - Eisenhower Bank, the military division of San Antonio's Broadway Bank, is changing its name to Broadway Bank on Monday [NOV 1]. “Having one name will emphasize the advantages and convenience of banking at any of the 38 South-Central Texas locations of Broadway Bank, including all San Antonio military installations,” Greg Oveland, Eisenhower's president, said in a statement. Broadway founded Eisenhower in 1973 as a military bank at Fort Sam Houston under a separate charter. Eisenhower merged with Broadway in 2004, though the Eisenhower branches remained. Eisenhower has three branches at Fort Sam Houston and one each at Lackland AFB, Randolph AFB and at Fort Hood in Killeen.
Frost parent's 3rd quarter sees profit rise 23 percent - Cullen/Frost disclosed Wednesday that it generated net earnings of $55 million, the second-highest quarterly profit in the company's 142-year history. It also marked a 23 percent increase from a year ago, when it earned $44.7 million. On a per-share basis, Cullen/Frost earned 90 cents, compared with 75 cents a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn 88 cents a share. Cullen/Frost has been aggressively courting prospects and customers during the economic downturn.
S.A. firm affiliate to develop in China - REES Star Continuing Care Group (RSCCG), an affiliate of San Antonio-based Rees Associates Inc., signed a $40 million deal to develop a retirement community in China. The firm signed a joint venture agreement with Aoyang Group to develop the community in Zhangjiagang, located in eastern China. The deal, which will receive governing and financial support from the Chinese government, was signed Oct. 8.
State Division for Blind honors H-E-B - The San Antonio Division for Blind Services, a part of the Texas Department of Rehabilitative Services, has named H-E-B as its employer of the year. H-E-B has recruited and hired blind and visually impaired individuals in San Antonio in a variety of positions throughout its stores, including as customer assistance employees, market managers and project managers, the division said.
St. John's alumnus appointed head of San Antonio archdiocese - Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, an alumnus of St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, was recently appointed archbishop of the San Antonio, Texas, archdiocese. He replaces Archbishop José H. Gomez, who was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles in April. Previously, García-Siller was auxiliary bishop in Chicago and lived in the Los Angeles archdiocese for several years as rector of the house of studies for the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit.
KCI reports 17% increase in profit - Kinetic Concepts Inc. registered strong growth in its regenerative-medicine business in the third quarter, which helped it beat Wall Street earnings expectations. The San Antonio-based medical-device maker earned $75.8 million, or $1.06 a share, in the three months ended Sept. 30. That represents a 17 percent increase from the same period a year ago, when it generated net income of $64.6 million, or 91 cents a share. Revenue rose half a percent to $506.7 million from $504.4 million a year ago. KCI reaffirmed its expectation that it will crack the $2 billion mark in annual revenue for the first time this year.
San Antonio Opens Poo-To-Fuel Plant - Cows aren’t the only creatures producing methane gas, you know. We humans are in on the act, too. And therein lies opportunity, says the San Antonio Water System (SAWS). The agency just announced the opening of a biogas facility at their Dos Rios Water Recycling Center that captures methane and — instead of burning it off with flares, the way it used to — treats and transfers at least 900,000 cubic feet of gas a day to a commercial pipeline. Talk about your win-win: Not only is this a benefit for air quality in the region, but the agency says its ratepayers will take in around $200,000 a year in royalties.
TEXAS BUSINESS NEWS
ConocoPhillips 3Q profit doubles - In the third quarter, ConocoPhillips said net income rose to $3.06 billion, from $1.47 billion a year earlier. Revenue climbed to $49.55 billion from $41.27 billion. The gain came despite a drop in daily production to 1.72 million barrels of oil equivalent, from 1.79 million barrels in the July-September period a year ago. ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva said Wednesday he hopes to speed up a restructuring of the company's global portfolio by selling more than $10 billion in assets targeted under a previously announced plan and unloading refining properties sooner than expected.
The State Targets Amazon – Amazon has received an assessment of $269 million for uncollected sales taxes from the state of Texas, the company said Friday. The Seattle-based online retailer said the alleged period of uncollected taxes, interest and penalties occurred between December 2005 to December 2009. “The State of Texas is alleging that we should have collected sales taxes on applicable sales transactions during those years,” Amazon wrote in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “We believe that the State of Texas did not provide a sufficient basis for its assessment and that the assessment is without merit.” Depending on the amount and timing, an unfavorable result could “materially affect” the company’s business and financial position, however Amazon said it plans on “vigorously” defending itself.
“Aggie 100” Honorees Recognized Friday at Texas A&M - A Canadian company topped the list of the 100 fastest-growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses in the world, which were recognized Friday (Oct. 22) at the sixth annual Aggie 100 program, sponsored by Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The remaining nine on the Top 10 list are based in Texas. http://tamunews.tamu.edu/2010/10/22/%E2%80%9Caggie-100%E2%80%9D-honorees-recognized-friday-at-texas-am/
Corporate Office Centers Opens 5th Houston Location - Corporate Office Centers Opens 5th Houston Location – Texas-based Corporate Office Centers opened their 5th Houston location last week, making it their 10th in the Texas market. The business center operator, named on Inc. Magazine's 5000 List of Fastest Growing American Companies in 2009 and 2010 and for two years was designated as one of the Fort Worth Business Press Top 100 Companies, has stayed true to form and continues its steady and strategic growth. For two decades Corporate Office Centers has been providing alternative office space and business services to individuals and companies ranging from start-up businesses to Fortune 500 organizations. Corporate Office Centers is one of the largest office business center providers in the nation and operates 34 locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Hawaii, Texas and Tennessee, providing cost effective, immediate office space solutions, virtual office plans, meeting facilities, administrative support services and network access to office space and business services worldwide.
Whole Foods Market Named EPA Green Power Partner of the Year - Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market received a Green Power Partner of the Year award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a third time. The natural foods retailer was one of only four organizations and the only grocery retailer to receive the award for its commitment to green power. The competitive Green Power Partner of the Year award recognizes EPA Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves through their purchase, leadership, overall strategy, and impact on the green power market. Whole Foods Market was recognized for increasing its green power purchasing to include nearly 818 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power in 2010, which is enough green power to exceed 100 percent of the company's purchased electricity use. According to the EPA, 818 million kWh of renewable energy credits (RECs) is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 71,000 average American homes annually.
SAN ANTONIO EDUCATION NEWS
Program earning global reputation - If something good is happening in San Antonio, like a student-to-career program, the whole country should know about it, right? Heck, why stop there? It should be made known internationally. The Alamo Asian American Chamber of Commerce has begun doing that with the JumpStart Career Program operated by a San Antonio accounting firm, Guerrero CPA. Since 2004, Guerrero CPA's JumpStart Career Program has bridged classrooms to jobs for more than 500 college accounting, information technology and marketing students. Ed Guerrero's concept for the program he founded is simple: Give junior- and senior-year college students real work to do. The “real work” comes from small- and medium-sized companies that cannot have their own full-time accountants on staff. The program grew out of Guerrero CPA's internship program. As Guerrero's practice grew, so did the need for interns. The interns were finding jobs with some of the businesses they were doing work for as interns. Guerrero decided to form a separate company for the internship program. http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/david_hendricks_jumpstart_career_earning_global_reputation_105794693.html
San Antonio a dumb city? Educators say that’s stupid - Authors of “America's Smartest (and Dumbest) Cities” compared college degrees, book sales and libraries per capita in the 55 largest metropolitan areas, adjusted the numbers for population differences, and came up with its second annual list of the brightest and the dimmest. Boston was ranked the smartest, Austin was seventh, Dallas-Fort Worth was 41st, Houston was 52nd and San Antonio came in next to last. Las Vegas was at the bottom. In Boston, 24 percent of the 4.5 million residents held bachelor's degrees, 18 percent held graduate degrees and year-to-date nonfiction book sales totaled 7.03 million. In San Antonio, those numbers were 2 million population, 16 percent, 9 percent and 1.26 million. http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/education/san_antonio_not_as_dumb_as_they_think_105912558.html
UTSA debate team No. 1 in nation - The University of Texas at San Antonio’s debate team is No. 1 in the nation after a weekend tournament, beating out Harvard, Dartmouth and the University of California-Berkeley. Debaters Michael Stroud, Michael Ely, Jordan Nerison and Tia Robertson led the Roadrunners to victory in the varsity and junior varsity divisions last weekend at the national tournament in Kansas City. Stroud also won the First Speaker award, and Stroud and Ely were voted most congenial in the tournament. UTSA debate coach Skip Eno won the Amy Fugate Leadership Award for lifetime contributions to the collegiate debate community. It marks the first time UTSA has ranked in the top five in an elite championship-level ranking system, leading national debate powerhouses from the University of Oklahoma, Harvard, Emory and UT-Austin.
Voters to decide on money, boards for schools - Voters in the Edgewood Independent School District will be casting ballots to fill four at-large seats on the school board. The election could change the dynamics of the school board, which will be conducting a search for a new leader. Superintendent Elizabeth Garza recently submitted her resignation, which is effective at the end of her contract on June 30. A $515 million bond proposal that would help renovate 22 San Antonio Independent School District buildings is in voters hands on Nov. 2. The bulk of the $515 million bond money would be spent on renovations and additions at 22 district schools, mostly elementary and high schools. Voters in the Judson Independent School District will decide on a $198 million, three-proposition bond proposal. http://www.mysanantonio.com/sacultura/voters_to_decide_on_money_boards_for_schools_105878988.html
Absences at schools up amid rumors - As unfounded rumors about mass shootings spread through San Antonio-area schools in recent weeks, thousands of students stayed home and districts lost more than $80,000 in state funding. The most widely spread rumor alleged that teen members of a “wolf pack” were plotting Columbine-style rampages in high schools. Another version claimed that pack members, who sometimes don a wolf tail and dog collar, had a suicide pact. According to that rumor, one member planned to commit suicide per week. Lately, schools' absentee rates have returned to normal because districts worked to investigate the claims and calm anxious parents and students. In the past month, the rumors surfaced in at least nine local districts. They might have started and been more difficult to quash because of adolescent psychology and the instant technology used to spread them: texts, e-mails and online social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/absences_at_schools_up_amid_rumors_105839068.html
TEXAS EDUCATION NEWS
Agency calls for changes to 'reinvent' public Texas colleges - USTIN – The state's higher education agency called Thursday for sweeping changes in policy, including a revised method of funding community colleges and public universities, a greater emphasis on merit for certain financial aid and a series of cost-cutting measures. The proposals, which would require legislative action, come at a difficult time for higher education: Enrollment is surging just as the state's finances are increasingly bleak. The latest estimates put the overall shortfall at $24 billion for the next two-year budget. "We want to reinvent public higher education – reinvent it in a more cost-efficient way and reinvent it in a way that gives better academic results," said Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes. "And we think that we can do that. I'm sure we'll need more financial resources over time, but not nearly as much as we would need if we didn't change the way we deliver education." The proposals, approved unanimously by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, now go to Gov. Rick Perry and the Legislature. The coordinating board also announced that statewide enrollment this fall is up 7.2 percent from a year ago, to 1.5 million students, based on a preliminary head count. The final count is expected to be 2 percent to 6 percent lower. The figures include all postsecondary institutions except private, for-profit colleges.