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Business News form Scott Kabrich at UTSA
Scott Kabrich

November, 2010

San Antonio

Houston energy law firm expands to San Antonio - Houston-based energy law firm Burleson Cooke said it has opened a San Antonio office to service companies with interests in the Eagle Ford shale area crossing South Texas. Michael S. Browning will serve as managing counsel of the San Antonio office, located at 1777 NE Loop 410, Suite 600. He concentrates his practice in the areas of oil and gas law.  Associates Weston W. Sharples and Gabrielle Taglienti also will be based in the office.

Gonzalez new voice of Latino Democrats - Rep. Charlie Gonzalez was unanimously elected chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Thursday as Latino Democrats selected their leaders and began to lay out a legislative strategy for next year. Gonzalez said Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority group in the country. He said the caucus “is faced with unique challenges and opportunities to work together to find a common ground for real solutions.”  Also elected were: Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, 1st vice chairman; Rep. Ben Lujan, D-N.M., 2nd vice chairman; and Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif., whip.

San Antonio's first, largest solar PV project in Texas completed - On November 11, 2010 operations of San Antonio’s first solar farm commenced - the largest in the state of Texas. Located in southeast San Antonio on a 113-acre site, the 14-megawatt (MW) installation is home to 214,500 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Mayor Julián Castro, and local solar pioneer Bill Sinkin joined CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby and executives with Duke Energy and juwi solar Inc. to dedicate the "Blue Wing Solar Project".

Valero's COO to retire - Rich Marcogliese, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Valero Energy Corp., has decided to retire at the end of the year, the company announced Wednesday. The 36-year industry veteran joined the San Antonio-based refining and marketing company in 2000 from Exxon Mobil Corp. when Valero bought Exxon's Benicia refinery in California.  Marcogliese, who will celebrate his 58th birthday Friday, was promoted to chief operating officer in October 2007.

Girls Inc. names new San Antonio president - Girls Inc. of San Antonio has hired Rhonda Wilson Williamson as its new president and CEO.  Before joining Girls Inc., Williamson worked as the primary prevention and education manager for the Women’s Shelter of South Texas in Corpus Christi. Williamson has 10 years of experience in the field of women’s issues and more than 15 years experience as a trainer and public speaker on domestic violence and gender stereotypes.

Tootie Pie Opens 4th Cafe Location - Tootie Pie Company, Inc. /quotes/comstock/11k!toot will sell its gourmet pies through its fourth Tootie Pie Gourmet Cafe by acquiring the former Mahaley's Bake Shop location and assets, located at 339 East Main Street, at the corner of Main Street and Highway 87, in Fredericksburg, Texas. The newest Cafe is expected to be open for limited service in time for Thanksgiving.  Tootie Pie Company [HQ in San Antonio] bakes and sells high-quality, handmade pies through three basic sales channels: retail, corporate and wholesale. The retail segment serves individual consumers through in-store sales, orders via telephone and internet on the Company's website. The corporate segment serves businesses that purchase pies as a way to promote their company through client and employee appreciation programs. The wholesale segment is made up of national and regional broad line grocery and foodservice distributors who purchase pies and then resell them through their respective sales distribution channels. Tootie Pie Company is a public company traded on the NASDAQ OTC market under the symbol "TOOT."

New commander takes reins of Air Education and Training Command - 11/17/2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Gen. Edward A. Rice took command of Air Education and Training Command from Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz during a ceremony here today.   "The set of activities for which the United States Air Force is responsible is extremely complex," said General Rice, who previously commanded U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force. "Finding and developing the types of men and women who can not only execute these activities in today's highly dynamic environment, but who can shape the future in a way that allows us to continue to be dominate in the years ahead is a breathtaking responsibility."  AETC, headquartered in San Antonio, is the Air Force major command responsible for recruiting, training and educating America's Airmen through innovation. With an assigned force of more than 70,000 active-duty Airmen, Reservists and civilians, AETC trains and educates more than 340,000 American and international students each year on bases throughout the country.


Dell reports net income of $822M in 3Q  - Dell posted third-quarter income of $822 million on $15.39 billion in revenue compared with an income of $337 million on $12.89 billion in revenue during the same period last year. Round Rock-based Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) reported that its revenue has increased 21 percent to date this year to $45.8 billion. Revenue from enterprise solutions and services, a business on which Dell has been refocusing its efforts this year, yielded $1.7 billion during the quarter, a 25 percent increase compared with the third quarter last year, company officials said.

Speaker Straus defends his turf in Texas House - There's a lot of sound and fury — particularly fury — as conservative Republicans seek to topple House Speaker Joe Straus, but the San Antonio Republican is hitting back high and hard.  And there's little evidence the campaign by outside activist groups is making a meaningful dent in the 120 or so pledges of support remaining in Straus' hip pocket. He simply needs at least 76 votes from the 150 House members to remain as speaker when the Texas Legislature returns Jan. 11.  Two fellow Republicans - Chisum and Rep. Ken Paxton of McKinney - are challenging Straus for the House's top leadership spot.

Texans pay most for home insurance - Texas homeowners paid the highest insurance premiums in the country, according to data released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Texans paid an average $1,460 a year for the most common homeowner policy sold nationwide, the association reported this week, based on data from 2008.  Florida ranked second, at $1,390. The national average was $791.

2010 a record year for foreclosure filings in Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth home foreclosure filings hit a record in 2010 – but not by much. For all of this year, 63,835 homes have been posted for foreclosure in the four-county area, Foreclosure Listing Service said Thursday. That's only 4 percent higher than 2009's total. Foreclosure postings in North Texas were up more than 20 percent in 2009 and 17 percent in 2008.

Southwest Airlines names Penney executive to board - Southwest Airlines Co. said its directors appointed a J.C. Penney Co. executive to the board beginning Dec. 1.  The new director, Tom Nealon, is group executive vice president at Penney, which is based in Plano, a few miles from Southwest's Dallas headquarters. Nealon's responsibilities at Penney include the retailer's website and corporate strategy. He joined Penney in 2006 as an executive vice president and chief information officer. He held a similar position at PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division.

Lockheed moves 35 positions to Dallas - Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control says its Dallas facility is about to gain 35 jobs as part of a structural realignment that includes job cuts and location transfers across the entire Lockheed Martin organization. The defense contractor said Thursday more than 1,000 Lockheed positions in the United States will be impacted by corporate job cuts and relocations.

 2010 Dallas 100 Award Winners - The Dallas 100 Awards by the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship at SMU’s Cox School of Busines is an annual event that identifies the 100 fastest growing privately held companies in the Dallas area.  List of winners at:

Gov. Rick Perry says that 153 businesses have moved from California to Texas - During the campaign, he frequently touted an 850,000-net-job gain during his tenure. On the media circuit to promote his new book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington, he seems fond of 153.  "Since the first of the year, 153 businesses at last count had moved out of California to Texas," he said on "Fox & Friends" Nov. 4. Then on Nov. 8, he said it to host Greta Van Susteren on Fox News's "On the Record." Later that day he told the host of Comedy Central's "Daily Show," Jon Stewart, that "153 businesses have moved out of California to Texas since the first of the year through August."  Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger told us that "the 153 figure came from a Dun & Bradstreet analysis of California business migration from January 2010 to August 2010." Dun & Bradstreet is a New Jersey-based business-intelligence company with a global database of some 171 million companies in more than 190 countries.   "Texas was the largest recipient of outbound California business migration with 153 companies," she said. When we asked her for the analysis, she directed us to a D&B official.

Allstate hiring 151 sales workers in Texas - Allstate agency owners in Texas plan to hire at least 155 licensed sales employees by the end of the year through temporary employment agency Kelly Services Inc. The employment agency said they are searching for applicants with at least a high school diploma to fill the jobs. The agency has been working with the Texas Workforce Commission to find applicants.  Kelly Services said it will prescreen applicants who will then be interviewed by Allstate agency owners.

Lack's Furniture Filing for Bankruptcy - 36 Texas Stores to Close - Victoria-based Lack’s Furniture has announced that the company will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company has been in business for 73 years, and over those years, they have financed their customers' accounts, borrowing funds from banks and other lenders. But those lenders have informed the company that they no longer wish to lend money on consumer receivables and they have demanded repayment of their loans, leading to Lack’s decision to file for bankruptcy, despite what they say is the company’s current strength, viability, and profitability. The Victoria Texas based company is now making plans to close all 36 of their retail stores in Texas over the next 45 to 75 days, with stores in New Braunfels, Corpus Christi, 5 stores in San Antonio, 3 in Austin, and stores in Del Rio, College Station, and Uvalde, just to name a few.

 NRG Energy Selects AeroVironment to Build the Nation's First Privately-Funded Electric Vehicle Charging "Ecosystem" - AeroVironment, Inc.  has joined forces with NRG Energy, Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!nrg/quotes/nls/nrg to bring the first privately funded, comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) charging "ecosystem" to drivers in America's fourth largest city (Houston). The ecosystem is an integrated network of products, services and payment plans that helps make EVs practical for drivers. AV is the exclusive provider of home and public charging systems, installation services, energy usage monitoring and payment and subscription solutions in support of the Houston ecosystem, which can be deployed as a practical, integrated model in cities throughout North America.  NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 300 and S&P 500 Index company, owns and operates one of the country's largest and most diverse power generation portfolios. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, the Company's power plants provide more than 24,000 megawatts of generation capacity--enough to supply more than 20 million homes.  AV (Houston) is a technology solutions provider that designs, develops, produces and supports an advanced portfolio of electric transportation solutions and electric-powered Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). AV's comprehensive EV charging solutions include EV home charging, public charging, fast charging, data collection, grid-integrated communications and complete installation, training and support services for consumers, automakers, utilities, government agencies and businesses. AV's industrial fast charging systems support more than 15,000 electric materials handling vehicles in mission-critical supply chains for Fortune 500 enterprises.

United States

Which Has More Female CEOs: India Inc. or Fortune 500? - - A report released Thursday by Catalyst, a membership nonprofit that aims to increase work opportunities for women, says only about 11% of Indian CEOs are women. And of these CEOs, over one third are from the families that founded or own the business, according to data from executive search firm EMA Partners International cited by the Catalyst report.  Catalyst, which has business honchos like GE head Jeff Immelt and PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi on its board of directors, said there is a business case for hiring more female workers and have them move up the ranks, citing its previous research from six years ago that found that companies with women in the top ranks of management outperform those with the fewest women in the top rungs.

Stocks hit by 'hangover' - U.S. stocks fell at the market open Friday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke defended the central bank's plan to spur economic growth in a speech in Germany.  With no economic data or major corporate reports on the agenda, investors are backing away from Thursday's rally, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co.

Senate confirms Obama budget chief  - The Senate confirmed Jacob Lew as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget late Thursday. The confirmation comes at a critical time. The nation's long-term debt, widely considered to be unsustainable, is front and center in Washington. And as a practical matter, Lew will be in charge of drawing up the administration's fiscal 2012 budget proposal, which is due to Congress early next year.  Lew held the same position in the administration of President Clinton from 1998 to 2001. Most recently, he was deputy secretary of state for management and resources in the Obama administration.

Narco-terror and U.S. business  - As the inter-cartel violence in Mexico continues to worsen, U.S. companies are becoming more worried. This year alone more than 10,000 people have been killed in the inter-cartel drug war, according to Mexico's Reforma newspaper. Countless others have been involved in shootouts, kidnappings, and extortion. The violence is beginning to affect multinationals -- and not only on the border. "It's Al Capone and Tony Soprano doing whatever they want with little or no actual police interference," says Tom Cseh, deputy director of Vance International, a security firm in Mexico City.

WH report: Stimulus law boosted economy, jobs - The White House says the $800 billion stimulus law passed in the early days of the Obama administration continues to improve economic conditions and increase employment. President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers issued a report Thursday concluding that the contentious law that targeted the recession has been a significant factor in the recovery.  The report says the stimulus has created or saved 2.7 million to 3.7 million jobs through the third quarter of this year. Obama economists predicted in early 2009 that the stimulus would save or create 3.5 million jobs.  Unemployment, however, is 9.6 percent. And the report comes after an election in which voters appeared to reject assertions by Obama and Democrats that they had pulled the country out of an economic quagmire.

Democrats to hold votes on middle class tax cuts - WASHINGTON – After meeting with President Barack Obama Thursday, Democratic leaders in Congress said they plan to hold a series of politically charged votes to extend middle-class tax cuts while letting tax cuts for the wealthy expire. Republicans are expected to block the plan, leaving both sides back at square one as they try to negotiate a deal to spare families at every income level from a big tax increase in January.

Education News

San Antonio

Trinity University named a best value by financial magazine  - Trinity ranked 26th on Kiplinger’s annual 100 Best Values in Private Colleges list — a college ranking of the best value among private liberal arts colleges and universities.  Kiplinger’s ranked schools by academic quality and affordability — with quality accounting for two-thirds of the total. Data was collected on more than 600 private institutions. The magazine split the data into two lists — one for liberal arts colleges and one for private universities.

A&M-SA may spark city's next boom - San Antonio’s far South Side historically has been ignored and neglected. Its abundant farmland and natural habitats are relatively untouched, while the North Side continues to boom, gaining population and development. The Toyota manufacturing plant brought more jobs to the south, Brooks City-Base more retail and commercial development, and Palo Alto College more jobs and higher education.  But it’s the soon-to-be-opened Texas A&M University campus that has spurred optimism lately and has city leaders believing the South Side’s time has come.  While still under construction, Texas A&M University at San Antonio is expected to draw 30,000 students one day, making it as big as the University of Texas at San Antonio is now. Around the campus, there are plans to build Verano, an urban village with sustainability at its heart.

Offense Lights up UTSA's Final Scrimmage at Alamodome - SAN ANTONIO – Freshman quarterback John Simmons (New Braunfels, Texas/New Braunfels HS) accounted for 220 yards and three touchdowns and freshman wide receiver Mike Wilburn (San Marcos, Texas/San Marcos HS) compiled 189 yards of offense and a pair of scores to highlight the final scrimmage of the year for UTSA held Thursday before 2,103 fans at the Alamodome.  “What a great night for our program, the university, the city and this wonderful facility,” head coach Larry Coker said. “We thought it would be beneficial to hold our final scrimmage here at the Alamodome and everything about tonight was a success. The players had fun and I think the fans that came out enjoyed watching us on this field.”

UTSA ready for bigger stage – I have to admit the buzz about UTSA gridiron is kind of addictive. It's been in the air for two years, since school officials first announced their bid for a football team. Despite such ambition, their aim was modest — they figured the program would start out in the Football Championship Subdivision, where the team initially would compete as an independent.  But Thursday's announcement that University of Texas at San Antonio, along with Texas State University, has accepted a Western Athletic Conference membership, has upped the ante.  Normally, you'd find me in the camp of academics first, athletics second. And don't get me wrong — academics still is where I think UTSA, the largest public university in South Texas, needs to keep its focus. Officials are addressing an abysmal graduation rate — only about 30 percent of students finish in six years (the state's rate is nearly double that) — with a plan to gradually raise undergraduate admissions standards, and the university is beefing up its faculty and enrollment in graduate and PhD programs. But the WAC membership, which will put the university in line for bowl competition, comes at a good time: UTSA is ready for a bigger stage.  Friction still exists over the decision more than 40 years ago to locate the campus so far from the city center. But it's less so as San Antonio has grown around and beyond the university's far-Northwest site, and as public higher education opportunities have improved near downtown and on the South Side. And, where some statelawmakers once didn't believe San Antonio needed a public university, community leaders now universally support the 30,000-student campus.  There's a lot to cheer.  The little-university-that-could has conferred 80,000 degrees since its inception. A master plan unveiled last year revealed a clear vision for boosting UTSA's rapidly growing academic offerings, and all hands are on deck communitywide in the school's effort to snare Tier One-research university status.  How does football fit into the picture?

Perry appoints former Tech chancellor's wife to Griffin's vacated board seat - Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Debbie Montford of San Antonio to replace Mark Griffin on the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents.  Montford will fulfill the remainder of Griffin’s term expiring Jan. 31, when her reappointment to a full six-year term is all but assured.  She is married to John T. Montford, who served as Tech’s chancellor from 1996 to 2001.


Texas A&M’s architecture programs earn high marks  - The Design Futures Council ranked Texas A&M University’s undergraduate and graduate landscape architecture programs among the best in the country. The council ranked Texas A&M’s bachelor of landscape architecture the second best undergraduate program in the nation and its master of landscape architecture the third best graduate program in the nation. The rankings appear in the council’s Design Intelligence newsletter.

 Texas public university leaders discuss ways to survive budget crisis at national conference in Dallas -  Offer more online classes. Help students graduate faster. Seek extra dollars from outside sources. Texas' public universities are brainstorming ways to survive the state's looming financial crisis, and leaders shared ideas Monday at a national higher education conference held in Dallas. "Our goal is to keep the momentum going while we get through the difficult budget challenge," said Rep. Dan Branch, a Dallas Republican and chairman of the House Higher Education committee. Branch spoke to college leaders in Dallas for the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, a group that includes the University of Texas System, Texas A&M University System and University of North Texas. Texas faces a budget shortfall of up to $25 billion over the next two years – that's about a quarter of what Texas spends now. So public universities and other state agencies are bracing for potentially damaging cuts.

Texas College Presidents Made over $1 Million in 2008 - Five private university presidents in Texas banked more than $1 million in 2008, according to a new report by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Making $2,777,653 for the year, John Brazil of Trinity University in San Antonio, who resigned from his post in January, was the second highest-earning president in the country. He was a distant second to the top earner: the late Bernard Lander of Touro College in New York, who made $4,786,830.  The third overall earner, but the highest-earning sitting president, was R. Gerald Turner of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, who raked in $2,774,000.  Further down the list of 30 presidents that surpassed the million dollar mark is John Lilley, the former president of Baylor University in Waco, with $1,445,373 in total compensation.  Rounding out the bottom of the group are David Leebron of Rice University in Houston and Victor Boschini Jr. of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, who earned $1,017,873 and $1,005,814 respectively.

United States

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan Participates in Time Warner Cable's Global Online Town Hall - More than a thousand students from the U.S. and around the world gathered Nov 17th with science and technology leaders, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, to discuss the future of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education as part of Time Warner Cable's (TWC) live, interactive online town hall called "Math, Science and the Future of Our Nation."  Moderated by Vice President Al Gore, the town hall virtually connected students and provided them a unique opportunity to share experiences and ask questions to STEM luminaries including Bill Nye, the Science Guy and executive director of the Planetary Society, inventor Dean Kamen, astronaut Sally Ride, Kudo Tsunoda, Creative Director of Kinect for Xbox 360 and the stars of Discovery Channel's MythBusters.  Time Warner Cable (TWC), the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., launched Connect a Million Minds (CAMM), a five-year, $100 million philanthropic initiative to address America's declining proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which puts our children at risk of not competing successfully in a global economy. Using its media assets, TWC creates awareness of the issue and inspires students to develop the STEM skills they need to become the problem solvers of tomorrow.

Hispanic State Legislators Pass Resolution Urging Department of Ed to Further Examine 'Gainful Employment' Rule - The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) passed a resolution at their annual National Summit in San Antonio, TX on November 13 urging the Department of Education to keep access to career colleges an option for Latino students and carefully tailor its proposed "Gainful Employment" rule to remove the industry's bad actors, and to increase overall quality for Latinos seeking higher education. One of three panel discussions at the summit was dedicated to a discussion on higher education and policy options for preserving the benefits that career colleges provide even as the Department seeks to institute new rules.

Grant/Grantmaker News

San Antonio

Bank of America invests $3.15 million in San Antonio -   SAN ANTONIO – As part of an ongoing effort to stimulate economic vitality in San Antonio and in communities across the nation, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced this week the $450,000 in flexible funding and leadership training to local San Antonio nonprofits through its Neighborhood Excellence Initiative.  The initiative continues to help hundreds of the nation’s most impactful nonprofits improve their long-term viability and bolster leadership strength, retain and hire new staff, and extend the depth and reach of their services – capabilities that are integral to community revitalization and critical in the current economy when nonprofit funding is down and demand for services is up.

SACU extends scholarship program for another year - San Antonio Federal Credit Union (SACU) has kicked off the third year of its SACU Bridge for U Scholarship program.  As part of the program, SACU will award seven scholarships to qualified full-time students who are also members in good standing at SACU for a minimum of one year.  Each scholarships total award is $3,000, with $1,500 payable at the beginning of the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters.  SACU is a $2.8 billion credit union, with 18 locations in San Antonio and one location in Houston.

Rapiers pledge $2 Million in scholarships - The Blake, Kymberly and George Rapier Charitable Trust announced an innovative new scholarship program today, pledging $2 million in the next 5 years for students who regularly perform community service focused on helping seniors and needy animals in the San Antonio area. The Rapier Trust kicked off the program Wednesday by awarding $16,000 in scholarships. The initiative, called Kym’s Kids, is the brainchild of Kym Rapier, Chief Executor of the Rapier Trust. Students are nominated for Kym’s Kids by one of four non-profit organizations – Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio; The Carver Academy; City Year San Antonio; and Communities in Schools of San Antonio.    The Blake, Kymberly and George Rapier Charitable Trust was established in 2006 by WellMed founder and CEO George Rapier and his wife, Kym. The trust fund distributes more than $1 million annually to causes promoting education, stay-in-school initiatives, homeless pets, needy animals and seniors.

 Wells Fargo supports housing development in San Antonio - Wells Fargo Housing Foundation donated $75,000 to Neighborhood Housing Services of San Antonio to support its mission of promoting home ownership.  The foundation also donated 200 Wells Fargo team member volunteer hours to improve three formerly abandoned or foreclosed homes in the city.

 Grants awarded to 16 SA biotech companies - Federal tax-credit grants totaling about $4.9 million have been awarded to 16 San Antonio biotechnology companies.   The grants are among $1 billion that was made available under the health care reform legislation signed into law in March. Most of the San Antonio companies received grants worth $244,479, though six companies each received two grants of varying amounts.  The companies are conducting research and development in therapeutic areas, including the treatment of cancer, pulmonary embolism and burns, as well as regenerative medicine, bone marrow aspiration and cell manufacturing.


Samsung's $25,000 gift to help ‘Keep Austin Beautiful' with recycling bins - Samsung Austin Semiconductor donated $25,000 to Keep Austin Beautiful, making the company the organization's Diamond Sponsor of their Event Recycling Program. The donation will be used to enhance the free recycling-bin lending program, which establishes recycling at Austin events by joining with a variety of community hosts who lack the resources or infrastructure to accommodate recycling.

ExxonMobil to Sponsor Texas Academy Science and Technology Conference ExxonMobil will be the platinum sponsor of the 8th annual conference of The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST) January 6-7 in Austin. ExxonMobil's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rex W. Tillerson will deliver a keynote address on oil and gas exploration.   The "Innovation in Texas: Past, Present and Future" conference, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Austin, will bring together top scientific and technology leaders to share information and explore avenues for collaboration across Texas. Participants are expected to include the state's higher education leaders, technology executives, researchers and community members.

College Stores Receive $8.9 Million in Federal Grants to Fund Textbook Rentals - OBERLIN, Ohio, Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The awarding of nearly $9 million in federal grants to fund pilot textbook rental programs at 11 colleges and universities will improve textbook affordability and help establish best practices for such programs, thereby encouraging their implementation at more schools, according to the National Association of College Stores (NACS). This year's grantees join about a dozen other schools that were awarded similar grants last year. Department of Education received 63 applications for the limited number of competitively awarded grants. The U.S. House of Representatives has allocated an additional $10 million for FY2011 to fund more grants.   Seven of the 12 federal grants were awarded to two-year institutions where textbook costs can represent a significant share of academic costs, while two grants went to four-year, public institutions, and two grants were awarded to private colleges.  An additional award went to the Alternative Media Access Center at Georgia Tech in Atlanta to make digital course materials more accessible for students with disabilities.  The schools picked for the grants are: Bellevue College, WA; Columbia College, Sonora, CA; Delaware Valley College of Science & Agriculture, Doylestown, PA; Florence-Darlington Technical College, Florence, SC; Illinois Central College, East Peoria, IL; Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, CA; Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY; St. Johns River Community College, Palatka, FL; San Diego State University, CA; West Los Angeles College, Culver City, CA; Western Oregon University, Monmouth.

A&M—Kingsville receives $1.5 million engineering grant - A $1.5 million grant will fund environmental engineering projects to reduce water pollution in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas A&M University-Kingsville announced recently.   The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection Agency grant will promote smart growth and reduce runoff pollution, said Dr. Stephan Nix, dean of the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering.

Foundation grant will fund cell phone law study at Texas State - Will banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving in school zones reduce the incidence of injury and death enough to offset the cost of implementing and enforcing the unfunded mandate?   That is a question a Texas State University researcher will examine as she conducts a study funded by a recent $75,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s leading philanthropy in health and health care.   Tondra Moore, assistant professor in Texas State’s School of Health Administration, will conduct the two-year study under the auspices of the foundation’s New Connections and Public Health Law Research programs.

Lone Star College System to benefit from $2.5 million grant - Lone Star College System is one of several Texas colleges that has partnered with two statewide healthcare employers to provide job training using a $2.5 million grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.  The Skills Development Grant from TWC will be used statewide to train approximately 2,500 new and existing health care workers. Those trained will include registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses who will earn certifications in a variety of medical specializations. Upon completion of training, the workers will earn an average hourly wage of $30.77.

Everest Biotech awards $100,000 antibody grant - 16th November 2010 (Oxford, UK): Everest Biotech, a manufacturer of high quality novel antibodies for the international research market, is delighted to announce the winners of its inaugural Antibody Creation Grant. Worth up to $100,000, the funding was offered to research labs around the world.  Associate Professor Michael Tuvim (University of Texas, USA): Focusing on the regulation of mucus formation in airways. Everest Biotech and Dr Tuvim will work closely together to generate the required reagents, thus dramatically speeding up the research in this area.

ALSF Awards Groundbreaking A Award To University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Researcher - Alexs Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer (ALSF) today announced the awarding of a groundbreaking pediatric cancer research grant, the A Award, to Rene Galindo, MD/PhD at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. The A Award, which is one of the foundations largest grants, is designed to jumpstart the careers of young scientists in the pediatric cancer field. Dr. Galindos research will focus on the mechanisms responsible for causing rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue sarcoma.

United States

Auburn University Receives In-Kind Software Grant from Siemens PLM Software Valued at $195.5 Million  - Siemens PLM Software and Auburn University today announced the largest in-kind corporate contribution ever received by the university. The in-kind software grant from Siemens PLM Software, with a commercial value of $195.5 million, was presented today at a recognition ceremony held at the university.   Siemens PLM Software has provided $491.5 million in in-kind software grants in the state of Alabama. Previous recipients include University of Alabama Huntsville, Alabama A&M University, Calhoun County Community College and Tuskegee University.  The in-kind software grant, made through Siemens PLM Software’s Global Opportunities in Product Lifecycle Management (GO PLM™) program, which includes training and specialized software certification programs, will enrich Auburn University’s curriculum, providing advanced hands-on training to students preparing to enter the workforce following graduation.

Welch Foundation renews research grant - The Wayland Baptist University School of Mathematics and Sciences received word that the Welch Foundation is renewing its research grant that supports the school's summer research programs.   The renewal of the $25,000 grant will extend the program for another year as the current grant expires in May 2011.  Students have benefitted from the grant since the foundation's initial gift in 2005. Each summer, WBU science professors work with research groups in ongoing research areas, including water purification and the effects of plant extracts on cancer cells. The research has already resulted in Wayland's first patent for a water purification system. Another group has identified a specific plant extract that has, in lab results, shown a strong tendency to eliminate breast cancer cells.   Each summer, students who qualify for the research programs are appointed to 8-week projects.

U. receives $11 million from BP - The University [Princeton] has accepted an additional $11 million from BP to support the Carbon Mitigation Initiative, adding to the $19 million it has received over the last decade through CMI’s partnership with the oil company.  CMI, part of the Princeton Environmental Institute, researches viable ways to address climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide emissions created by the burning of fossil fuels. BP America is the largest producer of oil and gas in the United States.

Scott Kabrich

Researcher, UTSA Advancement Services

The University of Texas at San Antonio

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio TX 78249



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