News

City to implement mandatory water rationing

ON MONDAY, March 23, League City will enact stage 2 of its drought contingency plan.
The city will implement mandatory water rationing in order to make emergency repairs on the main water supply line from the Southeast Water Purification Plant to the city of League City.
This is the primary transmission line that supplies the majority of League City’s available surface water supply and it also serves neighboring communities.
During that time, water will be rerouted to the city through a water line with less capacity and at reduced pressure and volume. During the two to five weeks that it will take for the city to complete the repairs, there will be less water available and citizens will need to conserve water usage to maintain essential needs and to ensure regulatory compliant delivery and maintain fire-fighting capabilities.
During stage two restrictions, the city mandates outdoor watering and usage limitations and residential water customers will need to limit the watering of landscaped areas to Mondays and Thursdays for customers with even-numbered street addresses, and Tuesdays and Fridays for residential customers with odd-numbered street addresses, and is limited to the Daylight Saving Time hours of 10:00am until 2:00pm and 10:00pm until 4:00am the following morning or during Standard Time between the hours of 10:00am until 4:00pm and 10:00pm until 4:00am the following morning, on designated watering days.
For information on non-residential restrictions, limitations and prohibited uses, go online to leaguecity.com.

Scholarships available for young hunters

APPLICATIONS are now available for $15,000 in scholarships for the 2015-2016 school year.
The 15th annual Texas Big Game Awards Wildlife Conservation College Scholarship Program is sponsored by Carter’s Country Outdoor Stores and the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of Texas.
The TBGA is a partnership of the Texas Parks and Wildlife department and the Texas Wildlife Association and the program is designed to recognize the quality of big game animals in Texas, the hunters who harvest these animals, the land managers whose land produces these animals, the importance of hunting heritage, and the achievements of young and new hunters.
All applicants for the scholarship program must be agriculture and/or natural resource-related majors. A $1,500 scholarship will be awarded in each of the eight TGBA regions and the overall top scholarship applicant will receive $3,000.
Any entering college freshman, sophomore or junior is eligible to apply for one of the scholarships. Applications are reviewed and ranked by a statewide scoring committee and applicants do not have to participate in the TGBA to be eligible.
Those hopeful for the scholarship must complete the application and write an essay about the TBGA and it’s importance or the purpose of scoring antlers and horns.
For more information or to apply go online to texasbiggameawards.org or email kstarr@texas-wildlife.org.
All applications must be postmarked by March 31.

 

THE PAST year was full of growth for the Santa Fe Education Foundation.
According to their recently released annual report the foundation raised nearly $37 per student in 2014 with a total foundation income of about $171,000. That’s a huge bump up for the foundation, which supports and funds Santa Fe ISD programs, from 2010 when they raised about $11 per student for a total of about $48,000.
The bulk of this years income came from simple monetary donations from the public, about $100,000 in all.
Nearly all of that money went directly back to SFISD classrooms through the numerous programs given grants by the foundation.
District-wide projects receiving grants from SFEF in 2014 were Keith’s Anti-bullying Assemblies and lighting for SFISD’s all-district musical.
Projects at the high school, junior high and elementary schools included teacher workshops, supplementary education materials, new learning-based competitions, more books and technological devices, career exploration opportunities and interactive learning opportunities.
In total, 20 programs and projects became a reality with funding help from the SFEF.

Picture Caption – Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation was awarded a grant by State Farm for a special high school project to promote safe teen driving.

Bernard, Lora-MarieBy Lora-Marie Bernard

A BILL quietly introduced by Rep. Wayne Faircloth will receive a public hearing next week as he seeks a tax exemption for LED lights purchased during the Energy Star sales tax holiday.
If the bill becomes law, the tax exemption would take effect during 2016 Memorial Day weekend.
The bill has received less attention than Faircloth’s proposal to rename the Galveston Causeway to honor the George and Cynthia Mitchell for their contributions to the island.  Regardless, the bill pushes an agenda that environmentalists began several years ago to recognize more energy-efficient products and boost purchase of them for home use.
A Tuesday public hearing for the proposed bill was announced Thursday. HB 1625 was filed in February and read on the floor on March 9 when it was assigned to the House Ways and Means committee.
The bill would replace language in Section 151.33(b) of the Tax Code and add light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulb to the list that now contains incandescent and fluorescent lightbulbs.
Energy Star states LEDs use about 70-90 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. They last 10 to 25 times longer and saves $30 to $80 in electricity costs over its lifetime.
They meet strict quality and efficiency standards that are tested by accredited labs and certified by a third party and produce about 70-90 percent less heat, so it’s safer to operate. That means they can also cut home cooling costs.
Energy Star Tax Sales Holiday finds it roots in 2007 when House Bill 3693 made sweeping energy-efficiency measures throughout Texas. Schools consumption, utilities, building audits, renewable energies and other energy-reduction programs were addressed in it.
At that time, the legislature tapped the Memorial Day weekend as the time to celebrate some Energy Star appliances exclusively.
The 2015 tax holiday begins one minute after midnight on May 23 and ends one minute before midnight on May 25.
The following is a list of current Energy Star appliances that are eligible for the exemption at the current time: air conditioner that does not cost more than $6,000, clothes washer, ceiling fan, dehumidifier, dishwasher, incandescent or fluorescent lightbulb, programmable thermostat, refrigerator that does not cost more than $2,000.

America’s business

Faw, Larissa

NO LESS than 1,620 new fragrances were launched in 2014, including 925 women’s scents, 353 men’s potions and 342 unisex bouquets.
Next month, Inter Parfums will introduce a new fragrance of Oscar de la Renta called Extraordinary at Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Belk and Dillard’s.
Simultaneously, the new scent will roll out across the globe, with emphasis in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Canada, UK, Spain and Scandinavia.
Cloud data
Somewhere in cyberspace Microsoft’s Azure platform processes roughly six billion requests per month just for weather and temperature forecasting.
In and out
Next time you visit Jamba Juice, time them on how long it takes to get your order. The juice chain typically likes to have orders completed in three minutes, although lately it has been closer to four.
“The low three minutes speed to service [is] one of the leading indicators for us as we look at the overall guest satisfaction,” says the company’s James White.
Out of office
Business supplies chain Staples is expanding its options beyond the office. Last year, the retailer added more than 1,000 new products in categories beyond office supplies and introduced its US Postal Service-approved shipper program to more than 500 stores.
Down the aisle
Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters’ Anthropologie brand is expanding BHLDN, its bridal concept. Already five shop-in-shops exist inside Anthropologie stores and another will open in Atlanta, Georgia, this spring.
Late last year, the brand launched its Registry app and, to date, 11,000 registries have been created with an average of 15 items per registrant, while 40 per cent of Registry purchasers are first-time Anthropologie customers.
Sales book
Dallas-based advertising giant Dex Media – formerly Yellow Pages – closed out fiscal year 2014 with a presence in 43 states and more than 490,000 clients across the USA.
Some 38 per cent of the company’s clients buy its digital-media solutions, helping its digital ad sales to grow by 9.2 per cent last year while its print ad sales declined by 22 per cent.
The company’s digital clients spent an average of $2,900 per order.
Shopper selection
Twenty per cent of Target’s sales are food items. However, to boost its overall sales, the retailer is now focusing on four key categories – style, baby, kids and wellness.
Less juice
Based on a decrease in the estimated size of the lemon harvest, Limoniera now expects to sell approximately three million cartons of fresh lemons in fiscal 2015, rather than its previous guidance of between 3.2 million and 3.4 million cartons during the 12-month period.
But the company now anticipates that the average price per carton will increase to approximately $24 rather than its previous estimate of $22.
Fresh treats
Coffeehouse and doughnut chain Krispy Kreme opened shop number 1,000 in Kansas City last month.
And the North Carolina company has introduced Hot Light, a mobile app with a feature that notifies users when doughnuts are fresh out of the oven at their favorite Krispy Kreme shop.
Currently, java chip and chocolate-chip cookie dough are two of its most popular-selling flavors.
Make it fun
Homewares specialist Lifetime Brands is introducing its first line of cookware targeting millennials. Farberware Colorworks is a comprehensive line of high-design, high-function kitchen tools, gadgets, cutlery and pantry ware.
Company executives say millennials prefer contemporary looks as opposed to more formal styles.
Starter homes
In 2015, new housing construction is estimated to increase by 20-25 per cent and new-home sales are estimated to increase by 18-30 per cent, according to
Re/Max Holdings.
Homebuilders are now not only catering to move-up homeowners but also to first-time buyers, which should be a positive catalyst for residential real estate.
Plastic payment
In the United States today, there are roughly 10 million terminals that accept credit and debit cards and there are an additional three million “greenfield” opportunities, where stores accept cards but without a terminal.
These retailers may be using a keyboard, magnetic-stripe reader but not a client-facing terminal.
Native speakers
Language-learning specialist Rosetta Stone has previously focused on teaching English speakers additional languages but, now, it is repositioning its consumer business to focus more on teaching English to non-English speaking consumers, home-school students and small-business managers.

Downstream sales drought
AMERICANS who own a SodaStream sparkling-water maker consume 40 per cent more water and water-based beverages – or the equivalent of three more glasses of water a day – than those who don’t.
However, it seems people aren’t buying these products. Data shows that sales of sparkling-water makers declined by 57 per cent and flavor purchases declined by 40 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2014.

Larissa Faw covers business trends for Forbes, The Motley Fool and other financial websites. She can be contacted at larissafaw@gmail.com.