250,000 Honey Bees to take up residence at the Omni Colonnade

180x150-OmniSATwenty flourishing honey bee hives abuzz with more than a quarter of a million honey bees are being relocated to the first of its kind rooftop apiary and organic garden atop the Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade. Ten of the hives will be moved to the apiary this week, with the remaining 10 hives being introduced in the spring.

A special ribbon cutting ceremony and photo opportunity of the new space will take place on Friday, November 14 at 3 p.m. at the Omni Colonnade, 9821 Colonnade, San Antonio, Texas.

The honey bee hives were rescued from homes and businesses in and around San Antonio whose owners were looking to remove the bees from their properties. For the past several months, bee keepers have been working to nurture them back to full hive activity and ensure the bees are disease free with good temperaments.

The new rooftop apiary will provide a new home for the honeybees where bee keepers will ensure they are properly fed, watered and have plenty of plants to keep them busy.

The unique arrangement between the American Honey Bee Protection Agency and the Omni Colonnade is an exciting first for South Texas.

“Our goal is to help rebuild our honey bee population, which has been dwindling in recent years,” says Duncan Cormie with AHPBA.  “Instead of exterminating these valuable hives, we rescued them.  Our bee keepers will tend to the honey bees to ensure they stay super happy. Managed hives like these tend to run off wild bee populations, and are much less likely to wander off or interact with humans.”

Cormie estimates the honey bees will produce approximately 2,000 pounds of honey over the course of a year. The Omni Colonnade will benefit from a portion of that honey, which they will use in dishes prepared by chefs at their Bolo’s restaurant, and offer as a condiment to restaurant guests and as a wonderful San Antonio memento from the gift shop.

AHPBA will sell the rest of the honey at H-E-B Central Market, with proceeds supporting their bee rescue programs. Cormie says 60% of the food we eat depends on honey bee pollination.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to offer the honey bees a new home at the Colonnade.  We are doing our part to save the honey bees, and will literally enjoy the fruits of their labor- both in the honey the produce and the organic vegetables that grow in the rooftop garden,” said Delfin Ortiz, General Manager of the Omni Colonnade.

For more information on American Honey Bee Protection Agency, visit www.ahbpa.org or contact Duncan Cormie at (512) 619-0963.

Unstoppable – A Guide Dog user’s perspective

3 Lisa and Clyde 2014By Lisa Batist

I used to think of myself as a real go-getter until I got Clyde, my Guide Dog. Now I am really a real go-getter! Never did I dream that on March 15, 2010 my life would be forever changed.  The joy, the unconditional love, the independence and the joyous one-on-one times I share with my boy could never have been given to me by any other.

I believe one of the true defining moments for Clyde and I was a situation where we were walking down a busy downtown street and a stranger followed us for a few blocks.  He finally stopped and talked to me.  He said, “Wow, when you walk together you both walk proudly and with such confidence.  You look straight ahead.  Your head is up and so is your dog’s!”   The reason this was such a defining moment for me relates back to my training with Clyde.  During training, I had a hard time looking up and forward.  I had to learn to trust Clyde enough so that I could walk looking straight ahead.  Not as easy as you all think!   But when a stranger complimented me that day, I realized that Clyde and I were there.  We are a team and a team that cannot be surpassed!

I could not have been matched more perfectly than I am with Clyde! I could never repay Guide Dogs of Texas for what they have given me. I will be eternally indebted to them for the unconditional love, independence and happiness that Clyde has brought to me and my family.

To help support more clients like Lisa who need a Guide Dog please consider donating to our non profit Guide Dogs of Texas.

Guide Dogs of Texas logoWhy Support Guide Dogs of Texas?
Guide Dogs of Texas is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that is supported strictly by the generosity of foundations, corporations and individuals. Our mission is to provide quality guide dogs to Texans who are visually impaired to increase their freedom, mobility and independence. We receive no funding from local, state or national government or insurance claims.

The cost to breed, raise, train and match a dog with a client is approximately $50,000 but we charge our clients only $1. Your gift will help us fulfill our mission while providing you with the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping an individual gain their freedom, mobility and independence.

Thank you for considering a gift to Guide Dogs of Texas. We are a qualified not-for-profit organization (Tax ID # 74-2530268) and all donations are tax deductible to the extent of the law. Guide Dogs of Texas receives no government funding or insurance payments and survives solely from donations. Your donation will greatly support our mission of providing quality guide dogs to visually impaired Texans.



Accion Texas Inc. launches new Spanish website

Accion logo colorAccion Texas Inc. – the nation’s largest nonprofit small business lender   invites visitors to explore its new Spanish website. The new website has been designed to provide Spanish speaking clients with a more user-friendly experience.

Accion is dedicated to adapting and improving to meet the growing demand for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” Accion Texas President and CEO Janie Barrera said. “We are always focused on bringing the American dream to more places and more people.

Accion Texas collaborated with Sweb Development—a local digital-marketing development agency –to create a website with improved navigation and functionality throughout, allowing customers to access product information in Spanish.

“Accion understands the importance of the growing multicultural market and is providing the same access to information and resources to Spanish and English speakers alike,” Sweb Development Founder and CEO Magaly Chocano said. “Accion continues to be a driving force for entrepreneurs, job creation, and economic progress,” Chocano said.

Created with user experience firmly in mind, customers are now able to benefit from richer online content that is easier to navigate and share with others. Accion serves more than 60 percent of Hispanics throughout its eight-state footprint.  By providing multi-platform access in multiple languages, Accion levels the playing field for all entrepreneurs to excel. We encourage you to visit the new site at www.acciontexas.org and click the Español tab on the top right corner of our main page.

About Sweb Development
Established in 2008, Sweb Development builds mobile apps, websites, social media marketing campaigns, and everything in between. Sweb is a full service digital agency offering creative digital strategies, graphic design, and developments for web, mobile, and social. Sweb produces tailor-made, cutting edge, captivating solutions.

About Accion Texas
Accion Texas Inc. is a nonprofit, multi-state company and small business lender that helps new and existing entrepreneurs successfully grow their businesses. Through affordable lending and business development services, Accion Texas is committed to empowering diverse individuals and small businesses that have limited access to traditional sources of capital. Since its founding in San Antonio in 1994, Accion has made more than 14,000 loans totaling more than $167 million.  Accion now operates in eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. To learn more about Accion’s lending options, call 888-215-2373 or visit www.acciontexas.org.

San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame announces Class of 2015

SanAntonioSports_colorThe San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame has announced the Class of 2015.  Doug Moe, former San Antonio Spurs head coach from 1976-1980, Al LaMacchia, former Major League Baseball pitcher and scout, business leader and sports supporter Pat Frost, Lori Norwood, the only American to win a world championship in women’s modern pentathlon, and sports broadcaster Gary Delaune whose career has spanned five decades, will be recognized at the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame Tribute on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

San Antonio resident Doug Moe served as head coach for the NBA San Antonio Spurs from 1976-1980, leading the Spurs to the conference finals in 1979.  He ranks second in the Spurs all-time record for number of wins (behind Gregg Popovich).  As head coach for Denver from 1980-90, Moe compiled a 432-357 record, leading the Nuggets to the post season nine straight years (two Midwest  division titles) and advancing to the Western Conference Finals in1985.  He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1987-88, the same year as the Nuggets franchise record of 54 wins.   Moe was a two-time All American at the University of North Carolina and an ABA All-Star three times, with the Oakland Oaks, Carolina Cougars and Virginia Squires, in an injury-shortened five year professional playing career.

Al LaMacchia spent three seasons pitching for the San Antonio Missions, setting a Texas league record in 1942—which still stands—when he pitched a nine-inning game in 1:07.  He pitched in 16 games in the major leagues for the St. Louis Browns and Washing Senators from 1943-46.  Following his playing career, he became one of the most recognized scouts in baseball, working for Philadelphia, Atlanta, Toronto, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles.  During his 20 years with the Toronto Blue Jays, he helped build the World Series championship teams of 1992 and 1993.  He was named Midwest Region Scout of the Year in 2001. LaMacchia passed way in 2010 at his San Antonio home at the age of 89.

Pat Frost, president of Frost Bank, has long been one of the community’s strongest sports leaders and advocates. His impact is felt throughout San Antonio Sports, the Valero Alamo Bowl, the San Antonio Livestock Exhibition, the University of Texas, the Spurs Foundation and UTSA.  Far from being a figurehead, Frost has worked tirelessly behind the scenes with sports’ most prominent rights holders and national governing bodies to elevate the Alamo City as a true sports destination. Frost was chairman of the local organizing committee for the 2004 and 2008 NCAA Men’s Final Four, and is the current chair of the San Antonio Local Organizing Committee, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization.

Frost’s role with San Antonio Sports dates back to 1987, including serving as chair from 1997-2000.  He has been involved with the Spurs Foundation since 1988.    His extensive community involvement also includes being on the executive committee of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition and the board of trustees of the United Way of San Antonio and World Affairs Council, trustee of the San Antonio Medical Foundation and chairman of the audit committee of the UT Health Science Center.

Lori Norwood remains the only American to win a world championship in Women’s Modern Pentathlon. The sport comprises the disciplines of pistol shooting, epée fencing, freestyle swimming, show jumping, and cross country running. In 1989, she was the world’s best, winning five international competitions, including the World Championship and San Antonio Cup. In 1990, Norwood placed second at the World Championships after winning the Goodwill Games, the San Antonio Cup and the U.S. National Championships.

She won the individual title at the 1989 Olympic Festival in Oklahoma City and was a finalist for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award in ’89 and ’90, as the nation’s finest amateur athlete. In 1989, Lori was the Express-News Female Athlete of the year, and in 1991, was named the 1991 Amateur Athlete of the Year by Professional Athletes Assisting Youth Sports. Lori is also a member of the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame.

Sports broadcaster Gary Delaune’s career has spanned five decades.  He is a 50 year veteran high school play-by-play announcer in Texas, and has been involved with college and professional sports teams since 1961 when he served as a broadcaster for the AFL Dallas Texans for two seasons and was a member of the Dallas Cowboys broadcast team for three seasons (1964-66). From 1968 through `71 Delaune was the voice of the Houston Astrodome.

He began his Texas radio and television broadcast career in 1960, first in Dallas and Houston before coming to KENS-TV in San Antonio, where he worked for 28 years as a reporter, producer and sports anchor. In 1973 he was the first San Antonio sportscaster to become a member of the Spurs basketball broadcast team.

DeLaune has received numerous journalism awards including the Associated Press Best Radio Documentary Award for “Jack Ruby’s Eleventh Hour” (1967), the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Television Sports Feature (1975 and 1990), the AP Best Feature Award (1975) and the Associated Press Best Spot News Award (1979).  He was named to the Lone Star Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame (2006) and was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2007.

The San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame and the gala tribute are a partnership between San Antonio Sports, the City of San Antonio, and San Antonio Express-News.  The black-tie gala will be held in Ballroom C of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and feature a live performance from Grand Funk Railroad (“I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home) and “We’re an American Band”).  Proceeds from the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame Tribute benefit San Antonio Sports’ kids programs.   For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.sanantoniosports.org/halloffame.

About San Antonio Sports
San Antonio Sports is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform our community through the power of sport.  San Antonio Sports bids on and hosts premier sporting events such as NCAA® championships, which have generated a local economic impact of more than $446 million.  San Antonio Sports kids programs, including the i play! afterschool program, the Community Olympic Development Program, the Go!Kids Challenge™ and SUBWAY® Kids Rock marathon training program, annually touch the lives of more than 180,000 children.  Additionally, San Antonio Sports serves as a catalyst for the development of quality recreational and athletic facilities in our community.  To learn more, visit SanAntonioSports.org.

H-E-B ‘Market at Stone Oak’ and Oak Crossing restaurant now open to the public

HEB_logo_plainStone Oak community leaders, neighbors and customers joined H-E-B leadership on Friday, June 19 to celebrate the completion of the one-of-a-kind H-E-B Market at Stone Oak, located at 23635 Wilderness Oak. The ribbon cutting ceremony included remarks by Richard Perez, President and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and Duane Wilson, President and CEO of the North Chamber of Commerce.

The new 80,000-square-foot market is the first of its kind in San Antonio, and the second in the entire state to feature an H-E-B restaurant adjacent to the store. The Stone Oak location now offers customers thousands of unique product selections in hundreds of expanded departments, and also features an outdoor children’s playground. The store and restaurant combined employ a total of 350 people.

“It was important for to us to build a store that is able to serve the unique needs of Stone Oak’s diverse and rapidly expanding community,” said Kim Harle, H-E-B Public Affairs Manager. “From families and young professionals to seniors in the area, the Market at Stone Oak will provide everyone with unique, high-quality products at an affordable price.”

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, H-E-B also made a dream come true for 15-year-old cancer survivor, Kaylee Carew. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, H-E-B surprised Carew by fulfilling her wish to stay at the Disney Resort in Hawaii with her family. In addition, H-E-B donated $1,000 each to the following organizations: Johnson High School, Lopez Middle School, Wilderness Oak Elementary, Hardy Oak Elementary and the Mays YMCA. All commemorative donations for the day amounted to a total of more than $20,000.

“At H-E-B, we view each store opening as an opportunity to give back to the communities we serve and say thank you to our customers for their continued support,” said Suzanne Wade, H-E-B President of the San Antonio Food and Drug Division. “Today’s donations demonstrate our ongoing commitment to our San Antonio customers and to education in Texas.”

Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant known as Oaks Crossing will serve a variety of chef-inspired meals, rare wines and a wide selection of Texas craft brews on tap. Menu items will include: locally sourced barbeque with traditional sides, Neapolitan-style pizzas, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, pasta bowls, Asian-inspired bowls, small appetizer plates, hamburgers, Mexican food, a children’s menu and variety of desserts. Customers can choose to enjoy their meal in the indoor café seating area, or on the expansive outdoor patio which will feature misters, fans, heaters, televisions and live entertainment.

Oaks Crossing will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to Midnight and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will feature live jazz music on the patio.

Highlights from the new store include:

  • An in-house pharmacy with dedicated pick-up and drop-off counters, immunizations, a patient education room, two-lane drive-through service and prescription delivery service
  • A dedicated seafood department with specialty products and additional frozen and fresh options including fish, shellfish and fresh seafood burgers
  • Healthy Living department with over 200 bulk food items, spices, tea, fresh-ground nut butters, local honeys, bulk jerky and organic beauty products
  • The largest beer and wine section of any San Antonio H-E-B location, featuring over 600 beer brands and hundreds of local and international wines
  • A produce section with over 100 local and organic selections, fresh juice station, and in-store fruit and vegetable cutting station
  • Full-service meat market offering USDA Prime, natural and organic meats
  • An expansive deli featuring over 250 fresh-cut artisanal cheeses, over 30 varieties of hummus, charcuterie plates and in-house roasted meats
  • A bakery department with custom, “to-order” cake decorating, scratch flour tortillas and bread and individual pastries
  • A general merchandise department with expanded offerings in the following categories: Sports Nutrition, Cosmetics, Organic baby assortments and Pro hair Care

San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President Richard Perez and North Chamber of Commerce President Duane Wilson both thanked H-E-B for their investment in San Antonio and for their commitment to area nonprofit organizations.

“H-E-B has a long history in the San Antonio area, and we are thrilled to be here today to help celebrate the opening of this wonderful new store,” said Perez.  “The City of San Antonio is also very lucky to have H-E-B as a corporate partner who understands the importance of local initiatives and support for nonprofit organizations,” added Wilson.

HEB_stoneoak1Members of the Johnson High School choir sign the National Anthem during the H-E-B Market at Stone Oak ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday.

HEBstoneoak215-year-old cancer survivor Kaylee Carew was presented with an award for bravery and a special trip to the Disney resort in Hawaii with her family. Pictured: Kimberly Harle – HEB Public Affairs, Harry Hauck – H-E-B Market at Stone Oak Unit Director, & Kaylee Carew.

HEBstoneoak3Stone Oak community members and store leaders cut a red ribbon in front of the first-ever H-E-B Market at Stone Oak.

HEBstoneoak4Stone Oak community members and store leaders of the first-ever H-E-B Market at Stone Oak celebrate completion of the first-of-its-kind H-E-B during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 19.

SSFCU donates to two San Antonio Nonprofits serving women and seniors

Security Services Federal Credit UnionSecurity Service Charitable Foundation recently presented San Antonio’s Southwest Outreach for Older People (SWOOP) with a grant of $5,000 and the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter of Bexar County with a grant of $10,000.

SWOOP serves seniors in southwest San Antonio as a free transportation service that helps them get to doctors, pharmacies, banks and grocery stores. It’s a door-through-door service in safe, private vehicles for seniors who have no friends or family to rely on. SWOOP currently serves 230 seniors in just its second year of operation, and the grant funds will be used to support its volunteer program, including mileage reimbursement and training for this dynamic program.

SWOOP_SSFCUFrom left: Eileen Mares, SWOOP treasurer/secretary and SSFCU branch manager; Joan Fisher, SWOOP executive director; Dottye Williams, Ph.D., SWOOP president, and Jim Laffoon: SSFCU President and CEO

The Battered Women and Children’s Shelter is the only shelter in Bexar County for abused women and children. In recent months, the shelter has reached nearly 200 people a month – turning no one away. The grant will be used to provide victims of family violence a place of safety and help transitioning to self-sufficiency.

BatteredWomen's Shelter_SSFCUFrom left:  Mark Jimenez,  SSFCU assistant vice president of network engineering  and support, Marta Pelaez, president and CEO of the Battered Women’s Shelter, and Jim Laffoon, SSFCU president and CEO. 

“It is our great joy and honor to be able to help organizations like SWOOP and the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter that are grounded in building a better future for the most vulnerable in our community, providing important systems and supports to make life easier,” said Jim Laffoon, president of the Security Service Charitable Foundation and president and chief executive officer for Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU).

The Security Service Charitable Foundation helps further SSFCU’s corporate goal of community service by contributing to deserving organizations and causes in the credit union’s market areas.

About Security Service Federal Credit Union
Security Service Federal Credit Union offers competitive, affordable financial products and services designed to meet the needs of its members. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, Security Service is an industry-leading financial institution with $7.5 billion in assets and 70 locations in Texas, Colorado and Utah. The credit union is among the top 10 credit unions in the nation. Security Service strives to be America’s best credit union and provides the true benefits of credit union membership with financial services of the highest quality and value. Learn more at www.ssfcu.org or call 1-888-415-7878.

Prism Technologies Group celebrates 10 year anniversary

Prism Technologies GroupPrism Technologies Group, an IT managed services company recently announced its 10th anniversary, and its leadership is proud of its accomplishments and service within the San Antonio community where it conducts business-to-business offerings.

Thriving versus surviving
Prism Technologies Group has been able to thrive in the IT industry because of their business approach. Their focus is to service clients by providing solutions versus focusing on sales. “We’re not just selling hardware and software,” said Bryan Guinn, president of Prism Technologies Group. “We’re questioning if the hardware and software is going to help our clients now and in the future, and then we tailor our offerings to meet those needs.”

Guinn says Prism Technologies Group is leading edge not bleeding edge. Being that new technology emerges on the market frequently, the company monitors and evaluates it first, while simultaneously being open to utilizing new products in which stability has been proven. An example is Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud offering. “When it first came out, IT professionals were hesitant,” Guinn said. “It was stable. It worked. It made sense, and we started deploying it to show its value.” After Office 365 had been online for a couple of years, Microsoft then required all of its certified partners to use it. At this point, a majority of IT professionals had not used it; however, in the time it had been on the market, Prism Technologies Group had become Microsoft Cloud experts with a great deal of success in launching it for their customers.

Providing value
Being that Prism Technologies Group is solutions oriented, the company’s primary focus is to understand its clients business. Before they begin any engagement, Prism Technologies Group seeks a full understanding of their clients’ processes and procedures so they can provide the correct IT recommendations for business growth. “We have a client that was going to experience an increase in staff, so their first thought was to buy all new computers for the new staff members,” Guinn explained.  “Knowing that the new employees would be hired over a period of time, we discussed the purpose and function of these incoming staff members, and developed a strategy for equipping them without an initial large capital expenditure resulting in an overall cost savings to the client.”

Prism Technology Group also provides value to its clients through best practices. Having worked with a variety of industries, ranging from non-profit organizations to governmental agencies, Prism Technologies Group is able to utilize the technology for enterprise customers and apply it to small businesses to give them an advantage in the marketplace. Prism Technologies Group understands businesses start out small, and with the right technical support, they will grow to their full potential.

High performance standards
One of the reasons Prism Technologies Group has been successful these past 10 years is because of their guarantee. The company promises to improve their clients’ IT environment or they pay up. They promise to deliver up to 99.999% reliability of their installed network environment. They guarantee a 60 minute rapid response whenever there is an IT issue. They also guarantee accuracy; jobs are done correctly, on time and within budget or else they pay the difference. Lastly, the company buys back any unused recommended hardware and software.

Industry experts
In addition to their credentials as a Microsoft partner, a Cisco Channel Partner and a member of the Apple Consultants Network, Prism Technologies Group also holds honors of distinction.  The company was nominated for the 2013 Microsoft Cloud Growth Partner of the Year for the U.S. SMB Central Region; Honored with an exclusive membership to the 2013 Microsoft SMB Champions Club as a Tier 1 Partner; Awarded the 2013 Microsoft Community Connections Partner of the Year for the U.S. SMB Central Region.

About Prism Technologies Group
Prism Technologies Group has been helping businesses improve their IT operations since 2003. Bryan Guinn, president, founded the company in San Antonio while attending the University of the Incarnate Word, and he has built the business into a company that generate $1.2 million in sales annually. Headquartered in San Antonio, the company services clients nationwide. The company consists of ten employees, some of which are located in Eagle Pass.