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This newsletter became Open Carry beginning Jan. 1. It is open to all Chamber members and carries only good news. Happy New Year!
FACES & PLACES POW                                                                                  
Go Frogs: Three cheers for "the purple shirt," the Frogs closing out the season with a historical game and win, and to R & RC Fabricating & Contracting for creating this awesome hand-cut metal and purple powder coated horned frogs! The Chamber's TCU alumni/fans and former football coach had to get their picture with the creation.

L to R: Christine Gores, Rosalind Sullivan, Monta Noe, Doris Becker, Bill Thornton, Patti Steelman, and Hillary Curtis.

Click on the links below to enter for prizes

Gloria, Gloria, Hallelujah! The text said, "U jst, mrB. 2 kant eat lnch at Captl Grl for $50." Texter's spell check wasn't working; nor were his thought processes or search functions. Mr. B called Capital Grille guru of greatness Gloria Starling and she directed him to the Plates section of the lunch menu. Soup or salad AND one selection from a choice of four meals for $18. Times two, plus water, tea, tax and tip and voila!  Those meal choices include sirloin hash, mini tenderloin sandwiches, Maine lobster roll and jumbo shrimp. (How can shrimp be jumbo?) Or don't be so friendly and go eat alone with your Kindle and get the $27 bone-in, dry-aged 14-ounce strip steak. This $50 Capital Grille gift card offers excellent food plus excellent service times two, which equals excellentness. 

Favored flavors: In a never-ending search to satisfy his sweet tooth cravings, Mr. B has some important research to pass along about THE cookies as he eagerly awaits the beginning of sales Jan. 15 by the Girls Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains. Cookies are an entrepreneurial endeavor and a business education for the young girls. The assortment is now up to 12 varieties, though not all are sold in every area. Some cookies have two different names -- ex: Shortbread/Trefoils - because two different bakers are involved. Top sellers are Thin Mints (25 percent), Samoas (19), Peanut Butter Patties (13), Peanut Butter Sandwich (11) and Shortbread (9). The info should help you banter/bargain/barter with your salesperson. Unless you win this 12-box case of your choice of one assortment from the Girls Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains.
Time for you Kreskin-ites: Robert Redford wasn't available, so the 2016 Commercial Real Estate Forecast is proud to present his children, headliners Keri and Jay Redford as the "2016 forecasters."  The event, presented by the Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth, starts at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 21 with a breakfast and concludes at 10:30 after two hours of presentations at the Fort Worth Convention Center. There are a host of commercial real estate experts on tap to speak and Bill Meadows will update on high speed rail. The Chamber's David Berzina will tease and tantalize and give away no classified information, very similar to a local football coach. Some early predictions -- Mr. B forecasts crude oil will reach $92 a barrel. Mr. B forecasts that Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo will be 2016 NFL MVP. Mr. B forecasts that Jim Austin of jimaustinonline will attend more events in 2016 than you.  And Mr. B forecasts that he will have two seats to give away to this Forecast.

Biker girl: Clear-spoke-n Vicki Peden recently took the training wheels off her grown-up Cowtown Party Cycle and added big boy bikes as she pedaled into the world of electric bicycles. (Don't forget to buy plenty of batteries on sale 75 percent off everywhere after the holidays.) The electric add-on, with tours up the Trinity Trails to the The Stockyards or just around downtown Fort Worth, has given a jolt of energy to her business. And yes, it still is always about the party with Vicki. She wants you and a friend to try her Cowtown Electric Bike Stockyards Tour to see The Herd cattle drive any Wednesday or Saturday. You don't have to pedal when the ride is on Vicki.

Congratulations to Dec. 16 Prize Winners:
  • Keisha High, Southside Bank
  • Susan Taylor, Innovative Developers
  • Cody Rodgers, Junk King
  • Helen Stephens, Aspen Wealth Management
  • Leah Roberts, Stockyards Hotel

Know when to fold 'em: Mike Burns, a retired Wall Street banker who volunteers with SCORE in Fort Worth, did not do well in retirement. "My wife said she had all the advice she could stand," he said, "and now I'm a full-time mentor."

Two reasons to go Jan. 21: 1) The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel has drink "options" and puts out a food spread second-to-none among Business After Hours hosts. 2) The Chamber's 12 Small Business of the Year finalists will be introduced.

Words with friends: Joe Straus, Texas' Speaker of the House, has that gavel itch...a year early. He spoke in Fort Worth recently about population, taxes, budgets, the 2017 legislative session and more. Some highlights:
  • "Fort Worth and Tarrant County have had tremendous economic impact on the Texas economy; your elected officials' contributions have been ... interesting."
  •  "In spite of many challenges, we had a productive (2015) session. Of course, it's not that difficult to exceed the expectations that Americans have for elected officials."
  • Texas' economy is diverse, but the energy sector does greatly affect the revenue available for core needs.
  • "Texas has a tradition of leaders working together to find common ground. You, the business community, can sit back and allow the shouters to dominate, or stand up and be engaged."
  • (Strauss on Fort Worth rep Charlie Geren) "Effective, if not the most effective I've ever served with."
Eggsellent story: Carole Robinson semi-jokingly describes herself as a "hopeless" cook. The office manager for Downtown Fort Worth Inc. has an illustrative story. "When I first married, my mother (a GREAT cook) sent me her recipe for lemon meringue pie," Carole said. "The recipe calls for two whole eggs.  She added 'not the shells.' Seriously!"

Name game: All the Bs at Balcom Agency have monikers aside from their birth name. PR prodder Jenna Simard, for instance, is Pitch Perfect, a play on her PR background, passion for music and love of the movie. Jenna's favorite nickname, though, is creative director Carol Glover's the Champion of Wow. Carol was a playa -- some say a star -- with the TCU women's basketball team during the '80s. "Now she scores big wins for our clients," Jenna said.

Re-gifting: Some holiday Leftovers, but not so good as HBO's:
  • Newlywed Erika Hersh of PeopleFund started a no-gift, go-on-a-trip tradition. Someone (hubby!) chose a ski trip to North Lake Tahoe, despite Erika's recent foot surgery. She wasn't skiing, but said the spa was great.
  •  Cara Kennemer, an attorney with Underwood Law, understands fault and blame. Cara has three children and when Elf on the Shelf didn't get moved properly, it was easy to blame the youngest, a three-year-old. "She just smiles and goes along with it," Cara said.
  • Kelly Pilkington of Logan Graphics plays Scrabble against her grown children every Christmas Eve. She describes her competitive spirit as "ruthless." Even at Christmas. She says she has 15 years of results written down and the scorecards for the years she didn't win are littered with the word "cheaters." Kelly's birthday also happens to be Christmas Day.

"Let's get to the speaker, who actually is the Speaker."

                                                -- Chamber Chairman Dee Kelly, Jr.
introducing Texas Speaker Joe Straus

Kidsville: Alexia Willis of Junior Achievement of the Chisholm Trail was observing the Eaton High School Business Academy students volunteer teaching at Hatfield Elementary School. After the kindergarten and first-grade volunteers were done with their lessons, "every last one of them was on the playground. It's too cute," Alexia said. "They were thrilled to join their kids at recess and then even MORE thrilled when they heard they could spend the rest of their free time on the playground."

Complaint department: Need a voice for your business? You've got a local one. Gail Cooksey, President of Cooksey Communications, began a one-year term Jan. 1 (a day off, presumably) as a board member of the Texas Association of Business. TAB is an influential voice for public policy issues affecting business in Texas.

Memory from unmemorable season: The Redskins finally closed out a disappointing, injury-plagued season for the Dallas Cowboys, but Raymond Davila of Reliant Energy has pleasant memories of 2015 Redskins-Cowboys I. He and a buddy flew to Washington for the Monday Night Football, game, which they "planned at the beginning of the season when we thought we had a Super Bowl Team." They had two tickets on the 25-yard-line dubbed "Dream Seats," complete with all you-can-eat and drink and a personal server. After the game, they hung around the team buses and "to our surprise, several (players) came out to visit with fans and family." Raymond got several autographs, including Cowboys knit ski hats signed individually by Dez Bryant and Sean Lee.
Seeing Red: Red Entertainment via Red Sanders' Red Productions is co-producing in Fort Worth the film A Bad Idea Gone Wrong with Matt (Breaking Bad) Jones and Will (Bridge of Spies) Rogers. Thieves have to break out of a house they were robbing and there is a surprise hostage situation.

Calling all Willie Suttons: When Tyco hosted an East Area Council event, it mentioned that it is the security used by 70 percent of the world's banks.

iIdea is A+: Most of the Chamber Leads Groups develop one or more "service projects" for non-profits. Vince Nelson of Texas Can Academy is a member of the Cowtown Leads Executives, which meets Thursday mornings at IDEA Works FW. The group donated two iPads to be given away at a raffle for the TCA students with the highest grade point average at the Lancaster Avenue campus. Principals Ku-Masi Lewis and William Arevalo attended a Leads Group meeting to receive the iPads.

Running with scissors: We barely have settled our larger, but festive, derrieres into our workstations and Chamber membership moguls Teresa, Yolanda and Bric have the Am-Bass-Adorables working their tails off. Monday they check in for a checkup at CityDoc (not in the box) Urgent Care Center, 3020 W. 7th Street. The next day at 4:15, they are smelling the roses at Gordon Boswell Flowers, which has moved next door to 6204 Camp Bowie Blvd.

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