Mike Copeland: Baylor welcome center; Comptroller ice cream; Rockin Rolls – Waco Tribune-Herald

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Mike Copeland: Baylor welcome center; Comptroller ice cream; Rockin Rolls – Waco Tribune-Herald

Mike Copeland: Baylor welcome center; Comptroller ice cream; Rockin Rolls

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Mike Copeland: Baylor welcome center; Comptroller ice cream; Rockin Rolls

bu welcome center (copy)

A rendering shows plans for the million Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center planned near University Parks Drive and Interstate 35.

Baylor University, provided

Baylor University is getting down to business on its new Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, described as the campus’ front door.

Houston-based J.T. Vaughn Construction secured a building permit Tuesday valued at $58 million to build the center at 901 S. University Parks Drive. It will be visible from Interstate 35. The project was announced in late 2018.

“The new facility will serve as the home of undergraduate admissions and for Baylor Alumni, include banquet and conference facilities and an interactive ‘experience’ for prospective students and families,” according to a press release announcing regents had approved the start of construction on the 125,000-square-foot facility.

Officials have estimated the cost of the project at $75 million and said work is expected to wrap up in the spring of 2023.

Until Mark Hurd’s death in 2019, he served with his wife, Paula, as co-chair of Baylor’s $1.1 billion Give Light fundraising campaign. He was a CEO of Oracle Corp. and previously CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

Comptroller ice cream

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is not a fan of Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream company that announced last week it would cease sales in Israeli-occupied territories, which include the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The company announced Monday it plans not to renew its agreement with a licensee that produces its ice cream in the region.

“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” according to the statement, which is just six sentences long. “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners. … Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement. We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready.”

Hegar joined a long list of politicians in the United States and Israel responding to the ice cream maker. In a press release, Hegar said if his office determines Ben & Jerry’s or its London-based parent, Unilever, have violated Texas Government Code Chapter 808, it will take appropriate actions. The law, passed in 2017 and narrowed in 2019 after a legal challenge, requires the comptroller to keep a list of companies that boycott Israel and requires state entities to divest any interests in those companies, though exceptions abound to protect state assets.

“Texans have made it very clear that they stand with Israel and its people,” Hegar said in his press release. “We are against those wishing to undermine Israel’s economy and its people. … My office has a long history of supporting Israel through our bond holdings and the Comptroller’s list of scrutinized companies with ties to Iran, as well as those with ties to foreign terrorist organizations.”

Adding a personal opinion, Hegar said, “I would also note that Texans have better options for a sweet treat this summer. Blue Bell was founded in Brenham, Texas, and, for my money, tastes much better than the stuck-up stuff made by a foreign-owned company started in Vermont.”

Blue Bell, by the way, does not distribute its ice cream to stores in Israel or in Vermont, or anywhere north of Indiana for that matter. It will ship four half-gallons anywhere in the continental United States for $135, or more for Alaska or Hawaii.

Rockin Rolls

Rockin Rolls has opened a second Waco-area location, this one in the former Greek Grill space at Richland Mall, according to a mall press release.

Bruce Beason, who owns FX Game Exchange in Richland Mall, and his brother, James Beason, opened their first location with the “Rockin Roll/Eddie Van Halen” theme last year in Union Hall at Franklin Avenue and Eighth Street.

“All rolls are wrapped in handmade dough and carefully rolled to perfection. There are several types of rolls offered; including The Monte Cristo, Albuquerque, Waco, Cajun, Hot Dogger, New Yorker, Philly and more,” according to the press release.

Sparrow shop

Sparrow, a one-stop treasure hunt filled with “random weirdness,” announced its presence at 1518 Austin Ave. It opens Sundays, hosts an “Outdoor Vendor Fair” on Saturdays and has seen its vendor list grow to 34, according to a press release.

“Each vendor shows off personality through unique style, inventory, and products. We specialize in gifts, furniture, handmade goods, local artisan creations and antiques,” the press release says.

Potential vendors can email inquiries to Sparrow.waco@gmail.com.

Fastest Labs

San Antonio-based Fastest Labs, a drug, alcohol and DNA testing franchise, has announced new locations in Garland, Pearland and South Austin. Of local interest perhaps is the company’s plans to develop an additional 15 locations throughout Texas by 2023. Waco appears on that wish list, along with other midsize communities such as Tyler, Abilene, Lubbock and Wichita Falls.

A press release says Fastest Labs provides testing for individuals and companies needing urine screening; hair, fingernail, saliva and sweat-patch testing; DNA and paternity testing; and drug program monitoring.

“Each location is committed to seeing individuals within five minutes of their arrival with no appointment necessary, as Fastest Labs proprietary technology eliminates the need for paperwork,” the press release says.

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