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Kansas City, Missouri Team 624 (CRyptonite) from Cinco Ranch High School won the Greater Kansas City Regional qualifying tournament and in the process established themselves as one of the top scoring teams in FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) teams so far this season.

 

As part of the tournament’s fourth-seed alliance with Team 1987 (BroncoBots) from Lee’s Summit, Missouri and Team 5801 (CTC Inspire) from Independence, Missouri, they faced the high-scoring number one seed alliance in the best-of-three semi-finals – an alliance that included a local team which has won this tournament four of the last five years.

They defeated the top alliance robots in straight matches 418-377 and 397-329.

In the first semi-final they did something that hadn’t been done by any alliance in the 6,402 matches that had been played all over the world to that point – delivering enough gears in autonomous to start two rotors (An animated explanation of the 2017 FRC game, STEAMworks, is at: http://www.firstinspires.org/node/3651 )

In the 2 minute, 30 second teleop (driver-controlled) phase that followed, the three alliance robots delivered enough gears to start all four rotors turning, for a 100 point bonus, which had been achieved by very few teams world-wide at that point in the season. All three Alliance robots climbed their ropes before the end of each semi-final match for another 150 points.

“All three of the robots in our alliance could score gears in both autonomous and teleop and they were consistent climbers,” said sophomore Amelia Kleiber, the team’s head of scouting at the tournament. “This was critical in being able to defeat the powerhouse number one alliance.”

In FRC tournaments, teams are ranked top to bottom based on performance during the qualification matches. Before the start of the elimination matches, all teams send a representative to the field and the top eight teams choose their first alliance partner. Then the number eight seed chooses their third partner and picking works its way back up the rankings with the number one seed having the final pick.

“Scouting is very important, and like most FRC teams, we have scouts at every tournament,” Kleiber said, “We evaluate every robot’s performance in all the qualification matches. Then we have a meeting with other team members and come up with a pick list of robots we think will help us the most in the elimination round.”

“CTC Inspire was also high on Broncobots pick list,” Kleiber added. “When we were standing down there on

the field waiting as the lower seed alliances made their [second and then third] picks, we were wondering ‘how are they still available?’ We were so happy to be able to pick them and they performed exactly as our scouting predicted they would.”

The CRyptonite alliance won the final in straight matches, winning the final match by scoring a tournament high 494 points.

“We improved our performance over Hub City [first tournament of the season],” said sophomore Danny Perego, the team’s driver. “We made a few small mechanical changes which helped our scoring in autonomous and also our ability to shoot.”

“At Hub City, we faced a lot of defense, so we practiced against defense before Kansas City,” said senior Jan- Felix Abellera, the team’s robot manipulator and one of their programmers. “We tuned the [robot] controller to Danny’s liking and that played a big role in better turning and maneuvering around other robots defending against us.”

“Also, Danny and I are working better as a team,’ Abellera added. “When we go behind the opponent’s airship, we lose sight of the robot. Even though we have an on-board camera, many times Danny’s actually driving the robot backwards. He’s better now at positioning himself in the driver’s station to be able to see the robot and I watch the camera view on our laptop and tell him references like, ‘there’s a robot behind you or in front of you’. “Yes, he’s my eyes,” Perego said with a smile.

For the second time in as many tournaments, CRyptonite won the Industrial Safety Award. Sponsored by UL, the award celebrates the team that progresses beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards.

CRyptonite will be competing at the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship tournament in Houston April 19-22.

Each year, all FRC teams receive that season’s challenge the first week of January. During a hectic six-week build season, the robotics students, working with adult Mentors, design, prototype and construct a robot to accomplish specific tasks required to compete in that game.

The FRC 2017 season game, STEAMworks, has a “steampunk” theme in which two “adventurers clubs” (alliances of three teams) compete to prepare steam-powered their airships for a long distance race. alliance robots score points in one of three ways:

  1. Build steam pressure. Robots collect fuel (balls) and score it into their boiler, which has a low and high ‘goal’.
  2. Start rotors. Robots deliver gears to pilots (human players) on their airship for installation. Once the gear train is complete, they turn the crank to start the rotor.
  3. Prepare for flight. Robots must latch on to their airship before the end of the match by ascending their ropes and activating a light which signals that they are ready for takeoff.

Each 2 ½ minute match begins with a 15 second autonomous period in which robots operate only on pre-programmed instructions to score points. This is followed by the teleoperated period in which the drivers control the robot.

 

About FIRST : Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was created to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST Robotics Competition is an annual competition that helps high school students discover the rewards and excitement of science, engineering, and technology. The 2017 season includes 3336 teams from 25 countries.

 

FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sports with science and technology to create a unique Varsity Sport for the Mind™. Participants are eligible to receive over $30 million in scholarships from some of the finest science and engineering schools in the country.

About CRyptonite: Since its founding in 2000, Cinco Ranch High School’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team 624 (“CRyptonite”) has achieved international recognition in all areas of FIRST Robotics Competition.

Highlights of the 2017 season include winning the coveted Regional Chairman’s Award at the Hub City Regional qualifying tournament, winning the Greater Kansas City Regional qualifying tournament, advancing to the semi-finals at Hub City and the Lone Star North Regional qualifying tournaments, winning the Industrial Safety

Award at both Hub City and Greater Kansas City, winning a FRIST Dean’s List Award for individual student achievement, along with an Innovation in Control Award at Lone Star North.

Team highlights from the 2015/2016 season include advancing to the Divisional Quarter-Finals of the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship, winning all three of the 2015 Regional Qualifying Tournaments the team entered: Dallas, Utah, and the Lone Star event in Houston, advancing to the finals of the 2016 Alamo Qualifying Tournament, along with winning Regional awards for Industrial Design, Quality, Imagery, and FIRST Dean’s List Awards for individual student achievement.

CRyptonite has also won team and individual student awards for Industrial Safety at the World Championship (2014), and won second place in the world-wide FIRST Safety Animation Contest (2014).

This has been possible through the generous financial and mentor support of our corporate sponsors, including founding sponsors BP America and Oceaneering Intervention Engineering. Other corporate sponsors include: ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Chemical, Texas Workforce Commission, Phillips 66, Wood Group, IPT Global, AECOMM, Bechtel Corporation, Subsea 7, Kinder Morgan, National Instruments, Katy Area Economic Development Council and Texas Hydrographic Society, Houston Chapter.

Team 624 has formed a partnership with the Katy Area Economic Development Council to promote awareness and support for robotics programs across Katy ISD.

We’re also indebted to numerous teachers, parents, mentors and our incredibly hardworking students.

To learn more about FIRST Robotics Competition: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc

For more information on Team 624: http://team624.org/

For more information on the 2017 FRC game, Steamworks: http://www.firstinspires.org/node/3651

Two-thirds of Americans experience low back pain according to the American Physical Therapy Association. In fact, almost all of us experience back or neck pain at some point in our lives, some of us frequently.

Join Dr. B Christoph Meyer, orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Sebastian Villarreal, pain specialist, and Dr. G. Alexander West, spine and neurosurgeon, for a free educational seminar about causes, prevention and management of neck and back pain.

The seminar will be held on Wednesday, April 19 from 6-8 p.m. in the Mesquite Conference Room at Houston Methodist West Hospital on 18500 Katy Frwy. at Barker Cypress.

Whether you’re experiencing back or neck pain for the first time, or whether you’ve been living with it your entire life, your pain is unique to you. At Houston Methodist West, we think your treatment should be, too.

Registration is required and seats are limited. To register for the neck and back pain seminar, visit houstonmethodist.org/events or call 832.522.5522.

The Central Fort Bend Chamber welcomed SurePoint Self Storage – Richmond at their new Fort Bend County location at 5310 Pointe West Circle in Richmond, TX. Staff, guests and family members took part in ribbon cutting photos, enjoyed networking and learned of the available services offered.

SurePoint Self Storage Partner, Robert Loeb gave appreciation to those in attendance stating, “This is our first facility for SurePoint Self Storage in Houston and we are excited about offering our product to the people of Fort Bend County.  We offer a high end product in terms of safety, cleanliness and security.  This has been a two year project in the making and I would like to thank each of you who have played a part in putting this project together”. Mr. Loeb went on to thank the Chamber and expressed his excitement to become involved within the community.  SurePoint Self Storage has been a member of the Texas Self Storage Association since 2002, offering individually alarmed units, 24/7 digital video recording, computerized access gate entry, moving supplies and materials and much more.

For more information, visit their website at: https://www.surepointselfstorage.com.

The Central Fort Bend Chamber is a 105 year old non-profit membership organization dedicated to creating a strong local economy where businesses can prosper. The Central Fort Bend Chamber advocates for over 1,000 local businesses led by a volunteer board of directors who are dedicated to sustaining Fort Bend County’s quality of life, and keeping our community and economy vibrant.

For more information on the Chamber or its programs, call 281-342-5464 or visit www.CFBCA.org.

 

Annie Jo turned 106 years old on March 14th, 2017. She has lived at Providence Place Senior Living for 10 years, since April 5, 2007. She is the sweetest person ever, always played bridge and stays active. Here are a few pictures we took with just a few of all the friends that came to her birthday party.

 

The Central Fort Bend Chamber’s monthly networking Breakfast in the Bend on March 7th was hosted at the new Aliana Market H-E-B located in Richmond. Jim Russ with EHRA Engineering and Chairman of the Central Fort Bend Chamber, welcomed over 100 guests and introduced Claire Rogers, Executive Director, Fort Bend County Museum Association as the guest speaker.

Ms. Rogers reviewed some of the programs offered by the Fort Bend County Museum Association (FBCMA), sharing exciting news about their new exhibit, Preserving Fort Bend County through the Arts. Ms. Rogers also spoke of upcoming plans to expand the Fort Bend County Museum stating, “Our future plans are to hopefully have a place in Fort Bend County to show all of our county’s history”. Claire stressed the importance of partnering with other organizations that have the same mission to preserve and educate the public on the history of our county stating, “We want to foster all the communities in the county to come together to show off their history and culture”. Claire spoke on upcoming events for FBCMA, including the “Peace, Love & Texas, Lone Star Stomp,” to be held on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the George Ranch Historical Park Arena.

Leah Luedeker, Unit Director of Aliana Market H-E-B and host of the Breakfast in the Bend thanked everyone for allowing her to share the distinctiveness of the new Aliana Market stating, “We are unique in the market as we are the only Texas Back Yard Store. We hang our hat with putting on events to create a shopping experience with our customers and creating excitement within the store”. She also spoke about H-E-B’s commitment to freshness, convenience and variety at the new Aliana Market. As the number one food provider in Texas, it is H‑E‑B’s goal to be responsive to customers who are seeking the highest quality in food choices at the lowest possible prices.

Following the event was the Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Aliana Market H-E-B Curbside.

For more information on Fort Bend County Museum or to read about the exciting upcoming events and exhibits, please visit: www.fortbendmuseum.org.

For more information on Aliana Market H-E-B please visit: www.heb.com.

The Central Fort Bend Chamber is a 106 year old non-profit membership organization dedicated to creating a strong local economy where businesses can prosper. The Central Fort Bend Chamber advocates for over 1,000 local businesses led by a volunteer board of directors who are dedicated to sustaining Fort Bend County’s quality of life, and keeping our community and economy vibrant.

For more information on the Chamber or its programs, call 281-342-5464 or visit www.CFBCA.org.

 

(February 23, 2017) The long-awaited Courtyard Wine Bar had its “Grand Debut Weekend” Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 2nd – 4th at the Live Oak Art Center in Columbus.  The Courtyard offers an extensive variety of wines from all over the world, a wide collection of craft beers as well as menu of Petite Fare – a delightful selection of gourmet Small Plates. The Courtyard Wine Bar is one of a small handful of not-for-profit bars in Texas, an emerging trend whereby profits go to support a charitable cause.

The Courtyard Wine Bar is a venture of the Live Oak Art Center (LOAC), located at 1014 Milam Street in Columbus, an independent not-for-profit organization seeking to increase the community’s understanding and appreciation of art and its evolving role in contemporary culture. LOAC promotes the arts by presenting exhibitions, developing educational programs and providing an environment for creative expression. All Courtyard Wine Bar profits will support the many programs of the Art Center.

Dubbed “a gallery of wine within a gallery of art” by Courtyard Wine Bar General Manager, Sandy Epps, this new addition seeks to reintroduce the community to the Live Oak Art Center and bring in an audience who have never been there before. “After all, wine and art have historically gone hand in hand. What could be a better fit?” said Mrs. Epps. “Here we’ve created a warm and friendly space where you can meet friends and enjoy a selection of world class wine, craft beer and Petite Fare that you can’t find elsewhere.”

The Courtyard Wine Bar is open at 4:00 pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  On Thursdays, plans include featuring flights of wine, visiting wine experts, cheese and food pairings, cooking demonstrations, etc.  Fridays your host will be LOAC Executive Director, Shawn “The Biermeister” Roberts offering various beer flights each week and on selected dates the new live music series “The Courtyard Wine Bar LIVE” featuring performances from artists from around the globe.  On selected Saturdays, The Courtyard Wine Bar presents the “Pop Up Chef Series – Fine Dining in a Small Plate Atmosphere” with unique small plate menus prepared exclusively for The Courtyard Wine Bar by a series of different guest chefs from around the Region.

Events announced for the “Grand Debut Weekend” are:

Thursday evening, March 2nd, Katy-based wine expert, Trevor Perry from Republic National Distributing Company, offering tastings and special discounts on wines distributed by Republic National.

Friday night, March 3rd will feature live music from 8:00 to 10:00 pm with acclaimed Austin singer/songwriter, Shelley King.  Shelley’s blend of original blues, rock, folk, country, soul and gospel led her to become the first woman named Official State Artist – Musician by the Texas legislature.  She has won Austin Music Awards for Song of the Year and Best Roots Rock Band.

Saturday March 4th, the Live Oak Art Center presents “Texas Women in Watercolor” Exhibit Opening where five Texas Women artists from Houston and Austin will have their watercolor artwork on display and will be in house to talk about their journey as Artists.  Later in the evening, the Pop-Up Chef Series welcomes Columbus native, Jacques Christensen.  Chef Christensen’s career began in Columbus working for Chef Wade Schindler at both Poody’s restaurant and Party Thyme catering.  He later became a chef at Buffalo Creek Winery, a popular restaurant and event destination in Brenham, before moving to Houston where he is now a private chef specializing in French/American cuisine.  Reservations are recommended for Saturday nights.  Reservations should be emailed to info@courtyardwinebar.com.

The Live Oak Art Center is located in the historic Brunson Building, built in 1891 and home to the Brunson Saloon. The building was purchased in 1985 by LOAC. The Courtyard Wine Bar is in the back of the building and includes the original bar from the Brunson Saloon which was painstakingly restored over the course of the past ten years. The bar opens up to a magnificent courtyard where chairs and tables have been added along with a brand new outdoor bar, lighting, sound system and Chef’s kitchen.

The entire venture has been funded by restoration grants and generous donations.  President of the LOAC board of directors, Roger Wade, said the back patio was not being put to good use. “We expect The Courtyard Wine Bar to increase visitors to Columbus, help revitalize the historic downtown area and bring in new audiences for the Live Oak Art Center.  Our dream is for it to also generate revenues that will permit us to expand our art programs.”  Mr. Wade and his wife, Marilyn Brasher Wade (also an LOAC board member) are active members of the Colorado County community and have been very involved in the area’s historic preservation.

The Brunson building hasn’t been used as a saloon since 1919. “Now, nearly 100 years later, by launching The Courtyard Wine bar we’re bringing the Brunson Saloon history around full circle,” said Mrs. Epps.

By Katy Area Chamber Of Commerce

Houston, TX — (March 2, 2017) – Rover Oaks Pet Resort was named “2017 Business of the Year” by The Katy Area Chamber Of Commerce on February 17, 2017. Among the deciding factors for which a business is selected for this prestigious award are the business’s involvement in civic and community organizations, initiatives taken and contributions made to improve the community, and their demonstration of excellence as a Katy area business.

Upon opening the doors of its original location in 2001, Rover Oaks quickly secured a reputation as one of the most trusted pet resorts in the Houston metropolitan area, and clients encouraged the team to develop another location on the west side of town. Co-Founder and President of Rover Oaks Pet Resort in Houston, Steve Smith, partnered with pet lover/businesswoman Joy Lee to open Rover Oaks Pet Resort in Katy on September 11, 2006.

“Over the past ten years, I’ve learned that there is nothing like the spirit of community in Katy, Texas,” said Steve Smith, Co-Founder of Rover Oaks Pet Resort in Katy. “While the city has grown immeasurably since 2006 when we first opened our business, it has still maintained an incredible spirit of community that you can’t find anywhere else. We are delighted to be a part of that community, and we are truly honored to accept this award,” he added.

“Our staff has worked tremendously hard over the past ten years and together, we are honored to accept this award recognizing our dedication to the Katy community. We will continue to make the betterment of our community a top priority in the years to come,” said Joy Lee, Co-Founder and General Manager of Rover Oaks Pet Resort in Katy.

Rover Oaks Pet Resort has won over 30 awards in recognition of exceptional service and humanitarian efforts including the Better Business Bureau’s highest honors for the last 6 years. Owners and staff are also active volunteers in the community. For non-profit organizations and rescue groups, and particularly with Citizens for Animal Protection, Rover Oaks has donated thousands of service hours, fostered hundreds of dogs and cats, and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rover Oaks recently wrapped up its sixth annual Operation: War Dogs fundraiser, cumulatively raising more than $90,000 for that organization.

Since 2001, the Rover Oaks team has built an unrivaled depth of reliability and trust with clients needing boarding, daycare, grooming and training services for their pets. The demand for superior pet care and exceptional customer service, and pet owners’ eagerness to patronize a business that embodies such a standard, is the reason Rover Oaks has done so well since its inception.

Activities, Events Celebrate Those Who Help People In Need

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 — They deliver food and water during floods. They rush to home fire sites – in Houston, nearly 30 per week – to offer water, blankets and other comforts. They carve out time to deliver hygiene products to homeless veterans and teach children how to prepare for disasters. Others give up weekends to help install smoke alarms in communities where they are needed.

These are American Red Cross volunteers and they, as well as Red Cross donors and others who come together to prevent and alleviate human suffering, are being celebrated as everyday heroes during March is Red Cross Month. 

“March has been recognized as Red Cross Month by United States presidents for more than 70 years,” said MaryJane Mudd, Regional Communications Officer, American Red Cross of the Texas Gulf Coast. It shines a light on those who selflessly dedicate their time, talent and treasure to help the Red Cross serve those in need.

In calendar year 2016, more than 4,845 volunteers throughout the Texas Gulf Coast responded to 1,138 home fires, installed 6,351 smoke alarms, educated 2,316 youth in disaster preparedness, opened nearly 3,924 cases to assist military families and veterans, trained 71,672 in First Aid, CPR/AED/Aquatics and Water Safety, distributed 80,000 units of critical blood products to 15 hospitals and provided 1,078 senior and chronically ill people 27,328 one-way trips to important medical appointments.

“We could never do these things without our everyday heroes and we are honored to celebrate them,” said Mudd.

Houston March is Red Cross Month activities and events include:  

City Hall Lighting in Red & White

Monday, March 6 – Friday, March 10

900 Baby St., Houston

Red Cross Month Proclamation

Tuesday, March 7

1:30 p.m. – City Council Member Amanda Edwards presenting

Susan McEldon, KHOU-TV President & General Manager, Chair of Greater Houston Red Cross Board, receiving

Houston City Hall Chambers, 900 Bagby St., Houston

Wrapped in Red Luncheon Featuring Dan Rather

Thursday, March 23 | 12:00 p.m.

Hilton Americas – Houston

1600 Lamar St., Houston

Ticket information at redcross.org/luncheon

American Red Cross Wednesday Spirit Nights

March 8: Berryhill Restaurant, 1717 Post Oak Blvd

March 15: Freebirds, 3745 Greenbriar Dr., Houston

March 22: Raising Canes, 5326 South Rice Ave.

March 29: Elevation Burger, 3819 Kirby Dr., Houston

It’s easy to become a Red Cross everyday hero, Mudd noted. People can be ready for an emergency by creating a preparedness plan for their homes or testing their smoke detectors and telling neighbors to do the same. 

“We are in critical need of Disaster Services volunteers right now, too,” she added. “Anyone who wants to learn more about that can call 713.313.1611. Finally, donations are always welcome and much needed. Just go to redcross.org to donate.”

Celebrations include weekend-long demos of program activities and group exercise classes, a carnival

and an opportunity to try the Y for free 

KATY – Its doors are open, and YMCA officials are ready to make their newest and state-of-the-art center, the YMCA at Katy Main Street, 1350 Main St., official. On March 3, the YMCA of Greater Houston will host a grand-opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the second YMCA in Katy and one of the most unique centers in the Greater Houston area.

A brief ceremony, which will begin at 10 a.m., will include remarks from Paul McEntire, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Houston; Ann Hodge of the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce, David Ruzicka, chairman of the board for the Katy Area YMCAs; Carlos Valdez, chairman of the Board for the YMCA of Greater Houston; and Pam Filip, executive director of the YMCA at Katy Main Street.

From March 3-5, all are invited to try the new center free of charge. Those who choose to join before March 6 will pay no join fee, a savings of $125.

On March 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the YMCA at Katy Main Street will host a round of demos for much of what the new center has to offer, including TRX, Body Flow and Zumba classes and a Motion Magix kids’ zone. (See schedule below for all demos.) During the same time, there will be carnival-type activities for families and kids, including face painting, a “selfie station”, balloon making, games, a bingo map for visiting different areas of the new Y, and a drawing for Fitbits and other prizes. If the weather permits, the pool will be open for limited hours. Popcorn and juice will be on hand for refreshments.

On March 5 from 1 to 4 p.m., similar demos and festivities will continue.

YMCA at Katy Main Street

The YMCA at Katy Main Street took the best designs from YMCA centers around the nation and incorporated them into one 41,000 square-foot facility with extra modern amenities and a sleek, airy design.

The $12 million center offers the latest exercise crazes including TRX and aerial yoga. Its outdoor pool is heated and connected to private changing rooms.

The YMCA at Katy Main Street features strength training and cardio equipment, group exercise rooms, a basketball gym, Child Watch rooms to accommodate children from six weeks to 11 years old, an outdoor playground and sports fields, a cycle studio and coffee bar. It also includes health and wellness activities, aquatics, youth sports, after-school care, summer day camp, summer sports clinics, teen programs, senior activities and more.

The new center is expected to receive more than 400,000 visits a year. It will provide approximately $250,000 in community assistance and program/membership scholarships as well as create more than 200 area jobs.

Demo Schedule: 

Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

10:15 – Family Pickleball (Outside)

10:45 – Body Flow (Outside)

11:00 – Dance (Mind/Body Studio)

11:30 – TKD (Outside)

11:30 – Aerial Yoga (Personal Training Studio)

11:45 – Cheer (Outside)

12:00 – Zumba (Outside)

12:00 – TRX – (Personal Training Studio)

12:15 – Zumba Strong (Outside)

12:30 – Body Jam (Outside)

12:45 – DrumFit (Outside)

1:00 – Barre Workout (Outside)

1:00 – Exergames (Kids Zone)

1:30 – Motion Magix (Kids Zone)

Sunday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

1:00 – Enhance Fitness (Outside)

1:15 – Silver Sneakers (Outside)

1:30 – CXWorx (Outside)

1:45 – Zumba (Outside)

2:00 – Zumba Toning (Outside)

2:00 – Exergames (Kids Zone)

2:15 – Body Pump (Outside)

2:30 – Body Combat (Outside)

2:30 – Motion Magix (Kids Zone)

2:45 – Mat Pilates (Outside)

3:00 – TKD (Outside)

3:15 – Soccer (Outside)

The long-awaited Courtyard Wine Bar will have its “Grand Debut Weekend” Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 2nd – 4th at the Live Oak Art Center in Columbus. The Courtyard offers an extensive variety of wines from all over the world, a wide collection of craft beers as well as menu of Petite Fare – a delightful selection of gourmet Small Plates. The Courtyard Wine Bar is one of a small handful of not-for-profit bars in Texas, an emerging trend whereby profits go to support a charitable cause.

The Courtyard Wine Bar is a venture of the Live Oak Art Center (LOAC), located at 1014 Milam Street in Columbus, an independent not-for-profit organization seeking to increase the community’s understanding and appreciation of art and its evolving role in contemporary culture. LOAC promotes the arts by presenting exhibitions, developing educational programs and providing an environment for creative expression. All Courtyard Wine Bar profits will support the many programs of the Art Center.

Dubbed “a gallery of wine within a gallery of art” by Courtyard Wine Bar General Manager, Sandy Epps, this new addition seeks to reintroduce the community to the Live Oak Art Center and bring in an audience who have never been there before. “After all, wine and art have historically gone hand in hand. What could be a better fit?” said Mrs. Epps. “Here we’ve created a warm and friendly space where you can meet friends and enjoy a selection of world class wine, craft beer and Petite Fare that you can’t find elsewhere.”

The Courtyard Wine Bar is open at 4:00 pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Thursdays, plans include featuring flights of wine, visiting wine experts, cheese and food pairings, cooking demonstrations, etc. Fridays your host will be LOAC Executive Director, Shawn “The Biermeister” Roberts offering various beer flights each week and on selected dates the new live music series “The Courtyard Wine Bar LIVE” featuring performances from artists from around the globe. On selected Saturdays, The Courtyard Wine Bar presents the “Pop Up Chef Series – Fine Dining in a Small Plate Atmosphere” with unique small plate menus prepared exclusively for The Courtyard Wine Bar by a series of different guest chefs from around the Region.

Events announced for the “Grand Debut Weekend” are:

Thursday evening, March 2nd, Katy-based wine expert, Trevor Perry from Republic National Distributing Company, offering tastings and special discounts on wines distributed by Republic National.

Friday night, March 3rd will feature live music from 8:00 to 10:00 pm with acclaimed Austin singer/songwriter, Shelley King. Shelley’s blend of original blues, rock, folk, country, soul and gospel led her to become the first woman named Official State Artist – Musician by the Texas legislature. She has won Austin Music Awards for Song of the Year and Best Roots Rock Band.

Saturday March 4th, the Live Oak Art Center presents “Texas Women in Watercolor” Exhibit Opening where five Texas Women artists from Houston and Austin will have their watercolor artwork on display and will be in house to talk about their journey as Artists. Later in the evening, the Pop-Up Chef Series welcomes Columbus native, Jacques Christensen. Chef Christensen’s career began in Columbus working for Chef Wade Schindler at both Poody’s restaurant and Party Thyme catering. He later became a chef at Buffalo Creek Winery, a popular restaurant and event destination in Brenham, before moving to Houston where he is now a private chef specializing in French/American cuisine. Reservations are recommended for Saturday nights. Reservations should be emailed to info@courtyardwinebar.com.

The Live Oak Art Center is located in the historic Brunson Building, built in 1891 and home to the Brunson Saloon. The building was purchased in 1985 by LOAC. The Courtyard Wine Bar is in the back of the building and includes the original bar from the Brunson Saloon which was painstakingly restored over the course of the past ten years. The bar opens up to a magnificent courtyard where chairs and tables have been added along with a brand new outdoor bar, lighting, sound system and Chef’s kitchen.

The entire venture has been funded by restoration grants and generous donations. President of the LOAC board of directors, Roger Wade, said the back patio was not being put to good use. “We expect The Courtyard Wine Bar to increase visitors to Columbus, help revitalize the historic downtown area and bring in new audiences for the Live Oak Art Center. Our dream is for it to also generate revenues that will permit us to expand our art programs.” Mr. Wade and his wife, Marilyn Brasher Wade (also an LOAC board member) are active members of the Colorado County community and have been very involved in the area’s historic preservation.

The Brunson building hasn’t been used as a saloon since 1919. “Now, nearly 100 years later, by launching The Courtyard Wine bar we’re bringing the Brunson Saloon history around full circle,” said Mrs. Epps.