Most school supplies now qualify during sales tax holiday weekend

Good news for parents: Back-to-school preparations for Texas families are a little cheaper this year. Most school supply items are part of the three-day sales tax holiday weekend wrapping up at the close of business Sunday.

This year marks the first time since 1999, when the annual tax holiday began, that school supplies have been added to the tax-free list. As in previous years, the law exempts most clothing and footwear priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend. Backpacks under $100 and used by elementary and secondary students also are exempt. A backpack is defined as "a pack with straps one wears on the back," according to state officials. For a detailed list of qualifying items, visit the Web site of Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The address is:

Tech faculty member awarded NSF grant

Michael Mayer, an assistant professor in the Texas Tech department of chemistry and biochemistry, has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study new ways to bind molecules. He will receive $546,784 for the project through a career award, the foundation's most prestigious award in support of early-career scientists. Professor Mayer is the only Tech faculty member to receive the award this year. Four additional faculty members are conducting research with NSF career award money.

Strut for the Mutts event will benefit Haven

The fifth annual Strut for the Mutts dog-walking event hosted by the Haven Animal Care Shelter is set for Sept. 26 in Frank Higginbotham Park. "Bark your calendars to strut with your mutt to benefit the dogs and cats at a Lubbock animal haven," suggests the A-J's Adam D. Young. Dogs will have the opportunity to walk their owners along a 1.5-mile course through the park. Their owners just have to pay a $20 pre-registration fee for adults or $10 for children. Many of the dogs that strut in the event are "graduates" of the shelter. "It's kind of like a homecoming for them," said Joe Wilbanks, owner of the nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter. Dogs adopted from the Haven can wear a bandana designating them as a "Haven Graduate." For more information, call 763-0092 or visit .

Businessman honored with prestigious award

Joe Dee Brooks, owner of Allied Oilfield Machine & Pump in Levelland, and his company recently were named Texas Small Business of the Year by the Texas Association of Business. "I think my knack has been to surround myself with good people," said Mr. Brooks said. "Without them, you can't get an award like this." The oil industry has been his life, one way or another, since he graduated from Levelland High School in 1981. While working his first job, he made up his mind he'd like to have his own business eventually, but not because he was unhappy about working for someone else. "I think I was very fortunate I worked for, and with, some good people," he said.

Editorials represent the opinion of The Avalanche-Journal Editorial Board, which consists of Publisher Stephen A. Beasley, Editor Terry Greenberg, Editorial Page Editor Joe Hughes, editorial writer Joe Gulick, in addition to input provided by community advisory board members Adrienne Cozart, Juan Munoz and Dee Jay Wilde.

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