Cat Work Tools (copy) (copy)

A Caterpillar employee in Waco works on a component. Holt Cat in February announced it had entered into a contract to buy the Caterpillar Work Tools plant on Texas Central Parkway.

A new home in Lorena is being raffled to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a medical facility featured in heart-tugging TV commercials starring youngsters battling cancer. Patients are not required to pay for treatment or travel.

Each year, St. Jude and builders around the country raffle homes for the cause. The Alford Co. locally is offering a 2,400-square-foot home featuring four bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, private master suite and open kitchen with a large island in the Creekside subdivision, with an estimated value of $340,000, according to a press release.

To reserve tickets, priced at $100 apiece, the public is asked to call 800-775-9308 or visit Tickets also can be bought during open houses. Just stopping by offers an opportunity to register to win a $10,000 shopping spree from FFO Home, the furniture store in the former Hastings multimedia space at North Valley Mills Drive and Bosque Boulevard, the press release states.

Open houses will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 11, and the winner will be announced Aug. 15. The house is at 10293 Creekside Lane.

To date, 500 houses have been awarded, and the program has raised more than $425 million for St. Jude, the press release states.

“Because a majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors through programs such as this, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most — saving kids regardless of their financial situation,” according to the press release.

Holt Cat talk

Peter J. Holt and Corinna Holt Richter, top executives for San Antonio-based Holt Cat, will speak at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce’s mid-year membership luncheon scheduled July 24 at the Baylor Club in McLane Stadium. Chamber members pay $35 for individual tickets, non-members pay $70, and the deadline to order is fast approaching.

To ask questions or order tickets, call Rachel Alston at 757-5604. Information also is available at

The father of Peter J. Holt and Corinna Richter is Peter M. Holt, the founder of Holt Cat, a major Caterpillar dealership, and owner of the San Antonio Spurs professional basketball team. They both have assumed management positions in Holt Cat and Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the corporate parent of the San Antonio Spurs, according to company information.

Holt Cat in February announced it had entered into a contract to buy the Caterpillar Work Tools plant on Texas Central Parkway. The complex, which includes buildings 128,000 and 74,000 square feet in size, was shuttered in December, eliminating 200 local jobs. Caterpillar corporate announced earlier last year local operations would be merged with those in Wamego, Kansas.

At the time, Peter J. Holt released a statement saying Holt Cat was considering a variety of uses for the space. The dealerships serves an 118-county area, including McLennan County, with machinery and parts.

‘Before Houdini’ signing

Robinson High School graduate John Lucas will be signing copies of his soon-to-be-released comic book “Before Houdini” on Saturday at Bankston’s, a collectibles shop at 1321 S. Valley Mills Drive, according to a press release.

“Before Houdini” is the sequel to “After Houdini.”

“John comes back occasionally to see old friends and see his lovely mom who still resides in Waco,” Bankston’s owner Brent Bankston wrote in the press release.

Lucas has worked as a penciller, inker and artist for Marvel, DC, Darkhorse, Image and Mad Magazine on titles including “Deadpool,” “Wolverine,” “Uncanny X-Force,” “Shang Chi,” “Batman,” “Superman,” “Starman,” “Conan,” “Fear Agent,” “Predator” and “Harvey Pekar,” according to the press release.

Walmart EV charging

Walmart, in collaboration with Electrify America, announced it has placed an electric vehicle charging station at its store off Interstate 35 in Bellmead.

Electrify American chargers at Walmart stores are available for public use 24 hours a day and feature 150 kilowatt and 350kw DC fast charges. Chargers with this capacity can charge capable vehicles at speeds of up to 20 miles of range per minute, according to a press release from Walmart.

More than 130 Walmart stores in the United States offer charging options, including 15 in Texas, and the company hopes to power half of its operations with renewable energy by 2025, the press release states.

Touting its association with Texas business, Walmart’s press release states it spent $52.4 billion with Texas suppliers in fiscal year 2018.

Gas prices

The big wind called Barry is starting to bear down on gas prices as Louisiana residents’ homes remain evacuated and other residents brace against its heavy rains.

The average price for regular unleaded has increased nearly a nickel locally the past week as Barry made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane before being downgraded to a tropical storm Saturday.

With Gulf Coast oil refining and drilling facilities threatened, the Waco-area norm had reached $2.44 for a gallon of regular unleaded by Saturday afternoon, a 2-cent jump from Friday, according to

Several Greater Waco locations were selling regular unleaded priced at $2.29 a gallon on Saturday. Nationally, the average stood at $2.75 on Thursday, just as Barry was making its move, while the Texas average stood at $2.47, according to the AAA auto club.

The national average was hugging $2.80 on Saturday, according to AAA.

“Gas prices are expected to continue increasing throughout the month of July, but drivers are still paying less for retail gasoline this summer compared to this time last year,” AAA Texas spokesman Daniel Armbruster wrote in a press release.

Perhaps ironically, Odessa in the Texas oil patch has seen a 15-cent jump in gas prices the past week, the largest in the state, making its $2.69 average for regular unleaded the second-highest in the state, behind El Paso’s $2.75.

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