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Mike Copeland: Celebrities at the diaper plant; Locals on state aviation committee; Gas prices

Mike Copeland: Celebrities at the diaper plant; Locals on state aviation committee; Gas prices

76th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard will celebrate the opening of their Hello Bello diaper plant on Texas Central Parkway in Waco on Oct. 26, where they have remodeled the former Domtar diaper-making plant.

Married actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard will visit Waco Oct. 26 to celebrate the opening of their Hello Bello diaper plant on Texas Central Parkway, where they have remodeled the former Domtar diaper-making plant under the guidance of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Design.

The 312,000-square-foot facility, with a decorative exterior far from functional, has become an integrated facility that created “over 150 made-in-the USA jobs, provides greater sustainability in production and distribution, allows for best-in-class quality control and keeps costs low for the consumer, delivering on the brand promise of ‘never having to choose between your baby or your budget,’” a press release from Hello Bello says.

The grand opening will include remarks from Bell and Shepard, Waco Mayor Dillon Meek, representatives of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and “special surprise guests, Waco celebs, if you will.”

Hello Bello will invest $31 million in its Waco facility, which will produce plant-based diapers, wipes, toiletries and other infant products. The company was founded in 2018 and is based in Los Angeles.

“We welcome yet another California company that sees the benefits that Texas, Waco and McLennan County have to offer,” McLennan County Judge Scott Felton said.

Locals on aviation committee

Lauren Dreyer, a McGregor resident who directs SpaceX’s Starlink business operations, has been reappointed to Texas’ Aerospace and Aviation Advisory Committee. Dreyer, who received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Baylor University and an MBA from Texas A&M University, has been employed at SpaceX nearly 15 years, in business development, finance, human resources and operations, according to a governor’s office press release announcing appointments to the committee.

Starlink is SpaceX’s global internet service that will rely on thousands of small satellites in low-Earth orbit, according to online information. Starlink will serve primarily as a revenue generator to support SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s stated goal of colonizing Mars.

McGregor is home to a SpaceX facility that tests rocket engines. A second plant being built nearby will produce rockets.

Receiving a new appointment to the advisory committee is Waco businessman Jim Allmon, president of Blackhawk Aerospace. Allmon is a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and former president of the Waco Aviation Alliance. He served in the U.S. Air Force, attended the University of Maryland, and received pilot training at Spartan School of Avionics in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Blackhawk, located at Waco Regional Airport, upgrades, modifies and installs performance enhancements on turboprop aircraft. Blackhawk recently announced it had completed 1,000 upgrades since its founding in 1999, selling a product to a customer in South Carolina who commutes to Alaska bout five times a year on business, flying a King Air 350.

Gas prices

Have you noticed a frightening trend at the gas pumps? Prices have risen higher than a black cat’s back. AAA Texas announced Thursday the statewide average for a gallon of regular unleaded had hit $2.93, 6 cents more than the previous Thursday and $1.07 more than the same day last year.

Drivers in El Paso were paying $3.15, highest in the state, while those in Lubbock were paying the least at $2.85 per gallon on average. Waco checked in tied for second-lowest with San Antonio at $2.86 per gallon, which is not inconsequential considering AAA Texas analyzes 27 metro areas.

“Texans are paying the most for retail gasoline since 2014,” AAA spokesperson Daniel Armbruster said in a press release. “With more people traveling and returning to the office, demand for fuel is on the rise. Factor in surging crude oil prices due to OPEC+ forgoing further production increases and we’re seeing a trend that we’re not used to seeing in October.”

Business roundup

Brian Hill, of Waco, an Air Force veteran who previously had a position with Waco-based Neighborly, has been named franchise development manager at Griswold Home Care, a non-medical company that offers in-home care to adults with disabilities, illnesses and injuries in 30 states, according to a press release. Hill hopes to sign 10 franchisees in his first year.

Waco’s tourism industry should enjoy the sound emanating from Waco ISD Stadium on Oct. 30. High school marching bands from throughout Texas will compete in the 2021 Bands of America Waco Regional Championship, presented by Yamaha. The contest will feature 23 bands performing during morning preliminaries, with judges choosing 12 to advance to the finals that evening.

Triple B’s Smokehouse in Speegleville is placing a second location at 899 S. Hewitt Drive, its Facebook page providing updates on construction. Lots of people posting messages of approval and praising Triple B’s barbecue.

Booths remain available business to promote themselves during Find Your Waco, an event from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Waco Convention Center and Freedom Fountain. Sponsored by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, it is meant to provide information “about everything Greater Waco has to offer,” according to a press release. “If you’re looking to fill positions, recruit volunteers or share your message with a broader audience, this event is for you.” For more information, call Jennifer Branch at 254-757-5625.

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