Five stories that have North Texas talking: Just one North Texas locale ranked well as a staycation-worthy city; “Donald Trump is a shape shifting lizard”; hundreds of people on state commissions and boards have expired terms; and more.
Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano and Garland all made the list of 2016’s Best & Worst Cities, a recent study from WalletHub, a personal finance website. If a summer getaway isn’t in the cards this year, there’s some bad news: All of these North Texas towns ranked poorly among the 150 cities analyzed in the study. And if you live in Fort Worth, there’s more bad news: It’s one of the worst — No. 145, actually.
To determine the rankings, WalletHub compared recreation, food and entertainment, and rest and relaxation among the 150 most populated U.S. cities. These three categories were broken down into 28 specific metrics with individual weights. Here’s more on the methodology.
Recreation includes things like the number of basketball courts, parks, hiking trails, shopping malls and miles of bike lanes. Food and entertainment is pretty self-explanatory, but the metric where a few Texas cities scored worst was the low number of coffee shops. And the broad rest and relaxation category includes cost of housecleaning, number of wellness centers and spas and number of beaches. Obviously, North Texas was at a disadvantage with that one.
So if you’re staying local this summer, like nearly two-thirds of Americans are, according to WalletHub, one North Texas destination ranked in the top third of the study and might be worth a visit — Grand Prairie. [WalletHub]
- “Bernie for president.” “Work is canceled — Go back home.” “Party hardy.” Several electronic traffic signs in Dallas have been hacked recently to read these messages. Three signs including one reading “Donald Trump is a shape shifting lizard,” were hacked in West Dallas, The Dallas Morning News reported, and on Sunday another sign in Uptown read: “Gorilla deserved it,” referring to the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo on May 28. Similar activity occurred two weeks ago when a 26-year-old man from Leander was charged for allegedly changing a sign 25 miles north of Austin to read “Drive Crazy Yall.” Authorities aren’t sure why this type of criminal mischief (Tampering with transportation communication equipment is a third-degree felony.) is happening. The offender from Central Texas just thought it was funny, he said. Read more. [The Dallas Morning News]
- Nearly 350 people currently serving on various state boards and commissions have expired terms. In Texas, there are 336 holdover appointees, which are people appointed and have yet to be replaced by government officials. And by Sept. 1, 20 more gubernatorial appointees will reach the end of their term, The Texas Tribune reported. “The appointees can stay in office as long as they are eligible — alive and Texan, basically — and have not been replaced, regardless of the length of their actual terms.” Gov. Greg Abbott has made several appointments since his term began in 2015, but he’s still working through the backlog. During his four-year term, Abbott can make as many as 3,000 appointments, ranging from “the very prestigious and powerful” to the “prosaic” positions in Texas government. Read more. [The Texas Tribune]
- Every name has a story, and you can be the one to tell it. Texas Standard has launched a project asking Texans to submit the stories behind street names, landmarks, public parks and even towns across the state. An example from Wells Dunbar: “In Austin, there’s a street named Convict Hill close to my neighborhood. After you see it a few times, it may seem pretty normal. But what’s the history there? Well, it turns out that convict and slave labor quarried tons of rock from that area – and several unnamed “convicts” died at that very spot.” Once you have a (factual) story, fill out the form and read other pertinent information on this page. [Texas Standard]
- Denton’s Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios closed their doors Sunday after a weekend-long sendoff. The arts and music venue opened in 1997 under the ownership of Memory and Jayson Wortham. It began as a place for bands to practice but throughout its nearly two decades, the club holistically served Denton’s creative community, Dallas Observer reported. “Whatever happens next, it’s nice to take solace in the fact that Denton is, and has always been, filled with a ton of creative people with creative ideas to make the town a better place to live.” The venue announced its imminent closure on May 4 and used the month to book a weekend of shows to end the era properly. Read more about RGRS. [Dallas Observer]