Five stories that have North Texas talking: Dallas is five spots shy of last place in new rankings on family-friendly cities; a win for the little guys — public school pre-k programs will be awarded $118 million; watch two docs on restoring Texas to its former glory; and more.
If you had a dollar for every North Texas town in the Top 10 of a recent study, you’d be $8 richer. In order — Southlake, University Park, Colleyville, Allen, Flower Mound, Frisco, Coppell and Keller ranked as the best North Texas cities for families in the state. But to every “best of” list, there’s the “worst of” counterpart, and that’s where you'll find Dallas.
Of the 112 largest Texas cities measured, Dallas ranked No. 107 -- between San Benito and Texarkana. No other North Texas towns ranked that poorly. DeSoto was the closest neighbor at No. 93, and Fort Worth, Arlington and Garland hovered around the middle. So what gives, Dallas?
To determine the rankings, WalletHub, the personal website that published the study, used 21 metrics that fell into one of these four categories: Family Life & Fun (playgrounds, attractions, etc.), Education, Health & Safety, Affordability and Socioeconomic Environment (divorce rate, wealth gap, etc.). Each of the categories weighed 25 points for a possible score of 100. The ranking that hurt Dallas’ overall score of 35.93 the most was affordability, (or the lack thereof). The Big D came in dead last.
- Hundreds of Texas public school districts will receive a financial boost from a $118-million grant program to improve pre-kindergarten. Funds will be distributed among 587 school districts in the state as a part of a grant program approved with the passage of House Bill 4 during last year’s legislative session. Qualifying districts can receive up to $1,500 per student, but the program allotted a base amount of $734, The Texas Tribune reported. Texans Care for Children, a children’s policy organization, said although the “relatively small grants” were a “good step,” it will be challenging for school districts to establish sustained improvements. The awards will be paid out in two installments: the first one coming immediately and another this fall. [The Texas Tribune]
- Say goodbye to the cheap seats — AMC Valley View 16 is closing. Amid the frivolous Alamo Drafthouses, mainstream Cinemarks and high-brow art houses, one humble theater in a North Dallas mall provided a unique movie-going experience all its own. D Magazine described it as such: “Crowds range from sparse to nonexistent, parking is plentiful, the lobby is quiet and clean, and the prices — a matinee show will cost you $4, while movies after 4 pm start at $6 — are affordable, to put it mildly. Wandering the ghost mall and checking in on some of Valley View’s current tenants, mostly art galleries and offbeat independent retailers, is a great way to kill some time before the movie.” Sounds nice, huh? Well, to make way for Dallas Midtown, the old theater has to be razed, and with it, the quiet magic of going to the movies. [D Magazine]
- In tonight’s “Frame of Mind,” two Texas documentaries focus on the importance of restoration and preservation for a city’s identity. The episode features “The Grove, Texas,” a film by Lori Navjar on a collector trying to save a small dying town in Texas, and “Restore” by Mark Birnbaum, who explores the fusion of history, science and art in architectural restoration. Art&Seek caught up with both filmmakers to preface tonight’s episode, airing at 10 p.m. on KERA TV. Read that here. The new season of “Frame of Mind”, a collaborative effort between Art&Seek and Video Association of Dallas, will premiere this fall. [Art&Seek, KERA TV]
- Can you guess where these well-known Dallasites live? Central Track created “Fame Game,” a quiz testing your knowledge on where some of Dallas’ most familiar personalities kick off their shoes at the end of the day. You might be surprised to learn you live near Elm Street Tattoo owner Oliver Peck, legendary musician Erykah Badu or even the 43rd president of the United States. Take the quiz here. [Central Track]