Texas is the second-largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state in the contiguous United States. The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in East Texas. Located in the South Central United States, Texas is bordered by Mexico to the south, New Mexico to the west, Oklahoma to the north, Arkansas to the northeast, and Louisiana to the east. Texas has an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2), and a growing population of 25.1 million residents.
Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest in the United States, while San Antonio is the second largest in the state and seventh largest in the United States. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and sixth largest United States metropolitan areas, respectively. Other major cities include El Paso and Austin—the state capital. Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify Texas as an independent republic and as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico. The "Lone Star" can be found on the Texas State Flag and on the Texas State Seal today.
Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes that resemble both the American South and Southwest. Although Texas is popularly associated with the Southwestern deserts, less than 10% of the land area is desert. Most of the population centers are located in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the desert and mountains of the Big Bend.
The term "six flags over Texas" came from the several nations that had ruled over the territory. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony in Texas. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845 it joined the United States as the 28th state. The state's annexation set off a chain of events that caused the Mexican–American War in 1846. A slave state, Texas declared its secession from the United States in early 1861, joining the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. After the war and its restoration to the Union, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.
One Texas industry that thrived after the Civil War was cattle. Due to its long history as a center of the industry, Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy. The state's economic fortunes changed in the early 20th century, when oil discoveries initiated an economic boom in the state. With strong investments in universities, Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-20th century. As of 2010 it shares the top of the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with California at 57. With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences. It leads the nation in export revenue since 2002 and has the second-highest gross state product.
Texas is the second largest U.S. state, behind Alaska, with an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2). It is 10% larger than France and almost twice as large as Germany or Japan, though it ranks only 27th worldwide amongst country subdivisions by size. If it were a country, Texas would be the 40th largest behind Chile and Zambia.
Texas is in the south-central part of the United States of America. Three of its borders are defined by rivers. The Rio Grande river forms a natural border with the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south. The Red River forms a natural border with Oklahoma and Arkansas to the north. The Sabine River forms a natural border with Louisiana to the east.
With 10 climatic regions, 14 soil regions, and 11 distinct ecological regions, regional classification becomes problematic with differences in soils, topography, geology, rainfall, and plant and animal communities. One classification system divides Texas, in order southeast to west, into the following: Gulf Coastal Plains, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, and Basin and Range Province. The Gulf Coastal Plains region wraps around the Gulf of Mexico on the southeast section of the state. Vegetation in this region consists of thick pineywoods. The Interior Lowlands region consists of gently rolling to hilly forested land is part of a larger pine-hardwood forest. The Great Plains region in central Texas is located in spans through the state's panhandle and Llano Estacado to the state's hill country near Austin. This region is dominated by prairie and steppe. "Far West Texas" or the "Trans-Pecos" region is the state's Basin and Range Province. The most varied of the regions, this area includes Sand Hills, the Stockton Plateau, desert valleys, wooded mountain slopes and desert grasslands.
Texas has 3,700 named streams and 15 major rivers. The largest of these rivers is the Rio Grande. Other major rivers include the Pecos, the Brazos, Colorado, and Red River, which forms the border with Oklahoma. While Texas has few natural lakes, Texans have built over 100 artificial reservoirs.
Texas's size and unique history make its regional affiliation debatable: it can be fairly considered a Southern or a Southwestern state, or both. The vast geographic, economic, and cultural diversity within the state itself prohibits easy categorization of the whole state into a recognized region of the United States. The East, Central, and North Texas regions have a stronger association with the American South than with the Southwest. Others, such as far West Texas and South Texas share more similarities with the latter.
Texas is the southernmost part of the Great Plains, which ends in the south against the folded Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. The continental crust forms a stable Mesoproterozoic craton which changes across a broad continental margin and transitional crust into true oceanic crust of the Gulf of Mexico. The oldest rocks in Texas date from the Mesoproterozoic and are about 1,600 million years old. These Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks underlie most of the state, and are exposed in three places: Llano uplift, Van Horn, and the Franklin Mountains, near El Paso. Sedimentary rocks overlay most of these ancient rocks. The oldest sediments were deposited on the flanks of a rifted continental margin, or passive margin that developed during Cambrian time. This margin existed until Laurasia and Gondwana collided in the Pennsylvanian subperiod to form Pangea. This is the buried crest of the Appalachian Mountains–Ouachita Mountains zone of Pennsylvanian continental collision. This orogenic crest is today buried beneath the Dallas–Waco—Austin–San Antonio trend.
The late Paleozoic mountains collapsed as rifting in the Jurassic period began to open the Gulf of Mexico. Pangea began to break up in the Triassic, but seafloor spreading to form the Gulf of Mexico occurred only in the mid and late Jurassic. The shoreline shifted again to the eastern margin of the state and the Gulf of Mexico passive margin began to form.
Today 9 miles (14 km) to 12 miles (19 km) of sediments are buried beneath the Texas continental shelf and a large proportion of remaining US oil reserves are located here. At the start of its formation, the incipient Gulf of Mexico basin was restricted and seawater often evaporated completely to form thick evaporite deposits of Jurassic age. These salt deposits formed salt dome diapirs, and are found in East Texas along the Gulf coast.
East Texas outcrops consist of Cretaceous and Paleogene sediments which contain important deposits of Eocene lignite. The Mississippian and Pennsylvanian sediments in the north; Permian sediments in the west; and Cretaceous sediments in the east, along the Gulf coast and out on the Texas continental shelf contain oil. Oligocene volcanic rocks are found in far west Texas in the Big Bend area. A blanket of Miocene sediments known as the Ogallala formation in the western high plains region is an important aquifer. Located far from an active plate tectonic boundary, Texas has no volcanoes and few earthquakes.
Texas has the most farms and the highest acreage in the United States. Texas leads the nation in livestock production. Cattle is the state's most valuable agricultural product, and the state leads nationally in production of sheep and goat products. Texas leads the nation in production of cotton. The state grows significant amounts of cereal crops and produce. Texas has a large commercial fishing industry. With mineral resources, Texas leads in creating cement, crushed stone, lime, salt, sand and gravel.
The large size of Texas and its location at the intersection of multiple climate zones gives the state highly variable weather. The Panhandle of the state has colder winters than North Texas, while the Gulf Coast has mild winters. Texas has wide variations in precipitation patterns. El Paso, on the western end of the state, averages as little as 8 inches (200 mm) of annual rainfall while Houston, in southeast Texas, averages as much as 54 inches (1,400 mm) per year. Dallas in the North Central region averages a more moderate 37 inches (940 mm) per year.
Snow falls multiple times each winter in the Panhandle and mountainous areas of West Texas, once or twice a year in North Texas, and once every few years in Central and East Texas. Snow rarely falls south of San Antonio or on the coast except in rare circumstances. Of note is the 2004 Christmas Eve Snowstorm, when 6 inches (150 mm) of snow fell as far south as Kingsville, where the average high temperature in December is 65° F.
Maximum temperatures in the summer months average from the 80s °F (26 °C) in the mountains of West Texas and on Galveston Island to around 100 °F (38 °C) in the Rio Grande Valley, but most areas of Texas see consistent summer high temperatures in the 90 °F (32 °C) range. Night time summer temperatures range from the upper 50s °F (14 °C) in the West Texas mountains to 80 °F (27 °C) in Galveston.
Thunderstorms strike Texas often, especially the eastern and northern portions of the state. Tornado Alley covers the northern section of Texas. The state experiences the most tornadoes in the United States, an average of 139 a year. These strike most frequently in North Texas and the Panhandle. Tornadoes in Texas generally occur in the months of April, May, and June.
Some of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history have impacted Texas. A hurricane in 1875 killed approximately 400 people in Indianola, followed by another hurricane in 1886 that destroyed the town. These events allowed Galveston to take over as the chief port city. The Galveston hurricane of 1900 subsequently devastated that city killing approximately 8,000 people (possibly as many as 12,000), making it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Other devastating Texas hurricanes include the 1915 Galveston Hurricane, Hurricane Audrey in 1957 which killed over 600 people, Hurricane Carla in 1961, Hurricane Beulah in 1967, Hurricane Alicia in 1983, Hurricane Rita in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008. Tropical storms have also caused their share of damage: Allison in 1989 and again during 2001, and Claudette in 1979 among them.
Texas emits the most greenhouse gases in the U.S. The state emits nearly 1.5 trillion pounds (680 billion kg) of carbon dioxide annually. As an independent nation, Texas would rank as the world's seventh-largest producer of greenhouse gases. Causes of the state's vast greenhouse gas emissions include the state's large number of coal power plants and the state's refining and manufacturing industries.
The current Texas Constitution was adopted in 1876. Like many states, it explicitly provides for a separation of powers. The state's Bill of Rights is much larger than its federal counterpart, and has provisions unique to Texas.
Texas has a plural executive branch system limiting the power of the Governor. Except for the Secretary of State, voters elect executive officers independently making candidates being directly answerable to the public, not the Governor. This election system has led to some executive branches split between parties. When Republican President George W. Bush served as Texas's governor, the state had a Democratic Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock. The executive branch positions consist of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Land Commissioner, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner, the three-member Texas Railroad Commission, the State Board of Education, and the Secretary of State.
The bicameral Texas Legislature consists of the House of Representatives, with 150 members, and a Senate, with 31 members. The Speaker of the House leads the House, and the Lieutenant Governor, the Senate. The Legislature meets in regular session biennially, but the Governor can call for special sessions as often as desired. The state's fiscal year spans from the previous calendar year's September 1 to the current year's August 31. Thus, the FY 2011 dates from September 1, 2010 through August 31, 2011.
The judicial system of Texas is one of the most complex in the United States, with many layers and overlapping jurisdictions. Texas has two courts of last resort: the Texas Supreme Court, for civil cases, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Except for some municipal benches, partisan elections select judges at all levels of the judiciary; the Governor fills vacancies by appointment. Texas leads the nation in executions – 442 as of October 2009.
The Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety is a law enforcement agency with statewide jurisdiction. Over the years, the Texas Rangers have investigated crimes ranging from murder to political corruption. They have acted as riot police and as detectives, protected the Texas governor, tracked down fugitives, and functioned as a paramilitary force both for the republic and the state. The Texas Rangers were unofficially created by Stephen F. Austin in 1823 and formally constituted in 1835. The Rangers were part of several important events of Texas history and some of the best-known criminal cases in the history of the Old West.
As in other "Solid South" states, whites resented the Republican Party after the American Civil War, and the Democratic Party dominated Texas politics from the end of Reconstruction until the late 20th century. The state has since become a Republican stronghold.
The Texas political atmosphere leans towards fiscal and social conservatism. Since 1980, most Texas voters have supported Republican presidential candidates. In 2000 and 2004, Republican George W. Bush won Texas with 60.1% of the vote, partly due to his "favorite son" status as a former Governor of the state. John McCain won the state in 2008, but with a smaller margin of victory compared to Bush at 55% of the vote. Austin consistently leans Democratic in both local and statewide elections. Counties along the Rio Grande generally vote for Democrats, while most rural and suburban areas of Texas vote Republican.
The 2003 Texas redistricting of Congressional districts led by the Republican Tom Delay, was called by the New York Times "an extreme case of partisan gerrymandering". A group of Democratic legislators, the "Texas Eleven", fled the state in a quorum-busting effort. Despite these efforts, the legislature passed a map heavily in favor of Republicans. Protests of the redistricting reached the national Supreme Court in the case League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, but the ruling went in the Republicans' favor.
As of the general elections of 2010, a large majority of the members of Texas's U.S. House delegation are Republican, along with both U.S. Senators. In the 111th United States Congress, of the 32 Congressional districts in Texas, 23 are held by Republicans and 9 by Democrats. Texas's Senators are Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn. Since 1994, Texans have not elected a Democrat to a statewide office. The state's Democratic presence comes primarily from some minority groups in East Texas and South Texas as well as urban voters, particularly in Beaumont, El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston.
Texas has 254 counties— the most nationwide. Each county runs on Commissioners' Court system consisting of four elected commissioners (one from each of four precincts in the county, roughly divided according to population) and a county judge elected at large from the entire county. County government runs similar to a "weak" mayor-council system; the county judge has no veto authority, but votes along with the other commissioners.
Although Texas permits cities and counties to enter "interlocal agreements" to share services, the state does not allow consolidated city-county governments, nor does it have metropolitan governments. Counties are not granted home rule status; their powers are strictly defined by state law. The state does not have townships— areas within a county are either incorporated or unincorporated. Incorporated areas are part of a municipality. The county provides limited services to unincorporated areas. Municipalities are classified either "general law" cities or "home rule". A municipality may elect home rule status once it exceeds 5,000 population with voter approval. Municipal elections are nonpartisan as are elections for school boards and community college districts.
As of 2010, Texas had a gross state product (GSP) of $1.207 trillion, the second highest in the U.S. Its GSP is comparable to the GDP of India or Canada, which are the world's 12th- and 11th-largest economies, respectively. Texas' economy is the fourth-largest of any country subdivision globally, behind England (as part of the UK), California, and Tokyo Prefecture. Its Per Capita personal income in 2009 was $36,484, ranking 29th in the nation. Texas's large population, abundance of natural resources, thriving cities and leading centers of higher education have contributed to a large and diverse economy. Since oil was discovered, the state's economy has reflected the state of the petroleum industry. In recent times, urban centers of the state have increased in size, containing two-thirds of the population in 2005. The state's economic growth has led to urban sprawl and its associated symptoms.
As of July 2011, the state's unemployment rate is 8.4%. Texas has a "low taxes, low services" reputation. According to the Tax Foundation, Texans' state and local tax burdens rank among the lowest in the nation, 7th lowest nationally; state and local taxes cost $3,580 per capita, or 8.4% of resident incomes. Texas is one of seven states that lack a state income tax. Instead, the state collects revenue from a state property tax and sales tax, which is charged at the rate of 6.25%, but local taxing jurisdictions (cities, counties, special purpose districts, and transit authorities) may also impose sales and use tax up to 2% for a total maximum combined rate of 8.25%. Texas is a "tax donor state"; in 2005, for every dollar Texans paid to the federal government in federal income taxes, the state received approximately $0.94 in benefits.
In 2004, Site Selection Magazine ranked Texas as the most business-friendly state in the nation, in part because of the state's three-billion-dollar Texas Enterprise Fund. Texas has the joint-highest number of Fortune 500 company headquarters in the United States, along with California. In 2010, there were 346,000 millionaires in Texas, constituting the second-largest population of millionaires in the nation.
Ever since the discovery of oil at Spindletop, energy has been a dominant force politically and economically within the state. According to the Energy Information Administration, Texans consume the most energy in the nation per capita and as a whole. Unlike the rest of the nation, most of Texas is on its own alternating current power grid, the Texas Interconnection. Texas has a deregulated electric service.
The Railroad Commission of Texas, contrary to its name, regulates the state's oil and gas industry, gas utilities, pipeline safety, safety in the liquefied petroleum gas industry, and surface coal and uranium mining. Until the 1970s, the commission controlled the price of petroleum because of its ability to regulate Texas's oil reserves. The founders of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) used the Texas agency as one of their models for petroleum price control.
Texas has known petroleum deposits of about 5 billion barrels (790,000,000 m3), which makes up approximately one-fourth of the known U.S. reserves. The state's refineries can process 4.6 million barrels (730,000 m3) of oil a day. The Baytown Refinery in the Houston area is the largest refinery in America. Texas also leads in natural gas production, producing one-fourth of the nation's supply. Several petroleum companies are based in Texas such as: Conoco-Phillips, Exxon-Mobil, Halliburton, Valero, and Marathon Oil.
The state is a leader in renewable energy sources; it produces the most wind power in the nation. The Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas, is the world's largest wind farm as of October 2009 with a 781.5 megawatt (MW) capacity. The Energy Information Administration states that the state's large agriculture and forestry industries could give Texas an enormous amount biomass for use in biofuels. The state also has the highest solar power potential for development in the nation.
With large universities systems coupled with initiatives like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, a wide array of different high tech industries have developed in Texas. The Austin area is nicknamed the "Silicon Hills" and the north Dallas area the "Silicon Prairie". Texas has the headquarters of many high technology companies, such as Dell, Inc., Texas Instruments, Perot Systems, and AT&T.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (NASA JSC) located in Southeast Houston, sits as the crown jewel of Texas's aeronautics industry. Fort Worth hosts both Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics division and Bell Helicopter Textron. Lockheed builds the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the largest Western fighter program, and its successor, the F-35 Lightning II in Fort Worth.
Texas's affluence stimulates a strong commercial sector consisting of retail, wholesale, banking and insurance, and construction industries. Examples of Fortune 500 companies not based on Texas traditional industries are AT&T, Men's Warehouse, Landry's Restaurants, Kimberly-Clark, Blockbuster, Whole Foods Market, and Tenet Healthcare. Nationally, the Dallas–Fort Worth area, home to the second shopping mall in the United States, has the most shopping malls per capita of any American metropolitan area. Mexico, the state's largest trading partner, imports a third of the state's exports because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA has encouraged the formation of controversial maquiladoras on the Texas/Mexico border.
The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 4,368,969; the Southern Baptist Convention with 3,519,459; and the United Methodist Church with 1,022,342. Known as the buckle of the Bible Belt, East Texas is socially conservative. Dallas-Fort Worth is home to three major evangelical seminaries and a host of monasteries. Lakewood Church in Houston, boasts the largest attendance in the nation averaging more than 43,000 weekly. Lubbock, according to local lore, has the most churches per capita in the nation.
Adherents of many non-Christian religions reside predominantly in the urban centers of Texas. In 1990, the Islamic population stood at approximately 140,000 with more recent figures putting the current population of Muslims between 350,000 to 400,000. The Jewish population stands at around 128,000. Approximately 146,000 adherents of non-Abrahamic religions such as Hinduism and Sikhism live in Texas.
Arts and Culture:
Historically, the whole of Texas culture comes from a blend of Southern (Dixie), Western (frontier), and Southwestern (Mexican/Anglo fusion) influences, varying in degrees of such from one intra-state region to another. A popular food item, the breakfast burrito, draws from all three, having a soft flour tortilla wrapped around bacon and scrambled eggs or other hot, cooked fillings. Adding to Texas's traditional culture, established in the 18th and 19th centuries, immigration has made Texas a melting pot of cultures from around the world.
Houston is one of only five American cities with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines: the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Ballet, and The Alley Theatre. Known for the vibrancy of its visual and performing arts, the Houston Theatre District— a 17-block area in the heart of Downtown Houston— ranks second in the country in the number of theater seats in a concentrated downtown area, with 12,948 seats for live performances and 1,480 movie seats.
Founded in 1892, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, also called "The Modern", is Texas's oldest art museum. Fort Worth also has the Kimbell Art Museum, the Amon Carter Museum, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the Will Rogers Memorial Center, and the Bass Performance Hall downtown. The Arts District of Downtown Dallas has arts venues such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, and the Nasher Sculpture Center.
The Deep Ellum district within Dallas became popular during the 1920s and 1930s as the prime jazz and blues hotspot in the Southern United States. The name Deep Ellum comes from local people pronouncing "Deep Elm" as "Deep Ellum". Artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, and Bessie Smith played in early Deep Ellum clubs.
Austin, The Live Music Capital of the World, boasts "more live music venues per capita than such music hotbeds as Nashville, Memphis, Los Angeles, Las Vegas or New York City." The city's music revolves around the nightclubs on 6th Street; events like the film, music, and multimedia festival South by Southwest; the longest-running concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits; and the Austin City Limits Music Festival held in Zilker Park. Since 1980, San Antonio has evolved into the "The Tejano Music Capital Of The World." The Tejano Music Awards have provided a forum to create greater awareness and appreciation for Tejano music and culture.
The second president of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, is the Father of Texas Education. During his term, the state set aside three leagues of land in each county for equipping public schools. An additional 50 leagues of land set aside for the support of two universities would later become the basis of the state's Permanent University Fund. Lamar's actions set the foundation for a Texas-wide public school system. Texas ranked 29th in the American Legislative Exchange Council's Report Card on American Education. Texas students ranked higher than average in mathematics, but lower in reading. Between 2006–2007, Texas spent $7,275 per pupil ranking it below the national average of $9,389. The pupil/teacher ratio was 14.9, below the national average of 15.3. Texas paid instructors $41,744, below the national average of $46,593. The state provided 88.0% of the funding for education, the federal government 12.0%.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) administers the state's public school systems. Texas has over 1,000 school districts- all districts except the Stafford Municipal School District are independent from municipal government and many cross city boundaries. School districts have the power to tax their residents and to assert eminent domain over privately owned property. Due to court-mandated equitable school financing for school districts, the state has a controversial tax redistribution system called the"Robin Hood plan". This plan transfers property tax revenue from wealthy school districts to poor ones. The TEA has no authority over private or home school activities.
Students in Texas take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) in primary and secondary school. TAKS assess students' attainment of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies skills required under Texas education standards and the No Child Left Behind Act. In spring 2007, Texas legislators replaced the TAKS for freshmen in the 2011–2012 school year and onward with End of Course exams for core high school classes.
Texas's controversial alternative affirmative action plan, Texas House Bill 588, guarantees Texas students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class automatic admission to state-funded universities. The bill encourages diversity while avoiding problems stemming from the Hopwood v. Texas (1996) case.
Six state university systems and four independent public universities exist in Texas. Discovery of minerals on Permanent University Fund land, particularly oil, has helped fund the rapid growth the state's largest university systems: University of Texas and Texas A&M. The PUF principal in fall 2005 was approximately $15 billion, second in size only to Harvard University's endowment. The other four university systems are the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, Texas State, and Texas Tech.
Texas has three nationally recognized top-tier public research universities: The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, and the University of Houston. The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University are flagship universities of the state of Texas. Both were established by the Texas Constitution and hold stakes in the Permanent University Fund. The state has been putting effort to expand the number of flagship universities by elevating some of its seven institutions designated as "emerging research universities." The two that are expected to emerge first are the University of Houston and Texas Tech University, likely in that order according to discussions during the 82nd Texas Legislature.
The state is home to many private institutions ranging from liberal arts colleges to a nationally recognized top-tier research university. Rice University in Houston is one of the leading teaching and research universities of the United States and is ranked the nation's 17th-best overall university by U.S. News & World Report. The former republic chartered the private universities Baylor University, University of Mary Hardin–Baylor, and Southwestern University.
The Commonwealth Fund ranks the Texas healthcare system the third worst in the nation. Texas ranks close to last in access to healthcare, quality of care, avoidable hospital spending, and equity among various groups. Causes of the state's poor rankings include politics, a high poverty rate, and the highest rate of illegal immigration in the nation. In May 2006, Texas initiated the program "code red" in response to the report that the state had 25.1% of the population without health insurance, the largest proportion in the nation. Texas also has controversial non-economic damages caps for medical malpractice lawsuits, set at $250,000, in an attempt to "curb rising malpractice premiums, and control escalating healthcare costs".
The Trust for America's Health ranked Texas 15th highest in adult obesity, with 27.2% of the state's population measured as obese. The 2008 Men's Health obesity survey ranked four Texas cities among the top 25 fattest cities in America; Houston ranked 6th, Dallas 7th, El Paso 8th, and Arlington 14th. Texas had only one city, Austin, ranked 21st, in the top 25 among the "fittest cities" in America. The same survey has evaluated the state's obesity initiatives favorably with a "B+". The state is ranked forty-second in the percentage of residents who engage in regular exercise.
Many elite research medical centers are located in Texas. The state has nine medical schools, three dental schools, and one optometry school. Texas has two Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratories: one at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, and the other at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio—the first privately owned BSL-4 lab in the United States.
The Texas Medical Center in Houston, holds the world's largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions, with 47 member institutions. Texas Medical Center performs the most heart transplants in the world. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is a highly regarded academic institution that centers around cancer patient care, research, education and prevention.
San Antonio's South Texas Medical Center facilities rank sixth in clinical medicine research impact in the United States. The University of Texas Health Science Center is another highly ranked research and educational institution in San Antonio. Both the American Heart Association and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center call Dallas home. The Southwestern Medical Center ranks "among the top academic medical centers in the world". The institution's medical school employs the most medical school Nobel laureates in the world.
Texans have historically had difficulties traversing Texas due to the state's large size and rough terrain. Texas has compensated by building both America's largest highway and railway systems in terms of length, as well as the largest number of airports. The regulatory authority, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) maintains the state's immense highway system, regulates aviation, and public transportation systems. Located centrally in North America, the state is an important transportation hub. From the Dallas/Fort Worth area, trucks can reach 93% of the nation's population within 48 hours, and 37% within 24 hours. Texas has 33 foreign trade zones (FTZ), the most in the nation. In 2004, a combined total of $298 billion of goods passed though Texas FTZs.
Texans have heavily traveled their freeways since the 1948 opening of the Gulf Freeway in Houston. As of 2005, 79,535 miles (127,999 km) of public highway crisscrossed Texas (up from 71,000 miles (114,263 km) in 1984). To fund recent growth in the state highways, Texas has 17 toll roads with several additional tollways proposed. In west Texas, both I-10 and I-20 have speed limits of 80 miles per hour (130 km/h), the highest in the nation. All federal and state highways in Texas are paved.
In March 2011, Texas ranked as a bottom-ten "Worst" state (tied with Montana and North Dakota) in the American State Litter Scorecard, presented at the American Society for Public Administration national conference. Public roadways in the Lone Star State suffer from an overall poor quality of landscape cleanliness, attributed to ineffective roadside and adjacent property litter/debris abatement standards, seemingly politicized procedural efforts, and other relevant public performance indicators.
Texas has the most airports of any state in the nation. Largest in Texas by size and passengers served, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is the second largest by area in the United States, and fourth in the world with 18,076 acres (73.15 km2). In traffic, DFW is the busiest in the state and the fourth in the United States, and sixth worldwide. AMR Corporation's American / American Eagle, the world's second largest airline in total passengers-miles transported (after Delta Air Lines, and soon third, after the combined United and Continental airlines) and passenger fleet size, uses DFW as its largest and main hub. Southwest Airlines, also headquartered in Dallas, has its operations currently at Dallas Love Field. It ranks as the largest airline in the United States by number of passengers carried domestically per year and the largest airline in the world by number of passengers carried.
Texas's second-largest air facility is Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) with. It serves as Houston based Continental Airlines's largest hub. IAH offers service to the most Mexican destinations of any U.S. airport. The next four largest airports in the state all serve over 4 million passengers annually; they include: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), William P. Hobby Airport, San Antonio International Airport (SAT), and Dallas Love Field (DAL). The smallest airport in the state to be designated an international airport is Del Rio International Airport.
Around 1,150 seaports dot Texas's coast with over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of channels. Ports employ nearly one-million people and handle an average of 317 million metric tons. Texas ports connect with the rest of the U.S. Atlantic seaboard with the Gulf section of the Intracoastal Waterway. The Port of Houston today is the busiest port in the United States in foreign tonnage, second in overall tonnage, and tenth worldwide in tonnage. The Houston Ship Channel currently spans 530 feet (160 m) wide by 45 feet (14 m) deep by 50 miles (80 km) long.
Part of the state's tradition originates from cattle drives in which wranglers herded livestock to railroads in Kansas. The first railroad to operate in Texas was the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway, opening in August 1853. The first railroad to enter Texas from the north, completed in 1872, was the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad. Since 1911, Texas has led the nation in railroad length. Texas railway length peaked in 1932 at 17,078 miles (27,484 km), but declined to 14,006 miles (22,540 km) by 2000. While the Railroad Commission of Texas originally regulated state railroads, in 2005 the state reassigned these duties to TxDOT.
Both Dallas and Houston feature light rail systems. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) built the first light rail system in the Southwest United States. The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter rail service that links Fort Worth and Dallas is provided by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (the T) and DART. In the Austin area Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates a commuter rail service known as Capital MetroRail to the northwestern suburbs. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO) operates light rail lines in the Houston area.
Amtrak provides Texas limited intercity passenger rail service both in size and frequency. Just three scheduled routes serve the state: the daily Texas Eagle (Chicago–San Antonio); the tri-weekly Sunset Limited (New Orleans–Los Angeles), with stops in Texas; and the daily Heartland Flyer (Fort Worth–Oklahoma City).
While American football has long been considered "king" in the state, Texans today enjoy a wide variety of sports. Texans can cheer for a plethora of professional sports teams. Within the "Big Four" professional leagues, Texas has two NFL teams (the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans), two Major League Baseball teams (the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros), three NBA teams (the Houston Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Dallas Mavericks), and one National Hockey League team (the Dallas Stars). The Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex is one of only thirteen American metropolitan areas that hosts sports teams from all the "Big Four" professional leagues. Outside of the "Big Four" leagues, Texas also has one WNBA team (the San Antonio Silver Stars) and two Major League Soccer teams (the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas).
Collegiate athletics have deep significance in Texas culture, especially football. The state has ten Division I-FBS schools, the most in the nation. Four of the state's universities, the Baylor Bears, Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies, and Texas Tech Red Raiders, compete in the Big 12 Conference. Also, four of the state's schools, the Texas Longhorns, the Texas A&M Aggies, the TCU Horned Frogs, and the SMU Mustangs claim at least one national championship in the sport.
According to a survey of Division I-A coaches the rivalry between the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, the Red River Shootout, ranks the third best in the nation. A fierce rivalry, the Lone Star Showdown, also exists between the state's two largest universities, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas.
The TCU Horned Frogs and SMU Mustangs also share a rivalry and compete annually in the Battle for the Iron Skillet. The University Interscholastic League (UIL) organizes most primary and secondary school competitions. Events organized by UIL include contests in athletics (the most popular being high school football) as well as artistic and academic subjects.
Texans also enjoy the rodeo. The world's first rodeo was hosted in Pecos, Texas. The annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the largest rodeo in the world. It begins with trail rides that originate from several points throughout the state that convene at Reliant Park. The Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth is the oldest continuously running rodeo incorporating many of the state's most historic traditions into its annual events. Dallas hosts the State Fair of Texas each year at Fair Park. From 2012 Austin will play host to a round of the Formula 1 World Championship – the first at a permanent road circuit in the United States since the 1980 Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International.
Visiting in Texas:
In summer, the Texas heat is hotter than sizzling fajitas around 110°F. In warm weather, it's best to drive in the early morning hours or after sunset. And if you really plan to wander about, always tell someone when you plan to return.
Always be on the lookout for road signs, and if you see a notice, observe it. Obey flash flood warnings: A sudden rainstorm can turn a wash into a deadly torrent. Never cross a flooded roadway; it may be deeper than you think.
When driving through open-ranch cattle country on farm-to-market or ranch roads, be on the lookout for livestock and deer wandering across the road, especially near dusk.
If you are driving on a two-lane highway do not be surprised if as a car comes towards you and passes you the driver raises a finger (or even the whole hand) to wave at you. Please note that unless you are driving erratically or the gesture is accompanied by a honk and yell this is normally a very friendly gesture. Try it out for yourself (just make sure to use the correct finger – index versus middle) and you’ll be amazed at how many waves you get back!
If you happen to be traveling along a two lane highway and find yourself quickly gaining on a car in front of you, please do not panic if you see that car suddenly veer off to the right and drive on the shoulder. Texans are very considerate for the most part and the person in front of you is giving you the opportunity to pass them so that your travel is not slowed and you are not inconvenienced. Granted this can be a bit disconcerting when you are driving at speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour. Your best bet is to get past them quickly before a curve appears or they veer just a tad bit too far and gravel begins flying up at your car. Is this legal? Who knows! But it is a fact of life on Texas two-lanes. Now you will also understand why that car that just flew up behind you is flashing their lights, tailgating, and honking. They are expecting you to pull over so that they can pass.
Pay very close attention to your map and know the distances your car can travel even when sitting on empty. It is entirely possible to go hundreds of miles on country roads and not pass an open gas station. If you are driving late at night the odds double that the stores will be closed in the little towns that you are passing through.
Do not count on the passing scenery to entice your little ones for very long. If you are in West Texas you will find miles and miles of flat country with little to no variety in the scenery. Texas has a wild and beautiful feel to it but it is also a wide and long state and it literally takes hours to get from one location to another.
The maximum daytime speed limit on most interstate and state highways in Texas is 70 miles per hour. At night, the maximum speed limit is 65 miles per hour. In some areas, the speed limit is higher because of fewer people traveling on certain roads.
Observing speed limits means more than driving faster or slower than the posted speed: it means driving to conditions. When it's raining or foggy, when ice is on the road, when traffic is heavy or when road construction is ahead, adjust your speed accordingly.
Watch for signs on Texas multi-lane highways that read "Left Lane For Passing Only." These signs let you know that the left lane on a divided highway is not a "fast" lane; it is a passing lane. After you pass someone, move into the right lane once you've safely cleared the vehicle. Impeding the flow of traffic by continuing to drive in the left lane is punishable by a fine of up to $200.
Allen is a city in Collin County, Texas, United States, a wealthy northern suburb of Dallas. As of the 2010 census the city had a total population of 84,246. According to the City of Allen, the city has a total area of 27.1 square miles (70.2 km²). None of the area is covered with water except the small ponds scattered throughout the city.
Allen is considered to be part of the humid continental region, meaning it experiences mild to very cold winter with temperatures in winter ranging from 21 to 43 °F (-6 to 6 °C) in daytime and 8 to 30 °F (-13 to -1 °C) at nighttime. In spring the city has severe thunderstorms and mild warm days; temperatures range from 50 to 70 °F (10 to 21 °C) in daytime and 37 to 57 °F (3 to 14 °C) at night. In summer the city experiences very hot days ranging from 90 to 100 °F (32 to 38 °C). In the autumn the daytime temperatures vary from about 85 to 40 °F (29 to 4 °C).
The Allen area was previously home to the Caddo, Comanche, and other indigenous peoples. The first immigrants from the United States and Europe arrived in the early 1840s. The town was established by the Houston and Central Texas Railroad and named in 1872 for Ebenezer Allen, a state politician and railroad promoter. The railroad allowed crops to be sold across the country before rotting, causing a shift from the previous cattle-based agriculture. On February 22, 1878, a gang led by Sam Bass committed in Allen what is said to be Texas's first train robbery.
From 1908 through 1948, Allen was a stop along the Texas Traction Company's interurban line from Denison to Dallas. Allen was a small town of a few hundred residents when it was incorporated in 1953. Since this time, it has grown dramatically due to the construction of U.S. Route 75, the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and the development of nearby Dallas and Plano.
The Allen Independent School District has 17 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 1 freshman center, 1 Pat Dillard Special Achievement Center, and 1 high school (Allen High School). Allen ISD serves almost all of Allen. Small portions of the Allen city limits extend into Lovejoy, McKinney, and Plano ISDs. In the fall of 2006, new 9th grade high school students in the Lovejoy ISD boundaries began attending the newly opened Lovejoy High School. The school became a full 4-year high school in the 2009-10 school year. Allen hosts a campus of Collin College, which is located inside Allen High School. Allen High School's football team won the 5A Div 1 state championship on December 20, 2008. They defeated Fort Bend Hightower 21–14. The Allen Eagle Escadrille, Allen High School's marching band participated in the 1994 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland, 1995 and 1999 Texas Gubernatorial Parades, 1997 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, a recipient of the Sudler Shield Award by the John Phillip Sousa Foundation in 2004 and marched in the 117th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California on January 2, 2006.
A multi-purpose arena, the 7,500-seat Allen Event Center, was completed in November 2009. It is home to the Central Hockey League's Allen Americans, and the Allen Wranglers who play in the Indoor Football League. In October 2004, the City of Allen purchased Chase Oaks Golf Club in Plano, Texas, adjacent to the southern city limits of the City of Allen. Chase Oaks is a public golf course, and residents are entitled to discounted fees.
On September 11, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Hibachi Sushi and Grill Buffet in Allen, Texas to have a lunch there with his cousin, Imelda Dalacat Yap, her husband, Wilfred Yap, and their kids, Willora, William, and Zachariah. Hibachi Sushi and Grill Buffet is a well-known Japanese restaurant in Dallas Area. They have different kinds of sushi, sashimi, tempura, and other Japanese dishes. They have miso soup also. They are also serving Asian dishes, desserts and fruits. This restaurant has a wide space but it is crowded especially at night and weekends. They came from Faith Methodist Church in Richardson, Texas to pick up their kids and then they proceed to the restaurant to have their lunch there. They want to eat sushi and Armando likes sushi, too.
On September 12, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Cabela's in Allen, Texas with his cousin, Imelda Dalacat Yap, and her husband, Wilfred Yap after they took their lunch at Pho Pasteur in Richardson, Texas. Cabela's is a direct marketer and specialty retailer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor recreation merchandise. It also has "Trophy Properties LLC (a real estate market), "Outdoor Adventures" (hunting and fishing trips), and the "Gun Library" (for buying and selling new and used firearms). Its direct marketing operation is one of the largest in the United States. The company was founded by Richard N. Cabela in 1961 and went public in 2004, with that fiscal year's revenue reaching $1.56 billion, a 50% growth since 2001. Cabela's mail-order catalogs are shipped to 41 states and 120 countries. More than 120 million catalogs were mailed in its first year as a public company. Cabela's has a distinctive look to their retail operations, a look which turns them into tourist attractions as well as retail stores. The stores are more like cavernous showrooms, bringing the outdoors inside. They feature museum-quality displays of taxidermied wildlife, large aquariums, indoor mountains, and archery ranges. Other attractions in their retail showrooms include a restaurant, a gun library, where one can see the epitome of the gunmaker's art, and a travel service, where customers can plan trips to anywhere in the world. The Cabela's has an amusement park style shooting gallery, featuring both handguns and rifles.
On September 13, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Rudy's Country Store and BBQ in Allen, Texas to have a lunch there with his cousin, Imelda Dalacat Yap, and her friend, Enrico Franco after they visited at the downtown area of Dallas, Texas. While driving to the restaurant, they passed the Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas. Southfork Ranch is a conference and event center located in Parker, Texas. It contains the Ewing Mansion, which was the setting for the 1978 - 1991 television series Dallas. The ranch is located at 3700 Hogge Drive in Parker, Texas. Rudy's Country Store and BBQ is a barbecue restaurant established in Allen, Texas in 1989. The company currently operates restaurants in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado and sells products via its web site under the slogan "the wurst bar-b-q in Texas." Rudy's was first established by Rudolph Aue in Leon Springs, Texas in 1929 as a combination business consisting of a filling station, automobile repair shop, and grocery store. In 1989 Rudolph added barbecue to the food menu, combining the grocery and new restaurant element to make a "country store" feel. Their signature barbecue consists of 100% oak wood smoked meats rather than the usual Texas Mesquite smoke, and special in-house spices. Rudy's later expanded to 27 locations through the states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Now more of a self-service sit down restaurant style establishment, the retail store portion usually consists of a small corner of each location. The company's head offices are currently located in Lakeway, Texas. The food their is delicious as a Texan style in cooking the BBQ. They used their homemade style secret sauce for the meat. Everyone likes BBQ especially with the side dishes and beer as well. You will find different kinds of beer and softdrinks in the restaurant that you can choose from. You can have a softdrinks from the soda fountain and it is unlimited refill.
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006. Austin has a population of 790,390 (2010 U.S. Census). The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area, which has a population of over 1,716,291 (2010 U.S. Census), making it the 35th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.
The area was settled in the 1830s on the banks of the Colorado River by pioneers who named the village Waterloo. In 1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the newly independent Republic of Texas. The city was renamed after Stephen F. Austin, known as the father of Texas. The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas. After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city in the 1980s and emerged as a center for technology and business. Austin is home to many companies, high-tech and otherwise: Fortune 500 corporations Freescale Semiconductor, Forestar Group, and Whole Foods Market, are headquartered there; AMD, Apple, Broadcom, Google, IBM, Intel, Qualcomm, ShoreTel, Synopsys and Texas Instruments have prominent regional offices there. Also Dell's Worldwide Headquarters is located in nearby Round Rock, a suburb of Austin.
Residents of Austin are known as "Austinites". They include a diverse mix of government employees (e.g., university faculty & staff, law enforcement, political staffers); foreign and domestic college students; musicians; high-tech workers; blue-collar workers; businesspeople; and, a sizeable GLBT gay community. The city is home to development centers for many technology corporations; it adopted the "Silicon Hills" nickname in the 1990s. However, the current official slogan promotes Austin as "The Live Music Capital of the World", a reference to the many musicians and live music venues within the area, and the long-running PBS TV concert series Austin City Limits. In recent years, some Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird". This interpretation of the classic, "Texas-style" sense of independence refers to: the traditional and proudly eclectic, liberal lifestyles of many Austin residents; a desire to protect small, unique, local businesses from being overrun by large corporations; and, as a reaction to the perceived rise of conservative influences within the community. In the late 1800s Austin also became known as the City of the "Violet Crown" for the wintertime violet glow of color across the hills just after sunset. Even today, many Austin businesses use the term "violet crown" in their name. Lastly, Austin is known as a "clean air city" for the city's stringent no-smoking ordinances that apply to all public places and buildings, and all restaurants.
Austin is located in Central Texas, along the Balcones Escarpment and Interstate 35, northeast of San Antonio. Its elevation varies from 425 feet (130 m) to approximately 1,000 feet (305 m) above sea level. As of 2010, the city occupies a total area of 271.8 square miles (704 km2). Approximately 6.9 square miles (18 km2) of this area is water.
Austin is situated on the Colorado River, with three man-made (artificial) lakes within the city limits: Lady Bird Lake (formerly known as Town Lake), Lake Austin (both created by dams along the Colorado River), and Lake Walter E. Long that is partly used for cooling water for the Decker Power Plant. Additionally, the foot of Lake Travis, including Mansfield Dam, is located within the city's limits. Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Travis are each on the Colorado River. As a result of its straddling the Balcones Fault, the eastern part of the city is flat, with heavy clay and loam soils, whereas, the western part and western suburbs consist of rolling hills on the edge of the Texas Hill Country. Because the hills to the west are primarily limestone rock with a thin covering of topsoil, portions of the city are frequently subjected to flash floods from the runoff caused by thunderstorms. To help control this runoff and to generate hydroelectric power, the Lower Colorado River Authority operates a series of dams that form the Texas Highland Lakes. The lakes also provide venues for boating, swimming, and other forms of recreation within several parks on the lake shores.
Austin is located at the intersection of four major ecological regions, and is consequently a temperate-to-hot green oasis with a highly variable climate having some characteristics of the desert, the tropics, and a wetter climate. The area is very diverse ecologically and biologically, and is home to a variety of animals and plants. Notably, the area is home to many types of wildflowers that blossom throughout the year but especially in the spring, including the popular bluebonnets, some planted in an effort by "Lady Bird" Johnson, wife of former President Lyndon Johnson.
A popular point of prominence in Austin is Mount Bonnell. At about 780 feet (238 m) above sea level, it is a natural limestone formation overlooking Lake Austin on the Colorado River, with an observation deck about 200 feet (61 m) below its summit. From the observation deck, many homes are visible.
The soils of Austin range from shallow, gravelly clay loams over limestone in the western outskirts to deep, fine sandy loams, silty clay loams, silty clays or clays in the city's eastern part. Some of the clays have pronounced shrink-swell properties and are difficult to work under most moisture conditions. Many of Austin's soils, especially the clay-rich types, are slightly to moderately alkaline and have free calcium carbonate.
Austin has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by extremely hot summers with prevailing humid winds from the Gulf of Mexico and mild winters. On average, Austin receives 33.6 inches (853.4 mm) of rain per year, with most of the precipitation in the spring, and a secondary maximum in the fall. During springtime, severe thunderstorms sometimes occur, though tornadoes are rare in the city. Austin is usually at least partially sunny, receiving nearly 2650 hours, or 60.3% of the possible total, of bright sunshine per year.
Austin summers are usually hot and humid, with average July and August highs in the mid-90s °F (34–36 °C). Highs exceed 90 °F (32.2 °C) on 109 days per year, and 100 °F (37.8 °C) on 12. The highest recorded temperature was 112 °F (44 °C) occurring both on September 5, 2000 and also on August 28, 2011.
Winters in Austin are mild and relatively dry. For the entire year, Austin averages 88 days below 45 °F (7.2 °C) and 18 days when the minimum temperature falls below freezing. The lowest recorded temperature was −2 °F (−19 °C) on January 31, 1949. Snowfall is rare in Austin, but approximately biannually Austin may suffer an ice storm that freezes roads over and affects much of the city for 24 to 48 hours. Monthly averages for Austin's weather data are shown in a graphical format to the right, and in a more detailed tabular format below.
From October 2010 to August 2011, Austin has had the least rainfall since the 1950s. This is a result of La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean where water turns unusually cooler than normal. Scientists are still uncertain whether or not these atmospheric phenomena are directly the result of climate change; however, Dr. David Brown, a regional official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has explained that "these kinds of droughts will have effects that are even more extreme in the future, given a warming and drying regional climate."
Austin is administered by a city council of seven members, each of them elected at large. The council is composed of six council members, and by an elected mayor, accompanied by a hired city manager under the manager-council system of municipal governance. Council and mayoral elections are non-partisan, with a runoff in case there is no majority winner. Austin remains an anomaly among large Texas cities in that council members are elected on an at-large basis by all voters, as opposed to elections by districts.
Austin formerly operated its city hall at 128 West 8th Street. Antoine Predock and Cotera Kolar Negrete & Reed Architects designed a new city hall building, which was intended to reflect what The Dallas Morning News referred to as a "crazy-quilt vitality, that embraces everything from country music to environmental protests and high-tech swagger." The new city hall, built from recycled materials, has solar panels in its garage. The city hall, at 301 West Second Street, opened in November 2004. The current mayor of Austin is Lee Leffingwell. His first term ends in 2012.
Law enforcement in Austin is provided by the Austin Police Department, except for state government buildings, which are patrolled by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Austin was ranked the fifth-safest city in part because there are fewer than five murders per 100,000 people annually. Fire protection is provided by the Austin Fire Department, and emergency medical services are provided by Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services.
The Texas Department of Transportation operates the Austin District Office in Austin. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Austin I and Austin II district parole offices in Austin. The United States Postal Service operates several post offices in Austin.
Austin is known as an oasis of liberal politics in a generally conservative state—so much so, that the city is sometimes sarcastically called the "People's Republic of Austin" by residents of other parts of Texas, and conservatives in the Texas Legislature.
As a result of the major party realignment that began in the 1970s, central Austin became a stronghold of the Democratic Party, while the suburbs tend to vote Republican. Opponents characterized the resulting district layout as excessively partisan gerrymandering, and the plan was challenged in court on this basis by Democratic and minority activists; of note, the Supreme Court of the United States has never struck down a redistricting plan for being excessively partisan. The plan was subsequently upheld by a three-judge federal panel in late 2003, and on June 28, 2006, the matter was largely settled when the Supreme Court in a 7–2 decision upheld the entire congressional redistricting plan with the exception of a Hispanic-majority district in southwest Texas. This later affected Austin's districting, as U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett's district (U.S. Congressional District 25) was found to be insufficiently compact to compensate for the reduced minority influence in the southwest district and so was redrawn so that it now takes in most of southeastern Travis County and several counties to its south and east.
Overall, the city is a blend of downtown liberalism and suburban conservatism but leans to the political left as a whole. In 2003, the city adopted a resolution against the USA PATRIOT Act that reaffirmed constitutionally guaranteed rights. In the 2004 presidential election, Senator John Kerry won a substantial majority of the votes in Travis County. Of Austin's six state legislative districts, three are strongly Democratic and three are swing districts, two of which are held by Democrats and one of which is held by a Republican. However, two of its three congressional districts (the 10th and the 21st) are presently held by Republicans, with only the 25th held by a Democrat. This is largely due to the 2003 redistricting, which left downtown Austin without an exclusive congressional seat of its own. Travis County was also the only county in Texas to reject Texas Constitutional Amendment Proposition 2 that effectively outlawed gay marriage and status equal or similar to it and did so by a wide margin (40% for, 60% against).
Austin is also an active area for the Libertarian Party. Two of the candidates for president in the 2004 race call Austin home. Michael Badnarik, mentioned above as the Libertarian Party candidate, and David Cobb of the Green Party both have lived in Austin. During the run up to the election in November, a presidential debate was held at the University of Texas student union involving the two minor party candidates. While the Commission on Presidential Debates only invites Democrats and Republicans to participate in televised debates, the debate at UT was open to all presidential candidates. Austin also hosted one of the last presidential debates between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during their heated race for the Democratic nomination in 2008.
The distinguishing political movement of Austin politics has been that of the environmental movement, which spawned the parallel neighborhood movement, then the more recent conservationist movement (as typified by the Hill Country Conservancy), and eventually the current on-going debate about "sense of place" and preserving the Austin quality of life. Much of the so-called environmental movement has matured into a debate on issues related to saving and creating an Austin "sense of place."
Austin is the largest component of the Austin Round Rock MSA, which had a Gross Domestic Product of $86 billion in 2010. Austin is considered to be a major center for high tech. Thousands of graduates each year from the engineering and computer science programs at The University of Texas at Austin provide a steady source of employees that help to fuel Austin's technology and defense industry sectors. The metro Austin area has much lower housing costs than Silicon Valley, but much higher housing costs than many parts of rural Texas. As a result of the high concentration of high-tech companies in the region, Austin was strongly affected by the dot-com boom in the late 1990s and subsequent bust. Austin's largest employers include the Austin Independent School District, the City of Austin, Dell, the U.S. Federal Government, Freescale Semiconductor (spun off from Motorola in 2004), IBM, St. David's Healthcare Partnership, Seton Family of Hospitals, the State of Texas, Texas State University–San Marcos, and The University of Texas. Other high-tech companies with operations in Austin include Nvidia, 3M, Apple Inc., Hewlett-Packard, Google, AMD, Applied Materials, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, eBay/PayPal, Bioware, Blizzard Entertainment, Hoover's, Intel Corporation, National Instruments, Samsung Group, Buffalo Technology, Silicon Laboratories, Oracle Corporation, Hostgator, and United Devices. In 2010, Facebook accepted a grant to build a downtown office that could bring as many as 200 jobs to the city. The proliferation of technology companies has led to the region's nickname, "the Silicon Hills", and spurred development that greatly expanded the city. The concentration of high-tech companies has led the former American Airlines flight between Austin and San Jose, California to be dubbed the "nerd bird."
Austin is also emerging as a hub for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; the city is home to about 85 of them. The city was ranked by the Milken Institute as the No.12 biotech and life science center in the United States. Whole Foods Market (often called just "Whole Foods") is an upscale, national grocery store chain specializing in fresh and packaged food products—many having an organic-/local-/"natural"-theme. It was founded and is headquartered in Austin. In addition to national and global corporations, Austin features a strong network of independent, unique, locally-owned firms and organizations.
Buildings that make up most of Austin's skyline are modest in height and somewhat spread out. The latter characteristic is partly due to a restriction that preserves the view of the Texas State Capitol building from various locations around Austin (known as the Capitol View Corridor). However, many new highrise towers have been constructed and the downtown area is looking more modern and dense. The city's tallest building, The Austonian, was topped out on September 17, 2009. Austin is currently undergoing a skyscraper boom, which includes recent construction on the now complete 360 Condominiums at 563 feet (172 m), Spring (condominiums),the Austonian at 683 feet (208 m), and several others that are mainly for residential use. By 2015, the Frost Bank Tower could be the only skyscraper built before 2005 to remain in the ten tallest buildings in the city.
At night, parts of Austin are lighted by "artificial moonlight" from Moonlight Towers built to illuminate the central part of the city. The 165-foot (50 m) moonlight towers were built in the late 19th century and are now recognized as historic landmarks. Only 15 of the 31 original innovative towers remain standing in Austin, and none remain in any of the other cities where they were installed. The towers are featured in the 1993 film Dazed and Confused.
The central business district of the city is home to some of the tallest condo towers in the state, with the Austonian Condos topping out at 56 floors and the 360 Condos at 44 floors. The 360 Tower and the Four Seasons Condos are condo towers in Austin, opened in early 2008. Former Mayor Will Wynn set out a goal for having up to 25,000 people living Downtown by 2015, and the city provided incentives for building residential units in the urban core. Because of this, the city has been driven to increase density in Austin's urban core. The skyline has drastically changed in recent years, and the residential real estate market has remained relatively strong. Downtown growth has been aided by the presence of a popular live music and nightlife scene, museums, restaurants, and Lady Bird Lake, considered one of the city's best recreational spots. The 2nd Street District consists of several new residential projects, restaurants, coffee shops, record stores, upscale boutiques and museums, and the Austin City Hall. Under construction across 2nd Street from Austin City Hall will be the newly re-created TV set for the long-running PBS program Austin City Limits, which will be housed beneath the new 478 feet (146 m) W Hotel and residential tower. South by Southwest (SXSW) is hosted downtown and is one of the largest music festivals in the United States, with more than 2,000 performers playing in more than 90 venues around Downtown Austin over four days, in March. Though it is an industry-based event, SXSW Music links locally with events such as the annual Austin Music Awards show. SXSW is the highest revenue-producing special event for the Austin economy, with an estimated economic impact of at least $110 million in 2008.
"Keep Austin Weird" has become a local motto in recent years, featured on bumper stickers and t-shirts. This motto has not only been used in promoting Austin's eccentricity and diversity, but is also meant to bolster support of local independent businesses. According to the 2010 book, Weird City, the phrase was begun by a local Austin Community College librarian, Red Wassenich, and his wife, Karen Pavelka, who were concerned about Austin's "rapid descent into commercialism and over-development." The slogan has been interpreted many ways since its inception, but remains an important symbol for many Austinites who wish to voice concerns over rapid growth and irresponsible development. Austin has a long history of vocal citizen resistance to development projects perceived to degrade the environment, or to threaten the natural and cultural landscapes.
According to the Nielsen Company, adults in Austin read and contribute to blogs more than those in any other U.S. metropolitan area. Austin residents have the highest internet usage in all of Texas. Austin was selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and No. 3 in 2009, and also the "Greenest City in America" by MSN. According to Travel & Leisure magazine, Austin ranks No. 1 on the list of cities with the best people, referring to the personalities and attributes of the citizens.
SoCo is a shopping district stretching down South Congress Avenue from Downtown. This area is home to coffee shops, eccentric stores, restaurants, food trucks, trailers and festivals. It prides itself on "Keeping Austin Weird", especially with development in the surrounding area(s).
The O. Henry House Museum hosts the annual O. Henry Pun Off, a pun contest where the contestants exhibit wit. Other annual events include Eeyore's Birthday Party, Spamarama, the Austin Reggae Festival and Art City Austin in April, East Austin Studio Tour in November, and Carnaval Brasileiro in February. Sixth Street features annual festivals such as the Pecan Street Festival and Halloween night. The three-day Austin City Limits Music Festival has been held in Zilker Park every year since 2002. Every year around the end of March and the beginning of April, Austin is home to "Texas Relay Weekend."
Austin's Zilker Park Tree is a Christmas display made of lights strung from the top of a Moonlight tower in Zilker Park. The Zilker Tree is lit in December along with the "Trail of Lights", an Austin Christmas tradition. In 2010, the Trail of Lights was canceled due to budget problems, but the city says they hope to have finances for the trail next year.
As Austin's official slogan is The Live Music Capital of the World, the city has a vibrant live music scene with more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city. Austin's music revolves around the many nightclubs on 6th Street and an annual film/music/interactive festival known as South by Southwest (SXSW). The longest-running concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits, is recorded on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Austin City Limits and C3 Presents produce the Austin City Limits Music Festival, an annual music and art festival held at Zilker Park in Austin based on the Austin City Limits television show. The festival and television show alike attract musical artists from around the world. Other music events include the Urban Music Festival, the Fun Fun Fun Fest, Chaos In Tejas and the Old Settlers Music Festival.
Austin Lyric Opera has, since its founding in 1986, provided area residents with performances of multiple operas each year (including the 2007 opening of Philip Glass's Waiting for the Barbarians, written by University of Texas alumnus J. M. Coetzee). Performances are held at the Long Center for the Performing Arts with outdoor performance at Zilker Hillside Theater. The Austin Symphony Orchestra performs a range of classical, pop and family performances and is led by Music Director and Conductor Peter Bay.
Austin hosts the annual Austin Film Festival, which draws films of many different types from all over the world. In 2004 the city was first in MovieMaker Magazine's annual top ten cities to live and make movies. The 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival included Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop, Tom Morello, and Rickie Lee Jones.
Austin has been the location for a number of motion pictures, partly due to the influence of The University of Texas at Austin Department of Radio-Television-Film. Films produced in Austin include Man of the House, Secondhand Lions, Waking Life, Spy Kids, Dazed and Confused, Office Space, The Life of David Gale, Miss Congeniality, Doubting Thomas, Slacker, Idiocracy, The New Guy, Hope Floats, The Alamo, Blank Check, The Wendall Baker Story,"school of rock" A Slipping-Down Life, A Scanner Darkly, and most recently, the Coen Brothers' True Grit, Grindhouse, Machete, How To Eat Fried Worms and Bandslam. In order to draw future film projects to the area, the Austin Film Society has converted several airplane hangars from the former Mueller Airport into filmmaking center Austin Studios. Projects that have used facilities at Austin Studios include music videos by The Flaming Lips and feature films such as 25th Hour and Sin City. Austin also hosted the MTV series, The Real World: Austin in 2005. The film review websites Spill.com and Ain't It Cool News are based in Austin. Rooster Teeth Productions, creator of popular web series such as Red vs. Blue, is also located on Austin.
Austin's main daily newspaper is the Austin American-Statesman. The Austin Chronicle is Austin's alternative weekly, while The Daily Texan is the student newspaper of the University of Texas. Austin's business newspaper is the weekly Austin Business Journal. Austin also has numerous smaller special interest or sub-regional newspapers such as the Oak Hill Gazette, Westlake Picayune, Hill Country News, Round Rock Leader, NOKOA, and The Villager among others. Texas Monthly, a major regional magazine, is also headquartered in Austin. The Texas Observer, a muckraking biweekly political magazine, has been based in Austin for over five decades. The most recent newspaper entrant is the weekly Community Impact Newspaper newspaper published by John Garrett, former publisher of the Austin Business Journal. Community Impact has five regional editions and is delivered to every house and business within certain zip codes and all of the news is specific to those zip codes. The local PBS station KLRU produces several award winning locally produced programs. KUT is the leading public radio station in Texas and produces the majority of its content locally. KOOP (FM) is a volunteer-run radio station with more than 60 locally produced programs. Network television stations (affiliations in parentheses) include KTBC (Fox), KVUE (ABC), KXAN (NBC), KEYE-TV (CBS), KLRU (PBS), KNVA (The CW), KBVO (My Network TV), and KAKW (Univision). Also, subscribers to Time Warner Cable receive a 24-hour local news station, News 8 Austin. In some parts of Austin, Time Warner has cable competition from Grande Communications.
The most recent entrant on the Austin news scene is The Texas Tribune, an on-line publication focused on Texas and Austin politics. The Tribune is "user-supported" through donations, a business model similar to public radio. The Editor is Evan Smith, former Editor of Texas Monthly. Smith co-founded the Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, non-partisan public media organization, with Austin venture capitalist John Thornton and veteran journalist Ross Ramsey.
Austin has a strong theater culture, with dozens of itinerant and resident companies producing a variety of work. The city also has live performance theater venues such as the Zachary Scott Theatre Center, Vortex Repertory Company, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Rude Mechanicals' the Off Center, Austin Playhouse, Scottish Rite Children's Theater, Hyde Park Theatre, the Blue Theater, the Hideout Theater, and Esther's Follies. The Victory Grill was a renowned venue on the Chitlin' circuit. Public art and performances in the parks and on bridges are popular. Austin hosts the Fuse Box Festival each April featuring international, leading-edge theater artists.
The Paramount Theatre, opened in downtown Austin in 1915, contributes to Austin's theater and film culture, showing classic films throughout the summer and hosting regional premieres for films such as Miss Congeniality. The Zilker Park Summer Musical is a long-running outdoor musical. The Long Center for the Performing Arts is a 2,300 seat theater built partly with recycled materials from the old Lester E. Palmer Auditorium.
Ballet Austin is the fourth largest ballet academy in the country. Each year Ballet Austin's twenty member professional company performs ballets from a wide variety of choreographers, including their international award winning artistic director, Stephen Mills. The city is also home to the Ballet East Dance Company, a modern dance ensemble, and the Tapestry Dance Company which performs a variety of dance genres.
The Austin improv comedy scene has several theaters: ColdTowne Theater, The Hideout Theater, The New Movement Theater, and Salvage Vanguard Theater. Austin also hosts the annual Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, which draws comedic artists in all disciplines to Austin. In 2010, Out of Bounds hosted over 400 U.S. and international improv, sketch, and stand-up comedy artists over 7 days in 7 different venues.
Austin has an emerging entrepreneurial scene which supports multiple paths, including craft, bootstrap and funding-driven. The scene comes together every March at RISE Austin, an annual week-long conference around the city. However, part of Austin charm has been the unique enterprises by artists and poets since the late 1970s. Mexic-Arte Museum downtown, is one example started by a group of painters and sculptors from Mexico. Poet Hedwig Gorski invented the widespread term "pet sitting" in the early 1980s to describe one of the original in-home animal care services, Hyde Park Pet Sitting. A major entrepreneural landmark, The Armadillo World Headquarters, presented national musical rock and country acts as well as regional bands like Willie Nelson and Roky Erikson in the 1970s helping to build the city's reputation as a music capitol. The current scene has been featured in BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur Magazine (twice, and a THIRD time), GigaOm, Time, ABJ Entrepreneur, Kiplinger and CNN.
Austin is the largest city in the United States without a club in a major professional sports league. Many Austinites support the University of Texas Longhorns' sports programs. The University of Texas football and baseball teams each won their respective national championships during the 2005–2006 seasons. The Texas Longhorns play home games in the state's second-largest sports stadium, Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, seating over 101,000 fans. Baseball games are played at UFCU Disch–Falk Field which underwent renovation in 1996 with an increased capacity to 6,756 seats plus 11 stadium suites.
Minor-league professional sports came to Austin in 1996, when the Austin Ice Bats began playing at the Travis County Expo Center. Since then, the Austin Ice Bats have been replaced by the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, and many other teams have come to Austin including the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League, and the Texas Stars. Austin is home to the 2010 U.S. Youth Soccer U19 Girls National Champion club Lonestar Soccer Club.
Natural features like the bicycle-friendly Texas Hill Country, limestone rock formations, and generally mild climate work with the centrally located Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, and local pools like Barton Springs to make Austin the home of several endurance and multi-sport races and communities. The Capitol 10,000 is the largest 10 K race in Texas, and approximately fifth largest in the United States. The Austin Marathon has been run in the city every year since 1992. The Austin-founded American Swimming Association hosts an open water swimming event, the Cap 2 K, and other closed-course, open water, and cable swim races around town. Austin is also the hometown of several cycling groups and the seven-time Tour de France champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, as well as environmentally and economically minded bicycle commuters. Combining these three disciplines is a growing crop of triathlons, including the Capital of Texas Triathlon held every Memorial Day on and around Lady Bird Lake, Auditorium Shores, and Downtown Austin.
In June 2010 it was announced by the Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone that the Austin area would host the Formula One, United States Grand Prix, from 2012 until 2021. The effort was aided by State Comptroller Susan Combs. The state has pledged to put up $25 million in public funds annually for 10 years to pay the sanctioning fees for the race. The event was last held in 2007 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A Formula One circuit will need to be built at an estimated cost of $250 to $300 million, paid for by private investors, and is expected to be located just east of the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. The Austin investor group is headed by Tavo Hellmund, President of Full Throttle Productions, LP. Hellmund, of Austin, is himself a former race car owner and driver.
Museums in Austin include the Texas Memorial Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art (reopened in 2006), the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum across the street (which opened in 2000), the Austin Museum of Art (AMOA), and the galleries at the Harry Ransom Center. The Texas State Capitol itself is also a major tourist attraction. The Driskill Hotel built in 1886, and located at 6th and Brazos, was finished just before the construction of the Capitol building. Sixth Street is a musical hub for the city. The Enchanted Forest, a multi-acre outdoor music, art, and performance art space in South Austin hosts events such as fire-dancing and circus-like-acts. Austin is also home to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, which houses documents and artifacts related to the Johnson administration, including LBJ's limousine and a recreation of the Oval Office.
Locally produced art is featured at the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture. The Mexic-Arte Museum is a Latin American art museum founded in 1983. Austin is also home to the O. Henry House Museum, residence of O. Henry in 1891. Farmers markets are popular attractions, providing a variety of locally grown and often organic goods.
Austin is also "weird" for its many statues and landmarks, such as the Hyde Park Bar & Grill fork, the Mangia dinosaur, the Loca Maria lady at Taco Xpress on South Lamar, the 'migrating' pink flamingos on the lawn in front of the Pots and Plants Garden Center, the Hyde Park Gym's giant flexed arm, and Daniel Johnston's Hi, how are you? frog mural.
Austinites often start tours for visitors with a pilgrimage to the statue of Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan on the south shore of Town Lake. The statue's 'shadow' is longer than its height, to symbolize Vaughan's wide influence on electric guitarists.
The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge houses the world's largest urban population of Mexican Free-tailed Bats. Starting in March up to 1.5 million bats take up residence inside the bridge's expansion and contraction zones as well as in long horizontal grooves running the length of the bridge's underside, an environment ideally suited for raising their young. Every evening around sunset, the bats emerge in search of insects, an exit visible on weather radar. Watching the bat emergence is an event that is popular with locals and tourists, with more than 100,000 viewers per year. The bats migrate to Mexico each winter. The Austin Zoo, located in unincorporated western Travis County is a rescue zoo that provides sanctuary to displaced animals from a variety of situations, including those involving neglect.
The Austin Parks & Recreation Department received the Excellence in Aquatics award in 1999 and the Gold Medal Awards in 2004 from the National Recreation and Park Association. Home to more than 50 public swimming pools, Austin has parks and pools throughout the city. There are several well-known swimming locations. These include Deep Eddy Pool, Texas' oldest man-made swimming pool, and Barton Springs Pool, the nation's largest natural swimming pool in an urban area. Barton Springs Pool is spring-fed while Deep Eddy is well-fed. Both range in temperature from about 68.0 °F (20.0 °C) during the winter to about 71.6 °F (22.0 °C) during the summer. Hippie Hollow Park, a county park situated along Lake Travis, is the only officially sanctioned clothing-optional public park in Texas. Activities include rockclimbing, kayaking, swimming, exploring, and hiking along the greenbelt, a long-spanning area that runs through the city. Zilker Park, a large green area close to downtown, forms part of the greenbelt along the Colorado River. Hamilton Pool is a pool and wildlife park located about 30 minutes from the city.
Central Austin is essentially bracketed by two major North/South thoroughfares: Interstate 35 to the east and the Mopac Expressway (Loop 1) to the west. U.S. Highway 183 runs from northwest to southeast, and State Highway 71 crosses the southern part of the city from east to west, completing a rough "box" around the central and north-central city. Austin is the largest city in the United States to be served by only one Interstate Highway.
U.S. Highway 290 enters Austin from the east and merges into I-35. Its highway designation continues south on I-35 and then becomes part of Highway 71, continuing on to the west. Highway 290 becomes its own road again southwest of the city, when it splits from Highway 71 in a busy interchange in Oak Hill known as "The Y." Highway 71 continues as far west as Brady, Texas, and Highway 290 continues west to intersect Interstate 10 near Junction. Interstate 35 continues south through San Antonio, and continues to its culmination at Laredo, Texas, which is on the Texas-Mexico border. Interstate 35 is the highway link to the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex in northern Texas. There are two links to Houston, Texas (Highway 290 and State Highway 71/Interstate 10). Highway 183 leads northwest of Austin and is a route with other major highways to such cities as Abilene, San Angelo, Lubbock, Amarillo, Albuquerque and Denver.
In the mid-1980s, Austin completed construction on Loop 360, a scenic highway that curves through the hill country from near the 71/Mopac interchange in the south to near the 183/Mopac interchange in the north. The iconic Pennybacker Bridge, also known as the "360 Bridge", crosses Lake Austin to connect north and south Loop 360.
In November 2006, Austin opened the first segments of its first-ever tollway system: State Highway 130 runs from just south of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Interstate 35 just north of Georgetown. Highway 130 connects with Highway 45 in Pflugerville, Texas. The project, when completed, will end at Interstate 10 just east of Seguin, about 30 miles (48 km) east-northeast of San Antonio.
State Highway 45 runs east-west from just west of Highway 183 in Cedar Park to 130 inside Pflugerville (just east of Round Rock). The project also included a tolled extension to Mopac that allows direct access to I-35. A new southeast leg of Highway 45 has recently been completed, connecting US 183 and the current south end of TX-130 to I-35 at the FM 1327/Creedmoor exit near the south end of Austin and close to the town of Buda's northernmost interchange. The 183A Toll Road opened March 2007, providing a tolled alternative to 183 through the cities of Leander and Cedar Park. Despite the overwhelming initial opposition to the toll road concept when it was first announced, all three toll roads have improved mobility in and around the Austin area and are significantly exceeding their revenue projections.
Austin's airport is Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) (IATA code AUS), located 5 miles (8 km) southeast of the city. The airport is on the site of the former Bergstrom Air Force Base, which was closed in 1993 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process. Previously, Robert Mueller Municipal Airport was the commercial airport of Austin.
Greyhound Lines operates the Austin Station at 916 East Koenig Lane, just east of Airport Boulevard and adjacent to Highland Mall. Turimex Internacional operates bus service from Austin to Nuevo Laredo and on to many destinations in Mexico. The Turimex station is located at 5012 East 7th Street, near Shady Lane.
Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) provides public transportation to the city, primarily by bus. Capital Metro is planning to change some routes to "Rapid Lines". The lines will feature 60 ft (18 m) long, train-like high-tech buses. This addition is going to be implemented to help reduce congestion. Capital Metro opened a 32-mile (51 km) commuter rail system known as Capital MetroRail on March 22, 2010. The system was built on existing freight rail lines and will serve downtown Austin, East Austin, North Central Austin, Northwest Austin, and Leander in its first phase. Future expansion could include a line to Manor and another to Round Rock. Capital Metro is also looking into a circulator system of streetcars to connect most of Downtown, the University of Texas, and the 700-acre (2.8 km2) Mueller Airport Redevelopment. The streetcar system would help connect the new rail line to key destinations in Central Austin. An Amtrak Texas Eagle station is located west of downtown. Segments of the Amtrak route between Austin and San Antonio are under evaluation for a future passenger rail corridor as an alternative to the traffic congestion of Interstate 35. Austin is known as the most bike-friendly city in Texas and has a Silver-level rating from the League of American Bicyclists. Austin is also home to Car2Go, a carsharing program. Austin was chosen as the first city in the western hemisphere to host this company's business, which is based in Germany.
A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Austin 31st most walkable of fifty largest U.S. cities. Austin has a vibrant and large pedicab community of bicycle taxis that operate downtown during the evening hours and daytime during events.
Researchers at Central Connecticut State University ranked Austin the 16th most literate city in the United States for 2008. The Austin Public Library operates the John Henry Faulk Library and various library branches. In addition, the University of Texas at Austin operates the seventh-largest academic library in the nation.
Austin was voted "America's No.1 College Town" by the Travel Channel. Over 43 percent of Austin residents age 25 and over hold a bachelor's degree, while 16 percent hold a graduate degree. As of 2009, greater Austin ranks eighth among metropolitan areas in the United States for bachelor's degree attainment with nearly 39 percent of area residents over 25 holding a bachelor's degree.
Austin is home to The University of Texas at Austin, the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System with over 38,000 undergraduate students and 12,000 graduate students. In 2010, the university was ranked 45th among "National Universities" (13th among public universities) by U.S. News and World Report. UT has annual research expenditures of over $640 million and has the highest-ranked business, engineering, and law programs of any university in the state of Texas.
Other institutions of higher learning in Austin include St. Edward's University, Austin Community College, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson University, the Seminary of the Southwest, the Acton School of Business, Austin Graduate School of Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Virginia College's Austin Campus, The Art Institute of Austin, Austin Conservatory and a branch of Park University.
Highly rated elementary and secondary schools contribute to both quality of life and the beginnings of exceptional labor pools to come. Austin area households enjoy diverse options in education, including 29 public school districts, 17 charter schools and 69 private schools. Most of the city is served by the Austin Independent School District. Some parts of Austin are served by other districts, including Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, Manor, Del Valle, Lake Travis, Hays, and Eanes ISDs. Four of the metro's major public school systems, representing 54% of area enrollment, are included in Expansion Management magazine's latest annual education quality ratings of nearly 2,800 school districts nationwide. Two districts—Eanes and Round Rock—are rated "gold medal", the highest of the magazine's cost-performance categories.
Private and alternative education institutions for children in preschool-12th grade include Regents School of Austin, Redeemer Lutheran School, Garza (public), Austin Discovery School (public charter), Austin Jewish Academy, the Waldorf schools, The Griffin School, The Khabele School, Concordia Academy, St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic School, San Juan Diego Catholic High School, Brentwood Christian School, St. Austin Catholic School, St. Stephen's Episcopal School, St. Mary's, St. Theresa's, St. Michael's Catholic Academy, Saint Gabriel's Catholic School, St. Andrew's Episcopal School, St. Francis Episcopal School, Saint Paul Lutheran School, Trinity Episcopal School, Huntington-Surrey, Cleaview Sudbury School, The Inside Outside School, ACE Academy, Paragon Preparatory Middle School, Austin International School, The Progress School and a number of Montessori schools.
Along with vibrant homeschooling & "unschooling" communities, Austin is home to a number of part-time learning environments designed to offer basic academics and inspired mentoring. Such current resources include the Whole Life Learning Center & AHB Community School.
Austin is also home to numerous child developmental institutions including the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, the Central Texas Autism Center, Autism Early Learning Center, Johnson Center for Child Health and Development and many more.
On September 6, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Austin, Texas to visit the Texas State Capitol. The Texas State Capitol is located in Austin, Texas and is the fourth building to be the house of Texas government in Austin. It houses the chambers of the Texas Legislature and the office of the governor of Texas. It was designed originally during 1881 by architect Elijah E. Myers, and was constructed beginning 1882–88 by direction of civil engineer Reuben Lindsay Walker. A $75 million underground extension was completed during 1993. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places during 1970 and recognized as a National Historic Landmark during 1986. The Texas State Capitol building is 308 ft (94 m) tall. He went there by a long drive from Houston, Texas for approximately 165 miles or 3 hours drive. The Texas State Capitol is free for the visitors' tour and they are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm from Monday to Saturday and 12:00pm to 5:00pm on Sunday. They are closed on holidays.
After his tour at Texas State Capitol, he went to the downtown of Austin, Texas to visit the City Hall there. Since the Texas State Capitol is also within the downtown of Austin, Texas, then the City Hall is just few blocks away from Texas State Capitol. The Austin Convention Center is also located there. There are many tourist attractions in Austin, Texas but because of his short time, Armando was able to visit only at the Downtown Area only. Austin is also a crowded and industrialized city in Texas together with Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
Beaumont is a city in and county seat of Jefferson County, Texas, United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's population was 118,296 at the 2010 census. With Port Arthur and Orange, it forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the Gulf Coast.
Lamar University with its 15000 students is located in Beaumont. The city's daily newspaper is The Beaumont Enterprise, while The Examiner is published weekly.
Gulf States Utilities had its headquarters in Beaumont until its absorption by Entergy Corporation in 1993. GSU's Edison Plaza headquarters is still the tallest building in Beaumont (as of 2011). Since 1907, Beaumont has been home of the South Texas State Fair. In 2004, the venue for the Fair changed to Ford Park, a new, larger facility on the west end of Beaumont.
In 1824 Noah and Nancy Tevis settled on the west bank of Neches River and organized a farm. Soon after that, a small community grew up around the farm, which was named Tevis Bluff or Neches River Settlement. In 1835 the land of Tevises together with nearby community of Santa Anna (in total, 50 acres or 200,000 m2) was purchased by Henry Millard (1796—1844), Joseph P. Pulsifer (1805—1861) and Thomas B. Huling (1804—1865), who began planning a town to be laid out on this land. This town was named Beaumont, after Mary Millard (born as Mary Dewburleigh Barlace Warren Beaumont), the late wife of Henry Millard (she died in May 1834).
Beaumont became a town on December 16, 1838. Joseph Perkins Pulsifer was a founding citizen of Beaumont. His firm, J.P. Pulsifer and Company, donated the first 50 acres (200,000 m2) upon which the town was founded. Beaumont's first mayor was Alexander Calder.
Schaadt (2006) examines the entrepreneurship that made Beaumont thrive in its early years. From its founding in 1835, business activities included real estate, transportation expansion, and retail sales. Later, other businesses were formed, especially in railroad construction and operation, new building construction, lumber sales, and communications. They made Beaumont a successful regional shipping center. Beaumont was a small center for cattle raisers and farmers in its early years, and with an active riverport by the 1880s, it became an important lumber and rice-milling town. The Beaumont Rice Mill, founded in 1892 by Joseph Eloi Broussard, was the first commercial rice mill in Texas. Beaumont's lumber boom, which reached its peak in the late 19th century, was due in large part to the rebuilding and expansion of the railroads after the Civil War. The rise of Beaumont's mill economy drew many new residents to the city, many of them immigrants, among them a group of Jews who would go on to form a congregation. By the early 20th century, the city was served by the Southern Pacific, Kansas City Southern, Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe, and Missouri Pacific railroad systems.
Oil was discovered at nearby Spindletop on January 10, 1901. Spindletop became the first major oil field and one of the largest in American history. With the discovery of oil at Spindletop, Beaumont's population grew from 9,000 in January 1901 to 30,000 in March 1901. Oil is, and has always been, a major export of the city, and a major contributor to the national GDP.
Captain William Casper Tyrrell was a leading philanthropist in the 1920s. His generosity contributed to such projects as the opening of a commercial port in the city, the development of the local rice industry, the development of suburban property, and the donation of the First Baptist Church for use as a public library, which in 2002 housed the Tyrrell Historical Library.
The city became a major center for shipbuilding during World War II, as tens of thousands of rural Texans poured in for the new high-paying jobs. Housing was scarce and racial tension high when a race riot took place in Beaumont in June 1943 after workers at the Pennsylvania shipyard in Beaumont learned that a white woman had accused a black man of raping her.
In 1996, the Jefferson County courts, located in Beaumont, became the first court in the nation to implement electronic filing and service of court documents, eliminating the need for law firms to print and mail reams of documents.
In 2005 and 2008, Beaumont and surrounding areas suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike. A mandatory evacuation was imposed upon its residents for about two weeks.
Beaumont is a council-manager form of government. Elections are held annually, with the Mayor and Council members each serving two-year terms. All powers of the City are vested in the Council, which enacts local legislation, adopts budgets, and determines policies. Council is also responsible for appointing the City Attorney, the City Clerk and Magistrates, and the City Manager. The city council is composed of two councilmembers-at-large, and four councilmembers representing four Wards of the city.
The Texas Department of Transportation operates the Beaumont District Office in Beaumont. The Texas Ninth Court of Appeals is located in the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Beaumont District Parole Office in Beaumont. The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates the Beaumont Federal Correctional Complex in an unincorporated area in Jefferson County, near Beaumont.
A significant element of the region's economy is the Port of Beaumont, the nations 4th largest seaport by Tonnage, and the 2nd largest military seaport in the world. The 842d Transportation Battalion, and the 596th Transportation Group are both stationed at the port in Beaumont. Conn's Appliances and Jason's Deli have their headquarters in Beaumont. Originally Sweet Leaf Tea Company had its headquarters in Beaumont. The headquarters moved to Austin in October 2003.
Southeast Texas Regional Airport, located 9 miles south of Beaumont's central business district, serves the region with flights to Houston, Texas. Intercity Amtrak rail serves the city via the Beaumont Amtrak Station. The city operates a city wide bus system called Beaumont Mass Transit (BMT).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 85.9 square miles (222.6 km²), of which, 85.0 square miles (220.2 km²) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.4 km²) of it (1.07%) is water. Beaumont is on Texas' coastal plain, about 30 miles (48 km) inland from the Gulf of Mexico, and just south of the dense pine forests of East Texas. The city is bordered on the east by the Neches River and to the north by Pine Island Bayou. Before being settled, the area was crisscrossed by numerous small streams. Most of these streams have since been filled in or converted for drainage purposes. The island directly across from Riverfront Park is called Trinity Island. There are also three other islands in the Neches River around the downtown area/port: Harbor, Smith and Clark.
The city of Beaumont, Texas is within the humid subtropical climate regime. This city is within the Piney Woods, which cover the eastern region of Texas, as well as adjacent Louisiana. This region of Texas receives the most rainfall in the state, with more than 48 inches (1,200 mm) annually. This is due to the warm gulf waters that carry humid air to the region, where it condenses and precipitates. Hurricanes also strike the region, the most disastrous of which was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 as well as Hurricane Ike in 2008. Hurricane Ike was the largest and most damaging hurricane to hit Beaumont to date, striking September 13, 2008. Causing $32 billion in damage, it is the third most costly hurricane in United States history. The humidity of the region greatly amplifies the feeling of heat during the summer. The winters are kept moderate by warm gulf currents. Wintry precipitation is unusual, but does occur. A recent snow event was December 24, 2004, the first such occurrence since 1989. However, more recently, Beaumont and the surrounding areas received a light snow on December 11, 2008. Up to 4 inches in the west end. And almost a year later , Beaumont and the surrounding areas received a trace to half an inch of light snow on December 4, 2009. These are the earliest measurable snowfalls at the airport since the late 19th century. And even more recently the Beaumont area had a trace of snow on February 24, 2010 that only lasted for only 30 minutes and quickly melted on contact with the ground. The area suffered a severe ice storm in January 1997. And on February 3-4th 2011 the area suffered from a winter storm and extreme Arctic Cold.
On August 18, 2009 a tornado hit the west end of Beaumont, and caused damage to several local businesses and cars. Injuries were minimal. The Beaumont-Port Arthur region is cited as one of the most polluted urban areas in the United States due to various energy industries and chemical plants in the area. The pollution is believed to have caused some residents to become sick and has generated debates throughout the media.
Downtown Beaumont is the center of Business, Government and night time entertainment in southeast Texas. Downtown features the Crockett Street Entertainment Complex with entertainment options from dancing, to live music to dining or a bar. In addition to the night time entertainment downtown also features a museum district with four distinct museums.
The South Texas State Fair is held at Beaumont's Ford Park during March. It is the 2nd largest fair in the state with over 500,000 visitors in 2009. The fair features a livestock show, a commercial exhibition, a carnival midway and numerous food choices. The Fair moved from the Fair Park Coliseum to Ford Park in 2004. The fair was previously held in the fall but had to be moved to spring after Hurricane Rita caused its cancellation.
The Gusher Marathon formed in 2010 by the local nonprofit Sports Society for American Health is the city's first annual marathon. The Gusher takes place in march and includes a 5K, half marathon and full marathon. The course begins at the Montagne Center of Lamar University and tours Downtown and Lamar before returning to the Montange.
The Beaumont Jazz & Blues Fest is a Jazz festival held in downtown Beaumont since 2005. The Boomtown Film and Music Festival is a film and music festival that began in 2008 to replace the Spindletop Film Festival. Dog Jam is a rock concert held annually at Ford Park.
On the first Saturday of December downtown host the Downtown Winter Parade. The parade features floats that travel down Main, College and Pearl streets. In recent years the parade has also featured a lighted boat parade that travels down the Neches River, spectators can watch from Riverfront Park.
The sports teams of Lamar University compete in Division I NCAA athletics as the Lamar Cardinals. The athletics program is a full member of the Southland Conference. The Cardinals and Lady Cardinals compete in 14 varsity sports. The Cardinals Basketball team plays in the Montagne Center and Cardinals Baseball Team plays in Vincent-Beck Stadium. In 2010 the university is bringing back its dormant football program and renovating Provost Umphrey Stadium. The Cardinals Football team will begin Southland Conference play officially in 2011.
The Beaumont Enterprise is the only daily newspaper serving Beaumont. Operating since 1880 The Enterprise is one of the oldest continually operated business in Beaumont. It is operated by the Hearst Corporation. Two weekly publications The Examiner and The Southeast Texas Record. The Examiner is primarily an investigative reporting paper. the Southeast Texas Record is a legal journal that covers Jefferson and Orange County courts.
Beaumont has 8 buildings over 100 feet tall, the tallest being the Edison Plaza, which is 254 feet tall. The old Edson Hotel, built in 1928 is nearly the same height at 240 feet. One of the most prominent downtown buildings is the 15 story San Jacinto Building. Built in 1921, it sports one of the largest four faced clock towers in the nation, each dial being 17 feet in diameter. In 1922 the 11 story Hotel Beaumont was built across the street from the San Jacinto. The Hotel Beaumont bears a resemblance to the old Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta. The second oil boom of 1925 brought more people and wealth to Beaumont, the same year the 12 story American National Bank Building (now Orleans Building), was erected, and in 1926 Forrest Goodhue built the 12 story Goodhue Building which included a penthouse. In 1928, the Edson Hotel was built. No other buildings were built until Century Tower in 1962 and in 1987 Edison Plaza was built. In 1994 the 12 story LaSalle Hotel, built in 1927, was demolished.
The Jefferson Theatre was built in 1927 by the Jefferson Amusement Company for $1 million and was Beaumont's showpiece for many years. In 1928 the City Hall and Auditorium was built. It is now the Julie Rogers Theater. Beaumont's Jefferson County Courthouse is one of the tallest county courthouses in the state and is an excellent example of Art Deco architecture. Across the street from the Jack Brooks Federal Building is the Kyle Building, built in 1933. The storefront was recently restored and is considered to be one of the best examples of Zig-Zag architecture in Texas. The Oaks Historic District has many restored historic homes.
Beaumont has one state university, Lamar University, which belongs to The Texas State University System. Lamar University was established in 1923 as South Park Junior College. Lamar University is a Doctoral granting institution with over 100 degrees offered. The school's main academic offerings are in Business, Nursing, Teaching and Engineering. Lamar University's enrollment has grown tremendously in the first decade of the 21st century. This has prompted a building boom at the campus. The school's enrollment as of 2010 was above 14,000 students. In the fall of 2010 the school will field its first football team in 21 years. Lamar Institute of Technology is located directly adjacent to Lamar University and serves as the region's technical college for two-year degrees and certificates.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Beaumont runs three Catholic elementary schools in Beaumont, St. Anne Catholic School, St. Anthony Cathedral Catholic School, and Our Mother of Mercy Catholic School. Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School is the city's lone Catholic high school. Cathedral Christian School on US 69 enrolls kindergarten through 6th grade, and Legacy Christian Academy, on Highway 105, enrolls 6th through 12th grade. All Saints Episcopal School, on Delaware St., enrolls Kindergarten through 8th grade.
On September 4, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Beaumont, Texas by long drive from San Antonio, Texas to visit his cousin there. It took about 5 hours to drive along I-10 East. His cousin, Vangie Magtalas Santa Cruz and her family are already in Beaumont for about 5 years. She's working as a nurse in a hospital there at night schedule. Her husband is taking care of their kids while she's working at night. Because of their schedule, they don't need to bring their kids to Day Care. It's expensive for a couple to bring their kids to Day Care. Her husband is working at day schedule in the office as a cartoonist or artist. Although the weather was cloudy with a little rain, Armando was able to drive safely. He met her cousin at around 4:30pm at their home before she leave for work at 7:00pm. After their dinner, he and her husband were chatting while drinking a couple of beer. My cousin and her husband are blessed with three sons and stable jobs as well. Later on, their parents will be migrated to United States soon. Their dream is to bring their family to United States. They don't have close relatives in Texas but in California only. Armando spent his night there. Their house is nice and they live in a good community.
On September 5, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Fire Museum of Texas with his nephews and his cousin's husband. His cousin, Vangie Magtalas Santa Cruz was not able to join because she's very tired and sleepy from her night work as a nurse. The Fire Museum of Texas is an example of the Renaissance Revival. The building has state-of-the-art interactive fire safety exhibits with a collection of antique fire equipment dating as early as 1856. It also has a two-story interactive playhouse for children to learn fire safety. It is also home to one of the world's largest fire hydrants. The building is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. Since September 5, 2011 is Labor Day in USA, the museum was closed and they did their tour and picture taking outside of the museum.
After this, they went to the downtown area of Beaumont, Texas to visit the City Hall, Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Texas Energy Museum, and Tyrell Historical Library. The downtown area is just 2 blocks from Fire Museum of Texas. Since September 5, 2011 is Labor Day in USA, all museums were closed and they did their tour and picture taking outside of the museums. Art Museum of Southeast Texas is a pretty decent art museum for a small city. Their permanent collection includes several impressive pieces, mostly from local artists such as Robert Rauschenberg. In the heart of downtown, this contemporary building is perfect for party and even rentals. Although the primary focus of Texas Energy Museum is the history, technology and science of petroleum, much of our programming includes science in general. Modern exhibitions cover the geology and formation of oil, history of oil drilling technology, seismology, history of the U.S. and its reliance on oil; offshore drilling; refining; and the history of Spindletop and the growth of the Texas oil industry. Robotic characters and video animations relate much of the story. Children and family educational programs include Saturday outdoor events focusing on physics and "bubbles," dinosaurs and paleontology; astronomy and space exploration, and environmental science. Our current project is a 2,000 square feet permanent exhibition interpreting the science and chemistry behind petroleum refining and petrochemicals. The $1.1 million exhibition includes immersion theater, animated models and a simulated oil tanker journey through the Neches River wetlands. The Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont, Texas was built in 1903 for First Baptist Church. Its design is Richardsonian Romanesque architecture mixed with features of the Victorian Gothic style, such as pointed arch windows and quatrefoils. The building was purchased by Captain W. C. Tyrrell in 1923, and was donated to the city, it survives today as an historical library. The building also retains all of the original stained glass.
After this, they went to Beaumont Botanical Gardens. The Beaumont Botanical Gardens (23.5 acres), also known as the Tyrrell Park Botanical Gardens, are botanical gardens and a conservatory located in Tyrrell Park at 6088 Babe Zaharias Drive, Beaumont, Texas, USA. The gardens are open to the public every day during daylight hours at no charge; the conservatory has relatively restrictive hours and charges an admission fee. The gardens contain the Binks Horticultural Center; the 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) Warren Loose Conservatory which features tropical plants from around the world, a waterfall, a Koi fish pool; and many theme gardens displaying camellias, modern and antique roses, bromeliads, and native plants. The gardens were first established in 1968, with the Beaumont Garden Center Building dedicated on August 20, 1971. In 1972, a master plan for the gardens was drawn up, and labeling of the trees, vines, and shrubs begun. The Beaumont Garden Center became the Beaumont Botanical Gardens in 1996. A variety of gardens and structures have been added over the subsequent years, including: Green and White Garden (1986), Stream Bed Garden (1986), Antique Rose Garden (1987), Shelter Building in the Garden (1988), Grandmother's Garden (1989), Modern Rose Garden (1990), Japanese garden (1991), Gazebo (1991), Azalea Trail (1991), Daylily Display Garden (1991), Native Plant Garden (1992), Bromeliad Display Garden (1992), herb garden (1994), Violet's Garden (1994), Camellia Garden (1995), Vi's Fountain (1996), Secret Garden (2000), Palm and Agave Garden (2001), and the Bob Whitman Propagation House (2001).
Brookshire is a city 34 miles west of downtown Houston along Interstate 10, 7 miles west of Katy, the fastest growing residential region in the U.S.. Brookshire is part of the Interstate 10 Energy Corridor, part of the west Houston and Katy Market, and a member of West I-10 Chamber of Commerce. Igloo Industries has a 2 million sq. ft. cooler factory just east of Brookshire and Rooms To Go recently completed a 2.5 million sq. foot distribution warehouse and showroom at the intersection of I-10 and Woods Road, just east of Brookshire.Waller County, Texas, United States. The population was 4702 as of the 2010 census, a growth rate of 36% since the 2000 census.
Brookshire was named in honor of Nathan Brookshire, who was a large land owner in the vicinity and a leading resident. He was a captain in the Texas army and participated in the storming and capture of Bexar in 1835. In 1893 John Kellner donated land and filed a plat for the Town of Kellner out of the William Cooper Survey, one of the oldest headrights in the state. Also in 1893, John Brookshire and O. C. Drew filed their plat for the Town of Brookshire out of the H. H. Pennington Survey. On May 24, 1946, The City of Brookshire was incorporated, comprising both the Kellner and the Brookshire/Drew plats.
Brookshire is 34 miles west of downtown Houston, 7 miles west of Katy, the fastest growing residential region in the U.S.. Brookshire is part of the Interstate 10 Energy Corridor, part of the west Houston and Katy Market, and a member of West I-10 Chamber of Commerce. Igloo Industries has a 2 million sq. ft. cooler factory just east of Brookshire and Rooms To Go recently completed a 2.5 million sq. foot distribution warehouse and showroom at the intersection of I-10 and Woods Road, just east of Brookshire. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.1 km²), all of it land.
The mayor of Brookshire, recently reelected in 2011 is Joey Vaughn. He is an Eagle Scout. The Brookshire Katy Drainage District has its headquarters in Brookshire. West Engineering Services has its world headquarters in Brookshire, TX. The United States Postal Service operates the Brookshire Post Office at 4115 5th Street.
On September 4, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia visited in Brookshire, Texas to have a lunch at Orlando's Pizza. He saw the advertisement of the said restaurant along I-10 when he was driving from San Antonio to Beaumont. He will go to Beaumont to visit his cousin and to have a tour there as well. Orlando's Pizza is a pizza buffet restaurant near to I-10. From I-10, take Road 359 or Waller Avenue then follow the directions posted at the road signs. This restaurant is always busy especially for the travelers. The restaurant is serving different kinds of pizza approximately more than 50 kinds. You can request the type of pizza you want to eat and they will make you one. There's a salad bar and softdrinks that are also included in the buffet. They have also pizza dessert with different kinds as well. Imagine, they have chocolate pizza, apple pie pizza, strawberry pizza, custard pizza, and so on. This is a unique restaurant because you will find a pizza dessert only at this restaurant. The price of the pizza buffet is very affordable to everyone. It's cheap because the price is only $7.95 per person.
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Divided between Collin, Dallas, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties, the city had a 2010 population of approximately 1.2 million, according to the United States Census Bureau. The city is the largest economic center of the 12-county Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area that according to the March 2010 U.S. Census Bureau release, had a population of roughly 6.5 million as of July 2009.
Dallas was founded in 1841 and formally incorporated as a city in February 1856. The city's economy is primarily based on banking, commerce, telecommunications, computer technology, energy, and transportation, and the city is home to the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the nation. Located in North Texas and a major city in the American South, Dallas is a core of the largest inland metropolitan area in the United States that lacks any navigable link to the sea.
The city's prominence arose from its historical importance as a center for the oil and cotton industries, and its position along numerous railroad lines. Dallas developed a strong industrial and financial sector, and a major inland port, due largely to the presence of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world. It was rated as an alpha- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network.
Before Texas was claimed in the 18th century as a part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain by the Spanish Empire, the Dallas area was inhabited by the Caddo people. Later, France also claimed the area, but in 1819 the Adams-Onís Treaty made the Red River the northern boundary of New Spain, officially placing the future location of Dallas well within Spanish territory. The area remained under Spanish rule until 1821, when Mexico declared independence from Spain and the area became part of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas. In 1836, the Republic of Texas broke off from Mexico to become an independent nation. In 1839, Warren Angus Ferris surveyed the area around present-day Dallas. Two and a half years later, John Neely Bryan established a permanent settlement near a river he found and called that settlement Dallas. The Republic of Texas was then annexed by the United States in 1845 and Dallas County was established the following year. Dallas was formally incorporated as a city in February 1856. The name of the city has uncertain origins. See History of Dallas, Texas (1839-1855) for more information on that.
Dallas is the county seat of Dallas County. Portions of the city extend into neighboring Collin, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 385 square miles (997.1 km2), 342.5 square miles (887.1 km2) of it being land and 42.5 square miles (110.1 km2) of it (11.03%) water. Dallas makes up one-fifth of the much larger urbanized area known as the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, in which one quarter of all Texans live.
Dallas and its surrounding area are mostly flat; the city itself lies at elevations ranging from 450 feet (137 m) to 550 feet (168 m). The western edge of the Austin Chalk Formation, a limestone escarpment (also known as the "White Rock Escarpment"), rises 200 feet (61 m) and runs roughly north-south through Dallas County. South of the Trinity River, the uplift is particularly noticeable in the neighborhoods of Oak Cliff and the adjacent cities of Cockrell Hill, Cedar Hill, Grand Prairie, and Irving. Marked variations in terrain are also found in cities immediately to the west in Tarrant County surrounding Fort Worth, as well as along Turtle Creek north of Downtown.
Dallas, like many other cities in the world, was founded along a river. The city was founded at the location of a "white rock crossing" of the Trinity River, where it was easier for wagons to cross the river in the days before ferries or bridges. The Trinity River, though not usefully navigable, is the major waterway through the city. Its path through Dallas is paralleled by Interstate 35E along the Stemmons Corridor, then south alongside the western portion of Downtown and past south Dallas and Pleasant Grove, where the river is paralleled by Interstate 45 until it exits the city and heads southeast towards Houston. The river is flanked on both sides by 50 feet (15 m) tall earthen levees to protect the city from frequent floods. Since it was rerouted in 1908, the river has been little more than a drainage ditch within a floodplain for several miles above and below downtown Dallas, with a more normal course further upstream and downstream, but as Dallas began shifting towards postindustrial society, public outcry about the lack of aesthetic and recreational use of the river ultimately gave way to the Trinity River Project, which was initialized in the early 2000s and is scheduled to be completed in the 2010s. If the project materializes fully, it promises improvements to the riverfront in the form of man-made lakes, new park facilities and trails, and transportation upgrades.
The project area will reach for over 20 miles (32 km) in length within the city, while the overall geographical land area addressed by the Land Use Plan is approximately 44,000 acres (180 km2) in size—about 20% of the land area in Dallas. Green space along the river will encompass approximately 10,000 acres (40 km2), making it one of the largest and diverse urban parks in the world.
White Rock Lake, a reservoir constructed at the beginning of the 20th century, is Dallas' other significant water feature. The lake and surrounding park is a popular destination for boaters, rowers, joggers, and bikers, as well as visitors seeking peaceful respite from the city at the 66-acre (267,000 m2) Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, located on the lake's eastern shore. White Rock Creek feeds into White Rock Lake, and then exits on to the Trinity River southeast of downtown Dallas. Trails along White Rock Creek are part of the extensive Dallas County Trails System. Bachman Lake, just northwest of Love Field Airport, is a smaller lake also popularly used for recreation. Northeast of the city is Lake Ray Hubbard, a vast 22,745-acre (92 km2) reservoir located in an extension of Dallas surrounded by the suburbs of Garland, Rowlett, Rockwall, and Sunnyvale. To the west of the city is Mountain Creek Lake, once home to the Naval Air Station Dallas (Hensley Field) and a number of defense aircraft manufacturers. North Lake, a small body of water in an extension of the city limits surrounded by Irving and Coppell, initially served as a water source for a nearby power plant but is now being targeted for redevelopment as a recreational lake due to its proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, a plan that the lake's neighboring cities oppose.
Dallas has a humid subtropical climate, though it is located in a region that also tends to receive warm, dry winds from the north and west in the summer, bringing temperatures well over 100 °F (38 °C) at times and heat-humidity indexes soaring to as high as 117 °F (47 °C). When only temperature itself is accounted for, the north central Texas region where Dallas is located is one of the hottest in the United States during the summer months, usually trailing only the Mojave Desert basin of Arizona, southern Nevada, and southeastern California.
Winters in Dallas are generally mild, with normal daytime highs ranging from 55 °F (13 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C) and normal nighttime lows falling in between 30 °F (−1 °C) and 45 °F (7 °C). A day with clear, sunny skies, a high of 63 °F (17 °C), and a low of 36 °F (2 °C) would thus be a very typical one during the winter. However, strong cold fronts known as "Blue Northers" sometimes pass through the Dallas region, plummeting nightly lows below 25 °F (−4 °C) for up to a few days at a time and keeping daytime highs in a struggle to surpass 40 °F (4 °C). Snow accumulation is usually seen in the city at least once every winter, and snowfall generally occurs 2–3 days out of the year for an annual average of 2.5 inches (6.4 cm). Some areas in the region, however, receive more than that, while other areas receive negligible snowfall or none at all. A couple of times each winter in Dallas, warm and humid air from the south will override cold, dry air, resulting in freezing rain or ice and causing disruptions in the city if the roads and highways become slick. On the other hand, daytime highs above 70 °F (21 °C) are not unusual and will occur at least several days each winter month—roughly the same number of days each December, January, and February that low temperatures fall below 30 °F (−1 °C) or that high temperatures fail to reach 50 °F (10 °C). Over the past 15 years, Dallas has averaged 31 annual nights at or below freezing, with the winter of 1999–2000 holding the all-time record as having the fewest freezing nights, with 14. During this same span of 15 years, the temperature in the region has only twice dropped below 15 °F (−9 °C), though it will generally fall below 20 °F (−7 °C) about once every other year. In sum, extremes and variations in winter weather are more readily seen in Dallas and Texas as a whole than along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, due to the state's location in the interior of the North American continent and the lack of any mountainous terrain to the north to block out Arctic weather systems.
Spring and autumn bring pleasant weather to the area. Vibrant wildflowers (such as the bluebonnet, Indian paintbrush and other flora) bloom in spring and are planted around the highways throughout Texas. Springtime weather can be quite volatile, but temperatures themselves are mild. The weather in Dallas is also generally pleasant from late September to early December and on many winter days, but unlike in the springtime, major storms rarely form in the area.
Each spring, cool fronts moving south from the North will collide with warm, humid air streaming in from the Gulf Coast, leading to severe thunderstorms with lightning, torrents of rain, hail, and occasionally, tornadoes. Over time, tornadoes have probably been the biggest natural threat to the city, as it is located near the heart of Tornado Alley.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture places Dallas in Plant Hardiness Zone 8a. However, mild winter temperatures in the past 15 to 20 years have encouraged the horticulture of some cold-sensitive plants such as Washingtonia filifera and Washingtonia robusta palms. According to the American Lung Association, Dallas has the 12th highest air pollution among U.S. cities, ranking it behind Los Angeles and Houston. Much of the air pollution in Dallas and the surrounding area comes from a hazardous materials incineration plant in the small town of Midlothian and from concrete installations in neighbouring Ellis County. Another major contributor to air pollution in Dallas is exhaust from automobiles. Due to the metropolitan area's spread-out nature and high amount of urban sprawl, automobiles are the only viable mode of transportation for many.
The city's all-time recorded high temperature is 113 °F (45 °C), while the all-time recorded low is −8 °F (−22 °C). The average daily low in Dallas is 55.0 °F (12.8 °C), and the average daily high in Dallas is 76.3 °F (24.6 °C). Dallas receives approximately 33.3 inches (845.8 mm) of rain per year.
Dallas' skyline contains several buildings over 700 feet (210 m) in height. Although some of Dallas' architecture dates from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most of the notable architecture in the city is from the modernist and postmodernist eras. Iconic examples of modernist architecture include Reunion Tower, the JFK Memorial, I. M. Pei's Dallas City Hall and Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Good examples of postmodernist skyscrapers are in Fountain Place, Bank of America Plaza, Renaissance Tower, JPMorgan Chase Tower, and Comerica Bank Tower. Several smaller structures are fashioned in the Gothic Revival style, such as the Kirby Building, and the neoclassical style, as seen in the Davis and Wilson Buildings. One architectural "hotbed" in the city is a stretch of historic houses along Swiss Avenue, which contains all shades and variants of architecture from Victorian to neoclassical. The Dallas Downtown Historic District protects a cross-section of Dallas commercial architecture from the 1880s to the 1940s.
Central Dallas is anchored by Downtown, the center of the city and the epicenter of urban revival, along with Oak Lawn and Uptown, areas characterized by dense retail, restaurants, and nightlife. Downtown Dallas has a variety of named districts, including the West End Historic District, the Arts District, the Main Street District, Farmers Market District, the City Center business district, the Convention Center District, and the Reunion District. "Hot spots" north of Downtown include Uptown, Victory Park, Oak Lawn, Turtle Creek, Cityplace and West Village.
East Dallas is home to Deep Ellum, a trendy arts area close to Downtown, the homey Lakewood neighborhood, historic Vickery Place and Bryan Place, and the architecturally significant Swiss Avenue. North of the Park Cities is Preston Hollow, home to Texas' wealthiest residents, as well as the most expensive homes in the state. The area is also characterized by a variety of high-powered shopping areas, including Galleria Dallas, NorthPark Center, and Highland Park Village. In the northeast quadrant of the city is Lake Highlands, one of Dallas' most unified middle-class neighborhoods.
Midtown Dallas is currently undergoing construction of new high-rise apartments, restaurants, and retail. The midtown area is generally a new classification of the city, consisting of North Park Mall, SMU, White Rock Lake, The Dallas Arboretum, and new retail/high-rises, most notably along Park Lane and Central Expressway. Midtown is bordered by University Park to the west, Preston Hollow to the North, Lake Highlands/Lakewood to the East, and Uptown/City Place to the South.
Southwest of Downtown lies Oak Cliff, a hilly area that has undergone gentrification in recent years in neighborhoods such as the Bishop Arts District. Oak Cliff originated as a township founded in the mid-1800s and was annexed by the city of Dallas in 1903. Today, most of the area's northern residents are Hispanic. The ghost town of La Reunion once occupied the northern tip of Oak Cliff. South Oak Cliff is a mixture of Black/African American, Hispanic, and Native American. South Dallas, a distinct neighborhood southeast of Downtown, lays claim to the Cedars, an eclectic artist hotbed south of downtown and Fair Park, home of the annual State Fair of Texas, occurring in October.
Much of the southern portion of the city is characterized now by high rates of poverty and crime. To spur growth in the southern sector of the city, University of North Texas System opened a Dallas campus in October 2006 in South Oak Cliff near the intersection of Interstate 20 and Houston School Rd. Large amounts of undeveloped land remain nearby, due to decades of slow growth south of Downtown. Further east, in the southeast quadrant of the city, is the large neighborhood of Pleasant Grove. Once an independent city, it is a collection of mostly lower-income residential areas stretching all the way to Seagoville in the southeast. Though a city neighborhood, Pleasant Grove is surrounded by undeveloped land on all sides, including swampland separating it from South Dallas that will in the future be part of the Great Trinity Forest, a subsection of the city's Trinity River Project. Dallas is further surrounded by many suburbs and includes three enclaves within the city boundaries—Cockrell Hill, Highland Park, and University Park.
Dallas is known for its barbecue, authentic Mexican, and Tex-Mex cuisine. Famous products of the Dallas culinary scene include the frozen margarita and the chain restaurants Chili's and Romano's Macaroni Grill. Fearing's restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Dallas hotel in Uptown Dallas was named the best hotel restaurant in the US for 2009 by Zagat Survey. The Ritz-Carlton Dallas hotel was also named 2009 best US hotel by Zagat, and 2009 No. 2 hotel in the world by Zagat, trailing only the Four Seasons King George V in Paris, France. A number of nationally ranked steakhouses can be found in the Dallas area, including Bob's Steak & Chop House, currently ranked No. 1 according to the USDA Prime Steakhouses chart.
The Arts District in the northern section of Downtown is home to several arts venues, both existing and proposed. Notable venues in the district include the Dallas Museum of Art, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center (home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra), The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, The Dallas Contemporary, and The Dallas Children's Theater.
Venues that are part of the AT&T Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. They include the Winspear Opera House, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, and City Performance Hall. The Arts District is also home to DISD's Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a magnet school which was recently expanded.
Deep Ellum, immediately east of Downtown, originally became popular during the 1920s and 1930s as the prime jazz and blues hot spot in the South. Artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, and Bessie Smith played in original Deep Ellum clubs such as The Harlem and The Palace. Today, Deep Ellum is home to hundreds of artists who live in lofts and operate in studios throughout the district alongside bars, pubs, and concert venues. A major art infusion in the area results from the city's lax stance on graffiti, and a number of public spaces including tunnels, sides of buildings, sidewalks, and streets are covered in murals. One major example, the Good-Latimer tunnel, was torn down in late 2006 to accommodate the construction of a light rail line through the site.
Like Deep Ellum before it, the Cedars neighborhood to the south of Downtown has also seen a growing population of studio artists and an expanding roster of entertainment venues. The area's art scene began to grow in the early 2000s with the opening of Southside on Lamar, an old Sears warehouse converted into lofts, studios, and retail. Current attractions include Gilley's Dallas and Poor David's Pub. Dallas Mavericks owner and local entrepreneur Mark Cuban purchased land along Lamar Avenue near Cedars Station in September 2005, and locals speculate that he is planning an entertainment complex for the site.
South of the Trinity River, the fledgling Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff is home to a number of studio artists living in converted warehouses. Walls of buildings along alleyways and streets are painted with murals and the surrounding streets contain many eclectic restaurants and shops. Dallas has an Office of Cultural Affairs as a department of the city government. The office is responsible for six cultural centers located throughout the city, funding for local artists and theaters, initiating public art projects, and running the city-owned classical radio station WRR.
Dallas has numerous local newspapers, magazines, television stations and radio stations that serve the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex as a whole, which is the 5th-largest media market in the United States. Dallas has one major daily newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, which was founded in 1885 by A. H. Belo and is A. H. Belo's flagship newspaper. The Dallas Times Herald, started in 1888, was the Morning News' major competitor until Belo purchased the paper on December 8, 1991 and closed the paper down the next day. Other daily newspapers are Al Día, a Spanish-language paper published by Belo, Quick, a free, summary-style version of the Morning News, the Jewish community's Texas Jewish Post, and a number of ethnic newspapers printed in languages such as Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Other publications include the Dallas Weekly, the Oak Cliff Tribune and the Elite News, all weekly news publications. The Dallas Morning News also puts out a weekly publication, neighborsgo, which comes out every Friday and focuses on community news. The Dallas Observer and the North Texas Journal are also alternative weekly newspapers, D Magazine, a monthly magazine about business, life, and entertainment in the Metroplex. Local visitor magazines include "WHERE Magazine" and "Travelhost" – available at hotel desks or in guest rooms. In addition, the Park Cities and suburbs such as Plano also have their own community newspapers. Also, THE magazine covers the contemporary arts scene.
In terms of the larger metro area, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is another significant daily newspaper, covering Fort Worth/Tarrant County and its suburbs. It also publishes a major Spanish-language newspaper for the entire Metroplex known as La Estrella. To the north of Dallas and Fort Worth, the Denton Record-Chronicle primarily covers news for the city of Denton and Denton County.
Area television stations affiliated with the major broadcasting networks include KDFW 4 (Fox), KXAS 5 (NBC), WFAA 8 (ABC) (owned by Belo), KTVT 11 (CBS), KERA 13 (PBS), KUVN 23 (UNI), KDFI 27 (MNTV), KDAF 33 (The CW) and KXTX 39 (TMD). KTXA-21 is an independent station formerly affiliated with the now-defunct UPN network.
Sixty-three (63) radio stations operate within range of Dallas. The City of Dallas operates WRR 101.1 FM, the area's main classical music station, from city offices in Fair Park. Its original sister station, licensed as WRR-AM in 1921, is the oldest commercially operated radio station in Texas and the second-oldest in the United States, after KDKA (AM) in Pittsburgh. Because of the city's centrally located geographical position and lack of nearby mountainous terrain, high-power class A medium-wave stations KRLD and WBAP can broadcast as far as southern Canada at night and can be used for emergency messages when broadcasting is down in other major metropolitan areas in the United States.
Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC), the largest company in the Spanish language radio station business, is based in Dallas. In 2003, HBC was acquired by Univision and became Univision Radio Inc., but the radio company remains headquartered in the city.
There is a large Protestant Christian influence in the Dallas community. Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches are prominent in many neighborhoods and anchor two of the city's major private universities (Southern Methodist University and Dallas Baptist University). Dallas is also home to two evangelical seminaries, the Dallas Theological Seminary and Criswell College and many Bible schools including Christ For The Nations Institute.
The Catholic Church is also a significant organization in the Dallas area and operates the University of Dallas, a liberal-arts university in the Dallas suburb of Irving. The Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe in the Arts District oversees the second-largest Catholic church membership in the United States, with 70 parishes in the Dallas Diocese. The Society of Jesus operates the Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas. Dallas is also home to three Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The city of Dallas and Dallas county have more Catholic than Protestant residents, while the converse is usually true for the suburban areas of Dallas.
The Cathedral of Hope is a predominantly LGBT congregation located in the Oak Lawn area. The Dallas Cathedral of Hope is said to be the world's largest Christian LGBT church. Located on the campus of the Cathedral of Hope, the Interfaith Peace Chapel was the last project that Priktzer award-winning architect Philip Johnson designed. Johnson is quoted as saying, "this is a building I’ve waited all my life to build. It will be my memorial."
The city is also home to a sizable LDS community. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has fifteen stakes throughout Dallas and surrounding suburbs. The Church built the Dallas Texas Temple, the first temple in Texas, in the city in 1984. Jehovah's Witnesses also have a large number of members throughout Dallas and surrounding suburbs.
Furthermore, a large Muslim community exists in the north and northeastern portions of Dallas, as well as in the northern Dallas suburbs. The oldest mosque in Texas is located in Denton, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Downtown Dallas. The oldest mosque in Dallas is Masjid Al-Islam located just south of Downtown Dallas.
Dallas and its surrounding suburbs also have a significant Jewish population. Most of the city's Jewish residents reside in North Dallas, particularly within 3 to 4 miles (5 to 6 km) miles on either side of Hillcrest Road. Temple Emanu-El, the largest synagogue in the South/Southwest, was founded in 1873 and is affiliated with the American Reform Jewish Movement. The Reform Jewish community is presently led by Rabbi David E. Stern. For more information, see the History of the Jews in Dallas, Texas.
Dallas also has a large Buddhist community. Immigrants from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, Tibet, Japan, China, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka have all contributed to the Buddhist population, which is concentrated in the northern suburbs of Garland, Plano and Richardson. Numerous Buddhist temples dot the Metroplex, including The Buddhist Center of Dallas, Lien Hoa Vietnamese Temple of Irving, and Kadampa Meditation Center Texas and Wat Buddhamahamunee of Arlington.
A sizeable Sikh community resides in Dallas and its surrounding suburbs. There are at least three Sikh Gurudwaras in this metropolitan area. There are several Hindu temples in DFW area in cities such as Irving and the Indian Community is growing in the DFW Metroplex. There's also a Jain Temple, ISKON Temple, Sai Baba Temple and other temples in DFW.
For the atheist, agnostic, nonbeliever and strictly spiritual individuals, there is "The Winter SolstiCelebration". After 15 years, this celebration has become a minor Dallas cultural tradition for the "spiritual but not religious" people of North Texas. "That gentle rejection of commonly held ideas fills many of those who will take part in the event. They are mostly people who refuse to be pigeonholed by any one religion – but who long for the sense of community that an organized faith supplies."
The most notable event held in Dallas is the State Fair of Texas, which has been held annually at Fair Park since 1886. The fair is a massive event, bringing in an estimated $350 million to the city's economy annually. The Red River Shootout, which pits the University of Texas at Austin against The University of Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl also brings significant crowds to the city.
Other festivals in the area include several Cinco de Mayo celebrations hosted by the city's large Mexican American population, an Saint Patrick's Day parade along Lower Greenville Avenue, Juneteenth festivities, the Greek Food Festival of Dallas, the annual Halloween event "The Wake" featuring lots of local art and music, and an annual Halloween parade on Cedar Springs Road. With the opening of Victory Park, WFAA Channel 8 has begun to host an annual New Year's Eve celebration in AT&T Plaza that the television station hopes will reminisce of celebrations in New York's Times Square. The city has their own New Year's Day parade, the Comerica Bank New Year's Parade.
Dallas is home to the Dallas Mavericks (National Basketball Association) and Dallas Stars (National Hockey League). Both teams play at the American Airlines Center, as did the Dallas Desperados of the Arena Football League before that league's demise in 2009. In 2010, the Dallas Vigilantes began playing in the American Airlines Center as a part of the restructured Arena Football League.
In 2011, Dallas became the first city to host the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the NBA Finals, all within the same 12-month period. Both the Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks won successive playoff games to reach the championship in their respective sports, whereas the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington was chosen in advance to host the Super Bowl.
The Major League Soccer team FC Dallas, formerly the Dallas Burn, used to play in the Cotton Bowl but moved to Pizza Hut Park in Frisco upon the stadium's opening in 2005. The college Cotton Bowl Classic football game was played at the stadium through its 2009 game, but has moved to the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The Dallas Sidekicks, a former team of the Major Indoor Soccer League, used to play in Reunion Arena, as did the Mavericks and Stars before their move to the American Airlines Center.
Dallas is the home of the Dallas Stars. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Stars have won seven division titles in Dallas, two President's Trophies as the top regular season team in the NHL, the Western Conference championship twice, and in 1998–99, the Stanley Cup. The team plays its home games at the American Airlines Center. The Allen Americans, founded for the 2009–10 season, play in the Berry Conference of the Central Hockey League. Their home arena is the Allen Event Center located in Allen, Texas, approximately 30 minutes northeast of Dallas. The Texas Tornado, three-time defending champions of the North American Hockey League, plays at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco.
Nearby Arlington, Texas is the new home to the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. Since joining the league as an expansion team in 1960, the Cowboys have enjoyed substantial success, advancing to eight Super Bowls and winning five; according to profootballreference.com, as of the end of the 2009 season they were the winningest active NFL franchise. Known widely as "America's Team", the Dallas Cowboys are financially the most valuable sports 'franchise' in the world, worth approximately 1.5 billion dollars. They are also the second most valuable sports organization in the world. The Cowboys are only out-valued by Manchester United, who are valued at 1.8 billion dollars. In 2009, the Cowboys relocated to their new 80,000-seat stadium in Arlington, which was the site of Super Bowl XLV.
The city is home to the Dallas Mavericks. Their original arena was the now demolished Reunion Arena, but now they play at the American Airlines Center. They won their first championship in 2011 led by their German star-player Dirk Nowitzki.
Also in Arlington is Rangers Ballpark, home of the 2010 American League Champion Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball. About halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth, horse-racing takes place at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. The Dallas Dragons, formed in 2010 are part of the AMNRL's Western Expansion. Rugby union is a developing sport in Dallas as well as the whole of Texas. The multiple clubs, ranging from men's and women's clubs to collegiate and high school, are part of the Texas Rugby Football Union. Currently Dallas is one of only 16 cities in the United States included in the Rugby Super League represented by Dallas Harlequins. Cricket is another sport that is popular among diaspora from South Asian countries. Local universities such as SMU, University of Texas at Arlington and University of Texas at Dallas have their own cricket clubs that are affiliated with USA Cricket.
Other teams in the Dallas-Fort Worth area include the Fort Worth Cats, and the Grand Prairie AirHogs—all minor league baseball teams. The Dallas Diamonds, the two-time national champions of the Women's Professional Football League, plays in North Richland Hills. McKinney is home to the Dallas Revolution, an Independent Women's Football League team. The Dallas Bluestorm, formerly called the Skybolts, is a charter of the new United Gridron Football League, who will begin play here in 2010.
Dallas has no major-college sports program within its political boundaries, although it has one such program within its city limits—the Mustangs of Southern Methodist University are located in the enclave of University Park. Neighboring cities Fort Worth, Arlington, and Denton are home to the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs, University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks, and University of North Texas Mean Green respectively. As reported by Olympic news outlet Around the Rings, Dallas is looking at a 2020 summer olympics bid. Those in favor of Dallas say that it should be chosen because no major stadiums would have to be built for the games.
The City of Dallas maintains and operates 406 parks on 21,000 acres (85 km2) of parkland. Its flagship park is the 260-acre (1.05 km2) Fair Park, which hosted the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. The city is also home to Texas' first and largest zoo, the 95 acres (0.38 km2) Dallas Zoo, which opened at its current location in 1888.
The city's parks contain 17 separate lakes, including White Rock and Bachman lakes, spanning a total of 4,400 acres (17.81 km2). In addition, Dallas is traversed by 61.6 miles (99.1 km) of biking and jogging trails, including the Katy Trail, and is home to 47 community and neighborhood recreation centers, 276 sports fields, 60 swimming pools, 232 playgrounds, 173 basketball courts, 112 volleyball courts, 126 play slabs, 258 neighborhood tennis courts, 258 picnic areas, six 18-hole golf courses, two driving ranges, and 477 athletic fields.
As part of the ongoing Trinity River Project, the Great Trinity Forest, at 6,000 acres (24 km2), is the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States and is part of the largest urban park in the United States. The Trinity River Audubon Center is a new addition to the park. Opened in 2008, it serves as a gateway to many trails and other nature viewing activities in the area. The Trinity River Audubon Center is the first LEED-certified building constructed by the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department.
Dallas also hosts three of the 21 preserves of the extensive (3,200-acre/13 km2) Dallas County Preserve System. Both the Joppa Preserve, the McCommas Bluff Preserve the Cedar Ridge Preserve are all within the Dallas city limits. The Cedar Ridge Preserve was formerly known as the Dallas Nature Center, but management was turned over to Audubon Dallas group, which now manages the 633-acre (2.56 km2) natural habitat park on behalf of the City of Dallas and Dallas County. The preserve sits at an elevation of 755 feet (230 m) above sea level, and contains a variety of outdoor activities, including 10 miles (16 km) of hiking trails and picnic areas.
Just southwest of Dallas is Cedar Hill State Park, maintained by the Texas Parks and Wildlife state agency. A 1,826-acre (7.39 km2) urban nature preserve, the park is located on the 7,500-acre (30 km2) Joe Pool Reservoir, and offers activities such as mountain biking, birding, camping and fishing; swimming is allowed at the swimming beach only. To the west of Dallas in Arlington is Six Flags Over Texas, the original franchise in the Six Flags theme park chain. Hurricane Harbor, a large water park owned by Six Flags, is also in Arlington.
In its beginnings, Dallas relied on farming, neighboring Fort Worth's Stockyards, and its prime location on Native American trade routes to sustain itself. Dallas' key to growth came in 1873 with the building of multiple rail lines through the city. As Dallas grew and technology developed, cotton became its boon and by 1900 Dallas was the largest inland cotton market in the world, becoming a leader in cotton gin machinery manufacturing. By the early 1900s Dallas was a hub for economic activity all over the southwestern United States and was selected in 1914 as the seat of the Eleventh Federal Reserve District. By 1925 Texas churned out more than ⅓ of the nation's cotton crop, with 31% of Texas cotton produced within a 100-mile (161 km) radius of Dallas. In the 1930s petroleum was discovered east of Dallas near Kilgore, Texas. Dallas' proximity to the discovery put it immediately at the center of the nation's petroleum market. Petroleum discoveries in the Permian Basin, the Panhandle, the Gulf Coast, and Oklahoma in the following years further solidified Dallas' position as the hub of the market.
The end of World War II left Dallas seeded with a nexus of communications, engineering, and production talent by companies such as Collins Radio Corporation. Decades later, the telecommunications and information revolutions still drive a large portion of the local economy. The city is sometimes referred to as the heart of "Silicon Prairie" because of a high concentration of telecommunications companies in the region, the epicenter of which lies along the Telecom Corridor located in Richardson, a northern suburb of Dallas. The Corridor is home to more than 5,700 companies including Texas Instruments (headquartered in Dallas), Nortel Networks, Alcatel Lucent, AT&T, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Nokia, Rockwell Collins, Cisco Systems, Sprint, Verizon Communications, and until recently CompUSA (which is now headquartered in Miami,FL).
In the 1980s Dallas was a real estate hotbed, with the increasing metropolitan population bringing with it a demand for new housing and office space. Several of Downtown Dallas' largest buildings are the fruit of this boom, but over-speculation and the savings and loan crisis prevented any further additions to Dallas' skyline. Between the late 1980s and the early 2000s, central Dallas went through a slow period of growth and has only recently recovered. Since 2000, the real estate market in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has been relatively resilient. However, Dallas is among the largest cities in the U.S. where rent declined significantly. Whereas the national decline in rent is approximately 4%, Dallas rent declined an average of 8% in early 2010.
Texas Instruments, a major manufacturer, employs 10,400 people at its corporate headquarters and chip plants in Dallas. Defense and aircraft manufacturing dominates the economy of nearby Fort Worth. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has one of the largest concentrations of corporate headquarters for publicly traded companies in the United States. The city of Dallas has 12 Fortune 500 companies, and the DFW region as a whole has 20. In 2007–08, Comerica Bank and AT&T located their headquarters in Dallas. Irving is home to four Fortune 500 companies of its own, including ExxonMobil, the most profitable company in the world and the second largest by revenue for 2008, Kimberly-Clark, Fluor (engineering), and Commercial Metals. Additional companies headquartered in the Metroplex include Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, RadioShack, Neiman Marcus, 7-Eleven, Brinker International, AMS Pictures, id Software, ENSCO Offshore Drilling, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Chuck E. Cheese's, Zales and Fossil. Corporate headquarters in the northern suburb of Plano include HP Enterprise Services, Frito Lay, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and JCPenney. Many of these companies—and others throughout the DFW metroplex—comprise the Dallas Regional Chamber.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer organization was founded and is headquartered in Dallas. In addition to its large number of businesses, Dallas has more shopping centers per capita than any other city in the United States and is also home to the second shopping center ever built in the United States, Highland Park Village, which opened in 1931. Dallas is home of the two other major malls in North Texas, the Dallas Galleria and NorthPark Center, which is the 2nd largest mall in Texas. Both malls feature high-end stores and are major tourist draws for the region.
The city itself is home to 15 billionaires, placing it 9th worldwide among cities with the most billionaires. The ranking does not even take into account the eight billionaires who live in the neighboring city of Fort Worth.Dallas is currently the third most popular destination for business travel in the United States, and the Dallas Convention Center is one of the largest and busiest convention centers in the country, at over 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2), and the world's single-largest column-free exhibit hall.
In terms of voting patterns, the city of Dallas is the most liberal in Texas, according to 2004 Presidential vote totals. This, however, reflects only the urban core; other municipalities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are very conservative (e.g. Plano, Arlington, and Garland, the third, fourth, and fifth-most conservative cities by the same measure).
As a city, present-day Dallas can be seen as moderate, with conservative Republicans dominating the upper-middle class suburban neighborhoods of North Dallas and liberal Democrats dominating neighborhoods closer to Downtown as well as the city's southern sector. As a continuation of its suburban northern neighborhoods, Dallas' northern parts are overwhelmingly conservative. Plano, the largest of these suburbs, was ranked as the fifth most conservative city in America by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research, based on the voting patterns of middle-age adults. However, the city of Dallas generally votes for Democratic political candidates in local, state, and national elections.
Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer said in 2002 "the early vote in majority-black precincts in Southern Dallas is the city's only disciplined vote. Especially in citywide elections on issues that are not entwined in the internal politics of the black community, the Southern Dallas African-American vote has a history of responding obediently to the call of leadership."
In the 2004 U.S. Presidential elections, 57% of Dallas voters voted for John Kerry over George W. Bush. Dallas County as a whole was closely divided, with 50% of voters voting for Bush and 49% voting for Kerry. In the 2006 elections for Dallas County judges, 41 out of 42 seats went to Democrats.
In the 2008 elections, both Dallas County and the city of Dallas voted strongly Democratic. In Dallas County as a whole, 58% of voters chose Barack Obama, compared to the 42% who chose John McCain. By an even larger margin, the city of Dallas (not including the small portions of the city located in Collin and Denton Counties) favored Obama over McCain, 65% to 35%. When disregarding the city in Dallas County's results, Obama still defeated McCain by a margin of 0.7% in what was essentially a 50%–50% tie.
In 2004, Lupe Valdez was elected Dallas County Sheriff. An open lesbian, is currently the only female sheriff in the state of Texas. Despite controversies in her handling of county jails, she won re-election in 2008 with a 10-point victory over Republican challenger Lowell Cannaday.
Bucking the city's Democratic trend, conservative Republican Tom Leppert defeated liberal Democrat Ed Oakley in the city's 2007 mayoral race by a margin of 58% to 42%. Though candidates' political leanings are well publicized in the media, Dallas' elections are officially non-partisan. The city's previous mayor was Laura Miller, a liberal Jewish woman who had previously written for the Dallas Observer, the city's most popular alternative newspaper. Cathie Adams, named chairman in October 2009 of the Republican Party of Texas, is a long-time conservative political activist from Dallas.
Most neighborhoods in the city of Dallas are located within the Dallas Independent School District, the 12th-largest school district in the United States. The school district operates independently of the city and enrolls over 161,000 students. In 2006, one of the district's magnet schools, The School for the Talented and Gifted in Oak Cliff, was named the best school in the United States (among public schools) by Newsweek, retaining the title in 2007 and regaining the top spot in 2009. Another one of DISD's schools, the Science and Engineering Magnet, placed 8th in the same 2006 survey and moved up to the No. 2 spot the following year. Other DISD high schools named to the list were Hillcrest, W. T. White, Williams Preparatory, and Woodrow Wilson high schools. Woodrow Wilson was also named the top comprehensive high school in Dallas by local publication D Magazine.
A few areas of Dallas also extend into other school districts, including Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Duncanville, Garland, Highland Park, Mesquite, Plano, and Richardson. The Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District once served portions of southern Dallas, but it was shut down for the 2005–2006 year. WHISD students started attending other Dallas ISD schools during that time. Following the close, the Texas Education Agency consolidated WHISD into Dallas ISD.
Many school districts in Dallas County, including Dallas ISD, are served by a governmental agency called Dallas County Schools. The system provides busing and other transportation services, access to a massive media library, technology services, strong ties to local organizations for education/community integration, and staff development programs.
There are also many private schools in Dallas, such as St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School St. Mark's School of Texas, The Hockaday School, Greenhill School, Burton Adventist Academy, Ursuline Academy of Dallas, Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, June Shelton School, Lakehill Preparatory School, Episcopal School of Dallas, The Lamplighter School, Parish Episcopal School, Bishop Dunne Catholic School, Bishop Lynch High School, Yavneh Academy of Dallas, Dallas Lutheran School, The Winston School, Dallas Christian School on the borders of Mesquite and Garland, First Baptist Academy of Dallas, and Tyler Street Christian Academy in Oak Cliff. Some Dallas residents attend Cistercian Preparatory School in adjacent Irving, The Highlands School in Irving, and Trinity Christian Academy in Addison.
The city is served by the Dallas Public Library system. The system was originally created by the Dallas Federation of Women's Clubs with efforts spearheaded by then-president Mrs. Henry (May Dickson) Exall. Her work in raising money led to a grant from philanthropist and steel baron Andrew Carnegie, which enabled the construction of the first branch of the library system in 1901. Today, the library operates 27 branch locations throughout the city, including the 8-story J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in the Government District of Downtown.
The former Texas School Book Depository, where according to the Warren Commission Report, Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed president John F. Kennedy in 1963, has served since the 1980s as a county government office building, except for its sixth and seventh floors, which house the "museum of the assassination", known officially as The Sixth Floor Museum.
Dallas has many hospitals and a number of medical research facilities within its city limits. One major research center is the Dallas Medical District with the UT Southwestern Medical Center in the Stemmons Corridor, along with the affiliated UT Southwestern Medical School. The health care complex includes within its bounds Parkland Memorial Hospital, Children's Medical Center, St. Paul University Hospital, and the Zale Lipshy University Hospital.
Dallas also has a VA hospital in the southern portion of the city, the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The center is home to a Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP), part of an initiative by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide mail-order prescriptions to veterans using computerization at strategic locations throughout the United States.
U.S. News and World Report, in their 2004 edition on "America's Best Hospitals", Parkland Memorial Hospital had one of the nation's best overall ratings. Also the specialties at Parkland Memorial Hospital were rated among the best in the nation, in 7 different categories. Those categories (and the ratings) were: Rheumatology- 23rd nationally; Orthopedics- 20th nationally; Kidney Disease- 17th nationally; Hormonal Disorders- 14th nationally; Heart and Heart Surgery- 18th nationally; Gynecology- 11th nationally; Ear, Nose, and Throat- 47th nationally.
Parkland Memorial Hospital is named one of Modern Healthcare's "25 busiest community hospital emergency departments". Parkland is a 2006 Professional Research Consultants Excellence in Healthcare award winner for Patient Perception and Overall Quality of Care. Other hospitals in the city include Baylor University Medical Center in East Dallas, Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Oak Cliff, Methodist Charlton Medical Center near Duncanville, Medical City Dallas Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital in North Dallas, and the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Oak Lawn.
Like many other major cities in the United States, the primary mode of local transportation in Dallas is the automobile, though efforts have been made to increase the availability of alternative modes of transportation, including the construction of light rail lines, biking and walking paths, wide sidewalks, a trolley system, and buses. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Dallas the thirtieth most walkable of fifty largest cities in the United States.
The city is at the confluence of four major interstate highways—Interstates 20, 30, 35E, and 45. The Dallas area freeway system is set up in the popular hub-and-spoke system, shaped much like a wagon wheel. Starting from the center of the city, a small freeway loop surrounds Downtown, followed by the Interstate 635 loop about 10 miles (16 km) outside Downtown, and ultimately the tolled President George Bush Turnpike. Inside these freeway loops are other boulevard- and parkway-style loops, including Loop 12 and Belt Line Road. Another beltway around the city upwards of 45 miles (72 km) from Downtown is under plan in Collin County.
Radiating out of Downtown Dallas' freeway loop are the spokes of the area's highway system—Interstates 30, 35E, and 45, U.S. Highway 75, U.S. Highway 175, State Spur 366, the Dallas North Tollway, State Highway 114, U.S. Highway 80, and U.S. Highway 67. Other major highways around the city include State Highway 183 and State Spur 408. The recently completed interchange at the intersection of Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway (Interstate 635) and Central Expressway (U.S. Highway 75) contains 5 stacks and is aptly called the High Five Interchange. It is currently one of the few 5-level interchange in Dallas and is one of the largest freeway interchanges in the United States.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is the Dallas-area public transportation authority, providing rail, buses and HOV lanes to commuters. DART began operating the first light rail system in the Southwest United States in 1996 and is now the largest operator of light rail in the US. Today, the system is the seventh-busiest light rail system in the country with approximately 55 stations on 72 miles of light rail, and 10 stations on 35 miles of commuter rail. Four light rail lines and a commuter line are currently in service: the Red Line, the Blue Line, the Green Line, the Orange Line (peak-service only), and the Trinity Railway Express.
The Red Line travels through Oak Cliff, South Dallas, Downtown, Uptown, North Dallas, Richardson and Plano, while the Blue Line goes through Oak Cliff, Downtown, Uptown, East Dallas, Lake Highlands, and Garland. The Red and Blue lines are conjoined between 8th & Corinth Station in Oak Cliff through Mockingbird Station in North Dallas. The two lines service Cityplace Station, the only subway station in the Southwest. The Green Line serves Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Love Field Airport, Stemmons Corridor, Victory Park, Downtown, Deep Ellum, Fair Park, South Dallas, and Pleasant Grove. The Orange Line operates as a peak-service line providing extra capacity on portions of the Green and Red Lines (Bachman Station on the Green Line, through the Downtown transit mall, to Parker Road Station on the Red Line making a "U"-shape). The Orange Line rush-hour service will become part of regular service on opening of the first segment of the Orange Line towards Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in 2012.
DART is continuing construction on its Orange and Blue lines. The Orange Line is being extended by roughly 14 miles and will serve DFW Airport, Irving, and Las Colinas, once completed, along with its current services. The Orange Line will open in two phases beginning in 2012. The first phase, Bachman Station to Belt Line Station, will open in December 2012. The second and final phase will open in December 2014 and will provide DFW Airport with rail service. DFW Airport Station will be the terminus for the Orange Line and will connect to Skylink. This will provide passengers the convenience of disembarking the DART rail, proceeding to security check-in and immediately boarding Skylink to be quickly transported to their desired terminal. The Blue Line is being extended by 4.5 miles to serve Rowlett at the current Rowlett Park & Ride facility.
In August 2009, The Regional Transportation Council agreed to seek $96 million in federal stimulus dollars for a trolley project in Dallas and Fort Worth. The Oak Cliff Transit Authority took the lead with leaders envisioning a streetcar line that would link Union Station and the Dallas Convention Center in downtown to Oak Cliff, Methodist Medical Center, and the Bishop Arts District via the Houston Street Viaduct. Dallas was awarded a $23 million TIGER grant towards the $58 million Dallas Streetcar Project in February 2010. The Dallas Streetcar Project will link up with the current McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (MATA) trolley line (also known as the M-Line) in Uptown with a new alignment on Olive Street.
In addition to light rail, Amtrak's Texas Eagle also serves Union Station, providing long-distance train service to Chicago, San Antonio and Los Angeles once daily. The Trinity Rail Express terminates at Union Station and T&P Station.
Dallas is served by two commercial airports: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Dallas Love Field (DAL). In addition, Dallas Executive Airport (formerly Redbird Airport), serves as a general aviation airport for the city, and Addison Airport functions similarly just outside the city limits in the suburb of Addison. Two more general aviation airports are located about 35 miles (56 km) north of Dallas in McKinney, and another two are located in Fort Worth, on the west side of the Metroplex.
DFW International Airport is located in the suburbs slightly north of and equidistant to Downtown Fort Worth and Downtown Dallas. In terms of size, DFW is the largest airport in the state, the 4th largest in the United States, and 6th largest in the world; DFW International Airport is larger than the island of Manhattan. In terms of traffic, DFW is the busiest airport in the state, 5th busiest in the United States, and 6th busiest in the world. The headquarters of American Airlines, the 3rd largest air carrier in the world behind United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, is located less than a mile from DFW within the city limits of Fort Worth. Similarly, Love Field is located within the city limits of Dallas about 6 miles (10 km) northwest of Downtown, and is headquarters to Southwest Airlines.
Dallas is served by Dallas Water Utilities, which operates several waste treatment plants and pulls water from several area reservoirs. The city's electric system is maintained by several companies, including Cirro Energy and TXU, whose parent company, Energy Future Holdings Corporation, has headquarters in the city. The city offers garbage pickup and recycling service weekly through its Sanitation Services department. Telephone networks, broadband internet, and cable television service are available from several companies, including AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon FiOS.
On March 1, 2008, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Dallas, Texas to attend the baptism of his cousin's son, Zachariah Dalacat Yap. He is one of the godparents in the baptism. He went there by taking a flight thru US Airways about 4 1/2 hours with a stop-over in Phoenix, Arizona. His cousin's uncle picked him up at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. They passed by at the downtown of Dallas, Texas for a while to see the place where President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. They went to his cousin's house in Wylie, Texas immediately because the baptism time will be at 3:30pm at Umphress Road United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. The church pastor is Levy Laguardia, their friend and they want to baptize their son there although they are still Roman Catholic. His cousin's house in Wylie, Texas is nice and they are located in a good subdivision. After the baptism, the reception was held at the clubhouse of his cousin's subdivision, The Sage Creek Clubhouse in Wylie, Texas. There are many people there and mostly from his cousin's in-laws, friends, and some her relatives who are living there. The baptism and reception was very successful and still they have left-over foods that they brought and ate.
On the next day, they woke-up late because everyone was very tired from the party. Anyway, they had a short tour because his cousin was so busy with her kids while her husband is working in a night shift. They went to Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas and some parks in nearby areas of Dallas, Texas like Plano, Wylie, and Garland. They don't have enough time to visit the downtown of Dallas, Texas because aside from the traffic there, it was also raining there especially in the late afternoon. They went to the office of his cousin's friend at Portrait Homes in Plano, Texas. They did a tour in the area and they looked the brand new houses there. The houses there are still cheaper compare to his place in Daly City, California. After that, they went to his cousin's in-laws in Garland, Texas and they had a dinner there. Before they went back to his cousin's house, they went first to the house of his cousin's relatives in Garland, Texas also to show their house to me. Their house is so nice and huge. He went back home to Daly City, California on March 3, 2008 in early morning and his cousin gave him a ride going to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) together with her aunt. The travel time going back to his place is 4 1/2 hours thru Frontier Airlines with a stop-over in Denver, Colorado. He has a good memorable visit in Dallas, Texas and he wants to visit again soon if possible.
On September 11, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Dallas, Texas again to visit his cousin there for 3 days. It is 3 years already when the last time he visited there. He visited in San Antonio, Texas to attend the 4 Day Convention of 5LINX National Convention held at San Antonio Convention Center. After the convention, he and his roommate, Anthony Tumang, went to San Antonio International Airport (SAT) together after they returned a rental car at National Car Rental. Anthony will go back home to San Francisco, California while Armando will go to Dallas, Texas. His cousin, Imelda Dalacat Yap and her husband, Wilfred Yap, will pick him up at Dallas Love Field (DAL). He went to Dallas, Texas thru Southwest Airlines and it is 1 hour flight from San Antonio, Texas. He left at 12:00pm and arrived in Dallas, Texas at 1:00pm. Armando was very excited because he will see his cousin and her family again after 3 years. The flight was very successful because the weather condition there was sunny.
On September 13, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Dallas, Texas with his cousin, Imelda Dalacat Yap after she send her kids to school. They went to the downtown area of Dallas, Texas because Armando wants to see the city proper. But before that, they picked-up Mr. Enrico Frando, her family friend in Dallas, Texas. Enrico is a long time resident of Dallas, Texas and he gave them a tour within the downtown area of Dallas, Texas. He gave them also a drive for them as well because Imelda is not so familiar with the downtown area of Dallas, Texas. The downtown area is also crowded especially during rush hours. When they visited the downtown area, the flow of traffic is good because they went there like around 11:00am. There are many tall buildings there and mostly are the head offices of a well-known companies in United States. They passed Dealey Plaza where US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 at 12:30pm while Texas Governor John Connaly was injured in the assassination during that time of presidential motorcade. If you see the double "X" at Elm Street which is close to the underpass, then that's the spot or exact location where US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot twice. Armando stood at the double "X" at Elm Street and took him a picture by Enrico. After this, they went to Dallas Convention Center and took their rest for a while.
They went also to Pioneer Plaza where the Texas Longhorn Cattle with cowboys made from bronze are located there. Previously, the plaza was a farm ranch for the longhorn cattle. Until now, there are still breeding the Texas longhorn cattle in many farm ranches in Texas. The meat of the longhorn cattle is more lean and lesser fat compared with the ordinary cow's meat. They are healthier and parasite free meat. The good news is that they are organic meat that you can buy at any leading supermarkets at a reasonable prices. The longhorns can also be used for handicrafts and display as well. The Pioneer Plaza is now one of the tourist attractions in Dallas, Texas. The City Hall of Dallas, Texas is just few blocks away from Pioneer Plaza and they visited to the city hall also.
Before they leave the downtown area of Dallas, Texas, they went to Dallas Farmers Market to buy the fresh fruits and vegetables there. The Dallas Farmers Market is a large public market located at 1010 S. Pearl Expressway in the Farmers Market District of downtown Dallas, Texas. Beginning in the late 19th century, farmers began selling their fresh produce in various locations from their wagons. Around 1900, the intersection of Pearl and Cadiz streets became the hub of a brisk wholesale business. Large quantities of produce were sold along with chickens, pigs, goats, and eggs. As demand for farm-fresh produce and meat grew it was clear that a better-organized system was needed. In 1939, the site of the Dallas Farmers Market was formalized and the first shed established. The site was officially sanctioned as a municipally-owned and operated market in December 1941. Today, the Dallas Farmers Market features three kinds of sellers: produce dealers, wholesale dealers and local farmers. Monthly yard sales, cooking classes, workshops, and seasonal festivals also take place throughout the year. Floral and garden vendors are located adjacent to the market.
On September 14, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went back home to Newark, California by taking his flight thru Southwest Airlines. His cousin-in-law, Wilfred Yap, gave him a ride going to Dallas Love Field (DAL). His cousin, Imelda Dalacat Yap was not available to send him to the airport because she needs to drop off her kids in school. Wilfred is just came from his night work. The flow of traffic from Wylie, Texas to Dallas, Texas was so terrible because it was a rush hour and it took about 2 hours going to the airport. Thanks God that Armando was able to catch the flight because he was arrived at the airport at 9:45am. After the check-in and inspection at the airport, he got a seat in the plane at 10:00am. The plane left Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) at 10:15am and it has a stop-over at Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) to drop off some passengers and to pick up some passengers. His flight has a plane change at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Finally, he arrived at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) at 3:15pm. After he got his baggage and his car, he went home safely and thanks God that his car is in good conditions but dusty outside because the car was parked outside from September 3 - 14, 2011. This is a memorable trip to Texas and he's hoping that he will visit in Texas again soon if possible.
Garland is a city in the U.S. state of Texas. It is a large city northeast of Dallas and is a major part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. It is located almost entirely within Dallas County except for small portions in Collin County. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 226,876, making it the twelfth-most populous city in Texas and the 87th most populous city in the United States.
Settlers began arriving in the Peters colony area around 1850 but a community wasn't created until 1874. Two communities sprung up in the area: Embree, named for the physician K. H. Embree, and Duck Creek, named for the local creek of the same name. A rivalry between the two towns ensued as the area began to grow around the Santa Fe Railroad depot. Eventually, to settle a dispute regarding which town should have the local post office, Dallas County Judge Thomas A. Nash asked visiting Congressman Joe Abbott to move the post office between the two towns. The move was completed in 1887. The new location was named Garland after Attorney General Augustus Hill Garland. Soon after, the towns of Embree and Duck Creek were combined and the three areas combined to form the city of Garland, which was incorporated in 1891. By 1904 the town had a population of 819 people.
In 1920, local businessmen financed a new electrical generator plant (sold by Fairbanks-Morse) for the town. Out of this was formed Garland Power & Light, the municipal electric provider that still powers the city today. On May 9, 1927, a devastating tornado destroyed much of the town and killed 17 people, including the former mayor S. E. Nicholson.
Businesses began to move back into the area in the late 1930s. The Craddock food company and later the Byer-Rolnick hat factory (now owned by Resistol) moved into the area. In 1937, KRLD, a major Dallas radio station, built its radio antenna tower in Garland, and it is operational to this day. During World War II, several aircraft plants were operated in the area, and the Kraft Foods company purchased a vacant one after the War for its own use. By 1950, the population of Garland exceeded 10,000 people.
From 1950 to 1954, the Dallas/Garland area suffered from a serious and extended drought. To supplement the water provided by wells, the Garland began using the water from the nearby Lake Lavon. Following World War II, the suburban population boom that the whole country experienced also reached Garland. By 1960, the population nearly quadrupled from the 1950 figure to about 38,500. By 1970, the population had doubled to about 81,500. By 1980, the population reached 138,850. In 1998, Garland attracted media attention from a failed millennial prophecy advocated by the Chen Tao ("True Way") group, which predicted that on March 31, 1998 God would be seen on a single television channel all across North America.
In the 2000s, Garland added several notable developments, mostly in the northern portion of the city. Hawaiian Falls waterpark opened in 2003 (Garland formerly had a Wet 'n Wild waterpark, which closed in 1993). The Garland Independent School District's Special Events Center, an arena and conference facility, opened in 2005, as did Firewheel Town Center, an outdoor mall with more than 100 businesses.
In 2009 the City, in conjunction with the developer Trammell Crow Company, finished a public/private partnership to develop the old courthouse and parking lot (the land between 5th Street, 6th Street and on the North Side of Austin Street) into a new mixed-use, transit oriented development named 5th Street Crossing. Catercorner to the both City Hall and the downtown DART Rail station, the project consists of 189 residential apartment units, 11,000 SF of flex retail, and six live-work units. The success of the Garland Special Events Center has allowed for Hyatt Hotels to join in partnership with Garland ISD, and will be expected to host many future events.
Most of the education in Garland is in the Garland Independent School District (GISD). Parts of Garland extend into other districts, including the Dallas Independent School District (DISD), the Mesquite Independent School District (MISD), and the Richardson Independent School District (RISD). The GISD does not have school zoning, so GISD residents may apply to any GISD school.
The GISD portion of Garland is served by several high schools. Garland High School is home to the district's International Baccalaureate program. North Garland High School is the math, science and technology magnet. Lakeview Centennial High School is GISD's "College and Career" magnet school. South Garland High School is known within the community for its vocational cosmetology program. Other GISD high schools include Naaman Forest High School, Rowlett High School, and Sachse High School.
The MISD portion of Garland is served by Price Elementary School, Vanston Middle School, and North Mesquite High School. The RISD portion is served by O. Henry Elementary School, Liberty Junior High School, and Berkner High School, which are in the western portion of Garland. As of November 2006, the GISD had 52,391 students and 3,236 teachers, for an average ratio of 16.2 students per teacher. The 2006 GISD property tax rate was $1.5449 per hundred dollars of assessed property value.
In May 2004, the expansion for Dallas County Community College District was approved by voters to build five community education campuses in under served or fast-growing areas of Dallas County. Dallas County Community College District decided to allow Richland College to oversee the development of the project and broke ground in Fall 2007 on its Garland Campus located at the corner of Glenbrook Drive and Walnut Street. The campus is projected to finish construction in April, 2009. Classes are scheduled to begin in June, 2009. The new facility will include space for classrooms, computer laboratories, a multipurpose exposition space, conference center, and community-based organization offices, and will provide both academic and workforce development classes to Garland-area residents and businesses.
It is anticipated that only continuing education, non-credit, career-related classes and training (continuing education non-credit) will be offered. A limited amount of college credit, general education courses that support career educational training and corporate training as designed specially for individual companies and organizations will also be offered. Garland is also the home of Amberton University, a fully accredited private university with both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Amberton University was formerly known as Amber University and previously known as Abilene Christian University at Dallas.
A Kansas City Southern track runs parallel to State Highway 78 (Garland Road), coming out of Dallas and heading all the way through the other side of Garland towards Wylie, TX. There is also a DGNO line serving inustries around the city.
The city of Garland operates the city's water system and waste services. Electricity for about 85 percent of Garland is provided by the city's municipal utility, Garland Power & Light (GP&L). Electricity for the other 15 percent was formerly provided by TXU, but is now supplied by multiple companies after deregulation of the Texas electricity market.
In 2008, CNN and Money Magazine released their list of the Top 100 Places to Live, and Garland was ranked number 67. The city’s comfortable, hometown feel in the midst of a thriving metropolitan area was just one of the outstanding characteristics mentioned in the report.
Some of the Garland assets mentioned in the article were the solid base of sound infrastructure, excellent city services, and responsive, locally-owned utilities, anchored by Garland’s Environmental Waste Services, Water and Wastewater Utility, and Garland Power & Light.
Garland’s award winning Environmental Waste Services, headed by Lonnie Banks, has long been recognized as the gold standard for customer service. Waste management personnel have voluntarily moved heavy waste containers for citizens who have physical limitations that prevent them from “putting their trash out.” They have gone far beyond just “picking up the trash” to providing real compassionate caring service to Garland’s citizens. This level of service along with the city’s weekly bulk pickup has resulted in a very clean and healthy environment for the residents.
Recently, however, a controversy has developed with the neighboring City of Rowlett, TX in which the Garland owned and operated Hinton Landfill has been venting methane gas into the surrounding communities during the nighttime hours. The issue is complicated by the fact that the residents affected are not actually City of Garland Residents, and the Lonnie Banks and the City of Garland's response to public inquiry on the matter has done little to resolve the issue.
Garland is an original member city of the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD). The vision of the City fathers in the early 1940s resulted in Garland and its companion member cities benefitting from reliable, high quality, affordable water from the water district’s many reservoirs. Most significantly, last year Garland residents were only minimally affected by the region’s worst drought in almost a century. The water district’s decision to move forward with a high tech ozonation of its raw water will result in a higher quality safe water with a significant reduction in the chlorine currently used.
The effluent from Garland’s Wastewater Treatment Plant flows through a NTMWD man- made, 1,840-acre (7.4 km2) wetland. This provides a natural habitat for a wide variety of birds and reduces the sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus contents of the water to a drinkable level. Through the use of selected aquatic plants, this environmentally friendly project will provide millions of gallons of reusable water and reduce the environmental impact.
Garland Power & Light (GP&L) was founded in 1923 to provide Garland residents not-for-profit public utility services, locally controlled by its citizens. GP&L provides services to nearly 68,000 customers making it the third largest municipal utility in Texas and the 41st largest in the nation.
Garland Power & Light has three gas-fired generating plants, which combined have 640 megawatts of generation capacity. In addition, Garland partners in the Texas Municipal Power Agency which operates the 462 megawatt coal-fired Gibbons Creek Power Plant. Garland's electric distribution system has 1,007 miles (1,621 km) of overhead lines and 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of underground lines. Its transmission system consists of 23 substations and 133 miles (214 km) of transmission lines. Garland's peak load for 2007 was 483 megawatts, with annual operating revenues of nearly $238 million dollars.
The two national indexes are System Average Interruption Frequency Index SAIFI and System Average Interruption Duration Index SAIDI. SAIFI is the number of times power is lost, and SAIDI is the length of time the power is out. These standards compare the frequency and duration of power outages and the customers affected. Garland is one of the few power providers that post their SAIDA/SAIFI numbers.
In an effort to provide its citizens with the broadest green power opportunities, the City Council recently passed a residential wind energy ordinance. They already had a residential solar panel ordinance. In addition to traditional fossil fueled power generating stations, GP&L owns a hydro-electric facility at the Lake Lewisville dam and purchases wind turbine power.
GP&L like all private utility services (such as cable television, internet service, phone service, and other electric service providers) pays the city for the right to use City easements. All cities generate general operation funds from the leasing of their public right-of-ways to utility service providers. GP&L’s fund transfers to the City are commensurate to those fees collected from similar right-of-way agreements with private providers throughout the City.
Patty Granville Arts Center is a complex owned and operated by the city. Included within the complex are two elegant proscenium theatres which seat 720 and 200, respectively. Also included as part of the complex is the Plaza Theatre, which has seating for 350. The Atrium at the Granville Arts Center is a 6,500-square-foot (600 m2) ballroom encased in glass on two sides and opening onto an elegant outdoor courtyard. The Atrium provides civic, community and commercial organizations the opportunity to house banquets, receptions, trade shows, and conventions.
On September 13, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia together with his cousin, Imelda Dalacat Yap, and her family went to Garland, Texas to attend the Rosary Prayer of Wilfredo Yap, Sr. Wilfredo Yap Sr., father of Wilfred Yap and father-in-law of Imelda Dalacat Yap, passed away on September 5, 2011. He died from cancer with complications. The viewing schedule is already finished when Armando was arrived in Dallas, Texas on September 11, 2011. They went also to Imelda's aunt to invite also for the Rosary Prayer. Her aunt's house is just few blocks away from her in-law's house. There are many people in the Rosary Prayer and most of their visitors and guests are their relatives and family friends. Imelda was a leader in the Rosary Prayer. The cremation of Wilfredo Yap, Sr. is not yet scheduled and they will announced the schedule later after they completed the necessary paper works. Later, Armando will cook Paella for the last day of Rosary Prayer before he will take his fight going back to Newark, California on September 14, 2011.
Houston is the largest city in the state of Texas, and the fourth-largest city in the United States. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of 579 square miles (1,500 km2). Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown, which is the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. of nearly 6 million people.
Houston was founded in 1836 on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou. It was incorporated as a city on June 5, 1837, and named after then-President of the Republic of Texas—former General Sam Houston — who had commanded at the Battle of San Jacinto, which took place 25 miles (40 km) east of where the city was established. The burgeoning port and railroad industry, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city's population. In the mid-twentieth century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center—the world's largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions—and NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located.
Rated as a global city, Houston's economy has a broad industrial base in energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, and transportation. It is also leading in health care sectors and building oilfield equipment; only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters. The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled. The city has a population from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and a large and growing international community. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits, which attract more than 7 million visitors a year to the Museum District. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and offers year-round resident companies in all major performing arts.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 601.7 square miles (1,558 km2); this comprises 579.4 square miles (1,501 km2) of land and 22.3 square miles (58 km2) of water. Most of Houston is located on the gulf coastal plain, and its vegetation is classified as temperate grassland and forest. Much of the city was built on forested land, marshes, swamp, or prairie, which are all still visible in surrounding areas. Flatness of the local terrain, when combined with urban sprawl, has made flooding a recurring problem for the city. Downtown stands about 50 feet (15 m) above sea level, and the highest point in far northwest Houston is about 125 feet (38 m) in elevation. The city once relied on groundwater for its needs, but land subsidence forced the city to turn to ground-level water sources such as Lake Houston and Lake Conroe.
Houston has four major bayous passing through the city. Buffalo Bayou runs through downtown and the Houston Ship Channel, and has three tributaries: White Oak Bayou, which runs through the Houston Heights community northwest of Downtown and then towards Downtown; Braes Bayou, which runs along the Texas Medical Center; and Sims Bayou, which runs through the south of Houston and downtown Houston. The ship channel continues past Galveston and then into the Gulf of Mexico.
Underpinning Houston's land surface are unconsolidated clays, clay shales, and poorly cemented sands up to several miles deep. The region's geology developed from river deposits formed from the erosion of the Rocky Mountains. These sediments consist of a series of sands and clays deposited on decaying organic marine matter, that over time, transformed into oil and natural gas. Beneath the layers of sediment is a water-deposited layer of halite, a rock salt. The porous layers were compressed over time and forced upward. As it pushed upward, the salt dragged surrounding sediments into salt dome formations, often trapping oil and gas that seeped from the surrounding porous sands. The thick, rich, sometimes black, surface soil is suitable for rice farming in suburban outskirts where the city continues to grow.
The Houston area has over 150 active faults (estimated to be 300 active faults) with an aggregate length of up to 310 miles (500 km), including the Long Point–Eureka Heights fault system which runs through the center of the city. There have been no significant historically recorded earthquakes in Houston, but researchers do not discount the possibility of such quakes having occurred in the deeper past, nor occurring in the future. Land in some communities southeast of Houston is sinking because water has been pumped out from the ground for many years. It may be associated with slip along the faults; however, the slippage is slow and not considered an earthquake, where stationary faults must slip suddenly enough to create seismic waves. These faults also tend to move at a smooth rate in what is termed "fault creep", which further reduces the risk of an earthquake.
Houston's climate is classified as humid subtropical. While not necessarily part of "Tornado Alley" like much of the rest of Texas, Spring supercell thunderstorms do sometimes bring tornadoes to the area. Prevailing winds are from the south and southeast during most of the year, bringing heat across the continent from the deserts of Mexico and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
During the summer months, it is common for the temperature to reach over 90 °F (32 °C), with an average of 99 days per year above 90 °F (32 °C). However, the humidity results in a heat index higher than the actual temperature. Summer mornings average over 90 percent relative humidity and approximately 60 percent in the afternoon. Winds are often light in the summer and offer little relief, except near the immediate coast. To cope with the heat, people use air conditioning in nearly every vehicle and building in the city; in 1980 Houston was described as the "most air-conditioned place on earth". Scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms are common in the summer. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Houston was 109 °F (43 °C) on September 4, 2000.
Winters in Houston are fairly temperate. The average high in January, the coldest month, is 62 °F (17 °C), while the average low is 39 °F (4 °C). Snowfall is generally rare. Recent snow events in Houston include a storm on December 24, 2004 when one inch (2.5 cm) fell and more recent snowfalls on December 10, 2008. However, more recently on December 4, 2009 an inch of snow fell in the city. This was the earliest snowfall ever recorded in Houston. In addition, it set another milestone marking the first time in recorded history that snowfall has occurred on two consecutive years, and marks the third accumulating snowfall occurring in the decade of 2000–2010. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Houston was 5 °F (−15 °C) on January 23, 1940. Houston receives a high amount of rainfall annually, averaging about 54 inches a year. These rains tend to cause floods over portions of the city.
Houston has excessive ozone levels and is ranked among the most ozone-polluted cities in the United States. Ground-level ozone, or smog, is Houston’s predominant air pollution problem, with the American Lung Association rating the metropolitan area's ozone level as the 8th worst in the United States in 2011. The industries located along the ship channel are a major cause of the city's air pollution.
Houston was incorporated in 1837 under the ward system of representation. The ward designation is the progenitor of the nine current-day Houston City Council districts. Locations in Houston are generally classified as either being inside or outside the Interstate 610 Loop. The inside encompasses the central business district and many residential neighborhoods that predate World War II. More recently, high-density residential areas have been developed within the loop. The city's outlying areas, suburbs and enclaves are located outside of the loop. Beltway 8 encircles the city another 5 miles (8.0 km) farther out.
Though Houston is the largest city in the United States without formal zoning regulations, it has developed similarly to other Sun Belt cities because the city's land use regulations and legal covenants have played a similar role. Regulations include mandatory lot size for single-family houses and requirements that parking be available to tenants and customers. Such restrictions have had mixed results. Though some have blamed the city's low density, urban sprawl, and lack of pedestrian-friendliness on these policies, the city's land use has also been credited with having significant affordable housing, sparing Houston the worst effects of the 2008 real estate crisis. The city issued 42,697 building permits in 2008 and was ranked first in the list of healthiest housing markets for 2009.
Voters rejected efforts to have separate residential and commercial land-use districts in 1948, 1962, and 1993. Consequently, rather than a single central business district as the center of the city's employment, multiple districts have grown throughout the city in addition to downtown which include Uptown, Texas Medical Center, Midtown, Greenway Plaza, Energy Corridor, Westchase, and Greenspoint.
The city of Houston has a strong mayoral form of municipal government. Houston is a home rule city and all municipal elections in the state of Texas are nonpartisan. The City's elected officials are the mayor, city controller and 14 members of the city council. The mayor of Houston is Annise Parker—a Democrat elected on a nonpartisan ballot who is serving her first term as of January 2010. Houston's mayor serves as the city's chief administrator, executive officer, and official representative, and is responsible for the general management of the city and for seeing that all laws and ordinances are enforced. As the result of a 1991 referendum in Houston, a mayor is elected for a two-year term, and can be elected to as many as three consecutive terms. The term limits were spearheaded by conservative political activist Clymer Wright.
The city council line-up of nine district-based and five at-large positions was based on a U.S. Justice Department mandate which took effect in 1979. At-large council members represent the entire city. Under the current city charter, if the population in the city limits goes past 2.1 million residents, the current nine-member city council districts will be expanded with the addition of two city council districts. The City of Houston's population count since January 2011 is 600 shy of the 2.1 million and several redistricting maps have been proposed - a final map will be authorized in August 2011 along with a concurrent election of two new city council members in the proposed Districts J and K. The two new council districts drawn up will encompass minority voters in both African-American and Hispanic voting blocs.
The city controller is elected independently of the mayor and council. The controller's duties are to certify available funds prior to committing such funds and processing disbursements. The city's fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. Ronald Green is the city controller, serving his first term as of January 2010.
Houston is considered to be a politically divided city whose balance of power often sways between Republicans and Democrats. Much of the city's wealthier areas vote Republican, while the city's middle class, working class, and minority areas vote Democratic. According to the 2005 Houston Area Survey, 68 percent of non-Hispanic whites in Harris County are declared or favor Republicans while 89 percent of non-Hispanic blacks in the area are declared or favor Democrats. About 62 percent Hispanics (of any race) in the area are declared or favor Democrats. The city has often been known to be the most politically diverse city in Texas, a state known for being generally conservative. As a result the city is often a contested area in statewide elections.
Houston is recognized worldwide for its energy industry — particularly for oil and natural gas — as well as for biomedical research and aeronautics. Renewable energy sources — wind and solar—are also growing economic bases in Houston. The ship channel is also a large part of Houston's economic base. Because of these strengths, Houston is designated as a global city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network and by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.
The Houston area is a leading center for building oilfield equipment. Much of Houston's success as a petrochemical complex is due to its busy man-made ship channel, the Port of Houston. The port ranks first in the United States in international commerce, and is the tenth-largest port in the world. Unlike most places, high oil and gasoline prices are beneficial for Houston's economy as many of its residents are employed in the energy industry.
The Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown MSA's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 was $384.6 billion. Only 29 countries other than the United States have a gross domestic product exceeding Houston's regional gross area product. Mining, which in Houston consists almost entirely of exploration and production of oil and gas, accounts for 26.3% of Houston's GAP, up sharply in response to high energy prices and a decreased worldwide surplus of oil production capacity; followed by engineering services, health services, and manufacturing.
The University of Houston System's annual impact on the Houston-area's economy equates to that of a major corporation: $1.1 billion in new funds attracted annually to the Houston area, $3.13 billion in total economic benefit, and 24,000 local jobs generated. This is in addition to the 12,500 new graduates the UH System produces every year who enter the workforce in Houston and throughout Texas. These degree-holders tend to stay in Houston. After five years, 80.5 percent of graduates are still living and working in the region.
In 2006, the Houston metropolitan area ranked first in Texas and third in the U.S. within the Category of "Best Places for Business and Careers" by Forbes magazine. Foreign governments have established 89 consular offices in metropolitan Houston. Forty foreign governments maintain trade and commercial offices here and 23 active foreign chambers of commerce and trade associations. Twenty-five foreign banks representing 13 nations operate in Houston, providing financial assistance to the international community.
In 2008, Houston received top ranking on Kiplinger's Personal Finance Best Cities of 2008 list which ranks cities on their local economy, employment opportunities, reasonable living costs and quality of life. The city ranked fourth for highest increase in the local technological innovation over the preceding 15 years, according to Forbes magazine. In the same year, the city ranked second on the annual Fortune 500 list of company headquarters, ranked first for Forbes Best Cities for College Graduates, and ranked first on Forbes list of Best Cities to Buy a Home. In 2010, the city was rated the best city for shopping, according to Forbes.
Houston is a diverse city with a large and growing international community. The metropolitan area is home to an estimated 1.1 million (21.4 percent) residents who were born outside the United States, with nearly two-thirds of the area's foreign-born population from south of the United States–Mexico border. Additionally, more than one in five foreign-born residents are from Asia. The city is home to the nation’s third-largest concentration of consular offices, representing 86 countries.
Many annual events celebrate the diverse cultures of Houston. The largest and longest running is the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, held over 20 days from late February to early March, which happens to be the largest annual Livestock Show and Rodeo anywhere in the world. Another large celebration is the annual night-time Houston Pride Parade, held at the end of June. Other annual events include the Houston Greek Festival, Art Car Parade, the Houston Auto Show, the Houston International Festival, and the Bayou City Art Festival, which is considered to be one of the top five art festivals in the United States.
Houston received the official nickname of "Space City" in 1967 because it is the location of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Other nicknames often used by locals include "Bayou City," "Magnolia City," and "H-Town."
The Houston Theater District, located downtown, is home to nine major performing arts organizations and six performance halls. It is the second-largest concentration of theater seats in a downtown area in the United States. Houston is one of few United States cities with permanent, professional, resident companies in all major performing arts disciplines: opera (Houston Grand Opera), ballet (Houston Ballet), music (Houston Symphony Orchestra), and theater (The Alley Theatre). Houston is also home to folk artists, art groups and various small progressive arts organizations. Houston attracts many touring Broadway acts, concerts, shows, and exhibitions for a variety of interests. Facilities in the Theater District include the Jones Hall—home of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and Society for the Performing Arts—and the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.
The Museum District's cultural institutions and exhibits attract more than 7 million visitors a year. Notable facilities the include The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Holocaust Museum Houston, and the Houston Zoo. Located near the Museum District are The Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel, and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum.
Bayou Bend is a 14-acre (5.7 ha) facility of the Museum of Fine Arts that houses one of America's best collections of decorative art, paintings and furniture. Bayou Bend is the former home of Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg. Venues across Houston regularly host local and touring rock, blues, country, dubstep, and Tejano musical acts. While Houston has never been a widely renowned for its music scene, Houston hip-hop has become a significant, independent music scene, influencing some larger Southern hip hop communities.
The Theater District is a 17-block area in the center of downtown Houston that is home to the Bayou Place entertainment complex, restaurants, movies, plazas, and parks. Bayou Place is a large multilevel building containing full-service restaurants, bars, live music, billiards, and art house films. The Houston Verizon Wireless Theater stages live concerts, stage plays, and stand-up comedy.
Space Center Houston is the official visitors’ center of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. The Space Center has many interactive exhibits including moon rocks, a shuttle simulator, and presentations about the history of NASA's manned space flight program. Other tourist attractions include the Galleria (Texas's largest shopping mall located in the Uptown District), Old Market Square, the Downtown Aquarium, and Sam Houston Race Park. SplashTown Waterpark Houston is a water park located north of Houston. Earth Quest Adventures is a theme park planned to open in 2013/2014.
Houston is home to 337 parks including Hermann Park, Terry Hershey Park, Lake Houston Park, Memorial Park, Tranquility Park, Sesquicentennial Park, Discovery Green, and Sam Houston Park. Within Hermann Park are the Houston Zoo and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Sam Houston Park contains restored and reconstructed homes which were originally built between 1823 and 1905.
Of the 10 most populous U.S. cities, Houston has the most total area of parks and green space, 56,405 acres (228 km2). The city also has over 200 additional green spaces—totaling over 19,600 acres (79 km2) that are managed by the city—including the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. The Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark is a public skatepark owned and operated by the city of Houston, and is one of the largest skateparks in Texas consisting of 30,000 (2,800 m2) square foot in-ground facility. The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park—located in the Uptown District of the city—serves as a popular tourist attraction, weddings, and various celebrations. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Houston the 23rd most walkable of fifty largest cities in the United States.
The Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area is served by a public television station and two public radio stations. KUHT (HoustonPBS) is a PBS member station and is the first public television station in the United States. Houston Public Radio is listener-funded and comprises two NPR member stations: KUHF (KUHF News) and KUHA (Classical 91.7). KUHF is news/talk radio and KUHA is a classical music station. The University of Houston System owns and holds broadcasting licenses to KUHT, KUHF, and KUHA. The stations broadcast from the Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting, located on the campus of the University of Houston.
Houston is served by the Houston Chronicle, its only major daily newspaper with wide distribution. The Hearst Corporation, which owns and operates the Houston Chronicle, bought the assets of the Houston Post—its long-time rival and main competition—when Houston Post ceased operations in 1995. The Houston Post was owned by the family of former Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby of Houston. The only other major publication to serve the city is the Houston Press—a free alternative weekly with a weekly readership of more than 300,000.
Seventeen school districts exist within the city of Houston. The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the seventh-largest school district in the United States. HISD has 112 campuses that serve as magnet or vanguard schools—specializing in such disciplines as health professions, visual and performing arts, and the sciences. There are also many charter schools that are run separately from school districts. In addition, some public school districts also have their own charter schools.
The Houston area encompasses more than 300 private schools, many of which are accredited by Texas Private School Accreditation Commission recognized agencies. The Houston Area Independent Schools offer education from a variety of different religious as well as secular viewpoints. The Houston area Catholic schools are operated by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
Four distinct state universities are located in Houston. The University of Houston is a nationally recognized top-tier research university, and is the flagship institution of the University of Houston System. The institution ranks among the Top 50 American Research Universities. The third-largest university in Texas, UH has over 38,750 students on its 667 acre campus in southeast Houston. The University of Houston–Clear Lake and the University of Houston–Downtown are stand-alone universities; they are not branch campuses of the University of Houston. Located in the historic community of Third Ward is Texas Southern University—one of the largest historically black colleges and universities in the United States.
Several private institutions of higher learning—ranging from liberal arts colleges to a nationally recognized research university—are located within the city. Rice University is one of the leading teaching and research universities of the United States and ranked the nation's 17th best overall university by U.S. News & World Report.
Three community college districts exist with campuses in and around Houston. The Houston Community College System serves most of Houston. The northwestern through northeastern parts of the city are served by various campuses of the Lone Star College System, while the southeastern portion of Houston is served by San Jacinto College. The Houston Community College and Lone Star College systems are within the 10 largest institutions of higher learning in the United States.
Houston is the seat of the internationally renowned Texas Medical Center, which contains the world's largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions. All 49 member institutions of the Texas Medical Center are non-profit organizations. They provide patient and preventive care, research, education, and local, national, and international community well-being.
Employing more than 73,600 people, institutions at the medical center include 13 hospitals and two specialty institutions, two medical schools, four nursing schools, and schools of dentistry, public health, pharmacy, and virtually all health-related careers. It is where one of the first—and still the largest—air emergency service, Life Flight, was created, and a very successful inter-institutional transplant program was developed. More heart surgeries are performed at the Texas Medical Center than anywhere else in the world.
Some of the academic and research health institutions at the center include MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, UT Health Science Center, Memorial Hermann Hospital, The Methodist Hospital, Texas Children's Hospital, and University of Houston College of Pharmacy.
The Baylor College of Medicine has annually been considered within the top ten medical schools in the nation; likewise, the MD Anderson Cancer Center has consistently ranked as one of the top two U.S. hospitals specializing in cancer care by U.S. News & World Report since 1990. The Menninger Clinic, a renowned psychiatric treatment center, is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital System. With hospital locations nationwide and headquarters in Houston, the Triumph Healthcare hospital system is the third largest long term acute care provider nationally.
The predominant form of transportation in Houston is the automobile with 71.7 percent of residents driving alone to work This is facilitated through Houston's freeway system, comprising 739.3 miles (1,189.8 km) of freeways and expressways in a ten-county metropolitan area. However, the Texas Transportation Institute's annual Urban Mobility Report found that Houston had the fourth-worst congestion in the country with commuters spending an average of 58 hours in traffic in 2010.
Houston's highway system has a hub-and-spoke freeway structure serviced by multiple loops. The innermost loop is Interstate 610, which encircles downtown, the medical center, and many core neighborhoods with around a 10-mile (16 km) diameter. Beltway 8 and its freeway core, the Sam Houston Tollway, form the middle loop at a diameter of roughly 25 miles (40 km). A proposed highway project, State Highway 99 (Grand Parkway), would form a third loop outside of Houston. As of 2010, only two out of eleven segments of State Highway 99 have been completed. Houston is located along the route of the proposed Interstate 69 NAFTA superhighway that would link Canada, the U.S. industrial Midwest, Texas, and Mexico. Other spoke freeways either planned or under construction include the Fort Bend Parkway, Hardy Toll Road, Crosby Freeway, and the future Alvin Freeway.
Houston's freeway system is monitored by Houston TranStar—a partnership of four government agencies that are responsible for providing transportation and emergency management services to the region. Houston TranStar was the first center in the nation to combine transportation and emergency management centers, and the first to bring four agencies (Texas Department of Transportation, Harris County, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, and the City of Houston) together to share their resources.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) provides public transportation in the form of buses, light rail, and lift vans. METRO's various forms of public transportation still do not connect many of the suburbs to the greater city.
METRO began light rail service on January 1, 2004 with the inaugural track ("Red Line") running about 8 miles (13 km) from the University of Houston–Downtown (UHD), which traverses through the Texas Medical Center and terminates at Reliant Park. METRO is currently in the design phase of a 10-year expansion plan that will add five more lines to the existing system.
Amtrak, the national rail passenger system, provides service to Houston via the Sunset Limited (Los Angeles–New Orleans), which stops at a train station on the north side of the downtown area. The station saw 14,891 boardings and alightings in fiscal year 2008.
Houston is served by three airports, two of which are commercial that served 52 million passengers in 2007 and managed by the Houston Airport System. The Federal Aviation Administration and the state of Texas selected the "Houston Airport System as Airport of the Year" for 2005, largely because of its multi-year, $3.1 billion airport improvement program for both major airports in Houston.
The primary city airport is George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), the sixth-busiest in the United States for total passengers, and fourteenth-busiest worldwide. Bush Intercontinental currently ranks third in the United States for non-stop domestic and international service with 182 destinations. In 2006, the United States Department of Transportation named George Bush Intercontinental Airport the fastest-growing of the top ten airports in the United States. The Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center stands on the George Bush Intercontinental Airport grounds.
Houston was the headquarters of Continental Airlines until its 2010 merger with United Airlines with headquarters in Chicago; regulatory approval for the merger was granted in October of that year. Bush Intercontinental will become United Airline's largest hub. The airline will retain a significant operational presence in Houston while offering more than 700 daily departures from the city. In early 2007, Bush Intercontinental Airport was named a model "port of entry" for international travelers by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The second-largest commercial airport is William P. Hobby Airport (named Houston International Airport until 1967) which operates primarily small to medium-haul domestic flights. Houston's aviation history is showcased in the 1940 Air Terminal Museum located in the old terminal building on the west side of the airport. Hobby Airport has been recognized with two awards for being one of the top five performing airports in the world and for customer service by Airports Council International. Houston's third municipal airport is Ellington Airport (a former U.S. Air Force base) used by military, government, NASA, and general aviation sectors.
Houston has the third tallest skyline in North America and one of the top 10 in the world. A seven-mile (11 km) system of tunnels and skywalks link downtown buildings containing shops and restaurants, enabling pedestrians to avoid summer heat and rain while walking between buildings.
In the 1960s, Downtown Houston consisted of a collection of mid-rise office structures. Downtown was on the threshold of an energy industry led boom in 1970. A succession of skyscrapers were built throughout the 1970s—many by real estate developer Gerald D. Hines—culminating with Houston's tallest skyscraper, the 75-floor, 1,002-foot (305 m)-tall JPMorgan Chase Tower (formerly the Texas Commerce Tower), completed in 1982. It is the tallest structure in Texas, 10th tallest building in the United States and the 30th tallest skyscraper in the world, based on height to roof. In 1983, the 71-floor, 992-foot (302 m)-tall Wells Fargo Plaza (formerly Allied Bank Plaza) was completed, becoming the second-tallest building in Houston and Texas. Based on height to roof, it is the 13th tallest in the United States and the 36th tallest in the world. As of 2007, downtown Houston had over 43 million square feet (4,000,000 m²) of office space.
Centered on Post Oak Boulevard and Westheimer Road, the Uptown District boomed during the 1970s and early 1980s when a collection of mid-rise office buildings, hotels, and retail developments appeared along Interstate 610 west. Uptown became one of the most prominent instances of an edge city. The tallest building in Uptown is the 64-floor, 901-foot (275 m)-tall, Philip Johnson and John Burgee designed landmark Williams Tower (known as the Transco Tower until 1999). At the time of construction, it was believed to the be the world's tallest skyscraper outside of a central business district. The Uptown District is also home to buildings designed by noted architects I. M. Pei, César Pelli, and Philip Johnson. In the late 1990s and early 2000s decade, there was a mini-boom of mid-rise and high-rise residential tower construction, with several over 30 stories tall. In 2002, Uptown had more than 23 million square feet (2,100,000 m²) of office space with 16 million square feet (1,500,000 m²) of Class A office space.
Houston has sports teams for every major professional league, except the National Hockey League. Minute Maid Park (home of the Astros) and Toyota Center (home of the Rockets and Aeros), are located in Downtown. Houston has the NFL's first retractable-roof stadium, Reliant Stadium (home of the Texans). In addition, Reliant Astrodome, the first domed stadium in the world. Other sports facilities include Robertson Stadium (home of the Houston Cougars football team and the Dynamo), Hofheinz Pavilion (Houston Cougars basketball), Rice Stadium (Rice Owls football), and Reliant Arena. A soccer-specific stadium for the Dynamo—to be located just east of Downtown—is expected to be finished by 2012. The city has hosted several major professional and college sporting events, including the annual Shell Houston Open golf tournament. Houston hosts the annual NCAA College Baseball Minute Maid Classic every February and NCAA football's Texas Bowl in December.
Houston's murder rate ranked 46th of U.S. cities with a population over 250,000 in 2005 (per capita rate of 16.3 murders per 100,000 population). In 2010, the city's murder rate (per capita rate of 11.8 murders per 100,000 population) was ranked sixth among U.S. cities with a population of over 750,000 (behind New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Los Angeles) according to the FBI.
Murders fell by 37 percent in Jan-Jun 2011 compared with the same period in 2010. Houston's total crime rate including violent and nonviolent crimes decreased by 11 percent. Houston—due to its size and proximity to major illegal drug exporting nations—is a significant hub for trafficking of cocaine, marijuana, heroin, MDMA, and methamphetamine. In the early 1970s, Houston, Pasadena and several coastal towns were the site of the 'Houston Mass Murders' which at the time were the deadliest case of serial killing in American history.
On September 5, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Houston, Texas after he dropped off his cousin, Vangie Magtalas Santa Cruz and her family at their home in Beaumont, Texas. They had a lunch at Grand Buffet in Nederland, Texas which is approximately 15 from their house. Houston is the largest city in Texas and Armando wants to visit the city especially at the downtown area. Houston, Texas is approximately 85 miles or 1 1/2 hour drive from Beaumont, Texas. Houston is also a busy city especially on weekends and rush hours. Because of the traffic condition in Houston Area, most of the freeways there have toll gates or toll plaza so that the flow of traffic there will be smoother and faster. The toll plaza there is Sam Houston Tollway and they charged each vehicles from $0.75 to $1.50 depending with the type of vehicles and the exits. For the convenience, each vehicles have their toll tags so that they don't have to pay cash in the toll gates and for the convenience as well. If you don't want to pass the toll plaza, you must avoid the express lanes at the freeways there or else you will get a penalty of $25 plus the toll price. There are video cameras at the toll plaza and so be careful all the time. There are many tourists attractions there but because of his short time especially the heavy traffic in the freeways, he just visited the downtown area of Houston especially the City Hall.
After this, he went to The Galleria, the biggest shopping mall in Texas. The Galleria is an upscale mixed-use urban development centrally located in the Uptown District of Houston, Texas, United States. The development consists of a retail complex, as well as the Galleria Office Towers complex, two Westin hotels, and a private health club. The office towers and hotels are separately owned and managed from the shopping center. With 3 million total square feet of space that includes 2.4 million of gross leasable area with over 375 stores, the Galleria is the largest mall in Texas and seventh-largest in the United States. It is currently anchored by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and two separate, full-line Macy's. Since September 5, 2011 is Labor Day in USA, the mall was closed early at 7:00pm. During Holidays, the schedule of the mall is the same as the schedule for Sunday. Usually, the mall is open from 10:00am to 9:00pm from Monday to Saturday. Because of this, Armando did a short tour in the mall. Most of the restaurants and fast food chains are already closed when he get inside the mall.
Murphy is a city in Collin County, Texas, United States and a suburb of Dallas, located to the north east of the city. The 2010 census reported Murphy's population as 17,708.
Murphy is a fast-growing community with a history that goes back to the early 1900s. Murphy is located in southern Collin county, within the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Situated midway between Plano and Wylie on FM 544, Murphy is two miles (3 km) south of the famous Southfork Ranch. Its borders enclosing only 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2), Murphy shares borders with Plano, Richardson, Wylie, Sachse, and Parker. It is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from downtown Dallas and about 30 miles (48 km) from D/FW Airport.
The community supports plans to continue to foster the country-living atmosphere, though with fewer large lots. Minimum lot sizes are 9,000 square feet (840 m2), and the average lot size trends toward 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2).
Several subdivisions have begun building and are occupied. The newest approved development is 470 acres (1.9 km2) on the northeast side of the city along Maxwell Creek. The country living theme is expressed in this development by a linear park, which is expected to include a hike-and-bike trail. The major new feature to be noted in the Future Land Use Plan is a central business district at the northeast and northwest corners of the intersection of FM 544 and Murphy Road. This is expected to encompass a park-like area with offices and stores fronting on a central plaza. Construction on such a development, Murphy Marketplace, began in 2008. It now contains numerous restaurants and services. The municipal complex comprises a total of four buildings to serve Fire, Police, City Administration, and Public Works.
With the opening of the President George Bush Tollway, access to the west became a reality in 1999. The highway is a major factor in the growth of the economy of Southeast Collin County. Its impact on Murphy has already been felt in the rapid expansion as new homes have been built, with the boom starting in 1999. The population in late 2002 was about 6,500 and continued to grow to around 12,000 in 2006. The 2010 census reported a population of 17,708. The city was rated #7 in the "Best Places to Live" survey of Dallas Suburbs in the July 2008 D Magazine, and #9 in the 2010 edition of the article (By comparison Dallas was #54, and neighboring Plano was #18).
Attracted by the offer of land grants from the Peters colony,qv the first settlers of the community arrived in the area in 1846. The original townsite, located on land owned by C. A. McMillen, was first called Old Decator, after McMillen's hometown, and later, Maxwell's Branch. When the St. Louis Southwestern Railway reached the area in 1888, the residents renamed the town Murphy, in honor of William Murphy, who provided land for the tracks and the construction of a depot. A post office was established there in 1891. From the 1880s until the 1950s Murphy served as a shipping point for area farmers and stock raisers. The Great Depression,qv the mechanization of farming, and job opportunities in the Dallas metropolitan area contributed to a decline in the population of Murphy. Though the rural community was never very large, its population was reduced to 150 by the mid-1950s and to 135 by 1961. Mail service was discontinued in 1954. Beginning in the mid-1970s, however, the population increased dramatically. The establishment of businesses in nearby Plano and Richardson made Murphy a commuter community for these two cities. In 1970 there were 136 residents reported in Murphy. That figure had risen to 1,500 by 1986, fallen to 1,114 by 1988, and risen again to 1,547 in 1990.
Few reminders of Murphy's early heyday remain; one structure still in use is the First Baptist Church of Murphy, built in 1901. Although the business district faded out, the school system remained for some time. The school building served as a community center in 1987. A school building which housed elementary and high school students was built in 1938 as a WPA project. When it closed in 1950, the schoolchildren transferred to Plano. Later, citizens renovated the school building, which became the Community Center, Fire Station, and City Hall. Later, the City Hall and Fire Station were moved to a new complex across the road, leaving the old building to be renovated as the Community Center scheduled to reopen in February 2012.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.25 square miles (13.6 km2), of which 100% is land. Murphy is considered to be part of the humid subtropical region.
The City of Murphy, Texas adopted a Home Rule Charter in 2003 and the power of the city is vested in a council of elected individuals who regulate and legislate and appoint other officials, such as the City Manager, who heads the executive branch. The councilmembers as of 2011 are Bret Baldwin (Mayor), Colleen Halbert, Dennis Richmond, John Daugherty, Scott Bradley, Bernard Grant and Dave Brandon. Bret Baldwin was re-elected Mayor in 2011 and is serving a three year term. James Fisher is the City Manager.
A portion of Murphy is served by the Plano Independent School District, while another portion is served by the Wylie Independent School District.
Nederland is a city in Jefferson County, Texas, United States. The population was 17,547 at the 2010 census. The city is adjacent to the Southeast Texas Regional Airport in Port Arthur, which serves the nearby cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur. It is part of the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. Also referred to as the "Golden Triangle Area, due the triangular shape the bordering cities make.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.7 square miles (14.8 km²), of which, 5.7 square miles (14.7 km²) of it is land and 0.18% is water.
Nederland was founded in 1897 by Dutch settlers (Nederland is the Dutch name for "lowlands")as a repayment for financial services of Dutch bankers who financed the Kansas City Southern railroad line that runs through the center of the city. The more prominent families were named Rienstra, Doornbos and Van Oostrom, and their descendants still live in the area today. Tradition says they were attracted to the flat coastal terrain that reminded them of their homeland (although the heat most certainly did not). The downtown area bears its English and Dutch street names still today.
Nederland's early economy was driven by rice and dairy farming. However, the depression of 1907 and overproduction caused the rice industry in the town to collapse. Many Dutch settlers moved away from the area during this time, but a small percentage remained. After the Spindletop gusher discovery of 1901 and the establishment of the Sun Oil terminal near Nederland, the town became a residential community for the workers of the nearby oil terminals.
Nederland became incorporated as a township in 1940. The surrounding larger cities of Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange came to be known as the Golden Triangle. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Port of Beaumont was as important as New Orleans or Houston/Galveston, and Nederland thrived as a result.
The refineries also attracted a large population of blue-collar laborers into the area. The area drew particularly heavily from southern Louisiana, and a strong Cajun flair is evident throughout the community. With the decline of oil prices in the 1980s, the local economy suffered and Nederland experienced slight population losses, but has stabilized in the late 1990s and 2000s.
On September 23, 2005, Nederland was hit by Hurricane Rita, a category 3 hurricane. On September 13, 2008, Nederland was hit by hurricane-force winds of Hurricane Ike.
The Orange Hotel was built in November of 1897 , was eventually abandoned and torn down around 1912. Nederland Pharmacy was opened in 1902 and moved to its current location in 1907 where it still stands today. Langham Elementary was orignally built where the current elementary's playground. The current Langham building was built in 1940. Setzers Hardware was built in 1898 as a rice storage facility and still stands today.
The Dutch Windmill Museum is an authentic replica of a Dutch windmill and was created to honor the settlers from Holland that founded Nederland. It was built in 1969 and contains donated items from Nederland's history. The museum is located in Tex Ritter Park on Boston Avenue in the downtown area.
The Le Maison De Acadiens house is a replica of houses used by early French settlers of the area, many who still have descendants living in the region. It is located next to the Windmill Museum. The Nederland Heritage Festival began on the 75th anniversary of the founding of the town in 1973 as part of the city's Diamond Jubilee and has become known area wide and attracts over 100,000 people over the week of festivities, and includes multiple events during the week.
The city is served by the Nederland Independent School District. The schools in Nederland include four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. The one high school is Nederland High School. Lamar University is located in nearby Beaumont, Texas and offers four-year degrees in multiple deciplines, including Engineering, Business, Nursing, Art and Science. Lamar Institute of Technology offers two-year degrees and certifications for the region, as well as paths to four-year degrees at other universities. Lamar Port-Arthur is located in Port Arthur,Texas south of Nederland and offers two-year degrees with degree paths leading to four-year degrees at Lamar University.
On September 5, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Grand Buffet in Nederland, Texas with his cousin, Vangie Magtalas Santa Cruz and her family. He finished his tour at Fire Museum of Texas, downtown area of Beaumont, Texas, and Beaumont Botanical Gardens with his nephews and his cousin's husband. Before Armando went to Houston, Texas, they planned to have a lunch first and they want to eat sushi foods. They drove from their house in Beaumont, Texas to Nederland, Texas and it is approximately 15 miles. Grand Buffet is Chinese Buffet Restaurant in Beaumont Area. They are serving not only Chinese dishes but they are serving sushi and Mongolian dishes. This is a memorable visit in Beaumont Area especially at his cousin's place.
Parker is a city in Collin County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,379 at the 2000 census. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.2 square miles (13.4 km2), all of it land. Parker is the location of the famed Southfork Ranch from the TV series "Dallas".
A small part of Parker is served by the Allen Independent School District, while the majority is served by the Plano Independent School District.
The portion of Parker in AISD is served by Allen High School. The portion of Parker in PISD is served by Plano East Senior High School.
Plano is a city in the state of Texas, located mostly within Collin County. The city's population was 259,841 at the 2010 census, making it the ninth-largest city in Texas (Corpus Christi is ranked at #8 and Laredo is ranked at #10) and the 71st most populous city in the United States. Plano is located within the metropolitan area commonly referred to as the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. The city is home to many corporate headquarters, including Alliance Data, Cinemark Theatres, Dell Services, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Ericsson, Frito-Lay, HP Enterprise Services, J. C. Penney, Pizza Hut, Rent-A-Center, and Siemens PLM Software.
In 2005, Plano was designated the best place to live in the Western United States by CNN Money magazine. In 2006, Plano was selected as the 11th best place to live in the United States by CNN Money magazine. Plano schools consistently score among the highest in the nation. It has been rated as the wealthiest city in the United States by CNN Money with a poverty rate of less than 6.4%. In 2008, Forbes.com selected Plano, University Park, and Highland Park as the three "Top Suburbs To Live Well" of Dallas. The United States Census Bureau declared Plano the wealthiest city of 2008 by comparing the median household income for all U.S. cities whose populations were greater than 250,000. The annual Plano Balloon Festival and the Plano International Festival are two of the city's premiere cultural and entertainment events. In October 2010, Forbes magazine named Plano the safest city to live in America with a population greater than 250,000.
Settlers came to the area near present-day Plano in the early 1840s. Facilities such as a sawmill, a gristmill, and a store soon brought more people to the area. Mail service was established, and after rejecting several names for the budding town (including naming it in honor of then-President Millard Fillmore), the locals suggested the name Plano (from the Spanish word for "flat"), a reference to the local terrain. The name was accepted by the post office. In 1872, the completion of the Houston and Central Texas Railway helped the city grow, and the city was officially incorporated in 1873. The population grew to more than 500 by 1874. In 1881, a fire raged through the central business district, destroying most of the buildings. The town was rebuilt and business again flourished through the 1880s.
The population of Plano initially grew slowly, reaching 1,304 in 1900 and increasing to 3,695 in 1960. By 1970, Plano began to feel some of the boom its neighbors had experienced following World War II. A series of public works projects and a change in taxes that removed the farming community from the town helped increase the overall population of Plano. In 1970, the population reached 17,872, and by 1980, the population had exploded to 72,000. Sewers, schools and street development kept pace with this massive increase, largely due to Plano's flat topography, grid layout and planning initiatives. The Plano Independent School District (PISD) was formed in 1975.
During the 1980s, many large corporations moved their headquarters to Plano, including J. C. Penney and Frito-Lay, which helped the city grow. By 1990, the population reached 128,713, dwarfing the county seat of McKinney. In 1994, the city was recognized as an All-America City. By 2000, the population grew to 222,030, making it one of the largest suburbs of Dallas. Plano is completely locked in by other municipalities and cannot expand in area, and there is little undeveloped land remaining within the city limits.
Among other sports accolades, Plano is home to the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA), the training ground of 2004 and 2008 Olympic All Around Champions, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin. The gym is owned by Patterson's coach, Yevgeny Marchenko, and Liukin's coach and father, Valeri Liukin.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Plano has a total area of 71.6 square miles (185.5 km2). Plano is considered to be in the humid subtropical climate zone. The highest recorded temperature was 118°F in 1936. On average, the coolest month is January and the warmest month is July. The lowest recorded temperature was -7°F in 1930. The maximum average precipitation occurs in May.
Plano is one of 12 suburbs in the Dallas area that opts into the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) public transportation system. During most of its membership in DART, Plano was lightly served by bus lines, but in recent years, the Red Line of the DART Light Rail project has opened stations in Downtown Plano and at Parker Road, which provide access to commuters traveling to work elsewhere in the Dallas area. Approximately 1% of the city's population uses DART.
Plano was the first city in Collin County to adopt a master plan for its road system. The use of multi-lane, divided highways for all major roads allows for higher speed limits, generally 40 mph (64 km/h), but sometimes up to 55 mph (89 km/h) on the northern section of Preston Road. Plano is served directly by several major roadways and freeways. Central Plano is bordered to the east by U.S. Highway 75, the west by Dallas North Tollway, the south by President George Bush Turnpike, and the north by Texas State Highway 121. Preston Road (Texas State Highway 289) is a major thoroughfare that runs through the city.
Plano is represented in the Texas Senate by Republican Florence Shapiro District 8, and in the Texas House of Representatives by Republican Van Taylor, District 66 and Republican Jerry Madden, District 67. At the Federal level, the two U.S. Senators from Texas are Republicans John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison; Plano is part of Texas' US Congressional 3rd District, which is currently represented by Republican Sam Johnson.
Approximately 80% of Plano's visitors are business travelers, due to its close proximity to Dallas and the many corporations headquartered in Plano. The city also has a convention center that is owned and operated by the city. Plano has made a concerted effort to draw retail to its downtown area and the Shops at Legacy in an effort to boost sales tax returns. The Shops at Legacy area has apartments, shops, and restaurants constructed with the new Urbanism philosophy. An experimental luxury Walmart Supercenter is located at Park Boulevard and the Dallas North Tollway.
There are 70 public schools, 16 private schools, two campuses of the Collin County Community College District (Collin College), and six libraries in Plano. The Plano Independent School District serves most of city. Student enrollment has increased dramatically over the past few decades. Plano has a unique high school system, in which grades 9-10 attend a high school and grades 11-12 attend a senior high. There are three senior high schools (grades 11-12) in PISD; Plano East, Plano, and Plano West. Small portions of Plano are served by the Lewisville Independent School District, Frisco Independent School District, and Allen Independent School District. In 2006, Plano Independent School District announced that 115 seniors were selected as National Merit Semifinalists, the largest in the district's history. Plano is the home to two campuses of Collin College, one at the Courtyard Center on Preston Park Boulevard and the larger Spring Creek Campus on Spring Creek Parkway at Jupiter. Plano has given $1.2 billion in property tax revenue to other school districts through the Texas "Robin Hood" law, which requires school districts that are designated as affluent to give a percentage of their property tax revenue to other districts outside of the county. In 2008, PISD gave $86 million. Controversy erupted when the salaries of teachers in less affluent districts, like Garland ISD, exceeded the salaries of teachers in districts that had to pay into "Robin Hood".
SMU-in-Plano, formerly SMU-in-Legacy, a branch of Southern Methodist University, is a graduate university serving the needs of 3,000 working professionals. Its academic programs include business, engineering and computer training, education and continuing education. It also features The Guildhall at SMU, which offers a masters program in video game development.
On September 12, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Twin Peaks in Plano, Texas with his schoolmate in Mapua Institute of Technology, Aljo Perez of Irving, Texas. He picked him up from his cousin's house in Wylie, Texas. Twin Peaks is an American restaurant and bar that serves homemade style draft beer and Texan style dishes like buffalo wings, nachos, sizzling steaks, and so on. The restaurant has a nice ambiance because of its cowboy style with dried animals like deer, birds, and other animals. There are many beautiful young ladies there wearing cowboy style shirts and shorts. They are also waitresses and servers there. They are entertaining the customers there. There is a television that you can watch sports. While eating and drinking, Armando and Aljo were sharing their memorable events and stories during their college days in Mapua Institute of Technology. Armando was invited by Aljo thru Facebook. This is also considered a mini-reunion. The other Mapuan was supposed to join also but he can't make it because of his schedule at work. Anyway, they had fun there with the beautiful ladies there.
Richardson is a city in Dallas and Collin Counties in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 99,223. In 2011 the population was estimated to be 107,684. Richardson is an affluent inner suburb of Dallas and home of the Telecom Corridor with a high concentration of telecommunications companies. More than 5,000 businesses have operations within Richardson's 28 square miles (73 km2), including several of the world's largest telecommunications/networking companies: AT&T, Verizon, Cisco Systems, Samsung, and Fujitsu.
In 2006, Richardson was ranked as the 15th best place to live in the United States by Money magazine. This ranked Richardson the 3rd best place to live in Texas. In 2007, the Morgan Quitno 14th Annual America's Safest and Most Dangerous Cities Awards pronounced Richardson the 69th safest city in America. In the same study Richardson ranked the 5th safest city in Texas. In 2008, Richardson was ranked as the 18th best place to live in the United States by Money magazine. This ranked Richardson the 4th best place to live in Texas. In 2009, Business Week's annual report on the "Best Places to Raise Kids," ranked Richardson 2nd in Texas. Richardson was the first North Texas city recognized as a best workplace for commuters by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Transportation in 2004. As of 2010 the city has continued to be recognized every year since 2004. In 2011 the Texas Recreation and Park Society awarded Richardson with the Texas Gold Medal for excellence in the field of recreation and park management.
Settlers from Kentucky and Tennessee came to the Richardson area in the 1840s. Through the 1850s the settlement was located around current day Richland College. After the Civil War a railroad was built northwest of the original settlement, shifting the village’s center closer to the railroad. Richardson was chartered in 1873 and the town was named after railroad contractor E.H. Richardson. In 1908 an electric railway, know as the Interurban, connected Richardson to Denison, Waco, Corsicana and Fort Worth, Texas. In 1910 the population was approximately 600. A red brick schoolhouse was built in 1914. The schoolhouse is now the administrative office for the Richardson Independent School District. In 1924 the Red Brick Road, the current day Greenville Avenue, was completed. The completion of the road brought increased traffic, population and property values. The town incorporated and elected a mayor in 1925. In 1940 the population was approximately 740.
After World War II the City experienced major increases in population, which stood at approximately 1,300 by 1950. Throughout the 1950s the city continued to see growth including the opening of Collins Radio Richardson office, Central Expressway, a police department, shopping centers and many homes. Texas Instruments opened its offices in Dallas on the southern border of Richardson in 1956. This was followed by significant gains in land values, population and economic status. In the 1960s Richardson experienced additional growth including several new parks, facilities and the creation of the University of Texas at Dallas located in the city limits of Richardson. By 1972 the population was approximately 56,000. Residential growth continued through the 1970s and slowed in the 1980s. Commercial development increased throughout the 1980s. Richardson had a population of 74,840 according to the 1990 Census. Population increases throughout the 1990s was primarily from development of the northeast part of the city. The city of Buckingham, after being completely surrounded by Richardson, was annexed into the city in 1996. Richardson had a population of 91,802 according to the 2000 Census. By 2002 Richardson had four Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail stations, built the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts and Corporate Presentations and the adjacent Galatyn Park urban center, which has a two-acre public pedestrian plaza, a luxury hotel and mixed-use development. Richardson was a "dry city" with no alcohol sales until November 2006, when the local option election passed to allow the sale of beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores. Richardson received local media attention for removing its rocket slide, space age and Cold War Era playground equipment from Heights Park in July 2008. In the fall of 2008 Peter Perfect, a Style Network television show came to Richardson. The business-makeover show remodeled SpiritWear an apparel and embroidery store located in the city's historic downtown area. The episode first aired on January 22, 2009. It was the first episode of the series to be filmed outside of California. In an April 2009 interview, Mike Judge said that he modeled Arlen, the setting for King of the Hill, after Richardson.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.6 square miles (74.0 km2), all of it land. Approximately two-thirds of the city is in Dallas County, with the northern third of the city in Collin County. Of the 27.4 square miles (71 km2) contained within the borders of the City of Richardson, 18.2 square miles (47 km2) lie in Dallas County; the other 9.2 square miles (24 km2) are in Collin County.
Despite declining economies in other parts of the United States, from 2005 through 2009 Richardson has had substantial increases in its economy. The city’s total assessed property value went up from $8.3 billion in 2005 to $9.5 billion 2008. Sales tax collection went up from $21 million in 2005 to an estimated $24.7 million in 2008. The city has also achieved a considerable amount of corporate recruitment and retention. Including the new Blue Cross Blue Shield development, the largest Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex office campus development since 1987 is a 15 story, 1,000,000-square-foot (93,000 m2) regional headquarters, where 3,100 employees work. Other major corporate expansions or relocations include Bank of America Financial Services, MetroPCS (corporate HQ), Yahoo, Fujitsu Transaction Solutions, and Halff Associates.
The city has experienced a surge of mixed-use development, suburban infill and transit-oriented development, predominantly on the city's eastern side. The Venue is a 4-acre (16,000 m2) mixed-use development adjacent to Galatyn Park, a DART rail station. Eastside, a mixed-use, infill development, is at the midpoint of two rail stations, Araphaho Center and Galatyn Park. Eastside is located on the southeast corner of Campbell Road and US 75. It features 450 apartments by Post Properties, 90,000 square feet (8,400 m2) of retail and restaurant space and 35,000 square feet (3,300 m2) of office space in addition to an 11-story class A office building that was pre-existing on the development site. Eastside Phase II will include 12 acres (49,000 m2) of office and mixed-use development. Brick Row, a $200 million mixed-use development, is located on the northwest corner of Spring Valley Road and Greenville Avenue, less than half of a mile east of US 75. Brick Row borders the Spring Valley Station and will have at completion 500 upscale apartments, 150 townhomes and up to 300 condominiums surrounding the historic natural McKamie Springs. The Shire is a mixed-use center of 6.5 acres (26,000 m2). Phase II is an additional 10 acres (40,000 m2). The former Richardson Square Mall has been redeveloped into an outdoor retail center. Other retail centers have been re-developed or remodeled including Buckingham Plaza, Buckingham Square, Dal-Rich Village, Richardson Village, II Creeks, Richardson Heights and Richardson Village.
This city has won many economic awards including DBJ’s 2006 “Best Real Estate Deal of the Year”, International Economic Development Council's 2006 "Technology-Based Economic Development Award", and Texas Economic Development Council's 2007 "Texas Economic Excellence Award".
Since 2008, both Standard & Poor's and Moody has graded Richardson's credit rating “AAA” from the previous rating of “AA+”. At the time, the City of Richardson was one of only four cities in the state of Texas and one of 88 cities in the nation with an “AAA” rating from Standard & Poor’s. Richardson is the metropolitan statistical area’s second largest employment center with daytime population increasing to more than 140,000. The economy remains rooted in the telecommunications industry. However, Richardson’s property tax base is deep and extends beyond its Telecom Corridor area with other sectors including health care, technology, and finance. The City’s per capita sales are 200 percent of the national average as well as the second highest sales tax per capita in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. The tax base is very diverse with the 10 leading taxpayers accounting for 10 percent of total assessed value.
In the overall economic downturn or the Late-2000s recession, Richardson has not been affected as adversely as other cities in the nation, Texas or even the North Texas region. In June, 2010 both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s bond rating agencies reaffirmed the city’s “AAA” rating, the highest assigned by either agency. Of the cities that maintain bond ratings, Richardson is in the top 3.1% in the state and the top 6.8 % nationally. Always a technology-centric city, Richardson has fully recovered from the tech downturn of 2001-2003. The city has diversified its business base with financial service firms and has adopted a live-work-play approach to future mixed-use and transit-oriented developments. As of early 2011 local unemployment was still high by historical standards at just over 7%, but lower than the state and federal unemployment levels. This is down from the unemployment rate of 8.4% in August, 2010 according to figures collected by the NCTCOG. MetroPCS, Fossil, Lennox International, Vent-A-Hood, Wingstop Restaurants, and VCE have their corporate headquarters in Richardson.
The University of Texas at Dallas, also referred to as UT Dallas or UTD, is a public research university in the University of Texas System. Despite its name the UT Dallas main contiguous campus, consisting of approximately 445 acres (1.80 km2), is in the Richardson, Texas city limits at 800 West Campbell Road. The campus is sited with Campbell Road on the south, Floyd Road on the east, Waterview on the west, and Synergy Park Boulevard on the north. The university owns an additional 265 acres (1.07 km2) in Richardson, adjacent to the campus, between Synergy Park Boulevard and the President George Bush Turnpike. The city of Richardson passed a bond election on May 8, 2010, which allocated $2.8 million in funding for a UT Dallas loop road to connect the roads around campus. The loop road will be designed to help keep traffic contained within the campus, rather than on the city’s roads. The UTD Student Services building, completed in 2010, is the first academic structure in Texas to be rated a LEED Platinum facility by the United States Green Building Council. For the fall 2011 semester, UT Dallas had a total of 18,972 students enrolled.
Richland College is a community college that is part of the Dallas County Community College District or DCCCD. The college is in Dallas on the Richardson border. It is the largest school in the DCCCD, featuring nearly 14,000 students. In 2005, Richland became the first community college to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
The city is served by the Richardson Independent School District (RISD), except for the portion of the city in Collin County, which is served by the Plano Independent School District (PISD). Twenty-one RISD schools have officially been named to the Texas Business and Education Coalition's (TBEC) Honor Roll for 2008, the second consecutive year RISD has led the state of Texas in Honor Roll Campuses. The TBEC Honor Roll is the most prestigious award for sustained, academic excellence in Texas. It recognizes schools that have demonstrated three years of consistent, high performance in all subjects compared to other schools serving similar student populations. Of the more than 8,000 Texas public schools less than 4% make the TBEC Honor Roll, while in RISD, 40% of eligible campuses are Honor Roll Schools for 2008.
The RISD and PISD have many Blue Ribbon Schools. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a United States government program created to honor schools. The Blue Ribbon award is considered to be the highest honor that an American school can achieve. Zoned RISD high schools in Richardson include Richardson High School, Lloyd V. Berkner High School, and J.J. Pearce High School. The Christa McAuliffe Learning Center and the RISD alternative school, are also in Richardson. Lake Highlands High School is part of the Richardson Independent School District but is located in Lake Highlands, an area in Dallas, Texas, just south of Richardson.
Sections of Richardson in the Plano Independent School District are served by several schools. Aldridge, Miller, Schell, and Stinson elementary schools are within Richardson and serve Collin County portions of Richardson. A section of Collin County Richardson is zoned to Mendenhall Elementary School in Plano. Armstrong, Bowman, and Wilson middle schools in Plano and Murphy Middle School in Murphy serve separate sections of Collin County Richardson. Vines High School and Williams High School, 9-10 schools in Plano, serve separate sections of Collin County Richardson. Plano Senior High School and Plano East Senior High School serve separate sections of Collin County Richardson. Prior to 2007 a section was zoned to Boggess Elementary School in Murphy.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas operates two K-8 schools, St. Joseph School and St. Paul the Apostle School, in Richardson. Other private schools include Canyon Creek Christian Academy (K-12), North Dallas Adventist Academy (K-12), IANT Quranic Academy (K-12), The Alexander School (8-12), and Dallas North Montessori School (ages 3–9).
The Richardson Public Library is located at 900 Civic Center Drive in the southwest corner of U.S. Route 75 (North Central Expressway) and Arapaho Road. The roots of the Richardson Public Library date back to 1947 when a branch of the Dallas County Library was established in a section of the Cash Dry Goods store on East Main Street in downtown Richardson. The fledgling library collection numbered about 400 volumes and was managed by Jessie Durham the store's proprietor. The City Council established the library as a city department in 1958 and in 1959 the library moved into a newly constructed building at 310 Tyler Street. This new library was just under 6,000 square feet (560 m2) in size and was built at a cost of $100,000.
Richardson was experiencing rapid growth in the 1960s and 70s and the library facility soon became inadequate for community needs. The current facility was constructed at a cost of $2 million and opened December 1, 1970. The new 81,650-square-foot (7,586 m2), four-story building opened with the use of two floors and a small portion of a third. The basement was finished in 1980 for the reference collection and services. 1995 saw another expansion which finished the upper floor and renovated the three previously opened floors. Another renovation occurred in 2006 when the Youth Services department was expanded and other collections and services rearranged.
In 2008 the Library set a new record for the number of items circulated in a fiscal year when the 1 millionth item was checked out in the fall of 2008. The building has undergone building renovations and technological improvements in recent years that enhance the library experience for patrons. The Texas Municipal League recognized the Library with its "Achievement of Excellence in Libraries" award every year from 2004 to 2008. Hennen's American Public Library Rating publication has ranked the library second in the state of Texas every year from 2005 to 2008.
Richardson’s strategic location with major area highways provides convenient access for workers commuting into Richardson, the second largest employment center in the DFW Metroplex. U.S. Highway 75 (North Central Expressway) bisects the city from south to north. Texas State Highway 190 (President George Bush Turnpike) borders the north and Interstate 635 (Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway) borders the south. The city has more Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) rail stations than any other Dallas area suburb. The stations from south to north are the Spring Valley Station, Arapaho Center Station, Galatyn Park Station and the Bush Turnpike Station. Three of the rail stations have free parking for people who wish to park and ride. The four stations are strategically located for commuters working and residing in close proximity to the Telecom Corridor area. Feeder buses ensure commuters reach their destination safely. DART bus service is available throughout the city. The city's Walk Score is 77 out of 100 or Very Walkable as of June 2011.
On September 11, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Richardson, Texas together with his cousin, Imelda Dalacat Yap, and her husband, Wilfred Yap. After they picked up Armando from Dallas Love Field (DAL), they went to Faith Methodist Church in Richardson, Texas to pick up their kids there. They are Protestant since they came in United States in 2000. Actually after their Sunday Fellowship, they went to Dallas Love Field (DAL) for a while to pick up Armando and then they went back to church to pick up their kids. They introduced him to their friends, pastors, and co-members in the church. Most of the members in the church are Filipinos and most of them are nice and friendly, too.
On September 12, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia and his cousin, Imelda Dalacat Yap with her husband, Wilfred Yap went to Chiloso Mexican Bistro in Richardson, Texas. Chiloso Mexican Bistro is a well-known Mexican restaurant in Dallas Area. His cousin and her family are eating in the restaurant often. They were supposed to eat Mexican dishes there but since it was early, the foods and dishes were not yet cooked. The restaurant is well-known for serving delicious tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. They want the menudo, a spicy Mexican soup made from tripe and cow's feet but it is not available on weekdays. Because of this, they were decided to leave the restaurant.
On the same day after they left the Mexican restaurant, they went to Pho Pasteur in Richardson, Texas also. Pho Pasteur is a well-known Vietnamese restaurant in Richardson, Texas. "Pho" means soup in Vietnam. Everyone likes Vietnamese dishes especially their soup because of its authentic taste. Armando likes Vietnamese dishes especially the rice noodle soup, rice rolls, and fried spring rolls. Since they missed the Vietnamese dishes for a long time, they decided to have a lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant. His cousin and her family are always eating in the restaurant for many times already. Their kids like the rice rolls and fried spring rolls. The rice noodle soup with slices of beef, beef balls, and tripe is awesome. The flavor is different but it is good. It's up to the customers if they like to add cilantro, bean sprouts, basil leaves, and lime wedges in their soup. The rice rolls is a healthy side dish because the ingredients are mostly vegetables with peanut sauce on the side. They like also the fried spring rolls with chili sauce on the side. Although the weather in Dallas Area was hot, everyone likes to eat the soup.
San Antonio, Texas:
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011, it was estimated to be the 24th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of 2.2 million according to U.S. Census Bureau figures tabulated by Business First. San Antonio has characteristics of other western urban centers in which there are sparsely populated areas and a low density rate outside of the city. It was the fourth-fastest growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006 and the fifth-fastest-growing from 2007 to 2008. The San Antonio–New Braunfels metropolitan area has a population of over 2.14 million based on the 2010 U.S. Census, making it the 25th-largest metropolitan area in the United States and third-largest in Texas.
Native Americans originally lived near the San Antonio River Valley, in the San Pedro Springs area, calling the vicinity "Yanaguana," meaning "refreshing waters." In 1691, a group of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river and Native American settlement on June 13, the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, Italy and named the place and river "San Antonio" in his honor.
Early Spanish settlement of San Antonio began with the Martin de Alarcon expedition and the establishment of the San Antonio de Valero Mission (now the Alamo) as a means to reassert Spanish dominance over Texas from the nearby French in Louisiana. The viceroy, at the instigation of Father Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares, made the suppression of illicit trade from Louisiana a primary objective. He also pledged support for the Franciscan missions in Texas. Father Olivares had earlier visited a site on the San Antonio River in 1709, and from that time forward he was determined to found a mission and civilian settlement there. The viceroy gave formal approval for a halfway mission and presidio in late 1716, and assigned responsibility for their establishment to Martin de Alarcón, the governor of Coahuila and Texas. A series of delays, however, occasioned in part by differences between Alarcón and Olivares, postponed definitive action until 1718. The families clustered around the presidio and mission formed the beginnings of Villa de Béxar, destined to become the most important town in Spanish Texas. On May 1, on the San Antonio River, the governor founded Mission San Antonio de Valero (later famous as the Alamo), and on May 5 established Presidio San Antonio de Béxar. Presidio defending walls or breastworks would never be completed or necessary, as the mission itself would later become the principal unit of walled defense. San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, the center of Spanish defense in western Texas, was founded by Martín de Alarcón on May 5, 1718, on the west side of the San Antonio River one-fourth league from the San Antonio de Valero Mission.
On February 14, 1719, the Marquis of San Miguel de Aguayo made a report to the king of Spain proposing that 400 families be transported from the Canary Islands, Galicia, or Havana to populate the province of Texas. His plan was approved, and notice was given the Canary Islanders (isleños) to furnish 200 families; the Council of the Indies suggested that 400 families should be sent from the Canaries to Texas by way of Havana and Veracruz. By June 1730, twenty-five families had reached Cuba and ten families had been sent on to Veracruz before orders from Spain to stop the movement arrived. Under the leadership of Juan Leal Goraz, the group marched overland to the presidio of San Antonio de Béjar (then spelled as "Bexar," a homonym city in Spain), where they arrived on March 9, 1731. The party had increased by marriages on the way to fifteen families, a total of fifty-six persons. They joined a military community that had been in existence since 1718. The immigrants formed the nucleus of the villa of San Fernando de Béxar, the first regularly organized civil government in Texas. Several of the old families of San Antonio trace their descent from the Canary Island colonists. María Rosa Padrón was the first baby born of Canary Islander descent in San Antonio.
San Antonio grew to become the largest Spanish settlement in Texas, and for most of its history, the capital of the Spanish, later Mexican, province of Tejas. From San Antonio the Camino Real, today Nacogdoches Road in San Antonio, ran to the American border at the small frontier town of Nacogdoches. When Antonio López de Santa Anna unilaterally rescinded the Mexican Constitution of 1824 violence ensued in many states of Mexico. In a series of battles the Texian Army succeeded in forcing Mexican soldiers out of the settlement areas east of San Antonio. Under the leadership of Ben Milam, in the Battle of Bexar, December, 1835, Texian forces captured San Antonio from forces commanded by General Martin Perfecto de Cos, Santa Anna's brother in law. In the spring of 1836 Santa Anna marched on San Antonio. A volunteer force under the command of James C. Neill occupied and fortified the deserted mission. Upon his departure, the joint command of William Barrett Travis and James Bowie were left in charge of defending the old mission. The Battle of the Alamo took place from February 23 to March 6, 1836. The outnumbered Texian force was ultimately defeated, with all of the Alamo defenders killed. These men were seen as "martyrs" for the cause of Texas freedom and "Remember the Alamo" became a rallying cry in the Texian Army's eventual success at defeating Santa Anna's army.
Juan Seguín, who organized the company of Hispanic patriots, that fought and died for Texas independence at the Battle of the Alamo, fought at the Battle of Concepcion, Siege of Bexar, and the Battle of San Jacinto, and served as mayor of San Antonio. He was forced out of that office, due to threats on his life, by sectarian newcomers and political opponents in 1842, becoming the last Hispanic mayor for nearly 150 years.
In 1845, the United States finally decided to annex Texas and include it as a state in the Union. This led to the Mexican-American War. Though the U.S. ultimately won, the war was devastating to San Antonio, and, at its end, the population of the city had been reduced by almost two thirds, to only 800 inhabitants. By 1860, at the start of the Civil War, San Antonio had grown to a city of 15,000 people.
Following the Civil War, San Antonio prospered as a center of the cattle industry. During this period, San Antonio remained a frontier city, but its mixture of cultures also gave it a reputation as being beautiful and exotic. Frederick Law Olmstead, the architect who designed Central Park in New York City, once described San Antonio as having a, "jumble of races, costumes, languages, and buildings," which gave it a quality which only New Orleans could rival in, "odd and antiquated foreignness."
In 1877, the first railroad reached San Antonio and the city was no longer on the frontier but began to enter the mainstream of American society. At the beginning of the 20th century, the streets of downtown were widened to accommodate street cars and modern traffic, destroying many historic buildings in the process.
Like many municipalities in the American Southwest, San Antonio experiences steady population growth. The city's population has nearly doubled in 35 years, from just over 650,000 in the 1970 census to an estimated 1.2 million in 2005 through both steady population growth and land annexation (considerably enlarging the physical area of the city).
According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2000 the city had a total area of 412.07 square miles (1,067.3 km2) - 407.56 square miles (1,055.6 km2) (98.9%) of land and 4.51 square miles (11.7 km2) (1.1%) of water. The city sits on the Balcones Escarpment. The altitude of San Antonio is 772 feet (235 m) above sea level.
The primary source of drinking water for the city is the Edwards Aquifer. Impounded in 1962 and 1969, respectively, Victor Braunig Lake and Calaveras Lake were among the first reservoirs in the country built to use recycled treated wastewater for power plant cooling, reducing the amount of groundwater needed for electrical generation.
San Antonio lies near the western edge of the humid subtropical climate zone. Its weather is alternately dry or humid depending on prevailing winds, turning hot in the summer, warm to cool winters subject to descending northern cold fronts in the winter with cool to cold nights, and comfortably warm and rainy in the spring and fall. San Antonio receives about a dozen sub-freezing nights each year, occasionally (about once every couple of winters) seeing some sort of wintry precipitation (i.e. sleet/freezing rain), but accumulation and snow itself is not very common. Many winters may pass without any freezing precipitation at all. According to the National Weather Service, there have been 31 instances of snowfall (a trace or more) in the city in the past 122 years, for an average of about once every four years. However a decade or more may pass between snowfalls. In San Antonio, July and August tie for the average warmest months with an average high of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 °C). The highest temperature ever to be recorded was 111 °F (44 °C) on September 5, 2000. The average coolest month is January. The lowest recorded temperature ever was 0 °F (−18 °C) on January 31, 1949. May, June, and October have quite a bit of precipitation. For the last 135 years, the average annual precipitation has been 29.05 inches (738 mm), with a maximum of 52.28 inches (1,328 mm) and a minimum of 10.11 inches (256.8 mm) in one year.
San Antonio has a diversified economy with four primary focuses: financial services, government, health care, and tourism. Located northwest of the city center is the South Texas Medical Center, which is a conglomerate of various hospitals, clinics, and research (see Southwest Research Institute) and higher educational institutions.
The city is also home to one of the largest military concentrations in the United States. The defense industry in San Antonio employs over 89,000 and provides a $5.25 billion impact to the city's economy.
Twenty million tourists visit the city and its attractions every year, contributing substantially to the city's economy. The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center alone hosts more than 300 events each year with over 750,000 convention delegates from around the world. Tourism employs 94,000 citizens and makes an economic impact of over $10.7 billion in the local economy as revealed in the Economic Impact Study conducted every two years by the San Antonio Tourism Council and the research team of Dr. Richard Butler and Dr. Mary Stefl of Trinity University. Tourism also brings new annual revenues to the City of San Antonio and other governmental entities with the hotel & motel tax, sales taxes and other revenues from hospitality agreements and contracts. This number exceeded over $160 million in the 2004 study.
San Antonio is home to five Fortune 500 companies: Valero Energy Corp, Tesoro, USAA, Clear Channel Communications and NuStar Energy. H-E-B, the 19th largest private company in the United States is also headquartered in San Antonio. Other companies headquartered in San Antonio are: Kinetic Concepts, Frost National Bank, Harte-Hanks, Eye Care Centers of America, Bill Miller Bar-B-Q Enterprises, Taco Cabana, Whataburger, and Rackspace.
Other large companies that operate regional headquarters in the city include: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Kohl's, Allstate, Chase Bank, Philips, Wells Fargo, Toyota, Medtronic, Sysco, Caterpillar Inc., AT&T, West Corporation, Citigroup, Boeing, QVC, and Lockheed Martin.
In between the beginning of 1997 and March 11, 1998, San Antonio lost several major company headquarters. In 1997 Titan Holdings and USLD Communications had sold their operations to larger companies. After a Los Angeles buyout specialist purchased Builders Square, the company's operations were moved out of San Antonio.
San Antonio is a popular tourist destination. The jewel of the city is the River Walk, which meanders through the downtown area. Lined with numerous shops, bars, and restaurants, as well as the Arneson River Theater, this attraction is transformed into an impressive festival of lights during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, and is suffused with the local sounds of folklorico and flamenco music during the summer, particularly during celebrations such as the Fiesta Noche del Rio. Also based along the River Walk is the newly restored Aztec On The River, the only surviving exotic-themed movie palace in Texas.
The Alamo, located nearby, is Texas' top tourist attraction, while the River Walk is the second most visited attraction. SeaWorld, located 16 miles (26 km) west of downtown, is the number 3 attraction. Also, there is the very popular Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Morgan's Wonderland is a theme park for special needs children.
The downtown area also features Cathedral of San Fernando, The Majestic Theatre, HemisFair Park (home of the Tower of the Americas and the Institute of Texan Cultures), La Villita, El Mercado, the Spanish Governor's Palace, and the historic Menger Hotel. On the northern side of the Alamo complex, beside the Emily Morgan Hotel, is the San Antonio Cavalry Museum, which features cavalry artifacts and exhibits and is frequented by local re-enactors.
The Fairmount Hotel, built in 1906 and San Antonio's second oldest hotel, is in the Guinness World Records as one of the heaviest buildings ever moved intact. It was placed in its new location, three blocks south of the Alamo, over four days in 1985, and cost $650,000 to move.
San Antonio is home to the first museum of modern art in Texas, the McNay Art Museum. Other places of interest include The Woodlawn Theatre, the San Antonio Zoo, the Japanese Tea Gardens, Kumamoto, Brackenridge Park, the missions of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the Museo Alameda, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Witte Museum, the Texas Rangers Museum, the Buckhorm Museum, ArtPace, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the Texas Transportation Museum, and Splashtown San Antonio. Visitors can also experience something of the cowboy culture year round, they can see the 40-foot (12 m) tall cowboy boots at North Star Mall.
Beyond taking in the sights and sounds of San Antonio, tourists can sample some of its world famous Tex-Mex cuisine at the many fine restaurants located throughout the city. Mexican restaurants are abundant in virtually all parts of town, and most are relatively inexpensive. Some outstanding examples of Tex-Mex eateries include Jacala, on West Avenue on the near Northwest side, La Hacienda de Los Barrios, on the North East side, Tommy's on Nogalitos at I-35 near downtown, and Los Barrios, on the near North side of town.
The city's only top-level professional sports team, and consequently the team most San Antonians follow, is the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association. Previously, the Spurs played at the Alamodome, which was built for football, and before that the HemisFair Arena, but the Spurs built—with public money—and moved into the SBC Center in 2002, since renamed the AT&T Center.
The AT&T Center is also home to the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League and the San Antonio Silver Stars of the WNBA, both owned by the Spurs Organization. San Antonio is home to the Double-A Minor League affiliate of the San Diego Padres, the San Antonio Missions who play at Nelson Wolff Stadium on the west side of the city. (San Antonio is the largest city in the country with neither a Major League nor AAA baseball team.) San Antonio hosts the NCAA football Alamo Bowl each December.
San Antonio has two rugby union teams, the Alamo City Rugby Football Club, and San Antonio Rugby Football Club. The city is also home to St. Mary's University and the University of Texas San Antonio who field the only two collegiate Mens Rugby teams in the city. Both schools compete in Division III Texas Rugby Union, both schools are city and division rivals.
The University of Texas at San Antonio fields San Antonio's only NCAA Division I athletic teams known as the UTSA Roadrunners. The University recently added football, hiring former University of Miami coach Larry Coker as its initial head coach. Roadrunner football will begin play in 2011.
The city is also home of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, played annually in the Alamodome and televised live on NBC. The Bowl is an East versus West showdown featuring the nation's top 90 high school senior football players. The game has featured NFL stars Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Adrian Peterson, and many other college and NFL stars.
City officials are said to be attempting to lure the National Football League permanently to San Antonio and have also said that a strong showing at the Alamodome for the three local Saints games was vital to showing that San Antonio can support an NFL franchise. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stated San Antonio was successful in hosting the team, and that the city would be on the short list for any future NFL expansions. The city has also hosted the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers preseason camps in the past, and they have signed a contract with the Cowboys in which the Cowboys will practice in San Antonio through 2011. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has acknowledged his support for the city's efforts to become home to an NFL franchise. Although it is the second largest city in the United States without an NFL team (after Los Angeles), San Antonio's smaller metropolitan population has so far contributed to its lack of landing an NFL, MLB, or NHL team.
The city got its first professional soccer team, the San Antonio Scorpions of the North American Soccer League, in 2010. They are expected to begin playing in 2012 initially in Heroes Stadium pending the completion of a soccer-specific facility in the STAR Soccer Complex. San Antonio will be getting a National Premier Soccer League expansion team in 2010.
The City of San Antonio runs under a Council-Manager form of government. The city is divided into 10 council districts designed to ensure equal population distribution between all districts. Each district elects one person to sit on the City Council with the mayor elected on a city-wide basis. All members of the City Council, which includes the mayor, are elected to two-year terms and are limited to four terms in total (except for those who were in office in November, 2008 and are limited to a total of two terms). Houston and Laredo have similar term limits to those in San Antonio. All positions are elected on non-partisan ballots as required by Texas law. Council members are paid $20 per meeting, while the Mayor earns $4,000 a year. Most council members maintain full-time employment in addition to their positions on the council. The current mayor is Julian Castro.
The council hires the City Manager to handle day to day operations. The council effectively functions as the city's legislative body with the City Manager acting as its Chief Executive, responsible for the management of day to day operations and execution of council legislation. The current City Manager is Sheryl Sculley. The city operates its own electric and gas utility service, CPS Energy.
Unlike most large cities in the U.S., San Antonio is not completely surrounded by independent suburban cities, and under Texas law it exercises extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) over much of the surrounding unincorporated land, including planning major thoroughfares and enforcing rules for platting and subdivision. It pursues an aggressive annexation policy and opposes the creation of other municipalities within its ETJ. Nearly three-fourths of its current land area has been annexed since 1960. In the 2000s the city has annexed several long narrow corridors along major thoroughfares in outlying areas to facilitate eventual annexation of growth developing along the routes. The city planned to annex nearly forty additional square miles by 2009. In May 2010, the San Antonio agreed to release thousands of acres of land in its extraterritorial jurisdiction along Interstate 10 to Schertz. The agreement releases a total of 3,486 acres (14.11 km2) of San Antonio's ETJ lands north of I-10 to Schertz. The ETJ lands are in an area bordered by FM 1518 to the west, Lower Seguin Road to the north, Cibolo Creek to the east and I-10 to the south.
Involuntary annexation is a controversial issue in those parts of unincorporated Bexar County affected by it. Residents, attracted to the outlying areas by lower taxes and affordable real estate values, often see annexation as a mechanism to increase property tax rates (primarily driven by school district taxes) without a corresponding improvement in services such as police and fire protection, while the city regards its annexation policy as essential to its overall prosperity.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Parole Division Region IV headquarters in the San Antonio Metro Parole Complex. San Antonio district parole offices I and III are in the parole complex, while office II is in another location. The Texas Department of Transportation operates the San Antonio District Office in San Antonio. The United States Postal Service operates the San Antonio Main Post Office. Other post offices are located throughout San Antonio.
San Antonio hosts over 100,000 students across its 31 higher-education facilities which include The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M University–San Antonio, and the Alamo Community College District. Some of the private schools include Baptist University of the Américas, St. Mary's University, Our Lady of the Lake University, University of the Incarnate Word, Trinity University, and Wayland Baptist University. The San Antonio Public Library serves all of these institutions along with the 17 school districts within San Antonio.
The city is also home to more than 30 private schools and charter schools. These schools include: Central Catholic Marianist High School, Incarnate Word High School, Saint Mary's Hall, The Atonement Academy, Antonian College Preparatory High School, San Antonio Academy, Holy Cross High School, Providence High School, The Carver Academy, Keystone School, TMI — The Episcopal School of Texas, St. Anthony Catholic High School, Lutheran High School of San Antonio, and Harmony Science Academy.
San Antonio is also home to U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training,. The Air Force only has one location for enlisted basic training: the 737th Training Group, at Lackland Air Force Base. All new Air Force recruits go through the same basic training at Lackland. Each year, over 35,000 new recruits go through AFBMT. METC, (Military Education and Training Campus) which is the U.S. Military Medical Training at Fort Sam Houston hosts 30 programs and over 24,000 annual graduates. It is the largest Medical education center in the world.
The San Antonio International Airport (SAT) is located in north central San Antonio, approximately eight miles from downtown. It has two terminals and is served by 21 airlines serving 43 destinations including three in Mexico. Stinson Municipal Airport is a reliever airport located six miles (10 km) south of downtown San Antonio’s central business district. The airport has two runways and it is also home to the Texas Air Museum.
A bus and rubber tired streetcar (bus) system is provided by the city's metropolitan transit authority, VIA Metropolitan Transit. VIA's full fare monthly unlimited Big Pass is only $30 per month making VIA the most economically priced large transit authority in the nation. In August 2010, VIA Metropolitan Transit unveiled the next set of buses that are powered by diesel-electric hybrid technology. The 30 hybrid buses are being put into service on VIA’s express routes to serve daily commuters across the city. This set of buses follows the introduction of new vehicles powered by compressed natural gas, which were unveiled in May 2010. In the fall of 2010, VIA will begin taking delivery of three new buses that will be powered by electricity from on-board batteries. These buses will service the downtown core area, and they will be the first revenue vehicles VIA operates that have zero emissions. VIA offers 84 regular bus routes and three downtown streetcar routes. This includes express service from downtown to park and ride locations in the South, West, Northwest, North Central and Northeast areas of the city with service to UTSA, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and SeaWorld. VIA also offers a special service to city events including Spurs games and city parades from its park and ride locations. VIA has among its many routes, one of the longest local transit routes in the nation. Routes 550 (Clockwise) and 551 (Counterclockwise) travels 48 miles (77 km) one way as it loops around the city. San Antonio became the largest city in the U.S. to not have a intra-city rail system when Phoenix, the former city that had this title, got such a system in 2008. VIA is currently in the process of creating a Bus Rapid Transit line known as VIA Primo. A proposed passenger rail line, LSTAR, would link the city to Austin.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail service, provides service to San Antonio at San Antonio Amtrak Station, operating its Texas Eagle daily between San Antonio and Chicago's Union Station. Amtrak also operates its Sunset Limited three times a week in each direction through San Antonio between Los Angeles and Orlando, Florida (currently truncated to New Orleans due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina). The Texas Eagle section travels between San Antonio and Los Angeles as part of the Sunset Limited. The old Sunset Station is now an entertainment venue owned by VIA and neighbored by the current station and the Alamodome.
San Antonio has approximately 136 miles (219 km) of bike lanes, routes or off-road paths. Off-road trails travel along the San Antonio River, linear greenways, or city parks. Although largely disconnected, the progress to create a bicycle-friendly environment was recognized when San Antonio was designated a Bronze-Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.
A bike sharing service was approved by the city council on June 17, 2010. The initial program will consist of 140 bikes at 14 locations supported by a "central hub" and is expected to serve both residents and visitors. San Antonio Bike Share, a non-profit, is being formed to oversee the operation, which will be locally operated and maintained by Bike World. B-Cycle, the same system being used in Denver, will be supplying the bike share system. It started operation March 2011. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked San Antonio the fortieth most walkable of fifty largest cities in the United States.
San Antonio has one major newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, which has served the area since 1865. Robert Rivard, who currently serves as the paper's executive vice president and editor, was named Managing Editor in 1994 and then Editor in 1997. The Express-News currently circulates as the largest newspaper service in South Texas. The Hearst Corporation, which owned a second newspaper, the San Antonio Light, purchased the Express-News from News Corp. in 1992 and shut down the Light after failing to find a buyer. Hearst, using the Express-News brand, also produces Conexion, a weekly magazine written by an entirely Hispanic staff with a Hispanic spin on weekly events. The San Antonio Current is the free "alternative" paper published weekly with local political issues, art and music news, restaurant listings and reviews, and listings of events and nightlife around town. In addition, the San Antonio Business Journal covers general business news. La Prensa, a bilingual publication, also has a long history in San Antonio. The San Antonio River Walk Current covers general San Antonio news.
About 50 radio stations can be heard in the San Antonio area — 30 of them are actually located in the city. San Antonio is home to Clear Channel Communications, the largest operator of radio stations in the U.S. Its flagship, WOAI AM-1200, is known for its local news operation, considered among the best in the country. The first radio station to broadcast in South Texas was KTSA AM-550 in 1922. Some of KTSA AM-550's better known local talk show hosts include Jack Riccardi, Trey Ware and Ricci Ware.
There are three National Public Radio stations in San Antonio, which belong to Texas Public Radio (www.TPR.org); KSTX 89.1 FM is NPR news/talk, KPAC 88.3 is a 24-hour classical music station, and KTXI 90.1 is a mix of NPR news/talk and classical music broadcast for the West Central Texas Hill County. KSTX also broadcasts "Riverwalk Jazz", featuring Jim Cullum Jazz Band at The Landing, a fixture on the River Walk since 1963. KRTU 91.7 is a non-commercial radio station based out of Trinity University. Unlike other college radio stations throughout the U.S. the station plays jazz 17 hours a day and college rock/indie rock at night. College Alternative station KSYM, 90.1 FM, is owned by the Alamo Community College District and operated by San Antonio College students and like KRTU it plays the Third Coast music network during the day and alternative music at night.
Most Latin stations in the area play regional Mexican, Tejano or contemporary pop. On January 12, 2006, Univision-owned KCOR-FM "La Kalle 95.1" changed its format from Hispanic-Rhythmic Contemporary Hits to Spanish Oldies, then named "Recuerdo 95.1". However, Univision announced on November 10, 2006, that it flipped KLTO Tejano 97.7's format to Reggaeton in an attempt to reintroduce the format to San Antonio again. Then, 97.7 was flipped again to feature a rock format. The station no longer broadcasts anything in English and while still owned by Univision, it now broadcasts music from artists such as Linkin Park. On the other hand, 95.1 was then flipped back to the "La Kalle" format again after being flipped more than a year ago to feature a "95X" format. KLTO was acquired earlier in the year and operated as a simulcast of KXTN Tejano 107.5. San Antonio has quickly diversified in recent years, with the influx of non-Tejano Latinos, mostly from the East Coast, who are serving in the city's various military bases, as well as immigrants from Mexico. Therefore, just like in the rest of the country, radio station conglomerates have been changing formats in San Antonio to reflect shifting demographics.
While the city is one of the ten largest in the United States, its television market is only the 37th in the United States, according to marketing research firm ACNielsen. This is primarily due to the relatively low population-density of the outlying areas and the close proximity of Austin, which truncates the potential market area. San Antonio-based TV stations are WOAI channel 4 (NBC), KSAT channel 12 (ABC), KENS channel 5 (CBS), KABB channel 29 (Fox Broadcasting Company), KCWX channel 2 (myNetworkTV), KMYS channel 35 (The CW) and KLRN channel 9 (PBS). The market is also home to six Spanish language stations, three religious stations, three independent stations and one Internet-based station (210 TV). The San Antonio market has 65% cable TV penetration.
On the next day, which is July 4, 2004, they woke-up early because they have to prepare foods and arrange all the things for the Blessing and Dedication of COMFI Texas House. With the help of COMFI members who are the resident of San Antonio, Texas and other members that are came from other places in USA, the foods were all prepared and done faster. The place or venue was also done in arranging by the members especially the musical instruments and slide projector. The venue is located at the residence of Bro. Ricky and Sis. Jo Bartolome at 8618 Braun Knoll, San Antonio, Texas 78254. There are many visitors and guests there during the blessing of the worship center there. Thanks God that the blessing of the worship center was so successful. After the worship, they had a nice party with plenty of foods. Armando did socializing with the other members of COMFI that are came from other places in USA. He's glad that there are many people that are still believe in God although the world right now is full of sin and evil. After the party, they went to Hyatt Regency in San Antonio, Texas to get a reservation for the pool. After that, they went to the downtown area of San Antonio, Texas by walking to visit many places there like San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio River Walk, The Alamo, The Torch of Friendship, Tower of Americas, and San Antonio Convention Center. They were enjoyed in riding in a boat although the line was too long. San Antonio River Walk is the main tourist attraction there because there are many people there always especially at the restaurants. After their short tour, they went back to Hyatt Hotel and Resort because some of his co-members of COMFI are already tired and they want to relax and swim in a pool. Since that day was also a holiday which is Independence Day of USA, they watched the fireworks at San Antonio River Walk. All the fireworks are beautiful and amazing. Everyone likes the color, shape, and structure of fireworks especially the kids.
On July 5, 2004, he went back home to Daly City, California by taking a flight thru America West Airlines from San Antonio International Airport (SAT) for about 4 1/2 hours with a stop-over at Phoenix, Arizona. Finally, the plane was arrived at Oakland International Airport (OAK) and the whole airport was so foggy and cloudy. This is his memorable visit in San Antonio, Texas.
On September 3, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Texas to attend the 4-day convention of 5LINX in San Antonio and to visit his relatives in Wylie and Beaumont. After 7 years, he visited to San Antonio again but this time, the purpose is to attend the 4-day convention of 5LINX and to visit the main landmarks there. He took his flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to San Antonio International Airport (SAT) with a stop-over in Los Angeles, California thru Southwest Airlines. He chose Southwest Airlines because not only the cheaper fare but there's no luggage check-in fee. The other airlines has a luggage check-in fee from $25 to $30 per luggage. He left San Francisco International Airport (SFO) at 10:30am and arrived at San Antonio International Airport (SAT) at 5:00pm. After his arrival, he rent a car at Enterprise because he will travel later to different places in Texas and to visit his relatives as well.
After his arrival, he went to Alamo Plaza to visit the historical places there especially the church. The Alamo, originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero, is a former Roman Catholic mission and fortress compound, site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, and now a museum, in San Antonio, Texas. As of 2002, the Alamo welcomed over four million visitors each year, making it one of the most popular historic sites in the United States. Visitors may tour the chapel, as well as the Long Barracks, which contains a small museum with paintings, weapons, and other artifacts from the era of the Texas Revolution. Additional artifacts are displayed in another complex building, alongside a large diorama that recreates the compound as it existed in 1836. A large mural, known as the Wall of History, portrays the history of the Alamo complex from its mission days to modern times. Although the governor's office receives annual audits of the site's financial records, for at least a decade under Rick Perry the audits have not been examined. The site has an annual budget of $5 million, primarily funded through sales in the gift store. In 2009 DRT commissioned the first land survey of the Alamo by Westar Alamo Land Surveyors, Inc. which was signed by Registered Professional Land Surveyor Jose A. Trevino in November 2009.
After he visited the Alamo Plaza, he went to Riverwalk. The San Antonio River Walk (also known as Paseo del Río) is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath downtown San Antonio, Texas. Lined by bars, shops and restaurants, the River Walk is an important part of the city's urban fabric and a tourist attraction in its own right. Today, the River Walk is an enormously successful special-case pedestrian street, one level down from the automobile street. The River Walk winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks lined with restaurants and shops, connecting the major tourist draws from the Alamo to Rivercenter mall, to the Arneson River Theatre, to Marriage Island, to La Villita, to HemisFair Park, to the Tower Life Building, to the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the Pearl Brewery. During the annual springtime Fiesta San Antonio, the River Parade features flowery floats that "float" down the river. Expansion plans are underway for areas of the river north and south of downtown. As chain restaurants and establishments have begun to flourish, now taking up about a third of commercial space, talk has begun at City Hall about limiting their existence on the River Walk and keeping a distinctively local flair. On May 30, 2009 the city opened the $72 million Museum Reach. After years of murmuring from locals and tourists about the water's quality, talk has also begun about cleaning up the water, although the muddy bottom and silt deposits make this difficult. The muddy bottom does receive an annual cleaning during the Mud Festival.
He went also to the downtown area of San Antonio after he visited the Alamo Plaza and Riverwalk. There are many tourist attractions in San Antonio, Texas aside from the Alamo and Riverwalk. He visited the city hall of San Antonio which is close also to Riverwalk. Riverwalk is also a long river that passes the restaurants, hotels, stores, and other points of interest. San Antonio is also a busy city in the southern part of Texas especially weekends and holidays. There are many tourists and visitors along the Riverwalk especially at the restaurants. Most of the restaurants there are open for 24 hours a day. He walked along the sidewalks of Riverwalk to see the restaurants, stores, and shopping malls.
After his tour, he went to Rita's On The River, a Mexican restaurant along the Riverwalk. Rita's On The River is actually a Texan-Mexican style restaurant along the Riverwalk known for the Texas-sized Margaritas, ice cold beer and delicious, sizzling fajitas with Texas-sized portions and beautiful Riverwalk views. This restaurant is always busy anytime especially at the bar because of the delicious margarita made from different kinds. He likes margarita very much with tortilla chips and spicy salsa. He likes Mexican dishes like tamales and tacos. Most of the restaurants along the Riverwalk are Mexican because there are many Mexicans in San Antonio.
On September 7, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went back to San Antonio, Texas after he visited in Beaumont, Houston, and Austin by long drive from September 4 - 6, 2011. He came from Austin which is approximately 81 miles or 1 1/2 hour drive. He went to Sawasdee Thai Cuisine in San Antonio, Texas which is close to San Antonio International Airport (SAT) to have a lunch there. He missed the Thai dishes for a long time and so this time, he wants to taste the spicy Thai dishes again. Sawasdee Thai Cuisine is a well-known Thai restaurant in San Antonio, Texas for a long time. This restaurant is always busy especially during after office hours and weekends. They have the lunch combo meals so that their customers will save their money from ordering the meals separately. He ordered the Panang Beef Curry meal and the dish is so good but it is spicy. He likes the Thai Iced tea because of its unique taste. It is also considered a dessert because of its sweetness and it neutralizes the spicy taste from your mouth.
After his lunch, he returned his car at Enterprise which is close to the airport also. The car that he rented is economy and the miles per gallon of a car is high as well because it is a brand new. He can't believe that he used few gallons of regular gasoline for a round trip drive from San Antonio, Beaumont, Houston, and Austin. After this, he went to Travelodge which is a walking distance from Riverwalk and San Antonio Convention Center. He will attend the 5LINX National Convention for 4 days at San Antonio Convention Center. During the national convention, he will stay at Travelodge together with his business associates like Roy Capalitan and Anthony Tumang. They are also belong to the group of Louie Casañas, a Senior Vice President (SVP) of 5LINX. After he checked-in at the hotel, he went to the convention center to register at around 3:00pm. At 5:00pm, he attended the technical sessions and trainings. The presenters are mostly the Senior Vice Presidents (SVPs), Platinum Senior Vice Presidents (PSVPs), and Double Platinum Senior Vice Presidents (DPSVPs). Mr. Earl John "EJay" Pardo, a Platinum Senior Vice President (PSVP) in their group is one of their presenters in the technical session and trainings.
After the 1st Day of 5LINX National Convention, he went to the Riverwalk to have a dinner at Casa Rio Mexican Food. Casa Rio Mexican Food is a also a well-known Texan-Mexican Restaurant along the Riverwalk. They have also Margarita, a well-known drink to the visitors and guests there not only the authentic Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, tamales, enchiladas, and so on. While eating, you will see the beautiful river with birds, geese, ducks, and doves. If you want to dine in at Casa Rio Mexican Food, you have to fall in line because there are many visitors and guests at the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is still busy even at night till midnight.
On September 8, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to the 2nd Day Convention of 5LINX National Convention held at San Antonio Convention Center. The San Antonio Convention Center is also close to the Riverwalk. The 2nd Day Convention of 5LINX National Convention is still about technical sessions and trainings. For those who missed the 1st Day Convention, then it is a chance to register at 5LINX booth and attend their missed topics. Armando and his roommates were attended the rest of the topics that they missed. There are many people in the whole convention center because most of the Independent Marketing Representatives (IMR) are came from different states nationwide.
After the 2nd Day of 5LINX National Convention, he and his roommates went to Casa Rio Mexican Food again to attend the meeting, announcements, and recognitions in the group of Mr. Louie Casañas, a Senior Vice President (SVP) of 5LINX. There are many people in the meeting although the restaurant was busy and crowded. There are many people in his organization who recognized as newly promoted Senior Vice-President (SVP), National Director (ND), Executive Director (ED), and Executive Trainer (ET).
On September 9, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to the 3rd Day Convention of 5LINX National Convention held at San Antonio Convention Center. The speakers for the 3rd Day Convention are Craig Jerabeck, Jeb Tyler, and Jason Guck, the founders of 5LINX. They announced the promotions for the products and services as well as the points. Also, they announced about the possible expansion of 5LINX Energy for the rest of the states. Later, in California, the energy will be deregulated and so anyone at 5LINX can sell energy and gas. This is a good announcement for everyone because it is an additional income and points as well. Also, the EDs, NDs, and SVPs were received the special awards for the most number of customers and sales as well as the 50 Customer Club and 100 Customer Club. After this, the group of Mr. Earl John "EJay" Pardo (PSVP) went to the next conference room to have a meeting, announcements, and recognitions. At his group, there are many people that will be promoted soon to their next level of position in the business. There are many people in the group including those who came from Los Angeles Area, Colorado, San Diego Area, San Antonio Area, Phoenix Area, and so on. The group is getting bigger now because of the bonuses and promotions.
During lunch time, he went to Rivercenter Mall together with his roommates to have a lunch there. Rivercenter Mall is the shopping, dining and entertainment destination in San Antonio located on the Riverwalk with several hotels nearby. Rivercenter Mall is also a walking distance from San Antonio Convention Center and Marriott Hotel. They took their snack and lunch as well. The shopping mall is also busy especially during weekdays and holidays. You can buy souvenir items there like clothes, bags, coffee mugs, and so on.
After the 3rd Day of 5LINX National Convention, he and his roommates went to Hooters. Hooters is an American restaurant located along the Riverwalk also and it is a walking distance from San Antonio Convention Center. Hooters is a cowboy style restaurant and they are serving beer by the beautiful girls wearing orange shorts. The group were enjoyed in eating buffalo wings and drinking beer in draft together with Mr. Louie Casañas (SVP) and his wife, Ms. Josie Mendez Casañas (ND). There are many people in the restaurant and mostly are the people from 5LINX also.
On September 10, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to the 4th Day Convention of 5LINX National Convention held at San Antonio Convention Center. They announced the new promotions for the products and services as well as the points. Some of the products and services have their points doubled. The new promotion for Wireless Video Phone (CU-3000) has a great offer, the price is reduced to $199.95, the first monthly pay is waived as well the activation fee. This promo is until the end of September only but the points is 3 points when you get the Wireless Video Phone by the end of September. After the announcement, there's a recognition for the newly promoted Executive Trainers (ET), Executive Director (ED), and National Director (ND). Before lunch break, there's a group meeting of Mr. Louie Casañas (SVP) with Mr. Craig Jerabeck, 5LINX President and CEO. Many people have their autograph and picture taking with Mr. Craig Jerabeck. They announced about the possible expansion of 5LINX Energy in California by the end of 2011. After lunch break, there are recognitions for Senior Vice Presidents (SVPs) and Platinum Senior Vice Presidents (PSVPs). In the group of Mr. Earl John "EJay" Pardo (PSVP), there's a recognition for the newly promoted SVP, she's Ms. Levita Dawi, a Filipina cosmetologist. There are many Filipino people who supported her and waived the Philippine flag while she's recognizing on the stage. Everyone in the group are wearing Filipino attire like "Barong Tagalog" and "Baro't Saya". Nothing is possible if you work hard.
After the 4th Day of 5LINX National Convention, he and his roommates went to Lonesome Dove in San Antonio, Texas. Lonesome Dove is located at the basement of San Antonio Convention Center which is besides the Riverwalk. It is a cocktail party for all the business owners and staffs of 5LINX. There are many people there including the founders of 5LINX like Mr. Craig Jerabeck, Mr. Jason Guck, and Mr. Jebb Tyler. The cocktail party has socializing, dancing, and drinking as well. The cocktail party was ended approximately at 3:00am.
Wylie is a city in Collin, Dallas, and Rockwall Counties in the U.S. state of Texas, and a suburb of Dallas. At the 2000 Census, the population was 15,132; 2004 estimates pegged it at 25,850. Once solely located in Collin County, Wylie now extends into neighboring Dallas and Rockwall counties. Both Lake Lavon and Lake Ray Hubbard are within easy reach of the city. Since the 2000 census the population has grown 109.3%, making Wylie number 8 on the list of fastest growing cities in the nation. Current population is now listed at 32,696.
The City of Wylie was incorporated in 1887 along the rights-of-way of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. It was named for Colonel W.D. Wylie, a Santa Fe Railroad official and Civil War veteran.
In 1890, Wylie had a population of 239, and the first one-room school house was built. In the next decade, the population tripled. That same year Wylie had given itself its name, established a post office branch and incorporated; choosing an alderman form of government. Two years later, the St. Louis Southwestern Railway reached the town. The two railroads and the rich agricultural region of the Blackland Prairies contributed to the town's growth. Wylie had a population of 400 in 1890 and 773 in 1900. Before 1920 the community had over thirty-five businesses, including two banks, a school, and a weekly newspaper.
Unlike many rural Texas communities, Wylie grew during the Great Depression years; reaching 914 residents by 1940. In part this was a result of increased dairy farming to meet the demands of nearby Dallas. Following World War II, the population increase continued.
Onions were the town's cash crop in the 30's and 40's. “Wide Awake Wylie” became the city’s nickname in the late 40’s and 50’s; a result of late night get-togethers of its citizens and businesses that stayed open until midnight on some evenings.
The construction of Lake Lavon five miles north of town, designed to provide water for towns in four counties, and the selection of Wylie to house the offices of the North Texas Municipal Water District pushed the population to 1,804 in 1960.
In the 1990s, Wylie saw two disasters: On May 9, 1993 (Mother's Day) a tornado ravaged downtown Wylie. In December 1998, two fires destroyed and damaged several businesses. After that, the downtown area was renovated, while preserving the many century-old buildings that remained standing.
In the 21st century Wylie has been a city of fast growth, as many new retail and other businesses opened and subdivisions were built in the area. It has been ranked the 8th fastest growing city in the nation.
Wylie has a council-manager form of government, composed of a Mayor and seven council members (elected at large) along with an appointed City Manager. The city has operated under a city charter (home rule) since 1985 when voters approved the measure in a referendum. Wylie has received recognition for its Fire and police Departments in recent years.
Most of the Collin County portion of Wylie is served by Wylie Independent School District. A minuscule portion in Collin County is served by Princeton Independent School District. The Dallas County portion is served by Garland Independent School District. The Rockwall County portion is served by Rockwall Independent School District.
Wylie is located near both Lake Lavon and Lake Ray Hubbard. The well-known Southfork Ranch, popularized by the TV show "Dallas." is located just northwest of Wylie in nearby Parker. Wylie is considered to be part of the humid subtropical region.
On September 11, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Wylie, Texas at his cousin's house after they took their lunch at Hibachi Sushi and Grill Buffet in Allen, Texas. Wylie, Texas is also in Dallas Area and their community is quiet and not so crowded. His cousin, Imelda Dalacat Yap and her family is living there since 2000. There are many brand new houses that are still building there. Previously, this area was a farm area. At his cousin's place, the subdivision area is peaceful and it is a good community. They are also close to their kid's school as well. Armando was staying there for 3 days. His cousin is a plain housewife of their three kids while her husband, Wilfred Yap, is working at Methodist Richardson Medical Center at night schedule.
On September 12, 2011, Armando Magtalas Balajadia went to Wylie United Methodist Church in Wylie, Texas together with his cousin, Imelda Dalacat Yap and her husband, Wilfred Yap to pick up their kids after they visited at Cabela's in Allen, Texas. Their kids are studying in the church as well because the church has a school, too. Wylie United Methodist Church is just few blocks away from their house and it is convenient for them to send their kids to school. They are already Protestant since they came in United States in 2000. Their kids are also bright and intelligent especially Willora, their eldest daughter.