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Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash

Couples, step aside – this Valentine’s day is for the unattached. Personal finance website WalletHub released their report of this year’s Best and Worst States for Singles, and the Lone Star State claimed the No. 1 spot in two out of six categories. Coming in at No. 4 overall, Texas ranked behind California (No. 1), New York (No. 2), and Florida (No. 3).

The report’s findings were determined by comparing dating economics, opportunities, and romance and fun across all 50 states. For date opportunities, the top four overall winners tied for No. 1 in the most restaurants per capita category, while Texas and California also tied for highest number of movie theaters per capita.

Other categories in the report include online and mobile dating opportunities, median annual household income, share of single adults, gender balance of singles, and crime rate.

Besides holding a No. 1 spot for most restaurants and movie theaters per capita, Texas received the following rankings in other categories:

  • 9th – Median annual household income (adjusted for cost of living)
  • 17th – Mobile-dating opportunities
  • 23rd – Online-dating opportunities
  • 30th – Percentage of residents 12+ who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19

With the soaring popularity of virtual dating during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, one expert believes it gives people a better understanding of a potential partner before meeting face-to-face.

“People might go into in-person dates with more knowledge about the person and more confidence about who they are,” according to Dr. Andrew High, associate professor and Director of Graduate Studies at Pennsylvania State University. “Still, online dating is only one way to meet people, and there are plenty of opportunities to meet people in person.”

Individual Texas destinations also ranked highly for singles in another recent report from WalletHub comparing 180 U.S. cities. In that study, Austin earned the No. 7 ranking for single people, with Seattle taking the lead. Houston came in at No. 69, with San Antonio taking No. 83 and Dallas coming close behind at No. 87.

The full report and its methodology can be found at wallethub.com.

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Country music bad boy Morgan Wallen headlines ACM Awards benefit show in Dallas-Fort Worth

Country concert news

Dallas-Fort Worth will be the center of the country music universe on May 11, when the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards are broadcast from The Star in Frisco. As with any worldwide, Super Bowl-level event, there'll be many happenings leading up to it. First up: a benefit concert headlined by Morgan Wallen.

The country music bad boy (and current superstar and reigning ACM Album of the Year winner) takes top billing on "ACM Lifting Lives LIVE: Morgan Wallen & Friends," a fundraiser for Lifting Lives, the philanthropic partner of the Academy of Country Music. The "friends" taking the stage with him include reigning ACM Songwriter of the Year HARDY, reigning ACM New Female Artist and Song of the Year winner Lainey Wilson, ERNEST, Bailey Zimmerman, and DJ 13lackbeard.

The show will be held at 7:30 pm Wednesday, May 10 on the golfing green at Topgolf in The Colony. It will follow the Topgolf Tee-Off and Rock On Fundraiser, presented by VGT by Aristocrat Gaming, taking place earlier that day; the concert is ticketed separately from the golf tournament.

Just what does Lifting Lives do? According to a release, "in addition to distributing more than $4 million to date through its Covid Relief Fund, ACM Lifting Lives provides critical support through the Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund, significant annual commitments to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Music Health Alliance, and the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, and individual grants to organizations that reach communities all across America."

Now in its fourth year (and first in Texas), the golf tournament brings together artists, industry members, and fans for a golf skills competition and an extended day of live entertainment.

"ACM Lifting Lives does great work providing aid in times of need to folks inside and outside of the music industry,” Wallen says in the release. “My band and I are excited to help them raise funds to continue doing this amazing work.”

Now, for the ticket details, per the release:

  • General Admission tickets to the concert became available to ACM Members, ACM A-List subscribers, 58th ACM Awards ticket holders, and Topgolf Friends and Family through an exclusive presale that started at 12 pm Thursday, March 23.
  • Remaining tickets will be available for a general public onsale beginning Friday, March 24 at 10 am through AXS.
  • Tickets to the benefit concert only are $350 plus service fees.
  • Those who have purchased bays for golf will be able to remain in their bay for the concert, with the bay serving as a suite to watch the show. A limited amount of VIP fan golf bays for the Topgolf Tee-Off and Rock On are available for purchase; email rockon@acmcountry.com.

Crane flies have landed ever so lightly in Dallas, which means one thing

Insect News

The crane flies have arrived in Dallas, and this year, they're here in droves.

Fragile, leggy, and whisper-light, crane flies are most often found around streams and lakes. But at certain times of year, they show up in urban areas, hovering and bobbing around houses and doorways.

If you live in certain areas — green, suburban areas — you've surely encountered them or seen complaints on your cranky Facebook neighborhood page. This, even though they don't bite or want to bother you in any way.

To bug experts like Janet Hurley, an Extension Program Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, their arrival means one thing: Spring is officially here.

If they seem to be in larger numbers, it's, as usual, related to weather.

"The weather has been warmer, and we've had a number of damp days," Hurley says. "We've also had an unusual 2023, with spring bouncing in and out for a couple months. They usually show up during or right before spring break. But we all joke that if you see the crane fly, you won’t be seeing freezing temperatures again."

Of all the pests Texas must endure, crane flies have to be the most innocuous. Now-retired Texas A&M entomologist Mike Merchant called them "among the gentlest of insects."

It's a myth that they prey on or are related to mosquitoes. Crane flies are larger, and unlike mosquitos, their wings do not have scales. They also don't want your blood. They live on fat reserves built up during their larval stage.

They live short but amorous lives. Their sole purpose is to mate and make more crane flies for next spring.

Hurley says that they might be a nuisance but to consider the alternatives.

"Once they're gone, the mosquitoes come in," she says.

Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott champions kindness at 2023 Beacon of Hope Luncheon

Mental health advocacy

What: Grant Halliburton Foundation Beacon of Hope Luncheon

Where: Omni Dallas Hotel

The 411: About 700 attendees gathered to cheer on Grant Halliburton Foundation's mission to support adolescent mental health - and to cheer on their favorite Dallas Cowboys quarterback. Dak Prescott, along with Solomon Thomas of the New York Jets, delivered messages of hope at the 14th annual fundraising luncheon on March 7.

Both players use their platforms off the field to raise awareness about mental health and suicide through their foundations.

Andy Adler, CBS 11 sports anchor and children’s rights activist, interviewed Prescott and Thomas on stage. Both shared the seemingly simple message to "be kind." They demonstrated why it's so important from their personal experiences.

Prescott has been open about his own mental health challenges. His Faith Fight Finish Foundation was established as a tribute to his mom, Peggy, who died of cancer in 2013, and its work also honors his brother, Jace, who died in 2020 by suicide.

"Depression and anxiety can overwhelm you. I realized that during the first month of COVID. Sunny days felt dark, and my big house and yard felt small and closed in," Prescott said from stage. "We have the obligation to take care of ourselves and neighbors. Help your neighbors and loved ones ... We have hope. React in a healthy way.”

Similarly, Thomas (a Dallas native) lost his sister, Ella, to suicide in 2018 and co-founded The Defensive Line with his parents, Martha and Chris Thomas (who were in attendance). Their organization focuses on mental health and suicide prevention.

"We must treat ourselves as human beings and others as human beings. Ask people not how they are doing, but how are you really doing," Thomas urged, adding, "Vote and identify candidates who care about mental health. We have to make sure our kids have support in schools. We didn’t see widespread support 10 years ago.”

Local students joined Prescott and Thomas on stage to ask questions before Halliburton Foundation president Kevin Hall presented theprestigious Beacon Award to both players.

Steve Noviello of FOX 4 News served as the master of ceremonies for the luncheon, which followed a champagne reception where guests took part in mental health activations, viewed and purchased raffle packages, and listened to DJ Lucy Wrubel keep the beat lively.

This year's luncheon chairs were the Conly family — Jeanie and Bert Conly and their children, Lindsey and Aaron Berg, Mark Briscoe, and Kendall and Luke Cagle; Barb Farmer is the founding luncheon chair. Vanita Halliburton spoke about the organization she co-founded after losing her son Grant to suicide 17 years ago.

For more information about the Grant Halliburton Foundation and resources they offer, visit their website.

Who: Kaileigh Johnson, Misaki Collins, Rama Vangipuram, Neera Truong, Judy Rawle, T.J. Griffin, Polly Campbell, Bev Berry-Vuckovich, Susan Griffiths, Lucy Witte, Sonya Parker Goode, Norman Goode, Julia Butler, Amy McCloskey, Dave Farmer, and hundreds more.

Grant Halliburton Foundation Beacon of Hope Luncheon, Dak Prescott

Photo by Simon Luna

Dak Prescott greets high school students during a backstage lunch before going on stage.