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Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. 2 distinguished Dallas high schools sit at head of the class as Texas' best in 2022. Two campuses in Dallas have earned extra credit as the best high schools in Texas. In the latest rankings from education review website Niche, Dallas ISD’s School for the Talented & Gifted tops the list of the state’s best public high schools, and St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas leads the list of the state’s best private high schools.

2. NFL legend Terry Bradshaw's ranch north of Dallas listed for $22.5 million. An Oklahoma ranch around 70 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth that’s owned by NFL Hall of Famer and Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw is back on the market for $22.5 million. The 744-acre ranch was relisted after a deal with a would-be buyer fell through.

3. Dallas grilled cheese restaurant abruptly closes location in Oak Cliff. A Bishop Arts restaurant dedicated to making grilled cheese sandwiches has closed: The aptly named Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. closed its original location at 310 W. 7th St., after nearly eight years. According to co-owner Diana Ezzell, the closure was prompted by problems with the location.

4. Best vegan grocer in Denton relocates to market-deli space. An acclaimed market in Denton specializing in all things vegan is making a move: Mashup Market, the plant-based specialty grocer that debuted at 316 Oak St. in 2020, is closing that original location and making its new headquarters at 1302 W. Hickory St., its second location that opened in 2021.

5. Dallas man allegedly scammed $26M from Chinese real estate investors. A Dallas-area man has been charged for allegedly scamming Chinese investors out of more than $26 million in a real estate scheme. Timothy Lynch Barton, the 59-year-old president of real estate development firm JMJ and CEO of real estate investment firm Carnegie Development, has been indicted on seven counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud.

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2 distinguished Dallas high schools sit at head of the class as Texas' best in 2022

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Two campuses in Dallas have earned extra credit as the best high schools in Texas.

In the latest rankings from education review website Niche, Dallas ISD’s School for the Talented & Gifted tops the list of the state’s best public high schools, and St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas leads the list of the state’s best private high schools. Both schools ranked first on their respective Niche lists last year.

“Some of the biggest decisions that parents face have to do with their children’s education,” Luke Skurman, founder and CEO of Niche, says in a news release. “We strive to put as much power in their hands as possible so they can make informed decisions with confidence.”

Other Dallas-Fort Worth public high schools in the state’s top 10 this year are Dallas ISD’s School of Science & Engineering (No. 3) and Carroll ISD’s Carroll High School (No. 7).

Aside from St. Mark’s, three other DFW schools appear in the top 10 for the state’s best private high schools: Greenhill School in Addison (No. 3), The Hockaday School in Dallas (No. 5), and Cistercian Preparatory School in Irving (No. 8).

Meanwhile, DFW school districts dominated Niche’s list of the top 10 school districts in Texas:

  • Carrollton ISD in Carrollton, No. 3
  • Lovejoy ISD in Addison, No. 5
  • Coppell ISD, No. 6
  • Frisco ISD, No. 7
  • Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, No 8
  • Highland Park ISD, No. 9
  • Prosper ISD, No. 10

Niche says that while traditional rankings rely heavily on metrics like test scores and academic performance, its rankings combine ratings from current students, alumni, and parents with data from the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate teachers, resources, facilities, extracurricular activities and more.

Here’s how other Texas schools and school districts fared in this year’s Niche rankings.

Austin area

  • Austin ISD’s Liberal Arts & Science Academy, No. 2 among public high schools
  • Eanes ISD’s Westlake High School, No. 6 among public high schools
  • Round Rock ISD’s Westwood High IB World School, No. 8 among public high schools
  • St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, No. 4 among private high schools
  • Eanes ISD, No. 1 among best school districts

Houston area

  • Houston ISD’s Carnegie Vanguard High School, No. 4 among public high schools
  • Houston ISD’s Debakey High School for Health Professions, No. 5 among public high schools
  • Houston ISD’s Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, No. 9 among public high schools
  • Katy ISD’s Seven Lakes High School, No. 10 among public high schools
  • The John Cooper School in The Woodlands, No. 6 among private high schools
  • The Village School in Houston, No. 7 among private high schools
  • The Kincaid School in Houston, No. 10 among private high schools

San Antonio area

  • Keystone School in San Antonio, No. 9 among private high schools
  • BASIS Texas Charter Schools in San Antonio, No. 4 among school districts

Rio Grande Valley

  • South Texas ISD in Mercedes, No. 2 among school districts
Photo courtesy of MindBar

New Texas-based app makes mental health care more accessible

What Do You Think?

Much easier than finding a therapist is finding laments at the cost and accessibility of mental health care. Group therapy is more affordable, but still a pricey and intimidating commitment. Text therapy like BetterHelp costs a lot more and often feels stilted. Now, a new Austin-based platform is paving the way for another option.

Although it may not replace the need for talk therapy entirely, MindBar, which launched in July, spreads the workload of coaches and therapists across many clients, keeps things online, and ultimately sets users up at their own pace. Like MasterClass for mental health, the app reduces the barrier to entry to just $14.99 per month.

The one-way service definitely can’t listen and identify a user’s thought patterns, or recommend personalized courses of action, but it can provide a wide series of useful primers to bring into talk therapy later, augment less frequent sessions, or just facilitate some preventive care and curiosity about the mind.

“MindBar has gained considerable traction since its launch in July, and our members have enjoyed the wide range of tools to cultivate a healthy mind,” writes MindBar founder Hailey O’Neill in an email interview. “We set out to represent the idea that mental health is a right, not a luxury, and the growth we’ve already seen within our app and its members is beginning to deliver on that ambition.”

Although MindBar is not therapy, it's also not YouTube. Classes take an experience or topic — stress, grief, and self-esteem to name a few — and break it down into video modules and worksheets. Each is organized and taught by one “teacher,” whose qualifications are clearly laid out in her biography from “years of coaching,” to therapy certifications and PhDs. Instead of browsing individual videos, users join each class; it’s just a click, but it feels distinct from mental health apps that encourage tackling everything at once.

Take the “Body Image” class as an example: It contains six modules of around 15 minutes, each paired with a multi-part “worksheet" of open-ended questions and text boxes for journaling on the platform. These are then wrapped up in a friendly little print out for those who’d prefer to write. If a user decided to moderate their own experience to simulate the commitment of traditional therapy (say 50 minutes biweekly), just taking this class could fill six to twelve weeks. Compare $30 for two months of MindBar to $450 for three therapy sessions.

Since MindBar exposes a user to the theory and methods of one particular professional, further avenues open up for extra or post-curricular work. Molly Seifert teaches “Body Image.” On Seifert’s MindBar biography page, there’s a link to her website and social media. Her credentials point out her 22-episode podcast, What She Gained, adding roughly 10 hours of free content to a user’s journey, should they follow her off the platform.

There is a button to book a session — something MindBar is working on finalizing — and on Seifert’s website, she offers a more involved “Body Confidence Program” that costs $897. Most users likely will not end up signing up for a teacher’s nearly-$1,000 group therapy track. However, the opportunity is there to follow this thread from a dip of the toes to a full-blown client-provider relationship.

A 2021 report by Sapien Labs’ Mental Health Million Project 2021 found that in the United States, 37 percent of respondents who did not seek help for clinical mental health problems did so because they lacked confidence in the mental health system. Nearly as many, 34 percent, did not know what kind of help to seek. More than a quarter preferred self-help. Imagine the shift if these respondents had a self-paced, minimal commitment platform that funneled them to professionals they learned to trust.

As of August 31, there are 26 classes on MindBar. One-on-one scheduling with MindBar teachers became available on September 18. Sign up at mind-bar.com.

UNICEF USA/Facebook

UNICEF USA

UNICEF USA< div> WEBSITE >
MISSION

UNICEF USA works to put children first all over the world through fundraising, advocacy, and education for UNICEF’s global mandate here in the United States. They are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes, and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories around the world and has helped save more lives than any other humanitarian organization. With every dollar donated, 88.4 percent goes directly toward helping children all around the globe.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Although its offices are located in Dallas and Houston, UNICEF's engagement and activations cover the entire state of Texas. Students can get involved with UNICEF’s work by joining their local UNICEF club, currently operating in 67 schools in Texas. Participants support campaigns and put on fun events to raise money for UNICEF.

UNICEF USA implemented the original Kids-Helping-Kids program with the iconic Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. Kids can support their peers throughout the year with UNICEF Kid Power, which allows kids to get active and save lives by tracking physical activity through the Kid Power band and app. Kids run, jump, and dance to unlock funding from partners which UNICEF uses to deliver lifesaving nutrition to severely malnourished children. The more kids move, the more lives they save. To date, over 10 million packets of lifesaving nourishment have been unlocked saving over 70,000 lives.

UNICEF Next Generation is a group of young leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators who commit their resources, resolve, and enthusiasm toward supporting UNICEF’s lifesaving work. Members study issues that affect children around the world and choose UNICEF projects to support through education, advocacy, skill sharing/remote volunteering, and fundraising. Through their activities, members mobilize their networks and inspire their generations to take action on behalf of the world's most vulnerable children.

BIG EVENT

In Texas, the major events include the UNICEF Gala Dallas and the UNICEF Gala Houston. These events are held annually in the spring. Both are black-tie affairs honoring outstanding humanitarian leaders and celebrating UNICEF’s mission. Head over to their websites to learn how to attend.

Photo by PeopleImages

DataReady

DataReady< div> WEBSITE >
MISSION

The mission of DataReady is to educate a local career-ready tech workforce through accessible and affordable all-ages, hands-on data science training and exposure.

They aim to expand data and data science knowledge among under-served residents, especially minorities, women, and low-income individuals in DFW. They work with individuals of all ages, including K-12 and adults, through both long-term, hands-on, project-based training and events, as well as businesses in need of on-demand data services and knowledge.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

DataReady is a 100 percent volunteer-driven organization at this time, so volunteering or donating are the best ways to help out.

BIG EVENT

A one-of-a-kind STEAMED summer camp is provided all day in the summer for kids ages 6-11, and they also partner with Skill Quest to provide adult data career training with cohorts throughout the year.

Heart House Dallas/Facebook

Heart House

Heart House< div> WEBSITE >
MISSION

The nonprofit Heart House provides safety, education, and opportunity to refugee and underprivileged children, as well as provides interventions and support services to move students from a mindset of chaos to an oasis of calm.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Volunteers can apply to help out after school, during the summer, and for special events, and can do so individually, as a group, or as part of a corporation. Head here for more information and the application.

Donations support the life-changing, holistic approach that is unique to Heart House. Through the Head, Heart, and Hands (H3) program, the after-school and summer programs provide homework assistance, mentoring, counseling, and protection from negative influences. Your gift can help support the 130 refugee and underprivileged children of Vickery Meadow.

BIG EVENT

The annual Heart of a Champion luncheon is held each summer. In 2018, the luncheon generated more than $57,000 in revenue for Heart House's programming, community outreach, and engagement to support the refugee and underprivileged children of Vickery Meadow.

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Gala led by Dallas' most VIP couple scores top spot in this week's 5 hottest headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Dallas' most VIP couple leads all-star gala for Perot Museum 10th anniversary. The 10th anniversary of a Dallas landmark deserves a star-studded party and a few fireworks, too — and that's exactly what the Perot Museum of Nature and Science did to celebrate its milestone birthday. Dallas' most VIP couple led the festivities. Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki co-chaired the 10th anniversary Night at the Museum Gala on Saturday, November 12.

2. Dallas hires Martine Elyse Philippe as new director of arts and culture. The city of Dallas has a new Arts boss: Martine Elyse Philippe, who has worked in arts administration and the nonprofit world, has been appointed Director of the Office of Arts & Culture, a division of the City Manager's Office that fosters partnerships and support with arts and cultural organizations.

3. Record store in Dallas' Oak Cliff to spin off hip new restaurant-lounge. There's a hip new lounge bar restaurant opening in Dallas' Bishop Arts: Called Ladylove, it's going into the favorably located space previously occupied by Dallas Grilled Cheese Co., and is forecast to open in early 2023. Ladylove, whose subhead is "Lounge & Sound," is from David Grover and Kate Siamro, the same amazing team who own Spinster Records, the vinyl record store in Bishop Arts.

4. New Uptown Dallas movie theater sets opening date in time for the holidays. A little over a year after it was first announced, Violet Crown Cinema will open its first Dallas theater in West Village in early December. The theater is located in the former Magnolia Theater, which closed when the pandemic hit in March 2020 and never reopened.

5. Dallas university among best in U.S. for entrepreneurship programs, says Princeton Review. Dallas entrepreneurs, take note. The University of Texas at Dallas is near the top of its class among the country's best entrepreneurship programs. UTD's Naveen Jindal School of Management appears at No. 12 for best graduate entrepreneurship program and No. 25 for best undergraduate entrepreneurship program on new lists from The Princeton Review.

Longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum closes, breastaurant on the way

Deep Ellum News

A longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum is closing: Maracas Cocina Mexicana, which has been in business at 2914 Main St. in one form or another since 1992, will close this weekend, to be replaced with another concept whose identity is still to be (officially) announced.

The restaurant is going out with a goodbye party on November 25, at 5 pm, with a DJ and its signature cheap drinks.

They've already started clearing out equipment and this will be their final weekend. A staffer speaking for the restaurant said that current owner, who asked not to be named but also owns a number of Mexican sandwich shops around DFW, is doing a rebranding.

"It's re-opening as a breastaurant, and the menu will be more focused on Mexican seafood," the staffer said.

The working title for the new concept is La Toxica Mariscos Y Micheladas.

Maracas' long history began in 1992 when it was was founded as Monica's Aca Y Alla, named for founder and veteran restaurateur Monica Greene, who opened it on what was then the eastern, rather sleepy edge of Deep Ellum. (Actually, it was originally Eduardo's Aca Y Alla, founded prior to Monica's transgender transformation in 1993.)

By 2012, Greene became restless after 20 years with what she perceived as sluggish development in Deep Ellum — a sad irony since the neighborhood started to blow up just a couple of years later.

She handed over the reins to managers Jose Sanchez and Angel Borjas, who kept much of what it had been — cheap and affordable Tex-Mex, a laid-back party atmosphere — and rebranded it as Maracas. The current owner came on board in 2014.

At 30 years, the restaurant is easily one of the longest running in Deep Ellum. When it opened, restaurants were somewhat of a minority in a neighborhood dominated by live music clubs. Now restaurants are the majority, and clubs have become the minority instead.

Some of Maracas' employees have worked there for decades, and are reportedly being given the option to work at the owner's other establishments.

The Friday night party will be $15 at the door, which gets you appetizers. Otherwise, patrons can order off the menu. House margaritas will be $4.50 and beers will be $5.

The restaurant will be be open as Maracas for the remainder of the weekend, including brunch: from 11 am-11 pm Saturday and 11 am-9 pm on Sunday.

"It's been a watering hole for many of us for so many years!" says Kendell Liptrap, a regular.

Where to eat on Christmas 2022 at Dallas restaurants

Holiday News

It seems impossible to fathom but we've reached that point where we are starting to think about Christmas, and restaurants are already cooking up options, whether you're looking to dine out or grab something to take home.

This list has a little bit of everything: places that are open on Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, or places doing take-out only. As the holiday draws nearer, the list will surely grow, so check back for updates, which we'll make as they come in.

Here's our list of Christmas dining options:

Dive Coastal Cuisine. To-go items include mini potato latkes, bruschetta ciabatta crostinis, charcuterie, chicken, beef tenderloin, whipped or whole sweet potatoes, holiday everything salad, and whole key lime pie. Order by December 21. 214-891-1700. Closed Christmas Day.

Dolce Riviera. Special edition Feast of the Seven Fishes menu. $85. December 19–December 24. 469-458-6623. Closed Christmas Day.

Mercat Bistro. Christmas Day brunch with festive 3-course menu. $68. Make reservations to sit in the restaurant’s famous Polar Bear section. 10 am–3 pm. 214-953-0917.

Magnolias Sous Le Pont. Open Christmas Day morning with winter themed beverages including Toffee Crunch Affogato, Mexican Hot Chocolate, and frozen peppermint mocha. 469-249-9222.

Postino WineCafe. Family-size to-go menu feeds up to 15, including two starters, bruschetta platter, and salad. Add-ons are available for an additional cost. $285, Order by December 23. 972-210-2102. Closed Christmas Day.

Tacodeli. Chile En Nogada and Spiked Horchata, available for dine-in or to-go.Available through December 23. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. West Dallas – 214-760-1930; The Hill – 214-206-8980; Park & Preston (Plano) – 972-200-5101; Parkwood (Plano) – 214-997-6047.

TJ’s Seafood Market. Holiday to-go menu includes holiday platters, shrimp, smoked salmon, oysters, and gumbo. Order by December 23 for pickup December 24. Preston Royal – 214-691-2369; Oak Lawn – 214-219-3474.

SusieCakes. Christmas desserts include chocolate candy cane cake, holiday cupcakes, cupcakes, frosted sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and decorating kits. Order by December 24. Preston Center – 214-983-2253; Hillside – 945-245-2253. Closed Christmas Day.

Ten50 BBQ. To-go smoked meats, sides, and desserts. Order by December 21. 1-855-QUE-1050 or email catering@ten50bbq.com. Closed Christmas Day.

City Hall Bistro. Restaurant at the Adolphus has a three-course menu featuring squash & kale salad, honey baked ham, cornbread dressing, candied yams, pumpkin pie, and Texas praline crunch brownie. Additional items are available for an extra cost including prime rib and salmon. 12–8 pm. $70. 214-651-3686.