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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. This tiny green inchworm is why Dallas-Fort Worth trees are losing their leaves. If your backyard tree has suddenly and completely lost its leaves, there's a tiny green worm you can blame. It's called the cankerworm, AKA inchworm, and it has invaded trees across Dallas-Fort Worth.

2. These Dallas-Fort Worth high schools sit at head of the class as Texas' best. Several districts in Dallas-Fort Worth have earned extra credit for having the best high schools in Texas. In the latest rankings of the state's best high schools from education review website Niche, these DFW school districts dominated among the top 10 in Texas.

3. Gucci unzips first sumptuous Fort Worth boutique at Shops at Clearfork. Fort Worth fashionistas who, for months, have eagerly watched for the "Open" sign to appear on the city's first Gucci store, can finally grab their handbags and head over. Gucci will open at The Shops at Clearfork on Monday, October 10.

4. NFL legend Terry Bradshaw's ranch north of Dallas-Fort Worth 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.

5. Award-winning Hurtado Barbecue brings the brisket & biscuits to Fort Worth. Award-winning Hurtado Barbecue quietly opened a location on September 27 in the Southside neighborhood, in the where it will serve barbecue with a Tex-Mex twist Tuesday-Sunday from 7 am-5 pm. The restaurant takes over the space at 1116 8th Ave. previously occupied by Derek Allen's Texas Barbecue, which closed in June.

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These Dallas-Fort Worth high schools sit at head of the class as Texas' best

A+ rating

Several districts in Dallas-Fort Worth have earned extra credit for having the best high schools in Texas.

In the latest rankings of the state's best high schools from education review website Niche, these DFW school districts dominated among the top 10 in Texas:

  • Carroll ISD in Southlake, 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

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.

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).

The highest-ranking Fort Worth private school was Trinity Valley School, which landed at No. 25. Fort Worth Country Day School was close behind it, at No. 27. The Oakridge School in Arlington is No. 30. Roanoke's E.A. Young Academy for Gifted and Talented Scholars is No. 34, and Fort Worth's All Saints' Episcopal School is No. 39.

“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.”

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
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.

Reading Partners of North Texas Facebook

Reading Partners of North Texas

Reading Partners of North Texas< div> WEBSITE >
MISSION

Reading Partners has been a part of the Dallas educational landscape since 2012, when it launched a program at George W. Truett Elementary School and Roger Q. Mills Elementary School and served 80 students. Since then, they've placed thousands of community volunteers in low-income schools to help kids master basic reading skills. Their one-on-one tutoring empowers students to succeed in reading and in life by engaging community volunteers to provide individualized, personal attention to each student in the program.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Every day, thousands of volunteer reading partners make a lifelong difference for kids who struggle with reading. When kids learn to read, their lives are transformed forever. Your gift will help students in under-resourced schools achieve their dreams. Donate here.

BIG EVENT

Books & Breakfast includes several guest panelists, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, Mayor Betsy Price, Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Hinojosa, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Dr. Scribner, and other education leaders. Krys Boyd, the host of the critically acclaimed radio show Think moderated a civic-minded conversation.

Aberg Center for Literacy Facebook

Aberg Center for Literacy

Aberg Center for Literacy< div> WEBSITE >
MISSION

The Aberg Center for Literacy is building richer lives, stronger families, and better communities through programs in English fluency, Spanish and English high school equivalency preparation, early childhood education, and family literacy.

The dual generation approach combats poverty with a model that provides parent education and intergenerational learning to help parents increase earning power and children overcome delays to be on grade level by third grade.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Aberg Center for Literacy relies on the community's support — as volunteers, event participants, and general supporters — to address the vast literacy needs of DFW. All the adult education classes are led by dedicated volunteers, and the early childhood education program relies on volunteers to support the work of its staff. Volunteers also help with planning fundraising events. Email us volunteer@abergcenter.org and let us know your area of interest.

BIG EVENT

The center has two signature events: The fall fundraiser, Legacy of Literacy Breakfast, continues to be successful in growing and attracting additional sponsors and attendees.

The spring fundraiser, ¡Pachanga!, is an evening filled with celebration, including dinner, a variety of live entertainment, an auction, and a raffle.

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These are the 13 can't-miss shows in Dallas-Fort Worth theater for December

Theater Critic Picks

This is, in my opinion, the best time of the year to go see a show. There are so many family-friendly offerings just begging to become traditions, and lots of new interpretations of holiday classics.

Plus, there are always one or two non-holiday themes shows, if you need a break from all the tinsel and holly.

Because there were so many holiday shows that opened late last month, they are included again here for easy planning.

In order of start date, here are 13 local shows to watch this month:

My Fair Lady
Broadway at the Bass, through December 4
Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” But who is really being transformed? The musical boasts such classic songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” and “On the Street Where You Live.”

Jesus Christ Superstar
WaterTower Theatre, through December 11
The iconic rock opera, featuring award-winning music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes "I Don’t Know How to Love Him," "Gethsemane," and "Superstar."

Twas the Night Before...
Cirque du Soleil, through December 11

Cirque du Soleil’s spin on the beloved Christmas tale is about the wonders of sharing and friendship. The production is a flurry of Christmas cheer and rip-roaring fun with hugely lovable characters that will introduce audiences to the magic of Cirque du Soleil.

Christmas with Nat and Natalie
Casa Mañana, through December 17
Cozy up in the Reid Cabaret Theatre for an “unforgettable” evening with holiday favorites from Nat King and Natalie Cole. The father-daughter duo separately recorded over 100 songs that became hits on the pop charts.

Crystal City 1969
Cara Mia Theatre, through December 18

Inspired by a little-known event in Texas history, Crystal City 1969 is based on the true story of Mexican-American students in South Texas who walked out of their school and into civil rights history. Crystal City became an example of American democracy at its best.

Black Nativity
Bishop Arts Theatre Center, through December 18
Black Nativity, returning to the Bishop Arts Theatre Center stage for its 18th anniversary, is a hand-clapping, toe-tapping, finger-snapping theatrical wonderment, inspired by Langston Hughes' retelling of the Nativity story.

A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy
Casa Mañana, through December 23
Casa Mañana presents a new, fresh twist on a classic Dickens tale that will have children ages 4 to 100 laughing alike. A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy features a contemporary pop score and current pop culture references that are guaranteed to have audiences dancing in the aisles. This show is suitable for all audiences.

A Christmas Carol
Dallas Theater Center, through December 24
Dallas Theater Center presents their annual production of A Christmas Carol, a delightfully reimagined take on Dickens’ enduring classic. Three spirits have come to visit the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge to take him on a fantastic journey through Christmases past, present, and future that annually delights audiences across North Texas. But will it be enough to save Scrooge’s soul?

Head Over Heels
Uptown Players, December 2-18
An inspired mash-up of posh and punk, Head Over Heels is an unpredictable Elizabethan romp about a royal family that must prevent an oracle’s prophecy of doom. In order to save their beloved kingdom, the family embarks on an extravagant journey where they are faced with mistaken identities, love triangles, sexual awakening, and self-discovery, all set to the music of The Go-Go's.

Six
Broadway Dallas, December 6-25

Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. From Tudor queens to pop princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take the mic to remix 50 years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of 21st-century girl power.

Handle With Care
Stage West, December 8-January 8
A young Israeli woman on holiday with her grandmother in the United States is confronted by an unexpected turn of events. Now, she finds herself stranded in a motel room on Christmas Eve with an oddball delivery man. Is their meeting an accident, or is it destiny generations in the making? Hilarious and tragic circumstances culminate in a heartfelt romantic comedy about what you can find when you feel lost.

The Dimension of Death
Pegasus Theatre, December 29-January 22

The world premiere of the 22nd Harry Hunsacker adventure by Kurt Kleinmann finds us in the year 1955. Harry, Nigel, and Foster have been dispatched to a Top Secret Air Force base in Nevada where a matter of the highest level of National Security awaits them. They’d heard rumors about Paradise Ranch but the reality of what they saw exceeded their imagination. In no time, however, the bodies start piling up and our trio finds themselves trapped in The Dimension of Death.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
Theatre Three, December 29-February 18
Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Robert’s musical is headline the grand opening of Theatre Too, the intimate downstairs space that has been closed since 2020. Directed by Joel Ferrell and music directed by Vonda K. Bowling, this comedy takes on the truths and myths behind what it means to love, date, or lose someone. The run includes special performances on New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, complete with holiday-focused perks like champagne, chocolates, and flowers.




Ultimate party house with indoor pool hits market for $745,000 in Fort Worth

Wild house for sale

A seemingly inconspicuous home in east Fort Worth shows that you never really know what kind of wild-and-crazy stuff is going on inside a house - and not to judge a building by its exterior.

The four-bedroom, five-bathroom house at 1809 Carl St., four miles east of downtown Fort Worth, recently hit the market for $745,000. At first glance, it looks like many homes in the area. But a peek at the interior photos shows why it's attracted lots of attention on the Zillow Gone Wild Facebook page and Twitter account.

Called a fusion of “ultimate” party house and “coolest” investment property in its Zillow listing, the home seems to be built around an indoor, ground-heated swimming pool complete with slide and diving board.

Additional party house highlights include:

  • An outdoor kitchen
  • An outdoor shower
  • A hot tub
  • Air hockey and pool tables
  • Astro turf from TCU’s field
  • Party lighting
  • Enough parking for a tour bus
  • Multiple indoor and outdoor entertaining areas

The home, built in 1940, features 7,179 square feet of living space on less than half an acre of land. The property includes the main four-bedroom house plus a loft-style studio back house with a hot tub and underground wine cellar.

Thousands of commenters on Zillow Gone Wild shared their thoughts about the unconventional home. Several of them compared the house to game shows, '80s department stores, and frat houses.

“It’s like an '80s department store and a game show had a baby. I’m overwhelmed and it was only pictures,” one critic wrote.

“This house screams frat house decorated with the entire contents of a furniture warehouse going out of business sale,” another critic commented.

Some commenters said the house had less than innocent undertones.

“There’s $700,000 worth of coke in that green carpet around the pool, guaranteed,” one commenter said.

Another commenter wrote, “Part Dave and Buster’s, part 1980s drug lord. I LOVE IT.”

Other, nicer comments noted the house’s bright, fun colors and the appeal of an indoor swimming pool.

Lance Blann of Dave Perry Miller Real Estate, who has the listing, says the house’s owner is a single, older, fun gentleman who wanted to create a “cool, eclectic” bachelor pad-esque space.

When he first listed the house in early August, Blann expected it to receive more attention than it did. He says many people were interested in visiting the house and filming TikTok videos, but he didn’t get any serious prospective buyers and the attention soon dwindled.

But since the listing was shared in Zillow Gone Wild on December 1, Blann has received an outpouring of calls.

Blann speculates that the house has two target audiences: sports fans who love to host parties, or maybe a multigenerational family. Since the back house is a studio apartment, it could potentially host grandparents or in-laws while the main house could host parents and their kids.

One of his first visitors to the house was a woman who says she grew up there, Blann says. The woman told Blann that her father built the house and enclosed the swimming pool because he was tired of leaves falling in it. Blann says the house’s current owner bought the house and began renovating it about two years ago.

Several Facebook users asked in Zillow Gone Wild whether the house will be available to rent rather than buy, but Blann says the answer is no — the current owner is only interested in selling his party house.

The heated indoor pool has a slide and a diving board.

Dallas-Fort Worth artist lands collection of colorful canvases at Target stores

Artist News

A local artist who creates colorful and vibrant art has a collection being sold at Target.

The artist is Roma Osowo of Dallas, and the 18-piece collection features a variety of abstract masterpieces ranging in designs and sizes, each unique but filled with Osowo's joyful and optimistic perspective. The collection is available in Target stores until Sunday, December 4, and online until Monday, September 4, 2023.

The collection came about when a home decor company saw the potential in her talent and made introductions to Target.

There are smaller canvases measuring 10" X 13" and 11" X 11", priced at $14.99, some of which have sold out; and larger canvases measuring 24" X 24", 24" X 30", and 36" X 36", priced from $50 to $85.

Osowo was born and raised in the British Virgin Islands, before migrating to the U.S. when she was 16. She spent more than a decade having a family and put art on the backburner, but returned to painting in earnest in 2017.

She favors rich, vibrant colors, calling herself a "color-loving abstract artist who creates vibrant, joy-filled art to elevate beautiful spaces."

She has also done cellphone cases, calendars, personal diaries, and other home goods, as well as a special clothing collection and resortwear for Trefle, a retailer based in the BVI.

Her work has been collected worldwide, and has been sold in a few retailers in the U.S. such as HomeGoods and Barnes & Noble. She's also has been featured in magazines such as Traditional Home and has worked with brands like Erin Condren, Pressed Juicery, Framebridge, Wexel Art, and Lemonade Pursuits.

“I want people to associate my name with the type of art and feeling they want to create in their homes,” she says. “As well as a name that reminds people that it’s never too late to pursue what you love.”