I love this post on Huffington Post by Anna Clark, who also writes for Joel Kotkin, and who I totally need to re-connect with.

Anna is the Green Queen of not just Dallas, but Texas. In her op-ed piece for The Huffington Post, she writes that while the Dallas series may portray as as the center of oil gushers and relentless consumerism, we are actually one of the biggest leaders in creating and producing renewable energy. To whit, I did not know this:

” Half Price Books was the first to install a public electric vehicle charging station in its parking lot, and energy retailer TXU recently unveiled two more chargers at Dallas City Hall. Houston-based eVgo, partnering with national retailers such as Walgreens and Cracker Barrel, has also installed six Freedom Stations in the region, some of which include level three chargers, giving EV drivers up to 50 miles in 15 minutes. Such companies are helping us adjust to the transition to electrification and other 21st century technologies.”

Some of the other things Anna brings to light on her site/blog never make it into the narcissistic main-stream media. (Shocker.) I know T. Boone Pickens is spearheading legislation to transition hauling trucks to natural gas, a cleaner burning and necessary, if controversial, domestic energy source. Course, he’s in the biz and the media says he has a vested interest, which he does, but if that vested interest gets us off fossil fuels, what’s wrong with that? I have a vested interest in this blog! She also tells us about Elizabeth Dry, a public school teacher who launched the Promise of Peace Garden, and Jeanne McCarthy, who leads the non-profit Real School Gardens.

“Both these leaders are introducing community gardens to impoverished children in North Texas.”

I am kind of tired of everyone thinking that just because we like our Jimmy Choos and Loubies, and we drive to our homes in the suburbs, we are not green. One of my biggest pet peeves is my beloved New York City where density rules. Yes, everyone lives on top of one another and you don’t need a car in New York City. You can WALK, and boy do I when there. But New Yorkers create so much garbage! They use take-out containers for everything; plastic containers by the boatload. Recycle it, sure, but can it really be used again?  Who can dry clothes outside on a line in New York City? It’s a totally disposal environment.

Anyhoo, if you haven’t, check out Anna’s great blog. I am so re-connecting with her — in a New York minute! Oh and check out her book: Green, American Style.

Note: According to the Brookings Institution, San Antonio, Texas is the only metro area in the U.S. where median income has risen since 2007.

I am fascinated with a little town called Fate, Texas, about 30 miles east of Dallas. Couple reasons why. I think I wrote a story about Fate during the boom about it’s booming population. As of 2011, Fate’s population is 1,476 people. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of 196.98 percent. One reason why may be the cost of homes: median home cost in Fate is $134,500. Still, home appreciation last year has been down negative 2.03 percent. Compared to the rest of the country, Fate’s cost of living is 5.20% lower than the U.S. average. I have heard good things about the Fate public schools. Fate public schools spend $3,948 per student. The average school expenditure in the U.S. is $5,678. There are about 15.8 students per teacher in Fate. The unemployment rate in Fate is 7.80 percent(U.S. avg. is 9.10%). 

But, Steve Brown reported that the foreclosure rate is rather high in Fate. And then this very interesting piece by Peter Goodman in The Huffington Post got me thinking about suburbs and their growing problems and poverty. Peter’s piece is comprehensive and well-researched. Basically, he reports on a Brookings Institution study that tells us the number of poor and unemployed is growing in the suburbs, where there are fewer services to help them. And this suburban poverty started budding before the real estate boom/bust.

“Though cities still have nearly double the rate of poverty as suburban areas, the number of people living in poverty in the suburbs of major metropolitan areas increased by 53 percent between 2000 and 2010, as compared to an increase of 23 percent among city-dwellers, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of recently released census data. In 16 metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Dallas and Milwaukee, the suburban poor has more than doubled over the last decade.

The swift growth of suburban poverty is reshaping the sociological landscape, while leaving millions of struggling households without the support that might ameliorate their plight: Compared to cities, suburban communities lack facilities and programs to help the poor, owing to a lag in awareness that large numbers of indigent people are in their midst. Some communities are wary of providing services out of fear they will make themselves magnets for the poor.”

The Brookings Institution study shows median household income change in the top 100 metro areas since 2007. In Dallas/Fort Worth, the median income has dipped by -5.4%. In Austin, it has dipped by 6.6%, but note that little old San Antonio, Texas is the only metro area in the country where median income has actually risen: up 3.1%. Reasons for this may be that San Antonio had a lower median income to begin with, has seen job growth and corporate relocations as well as an influx of wealthy Mexican escaping crime in Mexico.

As Goodman pointed out, people usually move to the suburbs for better schools and home values. Suburbs can be a great place to raise children. How sad that some of these people experience a change in fortune that leaves them worse off in the very place they thought would be nirvana.

Charlie Sheen’s doing it, Tiger and Elin are doing it, and I think it may actually be a pretty good idea for the kiddos, in some cases. We know that Elin Nordegren made good use of her $110 million settlement from Tiger by plunking down $12.2 million for a 17,178-square-foot beach-front property in North Palm Beach. The new home is¬† just 10 miles from Tiger’s new pad in Jupiter, Fla.

The Huffington Post reported that Nordegren bought the two-story mansion–which has eight bathrooms and a 4,700-square-foot basement– what a great place for the kiddos to play!. She bought the home through one of her divorce lawyers, Dennis Belcher.

In October, the Swedish former model toured a $5 million penthouse apartment in Jupiter Island, where Tiger Woods’ new home is being built. Tiger recently said he’s about ready to move into his 12-acre, $50-million bachelor pad, which includes a 6,400-square-foot gym/media room/bar, an elevator, a reflecting pond, a lap pool, and a 3.5 acre elaborate beyond belief practice facility. It’s apparently set up so he can hit shots out of his second story window.

Tiger and Elin finalized their split last August but maturely agreed to live near each other for the sake of their children, Sam and Charlie. I have heard of cases where parents do buy homes to be near each other and the children when they are not married to the mother but still wish to participate in the child’s life, or divorcing couples who live a few doors away. And of course, there are those famous couples now who even vacation with their exes. I just think it’s all quite healthy! What do you think?