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Texas Improves General Well-Being, Shows Strong Sense of Purpose, Gallup Study Finds

This map shows overall well-being rankings for the country. The shade of blue that includes Texas represents states in the second percentile. The lighter the color, the worse the ranking.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A Dallas journalist won a national writing award while behind bars; Leon Bridges released a moving new video; Denton will amend its cemetery deed that reads for “whites only”; and more.

Since 2008, Gallup-Healthways has issued its annual study, State of American Well-Being, which analyzes five facets of wellness: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. The scores from these categories are averaged to yield an overall well-being score for each of the 50 states. The 2015 study found that the U.S. increased its overall well-being score .1 point — from 61.6 to 61.7. Texas was also better off in 2015 versus 2014 with a full point gain —going from 61.7 to 62.7.

Although Texas’ overall well-being score for the year 2015 is lower (by 1 point) than the previous year, the state ranked No. 11 of 50 states. Here’s how Texas measured for each category, again out of 50 states:

#2 for Purpose-Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals

#11 for Social-Having supportive relationships and love in your life

#35 for Financial-Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security

#18 for Community- Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community

#20 for Physical- Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

Explore the study.

  • Barrett Brown: Dallas hacktivist, Anonymous member, Project PM founder, incarcerated columnist and now, award winner. Brown was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to prison in January 2015 for 63 months (minus the 31 he had already served) for threatening a federal agent. He was initially writing a column from prison for D Magazine called The Barrett Brown Reviews of Art and Letters and Jail, but as of last summer, Intercept started publishing Barrett’s work, D Magazine reported. Three of Barrett’s pieces won the National Magazine Award for Columns & Commentary. The 34-year-old was also the subject of a NMA award-winning story in 2011, “Barrett Brown is Anonymous,” by D’s Tim Rogers. [D Magazine]
  • The newest state park about 75 miles west of Fort Worth still needs funding. Palo Pinto Mountains State Park could be a 4,935-acre playground for the nearly 9 million people within 150 miles of it as early as the fall of 2020. But like many state parks in Texas, Palo Pinto needs more money to be completed. Finishing the park will cost around $30 million. Although Palo Pinto is waiting for funding from the upcoming legislative session, neither progress nor enthusiasm has been stunted. Read more about the trail ride and star party events happening on the land this spring. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]


  • Fort Worth’s Leon Bridges released the music video for “River” as a “message of light.” The video depicts images of the “struggle many black men and women face across this country,” and touches on the personal depression Bridges experienced while supporting himself and his mother. Stephen Thompson of NPR Music wrote: “Filled with images from the recent Baltimore Uprising, the footage here makes it clear that the singer's understanding of soul's past doesn't stop with a look or a sound.” Read Bridges’ full explanation of the music video, which at nearly seven minutes, feels like short film or documentary about hope and healing. [NPR Music]


  • The deed for a cemetery Denton includes language saying its burial plots are for “whites only.” The original deed for the historic Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery dates back to 1933 and the racial restrictions it details haven’t been imposed since before 1950, WFAA reported. “The issue surfaced at a recent Council meeting when longtime civil rights activist and local NACCP president Willie Hudspeth brought it up.” The Denton City Council considered the ordinance at last night’s meeting addressing the restriction in the 1933 deed between the cemetery and the city. [WFAA]

Here’s the current language on the deed:

Consider adoption of an ordinance of the City of Denton finding and declaring a restriction contained in the 1933 deed between the IOOF and the City of Denton convening the said cemetery to the City of Denton prohibiting the use of the said cemetery for the burial of non-white persons to be illegal, unenforceable, unconscionable, contrary and repugnant to the philosophy, principals and beliefs of the City of Denton and that the said restrictive language shall not be enforced or recognized on any city-owned or managed property and providing an effective date.