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Courtesy of TEXAS YES

Thanks to $167,000 in new grants from a San Antonio-based educational nonprofit, classrooms in 18 Texas schools will receive various upgrades to help further their students’ academic pursuits.

An October 27 news release announced the grants from TEXAS YES (Texas Youth Education Support project) will go towards upgrading classroom equipment including a new computer lab, robotics program elements, chicken coops, a 3D printer, iPads and smart boards, and the purchase of new library books.

For the first-time since its inception, the YES Grant shifted focus to include classroom improvements, which is a crucial need to a child’s education, TEXAS YES officials said.

“It’s incredible to help schools not only update library books, which has seen a huge lack of funding, but also help provide classroom equipment such as computers and even P.E. equipment,” TEXAS YES executive director Danielle Gunter stated in the release.

According to TEXAS YES, the following San Antonio-area schools and organizations are receiving grants: Koennecke Elementary School, CAST Med High School, Palo Alto Elementary School, Harmony School of Excellence, Burleson School of Innovation, Miguel Carrillo Jr. Elementary School, Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio, Patlan Elementary School, Spring Branch Middle School, West Campus High School, and Harlandale Independent School District.

The local grants total more than $100,000 in educational grants. The remaining funds have been distributed to schools in the Dallas and Austin areas.

Organization officials said TEXAS YES understands a high-quality STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education is critical to a student's efforts at forming a successful future.

TEXAS YES partnered up with local injury attorney and philanthropist Thomas J. Henry to create the TEXAS STEAM Grant, which provides students and teachers with funds to provide an effective STEAM education.

“Now more than ever it’s important to bridge the gap of educational inequality and give students the tools and resources they need to thrive in their academics,” said Henry in the release.

Grants are open to public, private, and charter elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as 501(c)3 nonprofits with a youth focus.

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Texas scores top ranking among best states for dating, says new report

Not-so-Lone Star

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.

7 San Antonio staycation spots to spoil your special someone this Valentine's Day

Romanticize San Antonio

Can you hear that? It's the sound of Valentine's Day, approaching fast and without mercy upon couples who forgot to plan something for the most romantic holiday of the year. Don't fret y'all: Alamo City is bursting with romance, and we've got you covered with the best staycation spots for Valentine's Day in San Antonio.

Eilan Hotel and Spa
Who says you need to book an expensive trip to Tuscany to prove your love when the Eilan Hotel is right here in town? The beautiful 100-acre property has romantic views, a relaxing spa (a couple's massage is a must), a locally-sourced menu at the in-house restaurant Sustenio (and yes, they have a Valentine's Day prix-fixe menu), a 12,000 square foot fitness center, the elegant Blu resort pool, and more. Book a room here, and/or reserve a spot at Sustenio for a Valentine's Day dinner here.

Hotel Contessa
No need to bring a bag of rose petals to scatter in your room at the Hotel Contessa – it's already included in the hotel's special Valentine's Day package, which also features a bottle of prosecco, strawberry champagne truffles, complimentary valet, and of course, premiere accommodations for you and a special guest. Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails, the hotel's in-house restaurant, will also be offering Valentine's Day dining specials all weekend, in addition to a special, five-course Valentine's Day dinner on the actual holiday. Violinist Erin Rushforth will provide musical accompaniment for an extra romantic atmosphere. Book the Valentine's Day package here and reserve your spot at Ambler here.

Hotel Emma
No list of romantic San Antonio staycations would be complete without a mention of the XO, XO Emma package at the Hotel Emma at the Pearl. Make sure you act fast, because the special romantic deal only lasts until February 28. Included in the package are a plate of Cabot cheddar cheese, crackers and dried apricots, marinated olives, a bottle of fine Malbec, and chef Sofia Tejeda's chocolate truffles. These are all in addition to the usual complimentary Hotel Emma welcome treats like their iconic La Babia margarita. If you do manage to snag a coveted Valentine's Day reservation, make sure to enjoy the one-day only special Valentine's Day menu at Supper, which includes courses like fresh swell oysters, seared duck breast, mezzaluna ravioli, ribeye, and more. Book the XO, XO Emma package here and reserve a spot at Supper here.

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk
The courtyard alone at the Hotel Valencia will make your special someone feel like they stepped into a romance novel. Book the Te Amo package, which includes accommodations for two (luxurious accommodations, obviously), a bottle of champagne, chocolate dipped strawberries, complimentary Wi-Fi, and complimentary valet parking for one car. Make dining a whole lot easier by booking a Valentine's Day dinner reservation at the Hotel Valencia's in-house restaurant Dorrego's. The five-course meal includes options like filet mignon, poached sea bass, and more. Reserve your Te Amo package here and book a reservation at Dorrego's here.

Omni La Mansión del Rio
Located within walking distance of the Majestic Theatre, the Omni La Mansión del Rio has the perfect, romantic staycation package for you and your partner — particularly if you're looking for a staycation spot downtown after a night at the theater. The Omni offers a package called the Romance Offer, which includes accommodations for two (convenient, right?), a bottle of sparkling wine with artisanal chocolates, a late check-out, and a pre-call with a concierge who will be happy to assist you with any romantic requests. Don't forget to try the Valentine's Day dinner at Four Brothers, the hotel's in-house restaurant, which will include courses like a filet and seared scallops duo, dark chocolate mousse cake and more. Take advantage of the Romance Offer here, and reserve a spot at Four Brothers here.

The St. Anthony
Here's to hoping your love will last as long as the St. Anthony (seriously, the hotel has been around since the early 1900s!). Snap some pics in the elegant St. Anthony lobby, and grab a cocktail or two from Haunt or the St. Anthony Club, the hotel's two in-house bars. Make sure to save some room for fresh seafood at Rebelle, the St. Anthony's premiere in-house restaurant helmed by Chef Stefan Bowers. Maybe steal a kiss or two on the rooftop of the romantic hotel, a perfect place to watch the sun set with your significant other by your side. Book a room here.

Thompson San Antonio — Riverwalk
Treat your SO to the Cabana Cuddle package at the Thompson San Antonio, then opt to stay in one of their luxurious rooms for the night. The Cabana Cuddle package includes an 80-minute massage for two, followed by a lunch or dinner in one of the Thompson's Cenote Cabanas (you get a cabana for two hours), and a bottle of bubbly to celebrate your love. The Cabana Cuddle package costs $710. Still hungry? Find more Valentine's Day specials at the hotel's other in-house dining options, Landrace or the Moon's Daughters. You can book your spot on the hotel's website, or skip the cuddles in the cabana and just reserve a room here.

6 things to know about San Antonio food right now: Wicked cafe and cantina debuts near Pearl

NEWS YOU CAN EAT

Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings

A devilish concept has hopped into the former home of the short-lived Cervecería Chapultepec. Santa Diabla, the first Texas restaurant from Mexico-based hospitality group Grupo Orraca Restauranteros, debuted January 26 at 906 E. Elmira St. The menu traverses both Tex-Mex and interior Mexican cuisine, dishing out favorites like nachos, tuna carnitas, aguachile, and birria flautas.

Stinson Municipal Airport cleared a new restaurant for takeoff on January 25. Owned by Stephanie and Joshua Smith, the Trailblazer Café serves AM classics like breakfast tacos, salads, gourmet burgers, sandwiches, and a dizzying array of beverages. The unique eatery also commits to nourishing the community through its partnership with Ready to Work SA, teaching clients marketable skills that extend past food service.

The continued construction on the St. Mary's strip isn't harshing the vibe of the district's newest occupant. Vibras flipped the open sign on January 20, reimagining the former space of long-running café Candlelight Coffee at 3011 N. St. Mary's St. The hybrid concept thumps at night as a Latin nightclub illuminated by LED lights and washes of hot pink. The previous night's hangover can be nursed at the same spot with smoked Bourbon lattes from Sad Hrs.

Meanwhile, the race to fill Alamo City with out-of-town franchises continues with the announcement that Utah's Beans & Brews Coffeehouse is eyeing San Antonio as part of a six-state expansion. The release did not specify when or where the locations would crop up, but the deal with Brame Holdings would include 40 outposts split with Austin.

In still more caffeine news, a combo coffeehouse and beer garden is brewing at 11011 Shaenfield Rd. in northwest San Antonio. In addition to the titular beverages, Refuge Coffee + Beer will serve Texas wine and run a food program. However, as of press time the website is still being built with lorem ipsum text and no contact information or social media presence. A countdown clock does promise that the joint will be open by April 1, and permits have been filed with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Details about the latest haunt settling into the booming Southtown neighborhood are also slim. Located in the former Jokesters 22 space at 713 S Alamo St., Blush has thus far offered three concrete clues: it will serve baked goods, brunch, and cocktails. Otherwise, the project flexes an Italianate atmosphere, scoring one post with the White Lotus theme song and another showcasing a pair of Testa di Moro-style planters. No word yet on whether Tanya McQuoid will actively be in danger there.