Axios San Antonio

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💘 Happy Valentine's Day! You're the top story in our hearts.

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Today's weather: Optimal cuddle weather — cloudy and drizzly with a high near 66.

🫶 Sounds like: "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer

⛪️ Situational awareness: It's also Ash Wednesday, marking the start of Lent, which means seafood spots could be extra busy today.

Today's newsletter is 935 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: New place to paddle

Rendering of the upcoming Live Oak facility. Photo: Courtesy of David Komet

Texas Pickle Hall is opening soon as San Antonio joins other U.S. cities in a race to accommodate one of the fastest-growing sports in the country.

Why it matters: Though San Antonio ranked 74th in a 2023 list of 93 pickleball cities, it's striving to catch up by renovating public courts and opening privately owned facilities.

  • The new venue, solely focused on the sport, provides another good option for enthusiasts or those looking to jump on the bandwagon.

Details: Jesse Diaz, co-owner of Handz Pickleball, teamed up with Urban Earth founder David Komet to build the space at 201 Shin Oak in Live Oak.

  • It'll be about 28,000 square feet with a gear shop, 12 indoor courts and one outdoor court.
  • The indoor accommodations will make it easier for people to play during San Antonio's increasingly hot summers.
  • Texas Pickle Hall is expected to open by late summer or early fall.

Yes, but: While existing pickleball-centered spots like Chicken N Pickle offer food and drinks, Texas Pickle Hall will solely focus on the sport.

  • There will not be a bar or restaurant attached to the courts.
  • The facility will be available for open play, tournaments and group events.

By the numbers: San Antonio has 2.3 pickleball courts per 100,000 people, according to a 2023 analysis by Trust for Public Land, a pro-parks nonprofit.

What they're saying: "I saw there were too many people waiting around to play and not enough courts. Part of it was filling a demand but also a place to play when it's extremely hot or cold," Diaz tells Axios.

What's next: Diaz and Komet say a website with membership pricing will be published as soon as permits are finalized.

  • "We're excited to do it because we think it's a great business, community asset and contributes to physical wellbeing. And what surprised me the most is how much it contributes to mental well-being," Komet tells Axios.

Read more

2. 💕 H-E-B happenstance

The Landas. Photo: Madalyn Mendoza/Axios

If a rom-com was set in San Antonio, Eddie and Debbie Landa's meet cute in the aisles of H-E-B could serve as the perfect inspiration.

Context: The couple met 41 years ago at the Deco District H-E-B. They've been inseparable ever since and now have three daughters and four grandkids.

Flashback: To Jan. 9, 1983, for this true Combo Loco. Eddie was making a quick H-E-B run for some trash bags so he could rake leaves before the Dallas Cowboys game.

  • That's when he spotted Debbie in the parking lot, riding shotgun in her mom's car.
  • She first set eyes on him in the shavers aisle.

The paths of the eventual soulmates repeatedly crossed as they navigated the store.

  • Debbie now admits to Axios that it wasn't mere coincidence; she may have strategically adjusted her shopping route to catch glimpses of Eddie.
  • A wave of disappointment washed over her when she spotted him in the checkout lane. She feared it would be a missed connection.

Yes, but: When she went back to the car, she found a note with Eddie's number on the windshield.

  • Eddie skipped his chores and sat by the phone all evening, waiting for Debbie to call. He remembers her call coming in around 9pm.
Side-by-side photos showing a handwritten note by Eddie Landa and the couple in their early years.
The young couple with the note that made it all happen. Photo: Madalyn Mendoza/Axios

The Landas will celebrate 39 years of marriage in March.

  • Eddie buys Debbie a "Happy Day We Met" cake from H-E-B every Jan. 9 to celebrate their cart-to-heart meeting.

What they're saying: The couple agrees singles should skip the apps and try to meet people organically, like in the frozen food aisle.

  • "Sashay along and bat an eye or two," Debbie jokes.

The bottom line: H-E-B's Super Bowl commercial was right — every aisle is a chance to fall in love.

Share with your love

3. Inside the Loop

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Police are searching for two suspects involved in an escalator attack at North Star Mall in which an 81-year-old man was yanked down the moving stairs. (KSAT)

Mission Adventure Tours is opening in March for weekend paddling on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio River (Facebook/SA Riverwalk)

Former Spurs player Bryn Forbes was charged for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend yesterday. (Express-News 🔒)

4. Cornyn-Paxton beef gets personal

Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images and Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, both Republicans, are publicly feuding over a variety of issues — and it's getting personal.

Why it matters: The public bickering typifies the rift inside the Texas GOP, between more isolationist, MAGA-friendly Republicans aligned with Paxton and traditional conservatives like Cornyn.

What happened: In the latest back and forth, Paxton fired first on X, criticizing Cornyn's late-night vote in favor of a $95 billion foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

  • Cornyn quickly replied, calling out Paxton's ongoing legal troubles.
  • Undeterred, Paxton then called Cornyn an "America Last RINO."

The big picture: Cornyn was one of 22 Republican senators who voted in favor of the bill, despite strong opposition from former President Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has indicated he won't bring the bill to the House floor — at least as is.

5. Cheers to the single ladies

Share of housing units owned and occupied by single women, 2022
Data: LendingTree; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Single women own more homes than single men in Texas and throughout the United States.

Why it matters: Sixty years ago, women couldn't even get a credit card or a mortgage without a male cosigner.

State of play: Census data shows 10.7% of homes in Texas are owned by single women, compared with 8.5% by single men, Axios' Brianna Crane and Alice Feng report.

  • Nationally, single women own roughly 13% of owner-occupied homes, versus 10.2% by single men.

Reality check: Opportunity isn't equal. Single Latina and Black women have the lowest homeownership rates of any group in the U.S., according to an analysis by the National Women's Law Center released in November.

Thanks to our editor Chloe Gonzales and copy editors Steven Patrick and Yasmeen Altaji.

🤭 Madalyn is considering shaking up her grocery-buying routine by ditching H-E-B Curbside so she can sashay down the aisles and secure a sweetie for Valentine's Day 2025.

👀 Megan is excited to learn that one of the best antique shops ever, Architectural Artifacts, will move from Chicago to Round Top this spring.