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From Sweet Success to the Salt Mine

Some of the stuff we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

We found the best place in the U.S. to look for a job. We also found a place in Texas where the people are totally salt of the earth. And we thought this might be a good time to help you brush up on your knowledge of Sam Rayburn—the man and the lake.

Houston Is Good Career Move

The largest city in Texas is also the best place to look for a career in the United States. According to PayScale.com, a website that analyzes salary data, Houston ranks first among Best Cities for Your Career in 2013.

Houston tied the second-place city, Dallas, in unemployment rate at 6.9 percent but posted a higher wage growth margin at 3.9 percent. Its major oil and gas industry and leadership in the medical field helped solidify the top spot.

PayScale factored wage growth within metro areas and analyzed the oil

and gas, technology, and biomedical industries, which all are growing, to determine which cities’ workforces would have the most opportunity and financial success.

Katie Bardaro, director of analytics at PayScale said, “All three industries are experiencing increased demand for their products and services, which means they are hiring and paying accordingly.”

Way Salty

The folks in Grand Saline, between Dallas and Longview near Interstate 20, are about as close to being salt of the earth as you can get. The small town sits atop the largest salt mine in Texas, 3.75 miles wide and 20,000 feet deep. Owned by Morton Salt and the little girl with an umbrella, it’s said that Grand Saline’s mine contains enough salt to meet the world’s needs for the next 20,000 years. The word saline (pronounced SAY-leen) actually means “containing salt,” so Grand Saline (suh-LEEN) is quite fitting. Many homes and businesses in the outlying areas are members of Wood County Electric Cooperative.

The main attraction in the town with a little more than 3,000 people is Salt Palace, a building constructed using salt blocks. Built in 1993, this is the third Salt Palace in the town. The previous two succumbed to the weather. (Everyone knows what happens when you mix salt and water.)

On This Date: Sam Rayburn

One hundred years ago April 7, Sam Rayburn of Bonham took his oath of office as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1940, Rayburn became speaker of the House, a position he held for a record 17 years. At the time of his death in 1961, he was the longest-serving member in House history—48 years. (John Dingell of Michigan, who has been in the House since 1955, now holds the record.) Rayburn served in Washington with eight presidents.

By the Numbers: 112,590

That’s the size, in surface acres, of Sam Rayburn Reservoir, according to the Texas Almanac, making it the largest lake that is contained totally in Texas. Amistad Reservoir along the border with Mexico and Toledo Bend Reservoir along the Louisiana border are the only lakes with shorelines in Texas that are larger than Sam Rayburn. Sam Rayburn was formed by damming the Angelina River in 1965. At the start of construction, the project was known as McGee Bend Dam and Reservoir, but it was renamed for the Texas congressman in 1963.