Grammy love for Austin artists

Lo­cals nom­i­nated in a va­ri­ety of cat­e­gories; the win­ners will be an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary.

Austin American-Statesman - - LIFE & ARTS - Mongillo Ellen Jef­fer­son, a vet­eri­nar­ian and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Austin Pets Alive, at home with her dog Pidgey, 12, a Sharpei and Ridge­back mix that Jef­fer­son adopted many years ago. Pidgey has nerve dam­age from hav­ing dis­tem­per as a puppy. CONTRIBUTED

Austin mu­si­cians scored well in the 55th Grammy Awards nominations that were an­nounced last week. They in­clude Ruthie Fos­ter, who re­ceived a nom­i­na­tion in the best blues al­bum cat­e­gory for her 2012 al­bum “Let It Burn.”

Part-time Austin res­i­dent and pre­vi­ous Grammy win­ner Esper­anza Spald­ing re­ceived three nominations, for best jazz vo­cal al­bum, best in­stru­men­tal ar­range­ment ac­com­pa­ny­ing vo­cal­ist(s) and best long form mu­sic video. Liz Kweller was nom­i­nated in the best boxed or lim­ited-edi­tion package cat­e­gory for her work on Ben Kweller’s al­bum “Go Fly A Kite.”

“He Is My Story: The Sanc­ti­fied Soul of Ari­zona Dranes,” which in­cluded a book by former Amer­i­canS­tates­man mu­sic writer Michael Cor­co­ran, re­ceived a nom­i­na­tion in the best his­tor­i­cal al­bum cat­e­gory. “This One’s For Him: A Trib­ute to Guy Clark,” which in­cludes con­tri­bu­tions from Wil­lie Nel­son, Patty Grif­fin, Robert Earl Keen, Joe Ely and Shawn Colvin, among oth­ers, was nom­i­nated in the best folk al­bum cat­e­gory.

Fos­ter, on the phone from a tour stop in Bos­ton, said she was caught off guard when she got the news. It’s her sec­ond nom­i­na­tion — she was

While vol­un­teer­ing at the old Town Lake An­i­mal Shel­ter, vet­eri­nar­ian Ellen Jef­fer­son saw too many an­i­mals killed.

“It didn’t feel like I was mak­ing a big im­pact,” Jef­fer­son says. “But I felt like if I could stop the in­flow, fewer would come into shel­ter, so more could go out alive.”

In 1999, Jef­fer­son founded Emancipet, a non­profit group which spays or neuters an­i­mals.

By the time she left the group — which keeps grow­ing with­out her — they were per­form­ing 16,000 surg­eries a year, mostly from a roam­ing clinic. That su­per­hu­man feat, how­ever, didn’t make the ex­pected im­pact on the num­ber of an­i­mals eu­th­a­nized at the city’s shel­ter.

“Rab­ble-rousers were say­ing that we were still killing too many,” she says. “And I ig­nored them. The more I lis­tened to them, how­ever, the more I re­al­ized we weren’t ac­tu­ally low­er­ing the kill rate.”

So in 2008, Jef­fer­son — a calm and mea­sured an­i­mal wel­fare ac­tivist — re­ac­ti­vated Austin Pets Alive, a group ded­i­cated in 1997 to sav­ing more shel­ter an­i­mals, 50 per­cent of which were be­ing killed.

Austin Pets Alive, in con­cert with scores of smaller res­cue groups, has, by tar­get­ing spe­cific an­i­mal groups, put the Austin save rate above 90 per­cent, the only large city in the coun­try to do so.

Jef­fer­son, whose group now works from the old shel­ter as well as pop-up adop­tion cen­ters, says she be­lieves the save rate can be driven up to an al­most in­con­ceiv­able 98 per­cent.

“It’s ex­po­nen­tially harder to get those last an­i­mals cared for, housed safely and adopted,” she ad­mits. “It’s also ex­po­nen­tially more ex­pen­sive.”

Des­tined to help

Mar­ried to horse vet Da­mon O’Gan, Jef­fer­son, 41, was born in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy. Her fa­ther, Wayne Jef­fer­son, is a re­tired Air Force pi­lot and two-star gen­eral.

“He’s an im­pres­sive guy,” Jef­fer­son says with a wide grin. “I’m not as much like him as I’d like to be.”

Her mother, Bon­nie Was­sell Jef­fer­son, was an Austin school­teacher be­fore rais­ing a fam­ily.

“She’s a real peo­ple per­son,” says Jef­fer­son, who tends to­ward shy­ness. “She’s gre­gar­i­ous and fun-lov­ing.”

Like many mil­i­tary chil­dren, Jef­fer­son lived all over the place, but she grad­u­ated from high school in Alexan­dria, Va. She stud­ied bi­ol­ogy, ecol­ogy and other sub­jects at Trin­ity

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.