Grammy love for Austin artists
Locals nominated in a variety of categories; the winners will be announced in February.
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