NATURE: You know an award will last when only the very best candidates are honored. The Travis Audubon Society has established such a durable prize in the Victor Emanuel Conservation Award, given out Saturday at the Austin Hyatt Regency. During its short history, the award has gone to Emanuel, a globally revered nature guide; Andrew Sansom, river advocate and director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment; Carter Smith, charismatic director of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department; and J. David Bamberger, trailblazing rancher and president of the Bamberger Ranch Preserve. Who could walk in this company? Georgean and Paul Kyle, toymakers who started the Chaetura Canyon Preserve near Mansfield Dam with a $75 loan. “Then the chimney swifts abducted us,” Georgan said when accepting the award. “And we’ve learned so much from them.” In fact, the soft-spoken Austin couple is credited with bringing back the declining species by designing artificial chimneys where they can roost. More than 200 of them have been scattered around the country. The Kyles are truly humble heroes. How many people have saved a species?
PROFILE: Limpy the Clown finds rate chances to spread joy after years of poverty. Taken from Pat Beach‘s superb story in the Statesman: “Limpy the Clown still lives. Sort of. His red nose is usually in Billy Ray Howard’s pants pocket, with balloons at the ready in the other pocket. It’s July. Limpy’s oversized shoes are in the corner of a converted garage Howard has called home for about a year. His prospects changed when his son’s mother found out he was living on the streets. She told Howard he could stay at her place — for about $400 a month and another $20 for cable — there’s a microwave, a boom box, a mini-fridge, a throw rug over the concrete floor, and Limpy the Clown posters, pictures and memorabilia on the walls.” “http://shar.es/1m5KC9
POLITICS: New system could amplify Hispanic voices in Austin. Taken from Lilly Rockwell‘s illuminating story in the Statesman: “Hispanics tried for years to breach the gentlemen’s agreement. The bargain struck by two white men in the 1970s, and held in place for decades by some of Austin’s most entrenched political interests, ensured there would be a seat on the City Council reserved for a Hispanic member and another for an African-American. But only those two seats. Hispanics who tried to upend the system by running for other council seats struck out, lacking the blessing of influential community or business groups whose endorsements and donations could carry a campaign.” http://shar.es/1m5Kt0