Month: July 2012

A Star Among Stars : Beck Hammon

At the San Antonio Silver Stars’ “media day” at the AT&T Center, just a few days beforethe start of the 2012 season, guard Becky Hammon is pretty much the center of attention. Though the event is open to outside media, it is mainly an opportunity forthe team to shoot publicity photos, record brief interviews with the players and produce a variety of PSA videos to be used later as needed. Hammon spends a good chunk of time recording the latter, patiently reading from ateleprompter a variety of messages, from acknowledgments of sponsors and a breast cancerawareness promo to holiday...

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San Antonio’s Poet Laureate

Though no actual laurel crown was placed on her head, on April 3, Mayor Julián Castro officially appointed author and educator Carmen Tafolla as San Antonio’s first poet laureate and the first city laureate in the state of Texas. It was along-awaited ceremony. First suggested in 2005 by the late poet Trinidad Sanchez, the idea of having our own poet laureate was eventually adopted by the Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA), which began researching similar initiatives in other cities. But it took years before it finally became a reality this spring as part of the mayor’s larger SA2020 vision...

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The Art of Grant Writing

Unlike firefighters, cowboys or ballerinas, Sharon Sanchez doesn’t have a high-concept job. “When I tell people I do grant writing, they think: ‘Cool! Can you get me a car loan?’” she says with a smile. “Nobody understands what I do.” Actually, it’s easier said than done: As director of grants and recognition for North Side Independent School District (NISD), Sanchez and her staff of nine apply for funding for educational programs from federal entitlement programs, foundations and corporations. They also nominate district staff for awards recognizing excellence in teachers, administrators and schools. At any one time, they may have 10 to 15 grant applications in progress. In recent years, as funding grew scarce, the process has become highly competitive. Sanchez keeps an eye on all the projects her department is working on, oversees the district’s North Side Foundation fundraising arm, conducts training and still does grant writing of her own. There is no slow season. “I wish there was a downtime,” she says. “As the district grows, our needs have grown. We’re busy all year-round.” Sanchez and her staff “have to live for the deadline,” she says. “Everybody stays late or takes work home. We do what we have to do to get the job done, even if that means evening hours or weekends.” No one, she acknowledges, grows up wanting to be a grant writer, at least not...

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New Life for a Dominion Cottage

Some houses, like runway models, are blessed with good bones. No matter how you dress them, their basic structure makes them stand out in a crowd. There is a home in the Dominion Cottage Estates that is a perfect example of good bone structure. Designed by a California architect and built in 1976, the home was originally a vacation residence. While it was elegant and beautifully decorated, it needed updating by the time it was purchased by the second owner. The couple that purchased the home lived there several years before deciding to renovate. “We downscaled when we moved...

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Growing Food in the Backyard

Though for most of us, “gardening” entails little more than mowing the lawn, a growing number of city dwellers are putting their backyards to productive use. These enterprising folks are turning parts of their property into small agricultural plots where they cultivate all sorts of wonderful edibles, from tomatoes and peppers to fig, olive and tangerine trees. And some have taken to raising chickens as well. The urban agriculture trend is growing all over the country, and San Antonio is no exception. Motivations vary, but with a current emphasis on healthy eating, many people are trying to avoid commercially...

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