Weeks after winning more Grammys, Willie Nelson is getting a new kind of honor: a university endowment in Texas. The 89-year-old country music icon, who in the 1980s helped launch the Farm Aid benefit concerts, is the namesake of the new Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communities at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs, the school announced Wednesday. The endowment will fund research and student fellowships benefiting rural and farm communities. The "Always on My Mind" singer has raised more than $70 million for family farm owners through Farm Aid, according to the school, which also plans to honor the Texas native at a May gala. He will receive the LBJ Foundation's Liberty and Justice for All award. "Willie Nelson is a national treasure who gained fame through his sheer musical talent and won hearts as someone who truly cares about the lives of his fellow Americans," said Larry Temple, chairman of the foundation's board of trustees. At the Grammys last month, Nelson's won best country album for "A Beautiful Time" and best country solo performance for "Live Forever." He has won a dozen Grammys over the course of his career.
Former "Baywatch" star Alexandra Paul and a co-defendant were found not guilty of theft after taking two chickens from a Foster Farms truck in 2021. The actress and Alicia Santurio were acquitted of misdemeanor theft charges after a trial last week in Merced County, Calif. The two activists took the chickens from a truck outside of Foster Farms' Livingston, Calif., plant in what they called an "open rescue." The incident was captured on video by animal activist organization Direct Action Everywhere and posted online within hours. "This is a victory for [the chickens] Ethan, Jax, and all other living beings subjected to abuse by corporations like Foster Farms," Santurio said in a news release from the activist group. "I have so much love for the chickens in my family and I want all animals to experience that safety and respect." "This is how we shape history," Paul said, "by using our privileges to confront unjust industries that exploit animals." The verdict marks the second recent victory for activists who've taken animals from commercial facilities. In October, activists with the same group who took piglets from a Smithfield Foods facility in Utah were also acquitted.