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Utopia recognized by Keep Texas Beautiful

Special to the Courier

Keep Texas Beautiful, a statewide grassroots environmental and community improvement organization, recently named Utopia a Gold Star Affiliate. In 2013, the Gold Star recognition, the highest status any community affiliate can achieve, was conferred on just 62 of KTB's more than 360 affiliates.

Utopia successfully implemented programs to prevent litter, reduce waste, beautify community areas, educate local citizens and operate Utopia Recycles, a recycling facility that serves Utopia and surrounding communities. Keep Utopia Beautiful serves as a catalyst for reducing the human footprint on the natural world with a mission to be a nurturing steward of the area's canyon lands.

To stay in good standing with KTB, community affiliates must submit an annual report, pay dues, attend at least one training session and participate in at least one KTB-endorsed activity.

In 2004, the organization introduced the concept of Gold Star recognition to reward communities seeking to go above and beyond the established requirements.

To achieve this status, affiliates are required to meet additional benchmarks that include sharing information on their mission and goals, answering questions about their educational programs and solid waste initiatives, participating in the Keep Texas Beautiful or Governor's Community Achievement Awards programs and providing a letter of support from their community. KTB formally recognized Gold Star communities during its 46th annual conference, held in June in San Antonio.

The mission of Keep Texas Beautiful, a statewide grassroots environmental and community improvement nonprofit, is to educate and engage Texans to take responsibility for improving their community environment. KTB and its more than 360 affiliates work with government, businesses, civic groups and volunteers to ensure every Texan has the opportunity to make Texas the cleanest, most beautiful state in the nation.

For more information on programs and events, call 1-800-CLEAN-TX or visit www.ktb.org.

Keep Utopia Beautiful (KUB) serves the unincorporated community of Utopia on the Sabinal River in far northeastern Uvalde County and other small towns and rural areas in Uvalde, Real and Bandera Counties.

For more information on programs and events, visit www.keeputopiabeautiful.org

Pictured: In June, Cathie Gail, right, executive director of Keep Texas Beautiful, presented Doris Howdeshell, chair of Keep Utopia Beautiful, with a certificate naming the local grassroots organization as a prestigious Gold Star Affiliate.