by Joe Courter
What does a former news reporter do with his experiences covering Gainesville for eight years at the Sun?
Well, in Larry Schnell’s case, he writes a satirical book about it, and he will be at the Civic Media Center (433 S. Main St.) with copies of the book (or you can buy it at Wild Iris Books) on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 7pm.
The Year of The Gator is based around a storyline of shaky business investment, quick money scheming, political gamesmanship, some quite interesting characters and situations which are only a tad removed from actual people and true happenings of the time he was reporting for the Sun and the Times-Union, which is already set in the familiar confines of Alachua County.
There is a parallel to Chambergate, an actual happening when the new pro-business Sun publisher colluded with the Chamber of Commerce and the UF Administration to stifle the environmental advocacy work of a couple UF professors, and a transcriber of the meeting tapes was so offended by it, they leaked the transcripts. There’s a fight over a cement plant, election shenanigans, corrupt economic development efforts by powerful interests–and it is a damn fun read.
Larry now lives in Cooperstown, NY. Besides reporting he also taught English, journalism and writing for several colleges and the University of Florida. D