Category Archives: Articles

June-July 2024 Gainesville Iguana

The June-July issue of the Iguana is now available, and you can access it here! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.

Editors’ picks: News that didn’t fit

Florida ‘callously’ strips healthcare from thousands of children despite new law
Gov. Ron De Santis’s challenging of a ‘continuous eligibility’ rule has booted over 22,500 children off insurance since January
by Richard Luscombe ~ The Guardian ~ April 29 ~
The DeSantis administration has stripped Medicaid “KidCare” coverage from at least 22,000 needy Florida children — probably illegally. 

House GOP committee pits young against old
Mainstream media often gets it wrong these days when covering Social Security
by Tia Maria ~ Gainesville Iguana ~ June 1 ~
It’s not just seniors who should be concerned about cutting social security — young people will need their earned Social Security benefits perhaps even more than their parents and grandparents. Let’s change the conversation from cutting benefits to increasing revenue sources.

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House GOP committee pits young against old

By Tia Maria

Mainstream media often gets it wrong these days when covering Social Security. Details from current Democratic proposals to strengthen the program and Republican proposals for cuts, such as raising the retirement age, usually are lost in the verbiage of the overly confident, or are just ignored completely.

But young people will need their earned Social Security benefits perhaps even moreso than their parents and grandparents. One main reason is that previous generations relied on income from pensions in their retirement years. Today, pensions are rare and 401(k)s depend on Wall Street in a market subject to extreme volatilities. Think of 2000, 2008 and 2015. Add to this decades of tax cuts for the wealthy resulting in the inequality, poverty and homelessness we see today. 

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It is time to … WAKE UP!

by Bill Gilbert

We are being overwhelmed by our failure to keep up with change. Forty-six percent of the American population, according to recent studies, experience stress, anxiety and/or depression.

The United States has the worst social record of any developed country in the world and many developing countries. The character of a society depends on how it treats its most vulnerable members: the poor, minorities, children, elders, and immigrants, LGBTQ, and migrants. We are: number one in prison population with 2.3 million people incarcerated, first in teen birth rates, and some of the highest rates of STD’s, first in illiteracy, poverty, racism, homelessness, income disparity, child hunger, child poverty, drug use and drug related deaths, use of antidepressants, violence, firearms deaths, not providing access to health care for all of its citizens, not providing child care for working parents, never-ending inflation, the most military spending, hazardous waste production, recorded rapes, and the poor quality of its public schools, and lowest in life expectancy. This is warp-speed decline.  Some political observers call the inability of government to solve these problems, ‘constitutional rot,’ that has contributed to wrong decisions in the past.

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In the face of state attacks on abortion … Generation Action UF initiative offers reproductive health resources via the The Brown Bag Project <3

by Ashley Sanguino

There is little doubt that abortion has become a key issue in this year’s election.

Florida has become a prime battleground for legislatures to target reproductive rights and attack abortion.

On Monday, April 1, the State Supreme Court announced two key decisions regarding abortion rights. In one case, the 15-week ban was deemed constitutional, allowing for the 6-week ban to go into effect on  May 1, which will bar access and threaten the health and safety of Floridians across the state.

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Home Rule for Gainesville Regional Utilities

by Janice Garry and Nancy Daren, with support from Bobby Mermer, Roberta Gastmyer and Jason Fultz

Since House Bill 1645 (Energy Resources) was introduced during the 2023 legislative session, the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Alachua County has stood in vocal opposition. 

Without local notification or meaningful input, the bill went straight to the state legislature. It passed the legislature and was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis and became law 2023-348, creating a new section, Article VII, in the city charter.  

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S.O.S. (Save Our Station), Keep the magic alive!

by Fred Sowder, WGOT Volunteer

It was the summer of 1989. I had just started classes at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. The truth of the matter was that I was really there to be a part of its college radio station, WVUM. It was a magical time for music. Nirvana had yet to hit it big and local Miami bands like Nuclear Valdez and The Mavericks showed great promise. The radio station there had wall-to-wall live hosts 24 hours a day. To the point, in fact, that I wasn’t able to get a show on my own until November of that year.

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Roller Rebels home bouts April 13, 27

Looking for a unique weekend activity you can bring the whole family to? The Gainesville Roller Rebels are playing two home games this month on April 13 and April 27. 

On Saturday, April 13, the Swamp City Sirens and the Millhopper Devils home teams, both made up of GRR skaters, will face off for GRR’s first game of the season! And on Saturday, April 27, GRR will take on longtime rivals Tallahassee Roller Derby! You won’t want to miss these hard-hitting games.

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Florida’s rich history of Black cowboys, cowgirls

by Carol Mosley

I’m still angry at my formal education when I learn the untold stories of American history. At 72 years old, I’m only now learning about the prevalence and importance of Black cowboys and cowgirls in the history of the American west and of my own state of Florida.

Though not known for being a major cattle state, Florida had, and still has, its own Black cowboys who tend to everything on the ranch from herding cows to training horses. In 2022, Florida produced 3 percent of the nation’s beef cows. 

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Yes you vote

by Joe Courter

There will be primaries in August, and then the final election in November. Many things will play out between now and then. Please, just know you need to vote.

Message to students: Change your voter registration to Gainesville, you are representing future students coming to town. Better city and county Commissioners is a good legacy to leave. Also, if you have moved, update your registration with the Supervisor of Elections office.

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Festival blends the arts into environmental stewardship, science and African American culture

by Carol Mosley

For more than 40 years the Cultural Arts Coalition has been a voice for presenting African American history and culture through arts, environmental stewardship and science programs.

CAC is based out of, and manages, the Wilhelmina Johnson Community Center. The WJRC is rented by local groups for events, meetings and classes. This community resource is in a precarious position, with the City of Gainesville facing severe budget cuts that will result in loss of funding for many non-profit programs.

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The cinematic truth: Cinema Verde Film Festival 2024

Cinema Verde, a non-profit dedicated to environmental education, will host its 15th annual film festival at Cypress and Grove Brewing Company in Gainesville, featuring films directed by an array of artists who value the natural environment. 

On April 20-22, the festival promises an enriching cinematic experience and counters misleading information surrounding climate change. In light of various educational bodies’ recent decisions to feature climate-related content that is derived from industry and may not be valid scientifically, Cinema Verde remains dedicated to delivering accurate information rooted in science.

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Robert H. Zieger Prize offers $1,000 award

The Southern Labor Studies Association awards the Robert H. Zieger Prize at the biennial Southern Labor Studies Conference for the best unpublished essay in southern labor studies written by a graduate student or early career scholar, journalist, or activist. The Zieger Prize includes a $1,000 award.

The Robert H. Zieger Prize was established in 2013 with the cooperation of the Zieger family and members of SLSA. The prize is named in honor of the late Robert H. Zieger – a teacher, scholar, and tireless union activist. Zieger was a prolific, award-winning writer whose books include For Jobs and Freedom: Race and Labor in America since 1865 and The CIO, 1935-1955, and three field-defining edited volumes on southern labor history. 

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Saying goodbye to Third House Books

by Heather Halak, Owner, Third House Books

“I was a library kid,” is my short answer when I’m asked how I got into running a bookstore. In elementary school I checked out books so voraciously at Miami-Dade’s West Miami branch that I won their summer reading contest annually.

But the longer answer is, “By accident.” Third House Books wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for my tumultuous not-even-a-year in New York City, return to Gainesville, and ninth circle of hell relationship. But mostly, it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Kiren Valjee, the founder, someone who’d become like family.

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National Faith and Climate Forum, Tuesday, April 16

by Helen Warren and Ellen Siegel

Attention, faith communities: Join an interfaith climate program on April 16 for the National Faith and Climate Forum. Regardless of your faith, come together for an afternoon of climate education, spirituality, and action. Leave empowered and connected to a community making a difference. 

The free program begins at 11:30am, including a light lunch, and ends at 5:15pm. Some segments will be live in person, and some will be broadcast on Zoom. 

We are delighted to welcome both county and city staff, GRU, and several Alachua clergy as local speakers. 

Email for more details, location and how to register. 

From the publisher… Regarding the bridge collapse

by Joe Courter

This story resonates with me on a number of levels. Back in May 1980, I was on the last Greyhound bus to make it all the way across the Sunshine Skyway bridge. The next bus in the morning made it halfway, and then into the drink, killing 35 people. Watching the news the next morning was kind of eerie. A bit personal.

But this event, and the videos. Wow. You see the cargo ship Dali under power, then its lights go out. Then they get it started, smoke belching from the engines. Cars and trucks are still going by. Its lights come back up, but it is too late to prevent what’s coming, they’ve lost control of the massive ship. Amazingly, you can also see traffic has disappeared. Then, the impact splash and down it comes. A tragic fluke, but overall, the infrastructure worked well, especially getting traffic stopped after the quick Mayday call. 

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Virtual teach-in on academic freedom, DEI, and the future of higher education in Florida

April 17, 5-6:30pm

by United Faculty of Florida, UF Chapter

In conjunction with the American Association of University Professors and faculty at campuses across the nation, the United Faculty of Florida-UF will participate in the National Day of Action for Higher Education for the Public Good on April 17 by holding a virtual teach-in on Academic Freedom, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and the Future of Higher Education in Florida on Wednesday, April 17, 5-6:30 pm. This teach-in will be conducted via Zoom.

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Rallying against the ‘Countries of Concern’ bill

by Eva A. García Ferrés, Co-President of Graduate Assistants United

On Tuesday, March 26, members of the University of Florida along with community supporters and representatives from national organizations such as the ACLU,  joined to protest the passing and implementation of SB 846. The bill is more commonly known as the “Countries of Concern” bill, as it codifies entities (i.e., universities, organizations, applicants) from Cuba, Syria, Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea as potentially dangerous for national safety. 

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Responding to Amendment 4 and the 6-week abortion ban

by the Gainesville Radical Reproductive Rights Network

On Monday, April 1, the Supreme Court of Florida issued two decisions impacting abortion access for Floridians. First, the Court upheld the 15-week ban on abortion, which will trigger a 6-week ban for Floridians starting May 1. Second, the Court decided that Amendment 4 (Right to Abortion Initiative) will be on the November general election ballot, despite a Florida Attorney General challenge. While the ballot decision is a win for Floridians fighting for reproductive rights, thousands of Floridians being denied health care access by the impending 6-week ban is tragic.

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April-May 2024 Gainesville Iguana

The April-May issue of the Iguana is now available, and you can access it here! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.