Category Archives: October 2011

Stetson Kennedy (1917-2011) and the pursuit of truth

by Paul Ortiz

This article was originally published on Aug. 27 in “Facing South” by the Institute for Southern Studies

Stetson Kennedy passed away today. He was 94 years old. Stetson died peacefully, in the presence of his beloved wife Sandra Parks at Baptist Medical Center South in St. Augustine, Florida.

Stetson Kennedy spent the better part of the 20th century doing battle with racism, class oppression, corporate domination, and environmental degradation in the American South. By mid-century Stetson had become our country’s fiercest tribune of hard truths; vilified by the powerful, Stetson did not have the capacity to look away from injustice. His belief in the dignity of the South’s battered sharecroppers, migrant laborers, and turpentine workers made him the region’s most sensitive and effective folklorist.

Continue reading

7th Annual Florida Bat Festival

by Jessica Newman

When we think of a bat here in Gainesville, we think of the little guys we see right before dusk who could be confused for a small bird or even a large bug. But on Saturday, Oct. 29, locals will have the opportunity to see a fruit bat with a wingspan of more than five feet (the largest bat species in the world) right here at home, thanks to the Lubee Bat Conservancy’s Annual Bat Festival.

Continue reading

Florida students fight proposed tuition hikes

by Fernando Figueroa, Gainesville SDS

Eighty members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and their allies participated in a march in Gainesville on Sept. 16 against annual tuition hikes planned by administrators at the University of Florida (UF). Administrators say they will raise tuition by 15 percent or more each year through 2019.

Continue reading

Florida’s nuclear threats loom

by Michael Canney, Co-Chair of the Green Party of Florida

Progress Energy’s nuclear plant at Crystal River (CR-3) is one of more than 100 aging US reactors approaching the end of their life spans. Engineered to run for 40 years, CR-3 was supposed to begin decommissioning in 2014, when its federal license expires, but the nuclear utilities persuaded the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to create a fast-track relicensing process for the old reactors, postponing the expensive decommissioning process and allowing old nukes to generate power & profits for another 20 years.More than 60 old reactors already have rubber-stamp license renewals from the NRC, and four reactors in Florida are set to receive them, including Crystal River, which has been offline since September 2009 when cracking and delamination problems were discovered in the concrete and steel containment vessel.

Continue reading

Coat drive helps local people in need stay warm

The cooler nights are upon us, soon to be followed by cooler days and cold nights. Here is your opportunity to make sure that nobody goes without such a basic necessity as a coat this winter.

The Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry, Inc. (ACCHH), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is collecting new and clean, gently used outerwear such as coats, jackets, sweatshirts and sweaters. Gloves, mittens, scarves, hats, sleeping bags, tents and blankets are also welcome. All shapes and sizes are needed, but the need is greatest for LARGE and EXTRA LARGE adult sized coats and jackets.

Bring your clean, gently used coats to the Alachua County Housing Authority, 703 N.E. 1st St. in Gainesville between 9am and 4pm, Monday through Friday. Coats will be accepted now through March 1, 2012. All donated coats will be distributed free of charge through Coalition member agencies to local people in need.

Publix (still) needs to do the right thing

By Richard K. MacMaster

Thirty Gainesville religious leaders signed a letter to Publix supermarket executives urging them to meet with representatives of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and discuss the possibility of paying an additional penny per pound for tomatoes. They made the letter public in a press conference at City Hall on July 28 and on the day after Labor Day announced it to state-wide supporters in front of Publix’s corporate headquarters, at the prayer service culminating the CIW’s recent two hundred mile bicycle “Pilgrimage to Publix.” But local residents may not understand why these clergy are pressing their friends at Publix to do the right thing.

Continue reading

Musical October for the Civic Media Center

by Joe Courter

Once again this year the Alachua Conservation Trust and the Civic Media Center are joining forces for an Oktoberfest celebration at the Prairie Creek Lodge. The event will be on Friday evening October 14th from 5:30pm until 10pm and beyond the good people from both organizations, as well as the food and liquid refreshment, we will have the added pleasure one of Florida’s best singer/songwriters, Sam Pacetti, who will be in concert at 8pm. Sam is a real treasure as a human being, a St Augustine Florida native who learned guitar style from the famed Gamble Rodgers as a young man, and has continued to grow and develop his talents, in recent years living in Virginia but now back in Florida and working on a new CD.

Continue reading

Gainesville Celebrates Food Day

by Leah Cohen, Gainesville Food Day Co-Coordinator

The nation will celebrate Food Day on Oct. 24. Gainesville communities and organizations are planning so many activities that they couldn’t all fit in one day. Events will kick off Oct. 15 with a fair food panel discussion and film at the Civic Media Center, sponsored by the CMC, Florida Organic Growers, the Citizen’s Co-op and the Agricultural Justice Project. Students at Morning Meadow Preschool and Kindergarten and Heart Pine School will plant fall gardens the week leading up to Food Day. Check out for information on other events.

Continue reading

“Behind Closed Doors”: the dark legacy of the Johns Committee

By Jessica Newman

While many are familiar with the Red Scare days of the McCarthy Era, few know about the infamous Johns Committee, named after State Senator Charley Johns, Florida’s very own anti-communist, anti-homosexual regime.

“Behind Closed Doors,” a documentary produced by UF graduates Allyson A. Beutke and Scott Litvack, tells this haunting story of a committee that targeted people in academic institutions, public restrooms and bus stations. And while Florida State University and the University of South Florida attempted to prevent the Johns Committee from harassing its professors, the University of Florida and its president at the time, J. Wayne Reitz, actually cooperated outright with the committee, feeding it with tips and ratting out its own personnel.

Continue reading

Perfect storm from Alberta threatens climate crisis

by Rob Brinkman

A perfect storm of ecological, human and climatic catastrophe is brewing in Alberta, Canada. The mining of Canadian Tar Sands and plans to pipe the resulting toxic brew to the Texas Gulf Coast for refining and likely export will mean, in the words of world-renowned climatologist Dr. James Hansen, “game over” for efforts to stabilize Earth’s climate.

Continue reading

Michael Moore: Jail bankers who wrecked our economy, not protestors

The following is part of an interview that Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman did with Michael Moore after he visited the Occupy Wall St. demonstrations. A full transcript is available at

Continue reading

Growing Occupy Wall Street protests enter third week

You might not know it by reading the Gainesville Sun but the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York City are entering their third week. Thousands of people have joined in with hundreds arrested and mounting reports and evidence of police brutality. As we went to press, more than 700 protesters were arrested for shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge. Since events are changing rapidly we’ve included a few online resources for you to follow (facing page). The Occupy Together solidarity movement is growing with actions taking place/developing in hundreds of cities —including Gainesville (see box). The letter below by Arun Gupta, editor of The Indypendent in NYC (, was posted by Naomi Klein on her site

Continue reading

Unions say postal default is a big lie

by Jenny Brown, Labor Notes

The story line from Postal Service management is simple and apocalyptic: The public is emailing and paying bills online, and the loss of revenue is bankrupting the post office. It will default on payments in November. Next year it won’t be able to gas up vehicles or pay workers.

The solution, management says, is for Congress to let it break union contracts, lay off 120,000 workers, eliminate Saturday delivery, close 3,500 post offices and 200 processing plants, slash benefits, and contract out work. In other words, destroy the service in order to save it. Continue reading