Category Archives: April 2012

3rd Annual Alachua and Marion Counties Peace Poetry Contest


Mohandas Gandhi said, “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

With an increasingly corporate-controlled government that seems to have little regard for the views and desires of the American people, it’s easy to feel helpless and voiceless. Dreams of a peaceful world quickly become mere illusions.

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Walking for the American DREAM

The Campaign for an American DREAM (CAD) kicked off on March 10 on its walk from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. in an effort to create dialogue around the passage of the DREAM Act and immigration reform with the values of equality, unity and diversity.

The walkers are made up of six undocumented students and their allies.

Alex Aldana is a queer undocumented immigrant rights activist who works as a community organizer/health advocate for Latino LGBTQ youth, HIV/AIDS prevention, education and treatment with social justice, advocacy and empowerment to immigrant communities impacted by health disparities in Southern California.

Lucas Da Silva is an undocumented student from Orlando, Fla., who was brought to the U.S. at the age of 12 months from Rio de Janeiro on a tourist visa. He and his family originally moved to New York City, but moved to Orlando after the 9/11 attacks. Da Silva is enrolled at Valencia College in Orlando with a major in Political Science/Philosophy. 

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Workers’ Memorial Day and May Day 2012


The Federation of Organized Trade and Labour Unions in 1884 proclaimed that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1, 1886.” On May 1, 1886, in the U.S., 300,000 workers walked off their jobs from 13,000 businesses to demand the 8-hour workday. Most of the world’s workers celebrate May 1 as May Day or International Workers Day in remembrance of this. However, the U.S. government chose an arbitrary date in September to celebrate Labor Day in order to distance workers from the holiday’s significance.

The Gainesville Area General Membership Branch of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is working with many other local labor, progressive and radical groups to bring Gainesville a fantastic May Day Celebration. So far that list of groups includes the North Central Florida AFL-CIO, Gainesville International Socialist Organization, Gainesville Food Not Bombs, Alachua County Labor Party and Occupy Gainesville. As of the time of this article, we are still in the process of reaching out to many other local groups and hopefully your group has been contacted by now. If not, you can contact the the Gainesville May Day Planning Committee at or stop by our weekly planning meetings, every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Sun Center behind Maudes. For more information, please go to .

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Dear Mr. Econ… What’s up with gas prices?

Hi Mr. Econ,

Why are our gas prices at a gas station tied to the speculative stock market? When did that happen and why?

 Judy Etzler


Dear Reader,

This is a great question, especially in light of current circumstances here in the U.S. Gasoline consumption is down; at the same time, gasoline production in the U.S. is reaching record levels. Classical economics tells us gas prices should be falling. However, with gas prices at the pump reaching $4 per gallon and presidential candidates spouting all sorts of nonsense, who knows what to believe?

Mr. Econ decided to call on a long-time friend and expert in this field to help him answer this question. Dr. Cyrus Bina of the University of Minnesota-Morris is a recognized expert on the economics and geo-politics of oil, and is the author of “The Economics of the Oil Crisis, and most recently, “Oil: A Time Machine—Journey Beyond Fanciful Economics and Frightful Politics.” Dr. Bina has helped us all understand this very intricate subject. However, Mr. Econ takes full responsibility for his answers.

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“The Invisible War” – A Documentary on the Rape Epidemic in the U.S. Military

From Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick comes “The Invisible War,” a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of America’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military.

Gainesville Veterans for Peace has teamed up with the Hippodrome State Theatre to show “The Invisible War” on Tuesday, May 15, at 6:30p.m. The event is co-sponsored by Gainesville Area National Organization for Women, National Women’s Liberation – Gainesville Chapter and Hippodrome Cinema.

The film paints a startling picture of the extent of the problem—today, a female soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. The number of assaults in the last decade alone is believed to be in the hundreds of thousands.

Focusing on the powerful stories of multiple rape victims, “The Invisible War” is a moving indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes, chronicling the women’s struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice. It also features hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officials and members of Congress that reveal the perfect storm of conditions that exist for rape in the military, its long-hidden history, and what can be done to bring about much-needed change.

At the core of the film are interviews with the rape survivors themselves—people like Kori Cioca, who was beaten and raped by her supervisor in the U.S. Coast Guard; Ariana Klay, a Marine who served in Iraq before being gang raped by a senior officer and his friend, then threatened with death; and Trina McDonald who was drugged and raped repeatedly by the military police on her remote Naval station in Adak, Alaska.

And it isn’t just women; according to one study, 1 percent of men in the military—a staggering 20,000 soldiers—were sexually assaulted in 2009.

And while rape victims in the civilian world can normally turn to an impartial police force and justice system for help, rape victims in the military must turn to their command—a move that is all too often met with foot-dragging at best, and reprisals at worst. Many rape victims find themselves forced to choose between speaking up and keeping their careers. Little wonder that only 8 percent of military sexual assault cases are prosecuted.

Tickets for the “The Invisible War” are $7.50 and can be purchased in advance at the Hippodrome State Theatre (25 SE 2nd Place, Gainesville). After the showing, a surprise guest from the film will answer questions and talk further about the inspirations for and impact of the documentary.

For more information on the film, visit

Civic Media Center SpringBoard and 2012 Penrod Awards

Joe Courter presents Katie Walters with one of the two Jack A. Penrod "Brigadas" Award for Peace and Justice. Photo by Jessica Newman.

Every spring, the Civic Media Center holds what it calls its “SpringBoard” fundraiser. From its early beginnings, it was a house party at Board member Paula Stahmer’s until it outgrew the house and neighborhood, and a new home was found at the beautiful Matheson Museum.

This year’s SpringBoard was on March 30, and it was a rousing success, with abundant food, very popular raffle items and a solid silent auction. The CMC gave awards to six productive CMC volunteers and a surprise award to soon-to-be-stepping-down co-coordinator James Schmidt. Gaby Gross, Emily Sparr (who will be stepping into the co-coordinator position), Adrian Pijoan, Sasha Ciupalo, and Ben Barthelme aka “Zoo” were the recognized volunteers, and they were all given a flex pass to the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre’s current play “Aunts.”

The featured speaker this year was Rob Lorei, the news director at Tampa’s fine community radio station WMNF. Lorei addressed the issue of the new forces at hand in our media, and the need for citizens to be active in helping document and spread information through the Internet and social media. He also spoke about how, even though many of us are frustrated with the middle of the road migration of NPR and PBS, they still need to be supported, even while being pressured to do better.

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“All’s Well and Fair” – Gainesville Documentary About Alternative Moms Premiers April 18

The Good Hard Working People production “All’sWell and Fair” will have its world premiere on Wednesday, April 18, at 7p.m. at The Top Secret Space (22 N. Main St., Gainesville). The film’s director, Luci Westphal, and the film’s participants, Rachel Iannelli, Margaret Briggs and their children, are scheduled to attend.

The 90-minute documentary juxtaposes the lives and ideals of three single punk rock mothers on welfare during the 1990s with their realities and opinions 10 years later, giving a unique perspective on alternative culture, growth and identity.

In 1996, single welfare mothers Rachel Guinan (now Iannelli), Margaret Briggs and Tina Bushnell formed a band only to play one song at a local “F*** The Government” song contest. And they won.

Inspired by the spirit of the song, filmmaker Luci Westphal documented the women’s lives and their views on the different subjects mentioned in their lyrics.

10 years later, filming continued with the women discussing the same topics again – now homeowners in their 30s with teenage children and other major life changes.

Juxtaposing the 1996 and “Today” perspectives on each theme, explores how much their opinions and lifestyles have changed over the course of 10 years and how it has influenced the lives of their children. The film inspires the audience not only to contemplate the subjects and the women’s lives, but their own “growing up.”

Upcoming Important Elections – County, State and National

As we look forward to the elections season this year, it is obvious that big money is flexing its muscle. In the presidential race, Romney (or “”) has simply buried his opponents with his huge war chest and all the negative campaigning that large money permits – the ads, the robo-calls, the opinion research and push polls.

Well, get ready Alachua County. The Republican Party is gonna be trying to buy seats on the County Commission. Even though the qualifying period for candidates isn’t until early June, they have their high-funded candidates picked out. and they are piling up the money.

In District One, Mike Byerly’s seat, Brandon C. Kutner already has $11,000. In District Three, which pro-science environmentalist Robert Hutchinson will be running for, the

R’s have Jean Calderwood with $13,000. And then in District Five, local developer’s son Dean Cheshire already has $25,000!

And this is before the April 10 reporting period information comes in; all this money came in before February. The Supervisor of Elections site is very handy to follow the money.

That is not to say the Dems won’t raise some serious money, but from where and what increments is significant to study.

There will be primary elections to thin the field down on Aug. 14. The main election is, of course, Nov. 6.

It is not too early to volunteer and get the word out about the good candidates. We’d suggest in Alachua County support for Byerly, Hutch and Chestnut.

One other candidate needs a mention. Maryhelen Wheeler will (as of now) face Clovis Watson in a Democratic Party primary on Aug. 14 for the District 20 Florida House of Representatives seat. She is a newcomer to electoral politics, but a woman of great experience in education issues, trying to get things done in Tallahassee as an advocate for our schools. Watson has a record of questionable conduct from his time in the City of Alachua as City Manager, and at one point renounced the Democrats and very publicly joined the Republican Party. Now, supposedly, he is back to being a Democrat. Please support Wheeler. Again, the supervisor of election’s site has contact info for the candidates. If you’ve got time, do what you can.

Note from the Publisher – April 2012


This spot will be a regular column going forward, and as with last month, I will
first address subscription support. We need it. This paper is produced with
100% volunteer labor; all the money that comes in goes to its printing and

To those who pick it up for free, it is the subscribers and
advertisers who make that possible (please patronize and thank!!). Please
consider a donation and help offset that burden, even if you do not want it
mailed to you. Think of this as an eventless fundraiser… You make your
donation, but then you don’t have to go anywhere!

To our  loyal subscribers: if you got this in the mail and are due to renew,
you should find a stamped envelope to reply. If you can’t afford the $15
request, less is okay. If you can do more, great.

Here is the reality of our little operation. The printing of 4,500 copies is about $750.00. The mailing to you all is approximately $350. That is about $1,100 per issue, and we do it eight or nine times a year. Our core staff of Jessica, Beth,  Pierce and myself donate many hours. We all believe a tangible paper you can hold in your hands, put in your bathroom, hang on your fridge, whatever you do at home, or one you can pick up while ordering a meal, or read on the bus, or in a waiting room, has value that a purely electronic publication does not have. Let’s keep this going.

There are now, with the Internet, endless sources of information. Each month we try and present a range of interesting and useful articles. Mother Jones, Common Dreams and Democracy Now! are sampled this month, and issues of corporate power and systemic oppression come to light from different angles. There are also events and activities to plug into. And of course, the censored Doonesbury comics. We’ll be out again in mid-May for a May/June edition.  Talk to you then.

April 2012 Gainesville Iguana

Can’t get into town for the print Iguana? Or did you make it to the box a little late this month?


Well, don’t worry! We have the whole April 2012 issue here for your perusal.

The Big Read Comes to Alachua County

The Alachua County Library District is hosting more than 25 free events in April as part of The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The local program will celebrate Ursula K. Le Guin’s “A Wizard of Earthsea,” the foremother to work like the Harry Potter series. For more information on The Big Read, visit or Below is an abridged list of this month’s events.

April 11, 4:30p.m. – The World of Ursula K. LeGuin: A roundtable discussion on the legacy of Le Guin’s books featuring Meredith Ann Pierce, Stephanie Smith, Tace Hedrick, Michelle Harris and Arwen Curry. This event will take place at the Ustler Center for Women’s Studies and Gender on UF’s campus, and is co-sponsored by the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research and the Department of English at UF.

April 12 at 6p.m. and April 13 at 4p.m. – Filmmaker Arwen Curry will speak about and share clips of her documentary “Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin,” which is currently in the works. Thursday’s event on April 12 will take place at 6p.m. at the Library Headquarters (401 E. University Ave. in Gainesville); Friday’s event on April 13 will take place at 4p.m. at the Tower Branch Library (3020 SW 75th St. in Gainesville).

April 13, 1p.m. – Arwen Curry will talk about her documentary “Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin” on Conner Calling, WUFT Classic 89.1 FM. Call or email your questions in to 352-392-8989 or

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Eco-Health Festival, April 21

The Eco-Health Festival is a place for everyone in the Stephen Foster neighborhood and greater Gainesville community to come together and learn more about and discuss the issues surrounding the Koppers Superfund site.

The festival will take place at the Agape Faith Center (936 NW 31st Ave. in Gainesville) on Saturday, April 21, from 10a.m. to 4p.m., and will include live music, games and entertainment for kids, as well as a long list of speakers. Art from the Superfund Art Project and Kid’s Eco-Art Show will be on display, and the first 500 people to arrive at the festival will receive free food from Thai American Foods.

The goal of the festival is to teach people skills and provide expert knowledge so that residents in the Stephen Foster neighborhood have more options to protect their health. Participants can learn more about the chemicals from Koppers and how to avoid contact with them. Taking common-sense precautions can make a difference.

The Koppers Superfund site is located near our homes in the Stephen Foster neighborhood of Gainesville. For almost 100 years, Koppers produced treated lumber for different purposes, but the chemicals used to make that treated lumber are toxic pesticides that are poisonous to wood-eating organisms, as well as animals and humans. Koppers dumped these chemicals on the ground and in holding ponds on the site, leaving the pesticides to seep into the groundwater and pollute Springstead Creek. Because most of the Koppers site is bare, with no grass covering the dirt, the wind has carried pesticide-contaminated dust into nearby yards and possibly into people’s homes. The Florida Department of Health has told some residents in our neighborhood to stop gardening and to keep children from playing in contaminated dirt.

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April 2012 Iguana Calendar

Want to know what’s going on in Gainesville this month? Check out the Iguana’s April 2012 Calendar. Print it out and put it in your wallet, on your refrigerator, or pass it on to a friend.

Have an event you’d like to see on the Iguana Community Calendar? Email it to us at

Filling Empty Bowls – Bread of the Mighty Fundraiser May 10

The Bread of the Mighty Food Bank is sponsoring its first-ever fundraising event to help raise awareness of the issues of hunger in our area and the role the food bank plays in abating hunger in the community. All proceeds from the event will help raise funds to cover the day-to-day operations of the food bank. The food bank, which provides services to people in Alachua, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette and Levy counties, works with

The event, Empty Bowls, will take place on Thursday, May 10, from 11a.m. to 1p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church (4000 NW 53rd Avenue in Gainesville). Empty Bowls is an attempt to shed light on those individuals in our community who do not have enough food to feed themselves and their families. Art classes from local schools handcrafted the bowls for the luncheon, and other works by local artists and celebrities will be sold through silent auction. Area school choirs will provide entertainment, and a surprise host will act as the master of ceremonies.

Individual tickets are $20 and cover the cost for lunch and one handcrafted bowl. Non-profit tables are available for $250 and come with a reserved table for eight people. Corporate tables are available for $500 and also come with a reserved table.

For more information on the event, visit Bread of the Mighty’s website at