Category Archives: April 2014

WGOT gets FCC go-ahead for full-time broadcast status

By Fred Sowder

On February 11, the Federal Communications Commission issued a construction permit for WGOT-LP to migrate up the dial to 100.1FM to its own frequency. The station currently is in a time-shared agreement with two other stations on 94.7FM: WGLJ-FM (belonging to Calvary Baptist Church) and WVFP-LP (owned by Faith Presbyterian Church).

These are exciting times for the radio project of the Civic Media Center, which has already been streaming a 24/7 schedule in anticipation of this news for well over a year.

Funding will be a vital key to getting WGOT to full-time status, which is almost certainly going to require a physical studio space and related audio equipment as well as a new transmitter and antenna.

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Gainesville City election report

by Joe Courter

First off, congratulations to Helen Warren, one of the genuinely nicest people I have ever met, on winning a very close runoff election for City Commission on April 8. With the unexpected loss by Susan Bottcher back in March, the Gainesville City Commission is in a very polarized situation ideologically, and is also made up of some very contentious people. Helen’s promised role as a facilitator and peacemaker will be sorely tested in the coming years; I wish her strength and wisdom in dealing with what lies ahead, but it is up to citizens to show up and have make their voices heard, too.

Secondly, I was appalled by the negative campaign waged by the Democratic Party against Annie Orlando, and frankly am surprised that the mud slinging campaign worked; usually in Gainesville it is the Right that stoops down to that level, and it is usually a losing strategy. As I said last month, it was no surprise that the anti-biomass and Tea Party crowd supported Annie; but that did not make her one. I know her to be a decent, independent-minded person, a longtime Democrat, and to see the tactics used to defeat her was quite disheartening. Party organization and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) strategy trumped all those (perhaps too many?) signs, I guess.

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History and the people who make it: Ines Rios

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler

This is the twenty-first in a continuing series of transcript excerpts from the collection of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida.Ines Rios was interviewed by Angela Thorp [T] in 2011.

T: What was it like growing up in Puerto Rico?

R: It’s very similar since we’re part of the United States. We are very Americanized. It was more of a small-town type feeling where you would go places and they’re like, Oh are you so-and-so’s daughter?My dad is a lawyer and he teaches law school in Puerto Rico. My mom is a special ed. teacher. She’s here now in Gainesville.

We were raised Catholic. Entering middle school my parents got divorced and that turned my world upside-down because the Catholic Church frowned upon divorce so I was kind of taken out of that community even though I still attended Catholic school. It was really isolating. Learning a new culture, language, all that good stuff, it’s like ah.

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In-state tuition for all

by Phil Kellerman

A bill to offer in-state tuition to foreign-born Florida high school graduates passed its third committee in the Florida Senate by a vote of 8–5. The next stop for Senate Bill (SB) 1400 is the Senate Appropriations Committee, and immigrant advocates hope that this will be last committee stop. If approved, the hope is that it goes to the full floor for a vote.

The bill essentially offers in-state tuition to “Dreamers” who have attended a Florida high school for three consecutive years and enroll in post-secondary education within two years of high school graduation. Out-of-state tuition rates are up to 300 percent higher than in-state rates, making college unaffordable for many immigrant students.

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What’s the deal with Plum Creek?

By Stand By Our Plan

The Alachua County Comprehensive Plan is as close as we can get to a political consensus of our community.

The product of many years of citizen advisory committee deliberations, workshops, public hearings, and legal challenges, and formally adopted and continually revised by an elected county commission, it provides a carefully considered blueprint for future growth in the unincorporated areas of our county. It balances the public interest with the rights of property owners by directing growth to appropriate areas and protecting public health, neighborhoods, farms, wetlands, and significant natural areas.

Now the Plum Creek corporation, the largest landowner in Alachua County and one of the largest Real Estate Investment Trusts in the country, is asking for their own plan, with different rules that would apply only to their 60,000 acres in eastern Alachua County. The differences are critical.

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Gainesville Loves Mountains: Updates on our work

by Jason Fults

Gainesville Loves Mountains was founded a little over three years ago on the simple proposition that our community does not have to choose between dirty energy and high utility bills. We have focused on (1) eliminating GRU’s dirtiest fuel source, (2) influencing one of our community’s largest energy consumers, and (3) moving aggressive, local energy conservation policy forward.

For many years, GRU has been using Appalachian coal that is mined using mountaintop removal (MTR), likely the most catastrophic energy extraction process known to man. MTR is a highly destructive form of coal mining that removes hundreds of vertical feet of a mountain using heavy explosives in order to access the thin seams of coal underneath.

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What will save Citizens Co-Op (or at least its idea)? COOPERATION

by Joe Courter with help from Ted Lacombe and Davis Hart

The Citizens Co-op’s history goes back to 2008 with a membership drive with a core group and some benefit concerts and the solicitation of “membership shares” from the community.

This fundraising from the community accelerated during 2009 with a couple concerts, a yard sale and by the end had gathered 450 memberships. One concert fundraiser in April alone raised a reported $10,000.

By the end of 2010, a Board of Directors was named and work began preparing the 435 S. Main St. location.

In January 2011, $100,000 in investment shares had been raised. In Spring, there was an exodus of original Board members, and a new, smaller Board announced.

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From the Publisher: Technology and Us

joe-WEBby joe courter

There are some stickers in place downtown which have caught my attention more than once. They read: “Technology is Making Us Stupid.” Technology sure has impacted our lives in a big way, but is stupid really the right term? Better put, perhaps it’s that it has exceeded our ability to not have it be destructive in unforeseen ways. And that coupled with an addictive quality to it as it changes our lives, we change our lives to fit its newly opened options.

As with email, I was very slow to move on to Facebook, just getting on last December. I have tried to be analytical as to how it has affected my life. A time eater, yes; but in both the constructive and in the frivolous at the same time. But what have I given up to make room for it? I read less serious reading, though I am still learning things, some of it is in the form of amusing bits of disassociated opinion and analysis. How about communication and technology? There are less conversations and more short messages which are received as words on screens, which can be functionally good but also subject to misinterpretation and lacking in further information which a conversation might have brought forth.

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April 2014 Gainesville Iguana

april iguana coverCan’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 2014 issue here for your perusal.

April 2014 Gainesville Iguana Community Calendar

Check out our near-comprehensive calendar for Gainesville and surrounding areas here: April 2014 calendar.

Want to submit an event to the Iguana Community Calendar? Email