Category Archives: October 2016

Iguana Fest, Oct. 15


History and the people who make it: Wilton Russell

Wilton Russell [R], a Bahamian woodworking artist descended from castaway Seminoles, was interviewed by Ryan Morini [M] in 2012.

This is the 36th in a series of transcript excerpts from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection at the University of Florida, continuing last month’s story.

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

R: My Grammy, when she was sick, we tried to get her to doctor and this woman wouldn’t go. Many times her children  or grandchildren sick.

“Mama, we want to take you to the doctor.”

“Child I want nobody taking me to no doctor. Jesus is my doctor. I want nobody carrying me to the old folks home. I’m in my old folks home now, my house.”

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Gainesville’s first tamale shop opens on South Main Street

TAMAL is a dine-in/take-out establishment, specializing in hand-rolled, delicately steamed meat, vegetarian and vegan tamales. Other offerings include beans, greens, pickled peppers, and signature agua fresca beverages – horchata, tamarindo, and jamaica – all made in-house from scratch.

We are excited to have the opportunity to serve you. “We” are the Iannelli family, long time residents of Gainesville who share a passion for handmade tamales.

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Gainesville gets involved: local prisoner strike solidarity

On September 9, members of the Gainesville Industrial Workers of the World and other allies gathered outside Walmart on Waldo Road to raise awareness of the strike and Walmart’s profiteering from prison slave labor.

Despite announcing a pledge that “Forced or prison labor will not be tolerated by Wal-Mart,” the company has continued to contract with vendors who use prison labor, along with dozens of other corporations who exploit the slavery loophole in the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by using prisoners to cut their labor costs.

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12th Annual Florida Bat Festival — Saturday, October 22

Saturday October 22 • Ages 4 and under free • Ages 5-12 – $5 • Adults – $8

The 12th Annual Florida Bat Festival is an opportunity for attendees to view giant fruit bats, tour the conservancy grounds and enjoy the great outdoors while learning about how fruit bats benefit environments and ecosystems worldwide.

Last year we welcomed over 5,600 guests and attendance is expected to increase this year. The conservancy is not open to the general public on a regular basis, so this event is a rare opportunity for wildlife lovers to see our bats up-close.

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Rest in power and in peace, dear Zot

by Kimberly Hunter

If this moment finds you grieving, “Here is the time for kindness, your own, to yourself,” poet Jan Richardson writes. May you not feel alone. May “you recognize as ancient” the ache of your loss. May you “think of it as a hidden chamber in your heart where you can stay as long as you need.”

This morning found me grieving loss in my own life and in the lives of our beloved community. This moment finds me remembering Gainesville sister-in-life and activism, Zot Lynn Szurgot.

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In memory: Local activist Zot Szurgot

by Bill Stephenson and Chris Zurheide

Zot Lynn Szurgot died on September 7th, her car struck by a truck that ran a red light near Hazlehurst, Georgia, where she was helping to build a 450-acre solar array.

A skilled and meticulous union electrician, Zot consistently spoke up for environmental concerns, the homeless, the Occupy movement, LGBTQIA issues, Black Lives Matter, organized labor, peace and justice groups, and etc.

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Share the Road Memorial opens Oct. 29, Depot Park

by Ron Cunningham, Bike Florida

Twenty years ago, on the day after Christmas in 1996, a group of six cyclists were riding from Gainesville to St. Augustine. They were traveling in a pace line on a rural road in Clay county when a distracted driver in a pickup truck slammed into all six cyclists.

Two of the riders, Margaret Raynal and Doug Hill, were killed instantly. The other four, Lauri Triulzi, Charles Hinson, Eric Finan, and Jessica Green all suffered various injuries.

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On the campaign trail in District 21

by Marihelen Wheeler

Five years and counting, I’ve been on the campaign trail, offering my time and energy to go and “fix” what ails us in this country.

As a recently retired educator of 37 years, I am confident that I must surely have some solutions to the issues that grip and gripe the middle class and am hoping that voters will somehow agree.

Since March, I have been campaigning for the Florida House 21 seat that is being vacated by Keith Perry. An open seat often means a scramble by candidates to rush to the front and claim it for their own. In this case, three Republicans ran forward to the primary, and then there was me waiting to see who would be my challenger in November.

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100-year commemoration of Newberry lynching, Oct. 16

by Peggy MacDonald,  Matheson Museum Director

A version of this article originally appeared in the Gainesville Sun on March 6.

An ancient tree stands in the tiny town of Newberry at the site of a horrific crime that remains shrouded in mystery.

“Five Negroes Hanged On One Tree” was the headline of a story on the Newberry lynchings that ran in The Palatka News and Advertiser on August 25, 1916. “Wholesale Lynching Occurs In Florida: Two of Victims Women,” stated a subhead.

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Grand Jury: Shooting justified

by Joe Courter

On Sept. 16, the Gainesville Sun carried this headline with reference to the March 20 killing by police of 16-year-old Robert Dentmond, a Gainesville high school student. Robert himself had called 911 earlier in the evening, reporting he was suicidal and had a gun. The gun, as it turned out, was a plastic replica. There was a tense long standoff, with residents and family members there, but in the end, nine cops opened fire and killed Robert. There has been no follow-up response from the community nor a statement from his father.

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From the publisher … Yes, We Need To Vote

by Joe Courter

This seems to be the election no one is enjoying.

For younger people Hillary was not who caught their attention and devotion, it was Bernie. Her presence has been a constant in their lives, and with that a constant whine of criticism and investigations. Bernie was the new thing; full of optimism and ideas that would hold real benefits to their lives. For older Democrats, there was a certain inevitability to her campaign that did not inspire. As a woman she brings a valued perspective, she is very intelligent and skilled, but she’s a hawk on foreign policy. Kissinger? Negroponte?

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CMC to host acoustic side of The Fest

The Fest is an amazing Gainesville happening, wrecking Halloween for some, but bringing people from all over the country (and world) to enjoy the fun of over 250 bands at over a dozen venues. FEST is back down on the Bo Diddley Plaza this year as the main stage.

You, Iguana reader, are again invited to spend a day or two at the acoustic side of the Fest, at the Civic Media Center. You will see performers from around the U.S. and beyond in short sets. This year the CMC sets will be held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29 only, with an independent CMC-run benefit show on Sunday, Oct.30.

All ages are welcome with a $10 donation or free with a FEST 15 Pass. The CMC doesn’t make anything from wristband wearers, while the walk-up $10 will be allocated for the Civic Media Center’s use. 

Band schedule:
(Click on LINEUP/BANDS for background information.)

What’s on the ballot on November 8

by Joe Courter

Here’s what’s up, in order of appearance:

President: Yes, we are living in a plutocracy; rule by the rich. But the difference between Clinton and Trump is vast.

While we disagree with her on issues of war, and the neoliberal agenda she follows, Trump is simply not qualified and dangerous, and his VP is a Christian Right loony. There are arguments that a Trump win would kill the Republican party, and open the door to a progressive swing, but the damage to the Supreme Court and whatever chaos Trump might bring seem too great a gamble.

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Voting 101

by Joe Courter

This is a vote for our future.

The presidential race has been an exposition of where this country currently is, with Bernie’s optimism for progressive change (Yay!), Trump’s fear-mongering and callousness (Yuck), and Clinton keeping on with the road Obama put us on (Hold your nose and then mobilize for the change we want). And yes, Stein is there, too, for those willing to gamble on that future we share.

But please vote, because down the ballot are important decisions. We can toss out a Tea Party numbskull and put in Ken McGurn. We can save more land for future generations in Wild Spaces, Public Places. We (if you are west of 13th Street or can help in her campaign) can send a kick-ass teacher to Tallahassee in Marihelen Wheeler.

You have until Tuesday, Oct. 11, to register or update your registration to participate. If you are a student, consider changing your registration to vote here… you are representing future students with your vote.

The full page ad on page 19 has details on registering, early voting and Nov. 8 voting. And know you can multiply your vote by working on campaigns and getting out the vote, and you’ll meet good people along the way.


Alachua County: Where the wild things roam

by Tom Kay

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Alachua County voters will have the opportunity to protect the water and wildlife habitat in Alachua County and to improve parks and recreation facilities in all our cities and unincorporated areas by voting for Wild Spaces & Public Places. 

This one-half percent sales tax is expected to generate $16.3 million annually or $130 million over eight years starting January 1, 2017.  

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October 2016 Gainesville Iguana

October Iguana coverThe October issue of the Iguana is now available! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.