Category Archives: January-February 2023

Stayed On Freedom highlights Gainesville’s Zoharah Simmons’ life, Black Power work

What: Presentation by author Dan Berger
Where: UF Smathers Library East
When: Thursday, Feb. 23

A talk featuring the new book Stayed On Freedom by author Dan Berger will be presented at the UF Smathers Library East on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 5 pm. 

It is a bit of a homecoming, as Dan lived in Gainesville from 1999 to 2003, largely splitting his time between UF and the Civic Media Center.

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Gary Gordon to teach community education classes

Santa Fe College in Gainesville will offer over 150 community education classes during its winter/spring term, split between in-person and on-line classes. For a complete listing, see: Click the Enrich brochure link for details.

Two of the classes will be taught by author, musician, and former City Commissioner Gary Gordon: Introduction to Screenwriting and American Revolution: 1763-1815.

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Can independent journalism survive corporate control? Jeff Cohen speaks at Civic Media Center, February 15

Jeff Cohen will be speaking at the Civic Media Center Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7pm to discuss “Can Independent Journalism Survive Corporate Control?” Jeff was a founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting in the 1980s and a co-founder of Roots Action (, a watchdog and online lobbying group. The event is free; donations will be requested. 

Water rights amendment: Sign the petition for clean, healthy water

by Janice Garry

What right is even more fundamental than freedom of speech, or freedom of religion or right to bear arms? 

It is the right to turn on the faucet and have water that is not toxic to drink. 

Or to swim in springs that are not contaminated with fecal material. 

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Harn Museum’s Art After Dark

Thanks to a private grant, the Harn Museum of Art will remain open to the public until 9pm every THURSDAY beginning Jan. 5.

The extended hours offer Harn visitors more time to explore the permanent collection, experience special exhibitions, shop in the store and enjoy food and drinks while listening to music. 

Sunshine State Book Festival, January 27–28

The fourth annual Sunshine State Book Festival will take place Jan. 27 and 28, featuring 150 authors writing in 15 genres. 

This year’s keynote address will be given by Janis Owens, notable author of four novels, a regional cookbook, and a book of nonfiction. She will speak on Jan. 28 at 1pm. 

There will also be 10 readings by authors of various genres, 12 children’s book authors telling stories to kids, and a panel of 4 fantasy and sci-fi authors titled Other Worlds. 

The book festival is free and open to the public. All events will take place at Trinity United Methodist Church at 4000 NW 53rd Ave. in Gainesville. 

For more information and a full listing of events, visit

To Succeed Where Others Failed: Events on book detailing Marion County history

by Mary Savage

Retired Presbyterian minister and former Marion County DEC Chair Bruce Seaman will host several book-signings and discussions about his newly published book To Succeed Where Others Failed: The Untold Story of the Marshall Plantation Raid

The story brings to light the March 1865 Union raid on the Marshall Plantation, which was located near today’s Silver Springs, by black soldiers before the end of the Civil War. Historical research cited reveals the story of enslaved persons freed by the raiders who then led the way to Florida’s east coast. The cost per book is $15. 

The Rev. Seaman has served the Marion County community in many ways, including as DEC Chair from 2007 to 2010, past president of The Bridges Project Ocala, and co-host of the Friday Forum luncheons.

Details and events can be found at:

From the publisher … Wars 2003 and 2023

by Joe Courter

I’ve been thinking more about this Ukraine mess in the past weeks, and it just hit me as I contemplate 2023, that this spring will be the twenty-year anniversary of the Bush administration’s war based on lies and the invasion of Iraq, which came right on the heels of the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan. There was worldwide resistance to the Iraq war, demonstrations all over the world on a scale never seen before or since. Google “2/15/03 demonstrations.” 

Here in 2023, it is a very different situation. It’s being seen like a distant sporting event, and there is cheering for it in this country.  The U.S. is merely funding it, and is not going to be sending troops as was the case in 2003. And, regarding the cheering, imperialism kinda sucks no matter who is doing it, and support of the resistance to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is understandable. But it is still war,  and the threat of wider war in Europe does exist. We are dealing with an authoritarian leader with no graceful way out. The situation is very dangerous.

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Goodbye, Old Friend

by Joe Courter

Well, I have done it. I no longer have a Gainesville Sun being delivered to me. No more newspaper to read with my morning coffee, as I’ve had for most all of the last 35 years. The final straw was continuing to receive it and read it after the elimination of letters to the editor and the editorials from various sources, and finding it such a hollow experience. 

Oh, I knew this break was coming, beginning with the elimination of the Scene magazine a few years ago and the gap that caused. We are in such a culturally rich city and there goes the part of the newspaper devoted to it. Next big thing was dropping the Saturday paper, another loss for the theater and music scene, and as well the sports on TV listing. And for those that cared, no reports on their high school sports is big, too. 

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January-February 2023 Gainesville Iguana

The January-February 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

• Busted: Florida utility company allegedly paid ‘journalist’ for hatchet job on candidate 
reported by Ana Kasparian | The Young Turks | Dec. 21 | VIDEO – 10:57 minutes |
A Good Morning America producer, Kristen Hentschel, used her connections to try and influence elections while being paid on the side by massive utilities. According to an NPR report, she used her ties with ABC “at least three times to trip up Florida politicians whose stances on environmental regulations cut against the interests” of clients of Matrix LLC, a political consulting firm that was accused of spying on environmentalists and journalists for the benefit of its corporate clients.

• Concerns over disinformation grow after Musk relaxes Twitter ban on political ads
by Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams | Jan. 4 |
Twitter has relaxed a ban on political and issue-based advertising that’s been in place for over three years. Critics are concerned about the social media giant serving as “a major new forum for massive amounts of money to be spent to influence politics.”

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