Category Archives: March 2023

No phosphate mining in Bradford County

by Carol Mosley

At the Bradford County Commission meeting of Jan. 20, the county manager announced that the phosphate mining company, HPSII, is withdrawing its application in Bradford County, Fla.

Since 2016, local environmental groups and residents have worked to block the proposed phosphate mine in Bradford and Union Counties. The original idea was to mine about 10,000 acres straddling the New River that runs into the Santa Fe River. The plan was to use an experimental method of mining, and then ship raw ore by rail to who knows where for processing.

Continue reading

M.J. Hardman and the Gainesville Iguana

by Joe Courter

M.J. Hardman right here said the words that put into motion what you are reading today.

I was new to Gainesville in 1977, and went to a meeting or two of the Humanist Society of Gainesville. MJ mentioned they needed someone to send out the HSG meeting announcements and asked if I would take it on. One postcard a month, yeah I can do that. But as time went on, the postcard turned into a letter to incorporate more information about other activities in town. 

Continue reading

In Memoriam: M.J. Hardman, 1935-2023

by Shumaya Bautista Hardman and Harrissa Coffee

Dr. Martha James Hardman, 87, known to her many friends as M.J., died peacefully on Monday, Jan. 30, at her home in Gainesville, Florida, after a long illness, with her family in attendance. She is predeceased by her husband, Dr. Dimas Bautista-Iturrizaga, and one son, Elston Dimas Paqawshu Guy Bautista-Hardman. She is survived by one daughter, Shumaya Martha Bautista-Hardman, and one son, Arthur H. Bautista-Hardman, four grandchildren, and two great-grandsons, many beloved nieces and nephews in different countries, and countless friends, colleagues, students, and readers, whom she has mentored and befriended over the years. 

Continue reading

History and the People Who Make It: Nikki Giovanni

This month, we — Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) — present excerpts from an unusual interview on Jan. 19, 2016, with Black poet Nikki Giovanni [G] and then PhD student, Randi Gil-Sader [S. Excerpts collected/edited by Donovan Carter. 

S: Okay, thank you so much for doing this interview, Dr. Giovanni. I read some of your other interviews, so I want to start off a bit differently. I want to just start with a word association. So I’ll say a word and you tell me first thing comes to mind. All right: Tennessee. 

G: I was born in Tennessee. I’m a Knoxvillian by birth, and as we know, Eastern Tennessee was the difference in the Civil War, because middle Tennessee, Nashville, went with the money. And of course Memphis, Western Tennessee, went with the South and if it hadn’t been for Knoxville and that area deciding that they were gonna stay with the Union, we would have had a different outcome for the Civil War. 

Continue reading

March with farm workers in Florida, March 14-18

by National Farm Worker Ministry

Represent Gainesville at the March!

A carpool from Gainesville is heading to Palm Beach for the final day of the March for Farmworker Freedom. On March 18, meet at the UF West parking garage at 6am. The carpool will leave by 6:15 and arrive around 10:30. For more info, contact Sheila Payne at:

On March 14, farm workers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers ( and their allies will embark on a 5-day march from the small, agricultural community of Pahokee, Fla., to the coastal city of Palm Beach to celebrate more than ten years of success with the Fair Food Program. 

The “Build A New World March” will span over 40 miles under the hot Florida sun beginning in the fields and ending at the luxury store-lined streets where Wendy’s board chair lives.

Marchers will be calling on retail food giants Wendy’s, Publix, and Kroger to join the Fair Food Program — a human rights initiative that many of their competitors joined over a decade ago — and do their part to help expand the FFP’s gold standard protections to farm workers on their suppliers’ farms. 

Continue reading

“Good Day Sunshine State”: The Beatles in Florida

Saturday, March 25, 4pm – FREE

Author and journalist Bob Kealinhg will discuss his newest book “Good Day Sunshine State on Saturday, March 25 at 4pm at the Matheson History Museum, 513 East University Ave. in Gainesville. The event will also be live streamed and can be watched via Zoom. 

Kealing will take the audience through the momentous two weeks the Beatles spent in 1964 Florida: Miami Beach, Key West and Jacksonville. 

His lecture will include their seismic influence on a fraternity of future Rock and Roll luminaries in and around Gainesville: Tom Petty, Tom Leadon, Bernie Leadon, Don Felder, Ronnie Van Zant and others. 

Continue reading

Twenty years of Satchel’s pizza

by Satchel Raye

After spending most of my adult life wanting to open a pizza place, I inherited my grandparents’ Gainesville house in 2001 and was able to use the house as collateral to get a loan from the bank to open the pizzeria I always dreamed of. On March 7, 2003, I opened Satchel’s Pizza in an attempt to find a way to make a living doing something I truly loved, making art and pizza.

Satchel’s Pizza was intended to be an off-the-beaten-path “pizza joint” with a little flair and good pies. People seemed to really like the place and word of mouth spread fast in this small town. I always just wanted to be an artist. In my 20s I spent a lot of time wondering how I could make a living being an artist without going the formal “gallery and agent” route. 

Continue reading

Gainesville needs a home for Socialists: A call from Gainesville DSA chapter

by Allan Frasheri, Vice Chair, UF YDSA 

The old world is dying … 

It isn’t a secret that capitalism is in decay. After 40 years of neoliberalism, income and wealth inequality is at the highest point it has ever been in the post-war era. 

With the top 1% owning more wealth than the bottom 90% and close to 20% of the US’s total national income accruing to the top 1%, we have reached the same levels of inequality which existed during the Gilded Age. 

Continue reading

Veterans for Peace 9th Annual College Scholarship Program

Deadline for Application, April 28

Gainesville Veterans for Peace Chapter 14 is excited to announce our 9th annual Peace Scholarship Program for the spring of 2023. We are awarding three college scholarships of $1,500 each for high school seniors, college students or adults with a commitment to activities including: social justice and peace, coalition building, Black Lives Matter, conflict resolution and/or nonviolent social change. 

Veterans for Peace created these scholarships to give financial support to students in Alachua County, Florida, who are planning careers in pursuit of a world of social justice and equality.

Continue reading

Still time, but not much, to save UF grad housing

by Save UF Grad Housing

Despite three years of complaints from students, faculty, and alumni, the University of Florida is continuing to move forward with its plans to close and demolish 44 brick buildings and hundreds of trees encompassing the entirety of Maguire Village and University Village South (UVS) along SW 34th St. 

This tragedy has been compounded by the UF Housing Department’s lack of transparency and respect for the students living there (who are scheduled to be evicted at the end of this semester), which includes not providing documents, lying to committees, and disrespecting students’ rights. 

Continue reading

Summer is near, springs are clear

by Verlyn Jipson

A breath of fresh air is here, at Rum 138 we are proud to serve as a cornerstone of the community, providing access to the Santa Fe River and its diverse crystal clear springs. At 72 degrees year-round, they’re sure to help you beat the heat. 

Natural wonders of the world, these freshwater springs have a rich history. Believed to be what inspired the myth of the Fountain of Youth, springwater can often be several hundred if not thousands of years old. Naturally filtered, containing beneficial minerals, it’s easy to see why our ancestors considered them to have innate healing properties. Cold water baths have been shown to regulate the immune system, ease inflammation, provide pain relief, and promote healthy brain function, as well as numerous other health benefits.

Continue reading

Professor to talk on student speech rights at Florida Free Speech forum

Professor Clay Calvert, UF Professor of Law Emeritus & Brechner Eminent Scholar Emeritus, will speak at the Florida Free Speech Forum at the Aloft Hotel, 3743 Hull Road (behind the Hilton UF Conference Center) in Gainesville at noon on Monday, March 13, 2023. 

He will speak on “Student Speech Rights and Social Media: The Case of the Cursing Cheerleader.”

Calvert is lead author of the undergraduate media law textbook, Mass Media Law, and is the author of Voyeur Nation: Media, Privacy, and Peering in Modern Culture.

To attend register at:

You may register to have the lunch preceding the talk (at 11:30 for $20) or just attend the talk at noon at no cost.

Looking ahead tow next month’s forum on Monday, April 10, each year the April forum features the winner of UF’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information annual award. 

The winner will be announced at the end of March and will be featured on the website.

Dogwood Village: Steps forward and back for workforce housing, lessons learned 

by Melissa Hawthorne, ACLC Co-Chair, and Bobby Mermer, PhD, ACLC Coordinator

University towns face unique challenges when it comes to maintaining affordable housing. As student populations grow without adequate campus support, housing stress is placed on the surrounding communities. Rental units are built to cater exclusively to undergraduate students, and end up sitting largely vacant, while wealthier undergraduates gobble up single-family homes, displacing the locals. 

With 29% of Alachua county residents now categorized as low-income (making less than 60% of the area median income) or cost-burdened (paying more than 30% of total income on housing), it is easy to see that Alachua county is facing a workforce housing crisis: nearly one third of the population is struggling to afford housing in the county where they work. 

Continue reading

From the publisher: Communication breakdown

by Joe Courter

Here we are in the “information age,” defined as “a historical period that began in the mid-20th century. It is characterized by a rapid shift from traditional industries, as established during the Industrial Revolution, to an economy centered on information technology.”  

The heart of information technology is communication, and the dictionary says that is “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behaviors … the imparting or exchanging of information or news.”

Continue reading

Ron DeSantis, the bully

by Anonymous

I work for the University of Florida. I used to be so proud of that. Unfortunately, I am not so proud now. 

You see, I’m being bullied. I’m being bullied by our anti-woke governor. His tactics include daily attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion, interfering in curriculum matters, hiring presidents behind closed doors, and retaliating against those who dare to disagree. This bully is backed by his minions in the state legislature, and they have joined together to form an anti-woke cabal, laying waste to enlightened policies, progress, and social justice.

The bullying is taking its toll. Those who have not already fled, wear their sadness like a badge. You can see it so clearly. Everything they say is scrutinized and analyzed, as they are tasked with wiping away legitimate history. Imagine someone who is so ashamed of their history, they want it erased! I know another regime in 1930s Germany that tried to erase history, that tried to ban books, that tried to create “enemies” so they could gain followers. The danger in not knowing history is that it can be repeated. The evil of the past can haunt us in real time. All it takes is for good people to stay silent.

I always think…well, this time he’s gone too far. I always think that tomorrow people will turn against him for his fascism in the name of freedom. But It never happens. The bully keeps us fearful, watchful, and quiet.

Now, there is HB 999. What is this you ask? It’s a way of dismantling Florida’s higher education system and remakes it to appease our fascist leader. It ends diversity programs, bans majors and minors, and shifts vast amounts of power to university boards. It even proposes leaving all faculty hiring to boards of trustees and will allow a faculty member’s tenure to be reviewed “at any time. This bill is set to be effective on July 1, 2023. There are no checks and balances. The governor is free to appoint anyone he wants and is free to have those appointees Implement whatever policies he dictates. Now is the time to ask yourself—Has he gone too far?

No, we won’t back down

UF Community Coalition protests on Feb. 6, first day of UF President Ben Sasse

The text below was originally a press release distributed in advance of the Feb. 6 protest. It was written by a united coalition of University of Florida undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, retired faculty, and community members led by Aron Ali McClory, Kestral Ward, and Rachel Hartnett.

Nearly four months ago, Ben Sasse was coronated as the next president of the University of Florida, after a presidential search shrouded in secrecy and suggestive of state-level political meddling. Gov. DeSantis has recently targeted academic freedom (see” and student health care (see: in higher education, with UF posing no opposition. Students, faculty, and staff have been left to navigate a tumultuous terrain of political ideological warfare occurring on our campus, without guidance, protection, or even comment by our university leaders. Once again, the campus community cannot trust Ben Sasse. 

Continue reading

Steps taken to make things better

by Joe Courter

On Monday, Feb. 6, I was on my bike heading to Tigert Hall for the protest rally marking the beginning of the Ben Sasse administration as president of the University of Florida. I began reflecting on how many times I had been to those steps for organized rallies and protest. (See “NO WE WON’T BACK DOWN” on page 20 which addresses the Feb. 6 rally’s purpose and demands.)

The first that came to mind was the anti-apartheid protest campaign, trying to get UF to divest its holdings in South Africa investments in the mid-80s. For one 40-day period those steps were occupied constantly, with a big banner proclaiming “Mandela Hall.” The rallies were large enough, and well supported enough, that the Krishnas moved their daily lunch serving over to Tigert. 

Continue reading

March 2023 Gainesville Iguana

The March 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

• 36 activities to celebrate Women’s History Month
by Kamrin Baker | GoodGoodGood | Feb. 14 |
March is Women’s History Month, an annual celebration that recognizes and celebrates the contributions of women. Throughout history, women have been erased and excluded, and women of color, transgender women, and queer women have been subjected to more harmful oppression than their white cisgender sisters. Women’s History Month is a time to confront the ongoing injustices that plague women and a time to celebrate and rejoice in women’s shared humanity.

• An activist group is spreading misinformation to stop solar projects in rural America
by Miranda Green and Michael Copley  | KTEP | Feb. 18 |
A rancher was intrigued by an energy company’s offer to lease his land for a solar plant, however soon after he received the offer, organized opposition with connections to fossil fuel worked to ban big solar plants from being built in the area.

Continue reading