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Ashley Hicks // Alligator Staff



Kimora Lynum, 9

Facing the Numbers April 21 marks the one-year anniversary of Alachua County’s first COVID-19 death. Since then, our community has lost 262 others. They were husbands and wives, parents and grandparents, friends and coworkers. Hundreds of local families are now without someone they loved, and while the death total may be measurable, these families’ losses are not. A grandmother who could clear the dancefloor doing the jitterbug; a mother and school bus driver who passed out pizza to her students; a husband and father who left notes around the house to make his family smile — all gone. As vaccinations increase and local virus cases and death counts have recently slowed, it’s tempting to look to the future. But it’s important to remember those who were taken. For the past three months, The Alligator staff has worked to identify local COVID-19 victims, contact their loved ones and write obituaries in their memory. This is the beginning of that effort. If you have a loved one you’d like to be included in this project, let us know by filling out this form.

Kathryn Bozeman, 78 Kathryn Bozeman would light up when she sat in a rocking chair on her daughter’s porch and watched her great-grandkids play football. Bozeman, 78, died April 12, 2020, as a result of COVID-19 complications. Debra Bozeman Yarborough, Bozeman’s daughter, said her favorite memory of her mother was when her son, Bozeman’s

first grandchild, was born. “She went in there in the nursery home, and it was so cute. She said, ‘Oh God, he’s so beautiful! Now, which one is he?’” Yarborough said, reminiscing on her mother’s sense of humor. Bozeman also loved to shop. She would go to secondhand stores and always make sure she looked good in a nice dress or skirt, she was really a “girl girl,” her daughter said. Written by Carolina Ilvento

Deborah Wilson, 67 Deborah Wilson, 67, loved helping other people and made a lasting impact on those around her. At Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, her favorite place to eat, all the waitresses knew her and competed to serve her. Wilson was authentically herself and had a no-nonsense personality, Carmelia Speed, her daughter, said. Wilson was most proud of her family and wanted to learn more about their roots. Once on a family trip to South Carolina, Wilson knocked on the door of distant cousins who she had never met. Wilson played a large role in helping Carmelia raise her children. To honor Wilson, her daughter and her grandchildren plan to start a nonprofit organization providing scholarship funds for children of single parents. Written by Juliana Ferrie

Kimora “Kimmie” Lynum’s favorite spot was always the water. She spent her summers racing and playing water volleyball in the pool and rushing into waves at the beach. Lynum stayed in her underwater world for hours until she pruned and the sky darkened. Even then, she would beg not to leave. On July 17, Kimmie’s life was cut short by COVID-19 at 9 years old. She was the youngest COVID-19 victim in the country at one point and remains the youngest victim in Alachua County. Kimmie took her talkative and friendly nature after her second mother in heart, Travisha Donaldson. Kimmie had just crept out of her shell and became a social butterfly, chatting up fellow shoppers at the grocery store and helping shorter children at the playground. “Kimmie always had a way to make sunshine out of the rainy day. Her smile, her laugh, her goofiness,” Donaldson said. Donaldson became like a second mother to Kimmie when she dated the girl’s father, Theophilus Lynum. Even after the breakup, Donaldson stayed a part of the family. Kimmie spent weekends at Donaldson’s home during the school year, playing with her nieces and swimming in the community pool. During the summer, Kimmie spent weeks there. When the pandemic hit, Kimmie adjusted to staying indoors. She played video games with her mother, Mikasha YoungHolmes, and made TikTok videos with her cousins. “She was able to make fun when there really was no fun,” Donaldson said. After Kimmie’s father was shot and killed in April, Kimmie spent the entire month of May at Donaldson’s home mourning her father. “She had her sad moments that she really missed him,” Donaldson said. “But she could laugh, and she could have fun.” Donaldson cheered Kimmie with Roblox, water guns and trips to the pool. Even though Kimmie kept her head up, she still missed her father. For her 10th birthday, she wished to have her father at her birthday party. Donaldson and the rest of Kimmie’s family planned the YMCA event months in advance. They bought a life-size cutout of Kimmie’s dad and planned to edit him into her birthday photo shoot. Donaldson was grateful to have known and loved Kimmie. She will always hold onto the photos, memories and neon bathing suits she bought Kimmie close to her heart. “Don’t look at her death. Don’t look at how she died. More so look at her life, how she lived,” Donaldson said. “She’s 9 years old, and she literally touched so many people.” Written by Lianna Hubbard

Elease Bradley, 81 Elease Bradley’s grandson, Christopher, can sing. But until his grandmother’s memorial, he had never led a song on his own. During Bradley’s memorial service, Christopher seized the microphone and boldly led the attendees through a rendition of the joyful gospel song, “I Came To Tell You.” “If mama ([would have]) been there to see Christopher singing over her, she would have been jumpin’ and shoutin’,” Cherey Daniels, one of Bradley’s daughters, said. Daniels’ voice shook, and she fought through tears as she recalled how her mother selflessly stepped in to help Daniels raise her four children. “She was my best friend. She was my prayer partner,” Daniels, 61, said. “And she was my mirror, or what I wanted to be.” Bradley died July 25 from COVID-19 at 81 years old. Standing at just over 5 feet tall, Bradley was petite in size and small in stature, said LaKendra Johnson, one of Bradley’s granddaughters. But despite her tiny frame, Bradley was filled with immeasurable strength as she survived breast cancer, raised four daughters as a single mother, often worked multiple jobs and cared for Daniels’ physically impaired stepfather, all while serving the church for more than 60 years, Daniels said. “I would tell people, don’t let her size and looks fool you,” Johnson, 35, said. “She is one of the strongest people that you could ever meet.” Her voice was soft when she spoke, but it carried powerful volume. Though she rarely yelled, she possessed the ability to make anyone feel like an ant, Daniels said, laughing. Daniels said Bradley was known for her compassionate hugs,

which she gave out freely. “She just gave that hug, and people said how they got strength from it,” Daniels said. Though she longs to be with her mother and closest friend again, Daniels is at peace knowing Bradley is finally at rest. “I know she’s better,” she said. She leaves behind her four children, 17 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. Written by Abbey Hasebroock

Willie Wicks, 67 Willie Wicks, 67, wasn’t the youngest of his family. That didn’t stop his older sister Christine Dorsey from nicknaming him “Pee-Wee” — a playful jab at his 5 foot 4 inch stature. “He was small, always small,” Dorsey said. “I could tell you, he was one of the best.” Wicks was born on March 6, 1953, in LaCrosse, Florida, 15 miles north of Gainesville. The seventh of 11 children, his family saw him as an innocent child, one Dorsey remembers looking out for. “When you met him, everybody loved him,” she said. After he left high school, he started work as a groundskeeper at UF, plucking flowers and trimming hedges for over 30 years. He retired at 48, choosing not to tell his family and instead opt for more time at home. He was also an avid lover of football and basketball, the Gators being his favorite teams. He would also spend time with friends over games of dominoes, Dorsey said, and his girlfriend of over 20 years, Chavela Lee. Written by Corbin Bolies

Dorothy Elouise Lester, 84 Dorothy Lester, a wife, mother and Gators fan, loved to dance. She and her husband of about 59 years, General Lee Lester Jr., would clear the dance floor as people watched them do the Jitterbug at weddings and parties. “When my dad died, ([dancing]) didn’t mean the same to her because my dad was her dancing partner,” Carmen L. Davis, her daughter, said. Lester died from COVID-19 and other pre-existing health issues on July 29 at 84 years old. Above all else, she was a devoted Jehova’s Witness and dedicated her life to serving God, or Jehovah, and her congregation in Interlachen, Florida. She would break out her best china to invite the congregation over for get-togethers, Davis said. Lester was legally blind but functioned on her own well, Davis said. When her husband would leave town, she used different technologies for the visually impaired that allowed her to change the thermostat, use the television and make coffee. When General Lee passed away, she continued living on her own in the house he built for them in Hawthorne. She loved being a homemaker and caring for her evergrowing family as she took in about 20 foster children throughout her life. Lester and her husband adopted one child as a baby, Davis said. Brandi Field, one of the foster children they took in, spoke fondly of the time she spent with the family and expressed her gratitude for Lester’s help and nurturing. “She was devoted to her family and a loving and caring person,” Davis said. Written by Lucille Lannigan

David Brandenburg, 71 David William Brandenburg was a Vietnam veteran who loved telling stories. His favorite song was “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, and he loved whistling Christmas songs in July. He was unable to finish his daily



We Inform. You Decide.

MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2021


Published by Campus Communications, Inc. of Gainesville, Florida

Not officially associated with the University of Florida


By Kevin Maher Alligator Staff Writer

Since February, UF’s COVID-19 testing program has reported a campus positivity rate ranging between 2% and less and 1%. An analysis of state and university data shows trends that can’t be fully explained, partly because the dashboard doesn’t fully explain where its numbers come from — including the campus positivity rate. UF’s COVID-19 dashboard has long been scrutinized, and its display has undergone numerous changes, often without warning or explanation. It’s a reflection of greater trends across the state, as reported numbers have been questioned and challenged since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. UF’s dashboard features two graphs that display data since the beginning of the pandemic, but doesn’t fully explain where the data comes from, who it excludes or who exactly constitutes a “UF affiliate.” When the totals are compared with state data, even more questions are raised about on-campus positivity rates and the way data is reported. The Alligator spent two months analyzing and comparing state, county and university data. It found that the number of cases and tests reported by UF don’t match the cases in state reports. After talking to representatives and officials across the state, some pointed to different reporting methods and all directed to different agencies for explanations of how they report their numbers. Meanwhile, epidemiologists provided possible explanations for patterns and vagueness in university and state data. UF has assured faculty, staff and students that its campus is safe and made reopening decisions based on the university’s self-reported positivity rate. Despite constant pushback and criticism from faculty about their uncertainty and fears, UF pushed forward to reopen campus at a 2% positivity rate. In a December announcement about UF’s reopening, Michael Lauzardo, director of UF Screen, Test & Protect, references a 2% positivity rate to justify reopening. But, neither the dashboard nor the announcement provides a comprehensive explanation of who is included in the positivity rate and where their tests come from. “We feel that [the dashboard] is a good representation of what’s happening,” Roxane Wergin, director of external communications for UF Health, said. But comparing the dashboard’s data with Florida Department of Health data raises even more questions, specifically because of a difference in positive and negative cases being reported.


SPORTS/SPECIAL/CUTOUT The checkered flag

Gator description Story Motorsports finish haswith molded comma, a group pg# of talented engineers and auto racing fanatics into consistent contenders in the Formula SAE competition, pg. 13

Chasity Maynard // Alligator Staff

Carmen L. Davis looks out her window while holding a picture of her mother and father. Davis’ mother, Dorothy Lester, died in July of COVID-19 and pre-existing health conditions. This issue spotlights Lester’s and other local COVID-19 victims’ obituaries.

UF students reflect on Spring and the future of Fall

The 2021 Spring and Fall semesters bring mixed emotions By Abigail Hasebroock Alligator Staff Writer

The prospect of moving away to college is frightening for many reasons, but one is shared among most college students: learning to cook. However, Devin Mix’s roommates never had that fear. The 20-year-old UF computer science sophomore said he typically cooks dinner for himself and his three roommates about five times a week. Mix’s newfound knack for cooking was born after he moved off-campus for his sophomore year. While he was originally slated to live in an on-campus dorm again, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic changed his mind because of the

increased exposure risk of living in the dorms, he said. In his Italian wedding soup recipe, Mix combines a collection of spices into an Instant Pot with vegetable broth accompanied by plant-based meatballs. His go-to dinner is a jalapeno macaroni and cheese dish, which he said requires at least 20 oz. of cheese. “It’s ridiculous,” he said. “But for the guys, it’s enough.” As UF’s Spring semester comes to a close, students reflect on how the pandemic allowed for the opportunity to gain new abilities and navigate through HyFlex classes. They also look ahead to Fall — with some feeling apprehensive about UF’s decision to return to full, normal operations and others eager to step foot back

UF to build new complex

New honors housing will replace Broward recreational center, pg. 4

A cat named Tenders

Students care for the Tolbert tabby, pg. 6

on campus. Jean-Pierre Pierantoni said he is excited about his in-person Fall schedule because he misses spontaneous group trips to the Marston Science Library basement after class to chat and study. “I’m going to need that environment in order to deal with the junior year that I’m about to have,” the 20-year-old UF biomedical engineering sophomore said. The rigor of the courses will elevate as Pierantoni enters into the Fall because he has to take 15 credits and the material will be more in-depth. Though Pierantoni said he only ventured to campus three or four times this entire school year, he, like Mix, also de-


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Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy Today’s Weather discusses brand success and controversies HE SPOKE TO UF STUDENTS VIRTUALLY IN FINAL UF ACCENT EVENT

By Manny Rea Alligator Staff Writer

Dave Portnoy built a small sports gambling newspaper in Boston into a nationally known product. And through the COVID-19 pandemic, his audience grew with pizza reviews, day trading and a small-business relief fund. Portnoy, president and founder of Barstool Sports, spoke to UF students about his personal history and Barstool Sports’ success Thursday. He talked about the brand’s authenticity while also addressing the controversies his brand has faced over the years. Portnoy, the last speaker in the UF Accent Speakers Bureau’s Spring lineup, joined moderator Ted Spiker, the journalism department chair, over Zoom to discuss his latest ventures. In 2003, Portnoy founded Barstool Sports as a print publication for gambling advertisements and sports talk. The company made a major breakthrough in 2007 when a New York reader offered to develop a website for the brand, Portnoy said. “Once you went online, it changes the whole business,” Portnoy said. “I was the right guy to take advantage of basically a lucky break.” Barstool Sports has also expanded into numerous podcasts, blogs and social media. Portnoy’s one-bite pizza reviews of restaurants across the country appeal to foodies and casual viewers alike. As quarantine

halted daily life last March, he dabbled in TikTok and day trading. Portnoy co-hosts the BFFs podcast with TikToker Josh Richards, rounding up topics on the app’s influencers and their relationships. He also started the Barstool Fund to raise money for small businesses hurt by the pandemic, raising $37 million for 332 businesses since December. But this image of Barstool is a shift from its rowdy roots as they branch into more sponsorships. Portnoy expects employees to be in better control of their comedy; if it’s going to be questionable, it better be funny, he said. Spiker asked Portnoy if he had any regrets about things he’s said in the past. Portnoy was recorded saying a racial slur, and a flurry of insults toward Sam Ponder from ESPN resurfaced after the network partnered with Barstool for a talk show. Portnoy said he wished he hadn’t made those remarks. “But I can’t apologize for things in my heart. It’s like there’s no intent to cause harm,” Portnoy said. Alana O’Brien, a 23-year-old UF biomedical sciences Ph.D. student, said she enjoyed the pressing questions Spiker asked about Portnoy’s controversial past. She witnessed the cyberbullying of the brand toward the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) as Barstool fans attacked smaller Twitter accounts for criticizing the company online. Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini promoted the NWHL on her platforms, which drew criticism from the league’s members and followers because of Barstool’s racist and misogynistic history. In turn, fans of the



By Alexander Lugo Alligator Staff Writer

Next year, UF will tear down a recreational complex students use for its size and proximity to campus to make room for more honors housing. The Gator Residential Complex, an undergraduate dormitory for honors students, will replace the Broward Outdoor Recreational Complex in 2022, UF spokesperson Cynthia Roldan wrote in an email. UF officials don’t know when demolition will start, Roldan wrote. The complex behind Broward Hall contains tennis courts, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, a skate park, a roller hockey rink and a pool. The future housing complex will consist of four residential buildings — each five stories tall — and a two-story common area building, Roldan wrote. The estimated $220 million project will include 1,400 beds reserved for honors students, and it will be 420,000 square feet, according to the UF Board of Trustees’ Committee on Finance. The Broward Outdoor Recreational Complex will move to a new location, but it is unknown where or when, Sara Tanner, director of marketing and communications at UF’s Division of Student Affairs, wrote in an email. The building is expected to be complete by August 2024, but the Board of Trustees is pushing for an earlier completion by Summer 2023, Chris Cowen, UF’s CFO, said at the Board of Trustees meeting March 19. Additionally, rental rates for graduate and undergraduate students will rise for the first time in four years by 4.5% starting July 1, Roldan wrote, to account for rising operational costs like salaries and cost of materials at UF’s Department of Housing and Residence Edu-

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brand snapped back. “It’s unfortunate UF gives someone like this a platform,” O’Brien said. However, other students don’t feel Portnoy’s or his brand’s actions are as simple. “I was surprised to see the dichotomy of how people were saying he’s 100% great and a lot of people saying he’s horrible and shouldn’t be allowed here,” Matty Kis, a 21-yearold UF biology junior, said. Kis follows Barstool’s annual boxing events such as Rough N’ Rowdy, but the backlash Portnoy received for the Accent event is what drove him to attend. He believes having a conversation about his controversies while also talking about sports journalism and business was valuable to college-aged people. “He really had a lot to do with his own success,” Kis said. “Without his personality and the authenticity of the reporting from Barstool, I don't think they'd have the following that they do.” @ReaManny mrea@alligator.org

cation. The department mostly depends on rent collection for revenue. It brought in about $255,000 from rent in 2018, according to its most recent tax filing. UF will continue exploring new construction and renovation projects but has no plans for any new housing buildings beyond the Gator Residential Complex, she wrote. Meanwhile, two of the five graduate housing buildings are set to be demolished because repairing them would be too expensive, according to UF. The plan would cause a 40% drop in available graduate housing at a time when affordable housing is becoming more scarce in Gainesville. While UF plans to demolish the Broward Outdoor Recreational Complex sometime next year to make way for the Gator Residential Complex, some students are surprised to see it go. Vincent Ludwig, a 21-year-old UF civil engineering junior, uses the tennis courts at the Broward Outdoor Recreational Complex about twice a week. He was shocked to hear about the demolition plans. “I would prefer [the courts] stay because I like using them,” Ludwig said. “But if they need the space for more housing, well, then I guess that’s up to them.” David Torino, a 20-year-old UF accounting junior, started using the basketball courts more frequently the last couple of months because they’re much closer to him than the ones at Southwest Recreation Center. He said commuting to Southwest would be inconvenient. “I think it’s a shame because on this side of campus, there aren’t any basketball courts besides these,” he said. Although this is UF’s biggest construction project at the moment, construction continues in areas surrounding the Reitz Union, McCarty Hall, the O’Connell Center and UF’s Police Department. @alexlugo67 alugo@alligator.org

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COVID-19, from pg. 1 How UF calculates its on-campus positivity rate.

The dashboard’s first graph counts all daily tests performed by STP. Testing through STP, along with contact tracing, is used to calculate the university’s positivity rate, Ken Garcia, UF Health spokesperson said. The graph only counts tests provided by STP, which are processed through UF Pathology Laboratories, or UF Path Labs, Garcia wrote. UF Path Labs is the main lab UF uses to process all STP tests. While STP records all testing done on UF’s main campus, some tests from UF Health Jacksonville can also roll into STP data, Garcia wrote. Other locations that could be counted in the data include UF Health Research and Academic Center in Lake Nona, UF Health Hialeah Dental Center, NCEF Pediatric Dental Center in Naples, UF Health St. Petersburg Dental Center and UF Pet Emergency Treatment Services in Ocala, Garcia wrote. Garcia said the positivity rate UF uses to guide its reopening decisions primarily includes STP tests from the main campus, but UF’s dashboard does not indicate how many of STP’s tests come from these alternative locations. Garcia said this data was “not readily available,” meaning it’s unclear how many people from these locations are included in UF’s on-campus positivity rate and how many of these tests are coming from outside Alachua County. UF does not provide a list of its tests based on the labs where they are processed. However, the Florida Department of Health does. UF Path Labs’ data is accessible in a dataset provided by FDOH. In this dataset, the department lists each lab that processes COVID-19 tests in Florida, indicating how many positive and negative cases each lab has processed since the onset of the pandemic last March. When comparing the UF Path Labs’ data and UF’s dashboard, the counts of negative and positive tests don’t match, because the state’s lab data does not account for every negative and positive test. Instead, the state reports cases based on individuals tested, an FDOH spokesperson wrote in an email. “For example, if an individual has been tested five times at UF [Path] Lab, they will only show one time in the table,” the email read. The state has strayed away from this classification method since last October, and the state’s main COVID-19 dashboard changed from counting one test per person to all test encounters people have, according to the Miami Herald. The FDOH would not explain why the lab data still counts tests this way. The office of communications has not responded to two emails and two calls inquiring about the lab data’s distinct classification method. Despite this different classification method, the FDOH data for UF Path Labs still displays more positive test results than UF’s number of daily UF COVID-19 tests performed chart.

which is used to calculate its on-campus positivity rate, diverges from the seven-day average reported by FDOH, showing a significantly lower number of positive cases. After November, both seven-day averages begin to follow similar trends. The total UF Path Labs data reports higher seven-day averages than the UF dashboard’s data — this is to be expected because the total UF Path Labs data also includes non-UF people tested in the community. But for several months, the lines mirror each other’s shapes closely. Throughout January and February, the two lines have nearidentical peaks and valleys during the exact same times. Based on UF Health’s explanations, in order for the state’s UF Path Labs data and UF’s dashboard data to mirror each other, the difference between the two seven-day averages has to be made up of non-UF community positives processed by the Path Lab. So, for several months, the number of positive tests that aren’t from UF-affiliates that were processed by UF Path Labs would have to remain consistent with the positives among UF-affiliates through STP— with little to no unique variation — for the lines to mirror each other. Dr. Jason Salemi, a professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida, speculated the ages of the community members that are being tested through UF Path Labs might resemble the ages of UF’s population, which could be why the lines are so similar. “They’re all part of the larger community, and when we have increased viral transmission it affects all members of the same community,” Salemi said. He said if UF is testing students, faculty and other affiliates, it’s going to see an array of ages that are probably similar to the community. STP tested few community members in the Fall, Garcia wrote. This could explain why the lines were so close to each other until about November when UF began increasing its community testing. Garcia said UF Path Labs processed more tests from the community and UF-affiliates as the holidays approached. This was his explanation for the lines diverging around November. He did not explain why the lines’ shapes appeared nearly identical between January and February. Alachua County’s seven-day averages also follow the same trends as those of UF and FDOH. “They’re just a microcosm of the broader community at large, and that’s why you tend to see the shape of these curves marry each other,” Salemi said. The relationship between the lines shows

there is no difference in the transmission patterns between the university and Gainesville, meaning you’re exposed equally in both settings, Dr. Edwin Michael, a professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida said. “So, you’ve not made campus safe, in other words,” Michael said. Shrouded in uncertainty

Following backlash from faculty members who felt reopening the university wasn’t safe, UF spokesperson Steve Orlando told the Gainesville Sun that a study published Jan. 13 showed COVID-19 outbreaks at UF do not translate to outbreaks in the surrounding community. Alachua County has a population of 269,043, according to the latest census data. There are roughly 25,000 students enrolled in at least one in-person class for the Spring semester, but it’s reasonable to assume there are more UF students living in Gainesville, Orlando wrote in a text. This doesn’t mean the Gainesville community is affecting UF’s COVID-19 rates, Salemi said. “It’s not that the community affects UF, UF is just a part of the community,” Salemi said. “In COVID-19 times, [UF affiliates] are more in the community than they are on campus.” The seven-day average similarities between UF’s dashboard, the state’s UF Path Labs data, and the county show the importance of coordinated efforts at reducing or curbing community transmission of the virus, Salemi said. University’s faculty have been searching for accountability and responsibility from UF administration as more face-to-face classes have been added, Dr. Steven Kirn, a retired UF faculty member now serving as Co-Chair of the United Faculty of Florida-UF’s COVID-19 task force said. “There has been a disruption of trust in UF’s decision-making processes and their attitudes towards the faculty,” Kirn said. Jacob Fiala, a graduate student at the UF, has been keeping track of UF’s dashboard since it started tracking data. He’s skeptical about whether the community similarities explain why UF’s dashboard and the data from UF Path Labs match so well. Because UF accounts for a significant amount of testing in Alachua County, it isn’t surprising that the county’s line matches so well with UF Path Labs, Fiala wrote in a text. But Fiala compared state lab data from UF Health Shands Hospital with the UF Path Labs and dashboard data, and the lines weren’t as similar. If UF and the community’s tests are so similar, then using a testing site that tests more community members than UF affiliates should

mirror the trends as well. UF Health Shands Hospital doesn’t. The seven-day average of UF Health Shands Hospital’s daily tests does not correspond with the seven-day averages shown by the UF dashboard and UF Path Labs data. Salemi said this is odd, but he does not find the non-correspondence surprising. “There’s a lot of variability in the patterns of positivity across labs for a number of different reasons, including who they’re testing, when they’re testing people and the volume of testing that they’re doing at those sites,” Salemi said. “We wouldn’t expect the patterns to be right on top of each other for all labs,” he said. If healthcare professionals make up the bulk of testing done at Shands, it makes the graph make more sense, as they’re at a lower risk to test positive for COVID-19, Salemi said. “Even though they’re putting themselves in high-risk positions, they’re taking all of the precautions,” Salemi said. Garcia said the UF Health Shands Lab processes tests for people going to the hospitals. Its patient demographic can be made up of locals in Gainesville as well as people from around and out of the state. Salemi said it has been difficult for the public to receive specific information about COVID-19 numbers. “Often we are only working with partial information and there’s not much benefit from being specific in the absence of concrete information,” Salemi wrote in a text. “One can only get themselves in trouble trying to be specific, especially if they are wrong.” Roxane Wergin, director of external communications for UF Health, said it would be too complicated to have a dashboard that includes the “asterisk-type of information” — details such as who exactly constitutes a UF-related individual and where STP’s positive tests come from. “We wouldn’t explain that on this [dashboard] — this is meant for public consumption,” Wergin said. Although Salemi said institutions such as universities and the FDOH are doing a great job in accurately compiling and reporting COVID-19 data, he said a certain level of transparency is key. “I do think that it’s important that people who are trying to access information from reliable resources get as much information as possible to help them to understand that data,” Salemi said. @KevinMaher_ kmaher@alligator.org

Similarities, discrepancies and unanswered questions

Based on state lab data from September to March 1, UF Path Lab has reported about 6,900 positive COVID-19 cases; however, UF’s dashboard of daily tests performed shows about 2,300 fewer positive cases. Garcia’s explanation for the discrepancy is that UF Path Labs also tests some non-UF community members in Gainesville — another detail that’s not explained on UF’s dashboard or in the state’s data. “The Path Lab processes tests from STP and the community which is what is sent to the state,” Garcia wrote. However, this doesn’t explain the differences between the data’s moving averages. Around November, the UF’s seven-day average of daily tests performed through STP,

Ashley Hicks // Alligator Staff


RECAP, from pg. 1 veloped cooking skills as a result of the pandemic. He said he no longer has the luxury of stopping by a fast food joint on his way to or from class, and his diet now consists of homemade, whole foods. “In freshman year, I was barely able to cook an egg,” he said. Pierantoni plans to maintain the healthy habits he cultivated this past year. But not every UF student feels the same fervor for a semester of in-person classes and relaxed physical distancing measures.

The transition to a fully online semester saved Madelyn White’s GPA and reignited the love for school that she had before coming to college. “I really enjoy online classes, which seems to be a very unpopular opinion,” the 20-year-old UF finance sophomore said. “If I’m not feeling like doing math, I’m not going to do math from 10 a.m. to 11, I’ll do it later.” White said she worries her academic progress, such as being on the Dean’s list for the first time, will be lost as she heads back to campus this fall for live, in-person sections. In-person classes require a more

rigid schedule, and White prefers learning at her own pace. Though she is happy about being vaccinated, she is concerned about UF’s plan to have full classroom capacity and wonders what mask-wearing rules will be implemented. “What’s going to happen if the people next to me decide they just don’t want to wear it, and it’s like around their chin?” She said. “I’ll have to suck it up, but I shouldn’t have to suck it up about my health.” Despite the uncertainty about the university’s decisions regarding classroom

policies in the Fall, some students, like Mix, are aching for the simple joys of life that have been stripped away for so long, like bumping into an old friend on campus. The monotony of being stuck in his apartment invokes a sense of cabin fever, Mix said. “I think campus is beautiful, it’s really good for my health,” he said. “I love being there, and I’m looking forward to having that aspect back.”

UF campus cat garners attention from students TENDERS RULES THE TOLBERT AREA

By Abigail Hasebroock Alligator Staff Writer

A Tolbert Area resident has enjoyed the luxury of a cozy bed, an abundance of food, constant attention and plenty of time to bask in the sun free of charge for about three years. Tenders, the campus cat, reels UF students in with her loveable personality and undeniable charm. She is one of many cats who occupies UF’s campus and garners attention through online posts. She has amassed popularity among the entire community from her humble beginning to her legacy today. Students can rest assured Tenders will live a long, healthy life after being spayed about a year ago. During her last semester in college, Rachel Wolf, a 22-year-old UF alumna, said she took Tenders to Operation Catnip to get spayed in January 2020. Operation Catnip is an animal protection organization that aims to save community cats by offering free spaying, neutering and vaccination

services to free-roaming cats. Wolf said she lived in Riker Hall since her freshman year in August 2016 and began seeing Tenders in October of 2018. A conversation with Tolbert Area maintenance crew members revealed that Tenders would often give birth to kittens, most of whom would die shortly after. It was then that Wolf decided she would take Tenders to get spayed. After an unsuccessful attempt to keep Tenders in her dorm, Wolf said she stayed awake all night outside trying to comfort Tender. The next morning, Wolf drove to Operation Catnip where Tenders was spayed and had her left ear clipped, a standard procedure conducted by the organization to all cats who have been neutered or spayed to identify them as fixed. Melissa Jenkins, the operations director at Operation Catnip, said the organization treats between 5,000 and 6,000 cats annually. Jenkins loves seeing posts on social media of the cats OC has treated because it preserves the connection with the cats and allows the organization to know they are still healthy and happy.

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“We really like seeing those updates because it just shows that this program does so much good,” she said. Since her trip to Operation Catnip, Tenders has grown into the outgoing, highly pampered Tolbert pet of today. Brittany VanKirk, who lives in North Hall, said Tenders pays her visits while she goes on evening walks around the area. “She loves being pet, and she really loves affection,” the 21-yearold UF dietetics senior said. “She’s a very approachable cat. She won’t run away.” VanKirk said her boyfriend, who is not a UF student, eagerly awaits a Tenders sighting every time he comes to visit. “She’s like an icon,” she said. “There’s no other way to describe it.” The origin of Tenders’ name remains a mystery as theories circulate throughout the years. VanKirk said Tenders got her name after developing a taste for the Gator Corner dining hall chicken tenders students fed her. However, other students, like Arielle Tibon and Devon Limcangco,

said they heard a rumor she was named after the beloved chicken tenders Publix sub sandwich. Regardless of where her name came from, all the students agreed on one thing: Tenders has put on some pounds. “She’s a little chunky,” Tibon said. The 20-year-old UF psychology junior said she began to notice Tenders’ plumper appearance over the past couple of months as she frequents the Tolbert area on her way to UF’s New Physics Building. Tibon said she often sees Tenders sprawled out by the bike racks. During one interaction, Tibon said a freshman walked up to them, started taking pictures of the cat and desperately wondered how she found and approached Tenders. “You just got to be patient!” she said to the freshman. “Just let her come to you.” Tibon said the campus cats allow for conversations and even friendships to spark among strangers. “I love all of the positivity everyone has around her, it’s just really sweet,” she said. “She has such a cult following.” Limcangco said she treks to Tol-

@abbeyhasebroock ahasebroock@alligator.org

bert three to five times a week to visit Tenders and give her treats. The 20-year-old UF electrical engineering sophomore recalled a season of stress before a big exam during her freshman year when she sought out the Tolbert cats to unwind. “They’re kind of like my emotional support animals,” she said. Limcangco especially cherishes Tenders and the other Tolbert cats because she misses her four cats back home, she said. Tenders’ most distinctive characteristic is her willingness to be pet, which is something 19-year-old UF architecture sophomore Hayley Gillette loves about her. “She’s one of the only cats that is not afraid of humans,” Hayley Gillette said. Gillette said she and her three roommates intentionally walk through the Tolbert area at the end of the day on their way back to their dorm in the Keys Complex to spend some time with Tenders. The presence of the cats makes the campus a more pleasant place, and it is one of the reasons she lives on campus, she said. “It’s not out of the question that the cats have kept us in a dorm.” ahasebroock@alligator.org @abbeyhasebroock

MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2021 www.alligator.org/opinions

Goodbye Column

Doing it scared



wasn’t going to write for the Avenue. I drafted a “thanks, but no thanks” email to the editor after our first staff meeting in Fall 2019. Fears filled my mind: I wouldn’t be any good at it. I was way too anxious to interview strangers. I couldn’t be creative or productive in the way the staff writer position required. But something inside of me told me not to hit send. To see if I could do it. And so I did. I wasn’t going to be the editor for the Avenue this semester, either. I wasn’t even going to apply. There was no way I could manage an entire section of a newspaper, I thought. But as the clock inched closer to midnight on the night of the application’s deadline, I told myself to apply anyway — just to see. And when I got offered an interview, I took it — just to see. And the more I kept an open mind to see if I could do it, the more I realized I actually really wanted to. The Avenue’s beat has a special place in my heart. Hard news is important, undoubtedly. But to understand the news, you need to understand the community and the culture of the people who make up the news. That’s what the Ave strives to do. And I may be biased, but I think we did it pretty well.

Even when the COVID-19 pandemic complicated stories, made sources hard to reach and made the work feel overwhelming at times, my team — Valeriya, Kristin, Morgan Goldwich Heather, Katie and mgoldwich@alligator.org @morgangoldwich Veronica — pushed on. When it felt like lifestyle stories weren’t as valued as the harder news stories, we showed how local entertainment news can still be — and is — good journalism. I’m so proud of everything our desk accomplished this semester. We wrote over 70 articles, covering everything from mental health initiatives geared toward local musicians to the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile’s recruitment tour at UF. We recorded roughly 10 hours of pop culture news banter for The Alligator podcast. We put together hundreds of our favorite songs for our weekly playlists. And I’m really glad I got to be a part of it. I’m really glad I didn’t say no out of fear. No matter what lies ahead in my journalism journey, I know I’ll probably be scared again. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from my time with The Alligator, it’s that if you feel called to something, do it. If you’re scared, do it scared. Because the scariest thing is letting an opportunity pass you by because you were too busy doubting yourself.

Goodbye Column

Alyssa’s Version


’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about all the things I have to do before I graduate. I have to pack and return my textbooks and figure out how I’m going to fit my entire life in my car so I can move halfway across the country. I have to go to my last classes and eat at all the restaurants I didn’t make it to over the past four years. And I have to start saying goodbye. This column is really my first real goodbye. I still have time with my friends and professors, but as I write this, sitting on the dirty carpet of The Alligator office, I know it is the last time I ever do it. And it’s sad. I never thought I would be sad about leaving The Alligator. Anyone who knows me knows I have threatened to quit every week since I started working here a little under two years ago. For the first month I worked here, I hated it. I couldn’t keep up with the pace, and I was discouraged by how many edits my stories were getting. I felt lonely in an office full of people. But then something changed. I started to make friends. My writing got better. The dread I felt going into the office three times a week morphed into a neutral feel-

ing, and sometimes I was even enjoying it. I went from leaving as soon as I could to staying until the paper was sent off. I made friends with Alyssa Feliciano afeliciano@alligator.org the people I worked @alyssachantelle with and accepted their invitations to go out. I even sang karaoke with them once or twice. I remember sitting in my apartment working on a breaking story and looking at the people I was working with and thinking how happy I was that I had finally found my place at UF. To say I loved every moment from then on would be a huge lie, and therefore a fact error. It was hard. I cried a lot. I fought with my editors and was probably too mean to my writers. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If I could do it all over again, I would. The Alligator gave me some of my best friends in the world. It gave me a reason to try and be the best I could be. It offered me an escape during some of the lowest moments of my life. So, here’s to the first of many goodbyes. The Alligator is the best of the best, and I’m honored to have been a small part of its history.

Goodbye Column

If you’re reading this, my time’s up

What the hell did I just get myself into?


’ve written this column so many times. At the end of each semester, as the paper rolled fresh off the press, I’d quickly flip to the goodbye columns to see what everyone had to say, then I’d start constructing my own column in my head. What would I have to say when it was finally time to go? Would I make people laugh? Would I make them cry? What would my final mark

be? But, all those other versions of this column could never print here. Back then, I leaned on the idea that there was at least one more semester to take on a new position. I always had more time. So, I guess if you’re reading this –– finally out of my head and on the paper –– it means my time’s up. I like the way I used my time here. I started as the City Commission writer back in Spring 2019. I edited features later that Fall. Then, after a very long hiatus to get some professional experience under my belt, I returned for my final semester as editor-in-chief. I’ll never forget driving home from my first print night in January 2019. It was pushing 11 p.m. on a Sunday, and I missed all my friends hanging out to kick off the semester. One thought kept racing through my mind: What the hell did I just get myself into? Turns out it was this crazy, life-changing experience. It was where I launched my career and made my closest friends. It houses my first bylines and favorite college memories. It will always be where I first fell in love with journalism. I just wish I had a little more time. Coming back to The Alligator after being gone for more than a year (which is ages in Alligator time) posed a set of unexpected challenges. When I looked at the staff list in January, I realized that –– with the exception of a few old-timers –– I was returning to almost entirely new faces. Most of them knew each other, but I was this outsider showing up to run the show. They didn’t know The Alligator I’d grown to love. I’d have to explain Devoun Cetoute’s hot food takes and tell stories about getting tattoos with Angie DiMichele. I’d have to

tell them about all the ‘Dream Team’ stories I worked on with Chris Day and unravel years of tea. The new faces nodded and laughed along, but I felt like I was talking about a ghost of what The Alligator once was. But, when I returned this semester, The Alligator took me in with open arms. I picked up on the new dynamics and learned how to run the newsroom virtually. My dread for print night Zoom sessions quickly turned to excitement to see Kaelyn Cassidy and Payton Titus in the office every Sunday. I got to help writers prepare for interviews for prestigious internships. I tried to channel my energy into producing not just better papers but stronger Karina Elwood reporters. kelwood@alligator.org @karina_elwood Still, I spent many nights worrying that I wasn’t enough for them. I worried they weren’t getting the same experience I did. Were they having fun? Was I pushing them hard enough? Was I working them too hard? Every Sunday night when I got home after the paper went off to the press, I never went right to sleep. I’d stay up to clean my room or watch TV –– anything to quiet my brain and stop the worrying — wondering what I could have done better. That’s just part of the job, though. I knew what I was getting myself into. I read the goodbye columns and letters left behind by former EICs. I was ready to play the game. It wasn’t easy, but seeing the progress of every person on this staff was worth it. I do wish there was more time. I wish I could stick around long enough to see the staff get vaccinated and pack into the dusty newsroom for a Sunday afternoon staff meeting. I want more time for a newspaper Friday, for a Halloween party, for a late night trip to Jacksonville. I’m terrified of becoming a ghost –– of one day becoming a name in someone’s goodbye column. But that’s what happens when your time runs out. Karina Elwood is a UF journalism senior. She was the Spring 2021 Alligator editor-in-chief.

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of The Alligator. The Alligator encourages comments from readers. Letters to the editor should not exceed 600 words (about one letter-sized page). They must be typed, double-spaced and must include the author’s name, classification and phone number. Names will be withheld if the writer shows just cause. We reserve the right to edit for length, grammar, style and libel. Send letters to opinions@alligator.org, bring them to 2700 SW 13th St., or send them to P.O. Box 14257, Gainesville, FL 32604-2257. Columns of about 450 words about original topics and editorial cartoons are also welcome. Questions? Call 352-376-4458.


Action is eloquence Goodbye Column


illiam Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. Act three, scene two, line 94. In the play, Coriolanus’ mother Volumnia is trying to convince her son to run for consul. She tells him that action is eloquence: Put less pretentiously, that actions speak louder than words. Once I wake up tomorrow, I’ll have concluded 10 semesters at the Independent Florida Alligator. In that time, I’ve covered five sports beats, been here for two summers and served as both Engagement Managing Editor and Sports Editor. I don’t know how eloquent it has been, but that’s certainly a lot of action. I was barely on campus for two weeks when I heard that the Alligator was hiring fall 2017. I met with then-editor-in-chief Katelyn Newberg, who directed me to the sports section. I took a writing test, which included a preview about UF’s swim team. I wrote a story filled with meaningless stats and press release quotes, and as I wrote it, I grew to detest it. I decided I had to get quotes from former head coach Gregg Troy, so I emailed him from my UF student account to see if he would give me some quotes for my writing test. He did. And when Sports Editor Matt Brannon gave me a call late one night, the rest became history. For the first time, I felt absolutely surrounded by people who shared my love of sports. A print night didn’t go by without some sort of argument over why Philip Rivers was or wasn’t a hall of fame quarterback or who the true greatest shooter in NBA history was. I’d watch sports shows on ESPN for hours when I was little, and suddenly, I felt like I was living in one. Being a member of the sports staff — “sprots”, as it is so affectionately called — allowed me to meet the best friends I’d ever get to make in college. I was writing features, going out on food runs during copy shift and making memes for the paper. And then one night, while I was sitting alone eating dinner at Piesanos, I got a call from Christina Morales. She was going to be the editor-in-chief of the paper next spring, and she wanted me to be her Engagement Managing Editor.

Goodbye Column

If I had a brick


f I had a brick for every time I’ve said “never” in my life, I could reconstruct the University of Florida campus from scratch. “I never want to go to UF.” “I like writing, but I would never become a journalism major.” “I would never write for The Alligator.” Today, I’m two weeks from graduating from UF with a journalism degree as I pen my goodbye column for The Independent Florida Alligator. I suppose foresight has never been my strong suit. When my toes touched down on UF’s terracotta pathways for the first time in August 2017, I carried a much different vision for my future. I was going to be a lawyer. I figured history would be a great major to coast through college with, as it was always my strongest subject in high school. Like I said before, I never wanted to go to UF and just wasn’t high on college in general — I had a negative attitude and was looking for the most inand-out experience possible. My vibes weren’t immaculate as a freshman either. Standing at 5 feet, 9 inches and pushing the scales to 145 pounds after a good meal, my frame sparked a lot of McLovin comparisons. I didn’t have much confidence in myself, and a lot of what I said and did hinged on public perception. I wanted to be taken seriously, I didn’t crack too many jokes and smiling wasn’t my thing. It was easy to hide the cloud I cast over my head in Rainesville, but I was miserable during my first semester to say the least. I wasn’t being true to myself, and I wasn’t chasing any of my passions. It was time for a change-up. So, I marched into the CJC PATH office my freshman year and changed my major to journalism. I axed the law

school idea. I decided to take life less seriously. But the most life-altering decision I made during my college career Dylan O’Shea was joining The doshea@alligator.org Alligator as a @dylanoshea24 sports writer summer 2019. And although I had no previous reporting experience and clowned my way through my first two years of college, I somehow got hired. COVID-19 aside, these past two years have been nothing short of an adventure. And while I could say my time at The Alligator will be memorable because of the sports I covered, interviews I conducted or clips I collected, I can’t say there’s a shred of truth to that statement. When I’m asked about what it’s like to work at the best student newspaper in the country, I’m swift to gush about the writers who breathe their heart and soul in the sports section. My friends. Late-night copy-editing shifts with the “coys”, grub runs, Milly Rocking to the SpongeBob soundtrack, watching River Wells burn down The Bull, spouting wise cracks and many more moments and memories with the best student journos around comprise my Alligator career in my mind. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I could pen a feature-length thank you to every member of The Alligator I’ve crossed paths with over my six semesters at the paper. But because word counts are pretty popular in this profession, I’m gonna have to stick to just a few. Read the rest online at alligator.org/sports Dylan O’Shea was a Staff Writer for The Independent Florida Alligator.

I had a lot of long conversations with my friends and colleagues in sports and news about that position, but in the end, I went out on a limb and I took it. And you know what? It was really, really hard. I was entirely overwhelmed for the first few weeks of the job, and when I finally felt like I was starting to hit my stride, the world was plunged into a pandemic, and the job got even harder. I don’t think I was a very good Engagement Managing Editor River Wells rwells@alligator.org at all, but I got to uncover yet another side of the newspaper I’ve @twitter grown to adore so much, and I came out of that experience with such an immense respect for young student journalists in newsrooms across the nation. I’m glad I got to do it, even if I probably (definitely) wasn’t the first choice for the job. After that, I spent a semester as Sports Editor, where I got to travel to places like Texas, Tennessee and Georgia to cover the best football season UF has had in years. That’s action. See, journalists write a lot of words. We write about the deeds and misdeeds of other people around us, but don’t be fooled. We’re doing our own deeds every print night when we put those words out there to the world, and the public service that journalists provide is absolutely integral. Me? I’m far from the most accomplished writer at UF’s J-School. There are no awards or fanfare for me: I was never showered with honors, and I ended my tenure here at the world’s best student newspaper with as many internships as Troy Aikman has All-Pros. I only have words to be proud of. And I’ve written a whole lot of words in my 10 semesters here at the Alligator. But after those semesters on staff at the best damn student newspaper in the country in an infinite number of positions, I hope people can say years from now that more than just my words told a story during my time as a student journalist. For in such business, action is eloquence. River Wells was Sports Editor, Engagement Managing Editor and a Staff Writer for the Independent Florida Alligator.

Goodbye Column

How to say goodbye in 688 words

when are you going to get your tattoo?” my girlfriend Melissa Garcia asked me last night. I said (or threatened, depends on who you asked) I would get one around a year ago. Then, I was wrapping up my first semester at this intimate and profound newspaper. I haphazardly declared my intention to stain my skin with a tribute to this newspaper and messaged Alligator alumnus, Ethan Bauer. “What does your tattoo look like?” He sent me a Snap of the bold lowercase A sown on his forearm. But for the three semesters that followed, I didn’t give the idea much thought. How could I? Doing so would mean coming to terms with the mortality of my career at this newspaper. So I put off thinking about the design. Lowercase A? Maybe one of the alligators on our shirts. And the location. On my shoulder? What about my ass? My back? I only knew one thing:I wanted one. But how could I rush a decision like that? I didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a journalist. I didn’t realize my desire to religiously pursue this career until my third year at FIU. So, I dropped out and quickly enrolled at Miami Dade College for a fresh start. I joined the student newspaper, The Reporter, and set my sights on the future. I wanted to go to UF. I didn’t consider another school. Because I wanted to write for The Alligator. So from 2017 to 2019, I wrote and edited with the dream of becoming an Alligator writer. It was the best student newspaper in the country, I thought. If I wanted to make something of myself, I couldn’t write anywhere else. So I arrived at UF in August 2019. The boy who grew up in Miami idolizing the Hurricanes was a Gator. But I wasn’t an Alligator. So I applied, waited, waited and waited some more. Finally, I got an email from then-sports editor Tyler Nettuno. I didn’t get the job. Are you kidding? That dose of reality struck me like a freight train, but I needed it. I kept my heart set on this damn newspaper and applied in the spring. Thankfully, then-sports editor Kyle Wood took a gamble and hired me to cover lacrosse. The rest is history. And I don’t want it to be. I

really don’t. I’ve lived in Gainesville for almost two years now. I’ve come to appreciate this little city. But it’s not home. Maybe because it’s hard to find a half-decent croqueta. Or because I nevChristian Ortega er imagined living somecortega@alligator.org where where deer sight@unofficialchris ings are casual. The Alligator was a home. That small newsroom. Whose walls are decorated with hate mail. Whose smell is tastefully musty. Whose chatter echoed through the empty Gainesville Sun offices during unholy hours. I made friendships I’ll cherish forever, even after we went virtual. The long hours editing. The frustrated hair pulling. The elation when a story came out just right. Watching writers improve throughout semesters. I loved it. Because by virtue of love or patience, we went through it together. Whether it was as a writer or editor, I was never alone. I wrestled with how to write this column. Saying goodbye is hard enough. Putting my thoughts into words is harder. Condensing four semesters of memories is almost a Herculean task. But maybe the reason why writing this was so hard is because the future is unknown. I feel like a little kid afraid of the dark. One who asks their parents to check for monsters and leave the light on before going to bed. Life outside college is going to be scary. I don’t know what will jump out from the dark. But what I learned at this newspaper is invaluable. It’s my night light that keeps me safe. It’s why I want to honor it by permanently staining my skin. So that when I’m scared of the unknown, I can look at wherever I decide to mark myself and feel at ease. Because I’m reminded of home. Thank you, everyone I worked with, for making these four semesters the best of my life. Christian Ortega was the sports editor and editor-in-chief.


MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2021 www.alligator.org/the_avenue



By Heather Bushman Avenue Staff Writer

Music runs through Grant Schaffer’s veins. With parents who surrounded him with sound from an early age and two older sisters who both played instruments, music was inescapable in Schaffer’s household. He was a bit of a late bloomer, first picking up the violin when he was already 2 years old, but he quickly caught up to his siblings. Trained using the classical Suzuki method, the 20-year-old Gainesville native became proficient and began playing violin in local orchestras. Viola followed soon after, then guitar, and now, Schaffer said he can play “pretty much any string instrument.” Shifting from his classical foundation to a more contemporary indie pop sound, Schaffer is now a viral singer-songwriter, garnering almost 857,000 followers on TikTok and over 4 million total streams on Spotify. He returned Wednesday with his latest single “Lovely Town,” a charming soft rock jam about mak-

ing the most of life and the power of free will. “Lovely Town” is the latest in a string of singles Schaffer has released since March 2020, but this is the culmination of work started years earlier. After experimenting with songwriting and creating “terrible” demos in high school, Schaffer said he started working with local producers and engineers to record his first serious attempts at making music. What resulted was the 2019 “Indigo Dreams” EP, a trap-infused indie pop effort with acoustic influence. Schaffer partnered with Will Frenchman, a Gainesville producer and sound engineer now based in Boston, to work on the project. The pair met at a summer camp when Frenchman was 13 but only began collaborating after high school. Since then, Frenchman has produced almost all of Schaffer’s material. “Grant is always magical to work with,” Frenchman said. “He can come up with a hit melody on his guitar or ukulele in 30 seconds like it’s nothing.” Schaffer’s musicality and knack for quick, catchy hooks translated well on TikTok, where creators have only seconds to make their sounds stick. Following “Indigo Dreams,”

Schaffer said he turned to the platform to promote his music, one of the first artists to do so. “You can legitimately amass streams and followers and fans from knowing how to use the internet to your advantage,” Schaffer said. Amass he did. Schaffer’s streaming numbers on Spotify alone are in the millions, with his single “Seeing Colors” racking up 1.3 million streams since its August 2020 release. “Lovely Town” is a deviation from the hip-hop and electronic style of his previous releases. The track takes more of a soft rock approach, with clean guitar hooks decorating bright synth lines and an easy backbeat. Solos emulating the likes of John Mayer and Jimi Hendrix, some of Schaffer’s heroes, glide easily over the instrumental base, and the beat is so effortless that the song sounds like it was written in swing. But it wasn’t always like that. Schaffer said the original recording sounded entirely different than the end product, but after months of hiatus recovering from a vocal injury that left him with a new perspective, Schaffer changed the arrangement. “Lovely Town” was originally tracked during a lengthy writing recording session with Schaffer and Frenchman. The two had rented

out an Airbnb in Winter Garden to quarantine together and make music for weeks on end, but during the process, Schaffer developed vocal bruising. “It took like a million tries to get this pretty simple vocal take,” Frenchman said. “I think that’s when we both knew something was really wrong.” After two weeks of vocal rest saw no improvement, a specialist referred Schaffer to a vocal therapist, who helped rehabilitate his voice for three months. From there, Schaffer began working with a vocal coach, where he said he found the confidence to develop a more authentic sound. Schaffer realized he wanted to expand his musical style in the months where he wasn’t releasing material. It meant live instrumentation, a heightened focus on songwriting and a spotlight on Schaffer’s musicianship. “It kind of led to this gap of where my music was then to where it’s headed now,” Schaffer said. “Going this direction felt a lot more true to myself.” Thematically, “Lovely Town,” is indicative of this renewal. The lyrics detail a utopia of creative energy, a place where dreams reign supreme and lofty aspirations aren’t lofty at


Scan for our playlist of songs saying goodbye to the Alligator’s Spring 2021 staff.


“To live in a ‘Lovely Town’ is to live in a reality where you understand you have the power to do anything you want,” Schaffer said. Schaffer said his ‘Lovely Town’ is a future that’s “all-in” on music, one that sees him creating constantly and building a fanbase that enjoys his content. With streaming and social media success and a deeply ingrained appreciation for the musical process, he’s on his way. @hgrizzl hbushman@alligator.org



By Heather Bushman Avenue Staff Writer

When the story of an elderly man crossing six lanes of busy traffic on his motorized scooter reached Glenda Thomas, she was alarmed. It wasn’t so much the event that caught Thomas’s attention; it was the reason behind it. The man had braved the bustling roads to purchase a $1 hamburger from a nearby restaurant, only for the lettuce and tomato that came with it. He said he hadn’t had the produce in years. Thomas, the outreach manager for Marion Senior Services, said the story alerted her to a much bigger problem: a staggering lack of access to fresh produce for senior citizens. That’s when she and her colleagues

decided something had to be done. Partnering with Florida Blue and Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Marion Senior Services, a nonprofit service organization supporting Marion County’s elderly population, facilitated a distribution program of free fruits and vegetables to seniors across Marion County. The Fresh Stop bus, a repurposed Lynx bus with refrigerated racks housing fresh fruits and vegetables, visits different cities across the county for easy access to produce, an otherwise difficult commodity to come by in certain areas. The idea was created from an already-existing partnership between Florida Blue and Marion Senior Services. The Florida Blue community event managers across the state, who continuously seek out grassroots projects to support community health, partnered with Marion Senior Services to connect with Florida Blue clients in the area. Aware of the produce problem in Marion County, the two organizations began brainstorming possible solutions, something both economi-

Keep up with the Avenue on Twitter. Tweet us @TheFloridaAve.

cally and physically accessible to provide their clients with proper nutritional options. “Our agency has for some time been looking for ways to implement this type of a program, recognizing the need for seniors to have proper nutrition,” Thomas said. Kathryn Fleming, a community events manager at Florida Blue Medicare, suggested enlisting the help of Hebni Nutrition Consultants, an Orlando-based nonprofit organization that offers nutrition strategies to populations at risk for diet-related diseases. The plan was for Hebni’s Fresh Stop bus to stop at certain target areas in Marion County, benefiting both clients of Marion Senior Services and Florida Blue. While visiting the bus, clients can pick up a bag of fresh food and ingredients, consult with an on-site nutritionist and receive information about Florida Blue’s various insurance programs. Dell Richards, another Florida Blue Medicare community events manager, said the program has serviced over 500 clients per month

since its inception in January. With sponsorship from Florida Blue, the Fresh Stop bus has visited two communities in Marion County per month, including Anthony and Marion Oaks, and the bus is set to stop in Dunnellon in the next week. These areas fall under the category of “food deserts” — regions without easy access to fresh foods, according to Hebni’s website. The website states in Central Florida alone, more than 90,000 people live in a food desert, and the situation is even more severe for seniors. Lack of funds and limited transportation put the elderly population at a major disadvantage in the search for fruits and vegetables, Thomas said. With minimal income and limited ways of getting to the grocery store, some senior residents will go months — or even years, in the case of residents like the cross-traffic traveler — without fresh produce. Thomas said this disparity was what inspired the program, which seeks not only to offer nutritional equity but also the opportunity to savor

the flavor of good, healthy food. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy having a fresh piece of fruit,” Thomas said. Resident response, Thomas said, has been overwhelmingly positive. She said the community has been very supportive of the program and hopes for it to continue. “Clients have just been overjoyed about this,” Thomas said. “Obviously, they’re hoping we can keep it going.” Florida Blue’s contract with Hebni extends through the year, but Richards said it’s likely they’ll renew to continue and even expand the program. The Fresh Stop bus also visits areas in Orange County, and Richards said Florida Blue is looking to implement the program in other regions where community event managers operate. “I don’t see it going away,” she said. “I see it growing if anything.” @hgrizzl hbushman@alligator.org

Baseball’s streak

Following a home sweep over Missouri, the Gators look to capitalize on their winning streak during this week’s opportunistic road trip, pg. 14

Scan to listen to our last pop culture news roundup of the semester.

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38 38 Disgraced Cinder-covered firmcourt 40 energy Like much 39 Period of work evidence 41 Range below 41 “Flying” national 28-Across symbol 43 Half a bikini 42 Modeling 46 Only “V” adhesive Monopoly 47 avenue Bolivian not bruin 48 named Websitefor a providing vehicle state history 49 __ Joe’sreports 49 Peace “Don’t delete” 51 mark agreement

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J UMB L E by David L. Hoyt




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4 5



04/12/2021 04/13/21


ACROSS CLUE 1. Sticky ____ 5. Pierce 6. Respond 7. Avoided, escaped DOWN CLUE


1. 2. 3. 4.


Weeping ____ Remote ____ ____ City Left, abandoned



CLUE: When it was completed in 1825, it was the second longest of its kind in the world.


How to play By Brent Sverdloff ©2021 By JanaTribune Persky Content Agency, LLC ©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

04/13/21 04/19/21

Complete the crossword puzzle by looking at the clues and unscrambling the answers. When the puzzle is complete, unscramble the circled letters to solve the BONUS.

ANSWERS: 1A-Wicket 5A-Lance 6A-React 7A-Eluded 1D-Willow 2D-Control 3D-Emerald 4D-Jilted B-Erie Canal

ACROSS ACROSS 1 1Pats down in a King-sized weapons search 6 Seat in un parc 7 Gather, as crops 10 Beer party 11 Theater ticket staples word 1414__Scarlett Beach:of Tara 15Southern “Young Frankenstein” California city aide 15 Memorable 16lioness Dark purple berry Orson Scott Card 1617Imprecise suffix sci-fi novelto a 17 Well-suited 19person’s Pinball no-no abilities “Anger,muscle fear, 1920Pontiac aggression: the car dark side of“Tik the 20 One-named Tok” singer Force are they” 21 College-level HS speaker course 21science Adopted cat, say 2322Bundle ofpigment hay Radiant 2624Kid’s Toonriddle: spouse “Why six with is a blue afraid of seven?” beehive “Because seven 27 Hypotheticals nine!” 30__ Old Faithful’s st. 2831Range above “__ Baby”: “Hair” 41-Down song 2932Gift giver’s eager Beat by a mile urging 34 Couture initials 32 Hire 35 Ostrich cousin 34 Like Beethoven’s 39“Pastoral Park warning sign 43Symphony” Hairy Himalayan Like King Cole 3544Arrow controlled 45byKind of node a mouse Filmmaker 3746Little piggies Ephron 40 Salad green Sch. north of 4248LinkedIn user’s Denver quest 50 Bean used in 44 Of sound mind nondairy 45 Fancy fish milk eggs Cheddar 4751Shapiro of NPR shredder 48 Punctual 5056__Elizabeth of honor:Arden wedding party parent company VIP 57 Coleridge’s 52 Smell “before” 5358Late-night NYC Harleys, familiarly 62show Burn balm 5563Tenant’s Go frompayment neutral 56 Like bouquets of to reverse ... and roses a hint to each set 58 Dining room piece of circles 6166Former Kinds soccer phenom Freddy 67 Island near Mull 6268Unpretentious Vermont patriot 67 Pen tip Allen 68 Reverberate Leaves journal 6969Science 70since Sweet-talk 1869 Small earrings 7071Obtain 71 Lion’s warning 72 WhatDOWN there may 1not Baby in athe pouch be “in 2house” “Sorry,during can’t do a it” tearjerker

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For Rent



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by Fifi Rodriguez 1. MEASUREMENTS: How many

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20 Events/Notices

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CryptoQuote answer

9. Atlanta Rhythm Section

4. "The Andy Griffith Show"

them isn't worth ruling.

8. A sheep

3. "The Great Gatsby"

but the kingdom given

7. Germany

2. Chicago

queens for a long time,

6. Chrysanthemum

1. Mount Lee, Los Angeles



10. Force

Sports Quiz



Trivia Test answers



5. Madagascar

7. The Colorado Silver Bullets. 6. ProStars.

Sudoku solution

ScrabbleGrams solution

5. "White Shoes."

© 2020 King Features Syndicate, Inc.


King Features Weekly Service

4. Jim Covert and Ed Sprinkle, two members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020, spent their entire playing careers with what NFL franchise? 5. What traditional Japanese martial art is literally translated as “the way of the sword”? 6. Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated what mixed martial arts superstar in a 2017 boxing megafight in Las Vegas? 7. What Croatia-born basketball player won three NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls from 1996-98 and was the 1996 NBA Sixth Man of the Year? Answers 1. 13. He hit eight of them in his 1962 rookie season. 2. The Big Whistle. 3. The Simpsons. 4. The Chicago Bears. 5. Kendo. 6. Conor McGregor. 7. Toni Kukoc.

May 25, 2020

3. What horse beat Triple Crown winner War Admiral in a head-to-head match at Pimlico Race Course in 1938? 4. Goodison Park in Liverpool is the home stadium of what English Premier League football club? 5. Billy Johnson, an NFL wide receiver and return specialist who was famous for his touchdown dances, was known by what popular nickname? 1. On May 6, 2019, what caused an 1. Tommie Aaron, brother of Hank, hit 18-minute delay runs in theinstart a game 6. Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and how many home hisofseven-seathe San Francisco sonbetween Major League BaseballGiants career?and Bo Jackson were animated superheCincinnati Reds at the GreatNHL’s American 2.theBill Chadwick, first roes in what Saturday-morning carBall Park?referee and later a broad- toon series that aired on NBC in 1991? U.S.-born caster for Billiken the New--York Rangers, went 7. What all-female professional base2. The a charm doll debyscribed what nickname? as "The God of Things as They ball team, sponsored by Coors Brewing 3.Ought Thetoname Albuquerque Be" -- for is thethe mascot for what Company, barnstormed across America Isotopes Minor League Baseball Jesuit university's athletic programs?club from 1994-97? was inspired by a fictional team from what TV comedy series? answers below

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Help Wanted


— Louisa May Alcott


4. Everton F.C. 3. Seabiscuit. 2. Saint Louis University. 1. A swarm of bees.

solution below

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MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2021 www.alligator.org/sports



By River Wells Sports Writer

There are a number of places that new UF students can go the moment they hit campus. They can go to the Reitz Union, eat with friends in the food court or buy new Gator merch at the bookstore. They can get some sun at the Plaza of the Americas or visit the mighty Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and bask in its glory. When Alejandro Navarrete came to UF from the country of Colombia, he had no such first impressions. Instead, the moment he got to campus, he went to a small garage on Gale Lemerand Drive. It’s the home of Gator Motorsports, a team that competes in the Formula SAE competition held annually at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. And it was exactly what Navarrete was looking for. *



Navarrete grew up in Colombia and developed a love of Motorsport from a young age. Enamored with the high speeds of Formula 1 racing, he knew from early on that he wanted to be a part of the motorsports industry: And later, that he wanted to be an engineer. “Coming from one idea, and then developing it and creating it and making it real,” Navarrete said. “Those are the things I really like.” He wanted to make that motorsport dream a reality. When he began researching ways to make it happen, he learned about Formula SAE. The competition, called FSAE for short, features around 120 teams. There are eight categories judged out of a potential of 1,000 points: Presentation, engineering design, cost analysis, acceleration, a skid-pad test to showcase the car’s cornering ability, an autocross section, the overall efficiency of the car and an endurance portion. So when it was time to decide on an American university, he had one central criteria: It had to have a Formula SAE team. He applied to many such universities, and many accepted him. But one of those universities was in a state he liked — Florida — and had a motorsports team with the impressive pedigree and results that he was looking for. That school was UF. And that team was Gator Motorsports. “When I learned about the University of Florida and how the team has placed in the past and how good we are, I just had that click in my mind,” he said. The formula car GMS enters into the competition is no simple machine. It boasts a 2007 Honda CBR600RR motorbike engine, putting out 72 horsepower at 11400 revolutions per minute. It can go zero to 60 miles per hour in just around three seconds, and its aerodynamic package can generate 100 pounds of down-

force at 35 miles per hour. But when he first walked into the GMS garage, the car wasn’t there. It was undergoing testing, typically done at Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park in Starke, Florida. Only the chief engineer was even in the building at the time, but he showed Navarrete some of the aero package in the front and rear wing. Even that was enough to put a swell in his chest. “I just get hit, like hit with that emotion,” he said. “And that sentiment of like ‘Wow, this is happening,’” he said. Navarrete found a place where GMS needed him. He started working with the brakes, and then dabbled with the suspension before working on the car’s intake and exhaust. “That was kind of my first year, trying to understand what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be,” he said. “Just understanding everything, learning everything.” With the help of department leads and mentors, he found something that stuck: The ergonomics department. The ergonomics department focuses on how the driver can sit comfortably in the car. They work with what the driver uses: the steering wheel and pedals. But that wasn’t the only side he would get involved with. As Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton once touted, “cash is king” in motorsports. The business side of GMS is just as important as the engineering side, and on top of working in the ergonomics department, Navarrete is the business lead at GMS. He doesn’t work alone on the business side of things, though. He has a partner, Olivia Miller, and her love for the team budded at an early age, too. *



Miller didn’t grow up with a love of motorsport like Navarrete did, but she did grow up with a love for GMS. Her older sister Emily attends Florida, and Miller toured the school with her during her sophomore year of high school. The bay doors of that small garage on Gale Lemerand Drive were open. The car was on display, and she was hooked from the moment her eyes fell upon it. Miller turned to her dad to tell her how cool she thought the operation was, and he took her to go talk to the team and check out the garage. They did, and the shop equipment and the car captured Miller’s heart. “That night to myself, I was like wow, if I go to UF, if I'm 100% joining this team,” she said. “Because this is an experience I want, this is the coolest thing.” That’s not to say that Miller didn’t have any experience in engineering before she got to Florida. She initially planned to study art, but she joined an engineering class in high school and discovered that she loved making things with her hands. Miller got to UF in August of last year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That didn’t stop her from getting to GMS, a place she swore she’d end up if she made it to the university.

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“As soon as I could, I reached out to them and I was like, ‘Hey, I'm on campus,’” Miller said. Miller helps Navarrete on the business side of things as a recruitment lead and a business team member. She puts her engineering skills to use in the chassis department. Women in STEM are far less common in the field than men are, but Miller feels right at home. “No one treats me any differently, which is what I want,” she said. “I'm just another student, another engineer who wants to learn about this car.” Both Miller and Navarrete work under team captain Daniel Tremblay. And for Tremblay, motorsports isn’t just a passion: It’s his way of life. *



Daniel Tremblay’s father Sylvain ran a motorsports team, Speedsource, for five years before Daniel was born. And as Daniel grew up, he remained a constant presence in the paddock. “I always wanted to help at the racetrack,” Tremblay said. “Cleaning bodywork, helping out with the truck and cleaning off the tires after they were used, little things like that.” Eventually, he began to spot for the team: He’d have the radio and tell the drivers what was happening around the track. With a team like SpeedSource, it was often victory. SpeedSource started out by building Mazda RX-7’s for pro-am racing. When the Mazda RX-8 came out in 2004, the racing team partnered with the car company to compete in the Grand-Am Cup ST competition. SpeedSource won back-to-back titles at the Cup ST competition in 2005 and, most notably, the GT Class at the 24 Hour of Daytona in 2008 and 2010. Speedsource shut down in 2017 while Tremblay was a junior engineer at the race team. He initially planned to go to college and then help the team on race weekends, but once that was no longer an option, he needed somewhere else to go. That somewhere was GMS, a team that he was already familiar with: GMS went to SpeedSource’s facilities and sponsored the team. A GMS alum was a lead engineer of SpeedSource when Daniel was growing up. “I’ve been exposed to current and former SAE kids since I was young,” Tremblay said. “So I knew I wanted to go here.” When Tremblay got to GMS, he knew immediately where he wanted to go: The suspension team. He became the suspension lead and testing coordinator his sophomore year, but he

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put a large amount of effort into the team that caused his grades to drop. “I kind of burnt myself out a little bit,” he said. Tremblay was in line to become co-captain of the team his junior year, but once he got his final exam grades, he had to step away from the team for two semesters. At least, he tried. He began to mentor the other department leads and taught them not to make the same mistakes he did. “I said I was off, but from the background, I still wanted to be involved,” he said. “I took on more of a mentorship role.” Tremblay came back spring 2020. A week after the car was finished and testing began for the upcoming FSAE competition, the university shut down. “I think the chapter was closed, at least, because we got the car done and we were all very proud of what we’d done,” he said. Tremblay, though, looked at the positive: His tenure as captain started sooner, and GMS didn’t wait until the new year began to get its next car ready. And since it did, he taught his team with a simple mantra. “Focus on the little things,” he said. “There’s a lot of little bits on the car that you don’t see on first glance, or even second glance.” Read the rest online at alligator.org/sports

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Gators sweep Mizzou to match season-high win streak NO. 18 FLORIDA IS ON A FIVE-GAME WIN STREAK

By Griffin Foll Sports Writer

Up by four in the top of the ninth inning, Florida southpaw Trey Van Der Weide surrendered two unearned runs before he stranded Missouri’s tying baserunner with the final out. Van Der Weide secured his first save this season and completed the Gators’ first series sweep since SEC opening weekend. After they earned revenge over Florida State Tuesday, the Gators prevailed in Friday’s series opener at Florida Ballpark before they matched a season-high five-game win streak with a pair of two-run victories Saturday. Florida improves to 9-6 (.600) in conference play and leads the SEC in home wins (23). The Gators maintain a lacklus-

ter 2-6 road record, but they have a prime opportunity to bounce back to .500 in this week’s favorable road trip. They’ll start the week against Jacksonville, whom the Gators defeated in a home series on March 14, before they head north to take on Auburn. The Tigers enter the weekend with a conference-worst 2-13 (.133) record after they were outscored by more than two runs per game. After the Seminoles teed off Florida right-hander Garrett Milchin in Tallahassee, head coach Kevin O’Sullivan gave Milchin the nod again in Tuesday’s rematch. The redshirt junior struck out a career-high five batters and allowed only one earned run across six frames until righthander Jack Leftwich took the rubber. “He (Milchin) did everything we could have asked from him,” O’Sullivan said. “He was probably motivated to get another opportunity to pitch against them.” Leftwich held Florida State hitless be-

fore Kendrick Calilao hit an extra-inning, walk-off homer. Leftwich duplicated Tuesday’s effort against Mizzou Saturday when he retired 11 straight batters to pick up his sixth win this year. “It was real special for us, and him especially, to go out there and pitch like the Jack Leftwich we know,” freshman infielder Josh Rivera said. Freshman left-hander Hunter Barco and sophomore right-hander Christian Scott made quality appearances on the mound. Barco started the series finale Saturday and matched a career-high 6.1 innings thrown. The Jacksonville native struck out five batters and earned his sixth win. At the plate, Florida went 33-98 (.337) against Missouri, a noticeable increase from its .283 season average. The Gators went down on strikes just 10 times in the three-game series, which looks encouraging for a team that averages over eight strikeouts a game.

Sophomore center fielder Jud Fabian went 5-11 against Mizzou with a double in each game. Fabian led off the bottom of the Friday’s second inning with his teamleading 12th home run this season. But the Ocala native struck out in the series opener and became the second player in the nation to reach 50 strikeouts this season. Freshman Nathan Hickey went 5-10 and drove in two more runs to reach a teamhigh 37 RBIs. Senior third baseman Kirby McMullen hit 4-14 with 5 RBIs and his eighth dinger this year. The Gators look to remain in the win column Tuesday in Jacksonville. They’ll face the Dolphins at 6 p.m. before they head to Auburn in search of their fifth consecutive SEC win Friday. @GriffinFoll gfoll@alligator.org


Florida looks to have full capacity for fall sporting events STRICKLIN ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY THAT HE ANTICIPATES FILLED STANDS

By Karina Wilson Sports Writer

Fall sporting events may have full capacity, UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin announced. The university expressed its plans during a virtual UF Eye Opener Discovery Breakfast Wednesday. The Swamp was limited to 17,000 people, or about 20% capacity, for the 2020 football season due to Alachua County COVID-19 restrictions. The Gators haven’t seen full fan attendance since the day the sports world

was put on pause, March 11, 2020. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium holds up to 88,548 people, and the largest crowd of almost 91,000 people gathered Nov. 28, 2015 at a home game against Florida State. During Senior Day last season, UF boasted an attendance of 16,610. Gator football coach Dan Mullen hinted at a packed Swamp in a viral Tweet April 9. It features fans in a packed crowd singing to Gainesville native Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” during the fourth quarter of the 2019 Auburn game. “Hopefully we’re able to get back to some normalcy in the fall when we hit the field again,” Mullen said March 15. “I think all the Gator Nation is going to be ex-

cited. Everyone I see is like, ‘Boy, I hope we can pack the Swamp.” Stricklin said about 60% of Florida’s student-athletes have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to MYCBS4 sports reporter Sara Cardona. The university began to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to all students, faculty and staff April 5. Stricklin encourages people to get vaccinated but doesn’t foresee requiring proof of vaccination for athletic event attendance. While Stricklin and company are optimistic for the fall, SEC and Alachua County officials have yet to announce changes to current regulations. “They’re desperate to get back into the stadium and to go experience Saturdays in the Swamp,”

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Mullen said. “Hopefully through all the precautions and everything going on, we’re able to stay safe and we’re able to fill the stadium

this fall.” @kk_rinaa kwilson@alligator.org

Alligator File Photo

Athletic director Scott Stricklin plans for Florida athletics to have full capacity for fall sports in 2021.


MEMORIALS, from pg. 2

Stephen Morse, 65

Sudoku puzzle Sunday, Aug. 2, Brandenburg’s daughter Julie Wichman said, as he died that day. He was 71. Wichman said Brandenburg was known for his humor, his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, his adoration for his wife, children and family and being the fourth child in a family of jokesters. She said he once ate an entire can of Crisco as a child in an attempt to stay home from school. Brandenburg began his last day like he did every day — by greeting himself in the bathroom mirror and saying, “Well, looky there. I just get better lookin’ every day.” He then started the day’s Sudoku puzzle in the Gainesville Sun while sitting on the side of the dining room table where his arms had worn down the edge, Wichman said. From Brandenburg’s nickname of Da5ve — which Wichman said he would say the number five is silent — to leaving handwritten notes in places for his family to find, Wichman said he could make anyone smile. She still finds notes written on scraps of paper, edges of bills or pieces of mail that he hid among family belongings. Brandenburg’s niece Michelle Brandenburg said she knew him as “smilin’ uncle Dave.” “He was always very happy,” she said. “He was loved by all.” Along with working as a contractor and installing siding throughout the community while living in Gainesville for more than 30 years, Wichman said David Brandenburg served during the Vietnam War as a corporal in the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division. She said he received multiple honors, including a Combat Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge, Sharpshooter Badge, Pathfinder Badge, National Defense Service Medal and Bronze Star Medal for acts of valor and heroic achievement in a combat zone. “He was super proud of that,” she said. “Any time he was ever talking about Vietnam, he would only tell us good memories.” Brandenburg was born March 17, 1949, at 4:44 a.m. in Detroit, Michigan. His birth time gave rise to his saying, “Four, four, four,” which was his way of saying, “I love you.” Wichman said his saying was adopted and used by the entire family. Most members of the family plan to get a “444” tattoo to honor her father, she said. Brandenburg is survived by his wife of 46 years, Marilyn; son, Bill; daughter, Julie; brothers, Mike and Randy; sisters, Sandra and Linda; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Written by Antonia LaRocca

Troyanne “Ann” Hamm, 57 Troyanne Hamm, better known as “Ann,” was a school bus driver in Alachua County for more than 25 years. She passed Aug. 2. For the kids on her bus, Hamm would buy pizza on report-card days and give out treats for Halloween. She would help them with homework, reward them for doing well in school and check on them to make sure everything was OK for them at home. “She would go against parents to watch out for the welfare of kids,” Melzone Johnson, her brother, said. “She knew that kids needed somebody to speak for them. She was a voice for children.” Hamm was also competitive. She loved to compete against other counties in bus “roadeos.” These roadeos were full of obstacle courses, and you would have to be skilled in driving a bus to drive through them. Richelle Brown, her stepdaughter, said she was one of the best school bus drivers she’s seen. Outside of her bus route, Hamm was the life of parties. The energy she brought through her playlist of R&B music by Marvin Gaye, Lenny Williams and Al Green was matched by her astounding dancing skills. For this reason, she also loved line dancing. “‘Cupid Shuffle,’ ‘Electric Slide,’ whatever, she was the one starting it off,” Brown said. “Always on the dance floor, always, always, always.” As a lifelong Alachua County resident, Hamm’s heart belonged to the Gators. She collected anything with a Gators logo on it, including flags and a prized Gators-logo projector given to her by Brown for Christmas. Besides the Florida State Seminoles, UF’s in-state chief rivals, Hamm disliked dishonesty and people who make promises they don’t keep. Her service was themed blue and orange, and she was surrounded by her favorite things: her school bus, her friends and most importantly, her family. Hamm is survived by her stepdaughter, Richelle Brown; and her brother, Melzone Johnson. Written by Jake Reyes

Stephen Morse knew everything there was to know about sports. You could ask him who won the Major League Baseball pennant in 1968, and he’d immediately be able to tell you, his wife, Jennifer Rich, said. “It’s just like losing a giant library,” Rich said. Morse, a Gainesville resident, died Aug. 6, 2020, from pulmonary fibrosis complicated by COVID-19. He was 65. Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Morse was raised by his grandparents George and Lorain Tansley. Morse graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, where he was the managing editor of his college newspaper, College Michigan Life. A former journalist, Morse was known for his editing skills, exceptional writing and work ethic, but also his kindness, graciousness, and patience, Rich said. “I have a lot more hot temper than he does, and he would always say things like ’Don’t sweat the small stuff,’” Rich said. “Everything of mine was pretty much the small stuff.” Early in his career, Morse worked as the sports editor, news editor and metro editor at the Battle Creek Enquirer over 20 years. He also worked at the Ann Arbor News as a copy editor and page designer, where he met his wife. The two then moved to Florida, where Morse worked at the Tampa Bay Times for nine years as an editor in its Clearwater bureau and then as a copy editor in its St. Petersburg office. He also worked brief stints at the Tampa Tribune and the Lakeland Ledger. Besides journalism, he loved basketball, regularly driving to Saint Pete to play with a group of his friends. He knew everything there was to know about sports, Rich said, and he was an avid fan of any sports team coming out of Michigan— especially the Detroit Tigers. Morse recently retired and was planning a trip around the United States with his wife to visit every baseball park in the country. He also planned on writing short stories and maybe a book, Rich said. Written by Kevin Maher

Hope Susan Jaffe, 92 Hope Susan Mosheim Jaffe’s recipes connected her family before COVID-19 took her life Oct. 29. She was 92 years old. Jaffe taught herself to cook after meeting her husband, Larry Jaffe. She was a natural talent, especially in baking, her husband said. Jaffe cooked for her four children and 10 grandchildren. She copied her beloved recipes into books for her daughter and three daughtersin-law to continue feeding the family at Thanksgiving. “She always was the pinnacle of the event,” Larry said. “It was our motto to give Hope a moment of joy as much as we can.” Jaffe’s banana chocolate cake brings on memories of her strong love for her family. As the matriarch, her children’s love fueled her, Larry said. “Hope and I were blessed with wonderful children,” Larry said. “Their love for her got returned with love from her. It was a beautiful circle.” Even as dementia took her drive, Jaffe’s humor and storytelling drew her social groups in the memory ward at The Village at Gainesville retirement community, Larry said. Written by Lianna Hubbard

Phillip S. Haisley, 86 Phillip Haisley, 86, was an avid reader, world traveler and International Scrabble Master. Haisley grew up in Marion, Indiana, where he and his wife, Anne Haisley, ran a bookstore called Redbeard’s Books, named after Haisley’s bushy, red beard. The couple moved to Gainesville in 1989 and brought their business with them. That year, they established Books, Inc., which was a staple among Gainesville’s board gaming crowd. Haisley and Anne’s store was known for hosting chess competitions, Dun-

geons and Dragons meetups and, of course, Scrabble tournaments. Haisley hosted and competed in international Scrabble tournaments since his days in Indiana. At one point, he was hospitalized with kidney stones, but his passion for the game overruled his pain — he checked himself out of the hospital, hosted a tournament he was about to miss, and then returned for his surgery. “He was just a dedicated person,” Anne said. “If he was responsible for something, he did it.” Haisley was a bookworm, but he was not a recluse. He loved traveling and camping so much that he camped in every state in the United States. He taught grade school in Kenya and Australia, making friends wherever he went. For decades, Haisley and Anne have received heaps of Christmas cards from friends they’ve made around the world. This year, Anne received the cards as usual, addressed to her and her husband. She’s had to go through them and inform their friends of Haisley’s passing. “I still have a stack of cards from November and December I have to answer,” Anne said. “People loved him.” Written by Thomas Weber

Michael Kuenstle, 59 Architecture allowed Michael Kuenstle to meticulously design hundreds of structures, but his favorite was the family he built. Kuenstle, a 59-year-old UF School of Architecture associate professor, died Dec. 12 due to COVID-19 complications. Kuenstle was the first professor to die COVID-19, UF spokesman Steve Orlando confirmed in a text message. He contracted COVID-19 just before Thanksgiving, his wife and UF School of Architecture associate professor Nancy Clark, said. Kuenstle was born on Sept. 28, 1961, in Houston, the fourth of six children. Unlike the turbulent times of the late 1960s and early 1970s, his childhood was defined by good grades and careful decision-making, his younger brother, James Kuenstle, said. “He didn’t make mistakes,” James, 54, said. “Some other kids in the family didn’t do the right things. I kept my eyes on Michael.” In 1988, Kuenstle Michael met his wife while working at Brand + Allen Architects in San Francisco. His company had partnered with the firm Clark was interning at, and the two met while collaborating on a project. “We’ve been partners in design since the day we met,” Clark said. “It gave us a unique relationship.” Kuenstle Michael then taught at New York Institute of Technology for two years before he was recruited to UF’s School of Architecture in 1993. Once the couple moved to Gainesville, they started an architecture firm, Clark + Kuenstle Associates Inc. “The legacy Michael left on this college is one that will live forever,” Acting Director of the UF School of Architecture Frank Bosworth wrote in a statement. Written by Corbin Bolies

Sammie Carroll Rackley, 80 Although Sammie Carroll Rackley loved the bowling leagues he participated in, his greatest accomplishment was the family he raised. Rackley, 80, died from COVID-19 on Dec. 26, 2020. He was born in Royse City, Texas. After high school, he worked on airplanes with his father at LTV (Ling-Temco-Vaught). Instead of being drafted, he decided to join the United States Air Force. During his time, he traveled the world, visiting Chile, Thailand, Mexico and Korea. Rackley was an avid sports fan. He rooted for the Dallas Cowboys and loved playing golf and bowling. He even met his wife of 56 years, Carolyn, at a bowling alley while he was stationed in Dover, Delaware. “He really loved his sports,” Carolyn said. After Rackley’s time in Dover, the pair moved back to Texas, where they raised a family. They had two daughters, Robin and Jennifer, and a son, Marty. In 1988, they moved to Florida for work. Rackley was an electrician by trade, and he worked as a supervisor at DrilTech,



MEMORIALS, from pg. 2 a drilling service provider to oil and gas operators in Alachua County. Aside from work and sports, Rackley’s true passion was his family. He loved everything his wife cooked and was very proud of his children and grandchildren. “He was happy if he was around his family,” Jennifer said. Rackley never met a person who didn’t love him, Carolyn said. He was known for his work ethic, sense of humor and his famous catchphrases, especially one that expressed his honesty. “If I tell you a chicken dips snuff, you can look under his left wing for the can,” was one of the many sayings people loved him for, Jennifer said. Written by Kevin Maher

Wesley Schneider, 94 Some children learn the history of America through books. Wesley Schneider taught his kids through road trips. “It was a wonderful, wonderful way for my brother and I to learn,” his daughter, 66-year-old Lynn Newman, said. It’s what Newman remembers the most about her father. Schneider, 94, died on Dec. 28 from COVID-19. Schneider was born on Oct. 15, 1926 in New Britain, Connecticut, the only child in his family. Passionate about service, he enlisted in the Army, serving in Korea during World War II. But it was his family at home — his wife Muriel, his two kids, Lynn and Scott, and their 1957 red and cream Chevy station wagon, Betsy — that held his heart. Newman remembers Sunday adventures the group would take to nearby states like Vermont and New Hampshire, where Schneider exposed them to the country’s landscape and scenery — but was still home by dinner. Schneider carried that spirit late into his life, though he wasn’t restricted to land, Newman said. Instead, he and his son became avid cruise-goers, traveling to locations such as

the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and Alaska. “We are so grateful for the way we were brought up,” she said. “Mom and Dad expected us to be decent citizens, good people. I think that would be Dad’s legacy.” Written by Corbin Bolies

Stacey Willams, 53 Known as “Coach” by most and “Hog” by hometown friends and family, Stacey Williams dedicated his life to coaching Gainesville youth. For 25 years, Williams coached little league football, most recently at Eastside High School with the Rattlers Youth Football program. His wife, Latraile Williams, said he always had a passion for coaching and the wisdom needed to coach. “He knew the youth was our future, and he loved being out there with them,” Latraile said. “He really got a thrill from seeing that he could use his knowledge to help someone else.” On Jan. 4, Williams died from COVID-19. He was 53. Family and friends said he loved to watch the Gators and the Dallas Cowboys play, often coaching from behind the screen. As a big family man, he often hosted family gatherings, drove last in line to camping trips and DJed at Christmas parties. Williams gave back to his community by working at LifeSouth Community Blood Center in Gainesville and as a praised ministry technician at the H.O.M.E Church in Hawthorne. Wendell Martin, his uncle, said he loved the job because he got to greet people at the door. “If you looked at that smile, you couldn’t help but be happy,” Martin said. “So when you walked in the door of our church, you felt love because he was greeting you with love.” His family believes Stacey loved everyone and wanted everyone to love each other. Written by Lucille Lannigan

Fred Levin, 83 Martin Levin’s voice, slightly quivering from the remnants of tears, confidently announced to those at his father’s outdoor funeral that once the world is safe from COVID-19, a true celebration would be held for his dad. “It will be a blowout party,” Martin said. “It will be a Fred Levin celebration.” UF’s Levin College of Law namesake Fredric Levin died Jan. 12 due to COVID-19 complications. He was 83 years old. The UF Levin College of Law Dean Laura Rosenbury said Levin’s generous contributions to UF have created opportunities for students through numerous scholarships, and his positive example illustrates the power of a law degree. “He pushed me to take the law school to new heights,” she said. “We’ve made a lot of progress, but we still have progress to go, and I will hear his voice in the back of my head as I move forward.” Mark Proctor, president of the Levin Papantonio Rafferty Law Firm, worked with Levin for over 40 years. He said Levin’s Jewish heritage often left him feeling like an outsider, especially growing up. “It was that experience learned at a young age that really molded and colored his entire life,” Proctor said. During the funeral, Levin’s family members also recalled how he was an avid fighter against racial injustice, bigotry and greed. “Dad had a very difficult time even understanding how someone could be prejudiced,” Martin Levin said. “And dad never hesitated, in any capacity, to speak up against the majority, against the authority, against the established and against the popular.” Written by Abigail Hasebroock Read more memorials online at alligator.org

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