VOLUME VI, ISSUE II
WINTER 2013 FREE
ZIRIUMS The journey, drive and lyrics that took Ziriums and his rap from Nigeria to Gainesville. P.22
IS MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL AMERICA’S (AND GAINESVILLE’S) BEST KEPT SECRET? P.28
this issue Bambooville
(pictured right) An artist creates a bamboo-tiful place on UF’s campus.
Published with support from Generation Progress/Center for American Progress (online at GenerationProgress.org).
Ashira Morris Samantha Schuyler Lily Wan
Creative Writing Editor
Ashira Morris Samantha Schuyler Lily Wan
Isabel Branstrom Korrie Francis Chelsea Hetelson Maitane Romagosa Sarah Senfeld Kelley Taksier
The Coffee Buzz (pictured above)
Become a connoisseur on your morning fuel, or at least act like one.
p. 16 Cover art by Emma Roulette and Samanthat Schuyler.
COLUMNS Frankly Speaking, p. 06 To judge and be judged. Now, in a Time of Cholera, p. 12 The ancient disease of Cholera creeps up in the Caribbean.
SPOTLIGHTS Dive In, p. 18 The perfectly good food that gets dumped, and the folks who rescue it. Citrus Situation, p. 25 The attack of the citrus greening! What’s gonna happen to the trees on campus?
FEATURES Obamacare 101, p. 31 Your 1-page guide on the 974-page document that shut down the government. Behind Books, Behind Bars, p. 36 Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.
02 | T H E
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LETTERS, ETC. FALL 2013 FREE
from THE FINE PRINTâ€™S
ISSUE I VOLUME VI,
EDITORIAL DESK by Lily Wan
Multimedia, more stories, blogs and a community calendar. PLUS! Comment on stories, see photos from the printed issue (and more!) IN COLOR, flip through a digital version of the printed edition and much, much more, all updated throughout the month.
Get a good grip on these supple ucated Edibly Ed
newsprint pages youâ€™re holding; 40 p.14 pages of substance here, and you can feel it. Quite a few times, Iâ€™ve been asked how The Fine Print conjures up story ideas to fill these pages. And whenever + Tâ€™s S P. 26 RKERSâ€™ RIGHT someone inquires this, I raise my eyebrows L CRY FOR WO ECHOS NATIONA LOCAL STRIKE facebook.com/thefineprintuf and kind of roll my neck back and around. twitter.com/thefineprintuf Itâ€™s hard to answer. Qâ€™s Think about the last idea you had. No, not the four-in-the-morning, â€œOh dang, I should put this mac â€˜n cheese on this waffle and then drench it in srirachaâ€? idea. No. Think of the last good idea you had. Where did it come from? You discovered a problem, and you wanted to fix it. Something exceeded your Sara Nettle expectations, and you wanted to express that. You read something and came away skeptical. You felt something, and you wanted to show it. Well, thatâ€™s basically how we come up with our ideas. And itâ€™s not like a few masterminds sit around a table (think tank style or That â€˜70s Show style, though itâ€™s a closer visual) and just pull stories out of thin air. Sure, the editors pitch stories, but a lot of ideas come from our writers, friends and other folks whoâ€™ve got their ears tuned to their own special niches in Gainesville. We canâ€™t be everywhere at once, and we certainly donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going on in all little corners and crevices of this city at any given time. Fortunately, The Fine Print is staffed with people whoâ€™ve all got their own beat. This is how weâ€™re able to keep up with local happenings in music, politics, environmental issues and whatever other weird, interesting or unjust shit Gainesville churns up. Insofar as advocacy journalism goes, I always have my ears and eyes tuned to question. I read something and ask myself what and who is missing. You may do the same. So, dear readers, The Fine Print is counting on you to be our extended antennae. Plug us into your niche of Gainesville. You may not have the time or resources to dive into an investigation, but we do. Let us know. Write Sara Nettle is a second year student at the University of to us, talk to us, share with us. Submit a story pitch or Florida studying business because thatâ€™s useful, right??? even a full story. Weâ€™re all ears. She spends her free time biking all about Gainesville, lurking in all your favorite eating establishments, and is probably drawing you while you are looking down at this. There is speculation as to whether she is or is not a lizard person.
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IN E PR
Winter 2013 Â | T H E
COLUMN / PAPER CUTS Ouch! That hurt s doesn’t it? Paper Cuts are our shor t, erratic and slig htly painful updates on current local an d national events . See our website for more Paper Cuts at thefineprintuf.o rg
Paper Cuts WHAT’S MESSING WITH YOUR HORMONES? Chef Boyardee is making you more feminine. Or, the chemicals lining his canned pastas are, anyway. Our hormones are largely puppeteered by the toxins we’re exposed to in our daily lives. The Environmental Working Group and the Keep A Breast Foundation recently published their “Dirty Dozen” list of endocrine disruptors and found that our bodies are largely affected by these low-dose, frequent-exposure chemicals. You’ll likely be familiar with most of the culprits here, but some may surprise you. BPA, found in many plastic products and in the lining of food cans, can confuse your body into thinking it’s estrogen. Bioaccumulation of BPA has been linked to breast cancer, other cancers, reproductive issues, early puberty and heart disease. BPA is also used in thermal paper, which receipts are often printed on. Phthalates (no idea how to pronounce that) are cell-killers. Sure, billions of cells die in your body every day, but phthalates cause premature death of testicular cells. Studies have shown phthalates possibly responsible for lower sperm count, obesity and hormonal imbalances, among other ailments. Phthalates have been found leaching out of plastic tupperware, PVC-based plastic wrap and products whose ingredients include “fragrance,” which is an 04 | T H E
F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
Image courtesy of the Government Pr ess Office by Miln via Flickr Common er Mos s.
umbrella term that can translate to hidden phthalates. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) make our lives a little easier and a lot more toxic. These chemicals are found in teflon-coated -- a.k.a. non-stick -- cookware. PFCs are permanently bioaccumulative (i.e. they never go away) and have been linked to increased cholesterol and cancer. Although not quite as cheap or easy to work with, safer cookware alternatives are glass, cast iron or unglazed clay. Check out the full “Dirty Dozen” list of chemicals here: www.bit.ly/Hos8I2 By Lily Wan
GERMANY GOES GENDERLESS Just like anywhere else in the world, babies in Germany are born either male or female. Or of “indeterminate sex.” As of Nov. 1, Germany now allows for parents of intersex babies to have the birth certificates tagged with an ‘X’ in place of the otherwise identifying ‘M’ or ‘F.’ The new law does not require the parents to label their child outside the male-female binary, but it is now an option. While the legislation was passed as an effort for greater gender equality, it also comes with greater complications and possibly greater exclusions. By choosing to mark
“indeterminate” at birth, parents will be giving their children the opportunity to choose their sex later in life -- if they want to, that is. Some are concerned with how a baby “outed” at birth will be perceived and treated by a society that mainly functions on the gender binary. The third [non-]gender could also broach complications in marriage law and other paperwork and legal procedures as the ‘X’ child ages. Australia is the only other country to offer gender ‘X,’ but the legal process for this designation is more similar to that of a name change than a simple choice at birth. The ‘X’ is there if an intersex person -- otherwise known to paperwork as ‘M’ or ‘F’ -- wants to instead be labeled as indeterminate. Germany created a third gender to alleviate stress on the parents of intersex newborns. This genetic mutation affects roughly one in 2,000 German newborns, who usually undergo sex reassignment surgery at birth, forcing the parents to choose a recognized gender for their child. Reform of gender assignment is one thing, but legislation and societal norms at large will have to evolve alongside. Germany’s marriage system, for example, still operates on a gender binary; public restrooms, application forms and other hurdles reveal themselves as potential issues to a person of indeterminate sex. By Lily Wan
COLUMN / MONTHLY MANIFESTO
River Phoenix Center for
BY DORTHY J. MAVER The mission of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding (RPCP) is to enrich the lives of individuals, families, and communities by providing and promoting the best practices and principles of peacebuilding and global sustainability. To many, violence is just part of the human condition and think nothing can be done about it. The trained facilitators and educators at RPCP know better. Violence is preventable! Our non-profit organization is helping everyone learn to resolve conflict as we work in the fields of non-violent communication, restorative justice, anti-bullying and support efforts to combat domestic violence. Healthy communication in relationships and Restorative Justice are making the world a safer place. There is no doubt that violence in its many forms has a profound and lasting impact upon us all. Those who have personally experienced violence in our homes, workplace or community -- or have known others who have suffered from its effects -- know that it can take time to heal and move on with our lives. Our goal is to help with prevention of violence, assist in the healing process when it does occur and proactively create the conditions for a safe, healthy and sustainable community. Peacebuilding doesn’t occur by accident but is the product of education, patience, persistence and the development of vital skills.
To many, violence is just part of the human condition and think nothing can be done about it. Our far-reaching educational programs, workshops, events and trainings address restorative justice and dialogues, social-emotional learning, communica-
tion skills, conflict resolution and self-esteem enhancement. We work with schools, law enforcement, parents, universities, businesses, the faith community and health care providers. The guiding principle of our work is our commitment to the prevention, intervention and recovery from violence in all its many forms – together we will break the cycle of violence. To commemorate October Community Peacebuilding Month, RPCP celebrated with a kick-off event at CYMplify, followed by a Community Conferencing training, during which professionals from various sectors of the community received information and skill building in Restorative Circles. We also coordinated a highly successful Unity Day March and Vigil for Peace in partnership with Peaceful Paths. We are in partnership with the Department of Juvenile Justice and have several ongoing programs teaching communication and self-esteem classes to young people on probation or in detention in various locations in Alachua County. We also are teaching peer mediation and youth leadership in several schools. RPCP offers Mediation Services, Communication Skill Building, Diversity Training, Peacebuilding 101, Peace Leadership Training, Youth Programs, Restorative Justice, Juvenile Diversion Programs, Empowering Men & Women in Relationship, Anger Management, CEUs/ Professional Development, Ecological Sustainability, Ethical Food Choices and Community Conferencing. RPCP has received both local and national recognition for our groundbreaking work, including a recent Peacebuilding Award from UF Silk Road Club. Yet our greatest reward is the feedback we get, whether from the officials with whom we are partnering or in the eyes of the community of Gainesville. “I commend you and your community partners for your courageous efforts to end the cycle of malicious, misguided behavior that leads to bullying. We at the Florida Juvenile Justice stand with you on Unity Day.” Secretary Wansley Walters, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
Winter 2013 | T H E
COLUMN / FRANKLY SPEAKING
TEXT BY TYLER FRANCISCHINE ILLUSTRATION BY KELLI McADAMS
The eyes are everywhere
. They scan from head to toe. They say, “Who does she think she is, wearing those boots?” They mock every movement, from the nervous way you tug at your hair to the awkward shuffling you call dancing. The eyes leave you rooted to the spot -- making you afraid to provide more fodder for their hungry gazes. OK, so maybe it’s not that nightmarish, but it really sucks to go out on the town and feel judged. Everyone does it. Everyone makes assumptions based on how we dress, how we talk, where we hang out, even what drinks we order at the bar. But problems arise when we let these judgments affect our behavior and when we use judgments to determine worth. 06 | T H E
COLUMN / FRANKLY SPEAKING
“When everyone is wearing uniforms, there is little to no visual indication of a person’s background. I got to know people for who they are, sans judgment.” In our early 20s, we make judgments based on what is readily visible. Boys in cut-off shorts sporting mustaches must be hipsters. Girls wearing strings of pearls and carrying Vera Bradley bags must be in sororities. Then we attribute personality traits to match what we see. These guys must like obscure bands and drink their body weight in PBR. Or, these girls must spend their nights painting each other’s nails and watching “Pretty Little Liars.” So do these judgments prevent us from getting to know people? Back in college, I was the queen of judgment. Living in a dorm near Sorority Row made me feel like a captive in enemy territory. Riding down 13 floors on an elevator filled with like, excited like, chatter and “Love Spell” perfume, I would only stare at the ground. Interesting conversations or meaningful connections with these girls seemed impossible. They didn’t look like me; they didn’t sound like me. Ergo, they probably didn’t want anything to do with me, and vice versa. I believed this logic for all four years of school. I was guilty of assuming that anyone with an affiliation to a frat or sorority, Midtown or Gator football would not interest me. Because I never talked with anyone of differing viewpoints, my assumptions remained steadfast. I have also borne the brunt of this nasty habit. Midway through freshman year, I had to switch dorm rooms to find a more peaceful environment. (Let’s just say I was a reluctant spectator to many latenight love affairs.) The staff told me to visit the few rooms with openings to see if I could find a better roommate match. One of the first suites I visited was neat and clean-smelling, with a large Marilyn Monroe portrait on the wall. I liked the environment and hoped its inhabitants would like me as well. I was interviewed not only about my sleeping habits and class schedule, but also my favorite bars, what designers I admired and the make-up brands I liked. As the interview wore on, I realized I had no answers to their questions. I didn’t wear makeup back then; my daily routine was dragging a brush through my tangled ocean of hair. I didn’t go out to bars; at 18, my idea of fun was riding my bicycle.
My interviewer got up to shake my hand to signal it was over. “I’m sorry,” she said. “You seem really nice, but you’re not really the kind of girl we need around here.” Hot, angry tears welled up in my eyes, and I shot out of there like a bat out of hell. Like most life lessons, it was long after graduation before I considered the effects of my judgmental behavior. “Restaurant revelation” should become a household term because, I’m telling you, working at one of these places will turn your worldview on its head. My restaurant’s staff forms a cross section of Alachua County residents. It is a diverse group of races, income levels and value systems. But when everyone is wearing uniforms, there is little to no visual indication of a person’s background. I got to know people for who they are, sans judgment. Of course, old habits die hard: I used to give hell to one guy because I heard he was in a frat. I decided he was a tool. Later on, he helped my mother and I move heavy furniture into my new apartment. Oops. Restaurant Revelation #27: Judgement only separates us. It breeds indifference or, at worst, hostility in situations where we shouldn’t even have an opinion yet. It creates a cycle of fear. Of course, I’m not suggesting it’s plausible to live without judgment. But I think we can hone our skills. We can learn how to set aside preconceived notions and truly get to know people. Perhaps our initial judgments will prove accurate, but we can relish in the fact that we took the time to investigate. Here’s how I do it: When I judge someone I have just met, I consciously try to push it to the back of my mind. I take pains to see this person as (s)he would like to be seen. It’s like imagining someone naked. You’re seeing him without his affiliations and accoutrements and focusing on his inner core -- his soul, even. That way, the door is wide open to connect with anyone. If that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.
Winter 2013 | T H E
COLUMN / READ UP, CHOW DOWN
Bistro 1245 1245 W. University Ave. (352) 376-0000 Sunday-Thursday 11 A.M. – 10 P.M. Friday-Saturday 11 A.M. – 11 P.M.
Read Up, Chow Down BY NADIA SHEIKH PHOTO BY LAUREN ADAMSON ILLUSTRATIONS BY KELLI McADAMS Bistro 1245 and Leonardo’s By the Slice, owners Steve and Sandy Solomon, along with chef Mark Newman, serve fresh, wholesome food all under one roof. Arguably the oldest original restaurant in Gainesville, Leonardo’s has been Gainesville’s quintessential pizza spot for the past forty years. Right next door, Bistro 1245 has the relaxed feel of a café with the same culinary creativity you can find at Leo’s. Bistro and Leo’s reflect the personality of Gainesville with an eclectic staff of artists and musicians, locally grown ingredients from Swallowtail Farm and a commitment to satisfying customers. “I don’t serve food that I don’t myself enjoy eating,” Steve Solomon said. We can’t take gems like Bistro 1245 for granted, where you can indulge in creamy butternut squash bisque that’s made fresh everyday, or have a glass of wine and talk books on the back portico with the owners. Next time, instead of a slice from Leo’s, step over a few feet and give Bistro a taste. Or, cook up some Bistro in your own kitchen with this recipe they’ve shared with us.
In season & fresh -
bitter melon bok choy eggplant arugula kale
08 | T H E
- collard greens - okra - persimmons - butternut
squash - turnips - purple and bronze grapes
F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
You need: - 1 large butternut squash, diced, peeled and deseeded - 1 medium yellow onion, diced - 1 quart heavy whipping cream* - ½ cup milk* - ¾ cup vegetable stock - 2 teaspoons fresh nutmeg - Salt and pepper to taste
*Vegan modification: - Instead of 1 quart heavy whipping cream, puree ½ block of silken tofu with ½ cup of almond or soy milk. - Replace regular milk with almond or soy alternative.
Cooking instructions: Peel, deseed and dice the butternut squash Place squash in a small pot with the cream, milk and vegetable stock and cook at low to medium heat for three hours Dice yellow onion Place diced onions on stovetop on small pan at low heat, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent Add onions Blend and season to taste Serve, garnishing each bowl with just a dash of nutmeg
S PA C E PROFESSOR: Mary Robison OFFICE: 4358 Turlington Hall DEPARTMENT: English
BY SAMANTHA SCHUYLER PHOTO BY CIERA BATTLESON Robison has an office in Turlington. It’s on the third floor, after a disorienting number of turns in the hallways. You would hope that as a reward for navigating Turlington without having to ask questions like, What were the last things I said to loved ones? or Will anyone ever find me? the office would be open. In fact, it’s not. The thing is locked. You can only stare futilely at a very clean, very gold plaque: M. Robison. Robison is a creative writing teacher at the University of Florida. Aside from teaching, she has stood among writers like Raymond Carver and Amy Hempel attributed with the rise of “minimalist” fiction in the ‘80s. Her work has won the Los Angeles Times Book prize for Fiction and been on Oprah’s 2009 reading list. And as her students will be quick to tell you, she does not use her Turlington office. So if you need to speak to Mary, you do it on her turf: Pascal’s Coffee. Specifically on the front porch, where she can smoke freely in front of the large, white coffee shop. Any mention of her Turlington office prompts Mary to bow her head over the table, leaning her forehead over knitted fingers. See, the story of her office involves a bird. Mary had one before Turlington, she said. The old one had windows, which she would lean out of to smoke. She said she was doing just this when it happened. “And I probably did, accidentally, leave the window open,” she said. In flew the bird. It was about the size of a football and gray-brown. It left behind flurries of feathers in its wake as she and some graduate students tried to chase it out while it careened around the office. She said her neighbors took offense to the bedlam. “Soon after that,” she said, “I was told I would have a new office.” The one they gave her – the one in Turlington--has no windows. Not only does it prevent avian intruders, but Robison can’t smoke. So she’s been inside it a grand total of twice, she said.
BOOKS THAT TEMPT YOU TO TAKE “Given the choice RISKS WITH YOUR WRITING of scrubbing the street FROM MARY ROBISON with a whisk broom or going into Turlington?” she said. “Scrubbing the “JESUS’ SON” BY DENIS JOHNSON street. Let me at it.” “He’s really inspiring.” So for the past three “ANYTHING BY DONALD years she’s taken up BARTHELME. START WITH “SIXTY Pascal’s as her adjunct STORIES.” “Donald Barthelme did everything office. from numbers to stories in a box. He If a student needs just tried all things.” to meet with Robison JUNOT DIAZ, WE RECOMMEND “THE they schedule an BRIEF AND WONDROUS LIFE OF appointment--which OSCAR WAO” is more formal than “He’s just wonderful...He keeps you it sounds, she said, company. There’s never anything laughing. excluding you.” Her secretary then “THE CIRCLE” BY DAVID EGGERS emails the student a time “It’s irresistible. It’s terrifying and and instructs him or her funny…He’s a precisionist” to meet Robison outside Pascal’s. She also holds informal class at the coffee shop. She’ll sit at her table outside for four to five hours as students come and go as they can. They talk about writing, life or anything at all. But having a public office is not without troubles. Robison goes through the usual coffee shop woes in claiming her favorite spot, dealing with loud patrons and remembering to bring everything she needs. In fact, she travels with a portable office. In her sturdy, red leather bag she carries a pair of glasses with large, circular frames; one heavy, silver calligraphy pen; a Zippo lighter and cigarettes; and all of her student’s papers. Spread out on the table, she can smoke and work in peace. So far she hasn’t had any further messy contact with birds: They provide background noise a safe distance away. Winter 2013 | T H E
FOR THE RECORD Reviews of local bands, the next big thing and all your friends.
Tristan Whitehill of Euglossine. Photo by Javier Edwards.
TRISTARIA // Euglossine
Tristan Whitehill// composer
Welcome to Tristan Whitehill’s fantasy sonic landscape. “Kinda like Xanadu, but with me,” Whitehill said. “Like a cloud. [A] fluffy, animated, silly animal landscape.” The eight-track EP clocks in around 30 minutes and is a stepping stone toward his upcoming album, “Iridescence,” which he recently finished recording after three years of work. Euglossine started as Whitehill’s solo project two XXXXXXX years ago; he also plays in MSNRA, Levek and Ghost Release Date// Dec. 10 Recorded at// The Church of Holy Fields. The name is an homage to his father, who cuColors and MSRNA’s practice rates one of the largest collections of Euglossine bees house in Florida. It also means “true tongue” in Latin. Inspiration// Chic, Tomita, the The EP floats on upbeat melodies. It samples BBC Radiophonic Workshop Key tracks// “Two Paradises snipped drum solos from old funk records, echoing Separate,” “The Chemistry of keyboards and synthesizer beats, building a fullColor,” “Isle of Light” bodied electronic sound. The tracks reverberate and Where to get it// elestialsound. pulsate, seamlessly seaping together. You want your com Upcoming shows// Taking a body to flow with the sound. break from live shows to record “There’s definitely a nod to video game music,” he live Euglossine set said. “I used a lot of fake orchestral sounds and stuff like that, but I manipulated them to be decontextu10 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
If you’d like to see your band reviewed in For The Record or if you want to be considered to play at our next benefit show, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
alized. It’s pretty funny.” Each song is “a little diary piece,” evoking different emotions. He initially sent the track, “Two Paradises Separate,” to his partner, Kiara Teti, when she was living in Hawaii and he was still in Gainesville. It’s the only track with lyrics and his “vocal debut.” “The Chemistry of Color” was influenced by Evan Galbicka’s artwork at The Church of Holy Colors; the song incorporates the sounds of a sci fi laboratory and Indian classical music. Whitehill lived in the church on and off for the past three years. “I can honestly say The Church of Holy Colors is the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “I wanted to be really creative all the time . . . it was a privilege to me to be able to be in that environment.” This fall, he recorded a song a day for a week as a personal challenge. It resulted in the album “Dance District,” released on MJMJ Records. “It’s meant to be a dance party,” he said. And does he dance to his own music? All the time.
BY ASHIRA MORRIS
COLUMN / FOR THE RECORD
XXXXX Release Date// Sept. 27 Recorded at// The Experimentorium Sounds like// Curtis Mayfield, The Delfonics, Dusty Springfield Inspiration// Stax Records, Marvin Gaye Key tracks// “Don’t Let Me Up,” “Tastemaker,” “Ashes Under the Rug” Where to get it// slims.bandcamp.com or at shows Upcoming shows// Dec. 12 at The Great Britain Hotel, Richmond, VIC, Australia
XXXXXXX Release Date// Digital: last April; Physical: early November Recorded at// Soft Science Records, Savannah, Ga. Sounds like// The Mold, Catholic Spray, Low Times, Inspiration// Rock ‘n’ Roll, Diet Coke, The Ramones Key tracks// “It’s Dead,” “Happiness” Where to get it// cretingirls. bandcamp.com and at shows Upcoming Shows// Dec. 3 in Savannah, Ga; Dec 4 in St. Augustine; Dec. 6 in Miami
// The Slims
Travis Atria and Colin Atwood// bass, drums, guitars, horns, keys, vocals Samantha Jones and Jess Lazarchik// backing vocals Andrew Cook// strings
If the Slims’ first album, “Killa Dilla,” was their attempt at replicating the sounds of soul heroes such as the Bar-Kays, Otis Redding and Smokey Robinson, then “Slowpoke” is the group coming into its own. Although their sound certainly references 1970s R&B in the slow jam tradition, they’ve added their own touch. The Slims take a narrative approach to songwriting: First come up with a story, then construct the music to match. “Killa Dilla” describes the rise and fall of a mythic soul singer named Snooky Green. Snooky began to fall, according to Colin Atwood, when he cheated on his main lady. Their newest album, “Slowpoke,” tells the tale of Snooky’s woman running back into her former lover’s arms. It’s the story of one desperate night. Atwood (a.k.a. Jimmy Slim, a.k.a. Jamba Lushi, a.k.a. Merlin Brando) is one half of the Slims, along with Travis Atria (a.k.a. Jackie Slim, a.k.a. John Soultrane, a.k.a. Ricky Balboa). Both wrote, performed and produced the record. To cobble together material and inspiration, the pair paid frequent visits to the University of Florida Music Library. It was during one of these trips that they found the Hungarian folk music sampled at the beginning of “Only a Part, Not the Whole.”
// Cretin Girls
“Slowpoke” runs the emotional gamut of a tumultuous one-night encounter. “Don’t Let Me Up” is a contemplative ballad featuring soaring, wordless melodies and lonely piano accents tied together by a shuffling beat. Atwood considers it the most relaxing song the Slims have ever written. “Tastemaker” hides vitriol behind hypnotic instrumentation and a tender vocal delivery, a sleight of hand in the vein of Bob Dylan. The song is a thinly veiled takedown of Pitchfork, the polarizing music site, as well as others who try to regulate “cool.” “We just wanted to write a nasty song about them,” Atria said. “We thought that they deserved it.” The most captivating song on the record is “Ashes Under the Rug.” The perfect expression of a restless, searching night, it is both reflective and pleading. Its introduction features Deflonics overtones: rich, layered vocals, choral “ahs” gradually drawing out its instrumental arrangement. For good measure, Atria adds rhythm guitar reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield. As a whole, the essential question of the album’s sound is simple, Atwood said. “Is this something that you want to listen to midcoitus?”
BY ANDREW BALDIZON
Ian Bernacett// bass, vocals Hector Laguna// drums Jon NEEDS LAST NAME// guitar, soundscapes
After years of home-recording, the members of Cretin Girls this year made the jump to a formal album, producer and all. And their demo’s sound, whether from age or in striving to grab producers’ attention, is sharp and cohesive. It’s much better than what they’ve done before, Bernacett said, laughing. “It was something that had to happen,” he said. “It was inevitable.” Cretin Girls retain the fuzzy guitars and hypnotic, droning vocals of Bernacett and Laguna’s previous project, Thee Holy Ghosts. Straying from the previous ‘50s surfer sound, Cretin Girls is simplified and streamlined. “It’s not playing three chords,” he said. “Now we play one.” “Up and Down” evokes a barren space-scape, with Bernacett’s incoherent vocals and alien language, and Laguna’s percussive synth the industrious sounds of a spaceship’s control panel. Jon on drums
keeps the dreamy image alive with an aggressive rhythm that forms the spine of the song. The steady, cyclical guitar backing Bernacett’s otherworldly drone and yelps tightens into a sharp solo to end the song, spiking your heart rate. “The Void” is sharp and clean, with heavy drums and a foot-tapping bassline. And you can almost make out what Bernacett is saying. But “Happiness” stands out among the demos as the most fully conceived and complex. Laguna’s high, silvery guitar riff next to Bernacett’s wandering voice makes for a mature, focused sound. Cretin Girls’ demos are a rarified space mission with their homemade sound giving it a dreamy contour. And the coming album, Jon said, should have the same energy. “It’s not digital at all,” he said. “It’s cool in its entirety.”
BY SAMANTHA SCHUYLER
Winter 2013 | T H E
COLUMN / SIMPLY SCIENCE
NOW, in the time of
CHOLERA BY: JOHN ARNST ILLUSTRATION BY: EMMA ROULETTE Cholera is nothing new. It’s been one of the great plagues of mankind, with records of its devastation dating back to 700 B.C.E. For centuries, it has remained endemic, or present on a local scale, in the Bay of Bengal, which has been the starting point of seven global pandemics since 1817. Advances in sanitation and public health, however, kept its large-scale spread at bay since the mid-20th century. As far back as public health records have been kept, cholera has never had a presence in Haiti. However, experts revealed at this year’s National Association of Science Writers conference in Gainesville that a dark coincidence of environment and human error have given the bacterial disease a new foothold in the Caribbean island. Pathogens spill over into human populations in one of three ways: a genetically new strain develops, such as during seasonal flu mutations. Or the population becomes more susceptible, like when our immune systems weaken with age. But the third way was what brought cholera to Haiti. When established pathogens take advantage of new, emerging opportunities created by human action, they have a name. “These are called anthropogenic,” said Dr. Glenn Morris, director of the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute. “We
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do it to ourselves.” Human action can be anything from the growing rate of deforestation to the speed and scope of human travel, he said. Glenn Morris has been director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute since its inception in 2007. And in early November, he
The bacteria can live for prolonged periods of time in tropical areas. If you ingest enough, some will survive in the stomach, and then take up residence in the large intestine. gave a lecture at the Science Writers conference titled “From Haiti to the Hajj – Real-time Science to Prevent Pandemics.” According to Morris, in the case of cholera’s recent emergence in Haiti and the Caribbean, it was a confluence of human error and environmental catastrophe. The 7.0 Mw earthquake hit on Jan.12,
COLUMN / SIMPLY SCIENCE
2010, destroying over 188,000 homes, killing more than 200,000 people and displacing more than 1,500,000. It destroyed the public health infrastructure – which included water and sewage treatment – and uprooted many of the island’s social services in its wake. “It was a setup for epidemic disease,” Morris said. “Specialists in cholera always added, ‘But there hasn’t been cholera in Haiti for 100 years, so it’s probably not going to be cholera.’” Then came the first diagnoses of cholera. In October of 2010, the Haiti National Public Health Laboratory detected cases in the regions
“It becomes hyperinfectious -- it has the ability to very rapidly move from person to person-and suddenly you have an epidemic.” bordering the Artibonite River. “There was a UN team from Nepal at the epicenter of the outbreak,” Morris said. “The sewage from their camp was not being treated as it was dumped into the river. The treatment facilities had broken down. They were essentially dumping raw sewage into the river.” Cholera prefers estuarial areas such as the Bay of Bengal and the Ganges River that feeds into it. The bacteria can live for prolonged periods of time in tropical areas. If you ingest enough, some will survive in the stomach, and then take up residence in the large intestine. Once here, cholera turns off the genes it uses to survive in the environment and turns on the ones it uses to produce cholera toxin. This causes severe diarrhea and rapid dehydration by interfering
with the intestine’s ability to reabsorb water. “It becomes hyperinfectious -- it has the ability to very rapidly move from person to person--and suddenly you have an epidemic,” Morris said. Cholera, endemic in Nepal, is also capable of setting up shop in the human small intestine asymptomatically. That is, it can be transmitted in feces without causing any signs of infection in the carrier. When Morris’ team began examining the surface antigens, or proteins, of sample bacteria, they found that they were identical across the board. “For those of us who do this type of work… it suggests that you have a single common source,” Morris said. Morris and his team then used GPS to track the spread of the infection on a case-by-case level. This allowed them to see the spread of the disease in real-time as it travelled down rivers, roads and major highways into the countryside. Epidemiologists are concerned with the scope of the disease’s spread. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 176 cases of cholera reported south of Mexico City as of Nov.1 – with a potentially unreported outbreak in Cuba. “We don’t know how big the Cuban epidemic is,” Morris said. “We don’t have data from Cuba, but under-the-table information we’re getting suggests a fairly substantial epidemic.” He said that some of the cholera strains may have moved in the environment across the strait between Haiti and Cuba. “It’s been around a long time,” Morris said. “But it’s still very capable of moving rapidly through populations, across continental boundaries, into new countries.” “Pathogens don’t recognize international borders,” he said. “They don’t like showing visas when they come across.”
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Above: Jon Anderson sits with one of his bamboo creations.
BAMBOOVILLE BY SARA NETTLE PHOTOS BY LAUREN ADAMSON
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Last year, anyone who wandered through the wooded area by the University of Florida’s Carr Hall was sure to stumble upon Bambooville, an elaborate art installation created by Jon Anderson, a veteran, retired science teacher and volunteer at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Anyone was free to enjoy the space filled with chairs, dining areas and several structures made of bamboo. That is, until December 2012 when a member of the campus grounds crew also stumbled upon the artwork. At the request of the university, Bambooville was torn down and thrown away. According to the Gainesville Sun, the university attempted to identify the creator of the bamboo installation, but it was thrown away because Anderson did not have official approval. “It saddened me,” Anderson said. He was disappointed not so much because the university took down his
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work, but rather because it destroyed the bamboo as well, he said. Anderson said he feels strongly about recycling bamboo, and he frequently reuses it for his art. But after a year of its absence, Bambooville has returned. And it’s back to stay. The surreal bamboo garden has reappeared by the greenhouses at Carr Hall. Jeff Hubbard, the greenhouse manager, permitted Anderson to build his bamboo structures adjacent to the greenhouses. With Hubbard’s word, the installation could remain safe from the university’s grounds crew. “The area was originally a garden for planting,” Hubbard said. “People really seemed to enjoy [Bambooville], and it was nice to have a place for him to build his work.” Hubbard said he felt that the university did not handle the situation with Anderson’s work in Carr Woods well.
However, he said he is glad he could help bring Bambooville back. â€œThe original space was a weedy part of campus,â€? he said. Now it is a place where people can rest between classes, eat lunch or simply enjoy the art and nature. Since Bamboovilleâ€™s return, Anderson noticed an influx of visitors, many from UF Health Shands Hospital. â€œDown at Shands, people come and stay for two weeks, three weeks,â€? he said. â€œMaybe their child is sick [and] they want to leave, but they donâ€™t want to go too far away.â€? Anderson has spoken to about a dozen visitors from the hospital and noticed that they come to Bambooville for similar reason. â€œThey enjoy having a place to go outside of the Shands area,â€? he said. â€œIt gives them a change of pace.â€? Bambooville is an oasis of calm for visitors who want a break from the sterile environment of the hospital, Anderson said. He said he believes that a stay in Bambooville is therapeutic. He is now working with Shands social workers to put flyers up in the hospital, encouraging visitors, patients and doctors to take the 10-minute walk to the bamboo village. Aside from the Shands visitors, Anderson has seen people use his space for lunch, meetings and even a class--a psychology class meets in the bamboo
space every few weeks. Although Bambooville is Jon Andersonâ€™s most well-known art project, he has placed numerous bamboo structures all over Gainesville for the past three years. At first, Anderson would install the bamboo in vacant areas, such as the Carr woods. After a while, he noticed they were getting stolen. So he began placing them only where he knew they would be safe, such as his friendsâ€™ properties. He has structures at Satchelâ€™s Pizza, the Gainesville Dojo and Martial Arts Studio and the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture. Occasionally, people ask Anderson to make a bamboo structure for money. But he adamantly insists on not getting paid for his work. â€œI donâ€™t do anything with bamboo and money together,â€? he said. â€œI donâ€™t want to do it for money.â€? Aside from his signature bamboohanging-from-bamboo str uctures, Bambooville features many trees with â€œpaperâ€? hanging from the branches. This paper is actually made from the bamboo sheath, and many have Chinese characters written on them. â€œI like them because they move in the wind,â€? Anderson said. The installation is also adorned with silly and sometimes inspirational signs reading â€œBambooville loves you!â€?
Like a strange wonderland,Bambooville is also filled with salvaged objects. A ballerina doll perches on a branch. Wind chimes fill the space with gentle dinging. A Buddha statue sits in perpetual meditation under a tree. One day, Anderson noticed someone left his or her own object in Bambooville. He now encourages visitors to also leave objects. He said he hopes Bambooville will become a collaborative community art project. In spite of the risk of theft or destruction, Anderson continues working with bamboo and promoting Bambooville. He remains unabashedly fixated on bamboo for reasons that are mysterious. â€œIâ€™m still searching for the answer,â€? he said. â€œMaybe it will be a lifelong quest.â€? But he does know that when he was nine months old, his family moved to Japan and stayed there for the first few years of his life. Later, he fought in the Vietnam war. Anderson said he remembers bamboo always in the background. Perhaps, he said, this explains his gravitation towards bamboo. â€œIn Asia, they use bamboo for a lot,â€? he said. â€œThere seems to be something almost mystical, or spiritual, about bamboo. The Vietnamese have a proverb: The bamboo is my brother.â€? â€œOr,â€? he added, â€œmaybe I just like bamboo.â€?
â€œThere seems to be something almost mystical, or spiritual, about bamboo. The Vietnamese have a proverb: The bamboo is my brother.â€?
Above left: One of the small handmade trinkets in Bambooville. Above right: Jon Anderson poses with a piece of bamboo.
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A SHORT GUIDE TO COFFEE CONNOISSEURSHIP College kids take their coffee especially seriously. Enjoyed for pleasure or out of pure necessity, there is something alluring about not only the drink itself, but also its origin and complexity. With Gainesville’s plethora of coffee shops, coffee roasters, and self-proclaimed connoisseurs and addicts, you surely wouldn’t want to be left behind without at least a little knowledge of the basics.
TEXT BY CHRISTINE CSENCSITZ PHOTOS BY CIERA BATTLESON
CLIMATE CONDITIONS FOR COFFEE Coffee beans require a precise climate in order to flourish: namely, an altitude between 1200-2000 meters above sea level, a tropical climate with the proper temperature range and rainfall levels, and enough sunlight. Typically, quality bean crops are found in areas near the equator.
LOCATION MATTERS Different growing regions translates to different flavors in the coffee beans. In Colombia, the second largest coffee producer in the world, for example, is known for coffees with milder acidity, whereas Guatemalan coffee has a more chocolatey undertone.
WHAT IS “SINGLE ORIGIN”?
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“Single origin” refers to a brew that is made of beans from a single location. Many coffees are not single origin and are instead blends of different coffee crops, which creates a multi-dimensional flavor.
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? Increased coffee consumption puts pressure on coffee producers in many different regions of the world, especially in the coffee producers in the Global South, which can lead to questionable business practices, such as relying on child labour and unnecessary depletion natural resources, deforestation and land erosion.
WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?
Fair Trade certification is granted only to coffee producers who guarantee farmers a fair price for their coffee beans and help coffee farmers export their crops. Fair Trade practices help to ensure an ethical standard in coffee trade and protects the growers, themselves. Local roasters Sweetwater Organic Coffee are well-known for their fair trade practices; the company is committed to “fair, direct, and transparent trading” with coffee growers.
At first glance, it seems easy to classify coffee – light, medium, dark – but this turns out to be an oversimplification. The process by which red or green raw coffee plant seeds are turned into the brown beans we’re familiar with begins with pyrolysis, the slow roasting of beans at roughly 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
LIGHT >> Produced with the shortest roasting time. >> Most caffeinated roast. >> Can taste too extreme, not as balanced.
MEDIUM >> Beans have begun caramelization, but aren’t burnt tasting >> Medium coffee is described as having a balanced flavor >> More pronounced acidity than light roast
DARK >> Longest roasting time, producing strong brews like espresso and French roasts. >> Acrid, bold
COFFEE INDUSTRY SECRET: Instead of discounting beans that need to be used up, coffee shops sometimes toss them in a French Roast. The flavors merge and the taste is similar to a French Roast.
There are a number of other ways to brew coffee, besides your standard drip method. Other options include French press, AeroPress and pour over.
FRENCH PRESS Requires coarser coffee grounds. Coffee brews by mixing hot water and grounds together, then pressing to the bottom of a special canister.
AEROPRESS Similar to french press but requires shorter brewing time and medium grain coffee grounds.
POUR OVER Local coffee hub Volta uses this intricate drip brew method with a number of their coffees. Setup consists of a funnel over a mug or special canister. Beans are weighed out specifically per-cup, grinding them just before brewing. Using 200 degree water ensures consistent and light brews. The process is timed out to allow an adequate “bloom” period, which removes gasses from the beans. Winter 2013 | T H E
DIVE IN SPOTLIGHT
THE PLAGUE OF FOOD WASTE: THE CULPRITS AND THE FORAGERS
TEXT & ILLUSTRATION BY LAUREN ADAMSON Dumpster diving is exactly what it sounds like — it is jumping into a pool of trash. Except for this sport, you probably don’t want to go in headfirst, and you really want to wear more protective clothing than just a Speedo — though goggles may not be a bad idea. Frank Bouchard was earning his Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at the University of Florida when he used food rescued from Mother Earth’s (presently Earth Origins) dumpster to supplement
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his diet, as well as that of his five roommates. Bouchard would check the dumpster every other night, but he said the process was hit or miss. Only once a week would there actually be something worth going in for. His favorite part about diving was coming home after a big haul and seeing his roommates excited about his loot. Most of the items Bouchard recovered from Earth Origins were packaged groceries like cereal, cookies
SPOTLIGHT and other “junk” foods. He would also occasionally pop by a local chain grocery store to get veggie platters and cut fruit. The particular store’s name, however, cannot be revealed, because Bouchard knew it was not keen on divers and didn’t want any publicity to cause a dumpster lockdown. Like Bouchard, some people bypass the front of the store for the scraps in the back, not only because it’s free food, but because they believe it’s the right thing to do. According to a September report produced by Harvard and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), about 40 percent of food in the U.S. goes uneaten, and more than 90 percent of Americans may be tossing food because of confusion over expiration dates.
consider. In order to protect themselves, companies date products conservatively, Schneider said. Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, has recognized the foodwaste problem and introduced one possible solution. Rauch is opening the first market of its kind next year in Dorchester, Mass. Rauch’s idea is kind of like Gainesville’s Repurpose Project; instead of materials, he is upcycling food. Perfectly good produce that is slightly past its sell-by date will be prepared into nutritious meals and sold at discounted prices. Rauch’s idea is not new, however. While he will be introducing his repurposed meals in a more mainstream way through a storefront, food banks and dumpster divers have been living off a similar concept for years.
in 10 million pounds of food annually to cover the need of those who are considered food insecure. Currently, the bank produces more than six million pounds of food, still falling four million short. And of that supply, only about one million includes produce. As well, there are obstacles with rerouting food. Roger Gordon, cofounder of Food Cowboy, a hunger relief group dedicated to rerouting dumpster-bound food to charities, told National Public Radio that it has been difficult to convince food companies to participate. Even one illness or death from rotted food could ruin a store’s reputation and cost them millions in court fees. The Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996 may save them from conviction, but it won’t save their business. And though there is a
40% of food in the U.S. goes uneaten, and more than 90% of Americans may be tossing food because of confusion over expiration dates
“Sell by,” “use by,” or “best before” labels, according to the study, are not meant to indicate the edibility of food, but rather to suggest when food is at its peak quality. Yet Keith Schneider, associate professor of UF’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, said companies are trying to maintain a certain quality level, and they don’t want customers to have a bad experience with their brands. For instance, he said if Pepperidge Farm extends its “sell by” date, someone might buy a loaf of bread one day, find it stale the next, and may never buy that brand again. Also, companies may be afraid of being sued, Schneider said. A lot of the time, milk is still safe to drink way past the “sell by” date, but corporations don’t want to take the risk of someone becoming sick. A company cannot predict how a consumer will handle a product; there is a lot of variability to
Michael Demers, director of development at Gainesville’s Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, said they get donations from stores like Publix, WalMart, Winn Dixie and Trader Joe’s. He said they take food that is “dated,” meaning that it is about to be expired, but is still known to be good and safe. When grocers bring in a load, food banks have to handle the food efficiently and safely. It has to be sorted through and distributed quickly to have the greatest shelf life for the individual family. Demers said they also keep their refrigerators cooler to increase the food’s shelf life. By setting a fridge at 34 to 36 degrees, rather than 50 degrees, you can get twice the storage life of your groceries. Yet, even with the current donations, Bread of the Mighty is still short on food. The bank serves five counties, and according to an assessment by Feeding America, it should be bringing
federal tax credit for donations, some retailers don’t think it’s worth the risk. In addition, food charities may not be willing to stay open to receive loads on a trucker’s 24/7 schedule. A possible solution to food waste is a reorganization of food labeling. The NRDC advises the use of “freeze by” dates in order to extend the shelf life of food. Also, making “sell by” dates visible only to the retailer would clear up misconceptions on the consumers’ behalf. For better consumer clarification, “sell by” dates should be replaced with labels indicating the days of shelf life after opening. But until the system is changed, for those of us who do not mind getting messy, there is always the dumpster.
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Inside the Tea Party Talking to the local Tea Party movement so you don't have to BY DERICK GOMEZ ILLUSTRATION BY SARA NETTLE For a movement that gets so much media coverage, it seems like the members of Tea Party organizations rarely get asked to talk themselves. When they do, though, they chatter with enthusiasm. The Tea Party tapped into a sentiment that resonated for millions of individuals across the nation, and it has acquired a strong presence : locally. The Gainesville Tea Party and the G N I WARN Alachua County Tea Party are the two a g n ti c e groups that have organized in the area. p x e e Thos Rod Gonzalez, vice president of the n o ti a n m de n o c Gainesville Tea Party, helped start the t e k n la b l be il organization in June of 2009 when w y rt a P a he perceived parallels between the of the Te d with government in the U.S. and that of te in o p p a is d his home country of Venezuela, which democratically transitioned to socialism this article. under the leadership of Hugo Chavez. “I see the same loss of individual freedom,” Gonzalez said. “Plain and simple.” Gonzalez said that he and most of the members of the Gainesville Tea Party were not actively involved in politics before the creation of the organization. The organization gave them an outlet to try to create the type of government they wanted to see. “We need to change the Republican Party from within,” Gonzalez said. Much of the Gainesville Tea Party’s platform seems based on a libertarian ideology. Gonzalez, himself, identifies as a libertarian. “The Republican Party will blow things, especially with the younger generation,” Gonzalez said. “Unfortunately, they still harp a lot on marriage, gay rights and the drug war.” The Gainesville Tea Party counts helping get Susan Baird elected to the Alachua County Commission and Ed Braddy elected Gainesville mayor among their successes. Gonzalez is especially proud of getting Ted Yoho elected to the House of Representatives for the Third Congressional District after challenging and
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defeating long-time incumbent Cliff Stearns, a rank-and-file Republican, in the primary. Yoho, a large animal veterinarian, entered Congress with no political experience and the ambitious goal of participating in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare). His campaign slogan was ‘Had Enough?’ Yoho recently came to national prominence for his role as a mouthpiece for the right-wing movement that provoked the government shutdown in October. More centrist Republicans distance themselves from individuals, such as Ted Yoho and Ted Cruz (R-TX), who put the livelihood of millions of Americans at risk as an act of political protest to the Affordable Care Act. MoveOn.org and several labor groups organized a protest outside of Ted Yoho’s local office on Oct. 16, the day before the federal government was set to default on its debts. Many of the protesters were government employees furloughed by the shutdown. They were met by counter-protesters largely organized by the Gainesville Tea Party. Support from the Alachua County Tea Party also emboldens Yoho’s brash political actions. Walt Boyer, the chairman of the organization, said he meets with Yoho about once a month. Yoho’s Tea Party following lends him a sense of vindication as he continues his uncompromising freshman
term in Congress. The Alachua County Tea Party ideology is focused on promoting a “principled” reading of the Constitution; they believe that the nation’s guiding document does not adapt to changing times. “The federal government no longer represents the people and respects the Constitution,” Boyer said. He blames this largely on failures in the educational system. In his opinion, not one course at the University of Florida teaches the Constitution “as it should”—despite having ten scholars on staff who specialize in Constitutional Law. Boyer emphasizes that the Alachua County Tea Party is not an organization with a partisan slant, but rather one that is trying to promote “constitutional awareness.” He said that this distinguishes the Alachua County Tea Party from other Tea Party groups—a thinly veiled barb directed at the Gainesville Tea Party. The local Tea Party movement—like many other movements—is fragmented, and the two organizations are in what Gonzalez describes as a “turf war.” Gonzalez alleges that the Alachua County Tea Party is a group manufactured by the Republican Executive Committee to “diffuse our effect.”
Boyer refutes this vigorously and alleges that the Gainesville Tea Party is capitalizing on the Tea Party movement, because they are a for-profit organization rather than a non-profit. (They are incorporated as a “forprofit” because they sell T-shirts and other merchandise.) Despite the disagreement between the organizations, both recognize the importance of youth in the Tea Party Movement and have attempted to connect to the student community The Gainesville Tea Party has tabled at events held by conservative and libertarian organization at Santa Fe Community College; Gonzalez said that the organization intends to do the same at the UF. The Alachua County Tea Party has been in contact with the Young Republican student groups at Santa Fe and UF. Boyer said the organization plans on giving workshops on the Constitution for these groups. Gonzalez said success attracting students has been limited and acknowledges that the Tea Party Movement, as a whole, has a “public relations problem.” Though many wish the Tea Party would simply go away, the allegiance of its members and leadership allow for its continued voice in American politics, despite being written off more times than Rocky Balboa.
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ZIRI UMS BY KYLE HAYES PHOTOS BY FARHAN ALAM
In the Sharia-influenced Kano State of Nigeria, the status quo is determined by the conservative Muslims in power and enforced by heavily armed soldiers. Nazir Ahmed Hausawa grew up in this environment. He believes it creates two types of people: those who follow and those who reason. By devoting himself to politically progressive hip-hop, Hausawa proved he is of those who reason. Hausawa was born in 1980 in Kano State, he and spent his childhood both in the city attending government schooling and in his grandmother’s village working with animals and agriculture. He continued to advance in school and ended on a track to becoming a teacher in biogeography. However, his background wasn’t all academic. His father was an Islamic gospel musician, and Hausawa had been interested in music since childhood. His father’s music was a capella, because many Muslims felt that music was inherently un-Islamic, especially music that used instruments and contained outside influences. Hausawa disagreed and felt he could reconcile traditional Muslim values with new and foreign sounds. “The Islamic religion is a religion of freedom,” Hausawa said. “If you have good music with good content, how can it be un-Islamic?”
continued on page 24...
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Winter 2013 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 3
SPOTLIGHT ...continued from page 22 He began listening to pop, blues and other Western music. His first introduction to hiphop was with the late ‘80s group NWA, and he started listening to as much of the genre as he could. He formed a band with his friends, called the Northern Soldiers, and performed a cover of a Boyz II Men song. The lyrics had been rewritten to praise the prophet Muhammad. “It got booed,” he said. Hausawa just shrugged it off and kept creating. With the Northern Soldiers, he started out as a singer. However, one of his friends in the group rapped, and Hausawa found he identified more with this form of expression. He started learning from his friend and developing his own style of songwriting. His method consisted of taking the beats of gangsta rap, and the flow of artists like Eminem, and combining that with Arabic methods of songwriting and satirical lyrics in his native Hausa language. “The songwriting is a fusion of eastern and western types of writing,” Hausawa said. During this time, Hausawa had been working at local television and radio stations. He worked as a sound engineer and familiarized himself with the technical aspect of music production. This is when he began devoting himself to rap. He created both love songs and politically charged anthems, and each new work stirred up more and more excitement from those around him. His music was unlike anything people had heard before. “I'd create a verse and convert it into tongue twisting and rap it very fast,” Hausawa said. “Everyone was like, ‘Wow, what is this?’ [Then] I knew I had my style.” Despite the awe, Hausawa and other rappers were barred by Sharia law from performing, and his songs couldn’t be heard on local stations in Nigeria. Only the musicians who could afford to pay a heavy censorship fee and bribe local DJs had a chance to get their music broadcasted. Even after Hausawa was able to attract a fanbase, he still faced opposition from the government and the generation of Nigerians who felt that any hint of Western influence would bring moral degradation. “We faced people who felt like they were guardians of Hausa culture,” Hausawa said. “They fight us like we are the enemies, as if we are not their own children, we are not Hausas, we are not Muslims.” Hausawa saw close friends put in prison for simple acts of self expression, and he worried things wouldn’t get better. In one of his songs, “Girgiza Kai” -- which translates to “Shake Your Head” -- he raps about the problems that come with regulating someone’s moral standing and personal religious views. “They treat us like we are not human beings,” Hausawa said. “That is why I'm doing what I am doing, to make a point that religion should be between you and your God.” Unfortunately, the message of the song was 24 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
“I face a lot of judgement. People wonder if I am a Hausa, if I am a Muslim, if I am a good person. I get that a lot, but I don't care. I am who I am.” lost on the conservative leaders trying to weed out dissenting views -- the song was banned. Hausawa was becoming fed up with the stifling environment. When he got the opportunity to perform in New York, he took it. His first American show was at the college SUNY Purchase. Despite the language barrier, the crowd reacted with overwhelming enthusiasm. “The place was packed, and no one there spoke Hausa except for two people,” Hausawa said. “The students swarmed on the stage, dancing with me. It was the best thing I had ever experienced in my entire life as a performer.” Hausawa stayed in New York, performing around the city and garnering recognition for the ideas he was spreading. Around this time, Susan O’brien, an associate professor of history at the University of Florida, invited him to come to Gainesville for a conference on hiphop in Africa. O’brien had previously worked with Hausawa on a documentary called “Recording a Revolution,” which profiled him and other Nigerian rappers. Hausawa accepted the invitation and, in turn, fell in love with Gainesville. He found the environment even more welcoming than New York. “I loved New York, don't get me wrong,” Hausawa said. “But I came to Gainesville, and it was so beautiful and small and chill … That took me back home.” During his stay here, Hausawa joined the rap group Bang Bang Suckas and performed shows regularly around town. No matter how many
times he’d step on stage, he was still nervous about his audience’s reception. He decided to keep rapping in his native language to show the people of Nigeria it is possible to explore new cultural forms without conforming; however, this meant giving American audiences a kind of hip-hop they weren’t used to. “Every time I perform, no matter how anxious I've been, I go home happy, sometimes so happy I can't sleep,” Hausawa said. “The love I've gotten here, I wish I had that back home.” Hausawa is just as happy for his return to Nigeria. Since he left, DJs from around the world have vastly expanded his audience, and the radio and TV stations in Kano State have developed an increased appreciation for what he has to say. He plans to record a new album before he goes back. He wants to make it sound even more innovative, yet still rooted in the music of his heritage. “I've been talking with some very talented engineers,” Hausawa said. “We're going to sample the local instruments to make a hip-hop beat out of that.” Hausawa also plans to continue promoting his message of free expression and exposing the downfalls of the Kano government despite the threat of opposition from the higher-ups in Nigeria. He sees no other way of doing things, and he knows that what he is doing is right. “I face a lot of judgement,” Hausawa said. “People wonder if I am a Hausa, if I am a Muslim, if I am a good person. I get that a lot, but I don't care. I am who I am.”
CITRUS BY ASHIRA MORRIS
ILLUSTRATIONS BY EMMA ROULETTE The citrus teaching grove on the south end of campus is the last standing. All of the other citrus trees at the University of Florida are gone. These lone survivors on Hull Road are surrounded by a barbed wire fence. The campus’ other 156 trees were uprooted because four showed signs of citrus greening. Greening is a terminal illness, and it spreads rapidly. “There is no vaccine for citrus greening,” said Jason Smith, associate professor of forest pathology. “And if you don’t vaccinate a population, you’re putting others at risk.” Citrus greening is a disaster for Florida citrus. It is spread when an Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny mottled brown insect, feeds on an infected tree, then nibbles into a healthy tree. Within a year, the fruit stops ripening near the stem. The shoots and veins turn a sickly yellow. The fruit shrinks in size. And the leaves take on a blotchy, mottled yellow-green pattern. Since the disease was first detected in South Florida in August 2005, it has spread to nearly 30 Florida counties, including Alachua. When Marty Werts was the grounds superintendent in the 2000s, he planted citrus trees on campus without official approval. “My style...was to do what I wanted to do,” Werts, who is now retired, said. “And if I wanted to plant a tree there, I planted a tree there. I didn’t ask for permission. And that pissed a lot of people off. They say I’ve got one of those attitudes, you know?” Back in 2012, UF students Jennie Fagen and Connor McCullough discovered greening in three campus trees while researching the disease. At the time, no action was taken. When the conversation about citrus
greening began again in Sept. 2013, Gloria Moore addressed the University Lakes, Vegetation and Landscape Committee about the problem on campus. She said that when she was on the committee six years ago, she warned Werts against planting the trees. She was concerned that the trees could infect the IFAS-maintained teaching orchard. “You don’t just plant [citrus trees] in the ground and leave them,” Moore said. Commercial groves are being sprayed once a month with pesticides to keep the trees healthy, she said. There were two options: spray the
“All it takes is one psyllid sucking the sap from one infected orange tree to spread the greening.” campus trees with chemicals monthly or remove them completely. The treatment is only preventative - it kills the psyllids but won’t heal the tree. It also leaves the fruit poisonous. Smith feared that even if the sickly trees stayed on campus, students would continue to pick and try to eat the citrus. There is currently no organic treatment for greening. “We’re very limited in terms of our ability to manage the campus,” Smith said. That wasn’t always the case. Until 2007, Erick Smith (no relation to Jason) was UF’s urban forester. He “had his head in the trees every day, seeing what’s right and what’s wrong,” Werts said. “The university, in my opinion, lost something when they lost those guys.” For the past five years, the Physical
Plant Department grounds crew has taken over tree maintenance responsibility. “It’s [citrus is] really high maintenance more than what’s reasonable on a university campus,” Jason Smith said. “The grounds crew do what they can.” The verdict was complete removal. On Sept. 13, the grounds department began digging up the trees. By Oct. 8, all the citrus was removed. In the gouged earthy sockets, they planted apples, pears, magnolias and persimmons. Just because the campus citrus is gone doesn’t mean that the teaching grove is safe. Since the disease is spread by an insect, any infected citrus in the area poses a risk for those remaining trees. All it takes is one psyllid sucking the sap from one infected orange tree to spread the greening. “Taking the trees off of the campus doesn’t mean there will never be greening in Alachua County,” Moore said. “It just means we’re trying to make it happen a little slower.” However, the citrus situation isn’t completely bleak. Kevin Folta, associate professor and interim chair of the horticulture department, sees greening as a teaching opportunity. This disease is training students how to prevent future outbreaks, he said, which could strike any fruit or vegetable. IFAS is at the forefront of greening research. They are approaching the problem from all angles, searching for genetic managerial and nutritional solutions. “I’m optimistic because I know the people working on the solution,” Folta said. “ I think we’re going to beat it.”
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N O E L I X E
STREET TEXT & ILLUSTRATION BY SAMANTHA SCHUYLER
The 1960s brought a small hiccup of change along South Main Street. It was innocuous enough: up went a new city fire station, bright and red bricked. And up went the “closed” sign for George’s Meat and Produce, a small grocery store next door. While the station teemed with activity, the grocery store stayed vacant. It attracted cobwebs. The windows frosted over with dust, and they stayed that way for years. The effects of those two changes--considerably minor compared to the rest of the ‘60s--took a few decades to shake out. And this year, it will reach its conclusion as the firehouse expands to uproot the art communities that have recently called South Main Street home. Decades after George’s Meat and Produce shut down, Chris Fillie had an idea. It came when he noticed a pattern: Old, deserted spaces would become occupied by artists, usually because of the cheap rent. The building became more vibrant as the artists stuck around, making it their own. And up went the property value. Then came the developers. Catching wind of the value spike, they’d start sidling up to the property owners. After all, the artists didn’t own the place26 | T H E
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-the landlords did. And as great as it was having artists around, the developers offered a persuasive amount of money. As a result, the landlords would either bump up the rent or sell the place. The artists couldn’t afford to stay. They lost their space. “Art doesn’t make a lot of money,” Fillie said. “But it brings a lot of money.” Wanting to end the profit-seeking cycle, Fillie, now a consultant at Carbon Solutions, started buying up old buildings. He would rent to artists and let them stick around, uniting under what would eventually become the non-profit Vibrant Community Development. It all started with George’s Meat and Produce, which Fillie started renting in 2005 and officially purchased in 2007. He cleared out the dust and introduced artists to the space. Now it’s home to the Civic Media Center. The grocery store’s transformation started a series of purchases that ended with Fillie owning almost all the buildings clustered around the city’s fire station. As artists began to breathe life into the old buildings, the once-new fire station began acquiring dust of its own. “For perspective,” City Communications Director Bob Woods said, “consider that...John Kennedy was in office when the building became
FEATURE operational.” Soon the station was too old to meet basic standards, Wood said. And it was unsafely small. So in February, Wood said the City Commission put aside funds for a bigger, better station in the city’s 2013-17 Capital Improvement Plan. Then the city gave him a call, Fillie said. In the spirit of his non-profit, he turned to his tenants. He asked them for a number -how much would they go for? Fillie said the Civic Media Center determined it’d take about $1 million. The Citizen’s Co-op told him about $700,000. The city had offered much less. “A couple hundred grand,” Fillie said, laughing. “It was less than I paid for the damn thing.” So the city turned to the surrounding property. But by incubating a small artists’ colony, Fillie encouraged artists to expand into buildings outside his safety net. Around 2007, some of the artists from his buildings started renting a large, one-room property across the street. It became the Church of Holy Colors. Artists gathered there to create immersive art experiences and host shows with live music. Then in 2012, Fillie subleased the 2,000-square-foot building that would become the Repurpose Project. Fillie said months after he had proposed to buy the buildings for $500,000 and draw them safely under the umbrella of his nonprofit, the city came around. “I gave the city and Chris Fillie the same offer,” said David Mathia, landlord of the Church of Holy Colors. “I gave Chris Fillie first dibs on the place, and he was unable to meet the transaction.” Mathia said he required a down payment that he could not meet. While the city had cash, Fillie only had plans, he said. He had been working with Gator Nest, a program through the University of Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, in creating a plan to develop the property. Fillie and Gator Nest would have taken about five years. The city was ready to close in a few months. “I would have preferred to sell it to Chris,” Mathia said. But he owned the property for 30 years and was ready to give it up. The money, he
said, was for his retirement fund. And on Aug. 15, the city purchased the land. Three pieces--the Church of Holy Colors, the Repurpose Project and Everyman Sound Company--were sold to the the city for a grand total of $1,050,000, Woods said. Fillie said he is sad to see the buildings go, but that the plans for them have only been rerouted. The Repurpose Project had been looking for a bigger space, and the artists from the Church of Holy Colors had a presence at the Elestial Sound record label’s building.
“The people make the experiences, they make the art,” Galbicka said. “The space is partly to do with that, but there’s other spaces in town.” However, the Church of Holy Colors won’t be moving. “Events will still happen, and art will be made elsewhere,” said Evan Galbicka, director of the Church of Holy Colors. “But probably the exact type of experiences that were possible here are very unique to this space.” Galbicka said that the Vibrant Community Development helped sponsor a year of essentially no rent. And with no economic pressure, Galbicka said the artists want to go out with a bang by hosting more experimental performances that are free to the community. “The people make the experiences, they make the art,” Galbicka said. “The space is partly to do with that, but there’s other spaces in town.”
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OUT OF SIGHT
ON THE MINE Cook Mountain once towered two thousand feet over the small towns of Boone County, West Virginia. It’s hard to believe that it’s part of one of the world’s most biologically diverse communities; the moonscape the mountain has become tells an entirely different story. Since the coal industry’s inception, Dustin White’s family had carried on generation after generation of miners up to his own father, who he made White promise to never become a miner himself. White, born and raised at the foot of Cook Mountain in the heart of coal country, kept that promise; still, he spent the larger part of his life as a coal supporter. That all changed one afternoon as he peered out an airplane window. Maria Gunnoe, a famous environmental activist and local West Virginian, arranged a flyover for White and his mother after they’d learned Cook Mountain was being blown up for coal. What White saw that day was not the forest he’d known as his backyard his whole life. Draglines and mines blanketed the mountaintop. “They just looked like cancer on the land,” he said. “I could see all these little machines like parasites, just eating away.” An island of trees stood out in the vast wasteland. White recognized it; it was his family’s cemetery. He peered down at the speck as he heard his mother sobbing through the crackles of the headset. “When we got back on the ground, I was angry,” he said. 28 | T H E
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After researching mountaintop removal mining further, clearing his misconceptions that this form of strip mining was heavily regulated and sporadic, he realized “angry” wasn’t quite the right word. “It took me a long time to think of a way to describe it to people,” White said. “Finally, it just came to me: it’s like identity theft. I recognize myself as a mountaineer, Appalachian, West Virginian, but when they’re blowing up the mountain and taking away part of your family history, your identity is being violated and part of who you are is being destroyed.” White has since dedicated himself to the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition to fight mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. MASSACRE ON THE MOUNTAINS Mountaintop removal mining is a form of surface mining that uses explosives to clear 500 or more feet of mountain summit to expose buried coal seams. The Sierra Club estimates this mining process will be responsible for destruction of 1.4 million acres come 2020 with mining waste already damaging over 2,000 miles of streams. The Clean Water and Air Act was created to defend vital water sources like these, but in 2002, the Bush administration created a fatal loophole. Mining overburden -- containing arsenic, sulfate and mercury among other toxins -- has since been permissible to dump in “navigable waters” as
Above: A mountain top removal mining operation sprawls over Guyandotte Mountain, West Virginia. This mountain’s summit has been reformed and deformed, like that of Cook Mountain, just four miles away. Photos by Kent Kessinger and Appalachian Voices, flight courtesy of Southwings.
THE COAL THAT’S BLOWING UP MOUNTAINS AND WIPING COMMUNITIES OFF THE MAP BY LILY WAN
“fill material.” Burying these critical headwater streams causes permanent ecosystem loss and threatens biodiversity. Runoff toxins trickle into the drinking water. The severed summits are left stripped to erode, despite coal companies being required to reclaim the land. Seedlings have difficulty growing in ravaged topsoil. Driving along the perimeter of a site, you wouldn’t be able to spot a tree out of place. “They do a really good job at trying to hide these sites, especially from the communities,” White said. “They leave what’s called a ‘beauty line,’ which is just a thick row of trees.” Past these trees and deeper into the hollers, mountaintop mining operations are planted right above poorer valley villages. For mining companies, the consequentially sinking property values marry favorably with the decreased quality of life for holler homeowners. Lindytown, once a humble holler just on the other side of Cook Mountain from White’s hometown, is now essentially a vacant lot, he said. Massey Energy swooped in asking a couple thousand above what prices had been depreciated to and bought out almost the entire community. After all, these are the people who experience mountaintop removal mining firsthand: mud, dust, flooding, noise pollution and “fly rock,” which is just what it sounds like. These are the people
who, in the mine’s eye, are liabilities. VALLEYS TO FLATLANDS The coal travels much farther than these hollers, though. Mountaintop removal is the most profitable method of coal mining and is widespread across Appalachia -- namely Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Eight-hundred-some miles away, this coal powers Gainesville. Gainesville Regional Utilities’ Deerhaven Unit Two is a 251MW coal-fired power plant. In 2012, GRU deemed another coal purchase contract for 2013 unnecessary based on falling natural gas prices and the biomass plant coming online. A heaping mound of coal remaining from the 2012 purchase still sits at Deerhaven awaiting incineration. The 2012 purchase totaled 442,800 tons -- a volume that would fill half the Empire State Building. The mix was sourced equally from three different suppliers. One-third was entirely deep-mined coal out of Lynch, Ky. Also out of Kentucky, a third of the supply was 40 percent deep mined, 60 percent strip mined. The final third was mined in West Virginia by Patriot Coal, a company hiding behind the marketing shield of the world’s largest coal company, Peabody Energy. While the Kentucky coal is not MTR coal, Patriot’s extraction methods are murky. Patriot’s supply contracts do not grant GRU authority to Winter 2013 | T H E
demand its environmental reports, according to John Stanton, assistant general manager of GRU’s energy supply division. Despite Patriot’s vow to phase out MTR mining, the coal giant still has its fingers summit-deep throughout southern Appalachia. Assuming the worst -- that Patriot mines all its coal by mountaintop demolition -- Gainesville is looking at just under 33 percent of its current coal supply with direct ties to MTR, according to Stanton. This portion is down 60 percent from the purchase prior, but the drop isn’t due to a conscious policy change in the heart of GRU so much as falling coal prices. A CRY TO CUT TIES GRU claims to have “never used a significant of MTR coal,” but what really is “significant”? When Jason Fults, co-founder of the local advocacy group Gainesville Loves Mountains, asked GRU to provide its past five to 10 years of coal purchase source data, fuels staff professionals said resurrecting 10 years of fuel receipt records, identifying mines, and calculating deep versus surface and mountaintop removal coal would be labor intensive. They redirected Fults to a public records request. Since Fults created Gainesville Loves Mountains in 2011, he has poured his every hour into pleading GRU to wipe its profile of mountaintop coal. GRU admits Fults has put up a good fight. They’ve recognized GLM’s efforts have impacted their purchasing decisions and have said -- in conversation -- that if and when they have the option between deep-mined and surface-mined coal, they will buy the deep-mined coal if it’s the same price. Fults wants commitment. GRU would even be willing to eliminate MTR coal from their profile; they know the switch is possible. “If [our] Energy Supply [division] is directed by its City Commission and GRU Management to establish a system to exclude all mountain top removal coal, the system will be established in an effective and verifiable manner,” wrote the Utility’s Fuels Manager Thomas Foxx, Jr. in an email to GLM. To move this along, GLM drafted up an ordinance to prohibit purchase of mountaintop removal coal by GRU. The vast majority of the City Commission has publicly expressed support of the ordinance. Commissioners Thomas Hawkins, Yvonne Hinson-Rawls, Randy Wells, Susan Bottcher and Lauren Poe -- who agreed to facilitate conversation between GLM and GRU -- all agree they do not want mountaintop removal coal powering their city. Commissioners Ed Braddy and Todd Chase have expressed sympathy, Fults said. Sympathy but only so much. Even with the verbally confirmed support of the five of seven commissioners, dynamics shift in the meeting hall. GRU marches in and reminds the commission that adopting this ordinance would mean increased utility rates.
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Though the actual figures have not yet been fully and accurately calculated, GRU Fuels roughly estimates “an increase of approximately 1 to 3 percent to the average rate payer.” “The commissioners get anxious, pressured also by the current upheaval around GRU’s biomass plant,” said Fults, recalling his September meeting with GRU, Chase, Poe and Braddy. “I cannot support anything that adds one cent more to utility bills,” Braddy said. Their meeting was the first official meeting discussing GLM’s proposed ordinance, and it won’t be the last.
Gainesville has to understand why it loves mountains. Moreover, Gainesville has to understand how it’s destroying them. Depending how politics play out, the ordinance looks promising. Poe is optimistic he can get the rest of the commission on board to pass it -- or some version of it -- before GRU makes its next coal purchase, which is expected to be in April 2014. Foxx seems to think awareness and activism about mountaintop removal coal has reached its saturation point of influence in Gainesville. “All reasonable goals relative to market and local recognition of the issue have been achieved,” he said. Perhaps GRU’s “reasonable” is as subjective as their “significant.” This gap between coal purchases has opened up a window of opportunity for the ordinance. “We can actually influence that coal purchase,” Fults said. Gainesville has to understand why it loves mountains. Moreover, Gainesville has to understand how it’s destroying them. Dustin White no longer lives at the foot of Cook Mountain; he lives in Charleston, West Virginia and says some people in Charleston, capital of “The Mountain State,” don’t even understand mountaintop removal mining. He visits his family’s mine-shrouded graveyard every two months, despite the mandatory escort, written request and safety training he must apply for each time. The escort monitors White’s visit its entire duration. White sits in silence at his seventh great grandfather’s grave, meters from the moonscape border separating the mines and the headstones. “People need to know where their coal comes from and at what cost, because people are dying here in Appalachia just so they can turn on a light bulb.”
7 million: the number of people who will have to have signed up for Obamacare by March 2014 to make it efficient
$93 million: cost to create healthcare.gov
6: number of people who successfully enrolled in Obamacare on its launch day
6.6 million young adults have gained coverage since 2010
3 percent of young adults may be affected by increased premiums. These are young adults who would be under non-employer-based-coverage, who have incomes 250 percent above federal poverty level.
OK, if anything else: The Affordable Care Act—love it or hate it—is the same thing as “Obamacare.” You’d be surprised how many people don’t know that. Even some of its most vocal supporters and opponents don’t fully understand its provisions. Basically, there are a lot of kneejerk feelings floating around this 974-page document. A recent study by The Kaiser Family Foundation found that “many of the most well-liked elements are the least well-known to the public.” And although the reform expands and elucidates coverage, it comes with a larger cost to some and ultimately, 20 million Americans will end up uninsured. Over its three-year gestation, ACA has racked up dozens of provisions and amendments. But squeezed into one page, here is a handy 101 on the document that shut down the government. Tear it out, fold it up, whip it out at a party, but recommended dosage is with a grain of salt.
BY SAMANTHA SCHUYLER AND LILY WAN
• You can’t be discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions, gender or salary. • Prohibits insurers from charging women more than men. • You can stay on your parent’s plan until you turn 26—even if you’re married, financially independent and not living at home. • No more lifetime limits, so you can’t max out your coverage. • You can’t be dropped for anything other than fraud on your health care application. • Small business tax credit. • If you can’t afford a health plan, you can get low-cost health care at community centers. Fees depend on your income. • Prescription drug discounts for seniors. • Free Medicaid preventive services for seniors. • In what is called the 80/20 ratio, insurance companies have to spend 80 percent of the money they get from premiums on improvements, rather than administration. • Insurance companies have to publicly justify any rate increase of 10 percent or more. • Most health plans must cover additional preventive health services for women. • There’s a list of 22 women-specific additional services. • Insurance companies or group health plans must provide a short, plain-language summary of Benefits and Coverage and a uniform glossary of terms used in health coverage. • Insurance companies or group health plans have to provide short, standardized documents outlining their coverage plan so you can better compare plans when shopping.
Map data courtesy of The Advisory Board Company
A threat to the ACA’s success is the decision of some states to not expand their Medicaid program.
WHICH STATES ARE(N’T) EXPANDING MEDICAID?
Myth: Obamacare will fail. Busted: Well, if enough young adults don’t sign up, possibly. The system depends on young, healthy adults to enroll to offset costs for the elderly.
Myth: The government is making a health care plan. Busted: What? No. It regulates the health insurance marketplace.
Myth: Everybody will be forced to buy health insurance. Busted: Starting 2014, all Americans citizens and legal residents will be required to have health insurance. Those who don’t must pay a fee: $95 or 1 percent of annual income, whichever is higher.
Myth: Young adults’ insurance premiums are going to skyrocket. Busted: While the system does rely on a lot of healthy, young adults to sign up to subsidize seniors’ costs, 90 percent will be eligible for government subsidies or enrollment in Medicaid, which is expanding to accommodate the ACA in many states.
MYTHS + MISCONCEPTIONS
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Various phrases that offered former inmates a source of motivation still remain throughout the facility. 32 | T H E
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BREAKING down the
BARS BY ERICK EDWING PHOTOS BY JAVIER EDWARDS After eight problematic years, a proposed onestop wellness center for the homeless will finally have a permanent home in an unlikely place: a former prison. Despite the chain link fences, barbed wire and disparagingly unkempt grass, the Gainesville Correctional Institution, located at 2845 NE 39th Ave., holds hidden potential as a place to help disadvantaged Gainesville locals. The January opening of the center is coming up, and with unprecedented community support. But it wasnâ€™t without a struggle. What seemed like a dramatic soap opera was actually a nearly seven-year struggle to find a location for the center. The city faced neighborhood opposition, lawsuits and enormous public outcry as officials tried to find site after site. Two locations fell through before the stateowned prison even appeared on city officialsâ€™ radars. The first, a proposed North Main Terrace site, was met with steadfast opposition from local business owners and residents of the nearby Stephen Foster neighborhood in 2008. The two groups united to form the Association of Businesses and Citizens of North Main Street to pressure the City Commission to relocate the proposed center. The second site at Northwest 53rd Avenue was set to be rezoned for construction in 2010. But a lawsuit from disgruntled nearby property-owner Ropen Nalbanian halted progress for nearly two years and forced the city to look elsewhere. Nalbandian objected to the site because he felt that the location was incompatible with the surrounding industrial environment. The lawsuits are only now being resolved, with Winter 2013 | T H E
FEATURE the city to likely to accept Nalbandian’s settlement of five annual installments of $250,000 that would go towards the center. With a lot of the city’s desired options for the center off the table, the prison offered a glimmer of hope and little to no community resistance. The buildings had the potential to house a range of services such a job training, adult education, shelter and medical care. But the acquisition of the prison was not without its own challenges. The state department of corrections, which previously owned the prison, wanted to maintain a few of the prison buildings and the administrative office. The city offered the state corrections a building near the Duck Pond community in exchange for all of the prison buildings. Duck Pond homeowners opposed the state corrections building in their area, and the City Plan Board effectively rejected the land swap. For the sake of progress, the city proposed to purchase the Gainesville Correctional Institution in its entirety, which the state will decide to sell on Nov. 19 for the cool sum of $953,000. Theresa Lowe, executive director of the Alachua County Coalition for Homeless and Hungry, said that Gainesville locals have firm views about the homeless population, a main target for the wellness center’s services. “There’s a preconceived notion of people wanting to be homeless, but they’re only a small portion of that population,” Lowe said. “There are also small children and families.“ Commissioner Randy Wells, a member of the Homelessness Implementation Committee, said that the community and city are offering unified support for the wellness center at last. “The community wants to create an environment of betterment,” Wells said. “The center isn’t just for 34 | T H E
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the homeless, but even folks who are in a bad place.” Commissioner Wells believes that the services provided should overshadow any concern of the wellness center being located too far away for the homeless: the prison is about four miles from downtown, where the homeless mostly congregate. But Wells believes that the Gainesville Correctional Institution is an ideal place for progress.
The guests of the one-stop center shouldn’t be thought of in terms of what they need but in terms of what they can offer “The center is not to be seen as isolated but rather a place for medical care and opportunities,” Wells said. Commissioner Wells said he envisions the center as a one-stop place where a person can get a haircut, shower and sleep. He or she could get a nice meal and sit down with a professional to figure out an action plan for long-term betterment.
The guests of the one-stop center shouldn’t be thought of in terms of what they need but in terms of what they can offer, Wells said. The wellness center is a component of a bigger city plan, known as Project Grace. It is a non profit 10-year plan to eliminate homelessness in Alachua County by strategically addressing core causes of homelessness such as affordable housing and proper living wages. The gears of the center are in motion. Requests for an agency to operate the center are being sent out by the city commission. Commissioner Wells doesn’t know which agencies have cast requests, but they will be presented before the commission on Dec. 5. The agency will seek out and organize partnerships, funding, volunteers and donations. With a long, strenuous journey and community involvement, the city wants the name to be a decision of Alachua County citizens. “Come December, there will be a community discussion for historical names,” Wells said. “Where folks have an opportunity to choose something that reflects an image of a community campus.”
Above: A glimpse of the new facility through the chain linked fence that surrounds it.
223 S. Main St. Downtown Gainesville (352) 672-6113
trivia monday trivia begins at 8pm pitchers of Yuengling and Shocktop for $6
tankard tuesday DJ Dillon Rose 25 oz. domestic drafts for $3 25 oz. craft and import drafts for $5 21+ only after 9pm Pelican bros food truck
romantic comedy wednesday First movie at 8pm Second movie around 10pm
thirsty thursday $2 domestic pints $3 tankards of Amber Bock, Yuengling, and Shock Top all night
Extensive craft and import beer selection Food served â€˜til 1:30am Open 7 days/week, 5pm-2am
sunday schoolinâ€™ DJ Bada and DJ Adikt: reggae psych. lounge $2 pints of Yuengling and Shock Top all night glassware giveaway starting at 5pm
Winter 2013 | T H E
BEHIND BOOKS, BEHIND BARS. BY DAMIAN GONZALEZ ILLUSTRATION BY TONI-LEE MAITLAND A tumultuous crowd of people surrounded the Lincoln Memorial as Trenton Brooks, 21, eagerly stepped out of a bus filled with 49 other Dream Defenders from across the state. Brooks and his compatriots had an unbridled excitement as they prepared to experience the March on Washington’s 50th anniversary. Brooks, the chairman of Research and History for Dream Defender’s University of Florida chapter, was prepared to spread awareness of the organization’s mission along with his fellow activists in our nation’s capital. About 70 or so speakers had been scheduled to pay homage to the historic march that day, the last of which was President Barack Obama. But Brooks was anxiously waiting to see Philip Agnew, executive director of Dream Defenders, take center stage. As Agnew prepared to present his speech, however, Brooks realized that another activist took his place instead. A bewildered Brooks soon discovered that Agnew, 28, had been cut alongside another scheduled orator due to supposed time constraints. Agnew, not letting such a setback silence him, followed up by launching a YouTube campaign in an effort to mobilize underrepresented and marginalized youth throughout the country. 36 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
FEATURE The Dream Defenders, an organization that sprouted as a result of Trayvon Martin’s shooting, now hosts seven chapters across select Florida universities. By combating the criminalization of minorities at the root level, Dream Defenders is tackling an issue that has been commonly overlooked for decades: the school-to-prison pipeline. A stark trend affecting thousands of African American and Latino students nationwide, public schools are beginning to funnel students into the criminal justice system for minor infractions as a result of zero-tolerance policies that many public schools have adopted. “We’re not just trying to combat the fact that a lot of students are being arrested,” said Azaari Mason, the Membership and Recruitment chair for the UF chapter of Dream Defenders. “We’re trying to combat the system that allows for a lot of students to be arrested.” Mason, 18, defined the Dream Defenders’ number one priority as combating the unnecessary arrest of misbehaving -- as opposed to criminal -- students. Misbehavior, such as schoolyard fights, dress-code violations and talking back, is now classified as a misdemeanor criminal charge, according to Florida law. Alachua County turns out the sixth highest documented number of school-based arrests in the state. “Alachua is a tiny, tiny county,” Brooks said. “And to be as bad off as we are is obscene.” With a graduation rate of 55 percent for African American students, Gainesville clearly has a lot of work to do in order to tackle such a serious dilemma. Nearly 49 percent of black male students in Alachua County were suspended last year alone. These grim statistics are only worsened when coupled with the fact that once a student has been suspended, the likelihood of that student dropping out of high school doubles. Utilizing the greater Gainesville community, Dream Defenders has been working on their most recent campaign: promoting the election of a new superintendent best equipped to deal with these pressing issues. Organization leaders like Mason and Brooks have not only been attending superintendent forums in local elementary schools, but they have also been reaching out to Police Chief Tony Jones who has been fighting relentlessly to combat this issue. Following the template set in place by Clayton County, Ga., Jones is trying to work with a system that makes use of a restorative approach when working with misbehaved students. Funding that goes towards counselors would prevent the
subsequent criminalization of these students and lead them down the right path. “We want our children to be valued and educated instead of just fingerprinted,” said Diana Moreno, 26, a UF alumnus and active Dream Defender. The UF chapter of the Dream Defenders is pushing for Alachua County to be the first rural county in Florida to enact such restorative policies. Following the success of Clayton County’s system, a new program enacted by the Broward County School District requires any non-violent misdemeanor to be handled by the schools instead of the police.
“We’re not just trying to combat the fact that a lot of students are being arrested. We’re trying to combat the system that allows for a lot of students to be arrested.” Moreno has made it very clear that such a lofty goal will be difficult to attain for Alachua County. The Dream Defenders are pushing for a superintendent who is well aware of the school-to-prison pipeline. They are looking for a superintendent who is not going to use any extra funding that might be pumped into the Alachua County school system to hire more resource officers. The unsettling statistics prove that some kind of change needs to be enacted if Alachua County wishes to both increase its high school graduation rate and decrease its suspension rate amongst minority students. While Trayvon Martin’s tragic death catalyzed this movement, Dream Defenders is fighting more than just the systematic oppression of racial and ethnic minorities. They are fighting for any underrepresented group given an unfair stake in society. “What we’re doing here is so powerful,” Mason said. “At the end of the day, this not just a black issue. It’s not just a Hispanic issue. It’s, first and foremost, a human rights issue.”
Winter 2013 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 37
PROSE + POETRY
BUFFET by marcus degnan
Kevin’s cousin Nga brought her newborn daughter to their family’s party. Her name was Thuy and she was six months old. All of Kevin’s aunts and uncles passed the child around as if she were a tray of appetizers. They plucked and pulled at her limbs, commenting on her appearance. Too Americanlooking. Not symmetrical enough. Those cheeks are from my side. Kevin and Nga sat on a couch, away from their relatives but still monitoring the interactions. Even though Nga was ten years older than Kevin, they still confided in one another. Collapsed against the couch’s arm, Nga waited to get her baby back. “Do you think they will traumatize her?” Kevin asked. Nga shook her head and responded in a tired tone. “They wouldn’t stop even if I asked.” Kevin’s parents now held the baby. They exchanged Thuy from one embrace to another, rather than inspecting her body. They were the only relatives being affectionate. Kevin became resentful. He hated how different they were from his other relatives. “Thank god your mom married an American man. Your parents are the only sane ones in our family,” Nga said, watching Kevin’s parents handle her child. Kevin remained silent. He hoped his parents dropped Thuy on the kitchen tiles.
38 | T H E
F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
PROSE + POETRY
GIRL POWER by m. singer
I wonder if I make it too easy. At 11:43, I put on a sweater and walk down the dark street. What I mean is, I wonder if I’m a slut. Every woman visits and revisits this eternal question. Am I right? My lips are dry, and I can’t find any chapstick in my bag, but this is okay because we never exchange greeting kisses anyway. Then I lick my lips and think about how long it’s been since I’ve had to give a blowjob. I can’t even remember. But he goes south so often, sometimes I wonder if I’m dispensing frozen yogurt down there. If that’s not an accomplishment, I’m not sure what is. He always gets off anyway, but then so do I. Most times. Nobody’s perfect, I guess. What’s the big deal? If I wanted to cuddle, I wouldn’t bother walking here, deodorized and pantiless. I’ve got a body pillow and a bottle of bourbon at home. But my pillow doesn’t breathe heavy or pull my hair, wouldn’t even hear if I pressed up against it and moaned like a sad peacock. But he does, and for some reason he likes it. Probably more than he likes listening to me talk about the people I meet on the bus, or listening to me read from the books on his shelves before we tear the couch apart and his neighbor bangs on the wall. There’s no rose-petal romance. I think this would make my mom sad, but I always leave with all of my clothes and no “call you later” nonsense. I never have to sweat or fight for a piece of the blanket when I sleep. Sprawled in my queen-size bed, there’s no room for anyone else. I lick my lips again and knock on the door. He answers and leads me inside with a hand on my waist. I feel the surge of my frozen-yogurt power and settle my own wonderings; no, I’m just tasty and damn resourceful.
Winter 2013 | T H E