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Current newsletter in pdf format. - Suwannee – St. Johns Group

Sierra Club
Suwannee-St. Johns Group
Published monthly except June and August from Gainesville, Florida
“More Work Ahead to End Mountain Top Removal For Good”
by melanie martin
hanks to the leadership and
dedication from local organization Gainesville Loves
Mountains, the Gainesville City
Commission approved a policy
under which Gainesville Regional
Utilities will avoid purchasing coal
mined by shearing off mountaintops. The City Commission adopted
the proposed policy in a 5–2 vote. It
also unanimously adopted a related
resolution that formally opposes the
use of mountaintop removal techniques.
Jason Fults, co-founder of Gainesville
Loves Mountains, led the way to this victory, but says “we’ve got a lot more work
ahead of us to make sure that this policy
is implemented properly to end mountaintop removal for good, and to help people
find smart ways to cut back on their utility
Please join us at our November general
meeting as Jason will outline and discuss
the following:
1) The steps needed to replicate this campaign in other communities.
2) The need for Congress to sign on to
the Clean Water Protection Act.
3) Future campaigns against banks that
finance MTR operations (including an upcoming local action against PNC bank.)
Jason will also briefly discuss the establishment of the local Property Assessed
Clean Energy (PACE) program here in Alachua County.
Jason Fults is a native of central Florida
and has been involved in environmental research and advocacy for more than 15 years.
He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Berea
College with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology/Sustainability & Environmental Studies. He has
worked with environmental NGOs in Australia, China, India, and the U.S., including as
National Coordinator of the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), Volunteer
Coordinator of the Community Weatherization Coalition, and Chapter Administrator of
the U.S. Green Building Council--Heart of
Florida chapter. From 2006–08, Jason spent
20 months in Asia on Thomas J. Watson and
William Fulbright fellowships, exploring the
evolution of environment and developmentrelated conflicts in some of the world’s most
rapidly-expanding economies.
He is currently pursuing an electrical apprenticeship through the IBEW NECA Joint
Apprenticeship Training Program and has
been performing energy audits in Alachua
County for the past four years, both professionally and as a volunteer. In 2011, Jason
co-founded “Gainesville Loves Mountains”
Thursday, November 6, 7:30p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville
4225 NW 34th Street, Gainesville, FL
Gainesville Loves
Mountains —
More Work Ahead
Environmental factors affecting the
Free, open to the public!
(GLM), a local group of concerned citizens
working in partnership with Appalachian
communities to end mountaintop removal
coal mining and create a prosperous economy
and sustainable future for the region and its
PLUM CREEK UPDATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
INNER CITY OUTINGS UPDATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
SSJ EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE BALLOT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Been a Long Time Since You’ve Seen a Newsletter? See p. 4 inside.
Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra ClubNovember 2014
The Chair’s Report
by whitey markle
Charlie Crist’s plan to make Consumptive
Water Use contingent upon Minimum Flows
and Levels is good news for the springs, lakes,
and rivers across Florida. Crist’s environmental record is the best among the last several
Florida Governors. If he is elected, we hope
to see a lot better environmental protection.
And we certainly wish him good luck dealing
with the environmental bureaucrats as he has
said he plans to do. Perhaps this is the election
that will make a real difference in Florida’s environmental politics.
Also, it’s election time here in the Sierra
Club Group again. We have a long list of
good candidates running for the vacant and
expired positions. Please be sure to read each
candidate’s “bio” and vote when you receive
your mailed-out ballot.
SSJ Sierra Club Group Committees
Fall, 2014
After several EXCOM meetings, I have
come up with a chart of the Standing and Ad
Hoc committees of the group for 2014. These
committees are important and necessary to
the group’s function. Notice most of the peo-
ple on these committees are EXCOM members, but bear in mind that many committee
memberships do not require an EXCOM
membership. The more members we get on
our committees, the more we can accomplish
our goals. Please consider volunteering on a
Along those same lines, please consider
leading a “team” or local committee to address the issues in your area if you don’t live
near Gainesville. Again, the more members
we have working on local issues, the more effective we will be as a group.
Standing Committees
Conservation: Whitey Markle, Chair (Citra), Maryvonne Devensky, Roberta Gastmeyer, Jon Brainard (Dunnellon), Melanie
Martin, Clark Dyals (Yankeetown), Jim Dick
Gainesville/Alachua Co. Conservation
Subcommittee: Scott Camil, Frank Lineberger
Outings/Inspiring Commitment Outdoors: Maryvonne Devensky, Rob Hopkins,
Karen Garren, Ruth Steiner
Political: Scott Camil, Chair, Melanie Martin, Sherry Steiner, Dan Vasquez, Dwight Adams, Maryvonne Devensky, Frank Lineberger
Newsletter Editorial: Scott Camil, Chair,
Sherry Steiner, Roberta Gastmeyer, Jessica
Newman, Maryvonne Devensky
Program: Melanie Martin, Chair, Scott
Camil, Sherry Steiner, Roberta Gastmeyer,
Dan Vasquez
Newsletter Folding: Scott Camil, Chair,
Sherry Steiner, Frank Lineberger, Roberta
Environmental Education: Jon Brainard,
Chair, Whitey Markle, Maryvonne Devensky.
Membership: Roberta Gastmeyer, Chair,
Jon Brainard, Whitey Markle
Publicity: Frank Lineberger, Chair
Website: Mike Wright, Chair
Administrative: Dan Vasquez, Chair,
Whitey Markle
Legal: Dan Vasquez, Chair
Legislative: Dan Vasquez, Chair, Whitey
Markle, Jon Brainard
Special or Ad Hoc Committees
Nominating 2014: Sherry Steiner, Melanie
Martin, Maryvonne Devensky, Joanne Auth
EXCOM Election 2014: Maryvonne Devensky, Chair, Whitey Markle, Joan Adams
Chair/Newsletter Editor Search: Whitey
Markle, Chair, Scott Camil
Electronic Balloting: Sherry Steiner,
Maryvonne Devensky, Roberta Gastmeyer,
Whitey Markle
Visit the National and Local Sierra Club Websites!
Suwannee-St Johns Group Chairs & Executive Committee
Program Chair
Newsletter Publisher
Legislative Liaison
Newsletter Editor
Newsletter Design
Political Chair
Environmental Education
Whitey Markle
Whitey Markle
Daniel Vazquez
Melanie Martin
Scott Camil
Sherry Steiner
Daniel Vazquez
Maryvonne Devensky
Harriett Jones
Roberta Gastmeyer
Jessica Newman
Daniel Vazquez
Jessica Newman
Mike Wright
Roberta Gastmeyer
Frank Lineberger
Scott Camil
Jonathan Brainard
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Interested in hosting a newsletter folding
party? Contact Scott Camil at 375-2563
Suwannee-St. Johns Group Sierra
Club Newsletter (UPS 317-370) is
published 10 months a year, except
June and August, by the SuwanneeSt. Johns Group Sierra Club, PO Box
141693, Gainesville, 32614-1693. Nonmember subscription rate is $5.00.
Periodicals Postage Paid is paid at
the Gainesville, FL 32608 post office.
Postmaster: Send change of addresses
to SSJ SC Newsletter, P.O. Box 13951,
Gainesville, FL 32604, or to ssjsierra.
[email protected] Send both
your old and new addresses.
November 2014
Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club
News from the Conservation Chair
by whitey markle
According to the Pelican of Sierra Club Florida, Special Edition Election 2014, Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist “supports the right
of local governments to protect their local waters by adopting strong
fertilizer regulations…, lead a comprehensive state approach to reducing nutrient pollution… opposes preemptive state legislation and rulemaking that would weaken local environmental laws… making Consumptive Use permits contingent on maintaining minimum flows and
levels for Florida waters.”
According to Chapter officials, this statement came directly from a
questionnaire that Crist answered in writing. Apparently Crist is wellversed in the water issues at hand, and has supplied well-thought plans
and solutions. If candidate Crist wins his bid for the governorship, we
certainly hope he holds true to his promises. I am personally very curious as to how the veteran Governor will go about accomplishing this
monumental task.
Let’s start with fertilizer regulations: The illustrious legislature passed
a fertilizer statute 2 years ago that left the details up to the counties.
I.e.: The local governments had the choice of opting in (complying)
with the state requirements of the statute or not (maybe developing local fertilizer ordinances). Only a handful of Florida local governments
complied. Most, by far, “opted out.” So what looked on the surface like
a comprehensive state legislative solution to the abundantly obvious
water nutrient problem turned out to be a fodder for local politicians
across the state and a big setback in the battle against water pollution
in the Land of Flowers.
Then, what will Governor Crist do to reduce nutrient pollution?
Completely re-do the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Florida Department
of Transportation, and the Water Management Districts? I’m not sure
one man can do that much, although it seems that would be a feasible
The Adena Springs/Sleepy Creek case may be decided in this SSJ
news cycle. This is the biggest decision in Florida’s environmental history if we “win.” If Judge Early actually overrules the St. Johns River
Water Management District who granted the multimillion gallon Consumptive (Water) Use Permit for the 30,000-acre beef farm, precedence
will have been set in Florida Consumptive Use permitting. Perhaps the
Districts will realize the public is actually in control of its water. From
then on development, industry, and agriculture will (theoretically)
be required to actually comply with the Clean Water Act of 1972 (40
years... no compliance so far).
I often wonder what “a comprehensive state approach to reducing
nutrient pollution… opposes preemptive state legislation and rulemaking that would weaken local environmental laws…” means. A truly
comprehensive state approach would mean… Everybody gets involved
in the decision making. Not like nowadays when the Governor decides the agenda and whispers it, off paper, to his respective secretaries,
who in turn, attempt to figure out how to implement the good Governor’s mandates and keep their jobs. If you don’t believe me, check
out the FDEP Basin Management Action Plan for the Orange Creek
Basin (includes Gainesville) which was adopted with no TMDL (Total
Maximum Daily Load) for poor old Lake Lochloosa. There were also
absolutely no new strategies, milestones, nor fundings written into the
Orange Creek Basin Basin Management Action Plan after 6 years of
decreasing water quality in the basin. We have sound suspicions that
Plum Creek REIT plays into this pitiful BMAP (yet to be disproved by
the state bureaucrats or newspapers). Word has it, Orange Creek basin
isn’t as important as some other more recognizable Central Florida’s
fluid landmarks. Or check out the Wakulla or the Chassahowitzka
River MFLs. Truly comprehensive State decision making would mean
the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), for example,
would actually collaborate with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC), the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services (DOACS), etc. I suggested in public comment at the FDEP,
FWC, DOACS, FDOT, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
meeting on Sept. 27 in Orange Lake that “U.S. 301 box culvert should
be removed as well as the Alachua County Dam and the CSX RR trestle
at the foot of Orange Lake.” FDOT was supposed to be at that meeting, but did not set foot. Supposedly the input from that “stakeholder”
gathering would be relayed to the (State) agencies for reflection and
adaptation in the form of an “interagency meeting.” After the bureaucrats are through the process of “gathering public input,” the idea of
removing the U.S. 301 culvert will not be forgotten. After Plum Creek
Real Estate Investment Trust gets their way in Eastern Alachua County,
an already impaired Lake Lochloosa will be beyond redemption. Just a
one year delay in expediting the law may make a century of difference
in our waterways and fisheries such as Lochloosa. So who knows what a
“comprehensive approach to nutrient pollution” would look like in the
field. Perhaps new Governor Crist will be able to regroove the bureaucrats. I doubt it seriously.
Preemption of local regulations is the name of the game in Florida.
Constitutionally, Florida’s counties are “creatures of the state,” and are
subsequently subject to the mandates of the state legislature, which
means re-elected Governor Crist will have to somehow change the state
constitution if he is to fulfill his promises. Such is the dilemma among
local government elected officials: Does a local politician vote to restrict
his local businesspeople? Of course not. But fertilizer isn’t all when
it comes to preemption: We learned all about state preemption when
we were going through the Airboat Noise regulation process. When an
interest group decides they need an unfair advantage in the law, they
simply influence a state legislator to prescribe a “supermajority” requirement on the local governments of Florida. (In order to pass a local
Airboat Noise Ordinance in the County Commission, a 2/3 supermajority was required by Florida Statute… for airboats only, no kidding).
I suppose Crist will veto all preemptions under his administration… if
he wins the election.
Rule-making is the process the State agencies go through after a statute is adopted by the legislature in order to implement the statute. The
“rule” or procedure for administering the statute eventually comes out
in the form of the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). Such rulemaking is lengthy (2 years average for FWC rules, for example). Governor Crist is an attorney. So, if he is re-elected, he may be able to wade
through the piles of rules that related to environmental matters and
actually somehow nullify them. I suspect he would need an army of
Continued on p. 4
Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra ClubNovember 2014
Continued from p. 3
attorneys to sift out the chaff.
Hopefully, Crist will win the election, and we will get at least a
glimpse of environmental reform.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) posturing to permit lengthy
herbicide spraying and Mechanical Harvesting program on local waterways.
The SSJ Executive Committee has sent a letter of endorsement of
Debra Segal’s letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding a
15-year permit to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) to
mechanically remove aquatic vegetation for aquatic habitat enhancement, invasive plant management, and maintenance of navigable water
at 11 lakes and water bodies in the north central region. Debra Segal
is Secretary of the Alachua Audubon Society Chapter. “Specifically,”
said Segal, “we are concerned with the FWC’s claim that mechanically
harvesting shrub, floating, and rooted herbaceous vegetation will result in habitat restoration. The purpose of mechanically harvesting the
aquatic vegetation is for navigation and maintaining open water fisheries habitat. The claim that mechanically harvesting aquatic vegetation
for habitat enhancement is incorrect and misleading, and instead, will
result in wide-spread destruction of aquatic habitat.”
Debra pointed out that several research documents over the years
have concluded that mechanical harvesting (plus herbicide spraying)
will affect 89 species of birds as well as an “astonishing” number of
reptiles that utilize the floating and aquatic vegetation under discussion and up for removal. She also said that although some mechanical harvesting is necessary to maintain powerboat access to the waterways, “...we object to the claim that large-scale mechanical harvesting
of aquatic vegetation will promote aquatic habitat restoration. Quite
the opposite, it will result in large-scale destruction of aquatic habitat.
For that reason, we request that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
(USACE) place strict limits on the acreage of aquatic vegetation that
can be mechanically harvested, and prohibit large-scale aquatic vegetation removal. Further, we request that the USACE not issue a 15-year
permit, but rather reduce the duration of the permit to five years. And
lastly, we request that the USACE require comprehensive baseline and
post-harvesting environmental monitoring of the FWC’s plant management activities in order to document the true environmental effects
that are occurring.”
Hopefully our endorsement will weigh on the Corps’ decision.
If this is the first newsletter you have received ever or in a long
while, it may be because you have not let us know that you are
interested in being on our mailing or email list.
Please email or mail us a note with your name and address, a
contact phone number or email address, and whether you prefer
a paper or email newsletter.
Email to: [email protected]
Mail to: SSJ Newsletter / Roberta Gastmeyer
4118 NW 69th St, Gainesville FL 32606
You may change your preference at any time, but if this issue
is the first one you have received in several months (or ever), it
will be the last one you receive until next November if we do not
hear from you now!
Plum Creek Plan Update
Following the press deadline last month, the final Alachua County Envision Alachua Planning Workshop was held in the County Commission
chambers and it was gratifying to find that so many opponents of the plan
were willing to speak out. While the subject was transportation, infrastructure and economic issues, many comments were also made about environmental issues, particularly since the consultant report by Dr. Robert
Knight was not available at the prior environmental meeting.
Plum Creek (PC) delayed its release for six months since its findings
were not favorable to them regarding any additional strain on the aquifer.
In fact, Dr. Knight’s report stated that the water level was dropping and
being degraded to the point where the aquifer could not afford any further
negative impact from water withdrawal.
Approximately two thirds of the speakers opposed the PC plan, citing
a number of important questions and concerns. They included erroneous
job creation claims, lack of infrastructure and potential taxpayer costs,
destruction of habitat and the general unsuitability of the location for its
desired use. Also included was major concern over the aforementioned
potential water shortage increase and related wetlands and watershed destruction.
Now the process moves to the Alachua County Commission, the decision-makers themselves, with the first meeting occurring October 21st,
following the submission deadline for this newsletter. The meeting will
be held in a roundtable format with the County Commissioners asking
representatives of PC and the county Growth Management staff to answer
their questions about issues brought up by both parties.
There is a wide divergence in views since the county staff has recommended denial of PC’s proposal. The reason for their recommendation
was based upon both the unsuitability of the plan for the area in which
it would be enacted as well as the inability of the application to provide
much of the information needed to evaluate the proposal. The wide disparity between the two positions will constitute the basis for questioning.
The public has been invited to the meeting but will not be solicited
for questions or comments. Attendance will be for listening and gaining
information provided. Results will be provided in the next newsletter and
should be important to assessing the likelihood of the next step toward
approval or rejection by the County Commission.
Some of the commissioners are likely to try and resolve differences
quickly so that the issue can move forward. Others, including Mike Byerly
who has been so outstanding for his hard work at maintaining the Comprehensive Plan as it exists, will oppose further consideration at this time.
Ultimately, the result is likely to hinge on the outcome of the November
election for the District 4 commission seat being vacated by Susan Baird.
Ken Cornell, the Democratic candidate, opposes the plan while John
Martin, the Republican favors approval. Those of us opposing this major
encroachment on our wetlands, springs and the aquifer need to actively
work to keep Alachua as the wonderful mix between urban and rural lifestyles that our current Comprehensive Plan supports. Only an outright
denial of the proposal will stop it for now and it will also signify a strong
stand by our commissioners to stand by a sound policy which was so difficult to attain. Let’s keep it intact as we move forward working for better
environmental policy and good, clean water.
November 2014
Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club
Inner City Outings: Connecting Children with Nature
We just had a “service” outing with the Gainesville Job Corps on
Saturday, October 18, from 9:00am to 12:00. Seven members of
that program participated in the Newnans Lake Clean Up, sponsored by Current Problems. A lot of students from UF also participated in that event. We were also joined by 3 Sierra Club volunteers, and we all got to work together. We had great weather, cool
and sunny, and walked along the Lakeshore Drive, filling up buckets of trash, including aluminum cans, beer bottles, remnants of
plastic bags and Styrofoam containers, and wondering how people
can be so careless to just throw their trash off their windows as they
drive by… Two volunteers, Dustin and Randy, also hauled up to
the roadside 8 huge tires out of the lake water, braving mosquitoes
and alligators… I am kidding, just mosquitoes… Do not ask me
how these tires ended up there. Then we cleaned up along the shore
in Palm Point Park, disturbing some vultures and cormorants sunning themselves on tall cypress trees… A baby alligator, sunning
himself seemed perched on a tree log jetting out of the water…was
the first alligator seen by one of the young men from JobCorps who
lived in Texas before coming to Gainesville. Everyone had a good
time being outdoors and doing that project.
Thanks to Betsy, Dustin, and Randy for coming along on this
If you want to experience some adventures on a Sierra Club Outdoors-ICO, please contact me at [email protected]
Sierra Club Outing Leader Training — OLT 101
Offered in Gainesville on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014
Outing Leader Training — OLT 101 is being offered here in
Gainesville on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 9:00 to 4:00pm. Rudy Scheffer,
an experienced outing leader and trainer, will come from St Petersburg
to give this basic training. Lunch will be provided and the cost is only
$6.00 for the manual… I am looking for an outdoor location to have
the training, maybe Morningside Nature Center (to be confirmed
later this week). If you took the training a few years back and need a
refresher, this is the time to do it. If you have thought of participating
in outings, and maybe lead outings, this is also the time to take it…
So far we have 6 people signed up to take the training, mostly people
involved with the Sierra Club Outdoors – ICO program, but anyone
else is welcome. Call me or email me for questions, and to register.
Support the Sierra Club
and Get New Customers
Ad prices for single issue:
1/8 Page: $35
1/4 Page: $65
1/2 Page: $120
Full Page: $175
Ad prices for 10 issues:
1/8 Page: $315
1/4 Page: $585
1/2 Page: $1,080
Full Page: $1,575
To advertise, contact Roberta Gastmeyer, 352-336-2404
NOVEMBER 8—Walk led by a ranger on La Chua Trail (8:0012:00) with Job Corps.
NOVEMBER 8—SPIDER Walk with Jon Reiskind at Split
Rock (9:00 to 12:00) with SWAG group.
SSJ OUTING, Saturday, December 6—OCALA Caverns (a
few spaces are available). $10.00 donation. Contact me for details
and to register. [email protected]
Reaching Out:
Environmental Education
During October I had the opportunity to present my
PowerPoint presentation, “Seven Wonders of the Suwannee St. Johns Sierra Club” to the McIntosh Garden Club
in their lovely historical community center. I also spoke
to the Homosassa Springs Kiwanis Club at Neon Leon’s in
Old Homosassa.
If your club or group would like to hear the presentation, please email me at [email protected] I would
also like to hear the environmental problems that you are
having in your community. I am booking presentation
through the end of May, 2015. It can be as brief as 25
minutes or in full length takes 50 minutes to one hour.
Jack J. Fine, Esq.
Cherie H. Fine, Esq.
A. Daniel Vazquez, Esq.
Martha Ann Lott, Esq.
Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra ClubNovember 2014
2014-2015 Sierra Club Nominees for the
Suwannee-St.Johns Group Executive Committee
Scott Camil
gram Committee.
Gary Green
[email protected]
Roberta Gastmeyer
Scott Camil is a Vietnam veteran who has
been an activist for Peace and Justice for over
40 years. As a strong advocate for the environment, he’s helped elect pro- environmental candidates. As a member of EXCOM for
the last 12 years, he has served as the newsletter Publisher. Scott has been the Nominating Chair every other year, and is the Political
Chair. He serves on the Events and Program
Committees. Scott is the President of the
Gainesville Chapter of Veterans for Peace and
is the Chair of which
has been educating the public about Plum
Creek’s disastrous plan.
[email protected]
I am pleased to join the activists and concerned citizens of Sierra Club. I moved to
Summerfield in the fall of 2005. I retired from
30 years with United Airlines, mostly served
in the Chicago area, where I was born and
raised. I believe we are all here for each other
and to do our best to repair the world. Cofounder of Tri-County Unified Progressives
I have sought to bring cohesion and connection to our area’s Progressive groups. I am a
member of the Marion DEC, The NAACP,
Interfaith Alliance, Awake Marion, Marions
United for Public Education, Spruce Creek
Dems and now, Sierra Club.
Dan Vazquez
[email protected]
Dan Vazquez is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Law. In addition to
receiving his juris doctor, he graduated law
school with a Certificate in Environmental
Law and Land Use Planning. Prior to joining
the Gainesville trial law firm of Fine, Farkash
& Parlapiano, Dan was a law clerk extern
for Florida Supreme Court justice Jorge Labarga. He currently practices personal injury
and wrongful death litigation in Gainesville.
On Excom, Dan serves as the Administrative
Chair, Legal Chair and Legislative Chair. He
is also Vice Political Chair and is on the ProUnlock the beauty of your plants naturally
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I have been an active Sierran for more than
25 years, SSJ Group Treasurer and Membership Chair for too many years, and have served
in a variety of other positions. I have a broad
understanding of both the environmental
challenges we face and the many administrative requirements of the Club. I am willing to
continue to work with ExCom and those who
provide vocal advocacy for the environment
whether or not I am elected to ExCom, however, I would love to see someone volunteer to
be Treasurer or Membership Chair.
James Dick
James Dick is a retired Environmental Services marketing and sales manager and former Army officer currently writing stories
about animals, God and nature and political
thought. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The American University,
Washington, DC and a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA. He and his wife provide a loving
home to many deserving animals on their rural homestead. His philosophy is that all living things must be treated properly as God’s
gift to us of dominion over them requires. Jim
is a coordinator with
Travis Mitchell
Travis Mitchell studied history and organic
crop production at the University of Florida
graduating in 2008. He has been working for
Florida Organic Growers for the past 5 years
on a variety of projects from launching and
managing the Alachua County Farmers Market EBT Project, helping co-found the urban
gardening network Grow Gainesville, managing the Downtown Farmers Garden and installing GIFT Gardens across Alachua County. In 2012 after raising $12,000 using online
crowd sourcing he founded Porters Community Farm, an urban farm which grows food
for charity and hosts a community garden.
Along with organic agriculture Travis enjoys
bird watching, and bicycling riding.
SSJ Needs You!
Seeking Social Media/Member Communications person(s) to energize our local
presence and encourage our members and the general public to get involved! We
need a volunteer to turn a critical eye on our current media outlets and then, using
and improving on these tools, create a strategy to engage the community in our environmental efforts. You will be working as a team with the other committee members.
While this may include some of the following tasks, you should feel free to present a
plan that you think can accomplish our goals.
• Update design/layout of our current social media tools (Facebook, Twitter,, Website, Mailchimp) and add additional social media outlets (YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram) as appropriate.
• Develop and implement a strategy for integrating our multiple social media platforms to allow for easier posting of information across outlets.
• Analyze websites for errors and ensure content is current and relevant.
If you are interested in getting involved in your local Sierra club, contact us as [email protected]
November 2014
Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club
Each year, the Suwannee-St. Johns Group of the Sierra Club holds elections for Executive Committee (ExCom) members. The ExCom makes decisions concerning the Group’s policy and direction,
and it represents the Group on a local level. We have a total of 11 ExCom officers serving staggered
two-year terms. This year we will be electing five officers. We do not elect members for particular
positions, only as members at-large. Then the new executive committee appoints its members to the
various positions (e.g., Chair, Conservation Chair, Secretary, etc).
Voting Instructions: Indicate your choices by checking the line in front of the names of the candidates. Each member may cast one ballot, voting for no more than five (5) persons. Joint memberships
(as indicated by a “J” after the 3305 on the top line of your address label on the back of this page) are
entitled to two votes. The second column on the ballot is provided for this. Do not vote twice if you
do not have a joint membership.
Mailing Instructions: Remove this page from the newsletter and fold the ballot so that your membership label appears on the outside. Place the ballot in an envelope and mail to: Sierra Club Election
Committee, C/O Joan Adams, 2507 NW 24th Terrace, Gainesville, FL 32605.
Ballots must be received by December 4, 2014. Please be sure to mail your ballot in time to allow
delivery by that date. Or turn it in at the December 4th general meeting. If you have any questions
about this procedure, contact Maryvonne Devensky at [email protected] or 352-8711606.
To protect your confidentiality, after confirming your membership, election committee members
will remove the label portion before opening the rest of the ballot.
Ballots will be counted on December 4 after the General meeting about 9PM at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 4225 NW 34th St in Gainesville.
The ballot counting is open to all Sierra Club members.
Use this column for single memberships or the
1st voter in joint membership households.
*Vote for up to, but no more than, 5 candidates*
_______ Scott Camil
_______ Jim Dick
_______ Roberta Gastmeyer
_______ Gary Green
_______ Travis Mitchell
_______ Daniel Vasquez
Use this column only for 2nd voter in joint
membership households.
*Vote for up to, but no more than, 5 candidates*
_______ Scott Camil
_______ Jim Dick
_______ Roberta Gastmeyer
_______ Gary Green
_______ Travis Mitchell
_______ Daniel Vasquez
NOV. 13—SSJ Sierra Club Executive Committee meeting, Thursday, 7 p.m.,
at the Santa Fe College Downtown Gainesville Campus board meeting room.
NOV. 6—SSJ General Meeting, Thursday, 7:30-9:30 p.m., at the Unitarian
Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville. See Pg. 1 for details.
NOV. 1—Sierra Club Outing Leader Training. See Pg. 5 for details.
Suwannee-St. Johns Group
Sierra Club
P.O. Box 13951
Gainesville FL 32604
Gainesville FL 32608
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
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