November 2016 News From the Chair

By Maryvonne Devensky

Hello everyone, I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful weather we are having. It is time to spend more time gardening, camping, hiking, or just “being outside.” Soon the Sandhill cranes will come back to Paynes Prairie and we will hear their beautiful calls over Gainesville. We need to be in nature to restore our souls and spirits and escape the negativity that can surround us.  At least that is what I do for myself, connect with the bigger world out there.
But to come back to reality, I have a few comments about these:

1) ELECTIONS:  This month is important because we have to vote for the US President, State representatives, Florida Senators. By now, I think your mind is made and I urge you to go and vote. If you are still undecided, get informed, look at the issues, not the person.  (FYI: Read my letter to the Editor of Gainesville Sun dated Friday, October 21, 2016).

2) AMENDMENT ONE: Don’t be fooled – this amendment funded by Florida’s big utilities to protect their monopoly markets and limit customer-owned solar. This amendment is very misleading, promising rights and protection that Florida citizens already have while paving the way for additional obstacles for potential solar customers.
Each vote will count. Like a lot of people, I am tired of all the negative “stuff” we hear every day, but let’s be active participants in the process, voting is a right millions of people do not have in other countries.

3) SSJ EXCOM ELECTIONS: Important as well for the Suwannee St Johns Sierra Club members, this month you will receive a paper newsletter in the mail, with the ballots to vote for new members on the Executive Committee. That vote is also important because it shows that you care about your club, and we have several new people who are interested in serving on our Board.  Please mail in your ballots so we receive them by November 30, or bring them to the meeting on December 1st –when we will give awards to some of our members and have a potluck dinner – so bring a dish (with utensils to eat in Sierra Club tradition).

4)  CLEAN WATER RALLY: Saturday, October 29, 2016 between noon and 3:00pm.
Meet at the corner of US 47 and US 27 in Fort White.  Sierra Club members are invited to participate in this Rally organized by Our Santa Fe River organization. We need to keep asking for protection of our water in North Florida, opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline and the Phosphate Mining projects that are proposed in our area.
For more information, please go the the website:

5) SIERRA CLUB NEW OFFICE OPEN HOUSE… Where:  RUM 138, 2070 SW County Rd 138, Ft White. Please come to this event on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2016 — 10:00 TO 2:00pm.  We will have music, speakers…You can meet Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Sierra Club Staff Organizer since June 2016. If you want afterwards, you can canoe or kayak on the Santa Fe river.  Discount offered that day for Sierra Club members and family.

On Saturday October 22, we had a successful Garage Sale for our ICO program (we made $235.00 – not as much as last year, but we had less items to sell)  and if you would like to give a donation to our ICO program, please send us a check – small or large amounts are accepted. The address: Roberta Gastmeyer, 4118 NW 69th Street, Gainesville, FL 32606.

We are also planning an Outing Leader training for January 2017. So if you have any interest in leading outings, let us know by contacting

Recently I attended a meeting with farmworkers and UF students re: Wendy’s Boycott.
Join thousands of farmworkers, student, people of faith, and consumers of conscience in refusing to patronize Wendy’s until the world’s  third largest hamburger chain join the Fair Food Program!
For more information: Go to the CIW-ONLINE.ORG/BOYCOTTWENDY’S.
Sierra Club National has a campaign promoting $15.00 as a Living Wage, and we need to support higher wages for everybody in the country.