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February 2018

Monday, February 12th 11:30 AM – 1 PM

Gary Edinger
Gary Edinger is a local attorney and a member of the First Amendment Lawyers Association (FALA), a group of prominent attorneys responsible for litigating many important free speech cases. He is also active on the legal panel for the North Florida Chapter of the Florida ACLU.
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March 2018

Monday, March 12th 11:30 AM – 1 PM

Aaron Sharockman
Aaron Sharockman is the executive director of PolitiFact, the largest fact-checking organization in the United States. Aaron leads the growth and development of PolitiFact, manages its outreach and news partnerships, and oversees new initiatives and product development.
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April 2018

The Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Award is an annual $3,000 cash award, sponsored by The Brechner Center. The award recognizes excellence in reporting about freedom of information, access to government-held information, or the First Amendment.
April 9 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Please register by Thursday, April 5th.

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May 2018

May 14th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Nathan Crabbe is opinion and engagement editor for the Gainesville Sun. His job includes writing The Sun’s editorials and a weekly column, editing letters to the editor and other content on the daily editorial page, and editing guest columns for the Sunday Issues section. He’s been with The Sun since 2005, previously covering the environmental and University of Florida beats as a reporter for the paper.

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September 2018

Carole Fernandez
September 10th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Join us for a review of the 13 proposed state constitutional amendments, two Alachua County referenda, and two Gainesville City referenda that will appear on the November 2018 ballot. League of Women Voters president Carole Fernandez will describe the proposed amendments and referenda, give the League of Women Voters’ positions on them, and the general basis for those positions.

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October 2018

October 8th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

October’s luncheon will be split between two speakers, each taking equal time to present their thoughts on the GRU Authority referendum that will appear on the upcoming midterm ballot.

Dr. David Denslow Jr., Research Economist for the Bureau of Economic and Business Research and Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Economics, is best known at the University of Florida as the effective and popular professor of the televised course Basic Macroeconomics.

Joseph Little is Emeritus Professor of Law at the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida. He obtained his B.S. summa cum laude from Duke University and his J.D. from the University of Michigan. Among the courses he taught at UF was a course in Local Government Law, and is considered to be an expert in this area.

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November 2018

A. Whitney Sanford, University of Florida
November 12th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Many intentional communities such as ecovillages and cohousing communities form around broad principles such as sustainability, but residents find that social sustainability proves a much greater challenge. In researching Living Sustainably, I visited communities that developed a range of strategies for governance and conflict resolution. These strategies helped residents through difficult dialogues about what constitutes sustainability and, more important, how can we productively translate conflict into creative solutions.

A. Whitney Sanford is a professor in the Religion Department at the University of Florida. She is currently conducting ethnographic research on the Florida rivers, exploring human attachment to place and water, for a book tentatively entitled “River People of Florida”. Her books include Living Sustainably: What Intentional Communities Can Teach Us About Democracy, Simplicity, and Nonviolence (University Press of Kentucky, 2017), Growing Stories from India: Religion and the Fate of Agriculture (University Press of Kentucky, 2012) and Singing Krishna: Sound Becomes Sight in Paramanand’s Poetry (SUNY 2008).

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December 2018

December 10th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

For our December luncheon, winners of this year’s Buddy Davis Speech Contest will read their entries.
The topic for this year’s contest is: Can schools discipline students for social media use outside of school?

Every teenager knows that he can’t call his principal a vulgar name to his face. But it’s really unclear whether he can go home, get on his computer, and then call him vulgar names online. Is this type of online speech protected by the First Amendment? This important issue is gradually making its way through the lower courts, and will probably be considered by the Supreme Court in the near future.

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January 2019

Leanne Lawrence – GED teacher, Alachua County Jail
January 14th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Leanne Lawrence is an educator and an advocate who believes that dialogue is fundamental in the crusade against apathy, abuse and intolerance. She is an award-winning poet, an animated speaker and a gifted storyteller. Born in Upstate New York, she has lived and taught in Gainesville since 2001. She sits on the Board of Directors of The Alachua County Coalition Against Human Trafficking, and works closely with local law enforcement and child advocacy groups. She is a dedicated animal rescuer and community activist.

This, her first book, was written to celebrate the tenacity of the human spirit. She strives to reveal the truth behind the crime, and empower the human being who has become ‘the criminal.’ As a teacher in the Criminal Justice System for more than two decades, her goal is to provide a mirror for her students to enable them to “see what she sees:” just how beautiful and intelligent and capable they truly are.

According to Leanne, she has the best job in the world.

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February 2019

Superintendent Karen Clarke – Alachua County Public Schools
February 11th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Karen Clarke is a proud product of Alachua County Public Schools. Following her graduation from Gainesville High School, Mrs. Clarke attended Santa Fe Community College and then the University of Florida, earning a degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.

Mrs. Clarke has spent more than 26 years as an educator. She has worked as a teacher, dean, assistant principal and principal. Under her leadership, Oak View Middle School established its highly successful Center for Advanced Academics and Technology magnet program.

Since 2010, Mrs. Clarke has served in a number of leadership roles in the district office, taking on more responsibility with each of those roles. She began as the Director of Secondary Curriculum and School Improvement, then became Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Student Services. In 2016 she became Deputy Superintendent and served in that capacity until being named Superintendent in May of 2017.

Mrs. Clarke is active in a number of community and statewide organizations. She served as president-elect of the Florida Association of Instructional Supervisors and Administrators, served on the Board of Directors for the Florida Association of School Administrators and is a member of the Florida Department of Education Articulation
Coordinating Committee, among other organizations. Locally, she serves on the Alachua County Children’s Services Advisory Board, and is a member of the board of directors for Junior Achievement, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and The Education Foundation for Alachua County Public Schools.

Mrs. Clarke is married and has three sons, two of whom graduated from and one who is currently a student of Alachua County Public Schools.

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