2008 was a pivotal year. Ten years ago, Barack Obama was elected president, Spotify was invented, Elon Musk launched his first vanity plane into orbit, and the word “bitcoin” was coined. And The Fine Print published its first issue!
As we near the end of our 10th anniversary fundraising push, we’re looking back on the stories we’ve written over the years. We’ve rounded up the best of the best, for your reading pleasure. enjoy!

A Haunting Past (2010)

For decades, residents of Gainesville’s Stephen Foster neighborhood have live next to one of the nation’s top 100 polluted sites.

Tia Ma, a local massage therapist, no longer feels comfortable treating clients at her house, eating herbs from her organic garden or letting her cat roll around in the soil. When she moved into her home at 708 NW 31st Ave. two years ago, she didn’t realize the dangerous consequences of living there.

Read the story here.

Out of Site, on the Mine (2013)

Mountain top removal might be GRU’s best-kept secret.

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.

Read the story here

Inoperative Cooperative (2014)

A co-op divided struggles to stand.

When you first step foot into Citizens Co-op, your eyes are drawn to the typographic mural that spans across the entirety of the store’s wall. These words may seem like mere decor, but they were painted with purpose. As you read over the sprawl of quotes, all embodying the Co-op’s founding principles, one stands out in particular: “Society is founded in equity and is constructed on congruence.”

Read the story here.

Lost in the Shuffle (2014)

To make ends meet, migrant farm worker families regularly uproot their homes to move with the seasons–but at the expense of their children’s education.

In the car on the way to Waldo, three University of Florida students chatter excitedly as densely populated strip malls give way to sparse farmland and lines of deserted storefronts. The students have been friends since high school, so they travel together all the time: to parties, to each other’s houses, on grocery runs.

Read the story here.

All of the Lights (2015)

For years, the University of Florida’s campus greenery went without proper maintenance. Then three women were assaulted over the course of two weeks, and the pruning began.

It is easy to sweep problems under the rug of a 2,000-acre campus. It is easy to let the lamps dim and the plants grow toward the sky. But fading lights and dense foliage can be an attractive blanket for dangerous people to hide under.

Read the story here.

A Private Affair (2015)

An art gallery featuring local women’s vulvas sparks backlash from Gainesville’s trans community.

In a sunny room in the back of a clean, well-kept house, a woman named Angela lies on a bed with her knees wide apart and her hand placed at an artistic angle beside her vulva. Her other hand rests in a tightened fist at her solar plexus, and she has decided to close her eyes. She breathes slowly and with focused meditation.

Read the story here.

A Divorce from the Streets (2016)

This is part two in our three-part series on human trafficking in Alachua County, an in-depth look at how survivors of human trafficking are rarely recognized as survivors.

Before beginning the search for easy clientele, Doug “D.T.” Russell prepped Brittany Michaels. He trained her on the basics of talking money. The language of the streets is something he learned from his mother.

Read the story here.

Cat Callers (2016)

Gainesville is home to an organized network of feral cat feeders. It all started when two women accidentally crossed paths.

It was a bright afternoon in mid-2001, and Adele Franson was on a mission. Armed with a cat food can in one hand and a decanter of water in the other, she marched toward the Salvation Army on the corner of Northwest Second and Main Street. Her plan was to feed the feral cat colony that lived behind the store.

Read the story here.

Rock On (2016)

A crack in the ground brought the Gainesville Rock Gym to a close. The rock climbing community won’t let that stop them.

Past a stretch of grass and a sprawling canopy of trees, through the mesh entrance of the Robitaille family’s patio, is a climber’s oasis.

Read the story here.

Together We Stand (2016)

The story of how a group of local activists came together to confront a national corporation.

On her drive to work one day in the summer of 2014, a bright green lawn sign caught Lori Wiggins’ eye. The same sign, she saw, stuck out of several neighbors’ lawns, each with a circle slashed through over the words “Plum Creek’s Plan.”

Read the story here.

Meat in the Middle (2016)

The story of how two tempeh-makers took over Gainesville.

Jose Caraballo tried tempeh, the vegetarian soy product infiltrating menus all throughout town, for the first time at “The Farm,” a spiritual camp founded in Tennessee in the 1970s. There, members were experimenting with foreign food products to supplant protein in a vegetarian diet. Caraballo liked tempeh so much he began making small batches for his family, then for neighbors, friends, and many local Gainesville businesses. And thus he began the Tempeh Shop to monetize the upward of 800 pounds of tempeh he now produces per week.

Read the story here.

Panic at the Disco (2016)

Gainesville was Florida’s unofficial rave capital until a local business owner, a concerned mother and hundreds of letters brought it to an end. 

Twenty years ago, young music lovers could stargaze on the roof of Simon’s nightclub, tuning into the beat until the sun rose above downtown Gainesville. It was the 1990s, and with electronic music flourishing across the state, the dancing didn’t stop until daybreak.

Read the story here

Rise Against the Machine (2017)

In 2013, Marion County residents began to receive letters from Sabal Trail Transmission. Now, they’ve made it their mission to save their land, and stop Sabal Trail. 

Chaplin Dinkins opened Dinkins Service Store in 1926, the same year U.S. Route 41 was completed in Dunnellon, Fla. In its prime, the store smelled of sweet feed, hay and incense. Chicks would chirp behind the store.

Read the story here.

Living Memory (2018)

Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons teaches about the Civil Rights movement from a first-hand perspective.

Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons’ office is tucked away in a corner on the first floor of Anderson Hall. Instead of walls, Simmons’s office is fortified with bookcases full of the literature of the civil rights movement; situated among the books is the red spine of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”

Read the story here.

Casting Shadows (2018)

Volunteers at the Acrosstown Repertory Theater are speaking out against sexual assault and harassment despite fears of retaliation.

Tucked away in the Baird Center, a squat brick building that sits between downtown Gainesville and Depot Park, is the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre. Founded in 1980, today the Acrosstown has hundreds of volunteers. They direct and act in the shows, design the sets and lighting, clean the theater and comprise its board of directors — all under a tagline prominently displayed in the lobby: “A safe place for unsafe theater.”

Read the story here

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