Suzette Cook of Alachua County Today has excellent coverage of the huge rally Saturday on Hwy 441 near I-75. OSFR President Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson is featured as leader of the very vocal, visible and enthusiastic crowd of two hundred plus, who gathered in Alachua as one of many groups across the state to express concern for the deployment of Amendment 1 funds.
Merrillee Jipson is trying to get the letters in order. ‘You’re number two, you go right there. Who wants to be number three?’ she says and so on. Jipson, president of Save our Suwannee and president of Our Santa Fe River and owner of Rum 138 is helping more than 200 demonstrators get their message across.
The group gathered next to Mill Creek Sink along a sidewalk on U.S. Highway 441 in Alachua on May 30 to send a message to Florida legislators.
‘Okay everybody, let me see your letters,’ Jipson says. And the words appear along the roadway. Giant blue letters are in all caps on white paper.
‘What do we need to do?’ Jipson asks through a bullhorn.
The answer is literally spelled out and yelled out by participants, ‘Buy the land. Protect the water. Buy the land. Protect the water.’
Cars are beeping as they pass in support of what they read on the signs.
‘Thank you all for being here today,’ Jipson encourages the crowd.
‘This is an amazing day in North Florida. Woo hoo. “When I say “What do we want?” you say “clean water.” When I say “how do we get it?” You say, “Buy the land.”‘
And the crowd continues chanting phrases that support the mantra.
‘Amendment 1 is not a slush fund. Protect our springs.’
After the hour-long event Jipson thanks the crowd for the support.
‘Thank you,’ she says. ‘Especially for cultural and historical perspectives that we want to protect by buying land and saving water for future generations.’
‘At 11 a.m. we’re going to call this a rally, and get yourselves down to the river and have a good time.’
Other speakers at the rally included Representative Clovis Watson, world famous cave diver Jill Heinerth, and Florida defenders of the Environment president Dr. Steve Robitaille. TJ Muller, of the National Speleological Society, obtained permission for the rally to be held on Society property, site of the environmentally fragile Mill Creek Sink, which borders Hwy. 441.
This post rendered with LFS