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Tuesday, April 23, 2024


The Duck House Airbnb is filled with duck decor for guests in Pine Park, Gainesville.

Gainesville residents both welcome and criticize Airbnb growth

Alachua County holds 606 short-term rental units. In The Magnolia Plantation owner Cindy Montalto’s words, “You can’t swing a dead cat in Gainesville without hitting an Airbnb.” Short-term rental (STR) units are residential spaces usually rented for under 30 days at a time and managed through online platforms like Airbnb. The industry is growing in Gainesville. AirDNA, a STR data analysis platform, ranked Gainesville among the top 15 best U.S. cities to invest in vacation rentals in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Rock band circa 1970. Taken by Marty Jourard in the parking lot of Lipham Music, the main music store of Gainesville.

Hippie hotspot: A look into Gainesville’s hippie history

Marty Jourard, a musician raised in Gainesville, lived in the city during some definitive times. Between the Civil Rights Movement, Brown v. The Board of Education and the Vietnam War, Gainesville was not necessarily a peaceful place in the 1960s and 1970s.  It was a place of civil unrest — protests, beatings and riots, but not entirely because of the hippies. 


Abortion care providers, advocates navigate statewide restrictions

The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments Sept. 8 for the landmark case Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida v. State of Florida, which challenges the 15-week ban on abortion in Florida’s House Bill 5. Local and statewide reproductive health providers and advocacy organizations are leading efforts to offer women abortion care resources in the face of uncertainty.


Gainesville City Commission votes to implement downtown entertainment district, open-container alcohol ordinance

The City Commission voted 4-3 Thursday to reinstate the open-container alcohol ordinance, which prohibits public consumption of alcoholic beverages. In addition to the first ordinance, which will bring back open container restrictions prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City Commission voted 6-1 to create an entertainment district for downtown Gainesville. 


Local front-yard ‘fresh eggs’ box delights neighborhood

Michelle Castronover wasn’t keen on owning chickens. But when her husband and daughter asked to build a coop as a “COVID project,” the 49-year-old Shell Elementary teacher agreed. Three years later, the Castronovers own 10 chickens — the maximum allowed to residents by Gainesville’s Fowl, Chickens or Livestock Code — and share their eggs with the neighborhood through the “fresh eggs” box standing on the edge of their front lawn, which they restock regularly with six- and nine-egg-sized boxes. The coop is just one of the family’s backyard sustainability projects, along with a greenhouse and butterfly garden. 

Third grade teacher Alayna Schwenker sits on a hand-made bench in the library corner of her classroom at Stephen Foster Elementary School Sept. 8, 2023.

Teachers spend up to thousands on classroom supplies

Teachers across Alachua County Public Schools and throughout the country spend from hundreds to thousands of dollars each year buying school supplies, class decorations, cleaning supplies and snacks for their students — most of which can’t be purchased using district-allocated supply funds. Among the ACPS teachers who talked to The Alligator, the average amount spent out-of-pocket was between $1,460 and $2,500, with the lowest estimate being $100 and the highest being $10,000.

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