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Strange Brew: One Schmuck Tries His Hand at Homebrewing

Beer. One of the most beautiful and delicious culinary inventions to ever fall from the heavens and into our gullets. It is the great equalizer of humankind. Conflicts have been resolved, relationships have been kindled and great, scholarly musings have been made over a few pints. It is enjoyed and celebrated by almost every walk of life the world over.

Everyone from President Obama to Uncle Bob at the Thanksgiving football game knows how to enjoy a good beer. Even so, something so good must come at a price. About 10 bucks for a six pack of some decent craft brew adds up pretty quick when you like beer as much as I do. So, I figured, what the hell? I can just make my own!

Brewing beer, which started as a way of making water safe for actual human consumption-instead of killing you-has now turned into an easily accessible hobby. With nothing more than a mailing address, 50 bucks and the patience of a saint, the craft of brewing beer is something even the average Joe can enjoy. It's actually more like 1.2 million average Joes and Janes, according to the American Homebrew Association.

Now, it seems that the general consensus amongst the beer making community is that the process of brewing is a balanced mix of art and science. With the art aspect, you have to know what does and does not taste like complete garbage when put into a beer. Scientifically, you have to know the chemistry behind not making beer taste like complete garbage. Homebrewing allows Joe to explore both aspects of the process. If Joe wants to get creative and add his own spin to a standard recipe for a blonde ale, why not?

Beer is comprised of four main ingredients: malt, water, yeast and hops. Malt provides the main source of sugar and is usually made from grains like barley, wheat, rye or oats-or sorghum for the gluten free peeps. Yeast is what eats the sugar from the malt and produces alcohol and Co2. Hops are the seasoning of beer. They add bitterness to offset the sweetness of the …   More


Lawsuit Challenges “Wealth-Based” Bail Procedures

Civil rights attorneys in Jacksonville filed a federal class action lawsuit Wednesday, Aug. 30 seeking new procedures for how bail is determined for misdemeanor arrestees. Currently, the lawsuit alleges, judges in the Fourth Judicial Circuit use a standard bond schedule for misdemeanor defendants and, when setting bail for pretrial release, don't inquire about individuals' ability to pay those predetermined amounts. The current system, plaintiffs contend, results in poor people having to remain in jail as they await trial because they can't pay to get out, while more affluent defendants are awarded pre-trial release almost immediately.

According to the lawsuit, using a pre-determined bond schedule without regard for an arrestee's ability to make bail violates due process and equal protection protections in both the United States and Florida Constitutions.

Civil rights attorney Bill Sheppard and his firm, Sheppard, White, Kachergus & DeMaggio, filed the lawsuit, which seeks declaratory and injunctive relief regarding bail for misdemeanor arrestees in Jacksonville.

"The Duval County Jail is seriously overcrowded," Sheppard said in a written statement to Folio Weekly, "in part because the Sheriff is holding misdemeanants solely because of their inability to pay their way out of jail. Long ago, Charles Dickens wrote about debtors' prisons-and that's all this is."

Plaintiffs are asking the U.S. District Court to declare both the predetermined bond schedule and the failure to inquire about arrestees' financial status unconstitutional. They also want the court to enjoin judges in the Fourth Judicial Circuit and agents of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office from further use of the current "wealth-based detention" system, and to issue whatever orders the court deems necessary toward those ends.

The three named plaintiffs represent misdemeanor arrestees who are in jail now, the lawsuit says, only because they are indigent. The lawsuit names Sheriff Mike …   More


Nothing to Lose But Chains: Whose Streets? Opens at Sun-Ray Cinema

Whose Streets? is a documentary about the events that unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri after the police shot and killed Michael Brown. Brown was an unarmed teenager, but he was African American, and thus was nine times more likely to be killed by the police than other Americans, according to The Guardian.

Directed by Sabaah Folayan and produced by Damon Davis, Whose Streets? interviews community organizers and activists, and to a certain extent tells the Black Lives Matter story, but footage shot inside Ferguson illuminates the disparity between the media narrative and the actual experiences of the residents of the city. Whose Streets? is not a part of the lingering narratives of dangerous black folks-it is not a story shaped with coded language or slanted footage. It is, said activist Diallo Sekou in an email to Folio Weekly, "a moment in time that the black community is so familiar with, [the] militarization of the police [and] their entire approach because deep down they knew the officer was wrong."

In concert with the opening night screening at Sun-Ray Cinema, a panel discussion is being held to garner a local perspective. Guests include Sekou, former Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre, and associate professor of english and director of African-American/African Diaspora studies at the University of North Florida, Dr. Tru Leverette; with moderater Shelton Hull, a FW contributor.

FW asked participants via email to share their perspective about some of the issues the movie directly and tangentially touches on. When asked how he plans to navigate the discussion, Hull said, "I plan to use it as a springboard for a broader discussion of how this issue has evolved in the years since, and how it relates specifically to Northeast Florida." As to his opinions, Hull demurred, "My own views are not relevant to the discussion; my goal is to facilitate dialogue, and hopefully let the attendees express themselves and get the information they need to act on their …   More


From the DEPTHS of Hurricane Harvey

We've all got Houston on our minds this week. Folio Weekly's heart is with the people of Houston and our comrades at fellow AAN paper, Houston Press, which has risen to the occasion with unflagging strength and dedication to their community that is an example to us all. This week, the Houston Press team has braved hurricane conditions to cover the horrors, happenings and miracles in their city.

Read some of their courageous coverage:

When Houston Went Under: Harvey Brings Historic Floods

Houston's Real Heroes of Harvey...and One Goat

Houston Food Bank Opens: Registered Volunteers and Donations Needed

With Strong Words, Turner Calls on FEMA to Pay Up Disaster Relief Funds Swiftly

Crosby Ammonia Plant in Danger of Exploding as Harvey Fallout Continues



Wanna help the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort? On Thursday, Aug. 31, at 5 p.m., join local artists and businesses at The Museum and Gardens for Body Art to the Rescue {BARE 2017}, a Folio Media House co-sponsored event featuring a live body art exhibit AND Shannon Holt of the show "Skin Wars." Proceeds from the benefit will go to Texas Hurricane Relief for those affected by this historic storm. Learn more here.



The Flog

Congressman DeSantis: Let’s DEFUND the Russia Investigation

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) has proposed legislation that would defund Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation 180 days after becoming law.

That amendment would also prohibit the special counsel from investigating "matters occurring before June 2015." President Donald Trump announced his campaign in June 2015.

DeSantis, a Ponte Vedra Republican who was endorsed by Trump in 2012, filed the amendment to the House spending bill expected to be taken up by the lower chamber when it returns from congressional recess. As Politico notes, the House Rules Committee could exert its broad discretion to discard the amendment without a floor vote. In a statement to Politico, DeSantis complained that the order appointing Mueller "didn't identify a crime to be investigated and practically invites a fishing expedition," going on to say, "Congress should use its spending power to clarify the scope and limit the duration of this investigation."

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein's May 17 order appointing former Department of Justice official and FBI Director Mueller as special counsel overseeing the FBI investigation states that its purpose is to investigate "Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters."

The order authorizes Mueller to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump" and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." It further authorizes Mueller to prosecute federal crimes uncovered in the course of investigating said matters.

Seems that's not specific enough for DeSantis, whose website's press release page reads like the highlights of a piece of Trump fan fiction.

Several Democrats in Congress have already indicated their intent to push back against the amendment, Politico reports.




The Flog

PRO-CONFEDERATE Group Descends on Jacksonville

The Florida chapter of pro-Confederate group Save Southern Heritage has parachuted into Jacksonville's Confederate monument debate and is calling for a voter referendum on their removal. The group claims that a poll it commissioned shows that the public "overwhelmingly" opposes removing the monuments, WJCT reports.

Save Southern Heritage bills itself as "a voluntary association of individuals who revere the south, southern history and southern heritage," and "wish to see the history of the south preserved for future generations."

The Florida chapter of the pro-Confederate group announced its intent at a press conference in Hemming Park on Tuesday. At that press conference, Seber Newsome told WJCT, "This survey confirms our steadfast belief that Ms. [City Counil President Anna Lopez] Brosche is way off the political spectrum by associating herself with 'radical' groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter 'extremists.'" Last year, numerous stories about the debate over whether to remove a statue of a Confederate leader from the state capitol quoted Save Southern Heritage's Seber Newsome III of Yulee.

Last week, in part reacting to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Brosche called for an inventory and removal of Confederate monuments from public places in Duval County. She has since backed away from seeking an outright removal.

Save Southern Heritage Florida is also the same group that Miami New Times reported on Aug. 17 had doxxed 113 civil rights activists, most from Hillsborough and Broward Counties, in a detailed dossier that included their names and faces, as well as home addresses, phone numbers and the names of co-owners and co-inhabitants of their homes. Miami New Times reported that the Florida chapter's spokesperson David McCallister claimed it doxxed the civil rights leaders, many of whom are elderly, "to weed out people who came to speak in front of the Hillsborough Commission from out of town." As the outlet reported, publishing …   More


Questions Swirl about Jacksonville YOUNG DEMOCRATS President’s Spending of Group Funds

The Jacksonville Young Democrats are embroiled in an internal conflict over the group's finances, specifically how JYD President Kristellys Estanga has spent its funds.

Estanga declined to be interviewed for this story. At her request, all questions were sent to JYD Communications Chair John Aloszka via Facebook messenger. Through Aloszka, Estanga denied any wrongdoing.

Late one evening last week, while on a trip to Dallas, Texas for the Young Democrats of America annual convention, Estanga sent an email to the JYD executive committee asking it to authorize expenditures for Lyft fare. Following what Aloszka characterized as a heated conversation, the committee approved it.

But the last minute request did not sit well with some and gave rise to further questions about how Estanga has been handling JYD's funds. For some time, there have been grumbles that Estanga has been soliciting, receiving and appropriating donations without informing other members of the group or depositing said funds into the JYD account.

"We don't know who she talks to, what donors she talks to... We don't know what's been going on with our money," said JYD Field Director Cecelia Zucconi, who is an appointed member of the executive committee.

Those questions came to a head at the JYD meeting on Wednesday, August 16.

"During the treasurer report, she mentioned that the president had made Lyft charges and there was some debate on whether or not that was appropriate, and we felt that an audit should be called," Zucconi said. "There are a lot of charges out of town for Lyft and things like that," she later added.

At the meeting, which Estanga did not attend, JYD voted unanimously to audit its finances.

Aloszka said that there was simply a "misinterpretation" among some regarding what the group's bylaws require for travel expenditures. "[Estanga] emailed the board to approve one Lyft request as a courtesy, as these kinds of requests only need the president, treasurer and …   More


HOPE Amid Ruin

“He went from an amazing musician and a trusted friend of hundreds of people, to a liar and a thief and would do anything for his next fix,” said Ryan Heath of his friend Scott Brandle.

Brandle, like thousands of other people in Northeast Florida, died from a heroin overdose. And like so many who grieve, Heath hopes to find meaning in his friend’s death. But not just Brandle’s death—according to Heath, the former musician is only among the most recent in a string of deaths that have touched Heath’s circle of friends. “I’ve easily known 16 that have died since the pain pill clinics started up in the late ’90s,” he said; of that number, seven have died in the past two years.

On Aug. 26, Heath and his very musically connected friend, Order by Chaos bandmember David Rowe, host Kickfest, a music festival organized to raise funds and awareness for the opioid epidemic in Northeast Florida. All of the funds raised, explains Heath, will go to help fund a pilot program for new treatment strategies with St. Vincent’s Riverside, Gateway Community Services and River Region Human Services: Dr. Raymond Pomm’s treatment program for opioid addiction at River Region treatment center. Pomm is medical director at River Region and Gateway Services.

“This isn't a problem just for ‘druggie junkie losers’ anymore,” said Heath. “This is happening to politicians, judges, cops, firemen, lawyers, teachers, mothers, fathers, grandmothers […] I can go on and on and on.”

As a firefighter, Heath has experience with the drug problem in a way that few do (though he said he's dealt mostly with cocaine overdoses). He talked about how paramedic friends of his regularly respond to desperate calls to administer Narcan, and give CPR to near-lifeless forms. His said these stories and his own experiences have shown him that “there’s a false belief that heroin addicts as …   More

A Medium, Rare

Many a comedian has died, metaphorically, on the stage of the Comedy Zone over the years. Cindy Kaza may be able to contact some of them when she makes her Duval debut on Aug. 22. The 36-year-old Detroit native, who now lives in Denver, has developed one of the more unusual acts you’re likely to ever see: As a professionally trained “psychic medium,” Kaza does much of her work onstage at comedy clubs around the country. It’s a bit intense for the setting, but Kaza approaches the work with a diligence and sincerity that can be disarming for the cynics who typically frequent such places. She answered a few questions, via email.

Folio Weekly: How long have you been doing this for a living? How long as a performer? In how many cities/states/countries have you performed?

Cindy Kaza: I have been working professionally as a medium for 10 years and have been touring the United States doing live shows for four years. I’ve worked in about 20 states in America and have also worked in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, England, Holland, Germany and France.

How long did it take to gain proficiency? How much training did it require?

I've been diligently studying mediumship since around 2007, but my journey into this field began in 2001. I had my first memorable experience at age 10, but pushed my ability away for several years, as it frightened me initially.

What religion were you brought up in? What role, if any, does your faith play in your approach to the work?

I was baptized Catholic and grew up in a Catholic household. I believe there is truth in all religions and that whatever path a person chooses to get closer to God is his/her choice. Does my faith in God play a role in my work? Yes. I talk about God a lot in my work. I believe the ability to feel the presence of our loved ones on the other side is innately human and that every human being can have his/her own personal experience. Some people are more in touch than others. I …   More


Groups Call for Removal of CONFEDERATE Monuments

Today representatives of the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition, the Northside Coalition and Take 'Em Down Jax gathered in the afternoon summer swelter at Confederate Park in Downtown Jacksonville. Their message was clear: Remove Confederate monuments and memorials from public lands.

The movement advocating removal of Jacksonville's Confederate monuments has been slowing gaining traction for some months; last weekend's rally in Charlottesville, Virginia-which claimed the life of 32-year-old Heather Heyer when a car reportedly driven by a white supremacist rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters-has given it a new sense of momentum.

In response to the "horrific and unacceptable incidents" in Charlottesville, on Monday, Jacksonville City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche called for all Confederate monuments, memorials and markers on public property to be inventoried, then removed and relocated to museums and educational institutions.

In a media release, Brosche said, "It is important to never forget the history of our great city; and, these monuments, memorials, and markers represent a time in our history that caused pain to so many."

At today's press conference, Kristin Kiernan of Take 'Em Down Jax began by saying, "Today we must stand together. When equality is under attack, we have to fight back."

Kiernan expressed her dismay that racism is being learned by children at such a young age, and stated her desire for the community to "work together against hate and oppression." Only then, she said, could equality be achieved.

"It is not about a statue. It was never about a hot dog and a coke," Kiernan added, quoting activist Rodney L. Hurst, who was one of those beaten during the city's infamous Ax Handle Saturday in 1960, during which black activists attempting to dine at a Downtown Jacksonville lunch counter were bludgeoned by whites, including members of the Ku Klux Klan, some wielding ax handles.

Several, including Kiernan and Ben …   More