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Florida History!

Book: ‘Florida’s Power Structure’ by Lee Butcher – March 25th, 2017

by on Mar.25, 2017, under Books, Florida History!

Florida's Power StructureFlorida’s Power Structure by Lee Butcher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

‘Florida’s Power Structure’ is solidly planted from the perspective of the publication year, 1976, and those who published the book, pro-business, Florida Trend magazine. Thus tons are ignored. Specifically those pork barrel politicians who still had a strong hold on the direction of Florida. There is a half page mention, but otherwise ignored. Also ignored are the scandals and corruption of the banking community still emanating from the ’26-’28 crash in 1976. Though footnoted, little is examined of the corruption of scores of developers that was dynamically shifting the “Power Structure” in 1976.

Despite the author steering around reality, the overview of the selected “Power Structure”is very good with background of individuals and what they have accomplished. The entire state is well represented. Something collections, almost entirely magazine articles, like this tend not to do. The view point is almost entirely if you are trying to generate money, whether that happened or not, thus you are part of the “Power Structure”.

An important note is this book is the only books I know of that makes this kind of examination of the “Power Structure”, however limited, of the entire state of Florida with this kind of, though limited, depth. There are lots of lists, regional studies, biographies of power brokers, but none, that i can think of now, that is as comprehensive.

The writing is very simple and straight forward. With a very easy to understand layout of the book. To an extent, this book has a feel of a book of history for the primary school population.

Understanding this is a limited view….

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 5 out of 5 points.

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My Works in Progress: Bill Partington – June 18th, 2016

by on Jun.18, 2016, under Cartooning, Florida History!, Florida Outdoors!

I’m getting to draw a friend and someone I admire – Mr. Bill Partington. Bill helped start or was director of the Florida Native Plant Society, Florida Audubon Society, Florida Defenders of the Environment, Florida Conservation Foundation, etc, etc, etc. Bill was instrumental in getting president Nixon to stop a horrible project that would have destroyed natural Florida and waste nearly a billion taxpayer dollars, the Cross-Florida Barge Canal. He was also instrumental in creating a wildlife corridor system in Florida, stopping gator poaching, adding land to the Everglades, etc, etc.

Whatever good shape ‪#‎Florida‬ is in these days is due to the 50+ years Bill has dedicated to making our state a better place to live.


I should add that Bill, along with another great Florida outdoor warrior, Ken Morrison, started a group that most in Florida belong to, FLAP. Bill and FLAP brought us the beloved and hilarious Calamity Calendar telling of everyday calamities in Florida. Florida political cartoonists, including myself, contributed to this calendar. FLAP had all sorts of other fun items that I’m going to reveal at Bill’s upcoming talk mentioned below. Many items involving my pal, Jeff Parker, who I can never thank enough for introducing me to Bill.

It was FLAP that fired me up to start my Swampy’s Florida.

The upcoming tlak by Bill: Bill has been gracious enough to be a speaker in our lecture series July 17, 2pm, for our Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology, to tell stories of adventure in Marion County environment! This is the artwork I’ve done to accompany the flyer announcing the event. i hope my fellow lovers of the Florida outdoors come out to hear of this great Florida Crusader!


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Live at Torreya State Park along the trail during the War Between the States! – April 13th, 2016

by on Apr.11, 2016, under Florida History!, Florida Outdoors!

From Chattahoochee, I quickly made my way to Torreya State Park, near Bristol, to get travel and hiking information and to add a second live video using the new Facebook option. Here, I take the north trail from the Gregory House where the six cannon encampment had been for the confederacy during the Civil War.

You can plan a trip to Torreya State Park here:

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August 12th, 2015 – Book: ‘The Most of Everything: The Story of Miami Beach’ by Harold Mehling

by on Aug.12, 2015, under Books, Florida History!

The Most of Everything: The Story of Miami BeachThe Most of Everything: The Story of Miami Beach by Harold Mehling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was soaring to ten stars until the last couple of chapters diverted into an emotional wandering into the author’s view of prejudice of the Jewish community.

This book rockets off with humor and a great storytelling style as it unfolds the history of northeastern Dade County. Lots of flourishing prose of development pros and cons, results and dreams of the future. Mobsters, millionaires, drunks and writers are all covered in an entertaining and informed way that can only leave a reader satisfied. I with more books took this tact in history writing.

Then things go awry as author Mehling takes two chapters to detail his feelings about Jewish prejudice with no reference of any other prejudices in the area, such as to blacks, the poor or anyone else. Some of what he writes are neat anecdotes. But otherwise, he presents a slim case as to what was going on at the time and detailed specifics as he does throughout the rest of the book. He seems to be emotionally driven enough and certainly capable of writing a separate book that might have covered the subject of Jews in South Florida. As someone who has worked involving history of Jews in Florida, a volume like that would have been welcome.

Despite his uneven chapters of prejudice, the rest of the book is dynamte. So…

I recommend this book. 7 out of 10 points.

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June 25th, 2015 – Swampy’s Florida History Talk!

by on Jun.25, 2015, under Florida History!, Swampy's Florida


Gave a talk today in Dunnellon of local and statewide Florida heroes. It was one of my typical full-of-energy free-for-alls. Had a great crowd! Even signed/drew in some Swampy’s Florida Dunnellon books!

I drew many things. Including the elusive Florida Long-Tailed Flying Gargoyle.

I’m giving more talks in the next month in Marion and Pasco Counties. I’ll post more next week! Maybe some of you all can come!


— at Dunnellon Public Library.

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May 30th, 2015 – Florida Agriculture Research!

by on May.31, 2015, under Books, Florida History!


Hunkering down and wrapping up research for a talk of the history of Florida agriculture I’m giving Sunday to the Florida State Horticultural Society (FSHS) annual meeting. A mostly serious talk and a bit different for me. I’ve got more talks of Florida history to groups coming this Summer.

Been running on all cylinders this past month and will try to catch up with postings.

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Announcing Swampy’s Florida Kickstarter program!

by on May.27, 2014, under Cartooning, Florida History!, Florida Outdoors!, Swampy's Florida


Announcing a Swampy’s Florida Kickstarter program to get five Swampy’s Florida books produced! In the past three years I’ve produced 14 Swampy books, 37 prints, 2 DVDs and seven cards. There’s lots more to come! However, I’ve poured a ton of time in all of this and have more than run out of resources to produce more without backing. Funding will ensure more educational and activity books available to help young people know more about the great state of Florida.

Click here to head over to Kickstarter!

There’s a goal to get five funded by June 21st! Lots of goodies! I’ll even try to hand deliver the goodies if the donor falls within my travels this Fall.

The five books are:
–  Historical Women of Florida
– Florida History Puzzles and Games
– A Short History of  trains in Florida
– Birds of Florida
– Fish and Aquatic Life in Florida

All five will be coloring and travel guide books and able to be used in home schooling or just for fun!

There will be constant updates here as I build all five books.

But wait! There’s more!
There are four other books involved that are left over prior to the new arrangement with The Knowledge Exchange. These four will also be completed at the same time:
– Polk County- Titusville
– Dunnellon
– Marion County ABC
The funding will also loosen my time to wrap up these four books.

All will be available by Fall.

I hope you will help me in getting these books out and to beter help educate our young people of Florida’s incredible history, heritage and culture.

Thank you to The Knowledge Exchange, for so much help, and Dave Stewart, who produced the video on the site and gave sage advice, for all their help putting this together. I’ll have to share the video here as the next month goes along.

Thank you to all that donate to this project!
I’ll be posting updates here as this Kickstarter program continues!

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April 4th, 2014 – Delivering the new ‘Swampy’s Florida: Silver Springs State Park’!

by on Apr.04, 2014, under Cartooning, Florida Attractions, Florida History!, Florida Outdoors!, Swampy's Florida


Tim and Daniel Reynolds, of The Knowledge Exchange, the publishers of all things Swampy, delivered over a thousand copies of my brand new ‘Swampy’s Florida: Silver Springs State Park’ book to Deb Wilson, ranger, at Silver Springs State Park. –

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February 25th, 2014 – Book: The Life and Legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune’ by Nancy Ann Long.

by on Feb.26, 2014, under Books, Florida History!

The Life and Legacy of Mary McLeod BethuneThe Life and Legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune by Nancy Ann Zrinyi Long

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a relatively short biography of Mary McLeod Bethune and very good. I debated giving it a 5 star rating. But, at the end are a set of individual memories of Bethune by various family and friends, which adds a so much to better define the biography.

The book is very thorough and well covers her life, along with the building of Bethune-Cookman College. It is also well written.

I’m trying to think of something to write bad about the book and it’s a bit tough. Maybe more about her personal life, but it appears her life was one of an endless engine for the college.

Bottom line: i recommend the book.

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May 15th, 2013: Orlando Remembered

by on May.15, 2013, under Buddies, Florida History!


Got together with my friends during our Orlando Remembered meeting at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando this morning. Here’s a few of the attendees. First row: Ann Bennett, Shirley Cannon, Joy Wallace Dickinson and Tana Porter. it’s me and Grace Chewning in the back.

Had a great meeting with lots of plans to preseve Orlando history!

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May 8th, 2013 – Orange County History Makers Celebration

by on May.09, 2013, under Florida History!, Swampy's Florida


Attended the 8th Annual John Young History Maker Celebration put on by the Orange County Regional History Center. Grace Chewning, Peggy Jo van den Berg, Charlie Gray, Shirley Cannon, Bob & Texann Ivy Buck were there from our Orlando Remembered group.

Curtis Stanton was honored as a past History Maker for his extensive work as leading the Orlando Utilities Commission to what it is today. As Present History Maker, Rita Bornstein was recognized for her being president of Rollins College from 1990 until 2004 and her philanthropy.

As usual, I took no photos of myself but of Swampy. Above is a photo of Swampy with History Center volunteers with stacks of mini cupcakes handed out to attendees as they left.

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