Tuesday, February 27, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST February 27, 2007

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US ATrays.list@comcast.net and we'll be happy to send the full article.


Valuing Our Families to honor activist Judy Shepard and actor Peter Paige


Contact: Mark Adler, 954-764-5150
madler@sunserve.org. Jim Lopresti, 954-764-5557
(Fort Lauderdale, Feb. 26, 2007)

The fourth annual Valuing Our Families Conference, jointly presented byBroward-based social services agency SunServe and Washington, DC basedFamily Pride Coalition, has announced this year’s National Valuing OurFamilies Award winners who will be honored at the close of the conference onSaturday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 SW 9th Avenue,Fort Lauderdale.

Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, the young gay man brutally beatenand hung on a fence to die in sub-zero weather in Wyoming in 1998, is beinghonored for her advocacy as executive director of the Matthew ShepardFoundation. Peter Paige, who played Emmett on Showtime’s Queer as Folk isbeing recognized for his film, “Say Uncle,” which counters negativestereotypes of gay men as caretakers for children.

The awards will be presented at a special celebration on Saturday, March 24at 6:30 p.m. following the day-long conference at Sunshine Cathedral MCC,1480 SW 9th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale. Sharon Gless, spokesperson forSunServe, and a past national award winner will present both awards. Theconference sponsors will also give awards to state and local advocates whohave helped promote the value of LGBT families in South Florida, and acrossthe state.

The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus will entertain the guests during theprogram. “Valuing Our Families is pleased to be able to bring suchinfluential cultural and political leaders to our annual conference thatcelebrates all families,” said SunServe executive director Mark Adler.“Their presence is particularly important in a year when our community has achance to persuade Florida legislators to overturn the ban on adoption bygay men and lesbians.” [Florida is the only state that bans gays andlesbians from adopting, although it allows them to be foster parents.Florida’s legislature will probably consider new legislation this year.]

Previous national award winners have included openly gay U.S. CongressmanBarney Frank, award winning novelist Armistead Maupin, and gay activist andtelevision personality Rosie O’Donnell. The event is free and open to thepublic. Conference attendees will have reserved seats. A private receptionfor the award winners is also planned. Tickets for the reception areavailable from SunServe.

The all-day Valuing Our Families Conference starts at 10 a.m. at SunshineCathedral and features advocacy training for gay and lesbian adults, youthand their straight allies. Activities for young children in gay and lesbianheaded households and an intergenerational general session keynoted byJennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of Family Pride Coalition round outthe offerings.

On Sunday, March 25, the conference co-sponsors will hold a specialtown-hall meeting at the First Congregational Church of Fort Lauderdale at2501 NE 30th Street Fort Lauderdale, FL, to discuss the Florida adoptionban. For information, conference registration or tickets for the honoreesreception visit www.sunserve.org. or call 954-764-5150.

Photos available at http://www.gaypowernet.net/Temp/JudyShepard.jpg and http://www.gaypowernet.net/Temp/PeterPaige.jpg A .MS Word doc version ofthis release is available at http://www.gaypowernet.net/Temp/pressrelease1.doc ###


The Sun-Sentinel


Broward School Board member wants to create eco-friendly district
By Akilah Johnson
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 27, 2007

Imagine hybrid school buses, conservation classes and floor tiles made ofrecycled rubber. Turning such ideas into reality is the mission of BrowardSchool Board member Robert Parks, who wants to transform the district intoan eco-friendly school system.

That means urinals would flush without water; sensors, not fingers, wouldturn off lights; and a central thermostat would control temperatures.

"We're looking at green schools," said Parks, a self-described tree hugger."But the overarching to all of this is the education of our students."

Parks has laid the groundwork to turn the district into a textbook exampleof a green government, with the creation of a comprehensive plan -- academicand administrative -- looking at all current and future environmentalinitiatives.

The plan, which district officials will discuss how to implement today, isnot only to curb toxic emissions and reduce wastewater but also to take theprocess into the classroom.

"We want the kids ... to know what's going on," Parks said.


The Sun-Sentinel


How Florida's new property-insurance law affects you
By Kathy Bushouse
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 27, 2007

The state's new property insurance law has many home and condominium ownerswondering how it affects them.

The changes can be confusing. Homeowners are expecting a refund from theirinsurers based on the new law, but aren't sure when they'll see savings orhow much. An emergency order from Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinettook effect Jan. 31 and has added to the confusion, as customers wonderwhether their insurance companies are still able to raise rates or droptheir policies.

Here are answers to readers' most asked questions in recent weeks:

Q: I just got my insurance bill and my premiums are going up. I thought myrates are supposed to go down because of what the Legislature did?

A: The new law will eventually lead to some savings for consumers, but howmuch you'll save depends on your insurance company and where you live. Butneither the new law nor the emergency order that Crist and the FloridaCabinet signed can block your insurance company from charging you anincrease that's already been approved by the state Office of InsuranceRegulation, said Bob Lotane, a department spokesman.


The Miami Herald


Posted on Tue, Feb. 27, 2007

Dade Democrats pick new chairman

In a shake-up aimed at whipping activists into shape for the 2008presidential election, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party on Monday picked anewcomer with national credentials to be chairman.

Joe Garcia joined the party's executive committee just three months ago buthas years of political experience as the Hispanic strategy director of theNew Democratic Network and former executive director of the Cuban-AmericanNational Foundation.

As chairman of the Miami-Dade party, he will be responsible for recruitinglocal and state candidates, raising money, and getting out the vote inFlorida's largest county. Garcia, who is a Cuban American, takes over at atime when the political parties are fiercely jockeying for the growing andinfluential Hispanic vote.

''He is the right person at the right time,'' said John Hornbuckle, thelocal party's executive director and the mayor of Biscayne Park. ``He hasthe skills we need and the national contacts. When [presidential candidate]Bill Richardson was here, he didn't call the [party] office. He called JoeGarcia.''

The local party has hovered at the margins of political power for years,even though Democrats outnumber Republicans in Miami-Dade, representingabout 42 percent of the county's more than 1 million voters. Few electedofficials and major donors are involved. Monthly meetings fall apart withouta quorum.




Crist wins, state wins
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Republican Party politics in Florida remains a struggle between the oldgovernor and the new governor.

Jeb Bush allies had set things up for a straw poll of presidentialcandidates at the state convention in October. The former governor's peopleback ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who could receive a big boost fromsuch a poll in a key state. The talk is that Mr. Bush could be Mr. Romney'srunning mate.

Last week, though, the new state party director - whom Gov. Cristappointed - said that the Orlando convention will feature a presidentialdebate, not a poll. Gov. Crist appeared last year with Sen. John McCain,R-Ariz., who has less of an organization in Florida and would benefit morefrom a y'all-come debate format.

Some GOP insiders might be disappointed that they can't put the squeeze oncandidates, but the state is better off. A straw poll of party operatives ishardly a representative sample of voters. It will be better for the party,the state and the country for candidates to appeal to a wider audience.Also, Republicans in the Legislature plan to move up the state's primary -featuring a real campaign and real voters - to late January or earlyFebruary. An October straw poll would dilute the impact Florida could haveat a key point of the national campaign.

Since Gov. Crist might be a potential McCain running mate, the change couldhelp his own politics. In this case, though, the political change also helpsFlorida.


The New York Post



February 27, 2007 -- Florida's governor is being slapped today with ascathing lawsuit that charges that he turned a blind eye to a massive Ponzischeme run by boy-band impresario Lou Pearlman, who is accused of swindlingNew Yorkers to the tune of $56 million, The Post has learned.

Gov. Charlie Crist allegedly got illegal campaign donations from Pearlmantotaling nearly $11,000 even as he was supposed to be investigating theQueens native as Florida's attorney general, according to the lawyer filingthe suit.

Crist also allegedly accepted rides on Pearlman's private jet withoutadequately reimbursing him, and benefited from fund-raisers held atPearlman's Orlando-area home without properly covering the costs, saidlawyer James Lowy.

Crist, who took office this year, did not return the tainted donations evenafter Pearlman's sleazy actions began making headlines in recent weeks, andafter long knowing that there were serious concerns about his investmentscheme, Lowy said.

A Crist spokeswoman had no immediate comment.




Teacher bonuses a flop in vote

Teachers union balloting shows a 95 percent rejection of the state plan.
Published February 27, 2007

A controversial state plan would award bonuses to some Pinellas teachers ofbetween $1,700 and $3,100 this summer.

But members of the county's teachers union were well on their way Monday torejecting the money in resounding fashion. With 50 percent of Pinellasschools reporting results during a special vote, 2,443 said no to the planwhile only 99 teachers gave it their okay.

The vote was lopsided in every school that submitted ballots by late Monday,putting the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association on target for a 95percent rejection rate when results from the remaining schools are talliedtoday.

"There's no pattern to it, except the pattern that no one likes it," saidJade Moore, executive director of the union. "It will be the largestrejection in the state of Florida, in the governor's home county. ... Itwill not be close."

The vote sets up a special meeting tonight of the Pinellas School Board,which must decide whether to stand with its teachers, as some counties havedone, or approve the plan to avoid being penalized by the state.


The Sun-Sentinel


Forum at nudist resort is more than Loxahatchee candidate can bear

By Stephanie Horvath
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
February 27, 2007

Loxahatchee Groves · For one Town Council candidate, a forum at a nudistresort is more than she can bare.

Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort, a 40-acre nudist resort inLoxahatchee Groves, is hosting a public candidate forum Thursday for thecouncil hopefuls. Its owner, Morley Schloss, said nine of the new town's 10candidates have confirmed they'll attend.

Schloss, who has owned the 42-year-old resort since 2001 and has been anactive member of the Loxahatchee Groves Land Owners Association, said the100 resort residents want a chance to share their concerns with thecandidates.

And while people might be strolling the grounds in the buff, resort GeneralManager Rebecca Enrico said it's possible no one will be naked at the forum.

"Ninety percent of nudists will not go out of their way to be nude in anenvironment that might make others uncomfortable," she said. "They don'twant to offend anyone."


From: Chuck Williams
ArtsUnited, Inc.


Most of you would have received this information some time ago in themail as an ArtsUnited member. We are excited to announce the premier of theArtsUnited Art Pavilion at Pridefest2007! With the generous support ofPride South Florida, and sponsorship by Tylenol PM, ArtsUnited will have itsown tent at this year’s PrideFest at Holiday Park in Ft. Lauderdale on March10 and 11, 2007. In order to promote local artists and arts organizations,we are offering booth space first to ArtsUnited member artists andorganization members at drastically reduced prices. Members may rent boothspace directly from ArtsUnited for only $50 for individuals and $100 forarts organizations, as compared to the usual individual booth rate of $350.We were even able to underwrite the cost of event insurance for you as well.

We hope you agree this is an excellent opportunity. Attached are thespecifics for the booth rental, and the application form. Two artists mayshare a booth space, and share the responsibility of attending the booth.One 8ft. skirted table and 2 chairs are provided, along with two PrideEntrance Passes for both Saturday and Sunday. Artists are responsible forany additional display equipment they may need. In order to help you sellmore, ArtsUnited will have credit card machine and forms to process creditcard transactions on your behalf, and will charge a nominal 3% bank fee forthat service.

Deadline, and I do mean deadline, for applications is Wednesday 2/28. Atthis late date, you will need to drop off your check and application atArtServe to be on time.

Chuck Williams
ArtsUnited, Inc.

[Send your comments about articles to Rays.List@Comcast.net]


No comments: