Saturday, March 03, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST March 03, 2007

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E-BLAST LARGO CITY COMMISSION for discrimination against Steve Stanton, andcall their City Commissioners denouncing the arrest of Nadine Smith.

Smith of Equality Florida has been fighting for us for years. Now it is timeto fight for her. Pick of the phone and

Call: 727 587 6700 ( Monday thru Friday ) .

Or, send a prepared e-mail - Email Largo Commissioners -


The New Times

Express Train Wreck

An ousted editor warns that his newspaper is off the rails
By Ashley Harrell
Published: March 1, 2007

Three years after it was founded in 2000, Express Gay News and its glossysister, 411 Magazine, were swallowed up by the largest gay-lesbian weeklynewspaper chain in the country, Window Media.

Subject(s): Mubarak Dahir, Express

In Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors, an area with one of the largestper-capita gay populations in the nation, this was not small news. WindowMedia owned the Washington Blade, the oldest and largest gay paper in thecountry. But under new management, would the Express turn into a bland ragwith nothing but recycled national content and entertainment blurbs, orwould it continue to report real, local news?

To the relief of its readers, the newspaper's purchase turned out to be agood thing. Writing improved. Typos showed up less frequently. And the papercontinued to cover local news, including exposés on closeted antigayactivists.

Credit Express Editor Mubarak Dahir, who had been brought in by Window Mediaafter the paper's purchase in 2003. Dahir had freelanced for Time for sevenyears and had written columns for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, thePhiladelphia Daily News, and the Advocate. He hired new writers and wrote acolumn that sometimes ran in all five Window Media newspapers. His salaryjumped from $42,500 to $60,000 in just three years.

But now, Dahir is out of a job. He approached New Times recently, clearlybitter about his termination but also concerned that changes at the Expresshave led to changes that could threaten the paper's credibility.


S. Fla.’s cultural scene comes of age
Gay event leaders deserve much credit, but why is everything in March?
Friday, March 02, 2007

Years ago, when people thought of South Florida, they thought of the gayMarlin Beach Hotel and the wild Fort Lauderdale beach parties that radiatedfrom it. They thought of the spring break crowds with all the mostly heterocollege students getting sauced and throwing up on the sidewalk.For both gay and non-gay people alike, South Florida was all about sun, sandand sangria. It was Party Town USA. Of course, in many ways it still is, andthere’s nothing wrong with providing such a retreat. But in the ’00s, thereis much more to do in South Florida than drink and lie on the beach.

South Florida’s cultural scene has come of age, and the gay artscommunity has played a major role in that renaissance. This past Wednesday,Feb. 28, marked the beginning of Winter Party, a week of parties, culturalevents and sporting competitions produced by the National Gay & Lesbian TaskForce. Also starting March 3 and running through March 17, there isArtsUnited’s Art Explosion.

It was a bold move by ArtsUnited, a local gay artists organization, toexpand its annual multi-media gay art show from one night to two weeks thisyear. Besides showcasing local artists and performers, the event has broughtin national talents such as Tim Miller and Joe Kovac with his famous Madamepuppet.

Meanwhile, Winter Party’s organizers have also shown that they are notafraid to try new things. Once just a series of circuit parties, WinterParty now offers everything from a pool party to a swim meet. While WinterParty’s signature event is still the Beach Party on Sunday, March 4, onMiami Beach, this year’s party-goers can also take in a comedy show, atennis tournament and a wine-tasting party. There is even an event called“Seeking God’s Purpose in Our Sexual Lives.” Mix that one in with you sun,sand and sangria.

In recent years, Stonewall Library has emerged as an anchor of FortLauderdale’s growing gay cultural scene. Besides hosting ArtsUnited’smonthly art exhibits, the library hosts movie nights, author readings andseveral other regular events. And after enduring some shaky years, the Gay &Lesbian Community Center in Fort Lauderdale also appears to have found itsniche. It recently hosted a first-class show by gay impressionist AlfredLewis.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News,0,1516957,print.story?coll=sfla-news-palm

Reserve troops in West Palm tapped for sixth time in four years
By Mike Clary
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

March 2, 2007

West Palm Beach · For the sixth time in less than four years, yet anothersmall band of young U.S. Marines left a reserve center across the streetfrom Palm Beach International Airport early Thursday to start a long journeyto the war in Iraq. All stood erect and proud, and most were dry-eyed.

But they left a torrent of tears in their wake.

"We love you, Carter," cried one of many in a group of family and friendswho got up well before dawn to say farewell to Carter Allen, 22, a PalmBeach Gardens resident motivated to enlist after the 9-11 attacks. He isamong 27 Marines and two Navy medical corps members with the 4th Air/NavalGunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO), a unit that has been tapped six timessince the war began in March 2003.

Some of those who left Thursday were making a third trip to the war zone.Allen was making his first.

"He's a little scared. We're all scared," said Allen's mother, Cheryl Baker,52, a manager with the Palm Beach County school system, as she struggled forcomposure. "But some things are out of our control. I have faith in God."


Kinsey Sicks bring ‘dragapella’ to Broward Center

Wacky divas diss everyone from Britney to Mitt Romney
Friday, March 02, 2007

South Florida may have slept through a quiet hurricane season last fall, butthis weekend, the outrageous “dragapella beauty shop quartet” the KinseySicks will be taking Fort Lauderdale by storm. Blowing in from a winterengagement in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the wacky divas will be bringingtheir politically incorrect harmonies to the Broward Center March 8 to 10.

The Kinsey Sicks — Rachel, Winnie, Trixie and Trampolina — got their startin 1993 when they attended a Bette Midler concert dressed as the AndrewsSisters, assuming they wouldn’t be the only fans to show up in drag. Theywere wrong, but it proved to be a lucky break that would launch a whirlwindperforming career.

The girls have recorded five CDs and starred in their own criticallyacclaimed off-Broward production, “Dragapella! Starring the Kinsey Sicks” atNew York’s Studio 54. They have also been profiled on national televisionnewsmagazine “20/20.” Just last year, they performed an extended engagementat the Las Vegas Hilton. Their first feature film, “Kinsey Sicks: I Wanna Bea Republican,” debuted at the San Francisco International Gay & Lesbian FilmFestival.

Despite their hectic performance schedule, the Express caught up with theKinsey Sicks via satellite phone from the sandy beaches of Puerto Vallartato discuss the pivotal issues famous singing drag queens must overcome eachand every day.

Express: What artist or performer serves as your muse?

Trampolina: Paris Hilton. It’s hard to be taken seriously when you’re thestar of a sex tape, um, I’ve heard. Someone less talented wouldn’t have madeit, but her fine acting and singing skills took her straight to the top.



Ft. Lauderdale - ART EXPLOSION - 6-9pm

See yesterday's (March 2) Florida Digest for the full schedule.

Or... contact us at

Be there!


Police raid massage parlors

Eleven women arrested at two businesses in Boynton Beach
By Jerome Burdi
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
March 3, 2007

Boynton Beach · Police raided two alleged brothels posing as massage parlorsafter more than a month of surveillance, arresting 11 women employees Fridaywhile building cases against about 65 men who frequented the businesses,some for 10 years, authorities said.

"They're kind of Boynton's dirty little secret, the massage parlors," saidSgt. John Bonafair, who led the operation with the Community Action Team."They're not something neighbors complain about. They're not somethingvisible. [The raids] make a statement: The city isn't going to put up withthis."

Police raided Healing Massage Center Inc., 444 W. Boynton Beach Blvd., andBoynton Massage Therapy, 410 E. Boynton Beach Blvd. .

Carrying search warrants, police knocked on the doors, went in and made thearrests. At Healing Massage Center, three women sat on a couch. One wascrying as Officer Widy Jean read her rights in the parlor's lobby, burningincense filling the room. The rooms seemed decked out for professionalmassages with tables, towels and posters of the human body's muscular systemon the walls.

The state Department of Heath was also along for the raids to determine ifthe "massage therapists" arrested had licenses. The owners of both placesdid, officials said.

During the surveillance, police found mostly older men going to the parlors.Some were obsessive about it, Sgt. Frank Danysh said.


36 condo law changes pushed

Ombudsman cites state fines and privacy issues
By Joe Kollin
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
March 3, 2007

Dawn McCabe woke up one morning in her apartment near Boca Raton to find astranger working in her bathroom. So, she supports a state legislativeproposal to limit the power of condo associations to enter a resident'shome.

Chris Maxfield was told he'd have to provide his Social Security and bankaccount numbers if he wanted to move into his aunt's Davie condo. So, hesupports a proposal to limit the right of boards to seek such personalinformation.

Florida Condo Ombudsman Danille R. Carroll is recommending those changes and34 others to Gov. Charlie Crist and legislative leaders. The Legislaturebegins its annual 60-day session on Tuesday.

On the job since June, Carroll said she based her proposals on concernscondo residents have raised with her staff in Fort Lauderdale andTallahassee. They include requiring boards to tell owners when the state hasfined their association; requiring board members whose associations arefined to participate in a training program; require boards to respond tounit owner inquiries by certified mail; and to let the ombudsman, not aboard being recalled, to certify recall elections "to remove the conflictsof interest inherent in the current system."

State Rep. Julio Robaina, R-Hialeah, has agreed to include Carroll'sproposals in his list of condo reform measures.


Review of executions on Crist's desk

Errors were made in the Dec. 13 lethal injection of Angel Diaz, a statecommission finds.
Published March 2, 2007

A panel that studied Florida's lethal injection procedures for the lastmonth submitted its final report to Gov. Charlie Crist late Thursday.

Crist and Department of Corrections Secretary James McDonough both issuedstatements saying they would review the recommendations.

"We will review the report and adopt from it every recommendation thatenables us to achieve the professionalism we seek, insofar as thoserecommendations are in compliance with the authorities of the Governor, thelegislature and the judiciary," McDonough said.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush formed the commission after the Dec. 13 execution ofAngel Diaz took nearly twice as long as normal. Footlong chemical burns werefound on Diaz's arms during the autopsy, which revealed that the needlescarrying lethal chemicals tore through his veins and splashed the fluidsinto his flesh.

Some witnesses reported that Diaz appeared to be in pain during theexecution, which could have put Florida at risk of violating constitutionalprohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. After eight meetings andhours of testimony, the commission decided it could not determine whetherDiaz felt pain.

But the commission found execution team members made a number of errors andthat state procedures were flawed.

The commission recommended a number of changes panelists hope will result inbetter leadership, oversight and accountability during executions.

Executions have been halted since the Diaz execution, and it was unclearThursday how long it would take for DOC officials to review and perhapsadopt the panel's recommendations.


Posted on Sat, Mar. 03, 2007
Teacher disciplinary history to go on Web

TALLAHASSEE - (AP) -- Information about disciplinary action taken against ateacher's state certificate will be made available to parents through anonline database next fall, education officials said Friday.

The website, -- will include only final actionstaken against a certificate, ranging from a reprimand to revocation.

It will not include allegations that have been dismissed or deemedunfounded, nor cases still under investigation. The site also will notinclude local district disciplinary action.

''One of the best ways to protect students is by making sure that accurateinformation is available to parents, principals and school districts,'' saidActing Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg.

She said school districts are the first line of defense. They already canobtain disciplinary information on existing teachers and job applicants fromthe Department of Education's internal data system, which is being upgradedto include additional detail.

The announcement caught the Florida Education Association by surprise as noone had discussed it with the statewide teachers union before Friday, saidFEA spokesman Mark Pudlow.

''It could be a good idea,'' Pudlow said. ``We just need to find out moreabout it. ``We're not even sure what the problem is they are trying toaddress with this.''

Details have not been worked out, but the intent is to design the databaseso it can be searched by name, school and district, said departmentspokeswoman Cathy Schroeder.

Teachers can be disciplined for a wide range of ethical violations insideand outside the classroom.

They include sexual misconduct, using excessive force to disciplinestudents, drunken driving, drug possession, coming to work intoxicated,cheating on tests and submitting fraudulent credentials.

The department does not keep statistics on the number of teachersdisciplined for various types of infractions.

It does, though, count the number of complaints filed and they have been onthe rise in recent years, increasing from 2,908 in the 2003-04 budget yearto 3,744 in 2005-06.


Posted on Sat, Mar. 03, 2007
Churches pick up fight

Facing a growing AIDS epidemic in Florida's black community, local blackchurches have fortified their efforts to combat the disease by hostingprayer summits, distributing condoms, offering HIV testing at their churchesand launching counseling ministries and support groups for those living withAIDS.

More than 20 local black churches are participating in a national week ofprayer for the healing of AIDS, said Gloria Scott, the coordinator ofChurches United to Stop HIV, a faith-based organization in Broward. Sincethe organization was launched a decade ago, participation has grown fromjust four congregations to 60 churches in Broward, Miami-Dade and PalmBeach, Scott said.

While some Catholic and Episcopal churches launched AIDS ministries in thelate 1980s and early 1990s, black and evangelical congregations have beenslow to respond to the crisis, pastors say.

For decades many pastors dismissed AIDS as the consequence of promiscuity ordrug addiction, said Pansy Rose, administrative director of Care Inc., anAIDS ministry at Pentecostal Tabernacle in Miami Gardens.

But ministers in predominantly black neighborhoods have begun targeting AIDSas a crisis that affects entire communities, she said. PentecostalTabernacle, whose congregants are mostly black and Caribbean, sends churchvolunteers to Opa-locka twice a week to distribute condoms and AIDSprevention brochures, Rose said. The church also has a prayer support groupfor people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.

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