Saturday, March 10, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST March 10, 2007

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Express Gay News

S. Fla. marks 30 years of Pride
Over the years, Pridefest has changed and endured controversy

Friday, March 09, 2007

THERE HAVE BEEN a lot of changes in Pridefest in its 30 years of existence in South Florida.

"It has become less political and more celebratory," says Jesse Monteagudo, a Pride historian and contributor to the Express. "There is also more participation from non-GLBT businesses and politicians."

The festival has become less political through the years because the world has become more accepting of the GLBT lifestyle, Monteagudo says. Although that is an improvement, Monteagudo says he misses some of the old fight.

"The activist in me still yearns for the old political speeches," he says. "But on the whole, the Pridefest has improved over the years."

Pride South Florida began in 1977 as a committee of the now-defunct Dade County Coalition for Human Rights and became an independent entity in 1980, Monteagudo explains.

Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12
Noon to 8 p.m.
Holiday Park/War Memorial Auditorium
800 N. Federal Hwy.
Fort Lauderdale
$8, $5 for students



The Largest Pride Festival In Florida

Join Us Celebrate 30 Years of Pride
At The #1 Gay & Lesbian Destination in The USA

We Have Added an Extra Tent
Contact (954) 561-2020

Indoor and Outdoor Events All Day Long

Two Stages

Fabulous Merchandise & Vendors - Food - Dancing - Non Stop Entertainment

Great DJ's - GLBT Support & Education Info., Carnival Games & Rides, Country
Western Dance Tent, AIDS Memorial Quilt, ArtsUnited's Art Pavilion, and
Demonstrations by The Broward Sheriffs Office.

Holiday Park/War Memorial Auditorium
800 N. Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale

12:00 noon to 8:00 pm (Both Days)
$8.00 and $5.00 for students with valid ID


Express Gay News

Mutual Benefits Corp. pleads guilty to racketeering

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mutual Benefits Corp., once the largest viatical settlement company in the country, has pled guilty in Broward County Circuit Court to criminal charges of racketeering and numerous counts of investment fraud, the Florida Attorney General's Office and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced last week.

The company will be placed on probation and will be administratively monitored by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, the Attorney General's Office said in a written statement.

Mutual Benefits was shut down in May 2004 amid a Securities & Exchange Commission investigation. Mutual Benefits sold life insurance policies to investors at less than the face value of the policies. Viatical investments pay out upon the death of the insured individual, who is often terminally ill when the policy is sold. They are profitable if the terminally ill person dies within a period of time, which is supposed to be determined based on a doctor's medical evaluation.

Authorities discovered that during the bidding process for the policies, principals of the company were setting the life expectancy of the insured persons prior to any medical review and sending backdated life expectancy letters to the investors, the Attorney General's Office said in its statement. As a result of the fraudulent scheme, policies were not maturing as promoted in marketing materials, officials said.

"This company intentionally defrauded thousands of people, offering the 'once-in-a-lifetime' deal," Attorney General Bill McCollum said.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Mar. 10, 2007
Miami cool to Romney's stance

A little-known presidential candidate seeking a toehold in the nation's biggest battleground state, Mitt Romney railed against Cuban leader Fidel Castro but did not repeat prior calls for a crackdown on illegal immigration in a speech Friday to the Miami-Dade Republican Party.

''As president, I will stand side by side with the members of this community in fighting the menace of the Cuban monsters,'' Romney told about 500 activists at the local party's annual Lincoln Day fundraiser.

But the Cuban-American politicians Romney reached out to in his speech don't agree with his strict stance on illegal immigration.

Sen. Mel Martinez and U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario and Lincoln Díaz-Balart all support efforts to allow illegal immigrants to work toward itizenship.

Romney has said such legislation -- sponsored last year by rival John McCain -- amounts to ``amnesty.''


The Sun-Sentinel,0,3023201,print.story?coll=sfla-news-legislature

Local officials expect trouble over tax cuts
By Mark Hollis
Tallahassee Bureau

March 10, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Jails could close and school-crossing guards be laid off. Halfway houses for drug-dependent teens and foster kids could shut down. Meal programs for seniors would suffer. There'd be fewer police and firefighters, and new fees for anyone using libraries and parks.

That was the bleak scenario painted Friday by some of Florida's mayors, city and county commissioners, sheriffs and local government lobbyists describing the supposed downside of some of the tax-cutting initiatives being touted in Tallahassee.

Their warnings, or what some legislators said they interpreted as threats, surfaced at a Florida House hearing as legislators debated one of the deals being proposed for the state's tax-beleaguered residents: Big breaks on real estate taxes paid by home- and business owners in exchange for more sales tax for everyone and reduced services from local governments.

House Republicans, who are pushing the plan, want to slash the property tax rates for cities, counties and special districts. And they would put an inflation- and growth-adjusted cap on local government spending. But leaders of cities and counties hope lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Crist take a deep breath before enacting tax-cutting schemes.

"The public deserves to understand the effect that there will be on the quality of life," said Chris Holley, executive director of the Florida Association of Counties. "The perception they're trying to preach, that local government hasn't been responsible with the resources, is not right."


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Mar. 10, 2007
Priest tied to huge theft tried to avoid audit

(AP) -- A priest accused along with another clergyman of stealing more than $8 million from their church once griped that an audit of parish funds was ''a waste'' of money that ''should be spent more wisely,'' according to court documents.

Three years before the Revs. Francis Guinan and John Skehan were arrested on charges that they spent money on gambling trips, rare coins and a girlfriend, Guinan wrote the Diocese of Palm Beach to oppose the review.

''My reasons for this request are as follows: It is demeaning, embarrassing and humiliating. It accomplishes nothing that could not be accomplished in a more dignified fashion,'' Guinan said in the October 2003 letter. ``The money spent on an audit is a waste and should be spent more wisely.''

The letter was among documents released Thursday by Palm Beach County prosecutors that included notes from Guinan protesting the 2003 audit of St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church that eventually revealed the priests' alleged isdeeds.

Diocese policy calls for a parish audit whenever there is a change in pastors. Guinan had just taken over St. Vincent from his close friend, Skehan, who was retiring after 40 years.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Mar. 09, 2007
Senators hesitant over early primary

A proposal to bump up Florida's presidential primary was in legislative limbo Thursday, reflecting the overall disarray of the 2008 election calendar.

Several states, tired of taking a back seat to Iowa and New Hampshire, are jostling to hold their presidential primaries and caucuses earlier. The bill considered by the state Senate Ethics and Elections Committee Thursday would move Florida's primary from the second Tuesday in March to Jan. 29, one week after New Hampshire.

''My intention is not ego-driven,'' said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Jeremy Ring, a Margate Democrat. ``It is to make Florida relevant. . . . Candidates will not just be campaigning for our money, but they are going to have to campaign on issues that are important to Florida.''

The bill is a priority for House Speaker Marco Rubio, a West Miami Republican, and was expected to pass both chambers quickly. But it stalled Thursday when the Senate committee's chairman, Lee Constantine, said he was concerned about Florida getting lost in the crowd of states racing to the front of the line.

Constantine, a Republican from Altamonte Springs, suggested Feb. 19, when the only other states voting, he said, would be Minnesota and Wisconsin. That would allow Florida to escape penalties from the national parties, which have threatened to strip convention delegates from states that hold their primaries before Feb. 5.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Mar. 09, 2007
The 'Anti-Murder' bill

Violent criminals who violate the terms of probation or community control would be returned to prison under the state's new ``Anti-Murder Act.''

Those convicted of the following crimes -- whether or not adjudication is withheld -- would fall under the new law:

. Murder or manslaughter
. Burglary
. Robbery
. Aggravated assault
. Rape or attempted rape
. Kidnapping
. Lewd and lascivious battery or molestation


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Mar. 10, 2007
Traffic can make visitors wish they weren't here

When George and Sue Kremer left Michigan for a South Florida vacation, they didn't expect to spend quite so much of it inside a rental car.

''What should take 15 minutes, takes 45 minutes,'' George said of navigating the traffic between his family's rented condominium in Miami and the sands of Miami Beach. Added Sue: ``I think the drivers here are crazy.''

Surveys show traffic has overtaken crime as the top concern among Miami visitors, a milestone in the region's evolution from edgy tropical outpost to booming metropolis.

Last year, 19 percent of Miami-Dade County's overnight visitors named traffic or overdevelopment as their main gripe about the destination, according to a recent report from the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. That's up from 11 percent in 2004.

Only 1 percent of the 5,400 tourists surveyed cited safety -- a significant shift for a vacation spot shaken by the murder of a German vacationer in 1993.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,1026057,print.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

South Florida AIDS workshop to focus on teens
By Bob LaMendola
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

March 10, 2007

There were no balloons or cigars for one birth at Plantation General Hospital last week. The mother is 14. The father is in his late 20s and not around. He gave the girl HIV, and she may have passed it to her baby.

An uncommon tragedy, but health officials said teens contracting HIV/AIDS through unprotected sex with older men and sexual abuse has become a persistent problem, especially in South Florida.

The men want underage partners, health officials said, while the teens -- usually girls but also some boys -- are drawn in by the attention, thrills or material things the men offer. Few men get caught and fewer get prosecuted, officials said, because teens seldom file charges against them.

"It's a tragedy," said Dr. Ana Puga, an HIV/AIDS specialist at the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale who will be treating the Plantation girl. "These guys take advantage of a child's mind and they get away with it. We had a girl 13 infected by a man who was 52."

At least 776 Florida teens ages 13 to 17 have been infected with the virus since mid-1997, about 2 percent of the statewide total of 37,250. About half of the teens come from South Florida, state figures show.


GLSEN South Florida, UTD GLS Caucus and M-DCPS Student Services present:


Earn 10 Master Plan Points
Includes 3 hours independent activity

March 16, 2007
(Administrator's Approval Required)

Palmetto Middle School
7351 SW 128th Street
Miami, FL 33156

8:00 - 12:00 Morning Session
12:30 - 3:30 Afternoon Session

This training will provide awareness about issues that impact the safelearning environment of schools with particular emphasis on issues affectingsexual minority youth in secondary schools. The morning portion of theworkshop will include a discussion by youth about their school experiences.

The afternoon portion will focus on effective strategies for establishing asafe classroom learning environment through supportive instructional designin various academic disciplines. The workshop includes a structuredindependent activity to be planned and implemented at the participants'school sites.

To sign up for the workshop go to and click onProfessional Development under Employees. For more information call305-576-2126


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1 comment:

Vigilante said...

Impeach Cheney First!