Friday, August 24, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST August 24, 2007

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Wilton Manors

Rosie's Bar and Grill will hold a Beach Bingo Party as a fundraiser for thePALS Project, a key program of the GLCC on Saturday, September 1st. Rosie'swill offer two rounds of Bingo, at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., as part of its"Big Top" events for Labor Day weekend. What could be more fun than spendinga laughter-filled afternoon with hot bodies in sexy beach attire, juicyburgers, frosty drinks and cries of "Bingo!" echoing through Wilton Manors?"We were so thankful when Rosie's contacted us, letting us know they wouldlike to organize and sponsor a fundraiser for our program," said KristoferFegenbush, PALS Project Coordinator. In addition to Bingo, judges will awardprizes for "Best Beach Blanket Table Decoration," "Best Individual BeachAttire" and "Best Group Effort for Beach Attire." All events will occurunder a huge tent with a cooling system, to provide a perfect retreat fromthe sun and heat of Labor Day weekend.

Rosie's will donate proceeds from each session of Bingo to the PALS Project.The PALS Project provides HIV+ men with vital social support, accurate HIVinformation and practical, effective strategies to lead safer, richer lives."The managers and owners of Rosie's want to help the PALS Project continueto grow," said Keith Willard, Events Manager at Rosie's Bar and Grill. ThePALS Project is funded by The Florida Department of Health, Bureau ofHIV/AIDS and is sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of SouthFlorida.

Nicole Martin
Operations Manager
phone: 954-463-9005


Forwarded from Joe VanEron
Gay Dania Beach,0,2670032.story?coll=sofla_tab01_layout

South Florida
Broward tourism promoters tell Mayor Naugle to stop criticizing gays
By Scott Wyman and Tom Stieghorst
August 24, 2007

The leadership of Broward County's multibillion-dollar tourism industrydemanded Thursday that Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle stop his attacks onhomosexuality even as he pressed them to change a marketing campaign meantto attract gay tourists.

They said Naugle's comments over the past two months have damaged thereputation they carefully created in the two decades since the area's roleas college Spring Break capital ended. They not only cited internationalnews coverage and the deluge of calls and e-mails from concerned tourists,but said one gay-oriented convention has been put on hold.

"The rhetoric needs to stop," Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater FortLauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, told Naugle at Thursday's meetingof the Tourism Development Council. "The anger and the mischaracterizationand the hurtful, mean-spirited and wrong-hearted rhetoric has to stop."

Although Naugle vowed not to back down, the controversy could cost him hisseat on the tourism board. County commissioners are drafting legislation tooust him.

Naugle depicted himself to tourism officials Thursday as on a crusade tostem the spread of AIDS and stop public sex. He asked them to no longer listClub Fort Lauderdale in its gay vacation planner.

He described the business, off Broward Boulevard, as a gay bathhouse eventhough it promotes itself as a private spa and gym for men that rentsdressing rooms or lockers to members. The manager of the club could not bereached for comment.

"One of the things my dad taught me is it's not always about the money; it'sabout doing what's right," Naugle said.

It turns out that Naugle is six months late.

Grossman said Club Fort Lauderdale - along with all other businesslistings - were dropped from next year's brochure in March when the visitorsbureau decided to change the focus to upcoming events that would interestgay tourists. She noted the club is licensed by the city and was listedamong fitness centers in the 2007 planner.

Since June, Naugle has charged the city has a problem with gay sex in publicrestrooms, said gays are unhappy and contended the gay Stonewall Libraryshould not be housed in a city building because its collection containspornography.

His most recent comments question the focus on gay tourism considering thehigh rate of HIV infection in the area. The comments have been reported byThe New York Times, CNN, Fox News and even a Dutch paper, as well as blogsacross the Internet. And that has tourism executives increasingly nervousand angry at Naugle.

The Fort Lauderdale area has long ranked as one of the nation's top vacationchoices among gay tourists. About 950,000 gays and lesbians were among the10.4 million people to visit Broward last year and spent an estimated $1billion.

Gay travel emerged as a part of the visitors bureau's marketing focus in1997. The agency will spend about $450,000 this year on advertising andother marketing directed at gay tourists.

"In one fell swoop, you're destroying everything we've worked on," Ina Lee,publisher of the TravelHost guides to Fort Lauderdale, told Naugle. "I'masking you to stop. Please stop."

Virginia Sheridan, head of a New York public relations firm that works forthe visitors bureau, told the tourism board that the controversy has reacheda worrisome stage. She said the effects from the controversy could spreadfrom tourism to other economic areas, such as business relocation decisions.

"There's a tremendous amount of confusion, surprise and lack ofunderstanding," said Sheridan, who monitors media as part of her consultingcontract with the bureau.

Lee said a gay-oriented convention has been put on hold that was to draw 200attendees and result in $250,000 in business. She would not identify thegroup because hoteliers are still trying to persuade it to come this fall.Also, at least 100 people have e-mailed to cancel vacations or say they arethinking of going elsewhere.

One of them, accountant John Pearson, of Santa Rosa, Calif., said he plansto go to Palm Springs rather than Fort Lauderdale for a week because ofNaugle.

"I certainly don't have to spend my money in his city or state," Pearsonwrote tourism officials.

Grossman said Naugle's comments have affected other segments of tourism aswell. She said a family attending an upcoming children's sports eventcalled, worried that there was rampant public sex in Fort Lauderdale. Shealso said multicultural tourism could be hurt if the area gains an image asnot welcoming diversity.

Although some tourists may shun Fort Lauderdale because of Naugle'scomments, others say they are encouraged to visit.

Bill Federer, a historian and author from St. Louis, wrote the mayor in lateJuly, praising his "courage" for addressing a difficult issue.

"Your decision will attract more families to vacation in Fort Lauderdale asit will be a healthier place," he wrote.

To hold its share of gay tourism dollars, the visitors bureau is consideringa new public relations campaign to address the controversy. And a vote bycounty commissioners on removing Naugle from the tourism board could come asearly as Tuesday.

Commissioner Stacy Ritter said Naugle's comments have been counter to theboard's mission and are cause to remove him before his term ends nextspring. She is drafting legislation to take that unusual step. "They aresupposed to promote tourism," she said. "It is our No. 1 industry, and MayorNaugle is doing a disservice to promoting tourism."

Scott Wyman can be reached at or 954-356-4511.

Check out the videos at the website.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Aug. 24, 2007
Broward tourism chief to Naugle: 'Stop the rhetoric'

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle could undo decades of tourism marketingcampaigns if he continues linking gay vacationers with Broward County's AIDSwoes, tourism officials warned Thursday.

Broward already faces an ''erosion'' of conference business with at leastone gay group suspending plans for a Fort Lauderdale gathering and someminority organizations questioning whether the county is a tolerant venuefor meetings, Broward tourism director Nicki Grossman told Naugle.

''Mr. Mayor, we're just asking you to please stop the rhetoric,'' saidGrossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & VisitorsBureau.

It was her first confrontation with the mayor since controversy erupted fourweeks ago over Naugle questioning the county's enthusiasm for gay touristsamid high rates of AIDS. International media attention followed, with theNew York Times, CNN and -- on Wednesday night -- Fox's Bill O'Reillyinterviewing Naugle.

He sits on the county's Tourist Development Council, which held its regularmonthly meeting Thursday morning. Chairman Richard Gray, a gay hotelier whoruns a guesthouse catering to gay vacationers, sat between Naugle andGrossman.

The meeting unfolded without incident until the final round of marketingitems, when Naugle questioned why the Fort Lauderdale guide to gay travelincludes a ''bathhouse'' that the mayor said accommodates sexual encounters.

''I never said we should not promote gay tourism in Fort Lauderdale,''Naugle said. ``But we should do it tastefully and with the public health inmind.''

His remarks set off a tense back-and-forth with Grossman and other staffersand business executives who were also critical of Naugle.

Virginia Sheridan, the bureau's New York public relations executive, warnedthat Naugle was frustrating efforts to brand Fort Lauderdale as asophisticated vacation spot. That image, she said, came after millions ofdollars in marketing efforts aimed at retiring Fort Lauderdale's popularityas a cheap place for college spring break.

''We've spent 20 years building up a reputation for the destination as beingmodern, diverse and inclusive,'' said Sheridan, president of M. SilverAssociates. ``We're now in a position of having to defend that.''

A San Francisco gay newspaper called for a boycott of Fort Lauderdale,ranked the sixth most popular vacation spot among gay travelers. Gaytourists account for about 11 percent of the county's $8.5 billion tourismindustry, according to bureau estimates.

Occupancy has been dropping in Broward County hotels this year, and onlySuper Bowl XLI has kept tourist tax receipts ahead of 2006 results, bureauexecutives said. The slump comes amid rising room rates as an influx ofluxury hotels seeks the kind of affluent tourist Fort Lauderdale has haddifficulty attracting in large numbers.

Though bureau executives initially resisted engaging Naugle in a publicdebate, they said his comments now threaten the tourism industry.

Grossman, a former county commissioner, called Naugle's past comments''hurtful and mean-spirited'' and accused him of promoting a Fort Lauderdalewhere visitors would see gay sex ''in the trees'' and ``in the

She said a parent called the bureau this week to ask if her daughter wouldsee men having sex on Fort Lauderdale beach if she participated in a fallsoccer tournament there. Grossman later said the bureau plans to boostgay-oriented advertising to counter Naugle's comments, which she said willcause that niche of the travel industry to ``suffer terribly.''

But Naugle said he was justified in his concern over Broward's AIDSproblems. Federal statistics show the Greater Miami metropolitan area, whichincludes Fort Lauderdale, is second only to New York in the number of AIDSinfections among men caused by gay sex and drug use.

Naugle accused Grossman and the tourism industry of caring more aboutvacationers' dollars than a public health crisis.

''It's not always about the money. If we can save lives, I think that'simportant,'' he said. ``If we're going to lose a little business becausewe're not promoting the bathhouses, so be it.''

The Club, a Fort Lauderdale spa and health club limited to men, is listed inthe 2007 ''Rainbow Travel'' guide the bureau offers gay travelers.

Its website advertises rentals of dressing rooms where guests can lie downand offers tips on safe sex. The site also includes photos of workoutequipment and said customers may use a pool and sun deck.

A manager there was not available for comment Thursday evening.

Grossman said The Club is licensed to do business in Fort Lauderdale.

Grossman also said next year's gay-travel guide will not include The Clubbecause designers removed the section for gyms about five months ago.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Aug. 24, 2007
A biased crusader

Broward County tourism officials couldn't possibly have anticipated thattheir worst nightmare in 2007 would be Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle. Themayor seems determined to alienate every gay and lesbian potential visitorto Broward with his contemptible anti-gay campaign.

Contrary to the mayor's claims, men having sex in public restrooms is not aproblem or an epidemic in Fort Lauderdale. The city police department citestwo arrests for sexual activity in public restrooms since 2005. The mayorclaims the arrest number is eight. Yes, people having sex in publicbathrooms is offensive, but there is no crime wave here.

Now a group of narrow-minded clerics and medical professionals has latchedonto the mayor's cause. They held a press conference Tuesday to rail againstpublic and promiscuous sex. We can all agree that such activities are to bediscouraged, but this sanction applies equally to heterosexuals. Mr. Naugleand his clerical backers are specifically targeting gays and lesbians withtheir unwarranted criticism and, often as not, half-informed comments. Themayor apparently enjoys playing the provocateur. He refuses to let it die,as it should.

So it is up to the rest of Broward County's public officials and privateleaders to stand against this maliciousness. They should present the realBroward County to prospective tourists, including gays and lesbians. Browardis home to one of the country's larger populations of gay and lesbianresidents, with clubs, hotels, restaurants and shops that cater specificallyto these groups. Gays and lesbians own homes and businesses throughout thecounty. Broward voters have elected a county commissioner and several citycommissioners who are gay. Broward is a place where hate-mongers like MayorNaugle are -- and always will be -- an anomaly.


Ft. Lauderdale

For more information phone (954) 763-8565.

Stonewall Library Book Club discusses John Amaechi's "Man in the Middle"
(October 18)

The Stonewall Library and Archives' Book Club will hold its next meeting onThursday, October 18, at 7:30 p.m. Moderator Jesse Monteagudo ("The BookNook") will lead a discussion of "Man in the Middle," former NBA star JohnAmaechi's provocative and inspiring autobiography. Membership in theStonewall Library Book Club is free and Club meetings are open to thepublic. The Stonewall Library and Archives is located at the Gay andLesbian Community Center of South Florida, 1717 North Andrews Avenue, inFort Lauderdale. For more information phone SLA at (954) 763-8565.


Bradenton Herald

AP NewsBreak: No graphic photos found in Foley e-mails
Associated Press Writer

A House review of some e-mails former U.S Rep. Mark Foley sent and receivedthrough his congressional account revealed no sexually explicit photos, butthe investigation continues into his lurid Internet communications with maleteenage pages, The Associated Press learned Thursday.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said this week its investigationinto whether Foley tried to seduce underage boys has been hindered becauseneither Foley nor the House will let its investigators examine hiscongressional computers.

However, the House Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, whichprovides computer support for congressional members, has reviewed some ofFoley's e-mail traffic before his Sept. 29 resignation, according to aletter from the House general counsel obtained by the AP on Thursday.

No graphic images were discovered in those e-mails, according to the July 24letter by House Deputy General Counsel Kerry Kircher to the FDLE. It was notimmediately clear when those e-mails were sent or received, but officialssaid they could date back years.

The U.S. Department of Justice, which is working with FDLE investigators,has now requested that the House review the e-mails for any writtencommunications that may be relevant to the Foley case.


Sarasota Herald Tribune

Many kinds of pain as housing woes hit all sectors

Sun-soaked Southwest Florida is largely considered an enclave of wealth.Until the downturn in the housing market, its turbo-charged economy wasseemingly stifled only by worker shortages and other symptoms of its growingpains.

But the last year of suffering in the real estate market has slowlypercolated to nearly every industry in the region.

Welfare caseloads are creeping up. Pawnbrokers have been so inundated withused construction equipment sold to pay the bills that many have stoppedbuying. "Help Wanted" signs, once commonplace, are disappearing from storewindows.

And for the first time since most anyone can remember, Sarasota, Manatee andCharlotte counties -- bastions of the 2-plus-percent unemployment rate --are seeing a measure of joblessness rivaling the state average.

The July rate in Charlotte County was 5.5 percent -- the worst sinceHurricane Charley -- while Sarasota County's rose to 4.4 percent and Manateeto 4.2 percent.

The increases range from 45 percent to 62 percent compared with the sametime last year.


The Palm Beach Post

UF committee picks P.B. County for ethanol plant
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 24, 2007

A manufacturing plant that will make ethanol from sugar cane waste should bebuilt in southwestern Palm Beach County, a University of Florida committeehas decided.

The UF panel, which is administering a $20 million state grant foralternative-energy development, chose land near Florida Crystals Corp.'sOkeelanta sugar mill and refinery south of South Bay for the pilot plant,which could be running as soon as 2009.



South Florida
Florida prisons to stop serving special meals to Jews, Muslims
By Matt Sedansky
The Associated Press
August 24, 2007

MIAMI -- Jewish inmates who follow strict religious diets at state prisonsare no longer provided meals in line with their beliefs. Muslims must noweat vegan food to satisfy their religious requirements.

The Corrections Department has ended the Jewish Dietary AccommodationProgram, which provided kosher meals to not only Jews, but Muslims as well,because the state prison system does not offer halal food. Cost and fairnesswere cited as factors.

"We have 100 faiths represented by DOC inmates, so it would be impossible tosatisfy everyone's preferences and unfair to do it for one group and notanother," agency spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said. "We just have to look atwhat our mission is and what's best for our overall department and theoverall population of inmates in our system instead of a smaller group."

The department has suspended use of pork products in an attempt to appeasereligious adherents and will continue to serve vegetarian and vegan meals.It said many Jews and Muslims could choose the vegan option, which is freeof any animal products, to adhere to their faiths.


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