Wednesday, October 31, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST October 31, 2007

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The Wicked Manors Block Party 2007 - Hell on Heels is still on... [TONIGHT]...and will take place barring an all out rain pelting highwind storm. A little wind will not keep us from delivering all the fun andexcitement we have planned for you! Trick or Treating starts at 5:00 and theMainstage Events and Contests begin at 7:00 pm!

Please visit for information and updates on the status
of the Block Party!


The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida (GLCC), Wilton Manors
Business Association, Wilton Manors Main Street and the City of Wilton
Manors announce cash and prizes for the Wicked Manors Block Party 2007 -
Hell On Heels! -our city's First Annual Halloween event on October 31st,
totaling over $5000. Prizes will be awarded for the great contests. You are
invited to enter any or all of them including:

· Pet Contest: First Place will win $50 CASH along with Fabulous Prizes
totaling over $150; Second Place and Third Place prizes will be awarded. Pet
contests begin at 8pm.

· Pet/Owner Look-A-Like: First Place will win $50 CASH along with Fabulous
Prizes totaling over $150; Second Place and Third Place prizes will be

· Body Art: First Place will win $50 CASH along with Fabulous Prizes
totaling over $250; Second Place and Third Place prizes will be awarded.
Contest begins at 8:30pm.

· Celebrity Look-A-Like: First Place will win $250 CASH along with Fabulous
Prizes totaling over $500; Second Place and Third Place prizes will be
awarded. Contest begins at 9pm.

· "Drag On The Drive" WALK OFF Contest: First Place will win $250 CASH along
with Fabulous Prizes totaling over $500; Second Place and Third Place prizes
will be awarded. Contestants must be lined up for the WALK by 9:30pm.

· Scariest Costume: First Place will win $500 CASH along with Fabulous
Prizes; Second Place and Third Place prizes will be awarded. The final two
contests will begin at 10:30pm.

· Best Overall: First Place will win $1000 CASH along with Fabulous Prizes;
Second Place and Third Place prizes will be awarded.

We will also have Lord and Lady of Wicked Manors contest. All contestants
must be registered at least one half hour prior to the contest. The parade
of contestants will be during the opening ceremony at 7pm and the winners
will be announced at 11pm. Lord and Lady must raise dollars-for-votes prior
to the event and throughout the evening. The person who raises the most
money will win $1000 in cash and prizes. You must visit the website to enter

· Lady Of Wicked Manors: First Place will win $500 CASH along with Fabulous
Prizes totally over $1000.
· Lord of Wicked Manors: First Place will win $500 CASH from Bottoms and
Tops along with Fabulous Prizes totally over $1000.

This party is open to everyone and admission is free. There will be over 50
vendors on the street including FOOD CONCESSIONS. Come hungry! "Visit the
CENTER BAR AREA and INFO BOOTH and get your commemorative 'Hell on Heels'
T-Shirt. This shirt will be a collectors item and you will be able to say -
I was at the FIRST EVER Wicked Manors Block Party" commented Bobby Kyser,
Co-Chair (and owner of Petals Panache). "We will also be selling shirts
prior to the event at various businesses on the drive and at the GLCC."

"In addition to Misty Eyez, our Mistress of the Dark & Emcee Extraordinaire,
we will have dance music by the fabulous G.I.R.L. (
and entertainment by various DIVAS from our community that we all know and
love!" stated Doug Cureton, Co-Chair (owner of What's the Scoop).

For information on how you can purchase a vendor space, contact Bobby Kyser
at (954) FLOWERS (356-9377). Volunteers are needed to help with the event
and will receive a free T-shirt. Contact Nicole at the GLCC at 954-463-9005
or for more information about volunteering. Event
information or to enter a contest please visit or .

Doug Cureton & Bobby Kyser
Wicked Manors Block Party 2007
Hell on Heels
phone: 954-463-9005


GLCC "Stars of the Rainbow" Call for Nominations

Fort Lauderdale - The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of South Florida (GLCC)
is accepting honoree nominations for "Stars of the Rainbow". The event will
be held on February 17, 2008 and you don't want to miss it! We have lots of
surprises in store! SAVE-THE-DATE! This year's gala will be held at the
Harbor Beach Marriott Resort and Spa which is located at 3030 Holiday Drive,
Fort Lauderdale Beach.

"2008 is our 15th anniversary at the GLCC. Our theme for Stars of the
Rainbow is appropriately "The Crystal Ball: Celebrating 15 Years!" states
Paul Hyman, Executive Director. "Last year's gala was the GLCC's largest
fundraiser to-date and we plan to surpass its success this year with your

Deadline for nominations of honorees is Friday, November 30, 2007. Honorees
will be announced December 7, 2007. Please submit your nomination(s) in
following categories:

(1) Volunteer or Activist Star of the Year
Honoring individuals who exemplify the spirit of volunteerism and/or
activism, and who have also been a benefit to the GLCC and/or the LGBT

(2) Community Star of the Year
Honoring individuals or groups that represent the LGBT community in a
positive light; have supported the Center and/or community, have shown the
true sense of community and who are true STARS!

(3) Business, Corporate, Media or Government Star of the Year
This category honors a business, corporation, agency, media/publication or
government entity that has supported the efforts of the Center and the LGBT

Nomination Forms are available at the GLCC or can be submitted online at our
NEW website. You can also print a form and fax or mail
it to the GLCC at 954-764-6522 or PO BOX 70518, Fort Lauderdale 33307.

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, volunteering or more
information please contact Robert Boo, Development Director at 954-463-9005
or via email at


Forwarded from Mark Elliott, Director
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty,
2840 W. Bay Drive, #118
Belleair Bluffs, FL 33770

The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on the lethal
injection-based appeals of Mark Schwab and Ian Lightbourne. I watched
the proceedings on remote video and the article below from the Miami
Herald web site seems to sum up the highlights accurately, so here it

If there are no executions this year in Florida, it will be the first
time in 15 years that we had a year without an execution.

Wouldn't that be wonderful?



"Incredible students. "Amazing presentation. "The best teacher workshop I
have ever attended." These are just a few of the accolades that teachers
and counselors had for Safe Schools South Florida (formerly GLSEN South
Florida) and its innovative workshop series, "School Safety & Sexual
Minority Issues" held recently at Coral Gables Congregational Church, across
from the Biltmore Hotel.

"As education professionals, we know what works best to make a difference
for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students in
schools," said Robert Loupo, national board certified teacher and school
counselor, as well as co-founder and executive director of Safe Schools
South Florida. "And our evaluation and research proves it: our work makes
huge differences in attitudes and behaviors in schools."

Additional benefits accrue to the students who are an integral part of each
workshop: "I really feel so empowered telling adults my story," said Afework
Afework, a Safe Schools South Florida student speaker panelist. "Each time I
speak, it not only helps teachers and counselors learn about what LGBTQ
students go through, it helps me understand what I have had to go through

"We are so pleased to be able to support Safe Schools South Florida in their
mission to make schools safer for all students," stated Dr. Laurie Hafner,
senior pastor at Coral Gables Congregational Church and former advisory
board member of GLSEN Cleveland. "Our church is an open and affirming church
for the LGBTQ community, and we can think of no better way to show our
support that to offer workshop space here at our church."

Safe Schools South Florida, whose mission is teaching respect for LGBTQ
youth in schools, will soon launch a $100,000 matching grant, sponsored by
board president, publisher and philanthropist Bruce Presley.

"I have watched the incredible work of this organization for 8 years, and
see the vast difference they make for students in schools. I want to support
them in every way I can. I hope others will, too."

For more information about Safe Schools South Florida, visit them at



S. Florida's water shortage won't be fixed by Noel

By Andy Reid
October 31, 2007

A glancing blow or even a direct hit from Tropical Storm Noel would likely
fail to lift South Florida out of a water shortage threatening to worsen
next year, water managers warned Tuesday.

As the South Florida Water Management District on Tuesday readied drainage
canals by dumping water to tide, agency officials said the storm could just
end up dumping water where it is needed the least - in Broward and
Miami-Dade counties instead of farther north to replenish drought-strained
Lake Okeechobee.

With South Florida's rainy season officially coming to an end today and the
hurricane season coming to a close in November, Noel could be the last salvo
of rain-producing storms that could significantly boost Lake Okeechobee,
South Florida's primary backup water supply.

As a result, West Palm Beach on Tuesday went back to once-a-week watering
limits, restricting residents with odd-numbered addresses to watering on
Saturdays between 4 and 8 a.m. Even-numbered addresses can water on Sundays
between 4 and 8 a.m.

Even as stockpiled water was pumped to sea Tuesday because of fear of
potential flooding from Noel, water managers said they anticipate
instituting tougher watering restrictions for more of South Florida as early
as December because of the strained water supplies expected next year.

more . . . . .



Near-misses on the runway must be addressed with action, not secrecy

October 30, 2007

ISSUE: Runway near-collisions a concern.

It seems almost taboo to say this out loud, but federal aviation officials
say we are enjoying the safest time in the history of air travel, with a 65
percent drop in the accident rate of domestic flights over the past 10 years
and - knock wood - no fatal U.S. airliner crashes so far this year.

Of course, that doesn't mean serious concerns don't remain. Like near-misses
on the runway, where jetliners roll into the path of landing or departing
planes, often requiring quick evasive action.

If that doesn't sound like a big deal, it is. An unprecedented survey of
pilots has discovered such close calls occur far more often than many

Want to know more? Too bad.

Since gathering the data over four years, through interviews with 24,000
commercial and general aviation pilots, and with $8.5 million in federal
funding, NASA has shut the project down and arrogantly refusesto divulge its
findings to the public, for fear it would erode confidence in air travel and
hurt the airline industry's profits.

more . . . . .


The Miami Herald

Homeowners' guide to property-tax amendment

Posted on Wed, Oct. 31, 2007

Of the four parts in a property-tax amendment up for a Jan. 29 vote,
portability has the potential to affect homeowners the most. Key questions
about it:
. Q: What is portability?

. A: The ability to transfer to a new home accumulated property-tax savings
tied to the Save Our Homes law. The taxable value of a homestead can rise no
more than 3 percent a year -- even if the real market value of the home is
higher. Over a period of years, the market value of the home may be higher
than its taxable value. That's called the ''differential.'' Under the
amendment, that amount can be transferred to a new home so you pay less tax.

. Q: How can I find out the differential for my home?

. A: On Miami-Dade property-tax statements, subtract ''taxable value'' from
''market value'' to get the differential. In Broward, subtract ''taxable
value'' from ''property assessment value.'' In Monroe, subtract ''taxable
value'' from ``just value.''

. Q: How much savings can I carry to another home?

. A: If you buy a more expensive home, you transfer all of your benefit up
to $500,000. For example, if you sell a home with market value of $600,000
and taxable value of $300,000, your differential is $300,000. If you then
buy a new home with market value of $700,000, your taxable value would drop
by the differential, $300,000. So your taxable value would be $400,000 your
first year in the new home.

If you buy a lower-priced home, you transfer a percentage that matches your
current benefit, up to $500,000. So if market value of your current home is
$600,000 and your taxable value is $300,000, your differential is $300,000,
or 50 percent. If you sell it and buy a new home for $400,000, you may
transfer $200,000 -- 50 percent of the new home's market value. Your taxable
value would be $200,000 the first year.

. Q: How much will my taxes increase on my new home in the future?

. A: You will still be covered by Save Our Homes, which means taxable valuewill grow no more than 3 percent each year.

. Q: What if I've never owned a home in Florida?

. A: You're at a disadvantage. But once you own a home, you will accumulateSave Our Homes benefits and can transfer them to another Florida home.

. Q: Do I get the benefits of portability only if I sell after the amendmentpasses?

. A: No. If the proposal passes on Jan. 29, you can get the benefits if yousold your home anytime in 2007, as long as you get homestead exemption onyour new home by Jan. 1, 2009.

. Q: If I sell my home, do I have to buy another main home right away totransfer my tax savings?

. A: No. You will have two years to transfer savings.


The Tallahassee Democrat

Dean, DNC answer Sen. Nelson's lawsuit

By Bill Cotterell
Florida Capital News Political Editor
Article published Oct 30, 2007

TALLAHASSEE -- The Democratic National Committee today asked a federal judgeto dismiss U.S. Sen. Bill nelson's lawsuit seeking to force recognition ofthe Florida presidential primary and seating of state delegates to thenational nominating convention next summer.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean said the party is not a state entity, so it is notviolating the Voting Rights Act as Nelson and other members of the Floridacongressional delegation contend.

Even if voters are disenfranchised by party rules, Dean's attorneys argue,the state party could remedy the situation by holding caucuses after theJan. 29 primary to choose delegates.

The state party has rejected that solution, while contending that it shouldnot be punished for the decision by Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and theGOP-dominated Legislature to move the primary from early March to Jan. 29.DNC rules forbid all but four states to go before Feb. 5 and majorpresidential candidates have said they will not campaign in Florida becauseof the violation.



Onus now on taxation commission to deliver real property tax reform

October 31, 2007

ISSUE: Warmed-over tax reform goes to voters.

The Florida Legislature has produced another tax-break package to put beforethe voters in January. To quote a popular expression: "It is what it is,"and unfortunately this "it" is a disappointment.

After weeks of wrangling, lawmakers passed a measure of politicallypalatable re-hashed ideas that fall short of innovation. Gov. Charlie Cristpraised it as "historic" as lawmakers skulked out of Tallahassee feelingbitter after the Florida House grudgingly agreed to a warmed-over version ofa Senate proposal that had the governor's blessings.

In reality, lawmakers produced a constitutional amendment that is more aneconomic stimulus package than true property tax reform.

Perhaps this is all Floridians should have expected, given the pitfalls inhammering out such a complex and controversial issue amid the constraints ofa politically charged special session. At the very least, the voters willhave something to consider on the Jan. 29 ballot.

Granted, tweaking Florida's tax structure is not easy, particularly in astate that must make considerable budgetary adjustments at a time ofdwindling revenues and increasing expenses. Tax cuts and spending reductionsremain popular, but they come at a cost to the services and quality of lifemany residents say make the state more attractive.

more . . . . .


The Miami Herald

What will tax relief do for real estate?

Posted on Wed, Oct. 31, 2007

Will the Legislature's latest tax fix juice up Florida's languishing realestate market?

Realtors say the tax-relief package passed Monday should help get buyers andsellers to the closing table, if it's approved by voters Jan. 29. But justhow much it will stimulate a sluggish market beset by multiple problems isuncertain.

The provision the real estate industry likes most is portability, whichallows homeowners to transfer up to $500,000 in tax exemptions accumulatedunder the Save Our Homes cap to another home.

The aim is to free the thousands of Florida homeowners who feel trapped intheir homes because moving -- even downsizing -- would mean losing a heftytax exemption and often a doubling or tripling of their property-tax bills.

''This should definitely unlock the pent-up demand among people who couldn'tupsize or downsize before,'' says John Sebree, vice president for publicpolicy for the Florida Association of Realtors, which lobbied hard forrelief. ``Portability is a big deal.''

more . . . . .


The Miami Herald

List of Florida schools labled "Dropout Factories."

Posted on Tue, Oct. 30, 2007

Here is the list of Florida public high schools that Johns HopkinsUniversity researchers labled "Dropout Factories." The term describesschools where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmenmake it to their senior year. The researchers looked at the combined classesof 2004, 2005 and 2006.

South Broward
BLanche Ely
Fort Lauderdale
Hollywood Hills
Coconut Creek
Deerfield Beach
Boyd H. Anderson
South Plantation
Charles W. Flanagan
Coral Springs Charter

East Bay
Plant City
Tampa Bay Technical

Thomas Jefferson
Coral Gables
Hialeah-Miami Lakes
Miami Beach
Miami Carol City
Miami Central
Miami Coral Park
Miami Edison
Miami Jackson
Miami Norland
Miami Northwestern
South Dade

Key West

Forest Hill
Lake Worth
Glades Central
John I. Leonard
Palm Beach Gardens
Inlet Grove
Spanish River
Palm Beach Lakes
Olympic Heights
William T. Dwyer
Royal Palm
Boynton Beach

Boca Ciega
Dixie M. Hollins
Pinellas park
St. Petersburg

Check the website, above, for the remaining counties


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