Friday, November 30, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST December 1, 2007

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Wilton Manors

World AIDS Day interfaith service

This is the time of year that we want to make sure we do not forget thoseamong us who have passed from HIV/AIDS or are living with it today. We haveplanned a wonderful service of remembrance and honor at the Congregation EtzChaim on Friday, November 30th, at 8:30 pm. We will be intermingling ourmemorial throughout the regular Friday night Shabbat service led by RabbiHarold Caminker along with Cantor Michael Greenspan and Rev. Katie Petersondoing the music. Rev. Durrell Watkins will be the keynote speaker. Therewill be light refreshments afterwards provided by the GLBT and FriendsInterfaith Clergy Group. Please come and bring a friend! Etz Chaim is at1881 NE 26th Street, Wilton Manors.


Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz hears from Florida AtlanticUniversity students

Wide range of issues covered at FAU campus

By Jose de Wit
November 30, 2007

DAVIE - If you thought college students don't care about politics anymore,an hour in a crowded conference room at Florida Atlantic University's Daviecampus Thursday might have changed your mind.

A roomful of students grilled U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston,when she came to campus to speak about an act passed by Congress that makescollege more affordable. When Wasserman Schultz opened the floor forquestions, few asked about college tuition.

"What chance is there for foreign people who are here legally, likeinternational students, who want to stay here and want to do it legally?"asked international business student Priscilla Velasquez, 21, of PembrokePines.

Velasquez left Peru when her father's job brought the family to the UnitedStates. She has a student visa, but red tape has kept Velasquez and the restof her family from getting green cards. A year away from graduation, sheworries that she won't be allowed to work here.

Wasserman Schultz she doubts that Congress would overhaul immigration lawsbefore the presidential election.

"We're not likely to see anything happen with that for at least the nextyear," Wasserman Schultz said. "There's volatile questions, but believe me,this one's radioactive volatile."

Another student had the environment on her mind.

"What's something I can do if a community I'm in has no recycling program?What can I do as an individual?" asked Michelle Zahuranec, 23, of LauderdaleLakes.

Michael Emanuel Rajner, 37, of Pompano Beach, asked about sex education inschools and funding to help people with AIDS. Nursing student RochelleDacosta, 27, of Fort Lauderdale wanted to know why tuition keeps increasing.Another student pressed the congresswoman on how she thinks illegalimmigrants affect the cost of health care.

The questions show that politicians shouldn't assume young people care onlyabout what affects them directly, said political science student Shana Falb,26, of Oakland Park.

"Obviously, they're into other issues. There are more important issues outthere than college tuition," Falb said. "They were more interested inhearing about corruption, war, civil liberties and the environment."

If more politicians took the time to hear what college students are reallyinterested in, Falb said, maybe voter turnout among young people wouldincrease.

"I think it's great we have a congresswoman come and speak with us," Falbsaid. "It's a good thing for students to hear about the issues directly frompoliticians' mouths."


Hydrant Investigation Reveals Spotty Inspections

POSTED: 10:04 pm EST November 27, 2007
UPDATED: 1:24 pm EST November 28, 2007

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- If you doubt the importance of the hydrant nearyour home, just ask fire victim Ron Anderson.

"It's so hard to have your house burn down," said Anderson.

Anderson and his wife lost almost everything in the blaze that consumedtheir home in unincorporated Fort Lauderdale in January 2006. Fire crews whorushed to the scene lost valuable time when they discovered the nearbyhydrant had no water. In fact, records show the fire hydrant near theAndersons' home was one of seven hydrants that had been disconnected formore than a year due to construction in the area. It was disconnecteddespite a state law requiring hydrants be inspected annually.

A Local 10 investigation inspected hydrants across South Florida. In thecity of Hollywood, investigative reporter Julie Summers said she found a gapin the inspection of private hydrants. Those are the hydrants the city doesnot own, but would need when flames break out.

"Private hydrants -- those can be an issue. Absolutely," said BattalionChief Mark Steele.

When Summers checked further, she found that more than 70 private hydrantsin Hollywood had not been inspected. Half a dozen hydrants in the ParkColony complex where hundreds of people and their pets depend on thehydrants for fire protection were not inspected.

more . . . . .


Lavender Writes & Tuesday's Angels Present:
An Open Mic World AIDS Day Reading
For People Whose Lives Have Been Impacted by AIDS

Saturday, December 1, 8 p.m.
Borders Books and Music
2240 E. Sunrise Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale


Ft. Lauderdale

Express Gay News

Softball tourney draws teams from all over U.S.
Local teams take home trophies at Hurricane Showdown

Nov. 29, 2007

The annual Hurricane Showdown drew hundreds of gay softball players fromacross the United States and overseas, but despite the tight competition,three local teams took home trophies at the tournament.

In the C Division, Sidelines Cyclones, captained by Robbie Chaw, finishedsecond to the Knoxville Cyclones and the Cubby Hole Cubs came in third Inthe B-Division, Fort Lauderdale's Team Steam were edged out of the finalgame but took home third place. Another Florida team, Challenge MortgageForce of Orlando, took top honors in the B Division and New York City'sEagle's Wings were the winners in the D Division.

Jennifer Morales of Sidelines Sports Bar, one of the host bars for theweekend-long event, praised the performance of her team and other Floridateams that took home trophies.

"I think you'll agree that our Florida teams faired very well, with fiveFlorida teams placing in the top nine spots," she said.

Next spring over Easter weekend, March 22-23, 2008, the South FloridaAmateur Athletic Association (SFAAA), organizers of the Hurricane Showdown,will host the organization's first "40 & Over" tournament. SFAAA is alreadytaking entries at

more . . . . .


Express Gay News

Gay artists group to participate in children's HIV fund-raiser

Nov. 29, 2007

The Board of Directors of the Children's Diagnostic & Treatment Center inconjunction with ArtsUnited, a local gay artists organization, will presentan art exhibit and benefit auction for children and families with HIV/AIDSon Saturday, Dec. 1, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Museum of Art FortLauderdale.

It is the second year in a row that ArtsUnited has participated in thechildren's center's HIV fund-raiser, "Ribbons for Children." Last year, theevent was held at the center's offices.

"This year, we really wanted to upgrade the event and attract a higherA-list group of people," said Chuck Williams, president of ArtsUnited.

Admission to the event is $25. The Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale is locatedat 1 East Las Olas Boulevard. For more information, call 954-728-8080, ext.1040.

As part of its World AIDS Day observance, ArtsUnited will also cover up itsartwork currently on display at Stork's bakery.


Express Gay News

Car wash to benefit families of slain BSO deputies

Nov. 29, 2007

The Shoppes of Wilton Manors and Georgie's Alibi are hosting a car wash Dec.1 to raise money for the families of two Broward Sheriff's deputies who wererecently killed and one who was severely injured in the line of duty. Thecar wash will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Shoppes parking lot,which is at 2270 Wilton Dr.

On Aug. 6, Deputy Maury Hernandez was shot and suffered a severe head woundwhile pursuing a suspect fleeing from a traffic stop. Although he isrecovering, Deputy Hernandez remains partially paralyzed and faces extensiverehabilitation.

Sgt. Chris Reyka was killed while on patrol in Pompano Beach on Aug. 10. Heleaves behind a wife and two children. And on Nov. 7, Deputy Paul Rein wasshot and killed while transporting a prisoner from the North County Jail tothe Broward County Courthouse.

Proceeds from the car wash will benefit three projects of the Sheriff'sFoundation of Broward County that provide assistance to the officers'families: the Fallen Heroes Fund, the Sergeant Chris Reyka MemorialEducation Fund and the Maury Hernandez Family Fund.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to the event, call BSO CommanderRick Wierzbicki at 954-849-6422 or 954-321-4695.


Express Gay News

GOP will never stop abusing and marginalizing gays

Thursday, November 29, 2007

To the Editors:

Re: "Republican Party must include and defend gay people" (letters, Nov. 22)

This letter to the editors of the Express, Matthew Veritas Tsien, Republican cheerleader, has to go back almost 30 years to Gov. Ronald Reagan's oneseeming instance of support for gay and lesbian rights.

That is because since then, the Republican Party has been instrumental inproposing nearly all anti-gay legislation.

Tsien goes on to say voters who in 2004 approved several
Republican-sponsored constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage didn'twant their votes to marginalize gay and lesbian families. Huh? That isexactly what they wanted. And they were encouraged by closeted anti-gay,self-loathing toilet sex enthusiasts. Some who just happened to be electedRepublican officials.

He then goes on to say GOP leaders must now either embrace inclusive valuesor choose the politics of division and fear. Sorry, Matthew, that choice hasalready been made, loud and clear. Not even a single Republican presidentialcandidate is for lifting the ban on gays openly serving in the military. Doyou think they don't mean to marginalize gay and lesbian soldiers, or arethey just horrified someone might see them embracing an openly gay soldier?

Log Cabiners can put any spin they want on it. Thinking they can change theRepublican party "from the inside" is delusional. The fact is, the GOP willtake Log Cabin donations (privately and low key) and then sell the gays downthe river the second they think it will benefit them.

The Florida Republican Party was the single largest donor toFlorida4Marriage, the group behind the drive to change the Floridaconstitution to prohibit gay marriage. I wonder how many donated gay dollarsended up in that fund.

And let's not forget the drive to overturn Roe v. Wade, the blocking of stemcell research, rejecting the inclusion of sexual orientation in hate crimeslegislation, rejecting any use of medicinal marijuana and, oh yeah, therepulsive exploitation of the Terry Schiavo travesty for political gain.And don't even get me started on the disastrous abstinence-only sexeducation programs that are proven to be ineffective. The failure to teachpeople how to properly protect themselves from STDs and unwanted pregnanciesis criminal. The GOP has a whole agenda of regressive and repressive goalsto shore up the fundamentalist Christian extremist voting bloc.

Log Cabin supporters tout the party's devotion to fiscal conservatism andnational security. The obscene amounts of our citizen's money thrown at Iraqare exact opposite actions to this claim. Using 9/11 as justification forthe White House's dirty doings in the Iraq disaster has set up somedangerous precedents. Now, the president says the Geneva Convention doesn'tapply to those suspected of terrorism. The death of due process and theacceptance of torture have made our once wonderful country into an extremistworld bully. Abraham Lincoln would be disgusted and horrified at what hisparty is doing to our great country.

I am not saying the Democrats are perfect either. But unlike GOP candidates,who refused to even respond to an invitation to take part in the HumanRights Campaign's question and answer forum, all the major Democraticpresidential candidates attended. It seems as if gays and lesbians aren'teven worthy of a polite "no thank you" from the GOP candidates.

LCRs are like victims in an abusive relationship. Between the occasionalbackhanded compliments and outright betrayals, the Log Cabiners keep runningback to the abuser, sure that next time things will be different. Even"gay-friendly" Gov. Schwarzenegger twice vetoed legislation to allowsame-sex marriage in California. At what point do the blatant anti-gayactions of the GOP become deal-breakers for the LCR group?

When W was once asked if he would support civil unions for gays, he nearlychoked on the words as he said he might consider it. Later, he gave hissupport for changing the U.S. Constitution to exclude any one but a man anda woman to marry. Kind of hard to spin that one, Matthew. I have no doubtthat some deluded Logger will find a way.

Maybe if Abraham Lincoln's long lost party of inclusion had been morespecific on who was welcome, we wouldn't be fighting homophobes for our mostbasic rights to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.


Pompano Beach, Fla.


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