Saturday, November 03, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST November 3, 2007

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Dignity Palm Beach, religious and social club for lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender Roman Catholics, 5:30 p.m., St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 100N. Palmway, Lake Worth. Free. Call 561-309-0088.


Gay philanthropist hailed

Posted on Sat, Nov. 03, 2007

It comes as no surprise that attorney and philanthropist Jerry Chasen willbe honored Saturday at the 11th annual Miami Recognition Dinner, whichraises thousands of dollars for gay nonprofits in South Florida.Without Chasen, there might not be a recognition dinner.

In 2004, the Gay & Lesbian Foundation of South Florida went out of business.Its only assets: the dinner and the annual Winter Party, which combinedraised about $1 million for the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival,Pridelines Youth Services and other groups.

Chasen, a major foundation donor, helped save the dinner and Winter Party byworking out a deal with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and DadeCommunity Foundation. The Task Force bought the two fundraisers and agreedto donate two-thirds of the net profits to South Florida organizations; DadeCommunity Foundation would administer the local grants.

''Jerry was the prime mover in saving those events for our community,'' saidDade Community Foundation development director David da Silva Cornell, whoalso is a Task Force national board member.

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Ex-Broward sheriff to pay IRS $46,000

Posted on Sat, Nov. 03, 2007

Former Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne has reached an agreement to pay ''in theneighborhood of $46,000'' in back taxes, interest and penalties to theInternal Revenue Service stemming from his conviction on tax evasion andfraud charges, according to federal court records.

Jenne disclosed his IRS obligations for 1998-2006 in a court filing thatchallenges some of the language in a probation office's report that outlineshis offenses for sentencing on Nov. 16.

Jenne owes much of those back taxes because his former Fort Lauderdale lawfirm, Conrad, Scherer & Jenne, agreed to buy him a used 1994 Mercedes E320convertible for $61,297 in October 1997. The firm agreed to finance thepurchase and pay the insurance.

The following January, Jenne was appointed Broward County sheriff bythen-Gov. Lawton Chiles. Jenne's old law firm, headed by William Scherer,continued to make loan and insurance payments totaling about $110,000.

Jenne never reported the law firm's car payments on his income tax returnsor state ethics disclosure forms.

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Local gay photographer has exhibit at Starbucks
Florida native Parker specializes in nature scenes, gay erotica

Nov. 01, 2007

Local photographer Lewis Parker opened a new exhibit last week at Starbucksin Wilton Manors. Parker, a Florida native, developed an interest inphotography in the early 1980s and has since honed both traditional anddigital skills. In 2004, his works were exhibited at the Broward Art Guildin Fort Lauderdale and the following year several of his photographs werefeatured in Nashville's "Freedom Press."

Parker, who has traveled extensively, cites his passion for faraway placesas an inspiration for his art. His latest exhibit features a number ofunique images captured during recent travels to the western and northeasternUnited States.

"I discovered the beauty of numerous national parks and historical sites inColorado, Utah, Nevada and Arizona," Parker explained. "I also recentlycompleted a trip through the northeastern U.S., where I was able to capturesome of the beauty of fall foliage season in Maine, Massachusetts, NewHampshire and Rhode Island."

All photographs in the exhibit are available at Parker's website, Parker will donate $5 from each print purchaseto the local charity Kids in Distress. In addition to the wildlife andlandscape photos on display, Parker also has a wide variety of adult eroticaavailable only on the website. The framed prints on display at Starbuck'smay also be purchased by calling 954-675-7510.

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Fla. prison officials move against 'threat' of lesbian weddings
Guards punished for compassion in allowing morale-boosting nuptials

Nov. 01, 2007

The Florida Department of Corrections knows a threat to prison security whenit sees one. It works diligently to prevent escapes, riots - and weddings.

The department has disciplined eight correctional officers for allowing agay wedding ceremony to take place at Lowell Correctional Institution,Florida's largest prison for women.

How comforting that the Florida Department of Corrections stands firmagainst clear prison perils like drugs, gangs and lesbian nuptials.

According to The Gainesville Sun, the department's official report on theincident at the Marion County prison states that, "Security staff allowedinmates to perform, decorate and participate in a wedding ceremony."

The date the correctional officers shirked their duty so extravagantly wasMarch 17, St. Patrick's Day. Perhaps gay leprechauns bewitched them.

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From: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 3:49 PM

Subject: President's Veto of Everglades Funding is Irresponsible
November 02, 2007
Contact: Jonathan Beeton 202-225-1750

President's Veto of Everglades Restoration Funds is Irresponsible

(Washington, DC) - Today, President Bush vetoed the Water ResourcesDevelopment Act (H.R. 1495), bipartisan legislation which was approved bythe House of Representatives and the Senate by an overwhelming majority. Thelegislation authorizes approximately $23 billion for more than 800 projectsin communities throughout the country, including Everglades restoration,repairing hurricane damage, restoring wetlands and flood prevention.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz, who voted in favor of the legislation, criticizedthe President's veto as irresponsible in the following statement:

"The President's veto of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) sends aclear message to Floridian's that the President does not care aboutrestoring the Everglades. For the first time since the EvergladesRestoration Act was signed in 2000, Congress stepped forward to honor thefederal government's commitment to restoring the Everglades. WRDA includedan authorization for nearly $2 billion in projects for Evergladesrestoration. The President's veto flies in the face of the federalgovernment's commitment to restore the Everglades and its commitment to bean equal partner with Florida in restoring the Everglades. I will fightalongside my colleagues in Congress to override this irresponsible veto ofwater resources programs by President Bush."



Where's the beach? Severe erosion imperils Palm Beach County shores

By Sally Apgar
November 3, 2007

Time was tight. Tropical Storm Noel was swirling closer and Chris Strandneeded an emergency engineering fix.

Just before midnight Sunday, heavy surf leveled a 10-foot-high retainingwall protecting a South Palm Beach condo, leaving the building foundationdefenseless against the grinding waves.

Quickly rounding up emergency permits, work crews, a crane and two cementmixers, Strand built a three-tiered bulwark in time for high tide Wednesdaynight and the meanest surf of the week. "It's holding," smiled Strand, whoworks for the engineering firm Chalair and Associates of Palm Beach Gardens,as he stood triumphantly atop the structure Thursday morning.

The engineering heroics to save the Imperial House condos were an extremeexample of the efforts that will be needed to fight the chronic erosion thatgnaws at 31 of the 45 miles of Palm Beach County's most valuable resource -its beaches.

As more condos and hotels perch along the shoreline, government-regulated"beach management" has become increasingly critical and high-tech. Beyondpumping sand onto barren beaches or rebuilding 10-foot dunes, efforts thatcost millions and can be swallowed in a single tropical storm, countyofficials are pushing hard for longer-lasting solutions.

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Congress may override veto to let money flow to Everglades restoration

By William E. Gibson
Washington Bureau chief
November 3, 2007


Determined to unleash federal funding for Everglades restoration, Floridaleaders and environmental advocates predicted that Congress next week willoverride President Bush's veto of a bill that would authorize spending onhundreds of popular water projects around the country.

If so, it would be the first veto override of Bush's presidency. And itwould clear the way for federal funding of the first construction projectsto restore the River of Grass.

Preliminary work already is under way to revive the ecosystem, restore anatural water flow and secure water supplies for South Florida's growingpopulation. The state and local communities have poured millions of dollarsinto the vast replumbing job, but so far the federal government has notkicked in its share of the cost.

"What the state is doing is a start, it's a help, but the federal governmenthas got to step up to the plate," said Mark Perry, chairman of theEverglades Coalition, made up of national and state environmental groups andbased in Stuart.

"As we wait longer and longer, the ecosystem continues to degrade. We get alot of discharges from Lake Okeechobee bringing silt and sediment into theestuaries, causing devastation to habitat. Fresh water is pouring out intothe ocean at 1.7 million gallons a day - water that should be working itsway down into the Everglades."

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The Miami Herald

Glades count may shed light on manatees' future

Posted on Sat, Nov. 03, 2007

It took three escapes, four hours, a couple hundred dizzying circles fromthe spotter plane and too many turns to count by the capture boat.Finally, the elusive creature splashed in the net: a Florida manatee.

The lumbering sea cows inhabiting the Everglades aren't really any speedieror wilier than manatees elsewhere. But mazes of mangrove islands and waterthe color of cafe Cubano have long made their movements and numbers here amystery to scientists.

''The Everglades region is the black hole. This is really the area where wedon't understand manatees,'' said James Reid, a United States GeologicalSurvey biologist. Reid led the team that corralled seven sea cows inEverglades National Park in October to assess their health and fit them withelectronic tracking gear.

The captures and rapid releases wrapped up a seven-year survey designed toassess the effects of Everglades restoration on manatees, including thequestion of whether changing future water flows could harm them. Theresearch also could shape decisions about slow-speed zones for park boatersand about the manatee's controversial status as an endangered species.

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The Miami Herald

Jeb, Hillary have same idea on immigrants

Posted on Sat, Nov. 03, 2007

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton's support this week foroffering driver's licenses to illegal immigrants unleashed a firestorm frompredictable conservative quarters.

But three years ago, none other than conservative icon Jeb Bush supported abill that would have done just that.

Under the bill sponsored by Hialeah Republican Sen. Rudy Garcia, applicantswould have had to clear background checks in Florida and their homecountries. Many illegal immigrants drive anyway, supporters said, solicensing them would make the roads safer while alerting federal officialsto criminal suspects.

''We shouldn't allow them to come into our country to begin with,'' Bushsaid in 2004. ``But once they're here, what do you do? Do you say thatthey're lepers to society? That they don't exist? It seems that a policythat ignores them is a policy of denial.''

Even with the popular governor's backing, the proposal bombed in theGOP-controlled Legislature. Lawmakers said issuing government licensesamounted to condoning illegal conduct. The Florida Sheriff's Associationargued that other countries did not have reliable criminal databases.

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Florida Today

State economists say recovery is farther away than expected

By Bill Cotterell
November 3, 2007

The housing-driven economic slump that made Florida legislators cut $1.1billion from the state budget last month isn't getting worse, but it willlast ''a lot longer'' than expected, state economists said Friday.

No hard dollar amounts came out of the two-hour roundtable by top fiscalforecasters from the Legislature and governor's office.

But planners made some downward revisions of their July forecasts amidgloomy forecasts that consumer spending, wages, auto sales, tourism, fuelcosts and other leading economic indicators will languish longer in thetrough dug by the slowed housing and construction markets.

Amy Baker, coordinator of the Economic and Demographic Research Office, saidat least a few factors were forecast in July to begin recovery next year.But she and Frank Williams, an economist in her office, said it will be late2009 before the economy really revives.

At least, they said, the slump is not much worse - just longer - thanpreviously predicted.

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St. Petersburg Times

If polls governed, there'd be no taxes

By STEVE BOUSQUET, Tallahassee Bureau Chief
Published November 3, 2007

Say something brilliant," Gov. Charlie Crist said as he invited SenateMajority Leader Daniel Webster to the microphones.

The Senate property tax plan, largely Webster's work, had just passed theHouse Monday.

Webster, the quiet sage of the Legislature, delivered a fitting epitaph fora huge expansion of Save Our Homes, the assessment cap that has splitFlorida into tax break haves and have-nots, living on the same street.

"Well, if you can't beat 'em, you join 'em, so we gave the cap toeverybody," said Webster,.

"As our polling showed, people were just not willing, even with a choice, togive up Save Our Homes," he said.

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St. Petersburg Times

Report: Crime rose in state during first half of 2007
Growth was not accounted for, so the crime rate might not be up.

Associated Press
Published November 3, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - The number of crimes committed in Florida edged up slightly inthe first half of 2007, bucking a years-long trend of declining crime in thestate, according to a report released Friday.

Violent crime, which had already shifted upward in recent years, continuedthat troubling trend, increasing in Florida by 2 percent in the first halfof the year over the first half of 2006, said statistics from the FloridaDepartment of Law Enforcement.

The number of murders - particularly those committed with guns - had one ofthe largest increases this year. Through the end of June, there were 589murders in Florida, a 13.7 percent increase over the 518 reported in thestate in the first half of 2006.

The number of murders committed with a gun jumped from 340 in the first halfof 2006 to 407 in the first half of 2007, a 19.7 percent increase, thefigures showed.

Overall, the number of crimes tracked by the Federal Bureau of Investigationand state law enforcement officials went up 3.9 percent in the first half ofthe year, the FDLE said. The list of crimes that are tracked ranges widely,from murder and rape to less serious crimes like stealing bicycles or changeout of vending machines.

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