Friday, January 04, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST January 4, 2008

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Express Gay News

New PFLAG chapter started in Miami

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has opened a new chapter inthe Miami area. The new group meets at noon on the second Saturday of everymonth at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Miami, which is locatedat 7701 SW 76th Ave. in Miami.

For more information, contact Thomas Edward or Sandy Howard at Edward's number is 305-502-9010 and Howard's numberis 305-253-8718.


Express Gay News

Thrift store donates $90,000 to pay for crosswalk on Wilton Drive

Jan. 03, 2008

AIDS HEALTHCARE Foundation, the operator of Out of the Closet Thrift Stores,has paid $90,000 to the City of Wilton Manors to install a crosswalk onWilton Drive in front of Hagen Park. The thrift store, which is part of achain that raises money for HIV/AIDS medical care and research, is scheduledto open at 2097 Wilton Dr. later this month.

The $90,000 contribution comes at a time when Wilton Manors officials havebeen trying to persuade the Florida Department of Transportation to allowmeasures to be put into place to make Wilton Drive safer for pedestrians.The site of the proposed crosswalk, just south of the Shoppes of WiltonManors, is the same area where Greg Rose, a local gay resident, was killedin May 2005 while crossing Wilton Drive in front of what was then CircuitBar. In another fatal accident, Steven Klein was killed on Nov. 10, 2007,while crossing the street at the Five Points Intersection north of theShoppes of Wilton Manors. And two pedestrians were struck and severelyinjured last summer in separate incidents on 4th Avenue, an extension ofWilton Drive south of Hagen Park. In one of the 4th Avenue incidents, a gaybartender was severely injured in a hit-and-run.

Several businesses, including gayowned shops, have recently opened along thestrip of Wilton Drive across from Hagen Park. Residents and business peoplein the area have complained that traffic moves too fast, there are notenough crosswalks and the lighting is poor on some sections of Wilton Driveand 4th Avenue. But the state Department of Transportation, which hasjurisdiction over the road, recently rejected a proposal to reduce the speedlimit from 35 to 30 m.p.h., according to Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton.State officials have also declined to approve plans to narrow the road toslow down traffic.

"Particularly in light of the recent serious traffic incidents in the area,we are pleased to announce this payment of $90,000 to the city forinstallation of a crosswalk on Wilton Drive," said Matt LaMariana, districtmanager for Out of the Closet Thrift Stores, in a press statement. "As thecommunity has rallied together to address the issue of traffic calming, itis our hope that this much-needed crosswalk will not only help make the areamore pedestrian-friendly, benefiting all of the businesses on the south sideof Wilton Drive, but also play a critical role in accelerating the processof improving the safety and quality of life for all of those who work in,live in and visit this area."

Kate Walsh, owner of We're Everywhere, a clothing store and gift shoplocated at 2041 Wilton Dr., said the crosswalk is "long overdue." "With fourlanes of traffic flying by at high speeds, Wilton Drive is very difficult -even dangerous - to cross," Walsh said.

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ArtsUnited - Ft. Lauderdale

ArtExplosion 2008 is set for February 8-23, 2008. This year's festival opens Febuary 8 with a free sing-a-long outdoor screening of "The Wizard of Oz", with performances by Lambda Chorale and Richard Cortez at Hagen Park. It ends Feb 23 with the ArtExplosion Finale featuring The Gay Mafia at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The "Saturday Night Live style" night of queer sketch comedy by The Gay Mafia is hosted by drag magician Cashetta and includes musical performances by Lisp and Havana. In between are two weeks of art, theater, film, literature, cabaret, and comedy. Visit for a complete list of confirmed events, locations and ticket information.

ArtsUnited members may buy advance tickets to the ArtExplosion Finale featuring The Gay Mafia, at a 20% discount price of $24 and $36 (limit 4) by entering the password MEMBERS at the following link:

Don't wait because the press release announcing tickets being available will be out shortly.


ArtsUnited - Ft. Lauderdale

ArtsUnited will feature the paintings of local artist Susan Torres in a soloexhibit at the Stonewall Library and Archives from January 7 through February 1,2008. The gallery is located at 1717 North Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.The exhibit opens with a reception to meet the artist from 6:30 to 8:00 PM onMonday, January 7, 2008.

Born in New York, Susan Torres is a self-taught artist who, only recently,decided to pursue her art as a career. At first, Ms. Torres' paintings were very traditional in style. Eventually she explored abstracts and felt an immediate connection. Recently, Susan has developed a curious style of capturing hercharacters and personalities on canvas.

Using vivid colors and bold characters, Torres creates a unique and engagingexpression of women. She captures the alter egos of these women in a playfuland alluring way. Susan now makes her home in South Florida. For more infor-mation about the artist, look online at

Admission to the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

Refreshments will be served at the reception. Funding for this art series has been provided by Comcast and ArtsUnited.


St. Petersburg Times

Judge won't put off state's Jan. 29 primary
He rules it is too late to change the date.

Associated Press
Published January 4, 2008

TALLAHASSEE - A federal judge refused to delay Florida's Jan. 29presidential primary Thursday, ruling it's too late to move the electionback because ballots have been printed, polling places arranged and pollworkers scheduled.

Activists from both major parties had sought a temporary injunction to pushFlorida's primary back at least to Feb. 5 as required by Democratic andRepublican party rules - flaunted by the state's GOP-controlled Legislature.

The national parties have punished Florida by stripping the state of allDemocratic delegates and half its Republican delegation to the nationalnominating conventions. Similar penalties have been imposed on Michigan,which is holding a Jan. 15 primary.

"The lawsuit comes too late," said U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle. "Weare too close to the election. There would be substantial disruption."

Hinkle agreed in the next few months, though, to decide a constitutionalchallenge to a state law passed last year that moved Florida's primary datefrom March to January.

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Tampa Tribune

Boot Camp Bush Leaguers, Begone

The Tampa Tribune
Published: January 4, 2008

If ever two officials deserved to be booted from the public dole, it'sformer Bay County Medical Examiner Charles Siebert and former FloridaDepartment of Law Enforcement chief Guy Tunnell.

Both men betrayed their public trust and embarrassed their professions afterMartin Lee Anderson died in a Panhandle boot camp in 2006.

Last week, finally, Siebert was shown the door, though not because BayCounty leaders wanted it so. Rather, the state medical examiner's commissiongrew tired of his unwillingness to submit his work for outside scrutiny.Commission members rightfully decided that Panhandle citizens deserved amore credible physician.

Siebert, you may recall, transferred Anderson's body to Bay County, thoughthe teenager died in Pensacola and the autopsy should have been conductedthere. Siebert's role in trying to limit outside scrutiny of the teenager'sdeath was shameful.

Just as he departs comes word that Tunnell - who undermined FDLE's integrityby sending Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen supportive messages during thedeath investigation - is considering another run for Bay County sheriff.

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Gainesville Sun

Editorial: A bad voter ID law

Jan 4, 2008

Election fraud is bad, but the disenfranchisement of citizens is worse. Thatis the essence of a federal judge's 27-page order Dec. 18 to suspend aFlorida voter registration law. The statute denies voter registration toapplicants whose names or identification numbers do not match officialrecords.

The problem is the law does not allow for the likelihood of commonadministrative errors, such as misspelled names, transposed numbers andother data entry mistakes.

Florida's secretary of state, Kurt Browning, has filed an appeal, but wethink Judge Stephan Mickle is right.

Florida needs a voter registration law in line with federal rules, whichrequire proof of identification but allow a greater range of documents -utility bills, government checks, etc. - to serve as verification.

Florida "makes it harder to vote by imposing a matching requirement that isa barrier to voter registration," Judge Mickle wrote. It puts anunacceptable "precondition" on the process.

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Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti runs to keep his post

Staff report
January 4, 2008

Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti formally threw his hat in the ring this week torun for the elected office he was appointed to in September, according topublic records.

Lamberti, 53, a Republican, filed papers with the Broward Supervisor ofElections office on Wednesday, announcing his intention to run in the Augustprimary this year.

Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Lamberti to fill the post four months ago whenformer Seriff Ken Jenne resigned and pleaded guilty in a public corruptioncase.

Lamberti has worked at the agency for 29 years, starting out as a detentiondeputy and working up his way up the ranks.

To date, eight candidates have entered the race to lead the 6,300-memberagency - six Democrats and two Republicans.

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Palm Beach Post

Grants aim to boost affordable housing options

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 04, 2008

The housing market may have softened like an ice cream cone in the Floridasun, and purchase prices may be tumbling, but finding affordable housing inPalm Beach County remains a problem for many.

The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties awarded $173,500last month to four organizations to address the housing crisis.

In March 2006, the foundation conducted a needs survey of residents, andaffordable housing was one of the top concerns, said Doug Pugh, thefoundation's senior program officer.

The idea behind the grants is to attack the problem from different levels,he said.

The foundation awarded $45,000 to the Metropolitan Center of FloridaInternational University to help identify the shortage of rental properties.

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Miami Herald

Word 'evolution' may be added to Fla. curriculum

Posted on Fri, Jan. 04, 2008

Florida public school educators are considering revisions in state sciencestandards that would substitute the word evolution for ''biological changesover time,'' a subject sure to cause intense debate during the coming sixweeks.

Supporters and opponents of the new standards will discuss them a monthbefore the state Board of Education votes on the guidelines Feb. 19. Therules also would require more in-depth teaching of evolution and otherscientific topics while setting specific benchmarks for students to meet.

The pending changes have already drawn a flood of public comment -- pro andcon -- and are part of the national debate over how evolution should betaught. A Gallup poll released in June said the country is about evenlysplit over whether evolution is fact, despite decades of overwhelmingscientific evidence supporting it.


Advocates say the standard changes are needed to improve Florida's poorperformance in science and prepare students to compete on a global level.The new standards are based on those in other states and nations consideredleaders in teaching science.

In 2005, the Fordham Institute, a Washington-based education group, gave thecurrent standards an F, saying they are ``sorely lacking in content.''

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Miami Herald

As temperatures fall, so do iguanas -- from the trees

Posted on Fri, Jan. 04, 2008

The bitter cold that swept across the region came like a giant Sominex pillfor the tree-dwelling iguanas of South Florida.

The plummeting temperatures Wednesday night and early Thursday -- which hit39 degrees at Miami International Airport -- caused the large green lizardsto drop out of the trees and litter the ground.

The cold-blooded reptiles, exotics from Central and South America that canreach six feet in length, maintain a body temperature similar to the airaround them. When the temperature falls into the low 40s, their bodies gointo a deep sleep -- with basically only the heart continuing to functionand with little blood flow, experts said.

''The worst part of the cold comes in the evening, and they literally justshut off,'' said Ron Magill, communications director for Miami Metrozoo.``Their bodies shut off and they lose their grip on the tree, and they startfalling.''

They aren't dead. At least, most aren't.


From ArtsUnited - Ft. Lauderdale

Call for Artists for ArtExplosion 2008

ArtsUnited, a nonprofit gay and lesbian arts organization, is acceptingapplications for visual and performing artists as well as published authorsfor its annual arts festival ArtExplosion 2008. The visual art exhibit willbe on display at ArtServe, 1350 East Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale fromFebruary 11 through 29, 2008. The Artists' Reception will be on Saturday,February 16 from 6 to 9 PM.

This is a mixed media, juried exhibit, and artists need not be a member ofArtsUnited to participate. During the opening reception, published authorsare invited to present and sell their books. In addition, performanceartists will entertain the guests throughout the evening. Applications forvisual and performance artists and authors are available at ArtServe andStonewall Library and Archives, 1717 N. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, oronline at

Start the year off right. Easy ways to stay in shape in the new year.


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