Friday, February 13, 2009

FLORIDA DIGEST - February 13, 2009

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Wilton Manors: Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum to speak at
Congregation Etz Chaim on March 13
Congregation Etz Chaim (CEC), Wilton Manor's only synagogue and Florida's only synagogue with a special outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews, welcomes Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum to speak at its regular, 8:30 p.m. Shabbat service on Friday, March 13. Since 1992, Rabbi Kleinbaum has been the Senior Rabbi of New York City's Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (CBST), the world's largest LGBT synagogue. Under her leadership, CBST has become an important voice in Judaism and in the movement for LGBT rights. Perhaps the best-known LGBT Rabbi in the world, Rabbi Kleinbaum was named one of the USA's 50 most influential rabbis by Newsweek magazine. Rabbi Kleinbaum will deliver the weekly drash (Torah commentary) at CEC's March 13 service. Congregation Etz Chaim, which is currently celebrating its 35th Anniversary, is located at 1881 N.E. 26 Street, Suite 101, in Wilton Manors. In addition to its 8:30 p.m., Friday night services, CEC offers a variety of religious, educational and social programs along with its Sisterhood and Men's Club. For more information contact CEC at (954) 564-9232 or


Go to the links for the following articles:

-Budget is top priority for incoming Fort Lauderdale mayor
By Brittany Wallman
Jack Seiler hadn't been mayor-elect for even a few hours when he was asked to make his first decision: What color did he want the walls in his new office painted? Mayor Jim Naugle said he asked the incoming mayor that question Tuesday night, just after Seiler declared victory in a four-man race for the seat. Seiler wasn't all that concerned about his wall color at the time. Seiler's next decision was what kind of beer to order (Foster's).,0,234801.story

-American Orchid Society west of Delray Beach closing to public
By Maria Herrera
Orchids are rare, flowering plants of extraordinary beauty that randomly bloom - which only adds to their mystique. Soon South Florida orchid lovers, collectors and the plain curious will have one less place to admire them.,0,5282325.story

-Stimulus package: So what's in it for us?
Plan aims to help Floridians who are hurting the most
By William E. Gibson
For the people of Florida, hit by rising unemployment and foreclosure rates, the economic stimulus bill promises to save or create 206,000 jobs, give tax breaks to workers and send checks to retirees.,0,5185470.story

SAVE THE DATE: Community Rally for Public Education
Thursday, Februay 26 - 4:30pm
Broward County Councy for PTAs and Floridians for Quality Education
K.C. Wright Building - Broward School Board Building
600 SE 3rd Ave Ft. Lauderdale
All community members and business groups are invited to join this effort.
Contact Shelly Heller - 954-557-7760

Progress Florida
So far 2,380 Floridians have signed our letter to Florida Senate President Jeff Atwater urging him to balance the budget by generating revenues, NOT cutting education and critical health and social services. That letter will be hand delivered before the upcoming legislative session, but first we need to add as many signatures as possible.Click here to sign on to the letter and help protect our public schools and our state's most vulnerable.

Fort Report
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Florida Senate poll shows Crist annihilating field
By Aaron Blake
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) looms hugely over his state's open Senate race, holding 2-to-1 leads over all Democrats interested in the race, according to a new Strategic Vision poll. The poll finds the popular governor, who will wait until after Florida's legislative session to make his plans known, leading Democratic Reps. Ron Klein and Kendrick Meek by 34 points each.

-Sales tax changes may prove tough
Floridians could pay more for bottled water, eyeglasses, Super Bowl tickets and other items if lawmakers decide to remove some of the 239 sales tax exemptions to help shore up a third consecutive year of budget shortfalls.

-Gov. Charlie Crist takes heat from Republicans for supporting stimulus package
By Adam C. Smith, Times Political Editor
Charlie Crist: statesman or sellout? Democrats may be lavishing praise on Florida's Republican governor for enthusiastically supporting the Democrats' economic stimulus package, but Republicans are questioning whether Crist damaged his future in national politics.

-Bill would enforce Internet sales tax collection
A first-term Democrat in the House teamed up with a senior Senate Republican Thursday in front of a diverse coalition hoping to add more than $2 billion to Florida's depleted treasury by collecting sales tax on Internet transactions.

-Rise in mail-in ballots is changing campaign strategies in Pinellas County
By Will Van Sant, Times Staff Writer
More voters than ever are using mail ballots, forcing candidates in the upcoming March municipal elections to confront a new political dynamic.

-Florida's second banana slips up
By Daniel Ruth,
If there is a bigger do-nothing job that comes with a government check, aside from being Prince Charles, it has to be wiling away the hours as Florida's lieutenant governor, a position blissfully held by Jeff Kottkamp, who has logged more frequent flier miles than the Steve Fossett.

-Broward smoker's death due to addiction
A Broward jury on Thursday found that a Cooper City chainsmoker's death was directly attributable to his addiction to cigarettes.


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