Belize: LGBTQ Adventure in the Jungle

By : Aaron Drake
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“Jump in!” one of the tour guides shouted when it was my turn to immerse myself in the crystal clear, freezing cold stream leading into the mouth of the cave. The cave was Actun Tunichil Muknal—better known as ATM by the locals—one of the natural cave systems in Belize that was used by the Mayan civilization for rituals and ceremonies.

It was like something straight out of an “Indiana Jones” movie; after being outfitted with a helmet, headlamp and life vest, we set off on a 45-minute hike through the jungle, crossing three shallow waterways before we literally jumped in. Once inside the cave it got very dark and was a vigorous workout to climb over and through rocks, occasionally stopping to admire the stalagmites and stalactites that had formed over thousands of years.

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The Last Page with Senior Account Manager Russ Martin

By : Rick Claggett
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“I have newspaper in my blood and have worked in the industry for nearly 20 years,” says Russ Martin.

Russ began working for Watermark as a part time account manager in March of 2018. Within a few months Russ, and Watermark, realized the demands of managing marketing accounts were not conducive with a part-time schedule. Russ informed Watermark that his then current schedule would not allow him the time he needed to perform his tasks to the best of his ability, and he tendered his resignation.

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The Last Page with Creative Assistant/Photographer Dylan Todd

By : Rick Claggett
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Dylan Todd has been Watermark’s Creative Assistant and Photographer for nearly three-quarters of a year, but his quest to join Watermark’s staff began well before that.

In 2015, Dylan was impressed with the quality and community nature of Watermark and wanted to be a part of that mission. He logged onto WatermarkOnline.com and emailed the domain asking how his photography services could be used in the newspaper. He then posted the same inquiry on Facebook. At the time, a position was not open.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: William Taylor Bulloch and Rafael Torres

By : Aaron Drake
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William Taylor Bulloch and Rafael Torres went on their first date to Urban Wetlands at Greenwood Park.

“It was supposed to be just a lunch date and it turned into a whole afternoon thing,” Taylor says. 

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University of Kansas expands transgender student health care

By : wire report
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) |  The University of Kansas is expanding care for transgender students at its health center so students no longer have to leave campus to seek hormone therapy.

Transgender students will now be able to start and continue hormone therapy through the university’s student health center, Watkins Health Services, the Kansas City Star reported.

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Weeks after 2030 HIV pledge, report shows US headway stalled

By : wire report
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NEW YORK (AP) | Three weeks after President Donald Trump announced a campaign to end the U.S. HIV epidemic by 2030, new government data show that progress against the disease stalled recently.

After declining for several years, the estimated number of new HIV infections held about steady from 2013 to 2016, the latest available data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Feb. 27.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Stephen Hawk and Jonathan Soots

By : Aaron Drake
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Dr. Stephen Hawk and Jonathan Soots first met in 2014 how many people tend to connect these days: online. The pair finally met in person in February 2015 at a house party.

“We first met at a mutual friend’s housewarming,” Soots says. “Our first real date was after our friend Eddie Sotomayor’s funeral.” The couple explained their mutual friend passed away during the Pulse tragedy in Orlando. Seeing each other again opened the door to them spending more time together after they attended the funeral. Then they made things official in July 2016.

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The season of love is back, and so are we with 10 of Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s Most Eligible Singles

By : Watermark Staff
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“I’m in the mood for love simply because you’re near me. Funny, but when you’re near me, I’m in the mood for love.”  Those opening lyrics to “I’m in the Mood for Love” were written by lyricist Dorothy Fields more than 80 years ago, but they are arguably the best description of love’s holiday, Valentine’s Day.

Like joy with Christmas and food with Thanksgiving, love is elevated during Valentine’s Day. That is why we here at Watermark started last year what has now become an annual tradition: presenting Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s 10 most eligible singles for the year.

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Tampa Bay: DeLaran Withers

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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AGE: 49

HOMETOWN: Fort Myers, Fla.

IDENTIFIES AS: “DeLaran. I love who I love.”

PRONOUNS: She/Her/Hers

SIGN: Aries

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Gadiel Vasquez

By : Meghan Sweeney
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AGE: 24

HOMETOWN: Catalina, Puerto Rico

IDENTIFIES AS: Non-binary

PRONOUNS: Responds to everything

SIGN: Capricorn

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Nate West

By : Jeremy Williams
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AGE: 38

HOMETOWN: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

IDENTIFIES AS: Gay

PRONOUNS: He/ him/ his

SIGN: Aries

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Blue Star

By : Jeremy Williams
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AGE: 44

HOMWTOWN: Marietta, Ga.

IDENTIFIES AS: “Me, just me.”

PRONOUNS: “Me.”

SIGN: Aquarius

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