Community banker Barclay Harless kicks off campaign for St. Petersburg City Council

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST PETERSBURG – Barclay Harless, civic leader and local community banker, kicked off his campaign Jan. 31 as he runs for District 2 of St. Petersburg City Council.

Harless gathered with supporters at Ricky P’s Creole Kitchen in St. Petersburg to lay out his plan for the city should he be elected.

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Council Chair Darden Rice announces she’ll undergoing breast cancer treatment

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST. PETERSBURG –St. Petersburg Council Chair Darden Rice announced in a press release Jan. 30 that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I’ve always championed transparency and have been straightforward with my friends, family, colleagues, and constituents. You have placed your trust in me – for that reason I am disclosing a deeply personal issue in my life: I have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer,” Rice begins in her press release.

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METRO Health brings history and fun to LGBTQ youth

By : Alexis Vilaboy
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ST. PETERSBURG – LGBTQ teens and supporters are invited to sleep in and attend METRO Health’s third annual LGBTQ+ Youth Leadership Summit on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. at its headquarters in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The one-day event focused on developing youth will begin with workshops, the topics of which were requested by METRO’s youth group participants, and end with dinner and a social dance.

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Community AIDS Network to honor National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By : Krista Di Tucci
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SARASOTA – Mikey Lamb, Community AIDS Network’s (CAN) Prevention Specialist, says last year’s national statistics show the highest cases of HIV/AIDS are among black men who have sex with men. Furthermore, he says men who have sex with men but don’t identify as gay are 50 percent more likely to contract HIV/AIDS in their lifetime. The second highest HIV/AIDS cases are among black heterosexual women.

“I think a lot of it boils down to people of colors’ lack of resources, as well as culture and geographic setting,” Lamb says. “Being a man that sleeps with another man is not generally accepted well in a black household.”

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2017 Watermark WAVE Awards – WAVES FINALIST ROUND

By : Watermark Staff
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Watermark spent the last week sorting through and counting every ballot, and here it is – the FINAL round for the 2017 Watermark WAVE Awards!

Below are links to the FINALISTS for Central Florida and Tampa Bay/Sarasota.

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Women, minorities and the LGBTQ community march in St. Petersburg and Orlando for equality

By : Felicia Roopchand
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Groups in St. Petersburg and Orlando participated in the Women’s March that took place across the nation, and world, on Jan. 21.

The marches began with inspiring speeches which were followed by huge crowds marching for equality. Many brought signs, both witty and smart: a majority in protest of the new President of the United States and his proposed policies.

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Downtown, down funds: St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman pulls city funding from St. Pete Pride after relocation announcement

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST. PETERSBURG -The St. Pete Pride board officially voted to relocate the Pride parade and festival from the Grand Central District to Vinoy Park downtown Jan. 17.

The board vote, which was unanimous with one abstention, was met with a wave of resistance on social media from Grand Central business owners and members of the community; however one criticism is leaving a deeper sting, that of St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman.

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Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber’s Diamond Awards were the night’s best friend

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST. PETERSBURG – The Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce’s Diamonds in Diversity continues to shine brighter with each year as the annual awards gala took over the Hilton Bayfront in St. Petersburg Jan. 21.

Hosts Miguel Fuller and Holly O’Connor of HOT 101.5’s “Miguel & Holly Show” kept the show on pace, and the powerhouse vocals of Jennifer Real kept the show in tune, along with musicians Nathan L. Mitchell and Jonathan Thomas, as the elite of Tampa Bay was dressed to the nines.

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St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman threatens to remove funding for St. Pete Pride when it moves to downtown waterfront

By : Billy Manes
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There are many grumbles coming out of the St. Petersburg Pride camp following the announcement of the relocation of the popular event to a waterfront route. According to the Tampa Bay Times, which broke the story on Wednesday after Kriseman posted a missive to his Facebook page –  the parade stands to lose $45,000.

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Florida dispensaries aim to ‘normalize’ medical marijuana

By : Wire Report
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Vials of cannabis-laced sprays, lotions and tinctures line display shelves a few steps from handbags specially designed to tote marijuana products.

A stylish kitchenette and table is on the opposite side of this Surterra Wellness Center medical marijuana showroom, space used to host educational sessions on the merits of the drug — something legal only under very strict circumstances in Florida until Amendment 2 took effect last week.

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Planned Parenthood lists resources for marches this weekend

By : Billy Manes
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There’s nothing clever to be said here beyond the resonating jokes about the president-elect and the Alec Baldwin impersonations on SNL that make us feel like we’re laughing while crying. BUT! BUT! BUT! Not giving up is part of life, and we can’t really give up on minority rights, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights, can we?

To that end, there are some fairly well publicized marches in the works for the Trump inaugural weekend. Below, after the jump, you can find ways to get involved. This info comes from Planned Parenthood, which stands to lose any federal funding if the incoming administration has its way. There are events in most of our readership areas, as well, of course, in Washington, D.C. Know what you can do, where you should be and how you should act in the face of adversity. This isn’t just a march for women, it’s a march for all of us. Hold tight. We’ll get through this.

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Better Together: Sarasota’s LGBTQ community unites for Sarasota OUT

By : Krista DiTucci
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People in the Sarasota area looking for LGBT-friendly resources now have a one-stop shop for their needs thanks to Sarasota OUT, Sarasota’s new LGBT directory of events and businesses.
“I think Sarasota OUT could be the driving force to help make the LGBT community come together,” Sarasota OUT manager Josh Beadle says.
Beadle says he and Al Ferguson, owner of Al and Chuck Travel, have discussed the issue of unification within the Sarasota LGBTQ community. Beadle says he and Ferguson noticed that several LGBT organizations were going in separate directions and no one was coming together to support each other.
“I wanted to give us the one place to go to see what’s going on in Sarasota,” Beadle says. “And Al (Ferguson) lit the candle under my ass to do that.”

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