3.22.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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The first person I ever came out to was a complete stranger. It was surprisingly easy. The journey to get to that moment was not easy, nor the mountains I would have to climb after; but coming out to a stranger wasn’t difficult. It was freeing and desperate.

It was the early 1990s and he was a mentor with the Delta Youth Alliance, now the Orlando Youth Alliance. At the time, it was the only resource for gay youth to meet and support each other and it remains a vital component of the community today. My involvement with the group gave me the courage to come out to my high school best friend. That was difficult because it was someone close to me. It was a bigger gamble as there was more riding on her reaction than that of the stranger.

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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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St. Pete mayor gives State of the City speech at The Palladium

By : jeremy williams
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St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman spoke of change and progress at the State of the City address at The Palladium Jan. 23.

“The state of St. Petersburg is strong and sunny,” Kriseman said reading a list of words posted to the city’s Facebook and Twitter accounts by people describing the city, even managing to get another dig at presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

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St. Petersburg mayor bans Donald Trump in tweet

By : Jeremy Williams
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St. Petersburg is usually a city that is accepting of anyone who wishes to visit its beautiful beaches and enjoy its diverse culture, but according to Mayor Rick Kriseman, there is one person who is not welcome.

Kriseman tweeted Dec. 7, “I am hereby barring Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps.”

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Tampa is tops

By : Anonymous
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Glenn Beck thinks St. Pete is just sinful
Glenn Beck, the conservative “Chicken Little” doomsdayer, has released a list of the 15 cities he finds to be the least religious in America, and our very own St. Petersburg made the list, coming in at number six. Beck ran down the list on his radio show and posted it up on his website Aug. 11, saying, “These are the cities to avoid like the plague. And if you look at that list, these are the cities that are already having trouble. We haven’t even hit the road bump.” Beck does not offer up the criteria of how he came up with the list. One can only assume it was some divine presence (Cheney can you hear me?). Still, not everyone saw being Beck-listed as a negative. After the list was released, St. Pete mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted, “Woke up, sun shining, & @glennbeck lumping #StPete in w/ Portland-San Fran-Seattle-Denver-Phoenix as cities to avoid. An honor! #ThanksGlenn.”

A picture worth a thousand spaces
One of the things that can make living in the concrete jungle of a big city a bit dreary is the colorless sides of skyscrapers, high rises and parking garages, but the city of Tampa is looking to spruce things up by having the outside of the William F. Poe Parking Garage in downtown painted. The city has recruited the artistic skills of muralists Leon “Tes One” Bedore and Ales “Bask” Hostomsky to paint images along the outside of the garage. The images will be large enough so that travelers along Interstate 275 will be able to see them. The art project will begin this October and should take about eight weeks to complete. Hostomsky told the Tampa Bay Times that he and Bedore have known each other since they were teenagers and are still refining the details of the mural. The theme for the work is “Stay Curious” and will incorporate many of the cultural landmarks in the area. The mural will cost the city $100,000 and will come from the budget for public art.

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Glenn Beck names St. Petersburg in a list of the least religious cities

By : Jeremy Williams
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GlennBeckGlenn Beck, the conservative “Chicken Little” doomsdayer, has released a list of the 15 cities he finds to be the least religious in America and our very own St. Petersburg made the list.

St. Pete comes in at number six, right behind liberal left leaning cities Portland (really, Portland is the most Godless city in America?), San Francisco (shout out to the gays), Seattle and Denver (the puff-puff-pass cities) and Phoenix (cause it wouldn’t be a Glenn Beck list without including a city with a large Hispanic population).

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LGBT Welcome Center to finish renovating kitchen as MLK Day project

By : Staff Report
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St. Petersburg – The LGBT Welcome Center will celebrate MLK Day of Service by putting the finishing touches on its newly renovated kitchen. Wells Fargo volunteers will help complete the kitchen in the newly open space run by Metro Wellness and Community Centers on Monday, Jan. 19.

Volunteers will paint and help in other ways to make sure the job is completed by the end of the holiday.

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Mayor Kriseman officiates same-sex wedding inside City Hall

By : Steve Blanchard
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St. Petersburg – For the first time in the history of St. Petersburg, City Hall welcomed a same-sex couple’s wedding into its foyer.

Mayor Rick Kriseman, a longtime advocate of LGBT equality, officiated the wedding of Bob and JoJo Wallace on Jan. 6 on the steps of the interior foyer. The short service was attended by friends of the grooms, several city employees and a throng of media.

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LGBT Welcome Center Ribbon Cutting

By : Steve Blanchard
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It’s official, the new LGBT Welcome Center is open for business along St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District.

Metro Wellness and Community Center celebrated the grand opening of the center with a ribbon cutting on Dec. 12.

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Mayor Buddy Dyer: An Ally of Orlando

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Orlando – Since 2003, Mayor Buddy Dyer has served as the Mayor of Orlando. But even before he took office, he was an ally for the LGBT community.

“I think Orlando is one of the most diverse and inclusive cities, and from a city government level we have strived for that,” Dyer says.

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The war isn’t over: St. Petersburg “Rocks It Red” for World AIDS Day

By : Greg Stemm
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St. Petersburg – About 100 prominent St. Petersburg residents and volunteers gathered at the LGBT Welcome Center on Central Avenue Dec. 1 for a candlelight vigil and reception commemorating the 25th Anniversary of World AIDS Day.

The vigil was the final event in an art installation which created a mile and a half long virtual red ribbon on Central Avenue by wrapping 173 trees in red cloth. The installation featured an opportunity for visitors to write messages of remembrance and inspiration for those touched by the epidemic.

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St. Pete earns first perfect score on HRC’s 2014 municipal equality index

By : Staff Report
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St. Petersburg – For the first time, St. Petersburg outranked the City of Tampa on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index. St. Petersburg earned a 100% rating, up more than 50 points from a year ago. Tampa earned a respectable 97%.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman told Watermark over the summer that one of his goals was to boost St. Petersburg’s ranking on the annual index, which consistently ranked St. Petersburg low in previous years. Tampa has had consistently higher rankings even before Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn took office. His predecessor, Mayor
Pam Iorio, was an advocate for LGBT rights and pushed for domestic partnership benefits for city employees in the early 2000s.

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