Pasco Pride adopts road formerly claimed by KKK, seeks volunteers

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Pasco Pride President Nina Borders (4th from L) and the Pride board attend a New Port Richey City Council meeting June 18. (Photo courtesy Nina Borders.)

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. | Pasco Pride has adopted a one-mile stretch of Moon Lake Road via Pasco County’s Adopt-a-Road program, a section previously claimed by the white supremacist hate group the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in 1993.

Pasco Pride exists to connect, build and strengthen the LGBTQ community in and around Pasco County. Now in its second year, the organization was seeking community outreach projects to raise awareness for its mission when it discovered Keep Pasco Beautiful. The not-for-profit environmental organization promotes the county’s Adopt-a-Road program to “reduce litter, promote waste reduction and encourage beautification.”

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Metro announces grand opening for state-of-the-art health and community center

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Metro Wellness and Community Centers will welcome the public into its new, state-of-the-art health and community center during a grand opening celebration Feb. 9.

Metro currently offers personalized health and wellness services in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Clearwater and New Port Richey. The organization first began transforming its St. Petersburg location after purchasing the 47,000-square-foot building it called home in partnership with CAN Community Health in 2016. At the time, they utilized only 18,000 square feet of the campus.

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Denise Johnson: Pasco Pride and Florida Trans Proud founder

By : Chance Martinez Colon
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I think if someone were to look up the term “remarkable person” in the dictionary they would find a picture of Denise Johnson. I met Denise almost two years ago and in that short amount of time she has accomplished more than what I thought could be accomplished in a lifetime.

Denise saw a need in the Pasco County area and she worked tirelessly to fill that need. She assembled a team of people who created the Pasco LGBTQ social network. Out of that first meeting she heard from many people in the LGBTQ community that this area was in desperate need of a Pride celebration where everyone, especially those who identify as LGBTQ, could be themselves and be accepted for who they are and who they love. She quickly got busy and assembled a Pasco Pride Board of Directors and worked tirelessly with community leaders, businesses and citizens to make the first ever Pasco Pride not only happen, but make it bigger than anyone even imagined.

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09.20.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Thanks to the wonders of Facebook’s “On This Day,” a feature which allows users to grin or grimace at their social media posts from yesteryear, I recently discovered I’ve been living in Florida for 11 years.

For whatever reason, I still tell folks I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio when they ask. They tend to figure out that I’m from the North when I correctly describe Diet Coke as “pop,” but I suppose I should really start telling my Lyft drivers that I’m from St. Pete. I put too much thought into small talk, which is probably why I’m so bad at it.

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Pasco Pride holds inaugural festival, first in Pasco County

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. | Pasco Pride will make history Oct. 6 by holding its inaugural LGBTQ Pride festival at Sims Park in New Port Richey, the first in Pasco County.

“The goal of Pasco Pride is to connect, build and strengthen the LGBTQ+ community,” the organization’s mission statement reads. “We will foster communication, tolerance, education and mutual support among LGBTQ+ persons and the allied communities of Pasco County.”

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New Port Richey’s Wena’s Nightclub & Showbar permanently closes

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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New Port Richey LGBTQ hotspot Wena’s Nightclub & ShowbAR announced Aug. 12 that it would close its doors for the final time that evening.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that tonight will be the last night Wena’s is open,” the bar shared via social media. “Our appreciation goes out to each and everyone of you who has visited us during the past few months and provided your support. Come out tonight and join us for a final night of fun, festivities and a great show.”

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Unforgettable: friends remember Natasha Richards

By : Chelsea Santiago and Jeremy Williams
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TAMPA BAY – On stage, Natasha Richards demanded attention with her immaculate hair-dos, radiant costumes and flair for theatrics. She had the stage presence that kept all eyes on her.

Richards passed away Dec. 2 in her home at the age of 44. She was born in Queens, N.Y., but moved to New Port Richey, Fla., as a child, and later to Clearwater.

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?Alexis Summers? arrested in Pasco prostitution sting

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Once again Alexis Summers has found herself behind bars. The Pasco County resident, who is legally known as Raymond Bowen, was arrested during a prostitution sting on Friday, June 18.

In all, 11 people were arrested during the eight hour undercover sting by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and the New Port Richey police, authorities said. Officers made arrests by posing as customers at intersections in west Pasco.

Bowen, 34, of New Port Richey, was arrested on a felony charge of soliciting prostitution. According to a report from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Bowen entered the vehicle of an undercover officer and offered to perform oral sex for $40. The report also says that Bowen reached into the officer’s pants without consent.

It was unclear whether Bowen was dressed as a woman or a man during the arrest. Officials have charged him with prostitution on three previous occasions—most recently in January of this year. In the report, Bowen is quoted as saying another arrest would not make him stop the practice.

“I’ve been arrested for prostitution before and I’ll be out tomorrow,” Bowen is quoted as saying in the report. “I’ll keep doing it.”

The arresting officer requested that Bowen be held in lieu of the appropriate bond.

This is not the first time Bowen has appeared in Watermark for an arrest. In January 2009, Watermark reported on Bowen’s arrest for criminal mischief and burglary. In that incident Bowen, who was dressed as a woman, jumped into a truck stopped at a red light and began fondling the male driver. He reportedly told that driver that he needed “to make 20 bucks.”

When the driver attempted to call 911, Bowen allegedly took his cell phone, which resulted in the burglary charge.

At press time, Bowen was in the Pasco County Jail.