The Last Page: Brianna Rockmore

By : Rick Claggett
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To run a regional, niche newspaper you need to have a passion for the community you serve and a passion for how your newspaper is connected to that community. You can only hope that those who work with you share your enthusiasm. With Brianna Rockmore, Watermark won the employee lottery.

I usually write a narrative on this page after submitting questions to each employee, but I was so impressed with what Brianna had to say that I decided to use her words to show you who she is. As a self-described goofy class clown, Brianna sees things in a positive and funny way, using comedy to bring people out of despair and into a “full of life kind of way.” This is Brianna Rockmore!

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The Village Voice stops print edition, goes digital only

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – The Village Voice, the alternative weekly newspaper that has been a mainstay on the city’s street corners for decades, is going digital only and will no longer appear in print.

Owner Peter Barbey announced the change Aug. 22. He said the newspaper, founded in 1955 by a group of writers including novelist Norman Mailer, “has been a beacon for progress and a literal voice for thousands of people whose identities, opinions and ideas might otherwise have been unheard.”

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2 men face charges in explosion of LGBT newspaper box

By : Wire Report
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SALEM, Mass. (AP) – Two men from New Hampshire will be charged in the explosion of a news box for an LGBT newspaper in Massachusetts.

The Salem News reports that 23-year-old John Richard of Holliston, New Hampshire, and 20-year-old Lawrence Gilman of Milford, New Hampshire, have been summoned to Salem District Court on Oct. 21 facing charges related to property damage and placing an incendiary device.

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Police investigating explosion of LGBT newspaper box in Massachusetts

By : Wire Report
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SALEM, Mass. (AP) – Police in Salem are investigating the detonation of an explosive placed inside a news box for an LGBT newspaper as a possible hate crime.

The explosion of the Rainbow Times box along the Essex Street mall was reported Aug. 23. Police say it shook the downtown area and was heard up to a mile away.

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New documentary sheds light on clothing industry for transgender people

By : Wire Report
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Park City, Utah (AP) – Derek needed a suit for his wedding. Aiden needed something for his bar mitzvah. Everett wanted a sharp interview outfit.

All three found their fit at Bindle & Keep, a custom clothier that specializes in dressing people across the gender spectrum. The New York-based company and its clients are the subject of “Suited,” a documentary premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.

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Founder’s Day: Redefining my arc

By : Tom Dyer
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Tom Dyer Watermark gay

Tom Dyer

I decided to sell Watermark to our talented publisher, Rick Claggett, some time ago. In fact, I considered timing the transition to coincide with our 20th anniversary celebration last fall. But I wasn’t ready.

Last week I finally shared my plans with Watermark’s staff, just before the lunch break at our year-end retreat. I’d been contemplating the details for months,so my emotional reaction was a surprise. The shocked look on their faces illuminated something I had avoided: that a remarkable chapter of my life was ending. Along with some staff members, I shed a few tears.

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Ex-Navy SEAL alleges anti-gay bullying by CIA workers

By : Wire Report
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SAN DIEGO, California — A former Navy SEAL has filed an internal complaint alleging the CIA bullied him for being gay during a work assignment in June in Afghanistan.

Brett Jones said he filed the complaint last week against the federal agency, saying he was forced to endure homophobic slurs and other inappropriate comments in Afghanistan as a group of contractors and civil servants in the CIA’s Global Response Staff watched news of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

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WORDS TO LIVE BY: Pride

By : Rick Claggett
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Rick Claggett

Rick Claggett

The word “pride” has been everywhere lately. It started this month with Gay Days Weekend/One Magical Weekend, then came the Supreme Court decision declaring same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional, and finally St. Pete Pride rounded out the month.

Pride, though, is a yearlong event here at Watermark. It begins in March with the newly resurrected Tampa Pride and ends late October with Volusia County Pride. Along the way we make stops in St. Pete, Orlando, Sarasota, Volusia County and Polk County.

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Russian lawmaker sees Apple’s U2 album as gay ‘propaganda’

By : Wire Report
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MOSCOW (AP) – A member of Russia’s parliament has asked prosecutors to determine whether Apple violated Russia’s ban on gay “propaganda” when it delivered U2’s latest album to a half-billion iTunes users for free last year.

Izvestia, a newspaper loyal to the Kremlin, reported April 29 that it has a copy of Alexander Starovoitov’s appeal to prosecutors in which he says the cover of the album Songs of Innocence shows two men “in a display of non-traditional sexual relations.”

In fact, the cover shows the band’s drummer embracing his 18-year-old son, both of them shirtless.

It is not yet clear whether prosecutors will open an investigation.

Some of those in Russia who ridiculed Starovoitov’s appeal drew a comparison to the time in 2006 when President Vladimir Putin kissed a small boy’s bare stomach.

LGBT-rights group urges Guam governor to allow gay marriage

By : Wire Report
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HAGATNA, Guam (AP) – The nation’s largest gay rights organization and Guam’s biggest newspaper are blasting the territory’s governor for not allowing marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples.

Guam’s attorney general on April 15 said government officials should begin issuing licenses after a lesbian couple filed a federal lawsuit because they were denied a marriage application. But state officials, backed by the governor, refused the attorney general’s directive because it wasn’t a binding legal opinion. Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo said lawmakers or the public could change the law to allow same-sex marriage, if that was their will.

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2.26.15 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshot_137x185To my 14 year old niece:

The same year you were born, 2000, I decided to leave my Midwest home state and move to Florida.

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Republican PA lawmaker comes out

By : Wire Report
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A state lawmaker from central Pennsylvania has come out as gay in an interview with his local newspaper.

Republican Rep. Mike Fleck, 39, told The Daily News of Huntingdon County that his personal journey has been a long and difficult process.

Fleck won his House seat in 2006 and ran unopposed for a fourth term in the Nov. 6 election. He represents a district that includes rural Appalachian and Amish communities, located between the cities of Altoona and State College.

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