Widow of Pulse gunman acquitted

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A jury on Friday acquitted Noor Salman of charges that she helped her husband carry out the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Federal prosecutors charged Salman with obstruction of justice and providing material support to a foreign terrorism organization in connection with the June 12, 2016, shooting that left 49 people dead and 53 others injured. Salman’s trial began earlier this month at a federal courthouse in downtown Orlando that is roughly two miles from the Pulse nightclub.

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Pulse gunman’s father was FBI informant

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The father of the gunman who killed 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub had been an FBI informant for more than a decade.

The Orlando Sentinel on Monday reported attorneys for the gunman’s widow, Noor Salman, disclosed in testimony and court filings that Seddique Mateen was an informant at “various points” between January 2015 and June 2016.

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Officials: Shooter’s widow knew he would do ‘something bad’

By : wire report
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Investigators say the widow of the man who killed dozens of people at a gay nightclub in Florida knew her husband “was going to do something bad” before the attack.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that a statement written by an FBI agent and signed by Noor Salman says that she was in denial that her husband, Omar Mateen, could hurt other people when he left their home with guns and ammunition.

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Parliament House to sell off part of their land to pay debts

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Don Granatstein and Susan Unger, owners of the world famous Parliament House, will sell off five acres of land to settle unresolved debt that has hounded them for more than a decade, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Granatstein and Unger are selling the five acres to Lion Financial, a Miami firm co-owned by Ron Simkins and brother Michael Simkins.

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Orlando officer who responded to Pulse massacre to get early retirement

By : Wire Report
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – A city pension board has granted early-retirement benefits to an Orlando police officer who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after he responded to the shooting massacre at Pulse.

The Orlando Police Pension Board granted the benefits to 37-year-old Officer Gerry Realin July 13 after a hearing.

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FBI returns items taken during Pulse shooting investigation

By : Wire Report
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – The FBI is returning items to survivors and the families of those killed six months after the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

The agency collected some 1,000 items during the investigation into the June 12 shooting that killed 49 people. The items were made available for pickup last week at an Orlando resort.

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New photo exhibit examines aftermath of Pulse shooting

By : Wire and Staff Reports
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Snap! Downtown will open a new photography exhibit Oct. 5 looking at how the community responded to the Pulse massacre.

The exhibit, titled ‘UNISON’ and opening during Come Out With Pride week, will feature photographs taken by news organizations in the days after 49 patrons were murdered at the gay nightclub.

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Lawsuits filed over possible release of Pulse shooting 911 calls

By : Alex Storer
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Two lawsuits are filed in Orange County in an attempt to clarify the potential public release of 911 calls related to the Pulse shooting.

The first lawsuit, filed by the City of Orlando June 23, asks the Orange County court to clarify how the City should proceed with the recordings of 603 calls made to 911 during the Pulse shooting and four calls between emergency services and the shooter, Omar Mateen. According to their lawsuit, which names the Associated Press as a defendant, the City hasn’t yet released the calls “out of respect for the Pulse shooting victims and their families.”

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UCF now offers PREP

By : Wire Report
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Orlando (AP) – The University of Central Florida’s health center has begun offering a drug that helps prevent an HIV-negative person from becoming infected with the virus.

The Orlando Sentinel reports UCF is joining a number of schools that are beginning to offer pre-exposure prophylaxis (PREP).

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LGBT tech hero Carlos Carbonell hailed at Sentinel’s Central Floridian of the Year gala

By : Billy Manes
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Betwixt the rain, the rush-hour traffic and a packed concert next door, the Orlando Sentinel held its first Central Floridian of the Year event on the evening of Jan. 28 at the Pegasus Ballroom within the University of Central Florida’s student union. Hosted by everybody’s favorite “aw, shucks” political columnist Scott Maxwell, and attended by all of the mucky-mucks and the editorial board members that have crossed them at one time or another (plus Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and his entourage … oh, and the amazing philanthropist Harriet Lake, who left the house for the first time in a long time despite her illness), the catered soiree was just about what you would expect it to be. We had the stuffed chicken.

What we didn’t expect, however, was the presence of LGBT tech entrepreneur Carlos Carbonell, who was shortlisted as one of the finalists for the prestigious Sentinel award. We’ve known other winners and nominees in the past, and you’re not allowed to talk about it. What happens in the paper’s mahogany boardroom STAYS in said boardroom.

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Philanthropic organizations are rallying for more LGBT donations

By : Stephen Miller
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More fundraisers are seeking LGBT funds, and not just from and for our own community.

LGBT people keep coming out, getting involved, marrying and mainstreaming –growing more acceptable in the larger society. Because of this, many fundraisers are reaching out with targeted marketing. It’s a significant shift from once quietly refusing LGBT donations or disregarding us to ones that now actively court our community.

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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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