Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Brooke Renney

By : Jeremy Williams
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Age: 27

Hometown: Polk County, Florida

How you identify: Lesbian

What’s your sign: Scorpio

Brooke can be summed with two words: passion and politics.

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Words To Live By: Passion

By : Rick Claggett
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Rick Claggett

Rick Claggett

I would be remiss if I didn’t start this column out by thanking the Metropolitan Business Association for bestowing upon me the honor of Business Man of the Year. I have a great passion for what we do at Watermark and a great deal of love for the staff and the community we serve. It is an incredible feeling to be recognized for doing something you love to do.

I am a huge fan of events akin to the MBA’s Pride Gala and Watermark’s WAVE Awards, because they draw attention to those in the community that have a great deal of passion. Having passion for your community and channeling that passion into volunteer work or the advancement of others is what I like to call using your powers for good.

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Jonathan Tasini, Bernie Sanders author, visits Florida

By : Scottie Campbell
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Jonathan TasiniSarasota – Jonathan Tasini, author of The Essential Bernie Sanders and his Vision for America, spoke at Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center on Jan. 9. The event was one of five Florida stops with an engagement in Melbourne that evening, and three in Miami the following day. A predominantly caucasian audience of approximately 100 attended the Fogartyville event; attendees ranged from teens to senior citizens but skewed elderly, including one gentleman who turned 103 that week.

Endorsed by Sanders, Tasini’s book breaks down the presidential candidate’s policies in an easy to read format to layout talking points for supporters or introduce voters to Sanders. Tasini meticulously patchworked excerpts from Sander’s speeches and press release statements to create the slim, accessible book. He wrote the book in the 20 days following Sanders’ Presidential bid announcement in May 2015.

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Bradenton makeup artist makes boy’s dream come true, goes viral

By : Jeremy Williams
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joey killmeyer ethan bradenton makeup artistIt appears to be a faded memory now, but for a hot minute Bradenton hair and makeup artist Joey Killmeyer was going viral.

Killmeyer was visited by Ethan, an eight-year-old with dreams of being a makeup artist, and his mother. Ethan wanted to learn to do drag makeup and is a fan of makeup artist and performer Jeffree Starr, according to Killmeyer’s now deleted Facebook page.

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The sound of silence: Orlando Philharmonic’s David Schillhammer takes his bow

By : Billy Manes
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There’s a rhythm to exiting Orlando Philharmonic executive director David Schillhammer’s seemingly nervous (but ultimately correct) conversational chorus. For more than a decade, Schillhammer has seen the Phil grow from next-to-nothing to ultimately becoming the most viable of Orlando’s cultural operations. Last year, the Phil made a bold move and transferred its operations to the Plaza Live on Bumby Avenue, eschewing expectations entirely (the Phil was supposed to have a home in the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, per publicly available documents explaining the center’s mission). This year, Schillhammer has decided to step down – not because of organizational chaos; just the opposite, really.

“It was time for me to, sorry to use the phrase, ‘Exit stage right,’ and to make room for the next voice,” he says. “And I’ve decided that there’s no shame in this. Though I am sad every minute, and I could cry at the drop of a hat, or with every email I receive from a patron or a volunteer, it doesn’t change my decision or my pride in what we’ve accomplished. And it certainly doesn’t change my unwavering love of the Orlando Philharmonic.”

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NBA referee Bill Kennedy comes out after player’s slur

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – Veteran NBA referee Bill Kennedy has told Yahoo Sports he is gay after Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo directed a gay slur at him during a game.

Kennedy tells Yahoo he is “proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man,” adding that he chose to come out in hopes of sending a message “that you must allow no one to make you feel ashamed of who you are.”

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SMART Ride 2015 raises nearly $1 million for HIV/AIDS organizations

By : Ciara Varone
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Miami – 383 bicyclists from 24 states and one from Ottawa, Canada pedaled 165 miles from Miami to Key West Nov. 13 and 14 for The SMART Ride, the annual Southern Most AIDS/HIV Ride, raising almost $1 million for those affected by HIV and AIDS. Now in its 12th year, the event has collected over $7.3 million total, donating every cent of that to the cause.

“That gives me goosebumps, just knowing that what we do is unique and that we attract so many different people from so many different places,” says Glen Weinzimer, The SMART Ride’s founder, adding that as of press time, he’s still receiving donations from the 2015 event.

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Man charged in murder of India Clarke a “person of interest” in another Tampa killing

By : Jeremy Williams
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Tampa – The 18-year-old under arrest for the murder of India Clarke, a transgender woman whose body was found July 21 in a Tampa community center playground, is named as a “person of interest” in another Bay area murder.

The body of Tyrone Sean Davis, 46, was found July 26 in Tampa’s Temple Crest Park. While many details have not yet been released, the Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Davis’ death is being investigated as a homicide.

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Funky Monkey is coming to a close

By : Gina Avile
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Orlando | Every road must come to an end. After eight fabulous years Funky Monkey on Mills, the first restaurant in Orlando to feature dinner and drag shows, will be closing its doors June 28.

“We’ve decided to focus all our energy at our Pointe Orlando location,” said Eddie Nickell, who owns Funky Monkey with his husband Nicholas Olivieri. “It’s more than bittersweet, it’s sad. We’ve made so many memories here.”

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Cross-dressing singer wins hearts in Bosnia

By : Wire Report
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SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) – That night, Bozo Vreco risked everything.

After seducing the audience with his crystal clear voice, Vreco disappeared from the stage and returned moments later to continue his concert, dressed as a woman.

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Inaya Day talks her musical journey, her favorite Pride memories and the upcoming Tampa Pride

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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She was surrounded by music growing up, mostly classical and chorale music from a young age. Now she spends most of her days laying down beats, collaborating with other DJs and writing songs for house music that fans all over the world enjoy.

But on Saturday, March 28, Inaya Day will be the headliner at Tampa Pride in Ybor City. Day,who has been involved in music since she was 12, talks about her musical journey, her experience with Pride across the country and what fans can expect in Tampa.

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Ally Agenda: Pam Bondi is not a whore.

By : Jamie Hyman
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Jamie Hyman

Every time WatermarkOnline.com posts a story about Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s defense of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, readers sprint to their keyboards and anxiously pound out the same brand of sexist insults, over and over.

This is a problem. This is the kind of dangerous problem that can kill progress, and the LGBT community needs to address it immediately.

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