08.09.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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“Guys in Orlando suck!” “The gay community in Orlando is so transient.” I heard these phrases way too often in the early 2000s, but I never bought into that way of thinking.

I moved to Central Florida in 1986. This was back in the days when the 408 was just two lanes each way, The Winter Park Village was an enclosed Mall and Ronnie’s was serving the Mogambo Extravaganza (a sixth grade ice cream lover’s dream dessert). I didn’t know it at the time, but I was on track to meet some amazing people with incredible stories to tell, and who would disprove the notion that Orlando was not a strong LGBTQ community.

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Groups form in the wake of Pulse to better explain, correct our problem with mass violence

By : Billy Manes
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There have been numerous efforts to make sense – and sociological advancement – following the attack at Pulse Orlando on June 12.

Look around you. There are murals everywhere, scenes of righteous indignations, ribbon-makers delivering rainbows to celebrities, candlelight tributes, attempts to curb the seeming necessity to take those out with whom you do not agree. Orlando is America’s tipping point on both the LGBTQ and gun-violence fronts, and many of those who are most affected are seeking change to make things better. You can say “intersectionality” in terms of protest all you want, but here, now, it is manifest. These are but a few of the bright spots to come from that dark night. Orlando is coming together; you can help.

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In the wake of the Pulse massacre last summer, millions of dollars rolled in to help the survivors. But where has the money gone?

By : Alma J. Hill
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Every Friday night, for the past 13 years, Josean Garcia had gone out with the same two friends. Garcia, Amanda Alvear and Mercedez Flores had been inseparable since they bonded in middle school. On June 12, after some coordinating, the three made their way to Pulse Nightclub.

They bought a few drinks. Alvarez danced on camera for her Snapchat story, and filmed partygoers early in the night. In her haunting final clip, gunshots rang out, cutting through the music. She mutters lowly, the word “shooting” audible in the chaos. She bites her thumb searching, fumbles, and the feed cuts out.

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Legacy Fulfilled: Libby’s Legacy founder Robin Maynard does not give up

By : Billy Manes
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Sometimes tragedy and fate land us in different places than expected. In the case of Libby’s Legacy founder Robin Maynard – no stranger to tragedy, as she’s been an EMT and worked in forensics for Orange County – the tragedy was as personal as it could be.

“In 2005, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer,” she says, recalling assurances by doctors that her mother’s treatment would progress easily. “So, I thought, ‘Here we go … everything’s going to be OK.”

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Orlando’s Overheard: Billboards, heroes and Pepe plays ball

By : Anonymous
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Billboard of love

Based on a rumor that a North Carolina “Gays for Trump” group was looking to purchase billboard space near/around Pulse, organizer Michael Vacirca created a GoFundMe account hoping to raise $15,000 to buy the Clear Channel space before the group was able to do so.

Although the pro-Trump group didn’t succeed in buying the ad space, the Billboards for Love group has been able to use nearly $12k raised to buy this space. Bringing back memories of so many businesses like Clear Channel that had “Orlando Strong” rainbow colored ads on their digital billboard soon after the Pulse attack, some of which still remain.

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“Angels at the Abbey” event tonight memorializes three months since Pulse tragedy

By : Billy Manes
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Everything’s a little glum around Orlando today, and there’s a reason for that. It’s been three months since a shooter took 49 lives at Pulse Orlando and harmed 53 others. As a sort of grieving mile marker, the Abbey in Thornton Park is holding an event that promises to lift spirits and, likely, draw tears.

Pulse owner Barbara Poma is expected to be there, as is the Orlando Gay Chorus. Evin (“Angels: A Song to Orlando”) will perform followed by Brandon Parsons (“49 Times”). Information about the Angels at the Abbey fundraiser for Pulse of Orlando can be found below.

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Continuing Pulse resources divided by group

By : Anna M. Johnson
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The tragedy at Pulse continues to take a toll on families, friends and the community as a whole, but there is help and there are resources available.

Watermark has set-up a list of where you can go based on who you are and what your needs are.

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