TRENDING

  • Wednesday, August 09, 2017 10:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Members of Congress are headed home for the August recess.  This is a huge opportunity for the LGBTQ community to demonstrate our strength and reach.  Now would be a great time to schedule a visit with your representative in their local office.  Find them here.

    In September things like budget, health care reform, and immigration policy will be tackled in Washington. These subjects have real-life implications for us.  It's important to let your representatives know about the issues concerning our community.  Make sure they understand that you're watching how they are voting.

    Here is a 5-part video guide and a tookit from the Indivisible Project and NextGen America on how to engage in activism over the August recess.

    Sent via ActionNetwork.org.

  • Wednesday, August 02, 2017 17:16 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Original Story with Video Clip from News-Press.com

    I am often concerned when I think about what my “world” will look like in 20 years.

    You should know that “my world,” as it is, consists of aging gay, lesbian and transgender Americans.

    I am one of many “out and proud” gay physicians in our great country. It is my vocation to help my patients age the best way they can.

    Clint PotterI am not naive, nor are most of my patients and those who love them.  Our health care system is in a state of dangerous flux when it comes to caring for a populous that will double in number to more than 7 million in 20 years  (70 million over the age of 65 total population, gay and straight and every stripe in between).

    What, then, are the most crucial issues of our greying gay population?

    We are, first and foremost, Americans, above and beyond anything else.  We are proud military veterans, we live in all counties in the U.S.; we are the teachers, laborers, judges, politicians, doctors, lawyers, farmers and just plain folk that make up the beautiful fabric of America.  

    So when my patients ask me, “Doc, what will happen to me when I get old? Where will I go, and who will look after me?” I take their hand and at the very least let them know they won’t have to go there alone.

    But before I could answer some simple questions, I realized I didn’t know half as much as I thought I did about the challenges facing older lesbian, gay and transgender persons.

    A big issue that kept screaming at me during my research was “Social Isolation.” 

    In fact, older LGBT persons are twice as likely to live alone, twice as likely to be single in old age and four times less likely to have children. 

    Many of my patients are estranged from their biological families.

    With Social Isolation comes self-neglect, depression, anxiety and a host of preventable morbidities for our elderly.  One fix would be to gravitate to housing situations that are welcoming to us.  Indeed this phenomenon is beginning to take form slowly but steadily in cities in the U.S.  

    Another important call to action should be to our clergy and church members that are of LGBT affirming denominations.

    What about housing and culturally sensitive health care?

    Will Mary and Alice, a loving lesbian couple in a 50-year relationship be able to stay together when they need to enter an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home?  Will staff even recognize their love? 

    After navigating a lifetime of discrimination, prejudice and outright hate, will my older patients be told they now have to “go back into the closet” as they become dependent on caregivers they don’t know?  

    To my fellow physicians, I say, at the very least, be aware that roughly 10 percent of your patients are gay, lesbian and/or transgender.  We don’t have to fail so miserably at addressing the needs of our older gay patients.  

    When we took that oath, yes, the one where we vowed to “do no harm,” did we pretend we could be selective about caring for one of the most vulnerable slices of our society?  I don’t think the majority of my colleagues willfully disregard his or her LGBT patients.  But how many of us ask who our patients really are?  What makes up their world and who loves and cares for them?  Who will call or stop by to check on our uniquely special patients when they become ill?

    Finally, to my patients, I say the same things I have had said for years: Please eat better foods, don’t smoke, drink less alcohol, and try to get a hobby that takes you out of your house on a regular basis.  Move more and laugh when you get the chance. 

    And, if possible, to the extent you can, live out loud, be counted. You’ve come too far to accept anything less than the best health care, housing and legal rights all Americans have come to expect.

    The times they are a changing.  

    Dr. Clint Potter, of Naples, is a veteran of LGBT medicine and a long-standing member of GLMA (Gay and Lesbian Medical Association).
  • Thursday, July 20, 2017 07:30 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The IT consulting firm expects to grow to more than 2,300 associates by 2022.

    See the informational video on News-Press.com

  • Thursday, July 20, 2017 07:02 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week the Republicans' Better Care Reconciliation Act failed due to lack of votes. Your advocacy is working, but they haven't given up on throwing millions of people off health care coverage.  The fight for our lives is not over.  A scarier and deadlier bill has come back to life.

    Republicans now plan to vote on a complete repeal of Obamacare without replacement that would leave 32 million more without health care and premiums would double! We need to stay vigilantto stop this inhumane decision that would affect thousands of LGBT people.

    Contact these wavering Senators to tell them to VOTE NO ON REPEAL.

    Senator Jeff Flake:  (202) 224-4521

    Senator Flake's Facebook

    Senator Flake's Twitter


    Senator Dean Heller:   (202) 224-6244

    Senator Heller's Facebook

    Senator Heller's Twitter


    Senator Rob Portman:  (202) 224-3353

    Senator Portman's Facebook

    Senator Portman's Twitter

    To contact all other senators call:  (202) 224-3121

  • Wednesday, July 19, 2017 22:42 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Original Story  from The River Weekly News



    Rotarians Present Leader Awards

    The Rotary Club of Fort Myers South presented its prestigious 4-Way Test Award to Arlene Goldberg and Vocational Service Leadership Award to Diana Willis at its June 26 luncheon.

    Rotary’s 4-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. The test acknowledges truth, fairness, goodwill and benefit for all concerned. It is the standard by which a Rotarian’s highest level of conduct is measured, and the criteria Rotary Club of Fort Myers South uses to award a community member every year.

    Along with many other community service activities, Goldberg is co-founder of both the Southwest Florida Harmony Chamber of Commerce and Visuality. The harmony chamber provides networking and business outreach opportunities for LGBTQ business owners, potential customers and straight allies. Visuality is a non-profit organization aimed at ending violence, harassment and discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. It provides support groups, educational panels, workshops and youth socials to reduce violence and isolation.

    Goldberg successfully fought for her and her late wife, Carol, to become the first legally married same-sex marriage in the state of Florida. In making sure that the privileges most of us take for granted are beneficial and fair to all in our community, she lives by the spirit of the 4-Way Test.

     

     The Vocational Service Leadership Award recognizes individuals who exemplify integrity and high ethical standards in their vocation and use their vocational talents to serve the community. As vice president, chief motivational officer and co-owner of Jason’s Deli of Southwest Florida, Willis operates six locations from Sarasota to Naples, employing more than 300 people.

    Over the past 16 years, Willis has assisted many nonprofits in the five counties her business serves, and is current board chair for PACE Center for Girls, Lee County. She is also the advisory board past chair for Florida Gulf Coast University’s School of Resort and Hospitality Management and serves on the Dean’s Council for the Lutgert College of Business. Willis and her team at Jason’s Deli donate thousands of dollars worth of food and beverage to numerous nonprofit organizations and the community in need every year. Her admirable vocational leadership service in the community sets the example for others and makes her the ideal recipient for this prestigious award.

  • Friday, July 14, 2017 15:28 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Original Story w/video clip on News-Press.com

    Southwest Florida International has landed new nonstop service to Germany.

    Lee County Port Authority reported Friday that Lufthansa Group airline Eurowings will begin service to Fort Myers in May 2018.

    According to the port authority:

    Eurowings will start twice weekly nonstop service from Southwest Florida International Airport to Munich Airport and a weekly flight to Cologne Bonn Airport on May 1 and May 4, 2018, respectively.

    Flights will operate on an Airbus A330 with 310 seats.

    The service will start out with a May-through-October schedule; however, that always is subject to change, said Port Authority spokeswoman Victoria Moreland.

    The international airport has enjoyed nonstop flights from Airberllin between Fort Myers and Dusseldorf for many years.

    Gaining the Eurowing flights “will strengthen the bridge between Germany and Southwest Florida," said Jeff Mulder, port authority executive director.

    "Travelers from Fort Myers will now be able to reach two extremely popular destinations in Germany more conveniently, as well as take advantage of connecting flights throughout Europe," Mulder said, adding that, "We also look forward to welcoming more European visitors to experience the natural beauty of Southwest Florida.”

    The new air service also promises to give Southwest Floridians easy access to additional communities in Germany, including connecting flights to Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna and other locations.

    Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, Executive Director Tamara Pigott called the new air service "fantastic news."

    Germany already is an important feeder market for Southwest Florida tourism and hospitality, an industry that accounts for 1 in 5 jobs in Lee and Collier counties alone.

    Last year, more than 320,000 German-origin visitors came to Lee County, "and spent more than $352 million while in our community," Pigott said.

    International guests such as the Germans are especially prized here because they stay longer and spend more than the typical domestic visitors, Pigott said.

    And, although international visitors come throughout the year, their primary vacation time falls in the summer months, when Southwest Florida gets far fewer visitors from other parts of the United States.

    Eurowings flight reservations to and from Fort Myers already are available by visiting www.eurowings.com/us.html.
    For more information about Southwest Florida International Airport, visit www.flylcpa.com  or like the airport on Facebook at www.facebook.com/flyRSW.

  • Tuesday, July 11, 2017 23:33 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Original Story with Video Clip from News-Press.com

    According to the Transportation Security Administration, Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) will be the nation's sixth-busiest spring break destination this month.

    TSA predictions based on daily checkpoint volume increases show RSW will see an 8.5 percent increase in passengers over March 2015. That means spring breakers, as well as families and business travelers, might expect longer lines at the ticket counter and security checkpoint.

    “Our dedicated officers do their absolute best to screen passengers both effectively and efficiently, with a primary focus on traveler security,” said Peter V. Neffenger, TSA administrator. “We want to ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safely, while at all times providing the highest standards of security screening possible.

    “By following a few basic common-sense tips, the security screening process can be both effective and quick. And while we never will compromise security, we will work to reduce checkpoint wait times wherever possible.”

    The No. 1 spring break airport, according to the TSA, is Orlando, followed by Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Minneapolis and Tampa.

    In 2015, RSW set a record as 8.4 million passengers made their way through the region's largest terminal. RSW offers non-stop flights to 46 airports on 12 airlines; click the link below to see which non-stop routes are available from here.

    Fort Myers Beach is Southwest Florida's spring break central, drawing thousands of college students from across the country. This week, firefighters from Cincinnati have returned to raise money for charity, and, of course, enjoy themselves in the process.

    Scenes from the Cincinnati firefighter spring break revue at the Lani Kai.

    To find out if your alma mater is among the colleges represented at Fort Myers Beach, read this story: Spring Break 2016: See who is coming to Fort Myers Beach.

    Depending on how the calendar falls, spring break usually begins in the last week of February, and can last until the start of April. The second and third weeks of March (now!) typically are the peak periods.

    Spring break comes ashore at Fort Myers Beach

    As a bonus this year, food writer Anne Reed is stopping by Fort Myers Beach for that one item on every spring breaker's list. No, not a good book to read while lounging poolside — alcohol. Check our her first installment of Spring Break Drink of the Day: Playmor Punch.



  • Friday, June 23, 2017 09:13 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The Senate version of the so-called “American Health Care Act” is headed to the floor for a vote in the coming days with little-to-no time for public input and inquiry.  Now is the time to contact your Senators to oppose this legislation-- and revisit the Affordable Care Act with an urgent call to“fix it, not end it.”

     NGLCC is encouraging bipartisan dialogue to remedy problems in the existing Affordable Care Act and not a full repeal. We’ve watched the rush to repeal and replace with dismay at the lack of concern and respect for America’s business owners, their employees, their families, and the communities that existing health care provisions cover. The most vulnerable among us-- LGBT youth and seniors, women, people with disabilities, those with pre-existing conditions, and immigrants-- could face tremendous hardships as costs skyrocket and care vanishes.

     

    How Can You Help?

    Tell Congress not to hurt LGBT health! Call 866-426-2631 to let Congress know that you support the #ACA and tell them to VOTE NO on the American Health Care Act.  #VoteNO   #ProtectOurCare

     This new bill would deny health insurance for millions of Americans and harm the ability of diverse small business owners to cover and protect their workforce.  It is imperative that our LGBT-owned businesses have affordable and customizable healthcare options. Congress should focus on promoting the wellbeing of our communities and ensuring healthcare concerns do not inhibit diverse business owners from continuing to add trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of new jobs to the economy each year.

    Many of the nation’s top healthcare organizations stand in staunch opposition to the ACHA including: AARP,  the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, and the American Hospital Association.  And yet, their voices have not stopped the Senate from rushing this bill forward.

     Prior to the ACA, a high percentage of small business owners were unable to purchase, let alone afford, adequate health insurance as the AHCA would once again cause. The inability to access insurance and necessary healthcare was pronounced by the Kaiser Foundation as a barrier to starting a small business. That barrier has now been reinforced by this call to repeal & replace the Affordable Care Act.  We need your help to urge the Senate to reconsider the AHCA and seek out methods of ensuring the health of all Americans while simultaneously promoting the health of American businesses.

     Join us in our call to STOP THE AHCA and find bipartisan, common sense solutions to healthcare by improving the existing Affordable Care Act.  

     For additional information, talking points, our support, please contact us at Advocacy@nglcc.org or  202.234.9181

     Yours in solidarity,

     Justin G. Nelson Chance Mitchell
     President & Co-Founder, NGLCC CEO & Co-Founder, NGLCC

     and Team NGLCC

  • Wednesday, June 21, 2017 21:07 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Original Story on News-Press.com

    A sea of rainbows flooded Cambier Park in Naples on Saturday afternoon.

    Rainbow flags large and small waved through the air, with some worn as capes while others were on shirts and stuck in people’s hair. There were rainbow bandanas on dogs, rainbow balloons, rainbow tutus, rainbow-colored flower leis and crowns.

    Organizers estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people of all ages gathered in the downtown park for Naples Pride, the city's first Pride festival celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning communities.

    “Today is about Naples Pride and about what all of you contribute to our community,” Naples Mayor Bill Burnett told the crowd at the start of the festival. “It is my hope it becomes an annual event for many years to come.”

    Naples Pride featured music, performances and speeches throughout the day from groups such as the Gay and Lesbian Chorus of Southwest Florida, dancers from the Southwest Florida Burlesque Alliance, and the Bambusa Babes, drag queens who regularly perform at the Bambusa Bar and Grill in Naples.

    Although the event was free, volunteers and organizers took donations to create an emergency fund that will help at-risk and in-need members of the LGBTQ community in Collier County. Michelle Hudson, a Naples Pride organizer and publisher of the LGBTQ publication Rainbow Pages, said money may help people with medical bills or pay for rent if someone is evicted.

    In the Cambier Park crowd, which grew around the stage, spilled onto sidewalks and surrounded tents of vendors, was Naples resident Greg Gorman and his husband, David Burke. Gorman held the leashes of his two dogs, McTavish and Wickliff, who wore rainbow bandannas and tiny rainbow hats.

    JUMP 0617 PRIDE FEST 03

    Boy BryBry, from left, Josh Q., and Casey Cappelen dance. "I had no sleep last night," said BryBry. "I'm just glad Naples has a chance to express their love." (Photo: Photos by Luke Franke/Naples Daily News)

    “I am excited that out of 26 years living in Naples, this is our first Pride. I think it’s awesome,” Gorman said. “I think it’s a greater reach out to our community, showing we can all live in equality and we can all live in harmony and we can all coexist.”

    Sitting on a lawn chair next to a sign that read “1 World, City, Family, Love, Heart, Pulse” was North Naples resident Jessye McPherson, 55.

    McPherson saw the message on a sign when she visited Orlando last year after the shooting at the Pulse nightclub. She brought her own sign with the message to Naples Pride to remember the victims. She began to cry as she spoke.

    “It’s taken a long time,” McPherson said about Naples Pride. “I think it’s pretty exciting to see this today.”

    Naples residents Victoria Castillo, 20, Adrianna Leon, 23, and Joshua Moses, 25, were surprised by the size of the crowd at the festival.

    “It shows we're supporting each other as human beings and not looking at everyone by gender,” Castillo said. “I think that’s really cool that we get to be a part of this.”

    “We’ve never seen this kind of acceptance in this community,” Moses said. “This is kind of surprising to me, to all of us.”

    North Naples residents and friends Kara Kouloheras, 38, and Stacey Dooney brought their daughters to Naples Pride to show them the support in the community.

    Kouloheras said when she first arrived at Cambier Park with her 9-year-old daughter, she began to tear up from seeing the crowd.

    “In big cities you may see this all the time, but we are finally seeing this in Naples,” she said. “I looked at my daughter and thought maybe there is better in the future for her.”

    JUMP 0617 PRIDE FEST 02

    Nicole Manguao, of Golden Gate, blows bubbles during the first-ever Naples Pride at Cambier Park Saturday in Naples. (Photo: Luke Franke/Naples Daily News)

    Dooney, who was taking photos of Naples Pride and sending them to her friends, said she wanted her twin 9-year-old daughters to experience the festival because they are the future.

    “I just want them to see it doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe,” she said. “Love is love, and people should be able to be who they are.”

    Toward the end of the event, former U.S. soccer player and two-time Olympic gold medalist Abby Wambach and her wife, New York Times bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton, spoke to the crowd. Doyle Melton and Wambach, who live in Naples, were married in May.

    “I hope this is an example and evidence to everyone that we are here and belong here in Naples,” Wambach told a cheering crowd from the stage. “I want everyone in this community to be proud to be here in Naples.”

    Doyle Melton read a message she received from a girl named Alexa, who was at Naples Pride, and wrote that she was in love with her best friend.

    “You have one job in this precious life, to love and be loved,” Doyle Melton told the crowd.

    “We will fight out loud for you, Alexa, and then we will love out loud,” she said.

    For Pride organizer Hudson, the event Saturday was two months in the making.

    "When I first stepped up on the stage and started taking pictures of the crowd, that’s when it hit me that this is really something special," Hudson said.

  • Sunday, May 28, 2017 23:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Original Story on News-Press.com

    Bonita Springs and Fort Myers are the only two Florida cities among the country's 15 fastest growing by percentage.

    Bonita, whose population increased by 4.8 percent between July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016, ranks eighth. Fort Myers, whose population increased by 4.5 percent, ranked 15th.

    The population numbers were released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Texas cities led the way with six in the top 15. Florida was second with two and seven states, all but one in the South and West, had one city each.

    Bonita’s population reached 54,198 and Fort Myers had a population of 77,146, according to the census report.

    Cape Coral remains the largest city in Lee County with a population of 179,804, a 2.8 percent increase year over year.

    Fort Myers' growth is making a comeback after it saw a decline during the recession that began in 2008.

    Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson attributed the growth to annexation to the east and urban infill. "We've had more urban infill than other cities in Lee County," he said.

     

    Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson Jr.

    Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson Jr. 
    (Photo: The News-Press file photo)
    The city is working on plans to increase the building density that would allow for more infill. The city is pushing plans for revamping the area south of downtown called midtown. 

    "The best way to seize the trend is to make sure we expand our infrastructure, curb appeal and walkability," Henderson said.

    The city could grow to 100,000 population in another decade if it continues to expand by 3,000 people a year, he said.

    The 100,000 magic number means the city could qualify for more state and national economic incentives, Henderson said.

     

    Florida Passes New York in State Population

    (Photo: U.S. Census Bureau)
    Bonita's growth didn't slow down during the recession. The city has grown by more than 10,000 since the 2010 census and it's unlikely the growth will slow.

    Two planned developments along the eastern edges of the city will only bring more people to the city.

    “We will expand and grow — that’s just the realities of economics and of more people coming to Florida,” said Mayor Peter Simmons. “We’re a very desirable destination, and we want to do what’s right for the quality of life of not only the people living here but the people coming.”

    Bonita was voted the second nicest beach in the country and the second nicest small city to live in.

     

    Bonita Springs mayor Peter Simmons.

     Bonita Springs Mayor Peter Simmons. (Photo: File)


    In addition to the warm white sands and bright blue skies, Simmons said decisions on a local level are just as important, such as decisions to halt an intersection flyover or work to protect wetland areas east of the city.

    “These decisions show we are trying to protect the environment and protect people’s quality of life,” he said. “By no means do I think all of these are mutually exclusive. They all contribute (to growth).”

    New York City remains by far the largest city in the country with 8.5 million residents. Phoenix, Arizona, had the largest population growth. The fifth largest city in the country gained 32,113 residents in one year. 

    Jacksonville was the only Florida city in the top 15 for population. It was 12th with 880,619. Jacksonville and Miami were the only two Florida cities in the top 15 for numeric growth. Jacksonville was 12th and Miami 14th.

CONTACTS

swflharmonychamber@gmail.com

PO Box 07427
Fort Myers, FL, 33919

800-967-7750

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