Photos by Geo Bustamante
For the third year in a row, Santa left his reindeer home and flew on a private jet to kick off this holiday season. He arrived at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport for a massive ‘gift-wrapping’ party via a luxury Lear Jet. PRC Community Care, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant and Hop-A-Jet Worldwide Jet Charter enlisted their combined 7,000+ local employees to donate quality toys for the Junior Welfare Society’s annual Toyland program benefiting local children’s charities. In one of Hop-A-Jet’s 20,000 square foot hangars, employees and children helped wrap hundreds of toys for Santa to pick-up.
The Junior Welfare Society of Broward County is a not-for-profit, all volunteer organization celebrating over 50 years of improving the quality of life for Broward Country residents. The children’s charities that will benefit from Santa’s visit are the Broward County School District, the Gunzerberger Daycare Center in Carver Ranches, Pace Center for Girls in Wilton Manors, and the T.I.L. Centers for transitional foster youth. “For the third year these local companies are going to brighten up the holidays for so many families. We expect to collect over 2,000 toys this year and overjoyed by such generosity,” said Junior Welfare Society President Cindy Cast.
PRC developed PRC Community Care to better support and impact the local communities where the company has a presence. “We support many charitable organizations throughout the United States but we are continually impressed with the Junior Welfare Society,” said Alicia Miyares, PRC’s Vice President of Marketing & Communications.
PRC annually collects a huge number of toys for the Junior Welfare Society and other non profit groups. “Although Santa came early to pick-up our first collection of toys here in south Florida, today’s effort will be replicated through the holidays in all of our centers across the United States,” said PRC Communications Manager David Wylie. According to Wylie, who coordinates the annual toy drive, over 10,000 new toys are expected to be donated to local organizations and charities by PRC employees during this year’s giving initiative.
From The New York Post:
Last week, Lohan attended a holiday and housewarming party at the Los Angeles home of "Power Lesbian" Jeanette Longoria with Semel, the daughter of Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel, one partygoer told Page Six.
The spy at the sapphic soiree also overheard the duo refer to themselves as roommates, and one Hollywood insider claimed they've been living together in a house in LA for about a month.
"Lindsay came with Courtenay to the party around midnight and they stayed for an hour," said our spywitness. "The girls held hands and were with each other the whole time." The tipster added, "Every time I see Lindsay, there's Courtenay. They are always together."
Other insiders said that although the blond actress is still friends with her deejay pal Samantha Ronson - with whom Lohan has reportedly made out in the past - her friends say Lindsay has been spending most of her time recently with Semel.
A rep for Lohan told Page Six, "The two are good friends, nothing more."
Rabbi Harold F. Caminker, D.D., the spiritual leader of Congregation Etz Chaim, will conduct a course, "Judaism Confronts Contemporary Issues," on Monday nights, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., between January 14 and February 25. The course addresses the pressing issues of modern life as they impinge upon Jews and Judaism in a broad perspective. It will discuss the attitudes of Orthodox or Halachic Judaism, along with Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism, as they wrestle with some of the most challenging ethical issues of our time: abortion, artificial insemination, drugs, euthanasia (mercy killing), homosexuality, organ transplant, and suicide. Study materials will be distributed one week prior to each session.
"Judaism Confronts Contemporary Issues" will be held at the Synagogue, 1881 N.E. 26 Street, in Wilton Manors. Contact Cong. Etz Chaim at 954-564-9232 and ask for a registration form for the course. Please sign up no later than January 3, in order to allow for preparation of materials. The cost for Synagogue members is $50.00 per person or $75.00 for a couple, and for non-members $100.00 per person.
From Unity Coalition (click photo to enlarge):
6 to 8 p.m. DEC. 20
AT GBS BEAUTY STORE AND SALON
31 N. FEDERAL HIGHWAY
PARKING IN THE SHOPPING CENTER LOT OR JUST NORTH OF THE PLAZA THERE IS A PARKING LOT WITH ADDITIONAL PARKING (Next to Einstein Bagels on the NW Corner of Broward and Federal)
SPECIAL FREE MINI-MANIS, MAKE-UP, SKIN CARE, FLAT IRON TREATMENTS, BLOW-OUTS AND MORE TO ATTENDEES... DONT MISS THIS HOLIDAY TREAT!
20% OFF PRODUCTSS AND SERVICES IN THE STORE THAT NIGHT!
Religious extremism sparked by the war in Iraq has left once-comfortable gays in the Middle Eastern country feeling demonized and afraid, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Outsiders have always been viewed with suspicion in Iraq, but gays were ignored and accepted before American troops invaded in 2003. After the war began, about 400 people were killed for being gay, according to an Iraqi gay rights group, and gays and lesbians were forced to see lovers at night and in secret, according to The Times.
A United Nations report released in January described the growing persecution, torture, and killing of Iraqi gays and lesbians. In 2005, Iraq’s highest-ranking Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a decree calling for gays and lesbians to be killed in the “worst, most severe way.”
The decree was lifted a year later, but Mohammed and his friends said they still don’t feel safe.
“We seem suspicious because we look like a cell of terrorists,” Mohammed told The Times. “But we can’t tell people what we really are. A cell, yes, but of gays.”
The growing influence of Iran, where homosexuality is sometimes punishable by death, has also alarmed Iraqi gays and lesbians.
“I want to get out, but not just out of Iraq, out of the Middle East,” Rafi, a 25-year-old law student, told The Times. “To a country that has respect for human rights. And for us. It will never be possible here.”
From BBC News:
Uruguay's congress has approved a bill which would allow civil unions for both gay and unmarried straight couples.
It is the first country in Roman Catholic-dominated Latin America to approve such a measure nationwide.
The Uruguayan President, Tabare Vazquez, is now expected to sign the bill into law.
Under its provisions, couples who have lived together for five years will have rights similar to those already enjoyed by married couples.
Couples will have to register their relationship with authorities to gain the cohabitation rights - covering areas such as inheritance, pensions and child custody - and will also be able to formalise the end of their union.
Several cities across Latin America, including Buenos Aires and Mexico City, have recently adopted similar measures.
Gay marriage remains illegal in Uruguay.
New York City study confirms nearly one-third of city’s homeless youth are LGBT; validates Task Force report figures
Task Force news release:
“Our youth constitute an overwhelming and disproportionate percentage of those navigating the dangers of life on the street. … How are we as a community taking responsibility for their safety and well-being?”
— Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
NEW YORK, Dec. 19 — A new study commissioned by the New York City Council has found that almost one-third of New York’s homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, confirming the findings of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s groundbreaking national study, LGBT Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness, released last December.
“We applaud the City Council for committing the resources to uncover and address this tragedy,” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “While LGBT people make up about five percent of the city’s population, our youth constitute an overwhelming and disproportionate percentage of those navigating the dangers of life on the street.”
The study by the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services closely mirrors the findings of the Task Force/National Coalition for the Homeless report, which found that between 20 and 40 percent of homeless youth across the nation are LGBT. Both studies highlight the particular vulnerability of LGBT youth, who are too often targeted for ostracism and abuse not only at home and school, but also in the shelters where they might hope to find sanctuary.
While the recent New York City study draws our attention to the terrible plight of LGBT youth, media coverage yesterday made no reference to the particular challenges and threats faced by transgender youth if they land on the streets. The Task Force report notes that transgender homeless youth are more likely to face discrimination in the traditional shelter system, more likely to find it difficult to obtain and maintain meaningful employment, and are subsequently far more likely to engage in survival sex or other risky behaviors.
Foreman added, “These findings confirm a tremendous need for LGBT-affirming programs — whether they be shelters, transitional housing or services. Research has found that fully one-quarter of homeless gay youth are forced to leave home when they come out. Where are these young people going to go? How are we as a community taking responsibility for their safety and well-being?”