Independent Catholic Priests in Wilton Manors Will Marry Gay Couples

Categories: Broward, Religion

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Richard Vitale (right) came to the Holy Angels Catholic Community in January.
Father Richard Vitale knows what it's like to feel unwanted by God. His family in New York was a triple whammy of conservatism: Roman Catholic Republicans who were deeply involved in the Boy Scouts.

He knew he was attracted to other boys at the age of 6, although he was too young to have a word for it. At first he thought it was a good thing. But when slurs started getting thrown around in the fifth grade, he vowed to never reveal the urges he was feeling to his peers.

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Mother Jones Glamorizes the Broward Public Defender's Office

Categories: Broward

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Photo by OSTFlorida via Wikipedia Commons
You've known that public defender Howard Finkelstein is awesome since he began doing his "Help Me, Howard" segments on Channel 7 News. Now, the whole nation is about to have a collective crush on the five-foot-three, ponytailed lawyer, since Mother Jones has published a puff piece explaining how the department's hiring of ex-cops as investigators is "a bold experiment in public defense."

The story explains that Finkelstein saved money when senior lawyers in his department retired and he hired less experienced staffers for lower salaries. He then used the savings to bring on retired cops as investigators. These generally conservative cops spent their entire careers putting people in jail but are now heartwarmingly seeing the criminal justice system in a new light as they work for "the other side," helping indigent people accused of crimes.

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John Paul Alvarez Wants to Be Broward's First Gay State Rep

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Via Facebook
John Paul Alvarez lives for the look in a student's eye that shows he or she gets it. At Stirling Elementary School in Hollywood, the baby-faced teacher is known for working well with troubled third-graders.

Perhaps it's because he recognizes himself in them. Alvarez grew up in Miami, just south of the airport, as the son of two Cuban immigrants who made their way over to Florida in the '60s. Although his parents opened a sandwich shop downtown, it floundered after a few years, leaving them to work a series of what Alvarez remembers as "the bad jobs, the hard jobs."

But now Alvarez, a Democrat, is asking for South Floridians' permission to take on a hard job his parents could have never dreamed of. He wants to serve as District 100's state rep and prioritize women's rights, LGBT rights, and education. If granted his wish, he'll also be making history as Broward County's first openly gay state rep. The district stretches south to Hollywood, Hallandale, Sunny Isles, Aventura and North Miami Beach.


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Ann Murray, Former School Board Member Busted for Using N-Word, Running for Reelection

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Former Broward School Board transportation department supervisor Ann Murray is running for reelection for the Broward School Board in August. But before voters decide between her and or her opponent -- West Park City Commissioner Felicia Brunson -- there's the little matter of Murray's past use of the "N word."

Back in 2007, a year before her election to the School Board, Murray's allegedly used the racial epithet while describing the cheap seats at Sun Life Stadium.

Her use of the word became public in 2011, and Murray was called to resign by the vice president of the Democratic Black Caucus of Broward County.

See also: Activist Calls For Ann Murray To Resign


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Broward County Dominates Top 20 Cities on the Rise in Florida, According to Study

Categories: Broward

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Photo via NASA
Broward County has three cities in the top ten when it comes to employment growth, income growth, and population, according to a recent study.

NerdWallet.com, which crunches numbers on banking and finance, looked at more than a hundred cities, towns, and census-designated places throughout the state to find cities with more than 20,000 residents that had been experiencing growth in jobs, income, and population.

The findings show that Parkland, Pembroke Pines, and Coconut Creek are all on the rise among the top ten cities in Florida.

See also: Fort Lauderdale Among Top 20 Cities in Investments in Public Safety

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No Criminal Charges for Police Who Shot Alleged Cop Killer Shawn LaBeet

Categories: Broward, News

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Photo by Chris Dick via Flickr cc

A grand jury has ruled that the police officers who shot and killed fugitive Shawn LaBeet will not face criminal charges, according to the Broward State Attorney's Office.

LaBeet had been named the prime suspect in the murder of Broward Sheriff's Sgt. Chris Reyka in 2007.

LeBeet was shot and killed by Miami-Dade police Sgt. Humberto Perez and Officer Michael Madruga during a separate incident a month after Reyka's death.

See also: Broward County Sheriff's Office Names Suspect in Sgt. Chris Reyka's Slaying


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Fort Lauderdale Named Second-Most-Exciting Place in Florida

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Another day, another reminder that Fort Lauderdale is awesome.

While the Venice of America has been hitting the top rankings in national surveys, it was about time the city was placed against other cities in its own state.

And, thanks to real estate blog Movoto, Fort Lauderdale ranks as the number-two most exciting place in the Sunshine State, behind only Miami Beach (which is debatable).

See also: Fort Lauderdale Named Seventh "Most Exciting" Midsized City

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Could Duplicate Voter Registration Be a Problem in Broward County?

Categories: Broward

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A new Florida Watchdog report says that a computer software company found that 44 voter ID card were issued to the same person in Miami-Dade, raising questions and concerns about voter registration issues.

The company, AddinSolutions Inc., says that Florida's Division of Elections is not cross checking records in order to avoid the error, according to the report.

Elections officials in Miami-Dade claim it was a clerical error.

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Fort Lauderdale Is Doomed to Suburban Sprawl

Categories: Broward

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via Wikimedia Commons
Fort Lauderdale is no stranger to luxury condos. Las Olas River House, the Waverly, and Nu River Landing all offer A-list amenities, if you're into that sort of thing. Besides making downtown a live/work/play area, they all also pack in a lot of people.

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Famed Boxing Coach Saves Chasity Martin From Strip-Club Circuit, Pushes Her Toward Olympics

Categories: Broward, Sports

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Courtesy of Chasity Martin
The image that greets visitors to the Gold's Gym in Deerfield Beach is that of Chasity Martin, a 17-year-old boxing phenom wearing pink gloves, with two championship belts draped over her intimidating, caramel-colored biceps. On the poster, which dominates the building's beige fa├žade, the disembodied torsos of male fighters orbit hers.

The real-life version of Chasity can almost always be found through the gym's doors. She practically lives in the ring.

"I'm here every day for two or three hours," she explains. "It's not typical for even a professional boxer, but it keeps me out of trouble."

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