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Our new Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said we will have strength through diversity. Judging by the oath of office he is holding true to this! There were straight and gay choirs performing. The Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church Choir (with a few gay guys we noticed) and the Gay Men’s Chorale chorus group, the Una Voce Rays sang with distinction. Speakers were: USF President Judy Genshaft, Father David Toups – Christ the King Catholic Church, Tampa Police & Tampa Fire Fighters Bagpipe Honor Guard Band …

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Congratulation Bob Buckhorn Mayor of Tampa

Our new Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said we will have strength through diversity. Judging by the oath of office he is holding true to this! There were straight and gay choirs performing. The Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church Choir (with a few gay guys we noticed) and the Gay Men’s Chorale chorus group, the Una Voce Rays sang with distinction. Speakers were: USF President Judy Genshaft, Father David Toups – Christ the King Catholic Church, Tampa Police & Tampa Fire Fighters Bagpipe Honor Guard Band, Sergeant Joel Tavera- US Army Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, anthem singing Tampa Police Detective – Sonja Wise, Imam Al-Inshirah Abdel Jaleel – United Muslim Association, Chief Judge Manuel Menendez, Jr., Rabbi Richard Bimholz – Congregation Schaaral Zedek, Senior Judge E. L. Salcines, and dynamic, boisterous speaker Pastor T.W. Jenkins – New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Also in the audience of over 1,100 were yours truly, Mark and Carrie! Many elected officials were in the audience to help congratulate the newly elected Tampa City Council and Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

The Metro Wellness & Community Centers Doors are Open

dishing-2The former weathered Sans Souci Building on 1315 7th Ave. in Ybor City has been totally renovated to house the sixth largest GLBT community center in North America — Metro Wellness & Community Centers. The weeklong Grand Opening Celebration event included a huge ribbon cutting ceremony with outgoing Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and many other local celebrities. Hundreds of national, state and local attendees toured the totally renovated two-story 22,000 square foot yellow brick facility Open House. Champagne, refreshments and hors d’oeuvres were served with special thanks to Stephen Moss and Steve Donahue of Florida Entertainment Group. Outside of the center is a special patio designed by Tampa’s Pondscapes. Also part of the building is Bio Script Pharmacy and soon a USF Primary Pediatric Health Clinic.

“This used to be a mafia butchershop. People came in but didn’t go out!” said Metro Executive Director, Lorraine Langlais to the large open house group. The 1906 landmark building also had been a movie theatre, telegraph office, Maas Bros.Dept Store and a Badcock Furniture store up until early 2003.

“An eyesore, but now a shining gem!” said Carrie West, Barrio Latino Commissioner and President of the GaYBOR District Coalition. “This is a big triumphant moment not just for the GLBTA community but for everyone in Tampa, to help move forward and redeveloping the heart of Tampa, historic Ybor City.” Metro Wellness Center is home for everyone! The Metro Wellness Center is the largest HIV/AIDS service organization in the West Coast of Central Florida. It provides free HIV testing, substance abuse and mental health treatment and education, clinical services, HIV medical case management and counseling. More community health programs are in the works.

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