Perdue Says School Nurses Are NOT Needed

FROM THE ASHE ADVOCATE, a newletter written by State Representative Kathy Ashe…..

House Democrats fight to keep nurses in schools
According to the Governor’s FY 2009 amended budget proposal school nurses will soon become a thing of the past. The recommendations submitted by the Governor last week cut $30 million in state funds which would eliminate the school nurse program. The Georgia House Democratic Caucus opposes this cut and has pledged to work to restore the program.

Democrats believe in promoting preventive medicine and supporting nurses in schools so children can focus on learning and avoid complications that arise when health problems go untreated. They also believe every family should have access to a doctor and every school should have a nurse.

“We have a growing number of working families without health insurance and some of those parents rely on school nurses to keep their children safe and healthy while they are in school.” said Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta), Chairperson for Health and Human Services Policy Committee for the Georgia House Democratic Caucus.

Georgia House Democratic Caucus Education Policy Chair, Rep. Kathy Ashe (D-Atlanta), said, “We must fight for our children and their right to receive appropriate health care while they are in school. If children don’t receive the care they need their medical issues could escalate. It’s a short sighted approach that will eventually cost our state additional funds and more importantly, diminish our children’s ability to do the job they go to school to accomplish – learning. I am asking our parents and teachers to express your concern about these cuts to your state representative and state senators. Email gadhcissues@gmail.com if you need assistance finding your elected representatives.”

Removing school nurses is extremely short-sighted. Georgia House Democratic Leader, Rep. DuBose Porter (D-Dublin) added real life examples. “In Dublin, we have one nurse for four elementary schools. Numerous daily school-age related illnesses aside, our nurse manages diabetic children who must undergo daily blood sugar testing, she takes care of a child on a feeding tube, and has a student going through stage 4 cancer. The management of these health issues takes a trained professional.” said Porter. “In one of the four schools alone there are 38 students on asthma inhalers, students who at times have had to be rushed to the hospital with acute asthma attacks. We should not balance the state’s budget by cutting health care to sick children or making our teachers become health care providers.”

Georgia House Democratic Caucus Chairman Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) agreed and pointed out legal questions that may arise, regardless of safeguards designed to protect the school. “The governor should be asking, who will administer this care… the teachers? The liability on untrained school employees administering health care could easily become an issue. Teachers in Georgia schools now are not allowed to administer medications. Nurses in our schools give out over 5 million doses per year. There are approximately fifteen million annual visits to the office or school health room for illness, medication and injury in Georgia,” said Smyre. “Children can’t learn when they are sick and teachers can’t teach when they are running a health clinic.”

In conclusion Porter noted, “We are willing to fight to stop this cut that will directly damage our schools and our children, but it will take a great effort to get the message to this Governor. Now is the time for Georgians to engage in the political process. Times are changing and Georgians can no longer assume basic services will continue. Georgians must become involved in the process.”

The Georgia House Democratic Caucus has an e-mail address to handle issues that relate to the Governor’s proposed cuts. To voice your concern, e- mail gadhcissues@gmail.com. Together we can continue to protect our children’s future.

From The Atlanta Pride Committee

Below you’ll find an open letter from the Atlanta Pride Committee, and while APC has press releases throughout the year, I do believe this is the first open letter that has been released from the committee. If it isn’t the first, I know it is the first since I have been on the committee.

Please take a few minutes to read the letter below as I think it serves as a spotlight to some important items.

I want to give a hearfelt thank you to my fellow committee members who take the time to complete this letter campaign!

An open letter to Atlanta Pride patrons:

The Atlanta Pride Committee continues to receive valuable and unprecedented feedback from all corners of our diverse community, and we must first say thank you. It is clear that you care as much as we do about making Atlanta Pride a continuing tradition in our region, as well as an ongoing celebration of the varied facets of our culture.

For that, you have our most sincere gratitude.

With the announcement of our move back home to Piedmont Park — with a date change to Halloween Weekend — we are receiving a refreshing majority of positive response from people excited about the possibilities, and we are also hearing requests for more detail on how we came to that decision.

We are happy to share the efforts we made. And we are just as excited to remind everyone that we are more confident and determined than ever to make sure the 2009 October event will stay true to the real meaning of Pride: celebration of our achievements, reverence for our past and a welcoming environment for those not yet fully “out” who will lead our future struggles toward full equality.

The Atlanta Pride Committee takes our duty very seriously. We share the following details of our work these past months in hopes that concerned parties know how much we’ve accomplished, and to assure everyone that we anticipate a successful Atlanta Pride this year and well into the future.

Does a Pride festival in October respect gay history?
A fall Pride was not our first choice, but we are actually very excited that the new date falls during National LGBT History Month, which also includes National Coming Out Day. Both events go directly to remembering where we’ve been and recognizing the personal and political value of being true to ourselves by living openly.

And we haven’t forgotten Stonewall and its anniversary in June. Our plans include a dynamic lineup of June events with partners representing a wide spectrum of our communitydesigned to commemorate Stonewall. These events, from politics to parties to the commemoration, and will energize everyone and build towardthe community for our October celebration. Ideas for multiple events in June should suit the varied tastes of our patrons. As those plans are solidified, we will be eager to share those with you.

We also want you to know that we realize that the festival’s traditional June date, as well as our home park, is important. We understand that the date change is not ideal for everyone, but we also know that it will not break our spirit. The Pride Committee quickly realized that putting Pride back in Piedmont Park, or another usable, affordable greenspace was the only option to make the organization financially whole. We also look forward to 2010, when drought circumstances improve and more options are available.

What happened since the 2008 festival that got us here?
Amidst continuing drought restrictios that allow only one major festival in Piedmont Park per April-to-October Festival Season (Dogwood has the park in April), the Pride Committee agreed to, then announced, that the 2009 Pride festival would be held in Central Park adjacent to the Atlanta Civic Center. Then the reality of that agreement set in.

A Central Park festival, while in June, required an estimated $150,000 porta-floor to protect the greenscapes and hardscapes of the park. As Pride struggles to overcome the challenges of 2008, the porta-floors alone were cost-prohibitive. Other caveats on using Central Park included no stages or set up on the sod-based athletic fields, placing all festival patrons directly on the fields and putting costs for any foot-traffic damage squarely on the Pride Committee.

We needed a creative solution and looked at several other venues, including detailed logistical and cost analysis on Grant Park and Centennial Park, among other venues. Several options considered over months led us to plead our case to the City of Atlanta to satisfy the number one comment from our constituents: How can we get back into Piedmont Park?

The Parks Department and the City Council were responsive, and by holding the festival at the end of October, we not only comply with their Festival Season rules, but are also able to take advantage of the cooler weather, the energy around Halloween and most importantly, the spirit of LGBT History Month.

The weekend of Oct. 31-Nov. 1 was not our first choice. But we are committed to making the most of it.

Is Atlanta Pride in financial trouble?
In short, yes. No one should underestimate the importance of making Pride 2009 a financial success. But don’t be alarmed. Making sure that the event is sustainable for the future is a top priority, and the threats to the solvency we’ve enjoyed for many years are challenges that we must view as opportunities to recover. We know that our renewed energy as Pride Committee Members, a revitalized commitment from our sponsors, and support from each and every lesbian, gay man, bisexual and transgendered person in Atlanta, can turn it around.

The unfortunate circumstances of the last year left us strapped for operating expenses, and like many organizations, that necessitated tough decisions and creative thinking. But we remain committed to the values of Pride. We have a wonderfully supportive community and amazing resilience. The perseverance of our community has proven itself throughout history, and we know that by pulling together, we can clear this hurdle.

What can you do?
That’s a good question. Our theme this year, PRIDE BEGINS WITH YOU, reflects the start of a good answer. Whether you can offer your time or skills, a sponsorship, booth or monetary investment, or simply your word-of-mouth support, we welcome your collaboration. Quite frankly, we exist for you, and you are part of the process.

Let us know how you’d like to participate. Ideas and solutions are always welcome as we move forward. In the meantime, come aboard for what we know will be an amazing year of chances to honor Pride leading up to a climactic October to inspire the best in all of us. After all, it’s ultimately not about a venue or date, but about each of us individually and collectively. It’s a matter of Pride.

With Pride,
Your Atlanta Pride Committee
http://www.atlantapride.org

"Jewish girl who passed out in my bed"

Greg, a wonderful friend and talented photographer, sent me a link to a Craigslist Ad that was sent to him. I read. Laughter ensued.

Now, I share it with the world in honor of Greg’s birthday. I’m sending tons of happy birthday wishes to my JOF!

Jewish girl who passed out in my bed – m4w
Date: 2009-01-21, 12:25PM EST

You: Jewish, attractive and drunk

Me: Not Jewish (Gentile), dashing, gazelle on the dance floor and drunk

In case you were as blacked out as I think you were, I feel as though I should reintroduce myself. You were dancing around and enjoying the festive cake and brownies at the JCC inaugural bar mitzvah…I mean inaugural ball, before cabbing to Chinatown and passing out in my bed. Nothing makes me swoon for interfaith relationships like a girl who passes out in my lap in the back of a cab.

You might be asking yourself “why did that sweet boy not call me?” or “did I really wake up in a random guy’s bed in Chinatown?” and other important questions to gauge whether or not last night was a dream, drunken haze or bittersweet reality. Allow me to answer those questions.

While I have not called you, I did text you to make sure you succeeded in getting a cab at 7am and making it to work on time. However, in the heat of the moment last night, you either you gave me the wrong number, or we were both so F’ed up that the number went into my phone incorrectly. My equally blacked out friend (who you met in the bathroom and introduced us on the dance floor) pawned you off on me – the responsible, mitzvah-seeking guy who had been hitting on you most of the night – when it became clear that you could not effectively locate any of your belongings or coherently tell us where you lived.

Upon stumbling into my apt, you decided the party must go on, albeit you couldn’t stand or keep your eyes open. Again, quality traits I look for when asking myself, “could I see myself converting for this woman?” Once you changed into my clothes and passed out immediately in my bed, I wasn’t sure whether to sleep on the floor or in my bed. However, the cute way you drunkenly mumbled to yourself “I should stop drinking on Tuesdays” as you woke up, confirmed my decision to sleep in bed and make sure you didn’t suffocate in the sea of pillows before you.

I must say, the morning wasn’t as awkward as I thought it’d be. I figured you’d freak out, not knowing where you were or whose bed you were in. You took relative comfort in how I left a big glass of water and Excedrin (not rufies) on the table. After offering you more clothing to keep you warm outside and walking you out to get a cab, I went back to bed saying to myself, “I think that classy woman might be the one.”

If you’re reading this, my offer to take you out to dinner still stands. I’m a mensch at heart and will bring the Manischewitz.

Click here to visit the AD in the world of Craigslist.

Atlanta Pride Changes Date and Venue


Yes, the date and venue have changed again for the Atlanta Pride Festival; however, I assure you there is more than enough reason. Every year I hear so many gay peeps complain about different aspects of Pride, whenever I hear it directly, I challenge those people to become part of the organize. Being part of something is the best way to start change. However, the complainers never seem to volunteer– at the least ones I encounter.

Hopefully, I’ll have an Atlanta Pride interview in the blog within the near future.

Below is the press release addressing the date/venue change:

Homecoming:
Reinvigorated Atlanta Pride ’09 in Piedmont Park for Halloween Weekend

City officials help Pride Committee embrace change as part of new attitude

ATLANTA, JAN. 27, 2009 — 2008 brought many challenges to finding a suitable venue for the Atlanta Pride 2009. There has been uncooperative weather, unforeseen hurdles and unprecedented community feedback. But finally, in cooperation with the Atlanta City Council, the Atlanta Pride Committee is thrilled to announce that the Annual Pride Atlanta Pride festival will return Piedmont Park for 2009 — with a an exciting twist: the event kicks off on October31, alongside Halloween’s spirit of revelry and celebration that gay Atlanta already embraces as its own.

Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders and Parks Commissioner Diane Harnell-Cohen understood that moving Atlanta Pride back to Piedmont Park was important to pleasing the festival’s patrons and crucial to keeping the organization solvent. Both worked hard with Atlanta Pride to find a solution to permit the festival back into Piedmont while also respecting the City’s parameters of limiting Class-A events in the park to one per Festival Season (April-October). By starting Pride on October 31, the City of Atlanta will be able to again grant the festival access to its traditional home – Piedmont Park.

“The number one thing we heard from the community in 2008 was a desire to move back to Piedmont Park.” Heffernan says.

Harnell-Cohen says she understands that drought-induced limitations on park usage put an unfortunate burden on festivals, but also acknowledges the importance of festivals to the City. “We value the festivals as a rich part of Atlanta’s culture and are pleased to work with Pride to get them back in a venue that will allow them to produce a sustainable event,” she says.

Borders agrees that supporting Atlanta Pride was a duty the City could not ignore. “When I was approached by the Pride committee, it was clear there was more we could do to help,” Borders says. “It was with great pleasure that we found a creative solution to support this festival for the LGBT members of the Atlanta community.”

Heffernan is happy with the city’s response, and she acknowledges the rough road that led to a renewed vigor among committee members. “At first, the date-change felt controversial. We have always held Pride during the summer months. But we quickly realized that an October Pride will dovetail with other community milestones.”

The Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2009 Atlanta Pride festival leads directly into Atlanta City elections and wraps up National LGBT History Month. Holding Pride in October, which also includes National Coming Out Day, the anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death, as well as the Atlanta AIDS Walk, allows the committee to realize another of its rediscovered goals: to energize its relationships with even more individuals and organizations in the community. “We hope that everyone will be able to claim a part of Pride 2009 and our theme reflects this goal: PRIDE BEGINS WITH YOU”

“Pride belongs to everyone, and the Pride Committee can’t possibly produce an event of this magnitude by ourselves. So as the country talks about inclusion, we ask each and every lesbian, gay man, bisexual and transgendered person to claim a piece of your festival.”

Heffernan assures all that June will still be a time to celebrate. “We will be acknowledging the 40th anniversary of Stonewall in June,” Heffernan says. “We have several surprises in June that will provide exciting opportunities to come together and celebrate while also including more partners than ever to build up the excitement and momentum to October event.”

Limp Wrist Limited Edition Chapbook


I am excited to announce that Limp Wrist is producing a limited edition chapbook, and it will be available in April 2009.

All proceeds from the chapbook will fund Limp Wrist‘s scholarship.

The Chapbook Roster
Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Dustin Brookshire
Kurt Brown
Denise Duhamel
Christopher Hennessy
Charles Jensen
Mary Chi-Whi Kim
Dana Guthrie Martin
Courtney Queeney
David Trinidad
Robert Walker

If you would like to reserve a copy, contact me via email dustinvbrookshire@gmail.com. The cost is $10 per chapbook– don’t forget, it goes for a great cause.

I will personally pay your shipping and handling fees if you reserve your copy before 2/1/09.

***UPDATE***
Karen Chase, Ellen Bass, and Dorianne Laux have all agreed to write a blurb for the chapbook.

Birthdays Are An Excuse For Good Deeds

1/22

Another year older….
Since my 21st birthday, I have used my birthday as a way to benefit and raise awareness for an organization. I am happy to say previous organizations include Project Open Hand as well as Grass Roots Institute. This year I am proud to announce that I am trying to raise funds and awareness for Limp Wrist and our scholarship. Anyone wanting to show a little birthday love, feel free to make a tax deductible donation of $5 or more to Limp Wrist. Click here to donate.

If you donate you can win….
If you donate $5 or more between now and 2/28/09, you could win a number of autographed items. Some of the items include a limited broadside of a poem by Mark Doty, books by Sandra Beasley, Marilyn Nelson, Cecilia Woloch, and more.

Check out the items HERE. The breakdown:
1 Chance = $5
3 Chances = $10
5 Chances = $20
10 Chances = $45
A donation of $200 or more will allow you to pick three items.

Dolly “Dusty” Parton…..
If I raise $1,000 by 2/28/09, I am going to create a Youtube of me doing Dolly drag. Silence to the peanut gallery– even though I am crazy for Dolly, I don’t spend my weekends in Dolly drag. So shhhhh Chris, Sissy, and Maxton.

Rep Karla Drenner Email

Taken word for word from an email sent out by State Representative Karla Drenner:

Friends, Neighbors, and Supporters,

As the 2009 Legislative Session convened this week, we will be addressing issues that are being discussed around kitchen tables throughout the state of Georgia. As Georgians in every corner of our state closely watch their bottom line during this economic downturn, it will also be a tough session for lawmakers as we determine the fate of state programs and projects as we face a budget deficit.

Since state tax revenues are lower than had been projected, we will have to address spending cuts for the last six months of the current fiscal year. Gov. Sonny Perdue has proposed a large program funded on borrowing, but has not detailed how he would spend the money. We are also waiting to see how much President-elect Obama’s stimulus package will affect individual states. Once these two issues are clarified, we will have to roll up our sleeves and determine the most responsible way to proceed.

In regard to taxes, both House and Senate l eaders have expressed support for plans to cap property taxes, although the details have not been agreed upon. We recognize that any tax relief would be welcomed by the citizens of Georgia, but we must be diligent so that any such legislation doesn’t get drowned by dissenting legislators in a myriad of party-line details.

Roads and transportation will also be a major issue this session. As the more populous cities in the state experience an increase in traffic congestion, and as rural areas desire roads to entice employers, at the same time environmental groups want a mass transit system. All three interests are being represented as business groups and environmentalists are jointly lobbying for a constitutional amendment that would allow a group of counties to impose a regional sales tax to support transportation projects. The proposal would have to be passed by voters in the 2010 general election, so there is time for us to carefully consider all of the ramifications.

Trauma care is an issue that 20 lawmakers have wrestled with for years and one that will likely be another top priority. Because there is a dire need for a dedicated funding source for a statewide network of facilities to provide advanced trauma care, including specialized equipment, air transportation for patients, and physicians, this is a cause for legitimate concern. Without a solution, there is a concern that trauma centers could be forced to close amid recent operating losses in the millions of dollars. Because of the dire need coupled with a suffering economy, this will undoubtedly be a hot-button topic again this year.

The Savannah Port continues to create jobs and bring in significant revenue for the state, and because of this the harbor deepening project that the Georgia Ports Authority hopes to partially fund with money from the state will more than likely be approved. The Port wants to deepen the harbor from 42 feet to 48 feet to allow for larger vessels. Due to the budget crisis, it is more than likely that bonds will be issued to pay for this construction project. It is most likely that a final review of this project will take place later this year. Georgia0s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 286,000 jobs throughout the state and contribute $14.9 billion in income and almost $3 billion in state and local taxes. I am honored to be your representative. I will keep you informed through weekly updates. Your opinions and concerns are important to me and I consider it an honor to serve you at the state capitol and in our district.