Dallas gay softball league fined $1,300, sources say

By John Wright

Former recruiting coordinator still alive; penalties stem from entering players, teams in divisions below skill levels at 2007 World Series


The Buli Boys, shown in this undated file photo, reportedly were kicked out of the 2007 World Series in Phoenix.

Already out $2,000 that was misappropriated by former board member Jaymee Johnson, Dallas’ gay softball league recently took another hit in the form of $1,300 in fines stemming from last year’s World Series, according to Johnson and others who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Dallas Voice confirmed this week that Johnson is still alive, after an e-mail sent to league members Thursday, Feb. 21, fueled widespread rumors of his death.

Dallas’ Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association was fined by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance for entering players and teams in divisions that were below their skill levels at the 2007 World Series in Phoenix, according to Johnson and others. One PSSA team, the Buli Boys, was kicked out of the World Series as a result of the violations.

PSSA players are assigned skill ratings based on a set of 27 criteria used by NAGAAA, and teams play in one of four divisions according to the cumulative ratings of their rosters. It is not uncommon for players and teams to be protested, or accused of competing in divisions below their skill levels, a practice known as "sandbagging."

Officials from PSSA and NAGAAA declined comment on the violations, which were brought to Dallas Voice’s attention by Johnson. The other sources who confirmed Johnson’s version of events asked to remain anonymous because they said they feared retaliation from the league.

Johnson, PSSA’s former recruiting coordinator, recently admitted to misappropriating $2,000 in league funds. Coupled with the fines, the misappropriation of funds resulted in the 400-member PSSA having a balance of just a few hundred dollars in its account entering a preseason league-wide meeting last weekend, one source said.

Members reportedly pay $70 each, plus $450 per team, to play in the league. Last year, PSSA had 25 teams.

According to PSSA Commissioner John Russell, the league is reviewing its accounting procedures in response to the misappropriation of funds. Johnson has also been removed from the board and banned from PSSA indefinitely.

In a letter to the editor sent to Dallas Voice via e-mail on Monday, Feb. 25, Russell said the league would have an external audit completed within 30 days.

"We believe no additional funds have been misappropriated by past or current board members other than what has recently been reported," Russell said.

"Results of that investigation will be made available to the membership as soon as possible. … This will be the final statement we will make regarding this matter."

To view the full letter, <CLICK HERE>.


Jaymee Johnson

Johnson, who’d served as recruiting coordinator and a PSSA board member for four years, said he requested and received a blank check from another league official in December. According to some reports, the official who gave Johnson the check believed it would be used to pay for an advertisement in Dallas Voice, but Johnson denied that.

Johnson, who claims the league regularly issued blank checks to board members, said he made out the check to himself for $2,000 and used the money to relocate from Dallas to Pennsylvania.

Johnson said he was desperate to get out of Dallas after a breakup with his boyfriend of 2 1⁄2 years.

He said he’d also recently lost his job, been evicted and attempted suicide.

Johnson, who’s now staying with family in Pennsylvania, has publicly apologized for the misappropriation of funds and said he plans to repay the money.

According to Johnson and others, league officials determined that the misappropriation was a civil matter and that they could not pursue criminal charges against Johnson.

About a week after Dallas Voice reported the misappropriation, a rumor surfaced that Johnson had died.

Johnson said the rumor was based on an e-mail his sister-in-law sent to his ex-boyfriend. The e-mail said Johnson was "in a better place" where no one could hurt him.

Johnson’s ex-boyfriend concluded that he’d died and notified a league official, who sent out an e-mail to members.

E-mail wright@dallasvoice.com


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.

—  admin

Toast to Life tickets still available

By Staff Reports

Tickets are still available for the 10th annual Toast to Life fundraising gala benefiting the Resource Center of Dallas. The theme for the event, set for Saturday, March 1, at the Women’s Museum in Fair Park, is "Venetian Carnival A Masked Ball."

The event will include food from several premier Dallas restaurants and beverages provided by Barefoot Wines and Bud Light, and also featuring the Ketel One Martini Ice Bar.

There will also be a silent auction featuring more than 50 works of art from well-known artists and a live auction with packages including a fantasy dinner party for eight at Hotel ZaZa’s Rock Star Suite, an R Family vacation cruise for four with air travel from American Airlines and a San Francisco package.

Raymond T. Shelton, events coordinator for the Resource Center, said he expects the 10th annual Toast to Life to be an exciting event, thanks to the community’s ongoing support and to the addition this year of the International Special Events Society Dallas Chapter.

"ISES Dallas President Leigh Stem and her committee members have worked overtime to make this the most fabulous Toast to Life event, and we cannot thank them enough," Shelton said. "This year’s event is going to be a spectacular celebration of the Resource Center’s illustrious past and our bold new future."

The VIP party will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the main event from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Individual tickets are $100, and V.I.P. tickets are $150. The Women’s Museum is located at 3800 Parry Ave. in Fair Park.

Tickets and more information are available online at www.rcdallas.org/ttl. More information about this year’s event is also available on the Web site.

For information on sponsorship opportunities or to donate auction items, call 214-540-4450 or e-mail toast@rcdallas.org.



This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.

—  admin

Carnivale 3 raises $12k for resource center

By Staff Reports


Representatives from Ben E. Keith Co. and Caven Enterprises present a check for $12,000 to the Resource Center of Dallas. The donation came from the proceeds of Carnivale 3, the Mardi Gras fundraiser held Feb. 2 at Station 4 featuring Kristine W. Pictured are, from left, Derek Gonzales, marketing manager for Ben E. Keith; Shannon Roberts-McKay, development director for the Resource Center; and Carol McClung, vice president of Caven Enterprises.


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.

—  admin

North Texas GLBT Chamber approves bylaws, elects officers

By Staff Reports

The membership of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce voted recently to approve new bylaws, and the board of directors elected new officers.

John Ambler, the chamber’s 2007 vice president and chair of the Bylaws Review Committee, said the changes were "not a big departure" from those approved by the membership in September 2005.

"We cleaned up some of the sections that had special statements based on the timing of the chamber’s existence and first board of directors. We also redefined the chamber’s leadership, replacing the president of the board with a chairman of the board," explained Ambler, a corporate transactional attorney. "This move was made in order to be consistent with other businesses and with our peer business organizations."

Tony Vedda, executive director for the chamber, said the changes also included the addition of the position of chairman-elect and term limits for sitting board members.

"As we work to grow the chamber it is vital that we have a succession plan in place,” said Vedda.

"Establishing the chairman-elect position allows the board to identify its leadership in advance, giving that person ample time to ramp up and prepare for his or her year of service. It guarantees that we will never be without qualified leadership for the chamber."

The 2008 board elected officers at a recent planning retreat. The new officers are: Sherry Briggs, co-owner of Zebra Printing & Graphics and the 2007 chamber president, chairman of the board; Derrick Brown, executive director of the Kraddick Foundation (dba KiddsKids), chairman-elect; Douglas Frankel, senior real estate counsel with FedEx Kinko’s, a steering committee member in 2004 and board member since 2005, corporate secretary; and Cameron Lockley, a senior accountant with Deloitte and 2007 treasurer, treasurer.

Accepting other leadership positions on the board were: Amy Moreland of Southwest Office Systems, continuing as membership division chair; Dee Pennington, president and CEO of Dallas Credit Union, program division chair; and Jeff Youngblood of FASTSIGNS-Irving, communication division chair.

Other 2008 chamber board members are: attorney John Ambler; M. Brent Foster of First Horizon Home Loans; Veronica Torres with the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau; former Dallas City Council member Ed Oakley of Ed Oakley Construction; and Kevin Washington with Velvet Rope Productions.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.

—  admin

Gov. Rick Perry defends Boy Scouts in new book

By Jim Vertuno – Associated Press Writer

‘On My Honor’ blames ACLU for leftist push to accept gays


Texas Gov. Rick Perry says any discussion of sex — homosexual or heterosexual — has no place in Scouting. – Associated Press

AUSTIN The governor of Texas argues in a new book that attacks on the Boy Scouts are the latest front in a "culture war" and the moral struggle for the country’s future.

Gov. Rick Perry recently launched a book tour promoting "On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For."

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Perry said his support of the Boy Scouts is "intensely personal."

"Scouting teaches young men the responsibilities of freedom, it teaches them how to be leaders. It instills character, it instills courage," Perry said.

The book extols the virtues of the Boy Scouts and its impact on Perry as he was growing up in rural Paint Creek. "Life revolved around school, church, and for most boys the Boy Scouts," Perry wrote.

Perry would eventually achieve Scouting’s highest honor, Eagle Scout, as would his son Griffin years later. Perry often wears his Eagle Scout lapel pin.

The book also traces a 30-year history of litigation involving the Scouts most of which they won which Perry considers an attack on traditional values and faith in God.

Perry, a Republican, targets the American Civil Liberties Union as the primary force behind a leftist push to accept homosexuality and challenge Scouting’s duty to God.

"The ACLU and its allies seemed determined to force the Boy Scouts to bend to their version of what is right and wrong," he writes.

If intimidation and the threat of lawsuits succeed, Perry writes, "the culture war will be lost before we know it. If that happens, we will find ourselves living in a world where moral relativism reigns and individualism runs amok."

Several officials with the ACLU said they are aware of Perry’s book but have not read it.

"Our issues aren’t with the Boy Scouts per se, but they are with issues of tolerance in general," said Lisa Graybill of the ACLU of Texas.

On homosexuality, Perry says he is tolerant of gays he knows: "I believe in valuing their lives like any other, as our God in Heaven does," and is open to the idea that sexual preference may be genetic.

But he says any discussion of sex heterosexual or homosexual has no place in scouting.


"Most Americans have a live-and-let-live view about homosexuality," Perry writes. "Scouting’s leaders have the same tolerant view, but they do not believe that someone whose personal agenda is to make an open issue of his sexual orientation should be a Scout leader. Scouting is not about sex, but about building character … The Boy Scouts is not the proper intersection for a debate over sexual preference."

Perry wrote the book last year with Eric Bearse, his former communications director who left the governor’s office to start his own consulting firm.

The two have worked together since Bearse joined Perry’s campaign for lieutenant governor in 1998.

"On My Honor" is published by Stroud & Hall of Macon, Ga., which specializes in books from a conservative viewpoint. Stroud & Hall would not release how many of the books are in print. All net proceeds go to the Boy Scouts of America.



This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.

—  admin

Local Briefs

By Staff Reports

First Wednesday on strip to feature St. Patrick’s Day theme
St. Patrick’s Day will arrive 10 days early on the Cedar Springs strip this year.

"The Clover Leaf Crawl" is the theme for the monthly First Wednesday promotional event sponsored by the Cedar Springs Merchants Association.

During the event, which will be from 6 p..m. to 9 p.m. March 5, shoppers can collect a four-leaf clover by visiting any four participating retailers. The clovers then can be entered in a drawing for a Cedar Springs shopping spree.

There will be entertainment outside Sue Ellen’s provided by DJ Jimmy Smith, as well as a fashion show stage in front of Outlines. Shoppers can pick up event listings at the main tent in front of Buli.

Tribute to black lesbians set for March 1 at South Dallas Cultural Center
The Senators, a local organization that plans social events and educational forums aimed at increasing the visibility of black lesbians, will present "Comfort Woman: A Tribute to Black Lesbians" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. Cost is $10.

The event will feature musical performances, spoken word artists and a dance interpretation of Me’Shell Ndegéocello’s music. In addition, scenes from the play "All in the Name of Luv" will be performed, along with the first installment of an episodic show called "Say What" that organizer Q Ragsdale plans to broadcast through MySpace.

Ragsdale explained that the event is being held in honor of Black History Month, and that it wasn’t held in February because the space was not available then.

For more information, contact Ragsdale by e-mail at q_ragsdale@yahoo.com or go online to myspace.com/dfwsenators.


Friends of Reverchon Park, Scottish Rite plan beautifcation project
Friends of Reverchon Park and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children are sponsoring the annual "Reverchon Park Roundup" beautification project on Saturday, March 1. The project is intended to replant flower beds, clear fallen limbs and clean up trash in the Oak Lawn area park.

Registration and orientation will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., fopllowing by cleanup from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and a picnic lunch with beverages provided by Cadbury Schweppes from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Those who want to participate are asked to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and gloves, and to bring rakes and small hand tools if possible.

Parking for volunteers is available at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, located at the corner of Oak Lawn Avenue and Maple Avenue. For more information or to R.S.V.P., call Volunteer Services at the hospital at 214-559-7825.

Malcolm Gage of Dallas joins board of Victory Fund
Malcolm R. Gage Jr. of Dallas announced this week that he has been elected to the national governing board of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, the country’s largest LGBT political action committee.

"I truly believe, this being an election year, that the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund could help influence many of the upcoming elections, both locally and nationally," said Gage, who works for Park Place Motorcars. "I look forward to this great opportunity and consider it a major honor from both a personal and business perspective."

Gage noted that among the candidates the Victory Fund is assisting is Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who is running for re-election this year.

‘For the Bible Tells Me So’ to be screened in Carrollton
The Equality Texas Foundation, Collin County Gay and Lesbian Allliance and the Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church will present Daniel Karslake’s documentary film "For the Bible Tells Me So" on Friday, March 7, at 7 p.m. at Horizon Unitarian, 1614 Hebron Parkway in Carrollton.

The screening, which is free and open to everyone, will be followed by a panel discussion with panelists Dennis Hamilton, senior minister at Horizon; Tim McLemore, senior pastor at Kessler Park United Methodist Church; Jan Sullivan, senior pastor of Grace Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and Kathy Collier, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Forney.

The Rev. Colleen Darraugh, senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas, will moderate the discussion.

The film follows the lives of five Christian American families dealing with the revelation that one family member is an LGBT person.

Donations will be accepted to offset costs. For information call 972-492-4940.


Democratic Women of Collin County moves to new meeting space
After a "banner year" in 2007, with more than 100 paid members and the excitement surrounding the 2008 elections, and with more members expected to join this year, the Texas Democratic Women of Collin County have announced plans to move to a larger meeting space.

Membership chair Lynn Wolfe said attendance at meetings in 2007 averaged between 25 and 30 people, with 55 attending the January 2008 meeting. To accommodate the growing membership, President Barb Walters announced at the February meeting that the organization will be moving to new meeting space on the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College.

Beginning with the March 24 meeting, the organization will gather in the Founders Hall, Shawnee Room F148 on the campus located at 9700 Wade Blvd. in Frisco.

For more information, visit the organization’s Web site at www.tdwcc.org.


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.

—  admin

Deaths • 02.29.08


Jeff Young, a former Dallas resident and an American Airlines employee for more than 15 years, died at home in Cincinnati on Jan. 21, surrounded by family.

Young had lived in Dallas for many years, where he was a member of the Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association and Cathedral of Hope. After becoming ill, he moved to Houston with his partner, Robert Sullivan, a couple of years ago to seek further treatment. Sullivan said the move allowed Young to live for another two years, and Sullivan thanked Dr. Shannon Schrader and Nelson Vergel for their support and strength throughout that time.

After an especially difficult episode on Jan. 11, Young and Sullivan decided he should move back to Cincinnati to be with his family for his final days.

A celebration of Young’s life will be held in Dallas among his chosen family and friends as soon as final arrangements can be made. Sullivan said the gathering will likely be held at Young’s favorite restaurant in Dallas, The Catalina Room, on or around March 14.

Young was known as excellent ball player and a uniquely kind and loving man. His optimism and infectious smile will be missed by friends here in Texas and from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

Everyone loved him, and his will to live and endless caring for others is a testament to the human spirit.



This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.

—  admin

Soundout – 5 Questions with Mike Gravel

By John Wright


Mike Gravel is a former U.S. senator from Alaska. He is running for president, although he is not on the ballot in Texas, and he is the only Democrat in the race at this time who supports full marriage rights for same-sex couples.

1 Why aren’t you on the ballot in Texas?
We just didn’t have the resources to do it. When the media decided to play me as a noncandidate, it cut out visibility, and the lack of visibility cut out the ability to raise money. It has just been a real struggle. I’m still a candidate, and I will still be spending some time in Texas. I’m hopeful that one of the independent parties will pick up my candidacy after the convention. That might be the Greens, that might be the Libertarians. If the public knew who I was, I would be winning, but that has been determined by corporate media.

2 Talk about being the only Democratic candidate left who supports gay marriage.
I fancy myself the poster boy for the gay comunity. I feel very deeply about the marriage issue, that it’s got nothing to do with religion, it’s about two people in love. If there’s anything we need, it’s more love in our society. The stigma with respect to gays is worse than any other group that’s been denied civil rights. I view this whole issue as civil rights, and that’s the reason I feel so deeply about it.

3 Why hasn’t Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton come out in favor of gay marriage?
They’re afraid politically, which is very sad. They don’t offer leadership, and that’s what they claim they’re going to do when they’re president. If they don’t have the guts to do it in the primary, they’re not going to do it as president. They stay away from all the issues that have any possible negative voting.


4 Do you still feel like your candidacy has been beneficial to the gay communtiy?

I think I’ve helped move the ball down the field, by taking a very, very strong stand on the marriage question and "Don’t ask, don’t tell." It’s by some candidates starting to talk about it that pushes the other candidates in that direction. You do what you have to do and many times conflict disturbs people. A lot of people just don’t want to get involved in conflict. It’s not their nature, so if Hillary will throw a crumb or Barack will give a nod in their direction, they’re happy with that, but that’s not nearly enough.

5 Do you have any predictions about who will win between Obama, Clinton and John McCain?
It looks like Obama’s going to walk away with it at this point. But if I’ve learned one thing in politics, it’s that anything is possible, so you don’t want to count this thing over. A lot can happen between now and November. It doesn’t mater, though. All three of these candidates are for American imperialism and the continuation of the existing industrial-military complex.

Soundout is a weekly column featuring people whose jobs and interests have an impact on the daily lives of members of the LGBT community. It features those who often go unnoticed by the press and community. If you’d like to recommend someone to cover in this column, editor@dallasvoice.com.

—  admin

Query of the Week

By David Webb

"Are you having a hard time deciding how you are going to vote?"

“It’s too early to decide. Ralph Nader just came into the picture.
Paul Walker
Massage therapist

"No, because I’ve known all along how I plan to vote."
Wayne Borden
Retired

"I don’t know if I’m going to vote or not."
Angie White
Unemployed

"No. It’s Hillary all the way."
Tom Haltom
Self-employed

"No. I’ve known from the very beginning that it would be Obama."
Doug Gault
Computer programmer



This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.

—  admin

Pet of the Week: Meet Jasmine


Jasmine is a lovely red-and-white collie-heeler mix available for adoption from the Dallas Animal Services Adoption Center. She’s 9 months old and almost full grown at about 35 pounds. Jasmine is very affectionate, friendly and eager to please. She’s somewhat shy on first meeting new people but warms up quickly and responds to attention and gentleness. Jasmine is a real sweetheart who’s ready for a forever home.  She’s spayed, vaccinated, microchipped and negative for heartworms.

Dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from the Dallas Animal Services Adoption Center, located at 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30 in Dallas. The shelter is open 7 days a week: Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 to 3:30 p.m. The cost to adopt is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats and includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and more. For more information, visit www.dallascityhall.com/code_compliance/for_adoption.html or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.

—  admin