Owner of Cherries acquires 3 Fort Worth clubs

Former Rainbow Lounge manager and owner of Randy’s Club Cherries, Randy Norman has made his big move in Fort Worth. He is reportedly the new owner of the Rainbow Lounge, Best Friends Club and Percussions Lounge all in Cowtown. This comes from the Dallas Gay Bars website. We spoke with Norman this afternoon and his sights are set on getting Fort Worth clubs to a high standard. Sensing some decline in the clubs’ upkeep, Norman took action.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Minnesota teens who committed suicide together may have been girlfriends

Paige Moravetz, left, and Haylee Fentress, both 14, committed suicide last weekend. Family members said the two may have been girlfriends and may have been bullied at school over their relationship.

Two 14-year-old girls in Marshall, Minn., have killed themselves together, becoming the latest in an ever-more-tragically long list of teens who were — or at least, are believed to have been — pushed to suicide by bullies. And relatives told NBC’s Today Show the two may have been girlfriends and may have faced further torment from classmates because of that.

Best friends Haylee Fentress and Paige Moravetz hanged themselves together following a slumber party last Saturday, April 16, at Haylee’s house. Both girls left suicide notes, but relatives said the notes gave no clear explanation for their actions.

Watch the Today Show report below.

—  admin

Trying to understand the inconceivable

A friend’s suicide leaves a reporter with questions that can’t be answered and a pain that won’t diminish

If there is any criminal act that leaves the victim’s survivors more bewildered, frustrated and tormented than suicide, I can’t imagine what it could possibly be.

David-Webb
David Webb The Rare Reporter

Four months ago, I discovered one of my former college classmates and best friends of more than 40 years dead in his home, apparently by his own hand. The official ruling was suicide by a shot to the head with a handgun that I didn’t even know he owned.

I now understand that he bought the gun for protection several decades ago. The idea that my friend would even own a gun for protection seemed ludicrous to me because I couldn’t imagine anyone who was so loving, peaceful and gentle being capable of shooting anyone, let alone himself.

I’ve been told that some people buy guns for protection because they believe that the exhibition of one will scare an intruder away. That must have been what he was thinking.

I’ve finally decided to write about this because The Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow recently wrote a column noting that older white men are more likely to commit suicide than other groups of people. My friend fit in that category.

It is inconceivable to me that my friend — who as a young man had been beautiful, talented, athletic, affluent and charismatic — could ever succumb to such a fate. But if it could happen to him, I guess it could happen to anyone when they grow older.

My friend was a 61-year-old straight guy who had never been married, and his best friend was his elderly Jack Russell Terrier who was dying of old age. He became so depressed one time that he went to bed and was found later, nearly dead of starvation and dehydration.

As a young man, my friend was adored by both women and men. But when he grew older, the attention from everyone died away. He had trouble making dates and trying to form a relationship in his older years.

He also was experiencing devastating financial problems of which few people were aware.

My friend had suffered a similar depressive experience five years ago when his mother died of natural causes. But he seemingly had recovered enough to function for a few years before his death. But he apparently quit taking the medication that had brought him back to sanity in years past. He suffered a terrible relapse as a result.

My friend was admitted to a hospital’s intensive care unit and later transferred to a mental hospital. Although his family and many friends rallied around him with loving care, he just never made it back to where he had been. His beloved dog was put to sleep while he was hospitalized.

He was released from the hospital, but it was clear he was not well. He was registered for outpatient care but apparently could not face it.

Within two days, he was dead.

Many things come to my mind about this on a near-daily basis now. It is so unbelievable to me that he could shoot himself or anyone else that I sometimes have trouble believing it was really a suicide.

I think that’s what they call denial.

Logically, I know it was suicide, and I’m glad that he is free of the severe mental illness that he had apparently endured for a number of years.

Emotionally, I search for answers and often think, “What if?” I would never have left him alone for those two days had I known he was in such danger from himself.

The two lessons I believe that can be learned from this are that if someone has suffered a mental illness, they should never be left alone until it is ascertained they are again stable.

The other message is for the mentally ill who are considering suicide if they are able at that point of making logical decisions: The pain and suffering that will be wrought upon the surviving friends and family will result in a lifetime of utter agony for them.

A friend of mine whose mother went into her garage many years ago, started her car and died, said to me, “Your mind is going to be raw for a very long time.” And it is.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative press for more than two decades. He is a former Dallas Voice staff writer and editor. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.

—  Kevin Thomas

Funeral services today in Rowlett for murdered gay restaurant owner Aaron Cheung

Aaron Cheung

A memorial service for Aaron Cheung, a gay restaurant owner who was found shot to death in northeast Dallas on Sunday, will be at 3 p.m. today at Resthaven Funeral Chapel, at 3761 Rowlett Road, in Rowlett.

Alex Ortega, one of Cheung’s best friends, said everyone who knew him is invited. Ortega said Cheung was an only child and he hopes the service will help his parents cope.

“I think it’s a really good thing for his family to be able to see how many people he affected,” Ortega said. “He really did do a lot for people who were in his life. If he cared about you, he would give you the world. He would do just about anything to help you out.”

Meanwhile, authorities say the homeless man arrested for using Cheung’s debit card remains a “person of interest” in his murder. Charles Edward Freeman, 58, is charged with fraudulent use or possession of identifying information and is being held on $50,000 bail.

“There’s not enough evidence to list him as a suspect,” said Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for DPD. “It’s going to take some forensic evidence before they can list him as a suspect.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Dallas Police Department’s homicide unit at 214-671-3661.

—  John Wright

American Idol contestant Nikki McKibbin at suicide prevention benefit at Best Friends

Nikki McKibbin, the North Texan who finished third in the debut season of American Idol, will be the featured guest at “Strides for Shauna,” a show and date auction set for Saturday, Oct. 16, at 8:30 p.m. at Best Friends, 2620 E. Lancaster Ave., in Fort Worth.

This second annual show, held in memory of Shauna Greaham who died Oct. 13, 2008 of suicide, will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

In addition to the show and the date auctions, the event will include a 50/50 raffle.

Anybody interested in being auctioned off as a date can e-mail Casey Cohea at pinkertc15@yahoo.com or Kinita Albertson at kinita.albertson@gmail.com.

Wacth the Oct. 15 issue of Dallas Voice for more information about the show and about Shauna.

If you can’t attend but would still like to donate to the cause, go to OutOfTheDarkness.org, team name Strides for Shauna.

—  admin

A couple of Fort Worth notes

For all my fellow Fort Worthians, here are a couple of events happening this week in Cowtown (and you folks from Dallas are welcome to come on over, too!).

• Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association is staging a fundraising show Sunday, Jan. 31, starting at 9 p.m. at Best Friends Club (on Lancaster at Beach Street). Anyone interested in performing should get there early to get in the line up, and everyone is invited to come and watch the show and support TCGPWA. Photographer Robert Whittaker will be there with his backdrop and lights, starting at 8 p.m., to shoot pics of those who want them. And on top of everything else, Raymond Gill and Mr. GPW 2010 Scott Wasson Conger will be there celebrating their birthdays.

• On Tuesday, Feb. 2, beginning at 11 a.m., Brite Divinity School presents “a special celebration of worship and community,” featuring Bishop Yvette Flunder, senior pastor of City of Refuge UCC in San Francisco and presiding bishop of The Fellowship, a trans-denominational fellowship of 60 primarily African-American Christian leaders and laity who seek to promote and celebrate the radically inclusive love of Christ, particularly on behaf of LGBT people.

Bishop Flunder will preach on “The Both and God” at 11 a.m. at University Christian Church, 2720 S. University Drive in Fort Worth.  The service, which is part of Brite’s weekly chapel service and the school’s observance of Black History Month, will include readings and scripture, preaching, Holy Communion and music.

—  admin

TGRA kicking off state meeting weekend with FW show

2008_tgra_05

The Texas Gay Rodeo Association is holding its first quarter state meeting this weekend — meeting on Saturday at Celebration Community Church in Fort Worth and on Sunday at Diamond W Ranch in Alvarado.

Those meetings aren’t open to the public, but the big show Thursday night, Jan. 21, at Best Friends in Fort Worth,  certainly is, and Melody Diva Lane, one of the candidates for Miss TGRA 2011, wants to make sure everyone knows they are welcome to attend.

The e-mail I got said line-up is at 8:30 p.m. and the show will start on time. But it didn’t say what time the show starts. Still, if you are there by 8:30, you’ll have plenty of time to grab the refreshing beverage of your choice and find a seat with a good view.

All proceeds benefit TGRA.

Oh, and by the way, go ahead and mark your calendars now for Sept. 10-12 when The Big D Rodeo will be held at Diamond W Arena in Alvarado.

—  admin

Tarrant County Gay Pride Week meeting coming up

The Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Committee will be meeting this coming Sunday, Jan. 24, at 3 p.m. at Best Friends, 2620 E. Lancaster Ave., in Fort Worth.

The meeting is open to committee members, organizational leaders, charity titleholders and guests.

Topics include choosing a theme and logo for TCGPW 2010, changes in the rules and regulations, committee groups and chairs and long-range committees for the parade and picnic.

So if you are interested in helping map the future of gay Pride events in Tarrant County, be sure to attend the meeting.

—  admin