Elections are coming up in November, and three neighborhood associations worked together to bring the city’s 10 candidates for mayor and commissioner for a forum.
Hagen Park’s community center was filled to the brim, with every seat taken and others sitting against the wall to hear the candidates share their plans to improve Wilton Manors.
The forum was organized by the Wilton Manors East Neighborhood Association, Central Area Neighborhood Association of Wilton Manors, and the Westside Association of Wilton Manors.
Michael d’Oliveira of The Pelican moderated the forum, organized by members of the three neighborhood associated in Wilton Manors. Each candidate had a one-minute opening statement, answered five questions with two minutes each, followed by a two-minute closing statement. They did not have access to questions beforehand and were not allowed to use their cell phones.
Ed Sparan at the World AIDS Museum. (Photo by Christiana Lilly)
Hanging from a wall of the World AIDS Museum is a large red, glittery ribbon, the symbol of the HIV/AIDS movement to rid the world of a disease that has taken the lives of more than 21 million people worldwide.
But take a step closer, and on closer inspection, one can see it’s a ribbon made up of 417 medication bottles — 10 years worth of viramune and epzicom, HIV medication worth $333,600.
Ed Sparan, a board member of the museum, made the piece two years ago as a toast to surviving 10 years of the disease. An artistic, theatrical type, he kept all his medication bottles and finally decided to turn it into a work of art.
Sparan’s piece hangs inside the museum, tucked within Wilton Station in Wilton Manors, along with memorabilia, magazine covers, and a detailed history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic — not just within the LGBT community, but men, women and children of all races and sexual identity.
“We don’t want to make it a gay museum; it’s the World AIDS Museum,” Sparan said.
Marci Craig waited anxiously at the airport in Ohio to pick up her older brother Steve for Christmas, but he never got off the plane.
Wondering if there was a car accident, Craig and her sister called the police to find out if Steve and his partner, Kevin Powell, even got on the plane in the first place. They hadn’t. No one answered any phone calls at home, and Craig gave the Wilton Manors police authority to break into the couple’s home, where the lights were on, but the shades were drawn, and the doors were locked.
In the wee hours of the morning of Dec. 26, 2010, police discovered the couple’s bodies in their home, dead from gunshot wounds and head trauma.
“We were just devastated,” Craig said. “By 8 a.m., we were on a flight to Fort Lauderdale and it felt like forever to get down there.”
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