Check out our local news briefs!


National - Employer of Pulse Shooter Fined for False Psych Forms

(SFGN) G4S Secure Solutions, the employers of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, was fined $151,400 for falsifying psychological testing data on more than 1,500 forms that cleared employees to carry guns, the Orlando Sentinel ( reports.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services fined G4S after discovering the company had listed a psychologist who was no longer practicing as a screener on Mateen’s form and many others.

The Department of Agriculture opened an investigation against G4S finding that the same psychologist’s name was erroneously listed on more than 1,514 forms during the span of 2006 to 2016. The fine amounts to $100 per violation.

Jennifer Meale, spokeswoman for the department, said there was no indication the named psychologist was involved. She also said the department was satisfied that the psychological evaluations had been carried out, just by another psychologist.

"Due to an administrative error, [the doctor’s] name appeared erroneously on license applications," G4S said. "As soon as this error became known to G4S, it immediately and publicly acknowledged that this was an administrative error and took measures to ensure that this error would not be repeated."


Obituaries – Transgender ‘Midnight’ Star, Lady Chablis Dies in Savannah

(EDGE) Transgender performer, author and television personality Lady Chablis, best known for playing herself in the film version of the classic crime novel "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" has passed. She was 59.

Lady Chablis first achieved national notoriety in John Berendt's 1994 classic real life crime drama "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." In 1996, she tried her hand at writing and penned her autobiography "Hiding My Candy." In 1997, Lady Chablis was tapped by director Clint Eastwood to play herself in the film version of Berendt's book. 

Lady Chablis would go on to make numerous television appearances on talk shows like Oprah. In 2013, she took her scene-stealing skills to reality TV in an episode of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."

"Lady Chablis is the original drag queen in Savannah, Georgia. She is history honey," NeNe Leakes said during the episode.

"Just as The Book shined the spotlight on Savannah, so too did Chablis shine the spotlight on the gay scene, and especially on Club One," read a statement released by Savannah gay bar Club One. "She was Club One's very first entertainer, officiating our grand opening in 1988, and paving the way for female impersonation in Savannah. No one, however, could outshine the Grand Empress herself."

According to the Club One statement, Lady Chablis had "long been a giver to the community. Throughout the 2000s, she worked closely on various campaigns for the American Diabetes Association, donating thousands of dollars raised by her performances to the cause."

Chablis is survived by her sister Cynthia.


Politics - Kaine Says Catholic Church Might Change on Gay Marriage

(AP) Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is predicting that the Roman Catholic Church may eventually change its opposition to gay marriage.

Kaine is a devout Roman Catholic as well as a U.S. senator from Virginia and a former governor of that state. He told the Human Rights Campaign during its national dinner Saturday in Washington that he had changed his mind about gay marriage and that his church may follow suit one day.

"I think it's going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator who, in the first chapter of Genesis, surveyed the entire world, including mankind, and said, 'It is very good,'" Kaine said. He then recalled Pope Francis' remark that "who am I to judge?" in reference to gay priests.

"I want to add: Who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family? I think we're supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it," Kaine said.

While he pledged to fight for increased rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans, Kaine admitted that he had opposed gay marriage until 2005.

"For a long time while I was battling for LGBT equality, I believed that marriage was something different," he said. Virginia's lieutenant governor when state lawmakers pushed for a constitutional amendment to keep marriage between one man and one woman, he recalled speaking to amendment supporters who said they hoped LGBT people would feel so unwelcome that they would move out of Virginia.

"When I heard the proponents describe their motivations, it became clearer to me where I should stand on this," he said.

Voters approved the amendment in 2006. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all states in June 2015.


National - Chelsea Manning Starts Hunger Strike to Protest Treatment

(AP) A transgender soldier imprisoned in Kansas for leaking classified information to the WikiLeaks website says she is on a hunger strike until her treatment improves.

Chelsea Manning says she began the hunger strike Friday because her pleas for better treatment at Fort Leavenworth have been ignored. She says she will not voluntarily consume anything except water and prescription medication.

In the statement supplied by her ACLU attorney, Manning says the hunger strike will continue until she receives the "minimum standards of dignity, respect and humanity" and she is prepared for the possibility of dying.

Manning, arrested as Bradley Manning, was convicted in 2013 in military court of leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents.

Army spokesman Wayne Hall said Friday he was looking into the situation.


International - S. African Archbishop Wants to Deny Entry to Anti-LGBT American Pastor to Country

(EDGE) A high-ranking Anglican clergyman is calling on the government of South Africa to deny a virulently anti-LGBT American pastor entry to the country.

If Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane has his way, Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful World Baptist Church of Phoenix, Arizona won't be able to export his brand of anti-LGBT hate to South Africa. According to Newsweek, Anderson has plans to travel to South Africa for what he describes as a "soul-winning marathon" on September 18.

According to Times Live, Ndungane contacted government officials Thursday night after Anderson apparently labelled the Minister of Home Affairs‚ Malusi Gigaba‚ a "sodomite" in a video broadcast.

"This guy [Gigaba] is such a joke," said Anderson in the video. "If he was going to ban me, he would have done it months ago. But he's just stringing these sodomites along and it's funny how they don't pick up on it, they don't get the hint."

Anderson made headlines in June when he praised the mass killing at Orlando gay nightclub Pulse, saying that the shooter had "rid the world of 50 sodomites."

"He has every right in his country of origin to say what he wants. But we are not importing bigotry in South Africa. There is absolutely no way that we are going to accept somebody, an absolute, downright, unrepentant bigot to come into South Africa," Gigaba wrote in a statement released on social media on Friday.

"Our Constitution‚ of which we are all immensely proud‚ makes it quite clear that there will be no discrimination against people of a different sexuality," Ndungane said. "Neither does it allow hate speech in South Africa. How‚ then‚ can we allow such an openly homophobic and anti-gay person the right to speak on public platforms in our country?"


National - LGBT Rights Group Appeals Denial of Transgender Name Change

(AP) An LGBT rights group is asking an appeals court to step in after a Georgia judge declined a legal name change for a second transgender man.

Lambda Legal says it filed an appeal Thursday of a June order by Columbia County Superior Court Judge J. David Roper rejecting a petition from the 21-year-old transgender man seeking to legally change his name to Andrew Baumert.

Lambda Legal in June appealed a similar March ruling from Roper in the case of another transgender man, Rowan Feldhaus, whose birth name was Rebeccah Elizabeth Feldhaus.

Lambda Legal says in both cases Roper said he would allow a transgender person to choose a gender-neutral name. But he said allowing a transgender man to choose a male name would "confuse or mislead the general public."


National - NC Gov. McCrory: Business Lobby Group Helped Shape LGBT Law

(AP) North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says business lobbyists helped shape a state law limiting protections for LGBT people but that also included employer-friendly provisions banning local minimum wage increases and making it harder for workers to sue for workplace discrimination.

The governor said Wednesday many business leaders who have been critical of the legislation - more than 100 corporations have expressed their opposition and some have reversed plans to expand in North Carolina - do not understand the law's contents and should read it for themselves.

"It's only a five-page bill. There are four parts of it, two parts that the Chamber of Commerce helped write, in North Carolina," McCrory said during an interview Wednesday with a news website focused on startup companies. The video was posted on the website of McCrory's re-election campaign organization.

In the interview, McCrory then lists three provisions of the bill beyond the bathroom restrictions on transgender people that have attracted nationwide attention and lawsuits by the Obama Administration. Those lesser-known provisions block municipalities from forcing employers to raise the minimum wage they pay locally; prohibits cities and counties from requiring contractors to apply anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people beyond state law; and closing state courts to workplace discrimination lawsuits.

On Wednesday, McCrory - seeking re-election in November against Democratic challenger and Attorney General Roy Cooper - released a new TV ad in which he seemed to express disbelief at the dispute over gender and bathroom use.

"You know, when we were raising the average teacher pay, creating new jobs and cutting taxes, other folks were actually pushing to make our schools allow boys to use the girl's locker rooms and showers," McCrory said in his ad. "Are we really talking about this?"


National - DOJ Drops Fight Over Release of 911 Calls from Pulse Massacre

(AP) The U.S. Department of Justice has dropped its legal case against the release of 911 calls from the massacre at a gay nightclub in Florida, saying Wednesday that withholding the recordings is no longer necessary to the federal investigation.

The reversal by federal prosecutors keeps the freedom of information fight in state court.

About two dozen media groups, including The Associated Press, have asked the city of Orlando and the Justice Department to release the recordings of the 911 calls and other calls gunman Omar Mateen had with Orlando Police after opening fire at the Pulse nightclub last June. His hours-long rampage killed 49 people and wounded 53 before he was killed in a shootout with a SWAT team rescuing his hostages.

The U.S. attorney's office and the FBI are now dropping their request that the city of Orlando withhold releasing the 911 calls, said William Daniels, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Tampa.

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation has determined that the specific records at issue are no longer part of its active and ongoing criminal investigations into the shootings at Pulse nightclub," Daniels said in an email.

Cassandra Lafser, a spokeswoman for the city, said she had no immediate response.

The media groups have said releasing the recordings could help the public evaluate the police response to the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history. The city countered that the recordings were exempt under Florida's public records law, and that the FBI was insisting that their release could disrupt the criminal investigation.

The Department of Justice had pushed to have the legal fight moved to federal court, where Florida's public records law wouldn't apply, but a federal judge sent the case back to state court. That's where two hearings have been scheduled for later this month.