September, 2020 News (45 Articles with 64,742 total views)

On the cover of the print edition for September, 2020 Virtual Pride Fest was held June 27, 2020 and broadcast from the Erie Playhouse. Kate Neubert Lechner, Executive director or Erie Playhouse; Lovin Heart drag performer and President of NW PA Pride Alliance; Tony Gressley, entertainment director for NW PA Pride Alliance; Samiar Nefzi, reporter for Jet 24/Fox66

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Local and Regional News

2020 Virtual Pridefest Held on June 27

NW PA Pride Alliance hosted 2020 Virtual Pride Fest on Saturday, June 27. Because of COVID concerns, it was not possible to be held in person this year. Speakers/presenters included US Sen. Bob Casey Jr, County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, Leroy Oglesby, and Erie City Mayor Joe Schember. Live performers in the webcast included Misty Michaels Kall, Lovin Heart, Rebecca Mae, Priscilla Godzilla, Debbie, and Austin Kulyk. Pre-recorded performers included Snarebear, Porshaa Lejayy, and various performers from the Erie Playhouse. Emcees included Samiar Nefzi, reporter for Jet 24/Fox66; Lovin Heart/Alex Sphon President of NW PA Pride Alliance; and Toney Gressley, Entertainment Director for NW PA Pride Alliance. The viewing audience over the course of the event averaged around 175, with a maximum of 250.
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Tea Time with Drag Queens

Tea Time with Drag Queens
Some people, when they think of Community, they think of their closest family, their neighbors that help out when things get rough. When I heard about a letter that was not only sent to Andora's Bubble Tea downtown I was furious. It's 2020, there's a lot more issues in the world to be concerned with and what trends to 'cancel' I posted publicly that I wanted to show my support , by painting up a mug and going to buy my FIRST Bubble Tea. I looked for assistance on who wanted to join and got the Idea to have a Tea Time event with Drag Queens. I reached out via Facebook to Andora's Bubble, to ask if they would like the support of me and my Sisters to help boost business, and show the individual who wrote the letter that "Yes, in fact that the LGBTQIA+ Community is big and strong enough to support them" So on, July 29th, Debbie, Pissi Gabune, Priscilla Godzilla, Rebecca Mae and Alysin Wonderland gathered at the shop to pose for pictures and accept donations for the NWPA Pride Alliance. The turn out was AMAZING. There were no less than 20 people at a time throughout the day. We raised over $250 for the Alliance and when I spoke with the owners after our event ended, they said that there were TONS of new patrons, some who have never heard of the place or had Bubble Tea. Even while talking with some of the patrons, they heard about it through coverage on Erie New Now and the Facebook event. There were even a few people who stopped by to see what was with the crowd and were awestruck that we came together for support. It was nonstop. When I spoke with a few of the patrons who attended, one woman said that while there and talking "It felt like Family" and was very thankful for us coming together and organizing a get together. The general consensus from all who participated would LOVE to have a gathering of the queens again. I spoke with one of the workers and she told me that she didn't know how much exactly they made in sales, but it was definitely the BUSIEST day they've ever experienced, and that the owners loved everything about it and would love to host the event again and maybe make it reoccurring thing. It was a great time for everyone. There were even comments made that since people couldn't interact with us at Pride this year, that this was just as amazing and fun. Photos by Andrea Shaffer.
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PA Commission on LGBTQIA Affairs meeting on August 7

On Friday, August 7, the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs held their quarterly meeting via Zoom. 
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Lake Erie Gala Postponed to 2021

The planning committee for Erie Sisters and Brothers Support Group's annual Lake Erie Gala, had a big discussion about the event. After much deliberation, it is with a heavy heart that they have decided the Lake Erie Gala 2020 has been cancelled. We are now going to focus all our efforts to one hell of a Gala 2021! We have decided to do a second Cabin Fever type event in its place. It will be this November, the same Friday-Sunday of the original Gala on November 20-22. Anyone who wants to come, can make the trip and just have fun and no structure or schedule. We will be having our official Cabin Fever this February 19th-21st
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Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) Youth Program

Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) has paired with Centerlink to provide an online space for LGBTQA teens. The schedule and link can be found at: http://greatereriealliance.com/gsa-program/
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Local LGBT Nonprofits Benefit From The Region's Generosity

Local LGBT Nonprofits Benefit From The Region's Generosity
Tuesday, August 11, was the annual Erie Gives Day which raised $6,287,202, surpassing last year's record of $5,569,161. The amount will be shared among 422 nonprofits from around Erie County. Our own LGBT community will benefit from gifts that were given for Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE)- $10,465, LGBT Community Foundation- $5,814, and NW PA Pride Alliance- $970.
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No Such Thing as Just Emotional Abuse

Have you ever walked on eggshells? Probably not literally, but when you hear the expression "walking on eggshells," you know exactly what it means. In an intimate relationship, walking on eggshells is that feeling you get when you must choose your words carefully, worry about giving offense, or keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself for fear of angering your partner.
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Mayor's LGBTQIA+ Advisory Council Meeting on August 6

The Mayor's LGBTQIA+ Advisory Council held their quarterly meeting via Zoom on Thursday, August 6. It was the consensus that creating agendas for upcoming meetings would be by a committee of a facilitator, a note taker, and the heads of the action teams. The current action teams are Health Care; Aging; Youth; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Marketing; and Education/Policy. Although action team leads should be advisory council members, participation on action teams are open to members of the community.
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LGBTQ People Make History At 2020 Democratic National Convention

LGBTQ People Make History At 2020 Democratic National Convention
August 17, 2020 - Yesterday, the Democratic Convention announced the Keynote address participants slated to speak Tuesday evening at the 2020 Democratic National Convention including 3 openly-LGBTQ people who together will make the first openly-LGBTQ people to speak in the keynote address. In response, HRC President Alphonso David issued the following statement:
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Jamestown Pride: Fenton LGBTQ+ Exhibit, October Event & More!

We are moving ahead with the event for National Coming Out Day on Sunday, October 11th! We're looking at ways to make this a safe event for all of us while still being a fun, supportive community event.
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WQLN Free Online Screening on August 20 of PBS/American Masters film Mae West: Dirty Blonde

WQLN is hosting a free online screening of the PBS/American Masters film Mae West: Dirty Blonde on Facebook Live on Thursdaym August 20 at 7 PM, followed by a live chat with folks from Erie Playhouse and the Film Society of NWPA! And support a local business by picking up a "Mae West meal pack" from the Brewerie at Union Station!
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City of Erie offers $1,000 drawing as census deadline shortens to Sept. 30

Erie, Pa. - Aug. 6, 2020 - The City of Erie is promoting a $1,000 enter-to-win contest for residents who complete the census, as the federal government pulls back the response deadline to Sept. 30, a month earlier than planned.
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Deadline for September 2020 print edition (issue # 298) of Erie Gay News is Saturday, August 15. Comes out Tuesday, August 25.

Deadline for September 2020 print edition (issue # 298) of Erie Gay News is Saturday, August 15. Comes out Tuesday, August 25.
For the next edition of Erie Gay News (issue # 298, cover dated for September 2020), please send in online events, news items, and other info for late August 2020 and beyond by Saturday, August 15. We expect that the next edition will come out on Tuesday, August 25.
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Entertainment and Travel

VH1 greenlights new seasons of "RuPaul's Drag Race," "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" and "Untucked"

NEW YORK, NY - August 20, 2020 - On the heels of the highest-rated season in franchise history and 13 Emmy Award nominations, VH1 today announced that "RuPaul's Drag Race" has been greenlit for a new season. In the upcoming 13th season, the juggernaut series will welcome a new batch of drag queens ready to prove why they're "America's Next Drag Superstar."
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SMOTHERED, a Quirky Look into a Gay Couple's Dysfunctional Relationship Debuts on Amazon Prime

SMOTHERED, a Quirky Look into a Gay Couple's Dysfunctional Relationship Debuts on Amazon Prime
LOS ANGELES, JULY 28, 2020:  A little laughter at the expense of an off-beat middle-aged gay couple is the perfect recipe for a hysterical new rom-com. SMOTHERED, the comedy series starring Jason Stuart and Mitch Hara made its debut on Amazon Prime , and tells the story of Randy (Mitch Hara) and Ralph (Jason Stuart) - who also wrote and produced the series -  a gay couple navigating their way through couples therapy.
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Tom Goss - Nerdy Bear

From musician Tom Goss - Given the hot mess that is 2020, I thought the world could use something light and full of fun, and what's more fun than a "Nerdy Bear"? The new single and video is linked below, I think it'll make you smile!
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SNL writer Sam Jay joins MTV’s "Fresh Out Live" to discuss comedic creativity and her new comedy special "3 In The Morning"

August 7, 2020 - Sam Jay, the first comedian to ever drop by MTV's "Fresh Out Live," entertained host Jamila Mustafa today with the exclusive inside scoop on her new Netflix comedy special, "3 In The Morning." The SNL writer dishes about her girlfriend's influence in her work, her inspiration, as well as navigating humor in today's climate. Jamila also covers this week's new music from Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, as well as Yungblud, MTV's Push Artist of The Month.
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Political, Activism and Legal

California Legislature Sends Sen. Wiener and Equality California's First-in-the-Nation Legislation Requiring LGBTQ+ Health Data to Governor Newsom

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - August 31, 2020 - The California Assembly (63-0) and Senate (39-0) each gave final approval on Sunday to legislation authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and co-sponsored by Equality California to mandate that California collect and report voluntarily provided sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data for all communicable diseases, including COVID-19. If signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, SB 932 will be the first law in the country to require healthcare providers to report SOGI data for all reportable communicable diseases. The governor has until September 30 to consider the legislation.
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Victory! Court Rules State Department Violated Law in Denying Passport to Married Same-Sex Couple's Daughter

(ATLANTA, GA -- August 27, 2020) - A federal court in Georgia today ordered the Trump Administration to recognize the U.S. citizenship since birth of Simone Mize-Gregg, the two-year-old daughter of a married same-sex couple, and to issue her a U.S. passport. The U.S. State Department had refused to recognize Simone as a U.S. citizen, even though both of her parents, Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg, are U.S. citizens and children born abroad to heterosexual married U.S. citizens are automatically considered U.S. citizens themselves.
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Coalition of Indian Tribes, Foster Youth Group, and LGBTQ+ Youth Orgs File Suit to Protect Kids in Foster Care From Trump Administration's Statistical Erasure

Washington, D.C. - August 27, 2020 - Today, two federally recognized Indian tribes, a California-based coalition of tribes, a foster youth and foster care alumni group, and three organizations that work with LGBTQ+ and two-spirit youth in foster care sued the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).
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Former Navy, Army & Air Force Secretaries Join MMAA in SCOTUS brief

August 26, 2020 - Joined by the 75th U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, the 23rd U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, and the 22nd U.S. Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, MMAA filed a brief last week with the Supreme Court of the United States in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case that could decide whether adoption and foster care agencies can use taxpayer funds to discriminate against qualified LGBTQ parents.
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Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Again Rules in Favor of Gavin Grimm

RICHMOND, Va. - August 26, 2020 - The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled in favor of American Civil Liberties Union client Gavin Grimm, deciding that restroom policies segregating transgender students from their peers and denying transgender student accurate transcripts are unconstitutional and violate Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education.
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ABA asks Supreme Court to uphold non-bias clause in faith-based contracting case

CHICAGO, Aug. 21, 2020 - The American Bar Association filed an amicus brief today with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the justices to affirm a federal circuit court decision that the city of Philadelphia did not violate the First Amendment rights of a faith-based agency by conditioning the agency's ability to contract to perform public foster care services on its compliance with the city's non-discrimination policies.
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Advocates Tell Supreme Court to Reject a License to Discriminate

WASHINGTON - August 20, 2020 - In the next major LGBTQ case that will be heard before the Supreme Court, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, child welfare advocates, faith leaders and groups as well as LGBTQ advocates urged the court to reject a license to discriminate in taxpayer-funded services.
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Over 30 Major Corporations Join Human Rights Campaign Supreme Court Amicus Brief Stating No Loving Foster Parent Should Face Discrimination in Child Welfare

WASHINGTON 0- August 20, 2020 -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, joined Steptoe & Johnson in filing an amicus, or "friend of the court," brief in the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of more than 30 major U.S. companies supporting the City of Philadelphia's ability to enforce nondiscrimination laws to ensure foster children have every option for a safe and loving home. In Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Catholic Social Services claims a constitutional right to exclude prospective foster families headed by LGBTQ couples when providing public child welfare services for purposes of placing children in foster homes. It claims it has a right to do so because it has religious objections to approving the homes of same-sex couples as suitable placements for foster children. The City of Philadelphia maintains that the Constitution is not violated by the City's decision to refuse to permit discrimination with city funds.
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Federal Trial Court Issues Injunction Against Anti-LGBTQ Provisions of HHS' Health Care Discrimination Rule

(New York, NY, August 17, 2020) - Today, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an injunction in Walker v. Azar, one of the various challenges to the Trump administration's health care discrimination rule, which is scheduled to go into effect Tuesday, August 18, 2020.
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Judge Blocks First Law Targeting Transgender Athletes as Case Continues

BOISE, Idaho - August 17, 2020 - A federal judge today blocked Idaho's law targeting transgender student athletes, recognizing that "the Constitution must always prevail." By granting the motion for a preliminary injunction, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Idaho, Legal Voice, and Cooley LLP, girls and women who are transgender or intersex will continue to be able to participate in school sports in Idaho.
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U.S. State Department Appeals Federal Court's Decision Recognizing Child of Same-Sex Couple's Citizenship from Birth

Richmond, VA - August 17, 2020 - On Friday, the U.S. State Department appealed the June 17th decision of a Maryland federal district court that recognized the birthright citizenship of Kessem Kiviti, the child of married U.S. citizens, Roee and Adiel Kiviti. By appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the government continues to refuse to recognize the validity of Roee and Adiel's marriage and continues to defend its discriminatory policy, which conditions the recognition of birthright citizenship on a biological link to a U.S. citizen parent.
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New Title IX guidance altering how schools handle sexual assault cases now in effect

HARRISBURG - August 17, 2020 —New Title IX rules advanced by the Trump administration went into effect August 14 for all educational institutions (K-12 and post-secondary education) to follow in sexual misconduct investigations.
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Transgender Teens Bring Class Action Lawsuit Challenging Arizona Medicaid's Categorical Exclusion of Surgery for Transgender People

TUCSON, AZ - August 5, 2020 - Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), along with co-counsel King & Spalding LLP and Perkins Coie LLP, filed a class-action lawsuit challenging Arizona Medicaid's categorical exclusion for surgical treatment for gender dysphoria.
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Brown, Speier, Pappas & 31 Members Demand Reinstatement of LGBTQ Pride and Sovereign Native Nations Flags on Military Installations, Explicit Ban on Confederate

WASHINGTON, D.C. - July 31 - House Armed Services Committee Vice Chair and 30-year Army veteran Congressman Anthony Brown (MD-04), Subcommittee on Military Personnel Chair Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) and 31 members wrote to Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper to demand he lift the effective ban on sovereign Native Nations and LGBTQ Pride Flags on military installations. The members argue the exclusion of these flags undermines diversity and inclusion efforts.Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), Congressman Reuben Gallego (AZ-07), Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) also served as co-leads for this effort.
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Victory! Federal Court Rules Florida School Must Treat Transgender Students Equally Including Access to Restrooms

(ATLANTA - August 7, 2020) Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling that required a suburban Jacksonville, Florida, school district to treat transgender student Drew Adams equally by allowing equal access to the restroom that matches his gender. Drew Adams' case was the country's first trial involving a transgender student's equal access to restrooms.
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Health

2020 STD Prevention Virtual Conference - September 14 - 24, 2020

Join the world's top public health experts, clinicians, and advocates working in STD prevention at this year's virtual 2020 STD Prevention Conference. We'll present the latest data and science related to the conference theme "2020 Vision: Disrupting Epidemics and Dismantling Disparities." The virtual conference runs from September 14-24, 2020.
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Out of The Darkness Experience Sep 19

This year, due to the current circumstances, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is unable to host an in-person event on Presque Isle. Instead, we are having an Out of the Darkness Experience, which includes a number of engaging and self-care activities during the week of September 13th leading up to a radio and online ceremony on September 19th. You can see all of the activities planned and register online at https://afsp.org/erie.
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Northwest Alliance Mobile Unit for HIV Testing

Northwest Alliance's mobile HIV testing unit is now available for use! The High Impact Prevention team at Northwest Alliance has been providing 2 minute rapid HIV tests. We have 2 vehicles to provide testing in NW PA but with a focus on Erie for right now. HIV testing has decreased across the country due to the focus on COVID. HIV testing for the last 5 months or so has decreased so much across the country, and we believe we are going to see the increased need for it very soon. We are flexible with where we can park the unit and are hoping to build collaborations with organizations to either host testing events or be able to park and offer testing to neighborhoods, clients, etc. We do have 2 units, but only utilizing one right now. We are offering $5 Country Fair gift cards to those that would not normally get tested (homeless, youth, etc.) We weren't anticipating it to take off this quickly, but so far people have been extremely receptive. For more info, contact Emily Crofoot at ecrofoot@clarion.edu if your organization wants to collaborate on this important intiative.
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How to Have Safe Sex: Now

As things continue to "open up", what about sex? When will that "open up"? I am not an epidemiologist, but I've been reading a lot of medical/science stuff relating to sex lately, in addition to hearing how my friends and clients are having sex now.
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Sex During COVID: Tips for Gay and Bisexual Men

Sex can be affirming, pleasurable and positive for a range of health-related reasons including stress reduction. It is also an opportunity to (re)discover our bodies. Like many gay and bisexual men, you might be wondering about sex during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some tips to help you make choices that are right for you:
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CDC Awards $109 Million as Part of the Federal Initiative to End the HIV Epidemic in the U.S.

CDC awarded $109 million to the 57 areas that are prioritized for the first five years of the federal initiative Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America, The funding will expand prevention efforts in the 50 local areas (48 counties, Washington, D.C., and San Juan, Puerto Rico) that account for most new HIV infections in the U.S. and seven states with a substantial rural burden of HIV.
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Letters, Columnists and Opinion

Trump revealed how he'll steal the election

Last weekend I had just finished Mary Trump's book "Too Much and Never Enough," when I decided to turn on TV.  There was Donald Trump, the world's most dangerous man, as the book says, holding another campaign rally disguised as a press conference.
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Contests

Enter to win a T-shirt and swag for Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva!?

Enter to win a T-shirt and swag for Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva!?
Enter to win a T-shirt and swag for Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva!! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, August 28 and Friday, September 18
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Enter to win a paperback or e-book for the award-winning gay memoir, Never Turn Your Back on the Tide

Enter to win a paperback or e-book for the award-winning gay memoir, Never Turn Your Back on the Tide
Win the 2020 IndieReader Discover Award-Winner and 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist, Never Turn Your Back on the Tide (Or, How I Married a Lying, Psychopathic Wannabe Murderer and Kinda Lived to Tell), by Kergan Edwards-Stout (author of Songs for the New Depression and Gifts Not Yet Given.), in e-book or paperback. To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, August 25 and Tuesday, September 15.
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Enter to win audiobooks of Every Time I Think of You and Message of Love by Jim Provenzano

Enter to win audiobooks of Every Time I Think of You and Message of Love by Jim Provenzano
Enter to win audiobooks of Every Time I Think of You and its sequel Message of Love by Jim Provenzano! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, August 21, and Tuesday, September 11.
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Enter to win an autographed poster of Victoria Monet celebrating the release of her new project JAGUAR

Enter to win an autographed poster of Victoria Monet celebrating the release of her new project JAGUAR
Enter now for your chance to win an autographed poster of Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Victoria Monét in celebration of her eagerly-awaited project JAGUAR! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, August 18, and Tuesday, September 8.
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Enter to win an e-book of Finding Tulsa by Jim Provenzano

Enter to win an e-book of Finding Tulsa by Jim Provenzano
Enter to win an e-book of Finding Tulsa by Jim Provenzano! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Friday, August 14, and Tuesday, September 4.
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Enter to win I Can Feel You Forgetting Me album download from Neon Trees!

Enter to win I Can Feel You Forgetting Me album download from Neon Trees!
Enter to win I Can Feel You Forgetting Me album download from Neon Trees! To enter the contest, fill out the form here between Tuesday, August 11, and Tuesday, September 1.
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