110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
COPY EDITOR AND PROOFREADER
Originally from New York City, Keith’s family moved to Daytona Park Estates in 1963. Keith came to The Beacon in the autumn of 1996, having been friends for years with Jeff Shepherd, and Jeff's wife, Beacon co-founder Barb Shepherd. Keith had honed his proofreading and copy-editing skills while working with Jeff Shepherd on a newsletter for the Northwest Volusia County Democratic Club, which Keith and Jeff helped found.
Few drafts can escape the marks that flow from Keith's blue proofreading pen, but his slashes and corrections are almost always given with a smile. He saves the paper, at least once an issue, from committing some sort of embarrassing or grievous error.
Keith's favorite punctuation mark is the hyphen, but colons and semicolons are tied for second.
He was married in October 2006 to Kitty Foster; they reside in DeLeon Springs.
Patricia Hatfield Andrews
Pat is an award-winning writer, garnering seven Florida Press Association awards, including first-place awards for religion writing.
She was born in Tennessee, but her father was a Navy pilot, and her family moved every couple of years as she was growing up. As a child, she lived in Morocco and the Panama Canal Zone, and visited other countries. She's a graduate of James Madison University in Virginia.
Pat, who is a Hatfield as in "the Hatfields and McCoys," moved to DeLand in 1999 and was hired by The Beacon as a staff writer after she came in with some writing samples and took a writing test.
Along with keeping up with happenings in DeBary, which she calls "the most interesting city in Volusia County," Pat covers environmental, religious and other governmental news. She also writes features on people and issues of West Volusia.
Pat lives with her border-collie-mix dog, Molly McGuire, and two cats, Shamu and Jack the Brat.
Fleeing snow, sleet and other things related to the nasty stuff known as cold, Debbie came to West Volusia in March 2007.
Fresh from New York, she immediately joined The Beacon team. Debbie has more than 20 years' experience as a graphic artist with The Post-Star newspaper in New York, and she worked part time at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts for two years.
She and husband Paul are adapting to the more temperate climate, and adjusting to the Floridian notion that it is obscene for the temperature gauge to drop below 60 after February. In her former neck of the woods, it was still snowing in March. The adjustment is going well. Very well, indeed, and she is enjoying both the people of West Volusia, and the subtropical weather.
Debbie and Paul have three grown children, Kevin, Julie and Matt, and Debbie's parents live in Bunnell.
Aside from her expertise in the graphic arts, Debbie loves to craft, quilt and sew, and she enjoys NASCAR.
Go, Dale Earnhardt Jr.!
Janet hails originally from Charlotte, N.C. A graduate of DeLand High School, she has been in West Volusia since the tender age of 10.
She came to The Beacon after a friend told her to talk to Sammie, “and the rest is history.” Janet has been in advertising sales with The Beacon since 2002 and has parlayed her business expertise into community involvement, including serving as the 2006 and 2007 president of Downtown DeLand's MainStreet DeLand Association, on the Children's Cancer Foundation board of directors, on the committee for the Johanna Knox Award for Community Service Excellence, and she is involved with the West Volusia Business Connection.
Janet is The Beacon's Miss Sunshine. She has spirit, style and an amazing sense of what will benefit a business when it comes to advertising. In her free time, the little there is, Janet enjoys gardening, baking and painting. Her favorite medium is acrylics on canvas, and several of her paintings are on display in The Beacon office.
She has been in sales and hospitality her entire adult life, and says she gets true enjoyment and fulfillment from combining her customer-service skills, artistic abilities, and sales experience to bring creativity and individuality to the process of setting up an advertising program for each customer.
Janet has one grown daughter Brittney who is the light of her life!
WEB-SITE SUPPORT, ADVERTISING DESIGNER
Having left the hectic pace of the restaurant industry in 1998 to help her husband, Denis, with his aerial-photography business, Vicki asked about volunteering with The Beacon to hone her skills while she was earning a graphics-design degree.
Vicki already had a business-administration degree from Florida State University under her belt. Once she came to work at The Beacon, her skills in both management and graphic design were obvious, and she ended up with a job, instead of an internship. Currently, she manages The Beacon's Web site.
Vicki's managerial experience, gained while working for Chart House restaurants in Florida and California, has made her a valuable addition to the growing Beacon operation. Her myriad capabilities include being a talented photographer and culinary artist. In 2006, she took on the mammoth project of managing a redesign of the newspaper’s Web site.
Although Vicki and Denis chose the west side of Volusia County to live, she loves the ocean and tries to make it to the coast or the Keys whenever she can. Her husband and their son, Quinn, are her mainstays.
Margie was raised in Miami Beach after her family moved there from New York when she was 2. Margie has covered the state of Florida since then; in 1978, she moved to DeLand from Tallahassee after graduating from Florida State University.
She has a master's degree in community mental-health counseling, and retired after 12 years in the substance-abuse treatment field. Having worked at the DeLand Sun News during the 1980s, she came to The Beacon in 2002 in search of a second career, and she found it.
Margie helps keep the wayward reporters in line, and she keeps the entire newsroom on a steady track, doing proofing, customer service, photo processing and some writing.
Her caring attitude toward the community and those around her helps her understand the importance of community issues, which is more than evident in her work and in her contributions to The Beacon's content.
Her concern for her DeLand and West Volusia neighbors gives The Beacon an edge on the larger newspapers of the area..
REPORTER AND WRITER
Al is a Southerner through and through. Having been born in Virginia, he spent his youth in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, before returning to Tennessee.
He first moved to DeLand in 1969, and stayed until he graduated from Stetson University in 1971. He returned to West Volusia in 1985 and began working for The Beacon as a stringer in 1999, contributing articles on county and municipal government.
When Al left his job at Radio Station WXVQ, where he had been the one-man news department for more than 12 years, he began working at The Beacon full time.
He is The Beacon's main government reporter, and also covers the City of Deltona. Al's extensive knowledge of the Volusia County administration allows him to get to the bottom of every government story. He covers meetings of all types, sizes and subjects throughout the county, and gives readers the most fair and accurate information possible.
When not trekking across the county in search of the perfect story, Al enjoys running and reading. The son of a career Army man, Al's discipline and courage to tackle the tough stories make him a wonderful gear in The Beacon's news-reporting machine.
Roger Sprague Gilmore
BEACON SPORTS EDITOR
A Chicago native who grew up in Vermont, Roger is a sports legend in DeLand, having covered — and volunteered in — local sports since he came to town newly graduated from the University of Florida in 1959.
Gilmore began his career with The Beacon at the same time the newspaper was founded: 1992. Gilmore retired from his long career at the DeLand Sun News, but could not retire from caring about the positive effect on young people when their sports achievements are covered in the local newspaper.
Roger readily accepted an offer from the Beacon founders to work part time compiling sports news, and has been filling one to four pages in each edition ever since.
In addition to his contributions to The Beacon, he also works for Stetson University as an equipment manager.
A DeLand resident, Roger keeps busy with his family, including his wife, Mary, and their four grown children and 10 grandchildren — four granddaughters and six grandsons.
Roger has been inducted into the Florida High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, the High Schools of DeLand Hall of Fame, and the Taylor High School Hall of Fame, and was named 2006 West Volusia Sportsperson of the Year.
When Jan first agreed to try advertising sales with The Beacon, she said she would try it for 30 days. More than a decade later, her 30 days are still not up. Jan's hard work and dedication to her accounts have earned her what she calls "the best award of all."
Jan, who served as president of the DeLand Kiwanis Club in 2006 and annually chairs the Bed Race to benefit Community Outreach Services, has kept many of the same customers for almost 20 years, an amazing feat for any specialty. Her commitment to her customers — past, present and future — make Jan one of the best at her job.
Jan, who lives in DeLand with her three cats, has one son, Scott.
Beri Rochelle Hamilton
Beri Rochelle Hamilton moved to DeLand in June 2009 from Heath, Ohio, to live with her grandparents.
She was home-schooled most of her life and was a Class of 2008 high-school graduate of the program.
A few of Beri’s passions are writing, singing, acting and drawing. In her spare time, she likes to spend quality time with her loved ones; enjoys the great outdoors, camping, fishing, snow skiing, traveling and trying new tastes of exotic foods.
She is upbeat and very spontaneous — “I love to laugh,” Beri tells us. Her favorite foods are calamari and shrimp, and chocolate is a given. Her golden smile is noticeably contagious, and will clear a cloudy day.
Beri is also an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics.
Beri resides in Deltona. Her position as The Beacon's telemarketer is always a challenge, but in a good way. “I speak to the sweetest and happiest people every day, and I love it!”
REPORTER AND WRITER
Beacon staff members will tell you, Jen Horton almost always has a good time, whatever she may be doing at that particular moment.
Almost a Florida native, Jen came to Daytona Beach from Chambersburg, Pa., when she was just a few weeks old. She moved to DeLand in 1999, because her husband, a bona fide DeLandite, said it was the best place in the world to raise a family.
Jen has an associate degree from Daytona Beach Community College and hopes to someday complete the bachelor's she began at Stetson University. She joined The Beacon staff in November 2005, after briefly freelancing, and assisted in the circulation department for her first six months on the job. She jokes she got hired because she wouldn't let editor Rick Tonyan, who was in charge of freelancers, off the phone. She's proof perseverance and persistent nagging will get you places.
Jen is a self-proclaimed weirdo and has an unquenchable thirst for both laughter and writing. She keeps readers amused and editors on their toes. Beneath her ready jokes and cheerful smile, however, is a deep vein of caring for the West Volusia community, and her compassion shows up in her stories.
Jen has two wonderful children, a great hubby and she hates folding laundry.
She can be found covering human-interest stories in West Volusia and occasionally doing the Macarena in the middle of the newsroom. Jen also likes to rant about stuff, so much so that the editors gave her a blog and a column, "Jen's Soap Box."
Michael is an award-winning graphic artist on The Beacon staff. He is constantly sought by customers for his eye-catching advertisements, and by Beacon staff members for his uncanny ability to fix all things wrong with everyone's computer.
Michael is from Seminole, in Pinellas County, “not to be confused with Seminole County.” He came to West Volusia in 1995 to attend Stetson University. Michael still has many more years of creative passions ahead of him; we hope, many of them spent at The Beacon.
He and his wife, wonderful Shannon, were married in 2006. Michael is happy to let you know he has the best wife ever!
Born in Fort Lauderdale, Will Kirkpatrick moved to DeLand in 1979. After a decade of working in retail management, he decided he wanted to leave the corporate rat race and work for something that enhanced the community. The Beacon was the perfect something.
Will, also known in the office as "WillBill," is patience personified in the circulation department, which is the hub of The Beacon's newspaper delivery. He said he looks forward to the department's daily challenges.
Will spends his spare time with his family, traveling, fishing, and collecting fossils, rare comic books and artifacts from ancient civilizations. He said he is related to Napoleon Bonaparte and William Wallace of Scotland.Will considers himself a member of a threatened species, as he is a redhead, and according to National Geographic, redheads will be extinct by the year 2050.
"However unfortunate, I think that's pretty interesting," he commented on his endangered-species categorization.
An Ohio native, Joann moved to Florida in 1966 and, not long after, went to work for the DeLand Sun News, where she had a long career as the newspaper's chief financial officer.
When The Beacon was started in 1992, Barb Button Shepherd and Eileen Burns Everett convinced Joann to come out of retirement to join the venture, and Joann's skills in accounting and finance have been a key to the newspaper's growth.
A founder, co-owner and business manager of The Beacon, Joann controls the money. As a pure "numbers" person, Joann keeps the lights on, the computers running and everyone happy on payday. Her business sense helps her manage all incoming and outgoing finances, as well as circulation and distribution issues.
Joann stays young by bowling, walking each night and the occasional round of golf. Her four children, Roy Jr., Robert, Jeannie and Joni, have given her 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
In addition to being the real mother of two staff members, Joann serves as staff Mom whenever Beaconites require sage wisdom.
Born in Xenia, Ohio, Joni lives in Port Orange with her better half, Rick Clarke, her two daughters, Tara and Jessi, and her son, Jacob. The family’s two miniature schnauzers, Maggie and Mickey, accompany Joni to work every day.
As special-publications manager, Joni handles every facet of the booklets and magazines that appear periodically inside the paper, negotiating with printers, assisting the sales team, designing advertisements, and assigning and editing stories.
Joni moved to DeLand in 1966 with her parents and siblings. Her career at The Beacon began when her mother, Beacon co-owner Joann Kramer, asked her to fill in for the vacationing proofreader in 1994. Since then, she's done nearly every job on the staff.
After a long newspaper career up North, Sam came to Florida and started work at The Beacon on April 2, 2001. He came to the area from New Castle, Pa.
Sam has lived in Central Florida with his wife of more than 50 years, Lillian, since 1997. He has been in advertising sales for more than 20 years.
Sam's natural propensity toward sales and his dedication to his clients make him a great asset to The Beacon sales team. When he's not visiting customers, Sam enjoys playing golf and restoring found golf balls to like-new condition.
PHOTOGRAPHER AND ILLUSTRATOR
A DeLand resident, Marsha is frequently seen around town on her motorcycle, which was given to her by members of the community after her old motorbike was stolen. The community response was overwhelming after the theft, as those who have enjoyed Marsha's photography over the years, and been inspired by her dedication, sought to thank her for her cheerful hard work.
Marsha is a great contributor to The Beacon, and a very familiar face around West Volusia. She started with The Beacon by submitting illustrations, and soon she began taking pictures. If there is an event in West Volusia or its environs, Marsha will be there, making a photographic record for West Volusia’s history!
FRONT DESK MANAGER
West Volusia native Sarahrose Ministeri is the first person you meet when you walk through The Beacon's front door. Her ability to organize keeps information flowing through the newspaper, and her people skills help customers get their questions answered.
Sarahrose said she has always wanted to work for The Beacon, and when the opportunity presented itself, she took it, and she is now a permanent member of the staff.
She enjoys reading, music, photography and cooking.
Melodie Wilson Robinson
Melodie is the soft-spoken legal-advertising manager at The Beacon. Her ever-present smile and professional manner, as well as her accuracy and experience with this important type of advertising, give the legal community a wonderful liaison to Beacon readers.
Like Roger Gilmore and Beacon founders Barb Shepherd and Joann Kramer, Mel is a former staff member of the DeLand Sun News, where she went to work after arriving in DeLand in 1979.
When Joann and Barb started The Beacon in 1992, they asked Melodie to join them. She came on board, at first in circulation, later sharing her expertise as the one-woman legal department.
The Vermont native now calls DeLand home and plays the piano in her spare time. She also lends her musical skills to Calvary Baptist Church in DeLand and, as a notary, has even performed a couple of weddings.
Mel and her husband, Mark, have two daughters, Courtney and Lindsay.
Barb Button Shepherd
Barb is well-known as one of the founders of The Beacon. She, like her husband, Jeff, is originally from Kokomo, Ind. When the couple arrived in West Volusia, they approached from the east and were assailed by the scent of orange blossoms. "We were fairly certain we’d found heaven," Barb said. She and Jeff, who is a contributing writer, have two beautiful daughters.
As founder, co-owner and editor, she is the driving force behind The Beacon's news coverage.
Barb lives by a "people first" attitude, which is never more evident than in her ever-popular column, "From the Heart."
Her efforts to provide the people of West Volusia with the best community publication she can has resulted in recognition and civic awards, and has helped make her an icon for West Volusians.
Joyce was born in Indiana, but lived in South Florida for 25 years.
A frequent vacationer to West Volusia, Joyce was visiting friends for Christmas in 1994 when she inquired about a “local” newspaper.
She called The Beacon from the phone book, went to the office with her portfolio, and was interviewed and hired as The Beacon's second account executive.
Joyce has retired twice. As of September 1, 2009, she began her third time working for The Beacon, bringing her years of professional experience back to the newspaper.
"I believe in giving great customer service and in putting the client and their individual needs first," she said. "I also believe that content, on so many levels, is most important."
She enjoys scrap-booking and genealogy in her free time.
Coni was born in Eustis, but spent most of her life in South Florida. After the death of her sister, Coni moved back to West Volusia to be closer to her remaining family. Coni applied at The Beacon for a job assisting the advertising-sales team and was hired, and now the account executives wouldn’t be without her.
Coni is always in motion, and constantly raising the bar for excellence in sales. She coordinates the efforts of the entire sales team with the rest of The Beacon staff, which is not always easy, even though she makes it look easy.
Staff members have learned spontaneous gifts of dark chocolate are 100-percent guaranteed to make Coni’s day, and therefore their days, even easier.
Paula is originally from Racine, Wis. She came to West Volusia in 1983 and began her newspaper career at the DeLand Sun News. Paula has the distinction of being the first Beacon employee hired by founders Joann Kramer, Barb Shepherd and Eileen Burns Everett.
It wasn't her first time meeting Barb. The two met in Paula's hometown when they were 13. Barb and her family lived there for a year, and the two have been friends ever since.
Paula was The Beacon's sole graphic artist for six years, and moved on to create and manage the paper's first Web site. (She's an overachiever like that.)
She tried to escape, but as the saying about Florida goes, "Once the sand gets in your shoes, you'll always come back." She returned to the newspaper in 2003 and lends her skill and experience to page layout and creating each edition's map of the news and advertising placement, a job that puts her in the position of liaison between the sales and editorial departments, making sure those last-minute ads get into the paper and making sure the news team has enough space for its needs.
When she's not in the office, Paula is making her home with Tim Olson, a math professor at the University of Florida, and devoting time to her favorite hobby, aquariums. She currently has five aquariums in her house, including a 35-gallon tank, which a 3-year-old Oscar fish calls home. Her current project (which sounds fishy to us) includes a 300-gallon horse trough in her yard. The trough will not hydrate horses, though; it will be home to three Pacus, which are cousins to piranas. She has verified Pacus look a lot like the killer fish, have very large teeth and can grow to be 2 feet long.
That's home security at its finest.
PUBLISHER, GENERAL MANAGER
Sammie is a managing partner and the general manager of The Beacon, and she is in charge of managing the newspaper's daily operations. The Phoenix native got her newspaper feet wet in North Carolina, where she eventually met her husband, David. David accepted a position at The Daytona Beach News-Journal, and Sammie continued her newspaper career there until joining The Beacon.
Sammie came to work for The Beacon as its advertising manager in August 2001. The newspaper had just merged with the Southwest Volusia REPORTER, and needed an advertising manager to oversee the expansion.
Sammie has two sons, Jon and Brooks, two grandsons, Sterling and Cameron, and Sammie said she gives all the credit for her success to her parents, Sam and Doris Johnson of North Carolina, who see her success first hand every week in The Beacon.
Board of Directors
Another important part of The Beacon newspaper team is the board of directors. We're grateful to Jim Jordan, Calvin Ashley, Tommy Roberts, John Owens and Jeff Shepherd.