Columnists

Thu
17
May

Linda Colvard Dorian: Kindness, Mother’s Day and Melania Trump

For the children — First lady Melania Trump embraces a young child while visiting the Hadassah Medical Organization facility in Jerusalem in May 2017.

For the children — First lady Melania Trump embraces a young child while visiting the Hadassah Medical Organization facility in Jerusalem in May 2017.

WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY ANDREA HANKS

By Linda Colvard Dorian

I have always admired first ladies because they perform a difficult job they never applied for and may not have aspired to. First ladies have made substantial contributions to our country based on their own strengths and priorities, despite being subject to great public scrutiny.

Jackie Kennedy handled great grief in the face of a tragic loss, Betty Ford confronted addiction while still raising teenagers, and Barbara Bush demonstrated class while at the same time showing the friendliness of a next-door neighbor, and proved romantic love can last a lifetime.

Melania Trump faces extraordinary challenges as first lady to a husband who is a chronic liar and whose adulterous habits dominate the evening news even as he is investigated by a federal prosecutor.  

Fri
11
May

Cameron's Chronicles: Another West Volusian takes to national TV

Celebration — Starr Woods of Orange City celebrates her success on the television game show The Price Is Right. PHOTO COURTESY FREMANTLEMEDIA NORTH AMERICA

Celebration — Starr Woods of Orange City celebrates her success on the television game show The Price Is Right. PHOTO COURTESY FREMANTLEMEDIA NORTH AMERICA

West Volusia is in the business of winning! 

From Wheel of Fortune to The Price Is Right, residents continue to bring good fortune to our community.

Starr Woods, a 15-year Orange City resident, recently was a contestant on The Price Is Right

Woods is a freelance photographer who previously taught art and photography for the Museum of Art - DeLand. 

Preparing to celebrate 22 years of marriage, she and her husband planned a year in advance to take a road trip to California, with hope of becoming contestants on the popular game show.

“Richard Woods, my husband, and I decided last fall to begin living our dreams, to do more of what makes us happy, and to start to live free. This trip west to California was us living our dreams, and requesting tickets to The Price Is Right with the hopes of an opportunity to be a contestant was a fun adventure that we wanted to experience together,” she said.

Fri
11
May

Letter to the Editor: No more lifeguards at DeLeon Springs State Park

Editor, The Beacon:

How many deaths will it take?

DeLeon Springs State Park will have no lifeguards on duty this summer. 

I visit the park daily, and I have witnessed one or two rescues a week by the lifeguards in the summer. In addition, the lifeguards maintain order and discipline.

They keep people from engaging in dangerous behavior, such as diving into shallow areas, jumping on top of other swimmers, or allowing non-swimming children to float in deep water unsupervised.

This summer, children may die for lack of lifeguards in what is essentially a public pool. Admittedly, they will probably be lower-income children from “other” ethnic backgrounds, because these are the children benefiting by having the park.

Maybe this fact influenced this action.

Fri
11
May

Clay Henderson: People, not cows, are polluting Gemini Springs

Serene — The spring run at Gemini Springs Park provides a serene glimpse of wild Florida.

Serene — The spring run at Gemini Springs Park provides a serene glimpse of wild Florida.

BEACON FILE PHOTO

By Clay Henderson

On the whole, your recent story about Gemini Springs was interesting and informative, but the final sentence compels a response, since it repeats an incorrect urban legend.

Your story notes, “There is no swimming at Gemini Springs Park, because, over decades past, cattle-ranching operations on the site contaminated the waters.” This statement, as it turns out, is less than 1-percent true.

Gemini Springs was purchased by Volusia County from Charles and Saundra Gray in 1993, and has operated as a popular public park since then. 

While the Grays maintained a cattle ranch for many years, all cows have been removed for more than 25 years. In 2002, Gemini Springs was closed to swimming due to high levels of bacteria, and has not reopened since then.

Fri
11
May

Beacon editorial: DeLand Woman’s Club lives on

Continuing to give — Representing various nonprofit organizations in West Volusia, recipients show the donations they received May 8, as the DeLand Woman’s Club ended its 112-year-old run and dispersed its assets. From left are Rebecca Castillo, president of the Satellite Beach Woman’s Club, who accepted a donation for Hacienda Girls Ranch, a refuge for troubled teens that is supported by Woman’s Clubs throughout the state; Gary Thomas, who accepted a donation for the West Volusia Humane Society; Mary Gusky

Continuing to give — Representing various nonprofit organizations in West Volusia, recipients show the donations they received May 8, as the DeLand Woman’s Club ended its 112-year-old run and dispersed its assets. From left are Rebecca Castillo, president of the Satellite Beach Woman’s Club, who accepted a donation for Hacienda Girls Ranch, a refuge for troubled teens that is supported by Woman’s Clubs throughout the state; Gary Thomas, who accepted a donation for the West Volusia Humane Society; Mary Gusky, who accepted a donation for Good Samaritan Clinic in DeLand; Donna Jensen, who accepted a donation for  Grace House Pregnancy Resource Center; Karen Ryder, who accepted a donation for the West Volusia Historical Society; and Jan Stevens and Florence Thuot, who accepted a donation for Journey’s End Animal Sanctuary. 

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Preserving history — Karen Ryder, left, of the West Volusia Historical Society, accepts a donation from DeLand Woman’s Club Past President Evelyn Warren, at the Farewell Luncheon staged May 8 to mark the end of the DeLand Woman’s Club. The Historical Society has agreed to preserve some of the historical documents of the 112-year-old club.

Preserving history — Karen Ryder, left, of the West Volusia Historical Society, accepts a donation from DeLand Woman’s Club Past President Evelyn Warren, at the Farewell Luncheon staged May 8 to mark the end of the DeLand Woman’s Club. The Historical Society has agreed to preserve some of the historical documents of the 112-year-old club.

When someone dies, we often remind the bereaved that their loved one lives on in the memories of many people.

We might talk about the person’s accomplishments or the positive differences he or she made that will long outlive mere physical presence.

Those comforts apply equally this week in DeLand as we mourn the passing of the DeLand Woman’s Club.

This venerable 112-year-old fell victim to societal shifts that diminished an organization designed originally for women who didn’t work outside the home, and founded at a time when membership in many civic groups was open only to men.

The 17 remaining Woman’s Club members who attended the May 8 Farewell Luncheon should feel no guilt that the organization’s passing happened on their watch. Rather, they should be commended for their tenacity in holding out so long and for continuing to get so much done even as their numbers waned.

Fri
11
May

Russ White: Term limits good for executive, not legislative, offices

The leading Republican candidate to run against sitting U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in the upcoming midterm election is, (thank God) soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Rick Scott. Evidently Scott, who is being term-limited out of the Governor’s Mansion, believes term limits are a good thing, and should be applied to all political offices.

Term limits, in other than executive positions, are a treatment for the symptoms of what is wrong with our political system, not a cure for the underlying problems.

Enacting term limits on nonexecutive political offices is akin to a doctor who has a tuberculosis patient, prescribing cough medicine, while allowing the patient to die of the underlying TB that is causing the cough.

Fri
04
May

Cameron's Chronicles: DeLand coach is fighting for good

Winners — From left, DeLand Christian Warriors coach Johnny "Sarg" Hernandez, professional fighter Daquan Pauldo, and coach and cutman Karl McNair celebrate after winning a pro fight.

Winners — From left, DeLand Christian Warriors coach Johnny "Sarg" Hernandez, professional fighter Daquan Pauldo, and coach and cutman Karl McNair celebrate after winning a pro fight.

PHOTOS COURTESY ERICA BENAVIDEZ

GETTING WRAPPED — Coach and founder Karl McNair of the DeLand Christian Warriors wraps the hands of Dre Williamson before a session of boxing practice at DeLand High School. DeLand Christian meets at 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the school and offers  students mentoring and homework help, in addition to boxing practice.

GETTING WRAPPED — Coach and founder Karl McNair of the DeLand Christian Warriors wraps the hands of Dre Williamson before a session of boxing practice at DeLand High School. DeLand Christian meets at 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the school and offers  students mentoring and homework help, in addition to boxing practice.

GETTING PREPPED — Karl McNair provides coaching support, as amateur boxer Erica Benavidez prepares for a match in Orlando. Benavidez, a licensed massage therapist, has been boxing for six years, and credits her successful career to skills learned as McNair’s student.

GETTING PREPPED — Karl McNair provides coaching support, as amateur boxer Erica Benavidez prepares for a match in Orlando. Benavidez, a licensed massage therapist, has been boxing for six years, and credits her successful career to skills learned as McNair’s student.

In and out of the ring, Karl McNair is consistent in his approach to enhancing the lives of young adults in the community. He is the founder of and trainer for the DeLand Christian Warriors (DCW), a boxing league in DeLand.

McNair, a native of Philadelphia, moved to Florida at the age of 14.

“I was a knucklehead. Coming from the streets, I was a fighter. It took me off of the right path,” McNair said.

McNair eventually developed the skills and determination necessary to break through the negative effects of societal flaws. Now, he invests those qualities in young people who are experiencing similar challenges. 

During the day, McNair is an anesthesia technician; by night, he spends countless hours as a devoted father, husband and coach.

“From the streets to the ring” is the mission of DCW, where McNair provides weekly coaching to 25 to 50 students of all ages.  

Fri
04
May

David Rauschenberger: No problem in higher rates of arrest for students in Volusia

David Rauschenberger

David Rauschenberger

My political opponents have decided that one way to forward their ideology is to ignore the law. They encourage illegal aliens to enter our country by breaking our most fundamental laws. Those laws regulate immigration and are defined by our fairly elected legislature, are signed into law by our fairly elected president, and have been deemed constitutional by our courts. It’s simple.

The legislative branch, executive branch and judicial branch were designed to provide checks and balances. They were created to make sure no one branch became all-powerful. Our rights protect us all, individually, from a tyrannical government.

The left, identifying with the Democrat Party, has decided that they no longer fall under these constraints.

Fri
04
May

Russ White: Younger generation rejects Trump and the Republican Party

Russ White

Russ White

Virtually every prediction of the upcoming election from virtually every predictor of elections, regardless of political leaning, is forecasting a tsunami in the direction of Democrats. Much is in response to the corruption and mal/misfeasance of the current administration, but deeper analysis tells a different story.

What is going on is a sea change in the political base of the country. A recent study by the Harvard Political Review brings it more sharply into focus. The biannual poll of voters in the 18-29 age group shows this tsunami may be a rising tide rather than a single wave.

Fri
04
May

Mark Barker: Epidemic of Volusia Dysfunction Syndrome kills sales-tax plan

Mark Barker

Could a political psychologist have a field day in Volusia County or what?

Look, I’m no Sigmund Freud, but my layman’s psychoanalysis of our current crop of elected and appointed officials on the dais of power at the county administration center in DeLand finds a contagious psychosis at work. This virulent disorder ensures malleability, lock-step conformity and a pathological ability to compromise in the pursuit of power.

A shared illness that renders its victims completely devoid of independent thought or strategic vision.

When you expose those afflicted to an entrenched system that beats square pegs into round holes to protect the status quo, the disease spreads like a pandemic to other similarly situated local politicians.

The malady — let’s call it “Volusia Dysfunction Syndrome” — is marked by small-minded authoritarian personalities with enormous egos, a low ability for critical thinking and a voracious appetite for tax dollars.

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