Columnists

Fri
04
May

Letters to the Editor: On Orange Camp Road, roundabouts, facts and verbal violence

Orange Camp Road needs widening and a traffic light

Editor, The Beacon:

I have lived in Victoria Gardens, arriving as the 13th house, since 2002. Over the years, I have seen many changes.

We have more than 1,400 homes, most with two-car garages (and two cars). The increase in traffic getting in and out of the gate, onto Orange Camp Road, has made things very dangerous without a traffic light.

We also now have construction across from the Victoria Gardens gate — more commercial stores. This will cause a dangerous situation for Victoria Gardens residents.

From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the traffic from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Beltway traffic light to Lake Helen builds up to bumper-to-bumper. There is the same problem in the morning.

The money for the widening of Orange Camp Road to four lanes with a divider and turn lanes was available. Why hasn’t it been started?

Mon
30
Apr

David Rauschenberger: We’re in the midst of a second civil war

David Rauschenberger

David Rauschenberger

Tax season is over, and I’ve come to one conclusion after two tax seasons with Donald Trump as my president: Our republic is being torn apart by a second civil war.

My friends on the left need to check Webster’s Dictionary for the meaning of civil war: “A war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country.”

What about how Democrats and the left are acting differs from that simple definition? Nothing.

Most civil wars start in the political arena. Relocating isn’t a real option these days as it was in our formative years. Civil wars these days require one group to decide how they define rights.

Democrats are on the outside looking in. And they are angry.

Mon
30
Apr

Tanner Andrews: Hot, wet and smelly

Tanner Andrews

Tanner Andrews

One thing about tin-pot dictators: They sure do want respect. We have all seen the old newsreels of Germans marching by Hitler. Nor can we count the South American rulers standing out in the heat and rain, or Russians in the snow, watching soldiers march by to salute.

I suspect that tin-pot dictators have fairly fragile egos. When no one tells them how great they are, they get worried. The mere suggestion that someone does not like a ruler often brings prison or worse.

National-level goofs are not alone in this. Everyone likes to think they are popular and respected. Dissent is to be firmly squelched and punished.

That is probably why County Chair Ed Kelley wants all the cities to come in and praise the latest planned sales-tax increase. Right now, the cities have followed orders and endorsed a tax increase. However, some are tepid, and others waver on how to spend the windfall.

Wed
25
Apr

Putnam’s new owner goes to work

Much work to be done — New Hotel Putnam owner Mohamed Rashad stands in one of the inn’s corridors, which is scattered with various pieces of debris.  

Much work to be done — New Hotel Putnam owner Mohamed Rashad stands in one of the inn’s corridors, which is scattered with various pieces of debris.  

BEACON PHOTOS/ANTHONY DeFEO

​​​​​​​SCARS OF ABANDONMENT — Grafitti covers the walls of what was once the Cypress Room bar at the Hotel Putnam. “You can’t choose the waves that come to you, but you can choose which one to ride,” wrote one would-be artist — perhaps an unintentional poetic metaphor of sorts for the Putnam’s fate. A nightstand and some other pieces of furniture are also strewn about. The hotel has been officially closed since 2012, but it’s clear that it hasn’t been completely devoid of human presence. 

SCARS OF ABANDONMENT — Grafitti covers the walls of what was once the Cypress Room bar at the Hotel Putnam. “You can’t choose the waves that come to you, but you can choose which one to ride,” wrote one would-be artist — perhaps an unintentional poetic metaphor of sorts for the Putnam’s fate. A nightstand and some other pieces of furniture are also strewn about. The hotel has been officially closed since 2012, but it’s clear that it hasn’t been completely devoid of human presence. 

MORE SCARS OF ABANDONMENT — A view from inside one of the Putnam’s units. The wall separating the unit from the hallway has been damaged, as has a door leading into the next room. 

MORE SCARS OF ABANDONMENT — A view from inside one of the Putnam’s units. The wall separating the unit from the hallway has been damaged, as has a door leading into the next room. 

A TARNISHED GEM — Once a luxury winter retreat for wealthy Northerners, years of neglect have taken their toll on the Hotel Putnam. Broken windows on the building’s rear can be seen in this photo.

NATURE RECLAIMS — In this photo, vines are seen growing along the western side of the inn. New owner Mohamed Rashad hopes to restore the building and convert it into apartments. Demolition work has already begun inside the historic hotel, and Rashad said his architect and engineer are working on plans for the building.  

NATURE RECLAIMS — In this photo, vines are seen growing along the western side of the inn. New owner Mohamed Rashad hopes to restore the building and convert it into apartments. Demolition work has already begun inside the historic hotel, and Rashad said his architect and engineer are working on plans for the building.  

Until earlier this month, I had never been inside DeLand’s once-grand Hotel Putnam. 

The beleaguered, long-vacant inn was long past its prime by the time I moved to DeLand six years ago. Since 2012, I’d reported on the hotel changing hands four different times, through a string of developers who had lofty ideas that they would inevitably fail to realize.

With each sale, I’d trot around the hotel’s grounds, taking a few fresh photos of the continued decay. A new broken window here; some new graffiti there. But I never got the chance to set foot inside. 

When I learned in late March that the Putnam had been sold to Orlando businessman Mohamed Rashad, I didn’t dare let myself get my hopes up. 

Like many in DeLand, my attitude could be summed up in four words: Here we go again.

And admittedly, the name of Rashad’s business — Big Bubba Investments LLC — didn’t exactly inspire confidence. 

Fri
20
Apr

Letters to the Editor: DeLand as a tree city, and ending polio

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

End of polio is near; you can help

Editor, The Beacon:

It is wonderful that the DeLand Memorial Hospital & Veterans Museum is open again. The photo of the iron lung prompted me to respond.

Unfortunately, the iron lung, which was used for the treatment of polio patients, did not eradicate polio. Polio was mostly eradicated in America and many other countries decades ago because of the polio vaccine. However, in the 1980s, there were still 250,000 cases of polio per year around the world.

Fri
20
Apr

Guest column: Our Bill of Rights flowed from English history

The Founding Fathers were highly educated men who lived at the end of what has been historically recorded as the age of Enlightenment.

The invention of Gutenberg’s printing press in 1440 gave birth to that era. The invention made possible the mass production of books and paved the way for a rapid spread of knowledge throughout Europe.

As literacy began to increase among the people, firsthand knowledge of the Bible, philosophy, and national and world history began to increase as well.

Fri
20
Apr

Russ White: The week in Trump-ish

Russ White

Russ White

A social-media site that alternately makes me chuckle and cringe these days is titled “TWIT - The Week in Trump.” Today’s column is going to steal the concept.

***

How is it possible to achieve a “Wag the Dog” fireworks show by blowing up more than 100 cruise missiles on military targets in heavily populated, urban areas of Syria without inflicting a single casualty? Somehow, I suspect, the targets must have been notified it was coming?

As an aside, the cost of this hour of theater, performed because Syrian President Bashar al-Assad poisoned his own citizens, was double what it would cost to replace the pipes in Flint, Michigan. What does that say about our priorities as a country?

***

Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is a perfect fit in the Drumpf Cabinet. He is as corrupt as the president himself.

Mon
16
Apr

Tanner Andrews: Going around in circles - again

Tanner Andrews

Tanner Andrews

New Jersey gets very limited respect. People make fun of the “Garbage State” and the myriad strip clubs dotting the eastern portion.

What most people know of New Jersey is what they see out the train window. Most are grateful to fly through there at 100 miles an hour. Commuter stops are quickly forgotten, as no one wants to get off and drive.

Jersey driving has a reputation, due to the traffic circles. There were once more than 100, waiting on unsuspecting drivers. The first, and probably the worst, has two six-lane roads and a two-lane road full of drivers fighting it out.

The New Jersey highway department is now trying to re-brand these things as roundabouts. Good luck with that!

The problem is not in the name. Call them roses, or skunkwork, they are still bad.

Traffic circles encourage wrecks. They also slow things down, interfering with the movement of traffic. Thus, many of the wrecks are minor.

Fri
06
Apr

David Rauschenberger: Current laws should have stopped killers

David Rauschenberger

Last week, I sided with children thrust into a political argument of epic proportions. And never misunderstand me. I’m all about freedom from tyranny.

Tyranny is one group of men defining, by force, another man’s rights. Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a good handle on the Constitution. Ever since I was a young man, there were those who sought to fundamentally change our Constitution. They tell us it lives and breathes. It protects the murder of babies in the womb.

The death of our Constitution, my friends, is really what they’re selling. My rights aren’t inalienable. Democrats define them.

The left exploits any advantage. They twist our rights to fit their ideological outcomes.

Democrats say that my owning a weapon giving me standing against a member of our military was never the intention of the Framers. Democrats promote rude and disrespectful children who cannot be criticized for their political views.

Fri
06
Apr

Russ White: Women and children lead the way for education

Russ White

If this country is going to be saved from itself, it is going to be women and children who save it. From the Women’s March the day after last year’s inauguration, to the massive March for Our Lives on March 24, we are seeing the power of women and children growing and beginning to assert itself.

An arena where this growing wave is manifesting itself is public education. Seventy-five percent of public-school teachers in this country are women, and they are now fighting back against decades of Republican divestiture and neglect of our nation’s public schools, especially in deep-red states.

As with so much of the Republican agenda, public schools and teachers unions have experienced the “starve the beast” deprivation of Republican budgets aimed at forcing privatization onto the system. It has been a disaster in many of the poorest states in our country.

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