Columnists

Fri
30
Jun

David Rauschenberger: Democrats make the mistake of believing hype and dishonest polling

David Rauschenberger

David Rauschenberger

Approximately $28 million is now down the drain. A self-produced filmmaker and political aide who portrayed himself as a centrist and didn’t even live in the district of contention has been defeated for Newt Gingrich’s congressional seat, the 6th District of Georgia. Gingrich is one of the most famous congressmen in my lifetime, and he won the 6th in Georgia the year before I graduated from high school.

The 6th District is the more affluent part of Atlanta. My uncle, a World War II war hero, lived there for most of my teen years and my early adulthood. Redistricting (the Democrats’ answer to the repudiation of their ideology) has narrowed the Republican margin of victory there in recent years.

When Tom Price left the 6th seat open to become Health and Human Services secretary, the Democrats saw their opening. A jewel from the crown of their enemies was ripe for the taking. Uh, no.

Fri
30
Jun

Russ White: A target-rich environment of topics to choose from

Russ White

Russ White

It’s really hard trying to decide on a topic for an opinions column these days. There is so much going on, little of it positive in any regard, so picking one particular issue is like trying to find a single termite in a swarm.

Do you write about the new twists and turns in the Russia story? And if so, what part of the story do you write about? Potential collusion between the Drumpf campaign and Russian operatives? Financial dealings and money-laundering for the Russian oligarchs/mafia by Drumpf and his surrogates?

The new information on the degree of the attacks on our election and how the Obama administration fumbled their response? The House Oversight Committee walking away from their investigation into the matter?

Or would the newly revealed Senate repeal-and-replace health care legislation be a more appropriate topic? But, even there, one is faced with a multitude of angles from which to approach the subject.

Thu
22
Jun

Letters to the Editor: Another take on Victoria Oaks, and a goodbye to DeLand

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Another take on Victoria Oaks

Editor, The Beacon:

I feel I need to respond to the letter-writers concerned about Victoria Oaks in the June 15-18 edition of The Beacon, to let them know about my, and the other neighbors in DeLand, earlier concerns about Victoria Park at its inception. I direct my main comments to Mr. Freeburg’s letter, as he seems to show concern about his property.

First, while I do sympathize with Jon’s concerns, and while I do see where he is coming from regarding increased traffic, overcrowding, destruction of the habitat of endangered species and other animals, along with the use of water from our dwindling supply, I am referring to our concerns about Victoria Park at the time of its conception.

Thu
22
Jun

Al Everson: The Hundred Years’ War?

Al Everson

Al Everson

The Hundred Years’ War?

 

The death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student released from North Korea just a few days before, is a sobering reminder of a war many Americans would like to forget, while others simply ignore.

How did we get to this strange situation? A hard-line communist state occupying the northern part of a divided peninsula in Northeast Asia defies the world’s greatest superpower and threatens to develop long-range missiles to lob its nuclear warheads onto the U.S. mainland.

There are wars and rumors of wars, as the Stalinist North faces off against the free and prosperous South across a dangerous “no man’s land” along the 38th parallel misnamed the Demilitarized Zone.

Most of the North’s army is forward-deployed, deterred in part by American soldiers, pawns that serve as a “tripwire” that guarantees the U.S. will defend the South against aggression.

Wed
21
Jun

Cameron's Chronicles: Remembering the end of slavery

Youth program — Catalyst founder and Executive Director Felicia Benzo, left, and African American Museum of the Arts Executive Director Mary Allen talk about the Catalyst program during the June 17 Juneteenth celebration at the museum. The program mentors children in grades three to five to “inspire them to greatness.” Allen received a Hometown Heroes Award that was presented to her at a Juneteenth celebration in Daytona Beach.

Youth program — Catalyst founder and Executive Director Felicia Benzo, left, and African American Museum of the Arts Executive Director Mary Allen talk about the Catalyst program during the June 17 Juneteenth celebration at the museum. The program mentors children in grades three to five to “inspire them to greatness.” Allen received a Hometown Heroes Award that was presented to her at a Juneteenth celebration in Daytona Beach.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Guest speaker — Historian Michael Brown speaks to the audience at the June 17 Juneteeth Independence Day celebration at the African American Museum of the Arts in DeLand.

Guest speaker — Historian Michael Brown speaks to the audience at the June 17 Juneteeth Independence Day celebration at the African American Museum of the Arts in DeLand.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Juneteenth Independence Day — often called Freedom Day — is observed across the United States to commemorate the day slaves in Texas learned they were free, on June 19, 1865.

Slavery ended officially in different states at different times; Texas was the final state to end it.

In honor of this day, the African American Museum of the Arts in DeLand, under the direction of Executive Director Mary Allen, provided a film and historical presentation June 17.

Allen recently received a Hometown Heroes Award at the annual Juneteenth Awards Banquet in Daytona Beach.

The speaker for the DeLand event was historian Michael Brown, who talked on the topic “The Passage From the Slave Ship to Juneteenth” and screened the film Tula Revolt.

Brown is a graduate of DeLand High School and calls West Volusia home.

He is a professional chef who took an interest in African-American history early on and has been studying it for more than 30 years.

Thu
15
Jun

Ben Collins: Remember the lost lights of Pulse

Rev. Ben Collins

Rev. Ben Collins

Editor’s note: This commentary is adapted from a sermon delivered by the Rev. Ben Collins of Collective, a church in DeLand that held a Pulse memorial service June 11 as part of its ongoing Sunday Soul Brunch series.

The Pulse nightclub massacre took place in the early hours of June 12, 2016, when a gunman entered the gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and wounding 58 others. Collective had held a Sunday Soul Brunch event later that morning, which turned into an impromptu memorial service.

 

We were together a year ago this morning, and as we were getting set up, we began to get news of what had happened the night before at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Senseless suffering had visited our neighborhood uninvited, darkened our doorstep with a darkness that hung over all people, such that our world seemed to hold its breath.

I was about to preach a brunch sermon, and my friend said, “You have to say something.”

Thu
15
Jun

Letters to the Editor: Against Victoria Oaks

A lot going on — Victoria Oaks, shown as “600 Homes” near the intersection of Blue Lake Avenue and East Taylor Road, is just one of a number of proposed expansions in and near Victoria Park. Residents say the growth is causing problems, like increased traffic congestion, and they fear more problems as development continues.

A lot going on — Victoria Oaks, shown as “600 Homes” near the intersection of Blue Lake Avenue and East Taylor Road, is just one of a number of proposed expansions in and near Victoria Park. Residents say the growth is causing problems, like increased traffic congestion, and they fear more problems as development continues.

BEACON GRAPHIC/DEB DAVIS

Planning Board: Weigh these concerns

An open letter to City of DeLand Planning Board members:

Subject: Opposition to proposed D.R. Horton high-density development at East Taylor Road and South Blue Lake Avenue

I am writing to express my extreme opposition to D.R. Horton’s conceptual plan for Victoria Oaks, a subdivision of Victoria Park, planned on 171 acres along East Taylor Road and South Blue Lake Avenue in DeLand.

Along with numerous concerned citizens of neighboring subdivisions and property owners who are adjacent to the proposed development, I have significant and serious concerns that the project as currently proposed fails to meet the needs and standards of the established community, and would have a substantial negative impact on the neighborhood.

Thu
15
Jun

Shawna Everett: Planned development threatens DeLand farm

Popular venue — This barn at Bridle Oaks Farm has become a popular spot for weddings and other gatherings. The farm owner is concerned that, without a big buffer, residential development on three sides of the farm will destroy what makes the venue popular.

Popular venue — This barn at Bridle Oaks Farm has become a popular spot for weddings and other gatherings. The farm owner is concerned that, without a big buffer, residential development on three sides of the farm will destroy what makes the venue popular.

PHOTO COURTESY BRIDLE OAKS FARM

In 2013, my father and I purchased the 5-acre piece of property on Taylor Road now known as Bridle Oaks Farm. Our mission was to create a family-run farm that the entire family could have a part of and enjoy. We did that.

We now have three horses, one stubborn donkey, 40-plus chickens and roosters, four guinea hens, and — best of all — 18 Nigerian Dwarf goats. We give horseback-riding lessons, breed our goats, raise and sell their babies, and sell and eat our fresh eggs, among other things.

In addition to the farm we run, we also have a beautiful 3,500-square-foot barn for events.

We are very busy with all kinds of activities and fun for the community. I’ve hosted Young Life events, a Krewe of Amalee event, charity events, auctions, business events, a Stetson University ball and weddings.

DeLand loves my farm and venue!

Visitors love it, too. We’ve had brides from as far away as Italy come to DeLand to be married here.

Thu
15
Jun

Russ White: Executive-branch vacancies: incompetence or deconstruction of the state?

Russ White

Russ White

It’s hurricane season. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this year’s season will be an active one, with an above-average number of storms being generated in the Atlantic and Caribbean.

NOAA does not currently have an administrator. It is being run by an acting administrator pending the appointment of a new one by the current administration.

The same is true of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Hurricane Center (NHC), along with more than 450 other administrative and managerial positions throughout the federal government.

While all the oxygen is being sucked out of our news feeds by the ongoing revelations of criminal and espionage investigations, the Drumpf administration is quietly achieving a long-term GOP (Government of Putin) stated goal. They are “shrinking the federal government to the size it can be drowned in a bathtub.”

Thu
15
Jun

David Rauschenberger: Dems were in charge when Russians tried to hack our election

David Rauschenberger

David Rauschenberger

This week, I’m going to educate my Democrat friends. I thought it would be nice to throw some real facts their way.

First, it was the Democrats who first called for FBI Director James Comey’s head. He cost Hillary the election before the Russians became a more convenient excuse. Democrats’ anger evaporated when President Donald Trump fired Comey.

He’s now the hero of the left. And he’s special counsel Robert Mueller’s best friend. Independent, huh?

Comey came to Congress last week with not one scintilla of evidence that Trump was under investigation or had anything to do with any Russian conspiracy. Notice that the only fact Comey didn’t leak was that Trump’s not involved in any matter.

The Russians attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. President Vladimir Putin is our enemy and cannot be trusted. We can all agree.

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