News

Thu
25
May

5-year-old shot in head with pellet gun, DeLand police say

West Volusia police news

West Volusia police news

DeLand police are investigating a Wednesday-afternoon incident that sent a 5-year-old boy to the hospital after he was shot in the head with a pellet gun, according to city spokesman Chris Graham.

Authorities were alerted after the boy’s mother called 911 to say he was not breathing and had apparently been hit in the head by a concrete block, at around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, Graham said.

Officers responded, conducted a preliminary investigation, and found that a group of kids were playing with a .177-caliber pellet gun in the 700 block of East Carolina Avenue when the boy was shot, according to Graham.

Thu
25
May

High-climbers raising $$ for ME STRONG

limbing to support others — Already planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in June, these adventurers decided to make the journey a fundraiser for ME STRONG. The trekkers are, in back, from left, Will, Tracie, Matt and Luke Branz, Suzanne Sawko (standing in for her sister Sara Patterson, who will climb), Bill Sawko and Carter Cervantes; and in front, from left, Tim and Wakeland Branz, and Orlando, Alee and Amy Cervantes. The dogs, from left, are Han Solo, Lulu and Gibbs.

Climbing to support others — Already planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in June, these adventurers decided to make the journey a fundraiser for ME STRONG. The trekkers are, in back, from left, Will, Tracie, Matt and Luke Branz, Suzanne Sawko (standing in for her sister Sara Patterson, who will climb), Bill Sawko and Carter Cervantes; and in front, from left, Tim and Wakeland Branz, and Orlando, Alee and Amy Cervantes. The dogs, from left, are Han Solo, Lulu and Gibbs.

PHOTO COURTESY TRACIE BRANZ

Strong enough to fight cancer — The ME STRONG team, in the photo at left, includes, in front, Barbara Underhill, and, in back, from left, Kathy Guyer, Linda Ryan, Kim Martin and Kim Winters.

Strong enough to fight cancer — The ME STRONG team, in the photo at left, includes, in front, Barbara Underhill, and, in back, from left, Kathy Guyer, Linda Ryan, Kim Martin and Kim Winters.

PHOTO COURTESY ME STRONG

“I’ve thought about people diagnosed and living with cancer. ... The weight is always heavy and the terrain is always tough and steep.... We get to choose what we do, and for that I am grateful.”

— Excerpted from Matt Branz’s post on the Climbing Kili for ME STRONG donation page

Climbing Africa’s highest mountain is no small feat, but members of two DeLand families are preparing to trek the nearly 20,000 feet up Kilimanjaro for those who face even more difficult challenges every day after being diagnosed with cancer.

Matt and Tracie Branz, along with their sons Will and Luke and eight others, will depart June 11 for Africa.

The adventurers range in age from 10 to 60-something.

They are on a mission to raise the bar for themselves, and to raise money for ME STRONG, the nonprofit-turned-massive-movement that offers financial assistance to Central Florida residents who are battling cancer.

The Branz and Cervantes families have a goal to raise $19,431 — a dollar for every foot of mountain. Mount Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest free-standing mountain.

Matt Branz had the idea that since they were going anyway, why not use the trip to support those in need.

Wed
24
May

DeBary braces for tidal wave of growth

First comes the vision — This slide was presented to the DeBary City Council to illustrate possibilities for DeBary’s Transportation Overlay District (TOD). It shows everything from a farmers market to upscale apartments, all designed to appeal to people who utilize the SunRail commuter-train station in DeBary. A map of the district shows where in DeBary these developments could be located.

First comes the vision — This slide was presented to the DeBary City Council to illustrate possibilities for DeBary’s Transportation Overlay District (TOD). It shows everything from a farmers market to upscale apartments, all designed to appeal to people who utilize the SunRail commuter-train station in DeBary. A map of the district shows where in DeBary these developments could be located.

GRAPHIC COURTESY CITY OF DEBARY

The River City is bracing for a tidal wave of growth and development, particularly around the city’s SunRail station.

Consultant Larry Adams’ grand vision for DeBary’s 107-acre Transportation Overlay District (TOD) had City Council members glued to their monitors during a recent meeting.

Adams’ firm, Associated Consulting International, has helped other cities build impressive community spaces featuring high-density living, restaurants, bars and cafes around their SunRail stations. DeBary’s TOD district is on the city’s southern end, and is currently home to the northern terminus of the SunRail system.

Adams went over a series of before-and-after shots of the land around SunRail stations in Maitland and Longwood, where development has sprung up.

Wed
24
May

Beresford Avenue extension is stalled

To be continued? — East Beresford Avenue currently ends at Blue Lake Avenue on DeLand’s east side.

To be continued? — East Beresford Avenue currently ends at Blue Lake Avenue on DeLand’s east side.

BEACON PHOTO/RICK BUTLER

One property owner is the holdout

A long-planned road project in southeast DeLand is stalled over right of way.

For several years, transportation planners have wanted to extend East Beresford Avenue from South Blue Lake Avenue, where it now ends, eastward to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Beltway.

But prospects are dim for the project, which would relieve an ever-more-crowded East State Road 44.

“It’s on life support,” Volusia County Engineer Gerald Brinton said.

The county has a shortage of cash for road construction, with revenues from gasoline taxes flat and road-impact fees not yet rebounded to pre-recession levels.

“We said we would build it if the property owners would donate the land,” Brinton said. “The city has been trying to acquire that land.”

DeLand City Manager Michael Pleus confirmed one landowner — whom he declined to name — is resisting.

Wed
24
May

#DeLandRocks become building blocks

A full house — The Our Community Rocks event was well-attended, packing a DeLand fire station May 13 with people painting #DeLandRocks. Karrah Monk of Mainstreet Community Bank, which co-sponsored the event, estimated that between 250 and 300 people attended, despite rainy weather. She said several businesses in addition to the bank contributed to make the event possible: West Volusia Shed Co., which donated 1.5 tons of rocks, Sherwin-Williams, Quality Quickprint, JC’s Bikes and Boards, Trophy Factory Plus

A full house — The Our Community Rocks event was well-attended, packing a DeLand fire station May 13 with people painting #DeLandRocks. Karrah Monk of Mainstreet Community Bank, which co-sponsored the event, estimated that between 250 and 300 people attended, despite rainy weather. She said several businesses in addition to the bank contributed to make the event possible: West Volusia Shed Co., which donated 1.5 tons of rocks, Sherwin-Williams, Quality Quickprint, JC’s Bikes and Boards, Trophy Factory Plus Framing, Crystal Springs Water, Joe Hearn Events, T&S Professional Rentals, and Tom’s Pizza. “It was a huge community event,” Monk said.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Artist at work — Noah Hopkins shows off his painting skills at the Our Community Rocks event at the DeLand Fire Station May 13. It’s all part of the #DeLandRocks phenomenon, which has West Volusia residents painting, hiding, finding and re-hiding rocks all over town.

Artist at work — Noah Hopkins shows off his painting skills at the Our Community Rocks event at the DeLand Fire Station May 13. It’s all part of the #DeLandRocks phenomenon, which has West Volusia residents painting, hiding, finding and re-hiding rocks all over town.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

The right rock is the first step — Kelly O’Leary and Austin Reiter search for the perfect stone to paint during the Our Community Rocks event at the DeLand Fire Station.

The right rock is the first step — Kelly O’Leary and Austin Reiter search for the perfect stone to paint during the Our Community Rocks event at the DeLand Fire Station.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Cops, firefighters and businesses are using them to make connections

Residents and businesses — even governmental agencies — are using #DeLandRocks to connect with each other, customers and constituents.

A month ago, The Beacon reported on the DeLand Police Department hiding rocks with the DPD insignia painted on them, offering surprise rewards to those who found the hidden stones.

The reward was a pizza party for the youngsters and their families, giving the DPD a new way to interact with the community, especially younger people.

A new batch of 20 “golden” DeLand Police Rocks were hidden May 20, offering the finders an official DeLand Police Rocks T-shirt and a ticket to a pizza party, where a drawing for a grand prize will take place.

The golden rocks are hidden throughout DeLand, including in Candlelight Oaks, Victoria Commons and Downtown DeLand.

Wed
24
May

FPL to build solar farm: Giant array could begin generating in 2018

Energy farm — Solar panels stretch nearly to the horizon at Florida Power & Light’s Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center in Charlotte County. Another solar farm is planned in the middle of Volusia County.

Energy farm — Solar panels stretch nearly to the horizon at Florida Power & Light’s Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center in Charlotte County. Another solar farm is planned in the middle of Volusia County.

PHOTO COURTESY FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT CO.

Where is it? — This artist’s rendering shows a possible layout for Florida Power & LIght’s solar farm. The diagonal line in the upper right shows State Road 44. The intersecting line denotes Kirkland Road. The white lines enclosing dark areas denote the possible placement of solar panels. When up and running, FPL told the Volusia County Council, the solar farm will produce enough electricity to power 15,000 homes.

Where is it? — This artist’s rendering shows a possible layout for Florida Power & LIght’s solar farm. The diagonal line in the upper right shows State Road 44. The intersecting line denotes Kirkland Road. The white lines enclosing dark areas denote the possible placement of solar panels. When up and running, FPL told the Volusia County Council, the solar farm will produce enough electricity to power 15,000 homes.

GRAPHIC COURTESY FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT CO.

Facility between Pioneer Trail and NSB will be able to power 15,000 homes

The Volusia County Council has tentatively approved Florida Power & Light Co.’s plan to set up a solar farm in the middle of the county.

The facility to harvest electricity from sunshine will be developed on almost 1,200 acres on the south side of State Road 44, east of Pioneer Trail and west of the New Smyrna Beach city limits.

FPL spokeswoman Alys Daly told the County Council about the utility company’s other installations.

“Currently, right now we have five, with more than 330 megawatts throughout the state. We will add another 600 [megawatts],” Daly said. “A lot of people don’t know we have been building solar in Florida for a decade.”

Tue
23
May

County to consider charging beachgoers to park

A recent evening view of the Daytona Beach Band Shell's courtyard, with the ocean just beyond.

A recent evening view of the Daytona Beach Band Shell's courtyard, with the ocean just beyond.

BEACON PHOTO/ANTHONY DEFEO

Another beach-toll bonanza in the making?

As the summer arrives and more people, including inland Volusians, seek recreation on the sand and in the surf, their days of saving money by parking in county-owned parking lots along the ocean may be numbered.

Just as free vehicular access to the beach is now only a memory treasured by older drivers, so the free parking in the off-beach lots may become a bygone experience to share with friends and grandchildren.

Volusia County officials are brainstorming about charging people to park in the seaside parks and lots.

Tue
23
May

FWC reminds boaters of National Safe Boating Week

Floats for pups — K-9 officer Scooby of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shows off his brightly colored life vest during 2016’s National Safe Boating Week. The FWC highly recommends personal flotation devices for pets as well, no matter how well they swim.

Floats for pups — K-9 officer Scooby of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shows off his brightly colored life vest during 2016’s National Safe Boating Week. The FWC highly recommends personal flotation devices for pets as well, no matter how well they swim.

PHOTO COURTESY FWC

 
Safety first — A kayaker on the Wacissa River showcases an important safety point — always wear a personal flotation device, no matter what vessel you are operating, or if you’re on salt water or fresh water.

Safety first — A kayaker on the Wacissa River showcases an important safety point — always wear a personal flotation device, no matter what vessel you are operating, or if you’re on salt water or fresh water.

PHOTO COURTESY TIM DONOVAN/FWC

 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is observing National Safe Boating Week during May 20-26. This is a time for boaters to focus on the simple and effective steps that can make any boating activity safer, for both boaters and the people around them.

“The season’s here, and it’s hot,” said Greg Workman of the FWC. “We’re doing what we can to encourage people to build safe boating practices.”

In conjunction with National Safe Boating Week, Gov. Rick Scott declared the same week as Safe Boating Week in Florida.

Mon
22
May

Foodie File: Sweets-N-Eats food truck is living the dream

They haven’t looked back — Nathan and Kristen Camburn greet customers at their food truck, Sweets-N-Eats, at the Volusia County Fairgrounds May 17. The DeLand couple said they haven’t looked back since quitting their jobs and launching their mobile business.

They haven’t looked back — Nathan and Kristen Camburn greet customers at their food truck, Sweets-N-Eats, at the Volusia County Fairgrounds May 17. The DeLand couple said they haven’t looked back since quitting their jobs and launching their mobile business.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

A customer favorite — This Brisket Grilled Cheese is one of the most popular items on the Sweets-N-Eats menu. The food truck is a regular at the Wednesday-morning Farmers Market on the Volusia County Fairgrounds east of DeLand.

A customer favorite — This Brisket Grilled Cheese is one of the most popular items on the Sweets-N-Eats menu. The food truck is a regular at the Wednesday-morning Farmers Market on the Volusia County Fairgrounds east of DeLand.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

Yes, that’s bacon — With Kristen Camburn’s Maple Bacon Cheesecake, you can have breakfast and dessert all in one slice.

Yes, that’s bacon — With Kristen Camburn’s Maple Bacon Cheesecake, you can have breakfast and dessert all in one slice.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

Strolling onto the Volusia County Fairgrounds during the weekly Wednesday-morning Farmers Market, I was visually, auditorily and scentfully drawn to the laid-back happy vibes radiating from the Sweets-N-Eats food truck.

The truck’s paint job made me think of shiny tie-dye, and the sweet sounds of reggae danced through my ears.

DeLand-based food-truck adventurers Kristen and Nathan Camburn are the chefs and owners of Sweets-N-Eats. They both quit their food-service-industry jobs to launch their dream food truck in July 2016.

“We saved up for years to be able to purchase this truck, and when the time was right, we went for it and haven’t looked back,” said Kristen Camburn, the pastry chef.

The husband and wife met in culinary school in Pittsburgh, and then practiced their arts in Colorado before moving to DeLand in 2005 to join family living here.

Mon
22
May

PHOTOS: 2017 ME STRONG Eat in the Street fundraiser

Best in show — This Rockford Peaches table won Best in Show during the fourth annual ME STRONG Eat in the Street fundraiser. The Rockford Peaches were a women’s professional baseball team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, from 1943 to 1954. The team is featured in the 1992 film A League of Their Own. From left are Suzanne Mark, Lindsay Hagen, Blessing Ball, Diane Jennings, Tracey Word, Kelley Zagers and Shannon Honeyager. 

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Best in show — This Rockford Peaches table won Best in Show during the fourth annual ME STRONG Eat in the Street fundraiser. The Rockford Peaches were a women’s professional baseball team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, from 1943 to 1954. The team is featured in the 1992 film A League of Their Own. From left are Suzanne Mark, Lindsay Hagen, Blessing Ball, Diane Jennings, Tracey Word, Kelley Zagers and Shannon Honeyager. 

The fourth annual ME STRONG Eat in the Street fundraiser happened on April 1. Teams of friends, businesses, and families decorated tables according to a theme each team chose, and they were judged on creativity, fun, and use of concept. Beacon photos by Marsha McLaughlin.  

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