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Mon
24
Apr

Foodie File: Battle of the mac and cheese

Yum! — Bonnie Ronning prepares to serve mac and cheese samples at the Battle of the ALF Chefs April 11 at Byte Bistro in Downtown DeLand. The competition was staged to raise funds for the Parkinson Association of Greater Daytona Beach.

Yum! — Bonnie Ronning prepares to serve mac and cheese samples at the Battle of the ALF Chefs April 11 at Byte Bistro in Downtown DeLand. The competition was staged to raise funds for the Parkinson Association of Greater Daytona Beach.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Champions — Chefs Jeff Hollen and Ravin Bissoonduit of John Knox Village in Orange City accept the top prize for their mac and cheese creation. Marjorie Marcus, director of operations for Senior Helpers, which sponsored the competition, said the 2017 Battle of the ALF Chefs raised $2,100 for the Parkinson Association of Greater Daytona Beach.

Champions — Chefs Jeff Hollen and Ravin Bissoonduit of John Knox Village in Orange City accept the top prize for their mac and cheese creation. Marjorie Marcus, director of operations for Senior Helpers, which sponsored the competition, said the 2017 Battle of the ALF Chefs raised $2,100 for the Parkinson Association of Greater Daytona Beach.

Difficult choice — Michael Moses and Matthew Moses tuck into samples of macaroni and cheese offered by chefs from eight Volusia County assisted-living centers.

Difficult choice — Michael Moses and Matthew Moses tuck into samples of macaroni and cheese offered by chefs from eight Volusia County assisted-living centers.

Chef competition raises funds to combat Parkinson’s

It was a battle for the ages. A battle of wills. A battle steeped in deep rivalries.

A battle … steeped in cheese sauce.

Eight chefs from assisted-living complexes across Volusia County recently descended on Downtown DeLand bistro Byte for the second annual Battle of the ALF Chefs: Battle Mac & Cheese.

Proceeds from the event, which is put on by home health care agency Senior Helpers, go to the Parkinson Association of Greater Daytona Beach.

Chefs from John Knox Village, The Cloisters of DeLand, and other prominent assisted-living facilities all showed off their culinary chops in the competition, putting their own personal touches on an American staple.

Fri
21
Apr

Umberger accepts DeLand police chief job

Jason Umberger is DeLand's new police chief. He is pictured here speaking during a recent forum featuring the several candidates for the position.

Jason Umberger is DeLand's new police chief. He is pictured here speaking during a recent forum featuring the several candidates for the position.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

After a monthslong search, DeLand has a new police chief: Jason Umberger.

The Swatara Township, Pennsylvania, police chief accepted the job April 21, according to DeLand City Manager Michael Pleus.

Umberger, 49, is expected to begin his new position with the DeLand Police Department sometime before June 1, city spokesman Chris Graham said.

“There were many qualified applicants, and it was an honor that I was selected by the city manager to be the next police chief,” Umberger said. “It’s also equally as great an honor to be recommended by so many great people on the selection committee.”

Thu
20
Apr

Defending Freedom Warrior Weekend canceled this year

Defending Freedom Warrior Weekend donated a home to Cpl. Robert “Bob” Loria recently. Quin Booth and Loria are shown here alongside city officials cutting the ribbon on the new home recently.

Defending Freedom Warrior Weekend donated a home to Cpl. Robert “Bob” Loria recently. Quin Booth and Loria are shown here alongside city officials cutting the ribbon on the new home recently.

BEACON PHOTO/JOE CREWS

Annually for the past 10 years, DeLand has opened its heart to a weekend of events designed to honor and help wounded service members.

But there won't be a Defending Freedom Warrior Weekend this year.

The annual weekend — originally scheduled April 20-23 — treated wounded veterans to tandem skydives at Skydive DeLand, a golf tournament, and Downtown DeLand block parties.

What caused the cancellation this year? In a word, too much business.

Since its inception, the weekend's primary sponsors have been military supplier Complete Parachute Solutions, which is located on the DeLand Municipal Airport, and the company’s President Fred Williams.

Williams said CPS is going through a particularly busy time, and he's been unable to devote enough hours to the Warrior Weekend project this year.

"But we absolutely are planning to resume the DFWW in 2018," Williams said.

Thu
20
Apr

West Volusia Calendar of Events April 22-29, 2017

Saturday, April 22
 
St. Johns River Cleanup
Wed
19
Apr

DeBary’s perennial critic

Government watchdog — Mort Culligan gives the DeBary City Council a piece of his mind during a 2016 hearing.

Government watchdog — Mort Culligan gives the DeBary City Council a piece of his mind during a 2016 hearing.

BEACON FILE PHOTO

Asking for help — Members of the University High School bowling team appeal to the DeBary City Council in February for travel money to help the team compete in a national competition. After the proper paperwork was completed, the team members returned to the City Council’s April meeting, and were awarded $500.

Asking for help — Members of the University High School bowling team appeal to the DeBary City Council in February for travel money to help the team compete in a national competition. After the proper paperwork was completed, the team members returned to the City Council’s April meeting, and were awarded $500.

BEACON PHOTO/RICK BUTLER

Every local government has the occasional penny pincher who appears to oppose one spending plan or another, but DeBary has a particularly vocal critic who appears to enjoy browbeating the City Council at its monthly meetings.

At the April 5 meeting, wearing a soiled American flag around his ankle in protest of something or other about how President Donald Trump has too many flags behind his desk, Morton Culligan used every one of his three-minute citizen-comment opportunities to bash the mayor and City Council members.

Culligan spoke repeatedly about the council’s “waste” of his taxpayer dollars.

Should DeBary spend the same $20,000 as it has in recent years for its popular Fourth of July fireworks?

“You’re literally sending my taxes up in smoke! You should be ashamed of yourselves!” was one of Culligan’s milder exhortations.

Wed
19
Apr

DeLand picks new site for its homeless center

Susan Clark, executive director of The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, stands outside the group's headquarters on South Woodland Boulevard. The proposed West Volusia homeless shelter will now be situated near the Center.

Susan Clark, executive director of The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, stands outside the group's headquarters on South Woodland Boulevard. The proposed West Volusia homeless shelter will now be situated near the Center.

New location is closer to Neighborhood Center

DeLand’s homeless shelter isn’t built yet, but it’s already moving.

After concern was expressed about the proximity of the original site at 224 S. Florida Ave. to a growing Downtown DeLand district and a few specific businesses, city leaders searched for another site and found one next door to The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, the agency that will operate the facility.

“There’s been some pushback from one of the Downtown merchants, and from other people as well,” DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar said.

Both the DeLand City Commission and Volusia County government — which has agreed to provide funds to build the shelter — approved the move to 417 S. Palmetto Ave., two blocks south of the original site.

Wed
19
Apr

Student-housing law falters in DeLand

Stetson footballers rush onto the field at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium during a game last year.

Stetson footballers rush onto the field at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium during a game last year.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

With an unexpectedly narrow vote, DeLand city commissioners April 17 passed an ordinance laying down new rules for where private student housing can be built. But final approval of the new law on its required second reading in a month seems far less certain.

The ordinance, which won on a 3-2 vote, prohibits building student housing complexes within 300 feet of any land zoned for single-family housing. Student housing is defined as apartments with at least three bedrooms, leased separately to unrelated students.

The new rules come after several rounds of battle over student housing in DeLand, with heated, hourslong meetings about proposed developments not terribly far in the City Commission’s rearview mirror.

Commissioners spent much of late 2015 and early 2016 battling with nearby residents over Athens Commons II, a proposed student-housing project on North Amelia Avenue between Oakdale and Plymouth avenues.

Wed
19
Apr

What’s on your mayor’s mind? Looks like SunRail, crowded roads, growth — and stealing DeBary’s power plants

Southwest duo — DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia, left, and Deltona Mayor John Masiarczyk share a light moment during the West Volusia State of the Region luncheon. Among mayors present for the round table, only Masiarczyk didn’t say he would steal DeBary’s power plants — just one of which pays about $12 million in property taxes each year.

Southwest duo — DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia, left, and Deltona Mayor John Masiarczyk share a light moment during the West Volusia State of the Region luncheon. Among mayors present for the round table, only Masiarczyk didn’t say he would steal DeBary’s power plants — just one of which pays about $12 million in property taxes each year.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Lake Helen Mayor Buddy Snowden

Lake Helen Mayor Buddy Snowden

Deltona Mayor John Masiarczyk

Deltona Mayor John Masiarczyk

DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia

DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia

Orange City Mayor Gary Blair, in a recorded video message

Orange City Mayor Gary Blair, in a recorded video message

DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar

DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar

West Volusia continues to grow by leaps and bounds, according to the leaders of five West Volusia cities.

Mayors Bob Apgar of DeLand, John Masiarczyk of Deltona, Buddy Snowden of Lake Helen and Bob Garcia of DeBary took part in the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual West Volusia State of the Region luncheon last month.

Orange City Mayor Gary Blair could not attend, but he made a video message that was played at the forum. During part of the discussion, Commissioner Jeff Allebach stepped up to the dais to represent Orange City. Mayor James Sowell of Pierson was unable to attend.

The city leaders answered questions on topics ranging from transportation to economic development and water conservation. The forum was moderated by attorney Michael Woods of Cobb Cole.

Here are some of their remarks.

 

On how to address the area’s transportation needs

 

Tue
18
Apr

Taylor Middle-High School coach arrested for sex act with student

Keyunta Murphy, 23, of Pierson, is charged with lewd or lascivious battery on a victim under 16, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

Keyunta Murphy, 23, of Pierson, is charged with lewd or lascivious battery on a victim under 16, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

A Taylor Middle-High School volleyball coach and campus adviser was arrested around midnight Monday on charges of performing a sex act on a 14-year-old student in a gym bathroom at the Pierson school, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

Keyunta Murphy, 23, of Pierson, is charged with lewd or lascivious battery on a victim under 16, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Andrew Gant said the agency was alerted to the alleged incident around 2 p.m. Monday, after the victim’s mother contacted the school resource deputy at Taylor Middle-High.

Tue
18
Apr

Police investigate threat at University High School in Orange City

University High School

University High School

BEACON FILE PHOTO

Officials with the Volusia County School District and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office are looking into a bomb threat written on a bathroom wall at University High School in Orange City.

The threat read "F--- this school, everyone can just die and they WILL monday at 11:45 by a bomd [sic] in a girls bathroom,” and then listed several building numbers around the school’s campus.

District spokeswoman Nancy Wait said Monday morning that the district had not yet identified the student responsible for the threat.

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