News

Mon
23
Apr

Foodie File: Forno Bello is home of the 'beautiful oven'

Vibrant bruschetta — A popular appetizer and an Italian classic is bruschetta. At Forno Bello, it consists of diced tomato, garlic, basil, olive oil, fresh mozzarella and a balsamic glaze. The Downtown DeLand restaurant offers many classic Italian dishes.

Vibrant bruschetta — A popular appetizer and an Italian classic is bruschetta. At Forno Bello, it consists of diced tomato, garlic, basil, olive oil, fresh mozzarella and a balsamic glaze. The Downtown DeLand restaurant offers many classic Italian dishes. BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

Bringing the heat — In Forno Bello’s brick wood-fired oven, the wave of fire can reach up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit and cook a pizza in three minutes. The oven causes a natural char and smokiness that adds an extra flavor element to the restaurant’s handcrafted pizzas.

Bringing the heat — In Forno Bello’s brick wood-fired oven, the wave of fire can reach up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit and cook a pizza in three minutes. The oven causes a natural char and smokiness that adds an extra flavor element to the restaurant’s handcrafted pizzas.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

Forno Bello Executive Chef Fernando Fernandez and general manager Christy Chiarenza.

Forno Bello Executive Chef Fernando Fernandez and general manager Christy Chiarenza.

Four years of serving piping-hot pizza 

Forno Bello means “beautiful oven” in Italian. For four years now in historic Downtown DeLand, the restaurant by that name has been delivering piping-hot pizzas out of their wood-fired brick oven.  

When I say hot, I mean temperatures reach up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit!  

“Every day before our restaurant opens, we get oak firewood and start a fire in our brick oven,” general manager Christy Chiarenza said.  

The heat generated in the oven gives the restaurant the ability to push out pizzas in three minutes with a natural char and flavor.

Forno Bello is owned by Fathi Almomani and Charlie Chiarenza, and is located at 138 S. Woodland Blvd., next door to the new offices of Morgan Stanley.

Fri
20
Apr

VCSO: Suspect charged with attempted first-degree murder in Pierson shooting; deputies searching for second shooter

24-year-old Kelley Anderson was arrested on a charge of attempted first-degree murder in relation to a Pierson shooting.

24-year-old Kelley Anderson was arrested on a charge of attempted first-degree murder in relation to a Pierson shooting.

PHOTO COURTESY VOLUSIA COUNTY CORRECTIONS

Volusia County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Thursday evening in connection with a shooting at an April 14 family party in Pierson.

Deputies arrested 24-year-old Kelley Anderson on a charge of attempted first-degree murder, after detectives determined he tried to kill a man in retaliation for an earlier altercation, according to Volusia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Andrew Gant.

Ultimately, no one was injured in the incident.

Gant said detectives were able to connect the shooting to a physical altercation that happened April 12 involving Anderson’s girlfriend. When Anderson found out about that altercation, he went to Pierson to retaliate.

Fri
20
Apr

It’s party time on Georgia Avenue! All invited!

From Woodland to Florida — This panoramic shot captured by SoNY District resident Danny Sorensen shows paving underway on Georgia Avenue in Downtown DeLand. Each paver was set by hand by members of a team from A-Best Brick Pavers of Orlando.

From Woodland to Florida — This panoramic shot captured by SoNY District resident Danny Sorensen shows paving underway on Georgia Avenue in Downtown DeLand. Each paver was set by hand by members of a team from A-Best Brick Pavers of Orlando.

PHOTO BY DANNY SORENSEN

The pavers are here! — The paving crew from A-Best Brick Pavers starts work on the east end of the Georgia Avenue Streetscape. From left are Daniel Oliveira, Alex Sares, Paolo Souza and Enos Fernandes. 130 pallets of pavers were used on Georgia Avenue. Each pallet holds 83 square feet of pavers. Each paver is set by hand. One driver of the Georgia Avenue improvements was persistent flooding, especially at the west end, in front of Trilogy Coffee Roasting Co., 136 W. Georgia Ave. Puddling occurred during con

The pavers are here! — The paving crew from A-Best Brick Pavers starts work on the east end of the Georgia Avenue Streetscape. From left are Daniel Oliveira, Alex Sares, Paolo Souza and Enos Fernandes. 130 pallets of pavers were used on Georgia Avenue. Each pallet holds 83 square feet of pavers. Each paver is set by hand. One driver of the Georgia Avenue improvements was persistent flooding, especially at the west end, in front of Trilogy Coffee Roasting Co., 136 W. Georgia Ave. Puddling occurred during construction, but new storm drains installed under the road appear to be working well now. 

BEACON PHOTO/BARB SHEPHERD

Down to the pipes — City of DeLand utility crews dug deep to make repairs to pipes underground as Persimmon Lane (formerly Pill Alley) was added to the Georgia Avenue project.

Down to the pipes — City of DeLand utility crews dug deep to make repairs to pipes underground as Persimmon Lane (formerly Pill Alley) was added to the Georgia Avenue project.

BEACON PHOTO/BARB SHEPHERD 

Celebrate the completion of Georgia Avenue and Persimmon Lane 5-8 p.m. April 28

The City of DeLand and the businesses of the SoNY (South of New York) District of Downtown DeLand are inviting the community to a ribbon-cutting to celebrate completion of the Georgia Avenue and Persimmon Lane  (formerly Wings or Pill Alley) projects.

The party will take place 5-8 p.m. Saturday, April 28. Vendors offering hot dogs and ice cream will be on Georgia Avenue, and Parvathy’s Kitchen will offer Indian food in the Artisan Alley courtyard nearby.

There will be children’s games and prize drawings every half-hour. 

Merchants from the neighborhood have donated prizes, including a Signature facial at Renie’s Retreat, a gift from Nest on Artisan Alley, a subscription to The Beacon, earrings made by Jo Johnson of the Florida Society of Goldsmiths, and many more.

Thu
19
Apr

DeLand police investigating decomposing body found in woods

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

More questions than answers — DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger said investigators had little information on the identity or cause of death of a decomposing female body found in the woods east of Lake Winnemissett.

DeLand police are looking into where a partially decomposing body found in a remote area near Gasline Road came from, after the body was discovered by a group of joggers Wednesday.

Police responded to the heavily wooded area around 7:50 p.m. Wednesday and confirmed the presence of human remains, according to DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger.

There are more questions than answers about the body, he said, but a preliminary investigation showed the deceased to be a woman.

Neither her exact identity, race, or cause of death was immediately apparent to investigators. The body was found partially clothed and appeared to have been in the area for some time due to the stage of the body’s decomposition.

Wed
18
Apr

Gas prices climb to near 3-year high

PART OF THE CAUSE — One of the factors driving up fuel prices is the recent tension in the Middle East. In this official U.S. Navy photo from earlier this month, the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon fires a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile.

PART OF THE CAUSE — One of the factors driving up fuel prices is the recent tension in the Middle East. In this official U.S. Navy photo from earlier this month, the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon fires a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile.

U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 3RD CLASS KALLYSTA CASTILLO

 

If you think gasoline prices are going up at a steady clip, you’re right.

AAA’s survey of fuel prices finds they are on par with the prices in the wake of Hurricane Irma last fall and are poised to go higher, likely to reach the highest levels since December 2014.

Even so, AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said the retail gas picture is better here than elsewhere in the Sunshine State.

“Central Florida tends to be the least expensive, and that’s because we have a lot of direct lines to ports like Tampa Bay,” he added.

The auto club’s statistics show the average national price for a gallon of self-serve unleaded regular gasoline is $2.73, while the statewide average is $2.726.

“We forecast a couple of months ago that prices would go up,” Jenkins said. “If we are to follow the normal trends, we should see the highest prices of the year.”

Wed
18
Apr

Aspiring to alpaca awesomeness: Lake Helen teen hopes to build a working herd

FUTURE FIBER — Six-month-old Melanie, a baby alpaca, or cria, stays close to her mother, Kowgirl, on April 15, as members of the Alpacas of Willow Hill herd are sheared for summer. Mother and baby now belong to 14-year-old Wyatt Hammerle, a budding alpaca farmer, who would like to be the first to show alpacas at the Volusia County Fair & Youth Show.

FUTURE FIBER — Six-month-old Melanie, a baby alpaca, or cria, stays close to her mother, Kowgirl, on April 15, as members of the Alpacas of Willow Hill herd are sheared for summer. Mother and baby now belong to 14-year-old Wyatt Hammerle, a budding alpaca farmer, who would like to be the first to show alpacas at the Volusia County Fair & Youth Show.

BEACON PHOTOS/ERIKA WEBB

CHASE SCENE — Maryanne Lewis, of Eustis, and Gabrielle Seacott, run to catch the unwilling alpacas at Alpacas of Willow Hill Sunday, April 15, so the animals can be sheared. They don’t particularly like the process, for which their front and back legs must be bound and secured until the fur clipping concludes, but the animals love how it feels once the fur is removed from their bodies.

CHASE SCENE — Maryanne Lewis, of Eustis, and Gabrielle Seacott, run to catch the unwilling alpacas at Alpacas of Willow Hill Sunday, April 15, so the animals can be sheared. They don’t particularly like the process, for which their front and back legs must be bound and secured until the fur clipping concludes, but the animals love how it feels once the fur is removed from their bodies.

Launda Soper has shed a few tears recently at Alpacas of Willow Hill, where she lives and has raised alpacas for 13 years.

She started with 32 animals and was maintaining a herd of about 14 on the DeLand farm when her husband, Tom Soper, declared that alpaca farming isn’t for him.

“It was sell them or sell him,” Launda Soper said. She opted to keep her husband.

“After 35 years, it’s too hard to train another one,” she said with a laugh.

By the end of May, the remaining herd will be gone. April 15 marked the final spring shearing day, and the farm was hopping. 

Dr. Andrew Johnston of Great Britain sheared the alpacas, trimmed their feet and filed their teeth. Adam Riley of Eustis assisted. Soper bought her first alpacas from Riley’s parents.

Fourteen-year-old Wyatt Hammerle of Lake Helen helped, too. He secured each animal’s kicking-in-protest back feet.

Wed
18
Apr

911 OPERATOR SHORTAGE: In an emergency, who will take your call?

A lot to watch — Kathy Chace of DeLand monitors at least seven screens in her job as a telecommunicator for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Telecommunicators work 12-hour shifts, and are required to put in overtime.

A lot to watch — Kathy Chace of DeLand monitors at least seven screens in her job as a telecommunicator for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Telecommunicators work 12-hour shifts, and are required to put in overtime.

BEACON PHOTO/ERIKA WEBB

A lot goes on in this room — Volusia County Sheriff’s Office telecommunicators Dallas Hull of New Smyrna Beach and Kathy Chace of DeLand stand April 14 by the door to the room where they spend long days and longer weeks managing critical calls.

A lot goes on in this room — Volusia County Sheriff’s Office telecommunicators Dallas Hull of New Smyrna Beach and Kathy Chace of DeLand stand April 14 by the door to the room where they spend long days and longer weeks managing critical calls.

BEACON PHOTOS/ERIKA WEBB

Appreciation — Students from around Volusia County sent artwork earlier in April expressing appreciation for Volusia County Sheriff’s Office telecommunicators. The colorful greetings are displayed in the conference room of the Communications Center on Tiger Bay Road in Daytona Beach.

Appreciation — Students from around Volusia County sent artwork earlier in April expressing appreciation for Volusia County Sheriff’s Office telecommunicators. The colorful greetings are displayed in the conference room of the Communications Center on Tiger Bay Road in Daytona Beach.

Appreciation — Students from around Volusia County sent artwork earlier in April expressing appreciation for Volusia County Sheriff’s Office telecommunicators. The colorful greetings are displayed in the conference room of the Communications Center on Tiger Bay Road in Daytona Beach.

Appreciation — Students from around Volusia County sent artwork earlier in April expressing appreciation for Volusia County Sheriff’s Office telecommunicators. The colorful greetings are displayed in the conference room of the Communications Center on Tiger Bay Road in Daytona Beach.

Long hours, stressful work and low pay make recruiting difficult

Low pay, high stress and crummy hours are causing a shortage of operators to manage 911 calls in Volusia County.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office currently has 20.5 vacancies on what’s supposed to be a team of 166 full-time telecommunicators. Plus, 13 operators are new and not yet trained to manage calls, so the roster is actually short 33.5 people.

Emergencies happen around the clock, seven days a week. Volusia County’s 145.5 operators work 12-hour shifts. They are required to work overtime, in a job that is already so stressful that many leave before they are fully trained.

Volusia County’s telecommunicators are the third-lowest-paid among 32 agencies in Central Florida that responded to a 2017 comparison study by Volusia County staff.

Wed
18
Apr

Student’s skill earns her a trip to Germany

Next stop, Germany — With her teacher Kim Sibio at her side, holding a German flag, DeLand High School student Sarah Gaudreault smiles in the DeLand High School “bullpit.” She’s headed to Germany on an all-expenses-paid trip after graduation, as a reward for her German-language skills. Gaudreault and Sibio hope that her achievement will inspire other students to take German courses.

Next stop, Germany — With her teacher Kim Sibio at her side, holding a German flag, DeLand High School student Sarah Gaudreault smiles in the DeLand High School “bullpit.” She’s headed to Germany on an all-expenses-paid trip after graduation, as a reward for her German-language skills. Gaudreault and Sibio hope that her achievement will inspire other students to take German courses.

BEACON PHOTO/SUZANNE ENGLISH

For one DeLand High School senior, an adventure awaits after graduation, thanks to her remarkable skill in the German language.

Eighteen-year-old Sarah Gaudreault will embark on a long plane ride out of the United States and live as a German student for a little more than two weeks this summer.

After a rigorous exam and interview process, Gaudreault was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to live with a German host family and attend a German high school.

She was selected as a national winner in German language after scoring in the 96th percentile on the Level 4 National German Exam for High School Students. The American Association of Teachers of German sponsors the scholarship and exam.

While more than 20,000 students across the U.S. participated in the program, only 44 were selected to receive the merit-based full scholarship.

Wed
18
Apr

Deltona firefighters want to help prevent emergencies

Controlled burn — Two Deltona firefighters watch a citizen put out a small fire in a bucket during an interactive demonstration at a recent open house the Deltona Fire Department hosted.

Controlled burn — Two Deltona firefighters watch a citizen put out a small fire in a bucket during an interactive demonstration at a recent open house the Deltona Fire Department hosted.

BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON

Could FENIX reduce health care costs?

The Deltona Firefighters Foundation is working on a plan to use paramedics and emergency-medical technicians to prevent life-threatening situations. 

“We feel we have a moral imperative,” said John Fleemin, president of the Deltona Firefighters Foundation. 

Dubbed the FENIX Program, the proposal calls for using firefighters who have emergency-care training to promote healthy living to at-risk households and senior citizens.

Fleemin said firefighters have seen for themselves some unhealthful conditions. 

“We go to houses where nobody has any business living in — bedbugs, roaches,” he said. “We’re not happy when we walk out of that situation and feel completely powerless.”

The FENIX Program would use “paramedicine” to help Deltona residents in need of care and monitoring, in the hope of preventing medical conditions and reducing health care costs. 

Wed
18
Apr

Downtown alley gets new name: Pill Alley, home of the DeLand Wings, is now Persimmon Lane

Working near the wings — City of DeLand Utilities Department crews dig up and examine a sewer pipe March 22 under the alley now known as Persimmon Lane. The popular stretch of pavement runs between West New York and West Georgia avenues in Downtown DeLand.  Work on the alley, including complete resurfacing, was completed earlier this month. 

BEACON PHOTO/BARB SHEPHERD

Working near the wings — City of DeLand Utilities Department crews dig up and examine a sewer pipe March 22 under the alley now known as Persimmon Lane. The popular stretch of pavement runs between West New York and West Georgia avenues in Downtown DeLand.  Work on the alley, including complete resurfacing, was completed earlier this month. 

It’s unusual for an alley to be the subject of lengthy debate; Pill Alley was the exception. After vigorous discussion at the April 16 City Commission meeting, the alley that is home to the DeLand Wings mural has a new name: Persimmon Lane.

The diminutive strip of pavement connects West New York and West Georgia avenues, running behind the 100-120 S. Woodland Blvd. block of buildings and along the east side of the Conrad Realty Co. complex that houses The Beacon’s offices. 

Largely due to the DeLand Wings mural, the alley has become a popular destination and photo spot for visitors and residents. The alley is also heavily used by pedestrians to get to and from the businesses in the SoNY (South of New York) District.

After much debate among business owners in the district, DeLand city officials shortlisted four possible names for the alley: Wings Way (or Alley), Persimmon Lane (or Alley), Woodland Alley and Georgia Alley.

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