News

Fri
19
Jan

Automall in a tug of war between two cities

Watching and listening — Dozens of people interested in the proposed Automall carefully follow the discussion before the DeLand CIty Commission. The commission met in special session Jan. 18, to consider what to do about the Automall developers’ request to be annexed into Lake Helen, whose city limits already include a strip of land west of Interstate 4 and adjacent to Victoria Park and DeLand’s boundaries. DeLand officials are seeking to head off the annexation by Lake Helen, citing concerns about the proj

Watching and listening — Dozens of people interested in the proposed Automall carefully follow the discussion before the DeLand CIty Commission. The commission met in special session Jan. 18, to consider what to do about the Automall developers’ request to be annexed into Lake Helen, whose city limits already include a strip of land west of Interstate 4 and adjacent to Victoria Park and DeLand’s boundaries. DeLand officials are seeking to head off the annexation by Lake Helen, citing concerns about the project’s effects on traffic, noise and tax revenues.

BEACON PHOTOS/AL EVERSON

Lawyers confer — Mark Watts, the attorney representing the Automall’s developers, and DeLand Mayor Robert Apgar, also an attorney, talk after the City Commission’s Jan. 18 special meeting regarding the possible annexation of property adjoining Victoria Park into Lake Helen. DeLand City Commissioner Chris Cloudman, center, listens.

Lawyers confer — Mark Watts, the attorney representing the Automall’s developers, and DeLand Mayor Robert Apgar, also an attorney, talk after the City Commission’s Jan. 18 special meeting regarding the possible annexation of property adjoining Victoria Park into Lake Helen. DeLand City Commissioner Chris Cloudman, center, listens.

 

Location, location, location puts the proposed Automall in a struggle between DeLand and Lake Helen, and unless the two parties can resolve their differences, they may face off in court.

For now, DeLand officials will try to dissuade neighboring Lake Helen from the latter’s perceived encroachment into DeLand’s sphere of influence and intended future expansion.

Wed
17
Jan

Dogged by Irma, ‘Angels’ battle to get back to normal

CHECKMATE — My Angel With Paws service-dog training organization director Sarah Townsend shows pup-in-training Noah the art of behaving in and navigating public places; in this case, Downtown DeLand’s Chess Park, where My Angel With Paws visited Jan. 17. 

CHECKMATE — My Angel With Paws service-dog training organization director Sarah Townsend shows pup-in-training Noah the art of behaving in and navigating public places; in this case, Downtown DeLand’s Chess Park, where My Angel With Paws visited Jan. 17. 

BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON

ON THEIR WAY — From left, Nolan, Nashville and Oakey, all under a year old, are well on their way to learning to be full-fledged service dogs. Nashville, a black Labrador retriever, is sponsored by local veterans organization The Travis Hunt, which last month donated $4,000 to My Angel With Paws Inc. The all-volunteer, donation-funded organization rescues, trains and pairs service dogs with individuals in need. Eventually, Nashville will be given to a veteran.  

ON THEIR WAY — From left, Nolan, Nashville and Oakey, all under a year old, are well on their way to learning to be full-fledged service dogs. Nashville, a black Labrador retriever, is sponsored by local veterans organization The Travis Hunt, which last month donated $4,000 to My Angel With Paws Inc. The all-volunteer, donation-funded organization rescues, trains and pairs service dogs with individuals in need. Eventually, Nashville will be given to a veteran.  

BEACON PHOTO/ERIKA WEBB

FOUR-LEGGED HELPER — In 2010, William Brennan, a mental-health professional, adopted Thor, a black Labrador retriever. Brennan later sought help from My Angel With Paws to train Thor to act as a therapy dog for his patients.

FOUR-LEGGED HELPER — In 2010, William Brennan, a mental-health professional, adopted Thor, a black Labrador retriever. Brennan later sought help from My Angel With Paws to train Thor to act as a therapy dog for his patients.

PHOTO COURTESY WILLIAM BRENNAN

In the midst of what looks like controlled chaos, Sarah Townsend and Marilyn Kudlets are extraordinarily good-natured. They have 15 — and counting — tail-wagging reasons to be joyful.

The two women and other volunteers continue to work around the clock to rebuild a labor of love called My Angel With Paws. Hurricane Irma’s watery wrath flooded and largely destroyed their training facility. The nonprofit is battling back.

Established in 2009 and situated on about 15 acres at 3098 Marsh Road in DeLand, the organization rescues and trains dogs to be of service to people in need. It leases two buildings and about 3 acres of the property from two of the organization’s directors, Fred and Valerie Ford. They live in a separate home on the property.

Canine candidates for service-dog training come to My Angel With Paws mostly via donation and breeding — only two litters each year. A few are purchased.

Wed
17
Jan

City OKs first phase of Victoria Oaks

DETERMINED DISSENTERS — After protesting at a number of preliminary meetings, opponents of D.R. Horton’s proposed Victoria Oaks show up again, and ready themselves for the DeLand City Commission to approve or deny the builder’s plan Jan. 16. Victoria Oaks, planned at completion to add about 588 homes on 171 acres, will be at the southwest corner of Blue Lake Avenue and Taylor Road.  

DETERMINED DISSENTERS — After protesting at a number of preliminary meetings, opponents of D.R. Horton’s proposed Victoria Oaks show up again, and ready themselves for the DeLand City Commission to approve or deny the builder’s plan Jan. 16. Victoria Oaks, planned at completion to add about 588 homes on 171 acres, will be at the southwest corner of Blue Lake Avenue and Taylor Road.  

BEACON PHOTOS/ERIKA WEBB

SHHHHH — Shawna Everett, owner of Bridle Oaks, a popular wedding venue along Taylor Road, speaks about Victoria Oaks at the DeLand City Commission meeting Jan. 16. Everett thanked developer D.R. Horton for increasing buffers between the proposed development and her property. However, she said, allowing construction to occur all day on Saturday would negatively affect her business. Horton has agreed to stop work at noon on Saturdays.

SHHHHH — Shawna Everett, owner of Bridle Oaks, a popular wedding venue along Taylor Road, speaks about Victoria Oaks at the DeLand City Commission meeting Jan. 16. Everett thanked developer D.R. Horton for increasing buffers between the proposed development and her property. However, she said, allowing construction to occur all day on Saturday would negatively affect her business. Horton has agreed to stop work at noon on Saturdays.

LOTS OF PERSUASION — City of DeLand Planning Director Mike Holmes confirms that, from a planning perspective, a mix of lot sizes is desirable, but that the 100-foot buffer D.R. Horton offered to keep between Victoria Oaks and Westminster Woods would suffice. Behind him, Chris Wrenn, D.R. Horton’s forward planning manager, talks with Tara Tedrow, attorney for D.R. Horton.

LOTS OF PERSUASION — City of DeLand Planning Director Mike Holmes confirms that, from a planning perspective, a mix of lot sizes is desirable, but that the 100-foot buffer D.R. Horton offered to keep between Victoria Oaks and Westminster Woods would suffice. Behind him, Chris Wrenn, D.R. Horton’s forward planning manager, talks with Tara Tedrow, attorney for D.R. Horton.

The DeLand City Commission gave the green light to D.R. Horton’s Victoria Oaks development Jan. 16.

Presentations and deliberation went on for four hours.

On top of concessions residents and the DeLand Planning Board got the developer to agree to, the City Commission got one more: 19 of the 221 lots in the new neighborhood’s first phase must be increased to a minimum of 70 feet wide; seven more must be at least 60 feet wide.

The lots that must grow are adjacent to larger properties along the southern end of the subdivision and along an access road off Taylor Road.

Months of negotiation — involving the Planning Board, the city’s Technical Review Committee, neighbors, city staff and the owner of a nearby business — yielded changes to the proposal for the initial phase, as well as to the overall development.

Tue
16
Jan

Automall wants to be in Lake Helen

New development for Lake Helen? — This map shows the location of the proposed I-4 Automall relative to the current Lake Helen city limits. The developer has applied to annex the rest of the property into Lake Helen. 

New development for Lake Helen? — This map shows the location of the proposed I-4 Automall relative to the current Lake Helen city limits. The developer has applied to annex the rest of the property into Lake Helen. Right-click and select "Open in new tab" or "Open in new window" to enlarge. 

BEACON GRAPHIC BY DEB DAVIS WITH MAP DATA COURTESY GOOGLE

Developer requests annexation; city poised to vote Jan. 25

The developers behind the proposed I-4 Automall, planned at the eastern edge of DeLand’s Victoria Park, want the project to be part of the City of Lake Helen.

If OK’d by the quaint hamlet’s City Commission at a special meeting Jan. 25, the annexation would give Lake Helen unprecedented regulatory power over a 44-acre commercial project, and would provide a much-needed boost to the town’s commercial-starved tax base.

The city’s planning commission will also review the annexation at its Jan. 22 meeting, and make a recommendation.

The Automall would likely more than double Lake Helen’s income from property taxes.  

Mon
15
Jan

FOODIE FILE: ‘Eat like a kid, drink like a king’ - DeLand’s Yolo Bar lives up to motto

CLUCKIN' HOT GRILLED CHEESE — My foodie partner Nate Flynn ordered this specialty that has a Buffalo chicken breast, fresh jalapeño, blue cheese dressing, melted pepper jack cheese, and thick-cut sourdough bread.

CLUCKIN' HOT GRILLED CHEESE — My foodie partner Nate Flynn ordered this specialty that has a Buffalo chicken breast, fresh jalapeño, blue cheese dressing, melted pepper jack cheese, and thick-cut sourdough bread.

BEACON PHOTOS/RYAN ROUGEUX

​​​​​​​SMOKED OLD-FASHIONED — Yolo bartender Lina Santiago pours an old-fashioned into a rocks glass after torching hickory wood into the glass to add smokiness to the cocktail. Santiago is a competition bartender who made it into the semifinals with a tequila cocktail and will be traveling to Miami at the end of January to compete in the next round.

SMOKED OLD-FASHIONED — Yolo bartender Lina Santiago pours an old-fashioned into a rocks glass after torching hickory wood into the glass to add smokiness to the cocktail. Santiago is a competition bartender who made it into the semifinals with a tequila cocktail and will be traveling to Miami at the end of January to compete in the next round.

Yes, they do that — Yolo's Mac Daddy has macaroni and cheese on a sandwich. That's comfort food.

Yes, they do that — Yolo's Mac Daddy has macaroni and cheese on a sandwich. That's comfort food.

YOLO FAMILY — Yolo's front-of-house staff takes a moment in front of the restaurant’s nicely lighted and polished bar. Wearing their Prohibition-style outfits are, from left, server Anthony Fallon, bartender Lina Santiago and general manager Kevin Harper.

YOLO FAMILY — Yolo's front-of-house staff takes a moment in front of the restaurant’s nicely lighted and polished bar. Wearing their Prohibition-style outfits are, from left, server Anthony Fallon, bartender Lina Santiago and general manager Kevin Harper.

Here is Yolo's idea of dessert: dark-chocolate bourbon balls, with bourbon to match.

Here is Yolo's idea of dessert: dark-chocolate bourbon balls, with bourbon to match.

Visitors to Downtown DeLand will find Yolo Bar and Grilled Cheese at 208 N. Woodland Blvd., in a spot formerly occupied by the Grotto tavern.

Owners James and Elizabeth Carpenter opened Yolo in July 2016 and, since then, have been serving up gourmet grilled cheese and some of the best craft cocktails DeLand has to offer.

Yolo’s 63-seat combination bar and dining room is decorated Prohibition-style, with polished wooden bar stools, tables and booths and quirky lighting fixtures, such as outdoor water spigots holding light bulbs above the bar. The newcomer wonders, what kind of food would a zany place like this be serving?

I was greeted by the general manager, Kevin Harper, a young gentleman in suspenders whose speak-easy attire fit the personality of the restaurant.  

Harper is an Army veteran who got his bartending certification in Nashville, Tennessee, where extra stipulations are required.  

Fri
12
Jan

West Volusia Calendar Jan. 19-27, 2018

Friday, Jan. 19
 
Scrub Stroll
9-10 a.m. at Lyonia Environmental Center, 2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona. LEC staff and volunteers will lead an exploratory hike through Lyonia Preserve. Free. Reservations requested; call 386-789-7207, ext. 21028, or visit www.lyoniapreserve.com.
 
Used-Book Sale
9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the DeLand Regional Library, 130 E. Howry Ave. Hardback and large softback books cost $1 each. Small paperbacks are eight for $1. Children’s books cost $2 a bag. Call 386-822-6430.
 
Critter Corner
Thu
11
Jan

LOCATED: Sheriff's Office located missing Orange City woman

Erin Boyd, 31

Erin Boyd, 31

UPDATED: As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Erin Boyd has been located, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.


Original story continues below

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in locating an Orange City woman who was last seen late Sunday night.

Erin Boyd, 31, left her phone, keys, vehicle and credit/debit cards at her home on Shady Lane in Orange City, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Andrew Gant.

Wed
10
Jan

Deltona Village commercial center planned

Just a suggestion — This sign suggests that a part of the planned Deltona Village that lies just north of Epic Theatres in Deltona would be ideal for senior housing. Other similar real estate signs in the neighborhood suggest sites in Deltona Village could be used for automobile dealerships, offices and retail stores.  

Just a suggestion — This sign suggests that a part of the planned Deltona Village that lies just north of Epic Theatres in Deltona would be ideal for senior housing. Other similar real estate signs in the neighborhood suggest sites in Deltona Village could be used for automobile dealerships, offices and retail stores.  

BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON

You’re building what?!? — A donkey is at home now on land destined to become a mixed-use development of commercial and residential features to be known as Deltona Village. North Normandy Boulevard runs through the parcel, which lies largely in front of Deltona’s Epic Theatres.

You’re building what?!? — A donkey is at home now on land destined to become a mixed-use development of commercial and residential features to be known as Deltona Village. North Normandy Boulevard runs through the parcel, which lies largely in front of Deltona’s Epic Theatres.

BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON

This map shows the location of Deltona Village relative to several health-related developments that have been proposed or built recently nearby. 

This map shows the location of Deltona Village relative to several health-related developments that have been proposed or built recently nearby. Right-click and select Open in New Tab to enlarge.

MAP DATA ©2018 GOOGLE, ANNOTATED BY BEACON STAFF

A REAL DOWNTOWN FOR DELTONA — West Volusia businessman Frank DeMarsh owns land surrounding his Epic Theatres in Deltona, and he hopes to see the undeveloped parcels transformed into Deltona Village, a bustling commercial center. DeMarsh has hired an Ohio firm to market the 150 acres north and west of his Deltona cinema to investors. A plan for the development is seen here.

A REAL DOWNTOWN FOR DELTONA — West Volusia businessman Frank DeMarsh owns land surrounding his Epic Theatres in Deltona, and he hopes to see the undeveloped parcels transformed into Deltona Village, a bustling commercial center. DeMarsh has hired an Ohio firm to market the 150 acres north and west of his Deltona cinema to investors. A plan for the development is seen here. Right-click and select Open in New Tab to enlarge.

GRAPHIC COURTESY FRANK DeMARSH

More than a decade after a bold plan surfaced to build a city center on Deltona’s north side, the vision is reappearing.

The proposal for a mixed-use development known as Deltona Village — complete with retail centers, restaurants, office buildings, light industry and apartments — is back on the table. 

Deltona Village covers about 150 acres on the east and southeast sides of the interchange of Interstate 4 and State Road 472. It stretches along both sides of North Normandy Boulevard and along Graves Avenue.  

Epic Theatres President Frank DeMarsh owns the Deltona Village acreage. Now surrounded by pasture and meadows where cattle graze, Epic Theatres is an anchor of the Deltona Village concept that DeMarsh first proposed in 2006.

The recession that began in 2008 shelved the proposal, but a recovering economy is spurring renewed interest.

Development could begin as early as this spring, according to a senior marketing leader.

Wed
10
Jan

St. Peter Family Life Center dedicated to community

Feast of the Epiphany — Celebrating a Feast of the Epiphany Mass Jan. 6 just before dedication of the St. Peter Catholic Church Family Life Center are, from left, St. Peter Pastor Father Tom Connery, Bishop John Noonan, Father Frank Zammit and Deacon Kurt Slafkovsky.

Feast of the Epiphany — Celebrating a Feast of the Epiphany Mass Jan. 6 just before dedication of the St. Peter Catholic Church Family Life Center are, from left, St. Peter Pastor Father Tom Connery, Bishop John Noonan, Father Frank Zammit and Deacon Kurt Slafkovsky.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

A view of the exterior of the St. Peter Family Life Center.

A view of the exterior of the St. Peter Family Life Center.

BEACON PHOTO/ERIKA WEBB

Songs of joy — The St. Peter Catholic School choir, accompanied by a few parishioners’ adult voices, entertains at the dedication of the DeLand church’s Family Life Center Jan. 6.

Songs of joy — The St. Peter Catholic School choir, accompanied by a few parishioners’ adult voices, entertains at the dedication of the DeLand church’s Family Life Center Jan. 6.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

St. Peter Catholic School student Gil Hernandez has the honor of sinking the first basket in the gymnasium of the new Family Life Center. 

St. Peter Catholic School student Gil Hernandez has the honor of sinking the first basket in the gymnasium of the new Family Life Center. 

With Father Tom Connery looking on at left, Father Frank Zammit draws a ticket to determine who will have the honor of shooting the first basket in the new gymnasium inside the St. Peter Family Life Center.

With Father Tom Connery looking on at left, Father Frank Zammit draws a ticket to determine who will have the honor of shooting the first basket in the new gymnasium inside the St. Peter Family Life Center.

Jubilant cheers and clapping erupted as the first balls swooshed, christening the nets in a spacious new gymnasium. Clergy members and youngsters of all ages dribbled, aimed, launched, missed and sank brand-new basketballs, providing a glimpse into what the future holds at the long-awaited St. Peter Catholic Parish Family Life Center.

Gathered in the 27,000-square-foot building for a dedication Jan. 6, a large crowd of people young, old and in-between sang “This Little Light of Mine (I’m gonna let it shine),” giving thanks and promising to promote family values and inclusiveness in the new space at 359 W. New York Ave. in DeLand.

The celebratory atmosphere, compounded by a strong sense of community, were exactly what the center’s visionaries hoped for.

“This is for the future,” St. Peter Pastoral Associate Rick Grinstead told hundreds of people who attended the dedication. “Give yourselves a hand for thinking of the future.”

Tue
09
Jan

Downtown DeLand Wings clipped by graffiti

Reclaiming her work — DeLand artist Erica Group paints over a graffiti tag left by a vandal on the DeLand Wings, located in the alley directly east of the Conrad Realty building that houses The Beacon, between West New York and West Georgia avenues.

Reclaiming her work — DeLand artist Erica Group paints over a graffiti tag left by a vandal on the DeLand Wings, located in the alley directly east of the Conrad Realty building that houses The Beacon, between West New York and West Georgia avenues. 

BEACON PHOTO/ANTHONY DeFEO

More vandalism — These three markings were recently strewn onto the building housing Sweet Lics Frozen Treats & More, at the corner of North Woodland Boulevard and West Church Street. The leftmost example includes an internet address (partially obscured by The Beacon) directing people to a hacking group, and makes reference to the Metasploit Project, which catalogs computer malware and provides security-testing tools used by researchers but sometimes abused by malicious hackers.

More vandalism — These three markings were recently strewn onto the building housing Sweet Lics Frozen Treats & More, at the corner of North Woodland Boulevard and West Church Street. The leftmost example includes an internet address (partially obscured by The Beacon) directing people to a hacking group, and makes reference to the Metasploit Project, which catalogs computer malware and provides security-testing tools used by researchers but sometimes abused by malicious hackers.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

One of Downtown DeLand’s most widely-known art pieces was one of many locations vandalized by graffiti, likely sometime late Jan. 8 or early Jan. 9.

The DeLand Wings mural, painted on the eastern side of the Conrad building that houses The Beacon’s offices, was tagged with some sort of graffiti symbol in red paint, in the space between the mural’s two wings.

The feathery Wings mural, painted in 2014 by DeLand artist Erica Group, has become a widely-known attraction, sometimes drawing visitors from out of town and even out of the country.

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