News

Mon
24
Aug

Guns off the street

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office collected 61 unwanted guns during an Aug. 20 Kicks 4 Guns event at the Volusia County Fairgrounds. Spokesman Andrew Gant said it was the sixth year the Sheriff's Office has conducted the drive. The program is designed to get unwanted guns off the streets, no questions asked. Each firearm is exchanged for a $50 Publix gift card. Over the five previous years, deputies collected 569 guns. "They're checked to see if any are stolen. If not, then they're destroyed," Gant said.

—Beacon Staff

info@beacononlinenews.com

 

Mon
24
Aug

Aquatic center coming

Stetson rowing team

PHOTO COURTESY STETSON UNIVERSITY
Flat water — Crew-team members row across Lake Beresford in an early-morning fog.

Stetson facility will be home for research, sports, civic engagement

SPECIAL TO THE BEACON

Scullers call it “flat water,” and prize its calm fluidity. Lake Beresford in DeLand has miles of flat water that rarely ripples unless a rock or oar glides across its surface. 

University, prep-school and international rowing teams travel here to practice and prepare for competition on Beresford’s deep-green, glassy waters.

Stetson University’s 10-acre tract of land at Lake Beresford also offers an ideal place to research and develop innovative technical, social and political solutions to protect freshwater resources like Lake Beresford. Its emphasis is on undergraduate education and community outreach.

Thu
20
Aug

Stetson University reaches undergrad enrollment goal a year ahead of schedule, officials say

Stetson University on Thursday released preliminary undergraduate enrollment numbers for the 2015-16 school year.

New students, which include first-time in college, and transfer students, number roughly between 1,000 and 1,100 students, according to Janie Graziani, a spokeswoman at Stetson University, who added that the number is an increase of roughly 19 percent over last year’s class.

Wed
19
Aug

Charges updated in DeLand teen who said she felt too unsafe to pull over

BEACON PHOTO/ANTHONY DEFEO
Sextoneriya Keith, 19

Charges have been reduced in the case of Sextoneriya Keith, a black DeLand teenager who drove more than half a mile before stopping when a deputy tried to pull her over because, she said, she felt unsafe due to events involving law enforcement and African-Americans. Keith, 19, originally was charged with fleeing and eluding a law-enforcement officer, a second-degree felony. The State Attorney’s Office reduced the charge; Keith now faces a second-degree misdemeanor charge of failure to obey a lawful order. 

Wed
19
Aug

Lake Helen hosts mayoral debate

BEACON PHOTO/ANTHONY DEFEO
Passionate debaters — Lake Helen mayoral candidate Vernon Burton, a current city commissioner, speaks at a forum for Lake Helen voters Aug. 18, while incumbent Mayor Buddy Snowden awaits his turn at the microphone. The other two candidates for the city’s highest elected office are current City Commissioner Ann Robbins and former Volusia County Fair Executive Director David Viers.

With just a week to go until Election Day, the four candidates in Lake Helen’s mayoral race made their cases before voters at a mostly civil forum, touching on important city topics from development to water to taxes.

Incumbent Mayor Buddy Snowden, Zone 1 Commissioner and Vice Mayor Ann Robbins, Zone 2 Commissioner Vernon Burton, and resident David Viers, former executive director of the Volusia County Fair, are all vying for the city's top elected job.

The primary election will take place Tuesday, Aug. 25, and early voting for the contest began Aug. 15. The forum was Aug. 18 at Hopkins Hall, and was hosted by the Lake Helen League for Better Living. About 100 people attended.

Wed
19
Aug

Game over: DeBary declines gambling

BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON
Better than bumper stickers — A truck parked outside DeBary City Hall Aug. 18 serves as a sort of moving billboard of its owner’s sentiments. Hundreds of people showed up for the City Council’s special meeting on a proposal to amend DeBary’s growth-management plan and land-development code to permit the development of a horse-racing track and a card room on the city’s south side. The council voted 3-2 against changing the legal language to allow for-profit gambling in DeBary.

Playing in a packed house with standing room only and dozens of people unable to enter, the DeBary City Council Aug. 18 voted against a proposal to develop a horse-racing track and card room not far from the SunRail depot.

After more than two hours of comment from members of the public, both for and against, the City Council once again rejected the idea of bringing pari-mutuel gambling to a prime chunk of land at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 17-92 and Dirksen Drive. 

The decision was a setback for Mayor Clint Johnson, who had promoted gambling as a way of growing the area's economy.

"Join me in voting five to nothing ... that DeBary is open for growth," Johnson exhorted his colleagues.

Wed
19
Aug

A century in business

BEACON PHOTO/CASSIDY ALEXANDER
A century of printing — President Jeffrey Johnston, left, and Vice President Mark Johnston are the current owners and operators of E.O. Painter Printing Co., a printing press in DeLeon Springs that has been around for 129 years. Its history is closely tied to the earliest newspapers in Volusia County.

New businesses seem to launch every week in West Volusia, ready to capture their share of the marketplace and hoping to satisfy the needs and wants of a growing base of customers.

An average of 175 new businesses a month filed for county licenses in 2014.

Alongside those startups are enduring businesses that have been serving and shaping West Volusia for decades. We asked the principals of four businesses, each more than 100 years old, to share a little history, some secrets for success, and advice for newcomers.

 

V.W. Gould Insurance Agency, 108 years

As told by owner Vincent Gould:

Wed
19
Aug

Driver's-ed. fall semester begins at Volusia County high schools

BEACON PHOTO

High-school students in Volusia County will soon be able to register for the driver's-education program for the fall semester, according to Nancy Wait, director of community information for Volusia County Schools.

Tue
18
Aug

Plumber bitten by coral snake in Orange City, police say

A DeLeon Springs plumber was bitten by a coral snake while working at a job in Orange City Tuesday morning, according to officials at the DeLand Police Department.

Troy Johns, 46, was driving into DeLand shortly after the incident at around 10:25 a.m., when he began to feel dizzy, and pulled into a Winn-Dixie parking lot on South Woodland Boulevard, according to Sgt. Chris Estes, a spokesman at the DeLand Police Department.

Mon
17
Aug

Deputies, kids share a week of summer fun

Volusia County Sheriff's Office Sheriff's Youth Camp

BEACON PHOTO/ANTHONY DEFEO
Happy campers — Youngsters rush to greet one of the deputies involved with the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Camp in Barberville, after he arrives in a convoy of police cruisers for dinner on the final night of camp week. As they work with the youth throughout the week, the officers wear plain clothes; they don’t don uniforms until the final night.

More than 70 campers lined up for dinner outside the chuck wagon at the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Camp in Barberville Thursday, just like any other night.

Then, in the distance, sirens. A lot of them. 

A convoy of cruisers from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and some neighboring agencies rushed down a dirt road into the camp. As the deputies driving them stopped and got out, the kids rushed over and greeted them with hugs and high-fives. 

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