News

Wed
29
Nov

West Volusia citrus hanging on — barely

Still hanging on — Vo-LaSalle Farms owner Steve Crump shows some of the fruit growing on one of the farm’s orange trees. Like all other citrus growers, Crump has had to deal with the havoc wrought on his groves by citrus greening disease.

Still hanging on — Vo-LaSalle Farms owner Steve Crump shows some of the fruit growing on one of the farm’s orange trees. Like all other citrus growers, Crump has had to deal with the havoc wrought on his groves by citrus greening disease. 

BEACON PHOTO/ANTHONY DeFEO

Happy harvest — High on a ladder, Nora Wagner shows two oranges she plucked from a tree at Vo-LaSalle Farms. More than 1,300 people came to the groves Nov. 25-26 for Vo-LaSalle’s annual “U-pick” weekend. 

Happy harvest — High on a ladder, Nora Wagner shows two oranges she plucked from a tree at Vo-LaSalle Farms. More than 1,300 people came to the groves Nov. 25-26 for Vo-LaSalle’s annual “U-pick” weekend. 

Faith Lester of Deltona finds the perfect orange on a tree at Vo-LaSalle Farms.

Happy harvest — Faith Lester of Deltona finds the perfect orange on a tree at Vo-LaSalle Farms.

More than 1,300 people came out to Vo-LaSalle Farms in DeLeon Springs on a sunny autumn weekend to pick oranges and enjoy the fresh farm air. 

Little ones, in particular, would yell in delight as they found the perfect orange and plucked it. But despite the joyful scene during the farm’s “U-pick” weekend, there is trouble amongst the trees. Those perfect oranges are getting harder and harder to find. 

In Volusia County, acreage devoted to citrus is shrinking, and production is dwindling.

But for families like the Crumps, who have been producing citrus at Vo-LaSalle Farms for generations, the industry is still vital to West Volusia. 

“It’s been tough,” said Steve Crump, co-owner of Vo-LaSalle Farms. “Not just the hurricane, which was problem enough, but citrus greening disease continues to ravage our crops.”

Already ravaged for years by the incurable greening disease, Florida’s citrus industry took another hit in 2017 from Hurricane Irma. 

Wed
29
Nov

’Tis the season of giving: Agencies that give to others hope you’ll remember them

ALL WELCOME — Director Dennis Weir stands outside Faith at Work, a mission of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in DeLand. Although based at St. Barnabas, Weir said, Faith at Work is supported by a coalition of area churches, and its services — and volunteer opportunities — are available to people of all faiths.

ALL WELCOME — Director Dennis Weir stands outside Faith at Work, a mission of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in DeLand. Although based at St. Barnabas, Weir said, Faith at Work is supported by a coalition of area churches, and its services — and volunteer opportunities — are available to people of all faiths.

BEACON PHOTOS/AL EVERSON

Keeping the faith — Alvaro and Maria Chils welcome visitors to the Salvation Army’s DeLand facilities.

Keeping the faith — Alvaro and Maria Chils welcome visitors to the Salvation Army’s DeLand facilities.

A growing agency for a growing need — The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia Executive Director Susan Clark stands outside the agency’s new thrift shop on South Woodland Boulevard in DeLand. Clark said she sees a still-growing need for affordable housing and assistance for families.

A growing agency for a growing need — The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia Executive Director Susan Clark stands outside the agency’s new thrift shop on South Woodland Boulevard in DeLand. Clark said she sees a still-growing need for affordable housing and assistance for families.

As the season of giving approaches, The Beacon offers this reminder about the local agencies that exist to give to those in need.

 

Neighborhood Center shows its staying power and grows

Nearly a half-century after its founding, a truly local charity continues to fight the uphill battle against poverty.

It is a daunting task for The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, as it seeks to meet the basic human needs of those who show up asking for help. And even after all these years, the needs are just as acute and unrelenting — maybe more so — as they were in times past.

“We’re seeing more food [requests], more homeless prevention, and more shelter, and we’re seeing more than we’ve ever seen before in our 48-year history,” Neighborhood Center Executive Director Susan Clark said.

The Neighborhood Center finds itself growing in income and facilities but still playing catch-up with the demand.

Wed
29
Nov

DeLand growing ­— but into what?

A glimpse of the future — This aerial shot shows a section of Victoria Hills, which currently forms the southwestern quadrant of the larger Victoria Park development. The proposed Victoria Oaks subdivision is to the north and west of the Hills, along Blue Lake Avenue. Some 590 new homes are planned for the new neighborhood. Over the following weeks, The Beacon will be highlighting the rapid growth of southeastern DeLand. This photo was taken for The Beacon by Ethan Ryan, a 10th-grade student at Father Lopez

A glimpse of the future — This aerial shot shows a section of Victoria Hills, which currently forms the southwestern quadrant of the larger Victoria Park development. The proposed Victoria Oaks subdivision is to the north and west of the Hills, along Blue Lake Avenue. Some 590 new homes are planned for the new neighborhood. Over the following weeks, The Beacon will be highlighting the rapid growth of southeastern DeLand. This photo was taken for The Beacon by Ethan Ryan, a 10th-grade student at Father Lopez High School in Daytona Beach who lives in Victoria Park.  

PHOTOS COURTESY ETHAN RYAN

ATTORNEY SPEAKS TO GROUP — Tara Tedrow with Orlando-based Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, attorneys for builder D.R. Horton, addresses citizens’ questions Nov. 7 at a community meeting hosted by Horton at the Sanborn Activity Center in DeLand, concerning a proposed development to be called Victoria Oaks.

ATTORNEY SPEAKS TO GROUP — Tara Tedrow with Orlando-based Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, attorneys for builder D.R. Horton, addresses citizens’ questions Nov. 7 at a community meeting hosted by Horton at the Sanborn Activity Center in DeLand, concerning a proposed development to be called Victoria Oaks.

BEACON PHOTO/ERIKA WEBB

LEARNING AND VENTING — DeLand resident Christine Wise joins her neighbors at an informational meeting Nov. 7 at the Sanborn Activity Center in DeLand, hosted by representatives of builder D.R. Horton. The residents were there to learn — and to vent — about a new subdivision, Victoria Oaks, proposed as part of Victoria Park. If approved, the development will be built at the southwest corner of Blue Lake Avenue and Taylor Road.

LEARNING AND VENTING — DeLand resident Christine Wise joins her neighbors at an informational meeting Nov. 7 at the Sanborn Activity Center in DeLand, hosted by representatives of builder D.R. Horton. The residents were there to learn — and to vent — about a new subdivision, Victoria Oaks, proposed as part of Victoria Park. If approved, the development will be built at the southwest corner of Blue Lake Avenue and Taylor Road.

BEACON PHOTO/ERIKA WEBB

Neighbors worried about new subdivision

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles that will look at how DeLand’s subdivision explosion, particularly on the city’s southeast side, affects the community at large. Roads and traffic, schools, amenities, wildlife, utilities and more will be explored.

 

One, two, three, four — 590 more houses are planned for yet another development in southeast DeLand.

Called Victoria Oaks, this one will stretch south to Westminster Woods and west to Longleaf Plantation from the intersection of Blue Lake Avenue and Taylor Road.

D.R. Horton is purchasing the property from Victoria Park developer The Kolter Group, according to City of DeLand Planning Director Mike Holmes.

The new neighborhood was the subject of a Nov. 7 community meeting at DeLand’s Wayne G. Sanborn Activity Center.

Wed
29
Nov

West Volusia farms show their stuff

Like a hanging garden — Colorful flowers and verdant plants span from the floor to the ceiling of a greenhouse at E.F.G. Orchids in DeLand. The grower was one of several West Volusia farms featured on this year’s Volusia County Farm Tour. 

Like a hanging garden — Colorful flowers and verdant plants span from the floor to the ceiling of a greenhouse at E.F.G. Orchids in DeLand. The grower was one of several West Volusia farms featured on this year’s Volusia County Farm Tour. 

BEACON PHOTO/TOM STEVENS

THIS IS WHERE CAVIAR COMES FROM — Geno Evans, at right, explains to a crowd of visitors how caviar is extracted from live sturgeon in an indoor facility at Evans Fish Farm in Pierson. 

THIS IS WHERE CAVIAR COMES FROM — Geno Evans, at right, explains to a crowd of visitors how caviar is extracted from live sturgeon in an indoor facility at Evans Fish Farm in Pierson. 

BEACON PHOTO/TOM STEVENS

FIRE DANGER TODAY: LOW — The Zarajczyk family poses with Smokey Bear, holding the longleaf pine trees given to them at the DeLeon Springs Forestry Station. They were among the intrepid farm tourists who made it to the last stop, where they learned about trees, forestry equipment, and, of course, how to prevent forest fires.

FIRE DANGER TODAY: LOW — The Zarajczyk family poses with Smokey Bear, holding the longleaf pine trees given to them at the DeLeon Springs Forestry Station. They were among the intrepid farm tourists who made it to the last stop, where they learned about trees, forestry equipment, and, of course, how to prevent forest fires.

BEACON PHOTO/TOM STEVENS

Dozens of people got behind-the-scenes views of West Volusia farms Nov. 17, learning where caviar comes from, threats citrus growers are facing, and how orchids are cultivated.

From morning to evening, farm owners and employees at five agricultural operations in DeLand, Pierson and DeLeon Springs gave visitors hourlong tours, one after the other, telling about their products, their operations and their challenges for the West Volusia Farm Tour, an annual event sponsored by the Volusia County Farm Bureau and the University of Florida.

One of the challenges farmers face is the apathy of society at large, one of the organizers said.

“We’ve become an agriculturally ignorant society. We don’t really know where our food comes from,” said event coordinator Dennis Mudge of the University of Florida.

Wed
29
Nov

Father, son authors say: Read to children early and often

Authors together — DeLandites Christopher Finkle, left, and his father, English teacher and cartoonist David Finkle, are preparing for the release of the third book in their spy-fi trilogy. 

Authors together — DeLandites Christopher Finkle, left, and his father, English teacher and cartoonist David Finkle, are preparing for the release of the third book in their spy-fi trilogy. 

PHOTO COURTESY DAVID FINKLE

Dynamic father-son duo David and Christopher Finkle are preparing for the release of the third book in their trilogy, which includes Portents, Portals and now Pyxis.

The co-authors said the books are in the “spy-fi fantasy thriller” genre.

David Finkle is a dedicated English teacher, who began his career in Volusia County public schools 26 years ago. He is also a Stetson University graduate, a devoted father and husband, and the brain and artist behind the Mr. Fitz comic strips that are published daily.

His work has been featured on the cover of the National Council of Teachers of English magazine, on The Washington Post’s education blog, and in two scholastic books: Writing Extraordinary Essays and Teaching Students to Make Writing Visual and Vivid.

Wed
29
Nov

Appeals court confirms Johnson out as DeBary mayor

Mayor no more — Former DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson listens at the August 2016 hearing on his removal.

Mayor no more — Former DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson listens at the August 2016 hearing on his removal.

BEACON FILE PHOTO

More than a year after the DeBary City Council removed its young mayor from office, Florida's 5th District Court of Appeal has declined to overturn the action.

The decision consisted of a single page with four terse lines, denying Clint Johnson's petition for a review of the City Council's vote against him and denying his request for DeBary to pay his legal expenses in the case.

"He's disappointed," Johnson's attorney, Doug Daniels, told The Beacon. "Clint saw this as an opportunity to vindicate the rights of elected officials everywhere."

Daniels said he doubts he will ask the court to reconsider, and he ruled out an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. Thus, the appellate-court decision brings to an end a legal and political saga that rocked DeBary for almost two years, beginning in late 2015 when relations between Johnson and his fellow City Council members soured.

Johnson could not be reached for comment.

Mon
27
Nov

Two DeLand Middle School students charged with making false threats

Scary situation — The scene outside DeLand Middle School early Monday afternoon. The Volusia County Sherrif's Office bomb squad truck can be seen parked in front of the school.

Scary situation — The scene outside DeLand Middle School early Monday afternoon. The Volusia County Sherrif's Office bomb squad truck can be seen parked in front of the school.

BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON

UPDATE 1:45 p.m. Nov. 28:

The Beacon received the following statement from the father of one of the arrested students. He has requested his name not be used.

My name is <name removed>.

I am the father of one of the students that was arrested for calling in the fake bomb threat to DeLand Middle School on Monday, Nov. 27. I would like to apologize to all of the parents and students that were affected by the incident that my son and his friend caused by their stunt.

Mon
27
Nov

Foodie File: Offering ‘fresh food fast,’ Wrap It Up lives up to its slogan

The Wrap It Up crew — Melissa and Jimmy Brissey, and Jen Evans take a moment for a picture before closing up for the day.

The Wrap It Up crew — Melissa and Jimmy Brissey, and Jen Evans take a moment for a picture before closing up for the day.

BEACON PHOTOS/TOM STEVENS

A square meal in a salad — Above, Wrap It Up’s Greek salad with prosciutto is packed to go, with balsamic vinaigrette dressing to be added to preference.

A square meal in a salad — Wrap It Up’s Greek salad with prosciutto is packed to go, with balsamic vinaigrette dressing to be added to preference.

Wrapping up flavor — The Southwestern has turkey, pepper jack cheese, corn, black beans, and lettuce and tomato, all in a tomato wrap.

Wrapping up flavor — The Southwestern has turkey, pepper jack cheese, corn, black beans, and lettuce and tomato, all in a tomato wrap.

Mediterranean flair — The Mediterranean Turkey brings turkey, mayonnaise, feta cheese, green pepper, cucumber, spring mix and vinaigrette together on a spinach wrap.

Mediterranean flair — The Mediterranean Turkey brings turkey, mayonnaise, feta cheese, green pepper, cucumber, spring mix and vinaigrette together on a spinach wrap.

Where it happens — Wrap It Up's inviting Downtown DeLand dining room.

Where it happens — Wrap It Up's inviting Downtown DeLand dining room.

Wrap It Up is the type of restaurant that can easily work its way into your routine. Built on a legacy of local family restaurants, it vies to become one of DeLand’s favorite lunch spots.

The Wrap It Up philosophy is its slogan: “fresh food fast.” It’s wrap sandwiches made to order from scratch. The service is quick, and the prices are as fair as at the average sandwich shop, but Wrap It Up’s fine-crafted recipes and quality ingredients put them a step above many.

Wrap It Up is in the center of Downtown DeLand, on Woodland Boulevard near the corner of New York Avenue. Inside, the menu is immediately visible above the cash register and display case. The light paint colors and streetside windows make the small space feel open and lively. Table seating is available in a small dining area, with counter seating along the windows, but many customers take their orders to go.

Wed
22
Nov

West Volusia Calendar Nov. 23-Dec. 2, 2017

Thursday, Nov. 23
 
Thanksgiving Day
The staff of The West Volusia Beacon, your hometown newspaper, wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving Day.
 
Thanksgiving Day Service and Luncheon
10 a.m. at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 155 Clark St., Enterprise. RSVP by Nov. 18. Call 386-668-4108.
 
Thanksgiving Day Dinner
11 a.m., after the 10 a.m. Mass, at St. Peter Catholic Church’s John Bosco Center, 359 W. New York Ave., DeLand. Free. Call 386-822-6000.
 
Traditional Thanksgiving Meal
Noon-2 p.m. at the Islamic Center of Deltona, 410 Summerhaven Drive, DeBary. Free.
 
Community Thanksgiving Dinner
Tue
21
Nov

PHOTOS: Fall fun at FUMC DeLand's Harvest Festival

Pumpkins, of course — Malachi, Caleb and Elisheva Cahill check out the First United Methodist Church pumpkin patch at the church’s Harvest Festival Oct. 28. The event featured a wide variety of family fun and plenty of the orange orbs that signal the harvest season.

Pumpkins, of course — Malachi, Caleb and Elisheva Cahill check out the First United Methodist Church pumpkin patch at the church’s Harvest Festival Oct. 28. The event featured a wide variety of family fun and plenty of the orange orbs that signal the harvest season.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

DeLandites young and young and heart came out Oct. 28 to enjoy First United Methodist Church of DeLand's annual Harvest Festival. Enjoy these photos from Beacon photographer Marsha McLaughlin of the festival, which celebrated all things fall.

 

...

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - News