News

Wed
13
Jun

DeLand is growing its municipal airport

NEW AIRPORT HQ — Despite recent rains, DeLand Municipal Airport's new administration building is on budget and on schedule, according to Airport Manager John Eiff. This is the street-side view of the building, where vehicles will park. On the other side, a new ramp will let pilots taxi right up to the building from the runway.

NEW AIRPORT HQ — Despite recent rains, DeLand Municipal Airport's new administration building is on budget and on schedule, according to Airport Manager John Eiff. This is the street-side view of the building, where vehicles will park. On the other side, a new ramp will let pilots taxi right up to the building from the runway.

BEACON PHOTO/RICK BUTLER 

More than light planes are buzzing at DeLand Municipal Airport this summer.

A new $2.8 million administration building is ready for roofing and interior work ahead of an October grand opening. 

The Florida Department of Transportation is funding 80 percent of the cost, with the City of DeLand picking up the rest.

"We look forward to offering more amenities for airport tenant businesses and pilots, as well as more space for airport staff in the new building," Airport Manager John Eiff said. "Our general contractor, D.J. Haycock, has done a great job keeping us on target and on budget, even with all that recent rain.”  

Funding for a new aircraft apron in front of the building involves another $973,000 contract, with the same 80-20 split between FDOT and the city. 

Mon
11
Jun

Foodie File: Hungry for crab? A & A can help!

CRAB CAPERS — DeLand native and Laurelwood Nursery employee Scott Fieser holds up his snow crab for a photo during dinner at A & A Crab House in Deltona.

CRAB CAPERS — DeLand native and Laurelwood Nursery employee Scott Fieser holds up his snow crab for a photo during dinner at A & A Crab House in Deltona.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

CRAB AND CRAWFISH FEAST — At left is the Shipwrecked Island Platter: 1 pound each of king crab, Dungeness crab, and snow crab. At right is Sammy’s Special Platter: a pound of crawfish, 12 shrimp, four pieces of corn on the cob, and a pound of potatoes. We split these among three people. We were stuffed to the brim, and our crab fix was accomplished.

CRAB AND CRAWFISH FEAST — At left is the Shipwrecked Island Platter: 1 pound each of king crab, Dungeness crab, and snow crab. At right is Sammy’s Special Platter: a pound of crawfish, 12 shrimp, four pieces of corn on the cob, and a pound of potatoes. We split these among three people. We were stuffed to the brim, and our crab fix was accomplished.

CRAB DELIVERY — Owner Hafeez Khan happily delivers A & A Crab House’s Shipwrecked Island and Sammy’s Special platters to our table.

CRAB DELIVERY — Owner Hafeez Khan happily delivers A & A Crab House’s Shipwrecked Island and Sammy’s Special platters to our table.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

A FAMILY AFFAIR — The A & A Crab House family gathers in front of their restaurant’s beach-decorated walls. From left are daughter Aaliyah Khan, mother Tiffany Khan, father Hafeez Khan and son Andrew Khan. The Deltona restaurant is named after the son and daughter.

A FAMILY AFFAIR — The A & A Crab House family gathers in front of their restaurant’s beach-decorated walls. From left are daughter Aaliyah Khan, mother Tiffany Khan, father Hafeez Khan and son Andrew Khan. The Deltona restaurant is named after the son and daughter.

BEACON PHOTOS/RYAN ROUGEUX

A taste of Maryland in Deltona Plaza

A & A Crab House opened its doors to the community in 2016 on the north end of Deltona Plaza, where the West Volusia veterans clinic recently relocated to larger digs a few doors down.

A & A specializes in garlic and Maryland-style crabs, and the smell of Old Bay Seasoning was prevalent as our foodie group walked in the door.

Don’t go expecting fancy décor or presentation. Crab, fresh and well-prepared, is the focus. The serving dishes are disposable aluminum pans, and the restaurant is as stark as you would expect a shopping-center storefront to be.  

A & A Crab House has 49 seats, with simple nautical and beach-themed decorations lining the ocean-blue walls: Oars, propellers, anchors and crab nets hang randomly throughout the place.

The tables are topped with brown paper, because eating crab legs can get messy!

Mon
11
Jun

Hatters' amazing baseball journey comes to an end

LOTS OF ENTHUSIASM — A group of Hatters fans gathered inside Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co. to watch the first game of the Super Regional tournament June 8. BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

LOTS OF ENTHUSIASM — A group of Hatters fans gathered inside Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co. to watch the first game of the Super Regional tournament June 8.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

The Stetson Hatters’ incredible postseason journey came to an end Saturday, as they lost their second best-of-three Super Regional game against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA Division I baseball championship.

Playing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the home team fell 7-5 to the Tar Heels on Saturday, after a 7-4 loss against the Tar Heels the day before.

As a result, the North Carolina team will move on to the College World Series in Omaha.

Despite the loss, by any measure, the 2018 Hatters have a lot to be proud of.

Mon
11
Jun

VCSO: Stetson Baptist teacher accused of sending sexual messages to 14-year-old girl

Stephen M. Ward, 69-year-old

Stephen M. Ward, 69, of DeLand

A physical education teacher and volleyball coach at a private Christian school in DeLand was arrested tonight on charges he repeatedly sent sexually suggestive messages to a 14-year-old girl.

Now Volusia County Sheriff’s Office detectives are asking anyone else who had contact with 69-year-old Stephen M. Ward of Stetson Baptist Christian School to contact the VCSO Child Exploitation Unit (at 386-323-3574) if it’s believed anything suspicious or inappropriate occurred.

Around 1:19 a.m. Saturday, a deputy responded to the victim’s residence after her mother discovered text messages between the 14-year-old and Ward. The messages from Ward were sexually suggestive and referenced him performing sex acts on the victim.

While the victim told a deputy she has been in a relationship with Ward for about two weeks, she said the two have never had physical contact.

Wed
06
Jun

Winning weekend: Hatters are off to North Carolina

They did it! — Members of the 2018 Stetson University baseball team celebrate after their June 3 victory over Oklahoma State on Melching Field at Conrad Park in DeLand. The win — the Hats’ 18th in a row — secured the team’s progress in the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. The Hatters are headed to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for the next series of contests.

They did it! — Members of the 2018 Stetson University baseball team celebrate after their June 3 victory over Oklahoma State on Melching Field at Conrad Park in DeLand. The win — the Hats’ 18th in a row — secured the team’s progress in the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. The Hatters are headed to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for the next series of contests.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

GO HATS — Hatters fans watch the action on the field from the stands. 

GO HATS — Hatters fans watch the action on the field from the stands. 

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

A couple of Hatters take time after a game to sign souvenirs for some of their younger fans.

HATTER FANS OF ALL AGES — A couple of Hatters take time after a game to sign souvenirs for some of their younger fans.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

NCAA series gives the hometown economy a boost; Locals hope the Hatters can go all the way to Omaha

Thousands of fans filled Melching Field to witness the Stetson Hatters’ weekend of winning June 1-3, as the team bested three others to dominate the DeLand Regional tournament of this year’s NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.

The weekend also proved to be a boon for local businesses, as roaring fans from DeLand and out of town sought places to dine, drink, shop and rest between the seven matches held here, three of which featured lopsided Hatters wins. 

Two out of the three visiting teams stayed at West Volusia hotels, as did a group of NCAA officials. Pete Arney, general manager of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Orange City, hosted the Hartford Hawks.

Wed
06
Jun

It’s too late for Hayden, but her mom wants to help others

A brief life — Kayla Riffe takes a selfie with daughter Hayden, who was born with a fatal genetic disorder. Hayden died May 27.

A brief life — Kayla Riffe takes a selfie with daughter Hayden, who was born with a fatal genetic disorder. Hayden died May 27.

PHOTO COURTESY KAYLA RIFFE

LOVING ARMS — Nineteen-year-old Kayla Riffe seized every opportunity to enjoy time with her critically ill daughter. 

LOVING ARMS — Nineteen-year-old Kayla Riffe seized every opportunity to enjoy time with her critically ill daughter. 

PHOTO COURTESY KAYLA RIFFE

Kayla Riffe, a 19-year-old single mom from DeLand, wants to see a change in state legislation that would have made a happier life for her critically ill daughter.

It’s too late to help Kayla and Hayden. Hayden died May 27 at the age of 18 months.

Some parents like Riffe can be trained to meet their children’s complex, round-the-clock medical needs, and a state program will pay them, instead of paying for the services of outside nurses. That way, the parents are able to forgo working outside the home.

But, there’s a catch. The children must be at least 3 years old. Hayden, born with a very rare, fatal genetic disorder, didn’t make it. That’s the rule Riffe wants to see changed — especially, she said, because those outside nurses sometimes can’t be found.

Wed
06
Jun

Rain delays Marriott opening: New date is mid-July

NOW HIRING — Yet another color has appeared on the still-incomplete Courtyard by Marriott hotel at the corner of Woodland Boulevard and Wisconsin Avenue in DeLand. Next to the green awning installed June 4 is a sign advertising for employees. 

NOW HIRING — Yet another color has appeared on the still-incomplete Courtyard by Marriott hotel at the corner of Woodland Boulevard and Wisconsin Avenue in DeLand. Next to the green awning installed June 4 is a sign advertising for employees. 

BEACON PHOTO/ERIKA WEBB

Completion of DeLand’s newest hotel continues to be waylaid by weather, but the Courtyard by Marriott should open by mid-July.

The much-anticipated hotel was slated to open in the fall of 2017, but Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, followed by a lot more rain, prolonged work on the five-story building, and the tentative opening was moved to April 2018, according to Ajit Nana, a senior vice president for the developer, Avista Properties. 

Two months after the second planned completion date, Nana said, weather continues to be an obstacle.

“We are getting close,” Nana wrote The Beacon in an email June 4. “The continuous rain the past two weeks has delayed us.”

While workers installed the awning June 4, Nana said in a phone interview, much more remains unfinished.

Mon
04
Jun

Foodie File: At Sugar Mill, a new face at a favorite place

Fun tradition — Phyllis Murray pours pancakes on the grill set in the middle of her table at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill at DeLeon Springs State Park. The restaurant has been open since 1961 in the 1830s sugar mill building situated near the swimming area at the park, 601 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in DeLeon Springs. The Sugar Mill is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Fun tradition — Phyllis Murray pours pancakes on the grill set in the middle of her table at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill at DeLeon Springs State Park. The restaurant has been open since 1961 in the 1830s sugar mill building situated near the swimming area at the park, 601 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in DeLeon Springs. The Sugar Mill is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

BEACON PHOTOS/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

SUGAR MILL TEAM — Manager and managing partner John Michaelos, center, gathers inside the restaurant with six of the Old Spanish Sugar Mill's 18 employees. From left are Jonez Santiago, Ellen Briggs, Barbara Harrell, Donna D’Apice, Sherran Rassi and Thomas Waid. Michaelos recently partnered with Patty Schwarze, who has worked for more than 50 years in the restaurant her parents founded, to enable Schwarze to take a more behind-the-scenes role.

SUGAR MILL TEAM — Manager and managing partner John Michaelos, center, gathers inside the restaurant with six of the Old Spanish Sugar Mill's 18 employees. From left are Jonez Santiago, Ellen Briggs, Barbara Harrell, Donna D’Apice, Sherran Rassi and Thomas Waid. Michaelos recently partnered with Patty Schwarze, who has worked for more than 50 years in the restaurant her parents founded, to enable Schwarze to take a more behind-the-scenes role.

PHOTO COURTESY OLD SPANISH SUGAR MILL

Sugar Mill's new manager says nothing will change

There’s a new face at a very old West Volusia restaurant: The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House.

Translated, that’s the restaurant at DeLeon Springs State Park where you cook your own food on a griddle in the middle of the table. The new face is managing partner John Michaelos.

Restaurant owner Patty Schwarze, whose parents started the popular eatery at DeLeon Springs State Park in 1961, said she has not sold the restaurant, but welcomes Michaelos, whose role will allow her to move from daily participation to behind the scenes.

Schwarze said Michaelos is a great fit for the Sugar Mill, world famous for its tabletop griddles, where customers line up to wait for hours on busy days to cook their own pancakes.

“He’s a local hometown boy,” Schwarze said.

Sun
03
Jun

Hatters dominate Oklahoma State in Regional Final, head to first Super Regionals in school history

Members of the Stetson Hatters baseball team celebrate after their 11-1 victory over Oklahoma State in Sunday's Regional Final. 

Members of the Stetson Hatters baseball team celebrate after their 11-1 victory over Oklahoma State in Sunday's Regional Final. 

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

The Hatters' Brooks Wilson (No. 10) is congratulated by his teammates during Fridays' game. Wilson earned 3 RBI (runs batted in) during four plate appearances at Friday's game.

The Hatters' Brooks Wilson (No. 10) is congratulated by his teammates during Fridays' game. Wilson earned 3 RBI (runs batted in) during four plate appearances at Friday's game.

PHOTO BY STEVE SIMONEAU

Sophomore pitcher Michael Senger entered Friday's game in the seventh inning, relieving starting pitcher Joey Gonzalez. Senger led the Hatters to a win in his first relief appearance of the year, allowing only one unearned run on two hits over three innings, and striking out three.

Sophomore pitcher Michael Senger entered Friday's game in the seventh inning, relieving starting pitcher Joey Gonzalez. Senger led the Hatters to a win in his first relief appearance of the year, allowing only one unearned run on two hits over three innings, and striking out three.

PHOTO BY STEVE SIMONEAU

 

UPDATE MONDAY, JUNE 4 AT 11:30 a.m.

The Stetson Hatters dominated over Oklahoma State with a 11-1 win Sunday evening during the final game of the 2018 NCAA DeLand Regional Tournament, becoming regional champions for the frist time in school history. 

The Hatters scored 10 runs in a single inning, the most for the team since a 12-run inning against Bethune-Cookman on April 12, 2005, according to Ricky Hazel, associate athletic director for Stetson University.

The team now heads to the first Super Regional tournament in the school's history, bringing them one step closer to the College World Series in Omaha.

Super Regional play will kick off Friday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina against the North Carolina Tar Heels. More details on those games will be announced later on.

Wed
30
May

Hats off for Stetson baseball: Stetson Hatters to host NCAA regional baseball tournament

Stetson University head baseball coach Steve Trimper addresses the crowd gathered Monday afternoon at Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company in Downtown DeLand.

Enthusiastic coach — Stetson University head baseball coach Steve Trimper addresses the crowd gathered Monday afternoon at Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company in Downtown DeLand.

BEACON PHOTO/BARB SHEPHERD

Three fans — From left are devoted Stetson University baseball fans Lynda Getz of DeLand, Tina Wolf-Wiley of DeLand and Richard Beauregard of Daytona Beach, at the Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co. watch party, waiting to hear which teams the Hatters will play.

Three fans — From left are devoted Stetson University baseball fans Lynda Getz of DeLand, Tina Wolf-Wiley of DeLand and Richard Beauregard of Daytona Beach, at the Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co. watch party, waiting to hear which teams the Hatters will play.

BEACON PHOTO/BARB SHEPHERD

 

A view of Melching Field at Conrad Park in DeLand

A view of Melching Field at Conrad Park in DeLand

COURTESY STETSON UNIVERSITY

Stetson University head baseball coach Steve Trimper, left, talks with Stetson Athletic Director Jeff Altier, as Stetson University President Wendy Libby and her husband, Richard, listen at the May 28 watch party, where everyone learned what teams the Hatters will play in their regional tournament.

Stetson University head baseball coach Steve Trimper, left, talks with Stetson Athletic Director Jeff Altier, as Stetson University President Wendy Libby and her husband, Richard, listen at the May 28 watch party, where everyone learned what teams the Hatters will play in their regional tournament.

BEACON PHOTO/BARB SHEPHERD

We like it! — Members of the Stetson University Hatter baseball team react with smiles as they learn the three teams they will play in the DeLand Region tournament Friday, June 1, through Sunday, June 3. DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar, at right front, listens intently as the lineups are announced on ESPN television, which was broadcast on big screens throughout Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co. May 28.

We like it! — Members of the Stetson University Hatter baseball team react with smiles as they learn the three teams they will play in the DeLand Region tournament Friday, June 1, through Sunday, June 3. DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar, at right front, listens intently as the lineups are announced on ESPN television, which was broadcast on big screens throughout Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co. May 28.

BEACON PHOTO/BARB SHEPHERD

Thousands of ESPN-watchers and college baseball fans across the nation have been learning a new word this week: DeLand.

“This really showcases us to the college-baseball world,” DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar said of the news that DeLand would be one of 16 cities hosting the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s 2018 Regional Tournament.

Apgar compared it to DeLand’s being named America’s Main Street in a national online contest in 2017, with the difference that, this time, recognition will be by a sports-oriented audience. The games, which begin Friday, June 1, are expected to draw more than 1,000 visitors.

“It is exciting. It’s just another time that DeLand, Florida, gets another moment in the sun. A spotlight shined on it,” the mayor said.

DeLand has already been featured in Sports Illustrated in connection with the tournament, in the magazine’s profile of four of the 64 teams, which included Stetson.

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