News

Tue
07
Nov

ELECTION NIGHT: Raisler succeeds Snowden as Lake Helen mayor; Wilson keeps Zone 1 seat

Lake Helen City Hall  BEACON FILE PHOTO

Lake Helen city hall

BEACON FILE PHOTO

While most cities in West Volusia won't elect leaders for another year, Lake Helen voters had the chance to choose a new mayor and city commissioner at the polls Tuesday.

With 57.6 percent of the vote — 379 votes in all — Daisy Raisler is now mayor-elect of Lake Helen. She bested Joe Hammett, who received 42.4 percent of the vote, or 279 votes.

Incumbent Mayor Buddy Snowden, who has led the city since 2009, did not seek re-election.

Former Vice Mayor Ann Robbins challenged incumbent Zone 1 Commissioner Tom Wilson for his seat, but Wilson narrowly held on to the seat, receiving 335 votes, or 51.2 percent, to Robbins' 319 votes, or 48.8 percent of the vote.

Michael Woods was unopposed in his bid for re-election to the Zone 3 seat. 

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Tue
07
Nov

Sheriff's Office: Deltona couple made up home invasion

West Volusia crime news

West Volusia crime news

A Deltona couple told Volusia County Sheriff's deputies a gunfight broke out after two men entered their home Oct. 26, leaving them both with gunshot wounds.

The only problem? It didn't happen, deputies soon discovered.

Doug Teixeira and Lindsey Pelton, the supposed victims, were arrested Tuesday after Volusia County sheriff’s detectives determined they made up the home invasion and shooting that they claimed involved two masked intruders in their rented Deltona home.

Tue
07
Nov

Northbound U.S. 17-92 at St. Johns River Bridge to close Friday through Monday morning

U.S. 17-92 northbound will close from 6 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10 to 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 13.

U.S. 17-92 northbound will close from the St. John’s River Bridge in Sanford to Dirksen Drive in DeBary, 6 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10 to 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 13.

The Florida Department of Transportation will close U.S. 17-92 northbound from the St. John’s River Bridge in Sanford to Dirksen Drive in DeBary.

The closure will start 6 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10, and end 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 13.

 

Mon
06
Nov

Military families remember: Commissioner Jeff Hunter recalls Vietnam-era childhood

RELATIVES WHO SERVED — A scrapbook of faded military ID cards, along with a few snapshots of relatives serving in Germany or Vietnam, bring back DeLand City Commissioner Jeff Hunter’s memories of his youth overseas and his relatives' military service, as Veterans Day draws near. Though not a veteran himself, Hunter has strong memories of following his Air Force dad on a tour in Germany during the Vietnam War.

RELATIVES WHO SERVED — A scrapbook of faded military ID cards, along with a few snapshots of relatives serving in Germany or Vietnam, bring back DeLand City Commissioner Jeff Hunter’s memories of his youth overseas and his relatives' military service, as Veterans Day draws near. Though not a veteran himself, Hunter has strong memories of following his Air Force dad on a tour in Germany during the Vietnam War.

BEACON PHOTO/RICK BUTLER

Our thoughts near Veterans Day turn toward those Americans wearing uniforms and doing the dangerous work of defending our country around the world.  

On Memorial Day, we honor those who gave their lives in service to our country. On Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11, this year, we honor those who honorably served in uniform and survived.  

But there are others who give much in support of our veterans.

One group of those whose lives are deeply affected by having a parent or sibling or other relative in uniform are often almost dismissively labeled as "military wives" or "military brats."

DeLand City Commissioner Jeff Hunter is one of those who followed his Air Force father to Germany, and to Texas as a boy.

"I remember when I was in about the fifth grade, living in Germany on Spangdahlem Air Base during the Vietnam War. Our base supplied fighters and bombers to Thailand, to fly missions over Vietnam," Hunter said.

Fri
03
Nov

West Volusia Calendar Nov.4-11, 2017

Saturday, Nov. 4
 
Farmers Market
8 a.m.-1 p.m. at Gateway Center for the Arts, 880 North U.S. Highway 17-92, DeBary. Call 407-443-6965.
 
Market in the Park
8 a.m.-1 p.m. at Blake Park, 437 S. Lakeview Drive, Lake Helen. Call 305-393-0682.
 
Car, Truck & Bike Show
8 a.m.-3 p.m. at Daytona State College’s Deltona Campus, in front of Fathi Hall, 2351 Providence Blvd. Hosted by the Daytona State College Veterans Club. Proceeds will benefit the Daytona State College Writing Awards Committee. Top 10 awards; 50/50; and live disc jockey. Registration fee to show a car, truck or bike: $20. Email to Robert_Gosse@DaytonaState.edu.
 
Plant Workshop
Wed
01
Nov

Luis Toledo found guilty of 2013 Deltona triple-homicide

The defense — Lead defense lawyer Jeffrey Deen, right,  whispers to Luis Toledo between closing arguments Oct. 26, as they sit at the defense table in a St. Augustine courtroom. 

The defense — Lead defense lawyer Jeffrey Deen, right,  whispers to Luis Toledo between closing arguments Oct. 26, as they sit at the defense table in a St. Augustine courtroom. 

BEACON PHOTO/TOM STEVENS

Luis Toledo, right, waits to hear the verdict in his murder trial Friday, along with attorney, Michael Nielsen.

Luis Toledo, right, waits to hear the verdict in his murder trial Friday, along with attorney, Michael Nielsen.

POOL PHOTO BY JIM TILLER OF THE DAYTONA BEACH NEWS-JOURNAL

The victims' family members embrace outside a St. Johns County courtroom Friday after hearing Luis Toledo was found guilty.

The victims' family members embrace outside a St. Johns County courtroom Friday after hearing Luis Toledo was found guilty.

POOL PHOTO BY JIM TILLER OF THE DAYTONA BEACH NEWS-JOURNAL

“I’ll never tell you where the bodies are,” Luis Toledo reportedly told investigator Sgt. Kurt Schoeps, through the bathroom doorway at the Volusia County Jail.

Toledo was being interviewed after being arrested Oct. 23, 2013, as the person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, Yessenia Suarez, and stepchildren Thalia and Michael Otto, 9 and 8 years old respectively. 

On Oct. 27, Toledo was convicted of second-degree murder for the killing of Suarez, and first-degree murder for the killing of each of the children.

Four years later, the bodies of the three victims have never been recovered.

During an interview with investigators, Toledo had asked to go to the bathroom, where his words could not be caught on surveillance footage. Both Schoeps and investigator Bryan Ford testified at Toledo’s trial to hearing the chilling statement.

Wed
01
Nov

The art of the deal: College Arms sale enriches local charities, but the funds are restricted

Celebrating a win-win — Gathered Oct. 31 to announce the sale of College Arms Towers in DeLand to Westminster Communities of Florida are College Arms and Westminster board members and staff, along with representatives of nonprofits that will share in the sale proceeds. From left are Wes Meltzer of Westminster, College Arms Administrator Ariana Algarin, Dr. Lyle Wadsworth of Good Samaritan Clinic, DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar, Mary DeLouis of Good Samaritan, Shannon Woods of Westminster, Kathy Sanders, George Smit

Celebrating a win-win — Gathered Oct. 31 to announce the sale of College Arms Towers in DeLand to Westminster Communities of Florida are College Arms and Westminster board members and staff, along with representatives of nonprofits that will share in the sale proceeds. From left are Wes Meltzer of Westminster, College Arms Administrator Ariana Algarin, Dr. Lyle Wadsworth of Good Samaritan Clinic, DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar, Mary DeLouis of Good Samaritan, Shannon Woods of Westminster, Kathy Sanders, George Smith, Mary Ellen Early, Martha Holler, Sarah Gurtis of the Council on Aging, Chris Tolland (partially hidden) of the Council on Aging, Richard “Dick” Reynolds, Wilbert Ridgley and Susan Clark of The Neighborhood Center, and Mary Gusky of Good Samaritan. 

BEACON PHOTO/BARB SHEPHERD AND MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

What do you get when you put five retirement-age community leaders in a room and present them with a challenge?

In DeLand’s case, we got a multimillion-dollar deal that puts three local charities on a firmer footing, and brightens the prospects of the community’s low-income seniors for years to come.

The deal is for ownership of College Arms Towers at 101 N. Amelia Ave., DeLand’s only skyscraper and home to 196 apartments for low-income elders.

The 16-story brick structure opened in 1970, using federal funds and money from the Bert Fish Foundation, the legacy of judge, ambassador and businessman Fish, who helped shape Volusia County during the early 1900s.

Announcing the Towers’ sale to Westminster Communities Oct. 31, DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar said the arrangement honors the Fish Foundation’s original intent to help low-income seniors in the DeLand community.

Wed
01
Nov

Marriott: Where’s the brick … and the activity?

Delayed — Originally slated to open right about now, the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Downtown DeLand sits unfinished with a noticeable lack of workers and movement around the project. 

Delayed — Originally slated to open right about now, the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Downtown DeLand sits unfinished with a noticeable lack of workers and movement around the project. 

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLI

Heading into the holidays and tourist season, the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Woodland Boulevard is curiously quiet.

Previously feverish work on the Courtyard by Marriott hotel has come to a halt at 308 N. Woodland Blvd.

There’s nothing alarming about the pause, according to Ajit Nana, senior vice president of AVISTA Hotels and Resorts, the developer.

Nana oversees hotel and site acquisition and asset management for the AVISTA Group, a multi-industry collection of companies that trade in hospitality, travel, information technology, retail real estate, villa and condo development and capital management.

He manages projects, such as the one underway in Downtown DeLand, from conception to completion.

“Yes, unfortunately we had delays with weather (lots of rain and two hurricanes) and other construction delays,” Nana explained in an email.

Early on, there was some community consternation over the seemingly citrus-inspired color scheme. 

Wed
01
Nov

Hispanic Heritage Night celebrates Deltona Middle’s diversity

DISPLAYING THE FLAG — Deltona Middle School student Maicol Zion carries the Puerto Rican flag during the flag parade.

DISPLAYING THE FLAG — Deltona Middle School student Maicol Zion carries the Puerto Rican flag during the flag parade.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

OPENING THE CELEBRATION — Members of the Hispanic American Youth Group of Deltona opened the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Night at Deltona Middle School Oct. 27.

OPENING THE CELEBRATION — Members of the Hispanic American Youth Group of Deltona opened the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Night at Deltona Middle School Oct. 27.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

HISPANIC SONG — Deltona Middle School Charger Band members perform the song “La Bamba.” From left are Angelica Astorga, Sarah Tamayo, Valerie Mercado, Samantha Lombardo and Brien Sanmoogan.

HISPANIC SONG — Deltona Middle School Charger Band members perform the song “La Bamba.” From left are Angelica Astorga, Sarah Tamayo, Valerie Mercado, Samantha Lombardo and Brien Sanmoogan.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

FINAL ACT — Members of the group Los Pieneros de la Central closed the celebration at Deltona Middle School.

FINAL ACT — Members of the group Los Pieneros de la Central closed the celebration at Deltona Middle School.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

One Deltona school isn’t just dealing with, but instead is celebrating, an influx of Puerto Rican students.

Deltona Middle School, which has the largest proportion of Hispanic students of any public school in the county, also has the highest test scores among the county’s seven middle schools.

Deltona Middle recently welcomed new students from the islands at its annual Hispanic Heritage Night.

“There were 20 new arrivals of a total of 50 Puerto Rican students who have come from Puerto Rico escaping the devastation of Hurricane Maria, and we welcome them all with open arms,” Assistant Principal Susan Reaves said.

The festival opened with waving flags representing every Spanish-speaking country, along with Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, inspiring cheers from those attending.

The audience included parents, students, school staff and officials, community members and business volunteers.

Mon
30
Oct

DeLand-area shooting incident resolved peacefully

A shooting incident in DeLand was resolved without incident Sunday morning after deputies convinced the shooter — who was repeatedly firing shots at assailants he thought were on his property — to release his daughter through a window, drop his gun, and surrender to deputies peacefully, according to Volusia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Andrew Gant.

The incident took place at 219 Brevity Lane, and began around 2 a.m., when deputies learned Herbert Tipton, 71, was firing shots from his yard, Gant said.

Tipton’s adult daughter told deputies her father had claimed he’d shot someone. He wouldn’t let her leave the house, because he believed there were intruders about to hurt them.

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