News

Wed
09
May

New program honors DeLand veterans

HONORING OUR HEROES — This July, some 34 veterans will be honored on banners, such as this one, placed on streetlight poles throughout Downtown DeLand, as part of the city’s new Hometown Heroes Military Banner program. DeLand printing company Express Printing will produce the banners, while Trophy Factory will produce smaller replica keepsakes for veterans honored, or their family members.  GRAPHIC COURTESY CITY OF DeLAND

HONORING OUR HEROES — This July, some 34 veterans will be honored on banners, such as this one, placed on streetlight poles throughout Downtown DeLand, as part of the city’s new Hometown Heroes Military Banner program. DeLand printing company Express Printing will produce the banners, while Trophy Factory will produce smaller replica keepsakes for veterans honored, or their family members.

GRAPHIC COURTESY CITY OF DeLAND

The City of DeLand is launching a new program to publicly honor the city’s veterans and active-duty members of the military, including those who have died in the course of duty. 

Dubbed the Hometown Heroes Military Banner program, the new initiative will see 34 local veterans’ names, faces, years of service and military branches displayed on banners attached to the streetlight poles in Downtown DeLand each July.

The city plans to run the program for at least three years, thanks to sponsorship funding from Florida Hospital DeLand and Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, allowing the city to honor more than 100 veterans. 

The program is open to DeLand residents, or veterans who are immediate relatives of DeLand residents. 

Hometown Heroes is the brainchild of Chris Graham, the city’s community information specialist, who got the idea from taking a trip with his fiancee to her hometown, near Pittsburgh, which had a similar program. 

Wed
09
May

The swap is on: Trade will give Old Jail to the City of DeLand

FROM ABOVE — The old Volusia County Jail, seen near the center of this photo, sits on prime Downtown DeLand real estate between West New York Avenue and the recently redone West Georgia Avenue. Under a deal with Volusia County, the City of DeLand will take possession of the property for possible future redevelopment. From the air, the large cage around the former correctional facility’s recreational yard can be seen. Other landmarks visible in the photo include DeLand City Hall, the Volusia County Historic

FROM ABOVE — The old Volusia County Jail, seen near the center of this photo, sits on prime Downtown DeLand real estate between West New York Avenue and the recently redone West Georgia Avenue. Under a deal with Volusia County, the City of DeLand will take possession of the property for possible future redevelopment. From the air, the large cage around the former correctional facility’s recreational yard can be seen. Other landmarks visible in the photo include DeLand City Hall, the Volusia County Historic Courthouse, the Hotel Putnam, Volusia County’s Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center, and much of the Conrad Realty Co. complex. 

BEACON PHOTO/ANTHONY DeFEO

After months of negotiations and input from the public, the DeLand City Commission signed off on a deal to take ownership of the old Volusia County Jail property in Downtown DeLand.

At their May 7 meeting, commissioners unanimously agreed to a building swap with Volusia County that could be the first step in seeing the 0.86-acre Old Jail site redeveloped. 

In exchange for the jail at 130 W. New York Ave., the city will give up its former City Hall Annex at 121 W. Rich Ave., which the county currently leases for about $50,000 a year. That building now houses the environmental health and vital statistics offices of the Volusia County Department of Health.

Along with the Old Jail, the county will throw in small parking lots on the south side of West Georgia Avenue, between Cafe DaVinci and Trilogy Coffee Roasting Co., and another property on the corner of South Amelia and East New Hampshire avenues that was formerly a vehicle-inspection facility. 

Wed
09
May

Event talks about human trafficking

FEATURED SPEAKER — Jan Edwards, founder of Paving the Way, a nonprofit group that works against trafficking, got interested in the issue after a trip to Ethiopia. The large East African country is a source country for trafficked women, children and men. 

FEATURED SPEAKER — Jan Edwards, founder of Paving the Way, a nonprofit group that works against trafficking, got interested in the issue after a trip to Ethiopia. The large East African country is a source country for trafficked women, children and men. 

PHOTO COURTESY JAN EDWARDS

Speaker: It’s happening here

In cities and towns across the country, a form of modern-day slavery takes place in the shadows, or often in plain sight: human trafficking.

West Volusia — and Florida as a whole — is no exception. 

A coalition of faith groups from around the area is trying to shed light on this difficult subject. The HOPE Team — Helpers of People Enslaved — invites the community to its annual Human Trafficking Awareness Night, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 306 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Jan Edwards, founder of Paving the Way, a nonprofit group that works against trafficking, will speak at the free event. 

Edwards took an interest in the issue after a trip to Ethiopia, a significant source country of trafficked women, children and men. One thing she saw while on the road during her trip stuck with her. 

Wed
09
May

St. Barnabas offers home for free, with disclaimer

Free for the taking — The St. Barnabas Episcopal School playground wraps around three sides of this historic home on North Clara Avenue, which the church would like to demolish to expand the school campus. In a compromise with the DeLand Historic Preservation Board, the church promised to try to give away the house to someone who can move it.

Free for the taking — The St. Barnabas Episcopal School playground wraps around three sides of this historic home on North Clara Avenue, which the church would like to demolish to expand the school campus. In a compromise with the DeLand Historic Preservation Board, the church promised to try to give away the house to someone who can move it.

BEACON PHOTO/BARB SHEPHERD

A historic house that served as the original St. Barnabas Episcopal Church parsonage is free for the taking.

But the story behind the large and complex gift is even larger: It’s a question of when and whether the City of DeLand should require that an old structure be preserved rather than torn down.

At the behest of the DeLand Historic Preservation Board — whose members don’t want to see the house demolished — church officials announced they will give the bungalow at 342 N. Clara Ave. to anyone willing to remove it. 

“Anyone interested in taking ownership and relocating this structure must do so at their sole expense and secure any and all permits necessary to achieve this undertaking,” church facilities manager Patrick Sills wrote. 

“Undertaking” might be an understatement, according to St. Barnabas Rector the Rev. Brian Garrison and DeLand architect Jack Carter.

Wed
09
May

DeLand’s Woman’s Club dissolves, ending a long era of service

Last leader — Carolyn Morrison, the final president of the Woman’s Club of DeLand, receives an official proclamation from DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar. The club held its final luncheon May 8. 

Last leader — Carolyn Morrison, the final president of the Woman’s Club of DeLand, receives an official proclamation from DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar. The club held its final luncheon May 8. 

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Members to the end — Gathered at Grand Villa of DeLand for a luncheon to mark the end of the Woman’s Club of DeLand are many of the club’s final members. From left in front are Kay Laws, Phyllis MacPherson, Evelyn Warren and Jan Gindl. In back, from left, are Stacey Horn, a teacher who leads the DeLand High School Juniorettes club that was sponsored by the Woman’s Club, along with Jeanette Basile, Pat Kane, final President Carolyn Morrison, who holds the City of DeLand proclamation honoring the club, Jane W

Members to the end — Gathered at Grand Villa of DeLand for a luncheon to mark the end of the Woman’s Club of DeLand are many of the club’s final members. From left in front are Kay Laws, Phyllis MacPherson, Evelyn Warren and Jan Gindl. In back, from left, are Stacey Horn, a teacher who leads the DeLand High School Juniorettes club that was sponsored by the Woman’s Club, along with Jeanette Basile, Pat Kane, final President Carolyn Morrison, who holds the City of DeLand proclamation honoring the club, Jane Wright, Kay LeDoux, Sandy Simoneau, Elizabeth Pardee, Anna Pagello, Jan Marion and Mary Meeker. Not shown, but attending the luncheon, are Virginia “Ginny” Trometer and Blanch Voetberg.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

What now for the Juniorettes? — High-school and middle-school members of the Juniorettes, with their sponsoring teacher Stacey Horn in the middle in front, gather for a photo at Chess Park in Downtown DeLand. The future of the young women’s service club is uncertain, as it has been sponsored and partly funded by the DeLand Woman’s Club. However, Woman’s Club members are hopeful that an online Woman’s Club will pick up the sponsorship. Horn said there are currently 25 Juniorettes. The service club, once open

What now for the Juniorettes? — High-school and middle-school members of the Juniorettes, with their sponsoring teacher Stacey Horn in the middle in front, gather for a photo at Chess Park in Downtown DeLand. The future of the young women’s service club is uncertain, as it has been sponsored and partly funded by the DeLand Woman’s Club. However, Woman’s Club members are hopeful that an online Woman’s Club will pick up the sponsorship. Horn said there are currently 25 Juniorettes. The service club, once open only to high-schoolers, has been expanded to middle school, she said.

PHOTO COURTESY STACEY HORN

After more than a century of service, the Woman’s Club of DeLand is no more. Seventeen members distributed the club’s remaining funds to charities and said goodbye at a May 8 luncheon full of memories.

The can-do club that helped create a charity wing at DeLand’s hospital, varnished schoolroom floors and landscaped schools because no one else would, lobbied DeLand city government for municipal garbage pickup, wrapped bandages for soldiers and raised thousands of dollars for scholarships finally could not carry on, defeated by a changing society and a shrinking membership.  

DeLand’s Woman’s Club got its start at a meeting of 30 women on the Stetson University campus in March 1906. It was formed as a branch of the national organization that had been founded in Boston in 1871 by a newspaper woman after she was denied entrance to an all-male Press Club event.

Tue
08
May

FDLE: Human remains found in DeLand are missing Mount Dora girl

The human remains found by a running group in eastern DeLand have been identified as a missing Lake County girl, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The agency has confirmed that the remains were identified as Justis Garrett, 16, of Mount Dora, who was reported missing after she was dropped off at school April 13 and did not return home.

Runners discovered the partially-clothed remains April 18 in woods near Gasline Road.

Mon
07
May

Foodie File: Who's got the best burger?

TAPROOM OWNER — Jim Knight, owner of City Limits Taproom in DeLand, presents his entry in the 2018 Backyard Burger Battle.

TAPROOM OWNER — Jim Knight, owner of City Limits Taproom in DeLand, presents his entry in the 2018 Backyard Burger Battle.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

THE CHAMPION BURGER — The burger that took the prize this year was a creative and decadent handheld created by Team Tillinghast: Richard Tillinghast and Derek Mecking. It included an all-ground-chuck seasoned patty, 9-month-aged cheddar cheese, thick-cut applewood bacon, white truffle and shallot compound butter, a fresh bakery bun, Duke's Mayonnaise and a cherry balsamic onion compote.

THE CHAMPION BURGER — The burger that took the prize this year was a creative and decadent handheld created by Team Tillinghast: Richard Tillinghast and Derek Mecking. It included an all-ground-chuck seasoned patty, 9-month-aged cheddar cheese, thick-cut applewood bacon, white truffle and shallot compound butter, a fresh bakery bun, Duke's Mayonnaise and a cherry balsamic onion compote.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

2018 BACKYARD BURGER BATTLE CHAMPIONS — Richard Tillinghast, left, and Derek Mecking bask in their glory after being named the 2018 Backyard Burger Battle Champions. Tillinghast holds the trophy where his team's name will be engraved for 2018.

2018 BACKYARD BURGER BATTLE CHAMPIONS — Richard Tillinghast, left, and Derek Mecking bask in their glory after being named the 2018 Backyard Burger Battle Champions. Tillinghast holds the trophy where his team's name will be engraved for 2018.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

RETURNING CHAMP — Denny Cowart, last year’s reigning champion, showcases his grill in this year's Backyard Burger Battle. Team Cowart made it to the finals again this year with a strong showing.

RETURNING CHAMP — Denny Cowart, last year’s reigning champion, showcases his grill in this year's Backyard Burger Battle. Team Cowart made it to the finals again this year with a strong showing.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

A JUDGMENTAL BITE — The panel of judges of the 2018 Backyard Burger Battle — from left, chef Taylor Bass, food-writer Ryan Rougeux and teacher Nicklaus Conrad — take a jaw-sized bite out of one of the finalist burgers before deciding the 2018 champion.

A JUDGMENTAL BITE — The panel of judges of the 2018 Backyard Burger Battle — from left, chef Taylor Bass, food-writer Ryan Rougeux and teacher Nicklaus Conrad — take a jaw-sized bite out of one of the finalist burgers before deciding the 2018 champion.

BEACON PHOTO/KIRK HEINE

Backyard grill teams battle at City Limits

A new tradition at City Limits Taproom in DeLand was continued April 29 as teams battled to claim the trophy and honor of having the best backyard burger in town.

The smell of grills, smoke and barbecue filled the air on the perfect spring day at 2620 N. Woodland Blvd., in the spacious backyard of City Limits Taproom.

A total of six teams set up tables, grills and ingredients, hoping to please the crowd enough to make it to the finals of the competition where a panel of three judges, this writer included, would taste and release the final verdict.

Returning to defend their 2017 title was Team Cowart, led by Denny Cowart and his partner this year, his brother Dusty Cowart.

Thu
03
May

Attorney running for judge faces lawsuit

CANDIDATE, DEFENDANT — DeLand attorney Steven Burk is currently facing a lawsuit filed by attorney Kimberly Simoes and her related law firms. Simoes claims Burk has created a “fantastical conspiracy” involving out-of-county attorneys making campaign contributions to judicial candidates in Volusia County, ostensibly to curry favor. Burk denies claiming that anything illegal has taken place, but said the “optics” of the situation could make “those without . . . specialized legal training to think the courthou

CANDIDATE, DEFENDANT — DeLand attorney Steven Burk is currently facing a lawsuit filed by attorney Kimberly Simoes and her related law firms. Simoes claims Burk has created a “fantastical conspiracy” involving out-of-county attorneys making campaign contributions to judicial candidates in Volusia County, ostensibly to curry favor. Burk denies claiming that anything illegal has taken place, but said the “optics” of the situation could make “those without . . . specialized legal training to think the courthouse is for sale.” Burk is running against incumbent Judge Dawn FIelds for a Group 5 Volusia County Judge seat. Burk served as 2016-2017 president of the Rotary Club of DeLand, and he is pictured above at a 2016 Rotary event.

BEACON FILE PHOTO

THE INCUMBENT — While not a party to the lawsuit against Burk, incumbent Volusia County Judge Dawn Fields, right, has been a target of Burk’s ire over campaign contributions to judicial candidates. In a letter, Burk admonished the judge for receiving $1,000 each from the Simoes Davila, PLLC, and Simoes Law Group law firms, which were involved in a large number of cases on her docket. The firms have also contributed to other Volusia County judges. Fields said Burk was “erroneous in his conclusions,” calling

THE INCUMBENT — While not a party to the lawsuit against Burk, incumbent Volusia County Judge Dawn Fields, right, has been a target of Burk’s ire over campaign contributions to judicial candidates. In a letter, Burk admonished the judge for receiving $1,000 each from the Simoes Davila, PLLC, and Simoes Law Group law firms, which were involved in a large number of cases on her docket. The firms have also contributed to other Volusia County judges. Fields said Burk was “erroneous in his conclusions,” calling his actions “haphazard.” Above, Fields is pictured at a 2017 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University scholarship gala, along with Barb Girtman, a DeLand Realtor running for the District 1 seat on the Volusia County Council.

BEACON FILE PHOTO

Law firm says his claims about currying judicial favor are way off-base

A DeLand attorney and candidate for a Volusia County judgeship is being sued by a law firm that accuses him of "alleging a fantastical conspiracy" and making "wild accusations.”

Attorney Kimberly Simoes, along with the law firms of Simoes Davila, PLLC; Simoes Law Group, P.A.; and Simoes Davila & Partners, PLLC, filed suit April 23 against Steven Burk, who is challenging incumbent Judge Dawn Fields for a Group 5 Volusia County Judge seat.

The lawsuit seeks $15,000 in damages plus court costs and attorney’s fees.

“Defendant has made … false and defamatory statements about Plaintiffs alleging a fantastical conspiracy whereby out-of-county attorneys make excessive campaign contributions to judicial candidates in Volusia County in order to curry decisions in their favor,” part of the complaint reads.

Wed
02
May

Longtime Deltonan picked to fill City Commission vacancy

New commissioner — Robert McFall takes the oath of office as a Deltona city commissioner, administered by City Clerk Joyce Raftery, at right. From left, family members on hand to witness the event are son-in-law Nick Conte, daughter Michele McFall-Conte, twin 8-year-old grandchildren Bobby and Ainsley Conte, in front, and wife Ann McFall.

New commissioner — Robert McFall takes the oath of office as a Deltona city commissioner, administered by City Clerk Joyce Raftery, at right. From left, family members on hand to witness the event are son-in-law Nick Conte, daughter Michele McFall-Conte, twin 8-year-old grandchildren Bobby and Ainsley Conte, in front, and wife Ann McFall.

BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON

The Deltona City Commission is now up to full strength, following the April 30 selection of a prominent retiree to fill the void of a member who resigned.

Robert McFall, who hails from a politically active family, is the new commissioner representing Deltona’s District 4. The six other members of the commission unanimously ranked McFall as their top choice for appointment to the seat vacated April 2 by Christopher Alcantara.

McFall was immediately sworn into office and took his seat on the dais for a workshop that included a briefing on the city budget.

Asked if he will run for election to serve the two years remaining in Alcantara’s term, McFall replied, “Yes.”

McFall was the City Commission’s favorite over two other applicants, Yorelia Navas and Kurt Sniffin. 

Wed
02
May

Sheriff: Beware of this scam

USED FOR SCAM — Prepaid MoneyPak cards like these are being used to transfer money to scammers, the Sheriff’s Office said.

USED FOR SCAM — Prepaid MoneyPak cards like these are being used to transfer money to scammers, the Sheriff’s Office said.

PHOTO COURTESY VOLUSIA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

There’s probably NOT a warrant for your arrest

An intimidating caller who made it look like he was calling from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office got money from at least one West Volusia resident, and unnerved numerous others, last week.

The DeLand Police Department is investigating the case of a resident who reported losing $1,500.

In a press release, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Laura Williams explained how the scam works: The caller “spoofs” the Sheriff’s Office telephone number, making it appear on caller ID or star 69 systems as if he is really calling from the Sheriff’s Office.

The victim is told that there is a warrant for his or her arrest, and is instructed to provide money to the caller using a prepaid card, to get the warrant dismissed.

The recent victims were also told to visit the Sheriff’s Office District 2 office in DeLand to complete paperwork for the dismissal.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - News