Wed
18
Jul

Sheriff Chitwood thanks Good Samaritan for helping save 8-month-old left in car

A close call involving a baby boy left in the back seat of a vehicle this afternoon resulted in child neglect charges for the woman who left him there – and a reminder to everyone to take some simple steps to avoid a potential tragedy.

Tue
10
Jul

VCSO: Deputies, Air One track down kidnapping suspect

Volusia County sheriff’s deputies tracked down and arrested a DeLand man on kidnapping and other charges Sunday after he grabbed a 16-year-old girl in the DeLand area and took her on a ride to DeLeon Springs – where the VCSO Air One helicopter spotted his vehicle.

Wed
05
Jul

Horse dies at Lake Helen July Fourth event

horse, lake helen, parade, horse dies, fourth of july

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN
More than a one-horse town — Horses and their riders decked in patriotic garb are a traditional feature of Lake Helen's traditional July Fourth parade. Here, equestrians set the pace Tuesday. A Lake Helen police commander told The Beacon that Echo, a 15-year-old horse that died later in the day before a July Fourth Saddle Club event, had not participated in the parade. The cause of the horse's death is unknown.

A day of celebration turned grim at the Lake Helen Equestrian Center July 4.

Echo, a 15-year-old horse, collapsed and died before it was to take part in a barrel-racing exhibition sponsored by the West Volusia Saddle Club and area businesses, leaving witnesses shocked and devastated.  

“They were just warming the horse up, which is common,” Cmdr. Robert Mullens of the Lake Helen Police Department said July 5. “The horse just collapsed.”

Without a costly necropsy, he said, there is no way to determine the exact cause of death.

“We don’t have a case on it, but there was no neglect,” Cmdr. Mullens said.

To the police commander’s knowledge, the horse did not participate earlier in Lake Helen’s annual Fourth of July parade, he added.

Many conflicting and emotional reactions and accounts emerged in online comments to news reports, and on social media.

Mon
05
Jun

DeLand will contribute to Hotel Putnam restoration

hotel putnam, city of deland, restoration, tony collins

New development — Developer Tony Collins has struck an agreement with the City of DeLand to redevelop the Hotel Putnam.

BEACON PHOTO/BARB SHEPHERD

The way it was — This old postcard shows the Hotel Putnam, 225 W. New York Ave. in Downtown DeLand, in its heyday. The City of DeLand voted June 5 to contribute $500,000 to help a Sarasota developer restore the hotel and transform it into apartments. The developer said the city’s investment was essential to make the $8.3 million project financially feasible.

The way it was — This old postcard shows the Hotel Putnam, 225 W. New York Ave. in Downtown DeLand, in its heyday. The City of DeLand voted June 5 to contribute $500,000 to help a Sarasota developer restore the hotel and transform it into apartments. The developer said the city’s investment was essential to make the $8.3 million project financially feasible.

POSTCARD IMAGE COURTESY THE BROWN FAMILY

The City of DeLand will be a financial partner in the Hotel Putnam’s restoration.

“I’m excited to be a part of DeLand’s continued revitalization and growth,” said Tony Collins, the Sarasota developer who will be behind the Putnam’s redevelopment into rental apartments.

The most pivotal decision of the DeLand City Commission’s June 5 meeting was won in a 4-1 vote: The City of DeLand will assist in the cost of the Putnam’s $8.3 million restoration to the tune of $500,000 over a minimum of five years. The money will be paid at the rate of $100,000 per fiscal year, or as Collins reaches each performance measure in the contract, whichever is later.

“Just coming off winning the Downtown Main Street America award, this is a prime example of probably why we won the award,” said local businessman and historian Jim Cara, who has spoken in favor of the project at several Community Redevelopment Agency workshops and City Commission meetings.

Mon
22
May

PHOTOS: 2017 ME STRONG Eat in the Street fundraiser

Best in show — This Rockford Peaches table won Best in Show during the fourth annual ME STRONG Eat in the Street fundraiser. The Rockford Peaches were a women’s professional baseball team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, from 1943 to 1954. The team is featured in the 1992 film A League of Their Own. From left are Suzanne Mark, Lindsay Hagen, Blessing Ball, Diane Jennings, Tracey Word, Kelley Zagers and Shannon Honeyager. 

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Best in show — This Rockford Peaches table won Best in Show during the fourth annual ME STRONG Eat in the Street fundraiser. The Rockford Peaches were a women’s professional baseball team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, from 1943 to 1954. The team is featured in the 1992 film A League of Their Own. From left are Suzanne Mark, Lindsay Hagen, Blessing Ball, Diane Jennings, Tracey Word, Kelley Zagers and Shannon Honeyager. 

The fourth annual ME STRONG Eat in the Street fundraiser happened on April 1. Teams of friends, businesses, and families decorated tables according to a theme each team chose, and they were judged on creativity, fun, and use of concept. Beacon photos by Marsha McLaughlin.  

...

Fri
05
May

Taylor Middle-High School coach charged with second sex act with students

Keyunta Murphy, 23, of Pierson, is charged with lewd or lascivious battery on a victim under 16, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

Keyunta Murphy, 23, of Pierson, is charged with lewd or lascivious battery on a victim under 16, using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

UPDATE: 10:42 a.m. May 5, 2017

Keyunta Murphy, formerly a campus adviser and volleyball coach at T. DeWitt Taylor Middle-High School in Pierson, has now been charged with a second count of battery of a minor.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said a second victim — a 16-year-old student at Taylor — came forward after hearing of 23-year-old Murphy’s arrest in April.

Mon
01
May

PHOTOS: Spring HIll Boys & Girls Club kickball game

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN On a roll — Iyana Kitching rolls the red ball swiftly, kicking off the game of kickball. This time of the year is hot, but it’s also a nice time to get outdoors and have some fun. Everyone needs to stay hydrated, however, and to watch out for signs of heatstroke.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

On a roll — Iyana Kitching rolls the red ball swiftly, kicking off the game of kickball. This time of the year is hot, but it’s also a nice time to get outdoors and have some fun. Everyone needs to stay hydrated, however, and to watch out for signs of heatstroke. 

On April 20, the Spring Hill Boys & Girls Club invited members of the Volusia County Sheriff's Office and the DeLand Police Department to play a game of kickball. Beacon photos by Marsha McLaughlin. 

...

Mon
01
May

DeLand in top 25 for America's Main Street

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN  Downtown DeLand has been selected as a top-25 contender in a national contest to decide America’s Main Street. DeLandites are encouraged to vote for their city in the competition every 24 hours at www.mainstreetcontest.com. Voting began at 10 a.m. Monday, May 1, and runs through May 28. You may vote only once per IP address per 24-hour period. This means you can vote several times a day by connecting to different internet sources, such as a new Wi-Fi, a cellphone signal, or a

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

America's Main Street — Downtown DeLand has been selected as a top-25 contender in a national contest to decide America’s Main Street. DeLandites are encouraged to vote for their city in the competition every 24 hours at www.mainstreetcontest.com. Voting began at 10 a.m. Monday, May 1, and runs through May 28. You may vote only once per IP address per 24-hour period. This means you can vote several times a day by connecting to different internet sources, such as a new Wi-Fi, a cellphone signal, or a data-enabled tablet.

Nationwide competition narrows; new round of voting begins

Downtown DeLand has been selected as a top-25 contender in a national contest to decide America’s Main Street. The MainStreet DeLand Association and the City of DeLand encourage area residents to vote for their city in the competition every 24 hours at www.mainstreetcontest.com.

The contest — presented by Stihl Inc. and organized by Independent We Stand, a group focusing on the power of buying local and on independently owned businesses — has a grand prize of $25,000 for the winning Main Street.

“DeLandites near and far always respond to support our downtown,” said DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar. “I hope everyone will continue voting to help us get to the finish line.”

Mon
24
Apr

Color Line presents first Community Unity Day in DeLand

boys & girls club, community unity day, colorline roundtable, deland

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Ready for some kickball — Althea Chavers of the Boys & Girls Club of DeLand and Sgt. Juan Millan of the DeLand Police Department share some kickball tips April 20, as Sheriff Mike Chitwood and other members of the law-enforcement community got together to play kickball with members of the Boys & Girls Club. The club is one of nine nonprofit organizations in the DeLand area that will benefit from proceeds of the Community Unity Day set for Saturday, April 29, in Earl Brown Park in DeLand.

colorline, community unity day, deland, florida, race relations

PHOTO COURTESY BARB GIRTMAN

Working for unity — Members of the Colorline Roundtable meet in March to plan the first Community Unity Day. The free event will take place Saturday, April 29, in Earl Brown Park in DeLand, and will raise funds to support nine nonprofit organizations.

 

Earl Brown Park will be hopping April 29

Earl Brown Park in DeLand will be a beehive of activity April 29, as the first Community Unity Day gets underway. Basketball, sack races, a relay race, a tug of war, and fellowship — along with free hot dogs and hamburgers — are all on tap.

The free event will take place 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday in the park at 750 S. Alabama Ave.

A limited number of slots are available for teams to enter the sporting events. Call organizer Don Kerr at 386-479-3007 or email him at donkb61@gmail.com if you are interested in taking part. Registration will also be available the day of the event, starting at 9 a.m., if there are slots remaining.

Sat
15
Apr

Brush fires near Orange City cause partial closure of Interstate 4

fire, orange city, smoke in sky, brush fires, volusia county, deland fires

PHOTO COURTESY SUSAN PYNCHON

Brush fires — Six or seven small brush fires in the Orange City area send dark plumes of smoke skyward this afternoon, April 15. The smoky fires caused closure of part of Interstate 4 and some voluntary evacuations in Orange City.

UPDATE 10:39 a.m. Monday April 17: Florida Forest Service spokeswoman Julie Allen said Monday morning that the fire was 75 percent contained. 

"Crews worked very hard yesterday, even with the wind against us," she said. "No road closures; however, Veterans Memorial Parkway was very smokey this morning, but lifted as the sun came up."

 

ORIGINAL STORY CONTINUES BELOW

Six or seven small brush fires in the Orange City area caused some people to evacuate their homes and the Florida Highway Patrol to close part of Interstate 4, authorities said Saturday afternoon.

Large plumes of dark smoke were visible looking south from DeLand.

According to Volusia County Fire Rescue, the six or seven fires were concentrated between East Graves Avenue and Enterprise Road.

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