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It’s like reading the funny pages

Editor, The Beacon:

I was genetically wired to be a news and information junkie.

I’ve read newspapers and watched news channels since adolescence, and look for multiple inputs and angles on important issues.

When critical stories hit the news — floods, political maneuvering, economic performance, scientific developments — I turn to the BBC, CNN, PBS, The Economist, major news networks, local and national newspapers, and occasionally scientific and professional journals. The reports paint a broad picture and generally concur, with greater and lesser degrees of detail.

But there’s always one source that’s wandering on the fringe, breathlessly expounding on “alerts” like recent UFO sightings, strained conspiracy theories, or coverage of the 79th Benghazi investigation.

I’ve learned that any time someone says, “…according to Fox News…,” it’s roughly equivalent to “…according to the funny pages… .” They’re interchangeable.

Greg Heeter


GlassHouse design not good enough for DeLand

Editor, The Beacon:

The proposed development of the Old Jail property by GlassHouse Square LLC is an architectural behemoth (beast).

A very unimaginative box with a few punched openings, it is neither a historic representation of DeLand architecture nor a contemporary design for today’s environment.

The design is akin to what we have as a new Clerk of Courts building on Alabama Avenue ... uninspiring.

Continuation of this design will set us back 50 years when we should be moving forward. The design is regressive (backward movement). Not a place that one would choose to visit.

Very disappointing when considering the great opportunity to make a meaningful statement within the community.

Borrowing a phrase from Tanner Andrews, “What were they thinking?”

Aesthetics are nonexisting in the proposed project.

Again, I cite the Clerk of Courts building, where Volusia County had an opportunity to have a first-rate design by architect William “Bill” Morgan but instead settled for a fourth-rate structure by a design/build team.

What a travesty and a loss to our aesthetic town.

The same issue is taking place here. We can do better. I implore (to ask and beg earnestly) GlassHouse Square and the City Commission to fix this mess.

Everett Ray Johnson


Not surprised sales-tax increase didn’t pass

Editor, The Beacon:

I read the news “Voters: No Tax Hike” on May 22 and was not surprised.

The problem is the County Council is no different than our so-called Congress. Tax and spend.

What needs to happen is Congress, as well as states and county councils all over our country, need badly to reason together and come to a consensus on a budget and then put it to a vote. If it passes, great; if not, it’s back to the drawing board.

As for the swamp, if those idiot so-called progressives (IMHO) would legislate instead of investigate and accept that Trump is our president and there was no collusion, and start debating on the future of our country, then maybe something could be accomplished.

But the way the House is acting, they are acting like a bunch of spoiled infants. It may well cost them heavily in 2020.

Mayor Apgar was disappointed the half-cent sales-tax increase did not pass. Why? Would he have gotten something from the tax increase? If so, then all the cities have governments that are worthless.

The tax was supposed to be for county work only, or was it? The whole country is trillions in debt and are not pulling on the reins to stop it.

Congress needs to get to work and pass a budget for our country and balance that budget, which we don’t have, nothing but stupid continuing resolutions.

If they get to work and pass a budget, deep cuts will have to be made, and I do mean deep. Only then will this country survive, and it has nothing to do with climate control.

So now, County Council, get to work for the people or risk getting voted out like the tax did.

Donald Howell


Booming economy has high price tags

Editor, The Beacon:

Some letters have praised President Donald Trump’s accomplishments, including the roaring economy. That’s one of the few things I can agree with, along with the enforcement of tougher border security and appointment of two qualified Supreme Court justices.

But unfortunately this booming economy comes with steep price tags.

The first one is the continued rollback of environmental protections that are necessary to our health and safety.

Recently, major automakers sent a letter to the Trump administration voicing their concerns with Trump’s recent rollback of tailpipe-emission standards, saying it would cause more complications than it would be worth.

Let this soak in for a minute. Even the major automakers think Trump has gone too far with his deregulation and gutting of environmental-protection standards.

Seems to me like our current emission standards are a step in the right direction. They protect our health and safety, and save us money at the gas pump as well.

The second big price tag that our kids and grandkids will have to deal with is the mounting national debt. Around $2 trillion has been added under Trump’s watch.

This president is not for those who care about the well-being of our national environment.

He’s not for people who care about getting our ballooning national debt under control.

For those who only care about the here and now and the short-term economy hitting new record highs, this president might be for them.

I encourage everyone to think about our future, and vote for an alternative candidate in 2020.

Mark Smiley


Recommends Hatters Sports Lounge

Editor, The Beacon:

On East New York Avenue, there is a hidden gem a little off the beaten path but well worth a visit. Hatters Sports Lounge opened a few months ago, and we visited recently and wanted to share what we (and others) have been missing!

For a sports bar, there is an extensive food menu, but for us the biggest and best surprise was that Ben, the owner, uses an air fryer instead of deep fat, and the results are not only healthier but tastier!

We had the wings and fries, and they were crispy and delicious, but the menu also includes salads and other non-fried items.

Of course there is a good selection of ice-cold beer, wine and soft drinks.

Not only is this a sports bar that college students would enjoy, with darts, pool tables and video golf, but it is family-friendly, with a great outside area with games for the kids as well as adults, including horseshoes and cornhole.

They have happy hour and/or specials every day, with karaoke on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They also have free delivery!

We highly recommend you give them a try — let’s support our local businesses!

Don and Jennifer Severance


Chamber working on Comcast fix

Editor’s note: DeBary officials have reported a high number of complaints about Comcast internet service. There are an estimated 300 home businesses and 400 brick-and-mortar businesses in the city.

Editor, The Beacon:

As the voice of business in West Volusia, the West Volusia Regional Chamber of Commerce continues to work closely with our local, regional, state and federal representatives to advance conversations on improving the climate for business growth, sustainability and economic development.

We are proud to be the Chamber that governments and businesses turn to to resolve their most pressing issues, and we have a successful track record in getting results.

As your Chamber for DeBary, we have heard from our local businesses, more than 300 of which are home-based, about continuing issues with Comcast service.

Internet access is a sine qua non for conducting business transactions. It is required for everything from email communications to processing point-of-sale transactions.

When a business owner faces continual denial of service, business suffers.

We have heard you, member businesses, and we are working closely with our city manager, state Rep. David Santiago, and Comcast to determine the cause for the frequent outages.

While we have received preliminary information from Comcast, we are continuing to pursue this matter at the highest levels until we can confirm that a resolution is in place, and we will then report back to our members and city staff.

We thank our members who have brought this to our attention, and we look forward to sharing more information with you as we work toward our goal of ensuring DeBary remains a top location for business success.

Shari Simmans

— Simmans is executive director of the West Volusia Regional Chamber of Commerce.