News

Fri
15
Dec

West Volusia Calendar Dec. 16-23, 2017

Saturday, Dec. 16
 
Barberville Family Farm Swap and Market
7 a.m.-12:30 p.m. west of Barberville Pioneer Settlement, three-fourths of a mile west of U.S. Highway 17, on State Road 40, Barberville. Call 386-469-9409.
 
Farmers Market
7 a.m.-3 p.m. at 535 Fair St., off West State Road 44, at the intersection of Carlis Road and Fair Street, DeLand.
 
Cookie Walk
8 a.m.-noon at St Jude’s Episcopal Church, 815 E. Graves Ave., Orange City. Sponsored by the Episcopal Church Women. Most cookies sold by the pound. Call 386-775-6200, or visit www.stjudescentralflorida.org.
 
Farmers Market
Wed
13
Dec

WWII vet gets sky-high gift for 91st birthday

CLOSE ENOUGH — A collective sigh of relief by a group of family and friends gave way to cheers as Al Vogel, 91, of DeLand and master skydiver/instructor Bob Crossman, drifted closer to safe ground during a tandem jump Dec. 2 at Skydive DeLand. 

CLOSE ENOUGH — A collective sigh of relief by a group of family and friends gave way to cheers as Al Vogel, 91, of DeLand and master skydiver/instructor Bob Crossman, drifted closer to safe ground during a tandem jump Dec. 2 at Skydive DeLand. 

BEACON PHOTO/ERIKA WEBB

HELLO YELLOW — A large group of family and friends at Skydive DeLand Dec. 2 keep their eyes peeled on the bright yellow chute carrying master skydiver Bob Crossman and his eager 91-year-old student, Al Vogel of DeLand, as it drifts safely back to Earth. 

HELLO YELLOW — A large group of family and friends at Skydive DeLand Dec. 2 keep their eyes peeled on the bright yellow chute carrying master skydiver Bob Crossman and his eager 91-year-old student, Al Vogel of DeLand, as it drifts safely back to Earth. 

BEACON PHOTO/ERIKA WEBB

TERRA VERY FIRMA — Ninety-one-year-old Al Vogel, of DeLand, and master skydiver and instructor Bob Crossman thud to firm ground from 14,000 feet Dec. 2 at Skydive DeLand. Vogel’s tandem jump was a birthday gift from his daughter Christine Vogel, also of DeLand. 

TERRA VERY FIRMA — Ninety-one-year-old Al Vogel, of DeLand, and master skydiver and instructor Bob Crossman thud to firm ground from 14,000 feet Dec. 2 at Skydive DeLand. Vogel’s tandem jump was a birthday gift from his daughter Christine Vogel, also of DeLand. 

BEACON PHOTO/ERIKA WEBB

Tears streamed down Christine Vogel’s cheeks Dec. 2 as she looked skyward. Her gaze was fixed on the bright yellow parachute carrying her 91-year-old father, Alfred “Al” Vogel, and master skydiver Bob Crossman, to a safe landing at Skydive DeLand.

The tandem jump, a birthday present from his youngest daughter, was wrapped in bright sunshine and clear blue skies, perfect for the skydive the senior Vogel has dreamed of ever since his first jump 21 years ago.

In the preflight suit-up room, Crossman offered Vogel an array of jumpsuit color choices.

He chose blue, Navy blue.

“I’ve gotta stick with the Navy colors,” he said.

While serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, 1944-46, Vogel stayed stateside, in Corpus Christi, Texas, prepping fighter planes.

“They wouldn’t trust me overseas,” he joked.

Wed
13
Dec

Growth taxes the roads: More homes mean more drivers, but can roads handle them?

Rush-hour slowdown — The intersection of Woodland Boulevard, Orange Camp Road and McGregor Road in south DeLand gets congested during rush hour, as seen in the photo above. As new homes are built in the hundreds in southeastern DeLand, more and more drivers pour onto the city’s increasingly taxed highways and byways. 

Rush-hour slowdown — The intersection of Woodland Boulevard, Orange Camp Road and McGregor Road in south DeLand gets congested during rush hour, as seen in the photo above. As new homes are built in the hundreds in southeastern DeLand, more and more drivers pour onto the city’s increasingly taxed highways and byways. 

BEACON PHOTO/ERIKA WEBB

Taxed roads, taxed drivers — In fiscal year 2016-17, consumer-paid gasoline taxes accounted for 73 percent of revenue — $22.9 million — collected by Volusia County for road operations, maintenance and capacity projects. This chart shows how fuel prices and consumer trips impact the county’s road-project coffers. The vertical axis shows tax collections in millions of dollars; the horizontal axis shows fiscal years. 

Taxed roads, taxed drivers — In fiscal year 2016-17, consumer-paid gasoline taxes accounted for 73 percent of revenue — $22.9 million — collected by Volusia County for road operations, maintenance and capacity projects. This chart shows how fuel prices and consumer trips impact the county’s road-project coffers. The vertical axis shows tax collections in millions of dollars; the horizontal axis shows fiscal years. 

CHART COURTESY VOLUSIA COUNTY PUBLIC WORKS

New homes equal more cars on the roads, especially in southeast DeLand, where development is at an all-time high.

Who pays for improvements — widening, adding and extending roadways — to accommodate the additional traffic?

Not those who pay property taxes, according to Clay Ervin, Volusia County’s director of Growth and Resource Management.

Instead, road-impact fees, paid by developers, as well as revenue from the local-option fuel tax, are used for road-building, extending and improvements, Ervin explained.

“No ad valorem tax revenue is used for roads,” he said.

Bond money, paid back with revenue from impact fees, also contributes.

But those borrowed funds are running out, according to county officials. And impact fees and gasoline taxes are subject to ups and downs. Also, increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles lessen gasoline-tax revenue.

Wed
13
Dec

DeLand’s deal to help Putnam expires

STILL FOR SALE — The historic Hotel Putnam’s future is once again thrown into uncertainty after a deal to turn the long-dormant hotel into residences fell through. Sarasota developer Tony Collins could not get enough private investment to complete the $8.3 million restoration project, even after the DeLand City Commission voted to invest $500,000 in the project. DeLand’s offer expired Nov. 30. 

STILL FOR SALE — The historic Hotel Putnam’s future is once again thrown into uncertainty after a deal to turn the long-dormant hotel into residences fell through. Sarasota developer Tony Collins could not get enough private investment to complete the $8.3 million restoration project, even after the DeLand City Commission voted to invest $500,000 in the project. DeLand’s offer expired Nov. 30. 

BEACON FILE PHOTO

A $500,000 deal between the City of DeLand and a Sarasota developer to restore the Hotel Putnam expired at the end of November, leaving the historic hotel languishing once again.

The DeLand City Commission voted in June to invest in the $8.3 million restoration project with five annual payments of $100,000 each.

The city’s contribution was one element of a financing package assembled by developer Tony Collins. The piece of that package that never came together was private investors interested in helping restore the hotel at 225 W. New York Ave.

The project would have turned the long-dormant Hotel Putnam into living space for upward of 70 new residents. The first floor would have served as the new home for the Museum of Art - DeLand.

The City Commission granted Collins an extension to the deal in August, to allow him another 90 days to find private investors. The deal expired Nov. 30.

Wed
13
Dec

Lending a helping paw: Local groups help train dogs for people with disabilities

A furry helper — Andrea DeCrescento shares a touching moment with her service dog, Whenchester, at a training session hosted by New Horizons Service Dogs. Based in Orange City, the nonprofit group provides service dogs for people with disabilities, including for those with mobility problems or in wheelchairs.

A furry helper — Andrea DeCrescento shares a touching moment with her service dog, Whenchester, at a training session hosted by New Horizons Service Dogs. Based in Orange City, the nonprofit group provides service dogs for people with disabilities, including for those with mobility problems or in wheelchairs.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

From pups to pros — A gaggle of golden retriever pups are excited to play with Debbie Swift, a volunteer-turned-employee at New Horizons Service Dogs. She likes to give the pups temporary names, like “Chunky.” Swift said golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are the most common breeds of service dogs at New Horizons, because they tend to have the best temperaments for the job.

From pups to pros — A gaggle of golden retriever pups are excited to play with Debbie Swift, a volunteer-turned-employee at New Horizons Service Dogs. She likes to give the pups temporary names, like “Chunky.” Swift said golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are the most common breeds of service dogs at New Horizons, because they tend to have the best temperaments for the job.

BEACON PHOTO/TOM STEVENS

Serving a veteran —  Air Force veteran Matt Rourk, 32, interacts with his service dog, Belize, a golden retriever, at a training session hosted by New Horizons Service Dogs, a private nonprofit based in Orange City.  

Serving a veteran —  Air Force veteran Matt Rourk, 32, interacts with his service dog, Belize, a golden retriever, at a training session hosted by New Horizons Service Dogs, a private nonprofit based in Orange City.  

BEACON PHOTO/TOM STEVENS

This cobbler is covered in fur — Dan and Robyn Villella interact with their service dog, a golden retriever named Cobbler.

This cobbler is covered in fur — Dan and Robyn Villella interact with their service dog, a golden retriever named Cobbler.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Air Force veteran Matt Rourk, 32, met his dog, Belize, a golden retriever, for the first time at a training session hosted by New Horizons Service Dogs, a private nonprofit based in Orange City.

At the same class, Dan and Robyn Villella met their dog, Cobbler, and a dozen other clients paired up with the canine pals who would be assisting them.

Rourk and four others in the class are veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dan Villella had a stroke 17 years ago, which limits his coordination and mobility. Two other class members have autism, one has cerebral palsy, one has muscular sclerosis, and one had lost the ability to walk because of an accident.

All of them have disabilities that qualified them to receive service dogs from New Horizons.

They came from beyond West Volusia to get acquainted and train with the dogs assigned by New Horizons to meet each of their particular needs.

Mon
11
Dec

Sheriff's Office still seeking information on fatal 2016 burglary

Carl Husfeld was a longtime resident of the DeLand area. He died about a year ago due to injuries sustained while trying to stop a burglary.

COURTESY VOLUSIA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

About one year ago, an 87-year-old man was fatally injured when he tried to stop a burglary of his home near DeLand.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office is still looking for any information that might help the agency generate leads in the case surrounding the incident that led to Carl Husfeld’s death, according to spokesman Andrew Gant.

Husfeld was injured on the morning of Dec. 8, 2016, after he interrupted the burglar entering his home at 12 Oak Circle.

Mon
11
Dec

Foodie File: At The DeLand Stockyard, steaks and seafood are specialties

Always with a smile — One of DeLand's favorite bartenders, Mary Buth, has my dessert, the fried cheesecake. Behind her is The DeLand Stockyard’s large selection of wines to choose from. You can find Mary and her heartwarming smile at the bar, entertaining guests most nights at The DeLand Stockyard. Below, the sighting of the bull statue, with its wide-spanning horns, lets visitors know they've arrived at 1915 Old New York Ave., DeLand.

Always with a smile — One of DeLand's favorite bartenders, Mary Buth, has my dessert, the fried cheesecake. Behind her is The DeLand Stockyard’s large selection of wines to choose from. You can find Mary and her heartwarming smile at the bar, entertaining guests most nights at The DeLand Stockyard. 

BEACON PHOTOS/RYAN ROUGEUX

Bullish on steak — The sighting of the bull statue, with its wide-spanning horns, lets visitors know they've arrived at 1915 Old New York Ave., DeLand.

Bullish on steak — The sighting of the bull statue, with its wide-spanning horns, lets visitors know they've arrived at 1915 Old New York Ave., DeLand.

DeLand Stockyard's fried cheesecake

DeLand Stockyard's fried cheesecake

Prime rib and Christmas — Twelve ounces of slow-roasted Black Angus beef with a side of hot au jus, a succulent lobster tail, and a side of garlic broccoli are part of the fare at The DeLand Stockyard. 

Prime rib and Christmas — Twelve ounces of slow-roasted Black Angus beef with a side of hot au jus, a succulent lobster tail, and a side of garlic broccoli are part of the fare at The DeLand Stockyard. 

Dressed up for the holidays — The DeLand Stockyard crew outdid themselves creating a Christmas atmosphere outside, where you’ll find live entertainment on weekends, including karaoke with Al on Saturday nights, live music on Fridays and open-mic night on Thursday evenings.

Dressed up for the holidays — The DeLand Stockyard crew outdid themselves creating a Christmas atmosphere outside, where you’ll find live entertainment on weekends, including karaoke with Al on Saturday nights, live music on Fridays and open-mic night on Thursday evenings.

DeLand Stockyard's seafood chowder

DeLand Stockyard's seafood chowder

DeLand Stockyard's coconut shrimp entree

DeLand Stockyard's coconut shrimp entree

Popular starter — A favorite appetizer at The DeLand Stockyard is the spinach-and-artichoke dip, served right out of the oven with so much cheese it leaves a string from your chin to the plate. The artichoke hearts are large, and there’s plenty of spinach.

Popular starter — A favorite appetizer at The DeLand Stockyard is the spinach-and-artichoke dip, served right out of the oven with so much cheese it leaves a string from your chin to the plate. The artichoke hearts are large, and there’s plenty of spinach.

Heading down Old New York Avenue on DeLand’s west side, I soon saw a large statue of a bull with his wide-spanning horns.

I arrived at No. 1915, The DeLand Stockyard, where quality steaks are a specialty.

The building was constructed in 1921 by Casper Howarth as a guesthouse to serve those traveling through, often to do business on the nearby docks of the St. Johns River or arriving at the train depot just down the road.

In the 1930s, this location became a restaurant called Brooksies, and the owner acquired the first liquor license in Volusia County after Prohibition. In the 1940s, it became the Palm Inn.

In 1973, a front room was added and the landmark was remodeled after being purchased by Lucas King, who changed the name to Papa King’s.  

This inn was followed by Pondo’s, owned by Sylvia and Doug Fisher, which became a legendary restaurant in DeLand.

Fri
08
Dec

Deltonan escapes injury in aerial mishap

BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON It's a bird, it's a plane... — A Deltona man was uninjured after firefighters rescued him after his powered paraglider and wing became stuck in a tree.

It's a bird, it's a plane... — A Deltona man was uninjured after firefighters rescued him after his powered paraglider and wing became stuck in a tree.

PHOTO COURTESY DELTONA FIRE DEPARTMENT

Trial and error is sometimes a dangerous way to learn a new skill, as a Deltona man learned anew Friday morning, Dec. 8.

The owner of a powered paraglider was trying to master flying it along Wiggly Farms Road, north of Elkcam Boulevard, when something went wrong.

“He was not hurt in the accident,” Deltona Fire Chief Bill Snyder said. “He turned the wrong way and ended up in the trees. He was about 40 to 50 feet above the ground. We sent out our ladder truck to extricate him.”

Snyder added the emergency-dispatch call came at 8:20 a.m., and “we got on the scene at 8:27.”

Wed
06
Dec

Online voters pick Christmas Parade’s best

That’s a big flag — Members of the DeLand Rotary Club and their helpers tote a giant American flag down Woodland Boulevard in the DeLand Christmas Parade Dec. 2. The flag is a crowd favorite, and garners much applause as the Rotarians carry it on the parade route. For two years now, DeLand’s three Rotary Clubs — Breakfast, Noon and Downtown — have organized and staged the town’s Christmas parade, since the DeLand Jaycees gave up the job after several decades.

 

That’s a big flag — Members of the DeLand Rotary Club and their helpers tote a giant American flag down Woodland Boulevard in the DeLand Christmas Parade Dec. 2. The flag is a crowd favorite, and garners much applause as the Rotarians carry it on the parade route. For two years now, DeLand’s three Rotary Clubs — Breakfast, Noon and Downtown — have organized and staged the town’s Christmas parade, since the DeLand Jaycees gave up the job after several decades.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Thousands of cheering people lined Woodland Boulevard Dec. 2 for DeLand’s 69th annual Christmas Parade.

The parade, run for the second year by DeLand’s three Rotary Clubs, featured 121 entries from a variety of community groups, elected officials and local businesses.

The Beacon was once again proud to handle community voting for the parade.

From 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2 to noon Dec. 5, people had the chance to vote for their favorite floats and entries online.

This year, 915 people participated in the voting — more than double the 435 voters after last year’s parade.

Not every voter selected a preference in all four categories, so the total number of voters varies somewhat from category to category.

Without further ado, here are the winning entries, as chosen by you!

 

Best band/musical entry (545 total votes) 

DeLand High School Marching Bulldogs — 273 votes, or 50.09 percent

Wed
06
Dec

Movie crew films at historic courthouse

THE GROVELAND FOUR TRIAL SCENE — Actors playing the roles of three members of the Groveland Four, along with attorney Thurgood Marshall and another attorney, sit at the defense table, waiting to rehearse a scene depicting part of the 1949 trial. 

THE GROVELAND FOUR TRIAL SCENE — Actors playing the roles of three members of the Groveland Four, along with attorney Thurgood Marshall and another attorney, sit at the defense table, waiting to rehearse a scene depicting part of the 1949 trial. 

BEACON PHOTO/TOM STEVENS

It’s a Friday afternoon in the Volusia County Historic Courthouse. Five black men stand at the defense table and three white men at the prosecutors’. At the witness stand, a very distraught young white woman stands looking over her shoulder toward the judge and the courtroom stenographer.

Everybody sits down except the white attorney.

“Thank you, your honor,” he says, then pauses. He tries again, “Thank you, your honor,” this time with less inflection. “This case is about brutality, violence and rape.”

It’s the first day of dress rehearsal in the production of the historical feature film Harry T. Moore, named for the African-American civil-rights activist murdered in 1951, along with his wife, Harriette, when a bomb exploded under their home in Mims.

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