DeBary’s Independence Day festival has a new party planner.
The City Council, on a 4-1 vote Wednesday, hired a small Ormond Beach company for $10,000 to run DeBary’s biggest annual party – the daylong Fourth of July festival at Gemini Springs Park.
Concerns about professionals
City Council member Stephen Bacon cast the lone dissenting vote against the arrangement with Festival Designs, echoing previous concerns about having professionals- instead of volunteers– running the show.
Volunteers still needed
“I think the community needs to get involved again,” Bacon said.
Parks and Recreation Director John Fletcher noted that Festival Designs will still use volunteers to help run the show, which draws 7,000 to 10,000 attendees from across Central Florida.
Festival Designs will also have to work with DeBary’s fireworks vendor, Creative Pyrotechnics of Orlando. DeBary hired Creative Pyrotechnics for $20.000 last April. The deal can be renewed for two years at $20,000 for each show.
When she ran a DeBary doctor’s office, Tisha Krutsinger stole more than $100,000 from her boss for such expenses as tanning sessions, plane tickets and a maid for her house, records allege.
Now the former office manager is under orders to repay Dr. Humberto Dominguez at a rate of $1,000 per month.
But Krutsinger, 43, says she can’t afford to pay and is asking for the court to give her a break. She can’t make the payments, citing severe financial hardships and mounting health-care bills.
“I was clearly in the wrong committing this crime, and I know that my behavior was deserving a punishment,” Krutsinger wrote in a letter last month to a Volusia County judge. “I can offer no excuses, but instead state categorically that I am truly very sorry that I broke the law and it will never happen again.”
Her request for leniency and a lower monthly restitution payment was denied.
Circuit Court Judge James R. Clayton sentenced Krutsinger in June, finding her guilty of grand theft over $100,000.
She entered a no-contest plea.
In July, Clayton put her on community control for 12 months followed by 108 months of probation. He also ordered the $1,000 per month payments to Dominguez.
“This is putting great strain on my family as well as my health,” Krutsinger wrote. “I will have to foreclose on my home, declare bankruptcy and forego any more medical treatment if this continues. At this time I am barely able to feed my family and I am truly concerned and very scared as to the future of myself and my children.”
Dominguez realized there was a problem with his finances after his credit card was declined in May 2014, around the same time Krutsinger was fired.
He later learned Krutsinger had a credit card issued in her name that was linked to the doctor’s business, deputies say.
At the time, the doctor didn’t realize Krutsinger had been charging large sums of money and then paying them with funds from his personal bank account, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman said in 2014.
The doctor confronted her and she admitted making the personal purchases, saying she would repay him. He fired her on May 27 and called the Sheriff’s Office for help.
“Mere minutes after Krutsinger was escorted out of the office, the doctor learned that the mortgage payments on his office building hadn’t been paid for several months and foreclosure proceedings had been initiated,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said detectives discovered that she issued an extra payroll check to herself and took cash advances on the doctor’s credit card.
She used the money to pay for her cellphone, auto insurance, car repairs, cable, orthodontic bills and a plane trip to Kansas City, deputies allege.
Records show the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office successfully seized the couple’s 2006 GMC Yukon and a 2004 Land Rover because they had both been linked to the crimes.
Volusia County officials tonight urged residents to stay indoors as Hurricane Irma hammers Florida. A countywide curfew begins at 9 p.m. today and lasts until noon Monday.
“This is the time to hunker down,” said Volusia County Manager Jim Dinneen.
About 4,000 people are currently in emergency shelters in Volusia County. He said the most damaging winds are expected between 11 p.m. today through 10 a.m. Monday. Gusts of 75 miles per hour are possible.
“We strongly advise that everyone stay inside and not go out in the storm,” Dinneen said. “The ground is saturated from the rain and power lines may be down.”
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said officers will use “discretion and common sense” while enforcing the curfew.
“Those who are evacuating, unavoidably traveling for work or who have an urgent need to travel in the area are free to do so if absolutely necessary.” a county news release said. “The intent of the curfew is to keep people safe, discourage loitering and prevent looting – which won’t be tolerated.”
Other updates from the county:
All bridges in Volusia County to the beachside are closed.
The north causeway in New Smyrna Beach and the Main Street Bridge in Daytona Beach have westbound lanes open for those who are leaving beachside.
Turnbull Bay Bridge in New Smyrna Beach and Highbridge in Ormond Beach are closed.
The number for the Citizens Information Center is 866-345-0345.
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The numbers are looking good for sea turtles on Volusia County beaches this year.
This is the peak nesting season and the indications are another record year is on tap.
Consider these tallies of the nests by species on Volusia beaches so far for 2017:
• 628 Loggerhead sea turtle nests
• 55 Green sea turtle nests
• 4 Kemp’s ridley sea turtle nests
The four Kemp’s ridley nests mark a record for the smallest and most endangered sea turtle.
There have been only nine other recorded Kemp’s ridley nests in
Volusia County since 1998:
Two in 1996
One in 1998
One in 2005
One in 2010
One in 2012
Two in 2014
One in 2016
Sea-turtle nesting continues through early September. Nest-hatching season follows in late September and into October.
“This is an extremely important time in the life of a sea turtle,” the county said in a news release this week. “This is when sea turtles emerge from their nests and the baby turtles will make an often-treacherous crawl to the ocean, dodging predators, holes, trash, vehicle ruts and beach furniture.”
If a turtle appears to be in immediate danger, notify a lifeguard or beach safety officer or call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-3922.
For more information about Volusia County’s sea turtle program, call 386-238-4668 or visit www.volusiaseaturtles.org. For questions about outdoor-lighting restrictions, call 386-238-4773.