Category Archives: Volusia County

Hurricane Irma cleanup inspired by Charles Richard Beall

You don’t need to bring gloves or any equipment.

Just show up at 8 a.m. Saturday in the Winn-Dixie parking lot, preferably wearing patriotic-themed clothing,  and prepare for hard work in honor of a local hero.

Hurricane Irma downed trees at a property occupied by the mother of Vietnam War hero Charles Richard Beall. U.S. Highway 17-92 is named in his honor.

Now his mom, 88-year-old Arbutus Beall, and her family need help, according to community activist Bret Douglas, a volunteer who runs the DeBary Legacy page on Facebook.

The DeBary businessman is asking for volunteers to help clear downed trees from her property on Monroe Avenue.

Douglas, a Gulf War-area veteran and horticulturalist, wants the cleanup to be a celebration of  Charles Richard Beall’s life.

Beall was 20 when he was fatally wounded on March 6, 1968 while storming enemy bunkers during the Viet Cong Tet Offensive.

He attacked as snipers shot at an army convoy.

As his platoon tried to rescue the convoy, Beall “rushed the bunkers, one by one, firing into them. Three bunkers were destroyed. He was killed attacking the fourth,” the Orlando Sentinel said in 1996.

That was the year U.S. 17-92 in DeBary was renamed in his honor.

A Beall relative recently reached out to Douglas for help after Irma stormed across Florida.

“I think this is worse than Matthew,” he said, referring to a powerful hurricane in October 2016. Then, as now, the burly man muscled into action.

Douglas, who owns a DeBary landscaping firm called Ironclad Landscape Management, has been highlighted on social media for working hard to help those who need it the most.

The 50-year-old volunteers in DeBary by removing trees, trimming limbs and fixing fences. He said he focuses on helping the elderly, disabled and low-income residents.

Douglas is also building a local ministry with a food bank for the needy.

He says he gets about five to six calls per week from people who need help.

“We answer them all,” Douglas said.

Anyone who wants to help Douglas clean up Arbutus Beall’s property should show up at 8 a.m. in the parking lot of Winn-Dixie at 2 N. Charles R. Beall Blvd.

Douglas will lead volunteers in a prayer and provide directions to the Beall home. He’ll also provide drinks and food. And gloves.

“Just show up,” he added.

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Hurricane Irma orphaned baby squirrels in DeBary, elsewhere

 

Lisa Kestory gave the furry critter a kiss.

“When God wants to remind humans what falling love feels like, He sends a baby squirrel,” Kestory said on Facebook today.

The squirrel rehabber at Ahopha Wildlife Rescue said 22 baby squirrels, as well as other displaced animals, are being cared for at the DeLeon Springs-based nonprofit owned by Tom Scotti.

SquirrelGirl, as Kestory is called, recently set up an account on GoFundme.com to help Ahopha Wildlife Rescue rescue squirrels and other animals displaced or injured by Hurricane Irma.

Most of the rescued animals are birds, including waterfowl and sandhill cranes, as well as “lots” of baby squirrels, she wrote.

“Donations are desperately needed for rescue supplies, pet formula, nipples and syringes, medical supplies, medical care and most importantly, FUEL for the Ahopha Wildlife Rescue vehicle to be able to get to the wildlife at rescue locations all over Central Florida, so they can be taken to the local rehabbers and Veterinarians for emergency care,” the GoFundme account says.
Baby squirrels were found across west Volusia after the storm.

On Sept. 11 , the day after Irma, Ej Bielen‎ posted this on the DeBary Proud! Facebook page:
“Found a baby squirrel in the Streets on naranja and Valencia. He’s still alive and has a small injury to his tail. We bandaged him up. He had a sibling next to him that unfortunately didn’t survive due to cars driving through. Luckily we found him before the next car did. He is very young and not moving too much but looks to be breathing normal. Eyes are still closed. If anyone has any tips on how to care for him or wants to help us out please provide guidance. Thank you.”

Kestory’s call for help prompted positive responses online.

Brandy Dantas of DeLand said this to Kestory on Facebook: “Do y’all need any blankets or supplies like that no extra money right now but can see what I have around the house to donate. Would love to help out any way I can Tom does amazing work and I have brought a few baby squirrels to him in the past.”

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DeBary mayor: ‘Keep your fingers crossed!’

Mayor Bob Garcia this morning expressed optimism about electricity restoration for still-powerless neighborhoods in DeBary.

Electricity has slowly been returning to DeBary homes and businesses after Hurricane Irma downed power lines and caused other problems with distribution networks Sunday.

“I believe that based on what I see the [equipment] and supplies are coming into DeBary,” Garica said online Saturday. “Keep your fingers crossed!”

The message was posted on Facebook’s DeBary Proud! page by DeBary resident Diane M Van Auken on behalf of Garcia, who is “not on social media,” the post said.

“The power company is working hard to get All the power restored in DeBary,” said Garcia. His update also said:

  • Traders Cove has power
  • Highland Marina has partial power restored and is waiting for transformers and tree removal
  • Linemen in Terra Alta are also waiting for tree removal and transformers

“The Vistas area (where Mayor Garcia & his family live) were hit hard and are still without power,” he wrote. “There are many problems there that are being worked on before the power can be restored.”

He said it is possible homes in the Valencia Circle area may get power by tonight or no later than Sunday.

Duke Energy says it has 81,055 Volusia customers. Of those, 65,438 had power restored and 6,126 remained without electricity as of 4 p.m. Saturday. Power restoration was estimated by midnight Sunday.

Florida Power and Light said 20,670 of its 176,800 customers in Volusia County are without power as of Saturday.

According to Florida’s Department of Emergency Management:

Duke Energy had more than 1.3 million customers affected by Irma. Power has already been restored to more than 1.1 million customers.

  • Duke Energy expects power restoration to be completed for western service areas the night of Friday, Sept. 15.
  • Duke Energy expects power restoration to be completed for central and northern service areas the night of Sunday, Sept. 17.

Florida Power and Light had 4.4 million customers affected by the storm. Power has already been restored to more than 3.4 million customers.

  • FPL expects power restoration to be completed for the East Coast the night of Sunday, Sept. 17.
  • FPL expects power restoration to be completed for the West Coast by Friday, Sept. 22.

This isn’t the first time Garcia was featured on social media because of the storm.

On Saturday, as the storm approached, a Facebook user posted video of Garcia urging residents to volunteer for cleanup and repairs after Irma passed.

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‘This is the time to hunker down,’ Volusia manager says



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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DeBary crash after chase ends with 3 arrests


An urgent voice crackled over the airwaves.

“They’re getting off at Dirksen. They’re getting off at Dirksen.”

Minutes later, three suspects – accused Ormond Beach cell-phone store robbers  — roared off Interstate 4 and crashed in DeBary as a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office chopper captured the action.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood spotted the suspects’ vehicle — a white Dodge — heading south on Interstate 95.

Daraja Adero Tinsley
Sheldric J Slater
Wendell Harp

Cops were looking for the vehicle after three suspects robbed an AT&T store in Ormond Beach on Aug. 29.

The store’s clerk was shoved into a counter and several iPhones were stolen.

Chitwood spotted the getaway vehicle and called in a description and tag number.

The driver refused to stop for a traffic stop. Chitwood radioed in that it failed to stop and started to flee on Interstate 4 heading west.

“Sheriff Chitwood authorized a vehicle pursuit for his agency and pursued the vehicle with marked VCSO Deputy Sheriffs car and FHP marked patrol car,” a report said.

Chitwood said the vehicle then got off at Dirksen Drive heading west.

“The vehicle then crashed near Dirksen Drive/Grande Vista Street. The three occupants of the vehicle then started to run on foot from within the vehicle,” the report said.

Deputies told them to stop – but only two did: Wendell Harp, 18, and Sheldric J. Slater, 19.

Daraja Adero Tinsley, 20,  ran, according to a report and chopper video.

Deputies with two K-9 police dogs later took Tinsley later down near Dirksen and Agua Vista drives in DeBary.” A report said he was taken for medical treatment but details were not released.

A report said he was taken for medical treatment but details were not released.

All three remained at the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach on Saturday.

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Dwayne L. Taylor fraud conviction: Volusia pol faces possible prison sentence

 

Today’s wire-fraud conviction of Volusia County politician Dwayne L. Taylor shows federal officials are taking a tough stance against corruption, officials said.
The 49-year-old former state representative from Daytona Beach used $60,000 in re-election campaign donations for personal expenses, a federal indictment said.
“These types of crimes erode the public trust in our elected officials,” Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Muldrow said in a statement. “This conviction sends a clear message that such acts will not be tolerated and that we will hold anyone who breaks the law accountable for their actions.”
Taylor is a former member of the Florida House of Representatives and Daytona Beach City Commission.
A federal jury in Orlando convicted Taylor today on nine counts of wire fraud.
He faces as much as 20 years in prison per count. His sentencing is set for Nov. 16.
“According to evidence presented at trial, during Taylor’s 2012 and 2014 reelection campaigns, he falsely reported thousands of dollars of expenditures to the State of Florida in order to conceal his misappropriation of over $60,000 in campaign funds through a series of unreported cash withdrawals, checks written to himself, and checks written to petty cash, in violation of Florida law. Taylor then used the misappropriated funds for personal expenditures unrelated to his re-election campaigns,” a news release from Muldrow’s office says.
Candidates are not allowed to use campaign donations for personal expenses other than “expenses actually incurred for transportation, meals, and lodging during travel in the course of the campaign.”
Taylor left the state House last year because of term limits, sunshinestatenews.com said.
His district spanned a section of Volusia County between DeLand and Daytona Beach.
Taylor lost in the Democratic primary for District 6 in Congress in 2016, according to the Palm Beach Post.
The FBI investigated his spending for his 2012 and 2014 reelection campaigns.
“It is disappointing that an elected official would exploit the generosity of his constituents to advance his personal lifestyle,” said Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “Corrupt public officials undermine the integrity of our government and violate the public’s trust, which is why combating public corruption remains the FBI’s top criminal priority.”
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Roger B. Handberg and Embry J. Kidd are prosecuting Taylor.

20170309_taylor_indictment_0

 

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Volusia’s sea-turtle nesting season by the numbers

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.

Breastfeeding in Volusia: 3 percent hike

Volusia moms are doing a better job of breastfeeding their babes.

The county’s breastfeeding rate jumped by 3 percent from 2011 to 2015, the Volusia County Health Department announced Tuesday. But Volusia is behind compared to the rest of the Sunshine State. Florida’s rate of increase during that period was 5.6 percent. Those details were released in a new report released by the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County, according to spokeswoman Holly Smith.

The report was prepared to coincide with National Breastfeeding Month, which is August.

“According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there is no better food than breast milk for a baby’s first year of life,” the report said.

“A significant body of evidence supports breastfeeding as critical to improve health outcomes of mothers and babies,” Florida State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip said in a statement. “Supporting mom and baby during the first few days of life are critical for successful breastfeeding.”

On a national level, the percentage of babies who start out breastfeeding increased from 73 percent in 2004 to 83 percent in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Breastfeeding rates vary among women of different races in Volusia County.

“For example, Hispanic mothers are the only racial/ethnic group that has exceeded a national breastfeeding goal set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” a news release said.
“Black mothers consistently had lower breastfeeding rates than white and Hispanic mothers.”

In Volusia County, the ZIP code with the highest breastfeeding
percentage among (WIC) mothers was 32130 in the DeLeon Springs and Barberville areas with 88.2 percent.

The DeBary-area ZIP code of 32713, came in at 82.4 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum was Oak Hil-area ZIP code 32759 with 47.1 percent.

Local officials with the federally funded Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food and health-care assistance program are working to improve breastfeeding rates.

Two-hour classes for new and expectant mothers are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on these dates and at these locations:

  • Tues., Sept. 5, at 775 Harley, Strickland Blvd., Orange City.
  • Wed., Sept. 13, at 717 W. Canal Street, New Smyrna Beach.
  • Thurs., Sept. 21, at 1845 Holsonback Dr., Daytona Beach.

“Each evening class is a one-time session,” the news release states. “Reservations are suggested but not required.”

Details:  volusiahealth.com/wic or call 866-WIC FOOD (942-3663).

Other resources:

  • La Leche League International: Call 1-800-LALECHE or www.lalecheleague.org.
  • Breastfeeding Helpline: Call 1-800-994-9662 or www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding.
  • Florida WIC Program Services: Call 1-800-342-3556 or visit the WIC website

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Fire on the Bayou Restaurant ignites SW Volusia

They can’t wait for another serving of kick-ass sausage bites. Or gumbo. Or crawfish etouffee.
Satisfied diners at Orange City’s latest eatery, Fire on the Bayou
Restaurant, already want to return.
This American/Cajun/Creole-themed restaurant in the Orange City Town Center on Enterprise Road has a following. It just opened Aug. 1.
“The food is on point, everything was great,” David Pojero wrote in a post on Facebook’s DeBary Proud! “The servers did the best they could given how busy they were. Their prices are a bit higher than I thought it would/should be, but the food was so good.”
The restaurant is at  921 Town Center Drive, Suite 1100, in the Orange City Town Center. That’s on Enterprise Road across from AMF Deltona Lanes.
“We went last night and the food and service was spectacular,”  Lori Coolidge wrote on DeBary Proud! on Facebook. “It’s a shame though it’s so small I kind of felt guilty finishing my meal while people were standing to be seated..”
Another poster,  Howard Gates, it’s probably best for them to start small and grow into the business.
“If they have a good year or two, then they can look to go bigger,” Gates wrote.
Information:
  • 921 Town Center Drive, Suite 1100, Orange City, FL
  • fireonthebayoufl@gmail.com
  • @FireontheBayou
  • (386) 218-0771
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Volusia’s Chitwood on back-to-school Monday: ‘Slow down and pay attention’

Slow down. Pay attention. Those are among the messages from local officials in preparation for Monday, the first day of the academic year for public schools in Volusia County.

Your work-week driving routine will change, even if you don’t have kids in the school system.

More than 70 schools are reopening across the county, meaning school zones are returning and thousands of students, parents, teachers, administrators and support staffers are hitting roadways and sidewalks.

Extra deputies will be deployed to enforce traffic laws and ensure students’ safety.

Drivers must slow down in school zones and stop at stop lines when children or crossing guards are in crosswalks, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

Avoid school zones if possible. Remain alert. Avoid distractions.

Sherrif-Mike-Chitwood

“Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it can’t happen to you,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said in a statement. “The moment you look down at your phone might be the moment an innocent child steps into the road. Don’t make a mistake you have to live with for the rest of your life. All we’re asking you to do is slow down and pay attention.”

Don’t text and drive. The same goes for pedestrians. Distracted people, whether drivers or walkers, are dangerous.

James T. Russell
Volusia County Superintendent of Schools

“Students may think a driver sees them, but if the driver is distracted or the student darts in front of the vehicle, the result can be tragic,” Volusia County School Superintendent Tom Russell said in a statement. “As a community we must be more aware of students traveling to and from school and exercise caution in school zones.”

Other safety reminders include:

  • Deputies are cracking down on speeders and crosswalk violators.
  • The law prohibits passing school buses on undivided roadways if the vehicles are stopped to load or unload children.
  • Drivers don’t have to stop if they are moving in the opposite direction of the bus on a highway divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide.
  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States
  • Twenty-five percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers occurs during the after-school hours of 3 to 7 p.m.
  • Following the rule s of drop-off/pick-up area are schools
  • Be prepared to stop at all times.

“Be especially careful in areas with parked vehicles on the side of the road. Children crossing between vehicles may be difficult for you to see,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

Check out the Volusia County School District calendar for 2017-2018.

Volusia 2017-18 School Calendar

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