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‘Aha moment’ on bundling County officials discuss a ‘bundled’ referendum for 2022: Volusia Forever, ECHO — and sales tax. PAGE 2

YOUR TOWN AT 100TH-ANNUAL CHAMBER DINNER: VINER AND CARTERS The 100th-annual Dinner Meeting of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce presented by Halifax Health will be held 5:30-9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at the Ocean Center. Mentalist and magician Kevin Viner, who has been featured on TV shows such as “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” will provide entertainment. The chamber will present the J. Hyatt Brown Enterprise Award to Team Volusia Economic Development Corp. The recipients of the Glenn Ritchey Leadership Award for 2019 are Michelle Carter and Vince Carter. Michelle V. Carter is executive director of Vince Carter’s Embassy of Hope Foundation, CEO of Visions in Flight Inc., and COO of Flight XV. Vince Carter is an alumnus of Mainland High School and recently made NBA history as the first player to appear in four different decades. Individual admission is $125 per person for Daytona Regional Chamber members and $175 for nonmembers. Call 523-3672 or visit

Mainland’s teacher of the year From alumna to teacher. Kallie Walker is proud to be a Buccaneer. PAGE 7 Photo by Jarleene Almenas

Local Postal Customer




Bulow expands Mainland’s Taron Keith throws a pass against Spruce Creek.


Photo by Ray Boone

FDEP adds 47 acres to Bulow Creek State Park near Ormond Beach.






Sales tax to be ‘bundled’ with eco measures on 2022 ballot? “These are very mixed messages that we’re sending out to the public.”

‘It only makes sense,’ County Council Chair Ed Kelley said. JARLEENE ALMENAS NEWS EDITOR

While an infrastructure sales tax is seeming less and less likely to make an appearance in the 2020 ballot, Volusia County elected officials are mulling over another possibility: What if a sales tax referendum was placed in the 2022 ballot, and there was a way to bundle Volusia Forever and ECHO in with it? It was a suggestion brought up by DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar at the Roundtable of Volusia County Elected Officials meeting held on Monday, Jan. 13, since both Volusia Forever and the ECHO program sunset this year. Apgar said he had planned to hold four small group meetings in the hiatus between the roundtable meetings to get a better grip on how to handle a new referendum, though due to the holidays, he was only able to hold one.  “Over this time I became personally more and more convinced that we’ve lost some advocates along the way for a referendum in 2020,”Apgar said. His  “aha moment” came, he said, when he thought about bundling an infrastructure sales tax, Volusia Forever and ECHO into a one-cent sales tax  — a move County Council Chair Ed Kelley found favorable.  Kelley said $15 million a year

HEATHER POST, County Councilwoman

Photo by Jarleene Almenas

DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar suggested “bundling” the Volusia Forever and ECHO programs with an infrastructure sales tax in the 2022 ballot.

goes ECHO and Volusia Forever. In 2000, residents voted to tax themselves .2 mills for each program, a total of .4 mills, for 20 years. The funds brought into those programs totals 6.5% of the total tax Volusia County collects, Kelley said. Volusia Forever was formed to finance the acquisition and improvements of conservation and outdoor recreation lands. The last purchase made using these funds was in fiscal year 20112012, said county Public Information Officer Kevin Captain in an email. In 2018, ECHO financed $2.3 million worth of projects around the county. By combining the programs with a sales tax, Kelley said the county would be able to reduce

property taxes and shift some of the burden to be paid by tourists. “To me, it only makes sense,” Kelley said.  “But being able to get there, it takes a chalkboard or something for you to see you’re taking sales tax money and using it to help fund things that the tourists and others use, for which they’re paying.” But, can it even be done? Apgar said the county will need to look into the legality and specifics of it all. At least one person in the room thought this bundling was a bad idea. County Councilwoman Heather Post said bundling amendments at a state level hasn’t been received well by citizens, and she expected the same reaction at the local level. She also mentioned that at the

last roundtable meeting, when the discussion revolved around improving infrastructure for space. “These are very mixed messages that we’re sending out to the public,” she said. County Councilman Ben Johnson said Apgar was right in waiting until 2022, but that residents want ECHO and Volusia Forever to be on the 2020 ballot. Johnson suggested putting a caveat in the 2022 sales tax referendum pertaining to bundling them together at that point.   Apgar said there’s a long way to go until 2022, and that this notion of bundling a referendum could die very quickly.  Email Jarleene Almenas at jarleene@ormondbeachobserver. com.










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or the first workshop of 2020, the Volusia County Council listed a total of 18 topics to discuss. Some of them merited longer discussions than others at the Thursday, Jan. 9, workshop, such as outlining expectations for the County Attorney’s department. Others, like implementing a citizens academy and gauging the


Volusia issues to watch

county’s smart growth discussion with municipalities, were quickly addressed. Then, there were issues that council decided merited an entire workshop alone to work out, namely the future of Volusia Forever and the ECHO program. Here are the 18, with further explanation of several issues the council discussed at length during the workshop, and what steps the elected body decided to take in addressing them this year:

1,2 The county’s legal department

The council didn’t wait long to appoint a new interim county attorney after Dan Eckert resigned. At the council meeting before the workshop, Michael Dyer was appointed to serve in the position until the county found a permanent hire. This occurred despite the fact that Eckert, who submitted a letter of resignation on Dec. 10, was supposed to stay on until Jan. 31. At the workshop, the council decided to take its time in looking for Eckert’s replacement, with Councilwoman Deb Denys saying it wasn’t time-sensitive and the search didn’t need to be expedited. Inevitably, the discussion on how the legal department should operate moving forward circled back to the the Historic North Turn Legends Beach Parade issue. Denys said she wanted more frequent updates regarding legal inquiries requested by council, and she wanted to be presented with alternatives in cases like the Legends beach parade. “I want options,” Denys said. “I don’t want to be just told, ‘No, no you can’t do it.’” She also suggested the county look into asking for outside counsel when needed, but Councilwoman Barb Girtman disagreed. Staff should be able to handle their requests (the county has 13 attorneys), and the issue goes beyond just the legal department, she said. “This is the culture of the county that they are accustomed to steering information with their recommendation, and what we’re saying is we need full disclosure, more options,” Girtman said. Councilwoman Billie Wheeler said the council should see how requests are worded to the legal department to ensure it is reflective of what the council asked for. All responses, she added, should be in writing. With major department head changes having occurred in the last year since County Manager George Recktenwald took over for Jim Dinneen, Wheeler said, “This is the time for us to make a change.” That includes written evaluations for the county attorney and Recktenwald, who said he will direct staff to come back with recommendations on how to proceed.

13 The future of Volusia Forever and ECHO

At the regular council meeting, citizens flocked to speak in favor of placing the Volusia Forever and ECHO programs on the ballot, as both will sunset this year. Most of the council members agreed the conversation needed to continue, and Councilman Fred Lowry suggested holding a workshop with the past boards of Volusia Forever and ECHO. Denys said ECHO was created 20 years ago, and she wants to make sure both programs are suitable for today’s needs. There may be a way to include water quality and infrastructure projects into them as well. “There’s clearly a trend that we have to update the meaning of [ECHO], but I think it’s a great tool, and clearly our citizens want us to revisit that,” Denys said. Kelley brought up bundling Volusia Forever and ECHO into a one-cent sales tax, to be active for 12 years, but the council wasn’t on board with that idea. Later, on Monday, Jan. 13, Kelley spoke about bundling the programs again at the Elected Officials Roundtable meeting.



With a list of 18 topics to go through, the council focused on the county legal department, affordable housing and paying to park at the beach, to name a few.


The search for a county attorney


Expectations for the county attorney’s department


Smart growth


Revisiting the council travel policy


Citizens academy




Charging for beachfront parking lots


Charter amendments for 2020


Privatization of license plates agencies (except in DeLand)


Selling the county garage by the Ocean Center


Funding projects at the Marine Science Center


Finding alternate beach parking


ECHO and Volusia Forever


Having a county employee pay study


Affordable housing


Increasing the number of veterans service officers


Creating a follow-up process when council gives direction


Votran bus stops

8 From a council to a commission The Volusia County Council could be called the “Volusia County Commission” should a charter amendment be placed and passed on the 2020 ballot. This was a topic brought up by County Council Chair Ed Kelley, and agreed upon by several members of the council, who said some have confused them as representatives of cities rather than a county due to their current titles. Kelley also suggested changing the title of chair to mayor, but the idea died at the workshop. Another amendment suggested for 2020 is to change the requirement of having to hold the first council meeting of the year on a Thursday. The council also discussed their salaries and travel policy, the latter also a proposed topic by Kelley. Council members are paid $45,240 for serving, said county Public Information Officer Kevin Captain in an email. The County Council Chair is paid $9,000 more, with a salary of $54,288. These figures, according to the council, are low. Council members also discussed how they are not reimbursed for travel inside the county, which Kelley said has cost him $25,000 in the last couple of years. County Councilman Ben Johnson said they should look into increasing the salaries — but only if the increase is put into place after all of them are out of office. “This is for the long-range good of the county of Volusia and the County Council, but it’s not for, in fact, us,” Johnson said. “We’re doing it for the right reasons at that point.”

15 Affordable housing Another issue slated for its own workshop is affordable housing. Wheeler suggested the group hold one in conjunction with the county’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee as a starting point. Council Chair Ed Kelley agreed. “We have really engaged people on that board that really want to be involved and doing more than just being a rubber stamp for government grants,” he said. He spoke about other cities’ initiatives in bringing in affordable housing, such as the tiny home community for transitioning homeless in Austin, Texas. The county is also plagued, like everywhere else, by things they can’t control, he added. Volusia can’t control construction costs, and Kelley said when you add that in conjunction with impact fees and permit fees, a home that would’ve cost $100,000 is no longer affordable. County Councilwoman Heather Post said affordable housing is a national conversation, and that they don’t have to “reinvent the wheel.” They can research and see where programs are successful in bringing affordable housing to the working class. Denys said they should hold a meeting with representatives from all 16 cities to talk about affordable housing. “There’s all sorts of opportunities,” Denys said. “We can’t keep doing it the way we’ve done it because we’re not doing it.”

12 Pay to park Should people have to pay for beach parking? Four council members think it should be looked at. Wheeler, Post and Girtman said they weren’t ready for the conversation yet. Kelley and Johnson brought the topic to the workshop, with Kelley saying that this was discussed a couple of years ago due to complaints from people who couldn’t find parking in county parks, such as the Andy Romano Beachfront Park in Ormond Beach. Recktenwald said the county hasn’t enforced a lot of its rules for these parks either, such as no overnight parking and trailers taking up more than one space. “I support pay-to-park because I think that everything we’re talking about here, will fix itself,” Denys said. Post said you should be able to be poor and go to the beach, and that she didn’t see how making people pay to park would solve the issue of a lack of parking.







Courtesy photo

High school juniors in the FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools’ Tomorrow’s Leaders training program pose for a photo while touring Daytona International Speedway.

FUTURE TEEN LEADERS TOUR THE SPEEDWAY Forty high school juniors in the FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools’ Tomorrow’s Leaders training program toured Daytona International Speedway last month to learn about motorsports, including job opportunities. The tour was made possible through AdventHealth’s partnership with Daytona International Speedway. Through a six-month program, the students become prepared for leadership and participation in the affairs of Volusia County, according to a press release.

ACE HARDWARE PLANNED The owners of the Ace Hardware store on West Granada Boulevard are planning a second store at 1480 N. U.S. 1., which is just south of the entrance to Ormond Crossings. The store will be built within the next several years to serve a booming

area, according to a press release. Ormond Crossings is a planned 2,700-acre community with residential and commercial areas. The first building was recently completed by Security First. NAI Realvest Charles Wayne Commercial recently closed on the $575,000 sale of the 2.6 acres.


Halifax Health-Foundation recently provided $790,000 to Halifax Health Medical Center for the purchase of the newest technology in total knee replacement, Stryker’s Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Total Knee application, which allows a personalized surgical plan through 3-D modeling, a press release stated. Visit orthopedics and foundation. In other Halifax Health news, the medical center has been named one of the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals in the United States by

IBM Watson Health. Also, for the third consecutive year, Halifax Health is among a group of hospitals nationwide recognized for promoting enrollment in state organ donor registries by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

CHANFRAU RECOGNIZED The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has recognized the work of personal injury attorney William Michael Chanfrau Jr., including him in the 2019 list of 10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys for Client Satisfaction. Call 258-7313.

AUXILIARY BOARD NAMED The AdventHealth Daytona Beach auxiliary installed its executive board for 2020 during an annual luncheon at Halifax Plantation. The board includes Bob Hornak, president; Linda Carter, vice president; Judy Eaton, recording secretary;

SCENTSY BUDDIES DONATED Matt and Camila Forester, consultants of the fragrance company Scentsy, recently donated over 600 Scentsy buddies, clips and sidekicks to the AdventHealth Daytona Beach pediatric and neonatal intensive care units. The Scentsy buddies are lightly-scented, softstuffed animal toys; the buddy clips are scented keychain animals; and the sidekicks are multisensory toys made for infants and toddlers that stimulate sight, sound, touch and smell.

Jim Bishop, personnel secretary; Florence “Mima” Eaton, corresponding secretary; Lucia Begin, general treasurer; John McCarthy, Pinkadilly Thrift Shop treasurer; and Pat Jones, Bird Cage gift shop treasurer. During the luncheon, the auxiliary donated $100,000 to AdventHealth Daytona Beach for hospital equipment and an AdventHealth

Courtesy photo

Raylynn Thomas sleeps next to a donated Scentsy buddy, a scented, stuffed animal toy, at AdventHealth Daytona Beach.

2020 mission grip to Kenya. To learn about volunteer opportunities, call 386-231-3030. In other AdventHealth news, the system has received the Gold Seal of Approval for Spine Surgery and the Gold Seal of Approval for hip, knee and shoulder replacement surgery by the Joint Commission.

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Volusia nurse program to handle non-emergency 911 calls The team of eight nurses will handle non-emergency calls right from the county’s 911 dispatch. JARLEENE ALMENAS NEWS EDITOR

With the recent implementation of the nurse triage program inside the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Communication Center, the county is hopeful that its EMS service and ambulance availability will improve as the program tackles non-emergency calls. The program began on Dec. 9, and is active from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday. A total of eight nurses  — one full-time lead nurse  and seven part-timers  — make up the triage, all of whom went through 280 hours of training over 14 weeks with VCSO Communications Center staff to learn how to handle and dispatch 911 calls. The program was part of the recommendations the Volusia County Council approved back in February to improve EMS. “Ultimately, our goal with this program is to integrate mobile health care to the community,”  Volusia County  EMS Director Jason Brady said. The program, which has cost $284,000, has the team of nurses handling calls involving flu symptoms, earaches, localized infections and others. Some of the recent calls handled by nurses include a resident complaining of pink eye and another who got a fish hook stuck on his hand. “Before we went live, those calls would get an ambulance and even a firetruck dispatched to them

with no pre-screening, or very little pre-screening,” said Pam Cawood, lead EMS triage nurse. So far, her team is averaging about 13 calls a day. The nurses ask a set of questions and gauge what care is needed, the severity of the injury or health concern, and from there they recommend where the patient should seek care. Options include an urgent care center, a follow-up with a primary care physician, or selfcare instructions.  FINDING THE APPROPRIATE TREATMENT FACILITY

Two things had to fall into place for the program to come to fruition: support from the local hospitals, and a consolidated 911 dispatch. It has achieved both. The part-time nurses are from AdventHealth, Halifax Health and HCA Healthcare. VCSO Communications Director Glenn said without a consolidated dispatch, a program like this would have been much harder to incorporate. Interim County Community Information Director Kevin Captain said an ambulance today is an “emergency department on wheels.” If that unit is busy responding to a non-emergency call, that could hinder the ability to respond to an emergency.  “If you’re having a heart attack, you want to make sure that ambulance is available — not being used

Photo by Jarleene Almenas

Triage nurses Kristy Butwinick, Tonya Mangus and Pam Cawood in the 911 dispatch center.

by a low acuity injury, taking a patient to the hospital that could otherwise have gone to an urgent care,” Captain said. However, if a resident truly wants an ambulance, they’ll still get it. County Medical Director Peter Springer said they’re not discounting anyone’s injury. In a year, ambulances respond to between 60,000 to 80,000 calls. Out of that number, Springer said around 10,000 to 20,000 don’t necessitate a hospital transfer.  “We want the public to know we’re not abandoning them,” Springer said.  “We’re actually just trying to find the appropriate places for them to be treated. It’s not always an emergency department.”


Volusia County is the first to implement a nurse triage program withs its 911 dispatch in the state, though not the first in the country. Cities including Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., have programs in place. Springer said the county will continue tweaking the program as they begin to gather data. In the future, the county will introduce in-home patient care. For now, Michael Vincent, EMS clinical services manager, said they’re looking to train paramedics for critical care. The first class will happen around March.  Email Jarleene Almenas at jarleene@ormondbeachobserver. com.

“There’s really no limit to what we can do. We’re really pioneering this to be a highly innovative EMS system.” JASON BRADY, Volusia County EMS Director

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FDEP adds 47 acres to Bulow Creek State Park near Ormond Beach The land acquisition was part of Florida Forever.

“Bulow Creek State Park is a prime example of the real Florida. This addition allows us to better manage resources and provide memorable visitor experiences.” ERIC DRAPER, Florida State Parks Director

Photos by Jarleene Almenas

A view of the shoreline from the eastern side of the 47-acre parcel.


Bulow Creek State Park, home of the Fairchild Oak, has grown by 47 acres. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced on Dec. 20 that it had purchased a parcel adjacent to the existing state park lands near Ormond Beach, a move that is part of the Strategic Managed Area Lands List Florida Forever Project, according to a FDEP press release. Florida Forever is a land acquisition program for the purpose of conservation and recreation. “Bulow Creek State Park is a prime example of the real Florida,” said Florida State Parks Director Eric Draper in the release. “This addition allows us to better manage resources and provide memorable visitor experiences. We thank the governor and Legislature for continuing to invest in Florida Forever to protect our state’s special places.” The square-shaped parcel was the last piece of undeveloped privately owned shoreline on the Tomoka Basin, said Phil Rand, Tomoka Basin State Parks manager. About a year and a half ago, the state reached out to Rand and asked if there were properties surrounding the park that should be purchased if they came on the market. Rand submitted the 47 acre property; the previous owners had spoken with him in the past about possibly selling the site.

Photo by Jarleene Almenas

Aside from the property being adjacent to the park’s 5,600 acres of conservation lands, it’s also an important diamondback terrapin nesting habitat. “That’s one of the reasons the division of state lands sought this piece of property when it became available, because we already knew that would be one of the pieces that we wanted,” Rand said. The property is also home to a historic site  — the remains of a home. Protruding from the water

are posts that used to hold up a dock. Among the scattered brick, Rand pointed out deer tracks. The road to reach it passes through salt marshes, private properties; it’s lined with palmettos, tall grasses and wildflowers. There are also a concerning number of Brazilian pepper trees, an invasive non-native plant that has spread along the non-park owned land. Now that the park owns some of the land, Rand and other park employees and volunteers will be able to work to pre-

vent the plant from spreading. “Usually, we like to restore a property to its natural configuration,” Rand said. Bulow Creek State Park currently has an average annual attendance of 113,491 with an estimated economic impact of almost $10.5 million. Residents won’t be able to visit the new property anytime soon. Though Rand said there is a unit management plan in place they will follow, for now, the state has not announced concrete plans. Still, the added acreage is a positive outcome. “We feel that good things will come out of this, for sure,” Rand said. Bulow Creek State Park is open from 8 a.m. to sundown daily. There is no entrance fee. For more information, visit https://www. Email Jarleene Almenas at jarleene@ormondbeachobserver. com.

Tomoka Basin State Parks Manager Phil Rand and OPS Park Ranger Abigail Szczepanek.

Make Downtown Your Destination Discover incredible shopping, dining, attractions, and events – all close to home. Experience the excitement of Downtown Daytona Beach’s scenic riverfront.


Spice up your Saturday with delicious chili. We’ll provide the spoons – you bring your appetite! Attendees will sample chili at multiple host sites and then vote for their favorites. Craft beer sampling will also be available at some of the merchants.



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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this popular annual celebration will return for another decadent year. See unique handcrafted art on display while strolling Historic Beach Street with your sweetheart or friends, and sample wonderful wine and scrumptious chocolate!

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Kallie Walker From alumna to teacher. Kallie Walker is proud to be a Buccaneer.



Kallie Walker teaches in the very halls she walked as a student. A 2007 Mainland High School alumna, Walker prefers to “fly under the radar.” When she found out she had been nominated for Teacher of the Year, it was humbling and overwhelming. But as a former Buccaneer, she said, she’s honored to be representing her alma matter. Walker was in seventh grade when she met one of the most inspirational teachers she ever had: Coach Marcy Tyner, her physical education teacher.  “It was clear that she was excited and delighted to have the opportunity to teach us,” Walker said.  “Seeing her passion and enthusiasm about physical education inspired me to be the best student I could be in her class. This was the moment in my life where I knew that I wanted to be an educator; being able to get students excited about learning and allowing them to explore new things is what being an educator is truly about.” Walker, who teaches a ninth grade class in Mainland’s Academy of Scientific Inquiry and Medicine, Medical Skills and Services;

Photo by Jarleene Almenas

Kallie Walker-Butler

and an athletic training class in the school’s Sport Science Academy, earned a bachelor’s in athletic training from the University of North Florida and a master’s in health and physical education from Valdosta State University. Her favorite thing about teaching is meeting new students and watching them grow. She also loves having fun inside jokes. If she could share one piece of wisdom, it would be to never stop trying to be the best student and person you can be. “Being an overachiever is a good thing,” Walker said. “One of my favorite teachers, and coach, says it perfectly when he addresses his football team: ‘If you want to end up different than others later, you must do things different than those now.’”

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ith about 6 minutes left in regulation, Spruce Creek’s Anthony Fonseca k n i fe d t h ro u g h Mainland’s defense and banked in a layup to tie the game at 52. The crowd that was packed into the gym at Spruce Creek High School roared. But the Buccaneers responded. Mainland senior guard Jordan Sears, the team’s leading scorer, dribbled the ball up the court. He manipulated a screen and rose for a pull-up midrange jump shot to help the Buccaneers regain the lead. As he ran back on defense, Sears put a finger to his lips and shushed the rowdy crowd. “It’s fun to be in a game like this,” he said. “I live for this.” Despite a game-high 21 points from Hawks guard Max Oles, the Buccaneers defeated Spruce Creek 66-63 the night of Thursday, Jan. 9. Four Buccaneers players scored in double figures on Thursday night. Dontrell Thompson scored 10 points, Kenny Witherspoon scored 11 and Taron Keith 14. Sears led Mainland with 19 points on 8-for-20 from the field. Sears, who went 3-for-7 from

Buccaneers’ Jordan Sears scored 19 points against the Hawks.

“We were battle-tested early. Those kind of games got us prepared for this.”

JOE GIDDENS, Mainland coach

The Buccaneers' Jordan Sears drives to the hoop against Mainland.

Photos by Ray Boone

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The Buccaneers’ Dontrell Thompson shoots a 3-pointer against Spruce Creek.

The Buccaneers’ Jalen Willis banks in a layup against Spruce Creek.

the free throw line, struggled at certain points throughout the game. But he kept grinding — even going back and forth with the Hawks’ Oles. “I just stuck to my roots,” he said. “I kept playing my game. I just let my game come to me when the game started getting into crunch time.” In addition, for the past several seasons Mainland’s primary

rival in Volusia County has been Atlantic High School. However, since former Sharks head coach David Howard’s move to Spruce Creek, the Hawks are the new challenge. “We played against tough teams all the time, so we don’t ever back down from pressure,” Keith said. “This is what we want.”

Mainland coach Joe Giddens watches his team from the bench.

Investing in the Arts for our Community.

Start your new year with a taste of Broadway!

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Friday, Jan. 31st - 7:30pm

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With superlative vocals and musicianship, dynamic enthusiasm and a genuine love of the music they perform, The Bronx Wanderers recreate the magic of an era. They build an energetic bond with their audience, guaranteeing an evening of toe-tapping, hand-clapping and dancing in the aisles.

We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered




A legacy to preserve Ormond Beach resident’s film targets environmental conservation in the South. JARLEENE ALMENAS NEWS EDITOR

Ormond Beach resident Eric Breitenbach spent four years searching for the South that one of America’s first naturalists saw in in the 1770s. It was a journey decades in the making, one that Breitenbach kept in a folder on his desktop for years after he took a sabbatical in the late 1980s from Daytona State College to photograph each county in Florida. Right before he left, an English professor handed him a copy of “Bartram’s Travels,” by William Bartram, a book published in 1791. That sparked the inspiration that would eventually lead to “Cultivating the Wild,” a onehour documentary to premier at DSC on Jan. 29. It details the efforts of six people working to restore the South to what it once was, and why it matters. All six share a common denominator: A love for the nature Bartram saw and documented. “The writing is beautiful,” said Breitenbach of Batram’s book. “The descriptions are very intense, and he also wrote some of the most beautiful things about Native Americans and the early settlers that were in the south at that time.” In 2015, Breitenbach, a DSC professor, drove around the Southeastern United States and met individuals who had written what he believes to be the best books on Bartram. One of those people was Dorinda Dallmeyer, a professor at the University of Georgia and author of “Bartram’s Living Legacy: The Travels and Nature of the South.”  He asked her to join him in helping to produce the film, and though she hadn’t ever done anything similar, Dallmeyer agreed. “She was kind of encouraged

Philip Juras paints in Moody Forest.

by my enthusiasm, and I was encouraged by her knowledge,” Breitenbach said. HURDLES OVERCOME

There were a lot of moving parts to take care of during the filmmaking process, Dallmeyer said. One was fundraising. The film’s budget came in at $70,000, and a Kickstarter campaign brought in over $30,000 of that.  “All of us were very grateful for the amount of support that we got from people, some as far away as India, for the film,” Dallmeyer said. “We never would have known that had we not used Kickstarter to be able to reach people we didn’t even know existed out there.” The film also had to overcome several logistical challenges, like making sure they had boats to go out in the river and finding the right cinematographers to capture the numerous scenes of wildlife. A total of 35 people worked on “Cultivating the Wild,” Breitenbach said. And once filmmaking was done, it was time to edit. There were 60 hours of footage that needed to be cut down to just one. ‘WHAT BARTRAM LEFT BEHIND’

Courtesy photo

Dorinda Dallmeyer is the author of “Bartram’s Living Legacy: The Travels and Nature of the South.”

Painter Philip Juras is one of the six individuals featured in the film. He pays tribute to Bartram’s descriptions of the South

Photo courtesy of Eric Breitenbach

by seeking the places that best resemble what Bartram saw and capturing it on canvas. Sometimes, that meant painting during a prescribed burn in a forest. “He showed me the landscape that I’d always been looking for,” Juras said. It’s through inspiration that people begin to care about something, he said, and this film is a “feast for the eyes.” “It’s a view on this world of nature that people rarely will get to see themselves, and it’s encapsulated in this film in this beautiful and inspiring way,” Juras said. Dallmeyer said she hopes people who watch the film will see the impact an individual can make, and that it helps inspire a future legacy of conservation. “[Bartram’s] voice is there, and his work is there alongside the people who are living parts of what Bartram left behind for us,” Dallmeyer said. With climate change and ongoing threats to the natural world, Breitenbach said the timing of the film’s premiere is better than it would have been in 2015.  “It’s kind of great that the film is coming out now rather than three years ago because those issues are first and foremost in a lot of people’s minds, and it is really a plea for us to respect our natural environment, more than we currently are doing,” Breitenbach said.

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IF YOU GO... What: “Cultivating the Wild” screening When: 6 p.m. Jan. 29 Where: DSC Southeast Museum of Photography, Hosseini Center, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd. Details: Contact Eric Breitenbach at eric.breitenbach@ for more information. A second screening will take place at 6 p.m. on May 6, at the same location.


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Daytona’s Museum of Arts and Sciences to host short film concert Want to see award-winning short films on a big screen? Here’s your chance.



What: Asbury Short Film Concert When: 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31 Where: Museum of Arts and Sciences, 352 S. Nova Road Details: Watch a lineup of award-winning short films. Doors to the museum will open at 6 p.m. for a reception with a cash bar and light hors d’oeuvres. Auditorium doors will open at 6:45 p.m. Recommended for ages 16 and up. Tickets cost $25 for museum nonmembers, and $20 for members. Visit or call 255-0285.


The Museum of Arts and Sciences and Asbury Shorts USA are bringing award-winning short films to the community, all in a fast-paced evening in front of a real screen.   Unless you’re a short film connoisseur, chances are you haven’t seen the films selected to be showcased  at the Asbury Short Film Concert at MOAS on Friday, Jan.  31, said Doug LeClaire, director for Asbury Shorts USA. The concert is returning to Daytona Beach for the second year in a row, though it is the 39th-annual tour for the Brooklyn, New Yorkbased traveling film show. It is also the longest running short film exhibition in New York City.  The films are always an eclectic mix; one of LeClaire’s favorites this year is “A Whole World for a Little World,” by French director Fabrice Bracq. The 2017 short film is about a mother telling her baby a fairytale as a way to explain how she met the baby’s father.  Another notable one is the 2010 film “Death, Taxes and Apple Juice,” by Tamar Halpern,

“So there’ll be a representation of comedy, drama, animation — all in one sitting, but very fast paced and very entertaining,” DOUG LECLAIRE, director for Asbury Shorts USA

Courtesy photo

MOAS Executive Director Andrew Sandall, Rick Spencer, and Director of Asbury Shorts USA Doug LeClaire at the showing of the 38th Asbury Short Film Concert at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in April 2019.

which is about two young ladies discussing their problems in life. One of them is helping the other file her taxes. The twist? The protagonists are 9 years old. “So there’ll be a representation of comedy, drama, animation — all in one sitting, but very fast paced and very entertaining,” LeClaire said. The concert first came to Daytona last year after MOAS Executive Director Andrew Sandall reconnected with one of Asbury’s organizers, he said in an email. Sandall had collaborated with the organizer on projects at another museum, and after the organizer

visited MOAS, he thought the auditorium would be a great fit for the show, Sandall said. The museum has been working hard for the past couple of years to utilize its facilities for the community, he continued, as well as find ways to entice new visitors who may not be interested the traditional programs. The film concert is a way to do that. “Bringing such an amazing show as the Asbury Short Film Concert to the museum has seen a new audience coming to MOAS for what may be their first ever visit to the museum and hopefully seeing just how much we have to offer and inspiring them to come

back for a visit or to attend some of our other programs,” Sandall said. Most of the films audiences will see are made by either younger filmmakers trying to catch a break in the industry, or established artists who have made short films their art medium of choice, LeClaire said. Those who attend will see the fruits of their labor in just minutes. “It’s story-telling in a short form, which is challenging for filmmakers,” LeClaire said. It’s an art form that amazes Sandall, who said some of the staff who participated in the test screenings of the films for the concert couldn’t believe how much storytelling goes into each of the films. “It’s one of those programs that really has to be seen to be believed and I know that everyone who attended the first concert last year rushed to tell all their friends what an amazing experience they had missed,” Sandall said.


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