2016 ReWIND: Top 100 Stories for greater Daytona, Sanford & Orlando (61-70)

By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Headline Surfer is counting down the Top 100 stories of 2016 in the greater Daytona Beach, Sanford and Orlando metro area otherwise known as the I-4 corridor of Central Florida through Volusia, Seminole and Orange counties. 

Among the top 5 contenders for the No. 1 story of the year in no particular order: The Pulse gay nightclub terrorist massacre; the ugliness of the presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the continuing saga over homelessness in Daytona Beach; records tied or broken in NASCAR races at Daytona International Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway; and no relief from escalating violent crime, especially in Daytona and Orlando.

Here are the stories ranked 61-70:

61.  9/11 Twin Towers re-created at World's Most Famous Beach in Daytona

Twin Towers as they looked before the 9/11 terrorist attack / Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- An anonymous sand sculpture re-created the Manhattan skyline, complete with the Twin Towers, on the Word's Most Famous Beach in Daytona in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

It is here where the hard wet sands, nurtured by the incoming surf, make it possible for beach driving to continue along certain stretches of the Atlantic coastline. The sculpture depicts the World Trade Center as it looked prior to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in which two airliners hijacked by Middle East terrorists out of Boston's Logan International Airport slammed into the Twin Towers. The sand sculpture displayed Sunday, included the words, "Not forgotten."

9/11 sand scupture on Daytona Beach / Headline Surfer®It is here where the hard wet sands, nurtured by the incoming surf, make it possible for beach driving to continue along certain stretches of the Atlantic coastline.

The sculpture depicts the World Trade Center as it looked prior to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in which two airliners hijacked by Middle East terrorists out of Boston's Logan International Airport slammed into the Twin Towers. The sand sculpture displayed Sunday, included the words, "Not forgotten."

62. Dale Earnhardt Jr. to donate brain to science after passing

Dale Earnhardt Jr pledges to donate brain for concussion research / Headline Surfer DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is taking a page from the stars of the NFL -- past and present: He's donating his brain to science upon his passing, which he called a "no brainer."

At 41, NASCAR's most popular driver and winner of the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500 races, has pledged to donate his brain for concussion research when he dies, SB Nation has reported in a March 27 story headlined, "Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to donate brain for concussion research."

Earnhardt made the announcement on Twitter when retweeting a Sports Illustrated story on three Oakland Raiders players who plan to donate their brains for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy research.

Earnhardt is following the lead of retired Raiders players George Atkinson, George Buehler and Art Thoms, who said they will donate their brains as a tribute to the late Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler, who died last year from colon cancer. After Stabler died on July 8 at age 69 from colon cancer, his brain was examined by researchers at Boston University, who determined Stabler had had high Stage 3 CTE, on a scale of 1 to 4, according to USA Today. After his death, doctors discovered Stabler was suffering from Stage 3 CTE. The Raiders great was inducted posthumously into the 2016 Class of the NFL Hall of Fame.

Dale Earnhardt Jr / Headline SurferNASCAR driver and tw-time Daytona 500 champion DalevEarnhardt Jr. is following the lead of retired Raiders players George Atkinson, George Buehler and Art Thoms, who said they will donate their brains as a tribute to the late Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler, who died last year from colon cancer. After Stabler died on July 8 at age 69 from colon cancer, his brain was examined by researchers at Boston University, who determined Stabler had had high Stage 3 CTE, on a scale of 1 to 4, according to USA Today. After his death, doctors discovered Stabler was suffering from Stage 3 CTE. The Raiders great was inducted posthumously into the 2016 Class of the NFL Hall of Fame.

Medical research has linked repeated blows to head and concussions -- such as those football players, extreme athletes and race car drivers routinely experience -- to CTE, a degenerative brain disease that can lead to dementia, depression and Alzheimer's disease, according to SB Nation.

Head injuries are nothing new to Earnhardt, who suffered a concussion during a May 2002 race and then two more within six weeks in 2012, during races crashes at Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, respectively.

Earnhardt self-diagnosed the concussion following the Kansas wreck, but did not seek further medical consultation after being initially checked out and cleared at the track, according to SB Nation. Since Earnhardt's disclosure that he's masked concussions on at least two occasions, NASCAR has revised its policy on how drivers are treated when dealing with a head injury, according to SB Nation.

NASCAR's new concussion policy is as follows: When a driver is involved in an accident and cannot return their car to the garage, they must immediately go to the infield care center, and if there are signs of a head-related injury they will be transported to a hospital. Before returning, a concussed driver must receive clearance by a neurologist.

63. 39th anniversary of line-of-duty death of Seminole County sheriff's reserve deputy George Pfiel

Reserve Seminole Deputy George Pfeil killed 29 years ago / Headline Surfer®LONGWOOD, Fla. -- Dec. 29 marked the 39th anniversary of the line-of-duty death of Seminole County Reserve Deputy Sheriff George Pfiel.

It was on Dec. 29, 1977, a Thursday that Pfiel, 55 made the ultimate sacrifice after being mortally wounded when he interrupted an armed robbery at the Longwood Village Pharmacy on State Road 434 to pick up a prescription while on his way home when he was shot and killed. 

One of the killers, Terry Melvin Sims, was arrested the following February and convicted of capital murder. He was sentenced to death and executed Feb. 23, 2000. He became Florida's first condemned killer to be executed by lethal injection. Inside, Sims and Curtis Baldree were robbing the store while accomplices B.B. Halsell and Clarence Eugene Robinson waited in a getaway car. Pfiel exchanged gunfire with Sims and was shot twice. Pfiel died a short time later.

Sims, who was shot in the hip, was not arrested until June 1978, after an attempted armed robbery in California. Baldree and Halsell testified against Sims during his 1979 trial and said he bragged that he "killed a cop with one shot." Robinson, who was indicted in absentia for murder in the pharmacy shooting, remained at large until June 1983, when he surrendered after being charged with shooting two FBI agents in Volusia County.

Sewminole County Reserve Deputy George A. Pfeil killed in line of duty 39 years ago / Headline Surfer®It was on Dec. 29, 1977, a Thursday that Pfiel, 55 made the ultimate sacrifice after being mortally wounded when he interrupted an armed robbery at the Longwood Village Pharmacy on State Road 434 to pick up a prescription while on his way home when he was shot and killed. 

Terry Sims first executed killer (cop killer) with lethal injection in 2000 / Headlinre SurferOne of the killers, Terry Melvin Sims, was arrested the following February and convicted of capital murder. He was senteced to death and executed Feb. 23, 2000. He became Florida's first condemned killer to be executed by lethal injection. 

Inside, Sims and Curtis Baldree were robbing the store while accomplices B.B. Halsell and Clarence Eugene Robinson waited in a getaway car. Pfiel exchanged gunfire with Sims and was shot twice. He died a short time later. Sims, who was shot in the hip, was not arrested until June 1978, after an attempted armed robbery in California.

Baldree and Halsell testified against Sims during his 1979 trial and said he bragged that he "killed a cop with one shot." Robinson, who was indicted in absentia for murder in the pharmacy shooting, remained at large until June 1983, when he surrendered after being charged with shooting two FBI agents in Volusia County.

Deputy Pfiel was a US Marine Corps veteran. He also was a retired New York City police officer who volunteered his time to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office after moving to Florida. Pfiel was survived by his wife and four children.

64. Pete Dunn announces retirement as head coach of Stetson baseball

Pete Dunn retires as Stetson vaseball coach / Headline SurferDELAND, Fla. -- After 37 seasons guiding the fortunes of the Stetson University Baseball program, head coach Pete Dunn decided to step away from his coaching duties, effective immediately, the college announced Dec. 12.
 
Dunn, who has compiled a career record of 1,312-888-3, was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014. He ranks 20th on the all-time NCAA list for career coaching victories over all divisions. He ranks 15th in NCAA Division I history.
 
"This is the right time for me to hand the program over to someone else, both personally and for the program moving forward," Dunn said. "I have given my life to Stetson University, and the Stetson Baseball program, for 40 years. I still carry my love for the game, but it is time for me to move on. I have mixed emotions. As long as I can remember, back to when I was a little kid, I have been playing baseball or coaching. It is going to be tough to walk away from it. Obviously I am going to stay very interested. Game days will be the toughest because I really enjoy coaching on game days. It is not going to be easy, but it is time."

Petete Dunn explains his retirement  from Styetson baseball / Headline Surfer®"This is the right time for me to hand the program over to someone else, both personally and for the program moving forward," Pete Dunn said of hids immediate retirement from Stetdson baseball as head coach after 37 seasons.

"I have given my life to Stetson University, and the Stetson Baseball program, for 40 years. I still carry my love for the game, but it is time for me to move on. I have mixed emotions. As long as I can remember, back to when I was a little kid, I have been playing baseball or coaching. It is going to be tough to walk away from it. Obviously I am going to stay very interested. Game days will be the toughest because I really enjoy coaching on game days. It is not going to be easy, but it is time."

 
Dunn, whose contract runs through the end of the 2017 season, will remain a part of the program, serving in the role of Head Coach Emeritus for the coming year. He will focus his efforts on fund raising and other areas where he can have a significant impact on the future of Hatters baseball.

65. FDLE: 58-year-old Orlando man arrested on multiple kiddie porn charges

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A 58-year-old Orlando man was arrested Dec. 9 on a warrant after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said its agents found child porn in his home.

John Walter Cobble was subsequently charged with seven counts of possession child pornography.

Here is a synopsis of what led to John Walter Cobble's arrest, according to an FDLE spokeswoman Angela Starke: Agents found five pictures on a disk drive and two more on a separate digital device that showed sexual images of children. When agents arrived at Cobble's home, he did not let them inside, so they forced their way in.

John Walter Cobble, a 58-year-old Orlando man, was arrested Dec. 9, on a warrant after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said its agents found child porn in his home.​ 

Here is a synopsis of what led to John Walter Cobble's arrest, according to an FDLE spokeswoman Angela Starke: Agents found five pictures on a disk drive and two more on a separate digital device that showed sexual images of children. When agents arrived at his home, Cobble did not let them inside, so they forced their way in. Cobble was subsequently charged with seven counts of possession child pornography.

Cobble was booked into the Orange County Jail where he was being held without bail, pending a first appearance hearing before a judge, likely today.

66. Fatal attack on dog in Port Orange waterway

PORT ORANGE, Fla. -- The horrific death of a bulldog by an alligator in a Port Orange subdivision back in March before it was trapped and killed by trapper Curtis Lucas, led to the predator's stomach being cut open and revealing part of the dog -- a grim reminder of what happens when Florida's wildlife habitat and people and their pets collide.

Losing a pet under these circumstances is devastating. So imagine what it must be like to lose a human.

Nearly 19 years ago, the ultimate horror occurred at Lake Ashby, when ironically a family dog barked as a little boy was being dragged into the pond by a large gator. The body of the toddler was seen by a hunter being pushed by a gator the next day and the creature was shot three times and killed.

Here's how it was described in a story written nearly two decades ago as a family's picnic outing turned to sheer terror: One of the family dogs barked Friday as it waited for 3-year-old Adam Trevor Binford to return from picking flowers in Lake Ashby. But Adam never returned. The last thing his mother and 8-year-old brother saw before he disappeared was a big splash. A hysterical Lorri Ann Binford originally told officials she saw an alligator attack her son, but later said she only saw a big splash "too big for a little boy to make." Nearly 20 hours after a mysterious splash in a sea of lily pads, the body of the New Smyrna Beach toddler was found in the grip of an 11-foot, 400- to 450-pound alligator. After combing through the murky waters of the 3,200-acre lake all night, Astor trapper Curtis Lucas ended the search with three gunshots. The alligator died immediately and quickly was implicated in the death of the toddler.

Nearly 19 years ago, the ultimate horror occurred at Lake Ashby, when ironically a family dog barked as a little boy was being dragged into the pond by a large gator. The body of the toddler was seen by a hunter being pushed by a gator the next day and the creature was shot three times and killed.

Here's how it was described in a story written nearly two decades ago as a family's picnic outing turned to sheer terror: One of the family dogs barked Friday as it waited for 3-year-old Adam Trevor Binford to return from picking flowers in Lake Ashby. But Adam never returned. The last thing his mother and 8-year-old brother saw before he disappeared was a big splash. A hysterical Lorri Ann Binford originally told officials she saw an alligator attack her son, but later said she only saw a big splash "too big for a little boy to make." 

Nearly 20 hours after a mysterious splash in a sea of lily pads, the body of the New Smyrna Beach toddler was found in the grip of an 11-foot, 400- to 450-pound alligator. After combing through the murky waters of the 3,200-acre lake all night, Astor trapper Curtis Lucas, shown above, ended the search with three gunshots. The alligator died immediately and quickly was implicated in the death of the toddler.

If irony wasn't enough with the March gator victim being a dog and a family dog barking after a toddler had been grabbed by a gator nearly two decades ago, both fatal instances involved the same trapper, licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission: Curtis Lucas. And in both cases, cutting open the dead gator's stomach revealed remains of its prey. Lucas told reporters in March's tragic dog death that the bulldog was missing a back leg when it was found by the edge of a man-made lake in the Skylake neighborhood.

The trapper caught and killed the 9-foot male gator two days later and when he cut open the stomach: "I found bones and hair. We got the right gator."

Residents of a lakefront Kendrew Drive home suspected their dog, too, which had gone missing a week earlier, was the victim of the gator since killed by the trapper, after it was captured in a former quarry, filled with water.

67. World's Most Famous Beach in Daytona & New Smyrna devoid of Thanksgiving weekend crowds

New Smyrna Beach / Headline SurferDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Even with unseasonably warm day-time temps near 80, post-Thanksgiving weekend crowds were non-existent at the World's Most Famous Beach at the start of a new work week.

There were a scant few more people in the beach in New Smyrna than in Daytona, but certainly no traffic tie-ups or any difficulties finding a spot to park on the hard sands along stretches of the beach where motor vehicles are allowed.

In both locales, there were more people than cars in the vicinity of the ramps where the online county beach cams are located as illustrated in this summary at the ramp on Dunlawton Avenue in Daytona Beach Shores and at the Flagler Avenue ramp in New Smyrna Beach with time stamps below each.

 

68. New Smyrna Beach cops: Man stabbed in pre-dawn attempted robbery

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- A 25-year-old black man was stabbed in the collarbone in a robbery attempt under the cover of darkness, New Smyrna Beach cops said.

Tousauntt Knese was transported to Halifax Hospital, via EVAC, as a trauma alert. However, it was later learned that his injuries were non-life threatening.

Here is a synopsis of what occurred in the 3:48 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Incident as described by New Smyrna Beach Police Lt. Shane Riggle: "Police were dispatched to a call in reference to a male who had possibly been stabbed at 200 Robert St., in front of building I. Police learned that two white males, one described as tall and skinny, attempted to coerce money from the victim. When the victim refused to provide the subjects any money he was stabbed in the area of his collar bone and both subjects fled the scene in an unknown direction and unknown mode of transportation. New Smyrna Beach Criminal Investigations Division responded to the scene to assist with the investigation."

NSB cops say m,an was stabbed in early morning robbery attempt / Headline SurferHere is a synopsis of what occurred in the 3:48 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, incident as described by New Smyrna Beach Police Lt. Shane Riggle: "Police were dispatched to a call in reference to a male who had possibly been stabbed at 200 Robert St., in front of building I. Police learned that two white males, one described as tall and skinny, attempted to coerce money from the victim. When the victim refused to provide the subjects any money he was stabbed in the area of his collar bone and both subjects fled the scene in a unknown direction and unknown mode of transportation. New Smyrna Beach Criminal Investigations Division responded to the scene to assist with the investigation."

69. First Christmas as Port Orange mayor a blessing for Don Burnette

PORT ORANGE, Fla. -- Don Burnette knows he's blessed to be the face of Port Orange government, which he readily credits to his faith in God and the support of his family in connecting with the citizens of one of Volusia County's most progressive communities where public safety, parks and a sense of place are highly valued.

 "I am encountering my first Christmas as mayor of Port Orange and I'm gratified," Burnette told Headline Surfer the morning of Christmas Eve.

Asked who or what he credits his political success to, Burnette was quick to respond: "I am incredibly grateful to my family this holiday season. They stuck behind me and worked hard during the campaign to get me here. I think of them every day as I serve the good people of Port Orange. Along with our good Lord, my wife, Anita, and my sons, Matthew and Patrick, provide me the strength and guidance to serve every day."

Port Orange Mayor Don Burnette reflects on Christmas / Headline SurferDon Burnette knows he's blessed to be the face of Port Orange government, which he readily credits to his faith in God and the support of his family in connecting with the citizens of one of Volusia County's most progressive communitries where public safety, parks and a sense of place are highly valued. 

"I am encountering my first Christmas as mayor of Port Orange and I'm gratified," Burnette told Headline Surfer the morning of Christmas Eve. Asked who or what he credits his political success to, Burnette was quick to respond:

"I am incredibly grateful to my family this holiday season. They stuck behind me and worked hard during the campaign to get me here. I think of them every day as I serve the good people of Port Orange. Along with our good Lord, my wife, Anita, and my sons, Matthew and Patrick, provide me the strength and guidance to serve every day."

And the guidance of his family and his faith in God are tenets to Burnette, who knows how important leadership and doing the right thing for the citizens are, when politics can rear its ugly head. 

70. New Smyrna Beach surfer/lensman Kem McNair captures scene setter with egret

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Kem McNair's picture-taking skills are only exceeded by his surfing abilities here in the seaside community known for its charm, eclectic boutiques and bars on Flagler Avenue.

And thank to the scenic wonders of the ocean and intracoastal waterway, New Smyrna Beach is a nature lover's paradise with diverse wildlife as demonstrated by McNair's snapshot back in early October of an egret in a marshy area near his home.

 

 

 

 

RECAP:

January 1, 2017
61.  9/11 Twin Towers re-created at World's Most Famous Beach in Daytona
62. Dale Earnhardt Jr. to donate brain to science after passing
63. 39th anniversary of line-of-duty death of Seminole County sheriff's reserve deputy George Pfiel
64. Pete Dunn announces retirement as head coach of Stetson baseball
65. FDLE: 58-year-old Orlando man arrested on multiple kiddie porn charges
66. Fatal attack on dog in Port Orange waterway
67. World's Most Famous Beach in Daytona & New Smyrna devoid of Thanksgiving weekend crowds
68. New Smyrna Beach cops: Man stabbed in pre-dawn attempted robbery
69. First Christmas as Port Orange mayor a blessing for Don Burnette
70. New Smyrna Beach surfer/lensman Kem McNair captures scene setter with egret
 
December 31, 2016
71. John Cooper, first to hold track posts as president at Indianapolis & later Daytona, has died
72. New Smyrna Beach cops: Man, 59, arrested after he's allegedly caught sexually assaulting 5-year-old boy
73. Changing of the Guard in Daytona, sort of: Dannette Henry sworn in as commissioner replacing 1 of 2 other Henrys 
74. Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis: Primary recount confirms Bill Hall new mayor of South Daytona
75. Orlando Magic acquire guard Jodie Meeks from Detroit Pistons
76. Student art adorns Daytona Beach International Airport cards for holidays
77. Volusia County school children & parents take part in International Walk/ Bike to School Day
78. New Smyrna Beach Fire Dept. contains 5-acre brush fire near Sugar Mill
79. Two incumbents return to Ponce Inlet Town Council
80. Two council incumbents had no challengers in Pierson
 
December 30, 2016
81. Daytona cops: Mainland HS student struck & killed in crosswalk on way to school
82. New Smyrna Beach cops: NSBPD Inv. Brian Morris promoted to patrol sergeant
83. VCSO: Daytona Beach man suspected of robbing Deltona store fished out of Deltona pond 
84. Small plane crashes near New Smyrna Beach; pilot treated for minor injury
85. Govenor removes 'acting' from surgeon general title for Celeste Philip, ex-Volusia County deputy health exec
86. VCSO: Ocala man killed in Pierson after jumping from moving vehicle
87. Hundreds stung by jellyfish along World's Most Famous Beach in Daytona
88. New Smyrna Beach firefighters save house by limiting most of early morning blaze to garage
89. COMING OF AGE: Daytona State College’s Center for Women and Men celebrates 40th anniversary 
90. NSBFD: 3 cats rescued in New Smyrna Beach house fire
 
December 30, 2016
91. Rare Kemp's ridley sea turtle rescued near Ponce Inlet recovers at Marine
92. New Smyrna Beach Finance Director Althea Philord-Bradley receives special award
93. Volusia County Sheriff's Lt. Brian Henderson graduates from FBI National Academy
94. Daytona Beach Shores Christmas Parade: Highlighted by Billie Wheeler on Facebook
95. Lake Helen's Vernon Burton retains zone 2 seat without opposition; Jim Connell wins zone 4 seat in Nov elections
96. Swimmer rescued in Daytona surf & dead manatee washes ashore in New Smyrna
97. Daytona Beach-based United Way selects 15 to lead strategies on programming & funding
98. Principals of the Year announced for Volusia County Schools
99. DeLand firefighters rescue cat from storm drain
100. State Attorney RJ Larizza returned to office without opposition
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet in Daytona Beach, Florida, via HeadlineSurfer.com. Specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with dozens of journalism-industry awards.

View his stories archives here