2016 ReWIND: Top 100 Stories for greater Daytona, Sanford & Orlando (91-100)

This segment covers stories ranked 91-100. 
 
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 91-100:

91. Rare Kemp's ridley sea turtle rescued near Ponce Inlet recovers at Marine Science Center

PONCE INLET, Fla. – A rare Kemp’s ridley sea turtle spent several weeks recovering back in early March at the Marine Science Center after being accidentally hooked by a man fishing in Ponce Inlet back in early March. 

Local beach-goers brought the 10.5-pound juvenile turtle to the sea turtle hospital. The Kemp’s ridley is a critically endangered species and is considered the rarest sea turtle found in Florida. Immediately after its arrival, the turtle was examined and provided fluids and pain medication.

Turtle Rehabilitation Manager Melissa Ranly removed the fisherman’s hook and treated a gash on the turtle’s shoulder. An X-ray revealed that this was not the turtle’s first encounter with a fishing hook. It became apparent that a previous fisherman had caught the turtle, but was only able to remove part of the hook. The remainder of the hook had lodged itself deep within the turtle’s esophagus. Staff veterinarian Dr. Craig Pelton performed an endoscopy on the turtle and removed the hook.

ishing hook removed from rare sea turtle at Marine Discovery Center last March / Headline SurferLocal beach-goers brought the 10.5-pound juvenile turtle to the sea turtle hospital. The Kemp’s ridley is a critically endangered species and is considered the rarest sea turtle found in Florida. Immediately after its arrival, the turtle was examined and provided fluids and pain medication. Turtle Rehabilitation Manager Melissa Ranly removed the fisherman’s hook and treated a gash on the turtle’s shoulder.

An X-ray revealed that this was not the turtle’s first encounter with a fishing hook. It became apparent that a previous fisherman had caught the turtle, but was only able to remove part of the hook.

The remainder of the hook had lodged itself deep within the turtle’s esophagus. Staff veterinarian Dr. Craig Pelton performed an endoscopy on the turtle and removed the hook.

Marine Science Center Director Michael Brothers emphasized the lesson to be learned from this turtle’s situation: “This case shows how important it is to bring sea turtles caught by hook into the sea turtle hospital, rather than just cutting the line.” Brothers added that fishing hooks will not work themselves out and will “ultimately become infected.” Despite the hook, the sea turtle was in stable condition and is recovering in a pool at the MSC’s intensive care unit for several weeks before it was returned to the surf.

Since opening in 2002, the MSC has cared for more than 17,000 sea turtles and more than 1,300 gopher tortoises, freshwater turtles and snakes. The Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Facility at the MSC has received more than 13,000 birds since opening in 2004. For more information, please call 386-304-5545 or go online to www.marinesciencecenter.com.

92. New Smyrna Beach Finance Director Althea Philord-Bradley receives special award

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- The city has quite a streak on its hands - far surpassing Jim Hathaway's 20 years, collectively, on the dais- 18 years as a city commissioner through 2012, and the last two years as mayor.

At a New Smyrna Beach City Commission meeting in November, the Government Finance Officers Association presented municipal Finance Director Althea Philord-Bradley with its  Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the previous fiscal year. The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. 

“This is the 34th consecutive year that the City of New Smyrna Beach has received this prestigious award and we are proud of Althea and her team," City Manager Pam Brangaccio said. "The NSB finance team achieved this in the spirit of transparency and full disclosure. 

New Smyrna Beach Finance Director Althea Philord wins big award / Headline SurferThe Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. 

“This is the 34th consecutive year that the City of New Smyrna Beach has received this prestigious award and we are proud of Althea and her team," City Manager Pam Brangaccio said, referencing Finance Director Althea Philord shown here at left. "The NSB finance team achieved this in the spirit of transparency and full disclosure.

The award was presented by FGFOA Board Member John McKinney, the assistant city manager of Edgewater, who added, “Ms. Philord-Bradley and her team go above and beyond the requirements for generally accepted accounting principles and deserve this high recognition,” stated McKinney.

The GFOA established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program in 1945, to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.

93. Volusia County Sheriff's Lt. Brian Henderson graduates from FBI National Academy

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Volusia County Sheriff’s Lt. Brian Henderson is among 230 law enforcement officers nationwide who graduated in March from the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

The 263rd Session of the National Academy consisted of men and women from 47 states, the District of Columbia, 27 international countries, four military organizations and five federal civilian organizations. FBI Director James Comey was the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony that took place on March 18.

Internationally known for its academic excellence, the National Academy program offers 10 weeks of advanced communications, leadership and fitness training for selected officers having proven records as professionals within their agencies. More than 49,000 people have graduated from the FBI National Academy since it began in 1935. Academy graduates often return to their agencies to serve in executive-level positions.

Himself a graduate of the FBI National Academy, retiring Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said he was very proud of his 33-year-old lieutenant, who has been with the VCSO for 14 years, telling Headline Surfer®: “Brian should be commended for his dedication and commitment to the highest standards of the law enforcement profession.”

VCSO Lt Brian Henferson graduated from the FNI National Academy / Headline SurferHimself a graduate of the FBI National Academy, retiring Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said he was very proud of his 33-year-old lieutenant, Brian Henderson, shown here, who has been with the VCSO for 14 years, telling Headline Surfer®: “Brian should be commended for his dedication and commitment to the highest standards of the law enforcement profession.”

Henderson was among 230 cops nationwide to graduate from the FBI National Academy this year.

94. Daytona Beach Shores Christmas Parade: Highlighted by Billie Wheeler on Facebook

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. -- Billie Wheeler, the popular Daytona Beach Shores councilwoman since 2010, who was elected to the district 2 seat on the Volusia County Council in the Nov. 8 general election, shot some highlights of the Shores Christmas Parade held earlier this month. 

Wheeler even provided voice-over descriptions of the parade participants for those who follow her on social media sites like Facebook. 

With the County Council election behind her with a big win over Willie J. Kimmons of Daytona Beach, recording video highlights of the Dec. 5  Christmas parade was a way for Wheeler to relax and let residents know she appreciates the support she has received from them over the years. 

Billie Wheeler / Headline Surfer

Billie Wheeler, the popular Daytona Beach Shores councilwoman since 2010, who was elected to the district 2 seat on the Volusia County Council in the Nov. 8 general election, shot some highlights of the Shores Christmas Parade held earlier this month. 

Wheeler even provided voice-over descriptions of the parade participants for those who follow her on social media sites like Facebook. With the County Council election behind her with a big win over Willie J. Kimmons of Daytona Beach, recording video highlights of the Dec. 5  Christmas parade was a way for Wheeler to relax and let residents know she appreciates the support she has received from them over the years. 

Wheeler takes office at the county on Jan. 5 in the Frank T. Bruno County Council chambers in DeLand, replacing term-limited Joshua Wagner of Wilbur-by-the-Sea, who served for eight years.

95. Lake Helen's Vernon Burton retains zone 2 seat without opposition; Jim Connell wins zone 4 seat in Nov elections

LAKE HELEN, Fla. -- Zone 2 Commissioner Vernon Burton got a free pass to-re-election in Lake Helen when no one else put in qualifying papers back in June to challenge him. 

The zone 4 seat wasn't settled until the Nov. 8 general election: Jim Connell won with 53.2 percent of the votes over fellow newcomer Daisy Raisler. 

And so Burton will serve another two years when his current term expires after November's election. It's not as if Burton would have likely had any trouble holding onto his seat in this small city of 2,624 residents, judging by how well he did two years ago, easily defeating Ernie Deboliac with 61.39 percent of the votes. 

Vernon Burton won re-election in Lake Helen wihout opposition / Headline SurferZone 2 Commissioner Vernon Burton, shown far left, got a free pass to-re-election in Lake Helen when no one else put in qualifying papers back in June to challenge him. 

The zone 4 seat wasn't settled until the Nov. 8 general election: Jim Connell, shown in the middle, won with 53.2 percent of the votes over fellow newcomer Daisy Raisler. 

And so Burton will serve another two years when his current term expires after November's election. It's not as if Burton would have likely had any trouble holding onto his seat in this small city of 2,624 residents, judging by how well he did two years ago, easily defeating Ernie Deboliac with 61.39 percent of the votes. 

An independent insurance agent, the 68-year-old Burton has been on the commission since he first won election in 2008. He volunteers at senior centers and a local food pantry. Burton served on the Lake Helen Planning Board and at one point, led the city's parks and recreation board. 

96. Swimmer rescued in Daytona surf & dead manatee washes ashore in New Smyrna

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Beach patrol personnel had somewhat ofd an eventfdul day on Tuesday, Sept. 6 when they rescued a swimmer in the Daytona Beach surf and tended to a dead manatee that washed ashore in New Smyrna Beach.

So it ended up being a day of happy and unhappy situations for beach personnel as Volusia County Beach Safety flew the red flag.

"We rescued one person out of the ocean without incident," Senior Captain Tamra Marris of the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue wrote in an email to Headline Surfer. "We had a deceased manatee wash up a little after noon in the 1000 block south of the beach  S the beach in New Smyrna, unknown cause of death."

So it ended up being a day of happy and unhappy situations for beach personnel as Volusia County Beach Safety flew the red flag."We rescued one person out of the ocean without incident," Senior Capt. Tamra Marris of the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue wrote in an email to Headline Surfer. "We had a deceased manatee wash up a little after noon in the 1000 block south of the beach  S the beach in New Smyrna, unknown cause of death."

Manatee found dead in ocean / Headline SurferTamra Marris / Headline Surfer®So it ended up being a day of happy and unhappy situations for beach personnel as Volusia County Beach Safety flew the red flag, on Sept. 6.

"We rescued one person out of the ocean without incident," Senior Capt. Tamra Marris of the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue wrote in an email to Headline Surfer.

"We had a deceased manatee wash up a little after noon in the 1000 block south of the beach  S the beach in New Smyrna, unknown cause of death," like one shown here in this image that is alive.

Marris said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Volusia County Marine Mammal Stranding Team were notified for further investigation. The news of therescued swimmer and the deceased manatee comes in at  No. 96 in the Headline Surfer countdown of the Top 100 local stories of 2016.

97. Daytona Beach-based United Way selects 15 to lead strategies on programming & funding

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Fifteen community leaders with the United Way of Volusia and Flagler Counties were selected by the agency's executive board in early September to each serve a two-year term on the Community Impact Cabinet that is responsible for strategically mapping United Way priority areas, reviewing requests for funding, and monitoring programs and results from those programs.

This important area of responsibility comes in as the 97th story in the Headline Surfer countdown of the Top 100 local stories of 2016.

United Ways across the country are moving to a results-based accountability framework titled Community Impact. This shift in focus allows United Ways to become more focused in their funding and to track measurable changes to local issues.  The Cabinet will be responsible for reviewing community trends and statistics, responses from community surveys, and drawing on their subject-area knowledge to determine priority areas for the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties. 

“I am excited to have these talented, community-minded individuals represent the United Way as part of the Cabinet," said Dennis Burns, president and CEO of the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties. "They will be instrumental in guiding our United Way to best serve the community.

United Way of Volusia & FlaglerUnited Way / Headliner SurferUnited Ways across the country are moving to a results-based accountability framework titled Community Impact.  This shift in focus allows United Ways to become more focused in their funding and to track measurable changes to local issues.  The Cabinet will be responsible for reviewing community trends and statistics, responses from community surveys, and drawing on their subject-area knowledge to determine priority areas for the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties. 

“I am excited to have these talented, community-minded individuals represent the United Way as part of the Cabinet," said Dennis Burns, president and CEO of the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties, shown here. "They will be instrumental in guiding our United Way to best serve the community.

The Cabinet members completed their training on Aug. 31 and have begun the journey to research and propose priorities for the community. These priorities will guide the United Way’s fund distribution process that began earlier this month with an open and competitive grant process.The Cabinet is being led by Chet Bell, former executive director of SMA Behavioral Healthcare.  Bell is tasked with facilitating meetings for the Cabinet, leading the charge toward Community Impact and acting as an advocate for the United Way. 

The Cabinet members were selected through an application process and include: Woody Douge - State of Florida; Maralee Walsh - retired; Heidi Kochis - Volusia County Schools; Mary Jo Allen - Halifax Health Hospice; Chet Bell - Council Board Chair/Retired; Dan Davis - City of Bunnell; Myron Fottler - Professor Emeritus, Dean Kurtz-ISC & Daytona International Speedway; Edward Dimayuga - Attorney/Law Office of Richard Culbertson; Janet Hamer - TD Bank; Robin King - CareerSource Volusia Flagler; John Polizzi - Retired Technology Leader; Carrie Baird - Baird Solutions Consulting Firm; Michael Ugarte - Halifax Humane Society; and Charity Palacios – Teacher at Flagler Palm Coast High School.

98. Principals of the Year announced for Volusia County Schools

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The School District of Volusia County and FUTURES Foundation in August announced announced the principals of the year. 

Maryann Bull, principal of Champion Elementary School in Daytona Beach, was named the 2016 Elementary Principal of the Year. And Rose Roland, principal of Silver Sands Middle School in Port Orange, was recognized as the 2016 Secondary Principal of the Year.  

The announcements were made during a surprise visit by school board members, the superintendent of schools, district administrators and FUTURES Foundation representatives.The Principal of the Year award is co-sponsored by Volusia County Schools and FUTURES Foundation.  The purpose of the award is to honor outstanding leadership and service by school-level administrators. 

Maryann Bull of Champion Elem in Port Orange, Principal of the Year / Headline SurferPrincipal of the Year / Headline Surfer®Maryann Bull, principal of Champion Elementary School in Daytona Beach, shown here with her husband, Tom, was named the 2016 Elementary Principal of the Year.

And Rose Roland, principal of Silver Sands Middle School in Port Orange, shown holding a plaque, was recognized as the 2016 Secondary Principal of the Year.  

The announcements were made during a surprise visit by school board members, the superintendent of schools, district administrators and FUTURES Foundation representatives. The Principal of the Year award is co-sponsored by Volusia County Schools and FUTURES Foundation.  The purpose of the award is to honor outstanding leadership and service by school-level administrators. 

99. DeLand firefighters rescue cat from storm drain

DELAND, Fla. -- They say cats have nine lives. At 14, a cat named Sammie may have squeezed out his final lifeline with a little help from his new-found friends: DeLand firefighters who rescued the furry creature from a drain on this April Fools Friday morning. No joke. The cat's out of the beg, err, drain.

Sammie was located by its owner in a street drain on Main Street after hearing the feline's unmistakeable cries for help, DeLand municipal spokesman Chris Graham said. The owner came home at 11 a.m. came and "could hear Sammie meowing," Graham said. 

Sammie was reluctant to come out at first, but firefighters coaxed the furry feline with some cold, refreshing water. A DeLand firefighter reached down through a manhole cover opening to feel for Sammie the cat who was rescue from the storm drain nearby moments later. 

"It all ended well," Graham said, using a variation of the time-worn cliche, "All's well that end's well."

DeLand firefighters rescue Sammie the Cat from a storm  drain in April - no joke / Headline Surfer®Sammie was located by its owner in a street drain on Main Street after hearing the feline's unmistakeable cries for help, DeLand municipal spokesman Chris Graham said. The owner came home at 11 a.m. came and "could hear Sammie meowing," Graham said. 

Sammie was reluctant to come out at first, but firefighters coaxed the furry feline with some cold, refreshing water. A DeLand firefighter reached down through a manhole cover opening to feel for Sammie the cat who was rescue from the storm drain nearby moments later. 

"It all ended well," Graham said, using a variation of the time-worn cliche, "All's well that end's well."

No matter how the government public relations is spun, in this case, curiosity did not kill Sammie the cat, thanks to some brave DeLand firefighters on an April Fool's morning. For real.

100. State Attorney RJ Larizza returned to office without opposition

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Often times, running for elected office becomes convoluted in numbers.

Consider the candidacy of State Attorney R.J. Larizza was returned to office for a third consecutive four-year term at high noon Friday, May 6, in the Seventh Judicial Circuit when qualifying ended and he had no challengers. Third, four, seventh -- that's a mishmash of numbers that help define the office sought, such as the length of time and jurisdiction. 

But here's a number that perhaps is most impactful for this particular office: $116,379. That is the amount Larizza raised in campaign contributions for the 2016 election cycle, according to the Florida Division of Election - most it already amassed by February -- a virtual wall that clearly discourages competition. It's a strategy Larizza openly embraced at that point after two previous competitive elections. 

"Having the ability to raise the funds necessary to mount a significant campaign is important and I think folks notice that," Larizza explained, especially for this elected office that is comparable and in some cases even larger a geographic territory than a statehouse seat in Tallahassee or or a congressional seat in Washington. The Seventh Judicial Circuit encompasses Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties. That's far greater than the 6th Congressional district with redrawn lines that covers all of Volusia County and slivers of a few neighboring counties.

Though Larizza had no opposition for such a high-profile office that generates daily press coverage for ongoing trials, sentencing hearings, indictments and the like, he was all too pleased to announce victory in a patriotic way via social media.

"It is a high honor to serve as your elected State Attorney," the incumbent wrote on his Facebook page, Re-elect R.J. Larizza for State Attorney. "Your friendship and support made our campaign successful. All the folks at the State Attorney's Office work hard every day to make our communities safer and better. I look forward to the next 4 years making justice a reality for the citizens of the Seventh Circuit. God bless you, your family, and God bless America!"

State Attorney RJ Larizza wins re-election without opposition in 2016 / Headline Surfer RJ Larizza re-elected as state attorney without opposition / Headline Surfer®Though State Attorney RJ Larizza had no opposition for such a high-profile office that generates daily press coverage for ongoing trials, sentencing hearings, indictments and the like, he was all too pleased to announce victory in a patriotic way via social media. 

"It is a high honor to serve as your elected State Attorney," the incumbent wrote on his Facebook page, Re-elect R.J. Larizza for State Attorney. "Your friendship and support made our campaign successful. All the folks at the State Attorney's Office work hard every day to make our communities safer and better. I look forward to the next 4 years making justice a reality for the citizens of the Seventh Circuit. God bless you, your family, and God bless America!"

RECAP:

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
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area in Central 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 in print & digital mediums. Frederick is enrolled online at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's pursuing a Master of Arts degree in New Media/Journalism (graduation in March 2018). Frederick earned his BA in Political Science/Public Admin. (concentration in Writing) from Central Connecticut State University, in 1984, where he recieved the President's Citation for "academic excellence & outstanding campus/community service." Prior to myriad duties as publisher/award-winning journalist of Headline Surfer, 2008-present; Frederick was city hall reporter for the Palatka (FL) Daily News, 2007-2008; city editor of the Taunton (MA) Daily Gazette, 2005-2006; cops & courts/legal affairs writer for the Daytona Beach News-Journal, 1996-2004; and cops & courts reporter for the Rockland (NY) Journal-News/Gannett Suburban Newspapers, 1989-1996.