Publisher's Column

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- A "surprise" private party was held Monday night for former City Commissioner Jim Hathaway at Mayor Adam Barringer's beachside restaurant, SoNapa Grille, attended by his former elected colleagues, top administrative staff, including the city manager, fire chief, interim fire chief and city attorney, along with prominent civic and business leaders.

Aileen Wuornos NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- A decade has passed since the nation's foremost serial killer was put to death by the State of Florida through lethal injection for the shooting deaths of seven men who had the misfortune of picking up the hitchhiking prostitute along the region's criss-crossing interstates. I know a little something about Wuornos' final fate as one of a select few reporters to witness her execution.

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NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Hopefully, after the Nov. 6 elections, a new Volusia County Council government will be more open and equitable in the release of breaking news.

A 17-year-old Avon Park boy's body was recovered Friday night in the surf off New Smyrna Beach, but we were the only media outlet not to know about it, even though we are in New Smyrna Beach.

Justin KennedyEDGEWATER -- Back in the day, 1948, big league manager Leo Durocher coined the phrase, "Nice guys finish last." But then again, Durocher also said, "I come to win."

On primary night, first-term Edgewater Councilman Justin Kennedy indeed finished last in the three-way race for the dist. 3 seat on the Volusia County Council. And there's no doubt he's a nice guy, too. 

DAYTONA BEACH -- Promoter turned magazine publisher Manuel Bornia who promised us Janet Jackson, Justin Bieber, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna and Carrie Underwood two years ago at the Ocean Center for what was dubbed the American Music Festival, only to be slammed by media across the country for what many described as a hoax later produced one-hit wonder Usher and acts long in the tooth like Huey Lewis & the News and Tony Bennett.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Apparently, there is a new world order when it comes to dealing with public safety calls with the New Smyrna Beach cops. Unless you can get a "public information officer" to respond to your calls during "regular daytime hours," you're out of luck.

In my case, a 9-year-old girl died Saturday from burns she received in a shed fire Friday night at 304 Conrad Drive in New Smyrna Beach. I called the Volusia County Sheriff's dispatch just before midnight when I saw a story posted in the Daytona Beach News-Journal quoting two New Smyrna Beach officials Monday, saying the child had died. When I made my call to the Sheriff's Office, I was told by a dispatcher the patrol sergeant would not take my call and the dispatcher relayed a message from the NSB sergeant that I would have to call the "PIO" during normal business hours. Keep in mind: A little girl is dead. And I have to call the next day?

Sally GilliesBob TolleyNEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Political bloggers Sally Gillies and Bob Tolley have stepped up to the plate by agreeing to serve as hosts for Saturday's 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. political debates sponsored by Headline Surfer at the Brannon Center. These debates will be videotaped and posted on

The public is welcomed to attend and encouraged to participate in eight separate debates during the day-long program.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Headline Surfer will hold its first daylong series of debates Saturday at New Smyrna Beach's Brannon Center on Riverside Drive. So what separates our debates from other media offerings? Citizens are welcomed and even encouraged to ask candidates questions directly. The debates will be videotaped and produced for viewing on

Mark ZuckerbergNEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Facebook's governing laws are no different from the liberal Washington bureaucrats who put a stranglehold on the small business owner with over-regulation and self-righteous piety over how we should govern ourselves and interact with others.

I believe I have one of the strongest, if not the top collection of Facebook contacts in Volusia County, public or private. So what's my beef?

SANFORD -- In the 2001 Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt crashed on turn 4 of the final lap. Days later, I was pressed into action, as his widow sued to stop the press from accessing his autopsy photos, a fight she eventually won. The next year, I was among the select few reporters to witness the execution of Aileen Wuornos, namely because greater Daytona was her stomping ground.

Fast forward a decade later and the coming of age of the electronic media and two back-to-back mega court cases: Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman.