Top 100 Local Stories of 2014
MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Mary Horton, 13, of West Melbourne, spelled her way into the finals of the National Spelling Bee on May 29, in National Harbor, Md., but she finished in a tie for fifth and when all was said and done, among the top 12 contestants overall after flubbing the word "aetites."
Still, though, the Orlando metro newspaper's shining example of smartness showed she could stand up to the pressures of the national spotlight with the spelling bee carried in prime time on ESPN with zany video vignettes of the participants, including Horton showcasing her tiger-striped painted fingernails and her photos of family members, plants and cats.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The 50-year-old Main Street drawbridge in Daytona, was finally opened reopened mid-afternoon Nov. 5 after being closed for 1 1/2 weeks due to repairs.
Thankfully, it didn't have to be closed earlier in October when the four-day fall motortycle rally, Biketoberfest, was in full swing.
31. Regan Smith wins 2014 Nationwide race at Daytona; Dale Earnhardt Jr owns up to crash at end of race
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Regan Smith got the bump-drafting help he needed from Trevor Bayne and beat Brad Keselowski to the finish line by .013 seconds to win February's season-opening NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo was ruled out "indefinitely" after suffering a facial fracture during practice Oct. 23, 2014, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced.
Oladipo, 22, who was evaluated that afternoon after taking an inadvertent elbow to the face during a practice drill, underwent a corrective surgical procedure.
Oladipo made his return from injury on Nov. 14, wearing a facial protection mask as he made his season debut against the Milwaukee Bucks. In 25 minutes off the bench, he recorded 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in a 101–85 win.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Bob Garrigues was a leading businessman in New Smyrna Beach for decades, before he passed away on July 18, 2014, at the age of 82.
Born and raised in the Baltimore, Maryland area, Bob served in the Army during the Korean Conflict then graduated from Towson State University. He started a staff leasing company in the 1990s but spent most of his career in insurance.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Bikers have come to Daytona Beach for decades hoping to see someone riding in on that one-of-a-kind motorcycle truly stands out in the crowd. The head turner.
And there's no better representation than that of the red, white & blue: The Captain America chopper from the 1969 counter-culture hippie biker movie, "Easy Rider," starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson.
38. FDLE: 400-pound Bunnell cop arrested on charges of posing as teen girl on Facebook to hook up with boys
BUNNELL, Fla. -- Michael Gerard Stavris II, a sergeant with the Bunnell police force who stands 6 foot 3 and weighs in excess of 400 pounds, was arrested on child solicitation charges March 25, 2014, allegedly passing himself of as a provacative under-age teen gal on Facebook to try and hook up with teen boys.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement charged the 30-year-old Palm Coast resident with two counts of computer pornography and child exploitation and one count of criminal use of personal identification information.
Acting on a tip, in December of 2013, FDLE agents began investigating allegations in December 2013, and soon thereafter gathered evidence they claim showed Stavris created a fraudulent Facebook account posing as a teenage girl.
39. Weekend in August not fun for 400 beach goers stung by jellyfish in Daytona, New Smyrna, Ponce Inlet
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Some 400 swimmers were stung by jellyfish over the weekend of Aug 23-24 at the World's Most Famous Beach in Daytona and extending south to Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna Beach.
Fortunately, lifeguards had plenty of vinegar on hand to treat the stings. The stings occurred both Saturday and Sunday according to the Volusia County Lifeguard Corps, which flew purple and yellow "pest" flags to warn swimmers about the presence of jellyfish in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Jellyfish deliver an uncomfortable sting through tiny venomous barbs on their tentacles. The sting often causes burning, itching and swelling around the site of the injury, according to the Mayo Clinic medical website.