New Smyrna Beach


Photos by Henry Frederick and videos by Sera Frederick / The spotlight was on children at Saturday's "Family Spring Expo" at New Smyrna Beach's Riverside Park.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Children of all ages, from newborn to those on the cusp of 18, were welcomed and honored at the inaugural KC Society's "Family Spring Expo" at Riverside Park.


NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The weekly Observer newspaper has relocated its operations to the Edgewater home of Michele and Robert Wayne Lott since they were kicked out of their suite on Flagler Avenue after falling behind on the rent, their landlord told

The Lotts obtained a home occupation license in mid-April from Edgewater to operate the newspaper out of their Riverside Drive home, but have failed to seek a similar license from the county, which still shows them operating as a commercial business on Flagler Avenue.

Editor's Note: This story will be updated shortly.


Stan video by Sera Frederick / Volusia County School Board Chairman Stan Schmidt addressed the New Smyrna Beach Class of 2011 at Saturday's commencement at the Ocean Center. He was interviewed on camera after the graduation on stage by on a number of issues, including his impressions of the graduation, the school district's finances and dealing with budget shortfalls. 

DAYTONA  BEACH -- Volusia County School Board Chairman Stan Schmidt encouraged the graduating seniors of New Smyrna Beach High School to get involved in their communities and to vote. After the ceremony, he told he's worried about funding for schools after the next fiscal year because of uncertainty in government spending.


Video by Sera Frederick and photos by Henry Frederick / Volusia County Chairman Frank Bruno and his wife, Mary, attend Saturday's New Smyrna Beach High School graduation at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach in support of their niece, Ashley Thurman. The Brunos spoke with on camera immediately after the commencement.

DAYTONA BEACH -- Volusia County Council Chairman Frank Bruno has advice for the New Smyrna Beach High School Class of 2011: "Education is the key.


New Smyrna Beach High School Principal James video by multimedia editor Sera Frederick / Principal James Tager celebrates his first year at helm of 400-member graduating class after four years at middle school as principal. Tager led Saturday's commencement at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach where he sent 400 seniors into the real world as young adults.

DAYTONA BEACH -- James Tager may be a rookie principal at New Smyrna Beach High School, but he already knew many of the 400 graduates from their four years together at the middle school where he was also principal. spoke with Tager immediately after Saturday's graduation at the Ocean Center attended by more than 4,000 parents, extended family members and friends.


NSBHS Valedictorian Ericka video by multimedia editor Sera FrederickClass Valedictorian Ericka Kirkpatrick addresses her classmates at Saturday's graduation at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. The full text of her address is attached.

DAYTONA BEACH -- Valedictorian Ericka Kirkpatrick reminded her 399 classmates they came into the world two decades ago with the birth of the Internet. With its growth, they too can grow and make a difference in the lives of so many.


2011 NSB High School Salutatorian Drew video by multimedia editor Sera Frederick / Salutatorian Drew Walker addresses his classmates during the graduation ceremony Saturday at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. A copy of his speech is attached. 

DAYTONA BEACH -- Nice guys don't always finish last. Sometimes they finish second. Such is the case with Salutatorian Drew Walker who encouraged his classmates to endure as they face the realities of a 21st-century world with an entrenched economy where those planning to attend college will have to deal with higher tuition rates and decreasing financial aid.


Video by multimedia editor Sera Frederick / Class President Imran Lufi addresses his classmates at Saturday's graduation at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. The full text of his address is attached.

Imran LufiDAYTONA BEACH -- New Smyrna Beach High Senior Class President Imran Lufi missed out on Homecoming where he was named king because of appendicitis. There was no way he'd miss the chance Saturday to say a final farewell to his 399 classmates at the 2011 graduation ceremony at the Ocean Center.


Courtesy video NASA / The space shuttle Endeavor lifts of from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral this morning, the second-to-last launch for NASA's manned space flights with the shuttle vehicles. Below, residents and tourists in New Smyrna Beach take to the beach by the hundreds to watch Endeavor's final flight as shown in this courtesy photo by Catharine Roberts Hoehn. 

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Like several thousand locals and visitors alike, Catharine Roberts Hoehn watched the historic liftoff of the space shuttle Endeavor on its final mission into space and NASSA's second-to last-launch of manned flights. At least for the forseeable future.

"All I can think of is who's responsible?" Hoehn said after watching the liftoff from the Flagler Avenue Beach approach. "When I was growing up, it was instilled in us about America vs. the Russians in the Space Race. I feel like all the other countries will get a jump on us now."


New Smyrna Beach High SchoolNew Smyrna Beach High School senior class prank
Photos by Jeanette DiCara / Just how this sign -- an apparent senior class prank -- was able to be posted so high off the ground remains a mystery.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- As I drove two of my daughters to New Smyrna Beach High School on Monday, May 9, I saw a sign on the building: "FOR SALE." I thought, "Ha! That's a good one."

It was carefully tied 20 feet above the ground. I laughed when I saw that the 2011 senior class took credit for it. Of course, this is the school prank of 2011 that seniors traditionally leave behind.

Jim Tager, principal of the high school said he doesn't know who did it. He's glad this year's prank was not anything destructive. His biggest worry was how high off the ground it was placed by someone.

It would seem that a cherry picker type of vehicle would have done it because of the slope on the roof below it and the height of the rope tied, but I don't think the school should focus on who did it.

My daughters saw rubber ducks in the school's pond one recent year. As long as no one is hurt and there is no property damage I think this is a fun way to have the school administration, students and teachers to remember each unique group of graduates.