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NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- After snapping a photo of the seven unused cigarettes swirling down the toilet, Southeast Volusia County resident Deborah Keyser smiled to herself and went to bed a quitter.

Ending a lifelong smoking habit was not as instantaneous as flushing a toilet, but was a hard-fought battle Keyser won with the help of a free smoking cessation program at Bert Fish Medical Center. After years of nagging from her family, repeated advice from her doctor, and even personal concerns about the rising cost of cigarettes, Keyser decided to confront her smoking addiction.

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Editor's note: The following story was submitted by contributing writer Dale Smith:

Photos by Dale Smith

Edgewater Fire Chief stands next to a fire truck that barely fits in the bay of Station 55 on Ridgewood Avenue. A vote Monday by the City Council paves the way for a modern station.

EDGEWATER -- After learning there would be no extension for a federal grant to build a new fire station, the Edgewater City Council on Monday night gave the go-ahead to spend just over $2 million to tear down existing Station 55 on Ridgewood Avenue and replace it with a 21st century 6,000-square-foot facility.

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DEBARY -- A precautionary boil-water notice is in effect for 33 homes on Jasmine and Bougainvillea drives and Lupine and Larkspur lanes in DeBary.

Utilities crews shut off water today to make repairs on a three-inch water main break. Residents are advised to bring tap water to a rolling boil for one minute before using it for drinking, cooking or ice-making. It is not necessary to boil water for showering or other external uses.

Notices were placed on the doors of affected homes Monday.

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EDGEWATER -- In 2003, Edgewater Fire-Rescue, in conjunction with Edgewater Fire-Rescue Association, began to expand the Operation Caring program, said Jill Danigel, Edgewater Fire-Rescue captain and spokeswoman.

For many years, both organizations had been active in providing food and toys to children and families during the holiday season through the Operation Santa program.

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A personals ad in the Pennysaver led to the murder of 34-year-old Danielle Santangelo whose throat-slashed body was found Wednesday, two days after she was reported missing. Willie Hicks, 32, the convicted drug felon charged with first-degree murder, is responsible for her slaying after responding to the ad, authorities charge. The charging affidavit is attached.

DELAND -- Throat-slashing victim Danielle Santangelo is not the first Volusia County woman to be murdered after placing an ad in the Pennysaver, a weekly shopper circulated by the same entity that owns the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

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Video by Multimedia Editor Sera Frederick. The Run for the Fallen 5K walk/run in New Smyrna Beach will be held at 10 this morning from Riverside Park and across the South Causeway to the North Causeway and back to the park. The effort is led by Danielle Oldham, shown at left, who also organized the last run two years ago. Check out our exclusive video coverage from that last run.

Here is a description of event,  dedicated to our fallen soldiers from the "Iraqi Freedom War."  as written by Oldham on her Facebook page:

  • Every mile that is walked or ran is in rememberance of the brave men and woman who have served our country with courage and pride.
  • The run will start out with a 21-Gun Salute, TAPS, The National Anthem, and a prayer.
  • Each individual is encouraged to walk or run the South Causeway Bridge, down Peninsula Avenue, over North Causeway Bridge and to meet back at Riverside Park for food and refreshments.
  • Donations are not required, but are certainly accepted for the "Wounded Warrior Project." Hope to see our community come together to support this event.

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Willie Hicks, of DeLand, a 32-year-old convicted drug felon, is jailed on a first-degree murder charge in the throat-slashing death of Danielle Santangelo, 34, of Port Orange, whose body was found late Wednesday in her car in a wooded area near DeLand.

DELAND -- Danielle Santangelo, the murdered Port Orange woman whose body was found Wednesday in a wooded area near DeLand with her throat slashed had gone to see her killer after he apparently answered her personals ad in the Pennysaver, A Volusia County Sheriff's official said tonight.

The accused killer, 32-year-old Willie Hicks of DeLand, a convicted drug felon who has been in and out of prison, is charged with first-degree murder in the 34-year-old woman's slaying.

The investigation so far has revealed that Santangelo had placed an ad in the Pennysaver newspaper advertising herself as a 'girlfriend next door,'" Sheriff's spokesman Brandon Haught said. "Hicks responded to the ad a day or two before she was reported missing; however, it's not known exactly what day they first talked on the phone. It's believed they met in person for the first time on Monday."

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DELAND -- The Volusia County Sheriff's Office has made an arrest in the death of missing Port Orange woman Danielle Santangelo. Willie Hicks, 32, of DeLand, a convicted drug felon, was arrested late Wednesday night and charged with first-degree murder.

The 34-year-old woman was reported missing to the Port Orange Police Department Monday. Through their investigation, Port Orange investigators discovered the car Santangelo was last seen with -- a red 2007 Chrysler Sebring -- in a wooded area off of Darchelle Court and Cherry Street just south of DeLand at about 3:50 p.m. Wednesday.

A body of a woman was found inside and was later identified as Santangelo by means of a tattoo and her driver license photo.

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Editor's note: The following story was submitted by contributing writer Dale Smith:

Photo by Dale Smith

The United Church of Christ, 203 Washington St., New Smyrna Beach, is making preparations for the opening of the Community Farmers Market on the church grounds.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The New Smyrna Beach Farmers Market will have new competition Saturday morning, and each Saturday morning thereafter, when the United Church of Christ begins its own Community Farmers Market on the church grounds.

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DELAND -- The body of a woman found inside a car just Wednesday afternoon south of DeLand is likely that of a Port Orange woman reported missing two days earlier when she drove off from her home in her mother's car, local authorities said.

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