Top Story of 2016 for Daytona, Sanford & Orlando metro area to be unveiled on New Year's

Top 10 Stories of 2016: Donald Trump holds massive rally in Sanford, Fla / Headline Surfer®Crowd for Donald Trump in Sanford, FL / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer / Above, scenes from the aftermath of the June 12 Pulse gay nightclub massacre by a lone gunman in Orlando. At left, Republican nominee Donald Trump clenches his fists to supporters at an Oct. 25 rally upon exiting his plane at Orlando-Sanford International Airport in Sanford, Florida, to the delight of 10,000-plus supporters.
Henry Frederick, publisher and award-winning journalist / Headline Surfer®By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer
People, Places & Things

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- What was the top story of 2016 in the greater Daytona Beach, Sanford and Orlando region? 

There certainly is no shortage of choices.

• How about the terrorism-related massacre shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12, the worst terrorist act on American soil since 9/11 with 49 people killed and 53 others wounded. Several of the fallen victims were from Deltona. The massacre put the focus on terrorism and the rights of the LGBT community. In a 9-1-1 call shortly after the shooting began, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, a security guard, swore allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and said the shooting was "triggered" by the US killing of Abu Waheeb in Iraq the previous month. Mateen was ultimately killed by Orlando police, but not before the carnage that was unleashed on the patrons inside.

* The 2016 election cycle was particularly nasty at all levels of government, though none more polarizing than the race for the White House that ultimately came down to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Both candidates made visits to Daytona Beach and Sanford. 

Marco Rubio wins re-ewlection to US Senate / Headline Surfer®John Mica out and Stephanie Murphy in with Nov elections / Headline SurferMarco Rubio is returning to the US Senate, but John Mica is not returning to Congress after he was upset by newcomer Stephanie Murphy in the November elections.

• How about the other federal elections? Marco Rubio ran back to his US Senate seat after his failed bid for the presidency (Little Marco label given to him by Donald Trump) and created a domino effect where candidates like Congressman Ron DeSantis was forced to retreat to his old seat (in a new district) and stalwart John Mica was bounced by a political newcomer, Democrat Stephanie Murphy in her quest for Congress. 

Lisa Lewis / Headline SurferMike Chitwood easily wins race for sheriff/ Headline Surfer®Derrick Henry wins re-election as mayor of Daytona / Headline Surfer®Lisa Lewis, Mike Chitwood and Derrick Henry were all big winners in the 2016 primary. Lewis, then-acting supervisor of elections defeated three opponents. Chitwood easily bested four challengers for sheriff and Derrick Henry easily won re-election as mayor of Daytona Beach over three other opponents.
• In Volusia County, the primary was good to then-acting Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis, Sheriff's candidate Mike Chitwood and Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry, all of whom won their primary races outright and avoided runoffs in November. Lewis won by the highest percentage over her opponents. She was the acting supervisor at the time, given the top post by Gov. Rick Scott last spring when Ann McFall retired. Chitwood won handily in his quest for Sheriff with Chief Deputy Eric Dietrich finishing a distant second among Chitwood's four opponents.
Top 10 Stories of 2016: Big 3 of Hope Place Homeless Families facility / Headline SurferThe Big 3 of Hope Place: Mark Geallis of Halifax Urban Ministries, Forough Hosseini of ICI Homes and Jim Dinnen, county manager.

• How about the issue of homelessness in Volusia County, especially Daytona Beach? While the trio of business entrepreneur Forough Hosseini, Halifax Urban Ministries Director Mark Geallis and County Manager Jim Dinneen led a successful campaign for the unanimous County Council passage of Hope Place, converting a former elementary school into a facility for homeless families and unaccompanied teens, the issue of how to help the chronic homeless population was stalled by politics and the controversy has not ended.

Denny Hamlin wins the Daytona 500 / Headline Surfer®Jimmie Johnson wins his 7th NASCAR championship, tying Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt / Headline Surfer®Denny Hamlin just gets by Martin Truex, Jr.,  win the 2016 Daytona 500, the closest margin of victory in the history of the great American race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach back in February. And not to be outdone, Jimmie Johnson won his record-tying seventh NASCAR racing championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway last month, tying all-time greats Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

• How about the year NASCAR had, especially at thew two International Speedway Corp. tracks, Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach and Homestead-Miami Speedway? It was at Daytona, that Denny Hamlin won the closest Daytona 500 in history over Martin Truex, Jr. And if that weren't enough speed for you, Jimmie Johnson accomplished a record-tying fat with his seventh NASCAR championship, equalling the feat accomplished only twice before by two legends -- "The King" Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Ed Kelley and County Chair Jason Davis debate / Headline SurferBillie Wheeler at county council debate with moderator Henry Frederick  / Headline SurferAlWilliams and Heather Post debate uissues for county council seat, moderated by Henry Frederick / Headline SurferHeadline Surfer photos / These snapshots from the only general election vcandidate debates forthree seatson the Volusia County Council: Shown far left: Ormond Beach Mayor vs incumbent Jason Davis of Pierson for the county chairmanship won by Kelley; in the center, Billie Wheeler of Daytona Beach Shores goes it alone when Willie J. Kimmons of Daytona Beach is a no-show, with Wheeler winning the county council district 2 seat; and Al Williams of Ormond Beach vs. Heather Post of Daytona Beach for the district 1 seat on the County Council, won by Post.The moderator the exclusive debates was Headline Surfer Pubblisher Henry Frederick, shown in the latter two images.

• How about the battle for the three open seats on the Volusia County Council? Certainly there was no lacking of drama with Ormond Beach Mayor Ed Kelley crushing first-term incumbent chair Jason Davis by 75,000 votes in the Nov. 8 elections. Daytona Beach Shores' Billie Wheeler easily got by Daytona Beach's Willie J. Kimmons, amid allegations of rape, even after the charges were dismissed when there was a hearing the day after the election in which he agreed to stay away from the woman who accused him of raping her. And there was a near-record amount of campaign money spent in the race won by former Sheriff's deputy Heather Post over WNDB morning radio personality Al Smith, the latter candidate backed heavily by J. Hyatt Brown.

State Rep.-elect Patrick Henry shown with cops investigating pistol-whipping of his son / Headline Surfer®State Rep-elect Patrick Henry, D-Daytona Beach, answers questions in front of his residence about the pistol-whipping of his 22-year-old son by an armed man who shot several rounds in his direction. 

• Daytona Beach again had the distinction of being one of the most violent crime-ridden cities, not only in Florida, but in the U.S with highlighted by nine homicides this year, on top of the double-digit homicides (10), the tourism-driven city experienced in 2015, the most in Police Chief Mike Chitwood's decade-long run as top cop in Daytona. The violence was punctuated by the pistol-whipping last month of State Rep.-elect Patrick Henry's 22-year-old son, Patrick Henry, Jr., who refused to cooperate with cops in the investigation.

Top 10 of 2016 Cherica Brown and her 2 little kids were murdered by her husband & childrens' father, Henry Brown in Sanford, FL / Headline Surfer®Cherica Brown, 31, is shown with her two children, Aleah and Henry IV, before they were killed by Henry Brown, estranged husband and father of the two little ones.

• There was the slaughter of an entire family in Seminole County by a Casselberry man back in February, who, in the course of one night, ran over his wife outside a Lake Mary restaurant, engaged deputies in a gun battle at the hospital in Sanford in an attempt to finish her off (she died any way) before fleeing in a pick-up truck with their two small kids, killing both of them before turning the gun on himself.

Top 10 Story of 2016: Clinton Johnson removed as mayor of DeBary, FL / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer / Clint Johnson, former mayor of DeBary, is shown here.

• And how about the inquest in DeBary, where his elected colleagues voted to in August to remove Mayor Clint Johnson from office on allegations he violated the city's charter?

One of these 10 news events described above is the Headline Surfer Story of the Year for 2016, and will be unveiled when the clock strikes midnight to the year 2017. In the meantime, enjoy the Headline Surfer countdown of the Top 100 Stories of 2016 over the next several days. The award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet also will unveil its choices for Politician of the Year, Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, Top Cop of the Year and Newsmaker of the Year.





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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.