West Volusia Beacon

West Volusia Beacon

At The West Volusia Beacon, a weekly newspaper based in DeLand, FL, I primarily wrote news, features and long-form stories. 


West Volusia Beacon

I worked for several summers at the West Volusia Beacon, doing everything needed to get a weekly newspaper running. I primarily wrote stories and laid out pages for the twice-weekly newspaper. I learned how to take a story and focus it for a hyper-local audience, as well as how to find and choose the stories worth telling in a small community. Beyond writing and page design, I helped post stories online and handle social media; I created video content for the website; I helped the circulation department and designed ads occasionally. I learned everything I could from The Beacon about making a publication work.

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'Doomed from the start'

Domestic violence a frequent, often hidden problem

DeLand resident Jeffrey S. Crivelli was indicted June 24 on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Brandy Johnson.

Johnson, 33, was found dead June 10 in the DeLand apartment at Lyn Gardens she and Crivelli shared. Crivelli, her ex-boyfriend, was found later on June 10 in Georgia with Johnson’s car, and he confessed to killing her, according to the DeLand Police Department.

Since the two were roommates, if Crivelli is convicted, the death will be recorded in crime statistics as “domestic violence.”


One step behind

Volusia County has high rate of toddler drownings, and numbers may not tell the whole story

Kaleb Hanscom was almost 3.

“He was the most amazing child ever,” Kaleb’s mom, Tiffany Hanscom, said.

“He was 2 years old and could spell words for you, could sing his ABCs, could count to 30,” said Kaleb’s aunt Heather Coco. “He was so smart.”

“My son had a mind of his own,” Hanscom said.

On Labor Day, three months before his birthday, Kaleb drowned in a swimming pool in Deltona.


Florida tries to curb high pedestrian fatalities

On June 3, a pedestrian crossing Woodland Boulevard in DeLand was struck by a car, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Unfortunately, it’s not all that uncommon.

Florida has the fifth-highest pedestrian-fatality rate in the United States, according to recent research by the Florida Department of Transportation. Between 2003 and 2012, a total of 1,075 pedestrians — people — died in traffic crashes.