110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Barbara Button Shepherd
COPY EDITOR AND PROOFREADER
Originally from New York City, Keith’s family moved to Daytona Park Estates in 1963. Keith came to The Beacon in the autumn of 1996, having been friends for years with Jeff Shepherd, and Jeff's wife, Beacon co-founder Barb Shepherd. Keith had honed his proofreading and copy-editing skills while working with Jeff Shepherd on a newsletter for the Northwest Volusia County Democratic Club, which Keith and Jeff helped found.
Few drafts can escape the marks that flow from Keith's blue proofreading pen, but his slashes and corrections are almost always given with a smile. He saves the paper, at least once an issue, from committing some sort of embarrassing or grievous error.
When not leaping tall buildings in a single bound, he works with his church, Four Towns Community Church in Deltona, listens to music and attends concerts, and travels to see the sights of Florida. He is involved with the Democratic Club of Northwest Volusia County, the Sierra Club, and the NAACP.
Keith's favorite punctuation mark is the hyphen, but colons and semicolons are tied for second.
He was married in October 2006 to Kitty Foster; they reside in DeLeon Springs.
Joe Crews is a respected, award-winning journalist who got his start in radio news in a number of markets in Florida and Alabama before making the transition to print in the mid-1990s.
A resident of DeLand since June 1991, Joe likes to read newspapers and magazines, which has given him broad knowledge of many subjects.
He’s also an avid Florida State Seminoles football fan. Go ’Noles!
Fleeing snow, sleet and other things related to the nasty stuff known as cold, Debbie came to West Volusia in March 2007.
Fresh from New York, she immediately joined The Beacon team. Debbie has more than 20 years' experience as a graphic artist with The Post-Star newspaper in New York, and she worked part time at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts for two years.
She and husband Paul are adapting to the more temperate climate, and adjusting to the Floridian notion that it is obscene for the temperature gauge to drop below 60 after February. In her former neck of the woods, it was still snowing in March. The adjustment is going well. Very well, indeed, and she is enjoying both the people of West Volusia, and the subtropical weather.
Debbie and Paul have three grown children, Kevin, Julie and Matt, and Debbie's parents live in Bunnell.
Aside from her expertise in the graphic arts, Debbie loves to craft, quilt and sew, and she enjoys NASCAR.
Go, Dale Earnhardt Jr.!
Having left the hectic pace of the restaurant industry in 1998 to help her husband, Denis, with his aerial-photography business, Vicki asked about volunteering with The Beacon to hone her skills while she was earning a graphics-design degree.
Vicki already had a business-administration degree from Florida State University under her belt. Once she came to work at The Beacon, her skills in both management and graphic design were obvious, and she ended up with a job, instead of an internship. Currently, she manages The Beacon's Web site.
Vicki's managerial experience, gained while working for Chart House restaurants in Florida and California, has made her a valuable addition to the growing Beacon operation. Her myriad capabilities include being a talented photographer and culinary artist. In 2006, she took on the mammoth project of managing a redesign of the newspaper’s Web site.
Although Vicki and Denis chose the west side of Volusia County to live, she loves the ocean and tries to make it to the coast or the Keys whenever she can. Her husband and their son, Quinn, are her mainstays.
Margie was raised in Miami Beach after her family moved there from New York when she was 2. Margie has covered the state of Florida since then; in 1978, she moved to DeLand from Tallahassee after graduating from Florida State University.
She has a master's degree in community mental-health counseling, and retired after 12 years in the substance-abuse treatment field. Having worked at the DeLand Sun News during the 1980s, she came to The Beacon in 2002 in search of a second career, and she found it.
Margie helps keep the wayward reporters in line, and she keeps the entire newsroom on a steady track, doing proofing, customer service, photo processing and some writing.
Her caring attitude toward the community and those around her helps her understand the importance of community issues, which is more than evident in her work and in her contributions to The Beacon's content.
Her concern for her DeLand and West Volusia neighbors gives The Beacon an edge on the larger newspapers of the area.
Born in Virginia, Al Everson spent his youth in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, before returning to Tennessee.
Al first moved to DeLand in 1969, and stayed until he graduated from Stetson University in 1971. He returned to West Volusia in 1985 and began working for The Beacon as a stringer in 1999, contributing articles on county and municipal government.
When Al left his job at Radio Station WXVQ, where he had been the one-man news department for more than 12 years, he began working at The Beacon full time.
He is The Beacon's main government reporter, and also covers the City of Deltona. Al's extensive knowledge of the Volusia County administration allows him to get to the bottom of every government story. He covers meetings of all types, sizes and subjects throughout the county, and gives readers the most fair and accurate information possible.
When not trekking across the county in search of the perfect story, Al enjoys running and reading. The son of a career Army man, Al's discipline and courage to tackle the tough stories make him a wonderful gear in The Beacon's news-reporting machine.
When Jan first agreed to try advertising sales with The Beacon, she said she would try it for 30 days. More than a decade later, her 30 days are still not up. Jan's hard work and dedication to her accounts have earned her what she calls "the best award of all."
Jan, who served as president of the DeLand Kiwanis Club in 2006 and annually chairs the Bed Race to benefit Community Outreach Services, has kept many of the same customers for almost 20 years, an amazing feat for any specialty. Her commitment to her customers — past, present and future — make Jan one of the best at her job.
Jan, who lives in DeLand with her three cats, has one son, Scott.
Michael is an award-winning graphic artist on The Beacon staff. He is constantly sought by customers for his eye-catching advertisements, and by Beacon staff members for his uncanny ability to fix all things wrong with everyone's computer.
Michael is from Seminole, in Pinellas County, “not to be confused with Seminole County.” He came to West Volusia in 1995 to attend Stetson University. Michael still has many more years of creative passions ahead of him; we hope, many of them spent at The Beacon.
He and his wife, wonderful Shannon, were married in 2006, and they welcomed a son in 2012.
When not working, Michael enjoys playing poker and video games, and taking his son to see the ducks in the park. The Jaeckles live in DeLand.
An Ohio native, Joann moved to Florida in 1966 and, not long after, went to work for the DeLand Sun News, where she had a long career as the newspaper's chief financial officer.
When The Beacon was started in 1992, Barb Button Shepherd and Eileen Burns Everett convinced Joann to come out of retirement to join the venture, and Joann's skills in accounting and finance have been a key to the newspaper's growth.
A founder, co-owner and business manager of The Beacon, Joann controls the money. As a pure "numbers" person, Joann keeps the lights on, the computers running and everyone happy on payday. Her business sense helps her manage all incoming and outgoing finances, as well as circulation and distribution issues.
Joann stays young by bowling, walking each night and the occasional round of golf. Her four children, Roy Jr., Robert, Jeannie and Joni, have given her 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
In addition to being the real mother of two staff members, Joann serves as staff Mom whenever Beaconites require sage wisdom.
Born in Xenia, Ohio, Joni moved to DeLand in 1966.
As special-publications manager, Joni handles every facet of the booklets and magazines that appear periodically inside the paper, negotiating with printers, assisting the sales team, designing advertisements, and assigning and editing stories. She also designs the front and jump pages of our Extra! edition. She has won a number of Florida Press Association awards for ad design, cover design, page design, and overall publication design.
Joni moved to DeLand in 1966 with her parents and siblings. Her career at The Beacon began when her mother, Beacon co-owner Joann Kramer, asked her to fill in for the vacationing proofreader in 1994. Since then, she's done nearly every job on the staff.
Joni has three children, Tara Noyes,Jessica Kramer, and Jacob Mitchell,one son-in-law, Paul Noyes, and one granddaughter, Taiden MacKenzie.
When not at work, Joni enjoys reading and crocheting (when she's not having fun with her first grandbaby!).
She lives in DeLand.
PHOTOGRAPHER AND ILLUSTRATOR
A DeLand resident, Marsha is frequently seen around town on her motorcycle, which was given to her by members of the community after her old motorbike was stolen. The community response was overwhelming after the theft, as those who have enjoyed Marsha's photography over the years, and been inspired by her dedication, sought to thank her for her cheerful hard work.
Marsha is a great contributor to The Beacon, and a very familiar face around West Volusia. She started with The Beacon by submitting illustrations, and soon she began taking pictures. If there is an event in West Volusia or its environs, Marsha will be there, making a photographic record for West Volusia’s history!
Tim Parsons is The Beacon’s multimedia assistant. He reviews the collections of photos and videos from staff photographers, and edits them for Web-viewing and purchase.
Parsons started as a Web intern from Florida Technical College in early 2013. He has since received his associate degree in Web and graphic design.
In his spare time, Tim enjoys filming and editing video and graphics for use with all media types.He’s an an avid gamer, from FPS (first person shooter) to adventure genres.
He lives in DeLand with fiancee Jacquelin Sardin. Parsons has two sons, Jason and Viktor.
Melodie Wilson Robinson
Melodie is the soft-spoken legal-advertising manager at The Beacon. Her ever-present smile and professional manner, as well as her accuracy and experience with this important type of advertising, give the legal community a wonderful liaison to Beacon readers.
Like Roger Gilmore and Beacon founders Barb Shepherd and Joann Kramer, Mel is a former staff member of the DeLand Sun News, where she went to work after arriving in DeLand in 1979.
When Joann and Barb started The Beacon in 1992, they asked Melodie to join them. She came on board, at first in circulation, later sharing her expertise as the one-woman legal department.
The Vermont native now calls DeLand home and plays the piano in her spare time. She also lends her musical skills to Calvary Baptist Church in DeLand and, as a notary, has even performed a couple of weddings.
Mel and her husband, Mark, have two daughters, Courtney and Lindsay.
Barb Button Shepherd
Barb is well-known as one of the founders of The Beacon. Barb and her husband, Beacon Columnist Jeff Shepherd, were both born in Kokomo, Ind., a factory town surrounded by cornfields about 50 miles north of Indianapolis.
In 1979, they set out on a road trip that would define their lives, and would end with their taking up residence in DeLand.
Married for 33 years, the Shepherds have two daughters, Anna, and her husband Joe, and Ella, and one grandson Harrisson Collins.
After working at the DeLand Sun News and the Orlando Sentinel 1979-92, Barb helped found The Beacon, with partners Joann Kramer and Eileen Everett.
She served as editor of The Beacon until earlier this year, when she was appointed publisher and CEO, fully responsible for the financial success of the business.
Also, since late 2004, Barb has been president of Conrad Realty Co., and manager of the company's historic property in Downtown DeLand, where The Beacon is an anchor tenant. Under Barb's management, the 1-acre property has been restored and returned to full tenancy. It is now home to 24 local businesses and the popular community-gathering spot Artisan Alley.
Her efforts to provide the people of West Volusia with the best community publication she can has resulted in recognition and civic awards, and has helped make her an icon for West Volusians.
Coni was born in Eustis, but spent most of her life in South Florida. After the death of her sister, Coni moved back to West Volusia to be closer to her remaining family. Coni applied at The Beacon for a job assisting the advertising-sales team and was hired, and now the account executives wouldn’t be without her.
Coni is always in motion, and constantly raising the bar for excellence in sales. She coordinates the efforts of the entire sales team with the rest of The Beacon staff, which is not always easy, even though she makes it look easy.
Staff members have learned spontaneous gifts of dark chocolate are 100-percent guaranteed to make Coni’s day, and therefore their days, even easier.
LEAD PAGE DESIGNER
Paula is originally from Racine, Wis. She came to West Volusia in 1983 and began her newspaper career at the DeLand Sun News. Paula has the distinction of being the first Beacon employee hired by founders Joann Kramer, Barb Shepherd and Eileen Burns Everett.
It wasn't her first time meeting Barb. The two met in Paula's hometown when they were 13. Barb and her family lived there for a year, and the two have been friends ever since.
Paula was The Beacon's sole graphic artist for six years, and moved on to create and manage the paper's first Web site. (She's an overachiever like that.)
She tried to escape, but as the saying about Florida goes, "Once the sand gets in your shoes, you'll always come back." She returned to the newspaper in 2003 and lends her skill and experience to page layout and creating each edition's map of the news and advertising placement, a job that puts her in the position of liaison between the sales and editorial departments, making sure those last-minute ads get into the paper and making sure the news team has enough space for its needs.
When she's not in the office she devotes time to her favorite hobby, aquariums. She currently has five aquariums in her house, including a 35-gallon tank, which a 3-year-old Oscar fish calls home. Her current project (which sounds fishy to us) includes a 300-gallon horse trough in her yard. The trough will not hydrate horses, though; it will be home to three Pacus, which are cousins to piranas. She has verified Pacus look a lot like the killer fish, have very large teeth and can grow to be 2 feet long.
Paula lives in DeLand with her husband and son, Tim and Jared Olson. Also living in DeLand are her sons Bobby and Ben Davidson. Paula's daughter, Emily, is on a great adventure; she lives in Beijing with her son, Riley, 15 months old, and Riley’s father, Michael McAllister. Their daughter, Bailey Elizabeth Rain McAllister, was born Nov. 20, 2013 in Beijing, but she was made in the USA.
Sammie is a managing partner and the manager of the sales department of The Beacon. The Phoenix native got her newspaper feet wet in North Carolina, where she eventually met her husband, David. David accepted a position at The Daytona Beach News-Journal, and Sammie continued her newspaper career there until joining The Beacon.
Sammie came to work for The Beacon as its advertising manager in August 2001. The newspaper had just merged with the Southwest Volusia REPORTER, and needed an advertising manager to oversee the expansion. The newspaper was immediately boosted to new heights of prosperity with her connections and business-growing talents.
As the advertising manager and publisher, Wiggins coordinates the advertising and sales team, maintains accounts, consults for design and content, and generates new ideas for special features.
She received the president’s award for the Childhood Cancer Foundation, and is a past president of the Southwest Chamber of Commerce president, among a long list of community involvements.
When not working, Wiggins enjoys flower-gardening, fishing, boating, photography and cooking. Her family includes sons Jonathan and Brooks Dickerson, daughter-in-law Patricia Dickerson, grandsons Sterling, Cameron and Jesse, parents Sam and Doris Johnson, brother Jay Johnson and his wife, Dana, niece Carrie, nephew Evan and stepdaughter Lesli Flippen. Sammie lives in Glenwood with her husband, David Wiggins.
Board of Directors
Another important part of The Beacon newspaper team is the board of directors. We're grateful to Jim Jordan, Calvin Ashley, Tommy Roberts, John Owens and Jeff Shepherd.