The Daytona Times staff chose the top 10 of the hundreds of stories our newspaper staff reviewed, covered or wrote this year. Factors considered include newsworthiness, local relevance, uniqueness, and emotional impact.
1. B-CU president resigns
Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed, Bethune-Cookman University’s first woman president since the founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, resigns after seven and a half years as the university’s leader.
Reed’s resignation this year followed a tumultuous 2011, as indicated in a nine-part investigative series published from June through September in the Florida Courier, the sister newspaper of the Daytona Times. The series detailed how B-CU was slapped with 13 state and federal lawsuits and administrative complaints, including legal actions filed by longtime professors.
She also faced criticism from some Midtown residents for not being more engaged in the community. She submitted her resignation in January and left in May after presiding over the university’s graduation exercises.
“During her tenure, Bethune-Cookman achieved university status with the launch of its first master’s degree program in transformative leadership, earned its highest enrollment in history, graduated its largest class on record, received an ‘A’ bond rating and improved its physical plant by building several new buildings on campus, which were fully paid for without debt to the university,” said the statement about her retirement.
“When Reed arrived at Bethune-Cookman, the endowment was $28 million and has increased to $43 million today. Additionally, the university has received seven accreditations in approximately 18 months, including reaffirmation of accreditation with no recommendations for improvement from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.’’
Dr. Edison Jackson, former president of Medgar Evers College in New York, was chosen by B-CU’s Board of Trustees to take over for Reed as interim president. He began May 13.
2. Henry elected mayor
Thousands marched to Daytona City Island Library during early voting the last two weeks before the Nov. 6 general election. Black churches marched on Sunday during a “Souls to the Poll” rally. Nearly 2,000 BCU students marched the next day to vote.
Blacks registered to vote in record numbers and turned out to the polls in record numbers to help elect Derrick Henry as Daytona Beach’s first Black male mayor.
Henry defeated Zone 1 City Commissioner Edith Shelley in a runoff. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University employee Paula Reed defeated B-CU employee Cathy Washington to succeed outgoing Zone 6 Commissioner Cassandra Reynolds.
3. Daytonans support Martin family
Hundreds of Daytonans traveled to Sanford on March 22 for a rally attended by an estimated 15,000 from around the country to support the family of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was killed by neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman.
The Rev. Al Sharpton and other national figures were present during the march in Sanford.
Hundreds of area residents, B-CU students and members of Occupy Daytona marched on Daytona Beach City Hall the same month upset that Zimmerman had not been arrested at the time.
4. Local shootings
While the nation continues to be rocked by shootings that took place this month in Newtown, Conn., and other places around the country, the first week in December saw two murders take place in Daytona Beach. On Dec. 1, 23-year-old Rayshard Mitchell was shot on Verdell Street. About a mile away on South Keech Street, Lesley Bouie was shot in the chest just before 5 a.m. on Dec. 11 allegedly defending his sister against an intruder. Also this year, there was a shooting at Derbyshire Park between Stephan Shroshire, 20, and Ocean Maddox, 18.
Another incident occurred Oct. 5 at the Tropical Gourmet Jamaican Restaurant when Adrian Rodriquez was injured – this time a stabbing.
5. Midtown center opens
Midtown Cultural and Educational Center opened May 29 to replace Cypress Street Recreation Center, most affectionately for a decade called “The Rec.’’
Hundreds attended the grand opening of the $4.5 million dollar facility, which features a music room, dance studio, art room, computer lab, new T.R. Faircloth gym and industrial kitchen. Ground also broke for the Yvonne Scarlett Golden Cultural and Education Center, which is set to open February 2013.
Volusia County School Board Chairman Dr. Al Williams dies unexpectedly on Oct. 1, about a month after being re-elected to another term on the board. He had been a school board member since 2004.
The community and B-CU mourned the passing of longtime Athletic Director Lloyd “Tank” Johnson on May 20. Others who died in 2012: Educator Minnie McCrary, funeral home owner Theresa Gainous, business owner Keturah Thompson, educator and business owner Edith Payne, Deacon Bobby Burch Sr., nurse Marguerite Laws Jordan; restaurant owner Mae Sheppard, B-CU employee Reola Robinson, and the Rev. Tommie Robinson, associate pastor at Greater Friendship Baptist Church.
7. Orange Avenue overhaul
City officials find $19 millions dollars to finally overhaul Orange Avenue in Midtown with plans to eventually find funds to redo Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
8. New Housing Authority head
Anthony Woods agrees in February to be the new Daytona Beach Housing Authority executive director replacing Pete Gamble, who officially retired Dec. 31 after 13 years in the position.
9. B-CU opens center
Larry Handfield Athletic Center opens on International Speedway Boulevard. City also approves construction of training field behind the center with construction expected to be completed in 2013.
10. Montford Marines honored
Dr. James Huger, Eli Graham, John Steele, all of Daytona Beach, along with Robert Blanks of Orange City and Wilfred Carr and James Sharpe of Flagler County were honored as Montfort Point Marines. The area residents were invited to Washington, D.C., in June to receive Congressional medals at a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on June 27.
Other notable events
• Daytona Beach was chosen as the site of Florida’s NAACP convention, which focused on 2012 elections and featured speeches by the Rev. Nelson Rivers, Leon Russell, and author political pundit Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.
• Reggie Williams retires as Circuit 7 Administrator for the Department of Children and family in February after holding the job since 2006. He previously worked for Volusia County as community services director. Williams was replaced by Arnold Anderson, who is also Black. Anderson had served as the director of program services at Carolina Youth Development Center in Charleston S.C.
• James Green, father of Daytona Beach City Commissioner Cassandra Reynolds was recognized in Tallahassee as one of the “The Magnificent 12” Black college presidents.
• The Rise Above Retail Squadron Traveling Exhibit landed at Daisy Stocking Park this summer with Tuskegee Airman Hiram E. Mann, Charles “Doc” Holiday and Daniel Keel as guests.
• Daytona Times Senior Writer James Harper was chosen to attend the International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. the last week in July. The conference, which attracted 20,000 people from around the world, shined the spotlight on the disease in America for the first time in 20 years after a ban was lifted by President Barack Obama that allowed foreigners with the disease to travel to the U.S.