New Smyrna Beach nominates Dr. Arlen Stauffer for a countywide top citizen award; water taxis could be shipped out soon

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Photos and story submitted by contributing writer Dale Smith / Dr. Arlen Stauffer was chosen Tuesday night as New Smyrna Beach's nominee for countywide citizen of the year award. City Commissioner Jim Hathaway, shown in the smaller photo, ran the meeting in place of the mayor who was at a conference.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH - Dr. Arlen Stauffer, a physician and chairman of the NSB Balloon Fest, was chosen at tonight's City Commission meeting as New Smyrna Beach's nominee the Volusia Leaque of Cities' citizen of the year award.

Stauffer is physician director of inpatient services for Halifax Health-Hospice. The award recognizes a citizen that has exhibited outstanding civic involvement, commitment, leadership, public outreach and service to their community. Dr. Stauffer's nomination will be forwarded to the Volusia League of Cities for the Citizen of the Year award which will be presented later this month during the league's annual dinner.

City commissioners considered two other nominees before voting on Stauffer -- Skip Diegel, president of WSBB a230 AM Radio in New Smyrna Beach, and Adele Aletti, owner of Gone Bonkers on Flagler Avenue.

"This is a very difficult pick to make," Commissioner Jack Grasty said. "I'd rather go to the dentist, drawing snickers from the sparse audience.

Grasty and Commissioners Judy Reiker and Jim Hathaway endorsed Stauffer. Hathaway, the ceremonial  vice mayor, ran the meeting because Mayor Adam Barringer was in Washington, D.C., representing the city in a mayor's conference. Commissioner Lynne Plaskett was absent due to illness.

Stauffer, an avid pilot, is chairman of the 2011 New Smyrna Beach Balloon Fest and has served as chair the last two years. He has chaired the city's Airport Advisory Board for several years and recently served on the airport's Noise Abatement Committee. He serves on the mayor's Economic Development Advisory Board.

Well known in the community for his mission work, Stauffer has led medical teams to Central and South America over the years. He's also medical director for Missionary Ventures USA in Orlando.

In other City Commission news, City Manager Pam Brangaccio told commissioners that a contingent from Savannah, Ga., will be in New Smyrna Beach next week to inspect the two water taxis moored at the Marine Discovery Center's dock on the North Causeway. Brangaccio said Savannah officials have expressed interest in taking the passenger boats north and will decide following their inspection. T

The city closed down the water taxi service Aug. 1, when its partnership with the Marine Discovery Center ran out of money. The two boats have been docked ever since.

"The city won't be charged for any expenses, like transportation costs," Brangaccio said, should Savannah officials decide on accepting the boats.

Hathaway insisted the water taxis be in tip-top shape for inspection, even if it meant taking them out onto the river. "We will," Brangaccio responded. "The boats will be ready."

About the contributing writer:

Dale Smith is a resident of New Smyrna Beach, who has reported on local news in Volusia County since October 2009.  His writing background includes a mix of journalism and public relations in several community newspapers and a p.r. firm in northern Virginia. He attended Barton Academy in Barton, Vt., and the Cambridge (Mass.) School of Broadcasting for radio & TV broadcasting.

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