Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 3

CBA Volunteer Opportunity
Volunteers are needed to help the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of NWFSC with oyster reef construction on Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The construction will take place behind the Marina Cove Townhomes on Marina Cove Drive, in Niceville. Wear clothes and close-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty and wet. Bring a towel, sunscreen, snacks, a water bottle, and a hat. CBA will provide water and gloves. You will be unloading bagged oyster shell and helping to place the bagged shell in the water at a reef site. Please RSVP to Rachel Gwin at gwinr@nwfsc.edu.

Sinfonia Gulf Coast to perform 'Brothers in Arts' 
History and music create a cultural crescendo on Nov. 1, as Sinfonia Gulf Coast presents the US premiere of "Brothers in Arts: 70 Years of Liberty," a piece created by acclaimed composers Chris Brubeck and Guillaume Saint-James to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The performance will take place at the Emerald Coast Convention Center at 7:30 p.m. It is the first concert of Sinfonia's ninth season, titled Seeing is Believing. Presenting Sponsor for the season is Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Presenting Concerts Sponsor is LaFlorida Real Estate. Tickets may be purchased as part of a season package or individually starting at $29.50 at SinfoniaGulfCoast.org or (850) 269-7129.

Marine Science Students Discover Local Environment
The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Walton High School, Northwest Florida State College, AmeriCorps, and Eden Gardens State Park, will spark environmental interest in students by hosting a field trip to learn about the local environment. The field trip, a collaboration between the marine science teachers of Walton High School and CBA, will offer students a chance to get out in the field with professionals in one of the most inviting natural areas in Walton County, Eden Gardens State Park. For more information, please contact Brandy Foley at (870) 200-4163 or foleyb@nwfsc.edu

Flutterby Children’s Arts Festival Issues Call to Artists
The Cultural Arts Alliance calls for artists to apply for the Flutterby Children’s Arts Festival, now through Oct. 27. Applications are online at culturalartsalliance.com with a fee of $150, which includes a 10x10 exhibition space. This year’s festival will include a local “celebrity” dunking booth, paint-your-own butterfly wings, butterfly bushes with Master Naturalist Snookie Parrish, a science area, food vendors, live music, numerous children’s activities, and a chance to win exciting custom raffle prizes. Admission to the festival is free and open to the public, although some activities within the festival may require a fee. New this year, festival-goers wanting to experience Flutterby in groups may reserve tables with seating for up to 10 people. The fee is $50 per table, per hour. This opportunity offers the perfect space for painting butterfly wings with friends, group gatherings, playdates, and parties. Reservations may be made by e-mailingjennifersmith@culturalartsalliance.com by Oct. 31. The festival takes place on Nov. 8 – 9, in Rosemary Beach.

Warren Averett Recognizes National Estate Planning Awareness Week
Warren Averett, LLC, will recognize National Estate Planning Week, Oct. 20 – 26, 2014. Estate planning is one of the most overlooked areas of personal financial management due to the following contributing factors:
• It is estimated that more than 120 million Americans do not have an up-to-date estate plan to protect themselves and their families in the event of sickness, accidents or untimely death. 
• The majority of Americans over 65 are totally dependent on Social Security.
• Many people mistakenly believe that since they are not "rich" they do not need a comprehensive financial and estate plan.
• The majority of Americans are unlikely to plan adequately for their retirement without professional assistance.

To learn more about the firm, visit WarrenAverett.com

United Way’s Jeans Day Brings in More Than $1,400 
On Sept. 26, 266 people donated $5 to the United Way Annual Campaign and participated in its Jeans Day. Participating businesses included North Crestview Coastal Bank and Trust, Lisa Jo Spence, PA, Embassy Suites, Big Brother Big Sisters, Gulf Power, Warren Averett, BBVA Compass Bank, First City Bank, Crossroads Animal Clinic, Trustmark National Bank, FWB Chamber, Regions, Accounting with CJW, The Law Offices of Megan Blancho, and Wells Fargo. In total, $1,416 was raised for the 2014 Annual Campaign. For more information, visit United-Way.org

Tax Collector Saves Citizens More Money
The Okaloosa County Tax Collector’s Office saved County Motorists more than $258,000 when it removed the motor vehicle registration’s 2-year renewal option earlier this year. On April 4, 2014, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that would lower the cost of most vehicle registrations by up to $25 per year. While this was great news, it would not go into effect until Sept. 1. This prompted Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson to be the first Tax Collector to remove the biennial (2-year renewal) option from vehicle renewals through August in an effort to prevent motorists from electing the 2nd year option at the higher rate. During those months, more than 11,500 registrations, which historically would have been renewed for two years, were saved the extra expense for the second year registration. For details, visit OkaloosaTax.com.

Okaloosa Arts Alliance Announces Board of Directors for 2014-15
The Okaloosa Arts Alliance (OAA) announces its new Board of Directors for 2014-2015. The Executive Board of Directors is comprised of President Keri Woods, Pyramid Inc.; Vice President Ken Hair, Children in Crisis, Inc.; Treasurer Susan Kneller, Chair of the OAA Grants Committee; and Secretary Becky Belcher, Arts & Design Society. Members of the board are Nellie Bogar, Youth Village; Demetrius Fuller, Sinfonia Gulf Coast; Ursel Behnken, German Club; Delores Merrill, Mattie Kelly Arts Center of NWFSC and NWFL Symphony Guild; Chris Manson, The Beachcomber; Jean Starkey, Stage Crafters; Gayle Vann, Chair of the Events Committee; Bill Head, Chair of Volunteer Committee; Ann Abell, The Painting Vine; James K Baughman, Sr., Author; Pat Federinko, Artist; and Bill Johnston, Emerald Coast Pipes & Drums. Pictured are Nancy Kruzek, Ursel Behnken, Pat Federinko, Bill Head, Becky Belcher, Keri Woods, Susan Kneller, and Jim Baughman. For more information, visit OkaloosaArts.org.

Children in Crisis Golf Classic Raises $40K 
The Sugar Sands Charity Golf Classic benefiting Children in Crisis raised more than $40,000 to provide homes to local foster children. The tournament was held at Kelly Plantation, and more than 100 golfers from all around the panhandle came to enjoy the event. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president & CEO, (right) presents the winning prize to Eddie Rivera, representing the winning team. For details, visitChildrenInCrisisFL.org.

United Way Awarded Boeing Grant to Assist with Career Training and Employment Needs
The Boeing Company has awarded a grant to the United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties to assist with a program focusing on “Success to Stability.” The objective of the grant funds will support United Way agencies in three key focus areas, (1) increasing enrollment in and completion of degree, certification, and training programs, (2) providing access to family-sustaining employment in targeted industries and (3) providing support to help individuals retain employment and advance their careers. Seen here are Ronda Davenport, United Way VP of Campaign & Marketing; Angelika Guenther and Henry Sanders, The Boeing Company; and Martha Miller, Chair of United Way Board of Directors. For details, visit United-Way.org.

Summer Work and Travel Community Forum on Nov. 6
Others of Destin, the J-1 Outreach Team in Destin, will be hosting a SWT (Summer Work and Travel) Community Forum on Thursday, Nov. 6, from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., at the Destin Life Center in Destin United Methodist Church. The objective of this forum is to collaborate with key participants to develop a support system for welcoming, informing, safeguarding, and providing a quality cultural exchange program for international students who visit and work in our area on J-1 visas. For details and registration, please contact Terri McCollum at tmccollum@bntinc.net by Friday, Oct. 31. 

Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast is “Flocking for a Cure”
A flock of pink flamingos will be roosting on the front lawn of Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast during the last two weeks of October. The flamingos are available for “adoption” for a small fee to help raise awareness of breast cancer and to raise funds to support breast-cancer care on the Emerald Coast. “Adoption fees” are $10 for one and $25 for three flamingos. For more information, call the Gift Shop at (850) 278-3032. Proceeds of the “Flocking for a Cure” project go to the Sacred Heart Foundation and will benefit breast cancer care on the Emerald Coast.

The Other End Beergarden Celebrates Grand Opening with $25K Donation
During The Other End Beergarden’s grand opening on Oct. 2, The Other End owner Joe Campbell donated $25K to the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge from the Bill and Dianne Campbell Charitable Trust, formed by Campbell in memory of his parents, Bill and Dianne, who were longtime Destin residents. Seen here are Amanda Sutton, Joe Campbell, Matthew McGee, Gary Redden, Susan Levine, Rick Ricketts, and Jerry Melvin. For details about The Other End, which offers a unique atmosphere for guests to enjoy craft beers, wine, and pub-style cuisine, visit Facebook.com/TheOtherEndBeerGarden.

FWB HS Students Lead the Way to Mary Esther Tobacco Resolution
The Mary Esther City Council is urging tobacco retailers to stop the sale and marketing of flavored tobacco products. On Oct. 6, it made its position official by passing Resolution 2014-05. The resolution was presented by students from the Fort Walton Beach High School chapter of Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) during the Sept. 15 City Workshop. Students Itzel Rea and Jordan Thomas addressed Council members about the trends in tobacco use among adolescents and the role played by the marketing of flavored tobacco products to youth consumers. For further information about SWAT, visit floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/young-adults/tobacco-free-florida/index.html.

14th Annual Best of the Emerald Coast Celebration Showcases Winning Businesses
Emerald Coast Magazine and the Junior League of the Emerald Coast have been busy preparing for the 2014 Best of the Emerald Coast event. The 2014 winners, as voted by the readers of Emerald Coast Magazine, will be on display at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 6 - 9 p.m. to showcase their goods and services. The event is open to the public. Admission is $30 per person for advance tickets and $40 the day of the event. Only 125 VIP tickets will be sold in advance and exclusively online at emeraldcoastmagazine.com or jlec.org. For details, call (850) 269-7234 or followFacebook.com/BestoftheEmeraldCoast

Duck Regatta Raises Community Support for Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast 
The 4th Annual Duck Regatta made a huge splash during the family-fun event at Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin Beach and Golf Resort on Oct. 11. A total of 3,000 ducks raced across the lagoon toward the finish line. The $5,000 lucky duck was adopted by Dr. Mike O’Donnell, DMD, on behalf of his daughters, Haley and Megan. As the rest of the flock made it across the finish line, nine other duck “adopters” won prizes, including a paddle board, airline tickets, iPads and dinner packages. The popular community event benefits Sacred Heart Hospital on Emerald Coast Volunteer Guild. For more information, visit EmeraldCoastDuckRegatta.com andFacebook.com/EmeraldCoastDuckRegatta. Joe Johnston (far right) SHHEC Volunteer Guild Fundraising Chair, presents Drs. Lan & Mike O’Donnell, center, and members of their family, with a check for $5,000. Also pictured is Carol Miller (far left) who sold the winning duck to Dr. O'Donnell.

Bolton Joins World Impact Real Estate
Gena Bolton is a full-time, full-service realtor at World Impact Real Estate. She has been married for 30 years, and her son currently serves in the Navy. She is an active member of her church and this community. As a 30A, Sandestin, and Destin specialist, Bolton is 100 percent dedicated to helping her clients find their dream homes or sell their existing properties. Call her at (251) 366-0423, email Gena@SoWal30A.com, or visit SoWal30A.com.

BancorpSouth Announces Third Quarter 2014 Earnings
BancorpSouth, Inc., announced financial results for the quarter and nine months, ending Sept. 30, 2014. Highlights include net income of $28.8M, net operating income of $30.8M, progress toward remediating Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money-laundering compliance weaknesses, generated net loan growth of $198.9M, net interest margin increased to 3.62 percent from 3.59 percent, meaningful growth in several non-interest revenue sources, and non-performing loans and leases declined $4.7M, while non-performing assets decreased $17.3M. For more information about BancorpSouth, contact the local branch of BancorpSouth Bank at (850) 269-4300 or visit BancorpSouth.com.

BBB® Warns of Award Scam Targeting Local Businesses
The Better Business Bureau serving Northwest Florida is warning businesses about the US Institute for Advancement of Trade and Commerce (USIATC), an organization claiming local businesses are recipients of a “Florida Excellence Award” and offering an opportunity to buy one or more awards to mark the honor. An email advises the business that further details on the selection process can be viewed at www.USIATC.org and includes a reference code and a press release that was produced for the occasion. The business then has an option to purchase the press release and the award with packages ranging from $97 to $588. “From what we can find, this is a money-making scheme and the award does not have any actual merit,” said Norman Wright, president and CEO of BBB serving Northwest Florida. “If you are approached about receiving a business award, research the opportunity carefully and be cautious if asked to pay money.” For additional information and advice you can trust as a business owner, start with bbb.org.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Local Chambers: The Rodney Dangerfields of History?

The post below is courtesy of Chris Mead, senior vice president of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and author of The Magicians of Main Street: America and its Chambers of Commerce, 1768-1945.

At this time of election campaigns, many local chambers of commerce make news via candidate forums, endorsements, and more. But after the first Tuesday in November, the silence returns. The U.S., however, would be almost unrecognizable if the million acts of 7,000 local chambers could somehow be removed from its past. Here are a few reasons why we’ve forgotten what chambers have done and continue to do:
  1. They tend to avoid taking credit. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”
  2. They don’t have overt power and so they must share credit for accomplishments with those who  have the final say, even if the project was the chamber’s idea. This inability to control the whole thing makes poor news copy. “The chamber was 40 percent responsible for the new convention center” is a headline none of us will ever see.
  3. Individuals, not groups, capture our attention. Do we think about the 600,000 shivering French troops outside Moscow, or the short, charismatic man responsible for it, with his hand inside his vest?
  4. Chambers, by design, start things and spin them off. Many festivals, transportation projects, and civic improvements began at chambers but went on to be managed by other groups. Years later, we forget where it all started.
  5. “Rich boy makes good” or “rich boy does good” makes boring copy. Yet most chamber members aren’t rich. And sometimes these individuals, rich or poor, put their heads together and change their communities in fascinating ways.
  6. The business of business people is business. Entrepreneurs are lionized for the way they line their wallets. We don’t usually think of their other lives, in which they may eclipse their business achievements.
  7. “It was inevitable.” Of course if you put influential people in 7,000 cities and towns together, for a dozen or more times a year for 10, or 50 or 200 years, something’s going to happen. But the real question is, why do some chambers hit it out of the park, while others hit themselves on the head – sometimes repeatedly?
  8. Government organizations and nonprofit groups have proliferated, frequently with the support of chambers of commerce. It’s not hard to get lost in these many-thicketed woods.
  9. Local chambers aren’t ideological. They often lean to the right on general economic and business issues, but when it comes to getting that bridge funded or a bond issue for a much-needed school, they can veer to the left faster than a speeding politician. Not being easily classified politically, chambers are not easily grasped by students of history.
  10. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1912, is often seen as the leader of local chambers; in some ways it is, but there is no hierarchy or unified governing body in the American chamber universe. Local chambers are not “chapters” under the national chamber. The U.S. Chamber, often involving the loose federation of local chambers, has played a major role in American history. And so, too, have thousands of local chambers, plugging away with on policy, politics, and place-making since the first one emerged in New York in 1768.
  11. Most chamber members are neither saints nor villains. They aren’t ashamed of profits but they want to help their community. Where’s the hot story in those intertwined goals?
  12. Chambers of commerce depend to a significant extent on something you can’t touch. What is the “Atlanta spirit” or the “Spirit of St. Louis”? While we’ve toned down the boosterism of a century ago, chambers of commerce still rely on bonds among individuals within the chamber, and within the community, to make things better than they are. Whether it’s a “rah-rah” spirit or a buttoned-down, urban, noblesse oblige-inspired caring for the community, it can be very real.
  13. Local chambers are “just local.” Where’s the sweep of history and the path of armies? Where’s the glamour of Main Street? What’s the glory in changing a street-sign ordinance? And yet, as Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.” Jerusalem, Florence, and Athens are local. From comparatively little places, big things can happen.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chamber's October Lunch Previewed November Elections

Thank you to Trustmark National Bank for its sponsorship of our Oct. 14 Leaders In Business Lunch! Marian Johnson, Senior VP of Political Strategy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, shared election data ahead of the November elections.

Click here to see more photos from the event.

Thank you to those donating door prizes, including the following:
- Destin Commons
- Destin Princess & Destiny - Party Boats
- Eglin Federal Credit Union
- Emerald Coast Chiropractic
- Gulf Power
- Junior League of the Emerald Coast
- Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation
- Regional Self Storage
- Trustmark National Bank

Join us on Nov. 14, for our next Leaders In Business Lunch Sponsored by Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. We'll recognize our Past Chairmen and Presidents, and our Military Affairs Council will present its annual Retired Military Person of the Year Award. Click here to register. (*Please note that this lunch is on a Wednesday, due to the Veteran's Day holiday.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 2

Destin Snowbirds Return to Roost
The Destin Snowbirds are returning and will reopen the roost with a ribbon cutting on Nov. 18, at 1 p.m., at the Destin Community Center. The Snowbirds are seeking door prizes for 21 meetings, held from November through mid-March. Donating sponsors, those giving gift certificates of $10 or more, are invited to attend meetings, set up a display, and provide samples. For details, visitDestinSnowbirds.org or email destinsbprizecommittee@gmail.com.

SOLARIS’ Full Moon Cruise Benefiting the Junior League
Cruise for a cause as SunQuest Cruises partners with the Junior League of the Emerald Coast for a Full Moon Cruise on the SOLARIS yacht on Friday, Nov. 7, from 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. The Junior League of the Emerald Coast is celebrating 50 years of making a difference in the community with a night of dining and dancing under the moonlight. Boarding on the SOLARIS yacht begins at 6:30 p.m., at Sandestin’s Baytowne Marina. The cost is $60 per person, which includes a three-hour cruise, food, and live entertainment. Prior reservations are required by purchasing tickets at jlec.org or calling (850) 269-7234.

Hilton Sandestin Announces Addition to Meeting Space & Spa Transformation
In October, the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa announced the addition of 7,500 square feet of exhibit and event space slated for debut in March 2015. This addition includes expansion to pre-function space, current restroom facilities, and permanent registration areas. The additional space will provide meeting planners more than 23,000 square feet of ballroom and event space on a single level with approximately 10,000 square feet of additional pre-function area to support the three rooms.

The award-winning Serenity by the sea Spa will also be receiving a complete overhaul. The spa will be expanded by 3,000 square feet providing more space for individual guests and groups in the women’s locker room, lounge facilities, and group relaxation area, as well as the salon for hair, makeup, and nails, with a total new area of 14,500 square feet. The complete transformation will also include an all-new fitness center offering 24-hour guest access and updated reception area, retail area, and new tile/paint accents throughout the spa.

For details, visit HiltonSandestinBeach.com or call (850) 267-9600.

Sacred Heart Guild Gift Shop to Host Holiday Sale Nov. 3 – 8
The spirit of the holidays will come alive in the main hallway of Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast as the hospital’s Volunteer Guild hosts its annual Holiday Extravaganza. The holiday sale will be open Monday, Nov. 3, to Friday, Nov. 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests of the extravaganza will enjoy special discounts. For more information, please call (850) 278-3032, visit SacredHeartEmerald.org, or Facebook.com/GuildGiftShop.
Museum Announces Winners of FALL Corn Hole Tournament 
On Oct. 4, the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida held its Fall Nighttime Corn Hole Tournament. More than 100 participants and spectators, young and old, attended the event with 26 teams competing in the Beginners and Masters divisions. First place winners of the beginners division (seen here) were Shannon Brinkley and Ryan Asbury. Other winners included masters first place “Two Ol’ Baggers” Russ Varieur and Bill Stolze, masters second place “Hole Patrol” Hunter Stelck and Matt O’Hair, and beginners second place Ashley and Ty Orvis. For details, visit Heritage-Museum.org.

'Savor The Season' Auction Items Due By October 23
If you would like to donate an auction item for the Taylor Haugen Foundation’s 5th Annual Savor The Season fundraiser at Alys Beach on Thursday, Nov. 6, the deadline for submitting your item is Oct. 23. Please contact the Taylor Haugen Foundation at thfdirector@taylorhaugen.org.

19th Annual Festival of the Arts
Enjoy a celebration of art, music, food, and fun on Oct. 25 – 26, at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village. The event includes more than 100 artists, children’s art activities, wine and beer garden, cuisine on the green, live music, collaborative art exhibit, and more. Volunteers are needed. Sign up for various shifts and enjoy the celebration of this two-day art and music festival. Contact Kathy Whidden, festival volunteer chair, atkathy@destinchiropractor.com.

Two Local Financial Institutions Name to Top 200 Healthiest Banks/Credit Unions
DepositAccounts.com just released its list of the Top 200 Healthiest Banks/Credit Unions in America. First Florida Bank and Eglin Federal Credit Union made the list. Both institutions stood out in all of the primary evaluation categories, including Texas Ratio, Deposit Growth, and Capitalization. Each year, DepositAccounts.com evaluates the financial health of every federally insured bank and credit union in the United States – more than 13,000 total. The full list may be found here:depositaccounts.com/banks/health.aspx#healthiest.

Boston Butts to Support Destin Rotary
The Rotary Club of Destin is selling pre-cooked smoked Boston Butts (pulled pork) for $40 to raise funds to help support the Rotary Interact Club at the Destin Middle School, its ongoing efforts to fight hunger in this community, support local youth programs, and other projects. Cooking will take place on Oct. 24 – 25, at Coyote Ugly. Butts will be available for pick- up/delivery after 10 a.m., on Oct. 25. For details, contactpat.dehlinger@gmail.com by Oct. 19.

Local Chefs to Compete in Destin Desserts to Benefit Girl Scouts 
Seven local chefs representing six businesses will vie for the title of Destin Desserts Champion at the 2015 Destin Desserts competition, to be held Friday, Jan. 30, at The Palms of Destin Resort and Conference Center. The Destin Desserts chefs’ competition showcases the best local chefs competing for the title of champion by creating original desserts using Girl Scout cookies as the main ingredient. All proceeds from the 2015 event will benefit the Girl Scout Council’s Camp Kolomoki. For details, visitgscfp.org/destindesserts.html.

St. Joe Community Foundation Sponsors Children In Crisis Golf Classic
The St. Joe Community Foundation was a premier sponsor for the Children in Crisis, Inc. (CIC), Sugar Sands Golf Classic, held this month. The foundation’s $5,000 grant to CIC will help assist children in Walton and Okaloosa counties that have been neglected or abused and are seeking shelter and assistance. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO receives the check from the foundation’s Janet Greeno (center). Also pictured is Allie Noah, CIC development director. For details, visit ChildrenInCrisisFL.org.

Twin Cities Hospital Donates to the American Heart Association
Twin Cities Hospital recently donated $3,300 to the American Heart Association, making them one of the top five fundraising companies participating in the 2014 Heart Walk. Employees of Twin Cities Hospital raised funds between May and September. Members of Twin Cities Hospital’s Heart Walk team presented a check to Inger Alderfer, regional director of the Okaloosa-Walton American Heart Association, in the days following the event. For more information, please visitTCHospital.com or call (850) 678-4131.

World Impact Welcomes Scott and Tammy White
Scott and Tammy White have been in the real estate industry for more than 22 years. Scott was a Broker in Atlanta, Ga., and both were sales agents in Georgia and Colorado before permanently relocating to Florida several years ago. They are extremely well versed in vacation homes, resort properties, and high-end single-family homes having bought, sold, and invested in like properties throughout the Southeast. On the Panhandle, Scott and Tammy have bought and sold homes from Santa Rosa Beach to Destin. Contact the Whites at (941) 702-0280 or (678) 591-4282.

Newman-Dailey Awards Top Producers for Third Quarter 2014
Sales Associates Jerry Bielawski and Diane Green were recently awarded as the Top Producers for Newman-Dailey’s Real Estate Division for the third quarter of 2014. Bielawski earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Central Michigan University and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from Michigan State University. Following a rewarding career with Dow Chemical in sales and marketing, he moved to Destin.

Green has 32 years of experience and currently holds a Broker’s license in the states of Florida and Georgia. Recognized as one of the top producing residential brokers since 1981,Green became a Life member of the Atlanta Board of Realtors Million Dollar club in 1997, a leader in the sales and marketing council's Million Dollar Club for 10 consistent years from 1995 on, and a top producer of Newman-Dailey Resort Properties in 2013.

For more sales information, call (800) 225-7652, (850) 837-1071 or visit online atDestinSales.com.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

Students Establish Salt Marsh Nurseries at Local Schools
The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College, in partnership with the AmeriCorps program, is implementing 20 Grasses in Classes Programs throughout Okaloosa and Walton counties. This is a hands-on, environmental education project that gives students a direct role in the restoration of Choctawhatchee Bay. On Oct. 1, CBA and AmeriCorps kicked off the 2014-2015 Grasses in Classes program by establishing saltmarsh nurseries with 3rd and 5th graders. Throughout October, students will participate in their first lesson, which includes the planting and establishment of the salt marsh nurseries at their individual schools. At the end of the year-long program, students will travel to a restoration site along the Choctawhatchee Bay to transplant their matured smooth cordgrass. For details, contact Brittany Tate at (850) 217-5382 or tateb@nwfsc.edu.
Destin Commons’ supports Breast Cancer AwarenessIn recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Destin Commons and its stores are showing their support by offering many ways one can support Breast Cancer Awareness with a portion of sales of jewelry, pins, clothing, sneakers, and other items going towards the cause. Some participating stores include Belk, Tervis, Apricot Lane, Boston Proper, Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill, and more. A list of all the store offerings is available at the Guest Services kiosk. Destin Commons is also a major sponsor of the local American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Shoppers may also purchase a pink ribbon pin for $5 at Destin Commons Guest Service Center, located across from AMC14, throughout October with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society. For additional information, call (850) 337-8700 or visit DestinCommons.com.

Professional Actor Auditions for “A Dickens Christmas”
Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) will hold auditions for its upcoming production of “A Dickens Christmas,” directed by ECTC’s Producing Artistic Director Nathanael Fisher. Auditions will be held Saturday, Oct. 18, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Production dates will be Dec. 11-21, 2014 in Destin and Sandestin, with rehearsals beginning in early November.

“A Dickens Christmas” is an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic “A Christmas Carol.” In this version, three actors will play multiple roles as they bring to life the tale of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformational night with the three ghosts. Please prepare a one-minute comedic monologue using a Standard British dialect. Actors may be asked to participate in improv games and cold readings. For details, visit EmeraldCoastTheatre.org. To schedule an audition, email ECTC’s audition coordinator at auditions@emeraldcoasttheatre.org (preferred) or call (850) 687-1637.

2014 GCOP Vendor Show
Enjoy free samples, prizes, entertainment, food, and more during Gulf Coast Office Products 2014 Vendor Show! The event is Thursday, Oct. 23, from 2 – 6 p.m., at its Main Showroom, located at 6020 Enterprise Dr., in Pensacola. The event is free, but registration is requested. Call (850) 434-5588 or email receptionist@gcop.com.

Food For Thought Receives $100K Contribution
Food for Thought is grateful to the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation for its contribution of $100,000. For more information, visit FoodForThoughtFL.org.

Kiwanis Club of Fort Walton Beach helps Children in Crisis
The Kiwanis Club of Fort Walton Beach recently presented Children in Crisis, Inc. (CIC), a donation of $1,200 to help feed, clothe, and care for the children living at the CIC Children’s Neighborhood. Seen here, Diane Keller, Kiwanis Club president, presents a check for $1,200 to Ken Hair, CIC president & CEO, assisted by Cindy Corsentino. To learn more about Children in Crisis call (850) 864-4242 or visit ChildrenInCrisisFL.org.

Local Realtor Named 2014 Realtor Magazine Good Neighbor 
Local realtor Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt was one of five named a 2014 Good Neighbor Award winner by Realtor Magazine. The award brings national recognition and a $10,000 grant to the winner’s charity. She was chosen for her unwavering support and dedication to the Children’s Volunteer Health Network, a faith-based non-profit organization she founded to help meet the medical, dental, mental, and vision needs of children throughout Okaloosa and Walton counties. She added her foundation was double-blessed because the Dugas Family Foundation Inc. had previously agreed to match any new funds earned this year, turning the $10,000 grant into $20,000. Carlisle-Northcutt, a realtor member of the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, will receive her crystal trophy Saturday, Nov. 8, during the 2014 National Association of Realtors Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

Up to $1K Off Destin Weddings
Reserve the SOLARIS for 3-hour private chartered evening wedding and/or reception and receive the 4th hour for free. You must book by Oct. 10. Call (850) 650-2519 or visit SunQuestCruises.com/Request-Information.

Call to Craft/Art Vendors: Yule of Yesteryear Christmas Celebration
The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida announces its “Call to Craft/Art Vendors” for the annual Yule of Yesteryear - Christmas Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 13, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. For an application and to reserve a 10x10 space, visit Heritage-Museum.org, call (850) 678-2615 or email info@heritage-museum.org.

Rock the Yacht this Halloween on the SOLARIS
After the kids enter a candy coma, it’s time for the adults to brew up some mischief on the SOLARIS “Rock the Yacht” Halloween Party Cruise on Friday, Oct. 31, from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Guests should come dressed in their best costume for a contest and bring their dancing shoes for live music by Cadillac Willy. The party begins at 9 p.m., as guests dressed in their Halloween best board the SOLARIS by the light of the eerie moon. The SOLARIS “Rock the Yacht” Halloween Cruise is $28.50 per person, which includes a three and a half hour cruise and live entertainment. Must be 21 years or older. Tickets are pre-sold only atSunQuestCruises.com or by calling (850) 650-2519.

2014 “Coats for Kids at Christmas…Share the Warmth”
It’s that time of the year for the United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties and their partners A & A Transfer & Storage, Bangkok Cleaners, The French Laundry, and Destin Cleaners to collect coats for the Annual Coat Drive… “Coats for Kids at Christmas…Share the Warmth.” Last year more than 2,000 coats were distributed to many families throughout the community and schools in Okaloosa and Walton counties. Drop off your coats from now until Nov. 7. For more information, including drop box locations, please visit United-Way.org/Coats.htm. For more information, please contact the United Way at (850) 243-0315.

Wyndham Vacation Rentals Voted "Best of the Emerald Coast”
Wyndham Vacation Rentals announced today that its ResortQuest brand was named the "Best Vacation Rental Company/Service Firm" on the Emerald Coast for the sixth year in a row by Emerald Coast Magazine readers. In addition, the company was also recognized as “Best Property Management Firm.” Each year, readers of Emerald Coast magazine cast votes for their favorite Northwest Florida businesses for the "Best of the Emerald Coast" awards. The results of this year's voting were recently published in the magazine's October/November issue. For more information about ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, call (888) 909-6807 or visit WyndhamVacationRentals.com/Vacation-Rentals/Florida/Northwest-Florida/.

BBB Partners to Combat Identity Theft
Your BBB, along with Gilmore Services, CatCountry 98.7 FM, and WEAR-TV3, are offering individuals an opportunity to shred their sensitive data on Friday, Nov. 14. This shredding event is free to the public and will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Cordova Mall in Pensacola and Santa Rosa Mall in Mary Esther. In addition to shredding, resources on how to protect your identity will be provided. For additional information on identity theft prevention and advice you can trust, start with BBB.org.

Shelter House Receives $20,000 Grant from the Mary Kay Foundation
Shelter House received a $20,000 grant from the Mary Kay Foundation as part of the organization’s annual Shelter Grant program to maintain critical services and programs. The Mary Kay Foundation awarded a total of $3 million in funding to 150 domestic violence shelters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam leading up to Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. The funds received from The Mary Kay Foundation will allow Shelter House to provide the comforts of home, such as pillows, linens, and food, to shelter residents. For more information, visit ShelterHouseNWFL.org.

McCaskill & Company Hosts Trunk Show
On the weekend of Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, McCaskill & Company will be hosting a Trunk Show with collections from Alex Sepkus, New York-based jewelry designer. Join us at McCaskill & Company for a weekend of beautifully handcrafted platinum and gold jewelry. For details, visit McCaskillAndCompany.com or call (850) 650-2262.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Florida Chamber’s Senior VP of Political Strategy Previews November Election During Chamber’s October Lunch

During the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Oct. 14Leaders In Business Lunch, Marian Johnson, Senior VP of Political Strategy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, will preview the November elections.

“The Florida Chamber’s polling is top-notch, some of the best we have access to. Marian always draws a big audience when she comes in.  You won’t find better information from anyone,” explained Chamber President and CEO Shane Moody, CCE, FCCP. 

The event, sponsored by Trustmark National Bank, will be held at Destin United Methodist Church, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.  Cost is $15 for those members who pre-register, $20 for members at the door, and $30 for non-members.  Members who register before 3 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 10, will be entered to win FREE website advertising on DestinChamber.com.

For more information about the Chamber’s monthly lunch or membership in the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce, please call (850) 837-6241 or visit DestinChamber.com.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 4

Art of Giving Raises Funds for Food for Thought
More than $48,000 was raised for Food for Thought, during the 2nd Art of Giving event. For details and event photos, click here. For more information about Food for Thought, visit FoodForThoughtfl.org.

Luminaria Run Benefits Shelter House
The 4th Annual Luminaria Run to End Domestic & Sexual Violence will light up the streets of Destin on Dec. 6, but you need to register now to take advantage of early bird pricing! The discounted registration ends Sept. 30. For details, click here.

Do You Have Cellulite?
Regatta Chiropractic and Laser Center offers verju by Erchonia, the world’s first and only FDA-cleared laser system to help with the appearance of cellulite. It reduces the appearance of cellulite by 25 – 50 percent in two weeks. It is clinically proven, safe and effective, with zero pain, zero surgery, and zero downtime. The introductory price is $495 for a 2-week cellulite package. For details, call (850) 424-7856 or visitDestinLipoLaser.com.

City of Destin Open House and 30th Anniversary Celebration
The City of Destin will host its Open House and 30th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, Oct. 23, from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., at the Destin Community Center. The public is invited and encouraged to join the mayor, council, staff, and community partners for a free luncheon, volunteer recognition, and presentation by the mayor. This annual event provides the city with the opportunity to show its residents, businesses, and visitors how much they are appreciated and also showcase the services, projects, and departments of the city. The city will also host a FREE Community Shred Day during the event. Residents and businesses can bring old documents to be shredded from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., at the Community Center. City staff will cook lunch for everyone. Lunch will be served buffet-style, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Remarks from the mayor and volunteer recognition will begin at noon. Council, staff, and city partners will be on hand to meet and talk with the public. If you have questions, please call City Hall at (850) 837-4242.
Twin Cities Hospital Auxiliary Installs New Officers
Twin Cities Hospital Auxiliary installed its 2014-2015 officers on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Congratulations to (from left to right) Wanda Stapleton, corresponding secretary; Caroleen Swanson, treasurer; Sue Evans, assistant treasurer; Pat Willoz, second vice president; Joanne Blues, first vice president; and Catherine Conroy, president. Carolyn Van Pelt, recording secretary, is not pictured. The Twin Cities Hospital Auxiliary is currently more than 70 members strong and is a vital part of the daily operations at Twin Cities Hospital. If you are interested in becoming an Auxilian, please call (850) 678-4131. For more information about Twin Cities Hospital, please visit TCHospital.com or call (850) 678-4131.

Acentria and Gateway Insurance Merger Finalized
Acentria, Inc. (Acentria), and Gateway Insurance Agency, L.C. (Gateway), have announced the completion of their joint venture to consolidate and join forces in the South Florida marketplace. Gateway, a cornerstone of the independent agent community, has been proudly serving Dade, Broward, and West Palm Beach communities since 1952. Acentria, with 10 Florida locations, is expanding into the southeast corridor of Florida with this strategic merger. The joint-venture now named Gateway-Acentria will continue to meet the needs of the community with locations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. For more information on Acentria Insurance, visit Acentria.com or call (850) 650-1950.

12 Northwest Florida Charities Receive $2.035 Million from Wine Auction Foundation 
Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation donated $2.035 million to 12 Northwest Florida children’s charities on Sept. 23, marking the Foundation’s largest charitable distribution to date. Some of those receiving funding, included the following:
- Children in Crisis received $200,000.
- Children’s Volunteer Health Network received $175,000. 
- The Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center received $150,000.
- Food for Thought received $100,000.
- Horizons of Okaloosa County received $235,000. 
- Opportunity Inc. received $100,000.
- Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast received $150,000. 
- Shelter House of Northwest Florida received $150,000. 

Local World Impact Realtor Fighting for Causes
Real estate professional Justin Myers with World Impact Real Estate is a diversified agent. At 15, he began mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting. Myers fought in seven matches and then began refereeing in 2005. He began his real estate career in 2009. He has been successful both in the ring and out. Myers has now partnered with Keith Wood and Paul Andres hosting “Caged 4 Combat,” which is sanctioned by A.L.F.A. (Association Licensed Fighters of America). These are live, ultimate amateur cage fights. The next event is being held at the Emerald Coast Convention Center on Friday, Oct. 3. Doors open at 6 p.m., and fights start at 7 p.m. 

Tax Collector Receives State Award for Excellence 
Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson earned a Legacy Award for excellence in the field of financial operations, from Florida Tax Collectors, Inc. This is the highest achievement that can be awarded to a local tax collector. A judging panel performed a detailed review of the Tax Collector’s financial records, practices, and use of technology in considering Anderson for the honor. For more information, visit OkaloosaTax.com.

Sacred Heart Guild to Host Fourth Annual Emerald Coast Duck Regatta on Oct. 11 
Do you have a duck in this race? Registration continues for the 4th annual Emerald Coast Duck Regatta benefiting the Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Guild. On Saturday, Oct. 11, approximately 4,000 ducks will begin their race across the Lagoon at the Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Prizes will be awarded to the owners of the first ducks to cross the finish line, including a $5,000 first-place prize! For details, visit EmeraldCoastDuckRegatta.com

“LeCiel” to become “Bayside at Sandestin”
Returning to its roots, the condominium building now known as “LeCiel” will be changing its brand identity name to “Bayside at Sandestin.” Previously known as the Bayside Inn since it was built in 1985, the building underwent a major renovation in 2012 and rebranded itself under as LeCiel, which means “the sky” in French, to portray its South Beach-esque styling. After much consideration with unit owners and management, the association felt the name didn’t reflect some of the building’s best attributes: being positioned directly on the shores of the Choctawhatchee Bay (literally the water is less than 10’ from the building!) and being located in the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, one of the premiere resorts in Northwest Florida. Most units are available for either short term or long term rentals through various local rental agencies, such as Sandestin ResortOcean Reef RentalsBeachview Vacation Rentals, Destin Memories, and Coastline Luxury Rentals.

Crash Gonzo’s Wedding
The Crash Gonzo's Wedding Benefit Concert & Charity Auction will be held on Oct. 25, at Club L.A. in Destin, to benefit the 1 Lap Ahead Foundation for the Prevention of Youth Suicide & The Emerald Coast Out of the Darkness Community Walk (A.F.S.P.). It will feature Neil Alday & Further South, Startisan, and the Helvetica Effect. Tickets are on sale at RockDestin.com for $10. With your ticket purchase, you will also receive a bidding package for the silent auction items up for purchase. The silent auction will feature unique autographed memorabilia from the biggest names in rock-n-roll music today. Items up for bid may be viewed at 1031theblaze.com. For more information, contact Gonzo at (850) 424-7991.

United Way’s 21st Annual Days of Caring a Monumental Success
“Real People. Real Results.” This has been the driving idea behind United Way of Okaloosa & Walton Counties’ 2014 campaign, and it certainly held true on Friday, Sept. 19, during the Destin/South Walton Day of Caring. More than 200 volunteers from the Destin/South Walton community donated their time and efforts to help 14 non-profit agencies with 16 projects ranging from painting and landscaping to interacting with clients to building a bench …all making an immediate and positive impact to the Destin/South Walton area. For more information, visit United-Way.org.

$25 Off Sunset & Dinner Cruises
Dine, dance, and cruise on the 125’ SOLARIS yacht, with three decks of indoor and outdoor fun, chef-prepared meals, and live entertainment. For a limited time, receive $25 off your experience. For details, click here.

Covenant Hospice Offers Free Evening Education Series 
Covenant Hospice will offer a free seminar for healthcare professionals, “Emergent Spiritual Care: The Power of Presence,” on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 5:15 p.m. at the Fort Walton Beach branch office, located at 220 Eglin Pkwy. N.E., in Mariner Plaza. A light meal will be served. Joshua Woods, MTS, Chaplain will present the course. Healthcare professionals can expect to learn how to define spirituality, spiritual need, spiritual care, and emergent spiritual care, as well as identify spiritual pain, the need for emergent spiritual care, and emergent spiritual care methodology and methods. There is no cost, but reservations are required by Thursday, Oct. 16. Call (850) 729-1800 to RSVP. For more information about Covenant Hospice, visitCovenantHospice.org.

More than $18,000 Raised for "All Kinds of Art"
Local celebrity servers rallied together last week at Bonefish Grill to bring awareness for arts education and raised more than $18,000 to fund Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation's "All Kinds of Art", an educational outreach program serving students and special needs children in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation would like to thank all of its servers an also to recognize Rhonda Murray, Top Celebrity Server raising nearly $1,700, and Greg Kisela as the Mad Hatter, for Best Costume. Become a "Friend of AKA" today by contacting Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation at (850) 650-2226 or donating directly online atMattieKellyArtsFoundation.org.

Destin Harvest Seeks Sponsors for its Mobile Billboards
Destin Harvest is a non-profit food rescue operation servicing Okaloosa and Walton County. Destin Harvest's fleet of refrigerated trucks pick up good nutritious food items from local retailers, restaurants, and wholesalers daily. The surplus foods rescued goes directly to more than 35 active feeding programs in Okaloosa and Walton County. Annual Sponsorship is an effective way for any business or organization to spend advertising dollars and support a growing organization that is effectively combating local hunger. 'Platinum' and 'Gold' sponsors will be recognized by having their logos placed with prime visibility on 'mobile billboards,' otherwise known as DH's delivery truck. For details, click here.

Free Seminar for Selling Your Business
Emerald Coast Business Brokers presents a free educational seminar to help you prepare your business to sell, determine the value of your business, and help you decide when you need a business broker. The seminar is Wednesday, Oct. 22. Light refreshments will be served from 5:30 – 6 p.m., and the seminar will take place from 6 – 6:30 p.m. Limited seating is available. The location is 4481 Legendary Dr., Ste. 101, in Destin. Email ghasley@ecbrokers.com or call (850) 424-7541 for details.