Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CMSAF James Binnicker Wins Retired Military Person of the Year


Destin Retired Military Person of the Year

CMSAF James C. Binnicker (right) was named Retired Military Person of the Year, during the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Nov. 12 Leaders In Business Lunch. The award was created by the Chamber’s Military Affairs Council (MAC) in 2008 to honor a veteran active in the Destin area. It was presented by its 2009 winner and the current MAC chairman, Kim Wintner (left), Alliance Association Management Co. Inc.

Binnicker was the ninth chief master sergeant appointed to the highest noncommissioned officer position in the Air Force. In the role, he served as an adviser to the Secretary of the Air Force Edward C. Aldridge Jr. and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Larry D. Welch. The military decorations and awards he received during his 33-year military career include the Distinguished Service Medal; Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster; Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars; Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm; and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Currently, Binnicker serves as the president and CEO of the Air Force Enlisted Village, Inc., a role he assumed in March 2000, and he oversees the operations of Teresa Village, Bob Hope Village, and Hawthorne House.

Past award winners include Jim Wood (2013), Joe Oder (2012), Ken Hair (2011), Frank Glunn (2010), Kim Wintner (2009), and Bill Head (2008). For more information on the Destin Area Retired Military Person of the Year Award or MAC, please call the Chamber at (850) 837-6241.

November 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 3

Hawthorn House to Hold Free, Confidential Memory Screenings on Nov. 18
As part of National Memory Screening Day—an annual initiative of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)—the Hawthorn House will offer free, confidential memory screenings on Nov. 18, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 1200 Hawthorn House Dr., Shalimar. The Hawthorn House is the Air Force Enlisted Village’s assisted living and memory care community located at Bob Hope Village. Please call (850) 609-0397 to schedule an appointment for a free confidential memory screening. The public is invited. For more information about National Memory Screening Day, call (866) 232-8484 or visit NationalMemoryScreening.org.

Sizzlin' and Smokin' at BBQ Festival 
Smoky, sweet, and savory BBQ filled HarborWalk Village on Saturday Nov. 8, for the 7th Annual Blues, Brews, and BBQ, which was attended by more than 2,500. Seven celebrity judges had the task of sampling every restaurants dish in a blind tasting, and the winners were as follows:
• Best Seafood BBQ – Lillie Q's BBQ
• Best Traditional BBQ – Buck's Smokehouse
• Most Creative BBQ – Joey's Italian Bar & Grill
• Best Booth – Buck's Smokehouse

People's Choice Awards went to the following competitors with a cash prize donated in their honor to the beneficiary of their choice:
• 3rd Place – Buck's Smokehouse selected St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for its $500 cash prize.
• 2nd Place – Crab Island Cantina selected the Salvation Army for its $750 cash prize.
• 1st Place – Harry T's Lighthouse selected the Destin History and Fishing Museum for its $1,000 cash prize.

Award Sponsor was Infinite Lasers LLC.

Destin Outdoor Christmas Decorating Contest
The City of Destin’s Holiday Committee will be forming soon to survey and select the best outdoor Christmas decorations for 2014. The categories and rules follow:
• Best Decorated Home: includes single homes, duplexes (best side), mobile homes, etc.
• Best Decorated Business: includes restaurants, shops, department stores, schools, professional offices, etc.
• Best Decorated Organization: includes entrances to homeowner associations, golf courses, etc.
• Best Overall Holiday: includes all homes, business and organizations throughout the city limits that go above and beyond.
• Best on the Harbor: includes homes on the harbor.
• Best Decorated Condominiums: includes entrances to condominiums and the property as a whole.

Judging will take place Dec. 1 – 15, only within the city limits of Destin. All decorations must remain up from Dec. 1-31. Winners will be announced Dec. 20, in the Destin Log and will be recognized by the mayor and city council at the Jan. 5, 2015, city council meeting. To suggest areas for the committee to view, call (850) 650-1241 or email recreation@cityofdestin.com.

Wyndham Vacation Rentals® Managed Property Honored with ConventionSouth Award
Wyndham Vacation Rentals announced that readers of ConventionSouth magazine awarded Tidewater Beach Resort as one of the “2014 Readers’ Choice Award” recipients. ConventionSouth magazine, a national multimedia resource for planning events that are held within the South, announced its “2014 Readers’ Choice Award” winners on Oct. 21. Tidewater Beach Resort, a ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals managed property, is among 175 convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), meeting facilities, and hotels located across the South to receive this year’s award.


Emerald Coast Theatre Company Presents “A Dickens Christmas”
Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) will present the first ever staging of “A Dickens Christmas,” directed by ECTC’s producing artistic director Nathanael Fisher at two different venues along the Northwest Florida Gulf coast. The performance schedule includes five performances in Destin at the Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Villagein the Veranda Room on Dec. 11, 13, and 21 at 7:30 p.m., and on Dec. 13 and 20 at 2 p.m. Four additional performances on Dec. 18, 19, and 20 at 7:30 p.m., and on Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. will be staged in Miramar Beach at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in the LeCiel Ballroom. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children 5 to 12. Not recommended for children under 5. To purchase tickets or make a tax-deductible donation, visit EmeraldCoastTheatre.org or call (850) 687-1637.

Celebrating 20 years of Thanksgiving Traditions at Harbor Docks
This is the 20th anniversary of Thanksgiving dinner with Harbor Docks and Habitat for Humanity. Okaloosa Habitat coordinates volunteers to act as wait staff to serve a complimentary traditional meal to locals and tourists at Harbor Docks in Destin. The annual Thanksgiving event has become a welcomed tradition to families along the Emerald Coast both as guests and volunteers. Guests are offered a complimentary meal and Habitat accepts “tips” as a donation to its mission. Last year, volunteers served more than 1,400 meals and brought in more than $20,000 in donations. Doors open on Thanksgiving at 11 a.m., with dinner being served until 7 p.m. A cash bar is available.

Shelter House to Host 4th Annual Luminaria Run
Shelter House will present a unique twilight run designed to shine the light on abuse in our community. The 4th Annual Luminaria Run to End Domestic & Sexual Violence will take place on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 4:30 p.m. Runners will start at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Destin and follow a course lined with more than 2,000 luminarias lighting their path. The race includes 5k and 9k courses winding throughout the Indian Bayou neighborhood. Children are encouraged to participate in the run, and walkers are welcome. This family-friendly event will have a “sweet finish” at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. featuring treats donated by Karaboo Bakery, s’mores, and hot cocoa, as well as Bubba Gump’s famous gumbo. To register and to find complete details, visit ShelterHouseNWFL.org or call (850) 243-1201.
ECAR Donates to Maude Saunders Elementary
The Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR) made its final stop on its recent donation spree Nov. 12, at Maude Saunders Elementary in DeFuniak Springs. When the ECAR representatives arrived, several students and the school’s PE coach joined them to accept the $875 donation to the school’s physical education program. Terry Pilcher, ECAR North Walton director, and Marsha Babe, Community and Military Outreach Committee member, were both on hand to greet the school’s staff and students and present the check.

Wang Obtains Certified Government Financial Manager Designation
Warren Averett, LLC, is pleased to announce Kevin Wang, CPA, CGFM®, has been granted the designation of Certified Government Financial Manager® (CGFM®). The Association of Government Accountants’ (AGA) CGFM® program was designed to meet the critical need for an increased emphasis on the professional qualifications and stature of government financial managers. The CGFM® designation recognizes the unique skills and special knowledge required in the areas of governmental accounting, auditing, financial reporting, internal controls, and budgeting at the federal, state and local levels. Wang is a supervisor in the Audit Division of the Fort Walton Beach office. His responsibilities include the review of entry and intermediate work and supervision of attest engagements. He specializes in single-audit engagements and focuses the majority of his time on nonprofit and governmental entities.

Boeing Employee Fund Helps Children in Crisis
The Fort Walton Beach Employee Community Fund of the Boeing Company has awarded a grant of $7,000 to Children In Crisis, Inc., (CIC) to purchase computer and educational equipment for at risk children living at the Children’s Neighborhood. The grant application was approved by the local community Boeing Employee Foundation. This is the 5th grant from the Foundation to help with CIC educational programs. Seen here, Laura Moore, CIC volunteer and events coordinator, receives a check for $7,000 from Hank Sanders, representing the Employee Community Fund of the Boeing Company.

Free Webinar: The Affordable Care Act - “Health Care Reform- 2015 and Beyond”
Landrum Human Resources is offering a free webinar, “Health Care Reform- 2015 and Beyond,” Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m. CST. The LIVE webinar will cover the key elements of the Affordable Care Act and discuss how this complex law will impact your business. Important employment law updates will also be presented, such as the impact of social media in the workforce and how employers can avoid liability. Ted Kirchharr, Landrum vice president and chief operating officer, will co-host the webinar with Amie Remington, Landrum general counsel, and Todd Torgersen, president, Combined Insurance Services, Inc. To take part, participants should go to LandrumHR.com/Webinar and register. For more information or to register by phone, please call (850) 266-6128. If you have a question you would like addressed by the panel, send toQuestions@LandrumHR.com.

Lifetime Sportsman’s License Fee Half Price for Limited Time
For hunters and fishermen ages 5 to 21, Christmas has come early! Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson says, “Just a few days ago, Governor Rick Scott signed an executive order authorizing the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to offer Lifetime Sportsman's Licenses for Florida children and young adults at a greatly reduced cost.” The license now costs up to $1,000, but from Nov. 24 – Dec. 31, the price will be reduced to $500 for Florida residents who are 5 to 21 years old. The lifetime license covers saltwater and freshwater recreational fishing, hunting, and most associated permits. Find out more atOkaloosaTax.com.

Blue Marlin Realty Group Continues to Expand
Blue Marlin Realty Group continues to grow its team with new realtors Matt Clark, Donna DePriest, Brittney Simonette, Mary Heafner Suthers, Amber Thomas, and broker’s associate Virginia Purser.

Newest Realtor Matt Clark was born and raised in the Destin area and received his Bachelors of Science degree from Florida State University. Clark’s past experience includes work in the construction industry, electrical contracting, and as an insurance adjuster after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Clark’s father was a developer and real estate agent and his mother is the sales office manager at a local firm. Coming from a family heavily involved with the industry, a career in real estate is a natural fit for Clark.


Realtor Donna DePriest moved to Destin last December. She graduated from East Central College in Union, Mo., in 1992 with honors and in 1994 was named Alumni of the Year. Having an array of past work experience, DePriest has worked in the transportation industry, social work, and most recently as a massage therapist. As an advocate for domestic violence awareness, Feline Friends of Destin, an active Destin Area Chamber of Commerce member, and most recently co-chair of membership committee with the Destin Woman's Club, DePriest enjoys meeting new people and making lasting connections.


Virginia Purser is the newest broker’s associate to join the Blue Marlin Realty Group. Born and raised in Mississippi, Purser moved to Houston, Texas, where she lived for 20 years and held her real estate sales license. Having moved to Destin in the late 90s, Purser has experience in accounting and management and had previously worked as broker of record and condominium association manager for a local condominium for 15 years.




Originally from Hot Springs, Ark., Brittney Simonette moved to our area after her husband, a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force, was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base. Although Simonette just recently became a resident of Florida’s Emerald Coast, she has been vacationing in the area since the age of 14 and has been bringing her children for several years. Simonette graduated from National Park Community College with her Associate's of Applied Science in Radiographic Technology and worked for seven years as an x-ray tech.


North Carolina native, Mary Heafner Suthers relocated to the Destin area in 2009. Having 20+ years in mortgage and consumer lending, Suthers has held her real estate license in North Carolina, California, and now Florida. In her new role as a sales licensee, Suthers will represent buyers and sellers in residential homes, commercial properties, and rental and vacation rental properties. When she is not working, Suthers enjoys being active in her church, singing, spoiling her dogs, and exercising on our beautiful emerald coast beaches.

Nicknamed Ambitious Amber, Amber Thomas has years of experience under her belt. Hailing from Ithaca, N.Y., Thomas moved to Florida at the age of seven. Thomas received her real estate license in 2001 and has worked for DR Horton and KB Home. In the downturn of 2008, Thomas left the real estate market to become an entrepreneur, opening four cupcake bakeries with a friend in Memphis, Tenn. Having most recently relocated from Memphis to Destin in August, Thomas has two daughters and a son and is happily married to her husband, James.

Lee Subaru Selects Covenant Hospice as “Hometown Charity”
On Thursday, Nov. 20, from 4 – 6 p.m., Lee Subaru and Cumulus Media will host a kick-off party for the 2014 Share the Love campaign, an annual national initiative of Subaru of America. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at Mango’s on the Bayou, 200 Eglin Parkway NE, in Fort Walton Beach. Share the Love allows each new Subaru owner who purchases or leases a Subaru during the campaign, which runs Nov. 20 – Jan. 2, to select a charity from a pre-determined list of non-profits with a national scope. That charity then receives a $250 donation from Subaru of America. This year, Lee Subaru of Fort Walton Beach has selected Covenant Hospice as its “Hometown Charity,” to be featured on the list of charitable organizations supported by Share the Love, giving new Subaru owners the option of selecting a local non-profit to benefit from the campaign. 

Want to Quit Smoking? Double Your Chances
The Great American Smokeout is Thursday, Nov. 20. The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa Countyand Tobacco Free Florida are encouraging tobacco users in Okaloosa County to quit on that day or to use the day to make a quit plan. Two local organizations are offering information and support to help with the planning. Niceville Urgent Care will be answering questions and giving support to those wanting to quit on Wednesday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., during its Oral Cancer Screenings event. A representative from AHEC will be present. The event will be held at 906 Palm Blvd S. in Niceville. On Thursday, Nov. 20, a Okaloosa County Tobacco Free Florida representative will be at the Crestview Urgent Care to answer any questions related to tobacco cessation. Crestview Urgent Care is located at 2400-A South Ferdon Boulevard in Crestview. For more information, please visit TobaccoFreeFlorida.com.

City of Destin to Receive $3.6 Million Stormwater Grant
The City of Destin was notified today that it will receive approximately $3.6 million in grant funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for stormwater improvements. City staff submitted the grant application this past summer with a goal to enhance, maintain, and restore the ecological integrity of Choctawhatchee Bay, Joe’s Bayou, Indian Bayou, and Destin Harbor through the accelerated implementation of the final six projects identified in the city’s 2004 Master Stormwater Management Plan. The implementation of these projects will result in greatly improved benthic (water bottom) habitat quality, increased biological diversity and productivity, and improved water quality to assist seagrass recovery in the bay. The proposed construction will also create trash/debris collection points, remove invasive species to protect the surrounding wetlands, and provide seagrass monitoring. Click here for more information.

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 2

ECAR Sponsors Golf Tournament to Benefit Emerald Coast Toys For Tots
In an effort to raise additional funds to help purchase toys for children in Okaloosa and Walton counties,Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR) is hosting a golf tournament Nov. 22, at Blackstone Golf Course in Mossy Head. All proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Emerald Coast Toys for Tots. Under the umbrella of ECAR, the Emerald Coast Toys for Tots was able to provide more than 12,000 toys for children last year in both counties. This year the association hopes to collect even more toys for the many children who call the Emerald Coast home. For more information about sponsoring or golfing, contactemeraldcoasttoysfortots@gmail.com. To learn more about Emerald Coast Toys for Tots toy drive, visitbit.ly/EmeraldCoastToysForTots.

WSRE to Broadcast Chloe Channell’s First Television Concert Nov. 13
Young entertainer Chloe Channell performed her first solo television concert recorded live before a studio audience at the WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio in August. WSRE has completed show production and will broadcast the premiere of “An Evening with Chloe Channell” on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 9 p.m. Channell has enjoyed a local following since she was seven years old and performed as a full-time member of The Sawmill Band at the Farmers’ Opry House in Chumuckla. Last year, she earned national fame at age 11 as a Season 8 finalist on “America’s Got Talent” and has maintained an eventful schedule of performances and career advancement ever since. Visit WSRE.org for channel and program information.

ECAR Donatees to Navarre School
Students at Holley Navarre Intermediate School spent Nov. 3 celebrating the arrival of some special visitors. More than 100 students crowded around to welcome the visitors, who were representatives of theEmerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR), carrying a check for $875. Jan Huyser, a Realtor and member of the ECAR’s Community and Military Outreach Committee, said he wished the Association could do more, but he hopes the school’s PE program will be able to accomplish some of its goals with the help of the donation.

Call to Art/Craft Vendor for Yule of Yesteryear Christmas Celebration
The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida announces its “Call to Art/Craft Vendors” for 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.
World Impact Real Estate Welcomes Lisa Mollitor
World Impact Real Estate’s Lisa Mollitor is no stranger when it comes to knowing the real estate world. She knows both sides of the closing table, since she is also a Florida title agent and registered paralegal. She currently serves on the Governing Board for the Women’s Council of Realtors-Emerald Coast Chapter as its newsletter editor. Mollitor has a Bachelor of Arts degree in medical administration from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala. In her spare time, she is a founding director of Alaqua Animal Refuge and a previous member of both National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and United Daughters of the Confederacy. You may reach her at (850) 622-0050.

Whole Foods Market Coming to Destin Commons
Last week, well-known organic and natural grocery chain Whole Foods Market announced it will open a new location at Destin Commons, the company’s first in Northwest Florida. Offering trendsetting products and design, Whole Foods Market in Destin Commons will be built along Highway 98, immediately east of Bass Pro Shops. Construction will begin in 2015. For additional information, call (850) 337-8700 or visit DestinCommons.com.

Okaloosa County Transit Honors Veterans
Representatives of Okaloosa County Transit (OCT) announced they will be offering free fare on Monday, Nov. 10, in honor of local veterans. The system’s fixed routes will be closed for Veteran’s Day on Tuesday, Nov. 11. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Okaloosa County is home to more than 32,000 veterans. In addition to offering free rides to the community, OCT is also conducting a social media contest on its Facebook page throughout the month of November. The system is calling for riders to nominate local veterans who deserve to be honored for their dedication and service. In early December, several veterans will be selected to win prizes, along with a grand-prize winner who will receive a one-year pass to ride OCT. For information about routes and schedules, please visit RideOCT.org or call Bob Berkstresser at (850) 833-9168.

Extended Deadline to Receive Discount on Property Tax Bills 
Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson encourages property owners to take advantage of the 4% early payment discount on property tax bills. The final day to receive that discount is typically the last day of November. This year, that day falls on the Sunday following the Thanksgiving holiday. Because of that, Anderson says State Statutes allow the early payment discount deadline to be extended one business day, or through Dec. 1. Customers who want to pay by check can either drop off those payments in the “drop box” at any of our branch offices or in the lobby where Tax Collector staff will be staged to receive those payments on Nov. 24, 25, and 26. Please note, if you choose to mail your tax payment, it must be postmarked by Nov. 30 to receive the 4% discount.

Kids FREE Weekend at Gulfarium
Kids 12 and under will get free admission to the Gulfarium all weekend long, on Nov. 15-16. In addition to marine animal shows and exhibits, kids may enjoy fun crafts and a custom aquarium bounce house. Parents will love the deep discounts on animal encounters and opportunities for their kids to get up close and personal with the animals. Limit 2 free admission kids per adult, not to be combined with any other discount or coupon. For a schedule of shows and animal chats or to reserve an animal encounter, visit Gulfarium.com.

Harrison Sale McCloy Partners Acquire Emerald Coast Title Services, Announce Officers
The partners of Harrison Sale McCloy Attorneys at Law (HSMc) announce the acquisition of Emerald Coast Title Services, a full-service title insurance and real estate closing company in Santa Rosa Beach. Founded in 1983, Emerald Coast Title Services (ECTS) has its main office in Redfish Village on 30A with an additional closing office now at Grand Boulevard in Miramar Beach. HSMc Partner Dion J. Moniz has been named President of Emerald Coast Title Services and Of Counsel Attorney L. Paul Sirmans has been named Vice-President of ECTS. The attorneys serving as officers of Emerald Coast Title Services have over 65 combined years of real estate experience.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

Dunes In Schools Begins Pilot Year in Four Middle Schools
This month, middle school students across the area will begin participating in the new Dunes in Schools Program-- a hands-on learning project about the area’s Coastal Dune Lakes and Barrier Island. Led by theChoctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College, Dunes in Schools provides students with an opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to their local world by actively involving the students in the restoration of local coastal systems. CBA will work with four middle schools in Okaloosa County and Walton County, reaching close to 475 students every month. Those schools include Emerald Coast Middle School, Destin Middle School, Shoal River Middle School, and Seaside Neighborhood School. For more information, contact Brittany Tate at (850) 217-5382 or tateb@nwfsc.edu.

Okaloosa County Schools “Teach Flu a Lesson”
Okaloosa County high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools are fighting influenza this school year with an extra weapon, “Teach Flu a Lesson,” thanks to a partnership among three organizations:Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa CountyOkaloosa County School District, and Healthy Schools, LLC, a healthcare access company focused on providing flu vaccines for students from VPK to 12th grade. Student participation is voluntary. FluMist nasal spray immunizations will be administered by Healthy Schools’ nurses to students with completed parental consent forms in every participating Okaloosa County public school Nov. 13 and Nov. 17. According to Healthy Schools, parents will have no out of pocket costs. Healthy Schools will bill students’ insurance companies, and no deductible will be applied. Students who are on Medicaid or who are uninsured will receive a vaccine at no cost.

RE/MAX Southern Realty Marks Banner Year with Top Sales & Agent Awards
RE/MAX Southern Realty is celebrating another tremendous sales year. The continued recovery of the Gulf Coast housing market, coupled with the skills and expertise of RE/MAX Southern’s REALTORS®, has resulted in a number of transactions and agents awards. Mandy Cooper, Mary Ann Miller, Matt Williams, and Jim Murphy have recently been named into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame. Less than 22 percent of RE/MAX affiliates have earned this prestigious award. Additionally, fellow RE/MAX Southern agents Claire Gagne and Carole Pleasants have been presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors agents for their notable commission sales within their seven or more years of service with the company. Each member of the team is an integral part to RE/MAX Southern’s success and has worked diligently to achieve these impressive career milestones. 
NWFSC AmeriCorps program receives Program of the Year Award from Volunteer Florida
The AmeriCorps program of Northwest Florida State College(NWFSC) has been chosen from among 50 other Florida AmeriCorps programs as the first-ever Volunteer Florida “Program of the Year.” Seen here, AmeriCorps Director Laurie Von Kaenel accepts the award from Chester W. Spellman, CEO of Volunteer Florida, during Volunteer Florida’s fall program directors meeting. Okaloosa and Walton counties have an active AmeriCorps team called the Northwest Florida Environmental Stewards. The team is hosted by NWFSC and funded through a grant from Volunteer Florida, the governor’s lead agency for volunteerism and national service in Florida. Northwest Florida Environmental Stewards partner withChoctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), a non-profit watershed organization, to achieve critical education and environmental restoration needs in the Choctawhatchee watershed.

Twin Cities Hospital Awarded Certification From The Joint Commission
Twin Cities Hospital earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for its Spinal Surgery Program by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in disease-specific care. The certification award recognizes Twin Cities Hospital’s dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s state-of-the-art standards. Twin Cities Hospital underwent a rigorous on-site review in September 2014. A Joint Commission expert evaluated Twin Cities Hospital for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients and families, including infection prevention and control, leadership, and medication management.

Cruise Through Thanksgiving in Destin on the SOLARIS’ Yacht
Celebrate Thanksgiving on the water on SunQuest Cruises’ Thanksgiving Buffet Cruises on the SOLARIS yacht in Sandestin on Thursday, Nov. 27. Guests will enjoy a lavish Thanksgiving Buffet, including a cornucopia of coastal and traditional cuisines, with the lunch cruise from 12 – 2 p.m. and the dinner cruise from 6 – 8 p.m. The Thanksgiving Buffet Cruise ranges from $20 - $58 per person, which includes a two-hour cruise and a delectable Thanksgiving buffet. Reservations are required at SunQuestCruises.com or (850) 650-2519.

World Impact Real Estate Welcomes Rex Murphy
World Impact Real Estate Realtor Rex Murphy has been selling real estate in this area for 20 years. He has worked mainly listing and selling gulf front properties to include homes, townhomes, and condominiums, especially in the Seagrove Beach area. Murphy is retired military and enjoys working with military buyers and sellers, both active duty and retired, that will be stationed at Eglin AFB or Hurlburt Field, or who have retired in the Fort Walton Beach through the Inlet Beach areas. If you wish to sell your property in this area or are planning on buying a property soon, call (850) 240-9179.

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort to Host Sun Belt Golf Championships
In an agreement between Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and the Sun Belt Conference, the prestigiousRaven Golf Club will be the league’s host site for the men’s golf championships for the next four years, resort and conference officials recently announced. The four-year deal starts with the Sun Belt Conference men’s golf championships on April 17-21, 2015. The subsequent conference championships will be held each April through 2018. The 2015 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Golf Championship will feature 55 players from 11 men’s teams who compete over three days and 54 holes. The team champion will earn the conference’s automatic selection into the NCAA Championship.

WSRE’s Imagination Station Receives National Award
The National Educational Telecommunications Association has honored WSRE’s Imagination Station with the 2014 NETA Award for Community Engagement Based on a Local Project. WSRE General Manager Sandy Cesaretti Ray accepted the award on behalf of the Public Broadcasting Service member station last week during the NETA Professional Development Conference in Dallas, Texas. Located at the Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, the Imagination Station is a free, educational public venue designed to promote early education and provide access and exposure to family learning activities. Parents, and often grandparents, accompany their children and enjoy playing and learning together in an activity center like no other in this region and unique to PBS nationwide. Hours of operation for the general public are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. Tuesdays and Thursdays are set aside for special group visits by organizations, including Head Start, Autism Pensacola, Early Steps, Capstone Academy, Title I schools, and different literacy groups. The Imagination Station is also open for all Pensacola Blue Wahoos home games during baseball season.

ECAR Donates to Four Local Schools 
The Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR) dropped in on two area schools this week to make a special delivery. The delivery was a check for $875 to help the schools purchase equipment and other needs for the schools’ physical education programs. ECAR’s first stop was Wright Elementary in Fort Walton Beach. Seen here, Ben Acock, ECAR board member, and Ashley Botelho, ECAR Community and Military Outreach Committee member, present a $875 donation to Wright Elementary School’s physical education program. Also pictured are Anita Gail Choice, principal; Suzanne Boyd, assistant principal; Tim Miller, physical education teacher; and students Leia Burks, Adrien Celestin, Shayna Junger, Jose’ Figueroa, and Jayla Love. Then, ECAR members presented a check to Bob Sikes Elementary in Crestview.

Covenant Offers Alzheimer’s Services
Many Alzheimer’s patients and families in our community are struggling to make sense of a disease that doesn’t make sense. Lives are turned upside down with each new diagnosis, leaving caregivers unsure where to turn. We want our community to know they can turn to Covenant Alzheimer’s Services (CAS) – and that’s where you come in! You can help CAS meet the needs of those who don’t know they need us. Awareness is the first step, and November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. People who need our help may not even know we exist, and if they do, they may not be aware of the comprehensive services we provide. Are you? Click here for details, including information on the Miles of Memories 5K on Nov. 8.

Another Broken Egg CafĂ© Successfully Hatches in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin 
Another Broken Egg Cafe celebrated the grand opening of its 39th location Friday, Oct. 24, in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. The upscale 4,500-square-foot southern inspired breakfast, lunch, and brunch restaurant seats 110 guests inside and an additional 40 on the “al-fresco” style patio. According to President and Founder Ron Green, the new location of ABEC created 30 new jobs in the area. During two benefit brunches, prior to the grand opening, a total of $1,739 and $3,581 were raised for Alaqua Animal Refuge and the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, respectively.

Sacred Heart Now Offers PET/CT Imaging Services 
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast is now offering PET/CT imaging services in Miramar Beach. This addition of cancer-detecting technology was made possible, in large part, by a generous donation from The Dugas Family Foundation, as well as support from the Sacred Heart Charity Golf Classic. Sacred Heart’s PET/CT services are located in the first floor of the Medical Office Building adjacent to Sacred Heart Hospital at 7720 US Hwy. 98 W., Ste. 140. For more information about imaging services at Sacred Heart, please visitSacredHeartEmerald.org/imaging. Providers may call (850) 278-3800 to schedule a procedure.

Kusten Kreuzers VW Car Club Helps Children in Crisis
The local chapter of the Kusten Kruezers VW Car Club helped the kids of Children in Crisis (CIC) with a donation of $1,650. CIC was chosen as the benefiting charity for the recent huge car show held at the Mullet Festival grounds. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, receives the donation from Steve Osborn, Kusten Kreuzers president.

Food for Thought Outreach Food Drive
Food For Thought Outreach will hold a food drive in our Destin area pantry on Nov. 11 and Dec. 9. This is our first food drive in this location. Our outreach in Okaloosa County is growing rapidly. We now reach four Okaloosa County schools and 305 students per week. Food For Thought also serves Walton County, and combined we reach 700 students in 11 schools. This all adds up to 40,000 food items per week, and, during the holidays, the need is even more critical since the children miss so many school supported meals. Needed items include peanut butter, jelly, pop top soup, canned tuna, canned chicken, snacks, canned veggies, fruit cups, and oatmeal packets. Plastic containers are preferred. The Destin pantry, located at 220 Main St., will be open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to accept donations.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 4

Local Realtor Chosen as FR District 9 VP
Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR) member Judi Rutland was recently appointed as 2015 District 9 Vice President for Florida Realtors. Rutland has served in numerous capacities at the local level and is an ECAR past president. She was ECAR's 2013 Realtor of the Year, and this year serves as chairperson of ECAR's Realtor Political Action and Elections committees, as well as a member of the Budget & Finance and Investment Management committees. Active at Florida Realtors, Rutland has served on multiple forums and committees over many years, including Professional Standards and Professional Development. She is now a broker associate and director of professional development for Coldwell Banker United Realtors.

United Way Reaches 40% of 2014 Annual Fundraising Campaign Goal
United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties annual fundraising campaign is in full swing as Walter Hooks, Vice President of Regions Bank and the 2014 Campaign Chair, adjusted the goal board to the 40% mark for the United Way goal of $1,225,000...an 11.6% increase which was driven by the requests of the United Way 42 partner agencies. Thirteen companies, including Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLCFirst City Bank,Fresh Start for Children & FamiliesGulf PowerHancock BankNorthwest Florida Daily NewsOkaloosa County Sheriff’s OfficeRegions Bank, and United Way, conducted and completed their annual workplace campaign before the official campaign began on Sept. 13. The campaign remains underway through Dec. 1.

BancorpSouth, Inc. Declares Quarterly Dividend
At its regular quarterly meeting today, the Board of Directors of BancorpSouth, Inc., declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.075 per common share. The dividend is payable Jan. 2, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 15. BancorpSouth earlier reported net income of $28.8 million or $0.30 per share for the third quarter of 2014. 

Blue Marlin Realty Group Hosts Charity Golf Tournament
Blue Marlin Realty Group will host its 2nd Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, Nov. 14, at Regatta Bay Golf and Country Club. The tournament will begin with registration at 9:30 a.m. and a shotgun start at 11 a.m. Entrance fees are $125 for individual players or $400 to sign up a foursome. All tournament players will receive free lunch courtesy of Lenny’s Sub Shop. Following the tournament is the after-party at the Regatta Bay Clubhouse with food donated by Landshark’s Pizza Co., a silent auction, raffle prizes, and live entertainment. Proceeds will benefit The Taylor Haugen Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides grants, education and funding to athletic teams, schools and districts through its YESS (Youth Equipment for Sports Safety) Program. For sponsorship information, email info@proffittpr.com or call (850) 502-1652. 

Destin Commons Donates to Children in Crisis
Destin Commons presented a $5,000 donation to Children in Crisis, Inc., this week from funds generated through its “Coins for a Cause” program. All parking meter payments collected at Destin Commons are donated to community charities by this charitable giving program. The donation will be used to feed, clothe and provide shelter to the children living at the CIC Children’s Neighborhood. Seen here, Annette Alvarez, Destin Commons Marketing Director, presents a $5,000 donation to Ken Hair, CIC President & CEO, and Allie Noah, CIC Development Director, along with Heather Pike, Destin Commons Marketing Coordinator.

Kurt Sprigler Earns NAR’s Military Relocation Professional Certification 
Kurt Sprigler with Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc., has earned the nationally recognized Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification. The National Association of REALTORS® confers the MRP certification to REALTORS® who want to help military personnel and veterans find housing solutions that best meet their needs and allow them to take full advantage of their military benefits. When military staff and their families relocate, the services of a real estate professional who understands their needs and timetables can make the transfer easier, faster and less stressful. REALTORS® who earn this certification know to work with active duty military buyers and sellers, as well as veterans.

Shelter House Receives $150,000 Donation
During Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation's annual check presentation last month, you could see plenty of happy tears and big smiles on the faces of Shelter House supporters in attendance when the agency was awarded $150,000. The support from DCWAF all goes toward youth services for the children at Shelter House. This includes staffing youth advocates, providing food for participants' children, and offering the services of a play therapist to kids who have witnessed violence. This year's grant will also help with expenses associated with the current shelter renovation.

GulfScarium's Splash-or-Treat Spooktacular Continues Oct 31
Scream in delight - not fright - at this family-friendly Halloween celebration. On Friday, Oct. 31, GulfScarium offers TRICK-OR-TREATING around the park from 4 – 6 p.m. Kids 12 and under are only $5 and adults are FREE. Enjoy dolphin and sea lion shows and Halloween-themed games and activities. 

Emerald Coast Concert Association Donates $12,000 to the Okaloosa Arts Alliance
The Okaloosa Arts Alliance (OAA) recently received a generous donation of more than $12,000 from the Emerald Coast Concert Association to support the OAA’s grant fund and events. The OAA will be awarding grants in January from the generous donation. Grant applications will be available to all non-profit organizations and schools in Okaloosa County starting in November with the grant application deadline being Dec. 15.

Destin Woman’s Club November Fall Bazaar & Meeting 
The Destin Woman’s Club will meet at Louisiana Lagniappe on Wednesda, Nov. 12, from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The Annual Fall Bazaar will be from 11 a.m., until the start of luncheon. DWC Members and select sponsors are participating in the 2014 Fall Bazaar. This is an excellent time to come by and shop for your Holidays. During lunch, the keynote speaker will be Scott Taylor of Taylor by The Sea– A Salon at Grayton Beach. Scott is an acclaimed hairstylist, who was the lead hairstylist for three Academy Awards. His clients include Keith Urban and stars of The Young & Restless Soap Opera. The public is welcome to attend, but reservations are required by Tuesday, Nov. 5. The cost of the luncheon is $20 and includes the Fall Bazaar. Email your reservation to dwcreservations@gmail.com.

Festival of the Arts Awards Artists, Hosts Record Crowd
Twenty eight local and regional artists who gathered on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast from 19 different cities throughout United States to exhibit in the 19th annual Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Festival of the Arts in Destin were awarded $10,000 in cash art prize awards honors. The two-day signature art celebration, held Oct. 25 – 26, in the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village, featured exhibits of more than 100 juried artists from 13 states showcasing a diverse palette of artistic styles in 20 different art mediums. More than 6,000 art lovers attended the sunshine-filled two-day festival, an event record. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sweet Business After Hours at The Honey Pot



Thank you to The Honey Pot for hosting our Oct. 23 Business After Hours! The Honey Pot features 100% local and treatment free honey. It also has its own line of skincare products, called Bee Renewed.

For more photos from the event, please visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/destinareachamber/sets/72157646669269734/.

Thank to the following businesses for donating door prizes:
- Community Bank Coast
- The Honey Pot
- World Impact Real Estate

Don't miss the Chamber's next After Hours event... the Nov. 13 Bourbon at the Bay Sponsored by Coastal Bank and Trust. Visit Facebook.com/BourbonAtTheBay for more details.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Chamber Welcomes 18 New Members During Reception



On Oct. 16, we welcomed new members into the Chamber with a reception hosted in our office. We had the pleasure of meeting 18 new businesses and now we would like to introduce them to you. See below.

Bonnie S. Hall – Broker Associate can help you find your permanent home in paradise, perfect vacation home, or the right investment property. From Destin to Rosemary Beach and Niceville to Freeport, she is your personal realtor. For details, visit BNDestin.com or call (850) 240-9901.

Buster's Old Time Photos in Destin offers three wonderful sets, Western, Gangster, and Victorian. We offer a wide variety of costumes for all ages and sizes. From 0 to 90, old time photos are family fun for everyone. Visit 300 Harbor Blvd. Ste. D, in Destin; visit BustersOldTimePhotos.com; or call (850) 837-3280.

Enjoy Cheeseburger In Paradise's happy hour pricing on food, including half price appetizers Monday through Friday, from 3 – 6 p.m., and on beverages Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Pricing includes $4 mojitos and margaritas, $3 well liquor and house wine, $2.50 14-ounce draft beer, and $3.50 22-ounce draft beer. Game day specials include $12.99 for 15 traditional wings, $3.50 for 22-ounce Bud Light draft, $13.99 bucket of domestic beer, and $15.99 for 100-ounce Bud Light draft. Cheeseburger in Paradise offers gluten free items on the menu. We now offer catering for your party needs. The company offers a fundraiser program, as well. Visit 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy. W., in Miramar Beach; visit CheeseburgerInParadise.com; or call (850) 837-0197. Click here for Halloween specials. 

Destin Grocery Girls offers a convenient, time-saving alternative to one of America’s top five least liked household chores – GROCERY SHOPPING!  Our purpose is to start your vacation hassle free. The time you would spend looking for a grocery store, shopping for your groceries and household supplies, standing in line, and fighting traffic, you could be enjoying your vacation. In just minutes you can place your grocery delivery order by fax or at DestinGroceryGirls.com .  We shop, deliver, and stock your fridge and pantry prior to your arrival. You arrive to your vacation spot and head straight to the beach, not the grocery store.  For more information, call (850) 512-2347.

Dan Matacchiero is now offering a new barbeque cleaning service called Fresh and Clean Grill. Using a proprietary system from The BBQ Cleaner, this service removes all traces of grease, fat, and carbon deposits from barbeque grills, especially in the areas that cannot be seen. Fresh and Clean Grill will come to your home, remove key components of your grill, and deep clean them in specially equipped trailers. The grill racks, control knobs, and hood are degreased and cleaned with environmentally friendly treatments. The result is the cleanest grill that can be achieved in the marketplace today. For more information, call (850) 687-0787, visit FreshAndCleanGrill.com, or follow Facebook.com/FreshAndCleanGrill.

Great Southern Yacht Company is north Florida’s upscale yacht brokerage. Its personalized approach helps it to focus its resources on its client’s listing or purchasing goals. For details, visit 314 Harbor Blvd., in Destin; visit GreatSouthernYachts.com online; or call (850) 424-5344.

iTrip of Destin / Sandestin is a full service property management vacation rental company. We have been in the Destin/Sandestin market going into our third year. We pride ourselves in our ability to provide high quality service to our owners and our guests that stay in our properties. We offer very competitive fees that are attractive for our owners to ensure maximum income potential. Please visit our website at Itrip.net/Destin to learn more ITRIP and all we have to offer. For details, call (615) 969-5001.

Jack Of All TradesProductions is an all-inclusive production company offering DJ and MC services for live events, private parties, and weddings, as well as audio and video production for businesses, musicians, and individuals who want to capture the moment the right way. Other services include photography, graphic design, writing for editorials, copy, scripts, and vocal and screen acting. "Johnny C." Alexander is a true Emerald Coast local, who has the experience, knowledge, and energy to contribute to virtually any multi-media platform. Jack Of All Trades Productions – yes, it does sound clichĂ©, but the name says it all! Visit DoseOfJohnnyC.com or call (850) 899-6339.

JAN-PRO Cleaning Systems of Northwest Florida is excited to be opening its doors in this region.  For 20+ years, JAN-PRO has provided world-class commercial cleaning services to a variety of businesses via a network of more than 10,000 highly trained, dedicated local franchise owner-operators.  JAN-PRO has the highest customer retention in the industry and consistently ranks as a top franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine and USA Today, among others.  Whether you’re a business that needs cleaning or someone who’s interested in starting their own cleaning business, JAN-PRO of Northwest Florida is here to serve you.  Please call (850) 460-2226 for more information.

The Jeffrey W. Watson Law Firm, P.L., will advise on Federal government contract law matters, whether pre-award or post-award, and sitting with the client through de-briefings, if desired. I also offer contract claims, can assist as outside counsel, and am available to those in need of a military defense counsel. Further, I am available to advise and represent on business transactions, real estate disputes, personal injury accidents, wills, and probate. Through my association with Nathan D. Boyles, PA, I am also available for real estate closings. For details, visit 225 Main St. Ste. 5, in Destin; visit Crestview-Law.com; or call (850) 460-7760.

Thomas and Kari Zingale invite you to visit their new Kilwins store in the heart of the Destin Commons shopping center. With a wide array of kitchen-fresh fudge, 24 flavors of original recipe ice cream, and a tempting selection of hand-dipped chocolates and caramels, Kilwins of Destin Commons has choices for every sweet tooth. We have a passion to share the sweet, wholesome enjoyment that comes from high quality, handmade fudge, chocolates, and ice cream. We are committed to a top-notch customer experience that brings smiles of tickled tastebuds and happy traditions to all types of faces. Visit 4142 Legendary Dr. B106, in the Destin Commons shopping center; visit Kilwins.com/DestinCommons; or call (850) 460-7868.

Markit Promotions recently opened an office in Pensacola to better serve the needs of the Emerald Coast businesses, many of which are our current satisfied customers. Markit has access to the entire promotional products industry, and we have several items that are proven winners for your region. We are always happy to share those ideas with you, free of charge.
We know that once we are given an opportunity to work for you, you will become a loyal fan of Markit because we go the extra mile for you every time. For more information, visit MarkIt.pro or call (205) 970-6780.

Established in 1991, Okaloosa Heart & Vascular Center provides current, comprehensive healthcare in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of heart problems. It offers clinical cardiology and consultation, echocardiography, vascular ultrasound, exercise testing, holter and event monitoring, nuclear cardiac imaging, cardiac catheterization, coronary angioplasty, intra-coronary stenting, electrophysiology specializing in heart rhythm disorders, and endovascular surgery. With five interventional cardiologists, one electrophysiologist, two endovascular surgeons, and five local offices to serve you, the staff is committed to exploring new technologies and techniques that provide better ways to care for their patients and to treating each patient like a person rather than a diagnosis. Visit the new office at 36468 Emerald Coast Parkway, in Destin’s Old South Centre; visit OkaloosaHeart.com; or call (850) 424-5638.

OTHERS of Destin, Inc.is a non-profit organization that provides a variety of support services to the underserved in Walton and Okaloosa counties. Founded in 2013, OTHERS has gained a reputation for serving individuals and families faced with a wide range of challenges including poverty, homelessness, and job loss. Services are tailored to meet the needs and preferences of those we serve using a holistic approach focused toward achieving self-sufficiency.   Collaboration with other service and support entities in our community is emphasized. Volunteers are welcome, and training is provided. Please contact Cindy Wilson at (850) 543-6339 for additional information.

Pink N Blue Avenue is a boutique for children with more than 30 hand-picked lines of unique, yet practical, clothing, shoes, accessories, toys, and gift sets for boys and girls, from 0 months to 9 years. It is a destination store for parents who want to go beyond the internet to see and touch merchandise, and beyond chains and big box stores for unique, "hard to find and love to have" girls and boys clothes, shoes, and more. Our brands are inspired by kids who like to express, explore, and create. Kids are welcome to visit the video corner and dig into the toy box, while parents shop. Visit 4467 Commons Dr. W. # 9, in Destin; visit Facebook.com/PinkNBlueAvenue; or call (850) 424-5707.

Sandestin Executive Health and Wellness Center is a brand new medical facility with state-of-the-art technology and specialized practitioners to meet every healthcare need. We have laboratory services, radiology, physical therapy, and urgent care. We will soon open our compounding pharmacy. Patients’ health and wellness are our top priority. For more information, visit 400 Audubon Dr., in Miramar Beach; visit SEHWC.com; or call (850) 267-6767.


Located throughout the Southeastern United States, Southern Earth Sciences, Inc., (SESI) has been providing innovative solutions to public and private clients for nearly 40 years. SESI specializes in Geotechnical Engineering, Environmental Consulting, and Construction Materials Testing, and is staffed with more than 130 professionals, scientists, and technicians. With the successful completion of more than 3,000 significant projects, SESI has gained the trust of numerous private entities, as well as hundreds of municipalities and school districts. Our Florida branch offices include Destin, Panama City Beach, and Tallahassee. We also have offices throughout Alabama and Louisiana. Visit us at SoEarth.com or contact Trey Wilson at (850) 769-4773, and let us know how we can assist you with your project. We’re confident you will be impressed.


Wesley T. Fontaine, Attorney at Law, is a boutique firm specializing in real estate, corporate, and general civil matters.  Wes is a lifelong resident of Destin and has a passion for the people and businesses that make the Emerald Coast such an amazing place to live.  Admitted to practice in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, Wes can assist with a range of legal issues across the Southeast. For details, visit 1160 Airport Rd. Ste. 210, in Destin; visit FontaineFirm.com, or call (850) 460-2727.