Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 2015 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

Cox Pools Offers Exclusive Promo to Chamber Members
Make your summer sizzle with our Cox Hot Tubs July Promo! All Chamber Members that come in and purchase a Classic Kamado Joe Ceramic Grill will receive $56 in FREE product. Members will receive a bag of Hardwood Lump Charcoal, one Fire Starter, one Electric Starter, and one 7.2 ounce Steak Seasoning. For more information call (850) 650-9138 or visit www.Coxpools.com!
Destin Harvest Seeks Sponsors for Emerald Coast Con
Destin Harvest is creating an annual fundraiser called Emerald Coast Con. It will be a three-day gaming and computer science event at the Emerald Coast Convention Center in October. Destin Harvest needs local business sponsors to make the event happen. Click here for details.
Children in Crisis Welcomes New Volunteer/Events Director 
Children In Crisis - Lauren WallsChildren in Crisis (CIC) is pleased to announced Lauren Walls as its new volunteer and events director. Walls will be responsible for managing the volunteer program and coordinating community events and fundraising efforts. She joins the CIC team from an extensive list of volunteer and non-profit positions, including experience in public relations and marketing. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Barton College in 2010 and attended graduate school at the University of Florida, where she earned her Master of Arts in Political Science and Public Affairs in 2013.

20th Annual Festival of the Arts is Oct. 24-25
Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation - Festival of the Arts 2015Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation continues its 20th anniversary with the 20th annual Festival of the Arts on Oct. 24-25, 2015, at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village. One of the Southeast’s premier festivals, the event showcases the original artwork of more than 100 artists from across the U.S., who will compete for $10,000 in cash award prizes. The Festival is a celebration of art, music, food, and fun. Special features include a live music lineup, art activities for kids, souvenir posters and t-shirts, art raffle, and more. A food bistro and wine and beer garden, as well as convenient parking and free shuttle, are also available. Admission is $5/adult, and children under 12 are free. For more information, visit www.mattiekellyartsfoundation.org/pr/newsreleases-foa.htm or call (850) 650-2226. 
Twin Cities Hospital Donates to Boggy Bayou Fireworks Fund
Twin Cities Hospital - Boggy Bayou FireworksTwin Cities Hospital hosted a fish fry luncheon fundraiser June 5, 2015, with all proceeds benefitting the Boggy Bayou Fireworks.  Community leaders, hospital visitors, employees, and many more participated in this festive event that raised $770! 

Blue Marlin Realty Group Announces 3rd Annual Charity Golf Tournament
Blue Marlin Realty Group will host its third annual Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, at Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club. The tournament will begin with registration at 11 a.m. and a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Entrance fees are $150 for individual players or $500 to sign up a foursome. The tournament and after party are open to the public. Golfers can register a team or individually at Blue Marlin Realty Group’s office located on Holiday Isle in Destin or at the Regatta Bay Clubhouse. Proceeds will benefit the Emerald Coast Golden Retriever Rescue, a 501c3 non-profit organization focused on providing medical care and finding loving homes for Golden Retrievers and other lab breeds that have been abandoned, abused or surrendered. To date, $27,089.32 has been raised for local charities by Blue Marlin Realty Charity Golf Tournaments. To inquire regarding sponsorship, please contact Chelsea Blaich atChelsea@ProffittPR.com or (850) 832-4161.
Burns Joins World Impact Real Estate
World Impact Real Estate - Robert BurnsOriginally from Oklahoma, Robert Burns first lived in the Panhandle when he was a member of the United States Air Force from 1970-1979. He has been in various applications of the real estate profession. He has worked with the first time home buyer, as well as the more experienced person in the sale and purchasing of residential properties, vacant land, vacation, and commercial property in Navarre, Crestview, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and surrounding areas. Burns has also worked with area builders in single family home construction and the development of residential condominiums.  He has been involved in property management of various size condominium projects. Now Burns is part of World Impact Real Estate. Contact him at (850) 803-6386 orrb4realestate@aol.com.

Girl Scouts Troop 977 Donates Food to CIC Children
Children In Crisis - Girl Scouts Troup 977Girl Scouts Troop 977 held a food drive to benefit Children In Crisis (CIC).  The Girl Scouts and Girl Scout Leaders worked with their local schools to collect cereal and snacks, along with other needed items, for the children living at the CIC Neighborhood. Seen here, Troop 977 delivered these items and brought a special snack of cookies for the children.  They also enjoyed time playing with the CIC children on CIC/Aunt Bill’s playground located in the neighborhood. 
Covenant Hospice Offers Grief Support Group
Coping with the death of a loved one is extremely difficult and the feelings of grief and loss can be overwhelming. Covenant Hospice is offering a six-week grief support group beginning July 14, meeting every Tuesday morning from 10 – 11:30 a.m., through Aug. 18, at Covenant Hospice (220 Eglin Parkway NE, Fort Walton Beach, FL). Those who are both newly bereaved and those who are still coping from a previous loss are encouraged to attend the Covenant Hospice Grief Support Group. The support group is free of charge and registration is required by July 10. For more information or to register, call (850) 729-1800.
Building Homes For Heroes Wins Double Victory at Smoke on the Coast
The 5th Annual Smoke on the Coast BBQ & Fireworks Festival at Destin Commons was an energy-filled happening for the community with 15,000+ attending to sample delicious BBQ from more than 20 area vendors and enjoy live entertainment, kid’s activities, and spectacular Independence Day fireworks over the Center’s skyline. The big news of the night was the announcement of both the Judge’s Pick BBQ winners and the People’s Choice winners. With only 64 votes separating the top two, an impressive 20,000 People’s Choice votes were cast with the #1 winner being Building Homes for Heroes and ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance coming in at a close #2. Benefitting charities, collectively receiving $25,000 through proceeds from Smoke on the Coast and Destin Commons’ Coins For A Cause were Building Homes For Heroes, Children in Crisis, and Food For Thought.
ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals® Associates Selected for VISIT FLORIDA 2015-2016 Board and Committees 
Wyndham Vacation Rentals announced that three associates from its ResortQuest brand, Lino Maldonado, Martin Owen, and Jennifer Frost, were recently recognized as members of VISIT FLORIDA’s 2015-2016 Tourism Industry Leadership team. With the start of its new fiscal year on July 1, VISIT FLORIDA – the state’s official tourism marketing corporation – ushers in new leadership to serve on its executive committee, board of directors and industry committees. Maldonado will serve as the secretary of the board of director’s executive committee, Owen will serve as a member of the international committee, and Frost will serve as a member of the industry relations committee.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 2015 Business Briefs / Member News Part 3

United Way Introduces New Combined Federal Campaign Director
United Way of Okaloosa and Walton CountiesThe United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties introduces Ron Denson as the director of the Florida panhandle, Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). The CFC program is a nationwide annual federal workplace campaign, which United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties has proudly managed locally since introduction in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy.  The largest non-profit workplace campaign, CFC is responsible for raising hundreds of millions of dollars for non-profits locally, nationally, and international. Denson served 20 years in the United States Navy, followed by 11 years as the director of the Greater Pensacola/EscaRosa Area CFC program. He is a member of the CFC National Committee, trainer at a number of National CFC Conferences, and co-chaired the National CFC, Million Dollar Roundtable (MDRT) Atlanta Conference in 2013. 
2015 VITA Program Sees $156,000 in Tax Refunds
VITA (Volunteers Income Tax Assistance) is an IRS community initiative led by the United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties to provide free income tax preparation.  Along with the community partners, Goodwill Easter Seals of Ft Walton Beach, First Presbyterian Church of Crestview and United Way, VITA had another successful year.   2015 VITA Volunteers processed 127 tax refunds, keeping $156,319 in our community and saving taxpayers in Okaloosa County $18,150 in preparation fees by using VITA.  
Sacred Heart and Florida Blue Agree on New Contract
Sacred Heart Health System and Florida Blue have reached agreement on a new three-year contract that maintains Sacred Heart as a leading healthcare provider in Florida Blue insurance plans. Sacred Heart continues as an in-network provider for the following Florida Blue plans:
  • BlueCare HMO (Health Options Inc.),
  • BlueChoice (Preferred Patient Care),
  • BlueOptions (Network Blue),
  • BlueSelect, Advantager65,
  • BlueMedicare HMO,
  • BlueMedicare PPO, and
  • Traditional Indemnity plans.
Sacred Heart Hospital Recognized Among 100 Great Community Hospitals 
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast has been named one of the nation’s 100 Great Community Hospitals by Becker’s Hospital Review. The “100 Great Community Hospitals” 2015 list was released on June 24. Hospitals featured on the list have fewer than 550 beds. Some are suburban hospitals, but many are located in rural areas and are their communities’ sole hospital. Of the 100 hospitals listed, only four are located in Florida. The Becker’s Hospital Review editorial team selected hospitals for inclusion based on various rankings and awards, including Truven Health Analytics – for which Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast has been named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals for the past four years. 
Gulfarium's Salute to Shark Week
You've seen them on TV, now see sharks at the Gulfarium! Gulfarium's Salute to Shark Week will be held July 6-12, to celebrate one of the ocean's most fascinating creatures. General admission guests can enjoy shark-themed activities, specials, and discounts throughout the park all week long. During the week kids can dive in to the custom aquarium bounce house and enjoy other activities, such as shark feeding demonstrations, kids’ crafts, and a park-wide scavenger hunt. Enjoy discounts on shark-themed merchandise and a special $5 OFF deal on a thrilling shark and stingray snorkel encounter. Call (850) 243-9046 x2 to book or visit Gulfarium.com and use the online code SHARKWEEK for $5 off your Stingray Bay Snorkel Encounter. Restrictions apply.
Twin Cities Woman’s Club Donates Movie Night to CIC Kids
Children In Crisis, Inc.The Twin Cities Woman’s Club presented a donation of $500 to Children in Crisis (CIC) to sponsor a Movie Night for the at-risk children living at the CIC Neighborhood.  The Movie Night, complete with popcorn and juice barrels, will be enjoyed by over 40 kids. Seen here, President Lorraine Phillips presents a $500 donation to Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO. Also representing the club are Jo Ann Dunnam, co-chair of childhood concerns, and Brenda Brown, vice president.

Sinfonia Offers Pre-Sale for SEASON 10
Enjoy Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s entire main season lineup of concerts for only $195...a $30 savings over single ticket prices. Gala tickets featuring Kristin Chenoweth & Seagar's Cabaret tickets feat. For more information about the season, visit SinfoniaGulfCoast.org.
World Impact Real Estate Holds May Agent Meeting
The World Impact Real Estate (WIRE) May 6 agent meeting covered many topics, including insurance, home warranties, decorating, and lending. Tablets were given to agents without one to help in their business.  With technology always changing, WIRE wants to help agents with the tools they need to be their best and most productive.  WIRE agents want to “impact the world one transaction at a time.” This is accomplished through strategic partnerships with organizations around the world who share its vision and commitment to feeding the hungry, ending human trafficking, and providing for orphans.
MKAF Concludes Concerts in the Village with Seering & Mulligans
Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) wraps up its 20th anniversary edition of its Concerts in the Village summer series at the Cultural Arts Village with two special concerts in July. David Seering returns on Thursday, July 2, with an evening of music celebrating some of American’s famous artists and composers to patriotic songs. On Thursday, July 9, the music showcase series will conclude with a performance by The Mulligans — the popular local band will perform favorite dance tunes from the ‘60s and ‘70s (originally scheduled for May 28). To honor local men and men in uniform MKAF is extending a special discounted admission of 50 percent off. For active duty military with valid ID admission to the concert is just $5. The gate opens at 6 p.m., and the concert begins at 7 p.m. Admission to each of the spring/summer Concerts in the Village is $10 per person; children under 12 and MKAF members are free. A few remaining VIP event tables are available. Proceeds benefit MKAF's cultural and education mission.
Davidson and Emerald Coast Middle Schools Say YESS to Sports Safety
Thanks to The Taylor Haugen Foundation, the Davidson Middle School baseball and Emerald Coast Middle School softball teams both said “YESS” to state-of-the-art, high-tech EvoShield shirts.  Designed to protect against Commotio Cordis, The EvoShield chest and back guard utilizes the same technology found in the football rib shirts, which help protect against abdominal injuries. Both shirts disperse the impact over a larger area, lessening the impact and reducing the potential for injury. After a successful season outfitting and equipping more than 1,000 Okaloosa and Walton county football players, The YESS program began educating local baseball and softball teams about the importance of youth spots safety.
Sacred Heart Hospital Supports Food for Thought
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast / Food for ThoughtThroughout the year, Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast partners with area agencies to meet critical needs in the community. The hospital recently partnered with Food For Thought, a not-for-profit organization that provides backpacks filled with healthy, easy-to-prepare food for students who are dependent on free or reduced school meals. The organization’s goal is to support a child’s development and educational experience by bridging the gap between school meals during weekends and holiday breaks. Food For Thought has been working to fight child hunger since 2010, and currently serves 15 schools in Walton and Okaloosa counties, providing backpacks for 770 students each week. Hospital associates donated more than 675 food items.