Friday, April 25, 2014

TV Show Highlights Chamber's Leadership Program, Two-Time Boat Dealer of the Year, and Local Relay for Life

Check out the lastest Destin Business Forum TV show, where host and Chamber President and CEO Shane Moody interviews representatives from Destin Forward, Legendary Marine, and Relay for Life of the Emerald Coast!  The show may be seen on Cox Channel 6 in Okaloosa County, Cox OnDemand, and on our YouTube Channel at

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chairman's Message: Seeking Your Ideas & Your Participation to Create a Better Chamber

May is almost here.  Wow, time has passed by so quickly.  Although our spring break season was a little cooler than usual, it still seemed to be very successful.  I loved hearing friends who were visiting with their kids say how beautiful this area is and how great it would be to live at the beach.  Yes, it is!

What else is great? Well, the Chamber has had a very good few months.  Just recently we had the Tax Relief Golf tournament at Kelly Plantation.  I do not play golf myself, but I had the pleasure of riding in a golf cart and visiting all the golfers.  The golf course at Kelly Plantation is absolutely gorgeous.  If you play and you’ve never played there, I recommend you give it a try, or a swing.

We also have a new mayor, Mel Ponder.  Call me crazy, but I just had a feeling he was going to be our next mayor.  (That was a joke by the way so no need to write and set me straight).  I had lunch with Mayor Ponder and your CEO Shane Moody recently, and I must say I was so impressed, excited, and hopeful about the Mayor’s vision for Destin.  Also, congratulations to new City Council members Rodney Braden, Prebble Ramswell, and returning Councilman Jim Foreman.  Destin is in good hands. 

Our Chamber lunches are still going strong.  I’ve noticed a trend – all of you who are bringing door prizes to give away are WINNING door prizes too.  Maybe this is just pay it forward in fast motion.  What a great way to take advantage of having a pool of business people with whom to connect and do business. And, just to make sure you are still reading – I want to do something different at one of our lunches this year – what is your idea for a different type of lunch?  Last year’s Bowling for Business was such a huge success that we are doing that one again too, but I want to add one more unique lunch this year.  Personally, I think a dunking booth featuring Shane, Suzy, Elizabeth, Dena, and Jen would be awesome.  Can I get some support for that??

I will again ask you to participate in YOUR Chamber, if you don’t already.  We have several committees and would love to have you join one or more of them.  Our current committees and the Vice Chairs in charge of the committees are Marketing (Julie Cotton); Membership (Rebecca Jones); Harbor (Jami Jones); Community & Economic Development (Hayward Dykes); Events (Karen McCarthy); and Military Affairs “MAC” (Kim Wintner).  If you are not sure about joining a committee, but have a great idea, we would love to hear it.  In the meantime, we do have some exciting things coming out of these committees so stay tuned.

And even though it is only the end of April, it’s not too soon to put Paddle at the Porch on your calendars.  This year Paddle at the Porch will be held on August 16.  Paddle at the Porch features a one-mile recreational race, a three-mile recreational race, and a six-mile elite race, to be followed by awards (including a bigger cash purse), food, and fun!  The Destin SUP Cup is sponsored by BOTE Boards and The Back Porch.  Other sponsorships are available, but they seem to be going quickly, so call now to be a part of this great event.  Registration is open on

Finally, a big congratulations to Board member Jami Jones for taking the lead on the Destin Seafood Festival .  If anyone can make this year’s Seafood Festival a raging success, it’s Jami.

As always, thanks for reading and thank you for your membership.

Amy Perry
2014 Destin Area Chamber Chairman
Pleat, Perry & Ritchie, P.A.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Member News: BBB Acreditation, Arts & Wine Festivals, New Realtors, & More

Newman-Dailey Resort Properties Announces BBB Accreditation 
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties achieved the “Standards for Trust” required for Accreditation by the Better Business Bureau and is now a BBB Accredited Business. 

”We were excited to learn that Newman-Dailey has achieved BBB Accredited Business status,” said Jeanne Dailey, president and CEO of Newman-Dailey Resort Properties. “We strive for exceptional customer service and the highest level of professionalism and integrity day in and day out and it is an honor to be recognized by such a distinguished organization.” 

Learn more about Newman-Dailey Resort Properties at

Wyndham Vacation Rentals Voted "Finest on the Emerald Coast" 
Wyndham Vacation Rentals announced that the readers of Northwest Florida Daily News named Wyndham Vacation Rentals "Finest on the Emerald Coast” in the category of vacation rental company for the second year in a row. The "Finest on the Emerald Coast" competition asks community members to vote for the businesses they feel represent the best of the Emerald Coast across more than 160 categories. This year's honorees will be recognized at the “Finest on the Emerald Coast” winners event held at HarborWalk Village on April 24. For details, call (888) 909-6807 or visit

South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival Wins Award
South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival won an Award of Distinction from the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) on April 16, at the annual Image Awards ceremony held in Pensacola. The FPRA Image Awards competition is conducted annually by the Florida Public Relations Association to recognize outstanding public relations programs in Florida. The Northwest Florida Coast and Pensacola Chapters presented the award to Stacey Brady, executive director of the festival, and representatives of Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, a founding partner and the venue for the festival. For festival details, visit

AAA Member Appreciation Event at Silver Sands
AAA members are invited to Silver Sands Premium Outlets to enjoy extra savings during the AAA Member Appreciation Event on May 3 - 4. As part of the “Show Your Card & Save” program, AAA members can present a valid AAA card at the Information Center to receive a free VIP Coupon Book (a $5.00 value), a 2-day savings flyer with exclusive savings, and an entry to win prizes. The first 50 AAA members to check in at the Information Center each day will receive a gift bag with additional coupons and samples. For details, call (850) 654-9771.

Blue Marlin Realty Group Adds Two New Realtors 
Blue Marlin Realty Group continues to expand its team of more than 30 realtors with the addition of Rebecca Browning Miller. Born and raised in Destin, Miller has a true passion for the area and the real estate market as a whole. Miller attended Fort Walton Beach High School and received her Bachelor’s degree at the University of South Alabama. To learn more about the company and its services, contact the team at (850) 837-7800 or

Easter Bunny Visits Children in Crisis
Thanks to the generous donations from Jennifer Ramirez and friends, all the kids living at the Children in Crisis Neighborhood received an Easter Basket with all the traditional goodies. Ramirez reached out to her Facebook friends and encouraged them to purchase the needed items for the baskets. She then assembled the baskets and delivered them to CIC on Easter eve. 

Celebrate ArtsQuest on Mother’s Day Weekend
Every Mother’s Day weekend for the past 26 years, art has been celebrated in South Walton with ArtsQuest, a fine arts festival produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County. This special tradition, scheduled for May 9‐11 in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, brings mothers and daughters, girlfriend groups and families alike to experience nearly 200 national and local artists, live music and kids’ activities. For details, visit

ERA American Realty Adds New Agents
Stephani Fuzy, TJ Martin, Ron Hefner, and Kelli Benscoter joined ERA American Realty of Northwest Florida’s real estate team and will be working from its 30A location at Grayton Corners and its Destin location on Mountain Drive. ERA American Realty, has 6 offices along northwest Florida and is a long established company that has been connecting people to properties since 1981. For details, visit

38th Saturday in the Park Heritage Festival and Heritage 5K Run/Walk & Kids Fun Run 
The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida will host the 38th Saturday in the Park Heritage Festival, a family-fun event with something for everyone, April 26, from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Guest will enjoy a 5K, live entertainment, historic craft demonstrations, re-enactors, festive foods, raffles, a Kid Zone, and more. For details, call 850-678-2615 or visit

Legendary Marine Hosts Water Ski & Wakeboard Expo
Legendary Marine is hosting a first-ever Water Ski & Wakeboard Expo featuring 24x World Record Holder Cory Pickos and other world class competitors. Slated for Saturday, April 26, from 12 – 2 p.m., at Mangos on the Bayou waterfront restaurant in Fort Walton Beach, the event will include multiple demonstrations of various water ski and wakeboarding techniques moderated by Pickos, who owns and operates the Pickos Ski and Wakeboard School in Santa Rosa Beach. The event is free to the public and no RSVPs are required. For more information about the event, contact Legendary Marine Sales Consultant and event organizer Bill McKissick at (850) 337-8300.

NWF Regional Airport Name Poll on VPS Facebook & Twitter
Approximately five years ago, VPS was renamed from Okaloosa Regional Airport to Northwest Florida Regional Airport in an attempt to clarify its location and identity to both local and out of state passengers. Please help determine if the airport name continues to accurately depict our location or if you believe a different name would be more accurate. Follow, and share your opinion. You will have 4 selections to choose from or leave a comment to let us know what you think. 

Tax Collector Team Holds Tax Certificate Sale Workshops
Representatives from the Okaloosa County Tax Collector’s Office will be speaking to Civic groups and organizations around the county, educating citizens on the annual Tax Certificate Sale. Winning bidders can earn between 5% - 18% interest. Potential investors can log on to take full advantage of the demonstrations, procedural information, links to public records, and the Delinquent Tax advertising list. Workshops are Monday, May 12, in Niceville; Tuesday, May 13, in Crestview; and Thursday, May 15, in Fort Walton Beach. All are at 6 p.m. For more details or questions, visit or call (850) 651-7604.

Regatta Chiropractic and Laser Center raised $2,320 for the Junior League
Regatta Chiropractic and Laser Center hosted its first Posture, Purses and Prosecco event on March 27, and successfully raised $2,320 for the Junior League of the Emerald Coast (JLEC). This spring preview took place at the office of Dr. Shawna Hogan, located in the heart of Destin in Regatta Commons across from the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce. More than 100 women in the community attended and enjoyed wine tastings by Deliver my Wine, hors d’oeuvres, live music, and shopping. For more information, visit

Mother’s Day Lunch Cruise on the SOLARIS Yacht
On Sunday, May 11, from 1 – 3 p.m., show Mom your love and appreciation with a special day of cruising and coastal cuisines. Indulge in a three-course, chef prepared meal that begins with freshly baked Artisan rolls with garlic, herbs and infused oil. Entrée choices include fresh-herb encrusted Filet Mignon, Gulf Fish topped with lemon beurre blanc sauce, cheese, and fresh herb-stuffed chicken breast with volute sauce or spinach & cheese stuffed pasta. End on a sweet note with Chef’s special Mother’s Day dessert. Price, including 2-hour cruise and 3-course meal, is $55 for adults (ages 11+), $25 for children ages 3-10, and $15 for infants under 3. Reservations required online at or by calling (850) 650-2519.

World Impact Welcomes Carolyn Anderson
Carolyn Anderson was attracted to World Impact Real Estate (WIRE) when it opened in Destin because of a common philosophy and value system, which is much like her own. Anderson became a licensed real estate agent after a successful career as a teacher and school administrator. Since relocating to the Emerald Coast in 1991, she has been intricately involved in the growth and development of our vacation resort community. She worked exclusively in a unique waterfront development with award-winning builders, where she gained extensive knowledge in waterfront property and new construction. You may reach Anderson at (850) 974-7417 for help with your real estate needs. 

Instructions to Submit Member News ItemsDo you have special business information you would like to share with all Chamber members and our website visitors? Please send your exciting news, which can be about an upcoming event or other timely information, to Only Chamber members are allowed to post news, each news item has to be less than 100 words, only one item per member is allowed each week, and Chamber staff reserves the right to reject or edit postings that do not meet the requirements. All news items are due by Friday for posting the following Monday. The link to this page will be sent out in our weekly Tuesday Talking Points email, and the news item will remain on the website until the next Monday's posting. We will not keep an archive of these pages, and no photos, logos or general business descriptions will be posted. Also, member news items will only be published once.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Member News: Nominate a Hero, Local Realtors Recognized, Top Friendly Family Resort, & More

Newman-Dailey Continues in the Top 10% of Real Estate Agencies
For 2013, Newman-Dailey Resort Properties remained in the top 10% of real estate agencies on the Emerald Coast.

“For over 28 years, clients have relied on Newman-Dailey’s stability and vision to turn their real estate expectations into realities,” said Jeanne Dailey, Founder & CEO/Broker of Newman-Dailey. “In addition, I’m happy to announce that Trent Clark is our top sales agent for the first quarter. And Mark DeSalvo is the company’s top listing agent for the first quarter of 2014!”

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

Nathan Abbott Earns Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist Designation
Nathan Abbott of ResortQuest Real Estate® recently earned the prestigious Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® (CLHMS) and Million Dollar Guild® designations through the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing®. Those who hold the designation have documented performance in the top 10% of their markets and have successfully demonstrated their expertise in the luxury home and estate market. The CLHMS designation assures affluent buyers and sellers that sales associates who have earned this title have the knowledge, experience, competence, and confidence they require. To contact Abbott, call (850) 803-7653, e-mail, or visit

Wyndham Vacation Rentals Managed Property Named a Top Family-Friendly Resort
Wyndham Vacation Rentals announced ConventionSouth magazine has selected TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort as one of the “South’s Top Family-Friendly Resorts for Groups.” Editors for ConventionSouth magazine, a national multimedia resource for planning events held within the South, selected Tops’l Beach and Racquet Resort because of its ability to provide fun activities for all ages and because it is ideal for meetings where attendees can bring their families and tack on some rest, relaxation, and vacation time. For details about the property, visit

Bud & Alley’s Hosts ‘Down South’ Dinner Featuring Chef Donald Link
Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant, located on Scenic Highway 30A in Seaside, will host a special pre-fixe wine dinner on Thursday, May 8, at 7 p.m., featuring a menu especially prepared by celebrity chef and author Donald Link of New Orleans. The four-course dinner served “family style” puts a delicious twist on classic Southern cuisine. Select wines will be thoughtfully paired with each course. Tickets for the event are $125 per person, including tax and gratuity. Proceeds from the event will benefit Food for Thought (, a charity based in Santa Rosa Beach, to help fight local childhood hunger. Only a limited number of tickets will be sold. Email Elijah Shelly at or call (850) 231-5900. 

Heroes Honored At Red, White & Blue Celebration
The Red, White & Blue Hero Celebration is held weekly at HarborWalk Village starting Thursday, May 29 through Labor Day weekend. HarborWalk Village is seeking nominations of individuals who have gone above and beyond to demonstrate heroism within their community. Nominations may come from family, personal, or professional contacts by simply filling out a nomination at The Red, White & Blue Celebration features an honoring of the hero, live entertainment, kid's activities, a WWII vintage air show, and a spectacular finale of fireworks over the Destin Harbor. Sponsored by Coca-Cola, Miller Lite, Jim Beam and Big Kahuna's. For more information on how to participate, visit or follow

Legendary Marine to Open New Expanded Sales Facility 
Legendary Marine is expanding with a new waterfront sales and wet slip facility on Highway 98. While Legendary Marine will continue to occupy and manage the Brooks Bridge Marina facility, it is in process of moving its sales operation to a new location at 14 Miracle Strip Parkway Southwest, near the intersection of Beal and Highway 98 in Fort Walton Beach. This new expanded sales lot will offer a large mix of new and premium pre-owned boats, brokerage and consignment sales, and more than 50 available wet slips. For more information, visit

Boys & Girls Clubs Cut Ribbon on New Club
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast invites you to the Grand Opening of its South Walton Club on April 22. Enjoy a sneak preview tour at 4:30 p.m., with the ribbon cutting and gym dedication at 5:30 p.m. Additional tours will be offered at 7 p.m. The new club is located at 427 Greenway trail in Santa Rosa Beach. For details, call (850) 622-0602 or visit

Glow Run 5K 4 CIC Children in Need
On Friday, May 16, Children In Crisis (CIC) and Mary Esther United Methodist Church are holding a Glow Run 4 Children. The dance party begins at 6:30 p.m., at Fort Walton Beach High School track with a Glow Run beginning at 7:30 p.m. Search “Glow Run 4 Children in need” on to register.

Seen in this photo, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, receives a $1,000 donation and a mountain of paper products from Paul McShane, Niceville Exchange Club president. This is an annual donation from the club, which qualifies them as members of the CIC Kid’s Club. To learn more about CIC, visit, or call (850) 864-4242.

Destin Library Honored during Library Appreciation Month
April is Library Appreciation Month, and the Destin Library was honored with a proclamation at the April 7 Destin City Council meeting for its commitment to excellence and dedication to the Destin community. Mayor Mel Ponder presented Library Director Jurate Burns with the proclamation at the meeting. The Destin Library is located at 150 Sibert Ave. Its hours of operation are Monday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Wednesday from 1 – 5 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. For more information, call (850) 837-8572.

Habitat Rx: Five Steps to a Healthy Watershed
The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) in collaboration with UF/IFAS Extension & Florida Sea Grant will host a public workshop at Padgett Park (810 JD Miller Rd, SRB) on Monday, April 21, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. Attendees will learn how to identify invasive plants found in our community and how to use this knowledge to improve their neighborhoods. Habitat Rx is designed to facilitate stewardship among neighbors and encourage property-owners throughout South Walton to join in the fight against invasive species. Please RSVP by contacting the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance at (850) 200-4171

Seen in this photo, a Chinese tallow, an invasive species in South Walton. Photo credit: Vic Ramey, University of Florida

Covenant Hospice Offers “My Wishes” Workshops on Advance Care Planning 
National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is April 16, and is an initiative to provide clear, concise, and consistent information on healthcare decision-making to both the public, as well as healthcare providers and facilities at no cost. In conjunction with the national effort, Covenant Hospice will be offering hands-on advance care planning workshops. The My Wishes Workshops will be held Thursday, April 10 at 2 p.m. at Sterling House in Bluewater Bay (1551 Merchants Way); Wednesday, April 16 at 1:30 p.m. at The Meridian at Westwood in Fort Walton Beach (1001 Mar Walt Drive); and Wednesday, April 23 at Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in DeFuniak Springs (785 S. 2nd Street). The workshops are free, but reservations are required. Call (850) 729-1800.

Destin Woman’s Club April Lunch Meeting
Destin Woman’s Club ( will have its next monthly meeting on Wednesday April 16, at Louis Louis Restaurant in Santa Rosa Beach. Social time will begin at 11 a.m., followed by the program at 11:30 a.m. Lunch will be served at noon, and the business meeting will commence after lunch. The program will consist of a presentation by Dr. Nitin Bawa. Dr. Bawa’s focus is on women’s health issues, including weight loss, bio-identical hormone therapy, holistic and natural medicines, etc. Lunch is $20, payable either in advance or at the door. New members and/or guests are always welcome, so please join us. Reservations are requested by April 13, and may be made by emailing For additional information, please call (678) 294-3778.

Emerald Coast Theatre Company Presents Second Season of Summer Theater Camps
Summertime on the Emerald Coast means it’s time for kids to ‘act out’! Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC), a newly formed not-for-profit professional theater company based in Miramar Beach, announces a new series of summer theater camps designed with kids in mind. 

June 16-19 & June 23-26
Musical Theatre Camp — Disney’s “101 Dalmatians”

July 7-11
Camp Broadway — Seaside Neighborhood School

July 14-19 (with show on July 20)
Drama Camp — “The Wizard of Oz” (with the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation) 

For more information on Emerald Coast Theatre Company, call (850) 687-1637, emai, or visit Find ECTC on Facebook at

Joining or Managing a Board?
The Costa Leadership Institute at NWFSC is offering Board Effectiveness Training on Friday, April 18, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Serving on nonprofit boards is both rewarding and impactful. This four hour class will teach you the fundamentals of serving on a nonprofit board. Grow as a community leader through serving others and partnering with other leaders on a board. Included in this interactive session are the following topics:
• Board's role in strategic planning
• Board engagement
• Board expectations
• Board operations and structure (committees, officers, terms, composition, manual, orientation sessions, information systems)
• Ideal board profile
• Roberts Rules of Order

The fee is $12, and reference number is 89501. Visit for details.

Okaloosa Arts Alliance School Poster Contest
The Okaloosa Arts Alliance (OAA) invites all Okaloosa County School students to participate in the 6th Annual OAA Okaloosa County School Poster Contest. The theme is “Summer Fun.” Creations should be on paper with markers, pencils, paint, pastels, charcoal, or crayons. There will be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner for three elementary school students (K-4), for three middle school students (5-7), and for three high school students (8-12) in Okaloosa County. Each 1st place winner will receive a $75 gift card, each 2nd place winner will receive a $50 gift card, and each 3rd place winner will receive a $25 gift card. For details, please contact Amy Baty at (850) 499-8335 or, or visit

Department of Corrections Gets 100 on State Inspection
The Okaloosa County Department of Corrections recently received 100 percent ratings upon its recent inspections, in accordance with Florida Model Jail Standards (FMJS). In addition, the Medical Housing Unit within Corrections was found to be clean, organized and well managed. An assessment of operations and overall facility conditions, as well as policies and procedures, are part of the inspection process. Additionally, it is currently in 100 percent compliance with mandatory and non-mandatory standards required to receive accreditation by the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission, and it maintains accreditation from the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare. For more information, call (850) 689-5690.

Sacred Heart to Host Blood Drive April 15 
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast will host the Oneblood mobile unit on Tuesday, April 15, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the main entrance of the hospital. All donors will receive a free t-shirt and a meal ticket to the hospital’s café. Whole blood expires after only 42 days, which increases the importance of ongoing blood drives. You must be 17 years old or older, weigh at least 110 pounds, have a picture identification card, be in good health, and not have donated within the last 55 days. Donating one unit of blood can help save three lives! For more information about Oneblood, please visit For more information about Sacred Heart, please visit

Rosemary Beach Foundation Hosts 3rd Annual Walk Her Way
Men, women and children of all ages are invited to don high heels for Walk Her Way at Rosemary Beach’s Town Center on Friday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. This event aims to raise awareness of domestic violence and benefits Shelter House, Inc. Will you walk in wedges? Strut in stilettos? Prance in pumps? Whatever your preference, sign up to Walk Her Way at Advance registration is $30 for adults and $10 for children under 12. It includes a t-shirt. Registration the day of the walk will be an additional $5 per person from 5 – 6:15 p.m. Additional sponsorships are available. Call (850) 231-7382 for more information. 

Support the Largest One-Day Food Drive
The 22nd Annual National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive will be held on Saturday, May 10, and will help our local food banks restock their pantries. The NALC, in conjunction with the US Postal Service, the AFL-CIO, Campbell’s Valpak, and United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties, will be collecting non-perishable and non-expired food items from local residents. Food items needed include quick meals like macaroni, spaghetti, soups, canned meats, peanut butter, canned juice, canned fruits, canned vegetables, baby food, cereal, etc. Place your food donation(s) in a bag next to your mailbox early on the morning of Saturday, May 10. For a list of our participating local food banks, visit

Instructions to Submit Member News ItemsDo you have special business information you would like to share with all Chamber members and our website visitors? Please send your exciting news, which can be about an upcoming event or other timely information, to Only Chamber members are allowed to post news, each news item has to be less than 100 words, only one item per member is allowed each week, and Chamber staff reserves the right to reject or edit postings that do not meet the requirements. All news items are due by Friday for posting the following Monday. The link to this page will be sent out in our weekly Tuesday Talking Points email, and the news item will remain on the website until the next Monday's posting. We will not keep an archive of these pages, and no photos, logos or general business descriptions will be posted. Also, member news items will only be published once.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chamber Donates $500 to Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance

Sarah Davis and Amy Perry
On April 8, the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce presented a $500 check to the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) in appreciation of its assistance during the 2014 Destin’s Superhero Bayou, Bay, & Back 1-Mile Fun Run, 5K Run/Walk, 10K, & Half Marathon.  Almost 500 runners competed in the event, now in its fourth year, and the CBA’s assistance was essential during the race and in pre-event marketing.

Sarah Davis, CBA Fund Development and Marketing Officer, accepted the donation from Destin Area Chamber Chairman Amy Perry of Pleat, Perry & Ritchie, P.A., during the Chamber's April 8 Leaders In Business Lunch.

Lydia Randolph and Marilu Lammon
The CBA is an organization committed to sustaining and providing optimum utilization of the Choctawhatchee Basin watershed.  Since the race courses offer sweeping views of the Choctawhatchee Bay and waterways of Destin, the CBA is the perfect partner for the race.  The health of the area’s water resources is the foundation of its identity and economy.  Be it fishing, tourism, or quality of life, everything revolves around a healthy watershed.

For more information about CBA programs, please visit or follow

The 2015 Bayou, Bay & Back event is set for Saturday, Jan. 24.  Follow

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Scam Alert Notice from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office

We just received notice from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office that a scam regarding late toll violations has been reported in our area.  If you receive a letter from "Toll Enforcement, LLC," titled "Final Warning Notice," do not respond.   

Please visit for details. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Member News: Free Shredding Event, New Breakfast Menu, Royall Rumble Cobia Tournament & More

Wyndham Vacation Rentals Offers Properties in TripAdvisor’s “Top 25 Beaches”
Wyndham Vacation Rentals offers vacation rental accommodations in three of the “Top 25 Beaches” as named by TripAdvisor®, including Pensacola Beach, Navarre Beach, and Panama City Beach, Fla. The 2014 Travelers' Choice™ Awards for beaches in the United States featured 25 locations, 10 of which are located in the state of Florida, and three of those 10 in Northwest Florida. Pensacola Beach was ranked 19th, Panama City Beach was ranked 20th, and Navarre Beach was ranked 25th in the category of Top 25 Beaches – United States. To learn more about what to do and where to stay in Northwest Florida, guests should visit

Hilton Sandestin Named in “30 Best Meeting Site Boardrooms” by ConventionSouth
For the second consecutive year, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has been named among the 30 Best Meeting Site Boardrooms by ConventionSouth magazine. Including notable hotels and meeting facilities from around the southeastern United States, the list of top 30 boardrooms was created by editors based on a variety of factors, including comfortable seating, interesting decor, high-tech capabilities, and more. For more information on Hilton Sandestin Beach or to book a meeting at Destin’s premier resort hotel, visit or call (850) 267-9600.

South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival Unveils Interactive Mobile App
A new interactive mobile event App for South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival, which is set for April 24-27, is designed to make the festival experience more engaging and interactive for attendees. Event Live, the festival’s official App, helps consumers find local events from any geographic location. It also helps event organizers stay in touch with their audience. For more information, including a list of attending celebrity winemakers and to purchase tickets, Event founding partners include Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, and more.

BBB® partners to Combat Identity Theft
Your BBB, along with Gilmore Services, Cat Country 98.7 FM and WEAR-TV3, is offering individuals an opportunity to shred their sensitive data on Friday, April 25. 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. An individual may bring up to 50 pounds of sensitive information to be shredded. Documents to be shredded should be removed from binders, but staples and paper clips are acceptable. Please do not tie bags or tape boxes! For details, visit
Kiwanis of Niceville-Valparaiso Help Children in Crisis
Kiwanis Club of Niceville-Valparaiso members donated their time during a recent workday, called "Kiwanis One Day," to help make The Children in Crisis Neighborhood look great. The work group included about 15 Kiwanis members and 35 military members from the Detachment 3, Hurlburt Field Tactical Air Control Party training school, led by 2nd Lt. Caleb Ingels of Austin Texas. The volunteers pressure washed all the homes, completed normal grounds maintenance, and did a variety of other tasks. Those pictured include J McEntire, Kiwanis President Stan Claypool, CIC President & CEO Ken Hair, Steve Baldock, Vern McGraw, Tim Parsons, Ed Dunbar, and Judy Boudreaux. To learn more about CIC, call (850) 864-4242 or visit

Covenant Hospice Offers Free Evening Education Series 
Covenant Hospice will offer a free seminar, “Customer Service for Healthcare Professionals,” on Tuesday, April 15, at 5:15 p.m. at its Fort Walton Beach branch office, 220 Eglin Parkway NE in Mariner Plaza. Kathleen Doran, R.N. and Edie Henley, R.N., CHPN will present the course. Seminar attendees can expect to learn about facts supporting the importance of customer service, the components of quality customer service, tactics for achieving this high level of service, and ways to “wow” customers. For more information about Covenant Hospice or to make a hospice inquiry, contact the local branch offices in Fort Walton Beach (850-729-1800) and Crestview (850-682-3628) or visit

"Top of the Class" Opening Reception 
The A+Art, Committee of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, presents the annual juried exhibition “Top of the Class” from April 4 until May 30, 2014. The exhibition is at the Northwest Florida State College South Walton Center at 109 Greenway Trail in Santa Rosa Beach. The artists in the exhibition include Susan Alfieri, Charlotte Arnold, Melody Bogle, Donnelle Clark, Heather Clements, Maria Dante, Judy Dewar, Carol Dickson, Joanna Ellington, Allison Hicks, Dinett, Hok, JoAnne Jones, Lois Kennedy, Suzanne LeLoup-West, Bonita Loman, Susan Lucas, Theresia McInnis, Kristina Perry, Susan Richardson, Kathleen Schumacher, Janet and Steve Thomas, Tanis Thomas, Joan Vienot, Richard Weber, Ann Welch, Lynn Wilson, and Mary Zahner.

Destin Water Users Wins “Best Tasting Drinking Water Contest 2014” 
Drink up, Destin, Florida: The city’s tap water is among the tastiest in the state. The residents of Destin won bragging rights on March 6 , for having the best-tasting tap water in the 4-County Area, which includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties. Four utilities entered which included Emerald Coast Utility Authority (ECUA), Destin Water Users (DWU), People’s Water, and Auburn Water System. Contest judges were Ted Corcoran, President/CEO FWB Chamber; Don David III, Financial Advisor Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and past Director of DWU; and Doug Barr, Past Executive Director of the Northwest Florida Water Management District, who is now doing private consulting on water supply issues. The state contest is April 8.

Have You Seen our Spring Break Discount Event? It is Happening Now!
The Emerald Coast VIP discount Dining Card is a local business that aims to inform locals and visitors in our beautiful area, while assisting them get to know many of the best restaurants along the coast by means of enjoying unusual discounts and free items! We are welcoming more participating locally owned restaurants, shops, cafes, and bakeries every week! We invite everyone to learn more by visiting our site at All of our upcoming Dining Events and other local events are posted for your convenience, so please visit our site often.

Sandestin Wine Festival Makes FlipKey’s List, TripAdvisor’s vacation rental company, recently named the Sandestin Wine Festival to its list of nine Top Food & Wine Festivals for 2014. "This award-winning wine festival … is entering its 28th year. Wine novices and aficionados alike will enjoy the experience with ample tastings, celebrity chef dinners, and the ability to purchase discounted wines immediately after falling in love with them. There’s also an ability to purchase rare, hard-to-get wines here. Don’t miss out on the Seafood Cruise or the Champagne Brunch, both are rumored to be the can’t-miss events of this can’t-miss event," according to its website. View the full article here:

Jim ‘N Nick’s of Destin and Niceville Selected to Serve New Breakfast Menu
Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q in Destin and Niceville have been selected as two of only three locations to begin serving breakfast, out of over 30 locations nationwide. Featuring classic southern dishes, such as Chicken and Waffles and Pork & Grits, Jim ‘N Nick’s will also offer traditional breakfast plates, including farm fresh eggs, biscuits made daily from scratch, beef brisket, smoked ham, and more. The Destin location will offer a full-service breakfast menu everyday from 7 - 11 a.m. The drive-thru-only Jim ‘N Nick’s location in Niceville is offering the taco and biscuit breakfast, served daily from 6 - 10:30 a.m. For details, visit

Student enjoys Home School Friday Lesson “Be A Curator!” 
With white gloves, homeschool student Kaleb Baker examines artifacts from the Museum’s historic collection during April’s “Home School Friday” program. Each month through June, a different program is presented related to Northwest Florida history. Children and families can enjoy the same program during “Hands-On History” offered one Saturday per month. The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida is dedicated to providing affordable, family-fun, quality programs based on the Florida core standards for education. Groups welcome. SPACE IS LIMITED! Please pre-register. Call (850) 678-2615.

Legendary Marine Announces "The Royall Rumble" Cobia Tournament
Legendary Marine is hosting The Royall Rumble on April 18-19, a family-friendly fishing tournament for the customers and friends of Legendary Marine. Presented by Legendary Marine and spearheaded by sales consultants and fishing enthusiasts Todd, Travis and Randy Royall, the event is designed to promote a day of fun cobia fishing for the family. Event sponsors include Skeeter Performance Fishing Boats and the Addictive Fishing TV Show, and fishing celebrities will be present. Every boat that includes a Wounded Warrior as part of its fishing crew waives the $50 per boat entry fee. To register and for details, contact the Legendary Marine Ship's Store at (850) 337-8200. For more information, visit

MKAF and Ocean Reef Resorts Presents Gimme Abbey
The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation and Ocean Reef Resorts come together on April 24, to present GIMME ABBEY, a Beatles and Rolling Stones tribute performance by The Return and Satisfaction. Event will happen at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village. General admission is $15 for MKAF members and $18 for others. Children under 12 are free. Picnic supper club tables are available. Enjoy a charity raffle at intermission. Visit for tickets.

Get Involved this Earth Day
The Okaloosa County Environmental Council invites volunteers of all ages to participate in the Earth Day Beach Cleanup on Saturday, April 12, 2013, from 8-10 a.m. Sponsored by the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Department, the Okaloosa County Environmental Council has organized more than 30,000 volunteers in removing 114,000 pounds of discarded trash from local beaches during beach cleanups held twice each year since 1988. Volunteers of all ages, including family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, youth groups and students are encouraged to participate. Volunteers are invited to sign in at Beasley Park on Okaloosa Island, the Beach Park west of Island Princess on Okaloosa Island, and Henderson Beach State Park in Destin. Receive your “Leave Footprints – NOT Stuff” event T-Shirt, trash bag, bottled water, gloves, and Get a Little Sand in your Soul!

Sacred Heart to Host Joint Replacement Classes April 14 and 28 
The Joint Replacement Program at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast hosts bi-weekly education classes to help people learn more about the joint replacement process. The next classes will take place on Monday, April 14, and Monday, April 28, at 9 a.m. in the hospital’s Resource Center Suite 3 conference room. Led by Linda Ledford, Sacred Heart’s dedicated joint replacement coordinator and registered nurse, the class will focus on what to expect before, during, and after surgery. For more information on the joint replacement process or to attend a class, please call (850) 278-3646. 

Chris J. Ogle Designated a “Premier Advisor”
Wells Fargo Advisors has designated Chris J. Ogle, First Vice President- Investment Officer, as a member of the firm’s Premier Advisors Program, a distinction that reflects Chris’s achievement of professional success by meeting or exceeding Wells Fargo Advisors’ high standards as measured by one or more of the firm’s criteria for revenue generation, educational attainment and client-service best practices. Ogle has been a financial advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors for 14 years and has 14 years’ experience in the brokerage industry. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Flagler College. For information, visit or call (850) 837-5366.

WSRE's StudioAmped Concert Series to Begin Airing April 3
Season 6 of StudioAmped, WSRE’s popular concert series recorded in front of a live studio audience, began WSRE April 3. Upcoming concerts include the following:
Timberhawk – April 10, at 9 p.m.; April 16, at 10 p.m.
Flow Tribe – April 17, at 9 p.m.; April 23, at 10 p.m.
The Owsley Brothers – April 24, at 9 p.m.; April 30, at 10 p.m.
New Earth Army – May 1, at 9 p.m.; May 7, at 10 p.m. 
Fatty Waters – May 8, at 9 p.m.; May 14, at 10 p.m.

For more information, follow

Instructions to Submit Member News ItemsDo you have special business information you would like to share with all Chamber members and our website visitors? Please send your exciting news, which can be about an upcoming event or other timely information, to Only Chamber members are allowed to post news, each news item has to be less than 100 words, only one item per member is allowed each week, and Chamber staff reserves the right to reject or edit postings that do not meet the requirements. All news items are due by Friday for posting the following Monday. The link to this page will be sent out in our weekly Tuesday Talking Points email, and the news item will remain on the website until the next Monday's posting. We will not keep an archive of these pages, and no photos, logos or general business descriptions will be posted. Also, member news items will only be published once.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Member News: Awards, Fundraisers, Art Festival, Dune Restoration & More

ResortQuest Real Estate® Welcomes New Sales Associates
In the past few months, ResortQuest Real Estate® welcomed 18 REALTORS® to these locations:
- Perdido – Stephen Bergeron
- Pensacola – Karen Cook Cowen, Ben Cannington, Bob Cowen, Diane Grimes, Marcia Hoven, Toni Jordan, Rita Murrell, Kurt Overlade, and Diane Tyson
- Navarre – April Giesler
- Fort Walton Beach – Johnny Springfield and Debbie Bruckner
- Destin – David Byrd, Kathy Friesen, and Patty DeFrenza
- Seagrove Beach – Jessica Abbott Muller, Helena Stoppert, and Oksana Nordgaarden

Also, Stephen Bergeron will serve as the success manager of the Perdido Key office and Karen Cook Cowen will serve as the success manager of the Pensacola Beach office.

Visit or follow

Hilton Sandestin Wins Prestigious HSMAI Gold Adrian Award
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa received a 2014 Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association (HSMAI) Gold Adrian Award in the Digital Campaign: Contest/Sweepstakes category. The annual competition is comprised of multiple categories in three entry divisions: advertising, public relations and web marketing. The award was presented during the HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala held Feb. 24, at the NY Marriott Marquis in New York City. For more information on Hilton Sandestin Beach or to make a reservation at Destin’s premier hotel, or call (850) 267-9500.
Blue Marlin Realty Group Expands Team
Blue Marlin Realty Group continues to expand its team with new realtor, Juan Anzures, and new sales manager, Katie Cartwright. Anzures not only pursues real estate full time, but is also presently employed by the United States Marine Corps. Originally from Pontiac, Michigan, and Southern, California, Anzures has an Associates Degree in American Studies. He has received three Navy and Marine Corps Achievements Medals, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, among others. Cartwright was born and raised in Pensacola. She graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Psychology and History. To learn more about the company and its services, contact the team at (850) 837-7800 or visit

Boys & Girls Clubs Announces Steak & Stake Fundraiser Event 
Jim "The Rookie" Morris will be the special guest speaker for the Inaugural Steak & Stake fundraising dinner for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast. The event will be Sept. 25, at the Emerald Coast Convention Center on Okaloosa Island. Morris' life story was the inspiration behind the 2002 Walt Disney film "The Rookie," starring Dennis Quaid. To motivate his rag-tag high school baseball team, the then-35-year-old schoolteacher made a bet that he would try out for the big leagues if his team won a district championship. When Mr. Morris' team won, he followed through on his promise. Three months later, he achieved his dream of pitching in the Major Leagues. Click here for details.

Niceville Pastor Volunteers at Children in Crisis
Lewis Wilder, the Connections Pastor with Niceville United Methodist Church, normally helps new residents in the area get connected with church and stay connected. However, every Friday, Lew rolls up his sleeves and volunteers at Children in Crisis. For the past several years, Lew has been the volunteer Vehicle Maintenance Coordinator. Lew coordinates all the scheduled preventive maintenance and many of the un-expected jobs too. Seen here, CIC President and CEO Ken Hair recognizes Wilder for his service. For more information or to make a donation, call 850-864-4242 or visit

Unique Collaboration Encourages Students to Restore Dunes Together
Working alongside the AmeriCorps and Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) education team, seniors at Fort Walton Beach High School have researched and developed ideas for a unique field trip experience for Destin Middle School students. Fifth graders have been growing sea oats and exploring the importance of the coastal dune habitat. The students will take a field trip with the seniors to Henderson Beach State Park, in efforts to help restore the dune system. For more information about this collaboration or to set up an interview, please contact Brittany Tate at (850)217-5382 or

Cox Charity Auction Kicks Off April 12
Cox will present the Cox Charity Auction to benefit Covenant Hospice, beginning April 12 through May 10. Formerly the Cox Cablethon, this year’s event will feature four week-long auctions hosted online at Each auction will feature a variety of packages starting at 40% of the retail value. The online auction schedule is as follows: Auction One, April 12-19; Auction Two, April 19-26; Auction Three, April 26-May 3; Auction Four, May 3-10. Each auction will feature different items available for bidding. Organizers are currently seeking additional items for the online auction. Businesses and individuals interested in making a tax-deductible donation of an item, gift certificate, professional service or condo stay should contact Rachel Mayew at (850) 428-0605 or

ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival Announces 2014 Artists
Every Mother’s Day weekend for the past 26 years, art is celebrated in South Walton with ArtsQuest, a fine arts festival produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA). This special tradition, scheduled for May 9-11, in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, brings mothers and daughters, girlfriend groups, and families alike to experience nearly 200 national and local artists, live music and kids’ activities. The 2014 artists include Mary Hong - Visit South Walton’s 2013 Artist of the Year, Bill Turner - “Best of Show” - Fairhope Arts Festival, Chandler Williams - Visit South Walton’s 2014 Photographer of the Year, and Francisco Adaro - ArtsQuest 2014 Featured Artist. For details and a schedule, visit

Destin Woman’s Club Spring Event to Benefit Shelter House
The Destin Woman’s Club is sponsoring a spring event on Wednesday, April 9, to benefit Shelter House. Enjoy an evening on The Solaris, a 125’ yacht docked at the Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin. The evening will consist of Wine, Dinner, and Dancing. There will be a Silent Auction and a 50/50 raffle. Net proceeds will directly benefit Shelter House. Boarding time is 6:15 p.m., with cruise underway from 7 - 9 p.m. Dress is resort attire. Tickets are $75 per person. or visit Today’s Boutique in Destin or Sun Dog Books in Seaside.

“Time Traveler’s” Summer History Camp at the Museum
Join the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida on a week-long journey filled with adventure as and become “Time Travelers,” during Summer History Camp. Camp is scheduled Aug. 11 – 15, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Discover, explore, and experience days-gone-by, as you travel back in time. “Time Traveler’s” Summer History Camp is for children ages 5-12. The cost is $60 for the week ($50 for Museum Family Members). Become a NEW Family Member ($50 level) and receive (1) child’s camp registration ½ off. SPACE IS LIMITED! Please pre-register. Call (850) 678-2615. 

McGuire’s Wine Tasting
Join McGuire’s Irish Pub of Destin for its monthly Wine Tasting on Wednesday, April 2, from 5 – 7 p.m., and sample five wines for just $5. Once you've found that one special bottle you've just got to have, take it into the award-winning restaurant and have it with dinner--no corkage fee. And don't forget, you can take $5 off your first bottle of the wines featured on the tasting! For the April tasting, McGuire’s has selected some wines with unexpected twists--either interesting interpretations of familiar styles, or altogether unique forms of vinous hedonism. Call (850) 654-7002 for details.

NWF Regional Airport (VPS) Unleashes “Bark Park” for Furry Passengers
VPS announced a new dog park to serve its four-legged passengers. The dog park will serve passengers’ pets, as well as working animals, including law enforcement K-9 units, therapy dogs, and dogs that assist their ADA wards. For further information, please visit

Okaloosa County Offers Wildlife Monitoring Special Topics Course
The Wildlife Monitoring Special Topics Course is being offered locally in April. This course is 24 contact hours, which includes presentations, class discussions, and daily field trips. The fee for this course is $150 and includes detailed course manuals, hands-on experience, and registration in an online database that can be used for verification purposes, such as might be required for obtaining CEUs, in-service credits, or resumé checks. The program is designed as an environmental education extension program to inform and prepare individuals to share information about Florida’s natural world and environmental history. The course is April 7 – 9, and the fee is $150. Register at For more information, contact Brooke Saari UF/IFAS Extension & Florida Sea Grant at or (850) 685-7359.

Join Sacred Heart’s Diabetes Education Class April 9-10 
Have you or your loved one been diagnosed with diabetes? Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast invites you to join the next diabetes self- management class on Wednesday and Thursday, April 9 and 10, from 12 to 4:30 p.m. The class will take place in the Resource Center Suite 1 education building at Sacred Heart. Led by Jenny Stuckey, registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, and Anne Townley, registered dietician and certified diabetes educator, the class is open to adults with diabetes who are looking for ways to manage their disease. Key topics include exercise, medication, and nutrition for patients to reduce the symptoms of diabetes. For more information or to register for the class, call (850) 278-3683. 

Purse Sale and Auction Raises Money for Critical Services
Women from across the Emerald Coast made their way to Silver Sands Premium Outlets last weekend for Purses with a Purpose, a unique event benefiting Shelter House. Now in its fourth year, the purse sale and auction has become a must-attend event for many. More than 250 shoppers turned out Friday and Saturday to snag a bag. The two-day event raised more than $8,500 to support programs and services, such as a 24-hour rape and domestic violence hotline, emergency shelter, child advocacy, support groups, and violence prevention classes. The event has raised more than $41,000 during the last four years. For more information, contact Shelter House at (850) 243-1201.

WSRE presents “Delicious Afternoon...The Gathering of Friends” Tea Party on April 27
Dust off your brooch and hat and get ready for WSRE’s “Delicious Afternoon…the Gathering of Friends” Tea Party on Sunday, April 27, from 3 - 5 p.m., at the Versailles Event Center in downtown Pensacola. An annual event hosted by WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast, this year’s tea party is all about creating fond memories as you “gossip and gab” with family and friends. Slow down and enjoy life’s tasteful moments as you experience the joy that comes from simply gathering around a table together. All proceeds from the event benefit the mission of WSRE. Tickets are $50 per person. Purchase tickets online at, or call (850) 484-1054 Monday-Friday during normal business hours. 

Instructions to Submit Member News ItemsDo you have special business information you would like to share with all Chamber members and our website visitors? Please send your exciting news, which can be about an upcoming event or other timely information, to Only Chamber members are allowed to post news, each news item has to be less than 100 words, only one item per member is allowed each week, and Chamber staff reserves the right to reject or edit postings that do not meet the requirements. All news items are due by Friday for posting the following Monday. The link to this page will be sent out in our weekly Tuesday Talking Points email, and the news item will remain on the website until the next Monday's posting. We will not keep an archive of these pages, and no photos, logos or general business descriptions will be posted. Also, member news items will only be published once.