Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Chairman’s Message: New Teammates…..Same Game

The residents of Destin recently voted for a new mayor and four seats on the City Council, and I congratulate the winners.   In the spirit of teamwork, I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage our new council from the Chamber’s perspective.
The council recently approved a Comprehensive Plan that sets a strategic vision for the way Destin will be developed, redeveloped, and adapted into a cohesive community over the next five, 10, even 50 years.   The Chamber strongly supported this plan because it represents prudent, quality development, height and density restrictions, and a walkable harbor district, and it begins to address the issue of traffic and how to negotiate that concern.    We acknowledge that the plan may need some tweaking over time, but we believe this is a great start to get the city on track. 
Destin is naturally a beautiful, unique place.   That said, there are other beautiful and unique places that do not enjoy the quality of life, tourist draw, and strong economic conditions that we have become accustomed to here.  For example, Bay County is currently feeling the effects of some poor planning and development decisions over time, and the entire community is suffering (at least for a time) because of it.  There is an inherent risk that lies in a lack of order; poor planning leads to poor execution and poor results.  
I believe that we in Destin have an incredible product, a wonderful foundation, and a golden opportunity to plan a vibrant city for our children’s futures.  Let’s continue on a path of planning and order, use the recently approved comprehensive plan to our benefit, and work with the existing personnel to see what results can be achieved.  If the results are not forthcoming, make changes as necessary, but not until we give the appropriate amount of effort and time.
I welcome the new mayor and council to the team. Let’s win the game together!
Upcoming EventsThe Chamber is committed to providing and partnering in events that create environments for strong business networking, such as the following:· Tax Relief Golf Tournament (4/21/2016, Emerald Bay Golf Club)· 50th Anniversary Gala (9/15/2016, The Henderson)
Be well and enjoy the spring!
Jonathan Ochs
Trustmark Bank
2016 Destin Chamber Chairman

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 2016 Business Briefs / Member News Part 5

United Way Announces Fund Allocations from 2015 Campaign
United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties has approved the allocation of funds from the 2015 Campaign to be disbursed to the 40 United Way Partner Agencies. These 40 Partner Agencies will receive the following allocations: 
2-1-1 of Northwest Florida - $5,500
American Red Cross - $11,293
AMIkids of the Emerald Coast - $12,789
The Arc of the Emerald Coast - $30,646
The Arc of Walton County - $14,531
Big Brothers Big Sister of NWF - $10,903
Boys & Girls Club of the Emerald Coast - $25,664
Boy Scouts of America Gulf Coast - $13,045
Bridgeway Center - $10,787
Catholic Charities of NWF - $21,165
Chautauqua Offices of Psychotherapy (COPE) - $19,146
Children in Crisis - $43,132
Children’s Home Society of Florida - $16,836
Children’s Volunteer Health Network - $15,748
Covenant Alzheimer’s Care - $6,267
Covenant Hospice - $39,177
Crossroads Medical Center - $20,336
Early Learning Coalition of Okaloosa-Walton - $26,985
Elder Services of Okaloosa - $15,360
Eleanor J. Johnson Youth Center - $28,638
Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center - $34,975
Emerald Coast Science Center - $5,790
Feeding the Gulf Coast - $8,896
Fresh Start for Children and Families - $25,378
Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle - $5,581
Habitat for Humanity in Okaloosa County - $22,667
Habitat for Humanity of Walton County - $4,187
Harvest House - $11,357
Independence for the Blind of West Florida - $6,573
Mental Health Assoc. of Okaloosa-Walton - $21,910
Okaloosa AIDS Support & Information (OASIS) - $10,602
Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation - $5,061
Ronald McDonald House Charities of NWF - $18,474
Ronda Coon Women’s Home - $8,248
S4P Synergy - $28,836
Safe Connections - $11,731
Salvation Army of Okaloosa-Walton Counties - $16,698
Sharing & Caring of Okaloosa County - $46,223
Shelter House - $48,744
Walton Education Foundation - $15,831
Walton-Okaloosa Advisory Council on Aging - $19,194
Students to Restore the Dunes
Beginning at the end of March, middle school students across Okaloosa and Walton counties are taking a field trip to restore the local dune ecosystem. Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, 950 students at five middle schools participated in Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance’s (CBA) Dunes in Schools Program. Dunes in Schools encourages students to develop an interest in the local coastal environment by growing sea oats at their school. In addition to growing sea oats, students participated in monthly lessons about the coast. All of the lessons are assigned to state education standards. On the field trip, these students will see the hands-on, science program full circle by taking a field trip to the beach to plant their sea oats.  Students will also explore the habitat they have learned about all year by conducting field observations and experiments along the beach.  

Field Trip Calendar
March 24: Emerald Coast Middle School at Topsail Hill State Park from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
March 25: Seaside Neighborhood School at Topsail Hill State Park from 9:15 a.m. – 12 p.m.
April 1: Bruner Middle School at Beasley Park from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
April 4: Shoal River Middle School at Topsail Hill State Park from 9:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
April 8: Destin Middle School at Henderson Beach State Park from 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

ResortQuest Real Estate® Congratulates Top Producers of 2015
ResortQuest Real Estate announced its 2015 top producing sales associates at its annual banquet at the Emerald Coast Convention Center earlier this month. The complete list of “Top 10 Producers for 2015” includes the following: 
-    The Nathan Abbott Team, Miramar Beach - $41M
-    The Mary Stephens Team, Seagrove Beach - $23M
-    Caroline and Chip Wasson, “The Wasson Group,” Destin - $16.8M
-    Janette Klein & Team, Miramar Beach – $16.6M
-    The Dehlinger & McKnight Team, Panama City Beach - $14.9M
-    Mary Fletcher, Tops’l Beach & Racquet Resort - $11.5M
-    Eddie Krasauskas, Santa Rosa Beach - $9.8M
-    Matt Osgood, Destin - $8.8M
-    Denise Stegner, Destin - $7M
-    Kevin Kramer, Kevin Kramer Group, Destin - $7M
Paramedic Recognized by Twin Cities Elks Lodge
Okaloosa County EMSTwin Cities Elks Lodge has recognized Paramedic Dana Marlow (left), Okaloosa County EMS, for Outstanding Community Service. Acting Exalted Ruler Julie Biladeau (right) presented Marlow with the award at the Elks Club Annual Awards Dinner. Marlow has worked for Okaloosa County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for 13 years. She has been presented with many performance awards by EMS for her service to the residents and visitors of Okaloosa County. Just two shifts into her career, Marlow was tasked with facilitating a last resort shelter during Hurricane Ivan. She expertly accomplished this task, continues to teach others in her field when not on calls, and serves her community through various outreach activities. 

Santa Rosa Women’s Club Tour CIC Neighborhood
Children In CrisisMembers from the Santa Rosa Women’s Club toured Children in Crisis (CIC) and donated $210 to help feed, clothe, and care for the children living at the CIC Children’s Neighborhood.  Additionally, the membership donated toiletries for the CIC Teen Transition Home. Seen here, Allie Noah, CIC development director, and Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, receive the donation from Martha Brenenstahl, Santa Rosa Women’s Club president, and members Karen Pehek and Sheree Northrup.

New Air Carrier GLO Launches Inaugural Flight from VPS to Little Rock
New Orleans-based GLO restored non-stop, commercial air service between Destin-Fort Walton Beach and Little Rock, Ark., for the first time since 2011 as the inaugural flight between Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) and Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) launched on March 25. This seasonal route, operating Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Labor Day Weekend, is the fourth for the Mid-South and Gulf regional air service startup, which also services Memphis and New Orleans. To celebrate its launch, GLO is offering promotional one-way $149 “GLOforIt” fares for all flights on this route through May 15, 2016. The fares include taxes, fees, and up to three checked backs, plus a carry-on.

MKAF Announces Concerts in the Village Line Up
Mattie Kelly Arts FoundationThe Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation presents the 21st annual installation of Concerts in the Village series every Thursday from May 5 through June 30, at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village. Some of the finest local and regional touring artists will hit the Dugas Pavilion stage to perform everything from Motown to rhythm & blues, jazz, and funk to classic and modern rock. The 2016 season schedule opens on May 5, The House Rockers, photo left, (Mississippi blues); May 12, Moos Bros. (Emerald Coast’s premier party band); May 19, Emerald Gold (Motown revue); May 26, Supernatural (Santana tribute band); June 2, Lava Lamp (‘70s soul, funk and disco); June 9, Faithfully (Journey tribute band); June 16, The Joe Band (Joe Cocker tribute band); June 23, The Maxx (a blend of oldies with pop tunes); June 30, Todd Allen Herendeen: Legends in Concert (tribute to legends such as Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and Elvis).  Visit for details.