Tuesday, September 25, 2018
The Taylor Haugen Foundation (THF) and BrightView Landscape Services, Inc., teamed up at Destin Commons’ Annual Smoke on the Coast event and proudly brought home 2nd place ‘People’s Choice’ and 3rd place 'Most Spirited’ awards. THF and BrightView cooked up a BBQ Macaroni and Cheese, and the foundation was awarded $5,000 for the delicious dish.
Except for Okaloosa, Walton and one other county, did you know that every county in Florida has the impressive Child Safety Matters prevention programs in place for child protection and advocacy via the Monique Burr Foundation for Children? But, thanks to the ladies of Impact 100 and a grant of $102,000 to the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC), Child Safety Matters programs are now actively in Okaloosa and Walton counties. Research shows that 95 percent of abuse of children is preventable through education. ECCAC COO Jennifer Clark spearheaded the project by going through a formal training program in Orlando and starting Child Safety Matters in Okaloosa County grades K through grade 5 last November. She then trained Danielle Jacka who was hired by ECCAC to become the program’s community outreach advocate. Raised in Niceville, Jacka is a local with an extensive education and background working with children in challenging situations. She earned her degree from UWF with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, was a Guardian Ad Litem, worked with the Department of Children & Families (DCF) as a child protective investigator for several years, and joined ECCAC this past January.
Children participating in Child Safety Matters are given two lessons in child safety and prevention. The premise is the more one talks to a child, the more they will remember this important information and be empowered to use what they have learned to stay safe. The premises of the two-lesson program taught are five safety lessons to include…1. To Know What’s Up; 2. Spot Red Flags; 3. Make A Move; 4. Talk It Up; and 5. No Blame, No Shame.
Obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Clark Sledge has joined Sacred Heart Medical Group’s regional network of doctors. Beginning in August, he will practice at Sacred Heart Medical Group at Bluewater Bay. He provides a full range of pregnancy and gynecologic care to women from his Niceville office and delivers babies at the Family Birth Place of Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. Sledge joins the office of Sacred Heart Medical Group OB/GYN Dr. Kimberly Hood. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Alabama, and he received his medical degree from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. He completed OB/GYN residency training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Sledge comes to Sacred Heart from Hellen Keller Hospital in Sheffield, Ala. He is a junior fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and he is a member of the American Medical Association and the Southwestern Gynecologic Assembly. He has a special interest in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery and high-risk obstetrics.
Operating centers in both Walton and Okaloosa counties and with a $1.3 million annual operating budget, the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) has been in business for the past 17 years providing services at no cost to more than 11,000 children under abuse, abandonment, and neglect. Tammy Pierce is the new board president for 2018-2019. Originally from Atlanta, Pierce relocated to Destin in 2005 with her daughter Caitlin to continue her career in a family business specializing in manufactured housing for FEMA.
In addition to Pierce, other board members are Tom Cooper, vice president; Alan Wood, treasurer; Eric Aden; Shaun Eubanks; Bill Fletcher; James Jacquess; Terry Jones; Velia Lala; Artie Rodriguez; Katrina Puri; Audie Rowell; Tom Saffel; Maurice and Janine Stouse; and Mike Thompson.
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast (SHHEC) has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Hospital Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care. SHHEC underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite survey on April 19, 2018. During the review, a team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated compliance with hospital standards related to several areas, including emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership, and medication management. Surveyors also conducted onsite observations and interviews.
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa appointed Lee Guidry as the new executive chef of Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, the resort’s AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. A graduate of Delgado Culinary Institute in New Orleans, Guidry has dedicated numerous years to honing his skills through various positions in Nashville, Chicago, and the Florida Panhandle. His passion for cooking stems from his summers spent in the south of Sardinia, Italy, where he learned classic and regional Italian preparations. He also worked with classically trained chefs from Germany, France, Spain and Japan, absorbing the distinct philosophies of each region’s cooking techniques. Prior to joining Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, Guidry dedicated two years to the Meli Café Group in Chicago, where he designed, executed, and oversaw its first venture into dinner service. He also spent four years as the head chef at SushiSamba Rio in Chicago, where he worked side-by-side with Chef Shige-san, a renowned Sushi Chef in the U.S. Before that, Guidry worked as executive chef at Bound’ry in Nashville, where he designed seasonal menus featuring local products.
On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Silver Shells Resort hosted the community, loyal patrons, and guests to a fundraiser for server Jimma Grimm, who was battling breast cancer. Held in the East Bar Courtyard, the event raised $22,305 from donations, as well as silent auction and live auction items. Guests enjoyed live music by Michael J Thomas, decadent catering stations specially prepared by the Ruth’s Chris Steak House team, a silent auction filled with items donated by local businesses, and a live auction hosted by Luxury Estates Realty Group. Due in large part to the support of the community, many of whom have come to know and love Grimm during her tenure of over a decade since opening day at Ruth’s Chris, the event raised $22,305. Grimm announced at the event that she was cancer free and cleared by her doctors earlier that week. One hundred percent of the money raised will go towards Grimm’s medical expenses and assist with daily living expenses during her time in recovery.
The Gulfarium's C.A.R.E. Center released nine rehabilitated sea turtles on July 24, 2018. Meredith Horn, director of marketing and communications for the Gulfarium, lead the way on microphone in front of nearly a thousand people moments before the release. Based on a quick show of hands, this was the first sea turtle release for a majority of the audience. Six juvenile Greens were released first, two at a time. The Greens were followed by a sub-adult Loggerhead and a Kemp’s Ridley. For more information and photos, visit the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Facebook page.
Emerald Coast Chiropractic is pleased to announce the addition of Destin’s newest female chiropractor to its staff. Dr. Jessica Whidden officially joined the team in April and is accepting patients. Whidden is originally from Destin and graduated from Fort Walton Beach High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Auburn University, and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University in Marietta, Ga. Whidden is currently finishing up the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) animal chiropractic certification at Parker University in Dallas, Texas, to bring a new aspect of chiropractic care to the area for your animals big and small.
Sign up to participate in the 3rd Annual Destin Charity Cornhole Tournament, or come out and be a spectator at this widely popular sporting event at Destin Commons on Sunday, Sept. 30, at noon. The tournament is a partnership with Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) and Cumulus Broadcasting with proceeds benefiting ECCAC in Okaloosa and Walton counties. Registration fee is $100 per team of two for the double elimination Cornhole Tournament. Participants will receive a swag bag and t-shirt. The top three winning teams will receive $750 in cash and prizes, plus a trophy and bragging rights for the year. For details, please visit www.eccac.org.
Warren Averett promoted 31 employees to manager, senior manager, or principal. See below for the list of promoted employees, sorted by office.
Destin: Matt Walker, CPA, CGMA, Senior Manager
Foley: Alexis Willis, CPA, Manager
Pensacola: Clare Haenszel, CPA, Senior Manager, and Vicky Kanis, CPA, Manager
Fudpucker's Beachside Bar & Grill presented a check for $10,793.84 to Children In Crisis (CIC) at a recent presentation ceremony surrounded by live gators. The funds were raised by the “Cops Rock” event and T-Shirt sales. Accepting the award on behalf of CIC are Allie Noah, development director; Ken Hair, president and CEO; and Laura Moore, events director. They are pictured here with Tim Edwards, Chester Kroeger and other members of the Fudpucker’s, alongside Capt. Charlie Nix, representing the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson’s office announced that the annual Tax Certificate Sale held on June 1, 2018, generated $4,748,251.47 in revenue for the Okaloosa County Taxing Authorities from 3,147 certificates sold. According to the Tax Administrator, Justin Gordon, more than $223,000,000 in 2017 Real Estate and Tangible Personal Property taxes have been distributed to date. Please contact the (850) 651-7604 for information about the Tax Certificate Sale or to inquire about signing up for BillExpress.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida announces that Big Brother Michael Duhart has been selected as the Okaloosa County Big of the Year. Duhart’s commitment to his Little Brother Javon and playful nature make him an excellent Big Brother. When Duhart’s friend, also Javon’s previous Big Brother, had to move unexpectedly, he decided to step up and become Javon’s mentor. These adventure-seekers love to enjoy outdoor activities together, including biking, fishing, and skateboarding.
You already know that Fudpucker’s Beachside Bar & Grill is Your Place for Food, Fun, and Friends, but did you know we are also Your Place for Fundraising? Father Fud knows that a strong community continues to improve the lives of everyone on the Emerald Coast. Because we are privately and locally owned, we have the flexibility to quickly accommodate your special requests. Perks of using Fudpucker’s as your fundraising venue include 20 percent of gross sales from your event, Celebrity Waitstaff options, venue fee waiver ($300-$600 savings), and Fudpucker goody bags/souvenir cups. Already have a venue? Let Fudpucker’s enhance your event with gift certificates for raffles, Fudpucker goody bags and souvenir cups, discount cards, and a Local’s Card that may be tailored to your group, offering preferential seating and 15 percent discounts.
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties was recently named one of Florida’s Best Companies To Work For. Specializing in property management, vacation rentals, long term rentals, real estate sales, and association management, Newman-Dailey ranked number 18 on the list of the best mid-size companies to work for in Florida. The annual Best Companies list is featured in the August issue of Florida Trend magazine. One hundred companies are ranked in small, medium, and large employer categories. To participate, companies or government entities had to employ at least 15 workers in Florida and have been in operation at least one year. Companies that chose to participate underwent an evaluation of their workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, and demographics. The process also included a survey to measure employee satisfaction. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking.
Lino Maldonado, vice president of operations, growth and innovation for Wyndham Vacation Rentals North America, has been named the new chair of the 2018-2019 VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors. It is the first time for a leader from Northwest Florida to fill the chair and the first time a leader from the vacation rental management industry has taken the helm. During his upcoming term, Maldonado intends to build on the momentum VISIT FLORIDA has achieved and focus on efforts that will propel the Sunshine State’s tourism industry to attract even more visitors. Under Maldonado’s direction, VISIT FLORIDA committees have been restructured, and work groups have been introduced. This reorganization aims to cultivate further collaboration between VISIT FLORIDA and industry sectors and harness collective knowledge to advance tourism in the state. In his current Wyndham role, Maldonado leads business development and ownership strategy across North America. He has worked for the company for 22 years, beginning his hospitality career in 1996 at Mainsail in Destin, in the management training program offered by ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, formerly known as Abbott Resorts. He moved through several key positions in operations, sales, and marketing. He has led a staff of more than 1,200 associates and budgets in excess of $500 million in his current role over operations and real estate sales.