• April 2016 Business Briefs / Member News Part 2

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    April 12, 2016

    TripShock.com Enters Into 16 New Distribution Agreements With Regional Tour & Travel Publishers
    TripShock.com announced today that it is providing tour and activity booking engines for 16 regional tour and travel publishers. In December 2015, Tripshock.com officially launched its white label platform that allows publishers to sell TripShock tours and activities directly on its website(s). Publishers can earn up to 40 percent revenue share depending on their volume of business. For the complete release, please visit http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13313137.htm.

    County Officials Celebrate National Public Health Week & Break Ground on New Farmers’ Market
    Okaloosa County Farmers' MarketA large crowd gathered for the groundbreaking of Miss Ruth’s Farmers’ Market and National Public Health Week, organized by the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners and Florida State Health Department in Okaloosa County. Seen here are Okaloosa County Administrator John Hofstad; Florida State Health Department – Okaloosa Dr. Karen Chapman; Commissioner Kelly Windes; Florida Rep. Mike Hill; Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel; Ruth Clark (Miss Ruth); Deputy County Administrator Kay Godwin; Public Works Director Jason Autrey; Farm Bureau Insurance William Seelmann; University of Florida/Okaloosa County Extension Director Larry Williams; and Agriculture Agent Jennifer Bearden. 

    ResortQuest Real Estate Announces New Condominium Development on Okaloosa Island 
    ResortQuest Real Estate announced Okaloosa Island’s newest luxury condominium development, “blu”, an upscale coastal contemporary development expected to break ground in 2016. This six-story condominium complex will offer 47 private residences overlooking 300 feet of sugar-white sand beach, tucked away on Okaloosa Island behind a private, gated entry. Property amenities will include two Gulf-front pools (one heated), as well as a jetted hot tub, a fitness center, and covered parking spaces. For details, visit ownblu.com.

    Preserving the Past for the Future – Mid-Bay Rotary Makes Donation to Museum
    Heritage Museum of Northwest FloridaThe Mid-Bay Rotary is helping to preserve the past for the future by making an annual contribution to the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida. Its donation is in support of the museum’s largest event and fundraiser, and this year’s 40th Saturday in the Park Festival and Heritage 5k on April 30. The event is a free with something for everyone! Seen here are Bob Hoffman, Mid-Bay Rotary Club president; Steve Czonstka, museum board chair; Amanda Lanum, museum education coordinator; and Dave Swanick II, Mid-Bay Rotary

    Kersanac Joins Select Group Helping AARP Members Secure Their Futures
    J. Tim Kersanac of New York Life recently joined a select group of agents who are authorized to offer AARP members a range of financial solutions, including life insurance, annuity, and long-term care options. Kersanac followed a certification process established by New York Life, which includes extensive training on products and regulations, education on evaluating client needs, state licensing, and a commitment to service. Kersanac is a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and received his LUTCF designation in 2010 and CASL designation in 2014. He is a member of the Destin Chamber of Commerce and the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus. 

    Now Is The Time To Become A Sponsor Of Savor The Season
    On Thursday, Nov. 3, 12 of the area's premier chefs will volunteer their time and culinary talents for a unique tasting event. For the past seven years, the Taylor Haugen Foundation has been hosting Savor The Season at Alys Beach’s beautiful Caliza Pool. The event has grown reaching nearly 500 attendees in the last year. For event details, please click here. For sponsorship information, please contact Vicki Stokes at (850) 218-6128 or email vicki@leauctions.com.

    Destin Water Users Received Distribution System Award and Tower 1 Landmark Award by the Florida Section AWWA
    Destin Water UsersOn Tuesday, March 15, 2016, Destin Water Users General Manager, Lockwood Wernet, employees, and board of directors gathered with members of the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (FSAWWA) to recognize Tower 1 with a Florida Section AWWA Landmark Award marker and receive the 2015 Division 2 Outstanding Distribution System Award. Tower 1, located at 135 Benning Drive, Destin, Florida, is a 75,000 gallon drinking water storage tank situated atop one of Destin's highest elevations. 

    The Florida Section AWWA named Destin Water Users the first place winner of the 2015 Division 2 Outstanding Distribution System Award. Each year the Florida Section AWWA reviews submissions from across the state to determine the water distribution systems deserving special recognition for outstanding performance. The Florida Section AWWA committee members judged DWU’s system based on information provided in the following categories: water quality, operations records, maintenance, professionalism of employees, safety and emergency preparedness, and cross connection/control program. The award was presented to DWU at the recent FSAWWA Conference.

    Dance for Life Supports Covenant Care
    The Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Crestview is hosting the 6th Annual Dance for Life, an evening of ballroom dance to benefit Covenant Care, on Saturday, April 16, at 7 p.m. in the Crestview High School Auditorium. The event will feature amateur and professional dancers from across the Emerald Coast. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, 544 Main St. in Crestview, or by phone at (850) 682-1455.

    Walton County Pierce Family Children’s Advocacy Center Officially Opens
    Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy CenterJust in time to honor National Child Abuse Awareness month, the final touches were put in place to open the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center’s (ECCAC) second location. On April 8, the Pierce Family Children’s Advocacy Center in DeFuniak Springs, Walton County, Florida officially opened their doors. ECCAC’s mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect, protect children in Okaloosa and Walton Counties and restore the lives of child abuse and neglect victims.



    Inaugural “$10,000 USPTA TOPS’L Clay Court Championships” Announced
    TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort will host the $10,000 USPTA TOPS’L Clay Court Championships, May 14 – 16, 2016. The Clay Court Championships is one of four tournaments that comprise the USPTA Surface Championship Series. In addition to Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Singles and Doubles matches, weekend events will include a professional development seminar, vendor showcase, and player luncheon. Participation is limited to USPTA-certified professionals in good standing. Players of the event could be invited to participate in the USPTA Masters Invitational, which takes place in September 2016. A minimum of $10,000 in prize money will be awarded during the Clay Court Championships based upon the number of entries in each event. 

    American Income Supports Children In Crisis
    Children In CrisisAmerican Income Life (AIL) and National Income Life (NILICO) State General Agents, in Destin for their spring meeting, donated more than $28,500 to Children in Crisis (CIC) as part of the Company’s Closer to the Heart program of charitable giving. About 40 meeting attendees also volunteered their time at CIC’s Children’s Neighborhood.
     
    Toys for Tots Totals
    A mountain of toys turned into a mountain of numbers, but Emerald Coast Toys for Tots finally has the total toy count from last year’s toy drive. The Emerald Coast Association of Realtors task force that managed the drive is happy to announce that in 2015 they collected 16,638 toys! The toys were then distributed to 9,661 local children in Okaloosa and Walton counties. The 2015 toy drive was an improvement over the previous year, with an average of 1.72 toys per child compared to 2014’s 1.66 toys per child. 

    Whole Foods and CBA Create New Partnership
    Whole Foods Market Destin has formed a new partnership with the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) that allows consumers who purchase items from their new store location to positively impact the health of local waterways in two ways- purchasing items on Earth Day, April 22, 2016, and purchasing raw oysters at the Whole Foods Market’s specialty bar during promotional days. One of five organizations to be honored during the grand opening week with a ‘One Percent Day’, CBA will be the recipient of 1% of the store’s net sales from Earth Day, Friday, April 22, 2016. The proceeds will provide support to CBA’s environmental education programs in local elementary and middle schools. 

    Whole Foods will also donate the shell from raw oysters purchased at Whole Foods to CBA’s O.Y.S.T.E.R. Shell Recycling Program. CBA’s O.Y.S.T.E.R. (Offer Your Shell To Enhance Restoration) Recycling Program, collects oyster shell that would otherwise be discarded from local seafood restaurants and vendors, and repurposes it to construct oyster habitat in Choctawhatchee Bay. The oyster reefs provide homes for marine life, control erosion, and improve water clarity and water quality, positively impacting the health of local waterways.

    Purses with a Purpose Raises Almost $20,000 for Shelter House
    Shelter HouseWomen from across the Emerald Coast recently made their way to Grand Boulevard at Sandestin for Purses with a Purpose, a unique event benefiting Shelter House. The two-day event raised almost $20,000 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.

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