• June 2016 Business Briefs / Member News Part 3

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    June 21, 2016
    Costa Family McDonalds Makes Donation to CIC Children
    Children In Crisis - Costa McDonaldsThe Costa Family McDonalds presented a $1,500 donation to its “McCafe with a Cause” Charity of the Month, Children in Crisis (CIC).  Every Monday, Costa’s McDonalds donates 50 percent of its coffee proceeds to a Charity of the Month. All of Costa’s 19 stores participate in the program that will continue through 2016. Seen here, Roslyn Snyder, Costa Enterprises’ McDonalds marketing director, presents a check to Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, along with Diane Huckabone, CIC financial assistant, and Danna Franks, CIC financial director.  

    SunQuest Cruises Earns 2016 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence
    SunQuest Cruises today announced that it has received a Tripadvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.  
    “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s customers. Since the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award is based on customer reviews, this accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence,” said James Murray, GM and owner of SunQuest Cruises. 

    Early Payment Discount Deadline Approaches
    Okaloosa County property owners who have signed up to participate in the Property Tax Installment payment plan through the Tax Collector’s Office have until June 30, to pay their first installment. The Installment Plan divides the annual taxes into four (4) payments – due June, September, December, and March. The Installment Plan provides for 3.3% discount and adds the convenience of spreading out payments instead of one lump sum payment. 

    United Way Earns Three-Star Rating From Charity Navigator
    The United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties received a 3-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest charity evaluator.  

    “The United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties is pleased to receive an excellent rating from Charity Navigator," said Rick Owen, president and CEO of the organization. "Fiscal responsibility and transparency is essential to building trust with our donors, agencies, and community and is of primary importance to our organization. The 3-star rating is a reflection of the emphasis that we place on integrity in the performance of the mission at your United Way." 

    Emalie Monday Interns for World Impact Real Estate
    World Impact Real EstateEmalie Monday is a junior majoring in finance with a concentration of real estate at the University of Arkansas.  She is spending her summer with World Impact Real Estate as a real estate intern, as well as working on getting her real estate license. Monday is 20 years old and was born in Little Rock, Ark.  She moved to Santa Rosa Beach when she was four years old.

    A Milestone Year for Keller Williams Emerald Coast Realty
    Keller Williams Emerald CoastIn May alone, Keller Williams Emerald Coast (KWEC) closed more units than any other month and agent income exceeded $1.7 million, both stats were the highest in the company’s 16-year history. They also had the highest number of contracts written and listings sold for the month of May, ever. Also in May, the top volumes were achieved by individual agent Brian LoCicero, group Cindy Cole Fine Homes, and team Dawn Burt. Year to date, KWEC holds the top position in both volume and units for all real estate companies in the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR) group that covers Okaloosa and Walton counties. It added a new beach office in Navarre, as well as launching a new mobile-optimized website for the KWEC market center and its agents. Seen here, KWEC broker Jeff Adamson (center) presents Brian LoCicero and Cindy Cole awards for their top volumes achieved.

    Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center Seeks Volunteers
    The Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) serves young victims of abuse and neglect at two child friendly centers, the Pierce Family Advocacy Center in DeFuniak Springs and the Niceville Children’s Advocacy Center.  A nonprofit organization, ECCAC’s mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect, protect children in Okaloosa and Walton counties, and restore the lives of impacted children. Volunteers are always needed in various capacities at both centers, at community events, and at fundraisers. For more information or to volunteer, contact Chelsea Fox at (850) 830-4162 or chelsea@eccac.org

    Hotels Near Destin Rank Among the Best of Their Brand
    The Marriott brand is as widespread as it is diverse, featuring franchised properties across the United States, as well as several brands with an international presence. The common thread uniting all Marriott brands is outstanding service and quality. This year, two hotels in Sandestin, Florida, have won Marriott’s highest distinction for brand service. Both the Residence Inn Sandestin® at Grand Boulevard and the Courtyard Sandestin® at Grand Boulevard have won Platinum Circle Awards for their respective brands. Platinum Circle Awards are based on guest satisfaction surveys and are reflective of guest experience and customer service received. As one of Marriott’s highest franchise honors, this award is confirmation of staff, ethics, service and acumen. 

    Local Nonprofit Returns from Malawi, Africa
    The Sonder ProjectThe Sonder Project recently returned from an educational expedition in “The Warm Heart of Africa,” Malawi. Three members of our local community joined the trek, including Sonder Project board member Travis Meyer, Southeastern Retail Development; Rachel Meyer, a teacher at Freeport High School; and Sarah Hockett, executive director of The Sonder Project. During their visit, the trio managed to visit five remote villages, work on a construction site for a new primary school structure, visit adult literacy classes and learn their importance, meet with the District Education Manager (DEM), and gain knowledge of some of the community initiatives that are helping remote areas break the cycle of poverty, such as goat programs, meal programs for school children, honey bee hives, and more. They also had the opportunity to hear some of the stories of this country and understand the difficulties faced here.

    823rd Red Horse Air Force Squadron Help Museum 
    Heritage Museum of Northwest FloridaMembers of the 823rd Air Force Squadron at Hurlburt Field volunteered their time and talent to help the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida with a drainage project in their outdoor “Paradise Gardens” exhibit.   
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