Kiwanis Club of Niceville-Valparaiso Makes Donation to Museum
Stacey Strum and C.J. McEntire with the Kiwanis Club of Niceville-Valparaiso present Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida Manager Gina Marini (center) with a $500 donation and volunteers for balloon sales during the 41st Saturday in the Park Heritage Festival, which was held on April 29.
Poelstra Completes 200 Patient Procedures with the Mazor X Surgical Assurance Platform
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast (SHHEC) and Mazor Robotics, a leader in the field of surgical guidance systems, congratulates Dr. Kornelis Poelstra, board-certified orthopedist and founder of the The Spine Center of Excellence at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, for becoming the first surgeon in the world to reach the milestone of 200 patient procedures using the newly launched Mazor X Surgical Assurance platform. Poelstra has been a user of the Mazor system since 2014 and collaborated with Mazor Robotics during the development of the Mazor X. Since 2014, he has accomplished more than 400 robotic-assisted surgery cases with greater than 99.8% accuracy at SHHEC.
The Premier Property Group Announces Two New Agents
The Premier Property Group announced that two new agents have joined its Grand Boulevard brokerage. Cheryl Bateman (left) was born and raised in Canada’s Victoria, British Columbia. Through her 20s, Bateman worked for one of Canada's leading retailers of consumer electronics and music for more than a decade. In her early 30s, Bateman embarked on an adventure that spanned more than half a decade and took her to Europe, India, Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. After the completion of her world travels, Bateman was hired by Intrawest. During her time traveling from high season to high season, Bateman landed on assignment at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and made the area home in 2009. Bateman is the home owners association board president of Harbour Point in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.
A native of Northeast Mississippi, Carol Mote (right) is a graduate of the University of Mississippi. Prior to moving to Destin in 2005, Mote and her husband lived in Oxford, Miss., for 17 years before a short stent in North Carolina from 2000 to 2005. As a wife of 35 years and a mother of two grown sons, Mote brings her enthusiasm, energy, and passion to The Premier Property Group, where she specializes in resort communities. Prior to joining The Premier Property Group, Mote worked closely with developments in WaterColor and Watersound along Scenic Highway 30A. Mote knows the allure of Florida’s Emerald Coast and works diligently to help her client’s real estate dreams come true.
Special Olympics Florida - Okaloosa County Update
- Soccer Team: Silver Medal
- Cyclist: Silver on 2K and Gold on 1K
- Bocce: Silver and Gold
- High Jump Bar: Bronze
- 10K: Gold
- Relay Team: Bronze
In total, the athletes won six gold, seven silver, and 11 bronze medals. Two Okaloosa County athletes are at the Special Olympics National Games Training Camp in Seattle, Wa.
Whitehead Joins Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center Board
Jamey Whitehead, seen here with Bill Fletcher, joined the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center’s (ECCAC) board of directors. From Birmingham, Whitehead and her husband, Bryan, moved to the Santa Rosa Beach area a year ago. A University of Alabama graduate, Whitehead was involved with a number of University organizations, as well as volunteering for various organizations in Birmingham once out of college. She is working with McCullar & Company, a professional tax and accounting firm in Santa Rosa Beach.
Founding CIC Board Member to Build Food Pantry
Seen here, Ken Hair, Children In Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, receives a check from founding board member and long-time CIC supporter M/Gen Don Litke, USAF Ret., and his daughters, Lisa Pack and Sue Farrell. The funds will be used to build Kay’s Cupboard food pantry in memory of Litke’s wife Kay. Kay’s Cupboard will be located at the Children in Crisis Neighborhood in Fort Walton Beach on property made possible through a charity lease from Northwest Florida State College – Fort Walton Beach Campus. The food pantry will help feed more than 100 children each year that will call CIC home.
Early Payment Discount Deadline Approaches
Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson reminds property owners who signed up to participate in the Property Tax Installment payment plan they 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.
Volunteers Assist Disabled Beach Goers During Sandy Wheels Beach Day
South Walton Fire District/Okaloosa Island Beach Safety, Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Rehabilitation staff, and more than 23 volunteers assisted 11 persons with disabilities onto the beach via beach wheelchairs for a fun and relaxing day during Sandy Wheels Beach Day on May 19. With support from South Walton Fire District, Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Staff and 17 sponsors/donors, the event sought to bring support and awareness to persons with disabilities and the struggles they endure gaining access to our beautiful beaches. South Walton Fire District raised $805 to go towards new beach wheelchairs for our community, and they are still accepting donations via www.youcaring.com/SandyWheelsBeachDay.
“Seas the Day” Visit Children in Crisis – Donate To At-Risk Kids
Seen here, Ken Hair, Children in Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, receives a donation of $250 from the membership and volunteers of “Seas the Day,” presented by Grisel King, to help with the CIC wish list. King coordinated the visit to the CIC Neighborhood, which provided an Olive Garden lunch to the children and made a big donation of paper products. The donation will help give a home to more than 100 children that will call CIC home this year and sustain operations.
The Premier Property Group Sells Out 125 Crystal Beach Drive
The Premier Property Group announced recently the sellout of 125 Crystal Beach Dr., a Premier development consisting of 41 townhomes. Premier Development Group, a leading developer in Northwest Florida, broke ground on 125 Crystal Beach Drive, a resort-style townhome community located in the heart of Crystal Beach, in August 2015. The rapid sellout can primarily be attributed to the development’s thoughtful design, attractive price point, and convenient walkability to the beach, as well as numerous shops and restaurants.
Hidden Dunes Beach and Tennis Resort Among Top 50 Tennis Resorts For Sixth Consecutive Year
Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort was named a “Silver Medal Resort,” by Tennis Resorts Online for the sixth consecutive year. The ranking places Hidden Dunes among the top 50 tennis resorts. Located in Miramar Beach, Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort features six championship clay courts. The Tennis Center consistently receives high marks for overall tennis experience, tennis staff, and instruction. Additionally, the staff’s like-level game matching receives positive reviews with resort players.
Rehabilitation Institute of Northwest Florida Receives Quality Outcomes Award and CARF Accreditation
The Rehabilitation Institute of Northwest Florida received the HCA Rehab Services Quality Outcomes Award. It ranks in the top 25th percentile out of all rehab programs nationwide. The award recognizes its commitment to quality outcomes and patient care. To qualify for the award, rehab facilities, such as The Rehabilitation Institute of NWF, must meet quality measures developed to improve outcomes for patient’s undergoing rehabilitation for various debilitating injuries or illnesses. These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and improving everyday living for their patients. The award was presented to the program director Rebecca Jones, the medical director Dr. Anthony DeCotis, and the facility’s team of rehabilitation specialists. Pictured here are Dennis Fredette, director of physical therapy; Johnny Harrison, regional VP for HCA Rehab Services; Jones; and Todd Jackson, COO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
Century 21 Blue Marlin announces 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament and Beneficiaries
To date, the Century 21 Blue Marlin Charity Golf Tournament has raised a total of approximately $85,000 for local charities, including The Mary Lynn Burnette Foundation, The Taylor Haugen Foundation, Emerald Coast Golden Retriever Rescue, and, most recently, Silver Sands School.
2018 Business Tax Receipt Renewal Notices
The Business Collections Department from the Okaloosa County Tax Collector’s Office will begin sending out renewal notices for 2018 Business Tax Receipts (BTR) on July 1. Formally known as an Occupational License, BTRs are required for businesses that provide merchandise, entertainment, or services to the public, even if it’s only a one person company or home-based business, within Okaloosa County. For those whose Business Tax Receipt has expired, it should be renewed as soon as possible to avoid additional penalties. Business Tax Receipts can be paid at any Okaloosa County Tax Collector Branch, online at www.OkaloosaTax.com, or by phone at (850) 651-7300.
New Tranquility Room Opens for Associates at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held June 13, at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast’s (SHHEC) new Tranquility Room, which focuses on care for caregivers. Seen here, President Roger Hall, Chief Nursing Officer Nina Jeffords, and Clinical Education Manager Tina Withrow, , along with many other SHHEC associates, joined together to open the doors of a new room designed to help nurses and staff relax and de-stress. Developed over a 9-month period at SHHEC, the Tranquility Room is one of three 'prayer and meditation spaces’ provided to SHHEC associates. The three spaces are completed by The Chapel and Meditation Garden. The spaces are available for use by associates and visitors, and the new tranquility room is for use by associates only.
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Receives Overall Top Performer Award for Intensive Care Services
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast (SHHEC) received the highest Overall Top Performer Award for its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) services from Professional Research Consultants, Inc. (PRC), an independent research-marketing firm dedicated to the improvement of healthcare nationwide. PRC Achievement Awards recognize organizations at the hospital, facility, department, or unit level for enhancing their patients’ perception of care by focusing on Key Drivers of Excellence. PRC’s highest honor, the Overall Top Performer Award, is given to healthcare facilities, providers, outpatient service lines, and inpatient units that scored at the 100th percentile for the Overall Quality of Care “Excellent” score in PRC’s national client database for the prior calendar year. 5-Star Awards are given to those scoring at or above the 90th percentile; and 4-Star Awards to the 75th-89th percentile.
SHHEC also received the following 5-Star Overall Quality of Care awards:
- Medical Surgical Unit, 5-Star Award
- Family Birth Place, 5-Star Award
- Inpatient Services, 5-Star Award
- Radiology Mammography, 5-Star Award
- Radiology Ultrasound, 5-Star Award
- Radiology Services, 5-Star Award
- Emergency Department Services, 4-Star Award
Grand Boulevard Wins National MAXI Award for Coastal Culture Campaign
Grand Boulevard at Sandestin brought home a silver MAXI Award at this year’s International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) MAXI Awards. The winning entry was in the Causal Marketing category and titled, Coastal Culture “A Passion for Arts, Entertainment and Charity.” The Coastal Culture program is the brand banner under which Grand Boulevard’s dozens of events take place annually. Most of the Town Center events also include a charitable component that supports local charities and non-profit groups. Grand Boulevard submitted two entries in the Causal Marketing category and both were finalist. The second submission was for South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival – “A World-Class Wine Festival at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.”
James Travis Tringas Foundation Donates to CIC Children
Seen here, John Tringas (left), representing the James Travis Tringas Foundation, presents a check for $20,000 to Ken Hair (center), Children in Crisis president and CEO, along with John’s grandson Aster and his daughter Parker (right). The donation will help sustain operations of the Travis Tringas Memorial Foster Home located in the CIC Neighborhood. Since opening the Neighborhood in 2008, more than 725 at-risk children have had a safe, loving home.
Gulfshore Air Conditioning & Heating Hosts Community Food Drive
When Steve Reynolds, owner of Gulfshore Air Conditioning & Heating, heard that Children in Crisis (CIC) needed crucial pantry items to get through the busy summer months, Reynolds leapt into action, organizing a community food drive to stock the pantry at CIC. Gulfshore launched the Food Drive on its social media accounts through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—giving locals specific information as to what CIC needs. Food items include beef vegetable soup, canned tomatoes, gravy mix, peas, mandarin oranges, granola bars, applesauce, mixed fruit, jelly, paper towels, and more. The food will go a long way, especially since the kids are out of school for the summer months. Gulfshore invites all members of the community to participate in the food drive with the goal of filling CIC’s pantry.
Cultural Arts Alliance Introduces Creative Kids Camp Summer Sessions
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) announced the launch of its newest program for children, Creative Kids Camp, a series of four-day visual arts camp sessions that will give primary and elementary children a different hands-on experience each week. Camp sessions are Monday through Thursday and run June 19-22, June 26-29, July 10-13, July 17-20, and July 24-27. Primary sessions are for ages 4-6 and take place from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. each day. Elementary sessions are for ages 7-12 and take place from 1 – 4 p.m. each day. Creative Kids Camp are held in the CAA’s Foster Gallery, located at 560 Grand Blvd. Ste. 101 in Grand Boulevard’s Town Center (across from the fountains at Grand Park). Registration is available online at www.CulturalArtsAlliance.com.
Catwalk Fashion Show Benefits Children In Crisis
Seen here, Lauren Gall, barber & gall promotions, and Darcy Pentel, owner of Sirens Lingerie & Swim Wear, present a $2,000 donation to Ken Hair, Children In Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, with Abbie Reeves, owner of the Dressing Room Boutique in the Sandestin Market Shops. The donation was made possible by the “Catwalk for a Cause” fashion show for Okaloosa-Walton high school seniors and juniors.
CAA Awards Scholarships to Walton County Students
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) announces two Walton County students were awarded college scholarships for Fall 2017 through the CAA’s Art For All Program, which provides arts education to Walton County artists, students, organizations, and teachers through grants and scholarships. Katelyn Gummere was awarded the Sheila Goode Memorial Scholarship to pursue the study of graphic design, art history, and studio art at Flagler University in St. Augustine, Fla. Alexander Campbell, a resident of DeFuniak Springs, Fla., was awarded the Susan Foster Scholarship, which is named for the co-founder of the Cultural Arts Alliance. Campbell is a junior at Florida State University at Tallahassee pursuing a degree in Graphic Design-Studio Art.
The CAA awarded additional quarterly grants and scholarships to Walton County teachers and artists. Cindy McBrayer was awarded an adult education grant to assist in her continuing education in the study of jewelry construction at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. Paxton High School teacher Lori Burke received a grant that will enable 7th – 9th grade students to learn 3D design and to incorporate art into their science and engineering studies. Sherry Ford of Freeport Elementary School received a grant for art supplies and resources that will be used throughout the year at dramatic play stations and through art projects. Freeport Elementary School Kindergarten teacher Kristin Fliehman received a grant that will fund enrichment in Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies learning through hands-on craft-making and art activities. Ann Keenan, teacher at Van R. Butler Elementary received a grant that will enable her 2nd grade students to create and frame watercolor/oil pastel still-life flowers that can be gifted and/or displayed at home.
Grayton Beer Company Opens Distribution to Louisiana; Completes 36-Month Expansion Plan
Grayton Beer Company announced recently its partnership with Crescent Crown Distributing. As one of the top 10 largest beer distributors in the United States, Crescent Crown will serve as the brewery’s Louisiana distributor. With warehouses dotted across the state in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Thibodaux, Grayton Beer will be readily available throughout. The first roll out of Grayton Beer Company brews to the Louisiana market included 30A Beach Blonde and Salt of the Gulf, a Leipzig-Style Gose. Louisiana natives and visitors can expect to see their Fish Whistle IPA, a collision of 19th Century English brewing heritage and aggressive American grown hops, in late summer.
The Premier Property Group Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
The Premier Property Group recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Started in 2007 by Keith Flippo and Bob and Marie Parks, The Premier Property Group came to fruition during a lunch meeting regarding future development projects. No less than 24 hours later, The Premier Property Group was officially formed. In January 2015, Tommy Brigham & Garrett McNeil came on board to partner with Parks and Flippo rounding out the group’s partnership to four, all with extensive resumes in real estate sales and development. The Premier Property Group is a boutique real estate agency dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Specializing in luxury property sales, the agency is a consistent leader of area sales. The agency has been ranked in the top 10% of luxury sales from the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors since its first year of operation. In addition, the Premier Property Group is the only local real estate company to be invited to and become a part of Luxury Portfolio International and Leading Real Estate Companies of the WorldTM, the global leader in real estate sales. Seen here
, Tracy Sweetland, Michael McNeil, and Garrett McNeil enjoy the celebration.
A Superior Air Conditioning Company Holds Fun in the Sun Photo Contest
A Superior Air Conditioning Company is holding its Annual Fun in the Sun Campaign. It invites the community to submit photos of their family having fun in the sun. Contest winners will receive some great prizes. For details or to submit your photo, visit http://woobox.com/8hpu52 before July 18.
HarborWalk Recognizes CIC as Hometown Charity Hero
HarborWalk Village recently recognized Children In Crisis (CIC) as its weekly Hometown Red, White & Blue Charity Hero ceremony. CIC was honored for its dedication in making a significant difference in the community. Seen here, members of the CIC team accept the award. Pictured (left to right) are Omar Wiseman, CIC board of advisor member; Laura Moore, CIC volunteer and events director; Dr. Judy Manning, CIC Neighborhood operations director; Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO; Judy Wiseman, CIC board member; Shaina Mathis, CIC office manager; and Allie Noah, CIC development director.
World Impact Real Estate Welcomes New Realtors to Team
World Impact Real Estate recently welcomed realtors Lisa Hiekel (left) and Debbie Kling (right) to its team. Hiekel moved here 5 years ago from the Midwest to pursue her passion for living on the Emerald Coast. Hiekel ran her own business for more than 20 years, is an experienced therapist, and is highly experienced in sales and customer service. Her business background has led her in the path of going above and beyond to make sure her customers have a positive and pleasant experience. Hiekel’s passion is to assist others in pursuing their dreams and goals. She also loves spending time with family, traveling, reading, and spending time in the great outdoors.
Kling comes from an IT/programming background for more than 16 years and has been creating websites for more than years now. Kling is dedicated and detail oriented, both strong attributes for a licensed real estate professional. She has always loved searching for houses and has personally been through the buying/selling stages many times. Kling comes to the real estate business with experience and enthusiasm. She and her family have lived in Florida for more than 11 years now, since moving from northern New Jersey.
Freeport Kiwanis Golf Tournament Benefits ECCAC
The Freeport Kiwanis recently held a golf tournament with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC). The $7,500 donated went to complete a pledge by the Kiwanis to sponsor a room at the Pierce Family Children’s Advocacy Center in DeFuniak Springs. ECCAC’s mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect, protect children in Okaloosa and Walton counties, and restore the lives and futures of these impacted children. The Center’s child-friendly facilities house a multidisciplinary team of child protection personnel, prosecutors, law enforcement, DCF, therapists, and ECCAC staff and volunteers. In the past 15 years, more than 10,000 children have received more than 40,000 services to include mental health therapy, crisis intervention, referrals to other community providers, interviews, and medicals. Services are provided at no cost by ECCAC.
CAA Launches Underwater Museum of Art
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) in partnership with the South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) and support from the National Endowment for the Arts will join two of South Walton’s most beloved attractions - the arts and the Gulf of Mexico - with the introduction of The Underwater Museum of Art (UMA), North America's first underwater permanent sculpture exhibit. Currently, Gulf coastal waters off Walton County are 95% barren sand flats. Deployment of sculpture as artificial reefs will provide a source of biological replenishment and protective marine habitat where none exists. The UMA will be deployed with SWARA’s existing USACOA and FDEP permitted artificial reef project that includes nine nearshore reefs located within one nautical mile of the shore in approximately 50-60 feet of water. A one-acre permit patch of seabed off Grayton Beach State Park has been dedicated to the CAA for the purpose of a permanent underwater sculpture exhibit. The first phase of the UMA will include up to six pieces of sculpture. The CAA is calling for local, national, and international artists to submit work for consideration for the first installment and permanent exhibition. Sculptures must be created above ground and delivered directly to the deployment area where each will be attached to a grouper box/reef. The sculptures will then be transported by ship to the gulf and carefully sunk to the floor where they will become a base to which an artificial reef will form, attracting marine life and divers. For details, visit www.CulturalArtsAlliance.com.
LandrumHR Announces New Chief Technology Officer
LandrumHR announced that David McCullough is its new Chief Technology Officer (CTO). McCullough is an experienced executive, having held leadership positions within successful, growing companies for more than two decades. He has led various organizations through extended periods of change, while maintaining focus on both internal employees and external customers in order to ensure that they remain engaged and satisfied. Active in several business and professional organizations, McCullough has served on the boards of several technology and service organizations. McCullough has extensive experience in the HRIS/payroll technology space as both a solutions provider and within staffing and PEO businesses, where he held several executive level positions. His focus within the technology space has included operations, C level sales, employee relations, business process improvement, and revenue stream cultivation. Thus, his skills and experience are very much appropriate for the PEO, Staffing, and Consulting divisions.