• May 2016 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

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    May 03, 2016
    Calling CAA Member Artists to Apply for Inclusion in Foster Gallery
    The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) announces the opening of the Foster Gallery, a CAA member artist co-op gallery located in The Market Shops next to DIG Eatery and the new Ben & Jerry's.  Twelve artists will be chosen to exhibit and work in the gallery during the Summer 2016 exhibit, May 23 - August 26. Please visit www.CulturalArtsAlliance.com to read the criteria and download the application. All applications submitted prior to 11 p.m., on Saturday, May 7, will be considered.  Call the CAA office at (850) 622-5970 for membership status questions and to become a member or renew.

    Rick Owen Becomes Ninth United Way Executive
    United Way of Okaloosa and Walton CountiesWalter Hooks (right), board chair for United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties, announced that Rick Owen (left) will take over the reins as president and CEO of the United Way, succeeding Ken Hinrichs who is retiring. Owen is a 27-year Air Force veteran and more recently served as Administrative Manager/ RESTORE Act Coordinator for Okaloosa County. Owen retired as a Chief Master Sergeant after serving in various positions culminating with Aircraft Maintenance Director for an Air Force unit in Germany for nearly three years. He received a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle University and a Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Troy University. He is a member of the Eglin and Hurlburt Chiefs’ Groups. 

    Students Help Restore Critical Habitat Along Choctawhatchee Bay
    As the school year begins to draw to an end, students across Okaloosa and Walton counties are also wrapping up a year-long restoration project. Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, around 2,300 students at 21 elementary schools participated in Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance’s Grasses in Classes Program. Grasses in Classes encourages students to develop an interest in the local environment by growing shoreline grasses at their school. Throughout May, these students will see the hands-on, science program full circle by taking a field trip to Choctawhatchee Bay.  Rotating through stations, students will not only explore the habitat they learned about all year, but will also plant their smooth cordgrass at a restoration site. 

    BancorpSouth, Inc., Declares Quarterly Dividend
    At its regular quarterly meeting today, the Board of Directors of BancorpSouth, Inc., (NYSE:BXS) declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per common share. The dividend is payable July 1, 2016, to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 15, 2016. BancorpSouth earlier reported financial results for the first quarter of 2016. Net income was $22.5 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, and net operating income - excluding MSR was $36.9 million, or $0.39 per diluted share. 

    Inaugural Art Week to Bring Visual, Literary and Performing Arts to South Walton in May
    The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) announces the first-ever Art Week South Walton (AWSW), an initiative bringing together neighborhoods, organizations, and businesses to present quality arts and entertainment. Sponsored by Visit South Walton, 2016 Art Week includes ArtsQuest, Digital Graffiti, ECLive!, and the Seaside Writers Conference, and will take place May 7 – 20, in numerous venues throughout South Walton. For a complete schedule of Art Week South Walton events, visit www.ArtWeekSouthWalton.com

    Make a Difference – Become a Covenant Care Volunteer
    Covenant Care is seeking individuals who are interested in making a difference in the lives of patients and families and in supporting the organization. A volunteer training will be held on Wednesday, May 11, and Friday, May 13, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the Covenant Care office (220 Eglin Parkway NE, Fort Walton Beach, FL). The workshop is free and open to the public. Interested volunteers will need to attend both days and lunch will be provided.  To register for training or to learn more about volunteering with Covenant Care, contact Carole Haws, volunteer and community relations manager, at (850) 863-6165 or 

    Sinfonia Gulf Coast "LINKS UP" More Than 2,600 Elementary Children
    With the help of 2,600 3rd-5th graders from Okaloosa and Walton counties, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, host Geoff McBride (Season II of NBC's The Voice), teacher song leaders, and members of the drum line from the Florida State University Marching Chiefs, the Emerald Coast Convention Center was shaking with sound and enthusiasm during THE ORCHESTRA ROCKS! on Wednesday, April 27! LINK UP, in partnership with Carnegie Hall's Weill Institute of Music, is a school year-long curriculum where students learn to read music, sing, play the recorder (or other instrument), and engage in music history and theory. This culminates in a live performance with Sinfonia Gulf Coast, while the students perform alongside the orchestra on the pieces they prepare and perfect during the year. Sinfonia is one of 80-partner orchestras nationwide that participates in this very important music education endeavor.

    Marine Mammal Parks Need YOUR Help!
    Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park follows strict guidelines set by the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the federal agency that licenses and inspects all marine mammal facilities in the United States as well as by its accrediting organization, the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA). APHIS needs to hear from people like you who believe that the Gulfarium and our colleagues take wonderful care of our animals.  We are asking you, our supporters, to please submit a personal comment to APHIS during the public comment period that is open from now until May 4. Click here for more information.
    From Shelves to the Shores Involves Children in Restoration of Local Waters
    The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) alongside NWF Environmental Stewards will kick off their “From Shelves to the Shores” Program at the Fort Walton Beach Library on May 5. Over the next three months, CBA will host activities every other week at the library for children aged 5-12. The children will participate in array of activities that range from growing a native, shoreline grass to observing live animals to creating their very own oyster. For more information, call the Fort Walton Beach Library at (850) 833-9590

    Support the LARGEST One-Day “Stamp Out Hunger” FOOD DRIVE in the Nation
    Every second Saturday in May, letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America collect non-perishable food items left by their postal customers, who participate in the NALC STAMP OUT HUNGER National Food Drive — the largest one-day food drive in the nation. So join us, the United Way, as the letter carriers in Okaloosa and Walton counties collect from our community the much needed, non-perishable and non-expired food to restock the local food banks’ pantries. The STAMP OUT HUNGER Food Drive is Saturday, May 14. To participate, just place your food donation(s) in a bag or box next to your mailbox before your letter carrier delivers mail on May 14. The food donations are picked up as the letter carriers complete their regular mail routes and then delivered to our local food banks.  

    Okaloosa Arts & Culture Fest 
    The Okaloosa Arts Alliance invites you, your family, and friends to the annual Okaloosa Arts & Culture Fest, which will be held on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the FWB Landing. This free family fun arts event features dozens of local artisans and craft vendors, food and beverages, free family arts activities, live music, and art performances.  Live entertainment will include Emerald Coast Pipes & Drums, Brite Starz, Highsteppers, Pyramid Players, and more. For details, visit https://www.okaloosaarts.org/oaa-fest.html

    Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Earns ‘A’ Grade for Patient Safety 
    Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast earned an ‘A’ grade for patient safety, according to an official announcement by The Leapfrog Group, a national patient safety watchdog, on April 25. Sacred Heart was one of 41 hospitals in Florida and 798 hospitals nationally to receive an A, ranking it among the safest hospitals in the nation. To see Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast’s full score and to access consumer-friendly tips for patients and loved ones visiting the hospital, visit www.HospitalSafetyScore.org.

    Century 21 Blue Marlin Grows Team by Six Agents
    Century 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue MarlinCentury 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue Marlin is pleased to announce that six new agents have joined its firm.

    Paula Beauchemin (top left) has been a licensed realtor for more than 10 years and a licensed mortgage banker for three years. 

    Donna Clark (top center) has a Bachelors of Science in Organizational Leadership, two beautiful daughters, a supportive husband, and 20 years’ experience of owning her own business.

    Steve Clark (top right) grew up in Fort Walton Beach and graduated from University of West Florida with a double major in Biology and Math. Clark had been a successful small business owner for the past 10 years and a National Association of Realtors member. 
    Shannon Helmuth (bottom left) graduated from Fort Walton Beach High School. She operated Sea Breeze Cleaning Company, while working in the service industry, and received high sales for more than five years in the service industry. 

    Victoria Hughes (bottom center) has worked in the real estate industry for 29 years, served as president of Canopy Crossing Property Owners Association from 2012 to 2015, and currently serves as secretary/treasurer at Gulf Cemetery in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. 

    Paul Malsky (bottom right), a respected retinal surgeon, practiced medicine in Albany, Ga., for 30 years, while investing in Florida real estate during a 20-year span with a keen focus on Northwest Florida. He graduated from Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, Texas. 
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