• November 2017 Business Briefs / Member News

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    November 17, 2017
    Graphic Strategist Wins Graphic Design USA 
    Graphic StrategistGraphic Design USA recently announced its 2017 American Health & Wellness Design Awards. From more than 1,000 entries, only a handful were selected as winners. Among those awarded included local business owner Lacey Pyle of Graphic Strategist for the design of the Three H Medical logo, seen left. 

    "The performance is, in a nutshell, exceptional," explained Graphic Design USA Editor Gordon Kaye, in a letter announcing the award.

    New Sign Company with Years of Experience 
    Harbor Sign CompanyThe Destin sign scene has grown stronger since Harbor Sign Company opened its doors on June 6. Harbor Sign Company, located at 501 Harbor Boulevard, Unit F in Destin, offers a number of high-quality printing services with a speedy turnaround. These services include banners, magnetics, real estate signs, boat and car decals, canvas photo prints and more. Owners Rick Seevers and Geoff Brower collectively have nine years of experience in the sign-making business. The sign shop’s manager, Devin McQuillen, and Brower are the business operators. For contact information, please visit http://www.destinchamber.com/list/Member/harbor-sign-company-40063.

    Community Foundation of NWF Donates to Children
    Children In CrisisThe Community Foundation of Northwest Florida showed its great support to Children in Crisis (CIC) by donating $1,741.31 to help feed, clothe and care for the more than 100 children each year that will call the CIC Neighborhood home. Seen here, CIC President and CEO Ken Hair accepts the check from Suzie West, executive director of the Community Foundation of Northwest Florida, along with Justin Tate, foundation board member.

    The Gulf Okaloosa Island Announces Wesley True as New Executive Culinary Director
    The Gulf restaurantThe Gulf restaurant proudly announces Chef Wesley True has joined the team as the culinary director of its newest location on Okaloosa Island. True is widely known from his appearance as a contestant on season 13 of Bravo Network’s Top Chef, hosted by Padma Lakshmi. True was a 2011-2012 James Beard Foundation Best Chef in the South Semifinalist after opening his restaurant, appropriately called “True,” in Alabama, where his love of coastal southern cuisine began. “True” was also recognized as an AAA four diamond award-winning restaurant. A Mobile, Ala., native, True pursued his passion for cooking at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. He went on to work in some of the most highly-acclaimed kitchens in Manhattan— most notably the Danube, Bouley, Aquavit, Mesa Grill, and Public Restaurant. He has been featured in several publications, including Garden & Gun, Southern Living, CNN, and USA Today.

    The Arc of the Emerald Coast Welcomes Monica Dane
    The Arc of the Emerald CoastThe Arc of the Emerald Coast welcomes Monica Dane as its new Aquatic & Education Center manager. When you meet Dane, you can tell that she is a strong advocate for safety in and around water. She comes to serve at the Arc Emerald Coast with a degree in police technology from the Community College of Beaver County, where she also gained certification as a police officer through the Municipal Police Officer’s Education & Training Commission. She possesses certifications in American Red Cross Lifeguarding for the Professional Rescuer, Lifeguard, Water Safety, CPR & First Aid Instructor, and is a NASE Worldwide certified open water scuba diver.

    Phony Ads and Fake Breeders Fool Would-Be Pet Owners
    Online pet sales scams are on the rise. In fact, nearly 80 percent of online sponsored pet listings may be fake, according to a new BBB report on puppy scams.  If you are shopping online for a new cat, dog, parrot, or other pet, click here to read about this con and how you can protect yourself and your family.
    Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast Helps with Hurricane Relief Efforts
    Keller Williams Realty Emerald CoastKeller Williams Realty Emerald Coast (KWREC) recently held a Hurricane Relief luncheon at its Destin office to raise funds for victims of the recent major hurricanes, Harvey and Irma. More than 25 area restaurants and businesses donated food and raffle items for the event. Part of the monies raised was by KW Destin agent Dawn Burt, who challenged the group to match her $5,000 donation. Overall, the luncheon enabled $21,000 and a large number of gift cards to be raised through a silent auction, raffles, and admission cost. Leftover food went to the Pavilion Nursing Home in Niceville and the Destin Fire Department. 

    Make a Difference Through Community Impact
    United Way of Okaloosa - Walton Counties invites concerned volunteers to join the Community Impact Committee and make measurable, impactful changes.  It has implemented the Community Impact and Investment business model and in 2018 will provide grant funding to non-profit programs specifically designed to tackle issues identified by the community itself.  Community members have identified funding goals, such as educational success of at-risk children, increasing access to mental and substance abuse programs, and improving access to tools to create self-sufficiency. For more information about the Community Impact and Investment business model, or to join the Community Impact Committee, please contact Becky Bourgeois, community impact & investment director at becky@united-way.org.  

    Lala joins Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center Board
    Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy CenterVelia Lala is the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center’s (ECCAC) newest board member. From Louisiana, Lala permanently moved to this area in 2011. With a background in sales and management, Lala is now the artist/owner of Velia Lala Art & Design, based in Shalimar. She knew that moving here would lead her to her first love – art. Growing up, she did not always have the easiest childhood and art was her way to escape the negative and find a happy place. Lala often donates her art to area charities. For the past three years, Lala has been co-chair for Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s largest annual fundraiser, Wine, Women & Shoes. In Louisiana, she served on the board of directors for United Way in Lafayette, and she was also involved with committee work there for Kiwanis, Special Olympics, and Junior League.

    Santa Rosa Arc Building Dedication
    Eric Herrholz, a Gulf Breeze businessman, followed his heart and saved The Arc of the Emerald Coast Santa Rosa programs and services in May 2017. He purchased the property at 6225 Dixie Road in Milton after hearing that 81 Santa Rosa County families faced losing services for people with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities due to the foreclosure of the former Arc Santa Rosa building in Milton. The Arc of the Emerald Coast is very grateful for its partnership with Herrholz. A ceremony was held on Oct. 26, during the 3rd Annual Arc of the Emerald Coast Santa Rosa Client Awards, to dedicate the building in memory of Herrholz’s father. Another couple, the Coopers, donated to the purchase of the building in memory of their son, Quinten. The Garden Center was dedicated as The Quinten Cooper Memorial Garden.

    Emerald Coast Foundation Donates to Children in Crisis
    Children In CrisisThe Emerald Coast Foundation recently showed its support to Children in Crisis (CIC) by awarding a grant to help sustain operations of the CIC Children’s Neighborhood. Seen here, Jackie Blue, foundation board member, presented the donation to Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, and CIC staff.

    Today’s Boutique Named Best of the Emerald Coast and Best In Destin
    Today's BoutiqueToday’s Boutique, a locally owned, upscale fashion boutique, has again been named, “Best of the Emerald Coast,” by the readers of Emerald Coast Magazine for “Best Women’s Boutique” and “Best Women’s Accessories,” for the 16th win. The boutique has also been named, “Best In Destin,” for 6 years in a row, by VIP Destin Magazine, since the award’s inception in 2012. The boutique has been awarded for quality in service and merchandise, ranging from women’s clothing to accessories and jewelry. 

    Grayton Beer Company and The 30A Company Announce New 10-Year Agreement
    Grayton Beer Company and The 30A Company recently announced that they have signed a 10-year agreement to replace the original licensing agreement. The partnership has produced the popular 30A Beach Blonde Ale, which is distributed along the Florida Panhandle and in five states in the Southeastern U.S. The new deal provides for co-branded events and marketing programs, as well as a full line of 30A beer-related merchandise and apparel to be sold online at 30Agear.com, 30A stores, Grayton Beer’s Taproom, and GraytonBeer.com.               

    Sacred Heart Launches 24/7 Online Care
    Access to healthcare will now be easier and more convenient for residents of Northwest Florida and South Alabama, thanks to Sacred Heart Health System’s launch of a new 24/7 online care service. With a smartphone, tablet or computer, patients can request a visit at SacredHeartOnlineCare.org. A board-certified physician or nurse practitioner will call by Facetime, Skype, or video chat, depending on the patient’s preference. Providers can make recommendations and give prescriptions when necessary. Prescriptions, if needed, are sent to your pharmacy. A summary report is sent to the patient’s doctor. To learn more or request a visit, go to SacredHeartOnlineCare.org

    Museum Opens New “Little Free Library”
    Heritage Museum of Northwest FloridaThe Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida celebrated the grand opening of the newest Little Free Library (#52537) in our local area on Saturday, Sept. 16. The Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange, part of a worldwide nonprofit organization that inspires the love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. The museum’s new Little Free Library (LFL) was a special project by Boy Scout Adam Klamerus, a recent graduate from Niceville High School and a football student athlete. Klamerus spent his summer designing, constructing, and successfully installing the new LFL as part of his requirements to rank as an Eagle Scout.  Additional projects for the Museum included a customized bookshelf for the research library, as well as a brochure rack for the gift shop. Seen here, Board of Trustees and staff of the museum celebrate the grand opening.

    Harmony Beach Vacations Nominated Best in Destin
    Harmony Beach Vacations announced that it has been nominated for 2018 Best in Destin! This event is hosted by VIP Destin Magazine. Local businesses are nominated by their peers as the "best" in their field. Take a moment and vote for Harmony Beach Vacations and other businesses at http://www.destinmagazine.com/best-in-destin-2018-2/#/gallery?category=1255187 until Nov. 22. You must vote in a minimum of 20 categories, and you may vote daily.

    Release of Brezzin Entertainment Website
    Brezzin Entertainment announces the launch of its new website at www.salsalaz.com. The website includes an audio file of Sal Salaz’s smooth Latin Jazz track “Real Life.” This track gives website users a taste of the type of music Salaz performs. His Latin Jazz album “Capture the Moment” will be released soon. It contains a total of eight mixed smooth and up-tempo songs. Also, vocalist, Cheryl Jones is featured on a jazzy Brazilian song named "Come with Me."    

    Crane Aerospace Donates to Children in Crisis
    Children In CrisisSeen here, Allie Noah (left), Children In Crisis (CIC) development director, and Ken Hair (right), CIC president & CEO, receive a check for $9,000 from Joey Fleming, human resources manager with Crane Aerospace & Electronics of Fort Walton Beach, representing Crane Aerospace & Electronics’ workforce of more than 150 who voted for CIC to receive the donation.

    Mainsail Lodging & Development to Manage Ramada Plaza Beach Resort Renovation
    The Tolbert group has appointed Mainsail Lodging & Development to manage the renovation of the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort.  The transition to the new management team was completed on Nov. 12, and improvement plans will start immediately. Mainsail Lodging & Development is a Tampa-based hospitality company that develops and operates lodging products in the Southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean.  The company will use its experience to reinvigorate the resort and bring it up to date in a thoughtful and purposeful way. Sign up for the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort’s newsletter to keep up-to-date on all of the improvements to the property as plans are finalized. http://www.ramadafwb.com/specials-sign-up.htm

    Okaloosa County Tax Collector Receives State Award for Excellence 
    Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben AndersonFor the fifth consecutive year, Ben Anderson, Okaloosa County Tax Collector, has been awarded the Legacy Award for excellence in the field of financial operations.   
    “This award of distinction is one of the highest honors the Florida Tax Collector’s Association can bestow on a local Tax Collector,” stated Association President, Sharon Jordan, of Suwanee County.  A four person judging panel made up of government financial executives from throughout Florida examined the Tax Collector’s processes as related to the following four areas of competency:  Innovation & Automation; a Perfect Annual Audit Report; Customer Focus; and Budgeting.  Previously, Mr. Anderson earned the Excellence in Financial Operations Award after exhibiting proficiency in these four areas of expertise.  However, for the 2017 Legacy Award, Mr. Anderson demonstrated that his office continued to further enhance its financial operations. Seen here are Brandy Hearne, Tony Forcier, Anderson, Keri Holguin, and Jennifer Leach.  

    $107,700 Awarded by Impact 100 to The Arc
    The Arc of the Emerald Coast received a blessing from the Impact 100 Pensacola Bay Area ladies at the annual membership meeting in October. It was chosen as one of 10 organizations to receive $107,700 each by Impact 100 Pensacola Bay Area, a local women's philanthropy group and the largest Impact 100 in the world. This group awarded more than $1 million in 2017 alone. The funds will be used to purchase two handicapped accessible vans to offer transportation services to ther Adult Day Training facility in Milton. 

    Hilton Sandestin Beach Receives Smart Meetings Platinum Choice Award 
    Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is a proud recipient of the 2017 Platinum Choice Awards by Smart Meetings. The Platinum Choice Awards serve as a benchmark for premier hotels, venues, and CVBs, and is a valued tool and resource for the meeting planner community. Hilton Sandestin Beach was nominated by dedicated industry professionals and, after a thorough review, the Smart Meetings editorial team hand-selected Hilton Sandestin Beach as a 2017 winner. Hilton Sandestin Beach will be featured in a national press release and recognized in the December issue of Smart Meetings.

    C.A.R.E. Center Released Three Sea Turtles at Sunrise
    The Gulfarium's C.A.R.E. Center released three rehabilitated sea turtles on Oct. 17. The released turtles included Okra, a juvenile Green sea turtle; Bok Choy, a juvenile Green sea turtle; and Cindy, a Kemp's ridley. For details on these and other turtles, please follow the C.A.R.E. Center’s Facebook page.

    Community Impact Goals Set by United Way
    Impact Goals for 2018 Grant Funding were recently approved by United Way of Okaloosa - Walton Counties Board of Directors. The Community Impact Area goals for health include increase access to mental health and substance abuse programs; increase access to primary and secondary care including dental; provide access to database or outreach center to coordinate care, avoid redundancy, and provide available resources; and increase access to resources and tools to cover prescription costs. The Community Impact Area goals for education include improve school readiness; ensure quality providers are available, accessible, and affordable; create learning opportunities for children; improve the educational success of at-risk children; and sustain stability programs addressing social, emotional, and developmental needs of children and youth. The Community Impact Area goals for financial stability include increase transportation support; increase affordable housing; improve disaster readiness; improve tools to affordable child and elder care; and improve access to tools to increase self-sufficiency. United Way Grant Funding application opens January 2018.  For details, contact Becky Bourgeois, director of community impact and investments at becky@united-way.org.  

    Arc Emerald Cost Highlights Two Businesses 
    The Arc of the Emerald CoastThroughout October, The Arc of the Emerald Coast emphasized the National Disability Awareness month campaign, “Inclusion Drives Innovation.” With approximately 39.9 million individuals in the United States with disabilities the numbers of those in the workforce are dramatically low. The Arc of the Emerald Coast wants to inform local business that it is not only good policy to have a workforce inclusive of diverse backgrounds and abilities, it also strengthens the business, increases competition, drives innovation and leads to better solutions for the business. 
    The Arc of the Emerald Coast highlighted Connor Snitko with Ben & Jerry’s & Robert Messer with Walmart, both who receive supported employment. Snitko is a dedicated employee at Ben & Jerry’s in Miramar Beach. He is a valued employee by his managers and co-workers and puts smiles on all the faces that come get the delicious ice cream. Snitko feels valued by working and enjoys his job at Ben & Jerry’s. Messer is a long time employee at the Walmart in Fort Walton Beach. He works hard at keeping all the carts cycling smoothly from parking lot to store. Messer is respected and appreciated by all his managers and co-workers and is said to be the recognized face at their Fort Walton Beach store. 
    Four Percent Discount on Property Tax Bills 
    “Okaloosa County property owners can take advantage of a 4 percent early payment discount on property taxes,” said Okaloosa CountyTax Collector Ben Anderson.  “Last November, property owners saved over $6.6 million off their tax bills through our discount program.  The deadline to receive this 4% early payment discount is Nov. 30.”   
    Chief of Operations John Holguin said, “Staff members will be staged in the lobbies of most of our branch offices on Nov. 28, 29, and 30, for customers who wish to just drop off their payments.” He continued, “Also, we have night drop boxes at the entrances of our offices, or mail your payment postmarked on or before Nov. 30.  We post nightly so all citizens receive the greatest savings.” E-check is free when paying online at www.OkaloosaTax.com.  
    Hilton Sandestin Beach Honored With ConventionSouth and Meeting’s Today Awards
    Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is the proud recipient of the 2017 ConventionSouth Readers’ Choice Award and the 2017 Meeting’s Today Best of Award. This is the eighth time the resort has received the ConventionSouth Readers’ Choice Award and the second year to have earned the Meeting’s Today Best of Award. Hilton Sandestin Beach is among just 250 convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), meeting facilities, and hotels throughout the south to receive ConventionSouth’s Readers’ Choice Award. Throughout the year, meeting professionals nominated those meeting sites they believe provide exemplary service for group events. The nominated properties were then compiled into an online ballot where meeting professionals were asked to vote for the best of the best. Similarly, Meetings Today opens voting for planners to determine the best hotels and resorts for meetings in North America sorted by region (East, MidAmerica, South and West). Planners may submit one ballot per region.

    Sacred Heart Plans to Adopt Ascension as Part of its Name
    Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald CoastSacred Heart Health System will add Ascension to its name as part of a national effort to make it clearer and easier for patients to access the care they need and to navigate their health. In moving toward a unified name, Sacred Heart Health System will change its name to Ascension Sacred Heart and adopt the Ascension logo. By creating more consistent names for its facilities and services across the country, Ascension will better connect every aspect of care and innovation across its hospitals and other sites of care. Sacred Heart has been part of Ascension for 18 years. Ascension is the nation’s leading nonprofit health system, with 2,500 sites of care and 36,000 providers in 22 states and Washington, D.C. 
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