OneBlood to Resume Blood Donations Following Hurricane Irma
will resume blood collections, effective Tuesday, Sept. 12. All blood types are needed; however, there is an urgent need for platelet donors and people with O negative blood. Hurricane Irma forced OneBlood to suspend operations for three days, and, as a result, there is an urgent need to replenish the area's blood supply. Donors should visit www.oneblood.org
for donor center hours and blood drive locations. As a proactive measure, OneBlood, in coordination with America’s Blood Centers and Blood Centers of America, is also actively arranging for shipments of blood to be brought in to Florida by blood centers from around the country. OneBlood is urging people living outside of Irma’s path to visit their local blood center and donate blood as soon as possible.
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties Makes Florida Trend Best Companies To Work For
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.
, was recently named one of Florida’s Best Companies To Work For. Specializing in property management, vacation rentals, long term rentals, real estate sales, and association management, Newman-Dailey landed at #13 in the list of the best mid-size companies to work for in Florida. The annual Best Companies list is featured in the August issue of Florida Trend magazine. One-hundred companies are ranked in small, medium, and large employer categories.
Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Welcomes New Leadership to Quality Department
Fort Walton Beach Medical Center
welcomes Dianne Ristom, MSN, RN, HCRM, CCRN, as vice president of quality and risk management. Ristom is an accomplished and dedicated healthcare leader with more than 20 years of nursing experience and 10 years in leadership positions. She has diverse background that has contributed to her development as a dynamic healthcare leader, including serving as a system stroke coordinator, manager of neuro telemetry, director of critical care, and legal medical consultant. Ristom most recently served as the vice president of quality management at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, an HCA facility, since 2015. She received her Associate of Applied Science in Nursing from El Paso Community College in 1995, her BSN from Chamberlain University in 2011, and her MSN from Chamberlain/DeVry University in 2013. She is a member of American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), American Society of Professionals in Patient Safety, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, Phi Theta Kappa, and Sigma Theta Tau.
Warren Averett Announces Mary Elliott as New CEO
announced Mary Elliott as the firm’s new chief executive officer. Elliott will succeed Jim Cunningham, who is retiring from the role at the end of 2017. Elliott has worked her entire career at Warren Averett, successfully serving clients in its Healthcare Consulting division for more than 30 years. She has served as the firm’s chief operating officer and chair of the Operations Board since 2012. Elliott will be the first female CEO at Warren Averett and one of only three female CEOs among the top 35 firms in the United States.
Two New Stores Open at Destin Commons
announced the opening of two new stores for shoppers. They are Kids Foot Locker and The Dressing Room Boutique, with both stores located on the main street in the center. Kids Foot Locker is a children’s athletic retailer that offers a one-stop shop with a large selection of brand-name athletic footwear, apparel, and accessories for children. The Dressing Room Boutique offers a dynamic wardrobe for women and is built upon the principle that building a quality wardrobe shouldn't break the bank. At The Dressing Room Boutique, shoppers will find timeless pieces and the latest trends to keep a wardrobe fresh.
Dine Out For Kid Hungry Campaign
Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q
will join thousands of others during the month of September to raise money for childhood hunger in its restaurants. One in six kids in America struggles with hunger. That’s 13 million kids each year. Every dollar donated to No Kid Hungry will help provide up to 10 meals for hungry children. No Kid Hungry helps states, cities, and communities close the gap between kids who need food and the food itself. It partners with other organizations to provide critical grants, supplies, and technical assistance to feed more kids. With a goal this year to raise $100,000 during September alone, Jim ‘N Nick’s could provide one million meals to hungry children.
Two Special Olympics Florida – Okaloosa County Athletes to Compete in 2018 USA
Special Olympics Florida – Okaloosa County
announced that two local athletes have been selected to compete in the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Wash. On July 1-6, 2018, more than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will gather in Seattle to compete before tens of thousands of spectators and volunteers. The 2018 USA Games will showcase the limitless talents of people with intellectual disabilities, while promoting the barrier-breaking power of sport to promote inclusion and acceptance. The Okaloosa County participants will be athlete Jacob Luttrell (left) from Shalimar competing in golf and athlete Harrison Mauldin from Crestview competing in athletics and 10K.
Sacred Heart Medical Group at Freeport Welcomes Nurse Practitioner Phillip Smith
Nurse practitioner Phillip Smith, ARNP, has joined Sacred Heart
Medical Group’s regional network of providers at Sacred Heart Medical Group at Freeport, located at 281 State Hwy. 20 E. Smith graduated from nursing school at Gadsden (Ala.) State Community College, where he was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He received his master’s degree in nursing from Samford University in Birmingham, where he was named to Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Smith completed clinical preceptorships in family practice, women’s health, and pediatrics. Smith is Board-certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. He is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and the American Nurses Association. He is a registered medical examiner with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and is certified to perform Department of Transportation physicals for truck and bus drivers.
Kiwanis of Niceville-Valparaiso Responds to the Call to Feed Kids
Niceville-Valparaiso Kiwanis Club President C. J. McEntire presented a donation check for $3,000 to President and CEO of Children In Crisis
(CIC) Ken Hair to help replenish the food shortage of the CIC Neighborhood pantries caused by the school summer vacation. On any given day more than 50 children call CIC home and this support from the Kiwanis is a great example of its mission, “It’s all about the kids!”
The Market Shops Welcomes Leasing Agency
The Market Shops announces the return of Century 21 Fine Homes & Estate Blue Marlin
’s Pure CRE Team as center leasing agency after a short intermission. The relationship between the two entities dates back to before the center’s extensive renovations were completed in 2015. In fact, Pure CRE’s founder Doreen Baca was responsible for the leasing of 13 retail spaces, including that of Bijoux Restaurant & Spirits and Sacred Heart Medical Group, which houses primary care physicians for adult and pediatric patients, walk-in services, and pediatric after-hours care. The Northwest Florida based commercial real estate company has been around since 1999. Baca is seen here with her husband Jerry.
Hilton Sandestin & Seagar’s Receive TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa
, the largest full-service beachfront resort hotel on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, and Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood
, Northwest Florida’s longest standing AAA Four-Diamond Restaurant, are the proud recipients of the 2017 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. Now in its seventh year, the Certificate of Excellence Award by TripAdvisor recognizes outstanding hospitality businesses that have maintained a consistent overall rating of four out of five or higher on TripAdvisor.com. The award also takes into consideration a business’s tenure on the site, Popularity Index ranking, and overall volume of reviews within the last 12 months. In addition to the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award, Hilton Sandestin Beach has been honored with numerous awards in recent years, including Travel Guide Recommended Hotel by Forbes, #1 Best Hotel in Destin by U.S. News & World Report, Award of Excellence by Corporate & Incentive Travel Magazine, and Top Adventure Resorts by ConventionSouth. Seagar’s has also been recognized by Forbes as a Travel Guide Recommended Restaurant and a Distinguished Restaurant of North America by DiRoNA and has maintained the AAA Four-Diamond for 17 continuous years.
Emeril’s Coastal Italian Names Chef de Cuisine and General Manager
Shane Quinlan has been named the chef de cuisine for Emeril’s Coastal Italian
. Quinlan has strong ties to the new restaurant’s home in Northwest Florida as he was born and raised in Destin. Since graduating from Charleston’s Johnson & Wales University, Quinlan has enjoyed stints at Westin Hotels & Resorts and Mirassou Winery, opened a Tommy Bahama restaurant in Las Vegas, and overseen culinary operations at TPC Summerlin for the PGA Tour. Wanting to return with his family to the Emerald Coast and the beaches of South Walton, Quinlan accepted the position of executive chef over the Beach Club at Watersound and all of St. Joe Club & Resort’s golf clubs.
Ki Song An has been named General Manager of Emeril’s Coastal Italian. He has worked for Emeril’s Restaurant Group since 1999, when Chef Emeril opened Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas. Born in South Korea, Ki arrived in the United States with his family at the age of four and settled in Las Vegas. Growing up, Ki enjoyed traditional Korean meals with his family, which is what originally sparked his passion for food and hospitality. He joined Emeril’s team as a busser in 1999 and worked his way up quickly. When it came time to look for a general manager for Chef Emeril’s newest restaurant, Emeril’s Coastal Italian, Chef Emeril called on Ki once again, knowing that his positive attitude, love of the hospitality industry, and deep knowledge of Emeril’s Restaurants would make him a natural fit.
Girl Scouts Honor 2017 Women of Distinction at Awards Gala
The Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle
honored nine Women of Distinction on Aug. 26, during the Awards Gala at the Edgewater Beach & Golf Resort. The Pearl Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Margaret McLane, retired marketing specialist, 325th Services Squadron, Tyndall AFB, and past board president of the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle. The Pearl Award is bestowed upon an adult Girl Scout for her significant contributions to the Girl Scout movement in support of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Rita Acoba, retired VP of Bay Bank and Trust, received the Diamond Award, presented to a woman whose contributions to the community embody the vision of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts.
Joining McLane and Acoba as Women of Distinction Honorees are as follows:
• SSgt. Ashley Adkins, United States Air Force: Leadership Honoree
• Mary Bruce, Retired, ACURE: Social Service Honoree
• Marilyn Garrett-Fenimore, Owner, Managing Concepts: Youth Services Award Honoree
• Marcia Pell, Certified Diabetes Educator and Dietician: Health and Fitness Honoree
• Hiba Rahim, Council on American Islamic Relations: Community Impact Honoree
• Jennifer Vigil, CEO, Panama City Community Development Council: Visionary Award Recipient
23 New STEM and Outdoor Badges Enrich Girl Scout Programming
Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle
and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) recently released new badges in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and the outdoors, areas girls are not typically encouraged to explore outside of Girl Scouting. The badges will debut on the organization’s first digital platform for volunteers, making it more accessible than ever to unleash the power of every girl.
Through hands-on and age-appropriate experiences for girls as young as five, Girl Scouts is both enhancing the important outdoor opportunities the organization is known for and addressing the lack of exposure many girls have to STEM. In fact, Girl Scouts are almost twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to participate in STEM (60 percent versus 35 percent) and outdoor activities (76 percent versus 43 percent). With the introduction of 23 new badges, which marks the largest programming rollout in almost a decade, Girl Scouts can design robots and race cars, go on environmentally conscious camping trips, write code, collect data in the great outdoors, try their hand at engineering, and so much more. GSUSA created programming that included contributions from many notable organizations. Collaborators include the STEM-focused Code.org, GoldieBlox, SciStarter, Society of Women Engineers, and WGBH/Design Squad Global, as well as the outdoor-focused, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.
Timber Creek Distillery Awarded at the North American Bourbon & Whiskey Competition
Timber Creek Distillery
took home two silver awards in its first-ever North American Bourbon & Whiskey Competition, held on July 16-17 in New Orleans. The craft spirits brand, which is just over two years old, won the silver awards in recognition of its Florida Black Rye Whiskey and Florida Reserve Bourbon. Timber Creek was the only brand from Florida to win an award. The North American Bourbon & Whiskey Competition is a double-blind competition based on a 100-point scale. Judges consider the spirits fairly based on styles and price categories. This year, judges tasted more than 75 entries.
Sterling Resorts Announces New CEO
by Pacifica Companies announced that Chris Lamson would be taking over as chief executive officer of the company, effective July 24, 2017. Having spent 25 years in the US Marine Corps and retiring as a Colonel, Lamson comes to Sterling Resorts highly recommended with a solid background in leadership and growth. After retiring in 2009, Lamson continued his career as director of operations at Boumans & Associates, where he led the organization to streamline operational processes, architected internal structures, developed formalized standards, and created controls for five operating divisions. From there he went on to be technical specialist at ICF International. At ICF International, Lamson was a task order manager for augmentation, during the New Jersey Hurricane Sandy Recovery Project. He worked with New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to develop and staff a new division organized to implement the disaster recovery block grant. Lamson comes to Sterling Resorts from the International Safety Training Council where he was president and CEO. He is also the founder and CEO of Heroes Helping Heroes, an organization that is dedicated to supporting and assisting disabled veterans and their families in Southeast Texas.
Vadlamani-Simmers Joins Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center Board
The Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center
(ECCAC) recently appointed Dr. Lalitha Vadlamani-Simmers as a new board member. Vadlamani-Simmers and her family have called Niceville home since 1999. She came here via the US Air Force, where she served as medical director of the Pediatric Clinic at Eglin AFB from 1998 to 2001. The doctor then began practicing general pediatrics in the Niceville community and served as a child protection team medical examiner for the ECCAC for three years. Now, Vadlamani-Simmers practices at the Sacred Heart
Hospital Pediatric After Hours Clinic in Pace. She has also been a volunteer with the Junior League of the Emerald Coast
and the Impact 100 chapter of Northwest Florida.
Integrity Wellness Chiropractic Donates to Children in Crisis
Seen here, Children In Crisis
(CIC) President and CEO Ken Hair receives a donation of $180 from Dr. Shawn Leatherman, D.C., with Integrity Wellness Chiropractic. The donation will help prepare the 50+ children living at the CIC Neighborhood to go back to school.
Gulf World Launches New Penguin Encounter
Gulf World Marine Park
announced the launch of its newest interactive program, the Penguin Encounter. Guests ages 12 and up are now invited to get up close and personal with an African black-footed penguin in Gulf World’s new interactive habitat. Guests will be immersed into the African penguin salt water habitat, where they will get to interact and learn about the endangered African penguins from their animal care specialists. At Gulf World, visitors can now have up close interactions with bottlenose dolphins, roughtoothed dolphins, harbor seals, sea lions, and stingrays. To learn more or book an interactive program, visit GulfWorld.net
Destin Water Users Tower 1 Recognized by American Water Works Association as National Landmark
On Thursday, July 27, community leaders, dignitaries, American Water Works Association representatives, Destin Water Users
(DWU) board members, and DWU staff gathered at the intersection of Benning Drive and Azalea Drive to commemorate the recognition of Destin Water Users’ Tower 1 as an American Water Works Association National Landmark. Erected by DWU in the fall of 1964, the tower has been a welcoming beacon, as well as a source of clean water, for the entire city. Situated atop on of Destin’s highest elevations and near the Destin Harbor, Tower 1 was one of the first projects undertaken by DWU once it became a member-owned corporation. The 75,000-gallon potable drinking water storage tank was originally painted orange and white to resemble a beach ball until 1985, when it was repainted with DWU’s blue and white logo.
Pictured here (from left to right), are Lockwood Wernet, DWU general manager; Bill Young, Florida Section of the American Water Works Association chair elect; James Bramblett, water operator; Jimmie Neilson, DWU board of directors vice president; Mike Brockton, water operator; Ginger Barry Boyd, DWU board member; Sandy Trammell, DWU board member; Paul Reese, facilities manager; Ames Hudson, DWU board member; Monica Autrey, operations manager; Jack Adelaide, DWU board member; Chuck Rathke, finance manager; Tom Weidenhamer, DWU board of directors president; Kevin Job, water operator; Kim Wright, DWU board of directors secretary; and Jim link (seated), DWU board member.
Foundations Medical Center Announces New Services
Foundations Medical Center
, now at its new location, offers even more services, including IV therapy, access to medical grade supplements, and new Infrared Sauna. Foundations Medical Center offers personalized care and the tools you need to achieve your best health.
The Premier Property Group Announces Move to Seascape Towne Centre
The Premier Property Group
announced it will open a new office at Seascape Towne Centre, Seascape Resort
’s 55,000-square-foot commercial lifestyle and retail development. The new lifestyle center includes numerous restaurants and food vendors, a family entertainment sector, and boutique shops and markets. Among the many exciting family attractions are a zip line, ropes course, remote control boats, golf chipping section, and live music venues. The center’s upscale and well-designed architecture and hardscapes feature a large outdoor events plaza overlooking lakes, and the golf course. The Premier Property Group’s approximate 5,000-square-foot office will be located between Acme Oyster House
and the popular Thrills Arcade and Laser Tag. Premier will have between 40-50 agents that will call this new entertainment center home. Construction is underway at the new location, and the group anticipates being open by January 2018.
Keefe Named to Executive Council of the Florida Bar's Trial Lawyers Section
Fort Walton Beach attorney Larry Keefe has been named to the Executive Council of the Trial Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar. Established in 1967, the 7,000-member Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar provides a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas leading to the improvement of individual trial ability. The essential purposes of the Trial Lawyers Section are threefold: to assist the courts in improving the administration of justice; to promote the art of advocacy; and to preserve and protect the jury system. A founding partner in the law firm of Keefe, Anchors & Gordon
, Keefe specializes in business law and commercial litigation. Keefe is the only Executive Council member from Okaloosa County and one of only three members located west of Tallahassee. The honor is the latest in a series of professional milestones for Keefe this year. In July, Keefe was named for the tenth consecutive year to the list of Florida Super Lawyers, which honors attorneys who have attained a high degree of peer recognition, met ethical standards, and have been recognized for their professional achievements. Later in July, Keefe was honored for the sixth time as one of Florida Trend magazine’s Florida Legal Elite.
Volunteer Donates Back to School Supplies to CIC Kids
Seen here (left to right), Volunteer Holly Simmons and mother Lindsay Simmons donate school supplies to Sarah Traver, Children In Crisis
(CIC) Neighborhood Programs supervisor, for the kids living at the CIC Neighborhood. The donation helped provide school essentials that are not normally available to the at-risk children and truly makes a difference.
Florida Driver’s License Gets New Look
Beginning this month, the State of Florida will begin issuing a new colorful high-tech driver’s license and State identification card. The Shalimar Branch of the Okaloosa County Tax Collector’s Office
will be one of first offices around the State to roll out the new and improved license in August. A key component of the new license is increased security features.
Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson states, “We are continually working with our State counterparts to find new and innovative ways to improve driver license security. These measures will reduce the risk of fake IDs and ultimately work towards improving the security of our nation.”