• April 2015 Business Briefs / Member News Part 2

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    April 14, 2015
    Vacasa Poised To Award Up to $60,000 for 2015 Scholarship Program
    Vacasa—named the country's fastest-growing private company in the travel industry by Inc. Magazine in August 2014—is continuing to support local communities through its annual scholarship program. Vacasa views this scholarship program, offered to both high school and college students, as a way to reinvest in the local communities it serves. This year, Vacasa’s scholarship program is available in 14 U.S. states, as well as four countries. In total, Vacasa is prepared to award up to $60,000 to support aspiring students on an international scale.
     
    Pike Promoted to Destin Commons Marketing Manager
    Destin Commons is pleased to announce the promotion of Heather Pike as marketing manager. Pike has worked as the marketing coordinator for more than a year and has been involved in many community activities on behalf of Destin Commons with the Destin, Ft. Walton, and Niceville chambers of commerce. At the Destin Area Chamber, Pike is chairing the Bayou, Bay & Beach full and half-marathon, and she is in the 2014-2015 Destin Forward leadership class. She is also the volunteer marketing lead for the Emerald Coast Relay for Life that benefits the American Cancer Society and is a past Chair of the Finest on the Emerald Coast event with the Northwest Florida Daily News.
     
    Hilton Sandestin Honored with Two Awards from Hilton Worldwide
    The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa garnered a number of prestigious awards from national industry trade publications in 2014 and in the fourth quarter received two especially significant recognitions from Hilton Worldwide: the “Make it Right” Award and the “Make it Right” Most Improved Award. To achieve the “Make it Right” Award and the “Make it Right” Most Improved Award, Hilton Sandestin Beach received the highest combined Problem Resolution and Overall Loyalty scores on the Service And Loyalty Tracking email guest survey, and the most combined improvement, quarter on quarter, out of all hotels in the Americas regions with more than 500 rooms.
     
    Haugen and Cann Named to 2015 PLANADVISER Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers
    Brian Haugen and Steve Cann of Emerald Coast Wealth Advisors of Raymond James are pleased to announce their team has been named as one of the 2015 PLANADVISER Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisory Teams. The PLANADVISER Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers is an annual listing of adviser individuals, teams, and multi-office teams that stand out in the industry in terms of a series of quantitative measures. These include the dollar value of qualified plan assets under administration (AUA), as well as the number of plans under advisement. The list also includes advisers who have more than 30% of their practice focused on 403(b), defined benefit (DB) or nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans.
     
    Celebrate Your Graduate at Ruth’s Chris Steak House
    From April 13 through July 13, receive a complimentary Ruth’s Classics three-coursee meal for the graduate with the purchase of four entrees. For full details, visit RuthsChrisDestin.com/eventspromos.html.
     
    Airports Police Chief Recipient of a HERO Award
    One of the first search calls was made to the Destin Executive Airport (DTS) in hopes the missing UH60 Blackhawk had safely landed on March 10. Chief Andrew (Andy) Johnson responded to DTS, secured the area, and waited. In the early hours of March 11, he was notified that the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office was responding in the area of the Navarre Bridge, and Chief Johnson decided to go see if he could assist in the rescue effort.
     
    “Chief Johnson assisted in securing the heaviest debris area, documented evidence, and recovered two crew members, all above and beyond what he was required to do,” stated Chairman Nathan Boyles, Okaloosa County Commission. “There was a need to secure as much as they could prior to daylight on a public beach, and he didn’t hesitate to provide his knowledge and experience to that scene, along with a limited amount of initial responders, and for that he has earned recognition.” Two UH60 aircraft assigned to Hammond, Louisiana Army National Guard were participating in a training exercise when one of the helicopters crashed. Eleven service members were killed.
     
    The Humanitarian Efforts Recognized by Okaloosa County (HERO) award recognizes employees who not only go beyond the scope of what his or her job entails, but has done something of a humanitarian or heroic nature. The HERO Award can include acts occurring outside work hours and submissions by people outside Okaloosa County staff. Above and Beyond forms are available online at www.okaloosafl.com or you may contact 311 Citizen Information Line for more information or to recognize an Okaloosa County employee.
     
    Niceville Exchange Club Donates to Children
    The Exchange Club of Niceville continued its support to Children in Crisis (CIC) by presenting a $1,000 donation to help feed, clothe, and care for the children living at the CIC Children’s Neighborhood. Seen here, Bill Moomaw, club president, presents the check and paper products to Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO.
     
    Pirate Invasion at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
    Captain Billy Bowlegs and his Pirate Krewe have land in sight and are headed straight for Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. This year, both organizations are commemorating 60 years and one of the many ways they will celebrate this milestone is with a pirate invasion at the marine park on Saturday, April 18, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Guests can meet the infamous Captain Billy Bowlegs, his Queen, the First Mate and Mistress, and members of the Court throughout the park as they mingle with some of Gulfarium's gators and tropical birds.
     
    8th Annual Estuary Family Festival
    The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) and Mattie Kelly Environmental Institute (MKEI) will jointly host the 8th Annual Mattie Kelly Estuary Family Festival at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park on Saturday, April 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The family-oriented festival offers exhibits and activities that celebrate Choctawhatchee Bay. Festival admission is FREE and the open to the public.
     
    World Impact Real Estate Opens New Branch Office in Mary Esther
    Broker Rodney Elkins of World Impact Real Estate announced the opening of a new office at 340 E. Miracle Strip Pkwy., in Mary Esther. With more than 80+ agents in the Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Tallahassee, Panama City, and Tampa areas, the growth has been wonderful. So, in an effort to better accommodate the agents and their needs, the Mary Esther branch office was opened. In this office agents may do floor duty, if they like. This office will be able to help clients in the Navarre, Fort Walton Beach, Shalimar, and Mary Esther areas. We want to have the convenience for not only our agents, but clients as well.
     
    WSRE Awarded Bronze Telly Awards for Two Original Programs
    WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast, has been awarded the bronze Telly Award for two local productions: “The Blue Angels Air Shows” episode of “In Your Own Backyard” and “An Evening with Tommy Emmanuel,” a music special recorded live at WSRE’s Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio.
     
    “In Your Own Backyard,” hosted by Sheri Hemminghaus Weeks, took viewers to the skies over Pensacola with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team. The program covers both world-class air shows performed annually for hometown fans—the summer show over Pensacola Beach and the season finale Homecoming Air Show at NAS Pensacola’s Sherman Field. This program was produced by James Roy and Ted King.
     
    “An Evening with Tommy Emmanuel” documents a concert performed in 2013 by the two-time Grammy Award nominee. Emmanuel, one of Australia’s most respected musicians, is known as a legendary guitarist with a career spanning five decades and intersecting with some of the finest musicians in the world. This program was produced by Eric S. Fundin and Bill Harrell, directed by James Roy and edited by Ted King.
     
    Support the LARGEST One-Day “Stamp Out Hunger” FOOD DRIVE in the Nation and Help Restock Our Local Food Banks
    The United Way of Okaloosa & Walton Counties asks you to participate in our nation’s and our community’s Largest Food Drive…. the 23rd Annual National Association of Letter Carriers “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive to be held on Saturday, May 9, and help our local food banks restock their pantries. To participate, place your food donation(s) in a bag next to your mailbox early the morning of Saturday, May 9. Your letter carrier will pick up your donations as they make their regular mail routes and then deliver them to our local food banks. Donations may include quick meals like macaroni, spaghetti, soups, canned meats, peanut butter, canned juice, canned fruits, canned vegetables, baby food, cereal, and more.
     
    Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer Presents Checks to Local Charities
    Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer celebrated its grand opening on Wednesday, April 8, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce followed by a reception for the community. Before the official Grand Opening, Brotula’s held two complimentary soft opening dinners with all tips and proceeds benefitting two local charities, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast and Food for Thought Outreach. Before the official ribbon cutting, owners Tyler Jarvis and Chris Ruyan presented Boys and Girls Clubs with a check for $2,092, as well as $2,220 for Food for Thought.
     
    Okaloosa County Departments Participate in Earth Day Events
    Earth Day is officially April 22, and is celebrated worldwide. The following events are scheduled in Destin and Fort Walton Beach:
     
    April 13: Earth Day Celebration at the Destin Community Center at 3:30 p.m. Recycling information and “Edutainment.”
     
    April 25: Okaloosa County Water and Sewer Department will promote and educate children about water conservation at the Emerald Coast Science Center Earth Day event, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
     
    April 25: The Okaloosa County Environmental Council invites volunteers of all ages to participate in the Earth Day Beach Cleanup on Saturday, from 8 – 10 a.m. Receive your “Leave Footprints – NOT Stuff” event T-Shirt, trash bag, bottled water, gloves, and Get a Little Sand in your Soul! Volunteers are invited to sign in at Beasley Park on Okaloosa Island, the Beach Park west of Island Princess on Okaloosa Island, and Henderson Beach State Park in Destin.
     
    Habitat for Humanity Celebrates Volunteers
    Habitat for Humanity in Okaloosa County is hosting a volunteer appreciation celebration on Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 12 – 5 p.m., at the Habitat ReStore in Fort Walton Beach. Volunteers are invited to come by for a free cookout and get a window sticker for a new contest, Hunting for Habitat Volunteers. Participants put the Habitat window sticker on their car and when a Habitat employee spots their car, a photo will be posted to the Okaloosa Habitat Facebook and website pages. Stickers can be picked up at the ReStore and the Habitat office until May 18. The Hunting for Habitat Volunteers contest prizes are gift certificates to Helen Back,Whataburger, Hub City Smokehouse in Crestview, and Starbucks. Volunteers are vital to the work Habitat does for families in our community and this is a small way to acknowledge their contribution.
     
    Mayor Mel Ponder Selected to Attend National Security Forum
    Destin Mayor Mel Ponder has received and accepted a personal invitation from the Secretary of the Air Force to attend the 62nd annual National Security Forum at the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The purpose of NSF is to expose influential citizens to senior U.S. and international officers and civilian equivalents in order to engage each other’s ideas and perspectives on Air Force, national and international security issues. During the week of May 5-7, approximately 150 civilian leaders in business, education, and government from all over the U.S. will meet with senior military leaders to explore current and future national security issues facing our nation. The NSF provides a great opportunity for an open and candid exchange of ideas among these guests, senior military and civilian leaders, and Air War College students. Ponder will attend lectures, meet in seminars for in-depth discussions, and participate in social events.
     
    Project 10 Kids Charity Donates Food to CIC Children
    Project 10 Kids Charity “I Believe,” sponsored by Jeannie Aylsworth from Body by Vi, donated 360 bags of healthy cereal to Children in Crisis (CIC). The goal of Project 10 Kids Charity is to create partnerships with local charities and organizations to help make a difference in the community. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, along with Laura Moore, CIC volunteer and event coordinator, accept the donation from Aylsworth.
     
    TripShock.com to Donate $1 to Charities for Every Activity or Booking through August
    TripShock.com announced last week that it will be starting a series of sponsorships with local non-profits along the Gulf Coast. The travel website and activity booking engine will be pledging $1 per booking up to $1,000 each month through August. For the month of April, TripShock has partnered with Destin Harvest to help curb hunger in Northwest Florida. Destin Harvest is focused primarily on assisting local feeding programs with providing quality and nutritious foods to feed the homeless.
     
    CIC Board Member Takes Teens Shopping
    Long-time Children in Crisis board member Judy Wiseman gave the transitioning teens living at the CIC Neighborhood a real shopping treat last week. Judy volunteered to take the two small groups of teens to find that special Easter outfit and other items needed to present a professional look for job interviews
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