• January 2015 Business Briefs / Member News Part 3

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    January 20, 2015
    Myrick Chosen as 2015 Taylor Haugen Trophy Winner
    On Friday, Jan. 9, Mary Kate Myrick from Freeport High School was announced as this year?s Taylor Haugen Foundation Trophy winner. She is the 7th person to win this coveted award. Each high school in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties is able to nominate one person. This year, 13 nominees were considered based on the character traits of the trophy?s name sake, Taylor Haugen. Those traits are Academics, Athletics, Community Service, Leadership and Christian Faith. Mary Kate is the younger sister of past trophy winner Collin Myrick, who won the same award in 2012.

    Shelter House Purchases Building for New Program Office
    Last week, Shelter House, Inc., closed on the purchase of a Fort Walton Beach building that will house its outreach program and administrative personnel. The purchase of the building was made possible through a $125,000 grant from Impact 100, as well as a $50,000 commitment from Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation. Hurlburt Field?s Red Horse Squadron and St. Peter Catholic Church in Mary Esther have both pledged volunteers to assist with renovations on the new building. Renovations are scheduled to begin this month with the move planned for April. After the transition, Shelter House will hold a community open house and 30th anniversary party, as the agency celebrates its 1985 founding.

    ?Gourmet Cooking? with Earl Peyroux returns to WSRE Jan. 31
    Fans of WSRE?s Saturday morning cooking show lineup are in for a real culinary treat. The locally produced and nationally broadcast program ?Gourmet Cooking? has been retrieved from the public television station?s archives and will air again Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., beginning Jan. 31. The show?s beloved host, Earl Peyroux, was a culinary teacher at Pensacola Junior College in 1977, when he was asked to host a cooking show on WSRE. Originally booked for 13 shows, Peyroux hosted more than 600 episodes of ?Gourmet Cooking,? during the next 18 years. The popular show was picked up by the Public Broadcasting System in 1982 and aired nationally through the early 1990s. Learn more at WSRE.org/Classics.

    Discover Roads Less Traveled
    The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) and Northwest Florida State College announce the spring season of the eco-tourism initiative, Discover Roads Less Traveled: Eco-Adventures of Walton County. Led by local experts and professional naturalists, Discover Roads Less Traveled offers visitors and local residents opportunities to explore, discover, and experience the diverse natural resources that make Walton County unique. Descriptions of the tours being offered are available online at BasinAlliance.org by clicking the ?Eco-Tours? link or tab. Registration is available by phone at (850) 200-4160, or walk-in to the South Walton Campus of Northwest Florida State College. Prices vary, starting at $15.

    BBB® Warns of Fake Vacation Rentals on Craigslist
    The Better Business Bureau serving Northwest Florida is warning consumers to be on the lookout for fake vacation rental property listings located in the northwest Florida area. Your BBB was contacted by a consumer inquiring about a ?business,? Oasis Eva Homes, advertising vacation rentals available in Florida. The consumer contacted the business via Craigslist requesting more information about the properties and the BBB Accredited Business logo displayed on its website. The business assured the consumer they were accredited with BBB with an A+ rating. Thankfully, the consumer reached out to your BBB when she could not find a BBB Business Review for Oasis Eva Homes.

    BBB found Oasis Eva Homes? website domain, originated in Lagos, Nigeria, and was created in May of 2014. The Craigslist posts featured too-good-to-be-true ads offering to rent five and six bedroom homes in Destin and Pensacola Beach for $300 a week. The ad included photos ?borrowed? from a legitimate ad from an owner renting the properties. For more advice you can trust, start with BBB.org.
    Local Realtor Featured on Sports Illustrated Covers
    Realtor Jason Parkhurst with World Impact Real Estate started seriously shooting images, while attending Choctawhatchee High School and working on the newspaper and yearbook staffs. Since then, he has covered 9 Super Bowls, three World Series, two Olympics, numerous bowl games, and other championships, with photos appearing in Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, The Sporting News, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. Although Parkhurst has had many images published inside Sports Illustrated, in October and December 2014, two images were chosen for the magazine?s cover. One of which is seen here. If you would like Parkhurst to help with your real estate needs, he may be reached at (850) 543-1811.

    Delinquent Business Tax Receipts
    Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson would like to inform business owners that field agents from the Tax Collector?s Office are in the process of collecting delinquent Business Tax Receipts (BTR). Formally known as an Occupational License, BTRs are required to conduct business in Okaloosa County. Anderson says, ?Field Agents will call on delinquent businesses and identify themselves as ?Deputy Tax Collectors,? and will not only fully identify themselves and their department, but they will only call during business hours Monday through Friday. The local Business Tax Receipt is for businesses that provide merchandise, entertainment, or services to the public, even if only a one-person company or home-based business. Payment of each BTR is due by Sept. 30 every year. For those with an expired Business Tax Receipt, it is important to renew them as soon as possible to avoid additional penalties.?

    Business Tax Receipts can be paid online at OkaloosaTax.com, at any of the conveniently located Tax Collector Branches around the county, or by phone at (850) 651-7300.

    Theatre Company Announces Professional Actor Auditions
    Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) is holding auditions for its upcoming spring production of ?Art,? directed by ECTC?s producing artistic director Nathanael Fisher. Auditions will be held Saturday, Jan. 24, from 12 ? 2 p.m. at the Destin Community Center. Callbacks (if needed) will be Thursday, Jan. 29, from 7 ? 9 p.m. location TBD. Production dates will be Friday through Sunday, March 6 ? 8, and March 13 ? 15, in Destin. Auditioning actors should be prepared to present a comedic monologue and read from a provided script. For the cast of ?Art,? ECTC is seeking three male actors, aged 30 to 50. For details and to schedule an audition, email ECTC?s audition coordinator at auditions@emeraldcoasttheatre.org (preferred) or call (850) 687-1637.

    Deadline for Early Payment Discount Extended
    Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson would like to inform property owners that the deadline to receive a 2% discount on property taxes has been extended to Monday, Feb. 2. Anderson says ?Because the January deadline falls on a Saturday, Florida Statutes permit our Office to extend the deadline for this early payment discount. Thus far, through November (4%) and December (3%), the early payment discount has saved Okaloosa County Taxpayers over $6.1 million dollars!?

    Business Tax Receipts can be paid online at OkaloosaTax.com, at any of the conveniently located Tax Collector Branches around the county, or by phone at (850) 651-7300.

    Local Artist Donates to CIC Kids
    Local artist Charlotte Arnold, in conjunction with Artful Things Art Gallery in Niceville, donated $570 to help give a home to the abused, neglected and abandoned children at Children in Crisis (CIC). She raised the funds from a promotional contest that provided two 16 X 20 charcoal portrait custom drawings. She is seen here with Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO.

    United Way Needs Volunteers for Income Tax Assistance Partners
    VITA is an IRS community initiative led by the United Way of Okaloosa & Walton Counties to provide free income tax preparation. The VITA program offers free tax help to people with low-to-moderate income in preparing their tax returns. The United Way is currently recruiting volunteers to work in the Crestview and Fort Walton Beach communities. You can help by preparing and filing tax returns, or as a greeter. Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of four hours per week at a VITA site from Jan. 13 - April 15, 2015. As a VITA volunteer, you will receive online IRS training and certification, expand your knowledge of federal tax return procedures, add a new skill to your resume, serve local citizens, and help stimulate the local economy. To become a volunteer, email vita@united-way.org or call (850) 243-0315 ext229.

    Southern Residential Leasing Restructure
    Southern and Pointe South Residential Leasing have introduced new elements to their Gulf Coast property management to provide a deeper level of service to their owners and tenants. As part of this restructure, Southern has promoted long time employee Rosanna Padova to operations manager and announced three portfolio managers, Donna Adams, Tracy Jackson and Jim Stephens, to oversee the company?s operations in their respective regions. In these new roles, the portfolio managers will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and regional growth within the company?s field offices in Destin, Pensacola, and Fairhope, while the operations manager will ensure proper execution of companywide procedures from Port St. Joe, Florida west to Mobile, Ala. For more information about Southern, visit GoSouthern.com.

    Wyndham Vacation Rentals® Participates as Official Accommodation Sponsor and Co-Title Sponsor of Destin Beach Ultra Runs
    Wyndham Vacation Rentals announced that its ResortQuest brand is participating as the Official Accommodation Sponsor and Co-Title Sponsor of the Destin Beach Ultra Runs for the fifth consecutive year. This two-day event helps raise awareness and funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF), which provides support and assistance to the families of wounded and fallen special operations military personnel. Taking place from Feb. 14 ? 15, the annual event will again be held at Tops?l Beach & Racquet Resort, a ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals property. As a proud annual sponsor, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals offers discounted rates for this event. Additional information about the Destin Beach Ultra Runs events and accommodations may be found here.

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