• March 2015 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

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    March 03, 2015

    Students Grow Sea Oats to Restore Dunes
    Throughout the month of January, sixth graders across Okaloosa and Walton counties began growing sea oats in their classrooms as a part of the Dunes in Schools program. Students are growing sea oats to help restore the dune systems of our local beaches. Students will take care of the sea oats until April, when they travel to a restoration site to transplant their sea oats on the beach. Led by the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College, Dunes in Schools provides students with an opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to the environment by actively involving the students in the restoration of local coastal systems. In addition to growing sea oats, students participating in Dunes in Schools receive monthly lessons about the rare coastal dune lakes and barrier islands found in Northwest Florida.

    Okaloosa County EMS Gets 100% on No-Notice Inspection
    The Florida Bureau of EMS conducted an unscheduled inspection of  Okaloosa County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) on Thursday, Feb. 19, which resulted in 100 percent compliance. This is an in-depth inspection of all service records, including training files, vehicle documents, pharmacology tracking, and DEA compliance, as well as Quality Assurance processes. Ambulances were also inspected for maintenance compliance, equipment functionality, and overall cleanliness.

    ECTC Adds Art to “Art”
    Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) is collaborating with 12 Northwest Florida-based artists to create a dazzling visual art gallery showcase. The art showcase is free to those who purchase a theater ticket to “Art,” a comedy by French playwright Yasmina Reza, running two consecutive weekends, March 6-8 and March 13-15 in suite 15 at the Market Shops, located at 9375 US Highway 98, near the entrance to Sandestin and Hilton resorts in Miramar Beach. The featured artists reflect a range of mediums from repurposed glass art and mixed media folk art to hand-woven baskets and even vintage statement jewelry. For details, visit EmeraldCoastTheatre.org or call (850) 687-1637. This production is made possible with generous support from Emerald Coast Magazine.

    New General Manager Joins Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood
    Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, located inside the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, announced Paul Hawkins as its new general manager. With 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Hawkins came to Seagar’s after 13 years working his way through the Capital Grille franchise in Charlotte, Tampa, Milwaukee, and Jacksonville, where he worked as manager and eventually became managing partner. The addition of Hawkins also means new initiatives for Seagar’s. The restaurant recently launched a new Wednesday night wine program, “Wine Down Wednesday,” that features six wines selected by Advanced Sommelier Myres McDougal, paired with cheese selected by Executive Chef Dan Vargo. For details, visit Seagars.com or call (850) 622-1500.


    35th Emerald Coast HOG Toy Run Helps CIC Kids
    Emerald Coast HOG Chapter president Vito Tomasello and club members presented $15,000 to Children in Crisis (CIC) president and CEO Ken Hair and Children’s Advocacy Center CEO Julie Hurst to help the abused children of our community. The money was raised during its 35th Annual Toy Run and Funds Ride. More than 500 bikes participated in the event. Entry fee was $10, and each participant donated a new toy or gift card. Emerald Coast Harley Davidson and Sam’s Club sponsored the event.

    Acentria Announces Partnership with VanAllen Insurance Agency
    Acentria Insurance announced its partnership with VanAllen Insurance Agency. VanAllen Agency serves Central Florida offering personal or business insurance.

    “With this partnership, Acentria continues to expand its footprint in the state of Florida. VanAllen Insurance is a great fit for our strategic long-term goals, aligning agencies with a dynamic combination of unparalleled customer service, community involvement and product selection,” remarked Kendall McEachern, CEO of Acentria Insurance.

    Twin Cities Hospital: Preventing Type 2 Diabetes with Proven Program
    Twin Cities Hospital is launching a Diabetes Prevention Program to help community members learn how to prevent type 2 diabetes. Guided by a trained lifestyle coach, groups of participants will learn the skills they need to make lasting changes, such as losing a modest amount of weight, being more physically active, and managing stress. Groups meet once a week for 16 weeks, then once monthly for six months to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. This program is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The local program will begin meeting March 18, 2015. To participate, contact Leah Roberts, RD, CDE, at (850) 729-9480.

    Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) Passenger Count Continues to Climb in First Quarter
    Passenger growth in January for the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport is up more than eight percent from 2014 numbers, compared to four percent growth for the Panama City and Pensacola airports. Total departing passengers were up 8.18 percent over the same month last year and arrivals were up almost 9 percent.

    27th Annual ArtsQuest Reveals 2015 Featured Artist and New Surprises
    ArtsQuest, a fine arts festival produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) and presented by Visit South Walton and Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, reveals Amanda Bennett as the Featured Festival Artist. The 27th annual festival, a Mother’s Day weekend tradition, is scheduled for May 8-10, in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin’s Town Center. ArtsQuest is a juried fine arts festival featuring over 100 artists in various mediums including but not limited to ceramics, glass, oil and acrylics, photography, sculpture, metal and wood.

    Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Named One of Nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® 
    Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast has been named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Truven Health Analytics for the fourth year in a row and the fifth time since opening in 2003. Truven Health Analytics, formerly Thomson Reuters, is a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of healthcare. The Truven Health 100 Top Hospitals® study identifies hospitals and leadership teams that provide the highest level of value to their communities, based on a national balanced scorecard. The 100 Top Hospitals scorecard measures hospital performance across 10 areas: mortality; inpatient complications; patient safety; average patient stay; expenses; profitability; patient satisfaction; adherence to clinical standards of care; and post-discharge mortality and readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, and pneumonia.

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