• March 2015 Business Briefs / Member News Part 3

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    March 17, 2015
    Four Points by Sheraton Paradise Cove & Kiwi's Relaunch Party & Ribbon Cutting
    The Four Points by Sheraton Destin-Fort Walton Beach is celebrating the completion of a $3+ million dollar renovation. The renovation was completed in stages that correlated with the off-season at the hotel. The overhaul covered most of the property's vast 9+ acres and focused on all public spaces, including the (3) F&B outlets and the open air, modern lobby, which features Dempsey’s restaurant/lounge. Join us on March 19, for a ribbon cutting at 4:30 p.m., followed by a reception with food and drink until 6:30 p.m. Please RSVP to Brandy Heuer at brandy.heuer@fourpointsdestinfwb.com.
     
    ResortQuest Real Estate® Congratulates Top Producers of 2014
    ResortQuest Real Estate announced its 2014 top producers at its annual banquet held at the Emerald Coast Convention Center earlier this month.
     
    The Nathan Abbott Team of the Destin office received highest honors for top closed production in 2014 by achieving $43.1 million in total sales volume. Janette Klein of the Miramar Beach office received runner up for total production with $22.8 million in sales volume, and Mary Fletcher of the TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort office received highest honors for top closed production by a single agent with $10.5 million. The rest of “Top 10 Producers for 2014” includes the following:
    The Mary Stephens Team, Seagrove Beach - $17.9M
    John Tait and Peter Burke “On the Coast Team,” TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort - $12M
    Caroline and Chip Wasson “The Wasson Group,” Destin - $11.6M
    Eddie Krasauskas, Santa Rosa Beach - $9M
    Destin Stegner, Destin - $8.9M
    Kevin Kramer, Okaloosa Island - $8.8M
    Rick and Dale Martinez, Ariel Dunes - $8.2M
     
    White Sands Inn & Suites Renovation Complete
    Destin Lodging, LLC is pleased to announce the completion of its 1-million-dollar renovation project of the White Sands Inn & Suites. The newly remodeled hotel, located at 4415 Commons Dr. E., is an 83-room hotel property, featuring a variety of room types. Each guest room features free high-speed Internet access, cable television with HBO®, a microwave, and a refrigerator. The hotel offers a complimentary full hot breakfast and features a heated outdoor pool and spa, exercise room, and an onsite laundry facility. The hotel is just a 5 minute drive to the sugar sand beaches and emerald waters of the Emerald Coast. The convenience of our location offers each guest easy access to local attractions and many outdoor activities. Hotel guests will be close to a variety of restaurants (Longhorn Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, and many more) all within walking distance of the property. The White Sands Inn & Suites is located adjacent to the Shoppes of Paradise Key, just .5 miles from Destin Commons, 5 miles from the Silver Sands Premium Outlets, and 5 miles from the Destin Harbor.
     
    Emerald Coast Billiards Opens Game Room
    Emerald Coast Billiards Game Room is now open. Come join us to shoot a few games of pool, throw some darts, and enjoy an ice cold beer, glass of wine, or snack. The Game Room is also available for private parties (21 yrs+ and over). See a member of our staff to learn more.
     
    Sacred Heart Pioneers the Region’s Only Mazor Robotic Spine System
    Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast now offers Mazor Robotics Renaissance®, a state-of-the-art guidance system for spine surgery.
     
    “Adding robotic accuracy to our minimally invasive spine surgery program at Sacred Heart Hospital provides a unique service not available anywhere else in Northwest Florida,” states Dr. Kornelis Poelstra, orthopedic spine surgeon and director of the Spine Center at Sacred Heart.
     
    The Mazor Robot is a precision guidance arm that accurately maps the individual’s customized surgery plan. Before entering the operating room, Poelstra uses Renaissance to pre-plan the optimal surgery in a CT-based 3D simulation of the patient’s spine. During surgery, Renaissance guides the surgeon’s hand and tools to the precise pre-planned location.
     
    Courtyard and Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard Receive Top Honors
    Howard Hospitality announced that the Courtyard and Residence Innby Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard have both received top honors for performance and achievements in 2014. Both hotel properties were recognized out of thousands of Marriott hotels worldwide at the 2015 Marriott General Managers Conference in Washington DC in February.
     
    The Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin received the Platinum Hotel Award for its overall customer service satisfaction scores ranking in the top one percent out of 1,000 Courtyard hotels worldwide. Tania Koehler received the Diamond General Manager of the Year award for the Courtyard as one of three recipients out of 1,000 general managers. Lastly, the Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin received third place in the entire brand for its Guest Arrival Experience.
     
    The Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin received the Gold Hotel Award for its overall customer service satisfaction scores ranking in the top 10 percent out of 667 Residence Inn hotels worldwide. Tania Koehler also received the Diamond General Manager of the Year award for the Residence Inn as one of three recipients out of 667 general managers.
     
    2014 Dr. Frist Humanitarian Award Recipients Announced
    Twin Cities Hospital announced its recipients of the 2014 Dr. Frist Humanitarian Awards. At a luncheon in Niceville, David Whalen, CEO, presented awards to Dr. Mark Schroeder, Wendy Borcyk (employee), and Wanda Stapleton (volunteer). These individuals are now eligible for the Nationwide 2014 Dr. Frist Humanitarian Award, the highest honor an employee, volunteer, and physician can receive at HCA, the parent company of Twin Cities Hospital. In addition to a framed certificate and lapel pin, the recipients also received monetary allocations to be donated to the charitable organization(s) of their choice.
     
    Taco & Tequila Fest
    All things tacos and tequila were celebrated with a sold out crowd of more than 1,600 people on the Destin Harbor last Saturday, March 7, at HarborWalk Village. Local restaurants Harry T's Lighthouse, Jackacudas Seafood Sushi, and many others showcased delicious traditional and modern tacos, while Sauza Tequila and Hornitos showcased their signature tequilas, debuting a few of their specialty tequilas. A portion of the proceeds helped to raise $3, 500 for the Salvation Army.
     
    Others of Destin Searching for New Home
    The OTHERS of Destin, a non-profit providing a variety of support services to the underserved in Walton and Okaloosa counties, is searching for a new home. It has been housed in the Destin United Methodist Church, which is about to undergo a total remodel and will repurpose the space in which the non-profit currently resides. OTHERS is seeking office space and building/warehouse space of approximately 2,000 square feet. The preference is that it be something zoned for industrial use, but it will consider all offers.
     
    Founded in 2013, OTHERS has gained a reputation for serving individuals and families faced with a wide range of challenges, including poverty, homelessness, and job loss. Services are tailored to meet the needs and preferences of those served using a holistic approach focused toward achieving self-sufficiency. Collaboration with other service and support entities in the community is emphasized. This winter, OTHERS organized the cold night shelter at Destin United Methodist Church, which served 513 people over 27 days. Seven churches assisted it in this effort.
     
    If you are able to provide the needed space, please contact OTHERS Executive Director CC Fearson atcfearson@othersofdestin.com or (850) 543-3960. Donation of the space is tax deductible. If you would like to lend your support to the organization, volunteers are welcome, and training is provided.
     
    Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel Selected NWF Social Worker of the Year
    The Florida Chapter’s Northwest Unit of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has selected Okaloosa County Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel as Social Worker of the Year. This Social Work award is given as a result of a lifetime of contributions to the field of Social Policy and specifically to the field of Social Work. Ketchel was elected Okaloosa County Commissioner as the only female currently on the Commission, and the first Licensed Clinical Social Worker to hold office in Northwest Florida.
     
    4th Seering Concert Pushes Total Contributions to More Than $70K
    Accomplished musician and performer David Seering, accompanied by pianist Bobby Van Deusen and vocalists Amanda Holmes and Geoff McBride, delighted a sell-out crowd, raising almost $24,000 forChildren in Crisis (CIC). This pushed the four-year total to more than $70,000 for the CIC children. The concert was held last weekend at the Village Baptist Church in Destin, and all proceeds were donated to help feed, clothe and care for the foster children living at the CIC Children’s Neighborhood. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, receives the check from Seering.
     
    United Way Presents Three Major Awards
    Three major awards were presented during the United Way’s 58th Annual Business Meeting, held recently at the Niceville Community Center. The first award was presented by 2014 Fund Distribution Chairs Betty Brassell, Patricia Davis, and Kim Cox, which recognized the Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN) as the United Way Partner Agency of the Year. Seen here with Brassell, Davis, and Cox are Zach Billingsley, CVHN CEO, and Kim Kelley.
     
    Also, Outgoing Board Chair Martha Miller saluted Okaloosa County Deputy Sheriffs Jay Jones and Eric Aiden, as Volunteers of the Year, for going beyond expectations for Loaned Executives during the 2014 United Way Campaign. 2014 Campaign Chair Walter Hooks presented the first ever Robinson Trophy for Best Campaign Performance to the Publix Stores of Okaloosa and Walton counties. The Robinson Trophy is a silver loving cup etched with a caricature of Bill Robinson and will become a traveling trophy each year. Robinson raised more than $42 million in his 25 year career as executive of the local United Way.
     
    Kids Tag Art Project Helps Elementary Art Departments
    The Okaloosa County Tax Collector, in partnership with the Okaloosa County School District, announced the results of the recent Kids Tag Art fundraiser and art contest. It raised $9,091 for participating elementary schools at a time when money for art curriculum is hard to find. The Tax Collector’s Choice award went to Shalimar Elementary 5th grader Cheyann Henry-Houston. Anderson and Cheyann are pictured placing her winning tag on his vehicle. Anderson said he will have her tag on his vehicle until another winner is announced next year. Award of Distinction winning tags are available for sale at OkaloosaTax.com. Proceeds from public sales go to the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation and will be evenly divided among participating schools.
     
    ResortQuest® by Wyndham Vacation Rentals-Managed Property to Host Annual Tennis Tournament
    Wyndham Vacation Rentals® announced that TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort, a ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals-managed property, will again host the 32nd Annual Helen Drake Invitational tennis tournament, April 15 – 19. The Invitational is a sanctioned United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournament where approximately 300 players compete within their age division for points on their state and national ranking. Interested players may register online at USTA.com, selecting TennisLink, and searching by identification number 150100615 on the Tournament tab. Booking details and additional information about TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort may be found here: http://www.wyndhamvacationrentals.com/vacation-rentals/florida/northwest-florida/destination/resort/topsl-beach-racquet-resort.
     
    The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County Joins Forces with Food for Thought Outreach to Present the Full Plate Project
    Want to help a hungry child and support the art programs in Walton County Schools? Then step up to the plate and bring your creative best to the table for the Full Plate Project. As part of its new pARTnership program, The Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) will team up with Food for Thought Outreach to raise funds for these two worthy causes. The Full Plate Project is a community-wide art project that will raise funds for critical programs in Walton County through the creation and sale of painted plates. Artists of all ages and skill-levels will transform plates into works of art that will be exhibited and sold at the ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival May 8-10. For details, click here: http://www.culturalartsalliance.com/node/699.
     
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