Locals Continue Making Moves on The Coast

What’s happening on the Emerald Coast? Here are just a few things we’ve heard about around the area.


Karah Young, Meredith Young, John Russell, Jordan Lacenski, Hayden Hritz
  • Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation donated $2.3 million to 14 local children-focused charities during a check presentation lead by president John Russell hosted at Lulu’s in Destin. The amount marks a new record for the 10-year-old nonprofit organization, which to date has donated more than $10 million to local children’s charities estimated to have impacted more than 50,000 youth. 
  • Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast has launched a $30 million expansion project to increase capacity for maternity, emergency, inpatient and pediatric services. The expansion will be completed in two phases, with the first phase opening in 2016 and the second phase opening in 2017.
  • Owners of Meltdown on 30A, Chef Jim Shirley and Kelli Castille, have opened The Baytowne Melt in The Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. 
  • The University of West Florida Center for Research and Economic Opportunity held the inaugural meeting of Triumph Gulf Coast Inc., on Aug. 18. Triumph Gulf Coast is a nonprofit corporation organized to oversee 75 percent of all funds recovered by the Florida attorney general for economic damages to the state that resulted from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Triumph Gulf Coast must establish, hold, invest and administer a trust account at a federally insured institution for the economic recovery, diversification and enhancement of the eight Northwest Florida counties most affected by the spill. Those counties are Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla.
  • The University of West Florida has approved the development of a second cohort for pre-licensure of Bachelor of Science in Nursing to meet the increasing needs of the local workforce. The new cohort, set to begin in spring 2016, is expected to add 30 to 40 nursing students to the first cohort’s average of 60 students admitted each year. 
  • Fisher Brown Bottrell


    Courtesy of Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast and Grand Boulevard at Sandestin

    Fisher Brown Bottrell has opened a new office in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin’s Town Center. More than 20 employees work in the 5,000-square-foot office to provide a variety of risk management solutions including business insurance, personal insurance, employee benefits and bonding.

  • Covenant Hospice in Pensacola has been selected to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model. The model provides Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for coverage under the Medicare Hospice Benefit and dually eligible beneficiaries who qualify for the Medicaid Hospice Benefit the option to receive supportive care services typically provided by hospice and continue to receive curative services at the same time. Covenant Hospice is one of 140 hospices nationwide and the only hospice provider locally invited to participate in the model. Covenant will begin implementing the Medicare Care Choices Model servicesJan. 1, 2016, in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties in Florida.  
  • Thanks to Lacey and Mike Meyer, it’s a little easier to enjoy the beach along the EC. The Meyer family purchased a parcel in Miramar Beach in 1994 and donated it to Walton County in 1995, so the beach could be enjoyed by all. The Miramar Beach Regional Beach Access is located just west of Pompano Joe’s Seafood. Plaques commemorating the donation will be located at three walkovers for the Miramar Beach Regional Beach Access.


  • Chef Teofilo Tundidor, known as Chef T, was promoted to executive chef at Café Thirty-A in Seagrove Beach. The Florida native attended Johnson & Whales University College of Culinary Arts in Miami and has worked at Café Thirty-A on and off for 10 years. 
    Chef Teofilo Tundidor
    courtesy of Café Thirty-­A, Visit South Walton
  • Dr. Wade Jeffrey was named director of the University of West Florida’s Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation. A veteran professor of the center, Jeffrey first came to UWF as a research assistant in 1991, moving through a series of promotions before assuming the leadership role.
  • Dr. Kerrian Hudson, a board-certified family medicine physician, has joined Sacred Heart Medical Group’s practice in Destin. Dr. Hudson cares for the entire family and has special medical interests in women’s health and wellness. She is passionate about breastfeeding and provides lactation consultation. Dr. Hudson also enjoys helping her patients lead healthy lifestyles through integrative and natural medicine.


  • After completing 400 therapy visits, Riley, the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center’s staff therapy dog, has earned the highest designation of THDD by the American Kennel Club (AKC). 
  • “The Girl in 6E,” an erotic suspense novel by New York Times Bestselling Destin author Alessandra Torre, will be made into a movie. Torre has signed a deal with EuropaCorp Inc. authorizing production of a full-length feature film based on her novel. 
  • Visit South Walton was awarded the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program seal by Destination Marketing Association International, in recognition of the destination marketing organization’s (DMO) commitment to industry excellence and meeting the industry standard for performance and accountability of DMOs around the world.
  • The Northwest Florida Coast chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association honored Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center CEO Julie Hurst as Person of the Year (2015).
  • The Better Business Bureau Foundation serving Northwest Florida recently awarded Newman-Dailey Resort Properties the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics in the category for business with 50+ employees in District II — Okaloosa and Walton Counties. The ninth annual Torch Award program recognizes businesses and charities that insist on exceptionally high standards of behavior.
Categories: News