DeSantis in Destin

To: Daily Rundown Readers

TOGETHER WITH

Good morning! Before we get started, I want to talk briefly about community online and what I’m thinking of building for Get The Coast. Every time I send out a newsletter to the nearly 3,000 of you that read this, I get between 20-30 replies each time.

Many of you have told me that you don’t subscribe to the local paper anymore, with many more telling me that this newsletter helps you stay on top of the news since you aren’t on Facebook (or other social platforms).

My question is: Would you be interested in being part of a local social app that is completely separate from major social networks?

I’ve been playing around with building out a home online that has many of the features that you see in Facebook Groups or group messaging apps. The ability to share news, local updates, events…and even ask questions or have discussions with other members.

The biggest difference is: You don’t need Facebook.

If this sounds like something you might like to help me test out, simply reply to this email and I’ll add you to our Beta Tester Launch List.

Softball Academy expansion 🥎

The City of FWB 850 United Softball Academy and Travel Ball Program is expanding to include an Angel League for children with special needs. The recreation staff is excited about this new opportunity and is working with local professionals to create a safe and healthy environment for all children. This new program begins June 1.

The Angel League is for boys and girls ages 5-14 and is taught by travel ball coaches, high school coaches, and college players. Training is on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6-7 p.m. at the Preston Hood Athletic Complex.

The cost for all 850 Softball Academy leagues is $45 per month (no contracts) and includes professional training on and off the field, an 850 United training shirt, team bonding activities, travel teams for 8-U to 18-U league ages, and more.

Register today at www.fwb.org/youthathletics or in person at the FWB Rec Center on Jet Drive. Call Wendy Riggs at 850-833-9582 for more information.

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“Trees On The Coast” has a mission to beautify Northwest Florida 🌳

Just this week, Trees on the Coast planted trees at Destin Elementary School and worked with the City of Destin Government on the upcoming Honor Trees.

We talked with Director Bobby Wagner about their mission to beautify Okaloosa County through tree planting, protection and education of our residents on the importance of trees.

Click to watch or listen

Bit-Wizards named to Inc. Magazine’s annual list of the Best Workplaces for 2021 👨‍💻

For the fifth consecutive year, Bit-Wizards in Fort Walton Beach has been named to Inc. Magazine’s annual list of the Best Workplaces for 2021.

Hitting newsstands May 18 in the May/June 2021 issue, and as part of a prominent Inc.com feature, the list is the result of a wide-ranging and comprehensive measurement of American companies that have created exceptional workplaces and company culture whether teams are operating in person or remotely.

Collecting data from thousands of submissions, Inc. singled out 429 honorees this year. Each nominated company took part in an employee survey, conducted by Quantum Workplace, on topics including management effectiveness, perks, and fostering employee growth. The organization’s benefits were also audited to determine the company’s overall score and ranking.

CEO, Vince Mayfield and COO, Louis Erikson founded Bit-Wizards on a set of 6 Core Values that put people first. As the company continues to grow exponentially year after year, their vision stays in focus.

“Peter Drucker once said: ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ Some business leaders think creating a culture is a strategy,” said Mayfield. “Treating people well with human dignity and empathy while creating a great culture is not a strategy; it is just the right thing to do. Take that to task, and you will set your people and your company in the right conditions for success.”

“The definition of a positive workplace has changed drastically over the past year,” says Inc. magazine editor-in-chief Scott Omelianuk. “Stocked fridges and nap pods were no longer perks many companies could rely on once work went remote. So, this year’s list is even more important as it reveals organizations that continue to enrich the lives of its employees amid a pandemic.”

Back in December 2020, Get The Coast spoke with Mayfield and Erickson as they pulled into the Fresh Start parking lot in Fort Walton Beach with vehicles full of presents for 36 children.

In that conversation, Erickson talked about the company’s core values.

“The company was founded on the idea of humanizing technology and treating our engineers well,” said Erickson. “But we expanded that. So it isn’t just about treating the engineers well or our customers well, but to also treat our vendors well and treat the community well.”

“We are honored to be recognized by Inc. Magazine as a great place to work,” continued Vince Mayfield. “Accolades aside, Bit-Wizards invests in people and culture, not because it makes good business sense, but because of who we are as a people.”

Speaking of accolades: Bit-Wizards recently swept won big at the 2020 ADDY awards with 19 awards.

Vacations on 30a 🤣

“No shirt, no shoes, no income tax”

Comedian John Crist released a video yesterday poking fun at the 30a scene. In the video, Crist can be seen walking throughout various parts of 30a where he talks about getting a famous Seaside shirt, having a 30a sticker, never entering Fort Walton Beach and more.

If you are looking for a quick bit of humor this morning, watch this video.

DeSantis in Destin 👨‍🏫

While at Destin Elementary School on Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that $1,000 bonuses for teachers and principals in Florida are on the way.

During the press conference, DeSantis announced $765 million in funding to support Florida’s teachers. According to WEAR Channel 3, the funding includes $550 million to continue elevating minimum teacher salaries, as well as $215 million to provide all of Florida’s eligible public school principals and teachers with $1,000 disaster relief payments.

DeSantis applauded the efforts of students and teachers in Okaloosa County for their commitment this year. Providing in-person instruction was high on his list of priorities when preparing for the 2020-2021 school year.

In Okaloosa County, more than 90% of students are participating in face-to-face learning.

“You may never have the opportunity to make more of a difference than you did this year because if you didn’t have the kids in school, the consequences of that would have been dire,” said the Governor.

Superintendent Chambers thanked the Governor and Commissioner for making the ‘difficult decision’ to push for in-person learning and giving parents the opportunity to choose the learning environment for their student, stressing that it was “absolutely the right thing to do.”

“In Okaloosa County we talk about the unsung heroes,” said Chambers. “Those are our teachers, our staff, our principals. What you all do and have done this year is nothing less than miraculous and we are so proud.”

School Board Chairman Tim Bryant praised the students and staff at Destin Elementary saying that “their commitment to excel during a difficult year is one that is shared throughout the district.”

“What we celebrated today has been occurring in all of our schools this year, and I am so very proud of what our students, teachers and staffs have accomplished,” he said.

“In Okaloosa, we were fortunate to offer our students multiple ways to learn this year, especially face-to-face,” continued Superintendent Chambers. “For many of our students and families, this was critical. Thank you to Principal Jannazo and his team who did a great job hosting our Governor and Commissioner of Education.”

While in Destin, Governor DeSantis made a food stop at Dewey Destin’s Seafood Restaurant on the Bay, where he chatted with Dewey and Parker Destin about seafood, COVID, and keeping Florida prosperous.

Other Reads 📖

Too late for debate? Walton County seeks to curb late additions to meeting agendas
Walton County commissioners voted narrowly Tuesday (3-2 vote) to have county government staff members develop new rules for handling items added to commission meeting agendas too late for robust public comment. The move came after two commission meetings — the May 11 session and Tuesday’s meeting — where major decisions were made on late additions to the agenda regarding the Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC). 
Too late for debate? Walton County seeks to curb late additions to meeting agendas
Walton County commissioners voted narrowly Tuesday (3-2 vote) to have county government staff members develop new rules for handling items added to commission meeting agendas too late for robust public comment. The move came after two commission meetings — the May 11 session and Tuesday’s meeting — where major decisions were made on late additions to the agenda regarding the Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC). 
Young couple takes over Dairy Acres of Baker U-pick blueberry patch
The couple and parents of three small children bought the farm, including its 5 acres of blueberries, from its former longtime owners, John and Mary Richardson. The Richardsons, who now live in Andalusia, Alabama, planted the farm’s 1,000 or so blueberry bushes in 2013. The farm, called Dairy Acres of Baker, stands at 5949 Dairy Road, and their U-pick blueberry season starts June 2 and is set to run through July.
Young couple takes over Dairy Acres of Baker U-pick blueberry patch
The couple and parents of three small children bought the farm, including its 5 acres of blueberries, from its former longtime owners, John and Mary Richardson. The Richardsons, who now live in Andalusia, Alabama, planted the farm’s 1,000 or so blueberry bushes in 2013. The farm, called Dairy Acres of Baker, stands at 5949 Dairy Road, and their U-pick blueberry season starts June 2 and is set to run through July.

Ok, that’s all I have for you this morning. Hope you have a great Thursday!

Jared

p.s. What did you think of this morning’s newsletter? Hit the reply button and let me know!

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