Bay Biz Vol 9/Issue 1 (Jan - Mar)

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H U R R IC AN E M IC HAE L COM M E MOR ATIVE I S S U E

JAN - MAR 2019 | VOL. 9 / ISSUE 1 PANAMACITY.ORG

T H E VO I C E O F B U S I N E S S F R O M T H E B AY C O U N T Y C H A M B E R O F C O M M E R C E

CHOOSING THE BEST CONTRACTOR THE FUTURE OF BAY'S REAL ESTATE MARKET



january - march 2019 HURRICANE MICHAEL C O M M E M O R AT I V E I S S U E

departments 4

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

10 EDUCATION

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18 HEALTH Update on Area Hospitals 20

DEFENSE INTEL Update on Military Installations

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WORKFORCE CONNECTION CareerSource Gulf Coast

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features

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6 COMMUNITIES Update from Municipalities 26

TOURISM & BUSINESS

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ECONOMIC IMPACT

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WHERE DOES THE REAL ESTATE MARKET GO FROM HERE?

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CHOOSING THE BEST CONTRACTOR

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The Bay Biz is published quarterly by the Bay County Chamber of Commerce. POSTMASTER send address changes to: Bay County Chamber, PO Box 1850, Panama City, FL 32402 or email taylor@baychamberfl.com. The Bay Biz welcomes story ideas from its readers. To have your story added, please email taylor@baychamberfl.com. To request additional copies, call 850-785-5206.

PUBLISHER Carol Roberts

ART DIRECTION, LAYOUT, AND DESIGN GORGEOUS (getgorgeo.us | 850-888-8GRG)

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Taylor Smith

COVER Messages of hope are spread around Bay County as the community works together to rebuild following Hurricane Michael.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mayor Margo Anderson; Kim Bodine; Marsha Buchanan; Beverly Byerts; Larry Carnley; Martha Crombie; Laurie Dana; Catie Feeney; Richard Gibbens; Dianne Hafleigh; Randy Hanna, Ph.D.; John Holdnak, Ph.D.; Shelby Husbands; Superintendent Bill Husfelt; Parker McClellan; Mark FOLLOW US ON: McQueen; Mayor Rich Musgrave; Carol Roberts; Valerie Sale; April Salter; Debbie Ward; and Garrett Wright CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Bay County Chamber, Bay County Government, Bay District Schools, Bay Medical Center, City of Panama City, City of Panama City Beach, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center, and Tyndall AFB Public Affairs

BAY BIZ MAGAZINE c/o Bay County Chamber of Commerce PO Box 1850 Panama City, FL 32402 850-785-5206 panamacity.org | information@baychamberfl.com

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This is probably the most difficult President’s Message I have ever written. Where to begin? Our lives and our community have changed for many years to come since October 10. Hurricane Michael certainly left his mark on our county and our neighbors to the east. As a lifelong resident, this was a first for me. My entire life, we have been so fortunate to dodge many storms; not to say we haven’t had close calls and damage from previous storms, but nothing like we experienced with this one. My heart first and foremost goes out to the families who lost loved ones. I just can’t imagine what they must be going through, along with the loss of homes and those memories they’ve worked long and hard for. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected families.

At first glance, it didn’t appear to be too bad, but then we got closer. Sadly, the remodel we had just completed to the exterior of the building was pretty much a total loss. As if that wasn’t enough, we discovered there was tremendous roof and water damage due to the loss of the huge windows in the lobby area and offices. Fortunately, we are insured and plan to rebuild. In the meantime, the Cramer Chevrolet family accommodated us for weeks in their conference room. We can’t thank them and their team enough for the hospitality. We have now co-located, thanks to the City of Panama City, to a portable office directly behind the new City Hall located at 501 Grace Avenue (the corner of Grace Avenue and 5th Street). Others joining us are Bay Arts Alliance, Martin Theatre, Community Development Council and the Downtown Improvement Board. Your Chamber staff has worked to do our part in the ongoing recovery, and has surveyed nearly a thousand businesses to assist where we can with providing contact information for resources, matching

As one of the team members at the Emergency Operations Center

businesses up with one another to provide temporary work space,

(EOC) and this Chamber’s role under the ESF-18 function, I was wit-

hosting numerous recovery meetings with local, state and federal

ness to thousands of individuals before, during and after the storm

officials, while still working to bring some sort of normalcy back to

that gave of their time to prepare, protect and provide for us all. You

the organization they represent. Business recovery is key to bring a

have to know there were individuals that didn’t even know the sta-

community back online. Residents need products and services to

tus of their own homes, property or businesses for weeks, but still stepped up to do their part to restore order and clear the path for recovery. It was a humbling experience to see the nation come to our aid with utility crews, and every service you can possibly think of, to help their fellow Americans. I, and this organization, thank each and every person that helped, as well as those who continue to have boots on the ground, bringing our beautiful county back. We at the Chamber haven’t told our story to the community as, in

begin rebuilding their lives along with jobs created by those businesses. This organization, along with this community is rebuilding. Now, more than ever, it is of utmost importance we do away with the lines that divide our seven cities and unincorporated Bay County, and work together with a common goal to show the world our resilience and make our community an even better place to live and do business. Let’s build and even better Bay County!

the big scheme of things, it really didn’t seem important with others experiencing so much pain. The day after the storm, I, along with our Chairman, Doug Moore, rode to the Chamber. He had already seen the devastation to our community and the Chamber building, but this was my first experience seeing it. He drove and it didn’t take me long to figure out why he had insisted. Our route was on Highway 77 from the EOC. Most of the ride was very quiet, as I was left speechless at the sight I was experiencing while fighting back

Carol Roberts President/CEO

the tears and emotions. 4

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H U R R I C A N E M I C H A E L C O M M E M O R AT I V E S EC T I O N

communities Updates from Municipalities

B AY C O U N T Y

Update from Valerie Sale, Public Information Officer 5G cell service? New roads, bridges, sidewalks? A cruise-ship terminal? “Smart” communities with the latest technological advances? These are just a few ideas that could possibly become reality in the coming years. While it may be difficult now to imagine Bay County emerging from the aftermath of Hurricane Michael bigger and better than before Oct. 10, county and city officials are working together to ensure we do just that through the Long-Term Disaster Recovery Task Force. The group, comprised of elected officials from each of the county’s seven municipalities and the School Board, and chaired by Bay County Commissioner Robert Carroll, aims to tackle an array of areas of concern, including economic development, health and social services, housing, infrastructure, planning, and natural and cultural resources. The Task Force will form working groups for each area consisting of members of both the public and private sectors, citizens and nonprofit organizations. “It’s critical that we all work together, not just in the short term to

To aid the task force in clarifying and reaching its goals, the county hired Tallahassee-based The Integrity Group, a team that includes several Bay County natives, including senior partner Gary Yates. “Our goal is to hear what the community is saying about what’s needed and then, behind the scenes, work on funding so that we can get every available dollar from every available source,” Yates said, noting that both public and private funding will be crucial to the area’s overall redevelopment. Dramatic recovery after tragedy is not without precedent. When Hurricane Ivan made landfall to our west in mid-September 2004 as a strong Category 3 storm, the devastation to Pensacola and surrounding areas was significant. At the time, it was the worst storm the Panhandle had seen in many years. “A silver lining in all of the devastation and turmoil and pain when a community goes through a disaster at this level is that it can thrust forward in five or 10 years what could’ve taken 50 years to accomplish,” said Olivia Schmidt, Region 1 recovery manager for The Integrity Group. Schmidt pointed to the $300 million relocation of a wastewater treatment plant in downtown Pensacola, dubbed “Old Stinky”,

get back to a sense of normalcy, but over time, to make sure that

made possible because of a death blow dealt by Hurricane Ivan. The

we are better off than we ever dreamed we could be,” Carroll said.

new plant was funded in large part by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with local and state sources.

The Long-Term Recovery Task Force is part of the federal govern-

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ment’s National Disaster Recovery Framework, geared at assisting

A newly redeveloped, thriving downtown Pensacola sprung up after

communities in recovery efforts, including attaining more federal

the move, including a Bayfront minor league baseball stadium and

and state money for projects.

myriad of restaurants and shopping opportunities.

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in a common vision for our City which is more than just bricks and mortar. From my perspective, the vision for Panama City must be shaped by the following principles: 1. Build citizen trust and confidence in its city government. This is done through open communication; proactive engagement; treating all Citizens with dignity and respect; having a City staff that meets the needs of its Citizens; and being good stewards of the resources entrusted in the career of the City. 2. Insure a safe and secure environment for all Citizens and visitors to our City. Be firm, fair and consistent in application of laws, statutes, ordinances and codes; invest well in our first responders to protect and serve our community with the highest level of professional response capability. 3. Set the conditions for a successful economy that not only is restored, but is growing faster than was the case prior to the hurricane. To do so, the City must improve its infrastructure of electricity, water, sewer, streets and storm-water management systems, as well as create a business friendly environment for new and existing businesses alike. “The City of Pensacola would not have been able to do that without the devastation caused by Ivan,” Schmidt said. “This puts the county in a position to utilize and take advantage of all the destruction to

4. We must invest in our future by addressing the education needs of our children from pre-K through high school graduation. The City of Panama City, in concert with Bay District Schools, should explore

make a new, innovative, revitalized community.”

all avenues to develop a premier education system which prepares

The task force will meet twice monthly, beginning in January, and

higher education and learning through our colleges and universi-

the meetings are open to the public. For more information, or to

ties.

learn how to participate in the Long-Term Recovery Task Force working groups, please email bocc@baycountyfl.gov.

students well for the future. We must also continue to promote

5. We need to significantly enhance the quality of life for all Citizens of Panama City. Specifically, we must have exceptional parks, recreation and aquatic centers; become pedestrian friendly with walking,

C I T Y O F PA N A M A C I T Y

Update from Mark McQueen, City Manager

biking and skating zones; improve its marinas and develop premier access points to one of our greatest resources-the bay and Gulf of Mexico.

Many have asked what my vision is for the City of Panama City. To me, it is an interesting question because I believe it is imperative there be a vision for any worthwhile endeavor. Certainly such is the case as we have visions for our lives, our careers and our children, just to name a few examples. So why would we not want a vision for Panama City? In my three months as the City Manager, the City experienced one of its greatest challenges in its 110 year history. Hurricane Michael dealt a devastating blow to the area. The storm affected every person in the City, damaged or destroyed 90% of the homes and businesses, and generated historic proportions of debris. We may have been knocked down, but we surely are not out for the count. It will take time to recover from the storm, but I am certain we WILL

6. Arguably the utility of the future will be 5G technology. Panama

recover. I believe through this tragedy there will be triumph. I want

City has an extraordinary opportunity to leverage this technology

Panama City to finally realize its full potential. Panama City: Bigger,

to enhance our economy, improve our schools and enrich our lives.

Better, Stronger!

Let’s make Panama City a “smart city”!

My vision for the City of Panama City has been shaped by my expe-

7. It is essential that we preserve and protect our environment. We

riences in the military, study on the issues facing the City, as well

have a fragile ecosystem in our bay and surrounding waters that is

as numerous conversations with a myriad of citizens from all walks

a treasure to be cherished. In the water, we need to protect our ma-

of life. Ultimately I walk away from those engagements reaffirmed

rine life. With attention to our land, we should enhance our efforts

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in agriculture with a specific view to re-plant our canopy of trees

Fountain and Mexico Beach where they searched homes for anyone

with 100,000 new trees planted by 2025.

needing help. Armed with chainsaws, many cut their way through

8. Housing is the single factor that effects every citizen in Panama

neighborhoods.

City. We need to improve upon the housing options available in our

Their responses were nothing short of heroic, and their stories

community that addresses the needs of all citizens and encourage

heartbreaking. With no ambulance services operating, police of-

others to reside here.

ficers drove an elderly man to Walton County so he could receive

These eight guiding principles, I believe, should serve as the framework in order for us to rebuild Panama City. Doing so I believe will help us to realize a new vision for Panama City. It was one of my Command Sergeant Majors who taught me well when he shared, “Sir, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get

life-saving treatment. Firefighters dug out families who were trapped when massive trees fell. Everywhere there were families, sometimes as many as eight in one house, running out of food, water and medications, and eager to connect with another human being.

what you always got”. In other words, if we are going to move for-

A delegation of City employees led by firefighters nailed tarps and

ward as a community and begin to realize the full potential of Pan-

cut trees for City employees, their extended families and neighbors.

ama City, we must do things differently. I’m looking forward to our

All the while, many of them, about 40 percent of the City work-

future as I see it as extremely bright. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get

force, were themselves displaced or in damaged homes. Tempo-

to work. Panama City…Bigger, Better, Stronger!

rarily, they forgot their own needs and did what they were called to do: respond.

PA N A M A C I T Y B E AC H

Update from Debbie Ward, Public Information Officer

“Fifteen of our firefighters were in temporary housing, yet they worked a 72-hour shift as the storm hit and many of them didn’t know if their wives and children made it and yet they worked continuously,” Deputy Fire Chief Ray Morgan said. “We had to force them to go home and check on their families.” Hundreds of calls came into City Hall and via email and Facebook. Many read like this: “I haven’t heard from my sister. I am in Tennessee and I can’t get in touch with her,” one woman wrote. PCB Police loaned its mobile command center to Springfield and set up a command center at Target on 23rd Street. Officers on this side of the bridge enforced the curfew and patrolled neighborhoods to prevent looting. They also provided security at shelters. Relief efforts for fire and police lasted for weeks, as they helped orchestrate the response of incoming agencies.

Panama City Beach has been there before -- ravaged by a hurricane and dependent on neighbors to the east for supplies and support. This hurricane, the needs were reversed. “There are lots of day-to-day supplies like food and gas that people have not been able to get over in town that they are driving to the beach for. It was just like that, only reverse during Opal,” Mayor Mike Thomas said. “The county has been blessed, if you want to call it that, that every time one part is tore up the other is there to prop up the other side. It’s been a cooperative effort in the county every time there has been a disaster. That’s how it should be. You never know when your turn in the barrel is.” Michael expanded the definition of a first responder. Police, fire, utilities, street, wastewater, stormwater, parks and rec – these were the first City employees out assessing, searching and rescuing after the Category 4 storm made landfall. Hundreds of City employees became those first to respond, doing what they could to help our own beach residents, then moving

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Street and stormwater employees worked through the night before the storm, making sure drains were open. Immediately after the storm, crews removed downed trees to make roadways passable for first responders and made sure drains were open. City employees hauled yard and construction debris, dumping 708 loads in the month following the storm. Because Panama City Beach was the only City with operating telephones, volunteers connected with the beach; donations came pouring in, and most were delivered across the bridge by City employees. Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ponek worked with the PCB Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, making the hard call to cancel some events, like Thunder Beach. Ball seasons were cancelled or cut short too, as a necessary fallout from the hurricane. The storm created a traffic nightmare, as vehicles head east every morning and back to the beach every evening. At peak, there were 90,000 daily trips across the Hathaway Bridge.

eastward to unincorporated Bay County, then across the bridge to

The beach continues to fulfill housing and shopping needs for hun-

Panama City, Parker, Springfield, Callaway, Lynn Haven, Southport,

dreds of displaced residents, those who call eastern Bay County

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home, relief workers, contractors, insurance adjusters and others

houses in Lynn Haven. This is in addition to household garbage col-

here working to help restore a county that is forever changed.

lected. Debris pickups will continue for the coming weeks as more

City employees, some of whom are still without housing, stood up the beach, and reached across the bridge with the support of the Mayor and City Council.

debris is put on the sides of roads as quickly as it is collected. Construction debris is going to increase greatly in the next few months as buildings are still being assessed by insurance inspectors and cannot be cleared until they are inspected. Many citizens are spend-

“Many of our guys lost homes, but they stepped in for the public good,” Chief Morgan said. “To the public, we are damned proud to serve you and very proud to be part of this community.” Especially during adversity, people have a way of coming together, regardless of which side of the bridge they are on. “The bridge may be seen as a big dividing line, but this was never about east versus west,” said Thomas. “It was always about everybody helping each other.”

ing their days in tents as their houses were deemed unlivable. As the weather continues to get colder, these same citizens are desperately awaiting FEMA housing to be delivered. A few have already been delivered giving us all faith that more will be coming soon. We are all striving for a sense of normalcy through this devastation. Those that were able, put up their Christmas lights, which was much needed beacons of light and hope through the pitch black darkness that veils over the City and Bay County at 4:30 pm. As the holidays drew nearer, it was also a reminder of so much that was

C I T Y O F LY N N H AV E N Update from Margo Anderson, Mayor

lost—leading many to perform Samaritan acts to ensure that those families still have joy and hope this holiday season. The heartache cannot outweigh the feelings of love and compassion being felt throughout the City. Every survivor in the City is coming together to ensure that the children of the community still had a Christmas. We had thousands and thousands of families, toys and donations given to the City of Lynn Haven’s Toy Drive. Neighboring cities and friends from afar donated to help spread more cheer to the families and our City and Bay County as a whole. As a City, we are continuing to have events as scheduled to offer citizens a little hope and escape from all of the other things in their lives. Our Christmas Tree Lighting and Christmas Parades added much needed holiday merriment and allowed families time to sit back and enjoy being together. We plan to continue sched-

Hurricane Michael was one of the most devastating natural disasters to ever hit the Panhandle. In the wake of the storm, we emerged from our houses not able to recognize the streets we were on. Many houses completely demolished sat half-standing or completely caved in by fallen trees. The clean-up started as quickly as the storm grew those fateful hours leading up to Hurricane Michael making landfall. There wasn’t an ounce of street or yard that did not have debris covering it, or a single fence that was not laid down. Neighbors, City employees, Utility workers, First Responders, etc. all dove in to help one another pull the ruble off of homes and start clearing the streets for people to escape their houses. As the days

uled events through 2019 including the celebration of Black History Month, the Annual Easter Egg Hunt, Spring Concert Series and many others. Not even Hurricane Michael will stop our energy and drive for providing fun for the City! We are working on rebuilding all of our City buildings, and have plans to expand our offerings once these buildings are re-established. As with all good things, these will take time, but we are confident that as long as we can continue coming together as a community and continue receiving much needed help, we can make the City of #LynnHavenTogetherandStrong even better than it once was.

went on and power started to be restored, it was as if we had a glimmer of the lives we once lived, while still being surrounded by piles of trees, and parts of buildings. Blue roofs and blue sky, now visible from all the fallen trees, started to emerge. The piles at the end of

C I T Y O F PA R K E R

Update from Rich Musgrave, Mayor

roads grew, with cut up trees, sheet rock, roof tiles, destroyed furniture and more to the extent houses could not be seen behind the

As Snoopy writes, “It was a dark and stormy night.” So have you ever

piles. There was little to no communication as many people were

awoken from a nightmare only to find out you’re still in it? Wednes-

without phone service. As the days continued to progress, we had

day, October 10, 2018 will be a date few of us will ever forget.

to be creative to conduct business in this now almost foreign world we were in post storm. We were able to utilize the resources we had

The City of Parker, as well as all the surrounding communities, suf-

to share information and start our journey to our new normal.

fered the worst disaster ever to hit northwest Florida. Thousands

Fast forward three months later and there is still plenty to be ac-

of government were redirected to focus solely on recovery efforts.

complished, but strides are being made each day with the help of

Every structure in our city was impacted and damaged in some way.

neighbors, workers, contractors and more people coming together.

That’s what happens when a population center takes a direct hit of

Over one million cubic yards of debris are being picked up daily from

a near Cat 5 hurricane.

were left homeless, the entire county was affected, and all levels

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Communication was non-existent for many days. City employees

generate electricity. Other non-vegetative debris is crushed and

could not reach each other, citizens could not reach us and family

trucked to a disposal center in the north part of Bay County.

members could not find each other. Without any electronic communications, police vehicles were used to drive through the City making announcements over their loudspeakers. Our police did a house by house check beginning the day after the storm to find out if people were in their homes and/or injured. In one case, they were able to free five family members who were trapped in their home.

It is estimated that the total debris collection in Parker could reach 500,000 yards. That would result in a cost to the City of almost $6 million. Although FEMA will eventually reimburse 75% of that, and the state 12.5%, that still leaves 12.5% ($750,000) for the City to bear. To help pay invoices prior to getting reimbursement funds, we have initiated discussions with our bank regarding obtaining an interim loan. The City is in continuous contact with local, state and federal elected officials and state department heads in support of legislation to assist in the cost of cleanup. Recovery likely will take years. But as is said around City Hall, and I hope in your homes, each day is a little better than the day before. We have initiated a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ParkerCityFL/, to provide an additional communications source for our Citizens. We’re repairing the electronic sign on Business 98 at our Sports Park to give another communications vehicle. One thing we have learned is you cannot over-communicate, especially during critical events. Once we have completed the clearing of storm debris, estimated to be done sometime in March, we turn to our infrastructure (water, sewer, storm water, roads, docks, etc.) to make repairs needed due to storm damage. Homes are being torn down or rebuilt with homeowners allowed to live in campers/RVs in their front yards so they can oversee the construction. We have identified dozens of potential sites for FEMA trailers to answer the needs of our “houseless” residents approved by FEMA. Builders are seeking buildable lots to help address the significant housing needs with price points aimed at the desired market buyers. Our partnership with NextSite established early in 2018 will match up developers with distressed or desirable properties to provide “best use” alternatives. We have a 152-unit townhome development that will be underway early this year, with more being mentioned as we move further into 2019.

Contractors and FEMA representatives who have been all over the world working post-disaster recovery frequently said this is the worst they have ever seen. I have described it as a 50 mile wide EF5 tornado that stayed on the ground for 100 miles. Our City will be forever changed, but this disaster also provides us a unique opportunity to rebuild better than before. Thanks to hard work by our city employees, volunteer assistance from all over the state and from so many of you, most streets were passable within 3-4 days after landfall. Main water service lines,

dall AFB as an active partner as the base is rebuilt, not just the way it was, but the way it should be in order to again host the many tenant units that have always been a crucial part of the mission. As of late December, over 2,300 airmen have returned to the base, with more arriving each day. We will be updating our emergency plans based upon what we have learned during the Hurricane Michael response. Everyone has come a long way from never having been involved with a significant disas-

heavily damaged by fallen trees, were restored by October 19 with

ter to all the lessons learned as we went into recovery mode. We

boil water notices lifted 7 days later. Most of the community had

didn’t consider ourselves “emergency managers,” but we certain-

power back by October 24. That was also the same day our debris

ly have taken a crash course. Our five year strategic plan will need

pickup began. Unfortunately, most of us are still waiting on phone,

some rework. And because of the expected development and the

cable and internet. City Hall was running on emergency satellite

expansion of Tyndall AFB, we need to begin looking much further

connections for all those services until December 8.

out to make sure we’re prepared for the building boom that is cer-

As of December 17, almost 370,000 cubic yards of debris have been

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Longer term, we are continuing our excellent relationship with Tyn-

tainly coming.

picked up and taken to our staging center at the Sports Complex.

We in Parker are brave and strong and caring about our neighbors.

Trucks bring the debris to the park, trees and vegetative matter

Please continue to grieve as you need and to help and support each

are chipped, and then the chips are taken to the paper mill to help

other. We are proud to be Parker!

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C I T Y O F M E X I C O B E AC H

Update from April Salter, Public Information Officer

ing moratorium in place through February 7, 2019 while the City updates its comprehensive plan and land development regulations. The City is reviewing building code requirements for wind load speed, and base flood elevation.

As the City of Mexico Beach prepares for the three-month anniversary of Hurricane Michael, the community is making tremendous progress. Essential services have returned, businesses are beginning to reopen and long-term planning is underway. With all of this progress though, much more work needs to be done and additional help is needed. “Although many people predicted it would be years before the community began to come back to life, the heart of Mexico Beach is beating strong,” said Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey. “When you look at where we are today, with our local businesses beginning to open and our community visioning process being planned, we’re making tremendous progress. We are hearing from our property owners and visitors who love Mexico Beach that they want us to get back up and running as quickly as possible and the City is committed to doing just that.” BUSINESS REOPENING - Several businesses have reopened as well as the Mexico Beach Welcome Center. From the local coffee shop Caribbean Coffee to Ace Hardware, Wallace Pump and Supply as well as Mango Marley’s, Mexico Beach is beginning to get back to business. At a recent meeting of business owners, all 35 of the business owners present stated that they intended to reopen. FISCAL MANAGEMENT - The City of Mexico Beach is actively working with federal, state and corporate partners to navigate our financial future. The City has cut approximately a quarter of its budget, which included all non-essential services. There are no plans at this time to eliminate jobs, and vacancies will be filled from within the city’s workforce. The City has hired Atkins Engineering to lead its FEMA recovery and

AMONG THE ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE: POWER, WATER AND SEWER - Essential utilities have all been restored to homes and businesses that were able to safely receive it. BUILDING AND RECONSTRUCTION - The City has completed its Substantial Damage Assessment of every structure in Mexico Beach so property owners can begin to make plans for the future. Prior to the storm, there were approximately 2,700 dwelling units in the city. Of those, approximately 500 units are habitable at this time. The remainder were either substantially damaged and/or are uninhabitable at this time. For example, Mexico Beach has 10 condominium buildings which all survived the storm and are not substantially damaged, but need major repairs to roofs, water and

reimbursement team. The City is carefully managing its budget and relying on insurance to cover some of the loss to its buildings and facilities. City Hall and Public Works were the only public buildings left standing after Hurricane Michael while the Police and Fire Department buildings were destroyed. The City’s parks, sidewalks, canal, and fishing pier will need to be rebuilt. The City has already received financial support from various grants and agencies, and will need more to repair the infrastructure lost during this catastrophic storm. The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association (www.MBARA. com) is serving as the City’s 501(c)(3) partner to help meet federal and state match requirements. Those interested in helping Mexico Beach recover are encouraged to donate to that organization’s Mexico Beach Recovery Fund.

sewer pipes, fire sprinkler systems etc. before they are habitable.

LONG-TERM VISION - In early 2019, the City will begin a visioning

The first condos are expected to be available for occupancy in April

process, working with citizens to define and refine the long-term vi-

or May of 2019 and some will take much longer, though manage-

sion of the City. Virtually everyone in Mexico Beach agrees the City

ment companies and the city are pushing hard to get them up and

should retain its position of an authentic, small-town, family-orient-

running as soon as possible.

ed beach community that residents and guests have always loved.

For dwelling units that were not substantially damaged, the City

DISCLAIMER: The Bay County Chamber attempted to reach out

is issuing permits so owners can begin the recovery process. For

to the Cities of Callaway and Springfield for an update, but re-

those structures that were substantially damaged, there is a build-

ceived no response.

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Rebuilding Our Communities Together As we rebuild our communities, we’re here to help. Our local leaders can make local decisions to help you or your business navigate difficult financial decisions ahead. We’re looking forward to working together to rebuild our community.

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902015_CW.indd 1

CONTACT INFO

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Tallahassee Asphalt Plant 1201 Aenon Church Road Tallahassee, Florida 32304 Phone: (850) 575-0162 Fax: (850) 575-0304 Tallahassee Operations Office 22574 NE SR 20 Hosford, Florida 32334 Phone: (850) 379-8116 Fax: (850) 379-8188 Freeport Asphalt Plant & Operations Office 160 Industrial Park Road Freeport, Florida 32439 Phone: (850) 835-3500 Fax: (850) 835-3519

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JANUARY - MARCH 2019

30/01/18 3:24 am


M O R E T H A N A N E I G H B O R H O O D. ST R O N G E R T H A N A STO R M .

SW E E T B AY F L .C O M

C O M M I T T E D TO T H E F U T U R E .

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H U R R I C A N E M I C H A E L C O M M E M O R AT I V E S EC T I O N

education

B AY D I S T R I C T S C H O O L S Update from Superintendent Bill Husfelt

because there are no longer homes, it simply does not make sense to rebuild school buildings to accommodate the same numbers of students as before. This work will take some time and will require thoughtful analysis on our part. We have gathered a strong team to

When Hurricane Michael roared through the Panhandle the destructive winds left no Bay District School untouched. All of our buildings were damaged to some extent, some beyond repair this school year, but our spirit remained intact. We were determined to reopen school as quickly as possible. One month after the storm that changed all of our lives, we were thrilled to be able to help our community take a step back towards that “normalcy� we all craved by opening our first wave of schools. By November 15th, all schools were open. That decision was not made lightly; we had our own employees who also lost everything and were dealing with challenging personal situations that were heartbreaking, but we felt it was critical to the recovery of Bay County as a whole. We knew our parents and children needed the stability and structure that school offers. We were so pleased when more than 90 percent of our employees were able to return to work and they, in turn, were thrilled to welcome back their students and to help them in the recovery process. Now the real work begins. We have crews at work on all of our campuses, and restoration teams have been on the job now for more than six weeks. Some of the damage involves quick fixes, but most of it is severe and profound and will require the efforts of architects and contractors for an extended period of time. We have ordered, and are in the process of receiving and staging, 200 modular buildings, which are helping to accommodate students throughout the district. While modulars are not our preferred buildings for students and employees, in many cases the school buildings are unusable and the use of modulars is the only way to return students to their own campuses.

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look at the data and the shifts to help us make the right decisions. Like many of you, we have also asked for help ‌ A LOT of help. In addition to our insurance team, we have people assisting us with FEMA claims and have asked state and federal officials for help well above and beyond what we expect from either insurance or FEMA. This storm caused extensive and expensive damage, and we want to make sure our students, and our community, get the very best facilities possible as we rebuild. So, five to ten years from now, we hope we are better than ever before. We would like the opportunity to build a K-8 school back at the site of Tyndall Elementary School. We believe there was a need for a K-8 school in that location before the storm, and we believe that need will grow in order to support our military families, and our community, in the future. This, however, will require assistance from other governmental entities as we simply do not have the funding for that sort of facility in our budget. We hope in that same time span all of our damaged facilities are built back with state-of-the art technology and security features, and the buildings, as well as schools themselves, are facilities our whole community is proud of. We hope those schools are filled to capacity with students who have moved back into our community once housing and job are restored for their families. In the meantime, we are a little better and a little stronger every day. Our employees have led the way in this recovery effort, and I could not be more proud of each and every one of them. From the little things, like making sure their students have clothing for school, to the bigger things that have involved much flexibility on

We also know the storm has caused some population shifts, so re-

their part with waivers, changes in schedules and work locations,

building efforts are going to require analysis of current populations

our employees have risen to every single challenge placed before

in parts of our community. If people have moved from certain areas

them by Hurricane Michael, and I know they will continue to do so.

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in Panama City both took pretty significant damage. Cost estimates at this point are running well in excess of 30 million dollars, and the time to complete all repairs may be as long as a year - unfortunately, our damage looks much like the neighborhoods and business districts around us. However, this college has always been a place where people can make their hopes and dreams come true. We knew our community would not recover if today’s view of broken trees and missing roofs blocked their view of a better tomorrow. The college had to reopen, It is said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Hurricane Michael has shown us we are all strong together, and that together, we can take care of those who are not as strong. I, like many of you, saw the hashtag #850Strong circulating around on social media in the early days of the storm and I, like many of you, have seen that come to fruition with neighbors helping neighbors. While we have been blessed with an outpouring of support from throughout the country, the true blessing found in this destruction is the way our

and reopen quickly! So, we dried our tears and lifted our chins, located the remainder of our scattered colleagues, helped each other with our own personal tragedies, kept the community informed through 90.7 FM, collected donations and handed out supplies and support, and looked for new places to live – then we rallied together and 27 days after the storm we reopened for business, with over 80% of our students able to return at that time, and places saved for the rest.

community has come together to take care of each other. I firmly believe five to ten years from now, we will be better off than we were before the storm. Our lives will be richer for the relationships we have formed since October 10th, and we will be wiser from the lessons we have learned. No doubt our children will remember Hurricane Michael forever but I hope what they remember is the indomitable spirit of the people of Bay County and that we are all #850Strong. In the meantime, as we rebuild, we will keep a laser-like focus on our faith, our families and our future.

G U L F C O A S T S TAT E C O L L E G E Update from Dr. John Holdnak, President

Mike Tyson famously said, “Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the mouth!” He was later asked, by a Sun-Sentinel reporter, if he meant that it's how you react to adversity that defines you, not the adversity itself. In response Tyson said, “Exactly. If you’re good and your plan is working, somewhere during the duration of that, the outcome of that event you're involved in, you're going to get the wrath, the bad end of the stick. Let's see how you deal with it. Normally people do not deal with it that well." Though I’ve not known or thought of him in the past as a great philosopher, I really think Mike nailed it this time!

Gulf Coast State College is made up of courageous, compassionate, strong, resilient, creative employees who do not know what

Every year, around June 1st, I send an e-mail to college employees as a refresher of the plans and preparations we have in place in the event we are threatened by tropical weather. I’ve always wrapped up that message with the statement, “Gulf Coast State College is not made up of a bunch of buildings – it’s made up of the men and women who work here. As long as we keep our people safe and accounted for, we can restart the college in tents if we have to.” Little did any of us know how prophetic those words in my preamble to

the words “quit” and “can’t” mean. In spite of Hurricane Michael, our plans for a new STEM building and several new training programs remain on track, as new businesses and industries continue finalizing plans to locate facilities in our area. By the time hurricane repairs are completed in the next few months, we will essentially have a brand new college and a more-positive-than-ever attitude to go with it. We will have also wrapped up the construction work on our internal roadways at the Panama City Campus, and completed

the 2018 hurricane season would turn out to be.

the master planning for a new kind of state-of-the-art law enforce-

Not long ago, we all went through our own “Mike” fight as Hurricane

citing things are also on the horizon at our Gulf/Franklin Campus,

Michael punched us all right in the figurative mouth. While damag-

as we support a number of new initiatives in the unmanned vehicle

es at our campuses in Southport and Port St. Joe were relatively mi-

arena involving manufacturing, operations, and related certification

nor, our operation at Tyndall Air Force Base and our largest campus

programs.

ment/first responder training facility at our North Bay Campus. Ex-

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Our college has been tested in ways few in our profession will hope-

filed tickets for extreme needs to other volunteer organizations like

fully ever experience; and I will gladly, and without a moment’s hes-

the Cajun Navy.

itation, proudly serve with the men and women at this college the next time, and every time we are called on! The impact of Hurricane Michael on the region does not define us, but how we react and persevere in the aftermath of the storm surely will.

Within the first week, SGC’s volunteer operations totaled 126 hours of community service. Since classes began, they have continued their service on weekends. “This storm brought out the best in our FSU Panama City family,”

F S U - PA N A M A C I T Y

Update from Dr. Randy Hanna, Dean The day after Hurricane Michael devastated Bay County, Florida State University administrators began rebuilding FSU Panama City. As cleanup crews dried out soggy carpets, tarped roofs and cleared downed trees, Dean Randy Hanna began checking in with faculty, staff and students. The campus started Facebook groups for students and employees to connect with each other and report their status and needs. Among them were students like Molly King, now 23 and homeless, who said she is more determined than ever to earn her degree with honors; Entrepreneurship student Antonio Lopez, who overcame numerous obstacles after the storm to expand his business and open an on-campus coffee shop. And faculty member Mark Feulner, who jumped into action clearing debris and tarping the roofs of those in need.

Hanna said. “Our Seminoles were working together to clean up the damage, help those in need and envision a bright future for our campus and the community.” Others aided service projects across the community. Alumni passed out towels and toiletries in comfort stations, and a staff member distributed diapers through the Junior League’s Diaper Bank. Many others served hot meals to first responders and those in need through Operation BBQ, and the admissions team cleared debris from Lynn Haven Elementary School. After their annual Halloween bash was derailed by the storm, the Psychology Club volunteered at Lynn Haven’s Trunk or Treat. “It was important to help the community because I’ve been where they are,” said Melissa Adams, a member of the Psychology Club. “I understand what it’s like to stand in front of the wreckage that used to be your home, and wonder how anything will ever be ‘normal’ again.” “It’s during difficult times that we need to band together to help each other in any way we can,” SGC President Justine Powell said. “One small act of kindness can completely change someone’s day. We are all in this together and we will get through this together.” As the community rebuilds, FSU Panama City is reimagining ways to better serve students. To help ease financial burdens, Florida State disbursed grants up to $1,000 for faculty, staff and students through the Seminole Relief Fund. The student counseling center offered one-on-one and group discussions at FSU Panama City and Gulf Coast State College on how to cope in the aftermath of the storm, and the student success team worked with students to update their FAFSAs to appeal for more financial aid to continue their

When classes began anew Oct. 29, resilience, hope and excitement were abundant. While staff members passed out food and supplies

Hanna even extended an invitation to Gulf Coast State College to

to students, each person walking into the Holley Academic Center

use FSU classroom space while the college makes repairs.

saw laughter and hugs despite the struggles of the past few weeks.

“There was a lot of devastation, but now we are in recovery mode,”

“The smiles I saw in the first few days of classes prove this is a place

Hanna said. “What we’re going to show here at FSU Panama City is

that is near and dear to the hearts of each member of our Seminole

that through recovery we will thrive, and we will continue to be an

family,” Hanna said. “During the first week back on campus, the Hol-

active part in building up this community.”

ley Atrium was abuzz with conversation and the joy of getting back even a small part of an everyday routine.”

Building on the momentum of the campus’ successful $10 million

Since the storm, students, faculty and staff have banded together

for continued success. Administrators still plan to develop new ac-

to give back.

ademic programs that meet the changing needs of the community

Representatives from the campus’ Student Government Council (SGC) started going door to door a week after the storm. Operation Seminole Tribe canvased the hardest-hit areas to offer aid and

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studies.

Raise the Torch campaign, Hanna said FSU Panama City is poised

and the nation. Now facing a housing crisis for prospective and current students, the campus also is still in discussions with potential developers to offer on-campus housing.

distribute food and cleaning supplies. The first day, they fixed a

“The excitement is still here, and the momentum is still here,” Han-

woman’s flat tire, brought supplies to a man who could not leave

na said. “This is a new beginning, and Florida State University Pana-

his home and reported potential scammers to the authorities. They

ma City is back stronger and more resilient than ever before.”

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Help us help Panama City recover.

Panama City Toyota is raising funds to restore hope.

To help with the continued recovery from the destruction of hurricane Michael, we have created the Panama City Hope Fund. By partnering with the Helping Hands organization, donations go to assisting in our community’s recovery. Please help restore hope by donating to the Panama City Hope Fund today. There are three easy ways to donate: GO ONLINE TO: give.idonate.com/the-signatry-foundation/panama-city-hope-fund MAIL A CHECK TO: The Signatry 7171 W. 95th Street, Suite 501 Overland Park, KS 66212 (Make the check payable to “The Signatry.” Include “The Panama City Hope Fund #133915” in the memo line.)

SEND A WIRE TRANSFER: Receiving Bank: National Bank of Indianapolis Receiving Bank ABA: 074006674 Beneficiary Name: The Signatry Beneficiary Account Number: 1643188 (Indicate “The Panama City Hope Fund #133915” in the comments section.)

959 W 15th Street // PanamaCityToyota.com


H U R R I C A N E M I C H A E L C O M M E M O R AT I V E S EC T I O N

health Update on Area Hospitals

B AY M E D I C A L S A C R E D H E A R T Update from Martha Crombie, Marketing Director

by appropriately matching its services to the needs of the post-hurricane population. Bay Medical is the only local hospital offering open heart surgery. It continues to offer the heart diagnostic and surgical services for

Bay Medical Sacred Heart continues to rebuild after the damage

which the facility is best known, including angioplasty and stent

sustained during Hurricane Michael. As the hospital restores inpa-

placement to open clogged blood vessels in the heart.

tient & ambulatory services in stages, the initial focus is on heart care, stroke, surgery and trauma care.

Our surgical suites provide the latest technology for orthopedic

THE AREA’S ONLY TRAUMA CENTER

ic (minimally invasive) procedures. Bay Medical’s robotic surgical

As a Level II trauma center, Bay Medical provides general and or-

equipment offers patients a less invasive surgical option for certain

thopedic surgeons, trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons, and multiple

procedures with dramatically reduced side effects and a quicker re-

surgical and non-surgical specialists within 30 minutes or less, 24

covery. Bay Medical also offers convenient outpatient surgery with

hours a day.

the security of an acute care hospital’s resources.

As the only trauma center between Pensacola and Tallahassee, Bay

TWO ERS: MAIN CAMPUS AND ON THE BEACH

Medical takes its responsibility to the community very seriously.

Emergency Services on our main campus have been continuous

The surgeons, specialists, and medical staff at Bay Medical under-

since Hurricane Michael. Emergency department locations include

stand the critical nature of providing this level of care, and have the

our main campus at 615 N. Bonita Avenue in Panama City and our

training to manage traumatic injury.

freestanding emergency room located at 11111 Panama City Beach

POST-HURRICANE PHASE ONE: INPATIENT CARE, SURGICAL, AND HEART SERVICES The hospital’s first phase of reopening includes 75 inpatient beds,

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surgery and neurosurgery, as well as laparoscopic and endoscop-

Parkway in Panama City Beach. Both locations provide 24-hour emergent care by board-certified physicians for life-threatening injuries and illnesses.

including 15 intensive care beds and 60 medical/surgical beds, as

The main emergency department has three extra-large trauma

well as eight operating rooms and five heart catheterization labs.

rooms, as well as 28 private treatment rooms, including specialized

Bay Medical intends to meet the evolving needs of the community

areas for pediatrics, ENT, obstetrics, orthopedics, and psychiatry.

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Additionally, an eight-bed fast track unit provides more rapid as-

departments – it took more than a couple of weeks to ultimately

sessment and treatment of patients with illnesses and injuries that

reach all of our employees and physicians to establish a baseline

are not serious or life-threatening.

for their status. Our Second biggest challenge was loss of utilities:

Our second location, the Bay Medical Beach ER, has 10 treatment

including power, water, and sewer.

rooms, including space for trauma, OB/GYN, isolation and seclu-

From the moment the storm ended, our mission was to restore our

sion. The facility is open 24/7, providing much-needed emergency

services at the hospital as soon as possible. Through the support of

care for tourists, vacationers, snowbirds and our beach residents.

HCA, our parent company, resources were provided to us in order to help us accomplish that.

G U L F C OA S T R E G I O N A L MEDICAL CENTER

Update from Marsha Buchanan, Marketing Director

While maintaining Emergency Room services the entire time – HCA coordinated the delivery of Remediation teams, Contractors, Logistical support, Staff from our sister facilities around the country. We supported our local staff through guaranteed continuous pay, housing support, and financial assistance to help them create a personal plan that would allow them to be ready to come back when

During Hurricane Michael, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center was able to continue providing care for our community when it was

our Hospital was ready.

needed most.

It was an amazing effort that allowed us to restore services –even

We had about 140 patients in the hospital during the storm, plus

are not only vital to our community for the patients – but they are

family, staff, staff family, physicians, first responders and pets. All

vital for the retention of our talented workforce, the physicians that

together, this was nearly 600 people in the building at the time of

live in this community who need a hospital for them to do their

the storm.

work – and for the surrounding businesses that rely on a hospital for

though limited – within a month after the Hurricane. These services

what they do – including vendors, surgery centers and other postThe hospital suffered significant damage during the storm includ-

acute care providers.

ing roof damage, shattered windows, exterior wall penetrations from debris and loss of utilities. However, we had a plan in place

"To date, we have restored 100 percent of all services back online. I

–a plan which enabled us to weather this storm without a single

am very proud of our team and what we’ve been able to accomplish

injury to any patient or staff member in the hospital with us. Some

over the past three months,” said Brad Griffin, CEO of Gulf Coast

elements of that plan included:

Regional Medical Center. We are committed to caring for our com-

Pre-positioning additional generators, fuel and water trucks at the

perior quality care.”

munity and look forward to continuing to provide patients with su-

hospital –knowing utilities would be compromised. Ensuring we had adequate supplies, including food, water, linen, water extracting equipment, communication devices, etc.

Better Business Bureau® 800-729-9226 bbb.org/nwfl

We knew where we were going to move patients in the event the hospital would suffer damage (which it did) –and communicating that plan to our leadership in the hospital so they would have the confidence to respond to conditions in the building. Immediately after the Storm, we made the decision to evacuate based on the condition of the building and the loss of our utilities. As many of you know the conditions all of us faced in those days after the storm were especially challenging. In the hospital, two of our biggest challenges were communication –we were not able to reach

#StartWithTrust

Free Business Reviews|Verified Customer Reviews|Scam Alerts

Utility companies, Local Incident Command Support, Police or Fire

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H U R R I C A N E M I C H A E L C O M M E M O R AT I V E S EC T I O N

defense intel Update on Military Installations

T Y N D A L L’ S H U R R I C A N E R ECOV E RY CO NTI N U E S Update from Tyndall AFB Public Affairs

Our region took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael on Oct. 10. Michael was a category 4 hurricane when it made landfall, with winds in excess of 150 mph. The storm brought down trees and power lines, it removed roofs from buildings and caused significant structural damage. But, in less than two months, the base has made incredible strides, and is weeks away from restarting some missions.

missions. A number of important missions will resume at Tyndall starting Jan. 1, while others will relocate to different bases for the time being. For example, the 43rd Fighter Squadron that trains all new F-22 pilots and their respective maintainers will operate temporarily out of nearby Eglin AFB. “Our primary concern going forward is to ensure our Airmen have what they need to get the mission done—the tools to work, a facility to work in, and a safe place to live,” said Laidlaw. Units to be located at Eglin AFB, Florida, with reach back to Tyndall:

T-38 Adversary Training Units will relocate operations to Eglin AFB. Academic and simulator facilities at Tyndall AFB will be

“We have 2,000 Airmen on base working hard day and night to get

used to support training requirements, as well as Tyndall’s sur-

our base back on its feet, and in time, we will,” said Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing Commander. The 2,000 personnel on base are a mix of Airmen assigned to Tyn-

viving low observable maintenance facilities.

The 372nd Training Squadron, Detachment 4, will relocate with the F-22 Fighter Training Units to Eglin AFB.

dall and Airmen from other bases across the United States. All are

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The 43rd and 2nd fighter squadrons’ F-22 Fighter Training and

here to make sure the base’s population can return safely. Many are

“The strength of Tyndall comes from its Airmen and their families,”

living, sleeping and eating on base in tents and other temporary

said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “It will take us a

facilities.

while to restore buildings and infrastructure, but returning our Air-

On Nov. 2, the Air Force announced the return of several Tyndall

where else in the interim—will happen quickly,” he added.

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for the next 20 years. It is our mechanism for planning improvements and growth. Although it is not the course we envisioned, Hurricane Michael has given the installation an opportunity to implement many long-term goals in an expedited manner. As we begin the rebuilding process, we are not building back: NSA Panama City is building forward.

N S A PA N A M A C I T Y Update from NSA Public Affairs

2019 is shaping up to be a year of forward progress for Naval Support Activity (NSA) Panama City. Hurricane Michael may have re-

Hurricane Michael’s strength surprised many of us in October. How-

directed our path on October 10, 2018, but the goal remains the

ever, what is not surprising is the strength and resiliency of the per-

same as we build the base for 2030 and beyond. Similar to the Bay

sonnel and their families at NSA Panama City and this great com-

County community, we are resilient and our focus is rebuilding the

munity we call our home. Together, we are building a better base

installation better than before to meet the needs for all missions of

and rebuilding a better Bay County!

the future. NSA Panama City is focused on base infrastructure damaged by the storm, but all base commands are able to continue all primary missions and operations. Our support facilities are operational, to include: The base galley, gym, navy exchange and base housing. Most tenants were operational within one month after Hurricane Michael, with the exception of the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC), which has continued training students, but on a limited basis. NDSTC will begin full scale training for our military divers beginning January 2019. The Naval Surface Warfare Center-Panama City Division (NSWC PCD), sustained significant damage to many of its facilities requiring major renovations. Due to repairs, 25 percent of the workforce at NSWC PCD continues to work remotely. It is a similar scene throughout the installation, enacting a temporary solution to get the base back running. The personnel who work on this installation are the most critical part of the recovery process. Even while dealing with their own losses, they have managed to bring the base back to fully operational. NSA Panama City would not be in the position it is today without their dedication and ability to work through adversity. Recovery is going to take time and will bring many challenges. Fortunately, planning and training for the future is engrained into the military culture. We continually set goals and objectives on where we should be in the next 10-20 years focusing on achieving that vision. In December of 2017, NSA Panama City completed an Installation Development Plan which represents our vision for the installation

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The Show Must Go On! January 2019 8th, 22nd, From Stage To Screen The Stratford Shakespeare Festival 8th - Romeo & Juliet 22nd - Antony & Cleopatra 2 PM & 7PM-7.50/$25 Festival Ticket 11th-13th Paul Newman Film Fest

Hud, Cool Hand Luke, & The Sting

2 PM, 4:30 PM & 7 PM in rotation - $7.50/ each or $20/Festival Ticket

18th -The Kingston Trio - 7:30PM $38/$36/$34/$32 25th - Mutts Gone Nuts 7:30PM $38/$36/$34/$32

February 2019

1st - Jim Witter FIRE AND RAIN 7:30PM $38/$36/$34/$32 8th - Supreme Reflections

Tribute to the Supremes 7:30 PM $38/$36/$34/$32 12th, 26th - From Stage To Screen 12th - Taming of the Shrew & 26th - King Lear 2 PM & 7PM - 7.50 /each or $25/Festival Ticket

14th - Comedian Henry Cho $38/$36/$34/$32

15th - CSN Express 7:30PM $38/$36/$34/$32 22nd - Modern Gentlemen 7:30 PM $38/$36/$34/$32

March 2019

1 - 3 Bette Davis Film Fest

Now, Voyager, All About Eve, & What Ever Happened to Baby Jane

2 PM, 4:30 PM & 7 PM in rotation - $7.50/ each or $20/Festival Ticket All Movies will be screened at the Panama City Center for the arts, right across the street from the theatre. All other functions will take place in the Ballroom of the Majestic Beach Resort, 10901 Front Bch Road 22

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NOW SERVICING PANAMA CITY!

423.677.8022 Jim Cash, Sales Jcash@dluxprinting.com 850.457.8494 Darrell Jensen, General Manager Darrell@dluxprinting.com


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- Centrally Located

- One to Five Year Leases

- Search Us On

For More Information Contact Treana Pitts: Phone: (850) 914 - 3273 | E-mail: treana.pitts@royalamerican.com

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H U R R I C A N E M I C H A E L C O M M E M O R AT I V E S EC T I O N

tourism & business

Tourism serves as one of the main economic drivers for Bay Coun-

grown since its inception in 2015. Annual tourism related lodging,

ty, contributing over 2 billion dollars in economic impact. Although

retail, dining, and recreational activities were bringing an estimat-

devastation from Hurricane Michael impacted the areas our visitors

ed $90 million dollars to the City of Panama City economy prior to

know and love, Bay County’s three destination marketing organiza-

Hurricane Michael making landfall on October 10, 2018. Following

tions, Panama City Beach, Panama City and Mexico Beach, are all

the storm, greater than 50% of the lodging partners remain closed

making great strides to come back stronger than ever. With time

while renovations and repairs are completed. Fortunately, most

and collaboration with private, public and community partners, Bay

re-openings are anticipated for 2019. For the time being, traditional

County’s tourism industry is looking forward to welcoming visitors

marketing has to take a back seat to more appropriate campaigns,

in the new year and for generations to come.

like the recently launched "Postcards from Panama City". The cam-

PANAMA CITY BEACH

paign acknowledges the time and space the community needs to

Panama City Beach is known for their sugar-white sands, turquoise green waters and endless days of sunshine. With over 17 million visitors in 2017, Panama City Beach serves as one of the premier tourism destinations within Northwest Florida. Fortunately, the beach had minimal damage from the storm and businesses throughout the beach are returning to normal operation. Following the storm, Panama City Beach served as the primary location for workers, contractors and displaced families to seek shelter to assist our friends to the East. Because of this, Panama City Beach saw a 144% increase in bed tax dollars for the month of November, over 2017. With the increase in funds, the Bay County Tourism Development Council voted to use the additional tax dollars towards the design,

lationships with our future visitors around the world. The goal is to keep Panama City in the hearts and on the minds of the world until we are ready to welcome guests again. Eventually, as the businesses can support it, smaller more localized campaigns will involve the promotion of day trips to help support local arts, dining, retail, and cultural activities. In 2018, extensive progress was made to have the City of Panama City listed as the only Florida location on the US Civil Rights Trail, for Bay County to become part of the ecotourism group Explore Northwest Florida, and to partner with the Florida Humanities Council to have two historic walking tours added to the Florida Stories program. Future efforts will continue to promote

permitting and sand research for a potential beach renourishment

our historic, eclectic, and innovative community.

project for Mexico Beach, as well as assist both Destination Pana-

MEXICO BEACH

ma City and Visit Mexico Beach in marketing and communication strategies, as they move forward with their transition. It is imperative for Bay County, as a whole, to continue to be an innovative, industry-leading destination marketing organization, and continue to enhance the visitor’s experience. By allocating these funds and working collaboratively among the three destinations, the message could not be more clear: Bay County relies on the tourism community, and providing opportunities to grow this industry will secure economic stability and job opportunities for county residents for years to come.

PANAMA CITY

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heal and begin rebuilding, while still engaging and maintaining re-

The Mexico Beach Community Development Council continues to work daily with our lodging partners and tourism industry businesses on moving forward as a year-round destination. With little over three months since Hurricane Michael devastated our coastal community, our partners have made great strides in picking up and moving forward. We have over a handful of businesses that have reopened their doors, and many others are working towards that goal each and every day. The next few years will be a showcase of how resilient Mexico Beach truly is and the great story that we are continuing to write and narrate. Our future as a travel destination will continue to be enhanced as more lodging, restaurants, shops

Internationally known as the place "Where Life Sets Sail", Panama

and activities are brought back online and reopen. Tourism is a vital

City's economic vitality is directly hinged to tourism. Year over year,

piece of Mexico Beach’s identity, and we will continue moving for-

tourist development tax revenue in Panama City has consistently

ward and not letting this be the end of our story.

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N O R T H W E S T F L O R I DA B E A C H E S I N T E R N AT I O N A L AIRPORT Update From Parker W. McClellan, Jr., A.A.E., Executive Director

of 7,200 passengers on any given Saturday. The success of 2018 is largely due to the addition of American Airlines beginning service at ECP in June of last year, the enhanced seasonal service and new non-stop destinations by Southwest and ever strong commitment to our Region by our legacy airline partners Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. McClellan says one of the biggest driving forces for the work ECP

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, the Gulf Coast Region has come together to show what it means to be #PanhandleStrong. The diligent, selfless work of first responders, elected officials, linemen crews and disaster relief organizations both local and national to get our communities up and running again so quickly is a true testament to the strength of the Region.

does is the Airport’s goal to constantly build upon and better the surrounding economy. ECP states it can accomplish this by working closely with partners like the Economic Development Alliance of Bay County to attract businesses to locate on or near the airport campus. Recently, ECP helped formally welcome neighbors GKN Aerospace – a leading global independent supplier in the aviation industry. GKN Aerospace brought more than 150 jobs to the area, and ECP remains committed to working closely with local business leaders and the EDA of Bay County to recruit new companies to the area and grow our local economy even further. ECP continues to create a better and safer airport experience for travelers over the past year. The Airport became the first in the nation to install DroneWatcher, a drone detection and defense system able to detect drones in the vicinity of the airport to ensure the safe-

The Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) proudly served as home base for several emergency relief efforts in the hours, days and weeks following Hurricane Michael. Immediately after the storm, Airport staff, as well as local, state and national emergency management teams, including the National Guard and Coast Guard and other supporting agencies, coordinated logistics to deploy more than 38 helicopters to begin disaster assessment and recovery, using nearly ten thousand gallons of fuel.

ty of arriving and departing aircraft. The system is fully implemented and now includes three layers of drone detection and defense. ECP also expanded passenger ground transportation options with the addition of Transportation Network Companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft to its existing ground transportation services like taxis and rental cars. Passengers now have the option to call for an Uber or Lyft, adding to the convenience of the Airport. Adding ridesharing services not only benefits passengers, but adds economic benefit for ECP.

The Airport was fully operational immediately after the storm, withstanding only minor damage to the facility and temporarily pausing commercial flights to allow ECP Team members to secure their homes and take care of personal matters. ECP began resuming lim-

T H E P O R T O F PA N A M A C I T Y

Update from Shelby Husbands, Administrative Director

ited commercial flight operations within days of the storm. For the next several weeks, ECP would continue to participate in the

The Port of Panama City suffered approximately $15 million in wind

relief efforts with the establishment of a “tent city,” which was the

damage from Hurricane Michael. The majority of the damage in-

home to FEMA - National Guard and just down West Bay Parkway

volved the Port’s new forest products warehouse at the East Ter-

at Venture Crossing the FEMA – American Medical Response crews

minal and distribution warehouse at the Intermodal Distribution

staged ambulances to service our communities.

Center. There was moderate damage to a number of buildings at

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those affected by

were not damaged.

Hurricane Michael,” said Parker W. McClellan, Jr., A.A.E., Executive Director of the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. “The strength and resilience of our Region was tested, but our generous business community, helpful partners and compassionate

the Port’s main facilities, but the bulkheads, cranes, and equipment

In spite of huge challenges at home, the Port’s employees responded with tremendous skill and dedication in putting the Port back into operations. Other stakeholders, including the St. Andrews Bay

residents are a testament to the #PanhandleStrong movement.”

Harbor Pilots, the Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and

ECP BREAKS RECORDS, CREATES BETTER AIRPORT EXPERIENCES

navigation aids. Exactly one week after Michael, the Port resumed

NOAA did a remarkable job surveying the channel and restoring vessel and cargo operations. Our industrial tenants made the tem-

On December 10, 2018, ECP celebrated its millionth passenger. This

porary repairs necessary to get back into production within two

was the first time in the history of ECP to achieve this milestone in

weeks. Our shippers all returned to Panama City, and today are op-

one calendar year.

erating close to normal.

In 2017, ECP serviced 939,437 passengers, a 4.4% increase com-

Fortunately, the Port Authority has sufficient insurance to quickly

pared to the previous calendar year. In 2018, ECP averaged more

make the repairs needed. The East Terminal warehouse and the IDC

than 2,500 daily passengers, and in the summer months, upwards

warehouse should both be fully repaired by the end of March.

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Within five years, the Port Authority will have a very modern and

If your loan is approved, you have time to decide whether you

active East Terminal. The access channel will be deepened, and the

want or need a loan. You can accept all or none of the disaster loan

berth will be extended to support two vessels at a time. East Ave-

amount approved. However, you may not have that option if you do

nue will be widened and the East Avenue Bridge will be new. There

not submit your application in time.

will be two large warehouses handling a combined 750,000 tons of cargo. Within ten years, the Port of Panama City will have expanded the East Terminal to include seventy acres of land. Most of the Ports breakbulk cargo operations will be handled there. The Port’s primary “West Terminal” facility will have doubled its container handling capacity, while continuing to support the needs of Berg Steel Pipe, Oceaneering International, and Enviva Biomass. The container trade with Mexico, Central America, and perhaps Cuba will have grown to over 150,000 TEU’s per year, spinning off related transportation and distribution jobs throughout Bay County and Northwest Florida. The Port will be providing valuable port services to several legacy industries in the region and to new industries which have been attracted to the area because of the new port capacity available to them. Today the Port is supporting 1,827 jobs and producing $1.4 billion annually in economic benefits to the region. Within ten years, those numbers can be doubled and Panama City can be known as one of Florida’s growing “Port Cities”.

THE SMALL BUSINESS A D M I N I S T R AT I O N ( S B A )

Update from Laurie Dana, Public Affairs Specialist

To help your business get back on its feet, loan payments may be deferred up to a year, with the first payment due on the 12th month from the date of closing the loan. The deadline to apply for a disaster loan for property damage is December 18. If you missed the deadline, and the Business Recovery Center at the Bay County Library is still open, visit it and ask to submit a late application. In order for a late application to be considered, you will need to submit a letter detailing the extenuating circumstances that prevented you from applying on time. You may

If your business was one of the thousands of businesses affected

also submit a late application online at disasterloan.sba.gov. Ques-

by Hurricane Michael, a low-interest, long-term disaster loan from

tions that arise during the application process may be answered by

the Small Business Administration may help you recover from any

calling (800) 659-2955.

uninsured losses you may have incurred. SBA disaster loans are the largest source of federal disaster funds for homeowners, renters, and businesses. Businesses of all sizes can apply for disaster loans to repair or replace damaged business assets including buildings, equipment, inventory, and supplies. Small businesses can also apply for working capital loans to help them pay the bills they would have been able to pay if the hurricane hadn’t happened. The interest rate for a disaster loan is as low as 3.675 with terms up to 30 years. The loan amount is determined in part by a loss verifier’s assessment of the amount of damage sustained by the business. If your business suffered property damage, the window of opportunity to submit a disaster loan application is closing. You do not need to wait for your insurance to settle before applying for a disaster loan. You do not have to accept a disaster loan if approved, but it will be an option if you discover your insurance didn’t cover everything you thought it would. If approved, you may be able to start repairs with a SBA disaster loan, and then use the proceeds

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If your business only suffered revenue losses because of the storm, you have until July 11 to submit an economic injury disaster loan. This gives you time to determine whether your business needs working capital to recover. If you are denied a disaster loan, read the denial letter carefully to determine why the loan application was not approved. There might have been an error on your application or you might be missing important information. Perhaps there is new information that could make the reconsideration of your application successful. Businesses have up to 60 days to file a request for reconsideration of their application. To appeal, draft a letter detailing any additional information not on the application or other information that could affect the status of the application. If the Business Recovery Center at the Bay County Library is still open, you can submit your appeal there. Or you can send it to the address provided on the denial letter. In a substantial number of cases, denials are overturned as a result of the appeals process.

from the insurance settlement to pay the portion of the loan the

For more information about SBA disaster loans or to inquire about

insurance covered.

the status of your application, call (800) 659-2955.

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H E L P F O R I M PAC T E D S M A L L BUSINESSES By: Dianne Hafleigh, Communication Specialist, Florida SBDC Network Headquarters

On October 10, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle, packing maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, and leaving behind an unprecedented path of damage and devastation. As residents slowly begin to pick up the pieces, many small businesses are facing an uncertain path to recovery. In Bay County, there are 18,545 small businesses with less than 500 employees. These small businesses, like Mexico Beach-based Ca-

1. GET STARTED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

ribbean Coffee, are the heart and soul of our communities—adding

As business owners know, every day closed means lost money,

vibrancy, character, and employing three out of every four private

time, and clients. Business owners should show initial signs of re-

sector jobs.

covery as much as possible. As applicable, businesses can consider

After Hurricane Michael swept ashore, David Kiser, owner of Caribbean Coffee, could not believe that his store was still standing. His store, which he opened in 2013, serves roasted, ground, and

opening with a limited menu or service offering. Even a simple sign on the door that says “We’ll be back soon” can help reassure employees, customers, and vendors to come back.

brewed coffees, pastries, and homemade sandwiches in a relaxed,

2. KNOW WHERE THE HELP IS.

island-inspired atmosphere. Prior to his stores’ reopening, Kiser

While the bridge loan and SBA physical disaster loan deadlines

opened his doors and served complimentary coffee using water

have passed, small businesses physically and/or economically in-

bottles and an electric kettle to weary residents and first responders.

jured from Hurricane Michael still have time to apply for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, which provides up to $2 million in

As he told News 13, “The plan was to open up as quickly as possible when I saw how limited the damage was…Anything that leads to normalcy puts a smile back on somebody’s face and that’s what I was trying to give them.”

working capital to help businesses survive until normal operations resume following a disaster. While the application deadline is not until July 11, 2019, small business owners who believe they need the loan should begin the ap-

Immediately following the storm, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, worked with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to establish business recovery centers in communities most adversely impacted by the storm. Within ten days, the Florida SBDC Network and SBA established 10 business recovery centers, deploying resources and personnel to help business owners apply for state and federal disaster loans and navigate other post-disaster challenges. For Kiser, the state-backed Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan served as an immediate source of capital to make repairs and reopen. Nearly a month following the storm, Kiser reopened Caribbean Coffee and, as a token of his appreciation to the community and support received, offered everything free his first day back. When asked for his advice for other business owners impacted by the storm, Kiser said, “In trying times like these don’t be ashamed to seek and accept help when it is offered. Thanks to the rapid re-

plication process as soon as possible as the application requires financial records and, if they have been destroyed, it will take time to replace them. Businesses interested in the EIDL should visit www. FloridaSBDC.org/disaster for more information. Small businesses can also contact their local Florida SBDC office for help with the application and other post-disaster challenges. The Florida SBDC Network employs professional business consultants and disaster specialists, many of whom are Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) Certified Business Continuity Professionals. Additionally, the Florida DEO recently launched www.FloridaDisaster.biz, a website that offers business owners a comprehensive guide to preparing, responding, and recovering from disasters. Businesses should visit the site for information on other available state and federal resources.

3. PLAN AHEAD. Finally, once business owners make progress towards their recov-

sponse of the SBDC we were able to engage a local contractor and

ery, they should plan ahead for the possibility of future disasters

start repairs while awaiting insurance. This help allowed us to re-

and business interruptions. The state has preparation resources

open quickly and put our employees back to work.”

available, including a disaster planning toolkit, at FloridaDisaster.

RECOVERY TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES In the wake of Hurricane Michael, small businesses face a tough

biz. Additionally, the Florida SBDC Network can help business owners create a business continuity plan at no cost.

road ahead. To help, the Florida SBDC Network recommends small

For more information, and to view additional preparedness and

business owners consider the following:

recovery resources, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

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H U R R I C A N E M I C H A E L C O M M E M O R AT I V E S EC T I O N

economic impact

E D A O F B AY C O U N T Y

Update from Garrett Wright, Vice President In October, Bay County was devastated by Hurricane Michael. By

ployees back to work. We are proud to report almost all the existing industry employers are back in operation and back to producing goods and services. Our educational facilities, whom all took a major blow, have students returning. Our medical facilities are also returning more services to their facilities as repairs are completed.

the numbers, the storm pounded our community with 155 MPH

Through this storm, we have seen the commitment from compa-

sustained winds. This destroyed thousands of businesses and

nies who have recently moved into our community and made re-

homes, demanded the hard work of over 20,000 utility workers,

cent announcements of starting operations in Bay County. GKN

thousands of relief workers and first responders, and uprooted the

Aerospace is back in operation and are still actively hiring. Air Temp

lives of many. These efforts are still far from over.

of America, ACMT Technologies, Butterfly Training, and Revint Solu-

According to Bloomberg, it is estimated the Hurricane Michael will end up costing $25B in economic losses, and caused approximately $8B to $10B in insured losses. In a Dun & Bradstreet report, it is estimated there are 18,267 impacted businesses in Bay County and

tions are all still fully committed to Bay County and their management teams have been in Bay County completing the repair process on their respective facilities. Their operational timelines have not wavered, and they all still intend to be fully operational in 2019.

68,579 across the 12 affected counties in Florida. As of late Novem-

In regards to active economic development projects, these still

ber 2018, nearly 30,000 individuals in Florida have been approved

remain very active. Currently, we have over 20 active projects in-

for FEMA assistance and over $115M has been approved for indi-

cluding local expansions and new recruitment projects. Hurricane

viduals and households. Just one example of the great volunteer-

Michael has not deterred our economic development efforts and to-

ism experienced after Hurricane Michael was evidenced through

date, we have not lost any active projects due to concerns with the

the Salvation Army. As of the middle of November, the Salvation

hurricane. The coming months will certainly be a rebuilding period

Army had prepared nearly 670,000 meals in response to Hurricane

for our community, but we know on the other side of recovery we

Michael, distributed over 12,000 food boxes, and completed 65,791

will rebuild to a bigger and better community.

service hours.

D E PA R T M E N T O F E C O N O M I C OPPORTUNITY

Ultimately, the effects of this storm will reverberate throughout the community for decades. However, in the coming months and years Bay County will come back stronger than ever before. This is known

Update from Beverly Byerts, Private Sector Disaster Coordinator

to be true because the EDA of Bay County staff had personnel who experienced the devastating blow from Hurricane Katrina while living in Mississippi. The businesses, buildings, and homes when built back will certainly look different and have fewer trees, but our community will come back stronger and better because Bay County is

30

Hurricane Michael reminded us how hurricanes can affect the entire fabric of a community. As we continue to rebuild, we need to re-

truly resilient.

member to plan ahead. After every disaster, local, state and federal

Since the hurricane, we have witnessed so many individuals, busi-

improved upon, and how to learn and adapt plans for the next time.

nesses, and organizations step-up to do all that is necessary to

Build your business’ resiliency by reflecting on your own impacts

assist the community. Our primary mission at EDA of Bay during

in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael and developing or updating

this recovery time is getting businesses back operational and em-

your business disaster plan. Taking some of these small steps to-

BAY B I Z / H U R R I C A N E M I C H A E L CO M M E M O R AT I V E I S S U E

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Stay in the know! Register your business to view resources, begin your business disaster continuity plan and cultivate a culture of preparedness in the workplace. More importantly, when disaster strikes, monitor the site for regular situational reports from the state emergency operations center, as well as maintain awareness of major road closures, evacuation orders and curfews across the day can help your business get back up and running more quickly after a disaster. Identify your risk | Where is your business located? You may need to plan for mandatory evacuation orders, road closures or flooding. Also, understand your insurance coverage. Was the coverage you had sufficient to maintain business operations? Ensure your coverage is sufficient to ease the aftermath of future disasters. Contacting Employees and Business Stakeholders | Save emergency contact lists with your business disaster continuity plan so you can easily access them whether or not you are in your physical business location. Identify ways you can reach your employees, vendors, service providers and customers to update them on your business operations.

state, as they may affect your business.

EMERGENCY SUPPORT FUNCTION 18 | BUSINESS, INDUSTRY AND ECONOMIC STABILIZATION When disaster strikes in Florida and the situation has outgrown the scope of local government, the Florida State Emergency Response Team activates to support local emergency management to serve impacted residents and businesses. Within the State Emergency Response Team, Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 is the function that leads the coordination of the needs of the private sector with local, state and federal agencies during the response and recovery of a disaster. Establishing public-private partnerships prior to a disaster enables ESF 18 to identify the needs of the private sector, as well as to identify resourc-

PROMOTE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS - Encourage those critical

es available from private sector partners to support response and

to your business to develop individual and family disaster plans. The

recovery operations for all Floridians. The Florida Department of

quicker they can recover personally, the quicker they can return to

Economic Opportunity (DEO) leads ESF 18, with support from the

work and continue business operations.

Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) on a state level,

BACK-UP - Many physical locations were impacted by Hurricane Michael. If your location was damaged, were you able to relocate? What critical equipment do you have that is necessary to maintain day-to-day operations? Where are your business records? Consider partnering with another local business location that may be able to

while working with the local ESF-18 lead, the Bay County Chamber of Commerce. For information about ESF 18 and Florida’s Public Private Partnerships, please email ESF18@em.myflorida.com.

act as a back up location if your building is damaged. It will greatly support your business recovery efforts by protecting critical items and having back-up plans.

DON ALD GI LES

STAY INFORMED - When disaster is imminent, how will you receive emergency notifications for your business? Monitor traditional and

MAI, SRA

social media for regular updates, as well as supply your business

Cert. Gen. RZ356

with a NOAA Weather Radio. If cell coverage or internet is down, local radio stations can be a lifeline for critical news and information. Register to receive local emergency alert notifications for critical alerts by visiting www.FloridaDisaster.org/AlertFlorida. Take advantage of all available information and resource sharing sites. Take advantage of any local resources or training seminars or we-

122 E 4th St Panama City, Fl, 32401 Phone: 850-769-6593 Fax: 850-872-9160 gilesappraisal@knology.net

Commercial and Residential Property Valuations

Emplo Position

binars offered to support your business readiness. One resource is Florida’s new website, www.FloridaDisaster.biz. This platform spe-

Company Name

cifically caters to the private sector by providing real-time updates during an event to ensure owners take the necessary steps to protect their business in a disaster. FloridaDisaster.biz is a new website developed to provide businesses, small and large, easy access to critical information before, during and after a disaster. The State Emergency Response Team’s Emergency Support Function 18, Business, Industry and Economic Stabilization, works closely with local, state and federal partners to provide users verified, accurate and timely information so they can make decisions to help their business recover more quickly after a

Staff local with your Panama City experts Employee Nam e

850.747.1211 Position Title adeccousa.com

disaster.

Street Address Address 2 City, ST ZIP Code Phone: 555.555.0125 Fax: 555.555.0145 E-mail address

Emplo Position

Company Name BAY B I Z / H U R R I C A N E M I C H A E L CO M M E M O R AT I V E I S S U E

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Street Address

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Where does the

REAL ESTATE MARKET go from here?

Since Hurricane Michael made landfall, real estate has been at the forefront of many conversations on individual, county, and state

months of rebuilding, the first quarter of 2006 was up 60%

levels. Many wonder, what will happen to the real estate market? How many homes will be available for sale? How will hurricane damage affect home values?

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in August of 2005. After 4 over the first quarter of 2005.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall August of 2017. The two months immediately after the storm had a 50% drop in sales

To get a better view of what is going on, let us start by looking at

compared to the same period of 2016. By the third month,

some statistics. These numbers represent comparing October 10th

sales were 31% higher than the same month the year before.

through November 16th of 2018 to the same time period in 2017 for the area that our Multiple Listing Service covers – Bay, Washington, Calhoun, Jackson, and Holmes counties – all of which were impacted by Hurricane Michael.

Total Sold: 589 vs 232 - 61% decrease

Total Under Contract: 609 vs 411 - 33% decrease

Total New Listings: 805 vs 352 - 56% decrease

general, economists agree that while hurricanes cause short-term (3-6 months) negative economic impact, there is a long-term positive effect that actually creates a boon for the area. But why? For starters, storm damage presents a great opportunity to rebuild utilities – underground power lines, updating water and sewage systems, replacing copper communications lines, and updating cellular

These decreases are to be expected immediately after the storm. Existing pending contracts mostly stopped to wait on hurricane damage to be repaired. New listings are scarce because there are few properties without damage in our area. However, history shows us these decreases are short-lived.

Hurricane Andrew made landfall August of 1992. The third quarter of 1992 saw a dip in sales compared to 1991, but the fourth quarter saw equal sales, followed by the first and sec-

32

A similar pattern emerges for nearly any other major hurricane. In

backhaul. In every case, it makes business sense to install the most up to date equipment while you are replacing damaged equipment, rather than paying to install it twice. Cable companies are replacing all of their copper lines with fiber. Verizon has announced they are simultaneously upgrading us to 5G as they repair the 4G network. The City of Panama City government has discussed upgrading their lift stations because all but two were damaged during the storm, and there are many more upgrades in the discussion as additional funding is made available for storm recovery. These upgrades attract employers to the area, as well as home buyers and job seekers.

ond quarter of 1993 nearly doubling sales of the same period

Speaking of buyers – when people are searching for new homes,

in 1992.

they generally prefer to see the home has a new roof, has been up-

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dated to meet current building codes, and has recent renovations to bring the home up to modern trends. New countertops, new windows, and new garage doors are all high on the list of adding value to a home. Nearly every home in our area being damaged by Hurricane Michael will mean the market will soon have a much higher inventory of homes that meet these criteria, once construction finishes on them around the 6 month mark. This is the driving force behind the sales increases we have seen in other Hurricanes.

buyers who were displaced or are having trouble finding rentals again, as well as those who were waiting for the right home to come along in the area they want to live. This will increase demand on the To expand on that, inventory is measured by a statistic called absorption rate, which is the number of months it would take to sell the homes currently listed on the market. A healthy inventory is around 6 months, but before Hurricane Michael we had dropped as

housing market, thus increasing the number of sales. Which brings us to the million-dollar question – what will happen to home values? Again, we look to the impact on home values in

low as 4.5 months. There are a variety of factors that lead to low

previous hurricanes:

inventory, such as the population growth, low interest rates on

mortgages, job growth in the area, and the relationship between

quarter immediately following the hurricane, followed by in-

the cost of ownership vs the cost of renting. All of these factors will

creased home prices of 2.1% and 0.9% in the next two quar-

continue their previous trajectory in the long term post-recovery,

ters.

and would continue to drive our inventory lower. In fact, speaking with the Key West Association of REALTORs, they indicated one year after Hurricane Irma their Average Days on Market was the

However, speaking with REALTORs in the area, you would hear them talk of “sellable” inventory – homes that meet the criteria buyers are looking for – and there was a general consensus the “sellable” in-

Hurricane Katrina was different – there was a sharp and immediate increase in home prices the first year, followed by a sharp

lowest it had ever been as the storm exacerbated their inventory issues.

Hurricane Andrew saw a 1% decrease in home prices in the

decrease to return to previous levels by the end of year two.

Hurricane Harvey saw sharp increases as well in the first year, and the prices are now starting to settle back down one year later.

ventory was even lower than was being reflected in our Absorption

Despite the variety of reactions, in each case, the immediate effects

rate. Once construction completes, as previously mentioned, this

of supply and demand were evident in home prices, but returned to

“sellable” inventory will actually increase in our area, giving buyers

normal levels one to two years later. This is again a trend consistent

a greater range of choices in homes. This could be especially im-

with most hurricanes.

pactful in areas that are transforming from blighted to blooming, but had an abundance of older homes in need of repair, updates, or being brought up to code. Having more homes in these areas that are up to date, will move them ahead several magnitudes faster

Overall, the one message to take away from this analysis of the housing market is: hang on for the ride. Short-term the market may see drastic swings from reacting to supply and demand, but in the

than they would have moved on their own.

long-term we will return to our previous growth trajectory, perhaps

As more properties become available, so do more buyers. Buyers

cal REALTORs are available to answer your real estate questions

in the next few years will be not only those who were already con-

whether you are looking to buy, sell, invest or just needing for some

sidering buying for a change of living conditions. There will also be

guidance.

even with a little boost in the right direction. Either way, your lo-

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H U R R I C A N E M I C H A E L C O M M E M O R AT I V E S EC T I O N

workforce connection CareerSource Gulf Coast by: Kim Bodine, Executive Director

C

areerSource Gulf Coast has been serving this community since 1995. We are proud to contribute to the bettering of our community across Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties through the many free services we provide to both our local employers and job seekers.

We look ahead to the next five to 10 years with excitement and determination to be a critical partner in the success of our community. The values of our brand—being business driven, continuously improving, operating with integrity and purpose—are defining characteristics that fuel all of our efforts.

As of now, we have shifted our efforts to meet the needs of our customers post-Hurricane Michael. We have hosted multiple job fairs to help our employers connect with job seekers face-to-face. We have also implemented creative outreach approaches to guarantee we are able to reach our customers, utilizing social media, radio, billboards, word-of-mouth and more.

We know our employers are essential to economic growth and stability, and we value our relationships with them as we work to connect employers with job seekers. The work we do is meaningful; through it, we can inspire hope, achievement and economic prosperity in the lives of the customers as well as the community we serve.

We relocated our Panama City office to CC Washington Academy off of 11th Street due to the severity of the damage to our Job Center on HWY 231. We are thankful the damage was minimal to our other offices in Gulf and Franklin counties.

CareerSource Gulf Coast offers many services for both job seekers and employers. To receive assistance with all aspects of the job search process, from finding a job to creating a resume, please give us a call at (850) 872-4340, or stop in to our Job Center in Panama City. We are open from 8 AM-5 PM, Monday through Friday. To learn more, visit us at www.careersourcegc.com. To receive a copy of our Interview Packet, please email customerservice@careersourcegc.com.

We want the community to know we are dedicated and determined to provide the employment services needed to help our families and our community move forward. There is not an economic downturn, natural disaster, or other form of conflict that can keep us from being a strong partner in rebuilding our community. Together, we will overcome the complications Hurricane Michael has presented us. That begins with us hearing your needs and acting, accordingly.

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Happy New Year!

Fishing trips begin March 1.

CB CARES

Learn more about our Disaster Recovery Home Loans

LET US HELP YOU REBUILD OR PURCHASE A NEW HOME

Let Community Bank help you get back on your feet after the storm. Whether you are rebuilding or purchasing a new home, we’ll walk you through the entire process. • Financing available for purchases, new construction, and renovations

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Loan Officer


Our law rm is proud to continue to support business and industry throughout Bay County, Northwest Florida and Alabama.

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WRITTEN BY: LARRY CARNLEY, BAY COUNTY BUILDERS SERVICES Hurricane Michael dealt a devastating blow to the community,

Probably the best way to ward against hiring the wrong contrac-

damaging or destroying thousands of homes and properties in Bay

tor is to ask for references and check them. Also ask to see a copy

County in just a few short hours. In the aftermath of the storm, se-

of the contractor’s license, a copy of their liability insurance, and

lecting a contractor – particularly when there are suddenly so many

a copy of their workers’ compensation documents to protect you

from which to choose – might seem like a daunting task. However,

from liability should someone be harmed on your property during

Bay County Builders’ Services can offer a few tips that may make

the project.

rebuilding your home, and your life, a little easier. Before you hire any contractor, be sure to ask to see his or her state-issued license and verify the license number with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. This information is available online at www.myfloridalicense.com or by calling (850) 487-1395. While at the DPBR website, you may also check for any complaints filed against a particular contractor, how long he or she has had their license and how long it will be valid. Alternatively, you can call the Bay County Building Department at (850) 248-8350. While we cannot advise anyone who they should hire, we can let you know if any local complaints have been filed against a particular contractor.

when they intend to do the work themselves and hire help that is unlicensed. Florida law allows homeowners to pull their own permits and build their own homes from the ground up, but if you are hiring anyone to help you do any kind of work on the house, they are required by law to have a license in their area of expertise. Otherwise, the property owner – who is, in this case, also the contractor – is required to go through the process of hiring the helper as a bona fide employee with worker’s compensation, insurance, and other requirements. It is also important to note that: An occupational license does not qualify an individual to act as a contractor, and being registered with

Before you hire anyone, be sure to get a written estimate from sev-

the Division of Corporations as an Inc. or LLC does not qualify an

eral licensed contractors. The estimate should include the scope of

individual or a company to act as a contractor.

work the contractor will do, the materials involved, the completion date, and the total cost of the project.

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One area in which homeowners sometimes run into problems is

Getting a contractor’s license in Florida is not easy – applicants are required to pass a test and have experience specific to their area

You should avoid hiring any contractors who claim to be the fastest

of expertise. Hire someone who is licensed, and have the peace of

or the cheapest, because the final product could be shoddy work-

mind that comes with knowing the person you are entrusting your

manship, inferior materials or an unfinished job.

property to has taken the time to do things by the book.

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MOVING New Location

AS OF MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4

City of Panama City City Hall 501 Harrison Ave. Panama City, FL CONTACT INFO: TEL. (850) 872-3000 FAX. (850) 872-3024 www.pcgov.org

OUR MAILING ADDRESS REMAINS THE SAME PO BOX 1880 PANAMA CITY, FL 32401

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GLOBAL REACH, LOCAL COMMUNITY PARTNER Kraton is the largest global provider of pine chemicals and breakthrough polymer technologies. As a major employer in Panama City for more than 60 years, we deliver exceptional value to our community and our customers through innovative, sustainable solutions that enhance the lives of people here and all over the world. Kraton innovations are embedded in different products everywhere – from roads and pavements to the kitchen table – contributing to the comfort and convenience of modern life. You may find our products in the roof over your head, the wall paint in your living room and the road you drive on. Wherever you are, our innovations can be found in nearly every aspect of your daily life. For more information, visit Kraton.com. Kraton Corporation 2 S. Everitt Avenue Panama City, Florida 32401

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©2018 Kraton Corporation. BAY B I Z / H U R R I C A N E M I C H A E L CO M M E M O R AT I V E I S S U E

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REBUILD YOUR LIFE WE’RE HERE TO HELP Whether it’s stopping to help a neighbor clean up their yard, collecting donations for our furry friends in need, or simply being there if you have a question about your coverage. Affordable Home Insurance is here for you! We live and work in this community and understand how tough things can get, but brick by brick you will rebuild and we’re here to help. Even during a disaster like Hurricane Michael, our doors remained open to support you in your time of need. Affordable Home Insurance is proud to be the neighbor you can rely on.

850.502.4352 ahifl.com

2101 Northside Drive, #302, Panama City, FL 32405


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