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A Sense of Place The Muscogee Nation

Giving Beauty from Ashes

Nancy Alcorn of Mercy Ministries

Projecting a Brand Behind the Scenes

Rebranding Southern Theatres

Plus Seabreeze Jazz Festival

Moving to Pier Park in 2009

Pensacola's 450th Anniversary VIEcation Give-Away!

Win 1 of 3 great prizes from St. Joe!



VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Happiness is

Less Than a Tank of Gas Away!


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

1.866.203.1164 /

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Member of United Kingdom's NAEA HomeLink Property Network

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


all. Bud & Alley’s Restaurant in Seaside, owned by Dave Rauschkolb, had its best summer since opening twenty-five years ago. Destin Jewelers had a great summer, with more than a few people looking for beautiful and distinctive jewelry— now that is a really good sign that the economy is not all doom and gloom. The Grand 16 – Pier Park did a booming business this summer; many new businesses, such as 30A Resorts and Commander’s Palace at Emerald Grande, opened to rave reviews; and the expansion plans at Destin Commons suggest that good news prevails. Many thanks to all of the writers, salespeople, advertisers, photographers and graphic designers who help bring VIE to life. I would especially like to recognize Eric Shepard for his awesome design prowess and vision. Special thanks to Ronnie Gilley Entertainment for their cooperation and to ZZ Top for allowing their photos to grace the cover and pages of our magazine. Last but not least, thanks to Gerald Burwell (my better half) for parlaying his architectural ability, eye for detail and precision and regard for all things perfect into his role as VIE’s editor-in-chief.

Photo by Jessie Shepard

A Note from the Publisher Dear Readers, What a thrill it has been to receive so many kind words from you about the inaugural issue of VIE – People + Places. Please visit our Letters to the Editor section, as well as our website –, to read what people are saying. Though I cherish all of your heartfelt letters, emails and comments, one letter in particular, from Peggy of Southport, Florida, stands out in my mind. What I learned from her letter is that VIE is not just geared to one segment of the population but to everyone and that is because it is about hope, respect and honoring all of the people and places from Cola 2 Cola. We all continue to meander through the worst economic time that I have known in my career, but there are success stories out there, and it is good for us to recognize them since it gives hope to us 6

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

This issue of VIE is full of heartwarming and interesting stories. A story of a remarkable woman, Nancy Alcorn, and her ministry is found in “Beauty from Ashes.” The Muscogee Nation in Bruce, Florida, will inspire and delight you; we hope that they will have a happy ending soon with the granting of federal recognition. People are resilient; if we can all think positively toward one another and continue to persevere, we will get through this. If there is one thing that is constant, it is change, and things will change again, I hope, for the better. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never, never give up.” To life!


For more information, please visit:

In this issue:



People + Places La Botana 20 billy b at Pish Posh Patchouli’s 20 Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament 50 Inspired 50 Grand Boulevard Sinfonia 72 Suite Soirée 72 FPRA 85 Ogden Museum 85 Charles Alexander Grand Opening 148 Local Business Profile Polishing a Fading Dream Into a Brilliant Reality 74 School of Fish 114 Ocean Reef 132 Local Spotlight Work It! The Best Things In Life Usually Don’t Come Easy 36 Hotelier of the Year: Frank Flautt 98 Michelle Lacewell 140 VIEcation St. Joe Promotion 9 Feature Article BamaJam: Stars Fell on Alabama 14 Giving The Power of a Smile: Acts of Kindness Make a Difference 22 Beauty from Ashes 29 For the Love of Food Smiling Fish Café: 30A’s Own New Orleans-Style Neighborhood Restaurant 41 Commander’s Palace – Destin 45 Without Passion, It's Just Food. 51



14 Branded The Way We Were 54 Projecting a Brand: Behind the Scenes 56 Voyager A Taste of Austin and the Texas Hill Country 61 Take Me Out to the Ball Game – Fenway Park 66 Perspectives You Don’t Need a Crystal Ball: People Will Always Want Paradise 70 30A Radio 78 Annie Lynch: Pearls of Wisdom 86 The Art of Life Seabreeze Jazz Festival 90 Jake Shimabukuro 96 The Beauty Behind The Ugli Stick 100 Penning Lyrics with Soul 104 Stepping Into the Light 110 The New Urbanist Art Movement 116 Artist Portrait Study: Stefan Diaberl’s The Ecdysis 123 A Sense of Place Pensacola’s 450th Celebration 126 Preserving History to Create a Future 134 Couture Beauty is More than Skin Deep 143 Get Out Take a Staycation 151 New Beginnings Leah Beard and Bayne Powell / Romona Robbins and Shane Reynolds 154 VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Letter from the Editor

Founder of Miramar Beach, Colonel Grimaldi, on a stogie break during construction of his homestead in 1926


ot that I am comparing our troubles to that of the French Revolution as it is portrayed in Charles Dickens’ book A Tale of Two Cities, but things were seemingly better for most of us a few years ago when our real estate market was… well, a bit healthier. Let’s just say that the well-known quote from this book “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” strikes a chord with me today as I pen my first Letter from the Editor. Lisa (my wife, for those who have not made the connection) and I now have the second issue of VIE – People + Places under our belt and the team is gearing up to go quarterly starting with the Winter 2009 issue. I am in awe of how the magazine came to life right before my eyes during what has been the most challenging time in my career (as an architect), and I now find myself as the editor-in-chief of a lifestyle magazine. Lisa’s vision for VIE continues to astound me. On more than a few occasions, I have thought she was over-the-top or just crazy. But during the course of our wonderful twelve-year marriage, I have come to learn that, more often than not, she finds a way to make things work. The stories we are able to tell about the great people and places of our area from COLA 2 COLA have humbled me and I am proud to showcase the area of the world that I love the most. To say that Northwest Florida is in my blood is no overstatement. My late grandfather, Colonel Michael Grimaldi (U.S. Army), founded Miramar Beach in the late 1920s and at one time owned much of what is now known as Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and beyond. That was

when dirt roads and horses prevailed and an acre of land was $1. Who knew that his vision for Miramar Beach and the surrounding region would one day be so highly valued by many others? There may have been people who thought he too was crazy, as many visionaries are often thought to be. He loved the area and thought that it had great potential. I think (and probably many of you would agree) that he could not have been more right!

Gerald Burwell

I was born in Pensacola and spent the formative years of my life in Saudi Arabia. Growing up, my family summered in Miramar Beach every year; and it seemed like each year, my siblings and I would always say to each other how wonderful and glorious it would be to live here. So far, I am the only one who has had the great privilege to do so. I have seen this region grow and I have grown with it. Being a part of VIE has enabled me to discover even more amazing things about our area and its people. The point that I hope to make is that it is in times of need when the best visions and foresight come to life. How else would we be forced to think outside the proverbial box? I hope that our readers have as much fun with VIE as we have! Cheers!

On the Cover: ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons from Ronnie Gilley's BamaJam in Enterprise, Alabama Photo taken by Jessie Shepard through a sea of cheering fans

Story on page 14


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


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ENTRY INFORMATION You must be 21 or older. Only one entry per person. Winner need not be present to win. This prize is guaranteed to be awarded and is subject to availability. No St. Joe or WaterColor Resort employee or employee’s immediate family member or its affiliated builders or agencies is eligible to win. The winner will be drawn on January 9, 2009. No substitutions for prizes and prizes are non-transferable and non-refundable. Contest is open only to residents of the United States. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to enter. Neither St. Joe nor any of its agencies or employees or affiliates are liable for any property damage, personal injury or death occurring during or in connection with this program. *Certain restrictions and black-out dates apply.

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VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Published by:

(850) 231-3087 114 Logan Lane, Suite 4 Grayton Beach, FL 32459 w w w . T h e I d e a B o u ti q u e . c o m

VIE Creative Team: Editorial

Art Direction / Creative

Advertising Sales

Lisa Burwell Publisher

Bob Brown VP of Creative Services

Lisa Comeau VP of Account Services

Eric Shepard Creative Director

Jim Ryan Account Executive


Gerald Burwell Editor-in-Chief

Hui-Ting Tang Graphic Artist

Staff Writers:


Laura Goehring Design Intern Lisa Ferrick Social Correspondent

Renee Ryan Distribution Director

Contributing Photographers:

Crystal Hamon

Jessie Shepard

Romona Robbins

Contributing Writers: George Barnes Kelly Beasley Jack Benner Stacey May Brady Matthew Christ Tom Duffey Hunter Harman


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Anne Hunter Kim Duke-Layden Laurie Liles Harley Pummill Mike Ragsdale Price Rainer Kirsten Reed

Brenda Rees Julie Root Marta Rose John David Sullivan Tim Taylor

Steve Arndt Michael Belk Joni Boyd Nate Bressler Clint Brown Gerald Burwell Jeremy Cowart Lisa Ferrick Michael Granberry Kim Duke-Layden Kay Phelan Jana Quigley Janis Sawyer Kevin Woerner Allison Yii

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008




just wanted to take the time to tell you how much I thoroughly enjoyed the new publication,

Quite literally someone left a copy of VIE at

VIE - PEOPLE + PLACES. I cannot even imagine all the time, labor, effort, thought, decisions,

my WaterSound condo. The cover, the French

(and I could go on and on) that went into making this magazine possible. I think it is great!

name, the weight and quality of the paper, the

It certainly meets a specific need for this coastal area. Many people will benefit from your

professional feeling conveyed by the black back-

inspiration and efforts.

ground and French blue type, well, what was I to

think? A serious haute couture collection, n'est

Your personal contributions to the issue, in my opinion, are what made it worth reading. The way

pas ? Even better! A collection of seriously talented

you open up and share the details of how the magazine came about was especially inspiring. I

people who share my love of "the beach."

also enjoyed your descriptive account of the trip to New York City. The thing, I think, that touched me most, was your sincere enjoyment of seeing photographer Jessie Shepard’s dream come

I love it that you had the audacity to get into New

true! I hope every reader caught that and shared in her joy as much as I did.

York Fashion Week's shows, then write with equal enthusiasm about interesting people and places


right here at home. I never tire of the story of what each of us felt when we first discovered our

To read the complete letter please visit our blog at

beach, the giant dunes, the white cool sugar sand, the ribbons of blue and turquoise Gulf water.

VIE Magazine, A Classy Look at Pcity

Well anyway, you get the picture. And you'll carry it with you all the days of your life.

There are a number of things I miss about the Pacific Northwest. I miss sitting on the seashore watching the University of Washington rowing team scream by. I miss the fact that on any given day

Jackie Harvey

I can run down to the local speakeasy and watch some of the biggest names in music perform in a venue as big as my living room. And I miss our periodicals. The Stranger and Seattle Weekly were must reads for any and all hipsters on the Seattle scene. I can’t say that I am a true hipster, but my

Congrats to Gerald and Lisa Burwell and their en-

heart bleeds indie rock, and my veins pump flannel…VIE (French for life) was just sitting there, in a

tire team on the official launch of the inaugural

beautiful black and white with a JPG-like title and fantastic layout and design.

issue of VIE - People + Places. It’s so new that the ink probably hasn’t dried yet, but you’re certain to

I figured it was another Rowland Publishing gig because of the matte finish until I dug further.

see and hear a lot about this new regional pub-

Produced and published by Cornerstone Marketing & Advertising, Inc. in Grayton Beach, VIE is 140

lication in the weeks, months and years ahead. I

pages of portfolio beauty. It’s like holding Destin in the palm of your hand. It’s a myriad of fashion,

got my copy today, and I’m eager to flip through

who’s who, travel, and culture. It’s a must read and yes, it is really that good.

its pretty pages. If you’re a 30A resident, fan or frequenter, you’re bound to see many familiar

VIE will be produced twice this year and is, no doubt, the coup de grace of Cornerstone’s portfolio.

faces inside. And if you’re not, well, then you’ll

We have no affiliation with Cornerstone or VIE, we are not getting a penny for this story, but we

see just a small glimpse of what you’ve been

sincerely hope you will read it as we are certain you will quickly become a fan. As a matter of fact we

missing out on.

were so inspired by it we did an impromptu shoot to welcome them to the neighborhood. Dustin Bryson


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008 Mike Ragsdale Alys Beach Evangelist Founder of

WOW! Got through the premier issue last night – I


enjoyed every single article – there are so many dynamic and wonderful people in NW Florida

Distribution Areas by County:

and I absolutely loved hearing everyone’s story. Lisa, you have a true gift for the written word!!! I soooooo enjoyed it all! And, after reading through the magazine from cover to cover, I put the magazine down and said a “thank you” The universe? Fate? Luck? …to be able to call this home! Thank you so much for allowing me to participate in your amazing magazine. I truly feel honored. Congratulations to you both! Jill Gaupin Founder

I've been remiss in writing to tell you how fabulous VIE is....You and your staff have really created something unique and very classy. A real asset to our community… Enjoyed your story about Bryant


ur stories and distribution cover Pensacola to Apalachicola, Florida as we explore the people and places of our region in the pages of VIE - People + Places. The magazine is found in all

the Tourist Development Council Centers, Chamber of Commerce locations, Sundog Books in Seaside,

Park Fashion shows.....You lucky gal!

Florida, boutiques, restaurants, Bed & Breakfast locations, special events and much more! As the

Sending good thoughts,

Relocation Program sponsor for the Walton County Area Chamber, VIE will also be mailed to over 5000 people who have asked for more information about our area.

Daryl Davis Seaside C0-Founder

We are excited you have picked up a copy of VIE and hope you enjoy exploring the people and places of our coveted area. With 20,000 magazines printed for the inaugural issue we are confident that we will be able to spread the good news with our stories and help our advertisers garner business. We

Hi Folks, Picked up a copy of VIE today…WOW!

have a passion for VIE, our area, and the people and businesses found within and hope you will share

VIE looks so fine! Very impressive! Well done!

in the excitement and know that we live in a great place and that, "life is good."

Love it! Gotta run, chat soon, Marc Latta Coombs Inn

Congratulations on a spectacular first issue of VIE! It is beautiful…a great addition to our community. Marta Rose Senior Vice President Marketing & PR The Greater Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce

VIE: People + Places is a registered trademark. All contents herein are Copyright © 2008 Cornerstone Marketing & Advertising, Incorporated (The Publisher). All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission from The Publisher. The opinions herein are not necessarily those of The Publisher. The Publisher and its advertisers will not be held responsible for any errors found in this publication. The Publisher is not liable for the accuracy of statements made by its advertisers. Ads that appear in this publication are not intended as offers where prohibited by state law. The Publisher is not responsible for photography or artwork. The Publisher reserves the right to publish any letter addressed to the editor or The Publisher. VIE: People + Places is a free publication and shall not be resold. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to CORNERSTONE MARKETING & ADVERTISING, INC., 114 Logan Lane, Suite 4, Grayton Beach, FL 32459; (850) 231-3087.

Printed with pride in Northwest Florida VIE - Fall / Winter 2008




VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



t was the weekend of June 5-7, 2008,

according to Ronnie Gilley. “Establishing an

and something that could be considered

entertainment mecca such as BamaJam for our

astounding – maybe even historical – was

entire community and friends from neighboring

about to take place. Billed as "a music

states to enjoy has been a lifelong dream.”

extravaganza created to celebrate the human spirit through country music and the arts,” the

Gilley's entertainment company, Ronnie Gilley

first ever BamaJam Music & Arts Festival took

Entertainment, produced the event to enhance

place in a small Alabama town just to the north

and improve the lives of the people of Enterprise

of Florida’s panhandle. In a struggling economy

and the surrounding area of Coffee County. In

with gas prices hovering at $4 per gallon, how

March 2007, a tornado ripped through the

did Ronnie Gilley Entertainment manage to

23,000-person town destroying houses, busi-

pull off a $4 million event, heralded as the larg-

nesses and a high school. It was a terrifying

est single-day festival event in the past decade in

event causing $307 million dollars in damage

little-known Enterprise, Alabama?

and tragically killing eight high school students. “Now, more than ever, is the time for

ZZ Top's Dusty Hill & Billy Gibbons

Headliners like ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd and

all of us to come together, share in the spirit

Hank Williams Jr. punctuated the plethora of

of the music and what the word ‘community’

musical talent on three stages filling the sultry

really means – and, in turn, give back to our

Alabama air of the 600-acre “natural amphithe-

friends and our neighbors who are less fortu-

ater” with jam sessions under a starry sky. “It’s a

nate,” continued Gilley.

known fact that music brings people together,” VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



he weekend concert brought overwhelming crowds: 110,000 on Saturday with a total topping 200,000 people for the entire weekend. The

anticipated economic boost to Enterprise and


the surrounding area from this event couldn’t have come at a better time. Gilley, who grew up in Coffee County, was also surprised. “It was a monumental, historic event for the entire Wiregrass,” Gilley said, adding, “I was thinking that if we could have 20,000 or 30,000 people come we could make it a success. Never in my wildest imagination – and my imagination gets out there – did I think that we would have over 200,000 people.” Despite the large influx of people, the traffic was “hassle free” and the event was nearly without incident. “We have about 1,000 people working for us – volunteers, internal employees and our families; one of our sponsors was the Army National Guard – and it would not have been possible without them,” said Ashley Minadeo, of Ronnie Gilley Entertainment. Part of this festival’s allure is the welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere. Gilley commented, “We are probably overly cautious. We want families to come.” Their efforts were not in vain. People of all ages flocked to what some festivalgoers called “a clean version of Woodstock.”

ZZ Top's Dusty Hill

Country Music Star Trace Adkins 16

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


ZZ Top's Dusty Hill & Billy Gibbons

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


ZZ Top's Frank Beard

“WE HONESTLY DID NOT EXPECT TO GET IN THE BLACK THE FIRST YEAR,” said Gilley, who took a huge risk on an outdoor event of this nature – but it panned out. The wave of revenues from the 200,000 people descending on the city will go a long way to help the city on its road to restoration. In addition, a portion of the net proceeds from BamaJam will be donated to the Jimmy Bowden Foundation to help rebuild Enterprise High School. Needless to say, Ronnie Gilley Entertainment was surprised and overwhelmed by such a groundswell of response. And they weren’t the only ones gazing in astonishment or utter excitement over this music festival that shook up sweet home Alabama.

BamaJam's Main Stage 18

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Eric Shephard is pictured here waiting in part of the 600 acre clearing where, 200,000 people gathered for BamaJam.

HOW WE ENDED UP AT BAMAJAM By Crystal Hamon / Photography by Jessie Shepard


hey did not know it, but on the first weekend of June, Eric and Jessie Shepard were in for an adventure. As VIE’s

“It is exciting to be requested to cater a VIP event of this magnitude and cooking for ZZ Top and Hank Williams Jr. is a career highlight which I am thrilled to be part of.”

Art Director, Eric recalled how it all unfolded. “We were gearing up for our second issue of VIE and constantly on the

lookout for interesting stories.” VIE’s publisher, who represents The Resort Collection in Panama City Beach as their agency of record, learned of an opportunity that presented itself to their food and beverage specialist, Chef


Shawn Barrera. As part of the off-site catering services provided by The Resort Collection, Chef Barrera was requested to prepare backstage cuisine for the starring acts of the BamaJam Music & Arts Festival, which was to take place in Enterprise, Alabama.

Suddenly, security pushed them aside to allow ZZ Top to pass. Eric turned to Jessie and said, “There go some of the coolest dudes on the planet.”

This development was not only an honor for Chef Barrera, but also a big deal for our region, and VIE was ready for the occasion. “We needed to

Unfortunately, ZZ Top had stipulated a rider to their appearance that no

showcase this!” Shepard continued, “With only a day’s notice and no idea

media be allowed in front of the stage – after all that waiting! The biggest

of what to expect, Jessie and I were on our way to Enterprise. What we

act of the night and it was off limits even to those who held press passes.

found was remarkable.”

Off they sauntered back into the massive crowd of the general assembly, and at 11:00 p.m. they decided simply to do what they could. Jessie weaved

The Shepards arrived at the dusty, expansive BamaJam site at 4:00 p.m. on

her way through the mass of people and started shooting breathtaking

opening night – but their connection to press passes for the evening was tied

photographs. With all odds against them and nothing working out as they

up. It was an hour before someone let them in through general admission

hoped, they employed their talent and sheer luck to capture the essence

and another three hours to gain access to the privileged media center. Just as

of the spectacular event with some incredible shots of an act that no press

they were about to give up and call it a night, up drove a golf cart carrying

team could touch. “The music was great, but the thing that surprised me the

the person they had been waiting for all evening with the much-anticipated

most was how positive the atmosphere was,” stated Eric. “The event was a

press passes. They were driven backstage – where more waiting ensued.

complete success!” VIE - Fall / Winter 2008




Pish Posh Patchouli's International makeup guru to the stars, billy b debuted his new line of makeup brushes, billybBEAUTY, on June 6th at Pish Posh Patchouli’s in Rosemary Beach. billy b gave makeovers while demonstrating practical makeup techniques & red carpet tips.

Linda Boswell, Christina Brewer, Lesley Hoover, billy b, Lynn Dugas, & Jen Quinn

billy b & Kathy Kemp

Names Debbie Watson & Dale Smith

Jane Elliott & Meredith Sullivan

Theresa VanGogh, Gina Shiflett & Ashley DeJohn

La Botana La Botana hosted its first Girls’ Night Out on Wednesday, September 10th. Ladies enjoyed a night out with live music, wine, and champagne while browsing the latest fall fashion line from Déjà Vu owner Stephanie Nichols!

Swede and Courtney Cowart, Shane Camp & Wade Melton Photos by Lisa Ferrick 20

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

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VIE - Fall / Winter 2008




Power of a


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


ten year old boy named Tyler, who had

gram to address some of these needs, the appli-

three sets of teeth, was attending the

cation process is cumbersome, time-consuming,

Kids Club – a Point Washington Methodist

and framed in such a way that it leaves out many

Church after-school program – in 2005 when

of the “working poor.” The CVHN staff tells

he caught the eye of visionary and consultant,

of one mother whose daughter is on Medicaid,

Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt. His desperate need

yet her cost per share each month still comes

for orthodontic care wounded his self-image,

to $1,300 before Medicaid begins to cover the

turning his deep embarrassment into frustrated

costs. Even those able to qualify for Kid Care

acts of anger. Eventually, he was expelled from

often have trouble locating healthcare profes-

school because of his constant fighting with

sionals who accept children enrolled in the

other students. His single mother, helpless and

program, due to fee cuts that have discouraged

without resources to ease his pain, watched his

their participation. According to the CVHN

world deteriorate.

website, only one dentist in Okaloosa County and no dentists in Walton County are provid-

Carlisle-Northcutt thought to herself, “Some-

ers in the State’s Kid Care program. The private

one should help that child,” and then it occurred

donations of time and expertise from numerous

to her, “that someone has to be me.” This moment,

medical professionals are believed to be a faster,

coupled with the 2000 survey of Okaloosa and

more efficient vehicle to care for children in our

Walton counties that spotlighted the number of


children suffering without adequate healthcare, spurred Carlisle-Northcutt to begin recruiting

Once a school nurse, counselor, principal, or

healthcare providers to become part of the an-

teacher identifies a student on the free or re-

swer. Having relocated to the beautiful shores of

duced lunch program to CVHN as a candidate,

the Emerald Coast from Memphis, her eyes were

the agency will match the student with a volun-

set on semi-retirement in a sleepy town while

teer healthcare provider specializing in the par-

doing some work in real estate and focusing on

ticular area of need. Volunteers attempt to cover

her art. Those plans slipped away when her heart

every step in acquiring the quality healthcare

started beating for kids like Tyler.

these students so desperately need. The hope is that none of these students will fall through the

Thus, the faith-based Children’s Volunteer Health

cracks when it comes to healthcare, a problem

Network (CVHN) was formed to meet the grow-

that affects every other aspect of their lives.

ing need of 60% of the families in Walton County and 22% of the families in Okaloosa County

Due to the efforts of CVHN since its inception

who are underinsured or completely without

in 2005, over 1,700 medical, dental, and mental

health insurance. Although the State of Florida

health appointments have been made for over

currently offers the Florida Kid Care as a pro-

450 children in need. CVHN has facilitated VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


twenty-one sets of medically-needed braces at a cost of $5,200. Carlisle-Northcutt refers to these cases as, “a lifetime necessity, not a beauty treatment.” George Roll, a local physician’s assistant says, “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the Children’s Volunteer Health Network for the last two or three years now. We see about 30 kids a month and we do it because we have a real desire to help children who have a need.” One such beneficiary, Terry Beth, a well-regarded high school honor roll student and dance team member, sought assistance from CVHN to have an abscessed tooth extracted. However, two weeks following the procedure, complications developed and Terry Beth began experiencing troubling signs of fever. Her mother took her to the emergency room, only to discover the infection had migrated to her heart due to a previously-existing condition known as a mitrovalve prolapse; emergency heart surgery at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida would be necessary. Doctors emphasized the necessity of immediate care, saying that had the surgery been delayed one more day, she would have died. Terry Beth’s mother, Patty, after sharing her story says, “If it weren’t for the Children’s Volunteer Health Network, my daughter wouldn’t be sitting here next to me today.” When Casey, another child in need, required a great deal of dental and orthodontic work, local realtors came together and decided to donate the money designated for their Christmas par-

“CVHN is a good group. It has a lot of caring people in it and it has just been great.” ­­­— Bobby Ray


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

“Someone should help that child,” then it occurred to her, “that someone has to be me.” —Trisha Carlisle-Northcutt

ties that year to take care of her braces. “When they called me and told me, I started crying,” says Casey’s mother, Rebecca. “These people who didn’t even know my daughter were willing to give up their parties to fix her mouth.” Harry Millsaps, one of these giving local realtors says, “Realtors are the life blood of the local economy,

Trisha Carlisle-Northcutt Photo by Michael Belk courtesy of CVHN

just like housing is. Realtors are professional people making a difference in the lives of their com-

“CVHN is a good group. It has a lot of caring

munities.” Now, armed with the self-assurance of

people in it and it has just been great,” says

a bright smile, Casey is confidently pursuing her

Bobby Ray.

degree in early childhood education. This November, CVHN will be holding one CVHN ran a mentoring program called Help-

of its annual fundraisers, Cottages for Kids,

ing Hands and Hearts until the Big Brothers and

in Rosemary Beach. This year’s theme is “earth

Big Sisters programs started in Okaloosa and

friendly…kid approved.” Local architects, build-

Walton Counties where young people can now

ers, and artisans will donate their time and skill

receive mentoring. One of the CVHN mentors,

to create extravagant playhouses (cottages) with

Zach Billingsley, befriended Bobby Ray. Bobby

“green” building practices for the event. These

Ray’s father had terminal cancer, forcing Bobby

cottages will be on display from November

Ray to endure what no child should have to ex-

8th through November 28th on the East Long

perience – the loss of a parent. However, Bobby

Green in Rosemary Beach for kids to explore

Ray stays positive with some help from Billing-

and for prospective buyers to browse. Then, each

sley. “I’ve always been able to talk to Zach,” says

work of art will be auctioned off on Novem-

Bobby Ray. “Whenever I needed to, I could just

ber 29th, 2008, with all the proceeds going to

call him up and talk about it. CVHN and Zach

benefit CVHN and the underinsured children

have made this a lot easier than going through

of Okaloosa and Walton counties. Last year’s

it alone.”

event included such fanciful creations as Pineapple under the Sea, inspired by the popular car-

"Citron" - design and rendering by Geoff Chick of Santa Rosa Beach.

Bobby Ray discusses some of the thoughts he is

toon, SpongeBob SquarePants, Dun Wishes and

coping with now: “Everybody is telling me that

Dreams Castle, a “novelty palatial playhouse”

I’m going to grow up without a father and it is

complete with drawbridge, and Behind the Sky,

going to change me.” He continues, “Then, other

a Japanese tea house. All utilized recycled or

people tell me that I can be whatever I want to

salvaged materials along with other earth-

be.” Billingsley assures him that “the sky is the

friendly technologies.

limit” for him, and helps him realize these tough times will only cause him to grow as he turns his

Proceeds from recent fundraisers have gone

struggles into something positive for his future.

toward a new CVHN initiative named Just for VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


“Anybody can do it, any community can do it. We’re an area of volunteers.” —Trisha Carlisle-Northcutt

Grins. CVHN estimates that, over the last three

potential to develop into more serious and even

2007 Good Neighbor Honorable Mention. So

years, 50% of the needs to which they respond

life-threatening issues. Eligibility for Just for Grins

far in 2008, she has also been a recipient of the

are related to dental care issues, and 90% of these

services breaks down to a simple structure. If

Jefferson Award.

needs are for emergency dental work. Just for

the Pre-K through third-grade student is on the

Grins includes a mobile dental clinic housed in

free or reduced lunch plan (which includes up

Volunteers and generous healthcare professionals

a newly-purchased bus that will rotate to area

to 64% of Walton County school children), they

who serve in a variety of capacities make all the

elementary schools, offering preventative dental

are eligible for these quality services.

difference to these kids and are always needed

procedures such as dental exams and x-rays once

and welcome. If you would like to donate your

a year, and cleanings, fluoride treatments, and

To date, approximately ninety physicians, dentists,

time or give financially to this charity meeting

sealants twice a year to each eligible child.

therapists, and other healthcare professionals have

a crucial need in our community, please contact

generously donated their time to CVHN. “Any-

CVHN using the following information:

“The community’s need for a program like

body can do it, any community can do it. We’re

Just for Grins is overwhelming,” according to

an area of volunteers,” says founder Carlisle-

CVHN Executive Director Dr. Mary Konovsky.

Northcutt. She continues, “I would like to see

“We are being very warmly received at all Wal-

many of the communities take care of their chil-

ton County elementary schools because the

dren in this manner.” For her efforts, Carlisle-

school principals and other personnel know how

Northcutt received the Emerald Coast Association

important it is for their children to have healthy

of Realtors Humanitarian Award, the South

teeth. Pain from a toothache can distract a child

Walton Realtor of the Year award, and the

from learning or even keep them home instead

Good Neighbor Certificate of Merit Award in

of at school.” As Terry Beth’s experience high-

2006. In 2007, she was given the Florida Asso-

lights, many untreated dental problems have the

ciation of Realtors Humanitarian Award and the


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Dr. Mary Konovsky Children's Volunteer Health Network, Inc. P.O. Box 2142 Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 phone: (850) 622-3200 fax:  (850) 622-5434 email:

Cottages for Kids

Event Grand Opening & Media Day Saturday, November 8th East Long Green, Rosemary Beach

Cottages on Display November 8th - 29th

Premiere Party Thursday, November 13th, 5:30 - 7:30 pm Rosemary Beach Town Hall, Rosemary Beach Sponsored by Townsend Catering

Auction Date Saturday, November 29th

Cottage for Kids Design and Construction Teams for 2008 Archiscapes, LLC — Architect CJB Construction — Builder Thurber Architecture — Architect Regal Stephens — Builder Por ter Smith Design, Inc. — Interior Designer

Architect — Sabatier La Barbera Builder — Susannah Rice, Builder Architect — Margaretten Architecture Builder — Ederer Construction, Inc. Interior Designer — Design Spectrum Group

Gary Justiss Architect — Architect Ar tisan of Seagrove Beach, Inc. — Builder

Architect — Chancey Design Par tnership Builder — John Willis Homes

Lifestyles Design Group — Architect Dixon-Kazek Construction, Inc. — Builder

Architect — Studio-A-Architecture Builder — Davis Dunn Construction

Tim Tricker — Architect Freepor t Steel & Framing — Builder

Architect — Studio I Architecture Builder — Sunset Builders

Alys Beach Resor ts — Architect Alys Beach Construction — Builder

Architect — Fouquet Architecture Builder — Auburn Builders

Braulio Casas Architects — Architect Jodi of Arkon Group, Inc. — Builder

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Photos courtesy of Mercy Ministries

BeautyAshes from

By Crystal Hamon

“A needle and a spoon consumed my life, followed by the torment of how my next fix would come. When I arrived at Mercy Ministries, I knew it was my last hope,” said Amy, a Mercy Ministries graduate. Amy is just one of countless girls all over the world to experience a transformation from Mercy Ministries. “I was scared and broken, but when I walked through the doors, I could actually feel the tangible love and peace of God. Little did I know that my life would be changed forever."


eeting founder of Mercy

course of a day will astound you—she seems to

Ministries Nancy Alcorn,

defy gravity. It’s easy to see how she became a

a petite, blonde dynamo,

role model for so many young women.

is an experience to remember. She is engaging, warm and energetic, and she has a great fashion

In 1988, Nancy was returning from a hectic

sense. Her obsession with sports is rivaled only

conference in Las Vegas. Exhausted, she was eye-

by her love of helping girls in need. A can-do

ing the one remaining empty seat on her plane,

spirit and sheer determination, along with an

which happened to be right next to her. Just

unwavering faith, guide her daily. Watching her

before the boarding door closed, a man stepped

work and seeing what she accomplishes in the

onto the plane and took the seat. “At first, I VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Nancy Alcorn Photo by Jessie Shepard

"We want to make the homes really nice because when we tell the girls they are valuable and precious, we need to back that up with the facilities and care that we provide for them.” ~ Nancy Alcorn

closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep,”

hadn’t been good people around to give his birth

offered no tangible results for girls who were fac-

Nancy recalled. “I was just so tired. I didn’t want

mother good advice and the help she needed,

ing serious personal issues. Some kids died from

to talk to anyone. I just wanted to sleep.” But

then he wouldn’t be alive. His adoptive mother

drug overdoses, some were killed in gang fights,

the man nudged her, asking how much money

had died the year before he met Nancy, and he

some ended up in prison and some committed

she had lost in Vegas. Finally, she sat up and ex-

was looking for a worthwhile cause to which he

suicide because they felt that they had no hope.”

plained that she hadn’t been to Vegas to gamble.

could contribute a portion of his inheritance,

Surprised by her answer, he inquired what she

in her memory. When asked how much money

In January 1983, tired of watching girls return

did for a living. She told him that she had just

she needed to complete the project, Nancy

to their destructive environments, Nancy de-

opened a home for girls in crisis called Mercy

said, “$150,000.” He replied, “You’ve got it.” It

cided that there had to be a better way. Ready

Ministries. Nancy handed him a brochure and

was then that Nancy realized provisions would

to make a difference, she founded Mercy Min-

didn’t think anymore of it.

somehow always be made to fulfill her dream.

istries. Mercy treats girls ages 13-28 who are in crisis with a variety of life-controlling issues,

Three weeks later, Nancy received a call from

It was a dream woven from eight years of expe-

including eating disorders; self-harm; sexual,

the man on the plane. He had been haunted by

riences working for the state of Tennessee, first,

emotional and physical abuse; drug addiction;

their conversation and asked about projects that

at a correctional facility for juvenile delinquent

depression and unplanned pregnancy. Its mis-

she was working on. She explained that she was

girls, and then investigating child abuse cases.

sion is to provide residential facilities not only

currently in the process of building a new wing

During that time, Nancy became frustrated by

to treat the symptoms but also to heal the whole

to the Mercy home in Monroe, Louisiana, to

what she considered to be a failing system. “I

person: physically, emotionally and spiritually.

take in and care for pregnant girls. Upon hearing

experienced firsthand all of the government pro-

Each facility, or home, has individualized pro-

this, the man started to cry and explained that

grams that sounded good and looked good on

grams, biblically based counseling, nutrition

40 years ago he was born to a teenage girl as a

paper, but the reality was that lives were not be-

education, fitness instruction and educational

result of her violent rape. He knew that if there

ing changed,” she said. “These broken programs

opportunities. Transitional care is provided to


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Nancy was invited to greet Air Force One when President George W. Bush visited Nashville in 2003. President Bush told Nancy, “You are God’s foot soldier in the army of compassion.”

Photo courtesy of Mercy Ministries

prepare each girl for success in today’s society, including extensive life skills training as well as assistance with housing, transportation and educational or job placement. The average stay at a Mercy home is six months, but this varies depending on the difficulty of the problems and how quickly the girl heals. The only prerequisite for admission is the desire to



Aly's Journey


sat on my bed bleeding onto the sheets after cutting my arms and legs. I

had come to the conclusion that there was no hope for me anymore. Extremely

depressed, I struggled with general anxiety disorder and had become an insomniac.” As a freshman in high school, Aly was given several medical diagnoses for mental/behavioral

be there and a willingness to change. “Parents

disorders and prescribed numerous medications. “What was really wrong, was that I was

can’t just send their daughters here; the girls

dead on the inside. I was bitter, angry, hurt and afraid. I was promiscuous, passed around

must want to come,” Nancy explained. “The girls

and used.” Beyond the medical labels, Aly was labeling herself. “I would binge drink and abuse

are told up front that this is a faith-based organization, but they do not have to be Christians

painkillers. I was a cutter, a burner and a self-mutilator. I was out of control and incapable of

to be admitted.” An extensive application and

digging myself out of the pit.” She goes on to describe how, when showering, she would literally

medical examination are also required because,

try to scrub all the “dirt” off. “I could never seem to get clean—scrubbing my skin and scalp

even though Mercy is not government funded, it is licensed by the government and adheres to

until they were raw.” Eventually, Aly had a psychiatric breakdown and overdosed on drugs.

those standards. Pregnant girls are given priority

While at the psychiatric ward, she read Echoes of Mercy, a book chronicling Nancy’s journey

since there is a limited window of time to pro-

in establishing Mercy Ministries. At that moment, Aly made a decision—a decision to live.

vide them the help they need. For birth mothers who choose adoption, Mercy provides in-house

“As soon as I arrived at Mercy Ministries, I knew I was right where I needed to be. I don’t

adoption services; and for those who choose

know quite how to describe it, but I could actually feel the love in the home.” During her time

parenthood, they offer childcare, budgeting and

at Mercy, she transformed into a new person. “I was becoming whole for the first time in my

other life skills classes. Nancy said, “I’ve always believed that instead of fighting whether abor-

life, and as I became whole, there was less room for all the bitterness and fear in my life.” Even

tion is right or wrong, we should find a practical

her physical scars began to fade as her heart healed—some miraculously disappeared.

way for the girl who is in that situation to have a true choice.” VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


funds; and (3) give at least 10% of all the donations that the ministry receives to other deserving charities. Private donations from individuals and corporations provide the primary support for Mercy Ministries. Nancy said, “Although Mercy has never built up a savings account or had extra money, we have never had bills go unpaid.” Another way funds are raised is through public speaking events. One of Mercy’s strongest global partners is the Australian-based Gloria Jean’s Coffees. In June 2008, Nancy was invited to

Pastors Tom & Jane Hamon with Nancy Alcorn Photo courtesy of Mercy Ministries

speak at their international convention in Dubai, UAE, to help raise awareness. Other donations

Everything about Mercy Ministries has an air of

money dries up. “One day, after living through

are generated through fund-raising events, such

quality and excellence, from the capable staff to

my fifth suicide attempt—a massive overdose of

as the annual celebrity softball game hosted by

the polished facilities. Most counselors hold at

pills, alcohol and extensive self-harm—I came to

Jeff Fisher, head coach of the Tennessee Titans

least a master’s degree in counseling, psychol-

Mercy Ministries,” related Giovanna, a Peruvian

and longtime friend of Mercy Ministries. Fisher

ogy or a related field. Many hear about Mercy’s

Mercy graduate. She describes how different her

describes his involvement with Mercy, saying,

work and expect to find an institutional facility,

experience with Mercy was from other treatment

“This experience has been both an honor and

run-down and underfunded. Instead, they are

facilities. “I think it was the unconditional love

a privilege, as I have seen firsthand the lives of

surprised to find a beautiful, sophisticated, cozy

that kept me there… it blew me away. I had been

young women forever changed through the

and homelike environment. “We want to make

in so many treatment centers that were all about

Mercy program.” He also donates $10,000 to the

the homes really nice because when we tell the

the money. Girls were being kicked out because

ministry every time the Titans win a game. Still other contributions come from churches, min-

“Nancy is so gifted, compassionate and yet down to earth. She has done an amazing job of expanding her vision all over the world. Seeing so

istries, charities and non-profit organizations. Last year, when Joel Osteen was approached by American Greetings to write greeting cards, he

many girls’ lives changed is truly inspirational.”

agreed with the stipulation that Mercy Minis-

- Pastor Jane Hamon

would be printed on the back of the cards along

tries receive all the proceeds and that this fact with Mercy’s web address.

girls they are valuable and precious, we need to

their insurance didn’t cover their treatments any-

back that up with the facilities and care that we

more. Mercy Ministries was free of charge! That’s

The first Mercy home to open was in Monroe,

provide for them,” Nancy said.

when I realized that they did care about me.”

Louisiana. Since then, they have opened homes in Nashville and St. Louis, with the first West

So many other facilities charge exorbitant

But, of course, money is necessary to continue to

Coast home scheduled to open in Sacramento

amounts of money, only to offer less effective

provide high-quality homes, care and attention.

the first of next year. In addition, there are five

treatment. “It’s a big business,” Nancy stated. She

When Nancy established the ministry, she did so

international locations, including Australia,

hears story after story about girls, whose parents

with three foundational principles: (1) take the

New Zealand, Canada, Peru and the United

have drained their savings and retirement funds,

girls in free of charge, so they never think Mercy

Kingdom. “It’s amazing how the same problems

at facilities charging up to $2,000 per day only

is profiting from their pain; (2) never take mon-

exist in every nation, despite cultural differences

to be shown the door with no results when the

ey with strings attached, including government

and national boundaries,” Nancy continued. “So


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

we figure, if this model works here in America, why not use it as a template to help the many young women around the world who need it.” Future homes presently being planned in the United States include Charlotte, North Carolina; Houston, Texas and, most recently, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. The new Mercy home in Florida will be lo-



Michele's Journey


ichele began cutting herself with sharp objects at age 4 and starving herself at age 13. By then, she was already

on several medications for depression. Her father, a serious alcoholic who physically, emotionally and sexually abused her, died when she was 18, sending her into what she describes as “the darkest place I have ever known.” She stopped eating, going to school

cated on the Emerald Coast, nestled just be-

and even talking. She saw a dozen different psychiatrists and twice as many therapists

low the Choctawhatchee Bay on Highway 331

with 15 hospital admissions. She was being kept alive by a combination of feeding tubes,

near South Walton County’s new municipal district. This home promises to be of the same

locked doors, a restriction from sharp objects and a 24-hour watch by hospital staff. She

high caliber that is the spirit of all of the other

remembered, “Nothing was helping. I became more and more desperate to escape it.”

Mercy homes. It started about two years ago,

When she first came to Mercy, she doubted their ability to help her because no one had

when Nancy was working with local realtor Jim Ryan, who was helping her find some personal

been able to help before. But when she walked through the door, she was overwhelmed.

property in Walton County. “I began to feel a

“I found myself in a gorgeous home full of unconditional love and surrounded by people

tug on my heart to open a home here,” she said.

who spoke life into me! I walked out feeling empowered, restored and renewed, with a

“There is nothing like a Mercy home in the state of Florida that I am aware of.” She asked Jim to investigate a possible location for the new proj-

pure joy that overflowed from me.” Michele has since earned a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and is presently pursuing her Ph.D. in psychology at Vanderbilt University on full scholarship with an academic focus on children and

"The warmth of the people, along

adolescent mental health. Michele, who society once saw as a throwaway, has become

with the beauty of the surround-

an educated person with the vision and skill to establish and run a transitional care

ings make it a perfect setting for

facility for young people who are suffering as she once did.

young people who are working through difficult issues.” ~ Nancy Alcorn

ect. Florida State University women’s basketball coach and longtime supporter of Mercy Ministries Sue Semrau stated, “I couldn't be more excited about Mercy coming into the state of Florida. As a coach, I've seen hurting girls who need love and counsel from professionals. Having referred some of my players to Mercy, I have witnessed how truly effective it is. God has gifted the staff at Mercy with the ability to provide the atmosphere and tools for young women to work out the change God has for them."

Mercy Home Photo courtesy of Mercy Ministries

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Their initial meeting dates back to a Louisiana conference in 1988. In 2001, Nancy invited the Hamons to speak to the girls in the Nashville home. Since then, she has made a point of bringing the Hamons into various Mercy homes at least twice a year. “Bringing in Pastors Tom and Jane is so strategic for us,” she said. “They have been a huge encouragement to me, my staff and all the girls at Mercy.” Pastor Jane, who travels the world to work with many ministries, stated, “Of all the places I go, the time I spend at Mercy is by far the most rewarding. Nancy is so gifted,

Burney Lamar, Nancy Alcorn and Niki Taylor Photo courtesy of Mercy Ministries

compassionate and yet down to earth. She has done an amazing job of expanding her vision

Nancy’s fascination with the Emerald Coast be-

been very well received by leaders in the area. “I

all over the world. Seeing so many girls’ lives

gan years ago, when making annual trips with

had the opportunity to meet with Dawn Mo-

changed is truly inspirational.”

friends from college to stay at Mainsail in Mira-

literno, president of the Walton County Cham-

mar Beach. They would frequent Bud & Alley’s,

ber of Commerce, and my time with her was so

In April 2008, Mercy Ministries International

a popular beachfront restaurant in Seaside. “I

helpful and informative. I was taken by both her

celebrated its 25th anniversary during a week-

just fell in love with this area,” Nancy said. “It

professionalism and her warmth. I also had the

end full of events in Nashville. On Thursday

has always been a dream of mine to buy a place

wonderful privilege of meeting the mayor of

night, over 800 people attended a gala dinner

in this area.” Recently, that dream was fulfilled

Rosemary Beach, Lee Sage, along with a number

held under a large tent in the middle of LP Field

when she became a homeowner in Seagrove.

of their current residents. I can’t imagine ever

hosted by Kevin Mawae of the Tennessee Titans

“Because of the great love that I have for Walton

being with a group of more wonderful people.

and Shelley Breen of the music group Point of

County, I think I am more excited about having

This only confirms my excitement about being a

Grace. Supermodel Niki Taylor also made an

a Mercy home in this area than any other home

part of Walton County as we plan for our future

appearance with her husband, NASCAR driver

we have ever opened. The warmth of the people

home in this area.”

Burney Lamar, to celebrate the milestone. “Be-

and the beauty of the surroundings make it a

ing in the world of modeling, where everything

perfect setting for young people who are work-

Nancy’s ties to the area were strengthened by

is about appearance, I know all too well how the

ing through difficult issues.” She added that the

her relationship with local pastors and interna-

world places an emphasis on what we see on the

impending opening of the new Mercy home has

tionally known speakers Tom and Jane Hamon.

outside,” Taylor said. “Girls often resort to selfdestructive patterns. I personally support the

Nancy has several publications including Echoes of Mercy and a series of issue-related books. If you know of a girl who needs help, would like to make a donation to this very worthy cause or are interested in the developments of the Florida home, please contact Mercy Ministries using the following information. Nancy has offered to send a complimentary copy of Echoes of Mercy to anyone who contacts Mercy and mentions this article in VIE in an effort to continue the dialogue with this community.

work of Mercy Ministries because I have person-

Mercy Ministries of America Corporate Office P.O. Box 111060 Nashville, TN 37222-1060 USA

mer graduates came to celebrate the weekend.

Tel: (615) 831-6987 General Fax: (615) 315-9749 Admissions Fax: (615) 831-9953 E-mail:


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Or contact Selah Hirsch for information on the Florida location. Selah Hirsch Director of Community Relations P.O. Box 1282 Fenton, MO 63026-1882 Tel: (636) 326-2015 Fax: (636) 326-2082

ally witnessed the changed lives.” The next night, a Celebrate Mercy Concert was hosted by 2004 Miss America, Ericka Dunlap. Two hundred for-

At any given moment, roughly 700 girls are on Mercy’s waiting list in the United States alone; some have died while waiting to be admitted. At Mercy’s 25th anniversary celebration, Kyle and Victoria McCarter shared the story of their daughter, Amber, who died of a drug overdose

while on the waiting list. “That’s why we’re working so hard to get new homes built and new monthly partners on board – so we can help more girls,” Nancy stated. “The most challenging part of what I do is knowing that girls are dying while waiting to be helped.” Debbie Harvie, a graduate of the United Kingdom home, recognizes the difference between Mercy and other treatment facilities, saying, “I really felt that I didn’t need rehab; I didn’t need someplace that would just treat the symptoms of a broken heart. I needed somewhere that could help me interpret the aching of my heart.” Nancy feels that the government specializes in changing behavior, but God specializes in changing hearts. She finds a profound difference between other institutions that instill the victim mentality into their patients, telling them that their disorders and addictions are permanent conditions with which they will have to cope, and Mercy’s message of faith that says they can have a new life if they choose it. Nancy strongly believes in spiritual healing, stating, “Jesus Christ is really who He says He is, and He can make a difference.” In February 2008, an independent market research firm conducted a survey of 400 anonymous former Mercy residents and found that 93 percent of graduates from Mercy said that their lives were transformed and their hope restored because of their experiences at Mercy Ministries. That’s in great contrast to Nancy’s previous work with government programs, where the projected success rate was only 3 percent. She added, “Not a day goes by that I don’t get a letter or an email from a girl who has been through the program saying, ‘Thanks for saving my life.’” One of her greatest joys is that “quite a few of the girls have gone on and received degrees in counseling and different areas and have come back to work for us as staff members in our homes around the world.”

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Kelly Beasley (left) with student, Angela Ragsdale

The enlightenment took place three months into my training at The Pilates Studio at the Atlanta Ballet, while taking a session from Romana Kryzanowska. (She is considered by many to be the “Master Teacher” of Pilates.) So… Let’s rewind to about ten months before the time I took that enlightening session with Romana… (Harp music here.) You have probably heard about Pilates (from “Mari Winsor Pilates” infomercials and the like), and the miracles it can do for your body. I did too, back in 1998, and decided that teaching the method was right up my alley. I thought, “Hey, you’ll learn a new skill and reap the benefits of getting a miraculous body change at the same time!” So, I applied and qualified for the training at The Pilates Studio in Atlanta.

Work It! The best things in life usually don’t come easy.

Prior to that particular session, I had taken many sessions already – at least seventyfive private Pilates sessions, two one-week intensive training workshops, and a full twomonths worth of daily rigorous training, learning and observation of The Pilates method. Surely, I was not a beginner! Oh, how wrong I was! At the time, I remember wondering when the “miracle” of getting longer, slimmer and/or

By Kelly Beasley / Photography by Jessie Shepard

stronger would apply to me. Heck, all the stars were raving about it; many people claimed that it had whittled their waists; they got longer


muscles, lost weight, and gained strength. So what about me? I hadn’t really seen any change in myself. (Dangiiiiit!!) Still, I continued going ome on! You’ll only get out of this what you put into it!”

through the motions, just knowing that soon enough I would see the

I often say this to students attending my Pilates class at

magical transformation. I really did not put in much effort. But, I kind of

WaterColor. The powerful meaning of the phrase became

thought I was at the time.

a staple of the way I teach waaaay back in the “olden days” of my Pilates apprenticeship in 1999.


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

And then… it happened.

“How could I possibly be this sore? I have been doing this for almost a year!”

One day while walking by the full-length mirror in my room, I ALMOST

my intensity. I would pretend that Romana was there watching me.

fell over. It had actually WORKED! I mean, it was unbelievable! I had

That’s when things really did start to change! First, I quickly became

literally become longer, taller and leaner! I EVEN put on some high

much stronger and more flexible. Later, I got a tad “longer” (from 5’-3

heels and kept freaking out, looking at myself in disbelief, at my new,

¾” to 5’-4”!) from learning to hold myself up correctly, not from muscles

svelte, longer figure in the mirror. HOW could it really happen that fast,

or bones lengthening, as you may hear some Pilates “professionals”

and how could I look THAT DIFFERENT?? WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!

claim – that’s medically impossible. You may lose a little weight and look leaner, sure. I did get a bit leaner at the time, but it was from trying

Until… (“Downer” music here.)

the Atkins diet and from doing Pilates four to six times a week.

Reality entered the scene. I realized that the mirror was propped up

I have never forgotten that session; and I know that I am still benefiting,

against the wall, causing it to curve, so it behaved just enough like

to this day, from the lesson I learned.

a fun house mirror to make me look taller and skinnier!!! Oh, the disappointment!!! (Arrrrgghhhhhhh!!!) I pushed the base of the mirror

Does the following sound familiar to you?

to the wall, and there was the shorter, stubbier, normal me looking right back, once again! (Sigh.)

“Barely move, for less than three minutes a day, and look like Joe “X” or Jane “Y”!! Amazing results guaranteed!” or, “Check out the new

Fast-forward to my 1999 session with Romana…

Ab-alizer!! Sit at your desk and it contracts your abs FOR you! Just look at Suzie Homemaker… she lost fifty-two pounds in just five weeks,

If you are getting on your Reformer (a piece of equipment that is


specific to Pilates that some people might compare to a torture rack!) with the Master Teacher of the method about to train you, you

We see new fitness “gadgets” popping up all the time. Their commercials

aren’t going to waste her time by leisurely moseying through your

will have doctors making claims and people giving testimonials, show

workout, right? I put my ALL into that session, did my absolute best to

before and after photos and offer money back guarantees. You know

impress her, which resulted in complete loss of all muscular function by the time we were finished!! Okay, maybe it wasn’t THAT bad, but I had never been so fatigued that I was quivering before! It was a completely different experience from any other session that I had ever been through – especially two days later when just BREATHING brought searing pain! I remember thinking to myself, “How could I possibly be this sore? I have been doing this for almost a year!” And that’s when I realized that I had been getting out of it what I had been putting into it – very little. I had been doing some moves leisurely and waiting for the miracles to happen. From then on, I upped VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

what I am talking about… you’ve seen them, and have probably (like me) sometimes found yourself unable to change the channel! It’s mesmerizing! And almost always WORTHLESS! Bummer, eh? Ninety percent or more of these items are sold to you in a manner that preys on you psychologically. (They use the marketing principle called “social proof.”) “But wait, there’s more!!” They do this because the tactic WORKS! The fact is, there are no shortcuts with fitness. In fitness, as in life, you only get out of it what you put into it. If it’s done leisurely and you never get uncomfortable, you probably aren’t putting enough into it. Most people do not work out at a high intensity. Unfortunately, they don’t know any better and actually aren’t doing much to shape, change or challenge their bodies. Our bodies are well-oiled machines. They are designed to become good at what we challenge them with. Therefore, regular activities that you do daily are quite easy for your body to do. Your body has adapted to them. (We could be talking about walking, standing, sitting or exercising on the elliptical machine four times a week at level six for thirty minutes.) Your body is not really challenged by these activities anymore. Therefore, for you to become more fit, or to force your body to adapt to new stimuli, you must change something. You can change the mode, duration, intensity or weight. Just remember… once something becomes rather easy, it’s not challenging your body anymore! This is critical to health and fitness. There are no shortcuts. Aren’t the best things in life usually the things that don’t come easy? Health is definitely one of the best things in life – in my book! I am going to work for it! Try putting just a little more effort into anything you would like to improve in your life and see what happens! Go ahead… Make your day!

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Kelly Beasley is a Certified Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor at WaterColor Workout. For more information about her services, or if you have questions on this article, call her at 850-622-5164, or go to her website at VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


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h i s t o r i c a l


r e s i d e n t i a l


c o m m e r c i a l




[ Dorothy Rieger lived and worked in New Orleans 1901 – 1961 ]


n New Orleans, a neighborhood restaurant is something of its own genre, usually defined by serving quality local fare. It is also

defined by moderately priced food with local atmosphere, just like you would find when you go to your friend’s or family’s home—or, in New

"Growing up between pots and pans taught me to appreciate the fine art of cooking with fresh local ingredients." ~ B A R N E S

Orleans slang, your mom ’n’ ems. Growing up in New Orleans, a town rooted in the tradition of people and great food, has made me who I am today. And, from a culinary perspective, I feel

learned about, and fell in love with, good food.

and Commander’s Palace, attract patrons from

that I have led a privileged life.

Growing up between pots and pans taught me

around the world. They owe their success, in part,

to appreciate the fine art of cooking with fresh

to the caliber and purity of the product they of-

My aunt, Dorothy Rieger, owned a restaurant at

local ingredients. When walking through the

fer. Whether they are using the finest crabmeat,

620 Chartres Street in the French Quarter. It was

streets of New Orleans, both today and when I

fish, or shrimp from local waters, Creole toma-

aptly named Dorothy Rieger’s Restaurant and

was growing up, I noticed that the restaurants

toes grown on the fertile Mississippi Delta, or

Bar. That was back in the 50s. The restaurant was

that have been able to survive the challenges of

strawberries from Ponchatoula, the common

located in the shadow of Saint Louis Cathedral

hurricanes and economic downturns (some for

thread that these successful restaurants share

and catered to patrons from the theater district.

more than 100 years) have always paid special

is an invaluable relationship with their local

It was a gathering place for entertainers, local

attention to their food and their neighborhood

growers and purveyors.

residents and tourists alike—and it was where I

clientele. Some of these restaurants, like Galatoire’s VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Smiling Fish Café


hroughout high school and college, I ate and worked in several New Orleans neighborhood restaurants such as

Mandina’s on Canal Street, Tony Angello’s in Lakeview, Bozo’s in Metairie, Liuzza’s in MidCity, and Mother’s in the Central Business District. Their menus were filled with Creole and Cajun classics like crawfish étouffée, smothered okra with shrimp and sausage, seafood-stuffed eggplant, and speckled trout. Simpler fare ranged from red beans and rice to seafood gumbo and po’-boys. The dishes were prepared simply to showcase their freshness. Eating at these local favorites was, more than anything, about flavor and comfort. Of all the memories that I have from that time in my life in New Orleans, what impressed me most was the fact that these local spots also provided a place where everyone from the community could meet—as if the restaurants themselves were a second home. This would be my inspiration for the Smiling Fish Café —I wanted to create the same experience I had growing up in New Orleans and bring it to the beach. I wanted to create a neighborhood restaurant that the locals could call their own. In the spirit of my New Orleans legacy, Smiling Fish Café follows a community-centered discipline that pays atten-


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

tion to our guests, food quality, and value—all in a comfortable beach atmosphere. I like to think that we are achieving this mission of consistency in quality and value since many of our customers dine with us three and four times each week. Paying special attention to the food may seem obvious to some, but Chef Javier and I, alongside our staff, design our daily specials around seasonal availability, using only high-quality local ingredients. Keeping the prices affordable and competitive is always challenging. We maintain close relationships with our local purveyors, Second from left: George's aunt Dorothy Center: Sandra & George with two-year-old George Center stool: George's sister Lisa Far right: George's grandmother Lucille

like Shueh-Mei and Charles Bush of Dragonfly Fields. Our weekly supply of fresh organic produce—key ingredients like heirloom tomatoes, arugula, fresh basil, scallopini squash, cocozelle zucchini, okra, and eggplant—is one of the reasons why the food tastes so good.

George’s 2nd birthday celebration at Dorothy Rieger’s Restaurant and Bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

When we first opened on Memorial Day weekend in 2000, we served lunch and dinner. After a challenging first year in business, we encoun-

under construction with its outdoor courtyard, I

the quality of life. Many people would argue that

tered the aftermath of 9/11. I immediately no-

envisioned a neighborhood café where families

the restaurant business is too demanding. But

ticed that the neighborhood became socially

and friends could gather. I saw a neighborhood

coming to work is really easy when your passion

withdrawn. In an effort to get people out of the

taking shape just like my Aunt Dorothy did

is serving quality food and being able to be part

house and into the community, I decided to of-

years before in New Orleans. I find satisfaction

of a great neighborhood. The Gulf view from the

fer a special menu on Tuesday evenings at an ir-

mentoring young talent in the culinary arts and

kitchen doesn’t hurt either.

resistible price. My hope was that people would

building a team. I moved to the beach to enjoy

be enticed to get back out into the community, to once again embrace local friendships and to feel good again. It also gave us the opportunity to use local ingredients on more upscale dishes like pan-seared andouille-crusted local grouper served with roasted corn macque-chou, Creole meuniere, and topped with crispy sweet potatoes; Dragonfly Fields organic grilled eggplant, fresh herbs, and tomato chutney; Creole barbecue shrimp; and arugula salad with champagne vinaigrette. Locals’ night was born and we con-

George & Robert Mondavi, Sr.

George & his mother Sandra

tinue the tradition to this day. We’re not trying to be the biggest fish on the highway. Instead, our biggest thrill is to see the same people each week, whether they’re vacationing in the area or have lived here for years. When

Smiling Fish Café is located in Gulf Place on the corner of Hwy 30A and County Road 393 in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. George Barnes is the owner and chef; Javier Medina is the Chef de Cuisine. Lunch is served Monday – Saturday and dinner is served on Tuesday evenings. Personal chef services and catering are also offered. Call (850) 622-3071 or visit for more information. Each year, George travels and explores places like New York, St. Barts, San Francisco, France and Italy in the quest for great food, wine and fellowship.

I saw the corner property at Hwy 30A and 393 VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Commander's Palace Dining Room Photo by Jessie Shepard

Commander’s Palace T







he larger-than-life Brennan family has owned and operated the 128-year-old

Commander’s Palace restaurant in New Orleans since 1969, but they have been coming to Destin to play for over 30 years. Now, the passion they have for each destination has merged with the much-anticipated opening of the second location of their famed eatery at HarborWalk Village on the Destin Harbor, Commander’s Palace and the On the Rocks Bar. Ti Adelaide Martin, her cousin Lally Brennan, and brother Alex Brennan-Martin have ushered in the spice of New Orleans to the Emerald Coast with a compelling menu of

locally sourced Southern and Floribbean ingredients and the restaurant’s signature haute Creole cuisine. Commander’s Palace adds the spice of the Big Easy by sustaining the rich New Orleans culinary heritage, native ingredients and techniques practiced by the locals.

Assiette of Florida Ceviche Photo courtesy of Commander's Palace VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Commander's Palace Dining Room Photo by Jessie Shepard

The Brennan clan carefully crafted this new venture pairing the chic formality of Commander’s Palace New Orleans with the relaxed atmosphere of the beach in Destin. The ambiance is casually elegant and inviting with a design that revolves around the vibrant views of

“He is the chef you dream of—he cares about every dish, day in and day out, and he’s so much fun to work with.”

- Lally Brennan on Danny Trace

Destin Harbor, offering stunning views of sailboats drifting by, fishing boats heading out and

temporary backdrop. In the main dining room,

guests. Just off the main dining room is an ele-

coming in, and an always-unforgettable sunset

you find various banquettes and tables that face

gant terrace, allowing guests even more intimate

for every single guest.

outward to take advantage of the views. The

views of Destin’s enchanting waterscape.

predominant colors of the dining room—deep When entering this newfound dining experi-

turquoise, cream and silver—are finely balanced

Commander’s Palace has served as the launching

ence, you are guided up a large white marble

throughout the space; hardwood floors and

pad of many now-famous chefs, including Paul

staircase, which is surrounded by an impressive

deep navy and black striped carpeting set off the

Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse and Jamie Shan-

wraparound two-story wine display. A stun-

cream colored chairs, each featuring an intricate

non. Today, the star of the kitchen in Destin is

ning, three-pendant chandelier with multiple

New Orleans toile fabric design on the back;

Executive Chef Danny Trace. Chef Danny was

silver cellidor spirals is suspended in the center,

and suspended round silver lamps add a grace-

born and raised in Louisiana and was an inte-

and a dramatic water wall with various white ce-

ful, modern touch. In the center of the dining

gral part of the Commander’s Palace Family

ramic fish scattered throughout provides a con-

room, numerous ceramic white birds float above

of Restaurants in that area for over ten years.


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

After losing his home to Hurricane Katrina, Chef Danny continued to give his highest performance, which eventually awarded him with this premier position in Destin. “Danny Trace is the complete package,” says Lally Brennan. “He is the chef you dream of—he cares about every dish, day in and day out, and he’s so much fun to work with.” Chef Danny’s menu balances modern Creole dishes and traditional favorites like Shrimp & Okra Gumbo with Southern and Floribbean flair. A few dishes getting some attention include the West Indies Blue Crab Salad, Caipirinha Lacquered Redfish and the Shrimp and Grits Nassau, all sourced from Florida’s shimmering waters and local markets. The Island Spiced Rum Cake and Creole Bread

Boyd Measure ad quarter page:Layout 1


2:28 PM

Page 1

Pudding Soufflé offer the sweet Caribbean and Creole flavor that Commander’s Palace customers have come to love. The extensive wine list and On the Rocks Bar aren’t to be overlooked either

Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin at On the Rocks Bar Photo courtesy of Commander's Palace

Is it working with experienced professionals to create a quality product? Is it watching their ideas come together before their eyes? Or is it the bottom line, knowing they are getting the most for their hard earned money? We say it’s all these and more. From the simplest business card to a full color magazine we will work with you to achieve your goals, time and time again. At Boyd Brothers we don’t want orders, we want customers


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VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Commander's Palace Stairwell Photo by Jessie Shepard

with cocktails like their signature Sunset on the Rocks that comes with a pair of sunglasses. “It’s already a hit!” says co-owner Lally Brennan.

“We invite Destin locals and visitors alike to join us for some eating, drinking and carryin’ on!” - Ti Adelaide Martin

Of course, it wouldn’t be Commander’s Palace without offering jazz brunch. Every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., a roving jazz band

and drizzled with vanilla bean cane syrup,

takes guests back to the rollicking hey-day of

Commander’s Palace makes jazz brunch a styl-

New Orleans’ jazz culture, a spirited institu-

ish festival for the senses.

tion in the Big Easy. The band often kicks off the celebration by playing for the cooks in the

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome guests

kitchen before brunch even begins. From the

to our new restaurant at HarborWalk Village,”

Eggs Cochon with sage buttermilk biscuit,

said restaurateur Ti Adelaide Martin. She con-

forever-braised pork and two delicate poached

tinued, “We invite Destin locals and visitors

eggs crowned with cracklin’ hollandaise to the

alike to join us for some eating, drinking and

Peaches and Cream Pain Perdu, with toasted

carryin’ on!”

pecan bread stuffed with Creole cream cheese


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Five Tomato Salad Photo courtesy of Commander's Palace

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



PLACES Photos by Allison Yii and Steve Arndt

25 Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament th

The Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament had its first major all-release billfish tournament on July 14, 2008. The highly anticipated tournament welcomed more than 10,000 attendees at Bay Point Marina July 9-13 to enjoy the live entertainment, an artist colony, local food, sponsor displays and, of course, the weigh-ins. Hollie Hundley, Cheryl Bruno, Luz Ocampo, Daniel Cantrell, and Brandi Richards

Tom Hedges, Allison Yii, George Kleinpeter, Laura Weems, and Chris Miller

Maria Galati and Dennis Hill

Gina Shiflett, Sandra Brooks, Piper Thomas

Arlene Newsome and Odessa Kelley

Inspired Inspired‌art for the soul. A new gallery in Seaside’s Ruskin Place celebrated its grand opening on August 1, 2008. Guests enjoyed authentic live African music performed by The Ogya Band and tastings of unique African cuisine.

Kim Ederer and Sandra Brooks Photos by Lisa Ferrick 50

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

thing of a local celebrity. His food creations and charismatic personality are garnering rave reviews and a loyal following by those attending the restaurant’s festive weekly food and wine pairings. Chef Innocent’s approach to cooking is grounded in simplicity and balance, using high-quality, authentic ingredients and uncompromising standards. He considers his food preparation an art form and he pours the passion he has for his craft into each of his food creations. Striving to bring a positive energy to all aspects of his guest’s dining experience, the dedicated chef understands that his leadership role sets the tone for the restaurant. He says his primary wish is for every guest to enjoy delicious food and want to come back again. “I have to be demanding and won’t settle for mediocrity,” said Chef Innocent, who becomes intense and animated when describing his aspirations for epicurean preeminence. “I am always striving to

Without Passion, It's Just Food. By Stacey May Brady

Nigerian-born Chef Innocent Utomi brings an international appeal and a goal of greatness to his culinary approach at Fleming’s.

be the best in class at all times. When one guest is not happy then I don’t sleep well that night.” Fleming’s dining menu is being complemented by the chef ’s nightly specials, which include fresh dishes influenced by the cuisine of Southern France, Italy and the Caribbean, and other places known for culinary excellence. Some of his new dishes are being influenced by his local following.

Photos by Jessie Shepard


“The people who live here and who visit this area he distance between the beaches

Beach. Chef Innocent, as he is called, hails from

have sophisticated palettes and often they are

of Nigeria in West Africa and the

Nigeria and is trained in classical French cooking.

world traveled. I’ve started creating dishes for

beaches of South Walton in North-

He brings his uniquely international experience

the locals. They are my first source of informa-

west Florida is about 6,200 miles – give or take

and passion for culinary greatness to the popular

tion and inspiration,” stated Chef Innocent.

a savannah or rainforest – and yet the desire and

restaurant and gathering place.

appreciation for an exceptional dining experience

As with many great chefs, his earliest cooking

with spectacularly well-prepared food crosses cul-

“If you don’t have passion, then nothing works!”

inspiration and training can be traced back to

tural and geographic boundaries, melting away

desclared Chef Innocent, who has an easy, irre-

his mother’s kitchen. Growing up in the middle-

differences while accentuating commonalities.

sistible manner. He is quick to smile and laugh,

class neighborhoods of the West African nation,

and his enthusiasm is palpable.

Chef Innocent inherited his mother’s passion

Chef Innocent Utomi is the new Chef Partner at

for cooking. Though he didn’t realize it at the

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar located

Having joined the Fleming’s team in January

time, he was learning a craft that would become

in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin in Miramar

2008, Chef Innocent has already become some-

his profession. By the time he was a teenager, he VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


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realized he had a gift as his family began looking forward to the meals he cooked when they vacationed at his uncle’s home. Chef Innocent ultimately pursued a college business degree at a London institute. While working on his degree, Chef Innocent apprenticed in a London restaurant under the tutelage of a preeminent chef. It was here that he learned the finer techniques of classic French cooking and began to consider cooking as a profession. After two years in London and with a business degree under his belt, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Rhode Island where he worked on a degree in accounting while expanding his food repertoire and cooking expertise in a fine Italian restaurant. Having now earned two degrees, Chef Innocent finally acquiesced and acknowledged he was destined to become a successful chef in his own right. He spent the next couple of years cooking in Miami, learning the finer points of American, Caribbean, Cuban and fusion cuisines. In 1995, Chef Innocent went to work as a chef for Capi-

“Everybody knows we are here! My goal is to keep going, to be the best and lead the pack in fine dining.”

- Chef Innocent

tal Grille restaurants, where he stayed for eleven years, becoming a chef trainer and growing the

new community. He recently took his family to a

like the recent Salvatore Ferragamo event, which

company from four to twenty-six restaurants.

local beach and was surprised by how much it re-

raised $60,000 for local charities.

minded him of his favorite beaches in Brazil. Chef Innocent had been aware of the award-

He is especially excited about meeting and getting

winning Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine

“It was perfect,” he said. “I’m living in one of

to know his patrons. “The people are very nice and

Bar for several years. Upon meeting with the

the best places in the world,” he added.

sweet in that warm Southern way,” he said.

He is particularly impressed with his new “home”

So far, his ambitions for Fleming’s are succeeding.

in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.

The restaurant celebrated its one-year anniversary

restaurant’s representatives, he immediately felt they shared common core values. “I was very impressed with their standards and

in June and continues to raise the bar for fine din-

how they care for family. Those are my priori-

“It reminds me of a European village and plaza.

ties. Your family is their family and they really

It is artistic and everything is close by. Everyone

care about your well-being,” said Chef Innocent,

takes care of one another. I was blown away,”

“Everybody knows we are here! My goal is to

who has been married for three years to Rio de

stated the chef about Grand Boulevard.

keep going, to be the best and lead the pack in

Janeiro-born Monique and is the proud father of a nearly one-year-old son, Mitchell.

ing in the region.

fine dining,” Chef Innocent stated. Chef Innocent is looking forward to the many upcoming events in which Fleming’s is involved.

With his engaging manner, passionate appeal and

The Utomi family is now living in South Walton

They include premiere wine events, exclusive

boundless talent, Chef Innocent is poised to be the

County and Chef Innocent says they love their

food and wine dinners and charity fund-raisers

brightest new star on the Gulf Coast culinary scene.

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


The Way We Were By Lisa Burwell

Family-Run Business Seventy Years in the Making The movie The Way We Were, with Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand, is one of George Solomon’s favorite movies. He has seen Titanic (1997) too many times to count, and he recalls watching the audience’s reaction to Saturday Night Fever when it first debuted in theaters. “It still sends chills up my spine,” he said. “All of these movies have what we call ‘legs,’ which, in movie industry jargon, means that they are moneymakers.” George is the owner of the New Orleans-based Southern Theatres, LLC, a movie theater chain of 18 theaters located throughout the Southeast, including The Grand 16 – Pier Park, which opened in Panama City Beach’s Pier Park over a year ago. George understands the business, but, what is more, it is in his blood—and he loves what he does.

“I’ve always known what I wanted to do, and that is to be in the movie business.” Having made several theater acquisitions and sales throughout his career, George is a true veteran of the exhibition industry. Throughout the years, he has carried out his family’s work. He now owns Southern Theatres, which currently employs over 1,400 people and operates the screens of the Grand Theatres and Amstar Cinemas in eight states: Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. George’s plans for growth attracted the attention of private investment company, Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS) who became an equity partner in 2005. George was previously the CEO of Gulf States Theatres, a family-owned business that was sold to AMC Entertainment and Entertainment Properties Trust in 2002. George has been in the theater business for over 25 years. “I’ve always known what I wanted to do, and that is to be in the movie business,” he stated. Not only is the business in his blood, it is also in his heart. “In the early 1930s, my grandfather owned 230 drivein screens in Louisiana and Mississippi, and I worked his concession stands in my teens,” he added. As drive-ins became obsolete, George’s father, Teddy “T. G.” Solomon, was amassing movie theaters from Texas to Alabama as chairman and CEO of Gulf States Theatres, 54

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

which he eventually sold to United Artists in 1986. With his wealth of knowledge and experience, T. G. served as president of NATO—the National Association of Theatre Owners—for two years; he is still well known in the industry. As the owner and architect of over 700 theaters in his lifetime, he is credited with revolutionizing the movie theater industry. Contemplating why he thinks people still go to the movies, George suggested, “There is a mystique to going to the movies—a kind of losing yourself.” He expounded on how the movie business is different from others

“It’s a rarity for a movie to actually make money on its own in theaters these days.” because it is a relationship business. He spoke of the 120-year-old industry with reverence and knowledge saying, “There have only been three significant shifts throughout the industry’s history: silent films to sound, arc lamps to xenon bulbs and traditional seating to stadium seating. With the high-glam marketing and record-breaking production budgets of today’s movies, most moviegoers do not realize that there is only nominal profit in today’s theater industry. The real money is made in ancillary markets, such as DVD sales, cable and pay-per-view. “These days, it’s a rarity for a movie to actually turn a profit in the theaters,” George said. “We had a good summer with Iron Man and Batman. Indiana Jones also did well. We do all of our business in shorter increments of time now—success is measured in weeks at the movies rather than months, as it was before.” He explained that the economics of the income stream have changed over the years but that the theaters are still the primary catalyst for the ancillary rights. “Theaters are almost considered the ‘opening act’ for the ancillary markets—if it opens strong at the box office, it is usually an indication that it will continue to do well once it leaves the theaters.” With a strategy of having the lowest-priced tickets in any given market, Southern Theatres has experienced a sales increase this year while others in the industry are posting flat sales. “It’s a strange business in that theater owners are completely dependent upon the quality of a product made by someone else,” George said. “If Hollywood makes a great movie that people want to

Photo courtesy of George Solomon

see, we are going to do well. If it’s a bust, then . . .” When speaking with him, it is evident that George loves what he does. He has the respect of his employees, and these days that is a coup equal to directing a great movie. Continuing and maintaining a family legacy is not an easy mantle to wear. He has successfully grown a business in a tough and changing industry these past six years while honoring his movie industry heritage. When you go to the Grand Theatre and Amstar Cinemas, remember that the owner loves movies as much as you and truly wants you to be entertained . . . as you escape to the movies!

From left to right: George Solomon - CEO Southern Theatres, Jim Tharpe - Paramount Pictures, Ben Stiller - Actor, Emmet Nicaud - Paramount Pictures VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Behind the Scenes & On Location By Lisa Burwell Photography By Sean Murphy


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



ornerstone Marketing and Advertising was hired a year ago to create a new brand identity for Southern Theatres. A brand can be invented or created for any company, but you need to know

where the company has been before you know how to guide it. We thank George Solomon for providing such a rich canvas on which to create the Grand Theatres and Amstar Cinemas brand for Southern Theatres, LLC. When creating a brand identity for a movie theater, you need to, first and foremost, understand why people go to the movies, what they feel when they are there and why they keep coming back. Unless you understand what makes a consumer keep coming back for more, focus groups, boardroom meetings or highly paid consultants will not help grow your company and lead it to where it needs to go. At Cornerstone, we have coined the saying “branding with soul.” If you can’t get to the raw emotion of a product or service, you’ve lost a fundamental core. Brands should always reflect a company’s philosophy, goals and experiences. The rich, fundamental history found in this family business provided us with an authentic, back-to-basics approach for crafting a new branding message, as well as for creating a new look. What I have found is that most businesses today refuse to think outside the box and approach marketing by imitating what others are doing. No matter how hard a person tries, a business cannot be grown this way…and in today’s economy, this could not be more true. George shared with us that, in lackluster economies, movie theaters usually see an increase in business when most other industries are experiencing a decline. This can be attributed in part to the fact that, even though people may have less disposable income, they will still go to the movies because it is less expensive than many other forms of entertainment. There is also a different dynamic to people’s psyches during economic downturns; they can find refuge and comfort in escaping to the movies. As a lover of movies, I will readily admit that going to the movies is a form of escapism for me. My husband and I go to the movies almost every weekend (…or, at least we did before we started a magazine). The fact that your cell phone must be turned off might be one of the best parts about going to the movies, coupled with a dark room and a large screen that promises to take you away for a VIE -VIE Fall- Fall / Winter 20082008 / Winter


few hours, allowing you to lose yourself in a story about love, intrigue,

wield his magic to bring our vision to life in a photo essay. This came

betrayal, the human spirit, honor, disgust, faith or mystery.

about because Sean is childhood friends with a Cornerstone employee and some of our business associates. He wanted to be able to say that

To that end, we created “Escape to the Movies” and built a brand around

he’d had a photo gig in his own “backyard,” so he agreed to do the

it. Escapism and entertainment merged. We built a new website; unified

shoot. It had to be on a pro bono basis because Sean is not allowed to

the advertising programs, business cards and direct mail pieces; and

take photos without his agent’s consent. Under normal circumstances,

helped launch the opening of a new theater in Greensboro, North Caro-

a photographer of his stature would have been untouchable with our

lina. We inherited the logo as cost factors prohibited us from changing it.

budget constraints. It reminded me of the saying “A prophet is with-

We also designed new concession packaging and special promotions,

out honor in his hometown.” For the record, Sean Murphy is an awe-

such as B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Baby) and Summer Kids Flicks. We are

some photographer and did an amazing job for us. To have this caliber

presently working on a company-wide loyalty program and creating the

of photographer shooting the images for the new Southern Theatres

pre-show for recently signed Screenvision. We are also working on cre-

brand was beyond “lagniappe.” Watching Sean, with his tattoo-clad

ating a corporate MySpace page, as well as continuing an aggressive

arms, work the cameras and assistants with precision made for a great

public relations program.

behind-the-scenes essay. I hope you enjoy!

This past March, we held a photo shoot to bring our “I laughed. I cried.

Check out and go to The Grand 16 – Pier

I fell in love.” campaign to life. We had the good fortune of having Fort

Park if you feel the need to escape to the movies!

Walton Beach native turned L.A. hotshot photographer, Sean Murphy,



VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


On behalf of the entire YOLO Board Family, a huge thank you to all of our generous and supportive sponsors, volunteers, spectators and 70 race paddlers that played a vital part in making the 2008 YOLO Board Stand-Up Paddle Series a remarkable success!

Sales / Rentals / Lessons 850.622.5760

Kialoa, Destin Real Estate Company, Destin Health & Fitness Club, VIE Magazine, Sun Landscape, Billabong Grand Boulevard, Wachovia Securities, Smoothie King, Copy Systems, Amavida Coffee, Aqua Surf Shop, Lovelace Interiors,, WaterColor, HarborWalk Village, Bud & Alley’s, Panhandle Surfrider Foundation.

YOLO Board is a proud member of the Florida Panhandle Chapter Surfrider Foundation. Visit


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Oasis Restaurant & Bar





C O U N T R Y Story & Photography by Kim Duke-Layden

My husband John and I recently enjoyed a whirlwind getaway savoring the sights, sounds and flavors of this diverse area of southern central Texas. Since our trip was limited to only three days and nights, our appetites were whetted for more and we vowed to return soon. Below are some of the most memorable moments of our inaugural trip.


We climbed the creaky staircase to our charming Victorian room. The sumptuous bed was made for a wonderful night’s sleep. Delicious gourmet breakfasts served in the inn’s elegant dining room were another highlight of our stay. Feeling rejuvenated, we began our hill country adventure with an action-packed day at Schlitter-

fter a long, draining workweek, I felt as

nished hallway of the Prince Solms Inn, built in

bahn Waterpark. It was also the reason we chose

worn out and exhausted as Cinderella

1898. Though weary, my pulse quickened as we

to stay in New Braunfels versus other hill towns.

did before she met her fairy godmother.

approached the dimly lit parlor of Texas’ oldest

For the past decade, Schlitterbahn has been vot-

I was ready to be swept up in a fairy tale of travel

continuously operating bed-and-breakfast. Would

ed “World’s Best Waterpark.” We couldn’t wait to

with magnificent sights, sounds and tastes. How-

we be greeted by the resident ghost, the jilted

reveal our inner child!

ever, it was nearly 1 a.m. when we arrived in New

bride-to-be who spent the past century searching

Braunfels, nestled in the lush Texas Hill Country

for her elusive groom? Thankfully, what awaited

While we enjoyed the park’s many attractions, the

thirty-five miles south of Austin. Like cat burglars,

us was even better – an irresistible plate of freshly

highlight was an unforgettable ride on the Master

John and I tiptoed down the long, antique-fur-

baked cookies! Mmmmmmmm.

Blaster – the ultimate uphill water coaster! Sitting VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Returning to the inn, we ventured down to the cellar for a nightcap at the Uptown Piano Bar, the area’s most popular nightspot. The bar’s unique atmosphere was intoxicating in itself: Victorian furnishings with erotic paintings! What a pictureperfect ending to a most delightful day! The next morning we traveled four miles northwest of New Braunfels to Greune (pronounced “green”). Situated on the Guadalupe River and settled in the 1840s by German immigrants, the former ghost town was resurrected in the 1970s and features historic, rustic structures converted into antique shops, art galleries, boutiques, eateries and B&Bs. Almost every

Returning to the inn, we ventured down to the cellar for a nightcap at the Uptown Piano Bar, the area’s most popular nightspot. The bar’s unique atmosphere was intoxicating...

store offered tasty samples. I shamelessly grazed on jalapeno peanut butter, Texan wines, spicy pickles and peppers, candied pecans, and an endless array of salsas and BBQ sauces. I left no stone unturned.

in a two-man raft, like a rubber rocket we blasted

Recent on New Braunfels’ culinary scene, Liberty

My favorite place was Greune Hall, Texas’ oldest

up and down six death-defying hills before plung-

Bistro has quickly achieved star status among lo-

country and western dance hall, built circa 1880.

ing into the pool below. Afterwards, all I could say

cals and visitors. The upscale eatery has an edgy,

Resembling a cavernous screened porch, the hall

was, “Wow! Sure, it was an amazing water ride,

lively vibe. Torn between the braised short ribs

has long wooden tables and benches that held

but was it the BEST in the world?” You betcha!

and the Dijon mustard and herb-encrusted rack of

a wide cross-section of listeners. Lone Star and

Colorado lamb, we took our server’s advice and

Shiner Bock were the beers of choice. Typically,

Back in our room, we dressed for a night on the

ordered the lamb. Exquisitely prepared and burst-

I’m not a fan of this music genre, but the soulful

town. Since the evening air was so pleasant,

ing with flavor, it was the best lamb we had ever

rockabilly sounds captivated me with cellos, man-

we walked the few blocks to downtown. As we

eaten! Washing it down with a hearty Tuscan red,

dolins, harmonicas and a trio of guitars. For more

strolled past the quaint town square, the clock

we were in hog, rather – lamb heaven!

than a century, countless music legends have per-

tower bells chimed, making me feel like I was in a European village. Rightly so, because New Braunfels has strong European roots. Founded in 1845 by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, it began as the first German settlement in Texas and is part of what is now known as the German Belt. New Braunfels’ heritage is reflected in its architecture, cuisine and culture. Tucked within the Faust Hotel, which first opened in 1929, is the Faust Brewing Company, a microbrewery with a classy, pub-like feel. Seated at the long granite bar, we drank the featured brew, Walter’s Brown Ale. With a hint of chocolate, it tasted delicious – and filling. Not wanting to spoil my appetite, I only had one. 62

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Tempting sauces in Greune

formed at this Texas institution. Commemorating our visit, I bought a souvenir CD. Reluctantly we “moseyed” on to the atmospheric Gristmill River Restaurant, formerly an 1870s cotton gin overlooking the Guadalupe. On a shady terrace, I sipped sangria from a mason jar. Gazing at the river, I longed to float in its cool waters – but exciting Austin beckoned! With Austin’s abundance of exciting sights, sounds and culture, the most daunting aspect of traveling there was deciding on where to go and what to see! Desiring to experience the real Austin, we sought out the favorite Austinite haunts and watering holes. The Austin Folk House, located near downtown Austin and the University of Texas campus, made for a comfortable stay. Folk art was hung in the dining room where lavish breakfast buffets were served. With all the added “extras,” it was a great value! For the best sunsets in Austin, those “in the know” travel northwest of the city into the rolling hills surrounding Lake Travis. There, perched high on a ridge is the mammoth Oasis Restaurant and

With a hint of chocolate, it tasted delicious – and filling.

Faust Brewing Company VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Kim at Greune Hall

sic and people-watching. Perched atop tall stools encircling the piano, we had the best seats in the house for an intimate concert – plus, a show with an ever-changing cast. Hopping aboard a pedicab – Austin’s version of a rickshaw – we capped off the evening with an impromptu ride around downtown. I didn’t want the night to end! After breakfast the next day, we walked the sprawling University of Texas at Austin campus. Soaring higher than the state capitol building was the clock tower. My favorite campus find was the 1894 Victorian home of George Littlefield, a turn-of-the-century cattle baron, banker and university benefactor.

My favorite place was Greune Hall, Texas’ oldest country and western dance hall, built circa 1880.

As the mercury rose to 100 degrees, we decided to “do as the Austinites do” and took a swim in Barton Springs in Zilker Park. Operated by the state, the three-acre, spring-fed pool averages a

Bar. Our balcony seats afforded us breathtaking

beef (slowly roasted) tacos topped with Hatch green

brisk, year-round temperature of sixty-eight de-

lake views. Below, countless decks and brightly

chile sauce and charro beans served whole with

grees. Under the intense Texas sun, the water felt

colored umbrellas cascaded down the hillside.

spices and tomatoes. Delicious! With entrees priced

refreshing. The pool had two surprising features

Margaritas flowed freely as the band revved

under $10, no wonder the locals love this place!

– its slippery, rocky bottom and its topless-friendly

up the crowd!

policy! Equally unexpected, in a city as large as In search of nightlife, we bypassed all the touristy

Austin, we recognized the sunbathers next to us

As I gazed across the azure waters and cradling

clubs on Sixth Street –even though some were

from the night before. It was a small Austinite world!

hills, the stunning scenery transported me back to

recommended by reputable travel guides – and

Santorini’s caldera sunsets, which, up until then,

escaped to Austin’s historic, grand dame hotel,

At Lake Austin’s Hula Hut, I ate the best fish tacos

were the most spectacular I had ever seen. The

The Driskill. Its piano bar, centered in the opulent

I’d ever eaten! Marinated and grilled sushi-grade

sun melted below the horizon followed by the

upstairs lobby, was the perfect spot for great mu-

tuna was served open-faced on homemade corn

clinking of glasses and cheers. I wasn’t in Greece, but the sunset was every bit as memorable! Austin is known for its endless dining choices and superb cuisine. Since we craved Mexican comida, we ate dinner at the original Chuy’s (Spanish for “buddy”) located in Zilker Park. Since the city’s unofficial motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” Chuy’s is quintessentially Austin and packed with boisterous locals. The quirky “Elvis Meets Vintage Hawaii” motif and hubcap-covered ceiling are a far cry from the typical, Mexican cantina decor. Our delightful hippie waitress, Happy (her full name was Happy Spring Day), recommended 64

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Barton Springs

tortillas and topped with avocadoes and a jalapeno lime sauce. Under the same ownership as Chuy’s, the de`cor is just as quirky and the locals seem to like the food just as much! Some other things that Austin is known for are the three big B’s: Bats, Barbecue and Bands! But with travel, sometimes even the best-laid plans go awry, resulting in the dreaded fourth “B” – a Bust! That’s what happened to us on our last night in Austin. We waited for over two hours but the 1.5 million bats never took flight. By then, most of the BBQ restaurants had closed, so we had to settle for the only joint still serving. And, because it was Sunday night, many of the nightclubs were dead. Bummer! John’s brilliant idea, however, saved the day!


We took an enchanting horse and carriage tour through the city’s historic and downtown districts. As we clip-clopped along, our driver entertained us with factoids about Austin’s historic past and present, while sprinkling in healthy doses of local legend and gossip. To our delight, when we passed by the state capitol, we saw the infamous bats circling the illuminated dome. And, while riding through the nightclub districts, live bands serenaded us with a mixture of rock, salsa and country. Looking up towards the heavens, I felt the travel gods smiling down on me. Like Cinderella, I had my happy ending!

Kim Duke-Layden is an avid international adventurer whose mantra is, “I have not visited Everywhere, but it's on my list!” She and her husband John live at Sandestin where she's worked for 14 years. VIE - Fall / Winter 2008





aseball is America’s favorite pastime. There is something about baseball, and the parks where it is played, that evokes childhood memories of summers past—your father playing catch

with you or taking you on your first trip to a major league ballpark and

by Tom Duffey

A visit to Fenway is a glimpse into a bygone era.

that great catch you made or home run you hit way back in Little League

discussed their ideas and plotted and planned, thus giving Faneuil Hall

or high school.

the nickname “Cradle of Liberty”; South Meeting House, where the Boston Massacre occurred; the Boston Tea Party Ship; the USS Constitution,

Boston is a city that is closely linked with American history. This nation

the United States Navy’s oldest commissioned war vessel and Bunker Hill,

owes a great debt to this unique city on the banks of the Charles River, for

where, in the heat of battle, that famous line was uttered, “Don’t shoot

it was instrumental in giving birth to and nurturing a young democracy

until you see the whites of their eyes!”

that has grown into the world’s lone superpower. You can walk the Freedom Trail and see some of the American Revolution’s most important

While those sites are important and worth a visit to Boston, there is an-

sites: Faneuil Hall, where Samuel Adams and his fellow revolutionaries

other historic site in the city that visitors from throughout the country,


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

indeed the world, come to see: Fenway Park, the oldest Major League Baseball stadium in the country. Fenway Park opened on April 20, 1912, six days after the Titanic went down, and it is the granddaddy of them all. A visit to Fenway is a glimpse into a bygone era. When you climb one of the tunnel ramps and approach the field, a sense of excitement and anticipation comes over you, and your heart begins to beat just a bit faster. When you enter the sunlight and get your first glimpse of that expanse of green, well-manicured natural grass and the towering left field wall—the “Green Monster”—you have arrived in baseball nirvana. You almost expect to see Tris Speaker roaming center field, tracking a fly ball in his drab and baggy wool uniform, with a small leather glove and plain black spikes. Or a young and somewhat slender Babe Ruth on the mound, hurling many a scoreless inning and instilling fear in opposing batters, not yet known for prodigious home runs (he only hit 49 of his 714 during his six years with the Red Sox). Most of his home runs would come after he was traded to the archrival New York Yankees in 1920, in the infamous trade that cursed Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox for

Fenway Park's "Green Monster"

86 years, until the “Curse of the Bambino” was lifted when the Sox won the World Series in 2004. But that’s another story. Fenway Park is no cookie-cutter stadium with the boring and predictable dimensions typical of most ballparks. You know the type—335 feet down

When you enter the sunlight and get your first glimpse of ... the "Green Monster" – you have arrived in baseball nirvana.

the left and right field lines, 375 feet in the power alleys and 410 feet in dead center. The playing field at Fenway is decidedly asymmetrical: 310 feet

Green Monster, and these quickly became the most desirable seats in the

down the left field line and 379 in left center and 390 in dead center and 420

park, if not in all of Major League Baseball.

feet just right of dead center, where the wall then takes an abrupt turn back toward home plate, creating an area known as “The Triangle.” If a ball is hit

Game day at Fenway Park is an event not to be missed. The stadium is a

to this area and caroms off the wall at the correct angle, you can see that

neighborhood stadium, built in the Fenway section of Boston near Ken-

rarest and most exciting of baseball plays: the inside-the-park home run.

more Square and Boston University. The stadium is no behemoth; it does

The wall then meanders to the right field line, where it is 380 feet in deep

not rise in the distance like some huge alien spacecraft, begging you to take

right center, and, then, curves toward home plate as you near the foul pole,

notice of it. Instead, it is an integral part of the neighborhood, its brick

making it a short 302 feet down the right field line. If you see an aerial view

façade blending imperceptibly with the architecture of the surrounding

of the playing field, it cannot be recognized as any sort of geometric shape

buildings. If you did not know of its existence, and were walking or shop-

known to mankind, which only adds to Fenway’s charm and quirkiness.

ping in Kenmore Square, and you meandered down Yawkey Way, you might ask yourself, “What is this interesting brick building?” Then, upon

The hitter is faced by Fenway’s most notable feature, the aforementioned

realizing what it is, you might say with surprise, “Oh, wow. This is Fenway

37-foot-high, 231-foot-long wall known around the world as the Green

Park!” Even Roger Clemens, upon his first visit to Fenway in 1984, did

Monster. The wall is so close to home plate, it looks as though a routine fly

not recognize it as a baseball stadium. When a cab driver took him from

ball, the proverbial “can of corn,” would clear it. Every guy who has ever

Boston’s Logan Airport to Fenway, Clemens thought the driver had made

played high school baseball thinks, upon seeing this wall, “I could put one

a mistake and told him, “No, Fenway Park, it’s a baseball stadium . . . this is

over that!” But what the wall giveth, it can just as easily taketh away. A

a warehouse.” The cabbie then pointed out the light towers, and only then

screaming line drive that hits the top third of the wall, which would most

did Clemens realize he had indeed arrived at Fenway.

likely be a home run in many other parks, often results in a single due to its proximity to home plate. Or there is a good chance the batter will be

The streets surrounding the park are closed a few hours before game time,

thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double for the very

and the street vendors set up shop selling hot dogs, sausages, pretzels and

same reason. Before the 2003 season, seats were added to the top of the

peanuts. The barking of the competing vendors provides its own unique VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


rhythm to the street and adds to the building anticipation of game time. The crowd arrives early to stroll the adjacent streets and catch batting practice. These are serious baseball fans—the bulk of them will be in their seats the full nine innings no matter what the score, no matter whether the Sox are winning or losing. Only out-of-towners and “pink hats”— those patrons who wear pink or other uniquely colored Red Sox hats, and not the traditional blue with the red letter “B” worn by the players—have the audacity to leave before the game is finished. This is not L.A. While other stadiums blare rap music or heavy metal in an effort to pump up the crowd, the Fenway faithful are serenaded by Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” Not exactly music to get a crowd excited, but at Fenway, there is no need for extraneous stimuli to keep the crowd up—the ballpark and

A sold-outFenway Park

the game on the field are enough. looks to continue. A total of 16,336,192 baseball fans have attended In 2007, the Today Show named Fenway Park (along with Chicago’s

games at Fenway Park during the streak.

Wrigley Field) one of the “Top Ten Most Beautiful Places in America.” Not bad considering the list included the Grand Canyon, Hawaii and

Make sure to visit Fenway Park at some point in your lifetime to get a

Arlington National Cemetery.

glimpse of baseball history. While in Boston, you may also want to see some of the Revolutionary War sites on the Freedom Trail—but only after

If you want to visit Fenway Park, make sure you plan ahead and buy tickets

you’ve gotten your fill of baseball at Fenway.

in advance because they are hard to come by. On September 8, 2008, the Boston Red Sox played in their 456th consecutive sellout at Fenway—a

Tom Duffey is an attorney with Keane, Klein & Duffey in Boston,

Major League Baseball record. The streak began on May 15, 2003, and

Massachusetts, and a part-time freelance sports writer.


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008






VIE - Fall / Winter 2008




By John David Sullivan, Price Rainer and Hunter Harman Photo by Jessie Shepard


ately, we are often asked these questions: How is it being a real estate

home sales along 30A in 2006; only 168 homes sold. Most market analysts

agent along the Emerald Coast these days? – Have we hit the bottom

acknowledge that 2006 was the peak of the local correction. In 2007, 240

yet? – Is now the time to buy? and What does the future look like for

homes sold, a forty-three percent increase over 2006; and 2008 is shaping up

real estate values? There are so many questions surrounding the real estate

to be a very good year. If current trends continue, we should be close to 320

market today, and with the credit and banking crises looming across the entire

homes sold for the year, a thirty-three percent increase over last year. Those

housing sector, we are not sure that we possess the answers. Our crystal ball

are telling numbers.

broke some time ago, so the only thing that we know to do is to look at the current trends in our marketplace and draw our conclusions from those.

People didn’t stop loving this place; they were just forced to reconsider where to invest their money.

Watching the financial analysts on Fox News and CNN will only scare you and all they seem to focus on is the poor health of our national housing situation.

Why the increase in sales? We live in one of the most beautiful regions of the

You may have heard the rule that every real estate market is localized, and we

world, with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. People didn’t

believe that. What we are experiencing along the Emerald Coast is completely

stop loving this place; they were just forced to reconsider where to invest

different from what the Memphis or Atlanta markets are experiencing. This

their money. We are generally considered to be a second-home market – a

real estate market (along the Emerald Coast) has seen a strong correction and

luxury for most people. If prices are at an all-time high and there are questions

many say it probably needed to happen. Speculative buying was encouraged

regarding the health of the economy, most buyers are going to sit back and see

by money that was easily obtainable and the property values became overin-

how things shake out. Once prices start correcting, it is very hard for people to

flated. We all knew it, but it did not appear to be slowing down, so buyers kept

feel comfortable buying that second home when they don’t have to. Why buy

buying. We wish that our crystal ball had been working then as it could have

in a declining market? Why not wait until the shakeout stops and then take

spared many of us considerable grief. Anyway, as banks started to tighten

advantage of the correction? That is what we have been dealing with for the

their requirements, and the general economy faltered, investors started to sell.

last three years. There has been a pent-up demand sitting on the sidelines

It seemed almost overnight that supply more than doubled and tripled in some

waiting for prices to get low enough to where they felt there was a substantial

areas. Suddenly we had a huge inventory and buyers were scarce. It was the

value in purchasing. We believe that our market hit that mark about eight to

ultimate recipe for a market adjustment – for the worse.

ten months ago and it is evident in the number of sales cited above.

So, when will things start to turn around? We believe that they have already

One glowing example of this along 30A is in the community of WaterColor.

started. The current trends in the market today are very encouraging. Look at

WaterColor home sales for 2008 are up seventy percent for the same period


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

in 2007. In 2007, we saw thirty homes sold from January 1 to July 31. For the same period in 2008, we have forty homes sold, with another eleven under contract. The fifty-one WaterColor properties that sold or were under contract through July is thirteen percent above the forty-five homes sold during all of last year. And, at the time these statistics were compiled, we still had five months remaining to the end of the year. These positive sales numbers tell only part of the story. You also have to look at the amount of inventory that is available and how it is being absorbed. Continuing to use WaterColor as our model, the inventory of homes is being absorbed at an impressive rate. There are currently 128 homes for sale on the market. Considering the current trend in sales, there is about 1.5 years worth of inventory on the market. Just two years ago, in 2006, we had almost 11.5 years of inventory available. All of these numbers may be a bit boring but, without that crystal ball, they are all we have to determine the current state of the market. So, why are people buying now? We believe that there are a couple of reasons. People can now see that prices are at a point where they can see real value, and they also can see significant improvements in infrastructure taking place. Since the current correction for our area began in 2005, we have seen major improvements to our local and regional infrastructure. New roads, new bridges, and new lifestyle centers have been opening all over Northwest Florida. We also have the first international airport under construction in the country since the Denver International Airport opened about twenty years ago. One of the greatest burdens faced by our market has been the limited availability of direct flights from outside the Southeast through two regional airports. The new airport is scheduled to open in 2010 and will allow us to bring visitors in from all over the United States and Europe, something many believe will fuel significant growth and demand for our area. With values now coming back in line, the continued absorption of inventory and a new international airport on the way, now is an opportune time to buy. The questions may still loom, but the answers seem to be clear. How does it feel to be a real estate agent along the Emerald Coast these days? you ask. Pretty exciting!

From Left to Right: John David Sullivan, Price Rainer and Hunter Harman Owners of Beach Properties of Florida - The statistics cited were the most current available at the time this article was submitted to VIE at the end of August.

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008




Sinfonia Swings on the Boulevard Sinfonia Gulf Coast jumped and jived the night away during their debut concert at Grand Park in Grand Boulevard. Candy girls were dressed in full attire from yesteryear while Playground Swing members and live dancers taught guests how to jump and jive. The evening was presented and cosponsored by Grand Boulevard and Tommy Bahama’s Tropical Café. Jessica Proffitt & Crystal Petti

Jamie Gummere & Chris and Heather Taylor

Nikki & Tom Owens

Mike & Stacey Brady

Ric & Lisa Nickelsen

Kim Henderson & Lori Eckert

Denise Boatwright & Laura Behr

Suite Soiree 2008 The Pensacola Museum of Art hosted the third annual Suite Soiree 2008 on Thursday, August 7. The theme event for this year was “Celebrate New Orleans.” Guests enjoyed an evening of wines, food and the artwork of Members’ Juried Exhibition. Proceeds benefited the general programming of the Museum. Beverly and Tom Vaughn & Laura Cole Photos by Lisa Ferrick 72

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008




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Exclusive Fashions for Men, Women & Children

Look for our new Shoe Salon coming this Spring. SEASIDE, FL

DESTIN COMMONS VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Polishing a Fading Dream . . .

. . . into a Brilliant Reality By Ki rsten R e e d

Photos courtesy of McCaskill & Company


rowing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Bill Campbell knew he was

Bill returned to his hardware stores determined to sell them and follow his

destined to take over the reins of a successful family-owned business one

dream, but the national economic picture was dim and inflation was high.

day. And dutifully, at the age of 22, he did just that. Bill ran a successful

He continued to grade diamonds while he waited five long years to sell his

hardware store, opened a second, and supplied much of the DeFuniak

business. Bill stated, “After we sold the business, we had to start all over

Springs area with building materials. But something was missing.

again!” He took $2,000–all he had to invest in his new pursuit–and bought a very small suitcase filled with jewelry.

Around his 40th birthday, after 18 years of operating a thriving hardware and building supply business, Bill realized he was no longer able to ignore

With a small tray of items and bigger ideas for future prospects, Bill went

the nagging desire to pursue his passion. Bill had grown to love a very dif-

door to door with his suitcase full of gems, grabbing any chance to sell his

ferent kind of hardware–jewelry. It was his grandmother, Gussie McCaskill

beautiful pieces. He traveled day after day to cities like Selma, Marianna and

Campbell, who had sparked this fondness for jewelry in him at a young age.

New Orleans to meet with potential customers.

Bill has tender memories of spending time with her. He remembers playing with his grandmother’s jewelry and cleaning her “special” diamonds.

“I was trying to do retail as an ‘upstairs jeweler,’ but out of the homes of others,” Bill remembered. “I was going to people’s homes based on referrals

“I was 40 years old and taking a diamond grading course as a hobby. I went to

from friends who helped me make connections.”

a gem fest in Santa Monica that featured all aspects of the trade,” Bill recalled. “When I was there, I walked around like a kid in a candy store. I immediately

Finally, in 1994, Bill saw the opportunity for which he had been waiting, the

fell in love with that world, and I couldn’t imagine not being involved with it.”

chance to acquire his first store. Well, it was a store–of sorts. Bill approached

“I was 40 years old and taking a diamond grading course as a hobby." 74

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Robert and Daryl Davis, the developers of Seaside, who, at the time, were still building its world-renowned reputation. They were looking for a jeweler and felt that Bill would be a perfect match for their mix of merchants. “Robert and Daryl liked my product and they wanted a jewelry store,” Bill said. “I took the first little kiosk they built. It was fun. I loved working out there, and it was the perfect size for the amount of inventory I had in those days.” “It was only a nine-by-ten-foot kiosk around the Seaside Amphitheater,” said Elizabeth, his wife and business partner. “He was commuting every day from our home in DeFuniak Springs and he absolutely loved it!” “That little kiosk laid the groundwork for me,” Bill added. “It was worth every bit of time I spent there. I had so much fun watching the town grow and meeting people from all over the country. It was a labor of love, and I guess it still is.” Bill worked as the only employee of his “store,” never complaining about his job because he was finally pursuing his lifelong passion. Eventually, his business outgrew the small Seaside kiosk and moved to the Market Shops

Bill and Elizabeth Campbell Owners of McCaskill & Company

“I love the beauty and quality of a good piece of jewelry. I love the art behind it and look closely for the reputation of the artist.” at Sandestin, where for four years, he continued to build his customer base

“One of the nice things for us is our location. We are able to obtain the lines

in the community. In 1999, the couple poured their dreams into concrete

we want and cherry-pick the pieces we carry,” Elizabeth said. Their designer

when they built their own freestanding store. They named it after Bill’s

gallery features lines including, but not limited to, Rolex, TAG Heuer, Henry

greatest inspiration–his grandmother. Today, their store, McCaskill &

Dunay, Daniel K, Oscar Heyman, Kwiat, Louis Glick, Jean-Francois Albert,

Company, still stands in Miramar Beach on Highway 98.

Steven Kretchmer, Paul Morelli, Erica Courtney, Schoeffel and Alex Sepkus.

“Even when Bill opened the store, he had only one other part-time sales-

“I love the beauty and quality of a good piece of jewelry. I love the art behind

person,” Elizabeth recalled. “He just loves what he does and is completely

it and look closely for the reputation of the artist,” Bill stated regarding how

devoted to it.”

he selects his lines. But no matter what the line is, Bill gravitates toward diamonds, a practice stemming from his early childhood memories. “Diamonds

Their store has grown over the years and has earned distinction among the

are far and beyond my favorite,” Bill declared. “I have always been fascinated

jewelry trade, being recognized as a Couture jeweler, an honor given only

with diamonds. There are no two alike. They all have different personalities.”

to the top half of one percent of jewelers in the United States. In addition, Harper’s Bazaar has named McCaskill & Company one of the “Best Jew-

After several years of established success, the Campbells have had many op-

elry and Watch Retailers in America.”

portunities to open additional locations, but have declined. “We are really a hands-on partnership. We believe on-site ownership is important, and we

Despite his company’s success and growth, Bill remains a hands-on operator

just really love where we are,” Elizabeth elaborated.

focused on providing the best for his customers. Together, Bill and Elizabeth have focused on bringing in the most elite designers and have made

The couple works together every day, with Bill scoping out jewelry trends

that their niche in the local market.

and building one-on-one customer relationships and Elizabeth handling VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Some of the best advice Bill received when toying with the idea of starting his own business came from his mother-in-law, who told him, “Follow your heart.” To this day, Bill credits her with giving him the courage that he needed to pursue his dream. It is a piece of advice he has passed on to his three children, who are now grown and happily pursuing their own desires. “I constantly tell my kids to follow their dreams,” Bill said. “I was expected to carry on with my family’s business and I didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on them. I tell them making money will not make you happy. You have to follow your heart and passions.” McCaskill & Company showroom

Never thinking that any of their three children would be interested in the fam-

the operations and marketing aspects of their business. “I could not have done

ily business, Bill and Elizabeth resigned themselves to the fact that they would

any of this without the support and love of my wife,” Bill stated. “She runs the

eventually sell it. But their youngest daughter, Sarah Carolyn, started showing

business end and takes a lot of the stress out–doing all of the behind-the-scenes

more and more of an interest as Bill and Elizabeth wrestled with the question

stuff. We are successful together–it takes two.”

of what to do with the empty lease space next to their store. The family talked more, and Bill, Elizabeth and Carolyn decided that Carolyn should open her

Their affection and respect for each other is apparent when talking with them

own store, named Sarah Carolyn, as an extension of her family’s business. It

both. “We are together 24/7 and we are still best friends. Bill is the one with the

is expected to open in early October 2008 and will feature fashion designer

eye for jewelry and loves to be out front; I am behind the scenes taking care of

jewelry and accessories.

business, organizing events and making sure everything is in place. We balance each other out well,” Elizabeth explained. One thing is evident–Bill’s optimistic attitude and enthusiasm are contagious. He embraces his customers as family and builds lasting relationships with them. But he admits that he is sometimes trusting to a fault. “I assume that because I am so honest, everyone is honest. I just don’t want to see things any differently,” Bill said. His loyal customers repeatedly praise his exemplary service and knowledge, citing his attention to detail and his evident passion. Stacey Wright has been in the store so many times that she has lost count. “I

Sarah Carolyn Campbell

love to go there because it has such a warm, inviting atmosphere, and Bill and

It is her own. It is her own money. She is learning and growing it from the

his wife are so real. They don’t make you feel intimidated at all,” said Stacey,

ground up,” Bill said. “She didn’t want to come into our business. She wanted

a Niceville resident who has patronized the store since its opening. “My hus-

to do her own thing and find her own success. Although I would be thrilled if

band and I have selected some very unique pieces to mark the special occasions

she wanted to take it over one day–it has to be what she chooses to do.”

in our life, such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Bill listens to what I like, even when I am just browsing. Next thing I know, I have this amazing

“It takes a lot of pressure to make a diamond. It goes through some rough times

and beautifully wrapped surprise from my husband, and I think, “How did

before it is transformed into a beautiful gem,” Bill added.

he know that I loved that?” It all comes back to Bill’s keen awareness, listening to me and going the extra mile. He gets to know our tastes and provides

It is doubtful this family’s future will be anything but brilliant…

excellent service and quality. He is so down-to-earth and it is obvious that he loves what he does.”


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

www. mcc a s k i ll a n d co m pa n y. co m

PA U L M O R E L L I M C C ASKILL & C OMPANY -Finest Jewelry and Watches-

13390 Highway 98 West • Destin, Florida (Between Destin & Sandestin) VIE - Fall / Winter 2008 850.650.2262 •


30A RADIO 107.1 FM 78

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

By Matthew Christ Photography by Jessie Shepard

hen I was invited to try out as a student DJ at 30A Radio,

Leslie Kolovich couldn’t agree more. I met Kolovich at the Coffee House in

a low-powered FM radio station, I imagined an expansive

Watercolor, and she was eager to tell me about her job as general manager of

studio, dimly lit by a sea of blinking button lights, framed by

30A Radio, which is owned by Seaside Neighborhood School, one of the first

a large, flashing, red “On the Air” sign that emitted a certain

charter schools in the state of Florida. “I love community radio,” she said. “Or,

hazy ambiance of coolness. As soon as I entered the building where the

I love the idea of community radio. Even the public radio stations in Northwest

WTHA-LPFM studio was located, I should have known something was up. No

Florida have few programs that target the Northwest Florida community. There

one was there to greet me, not a single smiling young receptionist with whom

are few, if any stations, that focus on South Walton issues and people. We

I could try to flirt.

feel we’re one of the ‘Voices of 30A.’ Commercial stations have few live DJs, and in just this year alone, we’ve added more than twenty DJs, the majority of

Soon, my peers, who had also signed up to audition, showed up, and together

whom live in this community.”

we came to the brilliant conclusion that we had been given the wrong address. There were only two rooms that could have been the radio station – but they

The station was started in 2003 after a group of Seaside Neighborhood

were the size of large utility closets.

School parents and community members realized that a community radio station could serve not only as an educational tool for Seaside students, but

Before we could contemplate whether we were in the right place, Billy Joel’s

as a viable source for community entertainment and news. Russ Gilbert, the

“Piano Man” started playing unexpectedly from behind one of the closet doors.

president of the Seaside Neighborhood School [SNS] Board in 2003, had long

Seconds later, the door opened from within, and a man appeared. “Well, are

wanted to bring a community radio station to 30A. “My favorite TV show used

you going to come in, or what?” he calmly asked.

to be Northern Exposure. One of the ‘sets’ of the show was a community radio station where the announcers reported on the things they saw outside

There were three microphones, two of which did not work, and one lone

the window,” Gilbert says, “and I thought, ‘What a great way to bring this

mixer board. And the flashing lights? No. There was none of that. Nothing. No

community together,’ because with as many visitors as we have here, there

flashing lights, no expansive studio, and no snarky producers.

really isn’t a very large population of year-long locals.”

My peers and I, quite simply, were standing in a closet that had been converted

Gilbert, who also owns Fusion Art Glass, saw the potential for a community

into a radio station.

radio station in the 30A area, but soon discovered that the FCC was more willing to give licenses for religious and educational purposes. “Mike Turner

Our hearts sank.

[then the community relations and events manager for the Merchants of Seaside] and I had tried for months to secure a license but to no avail,” Gilbert

30A Radio 107.1 FM isn’t exactly ubiquitously known in national or even

remarks. “Mike, who really laid the foundations of the station, soon discovered

regional media circles. Sure, the station has hosted its fair share of celebrities,

that the FCC was much more likely to give out an educational license. When

and yes, many quality programs are produced in the station’s studio – including

we figured that out, it was like an ah-ha! moment because I was already

the XM radio show “The Dewsweepers” – but anyone with high aspirations of

involved with the Seaside Neighborhood School, and the school would really

one day transforming the station to dominate regional airwaves won’t get very

bring the community concept full circle.”

far very fast. It’s a community radio station – nothing more and nothing less. Leslie Kolovich became involved with the Seaside Neighborhood School In an age where the airwaves are filled with product placements, constant

shortly after the station went on air in 2004. “I was asked to be a part of the

advertisements, and topical pop talk, there’s something mightily refreshing

Seaside Neighborhood School board to help the athletic committee. During

about the rare community concept.

one of our meetings, Russ Gilbert mentioned the radio station. I was like ‘We VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


have a radio station? How come I’ve never heard of this?’ After learning more

Fortunately, 30A Radio management and SNS board members quickly found

and more about the station, I became a convert. Soon, I was heading up the

a new studio space and a spot on a 100-foot radio tower. “St. Joe graciously

station’s committee.”

leased us space on a tower on their land at a price that we couldn’t pass up, but the cost to move the studio and the antenna to a new tower would require

Yet not everything was fun and games in the beginning. “My mission when

a large financial investment from the school,” Kolovich says. Realizing the

I started was to get the community to know we were here, and to wrap its

educational importance that the station could present, the SNS board voted

arms around us. I learned about radio broadcasting by jumping in with both

unanimously to begin searching for a way to finance the antenna move and

feet. I had no other choice but to learn it or let the school lose it. I guess

new studio.

the radio angel has always sent us the right people at the right time to keep us moving. I’m a people person; do you know what my degree is in? Social

It’s 10:55 on a late July Sunday morning, five minutes before my live weekly

work.” She pauses, and then adds, “I suppose that has helped me in dealing

broadcast, and I’m wiping sweat off my eyebrows. My guest is Sean Payton,

with so many personalities.”

the head coach of the New Orleans Saints football team. Two minutes before showtime, the coach comes into the studio. As a communications major and

In 2006, the closet-sized radio station found a new lease on life when its

NFL coach, he’s a natural pro at radio interviews. Sliding his NFL-engraved

existence was challenged by the construction of new, neighboring work/live

iPod across the desk to me, he winks and says, “Let’s play some Kenny

buildings in Seaside. The station relayed a signal to an FM transmitter perched

Chesney this time.”

atop an adjacent building. Suddenly, new steel and concrete walls blocked the signal transfer, and 30A Radio’s audience shrank to a radius smaller than the

I grab his iPod and hook it into the station’s board, reminding the coach to

size of the town of Seaside.

speak closely into the microphone while making a few last-minute technical adjustments, and then we go live.

“Those were depressing times,” recalls John Rosenberg, one of the longestserving DJs on 30A Radio, who has over ten years of experience behind the

Another Sunday show begins.

microphones of Telluride, Colorado’s KOTO public radio stations. “When construction began on the new work/live buildings surrounding the Seaside

Soon, the coach and I pass the small talk and I’m diving into my e-mail inbox

Amphitheater, our signal was basically lost. I think our attrition rate was

to search for questions from community listeners. One wants to know how

northwards of ninety percent. Coming from KOTO, where there was always a

the legal problems of one of the Saints players is affecting the team; another

line of people begging to DJ, the lack of enthusiasm around 30A Radio was

asks if sightings of the coach together with Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboy’s

startling – but then I realized, ‘No one can hear us.’ If that station was ever

quarterback, mean a possible NFL shakeup is in the works. Pleasantly, the

going to grow into anything special, a new studio and tower would have to be

coach fields each question, and we move onto more music and then more

a part of the equation for success.”

questions – about his former football career, his coaching career, his family’s new foundation benefitting New Orleans, and even his thoughts concerning the wild frenzy created by the visit Jessica Simpson

“When the antenna went up on the St. Joe tower, and I knew we could be heard from each end of 30A, tears came to my eyes. I was so emotional.” - Leslie Kolovich

paid to the 30A area with Payton’s friend Tony Romo. An hour later, I’m signing off, but before leaving the studio, I check the programming schedule for the following week. Forty volunteer DJs on the roster translates into a lot of live radio airtime – a big difference from just a few years back when I first walked into the closet-sized studio.


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Leslie Kolovich agrees, “When the antenna went up on the St. Joe tower, and I knew we could be heard from each end of 30A, tears came to my eyes. I was so emotional.” Kolovich pauses, and then reflects, “And when the new studio was functional, and we had a reliable Internet stream, I remember thinking ‘this is a whole new ball game now.’” So, it seems, gone are the days of a blase 30A Radio, where limited signal strength and a fickle Internet stream hindered community listenership and participation. “Today, 30A Radio can be heard out into Destin, parts of Panama City Beach, and parts of Freeport,” Kolovich reminds me one day before I go on air. “This is empowering,” she says. “We’re never going to try to compete with

Matt Christ interviews Saints head coach Sean Payton

traditional commercial radio, or any other news/ entertainment mediums, but instead we can define our own niche. We’re a

the 30A region, and for all of those who want to take a little piece of 30A back

community radio station – think about that.”

home with them, has been afforded through the Internet stream and stronger signal, but what makes the voice of 30A unique is its talent.

Yet the word that defines what the station has transformed into and the possibilities it presents happens also to be the station’s main crux.

The future of 30A Radio is something that John Rosenberg thinks about often. “The future of the station, as I see it, is to have every single hour from 6 a.m.

“Community,” and the educational license that created the station, mean

to 1 a.m. completely live with community DJs,” Rosenberg observes. “There

financial funding is always on the minds of those close to 30A Radio. An

aren’t many commercial or public stations that can do that, but 30A Radio

average annual budget of $55,000 is required to keep the station on air, and

already has the groundwork in place to provide a type of programming unlike

while the Downtown Seaside Association originally paid for the license and

the most unique of stations.”

the school fundraised monies for equipment and space – including an office space donation from Robert Davis, the founder of Seaside – the majority of

Russ Gilbert, the SNS board president who spearheaded the station’s creation

the money needed each year will come from community listeners. While the

in 2003, remembers his vision for 30A Radio as “something eclectic, fun and

station has relied on funds from the Seaside Neighborhood School in the past,

informative – a medium for expression.” At the same time, Gilbert insisted

the goal, ultimately, is to turn a profit and kick that money back to the school.

that Seaside Neighborhood School students become involved in the station. “I thought ‘what a great way for the kids to get involved with marketing and

It is a community effort.

journalism and for the station to be incorporated into the school.’” Mentoring programs were started under Seaside Neighborhood School faculty, with radio

There’s something unique about 30A Radio. Part of the appeal of a community

volunteers aiding students in producing live programs. Kolovich adds, “Last

radio station is its ability to transcend the natural paradigms of the anonymous,

year marked the first year at SNS where we had two classes devoted to radio

mercenary-type radio stations that fill the airwaves today. Providing a voice for

broadcasting. Students learned the history of radio, listened to old-time radio VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


shows, learned to write news, reported live on-air, and saw how things work in the studio. The classes have their own shows called ‘Shark Bytes Live’ produced entirely by the class.” Essentially, Gilbert says, “Everyone involved wanted the station to operate as the community operates – kids, too.” Before I leave the station after my Sunday show, I look back in admiration at the new and much larger studio. The same mixer board, which I first met three years ago in the closet-sized studio, is still operational. All three microphones now work, and a bank of modern LCD computer screens graces one of the station’s four expansive walls. With a massaging desk chair wheeled in between microphones, the studio looks like command central. There will be programs produced in that studio the following week. They will be programs that adhere to Russ Gilbert’s vision of the possibility of 30A Radio, programs that will make John Rosenberg confident about a future of “totally live radio,” and programs that will confirm Leslie Kolovich’s belief that a community will wrap its arms around a station so long as that station caters to its own community. Longtime listeners of 30A Radio will not be jaded after listening to an hour-long show about wine followed by another hour-long show on environmental sustainability, and the happenstance listener will be pleasantly surprised by the unique sound – and will become a convert. Perhaps what has given the station its eclectic smorgasbord sound Sean Payton

– ranging from the extremes of British punk rock to bluegrass, from late night philosophical ramblings to eco-conscious talk – are not simply the volunteers behind the station, but the listeners who interact when in traffic, on the beach, or back at the office in Chicago.

Matthew Christ is a recent graduate of South Walton High School; For some, the station will be a unique stepping-stone in a future career in

he will attend the University of Florida in the fall, majoring in political

broadcasting – for community radio stations are a rare breed. For others,

science. Christ wrote a weekly column for the Walton Sun entitled

the station and its happy group of volunteer DJs are like an extended family,

“Young Wisdom” and hosts “Matthew Christ Live” every Sunday

where local news and happenings are passed around on air as convivially as

from 11–noon on 30A Radio.

at a family dinner. He may be reached at It is, after all, your community radio station. Nothing more. Nothing less. 82

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



Photos by Kay Phelan


North Florida Coast Chapter The Florida Public Relations Association’s Northwest Florida Coast Chapter hosted its annual board installation and Person of the Year ceremony on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at Mitchell’s Fish Market in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. Kara Stallings was inducted as the new '08-'09 FPRA president and Dawn Moliterno was honored as Person of the Year.

Fom Left:Carley McMillian, Tracy Louthain, Zandra Wolfgram, Jessica Proffitt, Elaine Ashman, Angela Triplett, Kara Stallings, Jami Anderson, Stacey Brady, Michelle Lacewell, and Samantha Berens

Dawn Moliterno & Phil Kizer

Sharon Bagot, Eileen West, Nikki Gaffrey Lane and Brenda Rees, Demetrius Fuller & Phyllis Hasty

Ogden Museum of Southern Art Guests got a first look at the new Ogden Museum of Southern Art at WaterColor on Saturday, July 5. This is the first satellite of New Orleans’ famed Ogden Museum, which houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world. The museum showcases a number of changing exhibitions, and incorporates a brand of the Ogden’s Center for Southern Craft and Design. Ogden Museum is open daily, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Artist Richard Sexton & Ogden Director Rick Gruber

and admission is free. This is a MUST to check out!

Photos by Elizabeth Laird VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Photos of Annie Lynch with family and friends

PEARLS OF WISDOM “It was good then, it’s good now.” By Crystal Hamon


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

“I’ve been working since the day I was born!” - Annie Lynch


he is definitely spunky. And full of vim and vigor, inherently embodied in 100 years of

her mother has always given similar replies to such questions because she always seems to find the good in everything.

laughter and optimism, Annie Lynch celebrated her

centennial birthday in June of this year. Born in Greenville, North Caro-

Having lived through the Great Depression, the salient point she remem-

lina, in 1908, Annie recalled that she was born on a Monday. “It was wash

bers most is the strong neighborly connection during that time. Her family

day,” she said with a heartfelt laugh. “I’ve been working since the day I was

rented a house with two others, each family taking a different floor. Neigh-

born!” Having just turned twenty-five myself, I contemplated the fact that I

bors were aware of each other’s needs and did their best to help one another.

have lived only one-quarter of this woman’s lifetime. I tried to imagine all of

When Annie’s job offered her carfare for transportation to and from work,

the things she must have seen and heard during such an eventful period of

she gave it to her husband, Thomas Lynch, Sr., and took the bus to work.

history. I am honored to have had the opportunity to sit down with Annie

She remembers the give-and-take – a strong sense of community and to-

as she shared her life story with me.

getherness even through great adversity. In a time when our current economy is struggling a bit, I think we would do well to remember the lessons of

She is a remarkably positive person – amazingly sharp and focused as she

generations who endured much harsher conditions with such grace, poise,

converses. Her unique perspective and attitude of contentment are refresh-

and compassion.

ing. I could only imagine what her life experiences were like. Annie’s lifetime spans some of the most historic and memorable times in our nation’s history.

As a culture constantly searching for improvement and grasping at progress,

The inventions of penicillin, private telephones, paved roads, talking mov-

we are repeatedly told with each and every click of the remote control that

ies, television, the mass-produced automobile, refrigeration, insulin, plastic,

our lives are not quite as good as they could be. We constantly attempt to re-

and the World Wide Web have all taken place in front of her brilliant eyes.

invent ourselves and create an enhanced cultural identity. Seeking to better

It is hard to think there was a time when Annie could not say, “That’s the

ourselves carries its own merit, but along the way, we sometimes lose what

best thing since sliced bread” – because it had not yet been invented!

Annie has managed to hold onto: inner contentment.

She lived through WWI, WWII, prohibition, the repeal of prohibition,

In an election cycle where we have watched both a woman and a black man

the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Civil Rights

place their bids for the presidency, I wondered how such events must feel to

movement, the building and subsequent destruction of the Iron Curtain,

a woman who lived in a time before women were even allowed to vote and

space travel, the moon landing, 9/11, and both Gulf Wars. She witnessed

when policies of segregation ruled the land. In her dreamy and understated

Martin Luther King, Jr. during the famous March on Washington, as he,

way, she said, “We have made a lot of progress since then.” Annie remembers

with poetry and wisdom in his speeches, helped to secure rights for black

the time after the tragic death of Martin Luther King, Jr., when riots broke

Americans in an unprecedented way. In light of the amazing events within

out and sit-ins took place in her neighborhood in Maryland. MSU students

her lifetime, I was curious to know what she thought about the current state

were protesting discrimination that kept certain restaurants and shops off-

of our nation. I asked her if we are better or worse off now than we were 100

limits to blacks. Annie and her family took an active role and prepared

years ago. She replied with her straightforward tact, “It was good then; it’s

meals for the National Guard units assigned to their neighborhood.

good now.” Her daughter, Gloria Johnson, with whom Annie lives, said that VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


“Happy 100th Birthday! We are pleased to add our congratulations to your celebration.”

After hearing Annie recount her life experiences, I was amazed to discover, even at this milestone age, that she is not on any medications. I was fascinated to learn to what she credits her longevity. “First, a strong faith background,” she

- President George W. & First Lady Laura Bush

said (something she has found in common with other people in her age group). “Another factor in my endurance is that I have constantly been

surrounded by youth.” After raising her own two children, she adopted four

Annie, Gloria, and son-in-law, Ricardo attend church at Christian Interna-

others and often took care of relatives’ children. Her daughter, Gloria, re-

tional Family Church of Santa Rosa Beach, where “Ms. Annie” received a

membered, “We had an open-door policy.” She said with a smile, “Our door

reception on June 22, in honor of her birthday. She received commenda-

was always open.” Whether it was children or adults who were having a hard

tions from Florida’s governor, Charlie Crist, the Walton County Commis-

time, Annie’s family always tried to help other people. Annie has also main-

sioners, and the White House. The card from President George W. and First

tained strong ties with her growing family as a matriarch and great-great

Lady Laura Bush read, “Happy 100th Birthday! We are pleased to add our

grandmother, noting the importance of heritage. Annie said, “I enjoy life.

congratulations to your celebration. You have led a remarkable life and your

Taking care of children, cooking, doing the washing – I like that.” Gloria

experiences have contributed to the strength of our Nation. We join your

noted that being needed was always important to her mother, saying, “She

family and friends in wishing you all the best on your special day.”

has been a solid foundation for our family and always wants to find a way to give.” Annie finished off her list of tributes to long life with one final piece of

With her ever-sunny outlook, Annie never thinks of herself as old, either.

advice – “Just take it easy.” It goes without saying, it also helps to have good

When asked her age, she replies, “100 years young!”

genes – Annie’s father lived to be 106 years old.



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Water Sound





Seabreeze The

By Jack Benner / Photography by Jessie Shepard



It was Sunday…they were tired…and who could blame them?

“Wait a minute. Smooth Jazz? Are you talking about that elevator music?” Only those who have never attended the Seabreeze Jazz Festival would ask that question. The lineup at Seabreeze is a virtual who’s who in the world of jazz, smooth jazz and music as a whole. This year’s lineup alone featured

Several thousand strong, these diehards were sunburnt, bleary-eyed and just

Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Joyce Cooling, Norman Brown and

about played out. Not to mention sporting a mass case of tinnitus brought

Brian Culbertson, just to name a few. And when these amazing musicians

on by four days of amplified music. They had danced, partied, frolicked and

are released from the studio to take the stage in the warm April sun in

otherwise made merry since Thursday. Now spread out across the green, they

Northwest Florida, a transformation occurs.

waited for one last act. As the sun set, many dozed while the sound crew assembled the drum set, rearranged monitors, plugged in microphones and

They ROCK the joint!

ran sound checks. Finally, all was ready and the last of 24 acts in just under 96 hours took the stage.

Don’t believe me? Just ask those in attendance. Ask about the Thursday night All-Star Jam that kicked off the four-day celebration of this uniquely

Then, something amazing happened…

American form of music. Talk to them about Saturday afternoon when Wayman Tisdale may have set a new world record by getting about 2,000

This crowd… this soporific gathering sprawled out across the acres of grass,

concert-goers dancing the electric slide… in perfect unison. And ask about

who moments earlier lay nearly catatonic before the stage, came roaring

the 4,000 people who hung around to the very end of the final day for a little

back to life! They rose to their feet as one. They cheered! They danced!

R n R (that would be Rick Braun and Richard Elliot).

There was one last party in them after all.

Across the United States and around the world, hundreds of jazz festivals take place every year. The major market jazz festivals, such as Newport, Monterey

Now, before you start waxing nostalgic and telling stories about sneaking

and the Playboy Jazz Festival, tend to book more “straight-ahead” jazz acts like

onto the Who’s tour bus and what a great time you had up on Max Yasgur’s

Herbie Hancock (although R n R played the Playboy event this year). One

farm, I should tell you, I’m not talking about 1969 at Woodstock. I’m

of the most popular is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. This event

talking about 2008 at Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. And it wasn’t even a rock

draws tens of thousands, though the lineup recently has transcended jazz,

concert. It was a jazz festival.

moving into rock, urban, country and R&B. Then there are the lesser-known, smaller events like the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival in Davenport,

But this was no ordinary jazz festival.

Iowa featuring acts like Spats Langham and his Rhythm Boys. (No, I didn’t expect you to know who they are. I just love the name “Spats.”)

This was the 10th Annual Seabreeze Jazz Festival, one of the top ten in America according to JAZZIZ Magazine, and an event that has set the world of Smooth Jazz on its collective ear. 90

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Rick Braun

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


gourmet restaurants. This was to become a tradition, and one of many perks that had the jazz community buzzing about this little shindig down in the Florida Panhandle. Because, unlike the major market festivals, this one had a family feel to it. Road-weary musicians liked the fact that they were put up in Gulf-front condos instead of a typical chain hotel or motel. They enjoyed dining family style at top-rated restaurants as opposed to being handed a contract-


mandated per diem and sent out to fend for themselves. And the hospitality wasn’t restricted to just the headliners. The band, the managers, the roadies… even the tour bus drivers were invited. It made the Seabreeze Jazz Festival a true family experience.

Chante Moore

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing though. As radio personality and longtime festival host “Uncle” Harley put it, “Anytime you hold an event outdoors you have to keep one thing in mind: God has a sense of humor.” At the 2002 event, it rained…and rained…and rained, all night Friday and all

ith so many to choose from, how did the Seabreeze

day Saturday. By the time Saturday’s headline act (Rick Braun) took the

Jazz Festival become one of the nation’s top ten? And

stage, only about 200 very wet jazz fans remained. Braun played his first

how did they do it in such a short amount of time? Playboy just held their

number and then took pity on the waterlogged assembly. He stepped up to

30th. Monterey is on number 51! How did Seabreeze do it in just ten?

the microphone and, much to the chagrin of the technical crew, said, “You people are CRAZY! Get on up here where it’s dry!” Somehow or another,

The answer requires a little history of the festival.

most of them managed to shoehorn themselves on the stage with Rick and the band where they had the time of their lives.

In The Beginning… The Seabreeze Jazz Festival is the brainchild of husband and wife team Mark

By the way, Rick Braun bringing the audience up onstage is another

and Renee Carter. As owners of 106.3 The Seabreeze, a local radio station

Seabreeze Jazz Festival tradition.

that plays smooth jazz, the original idea was more of Waymon Tisdale

a promotion for the station than an attempt to create an annual event of national prominence.

“Dang! You ever play basketball??” Obviously clueless backstage security worker to 6’ 9”

The very first Seabreeze Jazz Festival was held in

former NBA All-Star power forward and now jazz

March 1999 in SeaSIDE Florida (I emphasize the

bassist extraordinaire Waymon Tisdale.

SeaSIDE because there has been a great deal of confusion between SeaSIDE and SeaBREEZE). It was, in a word, an intimate affair. That is to say, there were only about 350 people in the audience. A Saturday-and-Sunday-only event, there were two acts per day. The show started at 1:00 p.m. and was pretty much over by 5:00 p.m. Then, Renee would close the cashbox, round up their six kids and take everyone (musicians, workers, sound techs, everyone) down the road for a very nice meal at one of the local 92

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Richard Elliot

nother year, a severe midnight thunderstorm, complete with funnel clouds, devastated

the vendor tents along with thousands of dollars in sound equipment. Yet another festival saw the Carters and their crew racing to get all the acts on before a line of major storms hit the festival grounds. Not only did they pull it off, but they also managed to get everyone on the shuttle buses and safely on their way just before the sky fell. “But we’ve always managed to pull it off,” Mark said. “It’s a rainor-shine event, and we have always put on a show. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who has ever come, regardless of the weather, has enjoyed it.” Making It All Happen The logistics involved in putting together and executing a major musical event like this are staggering. Renee spends days on the phone in the weeks leading up to the festival working with managers and artists. “Some of these musicians are flying in just hours after their last performance… and that gig may have been in California or New York,” Renee explained. “We have to get them booked on the right flight at the right time to the right airport and have their limo idling at the terminal to get them to the stage in time to perform. Fail and you’ll have 5,000 VERY unhappy jazz fans.” Then, there are the musicians themselves. “They‘re wonderful. Salt of the earth,” Renee said. “They’ll stand around for hours signing CDs, shaking hands and posing for pictures.” (Accessibility to the artists is yet another tradition that makes the Seabreeze event different from so many others.) Renee continued, “I’ve watched Joyce Cooling sign autographs and smile for pictures ‘til I’m sure she had writer’s cramp and her cheeks ached.” Now, I’m fairly sure that there’s no luxury car on the market that comes with But surely there was someone that she could “dish” on. These are “show

a sushi chef…not even for the Sultan of Brunei.

folk” after all. In ten years, there had to be at least one prima donna. But Renee is not quite done with this story. “Oh, it gets worse!” she declared. “Well… there was this one…” she began hesitantly. “I won’t name names,

“He also hated the room at the hotel that his manager had specifically

but his contract called for a monster stretch limo to be at his disposal.” That

requested…against my advice. We had to scramble to find him an oceanfront

doesn’t sound all that unusual, I observed. She continued, “Yes, but his had

house that he had to personally approve. Then, he didn’t spend a single minute

to have a sushi chef in it.”

in it. He stayed out and partied ‘til he flew out later that night.” VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Richard Elliot & Rick Braun

“There’s a huge difference between a concert and a festival,” Pizza explained. “At a concert you have one act… maybe a lead-in and then the main act. You have time for lengthy sound checks and set changes. But at this year’s festival, we had seven acts per day. That’s seven nationally charted recording acts. When one was done, we had to tear them down and set to work getting the next group ready to play. It‘s a real tightrope act… and the rope is time.” Time is Harley’s department. “I’ll sit down weeks in advance with Steve, and we’ll hammer out a schedule that we think we can live with. It’s my job to post it backstage, get the managers and roadies on board with it and try to keep everyone on time. When you have a lineup as jam-packed as we did this year, plus curfews, noise ordinances and code enforcement sniffing around, you have to make sure that everyone is on the same clock. The artists are amazingly cooperative. But by the same token, there can be a whole ‘herding cats’ aspect to it as well. It’s a real challenge.” The end result of all this planning, scheduling and just plain hard work was an almost flawless 10th anniversary show. Almost. “There were a few minor glitches. But we have learned so much in ten years,” Mark explained. “About a week after every festival, we have what we refer to as the ‘post mortem.’ We sit and talk about what we did right, but mostly about where we can improve. That’s where we learn. That’s where we make it better and that’s how we progress year after year.” Still, where has Seabreeze succeeded when others have failed? Harley thinks he may have the answer. “A lot of folks have looked at the festival the last few years and thought, ‘WOW! Look at all these people! I can do this!’ What they didn’t see were the early years. Mark and Renee started small and worked up. What you see today “But,” she added, “he really was the exception to the rule. Most of the artists

is the culmination of 10 years’ hard work. These people think that you can

are incredibly easy to get along with. Many have become friends.”

start with seven acts a day and 5,000 people. I think if we had tried that, we would have failed, too.”

Once they arrive at the venue, the musicians are taken to the backstage area where they are handed over to Steve Pizza, owner of Pro Tech Sound, and

The Next Generation

Uncle Harley, who emcees the show. Steve and his crew have provided the

Nearly every musician at the festival has one thing in common… they got

increasingly elaborate stage and sound setup for the festival since the very

their start playing in the school band. In fact, not only did Brian Culbertson

beginning. Harley came on board the second year. The two also act in the

get his start in the school band, but his father was also the music teacher at

capacity of stage co-managers. Working closely together, Steve and Harley

his high school. Regardless of the instrument, be it sax, trumpet, keyboard

are charged with keeping the show moving forward.

or even voice, almost all their musical beginnings were in the classroom.


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


ut with the advent of test-based curricula and the renewed

Amphitheater in Panama City Beach. It’s got the beachy feel that the jazz

focus on the “three R’s,” many schools have made deep

fans like so much, great parking, close access to thousands of Gulf-front

cuts and even completely eliminated electives, such as shop

rooms and, best of all, the amphitheater is owned and operated by the city.

classes, performing arts and, yes, even music.

That means we don’t have to worry anymore about whether someone will want to build a condo or strip mall there. We can sign a contract and be

This fact was not lost on Mark and Renee. As owners of a jazz radio station,

there for the next ten years. I think we’ve found a home!”

founders of a jazz festival and parents to six children, they knew something had to be done. So they created their own charity, Music in the Schools.

So what does the future hold for the Seabreeze Jazz Festival now that it’s

From the very beginning, a portion of the proceeds from the jazz festival

found a new home? “The first year, we’re going to cap ticket sales at 5,500…

have gone to this grass roots organization that to date has purchased

just to see how it feels,” Renee said. “Then we’ll go from there. I don’t want

uniforms, instruments, equipment and financed trips for local bands from

it to get too big… to lose that intimacy. I don’t want to see the acts become

elementary to the high school level. Recently, the Carters took it to the next

a dot on the horizon.”

level, handing the beer and wine concession over to be operated by the band parents, pumping thousands in much needed cash into the local schools’

Mark summed it up nicely: “Give the fans the most bang for their buck and

band programs.

take care of the artists, and the rest will fall into place.”

Taking it a step further, Mark and Renee have even enlisted the aid of artists

That’s a formula that should keep the Seabreeze Jazz Festival in the top ten

appearing at the jazz festival. Some stay an extra day to go from school to

for years to come.

school and stage music clinics for the kids. “This is where the next generation is going to come from,” Renee explained. “If music programs are eliminated, where are tomorrow’s musicians going to come from? What would we do for the lineup for the 50th Annual Seabreeze Jazz Festival?”

Rick Braun “Come on! Come on up! It’s okay, officer!” Rick Braun encouraging the crowd to move the barricade, sidestep the police officer and make their way to the stage – something he’s pretty

Down The Road (Literally and Figuratively)

much made a Seabreeze Jazz Festival tradition.

Over the years, the festival has had several homes. Starting with the first three years at Seaside, it moved four times in the next seven years. Because of the volatility of the real estate market (and the potential revenue to be made on beachfront property), the Carters could never get more than a one-year commitment from any acceptable venue. In fact, on more than one occasion, agreed upon arrangements were suddenly cancelled because of a spike in property values. “That was a huge problem,” Renee said. “We start planning for next year’s festival when our ears are still ringing from this year’s. Rooms have to be booked for the artists; workers permits, pulled; and parking, arranged, and the jazz fans need to know, so they can plan accordingly.” So, what’s the solution? “It looks as though our days as the gypsy jazz fest are over,” Mark said. “The 2009 festival is moving to the Pier Park VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


JAKE SHIMABUKURO By Harley Pummill / Photography by Jessie Shepard

he e-mail was waiting in my Inbox first thing in the morning. Mark Carter had sent it late the night before making me wonder for the umpteenth time in the 12 years that I’ve known him, “When does this guy sleep?” The message was simple. “Have you heard of this guy before? Check him out and tell me what you think.” Below the message was a link to YouTube. Mark and I talk a lot about up-and-coming jazz artists as we get closer to the festival. So it’s not unusual for him to come up with a couple of late possible additions to the lineup. I clicked on the link and waited to see what I was sure would be another guitar or sax or keyboard player. About four minutes later I was sitting in front of my computer monitor, speechless. Which is pretty much the reaction that most people have when they first experience the playing of Jake Shimabukuro. First off, forget sax, trumpet, guitar or any other mainstream instrument. Jake plays ukulele…like a god! Yes, I said ukulele…the little four-stringed, mini-guitar that weird Uncle Everette produces at every family gathering to play “Shine On, Harvest Moon.“ Only Jake wasn’t playing “Shine On, Harvest Moon“…he was playing George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” And he was playing it on Conan O’Brien! My response to Mark was succinct and to the point: “We GOTTA get this guy!!” Jake Shimabukuro is a fifth generation JapaneseAmerican born and raised in Hawaii. His mother


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

introduced him to the ukulele at the ripe old age of four. He said he immediately felt a passion for the instrument…and his passion is translated into his playing, especially when he’s playing live. He started off playing traditional Hawaiian fare. “So, when did it occur to you to start playing rock anthems like ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ on the ukelele,” I asked him. He explained, “I’m pretty much self-taught. I learned by ear rather than any formal lessons. So I just started plunking away, translating the guitar chords and fingering to the uke. It just came together.” But Conan O’Brien? Where’d that gig come from? “My manager had me booked to play this gig in the parking lot of a surf shop,” Jake explained. “As luck would have it, Mac McAnally, who is a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band, was there and saw me. He tells Jimmy who invites me to come to one of his shows. Then brings me out onstage to play with him on ‘A Pirate Looks at 40.’ I guess you’d have to call that ‘the break.’” Jake was my little secret at the jazz festival. I teased the audience all weekend long, telling them that I had “an act that is going to blow your mind.” When I brought him onstage, I stood and

Jake doesn’t just play for the audience… he puts his entire being into every note.

watched the audience’s reaction. Jake is a small fella, can’t weigh more than 130 soaking wet. But

That’s the essence of a live performance by Jake

has become, between tapings of Conan and

every fiber of that 130-pound being was poured

Shimabukuro. Time stands still. You realize that

jazz festivals and performing with Jimmy Buffett

into his playing. The intensity, the precision, the

you’re experiencing something truly unique. Jake

in front of 50,000 people, he remains remarkably

emotion made for a… yes, I’ll say it… a virtuoso

doesn’t just play for the audience… he puts his

grounded. Unfailingly polite. In fact, I couldn’t help

performance. I walked backstage and saw jazz

entire being into every note. And the audience

but notice that he’s still at that wonderful (and

superstar Dave Koz standing, no, riveted to a

doesn’t just listen to Jake… they absorb him. It

all too short-lived) stage of his career where he

spot, completely focused on Jake’s performance.

was a magical experience.

still marvels at his success. Like he’s caught in

Dave’s manager wanted to go over something

a wonderful dream that just keeps getting better.

with him. But Dave put him off saying, “I’ve been

Afterward Jake came back to my condo unit and

wanting to hear this guy.”

we talked for a while. Another amazing thing about him is that in the maelstrom that his life

And he’s doing it with a ukulele! Now, where’d I put that accordion? VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Hotelier of the Year By Julie Root / Photo by Jessie Shepard

Frank Flautt was chosen by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association as one of its first 2008 Hospitality Hall of Fame inductees. The association named him Hotelier of the Year, one of the highest honors in Florida's hospitality industry.


inners are chosen based on their

personal record of industry achieve-

ment over a period of at least 20

years, and only those nominees who have attained career distinctions of the highest level and are held in high esteem for their distinguished service to their industry, community, charitable

Frank Flautt

organizations, and family are considered. Flautt will accept the honor at the FLRA’s award gala hosted in Orlando in January of 2009. A proud graduate of the University of Memphis class of 1963, Flautt has built an impressive ca-

the first of which was Beachwalk Villas at Sand-

company that it is today,” said Robert Kamm,

reer. His notable accomplishments in this region

estin Golf & Beach Resort. He has since com-

president and CEO of Sandcastle Resorts &

have greatly impacted the local economy and

pleted the development of many other successful

Hotels. “It was his vision, some 26 years ago, that

tourist development over the last two decades.

projects, including The Summit and The Tides

grew into the Hilton Sandestin, one of the fin-

He co-founded Sandcastle Resorts & Hotels,

at Tops’l Beach & Racquet Resort in Destin.

est resort hotels in the country. I know that each and every one of us who have worked with Frank

which developed and operates the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa and the Bay Point

“Over the years, it has been Frank’s drive, insight,

have learned and grown not only as hoteliers but

Marriott Resort & Spa in Panama City. In 1990,

focus and pursuit of perfection that has made

as individuals,” Kamm added.

Flautt began developing condominium projects,

Sandcastles Resorts & Hotels the great hotel


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



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VIE - Fall / Winter 2008




By Kirsten Reed / Photography by Jessie Shepard

ver since she was a little girl, Kathy Kemp dreamed of making

headlines. Not as a spotlight diva, but behind

the scenes, crafting words for the clever ad campaign headlines she loved to read. Today, she is fulfilling her dream in bigger ways than she ever imagined – combining her tireless work ethic and passionate nature to create headlines at both work and play. By day, Kathy creates advertising and mar-

From left to right: Quintin Berry, Eric Erdman, Kathy Kemp, Dale Drinkard, and Tim Stanton

keting plans promoting Rosemary Beach. As marketing director, she works to get headlines for the resorts' merchants centered on their special events. But when the sun sets, her headline-creating pursuits take on a com-

“I am the glue behind the band members. Anything and everything from booking to public relations, to all the nuts and bolts in between...” - Kathy Kemp

pletely different meaning. She is driven by her passion for music as the unseen “fifth member” of the band Ugli Stick.

Kathy came to Ugli Stick about a year after the band was formed in Mobile, Alabama. A friend asked her if she was interested in “doing

Kathy is no songwriter, though. She can’t play an instrument and doesn’t

publicity” for the soulful pop rock band. Ever since that fateful day, the

even know much of the industry lingo. So how does this creative leader fit

band’s success has become a bigger part of her life than she ever ex-

into the music world? By scheduling gigs, making contacts and coordinating

pected. “I loved the music. Even though I didn’t sing or perform, I knew I

publicity – Kathy serves as the band’s manager and their biggest supporter.

could help with styling, forming their set lists and finding audiences and venues that worked for them,” Kathy said. “Since then, we have really

“I am the glue behind the band members. I do anything and everything

grown like a family together, through good times and some tough times

from booking to public relations, to all the nuts and bolts in between,” said

too. We have never given up though. The one constant is our tenacity—

Kathy, who has served as band manager for seven years. As the four-

that, and performing and making audiences happy. It gives me a lot of joy

member band’s fearless leader, she takes on the task of scheduling their

to help the band fulfill their dreams and goals too.”

performances, maintaining their website, creating press kits and publicity, and coordinating the logistics of taking the band on the road – all in her

One of Kathy’s biggest tasks for the band is scheduling their 250 perfor-

spare time. “I take care of anything that involves managing their careers

mances (per year) in venues across the Southeast. Because she is a

so they can stay focused on being creative musicians – writing and per-

single woman, one of the first questions she often gets is, “Which one

forming music. Coming from the business side – it is all about branding. It is

are you dating?”

my love of music and everything I know professionally combined.” 100

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

“It used to really offend me. They were always surprised a woman was involved with the band,” Kathy said. “I never dated any of the band members and I never will. I want to do my best for them, not be a groupie. I don’t want to be seen as someone there by default. I am passionate about what they are doing and I believe in them.”

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Standing firm in her integrity, Kathy only matches the band to venues that are a good fit, even if it means turning down decent money. “We used to have the mind-set, ‘Get on a label.’ That was how we measured success,” Kathy stated. “Not anymore. If I know a gig is right for them, and if they are right for the venue, we book it. We look for the relationship that fits our desire to grow a fan base on our terms. We remain true to ourselves, which has been a good lesson for other parts of my life as well.” Ugli Stick takes its soulful rock sound on the road, primarily appearing in Southern cities like Birmingham, Baton Rouge, Mobile and Atlanta, building a fan base that gravitates to their pop rock style with hip-hop and funk undertones. They have been invited to perform at NAMM (which originally stood for the National Association of Music Merchants), one of the largest music trade shows in the world, the last two years running. “This past January while the band was performing, John Blackwell hopped on stage,” Kathy added. (Blackwell was the drummer for Prince and now plays with Justin Timberlake.) “It was a great time and a huge honor for them.” Recently the band joined Armed Forces Entertainment to perform for American military service members in the Middle East.



“It was a life-changing trip for Ugli Stick. I think it put things into perspec-

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tive and the band realized their music could bring happiness. They saw


glimpses of joy. We let the troops know that they are missed and that we are proud of what they are doing,” Kathy said. “It was like bringing a bit of home to them.”

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fter one performance, the band was

Quintin Berry

“coined” by the base commander. Each military unit has a unique coin

with its heraldry and heritage engraved on it. 'Coining' is a military tradition that brings great honor to the recipient. The coin is usually presented by the unit in recognition of an outstanding deed or service. The moment brought them to tears because they felt they had made an impact. The band has plans to tour the Pacific region in the near future to entertain military personnel. Completely devoted to the members of Ugli Stick, Kathy spends most of her vacation days and weekends touring with the band or recording in a studio with them. “I can’t remember a time I have taken off that wasn’t band related. This is my hobby, my love, and my passion. It allows me to do my day job better and vice versa. It gives me that needed break.” Kathy’s idea of a “break” includes camping out with her own bed linens and cleaning products at cheap motels. She recalled one time when they came upon a particularly seedy establishment. “I thought to myself, ‘Okay, I can do this,’ but when I found a dead rat in the place, I was out of there! I left everything there – my bed linens and all – and checked us all into a nice hotel on my own credit card. There was just no way I could do it! You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.” Adventures are par for the course when touring

“It is very different traveling with four guys – it smells like Cheetos and dirty gym socks!” - Kathy Kemp

with the band. “It is very different traveling with four guys – it smells like Cheetos and dirty gym socks!” In spite of flat tires,

challenges, and the possibility of learning and growing. The possibility of

luggage on the highway and filthy hotels, Kathy claims she wouldn’t have

being better and doing more is what inspires me and moves me forward

it any other way. “Some people go for a run or play tennis. I do this. This

in this world.”

is where I find a lot of pleasure.” Armed with enthusiasm and attacking each day with a sense of advenKathy finds satisfaction in her daily life pursuing her music passion. She

ture, Kathy’s spirit is evident in both of her jobs – both day and night.

is inspired by the elements around her, including those obstacles we all

“If I didn’t put myself into everything I did, I couldn’t do the job I do. It is

have to hurdle once in awhile. “Challenges of all kinds inspire me. You

the only way that I know how to work. Working any other way would be

know what your goals are in life, but how can you achieve them without

passionless and hollow,” Kathy said. “It makes me vulnerable but there

facing some obstacles? The key is to passionately go after your goals

is no other way for me to approach things. The day I start phoning it in, I

and figure out ways around the obstacles. At the heart of it all, it boils

can’t do it anymore.”

down to one word: possibility. I am inspired by the possibilities of being creative, doing more than I thought I could, achieving my goals despite 102

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Somehow, I don't think that day will ever come.

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Chris Taylor PhotoVIE by Joni - FallBoyd / Winter 2008 104

Penning Lyrics



By Crystal Hamon


Gileah Taylor Photo by Kevin Woerner

hris Taylor wasn’t trying to be a rock

Chris grew up along the sparkling Emerald

star. He was making a living working

Coast with its white sandy beaches and Southern

for the family business, Ocean Reef

charm, often drawing his inspiration while surf-

Realty in Destin, while he created

ing in solitude in the morning mist. He started

music among friends in his home. In 2005 –

playing music at the age of thirteen when, after a

with his friend and British music producer, Stu

hard day at school, his mother brought a guitar

Green – Chris recorded an EP called Lights on the

home to cheer him up. As his musical explora-

Unseen, which was picked up by Grassrootsmusic.

tion grew, his contemplations on life deepened.

com. Later, an ad in RELEVANT Magazine

Chris began leading youth worship at Christian

caught the eye of a music representative from

International Family Church during his high

EMI, one of the world’s leading music publish-

school years. He experimented with instruments

ing companies. Before he knew it, Chris was in

ranging from the didgeridoo to a conch shell.

Nashville, negotiating and signing a record deal

Sometimes he enjoyed just playing his guitar

under BEC Recordings, owned by EMI. Shortly

while hanging out with his friends in the Seaside

after, he began recording under the capable di-

Amphitheater, or sitting on the beach trying

rection of producer Allen Salmon, and his debut

out new songs and taking requests from pass-

album, Take Me Anywhere, was released in the

ing tourists who stopped to listen. His father,

spring of 2008.

Tim Taylor, fondly remembers how Chris’s love for his faith and his music grew. “From the time

“It wasn’t hard for me to get signed because I

Chris was sixteen, I would look out early in the

wasn’t looking for it,” Chris recalled. “Once I let

morning and see his light on. He would be up

go and stopped trying to force it to happen, ev-

reading his Bible and writing music. By the time

erything fell into place.” When he thinks about

he was eighteen, his wisdom was beyond his

his growing family and budding music career,

years – I felt like I was listening to a teacher.” It

Chris wonders how it happened that he is now

was during that time of intensive change that I

living everything he has ever dreamed. “I’m not a

met Chris. He completely immersed himself into

prolific writer; the songs just seem to catch me.”

the language of music, enjoying every opportunity VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Photo by Jeremy Cowart

hazy time of questioning and soul-searching that a glimmer of inspiration – his bride to be, Gileah Cain – entered his life. Gileah, an accomplished musician in her own right, also grew up in this idyllic corner of the world. Like Chris, she started playing music at a similar age, her creative and folksy style encouraged by artistic parents. Her mother was a painter; her father, a preacher who taught her to play piano and acoustic guitar, filled her musical repertoire with old hymns and Beatles anthems.

Photo by Joni Boyd

“The old hymns were some of my first musical impressions,” Gileah said warmly. Playing church

"The songs I put out there for other people to hear are the songs that helped me in times of trial or sadness or

shows was a great start, but it wasn’t long before

doubt or fear.”

ferred cozy local coffee shops, bookstores and

she felt the need to broaden her horizons. Exploring other outlets for her talent, Gileah prebars where she could express her art. She found

~ Gileah Taylor

kinship with other bright young talents and inspiration from well-worn books. Literature,

to collaborate with other musicians. He explored

He went expecting a launching pad, but instead

more than other musicians, inspires her magical

new avenues while blanketing himself in a deeper,

found himself humbled by the authenticity of

lyrics and whimsical melodies. “I’m much more

spiritual and philosophical study – and was still

the faith he saw in his mentors and fellow song-

likely to write a song after reading an especially

able to enjoy life as a fun-loving teenager.

writers. A bit disillusioned, he wasn’t sure that he

inspiring passage, be it Thomas Hardy, C. S. Lewis

even wanted to play music anymore. He said, “If

or Pablo Neruda,” she says. One of her adoring

After earning his degree in music and recording,

it meant taking a vow of silence for the rest of

fans reviewed her work stating, “They say Helen

Chris applied for an eight-month internship at

my life to even begin to approach that level of

had a face that launched a thousand ships for

Soul Survivor, a worship ministry in England.

sincerity, I was ready to do it.” It was during this

how beautiful it was. Gileah has her voice.”


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Gileah’s enchanting voice and poetic imagery leave fans hungry for more. Her first three albums--The Golden Planes (2005), You Are Golden (2007) and Gileah and the Ghost Train (2007)—have become fast favorites among her listeners. An online record store that sells albums by independent musicians, CD Baby, painted her music as “distinctly Southern, downto-earth and brimming with sentiment and insight.” Gileah captures her listeners with naked truth, blissfully sweet melodies and an intimate

“White Florida sun, Mexican sea, well, they’re calling out to me… sand like the snow, bodies of gold…” ~ Gileah Taylor ("White Florida Sun" - 2005)

tone that invites them to sit down, have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and share life together. A new inspiration in her life is her daughter, Clara. Gileah has always loved to write beautiful songs, but she told Radiant Magazine, “After my daughter was born, I started thinking of life in a much more serious way. I like life to be light and lovely, but it doesn’t do anything for me to

Quality Speaks for Itself

Photo by Kevin Woerner

Custom Residential / Commercial 114 Logan Lane, Suite 1B Grayton Beach, FL 32459 (850) 534-0499 #CGC1513301

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


already forced him to undergo one hip replacement at thirty years of age. After something so tragic, the fighting seemed so trivial. “It’s about getting closer after something that’s ridiculously horrible. The part that says, ‘You’re my bone, my blood’ – I can’t sing that without thinking about his bones failing.” Most people would be surprised that, as husband and wife, Chris and Gileah don’t write music together – though occasionally they will help each other out. As both are successful songwritPhoto by Jana Quigley

Photo by Kevin Woerner

ers and have such diverse performance styles, I asked them what their goals are both personally

write happy songs. I mean, I write happy songs

for Kutless. His inaugural tour encompassed

and professionally. Their answer surprised me.

on a daily basis for Clara, but I don’t think any-

twenty-five states from Florida to Maine to

They replied, “The main thing is, we want to stay

one else could relate to those. The songs I put out

frigid Wisconsin. In June 2008, Chris was invit-

a family – we want to stay married.” With hon-

there for other people to hear are the songs that

ed to join other musical artists to be part of the

esty and sincerity, they talked about how hard it

helped me in times of trial or sadness or doubt or

Compassion International tour of the Domini-

is to see so many marriages failing and families

fear.” One such song was “Say You Love Me Still”

can Republic. This allowed Chris an up close

falling apart, particularly in the music industry.

from The Golden Planes. It was written during a

look into the work of the organization in which

Chris added that they have never been ones to

time before she got pregnant – after a doctor told

both he and Gileah have supported child spon-

follow an orthodox path in life and they don’t

her she wouldn’t be able to have children. “The

sorships in Africa and India. This fall, Chris will

plan to build their lives and music careers like most others, either. They are determined to live

“Don’t let me drift too far out to sea, you know that is where I tend to go.”

all of their dreams – playing music, loving what they do and being with the ones they love. And right now, they are managing to do just that.

~ Chris Taylor ("Take Me Anywhere" - 2008) When I asked whether their growing careers doctor was quite wrong, obviously!” she said.

join Robbie Seay of Sparrow Records on a coast-to-

would carry them away from our sandy shores,

“But the song helped me out a lot.” As Gileah

coast tour called “Hope, Coffee & Melody," which

Gileah responded, “How could you leave? Peo-

prepares for her second bundle of joy, she is also

will promote Compassion International and free

ple used to always tell me, ‘You need to go to

swimming in ideas for crafting her next work of

trade coffees in Latin America.

the big city,’ but I never wanted to. My family is here, his family is here, and we like being close

art. The coming recording promises a few surprises in its presentation – it will be packaged in a book

Chris feels that this journey is merely a continu-

to our family – and it’s gorgeous here!” So, even

filled with a hodgepodge of written passages that

ation of the spiritual dialogue that God began

though this local talent is getting some national

inspire her. “People upload music to their Macs,

with him early in his life. It is expressed in the

and international attention, they plan to bask in

stick it on an iPod and never see the CD again.

intonations of his voice, the passion in his lyr-

the beauty of their hometown, the warmth of

In a way, I’m trying to lure people back to the ap-

ics and the chords of his songs. One of the most

good relationships and the ever-growing passion

preciation of the written word in music.”

personal songs on his new CD, “Come Around,”

for their craft.

was written after a big argument with his brother, Chris’s newest album embodies the pop/rock

Mike. Chris’s song portrays the vulnerability that

genre with hints from some of his early influenc-

he felt in that moment. “I sat down and played it

es, such as Radiohead, Sting and Kevin Prosch.

straight through, singing what I felt.” Growing

Heartfelt lyrics, ethereal melodies and Chris's

up, the two never really got along that well, as

soulful vocals flood the tracks. This past spring,

is the case with many brothers. But as they grew

Chris completed a two-month tour opening

into adults, Mike faced a terrible illness that has


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Chris’s music: Gileah’s music:

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Stepping into the Light By Mike Ragsdale Photos by Jessie Shepard (1) & Clint Brown (2) Stills from SpyCam Series #2 by Janis Sawyer (3)


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

might be able to survive for weeks. I could come out in the winter. No one would miss me. But I didn’t. I couldn’t… I decided if I couldn’t retreat and cower, I’d march straight to the front lines instead. There was no in-between that night. I pulled a ball cap over my wildly wet hair, and firmly planted myself at the entrance where moistened ticket holders were meandering aimlessly in search of guidance. “If you hold still for a very

To my surprise, arriving guests took the event can-

long time, eventually, everything

cellation news quite well.

comes to you.”

street past me as the next surge of ticket holders arrived. I recited my auto-greeting for the eighty-

- Janis Sawyer

“Unfortunately, due to the bad weather, we’re

third time that night.

In the minutes, hours, days, weeks and months

only able to show four or five of the fifty exhibits

leading up to the Digital Graffiti festival, we’d

that were planned for tonight,” I said. “But there’s

done everything but sit still. Kelli, Alys, Scott,

absolutely no charge for the event, so just come

Sean, so many others… we’d all been frantically

on in, enjoy the few works that are showing, and

One week later, I stand outside Janis Sawyer’s

racing to organize a very innovative event, during

then let’s all go over to the party and dance.”

Seaside cottage, her home for the last twenty years. Like an electronic imp, her cryptic e-mails

which we planned to project digital artworks onto the trademark white walls of Alys Beach. Over

And then I saw Janis. Like a rock star or Mafia don, she

150 artists worldwide had submitted entries from

sat in her chair, surrounded by a large entourage. “Hi! Are you guys just arriving?” I asked with

30A Radio blares too loudly from her laptop’s tinny

forced enthusiasm.

speaker. I nose around at the countless global knickknacks and artifacts that litter every square

Even though we hadn’t been sitting still, Janis Sawyer had come to us. And that’s saying a lot,

“Yes, we’re with one of the artists exhibiting here

since she typically leaves her room only two or

tonight,” said one woman. “This is Janis Sawyer.”

inch of elevated space. “These were all gifts to me,” she says, seemingly

three times a year. Frankly, I’d forgotten that she even existed. In the

had lured me here. Janis’s dreamy white room is clean, but cluttered.

as far away as India, Austria and China, and as nearby as Pensacola, Panama City and Seagrove.

“I live here, I only live here.”

“I know. Hello, Mrs. Sawyer… I’m afraid I have

tethered to her bed by a crisscross of wires and

some bad news…”

electronic gadgetry. But I’d soon learn that the cords aren’t shackles. They’re liberators – an in-

stressful chaos of thunder, wind, rain, ponchos

valuable link to the outside world.

and vague rumors of demands for ticket refunds,

I quickly wove tragic tales of the technological

the exhibiting artists were hardly uppermost in my

gizmos that we were forced to store away when

mind. The sudden red-cell storm had kicked up a

the rain began to fall. Janis smiled and craned her

“Coincidence and synchronicity surround me for

fine mist that clung to the air, making it impossible

neck to look up at her husband. I knew she was

some reason,” she says. “In fact, I’ve found that

to use laptops or projectors. My mobile phone

terribly disappointed, but mostly for those who

if you hold still for a very long time, eventually,

rang. The event was cancelled. Refunds would be

had come out to stand in the drizzle by her side.

everything comes to you.”

“Oh, no,” sighed one of the women. “Do you know

The morning immediately following the washed-

if Janis’s exhibit is one that’s being shown?”

out festival, the judges had gathered for several

issued. Invite people to come in and enjoy drinks, food and music at Caliza instead.

hours in a home theater setting to review, discuss

The festival was over—just moments before it began. “No, I don’t,” I lied. “I’m so sorry.”

and debate the merits of each artist’s work. Janis’s exhibit—entitled “SpyCam Series #2”—had

As months of hard work trickled down the cobblestone path, I briefly entertained the idea of fleeing

They assured me that they understood, and that

won the $1,000 prize for “Best Local Submission,”

into one of our town’s show homes. I could sneak

no one could control Mother Nature. Janis and her

intended to recognize artistic excellence in Bay,

away and hide upstairs. If the fridge was stocked, I

fans worked their way slowly down the puddled

Walton and Okaloosa counties. VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Over 150 artists worldwide entries from as far away as and China, and as nearby Panama City

had submitted India, Austria as Pensacola, and Seagrove. - Ragsdale

Best of Show: "Futures" by Robert Seidel of Jena, Germany Her dream-like and grainy “SpyCam” videos

Janis perks up and laughs, seemingly fascinated

were unquestionably mesmerizing—each cap-

by the notion. Then she pauses, as if the idea’s

turing a tiny, compelling sliver of Janis’s en-

ricocheting around in her mind.

tire worldview.

“You see,” she giggles. “The Allman Brothers…” Janis tells me that she’s only left her home a few times this year: once to go to the doctor, once to

“Everyone brings something to the party,” she

the dentist, once to an art show, and once to at-

“Even after all these years, what I discover in this

says finally. “Everyone sees the world through a

tend Digital Graffiti. I cringe, and try to change

room still really surprises me,” she says.

unique lens.”

the subject.

“I’m fascinated with small motion, because it is

But few could be more unique than hers. Janis

“Why Seaside,” I ask her. “I mean, you never re-

omnipresent. I enjoy rendering my animations in

lived in Germany for a couple of years, got phone-

ally leave this room, so arguably, you could live

a less-than-fluid manner, as that’s how I see it

chatty from time to time with Gregg Allman, and

anywhere. What does it matter? Why did you

through my SpyCam—much like a flip-book that’s

witnessed a young Jimi Hendrix perform in sev-

choose to come here?”

missing pages.”

eral small venues. But then, in one unspeakable moment, Janis was paralyzed at the age of twen-

Another long pause, as though she’d never given

I ask her to tell me about some of her specific

ty-two. She would spend most of the next thirty-

it much thought.

works. One’s entitled “Greetings & Flamingo

eight years in bed, the last twenty in this single

Feet,” and stars the marionette and flamingo that

room in Seaside.

dually dangle by her bedside.

“I have to live by the water,” she says finally, although she struggles to articulate why. She doesn’t

“If you’re moving all the time, nothing can find

need to. I share the same inexplicable instinct.

“The waving marionette seems friendly and pro-

you,” she tells me. “If someone’s shooting at you,

tective,” she says. “No harm comes while he’s

you zigzag. We’re all zigzagging, every day. Things

On the radio, DJ Leslie Kolovich conducts a par-

here. And the juxtaposition with the flamingo feet

can’t find you. Only when you hold still are things

allel interview with her own on-air guest. They

was just a little silly to me.”

able to reach you.”

begin to discuss the guest’s recent trip to France and Germany.

“What if I told you that one of the judges found

Being shot at, being targeted. It strikes me as a

this particular work reminiscent of the infa-

strange and violent rationalization, perhaps a philo-

mous Saddam Hussein hanging video? Grainy,

sophical justification developed over time by some-

dangling feet, a uniformed guard repeating a

one who was so tragically struck down in her youth.

As someone who usually finds it quite challenging

haunting salute…”

But then the radio begins to play “Midnight Rider.”

to sit still, it’s not very difficult for me in Janis’s


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

“Germany!” she laughs. “You see? It all comes to me.”

company. I’m fascinated by our discussions of

She giggles. Coincidence and synchronicity.

technologies and web sites, of digital art and SpyCams, of travels to places across the globe

As I leave Janis’s home, I step into the bright Sep-

and to places just a few feet from the bed.

tember sunlight and wonder if I’m being watched. Before I came here, I expected to find someone

“You know my video has audio, don’t you?”

who’d been forcibly disengaged from the rest of the world. But I suddenly realize that I’m the

I didn’t. I guess I’d just assumed that her webcam

one who’s been disconnected. What else have I

videos were silent. What sound could swaying fla-

missed over the years, through the impatience of

mingo feet possibly make?

my own perpetual motion? I wonder if coincidence and synchronicity permeate my life as well. I sit in

Janis turns off the radio and tweaks her laptop set-

front of her home in my idling car for far too long,

tings. This time, as the marionette and the flamingo

waiting for more mini-miracles to reveal them-

and ceiling fans and prayer flags twirl across the

selves. None do, and I drive home.

screen, they dance to ancient reverberations. I smile. “What? What is it?” she asks excitedly.

The movie was filmed in Seaside. I try to wrap my mind around the riddle, desper-

It’s almost a week later now, a Saturday. And I’m

ate to solve her puzzle. But I realize that I’m trying

not feeling very well. In fact, I’ve lain in bed all

too hard. Patience. I know that if I hold still long

day long. As I channel surf, I finally chance across

enough, eventually, it will come to me.

Thirty days ago, I wouldn’t have recognized that

one of my favorite movies. It’s about a guy who

sound. “When I was in California a few weeks ago,

desperately wants to leave his small hometown

I found this great little shop full of curiosities from

to explore the world, but he’s paralyzed with fear.

Mike Ragsdale is the "Town Evangelist" for Alys

around the world,” I tell her. “I bought a Tibetan

In fact, he’s the star of his own TV show—only he

Beach, Florida and is the creator of

singing bowl for my wife.”

doesn’t know it. SpyCams.

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



PROFILE ager Joe Rentfro said, “Clark and Blake Brennan

coming place for friends and families to enjoy tasty,

are serving up savory food and genuine Southern

high-quality cuisine without pretense,” stated Clark


Brennan. “We’re focusing as much on serving the freshest local ingredients available as we are on

Blake Brennan, excited about the atmosphere of

delivering the finest Southern hospitality.”

this new endeavor, said, “The restaurant’s décor has a rustic coastal feel that ties into the surrounding

It seems St. Joe, the parent company of WindMark

natural scenery, bringing the outdoors inside.” Touch-

and School of Fish, has hit another home run with


es such as hand-carved butcher block-topped dining

this casually sophisticated new dining locale.

and Blake Brennan brought Gulf-front dining to the

With indoor and outdoor seating offering scenic

residents of Port St. Joe, welcoming guests to en-

views of the Gulf of Mexico, the School of Fish

joy leisurely lunches and relaxing, low-key dinners.

menu fittingly features local Gulf Coast seafood

WindMark Beach’s vice president and project man-

with a Creole flair. “School of Fish is a warm, wel-

ust steps away from the stunning 3.5-mile

tables, cypress tree stump bar stools, driftwood ac-

stretch of snowy white sand in WindMark

cent pieces and large windows framing picturesque

Beach, the School of Fish restaurant made

Gulf views make for an inviting atmosphere.

its debut. In July 2008, Southern restaurateurs Clark


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Photo courtesy of St. Joe

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Painting by Sara Claire Chambless 116 VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

By Anne Hunter, Proprietor of World Six Studio Gallery, Rosemary Beach Photos of Anne Hunter by Michael Granberry


NEWURBANIST ARTMOVEMENT The New Urbanist Art Movement is budding along the 18-mile stretch of scenic highway situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast, called 30A — and its influence is global.

world historically experience their own independent sequence of movements in culture, with varying degrees of global influence. As world communications have accelerated, geographical art move-

n the evening of December

particular way of thinking about modern so-

ments have become less common, fueling the

16, 1895, a newly transformed

ciety and new production methods, attempt-

now rare synchronized art movements for far

gallery opened its doors at

ing to redefine the meaning and nature of art

reaching impacts of global proportions.2

22 Rue de Provence in Paris.

so that art would not overlook any everyday

The owner was Samuel Bing, an established

object, no matter how utilitarian, hence the


art connoisseur and gallery owner. Bing called

name Art Nouveau – “New Art.”

The question of how to participate in social


it L’Art Nouveau to emphasize the modernity of the works he intended to show.

struggles and integrate meaningfully into sociART MOVEMENTS

ety is a challenging one for most artists.

Historically, a visionary artist is the first The opening of Bing’s gallery marked the be-

member of a culture to see the world in a

The 1800s introduced the capitalist industrial

ginning of the new style and gave its name

new way. Then, nearly simultaneously, a

society and expanded the bourgeoisie with

to the international stylistic movement in the

revolutionary physicist discovers a new

disposable income and time. They desired a

fine and decorative arts that defined a new

formula for interacting with the world. The

new kind of space for the enjoyment of art—

way of European living. The Art Nouveau

artist’s images, when superimposed onto

the gallery. It emancipated art from state

movement sought to make art part of every-

the physicist’s concepts, create a compelling

and religious institutions for the purpose of

day life, to break all connections to classical

fit, precipitating social and cultural changes

expanding thoughts and ideas. As a result,

times and to bring down the barriers between

in lifestyles and ways of thinking that sculpt

artists evolved from the role of servants to

fine and applied arts. It was underlined by a

movements in art. Nations and regions of the

established religion or aristocratic patrons VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


and into a world where they would be judged

both the artist and the capitalist to work in

dent upon the perpetuation of existing eco-

on their merits by a larger and more populist

ways that contradict established paradigms

nomic conditions and social relationships.3

society—the marketplace, the critics and the

and institutions. The few pioneers who tread

gallery patrons.

this course are regarded as freethinkers in


their respective fields.

New Urbanism is an emerging real estate

For the artist, the advent of the art gallery

sector that challenges the traditional resort

brought the inevitable reality that in order to

For the artists, there are moments during

model. These changes are multi-layered, en-

be understood, there must be some degree of

which the desire for social or market change

compassing everything from design and mas-

bridging between the distinctively different life-

has led to working within the sphere of busi-

ter planning to construction and development,

styles of the artists and their patrons. Converse-

ness capital to align themselves with wider

operations and retail mix. Driving this change

ly, their patrons, as business capitalists, faced

social movements or to break with the estab-

is a customer demographic dictating funda-

an identical struggle when contemplating a life

lished institutions of art.

mental changes related to evolving lifestyles.

devoted to the appreciation of the arts. For the capitalists, it serves their social and

The New Urbanist buyers value premium real

This disparity between the two worlds is a

political purpose to consider how to leverage

estate offering superior quality, excellence of

gap that is rarely traversed. When attempted,

the arts in their favor, by positing art as out-

design and consistency. They are connois-

it ultimately creates a conflict that causes

side of political engagement—and as depen-

seurs of haute cuisine and fine wines, they

Painting by David Harouni 118

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

are art lovers, sportsmen and outdoorsmen, spas and personal health are part of their daily regime, and they are focused on

While art is subjective, physics is the objective arena of motion, formulas, forces and aspects of light.

spiritual studies and pursuits. For these Boomers, Zoomers and the Mass Wealth Segment, leisure time

Cultural movements are increasingly focused

boundaries to expand the economic impact

has become a highly coveted commodity.

on the ideals of independence from existing

of the 30A community as a whole. Rosemary

These affluent consumers have grown more

market structures. Leaders of such move-

Beach, Alys Beach, Seaside, WaterColor,

sophisticated in their creative expression

ments choose their tools sensibly and build

WaterSound and Grayton Beach provide the

and their personal pursuit of the arts. These

their networks across disciplinary boundar-

significant synergies, critical mass and mar-

are tough customers to please, as they are

ies, often occurring in opposition to govern-

ket for positioning 30A as the international

seeking new and different experiences, cos-

ment and social policies. However, successful

center of an art movement.

mopolitan venues, challenging things to do

movements have moved beyond the polar op-

and new ways to expand their personal and

posites to produce some of the most powerful

Scenic Highway 30A integrates authentic New

spiritual horizons.

social, political and market changes in history.

Urbanist living with effective retailing; howev-

The demand for amenity-rich New Urbanist

In the conflict between artists and social

of growing consumer demand, we need year-

communities will continue to expand. In addi-

structure, some artists have sought to align

round experiential infrastructure targeted at

tion, the supply of properties within a drivable

themselves with wider social movements that

the seasonality of traditional resort real estate.

radius of urban centers that can effectively

engage capital enterprise in order to effect

Witnessing local residents engaged by the

satisfy this demand is limited, creating a fa-

change. In this regard, artists discover roles

amenities of our community naturally compels

vorable supply-demand imbalance.

as consultants who could be called upon to

the seasonal-tourist market to indulge in the

address social needs through creative think-

New Urbanist lifestyle until ultimately acquir-

Could the changing conditions of the real

ing and communicating powerful messages

ing the real estate befitting the new way of liv-

estate market, along with the accelerating

through works of art.

ing to which they have been exposed.

become the compelling energies that fuel a

Likewise, the business capitalists—in our

A rich slate of all-season activities, in conjunc-

global art movement?

case, the developers—are called upon to

tion with the natural amenities of the destination,

align with developments beyond their property

result in significantly enhanced consumer

er, because we are in a transformative phase

New Urbanization of Scenic Highway 30A,

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


demand matched with animated retail con-

physics is the objective arena of motion, for-

ceptions in the study of quantum physics

cepts that both boost the local economy

mulas, forces and aspects of light. The world

and the mysteries of the universe.

and increase long-term real estate values

between is mostly unchartered and a loss to

for the community. This translates into

the human condition.

superior financial performance and ap-

Next, consider that art, as an objective technical discipline, is wholly compat-

preciating real estate values, ultimately

Creating the bridge between art and phys-

ible with the interests of capital and then

positioning 30A as a New Urbanist commu-

ics requires individuals with common goals

imagine local citizens as the physicists in

nity that hums with activity and vitality at

who are concerned with both the inner

this model.

every level. This ideology strengthens 30A’s

realm of emotions, dreams, spirituality and

global position as the world’s premier New

the external scientific dimensions of time

The principal question? How to create an ac-

Urbanist corridor and as the preeminent

and space, social order and market condi-

tive alternative central to positioning ourselves

geographical location for celebrating the

tions. It requires a technique that merges

for the re-emerging real estate market.

human creative spirit.

the realistic with the abstract, revealing the disparity between art and physics and forc-

The answer? Cultivate the emerging art scene


ing harmony upon them. However, there is

while attracting new artists on both national

Consider that art encompasses imaginative

one fundamental truth that connects these

and international levels.

aesthetic qualities while physics exists as

two disciplines. Revolutionary art and vision-

mathematical relationships between quan-

ary physics are both investigations into the

This ideology requires commitment from both

tifiable properties. While art is subjective,

nature of reality concerned with the per-

organizations in order to forge a new path that

Local citizens, as the physicists, can unite the community under the banner of art; and local artists, as visionaries, can focus on producing great creative works. 120

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

positions our community as the global center for the protection and nurturing of the arts. Local citizens, as the physicists, can unite the community under the banner of art, and local artists, as visionaries, can focus on producing great creative works. Thus, they participate together in restating the concept of our community. This beckons with a stentorian tone, does it not?2 THE NEW URBANIST ART MOVEMENT When the works of master artists and the world-changing ideas of great thinkers are juxtaposed with the emerging New Urbanist artists and business leaders along Scenic Highway 30A, the combination is the provocative and compelling synergy of the New Urbanist Art Movement. Fast-forward one century and imagine yourself discovering these words inscribed in a future history of American culture: Celebrating the achievements of the past century and accelerating development into the New Urbanist Art is considered a “total” style,

examples of architecture, design, music and

which began in the 1980s, is both a reaction to

meaning it encompasses a hierarchy of scales

literary, visual and performing arts in the New

sprawl and a return to centuries-old European

in design, embodying all art forms, the sciences

Urbanist corridor called 30A, situated on Flor-

living. Based on sound planning and archi-

and philosophy. The seeds of New Urbanist Art

ida’s Gulf Coast. Illustrating a global transi-

tectural principles coming together to create

expression are manifested through the various

tion thought reminiscent of centuries-old art

human-scale, walkable communities, New

art disciplines: architecture and the decorative

movements, the New Urbanist Art Movement

Urbanism was founded upon the work of ar-

arts, including jewelry, furniture, textiles and

sprang from the artful lifestyle born of New

chitects, planners and theorists who believed

lighting, coupled with the full range of visual,

Urbanism, an American urban design move-

that conventional town planning could be more

literary and music arts.

ment that arose in the early 1980s.4

effectively composed. This new conception of 21st century lifestyle is adept at nurturing cre-

Then, rewind to find yourself reading these

ative expression and New Urbanists have un-

future words of history today:

covered an ancillary benefit of New Urbanist living – the artist within. New Urbanists have

The New Urbanist Art Movement erupted in

become incubators of art, manifesting their

response to the discovery of human creative

creative talents in a variety of art forms.

genius exemplified through the outstanding


next, the New Urbanism design movement,

Masini, Lara E. (1984). Art Nouveau. Great Britain: Thames & Hudson 2 Schlain, Leonard. (2007). Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time and Light. New York: Harper Perennial 3 Bradley and Esche. Art and Social Change. New York: Tate 4 Wikipedia. (2008). Tags: Art Nouveau. New Urbanism. Art Movements 1

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Stefan Daiberl’s

THE ECDYSIS Stefan Daiberl, born in Augsburg, Germany, in 1970, moved to the United States in 1997 to pursue

a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from Babson College, which he received in 1999. In 2002, he left Interbrand, a New York consulting firm focused on marketing consulting and opened Craft, an interior design firm located on Scenic Highway 30A. In 2007, Daiberl abandoned his business pursuits in order to focus on the arts. His first exhibition, The Ecdysis, considers the vulnerability of the creature during and right after ecdysis, which is the molting or shedding of the skin in arthropods. Stefan Daiberl’s The Ecdysis deals with issues of personal growth, psychological change, crisis and subsequent evolution. VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Hunter: Some artists choose literature, canvas or film to express, but you have chosen objects. For me, that doubles the interest in your work because you do two very huge things. You are communicating something very important and then you are using natural objects that have those powers. Daiberl: It is a predisposition that I have to connect experiences to objects and I record sensations in the context of objects that are around me. Past sensory experiences, visual, tactile, olfactory, or otherwise, now help me materialize physical works. I often unconsciously record moments of life that are important using objects that surround me as the recording device.

Hunter: What is The Ecdysis to you? Daiberl: That’s a big one. The Ecdysis, the whole concept, sounds so premeditated and planned but is more like an unexpected


end result of individual works that are in it, which was a

How do you value art in your life now, as an artist, and why are you setting

result of my dealing with very individual situations that I

aside a degreed life and a successful business career to become an artist?

found myself in at the time that I made each one of the pieces. Each one of these pieces followed a very strong


personal impulse at the time that I made it. It was more

I think it was a result of an immediate need to survive for me, and I was

like a therapeutic exercise to make these things in order to

looking for a mechanism that would keep me here and I very intuitively, like a

leave the skeleton behind. Each one of these pieces forms

child, played and materialized these things that made me and shaped who I

the whole unit, which was a surprise to me. Every piece

am. It is the fascination of having a sensation of “this is who I am” and “this

represents a shedding.

is what I just realized about something” and being able to make it into a thing -- and then you step away from it and you have something hanging on the wall. And in that moment you realize that this is the translation of all of the things that went into me as a person. It feels good. I feel proud.


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Hunter: Where do you find yourself relative to your art? Daiberl: I think that I will never make something that is purposefully contrived to cause a reaction in somebody. I am interested in making things that utilize the potential connection between a human emotion and an object. I am going to keep investigating my own feelings and sensations to find these things

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that illustrate this linkage and that can bring people back to that human experience. I want to find things and assemble them in a way that is humanly meaningful. I am not going to intentionally teach but I am going to listen to what moves me. I am going to hope that the things that move me will appeal to others as well. I think that my art is going to be not very literal. I don’t like things that are “in your face” about their story. I just recently read something about Jackson Pollock and about how every dripped paint line was intended to represent an understanding of life that he had. The way things are assembled

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something metallic can meet something that is made of paper. You can pierce

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something that should not be pierced. I like making vast abstract things that on

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communicates human experience. Something thick can meet something thin,

second sight illustrate something meaningful. That is ultimately what appeals to me, assembling things in a meaningful way. That is where I want to be.

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Echoing behind The Ecdysis is the realization that Daiberl has transcended his humanity and reassociated himself with the powers of nature, which are the powers that guide our lives. The purpose of the artist, who is also a teacher, is to communicate new understandings through his creative works, returning the

For more information on RiverCamps stop by or call the sales center in WaterSound, located on Hwy 98, to see all our current listings and pick up St. Joe’s Anthology of Northwest Florida, with listing information on St. Joe properties.

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jewel of understanding to the world through metaphor. In Daiberl’s case, as artist and teacher, he offers a great lesson to us all. The example of one who has opted to sacrifice the physical desires and fears to discover what best fosters the flowering of our humanity, our contemporary life, and fortunately for us, to that one thing he is dedicating himself.




Pensacola's 450th Celebration

For 450 days, beginning in May 2008 through August 2009, the city of Pensacola will take center stage, planning events to commemorate its significant milestone.


by brenda rees Photos courtesy of Brenda Rees

istory is something I have always gravitated toward – the

My admiration for Pensacola and the Emerald Coast dates back, figura-

battles, the stories of the past, the treasures buried like a

tively, to Florida’s early territorial days and the Civil War. My great-great-

time capsule waiting to be unearthed by archaeologists,

grandfather, James Hamilton Wentworth, who fought in and was captured

eager students, teachers or historians like myself. When traveling along the

at the famous Gettysburg battle, eventually ended up in Pensacola. His son,

Northwest Florida coast, as I often do, I frequently reflect on the strong

T. T. Wentworth Sr., put roots down in Pensacola Beach. Then his grand-

historical and environmental bonds rooted in our region. This year, I am

son, T. T. Wentworth Jr., founded two museums: a state museum in Pensa-

thrilled to help the historical heart of Northwest Florida celebrate her 450th

cola and a museum in Ensley. My maternal grandmother, Mary Wentworth

birthday. For 450 days, beginning in May 2008 through August 2009, the

Jackson of Pensacola, and her husband, Jack Jackson, owned the Jackson

city of Pensacola will take center stage, planning events to commemorate its

Motel in DeFuniak Springs. Several other relatives made names for them-

significant milestone. As the historical centerpiece of Northwest Florida’s

selves in Tallahassee, including William T. Cash, a Florida legislator and the

Emerald Coast, Pensacola sets a sparkling example of blending the best of

first state librarian. In addition, my mother, of course, was a proud native of

worlds with brilliant white sand beaches, relaxing Southern culture, coastal

Pensacola. It is my hope that, with Pensacola’s 450th birthday celebration,

scrub and maritime forests, vast pine ridges, rolling interior, and authentic

the world will come to know the real story of this beautiful and historic

and significant Florida history.

Emerald Coast area.


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


ot many people know that West Florida was the 14th British colony in North America and the city of Pensacola served as the capital. People are amazed to discover that Pensacola

is actually older than the acclaimed “oldest city” of St. Augustine, Florida.

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In my lectures, I inform groups of these little-known facts – including that Walton County, named after Pensacola’s and Florida’s territorial leader George Walton Jr., is approaching its very own 200th birthday. The history of Pensacola goes back thousands of years, and traces of environmental treasures have developed over the ages. While Miami and Tampa were underwater 100,000 years ago, the shores of Northwest Florida probably glistened unspoiled and untouched due to their high elevation. Britton Hill, near Paxton off Highway 331 in Walton County, boasts the state’s highest elevation at 345 feet above sea level. It is considered the “lowest high” in America.

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W a t e r Co lo r

D i s co v e ry Pa ck a ge Enjoy a private consultation and community tour with

Perhaps it is because of the high elevation and natural benefits that native

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peoples and their ancient middens are found throughout Northwest Florida.

WaterColor Inn’s luxury Gulf-front accommodations,

New evidence shows native peoples’ presence here more than 25,000 years

European-style continental breakfast each morning, two complimentary rounds of golf at either Camp Creek Golf Club or Shark’s Tooth Golf Club, use of bikes, canoes, kayaks, fitness center and tennis, and a $100 resort credit to be used at any St. Joe-owned amenity (restaurants, golf course, spa, etc).*

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Amanda Schuette & Matt Jones from Walton County at the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Museum VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


ago. Native peoples lived here when Panfilo de Narvaez and his ill-fated exploration trip passed the Emerald Coast from St. Marks, Florida on the way to Mexico in 1528. They lived here when Tristan de Luna landed at Pensacola in 1559. Still, they were here on this coastal land when Andrew Jackson arrived in Pensacola to set up the new territory of Florida in 1821. Originally named Santa Maria Filipina, Pensacola was founded in 1559 by the Spanish conquistador Tristan de Luna. Proof of this visit is evident from samples of Aztec pottery and an anchor from the Tristan de Luna ship now displayed at the T. T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum in Pensacola. A second ship from this expedition was discovered nearby and partially excavated in 2007. Pensacola suffered colonizing mishaps along with a destructive hurricane that left the Luna colony abandoned in 1561. In 1693, Pensacola’s bay was rechristened Bahia de Santa Maria de Galve. Because of its superior harbor, it was suggested that Pensacola replace St. Augustine as La Florida’s capital; however, this did not happen. In 1698, Andres de Arriola was appointed as Pensacola’s first Spanish governor, and the colony was permanently settled.

Originally named Santa Maria Filipina, Pensacola was founded in 1559 by the Spanish conquistador Tristan de Luna. Proof of this visit is evident from samples of Aztec pottery and an anchor from the Tristan de Luna ship now displayed at the T. T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum in Pensacola.

Historically, St. Augustine, founded in 1565, gets the nod for longest continuous city within the current Florida border. However,

Spain, France, Great Britain, the United States and the Confederate States

very few know that Pensacola, established in 1559, is older than Plymouth,

of America.

1620, and Jamestown, 1607. There were earlier settlements within the original borders of Florida, which was much larger than it is today. Lucas

The United States finally wrested Florida from Spain and established a ter-

Vazques de Ayllon established San Miguel de Gualdape in 1526 on what is

ritory with Andrew Jackson serving as Governor of the Floridas – West

now the Georgia coast at Sapelo Sound. The “La Florida” map by Geronimo

Florida and East Florida. One of Jackson’s first acts was to form the coun-

de Chavez, published in Ortelius’ Atlas of the World in 1584, shows an

ties. In 1821, Escambia and St. Johns were the first two counties established

expansive Florida border that included areas of modern-day Texas, Mexi-

in the state. All present counties of current Northwest Florida and the Em-

co and up to Newfoundland. I often tell visitors from neighboring states,

erald Coast were once part of Escambia County and had Pensacola as their

“Welcome home to Florida.”

county seat. New counties subsequently formed to control the legislature. West Florida interests prevailed in keeping the most counties and control of

During America’s fight for independence in 1778, British soldiers marched

the Florida legislature until the Voting Rights Act as amended in 1965.

between Pensacola and St. Augustine, the capitals of Great Britain’s 14th and 15th colonies. Not only were the sands shifting along the Northwest

Florida did not suit Jackson’s personal or political aspirations, and after only

Florida shore, but the borders and countries were shifting as well. Pensa-

four months, he left Pensacola and returned to Tennessee. He appointed his

cola is also known by its nickname “City of Five Flags,” as it was claimed by

Secretary for West Florida, George Walton Jr., as Acting Governor. According to


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Jackson’s instructions, official documents and records from the East Florida Acting Governor were to pass through Acting Governor Walton of Pensacola and West Florida. George Walton Jr. and his family lived in Pensacola from 1821 until 1835.

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Walton again served as Secretary of State for Florida after William Pope Duval was selected as Governor. He continued as secretary until 1826. When Richard K. Call became governor of Florida, Walton decided to leave Pensacola and Florida for Mobile, Alabama. Walton’s family was distinguished and well known. His father, George Walton of Georgia, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The senior Walton died in 1804, and it was only to be with her son that Dorothy Walton moved to Pensacola, where she died and was buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery. While his family resided in Pensacola, George Walton Jr. spent much time in Tallahassee. The Walton House, where they reportedly lived, is in the historic district of Pensacola. T. T. Wentworth Jr. owned the house and deeded it to Pensacola for $1. Considered a great belle of the South, Octavia Walton Le Vert was the

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W a t e rS o u nd

D i s co v e ry Pa ck a ge Enjoy a private consultation and community tour with your St. Joe Community Sales associate, two nights at the WaterSound GateHouse, breakfast each morning at

daughter of George Walton Jr. As a Pensacola resident, she was amazingly

the WaterSound Beach Café, two complimentary rounds

well traveled, accomplished, and the star of her time. Le Vert’s travel journal

of golf at either Camp Creek Golf Club or Shark’s Tooth

might rival some of the most interesting in history. During her 1833 debut trip to Washington, D.C. and other locales, she met and began a lifelong friendship with Washington Irving, who referred to Octavia as “one who

Golf Club, use of bikes, canoes, kayaks, fitness center and tennis, and a $100 resort credit to be used at any

occurs but once in an empire”; Edgar Allan Poe wrote a poem for her after

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meeting her on a trip to Baltimore; she was received by Queen Victoria and

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by Pope Pius IX during a trip to Europe in 1853; and in 1855, she was an official representative to the Paris World Exposition. Octavia’s other accomplishments include serving on a committee with Abraham Lincoln; speaking five languages; being credited for naming Tallahassee; and in 1857, for authoring Souvenirs of Travel, one of the early tourist guidebooks written by a Floridian, detailing her European visits. Octavia left Pensacola in 1835 and moved to Mobile where she married Dr. Henry Levert. (Always an independent woman, she spelled her name Le Vert.) After the Civil War, she returned to her place of birth, Augusta,

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Georgia. Her father, mother, husband, brother and three of her five children had all died. Floridians should know the stories of George and Octavia Walton, but most do not. Pensacola and West Florida history is often neglected. There are VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Early Florida land developers and traders are remembered by a reconstructed miniature house and Indian trading post built by William Panton of Panton, Leslie and Company. Alexander McGillivray was buried here until his sister moved him to Alabama, per Dr. Randall Broxton, Pensacola Junior College history professor. According to the plaque erected in 1935 by the Pensacola Historical Society, McGillivray was made Chief of the Creek Nation in 1776, commissioned a British colonel in 1778, a Spanish agent in 1784, and a U.S. Brigadier General in 1790. He died in Pensacola, Florida, in 1798. From the historic district, you drive by this house off Main Street on your way to the lighthouse and world-class National Museum of Naval Aviation and IMAX Theater. Pensacola was also known for the West Florida Railroad and brick and timber industries, and would become known as the “Cradle of Naval Aviation.”

The original Pensacola Lighthouse, built in 1824, was the first lighthouse on the Gulf Coast and was built the same year Walton County was founded.

Pensacola’s prosperity has been linked to the military for nearly four centuries. The West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc. and the University of West Florida have teamed up to provide family fun events and exhibits of numerous Pensacola historical highlights at the Historic Pensacola Village

numerous reasons for this long neglect, which has resulted in the current

and T. T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum. Plan a trip today to see these

“Disney World-influenced” version of Florida’s history. One such reason

special jewels, along with the Seville Historic District, Fort Pickens, Christ

was that during Andrew Jackson’s tenure, he sent many of the Spanish back

Church, the Pensacola Museum of Art, the Blue Angels, the brilliant

to Cuba; the ship carrying them and many West Florida records was at-

Pensacola Beach sign, and many excellent restaurants and shops.

tacked by pirates and sunk. Thousands of individuals from Pensacola made and influenced Florida hisNext, Charles Vignoles admits in his 1823 book touting the new territory,

tory. Enjoy reading, learning, and viewing more about Pensacola during

Observations Upon The Floridas, that he slighted information on West Flor-

this special 450th celebration. You may never read "The Legend of Sleepy

ida and lobbied to get West Florida to join Alabama. West Florida interests

Hollow" or an Edgar Allan Poe poem again without thinking of Pensacola,

eventually won out in this epic East Florida/St. Augustine – West Florida/

Octavia Walton Le Vert or the Emerald Coast. The beautiful sand may spar-

Pensacola battle. Educational and travel opportunities were superior in

kle even more as you relax along the shimmering emerald shore. Welcome

West Florida during the 1880s. One such event was the Chautauqua, begun

guests to your home along the Emerald Coast with renewed excitement.

in 1885 in DeFuniak Springs. In its heyday, it attracted 5,000 visitors by rail

They may be long-lost Floridians.

from Pensacola and across the nation. This festival’s heritage is still enjoyed around Lake DeFuniak, one of the few amazingly natural round lakes in the world.

Brenda Rees is a local historian and Walton County native. She holds a Florida Master Naturalist certificate, and is certified by the

Pensacola has an abundance of historical treasures, and there are too many to discuss extensively in one magazine article, but I thought there were a few worth noting. The original Pensacola Lighthouse, built in 1824, was the first lighthouse on the Gulf Coast and was built the same year Walton County was founded. The marker placed in 2004 by the National Society, Colonial Dames XVII Century, Fort San Carlos Chapter, Pensacola, Florida, states that the current lighthouse was lit in 1859 and is still in use. 130

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

South Walton Tourist Development Council, presenting environmental and history programs through her business, Shaping Florida. During the 2008 Florida Chautauqua, she portrayed Octavia Walton Le Vert. Rees holds degrees from Sam Houston State University and Texas A&M University and attended University of West Florida.

t h e

c o m p l e t e

a n t h o l o g y of

s t . j o e ’ s n o rt h w e s t f l o r i da Stop by any one of the St. Joe Community Sales offices to pick up your 2008 edition of The

Complete Anthology of St. Joe’s Northwest Florida. This seasonal publication contains current St. Joe listings, community information, regional diversions and a look at what makes Northwest Florida a unique species in itself.

{ fig 23 :: WaterColor | 877.459.4537 }

{ fig 18 :: WaterSound | 866.505.2091 }

{ fig 44 :: RiverCamps | 866.417.7121 }

{ fig 34 :: WindMark Beach | 866.417.7129 }

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008




Ocean Reef By Tim Taylor / Photo courtesy of Ocean Reef


ounded twenty-six years ago, Ocean

Ocean Reef Resorts has recently purchased a new

free access to golf courses, free seafood buffet

Reef Resorts has evolved into one of the

office location in the Alexander Building on 30A,

dinners, free movie rentals and a free children’s harbor cruise on the “Little Nemo.”

largest vacation rental companies on the

strategically positioned between Alys and Rose-

Emerald Coast, with properties presently extend-

mary Beach, focusing on real estate sales and the

ing from Okaloosa Island to Panama City Beach.

rental of high-end properties. Ocean Reef Proper-

We aim to deliver the highest quality in rental

Plans include future expansion to St. George Is-

ties Real Estate Consulting Group is the sales arm

properties. All our guests have to do is enjoy this

land. Owner and President Tim Taylor, along with

of the company and has thirteen active real es-

scenic paradise. Once they experience the pristine

his wife Rebecca, began the business in 1982. Tim

tate agents. Todd Kleppinger, lodging manager of

beach, myriad championship golf courses, deep

worked in the hotel industry in Hawaii and met

Ocean Reef Resorts, said, “We think we’ve picked

sea fishing, water sports, restaurants, shopping

Rebecca in Waikiki. They moved to the island of

the right place at the right time to open a new of-

galore and nightlife, we are confident that they

Maui, where they were married and continued

fice. Growth in the eastern end of Walton County

will be pleasantly addicted.

to work in the hotel business. They lived on a

and the rejuvenation of Panama City Beach have

boat and enjoyed diving and fishing the Hawai-

made their impact felt.”

ian waters from Oahu to the big island of Hawaii.

The company’s generosity extends to various charitable groups and schools with lodging gifts

Leaving Maui for Destin was easy, as this move

Ocean Reef guests are pleasantly surprised when

to be used in silent auctions or for achievement

involved beautiful water, great fishing and a job

offered complimentary adult beverages or soft

winners. The Ocean Reef family appreciates the

offer from Sandestin Resort. Tim worked for the

drinks at check-in accompanied by the melodic

slice of paradise we’re fortunate to be in and are

Resort for seven wonderful years until the op-

sounds of island music, setting the tone for fun

happiest when we see others have a chance to

portunity arose for Tim and Becky to start their

and relaxation. After a long drive, a cool drink is

enjoy it. We’re glad to be here for the duration—

own vacation rental and property management

greatly appreciated. Other amenities included are

come visit with us!

company. The rest is history. Today, the high-tech company offers 400+ accommodations ranging from one-bedroom condos to ten-bedroom homes fit for kings, weddings and family reunions. Properties are carefully selected to ensure high quality and guest satisfaction, and the large diverse staff (thirty full-time employees, 230 in peak season) is capable of speaking to all areas of the business. Over three-quarters of a million dollars annually is allocated for advertising. Ocean Reef Resorts believes that the best way to reach potential vacationers is to infiltrate all marketing venues. Do not be surprised to see us on billboards, in local and regional magazines and on the top of all the major internet search engines. 132

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Joe Taylor (Sales Manager) & Tim Taylor (Broker President)

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Muscogee Nation Preserving History to Create a Future By Lisa Burwell With contributions by Laurie Liles and Gerald Burwell Photography by Gerald Burwell


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


aslow’s hierarchy explains that as humans we have a need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance,

whether it comes from our own immediate family or from a larger social group. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Muscogee Nation of Florida has worked tirelessly to acquire federal recognition from the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. As one of Florida’s first people, it is only natural that they want to have their heritage recognized. This summer, Laurie Liles, a Chippewa Indian, arranged a special invitation for VIE to meet the members of the Muscogee Nation. Though Laurie is not a member of their tribe, she has long supported their efforts to gain official recogni-

Laurie Liles proudly displays model

We spent the next two hours talking with tribal members and learning about their heritage, mores, culture and goals.

tion and participates in many of their activities, ceremonies, and official functions. The tribe

They immediately ushered us onto our tour of

detailed scale model of an authentic Indian vil-

honored us by granting us the opportunity to

the museum. The 100-year-old building yielded

lage, proudly crafted by Laurie and donated to

gain some insight into the world of Florida’s

nothing out of the ordinary. On the other

the Muscogee museum.

first inhabitants.

hand, our hosts displayed an overwhelming sense of pride. Rows of neatly placed cabinets

We spent the next two hours talking with tribal

We felt anticipation on our ride to Bruce, the

containing documents, information, and pho-

members and learning about their heritage, mo-

town in Walton County that has served as the

tographs that tribal historians have carefully

res, culture and goals. Each person we talked

Nation’s governing center for more than 150

catalogued over the years lined the walls of two

with gave us a history lesson while eagerly ex-

years. Their headquarters is located just off

large rooms. Framed photographs, authentic

plaining his or her background, knowledge and

Highway 20 in the town’s original schoolhouse,

clothing, and artwork graced every available

talents. To know the modern Muscogee, you

built in the late 1800s. We were greeted warmly

wall space. They saved the best for last. In the

must know from whence they came.

with beaming smiles and open hearts. To say

final room, we saw case after case full of carved

that they were gracious and friendly would be

seashells, hand-worked jewelry, pottery, and

The Muscogee are direct descendants of the

an understatement.

much more. On one table stood a meticulously

Creek Confederacy that once inhabited portions

Retired Chief, Dr. Andrew Ramsay

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


1900s, in response to the tribe’s mounting cries for recognition, the state of Florida established the Northwest Florida Creek Indian Council. In 1978, the council established the Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians, which is now the Muscogee Nation. Since then, members of the Nation have established an ancestral claim to land throughout Florida that Andrew Jackson took in the 1814 treaty. Townships are located in Escambia, Redground, Choctawhatchee, Apalachicola and Withlacoochee. We did not get to speak with everyone personally, but those we did meet gave us a great appreciation for their way of life and their legacy. We met Muscogee Chairwoman Ann Tucker; Creek Indian storyteller and accomplished stomp dancer Margie Gatti; skilled and talented flutist Terrie Howze; shell carver Dan Townsend; artisan and great beauty Laurie Liles; and retired Tribal Chief Dr. Andrew Ramsay. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet the current Traditional Chief, Dan Penton, who resides in Tallahassee. Leaders always bear the weight of responsibility, and it is evident that Chairwoman Ann Tucker Margie Gatti

If you meet Margie Gatti, ask her to tell you the “Spider Story” – a story of how Mother Earth gave birth or created the human race.

is growing weary from the long battle she has waged to have her tribe officially recognized. It has been her calling for the last twenty-five years as she has tried to get a bill through Congress. If it passes, the official recognition would open opportunities for her tribe, which would otherwise not be available. Ann said, “The bill’s being

of the southeastern United States in the late

dissolved with the signing of two treaties: the

passed will validate our existence as well as boost

eighteenth century. Between 1812 and 1887,

1814 Treaty of Ft. Jackson and the Apalachicola

the economy. Our tribe could create a Head

the Creek relocated to Northwest Florida from

Treaty of October 11, 1832.

Start Program, allowing future generations to learn our native language. We would be able to

the southern parts of Alabama and Georgia. They settled townships throughout the Pan-

The remaining Creek continued to coexist

have our own fire and health departments, and

handle and continued their historic lifestyle

peacefully with others throughout our region,

we would get tax breaks to aid in reclaiming and

and traditions. The Creek Confederacy was

maintaining their ancestral traditions. In the

preserving some of our local native lands.”


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


or Zealous Warrior, gave my

“The bill’s being passed will validate our existence as well as boost the economy."

husband and me a blessing in his native tongue

Chairwoman Ann Tucker

etired Chief Ramsay, whose Indian name in Hichit (the Creek language) is “Tuskiemvhaya Haco”

that felt very powerful, even though we did not understand what he was saying. At the risk of

Creek Indian who, like Laurie Liles, sometimes

sounding cliché, our spirits connected despite the

participates in Muscogee tribal activities. Terry

language barrier. I felt spiritually akin with this

has an impressive collection of hand-carved

Creek Indian, and we thanked him for his prayer.

wooden flutes, beautifully crafted works of art.

Ann Tucker

She explained how each flute was played for dif-

eign sound to me, one I don’t hear every day, but

I then met flutist Terrie Howze who provided

ferent occasions because each has its own dis-

I wish I could. The notes that echoed in each

a welcome respite from the furious note tak-

tinct sound that evokes different feelings. Her

melody caused me to pause and beckoned me

ing I had been doing the first hour. She is not a

peaceful countenance as she serenely played

to shed the cares of my mind. It is a spiritual in-

Muscogee tribal member, but she is a Seminole/

three different flutes captivated me. It was a for-

strument, and I heard it played by someone who understands this. Terry sometimes collaborates with local favorite Ted Shumate on jazz projects; she also performs at weddings, funerals and historical reenactments. If you meet Margie Gatti, ask her to tell you the “Spider Story” about how Mother Earth gave birth to or created the human race. We were sorry to say good bye and leave the sparkle in Margie’s eyes as she told us story after story. Just encountering her beauty and uplifting spirit would have been enough to make the visit worthwhile. Dan Townsend is a tribal member who is skilled in the art of shell carving, and he teaches his craft to others. He uses conch shells as the medium for his handiwork, which is as beautiful and inspiring as that of his ancestors. Dan accepted an invitation to the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian where a plaque recognizing the Muscogee Tribe hangs on the Honor Wall.

Tribal member Nathan Chessher

As we were concluding our time with our hosts, I met Kenna Pate, tribal member and beekeeper VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


impact on our nation’s food production. His tupelo honey is the best I have ever tasted. If you are interested, you can call to order some at (850) 835-2211. I did not know much about the plight of the Muscogee Nation before our visit, but I will say that I am thankful that I was able to meet and learn about this wonderful people who are rich in history, culture and soul. Chairwoman Ann Tucker is blessed with tenacity and perseverance, and these qualities will enable her to continue the fight to victory for her people. Everyone is entitled to preserve their legacy so that future

Dan Townsend is a tribal member who is skilled in the art of shell carving... as beautiful and inspiring as that of his ancestors.

with forty hives. He is a knowledgeable man,

generations will know where they came from.

so I asked him about the bee epidemic known

Though they have encountered many obstacles,

as Colony Collapse Disorder that seems to be

they remain strong as a people of One Fire –

responsible for the recent disappearance of mil-

meaning that they are committed to remain as

lions of bees across the country. Kenna said that

one. They are family. It is our hope that they are

the disorder is due to parasitic mites and that if

able to preserve their history in order to create

we don’t find a solution soon, it will have a negative

their future.

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VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


SPOTLIGHT By Crystal Hamon


Michelle Lacewell

ven though she earned her Master of Arts degree in corporate and public communications from Florida State

University, Michelle Lacewell is a die-hard Gator fan. The oldest of three children, her ties to the region go back generations to the Lynn Haven home where her mother grew up and her grandfather still resides. Now, after five years of experience as the Vice President of Communications for the Bay County Chamber of Commerce, she has joined The Resort Collection of Panama City Beach as the new Director of Marketing. The Resort Collection is a management company that oversees operations of five luxury resorts in the Panama City Beach area, including the family-friendly Edgewater Beach & Golf Resort. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity of working with the team at The Resort Collection,” said Michelle. “For the last five years I have worked to support tourism in Bay County from an economic development vantage point. I understand the challenges facing Panama City Beach today as we grow and further develop the destination. Having that understanding allows me a unique perspective on marketing The Resort Collection.”

Photo by Jessie Shepard

" I understand the challenges facing Panama City Beach today as we grow and further develop the destination." - Michelle Lacewell

In her downtime, Michelle likes to wakeboard and surf, or anything else that allows

Much as she likes to have fun, she enjoys

of Bay County. In August 2008, Michelle was

her to be on the water. She said, “When I

giving back to her community. She is excited

sworn in as an officer of the Northwest Florida

left for college I said I’d never be back, but

about the opportunity she has this semester

Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations

here I sit. I’m just drawn to the water and the

to teach night classes at Gulf Coast Com-

Association’s board of directors, where she

beauty of this place.” She recently branched

munity College as an adjunct instructor. She

will serve as the Communications Chair for

out from water sports with her latest pur-

is also heavily involved with numerous local

the coming year.

chase, a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle, but

organizations and committees in the commu-

she said, “To say I ‘ride’ would be a stretch!

nity, including the United Way of Northwest

She may have a lot of irons in the fire, but she

I still haven’t gotten the guts to ride across

Florida, Gulf Coast Marketing and Media

is enjoying every opportunity and loving life

the Hathaway Bridge!”

Association, and the Junior Service League

on the Emerald Coast.


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



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VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Photo by Jessie Shepard


is More Than Skin Deep By Crystal Hamon

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Claire, Elle and Rolling Stone. He has also done music videos with Beyoncé Knowles, Missy Elliott and the Dixie Chicks. Just days before his appearance in Rosemary Beach, he was traveling through Europe, working at the Cannes Film Festival, creating the look for the cover of Spanish Glamour. Lisa recalled, “I knew I was in for an exciting afternoon, but I never would have guessed all that would lie beneath this unassuming makeover event. I wondered how a little shop in Rosemary managed to reel in such a big fish!” Patchouli’s owner, Lynn Dugas, described meeting and connecting with billy b. “It was serendipity,” she said. She was in Miami for Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, as well as The Makeup Show Miami. After being encouraged by her boutique buyer, Lesley Hoover, she visited his booth and fell in love with his lash/ brow groomer. billy b’s assistant was manning the counter. When she spoke to him, she learned that billy b had already researched Patchouli’s and obtained Lynn’s business card. In fact, as fate would Photo courtesy of billy b

have it, he had been meaning to get in touch with her about carrying his new brush line.

he fashionable, new Pish Posh

billy b rarely makes store appearances, but he

Patchouli’s shop in Rosemary

owns a condo in Destin that he had not visited

Beach recently hosted the tal-

in three years. It was the perfect arrangement. He

ented celebrity makeup artist,

could spend some downtime at his condo while

billy b (Billy Brasfield). He was

taking a day to share his talent with Patchouli’s

debuting his new line of makeup brushes and tools,

staff and customers. Lynn said, “billy b is so like-

billybBEAUTY, and giving makeovers during

able, down-to-earth, helpful and friendly. You

Patchouli’s recent event, “billy b of billybBEAUTY

fall in love just talking to him. There isn’t an

giving Practical Techniques & Red Carpet Tips.”

ounce of him that is pretentious.”

VIE was invited to cover the event and Lisa Ferrick’s love of fashion and role as social correspondent for

Pish Posh Patchouli’s served as the ideal venue

VIE made her the natural choice to attend.

for an artist like billy b. The upscale apothecary boutique conjures the sense of walking into a


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

While preparing to photograph the event, Lisa

chic Soho studio. Dripping with charm that

quickly learned that billy b is one of the most sought-

mingles modern, clean, fresh design with rus-

after makeup artists in the world with a clientele list

tic elegance, the corner shop holds a myriad of

that has included Sharon Stone, Beyoncé Knowles,

eclectic decorations gathered from antique hide-

Jennifer Lopez and Tyra Banks. His work has

aways and world travels. Lynn, who is both the

been featured on high-profile magazine cov-

owner and architect behind the design, has col-

ers such as Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie

lected unique relics like the Russian rock crystal

I love the art of transformation and making something the best it can be. Whether it is a face or a house, I live for it.” - billy b chandeliers, a carved wooden plume inlaid into

nisced about all of the things we like about it.”

the sales counter, and an 1890s Jacobean bar gar-

They discussed their mutual love of travel and

nished with stained glass. The inlay of the interior

complete disdain for trends. “Not everyone

door panels were discovered on a trip to Santa Fe

will look good in trends – like dark purple eye

and the Chicago-style brick walls incorporated

shadow. You have to make fashion your own,”

throughout the store were a nod to her parents,

he told her. Lisa appreciated how friendly, hon-

who inspired the unorthodox look of the un-

est and accepting he was, adding, “He wasn’t

pointed mortar. You can expect to find handmade

overly eager to keep the focus of the interview

soaps, customized essential oils, French perfumes,

on his accomplishments and kept encouraging

high-end cosmetics, fragrant candles, jewelry by

me to follow my dreams, take every opportunity

local artisans and the latest trends in this European-

to do what I love and live life to the fullest. In

styled gem along the coast.

that same spirit, he doesn’t see his career as a job. He kept calling it a lifestyle—one he loves and

The host and manager of the sophisticated new

would never give up. That’s the way he thinks life

shop, Lesley Hoover, welcomed Lisa to the event

should be.”

and introduced her to billy b. Lesley, who was instrumental in arranging his visit, told Lisa,

billy b believes that most women have a conflict

“billy b is such a charismatic guy. He has so

with the painted face. He said, “Most women

much energy – it exudes from him whether you

want to look their best, but some feel lost when

are talking to him by phone or in person. He has

it comes to makeup because they don’t know the

an uncanny ability to make women feel comfort-

tricks of the trade or have the tools they need.”

able about themselves. He is extremely laid-back.

She asked him why he started with brushes and

I just admire him so much.”

not a color line. He told her, “I wanted something fresh, so I started to modify my brushes because

With rock-star looks and prominent tattoos,

I could not find brushes that did what I wanted.

billy b certainly stood out from the crowd. But

I always had to trim them with cuticle scissors to

when Lisa had a chance to sit down and talk

get them to do what I wanted.” He also explained

with him, she found comfort in his demeanor.

that, with his own line, the more thoughtful shape

She said, “He wasn’t at all what I expected from a

and handle make them easier to put in a purse or

famous makeup artist. I was pleasantly surprised

makeup bag.” He has thirteen brushes in his new

at how modest, easygoing and inspirational he

collection, but his favorite is #9, the mascara

was to me.” Naturally, she handed him a copy

brush (a new favorite of us girls at VIE). billy b

of VIE’s first issue and was surprised that he was

also mentioned a couple of his favorite, more af-

already familiar with it. He especially liked the

fordable beauty products; L’Oreal’s Voluminous

story about Fashion Week in New York.

Mascara in Carbon Black and Alison Raffaele’s Transparent Finish Powder are staples.

They hit it off right away. She said, “Because he lives in L.A., he reminded me of what life is like

billy b’s story of how he ended up in this career

there, with all its quirks and charms. We remi-

sounds like something right out of a reality tele-

ly Photos courtesy of bil


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Photo by Lisa Ferrick

vision show – unscripted and unpredictable. “I

After an on-the-job interview with writer Isabel

ventured into the beauty industry completely

Gonzalez, the story of billy b’s efforts to help re-

by accident,” he said. His roots trace back to the

build his hometown showed up on the cover of

little Southern town of Aberdeen, Mississippi,

the Home and Garden section of the New York

but his real dream was to live in New York City.

Times. The national exposure of his story caught

Having no experience as, or desire to be, an actor,

the interest of television producers from across

he successfully faked his way through auditions

the country, resulting in a signed deal to develop

at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. For

a show with World of Wonder Productions who

billy b, it was simply a means to an end. Mom

produced a pilot for the show entitled, “The Beau-

and dad’s money paved the way to get him to

ty Foundation.” The show contrasts billy b’s life as

the land of his dreams. After just one semester

a high-fashion makeup artist with his other pas-

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone." ~ Audrey Hepburn he dropped out and his parents cut off all finan-

sion for saving houses in his hometown. The pilot

cial assistance. He moved into the YMCA near

is currently being shopped to several networks. He

Times Square and applied for a job at Macy’s –

told Pierce Mattie Public Relations, “It is just me,

it was the only store he knew of (from watch-

my seventy-four-year-old (pistol-toting) mom,

ing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on

and my ex-con good ol’ boy contractor, Cecil,

television when he was growing up). They had

and trust me, the hilarity is just beginning.” billy b

an opening in the cosmetics department, so he

doesn’t know if the show will make it, but he is ex-

lied about having experience, got the job and

cited about how it might help his hometown. He

stumbled onto his hidden talent.

said, “I love the art of transformation and making

Photo by Jessie Shepard

something the best it can be. Whether it is a face billy b knows that beauty is more than skin deep.

or a house, I live for it.”

He told Lisa about another passion of his: helping to restore his hometown to its former glory.

This sentiment connects to Patchouli’s idea of

In the 1800s, Aberdeen was rich with cotton

inward and outward transformation. A quote

and gorgeous Victorian cottages; antebellum

from Audrey Hepburn, which you will com-

houses were abundant. In this town of 4,000

monly find inscribed on a chalkboard behind

people, 250 of its structures are currently on the

the counter or at the front door of one of their

National Register of Historic Places. However,

shops, reads, “For beautiful eyes, look for the

with industry fleeing, the town started to strug-

good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only

gle and houses were being lost to neglect. He

words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the

said, “These houses, which had once been passed

knowledge that you are never alone.”

down from generation to generation, were being Photo by Jessie Shepard

[ At the time this article was going to press, Patchouli’s Gulf Place location was merging with its location at Rosemary Beach; they plan to continue to serve their west-end 30A customers with drop-off and ship-to-the-door service. ] 146

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

left behind, torn down or just falling down.”

The interview – which felt more like one of

The houses were so beautiful and so inexpen-

billy b’s inspirational lectures from The Ameri-

sive that he couldn’t stand to see the place – the

can Beauty Tour that he has headlined for The

place where he grew up – dying. So, he began

Powder Group – left Lisa feeling like she had a

buying some of the houses to save them. To

new lease on life. In a way, billy b had given her a

date, billy b has saved twenty houses and cur-

restoration of a different kind. And, after all, isn’t

rently owns seventeen.

that what beauty is all about?

A Way of Life That Will Change Yours.


Unimaginable turquoise waters and sugar white sands await you right here on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. From our unspoiled natural beauty to our world-class accommodations, eco-tourism and warm, Southern hospitality, THE Beach redefines an upscale, yet relaxed and eclectic way of life. A way of life that will change yours.

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008




Avantgarde Salon • Spa & Charles Alexander Grand Opening Event Avantgarde Salon • Spa owner Joseph Rogers and Charles Alexander owner Deke Lee celebrated their grand opening event on Thursday, June 5. The event raised more than $2,000 with proceeds benefiting Children in Crisis.

Deke Lee, Sami Jones , & Joseph Rogers

Nicole Gonzalez & Sharon Thigpen

Christy & Jenny McDowell & Michlyn Metropolit

Elizabeth & Bill Campbell

Haim David, Alexa Sparks, & Christopher Clementino Photos by Lisa Ferrick


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

VIE - Fall / Winter 2008



VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

Take a

By Marta Rose / Photography by Romona Robbins

Staycation… A staycation is a vacation that is spent at one's home – enjoying all that home and its environs have to offer.


ost of us have been conditioned to think of a vacation as a

However, some ground rules are in order if yours is to be a true staycation: Sleep in every morning. Swear off e-mail – and possibly your computer altogether. Leave the dishes, laundry and housecleaning. Live in the moment and take the time to really appreciate your family.

getaway involving travel: a necessity to alter one’s routine in order to reduce stress. Though often exhilarating, vacations

For those who like to get out and explore, Panama City Beach offers a vari-

themselves can be exhausting, expensive, and sometimes perilous depending

ety of fun events, concerts and festivals throughout the year. Check out the

on their nature.

event schedule on for community festivals and events, and performances at the Marina Civic Center, Visual Arts Center and Martin

Perhaps a vacation at home is the answer. According to the Urban Diction-

Theater in downtown Panama City, The Kaleidoscope Theatre in Lynn

ary (, a staycation is a vacation that is spent at

Haven, the Amelia Center for the Performing Arts at Gulf Coast Commu-

one's home – enjoying all that home and its environs have to offer. After

nity College and other venues.

some thought and research on the subject, I have compiled a list of possible staycation ideas for residents of the Florida Panhandle – and of course, visi-

If antiquing and art galleries are your thing, explore the historic downtown

tors are not exempt!

district of Panama City. Vintage buildings located along these tree-shaded VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


Econfina Creek, twenty– two miles of narrow, twisting, swiftly– flowing waters

and brick-lined streets house some of the area’s finest antique shops, art gal-

explore the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement in Blountstown, a collection of

leries, gift and specialty shops, restaurants and nightspots. During March

historical and recreated buildings arranged to simulate an early agricultural

through November, “Friday Fest” happens every first Friday of the month,

community with a pioneer settlement and farmstead (

where you can hear live music from local artists and performers, check out the

Apalachicola, a ninety-minute drive east, contains over 200 nationally

shops until 8:00 p.m., see dozens of car clubs and eat to your heart’s content!

registered historic homes from the late 1800s. The river and bay provide fishing, and neighboring St. George Island is home to miles of pristine

Every year, thousands of Americans plan trips to Panama City Beach for fish-

beach. You can browse the old-fashioned gallery stores downtown, and

ing, diving and boating. Panama City Beach is home to one of the country’s

enjoy the freshest seafood from local restaurants (this area produces ninety

largest sportfishing fleets and boasts scores of talented captains and crews.

percent of Florida’s oysters). Two hours away, in Tallahassee, you can see

The clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay are teeming

the cemetery where Union and Confederate soldiers rest alongside Prince

with fish including blue marlin, red snapper, mackerel, trout, pompano and

Murat, Napoleon’s nephew; a 1633 Spanish mission site; the Museum of

cobia. Also, there is no better spot in the Southeast to dive than off the coast

Florida History; and Florida’s state capitol.

of Panama City Beach. The warm waters of the Gulf cultivate ideal breeding grounds for sea life that inhabit the many natural and artificial reefs;

Do you love nature and the outdoors? Only an hour’s drive outside Pan-

some of the species that you can spot while diving or snorkeling include sea

ama City Beach are many beautiful parks and springs to explore. Ponce

turtles, dolphins, manta rays, starfish, sand dollars and puffer fish. And did

de Leon Springs State Park consists of two flows that produce fourteen

you know that Panama City Beach also has a number of historic and famous

million gallons of water daily at a year-round temperature of sixty-eight

wrecks, including a WWII ship and the 465-foot Empire Mica, the Gulf ’s

degrees. It’s a great place to go swimming, picnicking and hiking on nature

most famous wreck? Visit for more information and a

trails (850-836-4281). Famous for its high bluffs that rise steeply 150 feet

list of dive shops, charters and marinas.

above the Apalachicola River, Torreya State Park is said to be the “Garden of Eden” because of the abundance of plants indigenous to the park. It’s

Panama City Beach is close to a multitude of outstanding day trip adventures

a wonderful spot for camping and hiking (850-643-2674). Falling Wa-

that – let’s face it – most of us never make the time to take. Do you love

ters State Park, an hour‘s drive north, has a sixty-seven-foot waterfall that

history? Did you know that a stately 1895 post-Civil War Southern mansion

empties into a 100-foot-deep sinkhole; a 945-foot boardwalk traversing

exists only thirty minutes west of Panama City Beach at Eden Gardens State

numerous dry sinkholes; swimming; picnic and camping areas (850-638-

Park? Here you will find lush gardens surrounding moss-draped live oak

6130). The Chautauqua Vineyard in Defuniak Springs showcases culture,

trees; it is also a popular wedding destination. Tours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00

arts and crafts (850-892-5887). The Chipola River, which winds for fifty-

p.m., Thursday through Monday, and the park is open 8:00 a.m. to sunset,

two miles through high limestone bluffs past caves, rapids and shoals, is

seven days a week (850-231-4214). Travel east one hour to Port St. Joe,

the perfect place to go canoeing; canoe liveries will shuttle your canoe and

where you can check out the historic old capital of Florida, which was the site

provide equipment (850-482-4948). Florida Caverns State Park, a ninety-

of the State Constitution signing, and the Constitution Convention State

minute drive north, has Florida’s only publicly-accessible limestone caverns; the

Museum. Port St. Joe is also famous for great scalloping on St. Joseph’s Bay

park also has guided tours, nature trails, swimming, hiking, canoeing, picnick-

from July through September (850-229-8029). Also one hour east, you can

ing, camping and fishing (850-482-1228). One of the world’s deepest


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

and largest fresh water springs (185 feet deep), the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, two hours away, is home to an abundance of wildlife. You can enjoy glass-bottom boats and jungle cruises, swimming, nature trails and picnic areas (850-926-0700).


We’ve all heard of ecotourism… responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people. This is among the fastest-growing travel trends and has become a mainstream buzzword in the past few years. It’s about connecting conservation, communities and travel. Activities having to do with nature are on the rise: fishing, hiking, biking, nature photography, swimming, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, boating and bird watching, just to name a few. St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach (850-233-5140) is one of the most popular outdoor recreation spots in all of Florida. The park is located on the peninsula, and has more than one and a half miles of beach on the Gulf of Mexico and the Grand Lagoon, offer-

delicious & healthy salads

ing swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and canoeing. Two fishing piers, a boat ramp, concessions and campsites meet every need. Two nature trails wind through a rich diversity of coastal plant communities, providing a splendid opportunity for bird watching. Another favorite venue for wildlife and bird watching is Point Washington State Forest; and Pine Log State

at alys beach

Forest is a popular spot for picnicking, hiking, off-road bicycling, horseback

Castle Harbour Drive & 30A in Alys Beach

riding, fishing and hunting. Econfina Creek (850-488-3701), twenty-two


miles of narrow, twisting, swiftly-flowing waters, is another one of Florida’s

Lunch 11-3 & Dinner 5-9

designated canoe trails where wildlife is abundant. I could list the many nightspots, dancing and dining opportunities, and fun family attractions in Panama City Beach, but you can find all of that at or by visiting the Chamber’s tourist information lobby at 309 Beckrich Road (850-235-1159). In closing, make sure your staycation


includes at least some of the things you wish you did more of, like: - Trying out some new gourmet recipes from the Food Network. - Reading a good book. - Visiting a local spa. - Unplugging the phone, staying in your pajamas the whole week/weekend, watching movies, eating ( from disposable dishes), playing games and just relaxing. What will your next staycation include?

famous fried grouper sandwich

By Marta Rose Senior Vice President Marketing & PR The Greater Panama City Beaches Chamber of Commerce

at alys beach Castle Harbour Drive & 30A in Alys Beach


Lunch 11-3 & Dinner 5-9 VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


BEGINNINGS Congratulations to all those beginning a new life together! VIE wants to celebrate your wedding announcement by showcasing your wedding photo so send them in to

Romona Robbins and Shane Reynolds Romona Robbins and Shane Reynolds were married May 9, 2008 and celebrated on May 10. Friends from Japan and all over the U.S. attended the ceremony. A quaint and unique ceremony blended Chinese and American culture. They wrote their own vows and inscribed them onto scrolls that were read and then exchanged in silence. Shane's godmother (a recent cancer survivor), Tracey Sullivan, and Amy White officiated the ceremony. They were married at the Officer's Club at Hurlburt Field (The Soundside) in honor of Romona’s father, with a reception celebration at Edgewater Condominiums in Miramar Beach. The coupled honeymooned in Tanzania, where they spent a week to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, a week on African safari, and visited Ngaruroro Crater. The couple begins their new life together as husband and wife in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Photo by Nate


Leah Beard and Bayne Powell Leah Beard and Bayne Powell were married on May 31, 2008. The wedding was held at the Chautauqua Building on Lake DeFuniak in DeFuniak Springs. The couple honeymooned in St. Augustine at a quaint bed & breakfast. Leah is a stylist at Salon Twist in Grayton Beach. Bayne is a Project Representative for Preble-Rish Engineering in Santa Rosa Beach. They begin their new life together as husband and wife in DeFuniak Springs.

tesy of Leah

Photo cour


VIE - Fall / Winter 2008


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VIE - Fall / Winter 2008

VIE - People + Places / Fall & Winter 2008  

VIE is a French word meaning “life” or “way of living.” VIE sets itself apart as a Northwest Florida regional, high-gloss publication focusi...