Saturday, May 30, 2009


Just another reason the people are moving to are area. Jobs, Quality of Life, School System, and don't forget the powdery white sand beaches of the Gulf Coast. READ ON -

Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton surpass state averages at nearly every grade level
By JULIE HATFIELD Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4412

Students in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties again met or surpassed state averages in reading, math and science at all grade levels — with two exceptions — according to the state’s massive release of FCAT data Thursday. In Walton County, fifthgraders performed below the state average in math, and 11th graders performed below state average in science. On the flip side, Walton students improved their reading scores in five of eight grade levels. Walton Superintendent of Schools Carlene Anderson thought for a moment before commenting on the district’s overall results. “In some places, I was excited. Ecstatic. In some places, I sighed,” said Anderson, who added that she was not surprised to see the problem areas the data revealed. “We do see the data that will give us a good analysis of where we need to put our efforts in the coming year,” she said. The reviews in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa were more extravagantly positive, especially in Santa Rosa, which was the only district of the three to show significant improvements in science at all grade levels tested. “We’re dancing in the streets over here,” Santa Rosa Superintendent of Schools Tim Wyrosdick said. “I could just go on and on and on.” Wyrosdick highlighted achievements at individual schools such as West Navarre Elementary School, where 19.4 percent more fifth-graders achieved a Level 3 or above in math than did last year. “That’s just a phenomenal increase,” he said. “And you would think they were bad last year. No.” Okaloosa Superintendent of Schools Alexis Tibbetts also crooned about her students’ scores. “They were certainly what I hoped for,” Tibbetts said. “When you’re in a highperforming school district, we know our job is to sustain our high-performing kids at that level, and that’s hard to do.” The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test assigns students scores and then categorizes those scores into levels 1 through 5. Level 3 indicates the student is performing at grade level. In Okaloosa, only 5 percent of students scored at the lowest proficiency level, Level 1, according to a news release from the school district. “I always have high expectations, but I was particularly excited about having such a low percentage of kids in Level One,” Tibbetts said. The news release also states Okaloosa ranks first or second statewide in percent of students proficient in both math and reading in fourth through ninth grades. Eighth-graders were the state’s best in science, too, although that was with just 62 percent showing proficiency. Only 41 percent of Florida eighth-graders scored at Level 3 or above. Tibbetts pointed out that the science portion of the FCAT is relatively new, and educators are still learning how best to teach the Sunshine State Standards. “Elementary teachers have been teaching about dinosaurs and rain forests,” Tibbetts said. “But the test is focused on the natural sciences. Light. Heat. Sound. Magnetism. Electricity. … We have to reacquaint those elementary teachers with scientific principles they might not have studied since high school or college.” All three superintendents said they see room for improvement and would use this year’s scores to adjust next year’s curriculum and staff training. They also pointed out how sweet this year’s successes are, given the current climate. “This has certainly been a year of distractions,” Wyrosdick said. “The budgets, the deficit just loomed over us, and when you start having to lay people off, that creates a real distraction for students and the community. “To persevere through that, that’s an amazing accomplishment,” he said. “I just want to have a shoutout to our students and parents: Thank you for not letting that impact students’ scores.” The state will use the FCAT data and other factors, such as graduation and improvement rates, to determine individual school grades. Those results should be released later this summer.


St. Joe Company Involved in One of Country's Largest Mixed-Use Developments(WEST BAY, FL) -

The St. Joe Company, Northwest Florida's largest landowner and one of the state's leading developers of resort-style communities, is embarking on one of the largest mixed-use master-planned communities in the U.S., here in the Florida Panhandle. One of the highlights of the 75,000-acre West Bay project is the nation's first new international commercial-service airport built this century.

West Bay is strategically positioned to provide convenient access to the Southeast and Central U.S. markets, as well as Latin America and the rest of the world through excellent port, rail and highway connections. Of course, the new Panama City-Bay County International Airport, scheduled to open next May, has the panhandle buzzing because it now opens up the popular stretch of resort destinations to an entirely different market.Of course, the most compelling access point to West Bay and the surrounding market is America's "greenest" and newest airport. The airport is being built in the West Bay Sector on a 4,000-acre parcel and the Airport Authority has committed that the new airport terminal will be certified "green" under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the U.S. Green Building Council.

It also has the potential to become one of the world's first carbon neutral airports. An Audubon Nature Center will serve as a portal to the West Bay Preservation Area, which will ultimately protect 44 miles of undeveloped shoreline and an additional 33 miles of creeks and tributaries. The adjacent land owned by St. Joe in West Bay can accommodate 4.4 million square feet of industrial, commercial and retail space, more than 6,300 residential and resort units and 900 marina slips. This represents the biggest single investment opportunity in Florida for many years. The West Bay Sector Plan contemplates some 27,000 residential units and 37 million square feet (3.4 million square meters) of commercial/industrial space in the future.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


It is quite obvious for the locals why we are ranked so high. Military. They come with a lot of disposable income and love to eat out. Almost every eatery caters to the military and retirees with a number of military discount programs throughout the area.

Special to the News Bulletin
May 6, 2009 - 7:40AM
The Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin metro area again ranked second — for the sixth straight year — out of 363 U.S. metros in the annual 2009 Nielsen Claritas Restaurant Growth Index (RGI) with an index score of 504 and total restaurant sales of $695 million.
With this ranking, Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin, which had an index of 430 last year, has closed the gap significantly with No. 1 Myrtle Beach, S.C., whose ranking dropped from 735 in 2008 to 632 this year.
To compile the RGI, a formula is used to identify restaurant spending and gaps in spending per capita compared to a national average of 100, which means the higher the RGI over 100, the more opportunity there is. The RGI was determined by looking at how much money people spend at restaurants as a percentage of their income and comparing the number to national averages.
The overall message from RGI remained the same as in previous years. College towns and vacation spots — with their large influx of visitors ready to eat out—predominate as the best places to open a new restaurant.
The ratings were featured in this month’s edition of Restaurant Business Magazine.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


As the Vice President of the Northwest Florida Military Officer's Association, I continue to get the opportunity to meet some very interesting folks in the Defense Industry, both in the military and private sector. One of the groups taking the lead in protecting and growing this industry is the Gulf Coast Aerospace and Defense Coalition (see If you are wanting to be part of this growth in meeting the needs of the Defense and Aerospace industry in our area, you need to review this webpage. The information provided is very useful in understanding our area and the needs it will have in the future.


The below is a summary of the assistance our military will be receiving to assist them in mitigating financial losses associated their military moves since 2007.

WASHINGTON – Vice President Joe Biden today announced the Defense Department’s plan to expand its housing assistance program with $555 million devoted to servicemembers forced to sell their homes at a loss due to the country’s struggling housing market.
The financial support comes from President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to supplement the department’s Homeowner’s Assistance Program, Biden said aboard the USS Ronald Reagan during a visit with sailors and their families at Naval Base Coronado in San Diego.
The funds are allocated to provide benefits to military and civilian employees, according to a specific priority order, who suffered housing financial losses since 2006.
RELATED ARTICLE: Relief for Military Homeowners in Stimulus Package
“The sacrifices military families make for our country, in terms of deployments but also moving several times in their career, are immense,” he said. “They often don’t get to choose when they move and may be forced to sell their homes when they don’t want to.”
Several times during the average military career, military members may be ordered to change duty stations to meet the mission requirements for their respective branch of service. Duty calls on servicemembers and their families to relocate and establish a new home as frequently as every two to three years. Many have moved because of base closures under the 2005 Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act.
Some families have been forced to sell their homes despite the possibility of losing thousands of dollars amid the country’s struggling economy and housing market. Many military members can’t afford to own a home near Fort Bragg, N.C., and rent or buy another near Scott Air Force Base, Ill., for example.
“We are in the middle of a credit and housing crises, and we recognize that military families cannot generally choose when to move,” the vice president said, “so we've used the Recovery Act to dramatically expand what was once a fairly small program, assisting families forced to relocate due to base closures or normal assignment rotations.”
The initiative isn’t entirely new, however. The Pentagon has offered and provided similar financial assistance to military and civilian employees for more than 40 years, defense officials said. Until now, the program’s primary support has focused on those who owned homes and lost money near closed or soon-to-be-closed down military installations under BRAC.
With the expansion, the Pentagon can now provide partial reimbursement for home-sale losses to other groups. The priority order for the benefits, according to Pentagon officials, are as followed:
-- Wounded servicemembers relocating for treatment or medical retirement, and for the surviving family members of those who have died while on deployment.
-- Military and Defense Department civilian employees affected by BRAC without the need to prove whether the base closure or the general housing market decline caused the loss.
-- Normal permanent change of station moves, but only on a retroactive basis that covers PCS moves between July 1, 2006, through Dec. 31, 2009.
All active and former members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as DoD civilians who have sold a home since 2006 may visit the Homeowners Assistance Program Website to learn specific program criteria and eligibility.

Friday, May 22, 2009


The opening of the new Panama City International Airport is closer. With the support of congress this is sure to be a favorite Airport of our visiting congressman. HAHA! By the way, this is the only Airport being built in the foreseeable future and it will be receiving the latest in technology.

New Panama City Airport to Receive $20 Million in Federal Grants
Posted: 7:27 PM May 21, 2009Last Updated: 7:27 PM May 21, 2009

U.S. Congressman Allen Boyd (D-North Florida) Thursday, announced a federal grant of $20 million will be awarded for the new Panama City-Bay County International Airport.
This funding, appropriated by Congress through the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), will be used on the third phase of construction of the airport.
“I am pleased that the Airport Authority will receive these significant federal funds to help complete this project,” said Congressman Boyd. “It is my hope that this new airport will strengthen our region’s transportation infrastructure and provide a new economic engine in Bay County.”

In May 2007, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), part of DOT, announced that it was committing at least $72 million in federal funding toward the relocation of the Panama City-Bay County International Airport. The release of this funding will be the latest step toward fulfilling this commitment.

The airport has a target open date of May 31, 2010.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


There back. Multiple offers and seller's holding steady on their pricing has changed the buyer's behavior. Read on for more information.

Realtors see buyers returning to market WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 20, 2009 –

Historically high housing affordability and low mortgage interest rates, combined with buyer opportunities in the distressed sales market, have increased home sales in many areas of the country.“There has never been a better time to buy,” said National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, who presented NAR’s economic outlook at the Realtors Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Yun noted a “perfect storm” of favorable conditions. “Housing affordability is at an all-time high, mortgage rates are historically low, and interest rates are the lowest they’ve been since the days of Eisenhower,” said Yun.While he doesn’t anticipate an immediate pickup in the coming months, Yun believes early summer will be a critical indicator of how homebuyers respond to the $8,000 tax credit. “The home buying process takes time,” said Yun. “This summer will gauge the success of the first-time home buyer tax credit.”California has already shown signs of recovery, with home sales rising much faster than anticipated; some areas in the state are seeing a 70 to 80 percent increase in sales. Yun attributes the extraordinary surge to buyers who sat on the fence but are now taking advantage of the great opportunities out of fear that they’ll miss out on current deals.According to Yun, many first-time buyers want deeply discounted and distressed home prices. Nationally, distressed sales have made up about half of all recent transactions. Fifteen to 20 percent have been short sales, and 30 to 35 percent have been foreclosures. Yun says that these statistics are unfortunate, but the situation, along with current home buying incentives, has created an impressive window of opportunity for potential home buyers.“The stimulus and falling inventory levels will help stabilize prices,” said Yun. “My projection is home sales will be 10 to 20 percent higher the second half of this year (compared to) last year, and we will come out of this recession in 2010.”


As the Vice President of the Northwest Florida Military Officer's Association, I continue to get the opportunity to meet some very interesting folks in the Defense Industry, both in the military and private sector. One of the groups taking the lead in protecting and growing this industry is the Gulf Coast Aerospace and Defense Coalition (see If you are wanting to be part of this growth in meeting the needs of the Defense and Aerospace industry in our area, you need to review this webpage. The information provided is very useful in understanding our area and the needs it will have in the future.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


This another big step in moving additional higher learning to the Crestview area. With Northwest Florida State University already in town and growing, there is talk of additional schools looking to relocate to this area. Stay tuned for further developments.

FAMU’s Crestview campus a step closer
Transfer of Alatex building is next step to establishing pharmacy school

By BRIAN HUGHES Florida Freedom Newspapers CRESTVIEW — Florida A&M University, the city and the state have taken a few more steps toward opening a pharmacy school in the former Alatex building downtown. A major step has been the successful completion of the building’s environmental inspection. Had the building not passed, Crestview would have been responsible for addressing any problems before it could be transferred to the state. Concerns could have included factors such as hazardous construction materials or structural faults. “I have heard that they have completed all of their research and investigations,” Mayor David Cadle said. “They will probably be starting renovations soon.” “I understand the environmental survey was done and everything was OK,” state Sen. Durell Peaden said Friday. Peaden has been instrumental in securing the funding to open the Crestview campus. “Yesterday, the (FAMU) lawyers called me about the title and insurance and all those things needed to do the transfer,” said Peaden, R-Crestview. “When they get that done, they can start work. “They’re on the move and ready to go,” he added. Peaden sees the project as more than just an educational opportunity for the region. “I think it’ll be a vital part of downtown Crestview,” he said. “In all my time in Crestview, I’ve never seen the community come together to support something so strongly.” Cadle said the next step will be to transfer the property to FAMU before renovations of the Alatex building, a former textile factory, can start.


Guess what folks. I have said many times before, Eglin AFB is sitting on a gold mine. Team Eglin's missions are to test, train, and prepare for military operations around the globe. The priority of the Air Force to seek more F-35's, unmanned aeriod vehicles, and high tech weapontry place Eglin in the center of this demand. Remember what the Chairman of the Okaloosa County Economic Development Counsel said a few months ago, Eglin and the surrounding area is a prime area for it to be the silicone valley of the East Coast. More news to come later.

Air Force proposal aims to eliminate 250 fighter jets
By Kent Harris, Stars and StripesEuropean edition, Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Ben Bloker / S&S A Spangdahlem Air Base F-16 taxis out for a local mission May 24th, 2007 at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Under a proposed Air Force restructuring plan, the western Germany base would lose 18 F-16s.
Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany would lose 18 F-16s — and possibly one of its three fighter squadrons — in a plan the Air Force announced Tuesday to eliminate about 250 fighter jets from its inventory.
The move, tied to the service’s desire to free up more money for next-generation aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicle operations, would save $355 million in fiscal 2010 and $3.5 billion over the next five years, according to an Air Force news release.
"We have a strategic window of opportunity to do some important things with fighter aircraft restructuring," Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley was quoted as stating in the release. "By accepting some short-term risk, we can convert our inventory of legacy fighters and F-22s into a smaller, more flexible and lethal bridge to fifth-generation fighters like the F-35."
The service would retire 112 F-15s, 134 F-16s and three A-10s under the Combat Air Forces proposal. Five additional fighter aircraft already had been designated to go out of service in the next fiscal year, which begins in October.
The Air Force has three bases with fighter squadrons in Europe: Spangdahlem, Aviano in Italy and RAF Lakenheath in England. Aviano was not listed among bases that would lose aircraft under the proposal, but Lakenheath would have six fewer F-15s.
The 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem currently has about 42 F-16CJs, according to information provided in the release. The 81st Fighter Squadron flies A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. The F-16s are flown by the 22nd Fighter Squadron and 23rd Fighter Squadron. A loss of 43 percent of the jets might indicate the loss of one of the squadrons. But 2nd Lt. Kathleen Polesnak, chief of public affairs for the wing, said that’s speculation.
"At this point, we really don’t know [what the picture] will be like," she said, noting that there are a number of variables that could come into play if the proposal becomes reality.
Lakenheath has three fighter squadrons: the 492nd, 493rd and 494th. The 493rd flies F-15Cs and the other two F-15Es. The 493rd would lose six of its F-15Cs under the proposal, and retain 18 jets. The other two squadrons would not be affected.
"We would not lose a squadron," said Capt. Alysia Harvey, a 48th Fighter Wing spokeswoman.
Spangdahlem wouldn’t be taking the biggest hit around the globe under the proposal. Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida would lose 48 F-15s — about two-thirds of its force. Hill Air Force Base in Utah and Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska would lose two dozen aircraft as well. Elmendorf is in line to receive 36 F-22s, though, and Hill is seen as a candidate for the other next-generation fighter, the F-35.
In total, the moves could free up 4,000 personnel slots that the service could shift to operations such as unmanned aerial vehicles and nuclear deterrence, according to the release. The Air Force would also establish a fourth active-duty B-52 squadron and invest in upgraded systems and munitions for its remaining fleets

Friday, May 15, 2009


With the cost of the F-22 being so high and the new F-35 having more capabilities and being cheaper, the writing is on the wall for more F-35's to be delivered, sooner than later. As noted below, the Navy needs their F-35 now. What does this mean? Eglin AFB, who is the base for the training of these pilots, will have to expedited their training and the delivery of jets to the services.

Roughead Stumps for F-35 Funding
May 15, 2009 - Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The chief of naval operations said Thursday on-time delivery of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s next-generation Joint Strike Fighter will be critical in closing the gap of the fighter jets needed to match current and future threats.
Navy Adm. Gary Roughead told the House Armed Services Committee that the service's current fleet of legacy F-18s from Boeing Co. is rapidly aging and will need to be replaced quickly. Those jets have seen substantial action supporting forces on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"At the rate of operating these aircraft, the number of our carrier-capable strike fighters will decrease between 2016 and 2020," Roughead said in prepared testimony.
He urged lawmakers to provide stable funding for Lockheed's new stealth jet, known also as the F-35, so the program stays on budget and can be delivered on time to the Navy by 2015.
Gaps in the number of the military's strike-fighters is a shared concern for both lawmakers and the Pentagon. The department acknowledges both challenges and risks in making a transition toward the Joint Strike Fighter.
"We're taking some risk now," Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. "That's been a decision that's associated with this. And we need to really do the analysis to see how we're going to fill up these decks."
Both lawmakers and Boeing had hoped to see a multiyear deal to buy more Super Hornets included in the fiscal 2010 defense budget. Instead, the Pentagon will buy a total of 31 F-18 aircraft, of which only nine are Super Hornets for the Navy. The rest are EA-18G Growlers, an electronic attack fighter jet, also built by Boeing.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates explained to lawmakers that the Pentagon delayed the multiyear contract to buy more Super Hornets until the department completes its upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review. Only then will the service assess how many tactical aircraft the Pentagon needs for each service while weighing buildups from nations like China and Russia.
The review provides a sweeping analysis that provides guidelines on what the Pentagon will buy for fiscal years 2011 through 2015.
John Kent, a spokesman for Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin, said the company is on schedule to deliver the aircraft to the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
The Joint Strike Fighter can perform close air support, tactical bombing and air defense missions.
The Navy has more than 600 F-18s in its inventory deployed on carriers worldwide, including in the western Pacific and the Arabian Sea.
The Navy twice has extended the life of the fighter jets to a maximum of 10,000 hours of service to help bridge the gap until the Joint Strike Fighter comes online.
The legacy planes are expected to be retired in 2023.
Separately, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is requesting a total of $6.8 billion, excluding research and development money, in the Pentagon's fiscal 2010 budget to buy 30 Joint Strike Fighters - up from $3.1 billion and 14 aircraft a year earlier. The Pentagon plans to buy 513 F-35s over the next five years, with a total goal of 2,443 aircraft.
© Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


As the Air Force Realign their personnel in support of the Joint Strike Fighter program to Eglin AFB, I think you can expect the other services, i.e. Marine and Navy to follow suit. The moral of this story. Place your bets, Eglin Air Force Base will soon be renamed, Eglin Armed Forces Base, the first of its kind in the United States Military.

AFOTEC announces manpower realignment

5/12/2009 - Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. (AFNS) -- The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center will begin realigning manpower to improve mission effectiveness. Pending completion of an environmental impact assessment, the realignment will shift personnel from Kirtland AFB to four AFOTEC detachments located in California, Colorado, Florida and Nevada. "The organizational change will more effectively integrate the people who perform the mission with their existing programs at four detachments, support the standup at a detachment for Joint Strike Fighter F-35 operational testing, and right size the headquarters," said Maj. Gen. Stephen T. Sargeant, AFOTEC commander. General Sargeant remains in command of the realigned organization which tests and evaluates new weapons systems capabilities to provide fact-based, decision-quality data to inform decision makers during the acquisition process. According to General Sargeant, "Realigning AFOTEC's manpower to our detachments where we conduct test and evaluation is consistent with the Air Force goal of improving acquisition excellence." The AFOTEC commander has been evaluating ways to achieve the right mixture of manpower and operational test and evaluation capability to support the Air Force commitment to acquisition excellence for the past year. "Increasing the manpower and expertise at detachment level where operational test and evaluation is executed will result in enhanced early influence and integrated developmental and operational test activities," said General Sargeant. AFOTEC proposes dispersing personnel from AFOTEC's Kirtland-based headquarters to four detachments. The current realignment plan will transition approximately 33 percent of the military billets to detachments at Edwards AFB, Calif., Eglin AFB, Fla., Nellis AFB, Nev., and Peterson AFB, Colo. The realignment affects 20 civilian and 71 military billets. Personnel capabilities and expertise will be aligned or realigned to support existing and projected operational test and evaluation requirements. Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

New panhandle florida airport could fuel Wiregrass industry

With the Airport opening just a year away, the Panama City and surrounding area, which will includes Freeport Florida will be a major benefactor.

By Lance GriffinPublished: May 12, 2009
SLOCOMB — When Florida’s newest airport opens a year from now, more than planes will be taking off from the northwest Florida area, the airport’s director of operations said Tuesday.
Kip Tuner said the Panama City-Bay County International Airport will be a major cog in the economic expansion of Bay County and the surrounding area, an expansion that should spill into the Wiregrass.
“I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that the opportunity that exists for economic development is unreal,” Turner told the Slocomb Business and Community Association on Tuesday evening. “It won’t stop in Bay County. Washington County is on fire. They love this thing.”
Turner went on to say the Wiregrass could benefit from industries designed to supply and service the airport.
State Rep. Warren Beck, R-Geneva, said the airport, combined with the expansion of the Port of Panama City and a possible Wiregrass toll road connecting to Interstate 10 and near the airport, could benefit the area through more than just industry.
“People can’t move into the ocean. They have to move this way, toward us. We have to be prepared for it,” Beck said. “I see this as a big boon for the Wiregrass. We’ve needed a stimulus for a long time and this could be it.”
Turner said the airport is receiving interest from several airlines, including a major carrier and a low cost carrier. However, he said he doesn’t expect commitments from airlines until closer to the grand opening.
Turner said he did not see the new airport as a competitor to Dothan Regional Airport.
“I see this as a compliment to the other airports,” Turner said.
The airport will consist of 4,000 acres when fully built, but plans for future growth have already been factored into the other area of Bay County’s West Bay, including about 40,000 acres set aside for environmental preservation.
The cost of the airport is being split among several entities: $119 million from the State of Florida, $90 million form the Federal Aviation Administration $90 million and $112 million from Bay County from the sale of the existing airport, bond issues and other sources. No new taxes were levied to pay for the airport, Turner said.
Turner said a road like the Wiregrass Toll Road would enhance the area’s chances of reaping benefits from the airport and port expansion.
“I think, without a doubt, you would see a benefit there,” Turner said.
Turner said he expects a spur from I-10 to the airport to be built in the near future.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The excitement is back in the air and the fear of buying a home is going away. I guess folks have turned off the TV and applied common sense in their home purchasing. Many folks have begun to realize, 4% home loans are not coming and the best time to buy is now. Also, the supply of quality homes in the panhandle is reducing rapidly and builder's will need to begun to build again soon to keep up with the demand being placed on our area by growth of our population.

Florida’s existing home, condo sales rise in 1Q 2009 ORLANDO, Fla.

– May 12, 2009 – Sales of existing single-family homes in Florida rose 25 percent in first quarter 2009 compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the latest housing statistics from the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR). A total of 31,412 existing homes sold statewide in 1Q 2009; during the same period the year before, a total of 25,071 existing homes sold. It marks the third consecutive quarter that Florida has reported higher existing home sales; sales levels in the third and fourth quarters of 2008 were higher than the corresponding three-month period of the previous year, according to FAR. Sales of existing condominiums statewide in the first quarter rose 19 percent compared to the same time the previous year. This marks the second three-month period for increased statewide sales in both the existing home and condo markets compared to year-ago levels. Statewide sales activity in 1Q 2009 also increased over 4Q 2008’s sales figure in both the existing home and existing condo markets, FAR records show. For 1Q 2009, statewide sales of existing homes rose 4.14 percent over the 4Q 2008 figure; existing condo sales statewide in 1Q 2009 increased 21.1 percent over the 4Q 2008 level.“Many first-time homebuyers are entering the market now to take advantage of current low mortgage rates, plentiful housing inventory and affordable homeownership opportunities,” says 2009 FAR President Cynthia Shelton, CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member). “Typical homebuyers are realizing that now is the time to buy – they can find the Florida home of their dreams at a cost they can afford. Homeownership has always offered a wide range of benefits, including building financial security and increasing a sense of community, but the advantages offered in today’s market are unique.”One such advantage is a dream come true for first-time homebuyers in Florida, she adds, thanks to a new program that the 2009 Florida Legislature approved through the adoption of the state’s general budget last week. Lawmakers passed a provision setting aside $30.1 million for the Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program, which will help with downpayment assistance. Beginning July 1, those who qualify for the federal $8,000 first-time homebuyers tax credit will be able to apply for downpayment assistance before they close on the purchase of their home, and then repay the amount borrowed when they get their tax refund.Shelton adds, “The beauty of this program is that the state will be paid back and, conceivably, more potential homebuyers could take advantage before the Dec. 1, 2009, expiration of the $8,000 federal first time homebuyer tax credit. While details of the program are still being worked out, we are all very excited about the incredible opportunity this offers for thousands of Florida families. It’s $8,000 more reasons to buy your first Florida home!”Fifteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased sales of existing homes in the first quarter compared to the same three-month-period a year earlier, while 12 MSAs showed gains in condo sales.The statewide existing-home median sales price was $141,000 in the first quarter; a year earlier, it was $202,300 for a decrease of 30 percent. According to industry analysts with the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), there remains a significant downward distortion in the current median price due to many discounted sales, including a large number of foreclosures. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.In the year-to-year quarterly comparison for condo sales, 10,143 units sold statewide for the quarter compared to 8,554 in 1Q 2008 for a 19 percent increase. The statewide existing-condo median sales price was $110,100 for the three-month period; in 1Q 2008, it was $177,000 for a decrease of 38 percent. Continuing low mortgage rates remain another favorable influence on the housing sector. According to Freddie Mac, the national commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.06 percent in 1Q 2009; one year earlier, it averaged 5.88 percent.© 2009 FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

Friday, May 8, 2009


Don't get in the way of the Panama City International Airport.

Court Kills Challenge to Fla. Airport Relocation

(CN) - The 2nd Circuit cleared the path for an airport in Panama City, Fla., to be moved to western Bay County, dismissing environmentalists' claim that construction of the new airport would destroy wetlands. The Panama City-Bay County International Airport sits on 713 acres on the Florida panhandle and is surrounded by roads, commercial and residential development and the Goose Bayou. The airport needs to expand to comply with the FAA's revised runway safety standards, because its two main runways are too short. But because of the airport's location, any expansion would require re-routing highways, displacing homes and filling in parts of the bayou. To solve the problem, the airport's state-chartered owner, the Panama City-Bay County Airport and Industrial District, proposed moving the airport to West Bay County. The St. Joe Company, Florida's largest private landowner, agreed to donate about 4,000 acres to build the new airport. The Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife and Friends of PFN argued that the new site would require destroying more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, which serve as potential habitat for protected species such as the American alligator, the woodstork, the ivory-billed woodpecker and the flatwoods salamander. When the Federal Aviation Administration approved the relocation plan, the environmental groups filed an emergency motion to stay, claiming the agency's decision violated the Airport and Airway Improvement Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. They said the FAA failed to consider the environmental impact of 3 million square feet of development that the new airport would inevitably induce. They also accused the agency of narrowly focusing its analysis on the wetlands and failing to consider the project's impact on West Bay and surrounding counties. In a 40-page opinion, the federal appeals court in New York determined that the FAA did not abuse its discretion in limiting its analysis to West Bay alternatives and properly considered how the project would affect surrounding areas. The FAA's decision complied with federal requirements, the court concluded.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Going green will turn into Gold. With the Federal Government and the State of Florida on the Green bandwagon, the incentatives alone will make financial sense to "Go Green" - READ ON.

‘Going green’ not an easy concept to explain

WASHINGTON – May 5, 2009 – “Green” building has in recent years become a staple for commercial and residential property practitioners and, by one projection, is well on its way to becoming a $140 billion market within five years. At the same time, many realty agents and brokers, engineers, interior designers, appraisers and other industry insiders are still trying to get a full understanding of the ins and outs of sustainable building and its value to themselves as well as end-users. The disconnect on green building that often exists between tenants and landlords or between brokers and clients leaves the field wide open for educators to step in – and also to cash in. Brokers well-versed in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and “who can teach the economic and analytic tools [to their clients] are going to be in demand because 99 out of 100 brokers still don’t know what LEED really means and the value that it adds,” says David Klein, of NAI BT Commercial in San Francisco. While some state realtors agencies now offer continuing education classes that cover energy and water use, site selection, and other areas of sustainability, the focus to date has been on residential property. A shift could be underway, however, as commercial brokers become more interested in education that caters to their specific market. In response, EcoBroker International and the National Association of Realtors are developing commercial curricula; and the National Sustainable Building Advisor Program has created the Sustainable Building Advisors course as a standardized program. Similar CE opportunities are popping up at the state level, on the Web and even at individual firms like Jones Lang LaSalle, which has established its own Sustainability University where employees and clients can learn about the movement.

Source: Sustainable Industries (04/09) Redell, Charles

Saturday, May 2, 2009


The Panama City International Airport is just a year away and the plans for this area to explode is on the eyes of the nation.

New Bastion Development, Inc. Retains Case Golf Company to Explore Golf Opportunities in Northwest Florida
Tuesday, April 28, 2009; Posted: 09:47 AM

New Bastion Development, Inc. ("New Bastion") (OTC Pink Sheets: NWBA), a real estate company that was formed for the purpose of exploiting local real estate opportunities in the Panama City Beach/Marianna, Florida area, announced today that it had retained the services of Roy Case of Case Golf Company, a leading golf course architecture firm, to explore various potential sites in Northwest Florida for the construction of a world class, eco-friendly golf course.

"We are very excited to be working with Roy Case," stated Elliot Bellen, CEO of New Bastion. "I have played several of Roy's courses, and he is absolutely brilliant at creating a unique golfing experience while preserving the innate qualities of the underlying land. With the imminent opening of the new Panama City international airport in May 2010, we anticipate that there will be a tremendous demand for a world class golf course."

About New Bastion Development, Inc.
New Bastion ( is a development stage company that is exploiting local real estate opportunities in the Panama City Beach/Marianna, Florida area where a new international airport is being built on 4,000 acres of land donated by the St. Joe Company. Construction of the new airport is currently three months ahead of schedule and is expected to be operational by May 2010. It is anticipated that the new airport will create a significant number of jobs and economic opportunity in the region. New Bastion currently maintains an inventory of real estate in the region that consists of raw acreage, commercial property, and platted lots in existing communities. It intends to acquire additional properties in the region with the intent to market and develop such properties as demand increases as a result of the growth in the region.

About Case Golf Company
Case Golf Company ( is a full service golf course design firm based in West Palm Beach, Florida. Since 1988 we have been designing a wide-ranging portfolio including municipal courses, private clubs, prestigious real estate developments, and internationally rated resorts. The success of our company has been founded upon very simple precepts: understanding the land, listening to our clients, designing for the end users, and sticking religiously to course budgets. Our design philosophy is centered around the idea that golf is a game, and games are meant to be enjoyed. It is our responsibility to provide visual and playing experiences with such intrinsic challenge, beauty, variety, playability, and excitement that a broad spectrum of golfers, of wide ranging abilities, will wish to return to play our courses and continue to enjoy the grand old game. Our course portfolio includes among many others: Panther Trail Golf Course at The Woodlands, New Jersey National in Basking Ridge New Jersey, Memphis National which was designed for Arnold Palmer Golf Management, and the ever popular Okeeheelee Golf Course in West Palm Beach, Florida which has played over 1,000,000 rounds since opening in 1995.
Forward-Looking Statements:
The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a safe harbor for forward-looking statements made on behalf of the Company and its subsidiaries. All such forward-looking statements are, by necessity, only estimates of future results and actual results achieved by the Company may differ materially from these statements due to any number of factors. Any forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made. Statements made in this document that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements, including any statements as to beliefs, plans, expectations, or intentions regarding the future. The Company assumes no obligations to update these forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting such statements. Potential investors should independently investigate and fully understand all risks before making investment decisions.
SOURCE New Bastion Development, Inc.


As you will see, the preparation for the arrival of the 7th Special Forces is alive and well. The leadership from Eglin had an opportunity to let the family's know, they will be welcomed with open arms. The below is the highlights of this visit. Let get ready folks.

Team Eglin visits Fort Bragg
Apr 24th, 2009
by admin.
By Master Sgt. Andrew LeonhardTeam Eglin Public Affairs

4/22/2009 - FORT BRAGG, N. C. — More than 30 base representatives travelled to Fort Bragg, N.C., April 16-18 to present information about the base and Northwest Florida to 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) members and spouses.
During the two days more than 1,000 people were briefed about the benefits of moving to Eglin by a team of subject matter experts from the base and the surrounding communities.
“All of the Army personnel, from general officer to junior enlisted, stated that Team Eglin established a new standard for how to welcome the organization to the base,” said Col. Bruce McClintock, 96th Air Base Wing commander. “The cooperative effort between Eglin’s base agencies and the community was very dynamic and positive.”
Along for the trip were representatives from services, housing, education, medical, outdoor recreation, the Army Air Force Exchange Service and the Airman and Family Readiness Center. Also representatives from the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce and JobsPlus were in attendance to answer the Soldiers’ questions.
Because the cadre wanted to make sure spouses and Soldiers of all ranks were comfortable asking questions, an Army spouse of a Soldier assigned to the Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal School, went along to answer any questions.
“As the briefings took place I could see the transformation in their posture and how attentive they became,” said Lori Burgess. “I feel Team Eglin delivered a lot of information that was important to the individual member of the 7th Special Force Group.
“I was excited to be a part of an unprecedented event,” she said. “In the Army, we just don’t get information like this. We are told the unit is moving and we move.”
Many questions were addressed at each of the session. Concerns about housing, jobs for spouses and area schools were the foremost issues of interest. The team of experts were able to answer these questions and facilitate one-on-one conversations with attendees about each unique circumstance.
“I think they have done an excellent job of trying to accommodate the families of the Special Forces Group,” said Maritta Grissom, whose husband is assigned to the group. “I think we are going to be very happy over there.”
The 2005 Base Closure and Realignment law directed that the 2,200-soldier group to relocate to the base in the Florida Panhandle no later than Sept. 15, 2011. The 7th SFG has been at Fort Bragg since its activation in 1960 and is overflowing the buildings they currently occupy.
While on the trip, Colonel McClintock was able to see first hand the Group’s facilities and said he was convinced the 7th SFG will have the premium facility in all of Special Forces when they complete their move to Eglin in 2011.
The group’s new home will sit on a 350-acre area on the northern portion of Eglin. The cantonment area will consist of 32 buildings, including a medical clinic, dining facility, 25-meter range, three barracks, a physical fitness center and a gas station. It will also include a 12,000-square-foot AAFES Shoppette containing restaurants, Military Clothing Sales, a laundromat and barber.
But having the best facilities is only a small portion of the move.
“We understand some of the families have lived in the Fayetteville area for quite some time and have established some deep roots within the surrounding community,” said the colonel. “So we know there may be some reservations about the move. We went there with the thought that if we were the newest members of Team Eglin, what information would we need or want.
“The Soldiers of the 7 Special Force Group are on the front line of the war–during their last deployment, they lost 17 of their own. We’re going to do all we can to make their move as smooth as possible so they can focus on their mission–to fight and win the war.”
Retreived on 24 Apr 09 from


The State of Florida loves the military and has expressed this in a recent legislation. They know how important this is to the State and the national security of our nation.

The Florida Legislature voted today in support of legislation that will make protection of the state’s military bases and missions a major state priority, state Sen. Don Gaetz said today.
“With the Obama Administration indicating that the military budget is under a thorough review, we may be facing what amounts to a mini-BRAC,” Gaetz, R-Niceville, a sponsor of the bill, said. “Florida needs to speak with one strong voice on behalf of our 21 bases and that’s what this bill does.”This legislation, co-sponsored by Sens. Durell Peaden, R-Crestview, and Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, will create the Florida Council on Military Base and Mission Support. The bill also authorizes the group to work with federal elected officials, the Pentagon and base-hosting communities to preserve and, if possible, expand the military presence in the state.The council will consist of nine unpaid members, three each appointed by the governor, president of the Senate and speaker of the House. The council will be staffed by the Governor’s Office of Trade, Tourism and Economic Development.“This bill helps maintain the economic value of the military in our area and its strength and security for the United States,” Peaden said.This legislation will also create several working groups comprised of business, military and community leaders throughout the state to focus on intrastate activities, competitive strategies, and public awareness, the Gaetz news release said. “Our military bases and their directly related industries bring $60 billion to Florida’s economy. ” said Gaetz, who is chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Florida’s Economy.Rep. Dave Murzin, R-Pensacola, is House sponsor of the companion legislation, which now goes to Gov. Charlie Crist for approval.“I thank Senator Gaetz for securing the passage of House Bill 7123 in the Florida Senate,” Murzin said. “Northwest Florida values its partnership with the military and we look forward to protecting its resources here and around the state.” Northwest Florida is home to Eglin Air Force Base, Tyndall Air Force Base, NAS Pensacola, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Whiting Field, the Naval Support Activity in Panama City, and soon will host the Army’s 7th Special Forces.