Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Nationally, the Builder’s confidence is rising. Locally, they are off the chart, as they try to keep pace to provide quality and affordable homes for our tremendous growth. The problem, which most of the local builders are experiencing is access to capital to get into the game. This problem has put pressure on the larger home builders to meet the need. As many know, we have a built in influx of military personnel transferring in and out of the area, with numbers in the area of 3000-4000 every summer period. These folks will be looking for rentals and new homes. As many of us, military folks know, the Emerald Coast is an area, where many of us return and call their home in our later years. Therefore, home buying seems to be a better option. Especially, when the most junior married enlisted person gets a housing entitlement (Tax Free) close to $1200.00 per month. With low rates, they money goes along way. An example of a Principal and Interest Payment alone for a 30 year VA (No money down) at 4%, the payment for a $225,000 is $1074.00 per month. This make us go, HMMMMM!!!!!

Builder Confidence Rises for the Third Consecutive Month
Posted By susanne On December 19, 2011 @ 4:49 pm In Business Development,Marketing,Real Estate,Real Estate Information,Real Estate Trends,Today's Top Story
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes edged up two points from a downwardly revised number to 21 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for December. This marks a third consecutive month in which builder confidence has improved, and brings the index to its highest point since May of 2010.
“While builder confidence remains low, the consistent gains registered over the past several months are an indication that pockets of recovery are slowly starting to emerge in scattered housing markets,” said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev. “However, the difficulties that both builders and buyers continue to experience in accessing credit for new homes are holding back potential sales even in areas where economic conditions are improving.” “This is the first time that builder confidence has improved for three consecutive months since mid-2009, which signifies a legitimate though slowly emerging upward trend,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “While large inventories of foreclosed properties continue to plague the most distressed markets and consumer worries about job security and the challenges of selling an existing home remain significant factors, builders are reporting more inquiries and more interest among potential buyers than they have seen in previous months.” Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 20 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. Each of the HMI’s three component indexes registered a third consecutive month of improvement in December. The component gauging current sales conditions rose two points in the latest month to 22, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months edged up one point to 26. The component gauging traffic of prospective buyers gained three points to 18, which is its highest level since May of 2008.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Work on SR 85 overpass scheduled to begin in spring
John Parrot
2011-12-14 17:42:41

This improvement to State Road 85 is just another reason why Crestview has been the choice for future homebuyers. Not only is the new folks from the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group travels made easier to Crestview, the folks from the new F-35 Training Squadron also get a speed way from their place to work to the north side of the County. These infrastructure improvements and others in the planning stage are making it much easier for folks to live in the north side of the county and work in the south side of the county. Therefore, you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to understand, Crestview and MossyHead areas should see some major growth for businesses and future homebuyers/renters.
CRESTVIEW —Construction of an overpass across State Road 85 to connect Duke Field to the Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) camp is tentatively scheduled to begin next spring. Lane Construction Corp. of Cheshire, Conn. has been awarded an $11 million, two-year contract to build the two-lane flyover, which will include bicycle lanes. Pat McGriff, Lane Construction’s Central Florida management area representative, said work likely will begin in March. “We haven’t established a firm timeline on the exact date construction will begin, nor do we know how many resources we will use, but the further along we get toward the target date, the better we will be in answering these questions,” McGriff said in a telephone interview from his Maitland office. Kurt Dowden, planning and program manager for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said there may be some minor revisions to the contract, but that “there doesn’t seem to be anything on the horizon that would adversely affect the start-up of the contract.” The good news for motorists is that the contract stipulates that traffic on SR 85 “remain unencumbered.” “Much of the work may be done at night or in the early-morning hours,” Dowden wrote in an email from his office in Washington, D.C. The overpass will allow military personnel and equipment to cross SR 85 without stopping traffic. “We’ve already experienced a slight increase of traffic due to the 7th Special Forces community, but this is nothing compared to what we expect in the future,” said Ian Satter, district spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation. “We are looking at numbers approaching 100,000 vehicles a day within the next 15 years.” In addition to the overpass, plans call for on and off ramps and parking aprons on both sides of SR 85.


The F-35’s continue to keep coming. The Training Squadron continues to grow as the planes arrive and the permanent crews set up shop. Not only are the Flight Instructors setting up shop, the Trainers for the maintenance crews, as well. The F-35B is the plane of choice for the Marine Corp, it is also the plane for the British, who will be training their pilots and maintainers here, as well. My question to my readers. Can we expect to see someone from the Royal family here soon, maybe on a graduation day?

Jet will be valuable because it can land vertically, supporters say
Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4478
EGLIN AFB — The first Marine Corps version of the F-35 fighter jet is due to arrive next week, although base officials say they do not know the exact time or date. Military pilots will fly the jet from the headquarters of Lockheed-Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, to Eglin Air Force Base. The Joint Strike Fighter jet is one of 59 expected to be based at the new training center at Eglin. The F-35B, which is a shorttakeoff, vertical-landing variant of the F-35, was put on probation because of technical problems in January by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford was quoted in late November saying he was “bullish” on the jet and that it was “no longer in the crosshairs.” He said progress had been made in resolving the technical problems and that the fighter jet had met 98 percent of its test points in 2011. The F-35B made its first vertical sea landing in early October on the deck of the USS Wasp. Supporters of the Marine variant say the F-35B can go where Air Force jets can’t because of its short takeoff ability and ability to land vertically. The first production model of the Air Force variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter arrived at Eglin on July 14. Five others have arrived since then. Eglin spokeswoman Lois Walsh said that a Navy version of the F-35 also will be brought to Eglin in the future.


Okay folks, as the U. S. talks about scaling back on the purchase of F-35’s, other countries are stepping up with requests for this Fifth-Generation Fighter. Recently, India has announced their desire to purchase the F-35, and now Japan has stepped up. With the training of the pilots and maintainers located at Eglin, I expect we will see a very diverse community in our local area very soon. For some reason, EPCOT comes to mind. Stay tuned, it is my understanding other countries have their eyes on this plane, as well.

Japan to pick Lockheed’s F-35 as new stealth fighter
By Chico Harlan, Tuesday, December 13, 5:40 AM
SEOUL — Japan is set to select the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II JSF as its new stealth fighter, Japanese media reported Tuesday, upgrading its air defense at a time when China and Russia pose growing threats to its territory. The multibillion-dollar deal with the U.S. defense company also opens new opportunities for Japan to cooperate with Washington, its closest ally and military partner. Japan will purchase roughly 40 fighter jets, the Yomiuri newspaper said, and as part of the deal, it will receive classified information about the F-35’s construction, allowing some of the fighter’s components to be manufactured in Japan. The Japanese government will make a formal announcement about the decision on Friday, both the Yomiuri and the Kyodo news agency said. Japanese government officials often provide off-the-record briefings to the domestic media in advance of major decisions. Since September, Japan has been weighing bids from three of the world’s largest defense contractors. In addition to Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, Seattle-based Boeing offered the F/A-18 Super Hornet and a four-country European consortium, Eurofighter GmbH, offered its Typhoon. The decision for Japan came after years of declining defense budgets — a stark contrast to the rapid spending increases of an increasingly aggressive China. Defense analysts had pegged the pair of U.S. bidders as the favorites, with diplomacy influencing the selection. But Japan also picked the priciest of the bids — a fraught decision at a time when the country must uncover untold billions to finance the reconstruction of its disaster-devastated northeastern coastline. Among the bidders, the F-35 uses the most advanced technology — with so-called “fifth-generation” design and a top-of-the-line stealth capability. The deal could be between $6 and $8 billion, according to estimates from defense experts. Amid several high-profile territorial disputes with China and Russia, Japan has grown sensitive to incursions from its neighbors, often scrambling planes to chase off Chinese and Russian fighters. Japan’s newest defense strategy emphasized the growing threat of China, which this year will increase its military spending by more than 12 percent. Earlier this year, China tested its own stealth fighter, the Chengdu J-20, which features its own fifth-generation stealth technology.
Tokyo will receive its first four F-35s in 2016, the Yomiuri said. Eventually, the planes will replace the fleet of antiquated F-4s.
The F-35 has faced criticism for years of delays and cost overruns, with per-plane costs nearly doubling during development. But the Pentagon still expects the plane to come into service in 2016, and the Air Force, Navy and Marines plan to purchase more than 2,000 planes over the next 25 years.
Japan intends to import the first four planes that it will acquire in 2016, Kyodo said, but in the following years, it expects a hand in some of the production. Such a move would help domestic defense manufacturers, who currently struggle under a national ban that restricts weapons exports.
The weapons export ban is a fundamental part of Japan’s pacifist constitution, but politicians have recently indicated an interest in relaxing the law. That would give Japan a place in joint development projects — a move that would be welcomed in Washington.

Friday, December 9, 2011


The Northwest Florida Military Officers Association (NWFMOA), lead by Ken Wright, closes the year with their Annual Ball. At the Ball, the NWFMOA also announced the 2012 Officers and Directors. These individuals are tasked with supporting and defending a wide range of national military personnel and benefit issues for our armed forces.

The 2011 Officers and Directors include:

Ken Wright - President

Jeff Watson - 1st Vice President

Gayle Norgaard - 2nd Vice President

Scott Berry - Secretary

Dan Cobb - Treasurer

Board of Directors

Jim Summitt

Bob Garcia

Bob Padden

Eileen Arpke

Bill Van Hoesen


In recent testimony by the Secretary of Defense, the F-35 Program is extremely important in the defense of our national security in the future. This position by the Secretary of Defense and senior members of both houses of congress and both political parties in support of the F-35 program keeps the pressure on Congress to do the right thing. While this is being debated, additional F-35’s continue to be delivered to Eglin AFB and training moving forward, as planned. In closing, the cost of the training squadron is not in question, as much, as how many planes we will buy. What is happening to address this now is that the F-35 manufacturer is looking into selling planes to other countries approved by the US. Most recently, India has become one of the those counties looking to buy.

Miller, Nelson continue to support F-35 program
Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4443
As congressmen continue to debate the production rate of the Joint Strike Fighter, Rep. Jeff Miller says Eglin’s training mission still is on track. “F-35 aircraft continue to arrive at Eglin Air Force Base, and with ground and simulator training preparations in place, I do not foresee any long-term effects on the health of the training mission at Eglin,” Miller said in an email Thursday night. Sen. Bill Nelson also conveyed his strong support for the F-35 to leaders on the Armed Services and Appropriations committees, and told the Daily News he will continue to support the program. “It’s in our country’s best interests,” Nelson said. Nelson’s and Miller’s assurances came days after Sen. John McCain made a floor statement that he agreed with the sentiments of Vice Adm. David J. Venlet, head of the Department of Defense’s Joint Strike Fighter program, that production should slow down. “When the head of the most expensive, highest profile weapon systems program in U.S. history effectively says, ‘Hold it! We need to slow down how much we are buying!’ We should all pay close attention,” McCain said Monday. Venlet told AOL Defense, an online newsletter, that the F-35 has several structural cracks that must be fixed. The issues could add an additional $3 million to $5 million to the current $133 million per-plane price tag. “Most of them are little ones, but when you bundle them all up and package them and look at where they are in the airplane and how hard they are to get at after you buy the jet, the cost burden of that is what sucks the wind out of your lungs,” Venlet said. McCain and Venlet agreed that the issue was “concurrency” in the production and testing of the aircraft. Despite delaying the delivery of the first aircraft by 33 months, testing and evaluation still is under way. “In other words, the overlap between development and production is still too great to assure taxpayers that they will not have to continue paying for costly redesigns or retrofits due to discoveries made late in production,” McCain said. The cost is expected to increase again when the DOD factors in the last two years of program changes and updates its estimate. McCain said the final phase of testing likely will not happen before 2015. Regardless of the completed stages of testing, Eglin’s pilots will be able to train on simulators. The aircraft at Eglin now will hit the runways after they have been certified as safe to fly. “I think we are all in agreement that we want to make sure the F-35 is the safest it can be before flight training begins,” Miller said in the email. “However, the Aeronautical Systems Center and Joint Strike Fighter Program Office have indicated they will meet the established safety certification criteria.”

Thursday, December 8, 2011


As you will read, the folks around the country continue to flock to the Panhandle of Florida to enjoy what we get to see every day. This increase in visitors has also increased the number of folks looking for their retirement homes on the beach and the surrounding areas. Also, let’s not forget, our annual snowbird migration is happening now and I am sure by the foot traffic around the surrounding area, we should continue to see a strong fall and winter on the Emerald Coast.

October bed tax numbers increase
Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4448
October was another strong month for the local tourism industry. Tourist development agencies in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties recently released their bed tax collection data for October. Collections were up 14.7 percent in Okaloosa County, 42.7 percent in Walton County and 10.9 percent in Santa Rosa County. “Okaloosa County had the best October ever, adding to the record summer season our resort destination experienced,” Mark Bellinger, executive director of the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council, said in an email to the Daily News. “I believe major fall special events and fall festivals helped to contribute to the success of the fall season.” Bellinger attributed the record performance to continued aggressive marketing by the area lodging industry and Northwest Florida Regional Airport, as well as fall promotional campaigns by the TDC. Bed taxes are collected on short-term rentals in Walton, Santa Rosa and southern Okaloosa counties and are indicators of how many tourists are visiting the Emerald Coast. The funds are used primarily to promote the area to potential visitors. “I think Navarre Beach and Santa Rosa County are on the map now,” said Kate Wilkes, executive director of the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council. “All the money we spent from BP really helped and I think it’s going to maintain. Hopefully we’ll continue to grow and increase our bed tax.” November and December are two of the slower months for Santa Rosa County, but Wilkes said she expects the county to continue to perform well compared to 2010. “I’ve heard good reports,” Wilkes said. “We’re happy with the way things are going.”

OKALOOSA County OKs tax break for Pharmaceutical Company with eyes on Crestview

Just another major step in bringing a major manufacturing plant to Okaloosa County’s Crestview Industrial Airpark. As noted before, with the FAMU’s new Pharmacy School opening in 2012, it only seems natural, you have a Phamaceutical Plant nearby with access to students of the Pharmacy School.

Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4438
CRESTVIEW — County commissioners on Tuesday voted to offer a five-year property tax abatement to an Alabama pharmaceutical firm eyeing a move to Okaloosa County. The Alabaster-based Pharmacy South, which makes the respiratory drug albuterol, is considering buying land at Bob Sikes Airport to build its next manufacturing plant. The company is eligible to receive almost $800,000 in tax breaks from the state. Okaloosa County has agreed to pay $156,000 of that total, while the state would cover the remaining $624,000. Commissioners were unanimous in their support of the measure during the public hearing. “It gives us an advantage,” Commissioner Wayne Harris said. “This will create highskill, high-wage jobs.” One resident opposed the tax abatement, telling commissioners it works against the free market. “This board is saying it can choose winners and losers in business,” said Pete Blome of Niceville. “It is not the role of government to own businesses or grant favors.” Blome said the board would be wiser to “cut taxes for everyone” instead of offering one company a tax abatement. Others praised the tax abatement, saying it was an investment and would bring much-needed economic development to the county. Pharmacy South also is considering locations in Georgia, New Jersey and Alabama. It is eligible for the tax abatement under Florida’s Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program, which is designed to attract companies from the aviation, aerospace, defense, life sciences and information technology industries. Okaloosa voters approved the use of such tax breaks in a 2004 countywide referendum. Since then, the measure, which is available to new and existing companies, has been used four times. Pharmacy South would have to satisfy certain requirements, including building its $22 million manufacturing facility, before the tax abatement would begin. “They’ve got to put their money on the table and do their building before they get one dime from the county,” Commissioner Dave Parisot said during the meeting. If used, the tax abatement would be effective from 2014 to 2018. Commissioner Bill Roberts said landing the company would bring new industries to the county. “If we’re looking at clean diversification, that’s what we’re going to get with this project,” he said. Pharmacy South has proposed building a 45,000-square-foot plant that initially would generate an estimated 130 jobs with salaries averaging $43,800. Former Destin Mayor Craig Barker, whose company Cobalt Blue has led the recruiting effort, told commissioners Tuesday that the deal has the potential to make the area an “epicenter of pharmaceutical manufacturing.” Barker said Okaloosa County drew major interest when the company learned of the Florida A&M University pharmacy school planned for the Alatex building in downtown Crestview. FAMU would have the “opportunity to … conduct research and development for the company as they move through clinical trials to gain FDA approval,” Barker said. He said the facility Pharmacy South has proposed building would include a 6,000-square-foot research and development lab where FAMU doctoral students could work.

Friday, December 2, 2011


One more business being moved to the Crestview Airport. In a recent conversation with the Executive Director of the Crestview Chamber of Commerce, who is also a Okaloosa County Commissioner; he noted to stay tuned for some more opportunities coming to the Crestview area. I would like to add, my hat is off to all the forward thinking folks, who believe in sharing our great part of the country to the folks wanting to call this place their home.

Medical helicopter will be replaced later this month by one that will fly out of Crestview
Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4432

Officials with Air Methods are expecting to launch their medical helicopter in Okaloosa County later this month after removing GULFlight 1 from operations. A new module station will be set up at Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview. Larry Hall, field operations manager with Air Methods, said a trailer is scheduled to be delivered and set up by Dec. 9 and a tentative start date is Dec. 16 with Air Heart 3. “All of our operations will be shifting to the west,” Hall said. “We’re in the strategic planning stage now.” GULFlight 1, which has operated from Twin Cities Hospital in Niceville since June 2006, made its last emergency runs Wednesday. The helicopter no longer is needed because of a decrease in calls, Hall said. He added that the large number of medical helicopters in the area will help ease the transition. AirHeart 3 will be moved to Bob Sikes from DeFuniak Springs. Hall said response times for Walton County might be affected, so an “auto-watch procedure” will be put in place. That means medical helicopters will respond to certain areas immediately rather than wait to be called. If the air ambulance is not needed, it will turn around. “That method helps buy us time to get to the patient faster,” Hall said. “We are deciding on the areas that will be on the autowatch list.” Hall added that AirHeart 2, which operates out of Marianna, also will be available for calls to Walton County. AirHeart 3 will continue to operate from DeFuniak Springs until Dec. 16. Dino Villani, Okaloosa County’s public safety director, said the transition is expected to be seamless. “We’ve been preparing for this,” Villani said. “While we’re operating out of DeFuniak Springs I don’t expect problems with response time. It will be similar to the times GULFlight has.” Hall said residents should not see a difference in coverage and response times. “It’s all the same basic coverage that we’ve provided for years,” Hall said.