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Fort Walton Beach Video Just Added - 05/28/2009

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Buy A Florida Vacation Home - 04/01/2009

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Coldwell Banker International mobile search now available - 02/16/2009

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Great Northwest Florida - 12/15/2008


Northwest Florida’s workforce, economic development, education and business communities have a long track record of collaboration and partnership, working together to implement strategies and create solutions to meet current and future workforce needs. In February, 2006 the partnership’s vision for a unified strategic approach to workforce, education, and economic development for a diversified and sustainable economy was accelerated when the U.S. Department of Labor identified Northwest Florida as one of its original 13 WIRED regions.

Florida’s Great Northwest, Inc. is the administrator and facilitating organization for the WIRED Northwest Florida Initiative, Northwest Florida’s regional strategy for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development Initiative. Secured through an extremely competitive bid process, the $15 million federal grant is funding workforce development initiatives throughout Northwest Florida. Established regionally as a matching grant program, this translates into a minimum $30 million investment in talent development addressing the high-wage, high-skill workforce needs in the target industries of Aviation, Aerospace, Defense and National Security; Life Sciences; Information Technology; Engineering; Renewable Energy and Environment; Distribution, Transportation and Logistics; and Construction Product Manufacturing and Distribution. Matching funds generated early in the initiative have been significantly stronger than required, indicating that at the conclusion of the federal grant in early 2010, the WIRED Northwest Florida Initiative will actually represent closer to a $50 million investment in workforce training and training program development for the region. Additional leveraged resources supporting the outcomes of the Initiative include over $87 million of federal funds awarded throughout the region.

The input and guidance provided by the Governance Council and Industry Advisory Councils in each of the target industries is an integral component of the Initiative. Each Industry Advisory Council incorporates membership from the regional partners, including businesses actively engaged in that target industry.

The WIRED Northwest Florida Initiative includes:
Grants enabling job training for new and existing businesses in target industries
Secondary education career academy development that is (1) geared for skills related to entry-level employment in targeted industries or (2) accelerated, intense college preparation in the areas of math and science
Funding of post-secondary training and education programs that develop workforce skills required by target industries
An outreach program to educate and attract sufficient numbers of students of all ages into the skills training programs to meet workforce demands
A strategic development component designed to ensure the workforce development programs are generating skills necessary to meet current and future target industry needs

Strategic Partnerships
On the basis of its membership profile alone, Florida’s Great Northwest exemplifies a regional partnership which most economic development organizations would envy. This partnership includes local economic development organizations with countywide membership including private sector, civic and government leadership; all of the region’s workforce development boards, post-secondary institutions at the community college, four-year college and university levels; and private businesses covering a wide spectrum of disciplines. Florida’s Great Northwest and its members have the capabilities to influence decisions on regional and local levels, and enjoy broad regional support and perspective.
The continuously expanding partnerships that have been built are key to the success of the WIRED Northwest Florida Initiative and the region’s economic position. As a direct result of the Initiative, more coordinated efforts in regional planning are being undertaken. Florida’s Great Northwest has been an active partner in preparation of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies for both the West Florida and Apalachee Regional Planning Councils. Developers of major projects regularly seek counsel from Florida’s Great Northwest in determining how to best align their properties with the region’s economic development strategies. Public education is linking its workforce training curricula to the employment needs and forecasts for the region. Economic development, education and employers have joined forces to assess the region’s economic position and implement programs to foster economic growth.

Critical partnerships include the following:
Post-secondary education institutions, including technical schools, community colleges, four-year colleges and universities
Secondary education systems
The region’s six workforce development boards
Workforce Florida, Inc. and Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation
Florida Small Business Development Center’s four Northwest Florida regional offices
Foundations active in the region
Private sector business involvement representing employers in target industries, industry association groups, and support industries such as the finance, accounting and legal industries, engineering and architectural design
The region’s county economic development organizations and chambers of commerce
Enterprise Florida, Inc.

The early results seen so far are only the beginning of the total potential expected to be achieved as a result of the Initiative’s efforts. Through catalytic funding of the U.S. Department of Labor WIRED grant, Florida’s Great Northwest has been able to significantly accelerate workforce development efforts and build the foundation for significant future successes.



Although the initial U.S. Department of Labor funding, the matching funds, and the additional grants Florida’s Great Northwest has been able to leverage are significant and have enhanced job growth and skills training in the region, the real success of the initiative is in the strength of the public-private sector partnership, the shared vision, and strategic plan for long-term economic sustainability and diversification, and a sustainable initiative post-DOL funding. At the funding cycle’s conclusion in 2010, the grant monies may no longer be flowing, but the region’s leadership, vision, and strategy is in place to sustain the initiative far into the future.

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Coldwell Banker on the sprint palm smartphones - 11/30/2008


Coldwell Banker International Business Conference in Orlando, Florida. Real estate agents armed with Sprint Palm® CentroTM smartphones learned how to stay connected to the resources, information, and people they need at every stage of the deal, thanks to Palm, Inc.

According to Palm's Craig Tellalian, strategic account manager at Palm, is demonstrating how real estate professionals can:

Use the Palm Centro to gain a competitive edge, attract clients, gain listings and speed valuable closings;
Stay mobile with wireless access to email (corporate and personal), the Web, contacts, calendar and phone functionality;
Utilize Centro's latest productivity enhancing real estate applications like GE Supra eKey, which allows agents to open and program their own iBoxesTM and Mortgage Calc, which allows agents to calculate complex mortgage payments, including mortgage insurance, estimated property tax and home insurance.
Tellalian is speaking on two sessions at the conference:

Palm® CentroTM Smartphone 101 Hands-on training (Basic)

Discover how this all-in-one phone, camera, email, text-messaging and Web device saves you money, enhances your safety and most of all helps you have more fun. We'll show you how your Centro can:

Connect to your laptop for accessing the Internet from the road at broadband-like speeds.
Get driving directions using GoogleTM Maps
View and edit MS Word documents and Excel spreadsheets
Improve safety on the road by using your voice to create and send
emails or text messages
Includes Google Maps for Mobile application - for turn by turn directions and location searches.
Capture pictures or live video and send them to your broker or clients over the air.
Play music or podcasts.
Close More deals With Palm® CentroTM as your Partner (Advanced)

In the Advanced Session, agents will learn how to stay connected to the resources, information and people they need at every stage of the deal with the Sprint Palm Centro smartphone. They will be shown how to enhance the Centro to gain a competitive edge, attract clients, gain listings, and speed valuable closings.

I think it's pretty cool that the Centro can be used as such an important tool by real estate agents. If I was a real estate agent, I'd be happy to use my Palm smartphone as a helpful tool.

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Coldwell Banker iPhone - 10/15/2008


COLDWELL BANKER BECOMES FIRST NATIONAL REAL ESTATE BRAND TO DEBUT HOME SEARCH INTERFACE FOR iPHONE

Continuing to blaze a path of innovation in the real estate industry, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC today became the first full-service national real estate brand to launch a customized online platform for iPhoneTM users.

The Coldwell Banker flagship Web site, coldwellbanker.com, now has a different look and feel, along with navigation specifically tailored for optimal viewing on the iPhone, most notably with the property listings search and home value estimator functions. When a user accesses the site through his or her handset, the Coldwell Banker Web site automatically recognizes that it is being accessed by an iPhone, and will serve up the special iPhone interface. iPhone users do not need to download any special software to benefit from this enhancement to the Coldwell Banker mobile technology.

"Providing easy access to real-time real estate information is critical for consumers in the home buying and selling process," said Michael Fischer, senior vice president of marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. "Distribution of listings is crucial in today's environment. Our mobile society is moving away from the desktop and utilizing cell phones and PDAs for more and more content and entertainment. With so many connecting to the Web by phone, we have to be where the consumer is in a way that makes sense."

Those looking for a home will be able to search for homes and utilize the brand's home value estimator. In addition, consumers will be able to enter specific search criteria such as city, state, price as well as optional filters including number of bedrooms and bathrooms. When a property is selected, iPhone users can view all of the specifications for that home and contact an agent directly.

"Now more than ever consumers want to access information about a home as they see it, pass it or hear about," continued Fischer. "Being in front of a computer should not be mandatory."

Earlier this year Coldwell Banker became the first national real estate brand to put its listings on in-car GPS devices through an exclusive feed to Dash Navigation. Drivers can now call up Coldwell Banker listings, map them, get directions and view other Coldwell Banker listings in close proximity.

iPhone is a registered trademark of Apple Computers, Inc.


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Blackwater Heritage State Trail in Northwest Florida - 07/21/2008










Blackwater Heritage State TrailBlackwater Heritage State Trail is officially designated as part of Florida's Statewide System of Greenways and Trails. This is the westernmost rail trail in the state, extending from the small community of Milton in the south to Whiting Field Naval Air Station (NAS) in the north. Managed by the Florida Park Service, it also connects to the Military Trail (also identified on map) which is managed by the US Navy. It's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. It's mostly a rural trail with only a few dwellings at some of the cross roads once you leave Milton and before you get on the military base. There are some nice creek crossings on wooden bridges with few hills or grades. This is a pleasant trip for the whole family with lots of access and safe riding.


Click here for the trail brochure (PDF 405 kb).
Major Activities
























Trail Length/Surface: Blackwater Heritage is 7.0 miles, non-motorized paved (asphalt 12' wide); Military is 2.2 miles, non-motorized paved trail (asphalt 12' wide); equestrian unpaved trail parallels a portion of the paved trail.


Fee: None





County: Santa Rosa





Nearby Towns: Milton









Notes: The Milton Trailhead contains a covered picnic shelter, restrooms, a water fountain, and a bicycle rack. There is a visitor center approximately one mile from the trailhead that offers two picnic tables and parking. The Blackwater Heritage State Trail Citizen Support Organization operates a concession at the visitor center where snacks and souvenirs can be purchased. Benches have been located at various points along the trail for visitor convenience.








The equestrian portion of the trail travels adjacent to a segment of the paved trail with shared bridges. The equestrian trail itself begins about one mile north of the Milton Trailhead, but equestrian access is available at the parking area located at Munson Highway (see parking location identified on map). There is ample oversized parking available, as well as a newly constructed picnic shelter.








When you travel north of the Visitors Center, bring plenty of water with you because there are no facilities for potable water available.

















Access/Directions:


Milton Trailhead From I-10 West (coming from Crestview), take Exit 31 (old Exit 10) to SR 87. Follow SR 87 to the intersection with US 90. Take a left (heading west) on US 90. Follow US 90 into Milton to the intersection where SR 87 heads north (to the right). Trailhead is located at this intersection.


From I-10 East (coming from Pensacola), take Exit 26 (old Exit 8) to SR 191. Follow SR 191 through Bagdad into Milton and turn left on US 90. Trailhead is located at the intersection of US 90 and SR 87.



Munson Highway Parking Area Follow directions above to Milton. In Milton, proceed to intersection of US 98 and SR 191. Proceed north on SR 191 (Munson Highway) to intersection with trail and parking area.


Contact Information: Blackwater Heritage State Trail
5533 Alabama Street
Milton, Florida 32564
(850) 983-5338


Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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Blackwater River Canoe Trail - 07/21/2008




The Blackwater River Canoe Trail is officially designated as part of Florida's Statewide System of Greenways and Trails. Located in the middle of Florida's Western Highlands, this 31-mile canoe trail flows through the Blackwater River State Forest. Cedar, maple, and cypress trees often form a dense canopy over the river. There are also some high bluffs where pine and cedar trees tower above the paddler. The water is a dark, tannin-stained color. The Creek Indians called the river "Oka Lusa" (water-black). Along the bends, white sandbars provide a perfect place for camping or picnicking. The trail provides opportunity to observe wildlife including deer, turkey and bobcat. The Mississippi Kite soars overhead in the summer. Fishing can be an enjoyable addition to the trip. This panhandle trail ends at the Deaton Bridge, in Blackwater River State Park.** Please note that the river is non-navigable beyond Deaton Bridge at the State Park.

Click here to download printer-friendly map and description (388 kb PDF).


Major Activities




Counties: Okaloosa, Santa Rosa


Mileage: 31


Skill Level: Beginner to intermediate


Difficulty: EasyUsual Current: Average (2-3 mph)



Notes and Precautions


The river level fluctuates rapidly following heavy local rains. Check local weather conditions before beginning your trip. The upper part of the river is fairly swift-flowing and requires some paddling experience.



Access
Kennedy Bridge
- Take Hwy 90 from Crestview to SR 4. Take SR 4 north to State Forest Road (SFR) 47, the first paved road past Cotton Bridge. Turn right on SFR 47 and head north to the next paved road, SFR 31. Follow SFR 31 about 2 miles north to SFR 24, the dirt road at Hurricane Lake sign. Follow SFR 24 to the bridge.



Peadon Bridge - Same as above to SFR 47. About 2.5 miles north of SFR 47, turn east on first dirt road on right (SFR 50) and continue to bridge. (6 miles)



Cotton Bridge, SR 4 - Four miles northwest of Baker. (5 miles)





Bryant Bridge, SFR 21 - From US 90 at Harold, take SFR 23 north five miles through the Blackwater River State Park to four way stop at SFR 86. Turn right (east) and continue to SFR 21, which leads southeast to bridge. (12 miles)



Blackwater River State Park - From US 90 at Harold, take SFR 23 north three miles to Deaton Bridge within the Park. (8 miles)
There may be access points (both public and private) in addition to those listed here. Please remember that some sites require a fee for launching and /or parking.


Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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Blackwater River State Forest-Jackson Red Ground Trail - 07/21/2008



The Blackwater River State Forest offers a natural retreat set amidst the beautiful rolling hills of northwest Florida. Reaching from Conecuh National Forest along the Alabama border toward Eglin Air Force Base, this state forest is Florida's largest at nearly 190,000 acres. The forest is characterized by its many streams, including the namesake Blackwater River, that flow gently south as they make their way to the Gulf of Mexico. Certified as a segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail, the Jackson Red Ground Trail retraces one of the earliest trade routes of Indians and settlers in Florida. Also, be sure to visit the Sweetwater, Bear Lake and Jackson Trails.

Click here for printer-friendly version. (PDF 420K)


Major Activities

Trail Length/Surface:Jackson Red Ground is 21.5 miles from end to end, unpaved



Fee: Fees apply in some areas. Please contact the Division of Forestry for details.




Counties: Okaloosa, Santa RosaNearby Cities: Munson, Crestview



Notes:Jackson Red Ground Trail is blazed orange, and is a segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail. The Florida Trail Association (FTA) produces a detailed hiking guide and segment-by-segment maps which are very useful for hiking the Florida National Scenic Trail. For more information, visit FTA's website at http://www.florida-trail.org/index.htm or call 1-877-HIKEFLA.Three connecting trails are also shown on the map (Sweetwater, Bear Lake and the Wiregrass trail south of Hurricane Lake) are part of the Florida Division of Forestry's Trailwalker Program. This program offers recognition awards for hiking designated trails in state forests throughout Florida. For more information, contact the office below or visit the program's website (www.fl-dof.com/Recreation/Trailwalker/index.html).



Access/Directions:Red Rock Road Area (main access for Jackson Red Ground Trail)From I-10, take the Avalon Boulevard Exit (Exit 22). Follow Avalon Boulevard to US 90. Take a right and continue to Burger King. Take a left at Stuart Street (Hwy 87). Go to Milton High School. Take a right across from Milton High School onto Hwy 191. Follow Hwy 191 north to Red Rock Road at Spring Hill. Take a right on Red Rock Road and proceed to the Red Rock Primitive Area/Canoe Launch. Trail crosses Red Rock Road .3 miles to the east. The south end of Jackson Red Ground Trail begins at the road crossing -- proceed north to enter this portion of the trail. The trail segment south of this crossing is the Juniper Creek Trail.



Krul Recreation Area (main access for Sweetwater Trail)From I-10, take the Avalon Boulevard Exit (Exit 22). Follow Avalon Boulevard to US 90. Take a right and continue to Burger King. Take a left at Stuart Street (Hwy 87). Go to Milton High School. Take a right across from Milton High School on Hwy 191. Follow for approximately 20 miles to the Munson crossroads (Hwy 191 and SR 4). Take a right on SR 4 and continue for .7 miles to the Krul Recreation Area sign. Go to kiosk at day use parking lot.



Bear Lake Recreation Area (main access for Bear Lake Loop Trail)From I-10, take the Avalon Boulevard Exit (Exit 22). Follow Avalon Boulevard to US 90. Take a right and continue to Burger King. Take a left at Stuart Street (Hwy 87). Go to Milton High School. Take a right across from Milton High School on Hwy 191. Follow for approximately 20 miles to Munson crossroads (Hwy 191 and SR 4). Take a right on SR 4 and continue for 2.5 miles to the Bear Lake Recreation Area sign. Go to kiosk in campground for information


Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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Shoal River Canoe Trip - 07/21/2008






Shoal River Canoe TrailThe Shoal River Canoe Trail is officially designated as part of Florida's Statewide System of Greenways and Trails. Twisting and turning through a remote part of the western Panhandle, the Shoal River trail covers 27 miles. Few indications of civilization are evident as you paddle through forests of maple, oak, gum, and cypress. Along the trail, creeks broaden into small lily-covered pools that provide excellent fishing. Sandbars along the bends of the river make good campsites. This narrow river is usually 3-4 feet deep, and water levels do not generally fluctuate more than 3 feet.

Click here for printer-friendly map and description (PDF 393 kb).
Major Activities

Counties: Okaloosa, Walton

Mileage: 27

Skill Level: Beginner

Difficulty: Easy

Usual Current: Average (2-3 mph)


Notes and Precautions Between Access 1 and 2, there are two wooden bridges that collect debris which can be dangerous, especially at high water. The end of the trail is on the northern boundary of the Eglin Air Force Base Reservation. Obtain a base recreation permit if you plan to enter the reservation. Information about permits can be obtained by calling (850) 882-4164 or writing Eglin National Resources, 107 Highway 85 North, Niceville, FL 32578. You can continue seven miles past the takeout at SR 85 to the junction with the Yellow River, another state canoe trail.


Access
SR 285 Bridge - 3.5 miles north of US 90 / SR 285 junction
SR 393 Bridge - About 3 miles north of SR 393 / US 90 intersection. (10 miles)
US 90 Bridge - 4 miles east of Crestview. (8 miles)
SR 85 Bridge - At wayside park, 5 miles south of Crestview. (9 miles)
There may be access points (both public and private) in addition to those listed here. Please remember that some sites require a fee for launching and/or parking.


Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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