News Releases

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New movie theater has long been anticipated by kids

It’s always a treat to go to the movies, but going to the VIP grand opening of our local movie theater Studio Movie Grill in Seminole was even more exciting. My two girls Randi (13) and Graci (11) have been waiting for something fun to go into the new Seminole City Center for the past few years. Since the rebuilding of our mall, they have been asking when are we going to get something fun for kids to do at the new mall? The mall has quite a few stores and restaurants, but for kids a movie theater is something special.

The grand opening was a lot of fun. The girls were able to walk down the red carpet. There were characters from Star Wars there including Darth Vader and Princess Leia. They were there to promote the new movie coming out December 15, 2017, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. They alas had fun meeting the professional wrestler Brian Knobbs, who is best known as part of the tag team The Nasty Boys with Jerry Sags. There was also a ribbon cutting with the Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters and City Council.


The ambiance of this building is beautiful with the wonderful outdoor seating and view. We were able to sit on the patio having appetizers and drinks in the fall Florida weather overlooking the entrance lined with palm trees and beautiful landscape and lighting. There is also a huge covered lounge area with lots of televisions. This area is open to the public and you don’t have to see a movie if you just want to eat and have drinks.

We really didn’t know what to expect of the movie theater. When we got in we were pleasantly surprised. Everyone has their own set and each seat has a number on it and a tray table with a drink holder. There’s also a button you can push so you can order food when you want it during the movie. The seats are reclining and so comfortable.

This was truly a treat, I don’t think we have been to the movies as a family for years. Usually I take the girls to see the $1 movies during the summer, so going with my husband and the girls together was awesome!

My girls' favorite part was probably being able to order the food right at their chair. We tried several appetizers including the pretzel bites and potato skins which were great! We also tried the burger and chicken tenders, which were also fantastic. I know your probably wondering what the prices are. You can find all the prices online and all the specials before you go.
They do have kid’s meals for $6 like chicken tenders, pizza, mac and cheese, cheeseburger or chicken quesadilla. There’s also a special for $25 for adults which includes an appetizer and two entrees.

Right now, is the time to try out the new theater. The tickets for movies are $3 until November 29. The movies regularly are $9 adult, $7 matinee and $6 for a child. You need to go online at www.studiomoviegrill.com/seminole and use the code SMGSEMINOLE for the $3 tickets and there is no booking fee. It is only good at the Seminole location.  


I look forward to enjoying many more nights like this with my family and friends! And my kids don’t have to ask me any more when is the movie theater going to open.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Relationships are important for the young and old


Kadi Tubbs with the women of St. Jerome's Catholic Church

Recently, I was asked to speak to a group of women to give them encouraging words and to talk about intergenerational relationships. Interesting topic, right? What I love is that word relationships. We were designed to have relationships. I believe it’s important to have relationships in life. Without relationships who do you share your passion, joy, sorrow, pain and hope with?

Intergenerational relationships can be beneficial for both the younger person and the older person. I saw a news story recently with reporter Steve Hartman about an 82-year-old man and a 4-year-old little girl who had developed a friendship after she asked the 82- year-old stranger for a hug while shopping with her mom in Publix. It was her birthday and she wanted people to know it and she asked the man for a hug. That hug from a stranger changed both their lives. He had just lost his wife and was in deep depression ready to give up on life, but this little girl changed that. They developed a friendship which gave him hope and her a new friend. It’s stories like this that can really have an impact on people.

Kadi Tubbs speaking to a group of women
at St. Jerome's Catholic Church in Largo
I remember as a young child how we would go play Yahtzee at an older neighbor’s home. She was a widow and my friends and I didn’t think much of it at the time, but we just loved going to her house and playing games. She loved having us.

I also remember the relationship I had with my great-grandma. She was the only grandma I had living nearby us and we would visit her frequently. She was the best cook. She would always be in her kitchen cooking something. She would talk to us about coming over from Portugal and tell us how lucky we were to go to school because she had only gone to sixth grade in her country. She would speak Portuguese to us, but we never really picked it up. One time she babysat me and my brother and sisters and put my hair in rags to curl it. Back in the old days they didn’t have curlers she would tell me and they would cut rags and curl the girl’s hair that way. It was the only way my hair ever curled because it was so straight. Today, I sometimes put my two girl’s hair in rags to curl it. It was a tradition I am passing on to my kids from their great-great grandma. My grandma learned a lot from us too. We would draw pictures, dance and sing for her. She couldn’t wait for the family to come and see her.

I think every person has something to offer another person, especially when it comes to intergenerational relationships. Just think about the young kids of today and the technology they use daily. The older population not using technology as much, and if they are maybe not knowing how to use it fully. An example of this that comes to mind is a soldier we have been sending care packages to through my daughter Graci’s nonprofit Operation: Military Matters. His grandma gave us his address and when we told him that’s how we got his address, he said he wanted to get in touch with her, but she didn’t have Facebook and her phone didn’t have texting set up on it. He is in the Middle East and his grandma lives locally. Graci and I met with his grandma and of course the 11-year-old knew exactly how to fix his grandma’s phone so she could receive texts from her grandson. Now they can communicate from around the world.

Think about your life and the relationships you have had over the years with friends, relatives and even strangers. Our lives are hopefully full of ways we have made positive impacts on others through experiences we have gone through that we can help others maybe younger or older than us. Intergenerational relationships are ways to use your life experiences to help others. Next time your child, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, grandchild or neighbor needs help with something or asks you to do something make time to build that relationship. It’s worth it!




Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Darlene Hutchinson Biehl Heads President Trump’s Office for Victims of Crime

Photo August 14, 2017, Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson swears in recently appointed Office for Victims of Crime, Director, Darlene Hutchinson Biehl in Washington, DC. 

In November of 1987, Darlene Hutchinson Biehl's life changed forever. Biehl was a junior in college at Troy University in Troy, Alabama, studying journalism. A native of Seminole, Fla., and graduate of Keswick Christian High School, she was in college 400 miles away from home. School had just let out for Thanksgiving break and she was going to a post office to check her mailbox, when she was kidnapped at gunpoint by a stranger. She was just 20 years old. She was blindfolded and bound, and after two days was able free herself and escape. Fortunately, she survived and led police to the offender who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and rape and served 20 years in prison.

Since her attack, she has seen firsthand the needs of victims and how the criminal justice system failed at times. A passion to help other victims like herself began to develop.  This passion has lead her on the path to recently being appointed by President Donald Trump's to a key role in his administration. On August 14, 2017, Biehl was sworn in as the director for Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), within the U.S. Department of Justice.

A longtime friend of Biehl’s, Rachel Johnson Collier knew she was an excellent choice for this position. "When Darlene got appointed to this position, I knew no one deserved this more! I have known her for 32 years. We have been roommates, sorority sisters, and of course, friends for life! Darlene has worked diligently with the victims and families of victims for many years. She goes to parole hearing, meetings with officials, and any other means necessary to help as many people as she can. She has helped get laws changed when it seemed there was no hope of getting legislature to change. Most of her work and accomplishments have been on a volunteer basis. Most people would not devote their lives to a cause and not expect anything back, but she is an exception to the rule! I just want to end by saying I am so very proud of Darlene for stepping out and facing her own situation to go to such lengths for so many people. She had blessed my life by being the very best friend a person can have and for making our world a little safer with her efforts!”

Biehl’s accomplishments over the past twenty plus years is incredible. She has volunteered countless hours to helping victims and their families. Her work includes legislation and public policy, teaching at police academies and accompanying victims of all types to court and parole hearings. Her volunteerism includes 10 years with rape crisis centers in Montgomery, Alabama, and Collin County, Texas, as well as seven years as president of a victims’ support and advocacy group.  She has received many awards for her dedication to empowering survivors and protecting their rights, while enhancing public safety.  Biehl has also played a key role in the development of Alabama’s innovative victim notification system, as well as the passage and ratification of a Victims’ Constitutional Amendment in Alabama. 

Those who have worked with Biehl over the years including Alabama’s Attorney General Steve Marshall know she will be an asset to the country. He recently released this statement in a press release, "Darlene Hutchinson Biehl is well known as a tireless advocate for crime victims' rights in Alabama and nationwide. She has an extensive background in fighting for those victimized by violent crime, ensuring they are given a voice in the criminal justice system. Over my 16 years as prosecutor, I have worked closely with Darlene to protect the rights of crime victims and I know President Trump made the right choice in appointing her to lead the US DOJ Crime Victims Office.”
  
Biehl has roots in Pinellas County. She grew up in St. Petersburg and is a 1985 graduate of Keswick Christian High School. "We were extremely proud to hear that one of our alumni was selected to this critical position in our country. Darlene is a woman of character and integrity, has a heart and compassion for people, and consistently exemplifies the love of Christ. She will be an excellent leader in a very sensitive area and we look forward to seeing how families will be helped in a great time of need by her guidance and support. We pray the Lord’s blessing over her life and position,” said Nick Stratis, Superintendent Keswick Christian School.

According to the OVC website, Biehl will oversee assisting crime victims and helping provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. OVC was established in 1988 through an amendment to the Victims of Crime Act of 1984. Besides being a crime victims' advocate Biehl has more than 25 years in publishing, including eight years as the editor of law enforcement publications in Alabama, Washington, D.C., and Texas. Plus, she served nearly 6 years as the Communications and Media Director for the Dallas Bar Association. 

"It's been a whirlwind, but I'm loving it and so very honored to have this opportunity to serve victims of crime on a national level," said Biehl.


Biehl resides in Alabama with her husband Mark, but is splitting her time now in Washington, DC.