Friday, September 4, 2015

Campbell Hears from Special Taxing Districts, Approves Bonds for Jail Renovation

FTM file. 
Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor of The River City News

Special taxing districts continued their annual parade before the Campbell Fiscal Court on Wednesday, as mandated by a relatively new state law.

The most notable of these agencies may have been the Campbell County Public Library which was sued by a group of Campbell County residents in 2012 who claimed that the Library had been adjusting its tax rates illegally. Campbell County Commissioner Charlie Coleman was among those who filed suit.

“Our tax rates are not exactly the same,” said Campbell County Library Director J.C. Morgan. “We are under a court order. We were sued in January of 2012 over the method by which we adjust our tax rate every year. We got a decision in March 2015 that was unanimously ruled in the Library’s favor that we were indeed doing the right thing. That decision has been appealed and is right now in the Kentucky Supreme Court. They are trying to decide if they are going to hear it; they’ve been trying to decide that since March, so hopefully they will make that decision soon.”

There are three tiers of property tax that an SPGE reports: real estate tax, personal property tax and a motor-vehicle tax. The library’s real estate will remain at 7.7 cents per $100—the same rate as 2012. For personal property, the tax rate actually went down to 9.08, and the motor vehicle tax has been unchanged since 1983 at 2.6, according to Morgan.

In his presentation, Morgan talked about the enhancements the Library has recently undergone such as the use of the lower level of the Newport Branch.

Passing School Buses - Campbell County, Kentucky

By Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney

Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney. Provided. 

With schools back in session, it may be helpful to review Kentucky’s laws concerning passing school buses.

Prior to stopping a school bus for picking up or letting off children, a bus driver is required to activate amber flashing signal lamps.  Once the bus comes to a complete stop, the bus driver is required to extend the stop arm and activate the red flashing signal lights prior to opening the door of the bus.  Bus drivers are only supposed to stop the buses in locations where there is reasonable visibility to approaching motor vehicles in both directions.  Also, a bus driver is not permitted to stop a bus to pick up or discharge children on the opposite side of a highway of four lanes or more, except for discharging passengers at a marked pedestrian crossing.

The World Peace Bell - Newport, Kentucky

By John Deering

Just to stand by it and look at the beautiful bronze color (80% copper and 20% tin) and then to hear the sound of the World Peace Bell in Newport is “awesome” – as our young people might say. It is indeed awesome to behold for several reasons or more: this huge bell swings freely when started. It is the largest swinging bell in the world and weighs 66, 000 pounds.

Even the clapper alone weighs 6,878 pounds. A thought “struck” me at this point: how can I illustrate the significance of this amount of weight?  Perhaps the weight of automobiles will suffice.  How many automobiles does this weight represent?  I called a local dealer and got an estimate of the weight of a full-sized car.

Commander David Gardella retires after 20 years of Naval Service

Commander David Gardella
Commander David Gardella, a native of Fort Thomas, KY, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1995 with a Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Engineering.

Upon completion of flight school, he earned his coveted "Wings of Gold" and was designated as a Naval Aviator in April 1996.  He subsequently was a member of Patrol Squadron THIRTY on two separate occasions, Patrol Squadron SIXTEEN, Patrol Squadron FOUR, and Special Projects Patrol Squadron TWO.  During these tours he served multiple roles including Mission Commander and Instructor Pilot.

'63 Grad's Gift points way to Completion of Campaign for Highlands

By Alan Thomas
Tom Jones. Provided. 
Thomas "Tom" Woodrow Jones, Jr., Highlands class of 1963, credits his life-long love of learning and successful career to the strong foundation he acquired from the many great teachers he came into contact with at Highlands High School.

"Book" learning combined with "non-book" learning (insights and inspiration) provided the motivation and good habits to do well in his work and life. Because he feels he has been very fortunate, Tom has decided to give back in a big way - by making a gift of $250,000 to the campaign to renovate Highlands.

A recent discussion with HHS Principal Brian Robinson lead Tom to the Fort Thomas Education Foundation and the fundraising needs for the Campaign for Highlands.

Fort Thomas Mother to Lead New NKU Dance Program

Stephanie Brumer teaching Contemporary Dance
Stop.  Collaborate and listen.  “Dance prep is a grand new addition (…) to the Northern Kentucky University ‘Prep’ Program”, says Stephanie Brumer of Fort Thomas.

Many of you may know Brumer from the many classes she has taught around town, especially at the YMCA.  Or perhaps some of your children may be in class at Woodfill or Highlands Middle or High School with one of her five children.  However, what you may not have known is that Brumer has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and Dance from NKU and has been teaching and performing for more than 25 years.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Highlands-Scott County Game Preview

Bluebirds prepared for 6A's fourth-ranked Cardinals

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior cornerback Austin Beal (27) tries to make a move in the recent win over Campbell County. The Bluebirds take on Scott County 
Three seasons ago, they came to Fort Thomas and the Blue and White ran them out of town almost as fast.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Goetz assumes new role as FTIS Achievement Coordinator

When the Achievement Coordinator position came to fruition, the main goal listed is a huge one.

That's 100 percent graduation in the Fort Thomas Independent School District.

FTIS limits fund raising on travel to in-state, non-Northern Kentucky destinations

FTM file. 
Has fundraising for extracurricular activities become too much of a burden on students and parents? That's the question that was raised by a Fort Thomas Independent School Board member at the August meeting.

Treasurer Hollenbach Warns of Phony IRS Tax Scam

Scammers threaten legal action over the phone

Kentucky Treasurer Todd Hollenbach says scam artists are at work again calling Kentuckians and identifying themselves as IRS representatives telling folks they owe money to the IRS and threatening legal action if they don’t pay.

"The IRS does not initially contact taxpayers by phone so if you receive a call or get a voice message from someone claiming to be a representative from the IRS threatening to take legal action against you, it’s a good bet it’s a scam,” Hollenbach said.

In Other Words: Tapping the Superhero Within

By Chuck Keller
Via Youtube. 

Over the past year I have had periodic Batman sightings in Newport or in the parks along the river.

It is always at night. He appears from the shadows and disappears as quickly. The last time I saw him was at a music festival along the river. He walked the perimeter of the event in the shadows of the trees. I watched him drink from a water fountain. And then with a flourish of his cape he was gone. I have no idea who the Batman is and I don’t think I want to know. I rather enjoy the mystery.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Campbell County nips Highlands, 1-0

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands freshman Haley Dougherty (12) plays the ball ahead in Monday's game at Campbell County.

It was a game that felt like the Highlands Ladybirds soccer team outplayed the host Campbell County Lady Camels.

Gilbert Laycock To Be Honored at Alexandria Fair

Gilbert Laycock standing next to a framed picture of him as a baby, in 1919, after winning the Alexandria Fair & Horse Show's Blue Ribbon Baby award. 

September 3 will mark Fort Thomas resident Gilbert Laycock's 97th birthday. And Saturday, September 5, Laycock will be honored at the Alexandria Fair & Horse Show, the same fair he was named Blue Ribbon Baby, 96 years ago.

Laycock has already written his speech. "My entire life has been based on two things," he includes. "One is love and the other is respect for everyone that I meet."

KSP Increasing Patrols During Labor Day Weekend

Via KSP, Citizens Academy. 
The national campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs through Labor Day weekend and is aimed at reducing deaths and injuries caused by motorists driving drunk or impaired by drugs.

During the 2014 Labor Day holiday, there were six alcohol-related highway deaths on Kentucky roadways.  Statewide, law enforcement officers arrested 55 people for DUI during that same time period. The 2015 Labor Day enforcement period begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept.4 and extends through Monday, Sept. 7 at 11:59 p.m.

2015 Buddy Walk; I Love Lucy

Team I Love Lucy at the 2014 Buddy Walk

Approximately 10,000 people will gather at Sawyer Point on Saturday, September 12 for the 14th annual Buddy Walk. Thirty-five of those people will be there as part of Team "I Love Lucy." Lucy Kessinger, a 16-month-old Fort Thomas resident, is the Lucy in "I Love Lucy."

"Our daughter Lucy was born April 2014," said Abigail Kessinger. "When she was diagnosed with Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome, we had little knowledge about it. Fortunately for us, the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati is an amazing organization. They reach out to families and individuals and support them every step of the way. Right away, we knew we wanted to be an active part of their community as both beneficiaries and benefactors. We wanted to give back to the organization that was doing so much for us. We first participated in the Buddy Walk Sept 2014."

Lucy on her first birthday

HHS Grad Hikes 2K Mile Trail Through Appalachia

Will Modrall Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail

Will Modrall, a 2011 graduate of Highlands High School, and 2015 graduate of University of Louisville, spent this past summer hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT), a 2,189.2 mile trail that winds through the Appalachian mountains as well as several other ranges, passing through fourteen states.

Will, an Eagle Scout and an avid outdoorsman, had been planning this trip since he heard about the AT as a young scout.

While making the trek solo, Will met many people along the way, few of whom could keep up with his 22 mile per day pace, especially while carrying the backpack loaded with hike necessities.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Longtime Highlands Teacher Needs Your Help

By Chuck Keller
Belinda and Gary Adams
Some teachers are simply unforgettable.  Gary Adams is one of them. Gary has taught music for 45 years. Yes, you read that right - 45 years. And he needs our help.

He has suffered a few setbacks lately. He had heart surgery earlier in the year but his lovely and exuberant wife, Belinda, has not fared as well. She has been battling cancer for a few years now and things have taken a turn.  The cancer has spread to her brain.

Fort Thomas Firefighter, Richard Boothe, Retires After 24 Years

Richard Boothe. Provided. 
I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.” - Kurt Vonnegut

On August 1, 2015, Richard Boothe retired from the Fort Thomas Fire Department. Boothe worked as a firefighter for a total of 33 years, 24 of which were spent serving the city of Fort Thomas. 

Boothe's interest in becoming a firefighter was initially due to the working schedule. “What really sounded good about the job was that you work one day and then you're off two. That's the initial thing that hooked me," said Boothe. The schedule may have hooked him at first, but the job itself kept him coming back year after year.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

History of Kentucky's Governor's (1832-1840)

2015 is a Gubernatorial election year, with Republican candidate Matt Bevin set to take on Democratic candidate and current Kentucky Attorney General, Jack Conway. 

Fort Thomas resident, Paul Whalen, continues his look into the history of Kentucky's Governor's that will take us up to present day. 

By Paul Whalen 
1832-1834 (Term)

Kentucky's tenth governor and first Democrat, John Breathitt won a close election in 1832 in which there were many allegations of fraud. For example, John Breathitt won 162% of the vote in Oldham County.

Breathitt ran for Governor while he served as the Democratic Lt. Governor under Governor Stone Hammer Metcalfe (a Whig).   Breathitt was a native of Virginia and served as Deputy Surveyor of Illinois Territory prior to his election as a State Representative from Logan County.

John Breathitt became a national figure in 1833 when he denounced South Carolina's nullification of the Tariff Acts of 1828 and 1832.  This Democratic Governor sent resolutions to the Whig dominated General Assembly denouncing the actions of South Carolina as one which could lead the disunion of the Union and civil war. The General Assembly passed the resolutions which were sent to governors and legislatures throughout the nation.  Breathitt gave leadership to the growing sense of union in Kentucky, leading Kentucky to stay in the Union thirty (30) years later.  In his January 1, 1834 State of the Commonwealth Message, Breathitt reported that governors from New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Alabama and Pennsylvania responded positively to the resolutions.

Breathitt was a supporter of temperance or prohibition. He blamed the large number of murders being committed in Kentucky on the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

In 1834, the Commonwealth of Kentucky owned stock in several turnpikes, including the Maysville, Washington, Paris and Lexington Turnpike (the one which went by Governor Metcalfe's farm in Nicholas County) and the Shelby and Franklin Turnpike which was valued at $134,384.00.

Breathitt has the unfortunate distinction of being the second Kentucky Governor to die in office.  On February 21, 1834, John Breathitt died of tuberculosis at the Governor's Mansion in Frankfort at age 47.  He was preceded in death by two wives.

Breathitt County in Eastern Kentucky was named in his honor.

1834-1836 (Term)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Bluebird Football: Emptying the Notebook

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior running back Nick Kendall (8 and Jared Dougherty (10) celebrate after a touchdown Friday. The Bluebirds moved to 1-1 on the season with a 38-15 win over Campbell County.
Jim Abner can relate to the struggles of taking over the starting quarterback role as a senior like Austin Hergott is doing this year.

Abner took over that important role in 1981. His first start came against the two-time defending Class 3A state champion Franklin-Simpson Wildcats. Abner threw a combined seven interceptions in the 7-0 win over Franklin-Simpson and the 32-0 shutout of Dayton to open the season.

Highlands Beats Campbell County 38-15

Highlands earns bounceback victory

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior linebacker Ben Ziegler (right) puts pressure on Campbell County quarterback Carson Plessinger (left) in Friday's non-district game. Ziegler had 2.5 sacks in the 38-15 Bluebird victory.
Stephen Lickert was not kidding when he said, "Highlands is Highlands" leading up to the game Friday.

The former running back for the Highlands Bluebirds football team and veteran head coach of the Campbell County Camels knew as well as anyone that the Bluebirds would play a lot better than their season-opening 37-13 loss at Cooper a week ago. The Blue and White proved the believers right and the doubters wrong in a 38-15 victory at David Cecil Memorial Stadium on Friday.