Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Call To All Veterans: Fort Thomas Wants To Honor You

Veterans Way (left) with the museum (right) in the background. FTM file. 
Sean Donelan, of Fort Thomas, is looking for veterans. Any and all to participate in activities for the city's Sesquicentennial celebration.

"Retired, active-duty, reserve, guard. Basically anyone who has worn the uniform," he said.

During the Fort Thomas 150 year celebration, there will be a number of ways he said the city is going to honor area military.

He's helping to organize a contingent to walk in the parade, as well as inviting them to be the first to see the new Charters of Freedom monument in Tower Park.

Charters of Freedom being built. FTM file. 

RELATED: First Charters of Freedom Monument in Kentucky To Debut in Fort Thomas (June 9, 2017)

He has also worked with the city to get a street renamed. The street running to the Fort Thomas Museum and Amphitheater will now be known, officially, as Veterans Way.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Names New Assistant Superintendent

Jamee Flaherty. FTM file. 
There has been a lot of change at the Fort Thomas Independent Schools District Office with the retirement of the top two administrators: Gene Kirchner, Superintendent, and Jon Stratton, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services.

It was reported here first that Karen Cheser, former Deputy Superintendent for Boone County Schools, was hired as Superintendent of FTIS.

Jon Stratton’s replacement has now also been named; Jamee Flaherty, Principal of Johnson Elementary School, has been named as the Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and will replace Stratton upon his retirement on June 30.

Flaherty has been Principal of Johnson Elementary since the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.  During her two years of tenure, she has gained insight into the Fort Thomas schools and has seen firsthand the school remaining most in need of capital improvements.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Northern Kentucky Investigative Firm at Forefront of Forged Documents

Campbell County Courthouse. FTM file. 
It's been a murky few days in the Campbell County court system as accusations and a confession of forgery to secure a new venue for convicted murderer, Shayna Hubers, has been uncovered.

In 2015, Hubers was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but defense attorneys later learned that one of the jurors was a convicted felon and under Kentucky law, felons are not qualified to serve on the jury. She was granted a new trial set for January 2018.

With the media coverage the case had received, Hubers and her attorney were seeking a change of venue for the retrial, but in order to do that, she needed affidavits signed by Campbell County residents, which essentially said that they too, believe that Hubers could not receive a fair trial in Campbell County.

So on Tuesday, Hubers submitted 156 affidavits from Campbell County residents that she claimed were signed by residents in support of a change of venue for her trial.

City of Fort Thomas Awarded Grant Over $500,000 to Build Sidewalks

Fort Thomas partners with Southbank Partners to build walkways on North Fort Thomas Avenue

N. Fort Thomas Avenue leading to the city limits near Dayton. FTM file. 
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has granted the City of Fort Thomas $592,300 from the federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) to build sidewalks on North Fort Thomas Avenue. Currently there aren’t any sidewalks on this part of the Avenue.

“This grant award will provide sidewalk connectivity on the northernmost portion of the community, which is vital to our goal of pedestrian connectivity throughout the entire city,” said City Administrator Ron Dill.

RELATED: Safe Routes to Schools Grants Filed Once Again by Fort Thomas  (Sept 2016)
RELATED: Grants Still Pending (Feb. 2017)
RELATED: Funding Comes Through for North Fort Thomas Sidewalk Project (June 2017)

The TAP grant will allow for infrastructure improvements in the city without any direct costs to the residents. Fort Thomas’ Comprehensive Plan emphasizes development of varying types of pedestrian accesses as a high priority, including sidewalks and trails. The development of these sidewalks will provide access for residents of this area of the community. It will also explore pedestrian corridors and opportunities for connectivity on a regional level.

Highlands Head Coach Happy for New KHSAA Football State Championship Home

Kentucky State Title Games Returning to Lexington

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Jackson Hagedorn (46) and senior Crosley New (7) bring down Dixie Heights running back AJ Dilts (23) in junior varsity action last season
The tradition-rich Highlands Bluebirds football program has to worry about beating the likes of Covington Catholic, Dixie Heights, South Oldham and even Bowling Green before even thinking about it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Criminal Littering Disrespects Public Property

Steve Franzen. Provided. 
By Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney

We often prosecute cases in District Court for criminal littering when someone throws a bag of trash out of a car window or dumps piles of trash along a city or county road.  Kentucky’s law on criminal littering covers the above situations but also several additional types of littering.  Under Kentucky law, a person is guilty of criminal littering when he:

A) Drops or permits to drop on a highway any destructive or injurious material and does not immediately remove it.  This will occur for instance if a supply company lost some brick or building blocks from a truck and failed to clean it up immediately; or

B) Knowingly places or throws litter on any public or private property or in any public or private water way without permission (e.g., throwing trash out of a window or dumping along a road); or

C) Negligently places or throws glass or other dangerous pointed or edged substances on or adjacent to water to which the public has access for swimming or wading or on or within fifty feet of a public highway; or

D) Discharges sewage, minerals, oil products or litter into any public waters or lakes within the state (e.g., dumping old motor oil into a creek).

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Criminal littering under Kentucky law is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $500 fine.  In addition, we will typically require the Defendant to clean up whatever mess they made and pay any damages to the property owner where the littering occurred.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"Cleats For A Cause" Is Helping Young Athletes In Need

As a part of a summer service program, HHS Senior Michael Dunn is asking for donations for a good cause,.
Michael Dunn, an HHS incoming senior and varsity football player is on a mission to help kids in need.

He says football is his passion, and as a part of a summer service project, he has created "Cleats for a Cause."

After playing against local area teams in junior league and high school, Dunn says he saw firsthand players that did not have the proper equipment necessary to give them a basic equal chance to compete, regardless of their skill.

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"I knew that I needed to do some service for my community involving a cause that I am passionate about. I have been very blessed to have had the means to buy the equipment that I need to play the sport I love, football. Living in the Fort Thomas community where the game is supported in such a great way, you don’t often think about kids in less fortunate communities that don’t receive the same support or who don’t have the means to buy the equipment to play. This is why I came up with the "Cleats for a Clause" project," Dunn said.

Fort Thomas Couple Starts Balanced Brilliance Organic Farm

Terrence and Lizzie Mueller pose with a couple of their chickens. 
Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden that he “went to the woods to live deliberately.”That can be said about Terrence and Lizzie Mueller and their Balanced Brilliance organic farm.

There is no mistaking that Terrence Mueller is the son of retired Highlands’ football coach, Dale Mueller. It is uncanny how much they look and sound alike. Terrence’s degree is in mathematics and education and he was set to follow in his father’s footsteps.  Lizzie Mueller is from Cincinnati and is a DAAP fashion design graduate and spent a few years designed clothing for Chico’s, a popular fashion chain for women.  Other than casual family gardens and a love of fishing and the outdoors, neither had much exposure to real farming, but then, something happened that sent their lives in a direction that they never anticipated but are nonetheless grateful for taking.

VA Homes Project Passes First Big Hurdle

City Administrative Officer, Ron Dill, Mayor Eric Haas, and city attorney, Jann Seidenfaden. FTM file. 

by Robin Gee

The VA homes project passed a major milestone on Monday night. At its June 19 meeting, Fort Thomas City Council approved the development agreement between Fort Thomas and the developer, Bloomfield/Schon, clearing the way for the city to purchase the homes from the VA and to proceed with plans for infrastructure, clean-up and construction.

The city and developer ironed out details of the agreement over several weeks, and were putting the final touches on the language just before the council meeting. In fact, council went into a brief executive session with the developer’s lawyer Jim Parsons to discuss inclusion of phrasing designed to safeguard the project timeline expectations.

RELATED: VA Homes Developer Shows Preliminary Plans for Historic Homes 

Monday, June 19, 2017

You Can Be a Part of a Special Tribute To Tina Moore of the Blue Marble Bookstore

Tina Moore's bench will be placed under the window to the store.
Tina Moore, late owner of the Blue Marble, was a guiding force for literacy in the community and in the region.  Joan Gregory says, “Many of us feel the Blue Marble is a treasure here in Fort Thomas and many loved Tina and Peter Moore, the owners.” 

"You probably know that Tina died recently, and I thought it would be fitting if we created a memorial to her by funding a bench dedicated to her in front of the shop. I talked to Peter about it, and he was quite touched by the idea. He talked to the city about the feasibility of this and they approved it. How wonderful it would be for the community to which she contributed so much gave back.” 

She proposed the idea to Peter. He loved it.

  What a thoughtful and touching act. So Joan posted her idea on Facebook and got quite a positive response. And now the idea is here. So it's our turn to remember Tina. Please stop by the Blue Marble bookstore to contribute to a wonderful way to commemorate someone who had our best interests at heart.

New Mural Being Painted In Fort Thomas

A rendering of what the new mural on the corner of Fort Thomas Ave. and Audubon.

The City of Fort Thomas is receiving many gifts for its 150th birthday. The most recent? A colorful mural.

The idea was born like so many sesquicentennial ideas have been born: The mural serves as yet another way to celebrate all Fort Thomas has to offer, while also serving as something that will benefit the city for years to come.

“It was definitely a group effort,” says Fort Thomas resident Cathy Sonnett, who designed the mural. “We saw the potential to capture this great milestone for our city and share it with the community in a more permanent way. We'd love to see more opportunities for murals that compliment the cities landscape in the future, perhaps an ongoing mural program that uses local talent.”

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After scouting out a few places around town, Sonnett says longtime Fort Thomas resident Hank Pogue of Pogue & Associates graciously agreed for the mural to be painted on his building, on the corner of Fort Thomas Ave. Audubon. In addition to gifting the city the space, Pogue fixed the wall by removing an air conditioner unit, patching and painting. 

"The mural will reflect the rich heritage and the history of Fort Thomas, and our company is proud to have the mural painted on our building," Pogue says.

Fort Thomas resident Greg Dee, a sales manager with Sherwin-Williams, and Chad Hart, also with Sherwin-Williams, are donating the paint. “They were extremely helpful and generous, Greg in making the initial contact and Chad meeting with me to provide insight on the paint choices,” Sonnett says. Sonnett says they also completed a wall test to ensure the right type of paint is being used. It is fast-drying paint so each coat will dry in about an hour.

Other folks who have helped out with the project include Fort Thomas resident Adam Blau, who helped secure the scaffolding, and Judge Cameron Blau, who will help install it. Hilary Colborn, Adam Blau’s fiancĂ©e, has a background in fine art and works as a development manager at The Carnegie. She has offered to help paint the mural. Sonnett says Jason Hargis contributed to the initial design ideas, and is helping to organize the execution of the mural and recruit volunteers. Brian Sand and Debbie Buckley have also helped to coordinate the process.

Depending on weather and volunteers, here is the project timeline for the mural’s process:

• June 27th: scaffolding goes up
• June 27th: one coat of primer, three coats of base blue goe up
• July 1st: design and paint, utilizing projector and trace, star templates, roughing out and completing)

The mural’s team goal is to complete the project by July 2.

How can you help? The mural team is looking for Highlands High School art students specifically, but anyone who has a background and/or is skilled in painting is more than welcome to come help paint July 1 and potentially July 2.

As with most things sesquicentennial related, this gift is just yet another example of our community coming together to accomplish something that will benefit all our residents for years to come. A bonus benefit? The mural team hopes this project will spark interest in additional murals to dot our city in the future.