Saturday, August 27, 2016

Become A Part of the Citizens Police Academy of Northern Kentucky

Ret. Sgt. Chris Goshorn, Lt. Rich Whitford and Ofc. Sean Donelan. FTM file. 
The Campbell County Police Chief’s Association has combined efforts in conducting their Consolidated Citizens Police Academy in Northern Kentucky.

Participating police agencies include Alexandria Police, Bellevue Police, Campbell County Police, Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, Cold Spring Police, Dayton Police, Fort Thomas Police, Highland Heights Police, Northern Kentucky University Police, Southgate Police and Wilder Police.

Classes will be held one evening a week for approximately 2.5 hours. Classes begin September 20th. Applications may be obtained and submitted to your local participating police department of follow this link:

"This is a great opportunity for both citizens and law enforcement to learn from each other," said Campbell County Sheriff Mike Jansen. "Past participants have stated to us that they have become more knowledgeable of the tasks that law enforcement officers must handle and perform on a daily basis." 

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Applications can be sent by FAX to 859-292-3826 or Emailed to

The Citizens Police Academy will be a twelve-week course that citizens can attend for learning about their local police departments and the criminal justice system. The meetings will be held at various participating police departments and will cover topics in areas of patrol functions, S.W.A.T., firearms, crime scene investigations, K-9 patrol, accident reconstruction, criminal investigations, the court system, communications and detention.

Highlands-Campbell County Game Story

This first missed extra point in the first quarter was foreshadowing for what would be the game winner for Nic Mayer and Campbell County. The Camels handed the Bluebirds their first loss of the season and the first since 1991 in the series. 
Three years ago following a 50-8 defeat in Fort Thomas, Stephen Lickert said the Campbell County Camels football team would continue to play the Highlands Bluebirds with hopes of beating them at some point.

That point came Friday as the Camels beat the Bluebirds, 24-21 when junior Nic Mayer booted a 29-yard field goal as time expired in Alexandria. It marked the first time since 1991 (12-6) that Campbell County defeated Highlands and just the 10th time in 63 meetings. Both teams are 1-1 on the season.

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Highlands-Campbell County Notebook

The loss Friday at the Campbell County Camels could hurt the Highlands Bluebirds football team in more ways than one.

The biggest reason is the schedule the next four weeks against four Class 6A teams ranked in the Associated Press poll's Top 10. Highlands takes on the Scott County Cardinals on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Fort Thomas followed by games at Ryle and Louisville St. Xavier before coming home against Simon Kenton. Highlands lost to all four teams last year going 1-5 before Class 5A, District 5 action began. Highlands still redeemed itself to win another district championship and a ninth straight region crown before losing 41-31 to Pulaski County in the state semi-finals.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Physical Altercation Leads to Charges for Male Juvenile

Grand and S. Fort Thomas Ave. FTM file. 

A male juvenile is being charged with assault 4th after an altercation with female juvenile yesterday afternoon in Fort Thomas.

Assault in the fourth degree is defined as intentionally or wantonly causing physical injury to another person.

The rumor mill began to churn this afternoon, when it was whispered that the assailant used a knife in the attack, but according to Fort Thomas Police Lt. Rich Whitford, that isn't the case.

"We were called today about an incident yesterday after school. Our officers located the individual today and interviewed him," he said. "There were also some witnesses who are cooperating that saw the assault."

Whitford said that the victim was punched in the face and that charges will be filed.

The Dance Realm Accepting Students - Fort Thomas, Kentucky

The Dance Realm is part of the FTM Family. Provided. 
IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN THE DANCE REALM FAMILY!  We are accepting students for ballet, tap, jazz, tumbling, and Hip-Hop for ages 3 and up.

FALL REGISTRATION AND OPEN HOUSE:  Tuesday, August 30th 6:00-7:30.  REGISTER NOW!  Classes begin September 12!

The Dance Realm Studios staff offers a nurturing approach to teaching dance.  We aspire to build CONNECTIONS at our studio.  EACH child is an individual and their OWN individual talents and growth need to be celebrated during EVERY class.  We believe that dance education should be fun and entertaining - and our instructors are not afraid to be a little goofy or "over the top" to make that happen!

HIP-HOP/LEAPS & TURNS CLASS:  With Destiny Ridge, University of Cincinnati Dance Team Member.  Destiny is a 6 time National Winner and just recently won Worlds!  Come be a part of this dynamic class on Tuesdays from 3:45-4:45.
The Dance Realm. Provided. 

The newest and hottest workout, TABATA, is coming to The Dance Realm.  TABATA is designed to not only burn mega calories "during" your workout, but boost your metabolism to burn 5x more calories "AFTER" your workout!

Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Drives Panel's Debate

FTM file. 
Concerned that the minimum auto insurance allowed under Kentucky law doesn’t provide motorists with enough coverage for property damage, a panel of state lawmakers met today to discuss whether legislative action was needed.

“The current limit seems to be sufficient to cover the vast majority of claims,” Carl Breeding, representing the Property Casualty Insurers of America, said in testimony before the Interim Joint Committee on Banking and Insurance. He cited industry research that found the average property damage liability claim in Kentucky was $3,467 – far below the current $10,000 limit.

Breeding said 22 states have property damage limits of $10,000 or less and four states have property damage minimums of $5,000. There are seven states at $15,000. Three are at $20,000. The remaining 19 are $25,000. He said only two states have made changes to property damage limits in recent years. Indiana and Kansas both will increase their limits to $25,000 from $10,000, effective next year.

“It is our opinion that raising the limits raises costs for insurance and ultimately will impact those most often struggling to afford basic coverage,” Breeding said.

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He said Kentucky already has a relatively high uninsured motorist rate despite some severe penalties for driving without insurance including fines of up to $1,000, 90 days in jail and license suspension. Breeding said the Insurance Research Council estimates 15.8 percent of all motorists tooling along Kentucky’s roads are uninsured. The national rate is 12.6 percent.

Insurance Institute of Kentucky Executive Director Mark Treesh said raising the minimum coverage will cause premiums to rise. He said that will most likely increase the number of uninsured motorists.

“What you really face is a public policy decision,” he said, adding that lawmakers will have to decide whether it is better for some to be underinsured instead of being uninsured.

Highlands Athletics Going Live Across the Country

Fans can see select Highlands events across the country live

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands running back Jared Pulsfort (3) takes the ball from quarterback Brady Gosney (5) in Friday's scrimmage at Cincinnati St. Xavier. Fans can see some Highlands football games on the NFHS Network this season.
Whether you live in Colorado, California or further away from Fort Thomas, one can see various Highlands High School sporting events live via the National Federation of State High School Associations Network.

As of now, Highlands plans to broadcast all the home varsity football games, some away football games and select games from other sports such as basketball and volleyball for an annual pass of $30. It must be purchased through the Highlands High School Athletic Department at (859) 815-2608 by August 31. Highlands High teacher Bill Poff will guide the broadcasts by Highlands High students.

"This is geared toward students," said Matt Haskamp, Highlands Director of Athletics. "It gets them real-world experience."

Fort Thomas Hidden Studio Named to National Register

Harlan Hubbard's studio. FTM file. 
Fort Thomas’ tag-line is “The City of Beautiful Homes” and is replete with historic, beautifully crafted and well-maintained, sprawling homes the walls of which, if they could talk, would tell tales often more beautiful than the home’s Victorian façade.

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The walls, however, are not the only storytellers and the façades not the only art that has graced this town; likewise, the best stories do not necessarily come from the most sprawling manors but sometimes originate from much smaller, much simpler homes or even one-room studios, much like that of famed artist and former Fort Thomas resident Harlan Hubbard who, at the age of 19, moved from the Bronx to Fort Thomas, KY where he would live until the age of 43. He would marry his wife Anna Eikenhout, and where he would spend most of his days living a simple lifestyle and working in a simple, single-room studio which still stands in the wooded area behind Sidney Thomas’ and the late Bill Thomas’ home on Highland Avenue.

Front door, Hubbard's Studio. FTM file. 

Now, after the tireless efforts of several Fort Thomas residents and the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy (FTFC), Hubbard’s studio will stand forevermore, having been named to the National Register of Historic Places.  Future plans for the studio are to restore it and turn it into a place where local schools, museums, artists, scientists, or interested citizens can gather and learn about a “harmonious way to live” with nature, per Chuck Keller, one of the key Fort Thomas residents (and fellow FTM writer) involved in this conservation project.

FTM file. 
Keller, along with research conducted by Trisha Schroeder and the guidance of the FTFC, was instrumental in getting the studio named to the National Register.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mint Yoga Helps You Find Balance

Owner and instructor, Tiffany Brennan, in her new studio space.
The first thing you notice when you walk into Mint Yoga is that there is room to breath. And controlled breathing is an important part of yoga to quiet your mind and reduce stress.

Tiffany Brennan
, the owner of Mint Yoga, had an open house last Sunday, August 21st, at her newly renovated studio on 18 N. Ft. Thomas Ave. The studio was packed with potential clients who were admiring the expansive space. It offered just the right amount of embellishments such as an orchid, hand-carved seating, and colorful pillows. The renovation exposed a long wall and the ceiling to display the incredible architecture hidden from previous renovations. The long brick wall is covered with three large arches and the high ceiling boasts several impressive beams with decorative architectural ornaments. Most of the walls are painted a pale, relaxing mint green. There are no mirrors. Brennan believes, "No mirrors, no judgment."

Highlands-Campbell County preview

Bluebirds aim to eliminate shoot-outs

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior defensive back Joe Steiden (left) leaps in front of Cooper's Dante Hendrix (8) during the first quarter Friday. Steiden broke up the pass nearly coming down with an interception.
The Blue and White will take the offensive output of the season-opener any day.

But the Highlands Bluebirds football team does not want to get into the habit of getting into shoot-outs with teams, especially with four opponents from Kentucky's largest Class 6A ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 on the horizon. Highlands put the ball in the end zone on 8-of-11 possessions in the season-opening 52-42 victory over the Cooper Jaguars for about 73 percent.

The 1-0 Bluebirds take on the county rival Campbell County Camels (0-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. in Alexandria. Campbell County lost 21-7 at East Central (Indiana) on Friday. The Camels of Class 6A's District 6 are hoping to bounce back from a 1-10 campaign last year. East Central lost to Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger in the Indiana Class 4A state championship game last year.

Highlands 1997 graduate and former Bluebird running back and linebacker on the 1996 Highlands Class 3A state championship team Stephen Lickert is in his sixth as the head coach of the Camels. Campbell County won district championships in Lickert's first two seasons there.

"We got back to the basics," Lickert said. "We have several new, but very talented coaches that have focused on fundamentals. We also went back to doing what we as coaches know. Early last year, we had gotten away from who we are offensively and defensively. We are back to doing the things on both sides of the ball that made us successful."

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The Bluebirds punted on two possessions in the first half and ran out the clock on the final possession of the game. Highlands, ranked second in the Class 5A Associated Press poll, put up 488 yards of total offense on 66 plays for an average of just less than 7.4 yards per play. The Bluebirds also converted on 6-of-10 third-down conversions for 60 percent and both fourth-down tries.

The Bluebird offensive line opened up holes tiring the Cooper defense that saw players go both directions while Highlands has none. Highlands rushed for 367 yards on 53 attempts for an average of just less than seven yards a touch. Senior running back Grant Murray had 25 carries for 161 yards and two touchdowns for an average of 6.44 a carry and senior running back Jared Pulsfort had 18 carries for 131 yards and three scores averaging 7.3 a touch.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Highlands Grad Comes Full-Circle with Big Brothers Big Sisters Program

Kara Olson with her Little Sister, Janae.

When it comes to raising families, we've all heard the ubiquitous saying that "it takes a village." Just like real life villages, some are large, some are small, some are filled with family, and some with friends that become family. And of course, just like in actual villages, there's always room for the village idiot (not that any of us would know anything about that, right?).

For Kara Olson, her village also included a volunteer from Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Cincinnati while she was growing up in Fort Thomas. Olson currently lives and works in Pittsburgh while also attending graduate school. Her experience with BBBS has now come full circle for her as she serves as a Big Sister in Pittsburgh. 
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Olson first became involved with BBBS after her older brother, Bret Olson, was matched with his Big Brother in elementary school. The Olsons' father passed away when Bret was five and Kara was just two and half years old, and a neighbor suggested that they look into the BBBS program. “Mom was looking for a male influence for Bret, and BBBS sounded like a great one. After I saw the great time that Bret had, I decided it was something I wanted to do too and begged my mom to sign me up," said Olson.

Merchants and Music Committee Focuses on Family This Year

FTM file. 
The Merchants and Music Festival in Fort Thomas is about showcasing the businesses of Fort Thomas and the city that they call home.

To do that, the event has grown with new attractions, more music and bigger festivities.

But while the event centers around music and Fort Thomas' businesses, it's still about the concert goer and ultimately, the family.

Linda Slone is this year's Merchants and Music Chair. She said that every year the committee in charge of the festival attempts to make an addition to the festival and that is especially true in the festival's thirtieth year. She said she believes that a "princess meet and greet" would help bring in the crowds early to get the festival off to a strong start.
Barre3 Ft. Thomas. This is an advertisement. 

"We knew that we wanted to do add something to the Kids' Zone because that brings in the crowd early," she said. "I saw a picture of the princesses on a friend's Facebook page and knew that this is what would bring in the families early."

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Memorial Parkway Bridge Opens

After 100+ days, the Memorial Parkway bridge has been reopened to through traffic. This is the turn lane heading south towards I-471. FTM file. 
A bridge restoration project on the KY 1120 (Memorial Parkway) that crosses over I-471 is finally complete after beginning construction on May 11. The project called for the bridge to be closed to traffic and pedestrians for a 60-day period between late May and August, however weather added some time onto the project.

RELATED: Memorial Parkway Bridge Project to Close for 60 Days 

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There is still one lane closed on the bridge, eastbound, but both north and south exits are open at exit 4 of I-471.

In Other Words: Public Art Encourages Us To Live Artfully

FTM file. 
Art, especially public art, improves the quality of our lives.

It makes us ponder an issue or ask questions.  It reflects the values and ideals of a community. It forces us to question our assumptions. Public art reflects how a community views the world.  And it is good for business.

So I just returned from a short vacation and I noticed something - the amount of public art - sculptures, murals, water, landscaping - and how people react to it. It enhanced our visit. It revealed something about the town or area - their attitudes and aspirations - and it made us slow down to enjoy the world.  And it was fun, informative, and provocative. Some pieces were quirky and some were majestic. I noticed people taking family photos in front of the art, people stopped to read plaques, and people talked about what some of the pieces meant. People sought it out.

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So when I came home I paid attention to what public art is in Fort Thomas - the sculpture of playing children in the the pocket park at Grand and Highland, the statue that sculptor Michael Skop created in the front yard of the family home, the student mural about water at Johnson school, sculpted pocket park gardens, a water feature on the plaza in front of the Methodist church, the clock tower in the central business district, and beautiful flowers adorning the boulevard through the center of town.  But there is room for more.

Sculpture at Grand and Highland in Fort Thomas. 

Don Pablos Closes on Newport's Riverboat Row

Don Pablos, which first opened in 1995 on Riverboat Row in Newport, closed earlier this month. 
A longtime tenant on Newport's riverfront has closed abruptly after spending decades in the same location.

Don Pablos Mexican Restaurant at 401 Riverboat Row was shut down after a record rainfall led to a fire, that forced ownership into a decision to close the restaurant.

On July 28, a record amount of rainfall fell in the early morning hours across the region causing flash floods, road closures and downed trees. Some rain gauges in northern Kentucky collected more than four inches of rainwater, according to the National Weather Service.

A company employee said that the restaurant had a leak during that heavy rainfall, which caused an electrical fire when the neon sign on the back patio facing the Ohio River went into flames.There was significant fire damage on the inside of the building, which was the major factor for the ownership group deciding to close the restaurant.

Newport City Manager, Tom Fromme, said that he wasn't sure what the restaurant's fate would be.

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Diamonds and Dimples Opens For Business

Denise and Tim Kersting. Kersting relocated her shop, Diamonds and Dimples Chic Boutique, from Bellevue's Fairfield Ave. to the Highland Plaza in Fort Thomas. FTM file. 

Diamonds and Dimples Chic Boutique is open for business at 654 Highland Avenue in the Highland Plaza in Fort Thomas.  

Owner, Denise Kersting, joins a now thriving retail center with the likes of Cobblestone Cafe, Monera Chic Boutique, Faded Finds and Monogramming and Alterations by Frances. 

Kersting moved her business from Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue and held her ribbon cutting ceremony on August 12. 

"We carry many one-of-a-kind and unique baby clothes, accessories and toys as well as specialty gifts, home decor and jewelry. We also have items from local vendors and artists," said Kersting. 

She also has unique homemade decor and signage. 

"Knowing that the Fort Thomas community is supportive of small businesses and local retail and the fact that a great deal of my customers live in Fort Thomas were two of the biggest reasons for the move," she said.  "It is close to my current location and Fort Thomas is just a great place to be. A great fit for the vision of Diamonds and Dimples."

Diamonds and Dimples Chic Boutique is now open. 

Their hours of operation are:
Tue-Thu: 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Fri: 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sat: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

10 more pictures below:

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Riff Distilling Whiskey Campus Coming to Newport

A rendering of the Whiskey Campus. Provided. 

The City of Newport is expected to approve a development agreement Monday night that will bring the $7.5 million New Riff Distilling Whiskey Campus to the city's west side, where construction of a new Route 9 played a major role in attracting the project.

The project includes restoration of two historic buildings and construction of a 15-barrell high building that will be used to store the bourbon and rye whiskey being distilled by the New Riff distillery on the Newport-Bellevue city line. It will also be the catalyst for additional economic development along the rebuilt Route 9, which will provide a direct path from the AA Highway and Interstate 275 to Newport's west side and downtown, terminating at The Taylor-Southgate Bridge that connects Newport and Cincinnati.

"We are very excited to be the first major development to be announced along the rebuilt Route 9 on Newport's west side," said New Riff Distilling owner and founder Ken Lewis. "This is a beachhead project, the kind of project that will stimulate the right kind and mix of economic development that could ultimately include light manufacturing, technology, restaurants, retail and housing."

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Campbell County YMCA to Hold Free Community Party for 50th Anniversary

Fort Thomas branch to celebrating 50 Years of impact


The Campbell County YMCA, located at 1437 S. Fort Thomas Avenue, in Fort Thomas is holding a  Fiftieth Anniversary Pool Party, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., on Sunday, August 28, 2016.

This event is free and open to the community.  The anniversary celebration will feature a DJ, food, games, prizes and more for all to enjoy.

“We are honored to be a part of the rich history of the northern Kentucky community – not only Fort Thomas, but throughout Campbell and Kenton counties,” said Executive Director of the Campbell County YMCA Erin Swift.  “We look forward to fifty more years of partnerships, friendships and impact.”