Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Two HUFF Realty Agents Will List Alexander Circle Homes in Fort Thomas

Iconic Homes to be restored to their Original Luster

HUFF Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and one of the region’s largest real estate companies, announces that Joy Amann and Rebecca Weber have been named as the exclusive agents to market the new Alexander Circle development in the Tower Park of Fort Thomas, Kentucky.

The property was transferred from the City of Fort Thomas to Alexander Circle LLC on June 30, 2018. Selected by the City of Fort Thomas, developer Bloomfield/Schon will utilize a holistic approach to refurbish and restore the property, infrastructure, landscape and 16 residences. One new residence will be built for the market respecting the architecture of the site’s former administration building.

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The homes in the Alexander Circle development were built for high ranking United States Army officers in 1889. These historic structures were designed to accommodate the upscale lifestyles suitable for officials and their families. Working in conjunction with the City of Fort Thomas, the Fort Thomas Historic Society and the Kentucky Heritage Council, the developers will restore the homes to their original luster and will update mechanicals, plumbing, heating systems, cooling systems, and functionality integrating the past and present in an environment responsive to the expectations of contemporary living.

“HUFF Realty is excited about the opportunity to participate in the revitalization of Alexander Circle,” said HUFF Realty President Brad DeVries. “We are so proud of the commitment of the HUFF agents Joy Amann and Rebecca Weber who have spent years working with the developer to bring this property to the market.”

With 16 homes, ranging in price from $500,000 to more than $1,000,000, Alexander Circle will offer a rare opportunity for individual homeowners to purchase one the area’s iconic residences and become the stewards of one of Northern Kentucky’s most impressive collection of architectural treasures, preserving them for generations to come.

“Steve Bloomfield and Ken Schon are committed to projects that contribute positively to the surrounding community, represent innovative architecture and design, and are environmentally responsible,” added Rebecca Weber of HUFF Realty. “We are grateful that the City of Fort Thomas has chosen them to restore the wonderful homes of Alexander Circle to their original glory.”

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 86-acre Tower Park features a gymnasium and recreation center, three sheltered picnic areas, restroom facilities, walking/biking trails, six tennis courts, playground equipment, a lighted baseball/softball field, sand volleyball court, two outdoor basketball courts, a museum and an amphitheater.

“The Alexander Circle development is a very special place, surrounded by a beautiful park and a community noted for its charm, spirit and a premier school system,” said Fort Thomas Mayor, Eric Haas. “We have a rich history here, and breathing new life into this community will help us celebrate that history in a wonderful way. The teams at HUFF Realty and Bloomfield/Schon really understand how important this project is and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.”

For more information about Alexander Circle, please contact HUFF Realty agents Joy Amann, (859) 409-9370 or Rebecca Weber, (859) 578-3927 or visit

Northern Kentucky Joins Statewide Hepatitis A Outbreak

The number of hepatitis A cases in Northern Kentucky (Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties) jumped in July and continues to climb in August, putting Northern Kentucky into outbreak status for the first time since a statewide outbreak was declared last November. The Northern Kentucky Health Department (NKY Health) strongly encourages hepatitis A vaccination for all Northern Kentucky residents.

NKY Health has been implementing efforts to control the spread of the virus over the past several months and will continue to expand its efforts with vaccinating the at risk populations and advising health care providers, detention centers, food service establishments, and agencies that serve the homeless and people with substance use disorders.

Of particular concern is a case of hepatitis A that has been diagnosed in an employee who handled food at the Newport Syndicate (18 East 5th Street, Newport, KY). An investigation found that this employee worked during a period of time when he/she was ill or infectious, which included the dates of July 25 through August 11, 2018.

While it is relatively uncommon for restaurant patrons to become infected with the hepatitis A virus due to an infected food handler, anyone who consumed food or drink at Newport Syndicate during the stated time period is advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination. This is recommended whether the patrons live in Northern Kentucky or elsewhere.

Vaccination is effective in protecting an individual from becoming infected if received within two weeks of exposure to the virus. If it has been longer than two weeks,vaccination is still recommended for future protection.

In addition, anyone who consumed food or drink at Newport Syndicate during the dates listed should monitor their health for symptoms of hepatitis A infection for 50 days from their visit; wash their hands with soap and warm water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food. If symptoms of hepatitis A infection develop, they should contact their healthcare provider immediately and stay at home until given further instructions by their doctor.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown-colored urine, light-colored stools and diarrhea. Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice) may also appear. People may have some or none of these symptoms. It could take almost seven weeks after being exposed to the virus for someone to become ill. Someone sick with hepatitis A is most likely to spread the virus during the 2 weeks before feeling sick and for 1 week after yellow eyes and skin starts. Children often do not exhibit symptoms. Although rare, death can occur from this infection.

Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. The virus spreads when an infected person does not wash his/her hands adequately after using the toilet or engages in behaviors that increase the risk of infection. Consistent and careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, along with vaccination of anyone at risk of infection, will help prevent the spread of this disease.

Newport Syndicate’s management is cooperating with the investigation and response activities. They have enhanced disinfection of surfaces that may have been contaminated. Employees have been informed to get vaccinated against hepatitis A and to monitor for symptoms and report any related illness to their management. Handwashing and other hygiene practices have also been reinforced with the restaurant management and employees.

Since January 2018, over 50 cases of hepatitis A have been reported in Northern Kentucky. One death has been reported. There were no cases of hepatitis A among Northern Kentucky residents last year.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health declared a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A in November 2017. Since then, more than 1,300 cases have been reported in the state compared to an average of 20 cases per year.

“Hepatitis A infection can be prevented through vaccination and frequent, proper hand washing. Children, ages 1 through 18, are already required to be vaccinated against hepatitis A for school. With the outbreak occurring,  we are strongly encouraging the vaccine for all adults. In this way, your entire family can have protection against this infection and help eliminate the spread of hepatitis A in Northern Kentucky,” said Dr. Lynne Saddler, District Director of Health at NKY Health.

The hepatitis A vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart. The first shot provides short-term protection and the second shot provides long-term protection. The vaccine is available at most doctor’s offices, pharmacies and retail clinics, and people should speak with their healthcare provider about getting vaccinated.

People with health insurance or Medicaid should be able to get the vaccine for free but should check with their health insurance provider for coverage information. NKY Health can also provide the vaccine at its county health centers to those on Medicaid and to those who do not have insurance, as well as those who have insurance that does not cover the vaccine. Health center locations and phone numbers can be found at

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

2018 Highlands Football Defense/Special Teams Preview

Highlands Hopes to Run More Dimensions of 3-5 Defense This Fall

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior linebacker Mason Schwalbach (94) lines up in punt coverage in a game at Greenwood last year.

If one song verse describes a huge reason why high school student-athletes take the field for any reason, this would be it.

"I do it for the glory."

The song named "Glory" released by the Score band - the same band that produced "Unstoppable" - on June 29, 2018 more than describes the tradition-rich history of the Highlands Bluebirds football program.

Highlands owns the second-most wins in the country in program history with a record of 885-249-26 in 103 seasons of football. Only Valdosta (Georgia) owns more wins with an overall record of 917-230-34. Highlands owns 23 state championships in its glorious history second in the Commonwealth only behind Louisville Trinity's 25.

Phone: 859-905-0714 - Email: This is an advertisement. 

In Other Words: Enjoying the The Rituals of Our Town

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinkley, Ohio, students return to Fort Thomas roughly the same time every August - roughly two weeks prior to the beginning of school. Even if I didn’t have a calendar, I would know that the opening of school was near.

For the most part, Fort Thomas takes a nap during the summer. Oh, sure there are the big gatherings for the Independence Day parade and celebration, but then the tide goes out and the town empties out.  Then the tide comes in for the weekly Farmers Market and the monthly Art Around Town events. And then it leaves again for a lake, a camp, a vacation, or whatever.

But there are certain small town rituals that I like and find strangely comforting - like the ringing of the church bells in the morning, the steady stream of cars leaving town along Memorial Parkway in the morning and then returning in the evening, the weekly clanging of trash cans, the sidewalk and front porch conversations, the morning gatherings at coffee shops, the stillness of Sundays. Add to that now the late afternoon sound of the marching band practicing at the high school that signals that we will soon enter the Friday night football rituals. It’s a rhythm that wafts over most of the city to remind us of what is about to arrive.

Soon we will take part in the the school traffic jams. And so the cycle continues for another year. These are the little rituals that mark time in our community. And these rituals are repeated in countless small towns across the country.

But these rituals are more than the mere repetition of actions or events. They create meaning for us as a community. They mark time. They reminds of what we value as a community. They remind us that we are part of something bigger and more important than us. Rituals create a continuity and community. Sure, it’s the same thing every year, but it’s these same old things I can count on every year.

And as horribly rigid as that might have sounded to my adolescent ears, it is a comfort to my adult ears. These are the things that are important to us, that provide a certain stability, that make us who we are. We create the rituals that define us.

All of this is a topic I will gladly discuss over a beverage or burgers. But if you see me smiling while I walk, it’s because I am enjoying the ritual.

Four New Stores to Open in Newport Shopping Center and Plaza

Newport Shopping Center. FTM file. 

Four new businesses will open in the Newport Shopping Center and Plaza complex this fall.

Crunch Fitness, Newport Tires, A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts and Urban Nails will fill spaces at the two adjacent properties on Monmouth and Carothers Road, said Brandi Norwood, director of leasing for Texas-based Albanese Cormier Holdings (ACH).

The first to arrive at the shopping complex will be Newport Tires to open at a former car wash site in the Plaza. It is set to open later this month.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas, located at Fort Thomas Plaza, 90 Alexandria Pike. 
The other three stores will open this fall:

Crunch Fitness will occupy 30,521 square feet next to Ann’s Hallmark Shop, which is located at 1751 Monmouth Street. With more than 145 locations across the U.S., Crunch Fitness started in the East Village in New York City in 1989.

FTM file. 
New Jersey-based A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts is another east coast transplant to our area opening within the next 60 days. The Newport location at 82D Carothers will be the company’s second store in the Greater Cincinnati area (first one is in Pleasant Ridge in Cincinnati).

The Urban Nails salon also will open in the fall. It will occupy 5,000 square feet next to Family Dollar at 1771 Monmouth.
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Monday, August 13, 2018

Newport-based Business Named a Finalist for Best In Family and Private Business Award

Steinhauser, based in Newport, Kentucky, has been named as a semi-finalist for the 19th Annual Goering Center Family & Private Business Awards.

Founded in 1905 as a family-owned printing business, Steinhauser manufactures labels for consumer-packaged goods.

“Steinhauser is honored to be a semi-finalist in the 19th Annual Goering Center Family & Private Business Awards," said Tara Halpin, CEO and owner of the company. "

Located at 18 N. Fort Thomas Avenue, in the Hiland Building. 
"We are grateful to the Goering Center for identifying us as a contender for this special honor, and we are in great company with several outstanding semi-finalists. We look forward to celebrating everyone’s successes at the awards gala in September.” 

As a semi-finalist, Steinhauser will be further evaluated by an independent panel of judges who will be looking at the breakthroughs and accomplishments that distinguished their business – and the Cincinnati region – in 2018.

Highlands-Cov Cath Face-off in Penalty Shootout at FC Cincy Game

Photos by Allen Ramsey -

Highlands and Covington Catholic were the halftime entertainment at Sunday's match between FC Cincinnati and Penn FC in front of a crowd of 24,000 at Nippert Stadium. The boys squads faced off in a penalty shootout.

The Birds and Colonels shot to a 3-3 draw.

Photos by Allen Ramsey.

Orangetheory Newport Pavilion. The best 1-hour workout in America. 

Sewer Pipe Repairs Completed on Woodfill Avenue, Highland Avenue Closing in on Completion

Construction and repair season is in full swing in Fort Thomas. Signs are up on Woodfill Avenue, but they should be down before school starts August 15, according to City Administrator Ron Dill.

He said sewer pipe repair work is being done by the Sewer District, SD1.
Off of Highland Avenue, a storm sewer drain is also being extended on Pentland Place as a first step in the planned street improvement project for that street.

Roofing, siding, gutters, painting. 
Dill said the work on the corner is part of the Pentland Place project, and the city has an agreement with the contractor to restore the sidewalk and any other disruptions to properties caused by the work once it is complete.

"As part of the improvement project on Pentland, we are adding a storm sewer extension that will collect water on that street," he explained. The drain that is exposed on the street now will be covered as the street is repaired, he added.

Work on the corner is expected to be complete and the walkway reestablished in time for children walking to Moyer and Highlands.

Photos: Just Sew Opens in Fort Thomas Central Business District

April, Kaira, Sydney, Julie, Elisa and Kelsey.

Fort Thomas' newest retail business has opened its doors in the city's Central Business District.

Just Sew, a new sewing studio located at 118 N. Fort Thomas Avenue, next to Fort Thomas Coffee, is open for business.

The new shop is operated by Fort Thomas resident April Pryor and her mother, Julie. The location will feature special fabrics as well as sewing and quilting classes by local experts.

For Pryor sewing is a family hobby that has spanned three generations.

“Sewing has always been a part of our home. This store will be run by my mom, myself and my daughters,” said Pryor, “We noticed a gap between the older generation which sews and younger generations who are just now learning in school or in classes. We hope to bridge the gap for that in-between generation and teach them the basics.”

For hours, classes and more information, check their website

Friday, August 10, 2018

Gold Star Chili in Alexandria Closed But a New Location Is Planned

Gold Star Chili in Alexandria is closed but it will return.

Gold Star Chili, located at 7647 Alexandria Pike, is closed but plans are in the works for a new, expanded store.

Business has grown in recent years, and more space is needed, explained Rick Schmidt, manager at the company’s Bellevue location. A new location has not yet been determined, but when the business reopens it will include an expanded menu that will include burgers and other new items.

Roofing, siding, gutters, painting. 
Schmidt said the expanded menu is being rolled out at new locations as they open with a goal of switching all locations over to the new menu by 2020.

Brent's Landing in Silver Grove to Open August 18

The news traveled fast: a picturesque and historic property in Silver Grove, located at 4229 Mary Ingles Highway, complete with a food truck, picnic tables and boat tie ups was set to open imminently.

Now, just a week after that first announcement we know that Brent's Landing, owned by father and son, Ric and Zac Rohlfer, will open August 18 at 11:00 a.m.

Located at 18 N. Fort Thomas Avenue, in the Hiland Building. 
The duo, along with their wives, Vicki and Kristi, bought the property nearly four years ago and painstakingly began cleaning and clearing it up about two and a half years ago.

What's left is a peaceful setting just across the river from Coney Island and Riverbend.

"I knew the property was unique and that it could be something really special, so I really wanted to acquire it. When we did, it was just a matter of some good old family bonding,” said Zac.

The Brent's Landing food stand adorns an American flag and a ferry, which for many years was the location for the ferry landing for passengers to get to Coney Island from the Kentucky side of the river.

They will serve hand ground hamburgers ($5.50), hotdogs ($1.50), cheese coneys ($3.50), soft pretzel and queso ($3.50) and chips and queso ($2.50). All items come with chips.

Ice cream is also available, (1 scoop, $2 and 2 scoops, $3). Floats are $3.

Brent's Landing will be open for the rest of the season on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, their hours listed below. They will have expanded hours and days at the start of the summer season in 2019.

On Sundays, customers are rent the property. The food stand will be closed, but a charcoal grill is available on site.  Contact for more information on rental.

Orangetheory Fitness, Newport Pavilion. 
“Our family wanted to make this beautiful piece of riverfront property a place that others could come and enjoy,” said Ric. “When you come to Brent’s Landing, whether by car or boat, you’ll get a great meal with a relaxing view on the shady river bank. If there isn’t music, we enjoy the sounds of the river just as much and hope you do, too!”

Hours for the rest of the season:

New Scrimmage Opponent for Bluebird Football

Bruins Pull Out Late Win Over Bluebirds in Scrimmage

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Hunter Ahlfeld takes the opening kickoff in the scrimmage against Louisville Ballard on Thursday.
LOUISVILLE -- It had an eerie feeling to the tight games of last year.

But the good news is it's better to happen in a scrimmage game than during the regular season or postseason. The Highlands Bluebirds football team led late in the scrimmage against the host Louisville Ballard Bruins. But the Bruins scored with one minute, 15 seconds to pull off a 19-14 victory.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Celebrating Six Wonderful Years of Fort Thomas Coffee!

Valentine Family celebrates six years at Fort Thomas Coffee

August 9 marks Fort Thomas Coffee's six year anniversary! Six years of cappuccinos, scones, espressos, juice boxes, live music, art openings, new friendships, and the best baristas you'll find.  Fort Thomas Matters asked the Valentine family to share their thoughts on six years in our community. 

Valentine family circa 2012

"It’s hard to believe that 6 years have passed - until I see these pictures of my kids!
When we opened Fort Thomas Coffee (FTC) our daughter, Kit, was only 2 – she doesn’t remember life before FTC. She literally has grown up with it and used to assume that every family did this.
Kit, The smallest Valentine in the early days of FTC

I remember her asking other people, “so, where’s your coffee shop?”. 
Mac enjoying a snack in front of the iconic tower painting at FTC

Kids that were in middle school when we opened are now in college (like our veteran employee Will Nedderman). After countless early mornings, daily shopping trips, special parties, and lively Saturdays we still exist to serve the people of this town. We still exist to bring community together and do everything we can to create a warm and welcoming environment for all. 
Thank you Fort Thomas for 6 wonderful years!  
Lori, David, Mac, Honor & Kit
Here's to the next six years Fort Thomas! ~ The Valentine's 

Fort Thomas Coffee is located at 118 N. Fort Thomas Ave. 

Water Main Replacement Underway on Pentland, Expected to Be Complete Before School Starts

By Robin Gee, Council Beat Editor 

A storm sewer drain is being extended on Pentland Place as a first step in the planned street improvement project for that street.

Torn up sidewalks and a large pipe at the corner of Pentland Place and Highland Avenue have nearby neighbors wondering about the project and concerned about timing with the start of the school year.

Lori Hagerty, who lives near the corner, said she was on vacation when she learned about the work being done. She knew about the Pentland Place street improvement plans but says the sewer work came as a surprise.

RELATED: Street Replacement and Construction To Begin, Detours Likely

She said her family had just spent more than $2,000 to have a drain pipe laid from her home to the street and had done repairs to the sidewalk after that work had been done. She says she came home to find the sidewalk torn and some of the pipe cut as well as some of her landscaping removed.

"I am assuming it will all be put back into place, but I’ve had no information, and I am not sure what the work is for," she said. In addition to the sidewalk disruption, she noticed a large concrete capped pipe sticking up several inches from the ground.

City Administrator Ron Dill said the work on the corner is part of the Pentland Place project, and the city has an agreement with the contractor to restore the sidewalk and any other disruptions to properties caused by the work once it is complete.

"As part of the improvement project on Pentland, we are adding a storm sewer extension that will collect water on that street," he explained. The drain that is exposed on the street now will be covered as the street is repaired, he added.