Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CrossFit SOTO Participates in The Open (PICTURES)

CrossFit SOTO have embraced their Fort Thomas culture. CrossFit SOTO is part of the #FTMFamily. Michael Delaney, of Fort Thomas, at the Open.  
This past weekend CrossFit SOTO (640 Alexandria Pike - near the Marsh Building Supply and DEPs) held their Crossfit Games Open.

According to the official website, "The CrossFit Games stand alone as the ultimate test of fitness. No test, regardless of its lofty claims, can grant legitimate title to the best without first providing access to all."

Co-Owner, Kim Luber said, "At CrossFit SOTO we have about 55 people participating in the CrossFit Open.  That's about double from last year, so obviously for many it's their first time!"

Members of the CrossFit SOTO gym ranged in ages from 19 to 49.

The 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games season begins with the online Open. Anyone can sign up to compete in five workouts over five weeks and post their scores online. Last year, the Open reached more than 209,000 athletes from around the world.

"One of the ways we make the Open a community event for us is to vote every week for the "Spirit of the Games."  This is for the athlete that has inspired, impressed or motivated us the most.  Typically this is not the athlete with the "best score" but rather the athlete that has overcome the most odds, or showed the most improvement in a skill.  It really is a lot of fun," said Luber.

Crossfit SOTO opened last year and has become wildly successful. Many members of the "CrossFit SOTO tribe" are extremely loyal and have adopted this life-changing endeavor not only as a workout, but as a lifestyle.

"Crossfit SOTO has changed my life. The coaching, community, the visible enhancments to my health and fitness carries over to other aspects of my life," said Fort Thomas resident and SOTO member, Michael Clos.  "Participating in the Crossfit Open, cheering others on, and being cheered on by others to do your best is an experience I can’t effectlvely describe."

If you'd like to try out CrossFit SOTO, there are beginner "Elements" classes Mondays and Wednesdays. Community classes are every Saturday and your first class is always free. You can find more out about Crossfit SOTO at their website or their Facebook page. 




Eryn Preseren won the "Spirit of the Games" award at SOTO for giving 110% to her workout. Honorable Mentions: Josh Pastura, Michael Huber and Ashley Clos

Pictures include Fort Thomas residents: Josh Pastura, Eryn Preseren, Ashley Clos, Michael Rudolph, Adam Caswell. Picture credit: Ashley Clos.

Street Class: Memory Lane's Cancer Survivor Gives Back

Janet Forge, Dr. Ruth Lavigne, and Tammy Schroder

Khalil Gibran once said, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Through her battle with cancer, Fort Thomas resident Tammy Schroder was able to emerge stronger than ever, and with a renewed focus on giving back to those in need. Without her experience with cancer, Schroder might not have been inspired to help others fighting cancer in Kentucky. 


Schroder had a solid support system comprised of family and friends during her cancer treatments. One friend in particular, Janet Forge, was at her side every step of the day. Their friendship dates back to their childhood. “There was always something special about Tammy,” said Forge when describing the beginnings of their friendship. According to Forge, the two are kindred spirits.

Highlands earns 30th victory in 9th quarterfinal win over Boone County

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior McKenzie Leigh (31) and Lydia Graves (20) get in defensive position as Boone County's Macey Ford (3) brings the ball upcourt. Highlands won 50-39 to advance to the 9th Region semifinals for the third straight year.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS – They may have reached an incredible milestone with their 30th victory of the season.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Conversation With the Smith Family, Artists Professionally and At Home

Fort Thomas resident Chad Smith, along with his business partner Mike Wolfram, founded Foster & Flux, an animation studio based in downtown Cincinnati.

Fort Thomas resident Tanith Smith, a professional designer, is owner of Fort Thomas-based Artscapade, which provides at-home art-inspired birthday parties.

Fort Thomas residents Chad and Tanith Smith, husband and wife, have discovered the all-too-often-rare bliss that comes from joining one's vocation with their avocation. Rumi once said, "Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart." For the Smith family, that desire is art. It's a desire they earn money from and personally grow from, and it's a desire they share with others, including their three boys and the Fort Thomas community as a whole. 

Tell us about your background including where you were born, education and professional pursuits. 

Tanith Smith (TS): I came from a family with various artistic talents, born in Mexico and raised in Texas. My first experience with art was when I started painting at the age of 4. A graduate of The Art Institute of Phoenix I have had a successful career as a graphic designer working for advertising agencies, architectural firms and nonprofits. As the Art Director for Phoenix Art Museum, my work represented and supported the largest visual arts institution in the Southwest. When our family decided to make the move to Cincinnati, I decided to stay home with our three boys and continue exploring my love for art. In the spring of 2014 I was offered a position to further my professional career as a designer and we decided that it was a perfect fit. It hit close to home because it is a focus towards the Latina community.

Chad Smith (CS): I was born in South Bend, Ind., and grew up in Elkhart, Ind. After graduating high school I attended college for a little over a year just outside of Chicago. I then moved out West to Phoenix, Ariz., and finished up my college courses there graduating with a degree in Media Arts and Animation from the Art Institute of Phoenix. This is also where I first met Tanith.

After graduating college I was employed for five years at Kitchen Sink Studios, a small 10-person design firm working on architectural visualizations/animations and various motion graphics projects. After the recession hit Arizona we began exploring other venues and eventually found a great opportunity with Mertz Design here in Cincinnati.

While at Mertz I met my now business partner Mike Wolfram and we decided to strike out on our own to found Foster & Flux. We're now coming up on two years at our downtown Cincinnati office and things couldn't be better. In fact, we just won a gold ADDY award for our work on promoting the downtown dazzle event at Fountain Square! Hopefully it's the first of many!

Tell me about the business you opened in Fort Thomas, Artscapade

The Brandery and UpTech to Host InnovateHER Competition in Cincy


The Brandery and UpTech are seeking dynamic local innovators as they bring a nation-wide contest home to #StartupCincy.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fort Thomas Woman Charged with Extortion

Sarah Rosenhagen was charged
A Fort Thomas woman has been charged with extortion, allegedly blackmailing an area victim for as much as $80,000 since last June.

A police affidavit filed on Wednesday in Hamilton County states that Sarah Rosenhagen, who was part of the 2006 Highlands High School class, represented herself via email messages as a representative of a criminal court, demanding the victim pay money to prevent being arrested and jailed.


According to police, this threat was a continuation of similar events that have taken place since June of 2014. The victim has also been subjected to the threat of exposing an extra-marital affair, the affidavit said.

The identify of the victim has not been released.

Fort Thomas Police have stepped up warnings in recent months of fraudulent activity and are hosting a free seminar tonight at First Presbyterian Church, 220 South Fort Thomas Avenue, from 6:30-7:30. Members of the Kentucky State Attorney General's office will be there as well as Fort Thomas police.




Saturday, February 28, 2015

This Week in Frankfort

Will Schroder meets with younger constituents, the NKU String Project this week in Frankfort
FRANKFORT -- The Kentucky General Assembly crossed another mile marker this week by reaching the deadline for the introduction of new bills in the House of Representatives. The Senate crossed a similar deadline on Feb. 13.

With these two deadlines in the rear-view mirror, Kentuckians now have a more complete view of the issues lawmakers will take up this year. A total of 752 bills have entered into the legislative process in the Senate and House combined, confirming what has been apparent to anyone who follows the news out of Frankfort: there are a lot of big issues on the agenda this year.

Both the Senate and House have already weighed in on one of the largest issues with each chamber passing its own bill to deal with the state’s heroin epidemic. Both bills feature stronger sentences for dealers and more treatment options for addicts. But there are a number of differences in the finer points of the Senate and House bills.

Friday, February 27, 2015

KSP Charges Boone Co. Man With Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography



(Burlington, Ky.) — On February 26, 2015, at approximately 9:00 p.m., the Kentucky State Police Electronic Crime Branch, assisted by the Boone County Sheriff’s Dept., arrested John E. Schank, 46, for charges related to possession and distribution of matter portraying a sex performance by a minor.

Schank was arrested as the result of an undercover Internet Crimes Against Children investigation. The KSP Electronic Crime Branch began the investigation after discovering the suspect sharing images of child sexual exploitation online.

Highlands hold off NewCath for district crown

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior McKenzie Leigh (middle) splits two Newport Central Catholic defenders in the meeting on Jan. 3 in Fort Thomas. Leigh scored 13 points to help Highlands to its second district championship in three seasons.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Newport Central Catholic's Sarah Neace shoots one in the regular season meeting at Highlands on Jan. 3.
NEWPORT – Past evidence gives many good reasons these two rivals do not take anything for granted against each other in the postseason despite the regular season result.

OPINION: Fighting Ignorance on Addiction

State Senators Wil Schroder, Chris McDaniel and John Schickel testify Thursday on the Senate's version of the heroin bill (SB 5, sponsored by Chris McDaniel)
By Tyler Owen

State Senator John Schickel is an outspoken leader of the charge against heroin in Kentucky. At least I honestly believe he thinks that.  In the words that follow I will not challenge Senator Schickel’s commitment to serving our state, his passion, or his knowledge of drug enforcement.  He possesses these qualities and should be admired for them.

However, Senator Schickel is dangerously misguided on his mission to eradicate the drug from our state.  He touts his experience as a law enforcement officer when calling for stiffer sentences and citing our punishments for traffickers for the situation in which we find ourselves.  He desires to “drive home the message that taking heroin is a choice and not a disease.”

Yes, Senator Schickel definitely believes he is doing the right thing by taking a sledgehammer to the issue.  Unfortunately the only accomplishment his sledgehammer will have will be to worsen the problem.

New Storefront Comes to Fort Thomas: The Polished Pearl

Via The Polished Pearl website
A new storefront has signed a lease at 118 N. Fort Thomas Avenue, right next to Fort Thomas Coffee. The Polished Pearl is a bridal showroom that features luxury evening handbags and accessories, made by hand. The textiles and bead work are all native to India because aside from selling these bags, The Polished Pearl's mission to to provide training and jobs to women in India who are victims of human trafficking.

From their website, "We are so excited to announce that we signed the lease for a store front in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. We have been working on the plans, envisioning, dreaming, and now we are ready to begin the transformation."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Highlands made strides in rebuilding process

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior Nick Kendall (12) goes up for a shot in a recent game. Kendall is one of three starters to return next year for the Bluebirds.
On paper, an 8-17 record may not look good.

5 Things to Know about FOX 19

This article originally ran in 2013. 

I am always intrigued by behind the scenes information that you are not usually aware of when watching a television program, and in that same vein, I turned to a news program for my “5 Things to Know” article.  I reached out to local news outlet, FOX 19, to learn some lesser known information about the station and those TV personalities that bring us the news.

I contacted Tricia Macke who acted as my liaison to the station.  She answered my questions, as well as forwarded my questions to other people at FOX 19.  The responses from FOX 19 are some of the most unique answers to date.

Tricia Macke used to be a swimsuit model and now coaches four basketball teams in her spare time.  


Ben Swann's first job was skinning chickens at a fast food restaurant in Texas, Pudgies, at the age of 14.

Sheila Gray's family were almost American royalty. During a bitter cold winter of the American Revolutionary War, General George Washington turned to patriot Jacob DeHaven to help finance the Continental Army.  DeHaven, a direct ancestor of Gray, gave Washington $450,000 in gold bars.  The loan was never repaid and Dehaven died a pauper.  If the U.S. government would decide today to make good on Washington’s promise, Sheila and her family would be worth almost 100 billion dollars!

Fit Philosophie Gets Mothers and More in Shape

Jennifer Heindl, a member of Fit Philopsophie's community, and her newest addition.
A new baby means sleepless nights, endless feedings and diaper changes, and a schedule that revolves around the new bundle of joy. The task isn’t an easy one to take on and for mothers, adding “get pre-baby-body back” is a task that falls to the bottom of the priority of the list after the baby arrives. Fit Philosophie in Fort Thomas, an exercise studio created and run by Jennifer Lynn, makes  getting back in shape for mothers, among many other people, a possible task.

Mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old and an eight-month-old, Whitney Ellison joined Fit Philosophie after having her first child. Ellison jogged regularly past the studio, and decided to stop one day to see what it was about.

“I specifically went there to lose the baby weight, but I kept working out there because I developed a lot of friends there,” she said. “It just became a really nice way of self care.”

 Lynn prides Fit Philosophie on being a place for people to exercise and enjoy living fit lifestyles together.

“It’s a little community of people who have all made friends through the studio,” Lynn said.
 Lynn regularly invites guests to educate members of the studio on healthy eating, meditation and other well being tips. In the next few weeks, Lynn has sessions about grilling food and storing it for later meals for families, restorative properties of aroma therapy.

Lindsey Collier, mother of an 8-month old told the same story. "I was in the best shape of my life because of Fit Philosophie. Then I got pregnant! I was so worried that my body would not get back to where I was before, but Jenn assured me we would get their together and she was right. It's the community, family-type environment that is different from other workout places for me."


Lindsey Collier with her family's newest addition.
A mother herself, Lynn says that the hardest part about getting back into shape after having a baby is finding the time.

“I have to keep my classes on schedule,” she said. “It’s hard to get a routine going. One week you might go in the morning, another week you might go at night.”

Ellison agrees, saying that making time is the hardest part of getting back in shape.

“Once you start to make time, it becomes easier because you carve that out and it just becomes part of your schedule,” she said.

Lynn said that for new mothers, she focuses on muscles that have changed during pregnancy and gets them back to pre-pregnancy strength.

“You have to retrain your body and get those muscles to wake up,” she said.

Jennifer Heindl has been doing pilates with  Fit Philosophie since January 2013 and is just starting to get back to working out since having our third baby, Eleanor, in November. "When I went back to class for the first time after her birth I was so scared that all the exercises would be impossible and I would end up feeling defeated after losing so much ground physically. But, it was just the opposite. I ended up feeling empowered!" she said. "Honestly, it's harder than ever to find the motivation to work out when there's a baby to be snuggled and it's cold outside and my pajama pants are so comfortable. But that 1 hour for myself brings so much clarity and perspective and energy. I love the way I feel when class is over. I've never regretted going but I've definitely regretted it when I put it off. 

New mothers, or anyone  looking for a healthier lifestyle can find a personalized experience at Fit Philosphie. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

BREAKING: Ruth Moyer Elementary Plans Unveiled

Campus site plan. 
Plans were unveiled for a complete renovation for Ruth Moyer Elementary School, Wednesday night.  News broke last September that Moyer would be awarded state money, as one of the top ten schools in the state in most need for a renovation.

The scope of the project will be limited to a complete update and renovation as opposed to demolition. "Much like the Highlands renovation, when you drive down Highland Avenue, you will still recognize the front of Ruth Moyer," said Superintendent Gene Kirchner.

Woodfill Elementary was the first of the three elementary schools in Fort Thomas to be renovated, but according to Facilities Director, Jerry Wissman, the process will not be the same. "We're not going to just drop Woodfill where Moyer is now. This will be its own building. We're going to take the best of what's over there and combine it with a new approach."

Smash and Grab Thieves Focusing on Specialized Targets


At last week's city council meeting, Chief Mike Daly described a "smash and grab" crime that occurred at the Highland Hills Dog Park, which was thought to be part of a national trend occurring at dog parks throughout the country.

Yesterday, a similar crime occurred on Riverview Avenue, in which a criminal broke open a window to a work truck, peeled back the security screen, reached around the front seat to unlock the door to the cab and then cut the lights to the dome light so as not to alert the homeowner or neighbors.

The robbery took place in the middle of the night.

Heroin Bill in Committee (HB 213)

rises, asks that we sharpen our focus on important issues still facing , heroin in particular. Photo via @KYSenateGOP (twitter).
UPDATE, BIGGEST TAKEAWAY:
House and Senate answers to heroin epidemic (HB213 and SB5) have more in common than different. -@RepJohnTilley #kyga15

Live Updates: (via Bluegrass Politics, KY House Democrats, KY House GOP).

Senate Judiciary Cmte to hear House's heroin bill (HB 213) at 8 am Wed. Headed for conference cmte and a final deal?

Senate Judiciary Cmte takes up House heroin bill, but just to talk, not to vote. Senate has its own heroin bill. No deal yet.

8 Tips to Buying and Selling on Facebook Yard Sales


My mom and I used to wait for yard sale season - April through September. A time when you could turn someone else's trash into your treasure. I have found depression glass, antiques, bikes and so many cool things for so little money. We would truly miss the season during late fall and winter. But thanks to Facebook yard sale sites, we no longer have to wait to get that high of receiving an incredible deal. We can get those deals all year long without even leaving the house to search for it! You find the item, make a deal on line and then arrange to meet.

I have found dozens of Northern Kentucky yard sale sites on Facebook. There are very broad sites like A little Bit of Everything Yard Sale or the Couch Potato Yard Sale and more narrow sites that are just for furniture, cars, special occasion dresses or wedding items. Some sites even state that the items must be new with tags or can't cost more than $10. All of the sites I have found have at least a few rules to avoid drama. The most common rules include if you say you are going to show up, show up, don't line jump and don't sell guns, animals or stolen items.

I have purchased a dining room table and hutch for $150, a brand new pub table for only $50 and a Gazelle Edge for $20. My step-son bought dishes for eight, pots, pans and several other kitchen items for only $50 for his new apartment.I have sold a car, end tables, a filing cabinet, two desks, a bike, a TV and several other items.