Thursday, November 27, 2014

Highlands Diver Signs with Elite Program

Carly Hill at her signing day. 

Submitted Photos. Highlands senior Carly Hill dives in a meet last year. Hill owns the school's 1-meter diving record with 507.8 points and won the individual state crown last year. She recently signed with the University of Louisville.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Carly Hill has had an impressive career for years diving for the Highlands Ladybirds.

Your Central Hub for Newport Pavilion Retailer Specials this Weekend

It would be FTM's wish that you would spend 100 percent of your spending in Fort Thomas and particularly with the #FTMFamily, but FTM also understands that is unrealistic. For those of you who will be shopping outside the city this weekend, here's what our neighbors at the Newport Pavilion are offering for Black Friday specials.

Fort Thomas Small Business Saturday

Barb Thomas with Fort Thomas Central has taken the initiative to make this wonderful event happen for the City of Fort Thomas. We really hope that everyone can come out and join us on Saturday November 29th!

Here are the deals right in the heart of our very own town.

Fort Thomas Central - Cookies & Hot Cider, $50 Gift Certificate Prize Drawing and take advantage of 20% Off your entire purchase!

Blue Marble - Running a holiday promotion (canned goods collection for Brighton Center) that begins on Friday, November 28 and runs through Christmas Eve where customers will receive a 10% discount on the purchase of a hardcover book if they bring in a canned good.  Open 10am-5pm.

Highlands squares off in state semifinals with similar opponent

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands senior quarterback Beau Hoge (7) eludes Covington Catholic senior defensive back Sam Kathman (22) in Friday's region title game. The Bluebirds face the Lexington Catholic Knights at 6 p.m. Friday in the Class 4A state semifinals.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

It may be Black Friday, but it’s also been a Blue and White Friday the previous seven years in Fort Thomas.

The Highlands Bluebirds (11-2 overall) have won seven consecutive state semifinal contests and are seeking another against the same opponent they’ve beaten in the last three Class 4A contests in the Lexington Catholic Knights (10-3). Game time is 6 p.m.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Best Thanksgiving Movies

Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters

I get that Thanksgiving and football go together like, well, turkey and dressing...or mashed potatoes and gravy...or a slice of pumpkin pie and a second slice of pumpkin pie. However, here's a Thanksgiving Day secret for you: there's actually no law saying that you have to watch football after you're finished with your feast. The Football Police will not come find you, and put you into holiday jail. That means that you are free to watch anything you want between courses of your Thanksgiving meal.

Here are the best Thanksgiving movies to watch with your friends and family on the most delicious day of the year:

Fort Thomas Has a New National Guardsman

Joel Stegner, of Fort Thomas, was commissioned into the U.S. National Guard Reserve in October/Holt

Joel Stegner, from Fort Thomas, just graduated basic training as one of the nation's newest members of the armed forces.

HMS Celebrates Giving with Assembly

The HMS Dance Team kicked off the assembly

Highlands Middle School students were recognized and thanked for the overwhelming generosity they have shown this fall with an assembly on Nov. 25. They celebrated with a show from the HMS Dance Team, a teachers vs. students volleyball game, recognition of those in fall sports, presentation of checks to organizations they raised money for, a pie in the face showdown and a turkey bowl. 

On Halloween, students were encouraged to pay $1 in order to wear a Halloween costume. Teachers dressed up as well and students were able to vote with money for the best costume. They put money in the jar of the teacher's costume they liked the best. The teacher who raised the most money was the winner of the costume contest. Student Government overwhelming voted to donate the money to the Histiocytosis Association in honor of fellow student Joey Holt, a seventh grader who is in remission from Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. Joey and his mom accepted the check on behalf of the Histio Association. 

Stephanie Griffith presents Gina Stegner
and Joey Holt with check for Histio Association

Why We Trust Small Business


Tom Underwood is the Kentucky state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small-business association. 

Small Business Saturday is this Saturday. November 29. 

Gallup did a survey this summer. It asked people how much confidence they had in various institutions.

According to the survey, only 7 percent of Americans said they trusted Congress a great deal or quite a lot, compared with 29 percent who trusted the presidency.

Small business, on the other hand, came in second, with 62 percent of those surveyed considering it trustworthy. The only organization to score higher, not surprisingly, was the military.

A Day in the Life of a Cincinnati Zookeeper

If you live anywhere in the Greater Cincinnati area, there's no doubt that the Cincinnati Zoo is on your radar. Perhaps you spent time there as a child at birthday parties, educational programs, or braved a night amongst the animals during one of their zoo overnights. Maybe the Cincinnati Zoo is your favorite way to celebrate the holiday season with a trip to the Festival of Lights. Or the zoo might just be your go-to local spot for a day of fun. The zoo is a different place to different people in the area, but to Megan O'Keefe, the Cincinnati Zoo is where her childhood dream of having a career working with animals came true.

O'Keefe, a 2003 graduate of Highlands High School, is a Manatee Springs Animal Keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo. She gave us an inside look into the life of a zookeeper. For O'Keefe, her job is two-fold. There is the care and training of the animals, and also interacting and educating the zoo's visitors. “My job description basically entails taking care of the animals, and all aspects surrounding that. It's a little bit different for each department, obviously, since different animals have different needs and different ways to care for them. There's also a public aspect to being a zookeeper. Not only do you take care of the animals, but you're also responsible for educating the public that comes through your building. We also do keeper talks and animal encounters, and things like that,” said O'Keefe.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Relax with Studio Root

There is a new business in town that wants to pamper you. I experienced the amazing services at Studio Root Skin Care at 9 Highland Avenue earlier this month.

As I walked in, I was greeted by Tami Root, the owner who is a Fort Thomas native, two-time winner of Best Esthetician in the City by Cincinnati Magazine and has 25 years of experience. I shredded my winter gear and took a seat. After some chitchat, she placed my rings in ring cleaner, what I thought was a very nice special touch. Next, my hands were dipped in warm paraffin for a paraffin hand treatment. She then placed my hands in over-sized mittens. She used a massage tool to massage my upper back and shoulders while the paraffin did its job. One of my favorite artists - Pink Floyd - was playing as I enjoyed the pampering. As if I wasn't relaxed enough, after the hand treatment, we moved to another room for my facial.
A paraffin hand treatment. Studio Root is part of the #FTMFamily.

Biggest Bar Night of the Year - Fort Thomas Edition

Some of the Barney and the Howlers crew. Playing Saturday night at 915 Pub and Grill, 8:00-11:00. 
Most people will tell you that New Year's Eve is the biggest bar night of the year. While I haven't done the requisite research on sales that night, I'd like to submit to you that Thanksgiving Eve is a better option to enjoy libations among your favorite company.

A quick rundown of my logic on why tomorrow is the day to hit the town and how to enjoy it in Fort Thomas:

Most have the day off the next day.
- Everyone comes  home and it's a chance to do a mini-reunion 'Friendsgiving.'

Mummy on a Budget: Mummies of the World The Exhibition

                                                                   Mummies of the World: The Exhibition

This is a sponsored post brought to you by WCPO Insider (WCPO Insider Website), and we received free tickets for this post.

After sitting next to an illustrator on a plane and striking up a conversation with her (yes, my husband is that annoying guy), he went out and bought her book: “A is for Appalachia.”  Great book but do you know what “U” stands for?  Undertaker.

So, when he read that page to our then three-year-old and Knox asked what an undertaker does, my husband went into incredible detail, leaving no terrifyingly grotesque element untold.  So, when we took my now five-year-old to see Mummies of the World, he was somewhat emotionally prepared for what we were about to see.   However, if your son or daughter has not had a “U is for Undertaker” experience, you may want to consider talking to your kids about what to expect before seeing the traveling exhibit set to open at the Museum Center at Union Terminal, tomorrow November 26.

From the Museum Center's website: “Mummies of the World portrays a once-in-a-lifetime collection of real mummies and artifacts from across the globe. This compelling collection, presented with reverence and dignity, includes ancient mummies dating back as far as 4,500 years. A fascinating mix of old and new, this captivating collection bridges the gap between past and present with contributions from 10 world-renowned Institutions and two private collectors.”

State Lawmakers Teach Moyer 4th, 5th Graders About Civic Responsibility

KY State Senator Katie Stine and State Representative Joe Fischer visited Moyer Elementary Monday/FTIS

As part of the "America's Legislators Back to School Program," Kentucky lawmakers Senator Katie Stine and Representative Joe Fischer visited Moyer Elementary 4th and 5th graders on Monday.

The topic of their visit: the students' role in their government.

Monday, November 24, 2014

This 96-Year-Old Fort Thomas Man Has Stories For Days

Gilbert Laycock, of Fort Thomas, seems to have a story to tell for every year of his long, eventful life./Uhl

by Kara Gebhart Uhl
FTM Contributor

“There are 7 billion people on this earth, and only one of you and one of me,” says Gilbert Laycock, as we sit down at his dining room table at 21 Grant Street in Fort Thomas.

Newport TJ Maxx Loses Armful of High-end Merchandise to Duo of Shoplifters

These two are wanted for shoplifting at the Newport TJ Maxx/Newport PD

Newport Police are looking for two individuals, wanted for shoplifting from the TJ Maxx store in Newport Pavilion.

The Importance, History Behind Small Business Saturday

Fort Thomas Matters is a champion of shop local. Very little of what the website aims to do would be possible without the help of Fort Thomas businesses.

Small Business Saturday is one day of the year set aside to stray away from the massive box stores, and show appreciation for small businesses.

American Express started the concept of taking a weekend owned by big box retailers and create a day of business and engagement for small business owners that lacked the budget to compete with those larger retailers.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Birkley Services to the Rescue!

Birkley Services has been a successful family business for over 40 years! After Wednesday night I now understand why. I came home for lunch to our chilly, no heated home. I was able to call Matt Birkley and he was there within a couple of hours to help us fix it.
 Matt Birkley checking out our furnace
 Working on diagnoses of the furnace
Giving us options

Turns out we didn't necessarily need a brand new furnace... yet! Matt took the time to explain what was wrong with the furnace, average time a furnace will last and helped us look at our options. My husband and I found this so refreshing that we immediately felt we could trust Matt. He explained that our circuit box was the issue and that if he fixed that and cleaned out the system itself, we may get more usage out of the furnace. He also suggested that we could replace the furnace altogether, but it was our decision. Thank you Matt Birkley for not trying to sell us something we didn't need (for now)!

I am writing this article from my comfortable heated home and I am a very happy customer! I hope that you will call Matt Birkley at Birkley Services for your heating, cooling and electrical needs.

Highlands escapes CovCath again

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands junior wide receiver Mitch Cain (16) makes a catch and holds on while CovCath's Sam Kathman (22) tackles him and Ben Zumdick (6) coverges. Highlands won 37-34 to advance to its eighth straight semifinal game.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Some fans may have thought it would not be a good game.

Thus, they did not brave the 28-degree weather to see another Class 4A, Region 4 championship game between the Highlands Bluebirds and Covington Catholic Colonels on Friday at Cecil Memorial Stadium. But the ones that did saw the Bluebirds survive a 37-34 scare.

Bluebirds find themselves lumped in with 10 other teams

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands junior wide receiver Eric Miller (15) finds a crease for a touchdown against Covington Catholic defenders Ben Zumdick (6) and Drew Demarsh (28) in Friday's Class 4A, Region 4 championship game. The Bluebirds won 37-34 for their 13th straight win over the Colonels.

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands senior linebacker Brady Murray (18) holds onto  Covington Catholic quarterback Adam Wagner (19) in Friday's region title game. The Bluebirds advanced to the state semifinals for the eighth straight year.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The Highlands Bluebirds football team feels fortunate because it held off the pesky Covington Catholic Colonels, 37-34 on Friday.

What Hurts? Beacon Orthopaedics Has the Cure

Beacon Orthopaedics is apart of the #FTMFamily.

You're running on N. Fort Thomas Avenue by Fort Thomas Central and decide that you want to take a look at where Moyer is planning on expanding when the state funding comes through. At the last second you decide you better head home towards Linden Avenue and make a quick turn at the intersection.

That was a bad idea. You twisted your knee and have to hobble home. This is just one example of how Beacon Orthopaedics can help you, the weekend warrior.

In fact, at their newly opened Northern Kentucky facility in Erlanger. Beacon has a specific program to help diagnose and prevent runner's injuries. "We have a treadmill with a slow motion camera that helps doctors analyze our patients' running form and determine if there are injuries we can help prevent," said Dr. Steve Hamilton, a Fort Thomas resident and orthopaedic surgeon at Beacon. "We watch you run and help determine if you're stride is off or where you are stepping that's causing the injury."

Overnight Rain, Freezing Temperatures Create Hazardous Driving Conditions

Icy road conditions have caused a number of accidents across the Tri-State/via WCPO 

Rainy conditions mixed with below freezing temperatures have led to hazardous driving conditions throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky early Saturday morning.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Highlands Beats Cov Cath 37-34

Highlands beat Cov Cath 37-34 at David A Cecil Memorial Stadium. G. Michael Graham will have all the analysis of what transpired, but until then, enjoy the RUN OF THE YEAR by Highlands QB, Beau Hoge.

What. A. Play.

NKY New Media Mavens Settle "Wager" in Prep for HHS-Cov Cath Playoff Battle

FTM chief Mark Collier poses with River City News chief Michael Monks, in some sweet Bluebirds swag/Mark Collier. You can purchase items like this on
As the Bluebirds gear up to hit the gridiron in Friday night's playoff game against the Covington Catholic Colonels, the editors and publishers of each city's respective news sites met to settle a friendly wager made earlier in the season.

Mama on a Budget: Ruth Moyer Santa House TONIGHT

“SANTA! I know him” –Elf

We went shopping the other day and my daughter saw something she wanted. She is only 2 so this is the first year where she finally understands the concept of “if I ask for this item then mom will tell Santa and Santa will bring it to me”. (It’s a great concept.) It should totally work in theory except for when she asks for something like a pony, or a car and not a toy car or a Barbie Mobile but a Mercedes C-Class that she points to while we’re driving- true story.  But, she promises, if only I can ask Santa in person, maybe he will bring me the luxury model in white with the black leather interior (I may be ad-libbing some here, although not much).

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bluebirds Pitcher Mitch Jones Signs Letter of Intent

Senior Bluebirds pitcher Mitch Jones signed a letter of intent last week./Mark Collier

by G. Michael Graham
FTM Sports Reporter

Coming off a wonderful season, the Highlands Bluebirds baseball team expects some seniors to sign to play at the next level.

Senior pitcher Mitch Jones recently made his decision.

Rollover Multi-car Crash on 471 Hospitalizes at Least One Motorist

A car ended up on its top after a crash last night on I-471/Local 12

A overnight rollover crash on I-471 near Highland Heights has sent at least one person to the hospital.

Police Are Searching for this Robbery Suspect

Newport Police are searching for a white man wanted for robbing the Family Dollar in the Newport Shopping Center Wednesday night.

What does Highlands need to do to win another region crown against CovCath?

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands senior linebacker Patrick Schoepf (33) takes down an Ashland ball carrier in the second round of the playoffs on Friday. Highlands faces Covington Catholic for the fourth straight year in the region finals at 7:30 p.m.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The teams own a combined 28 state championships.

But while the Covington Catholic Colonels remain the biggest threat to their Kentucky football dominance, many argue it has not been a rivalry lately. That’s because the Highlands Bluebirds find themselves on the positive side of the longest winning streak in series history.