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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Gov. Beshear reports 37 deaths, 3,601 positive cases

Today Governor Andy Beshear announced the most deaths in one day at his daily press conference, with 37 deaths spread across Kentucky. 

Yesterday's total of 35 deaths had been the deadliest day since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Now is the time where action is necessary and inaction is deadly,” Gov. Beshear said. “The risk to all Americans is at an historic high.”

Tuesday’s case tally is the sixth highest day overall, bringing the total cases in Kentucky at 186,765.

Where to get tested for free in NKY

There are 358 testing locations spread across Kentucky. 

In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Covington's Gravity Diagnostics offer free, appointment-only drive-thru testing at 25 Atlantic Ave in Erlanger, the former Toyota HQ building off Mineola Pike.

The site is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You will be able to collect your own sample without leaving your vehicle and receive results within three to five days.

Additionally, appointment-only drive-up testing is available through St. E at 7200 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria. The free testing site is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Schedule an appointment at those sites online at To find all coronavirus testing locations near you, click here.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, Gov. Beshear reported the following numbers: 

New cases today: 3,601
New deaths today: 37
Positivity rate: 9.62%
Total deaths: 1,980
Currently hospitalized: 1,768
Currently in ICU: 427
Currently on ventilator: 234

NKY cases:
Boone County: 145
Kenton County: 118
Campbell County: 69
Grant: 27

National DAV Headquarters moving from Cold Spring to Erlanger

Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a nonprofit charity that annually serves more than 1 million veterans throughout the country, is relocating its national headquarters from Cold Spring to Erlanger.  

Founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932, DAV is dedicated to a single purpose: keeping our promise to America’s veterans. DAV expects to move an estimated 175 employees into the new headquarters, which is under construction on Dolwick Drive, by the summer of 2021.  

90 Alexandria Pike in the Fort Thomas Plaza.

"DAV has received a tremendously warm welcome from the city of Erlanger and its business community," said DAV Executive Director Barry Jesinoski."Our new facility will make us more efficient and accessible to veterans in the Tristate. It will, ultimately, prepare us for the next century of service and advocacy for our nation’s heroes. 

"By moving to Erlanger right next to the Interstate-75/275 exchange, instead of building a new headquarters on the existing property in Cold Spring, we hope the location’s visibility will bring greater awareness to our free service and support for America’s injured and ill veterans," Jesinoski said.  

"We are also excited and grateful when a new business and employer moves into Erlanger," said Erlanger Mayor Jessica Fette. "But we are especially honored that Disabled American Veterans, an organization whose entire mission is helping our nation's military veterans, is moving its headquarters to our city. I know I speak for our entire city when I say how proud we are that the DAV will call Erlanger home."  

The new headquarters will cover 67,000-square-feet, about half the size of its current location. DAV is evaluating what to do with its existing property in Cold Spring – which is at the intersection of U.S. 27 and KY 1998 - with the assistance of Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm.   

"DAV leadership took a close look at maintenance costs and necessary upgrades on our current facility, which was constructed in the 1960s," Jesinoski said. "We also looked at the changing needs of the organization and determined we simply had far too much space. Every analysis told us the same thing – it was time for more modern and efficient facility." 

With nearly 1,300 chapters, DAV provides a national network of local support for veterans and their families. DAV’s benefits advocates, who are veterans themselves, know how to navigate the Veterans Administration (VA) system, help veterans obtain benefits and connect them to the support they need, while transition advocates, on military bases across the country, provide face-to-face support to help those leaving active duty access their benefits and successfully transition back to civilian life.  

Brent Spence Bridge Repair on Track for Planned Completion

An aerial view, taken by drone, of the repairs underway on the Brent Spence Bridge, on schedule to be completed December 23.
 by Robin Gee

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Chief Jim Gray held a press conference to mark the official halfway point today with 21 days in on repairs to the Brent Spence Bridge. He said things are on track for the completion target date of December 23 in 21 days from now.

He started by thanking his staff, the engineers and construction crews from the Kokosing Construction Company, praising all involved in the repairs, as well as his team working on traffic management and rerouting issues.

The focus has been on the upper deck of the bridge, and right now the 16 steel beams supporting it have been set in place. He noted that the steel for the beams was sourced from four states, taken to Lexington where they were cut, shaped and painted for the job.  
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Update: Progress as planned

Crews are preparing the upper deck now to receive a new concrete surface. Pans are being installed and metal rods will be put in place before the concrete pour. That is not all the concrete work, Gray said. The next step will be to replace all the concrete barrier walls on both sides of the deck.

In the next phase, crews will turn their attention to the lower deck, which received much less damage from the truck crash and fire November 11. The surface of the lower level will be milled to provide a connective surface for a new layer of concrete and then new barriers will be added to the lower deck area as well.

The final part will be the painting and marking of new traffic lines.

When asked if the possibility of cold weather could affect the curing of the concrete, Gray said crews are prepared for that and have warming equipment on hand, but he did not anticipate local weather conditions to be a problem over the coming few weeks. 
A look at the repairs underway on the surface of the Brent Spence Bridge

Construction crews have been working 'round the clock to install 16 new steel beams on the Brent Spence Bridge.

The next step in repairs will be to pour a new slab. Before concrete can be poured, metal rods will be inserted to support the new concrete slab.

The message on traffic: Patience is a virtue

Gray noted a main issue has been and remains the maintenance of traffic for the 160,000-plus vehicles that have had to rerouted while the bridge is undergoing repairs.

"As you know, I-71 and I-75 merged traffic heading north through the region as directed by a signage detour onto I-275. From there, drivers can take alternate crossings across the Ohio River — the Dan Beard Bridge on I-471 or the Combs-Hehl Bridge on I-275. If you need to get into downtown Covington, you can stay on I-71 and 75 going past the detour, and there’s a single-traffic lane, a local lane open so that local traffic passenger vehicles can reach the 12th Street or the Fifth Street exits."

Chief District Engineer Bob Yeager fielded questions about traffic issues, which continue to create issues of congestion especially during rush hour. His final plea was for all to have patience, plan their routes and pay attention to possible changes along the way.

Gray urged patience as well and ended his report with an assurance that no corners have been cut and that he is confident in the work being done. He added that his department is examining all that has happened, and he anticipated there may be opportunities for changes and new ideas as a result of the incident. 
Follow along on news about the bridge repairs on the Brent Spence Repair website set up by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

RELATED: Gov. Beshear: Brent Spence Bridge May Be Closed for Weeks

This Northern Kentucky Martial Arts Studio is helping area police to "sharpen the saw"

Fort Thomas Police Lieutenant Chris Carpenter practices martial arts techniques at the Northern Kentucky Martial Arts Academy.

Orangetheory Fitness, Newport Pavilion. 

by Robin Gee, city council beat editor

Fort Thomas Police Lieutenant Chris Carpenter lays out a scenario: What if you spent four weeks learning how to play the piano. You received intensive training for those few weeks, but that was all the training you received. Yet, at any time throughout the rest of your career, at a moment’s notice, you could be asked to give a concert — and if the concert went badly, it’s not “boos” from the audience you would have to worry about. Instead, it could be your career or even your life or the lives of others in your care.

That is a pointed way to illustrate the situation many police officers face when it comes to martial arts or hand-to-hand skills. In Kentucky, officers are required to attend police academy where they receive weeks of focused training in these skills — but, unfortunately, many find themselves with no program, support or plan for practicing or keeping up with this training once they return to their home departments.

The confidence and ability to use these skills can make a difference in many tense situations and even lead to a safer outcome for the officer, the suspect and the general public. A police officer who has support and access to continued training in these skills can feel more confident and capable of using them as an alternative to reaching straight away for more lethal options.

Fort Thomas finds value in ongoing training

Carpenter, who has been practicing martial arts skills since he was 16 years old, brought his concerns to Fort Thomas Police Chief Casey Kilgore. The chief agreed that some ongoing hand-to-hand or martial arts practice and training would be extremely beneficial to the department.

When an opportunity arose for affordable training through the nearby Northern Kentucky Martial Arts Academy, the chief found the funding to support sending four officers to training there, two through a special twice monthly option and another two for regular memberships in the club. Those involved are training officers who share what they’ve learned with their fellow officers.

Scott Smith, co-owner of the martial arts studio, is also the chief of police for Ludlow, Kentucky, as well as acting city administrator for the city. He started his business about two-and-a-half years ago with the goal of providing ongoing training and practice space for his fellow officers throughout Northern Kentucky as well as for the community at large, he said.

Encouraging martial arts training for officers and the community

Smith said he first became interested in the martial arts in 1996. While serving in the army, he was asked to take training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. "I had a wrestling background, and I fell in love with it," he said. "I believe in it, and I do hope to encourage all sorts of people to do this."

His goal for the studio is to provide training in hand-to-hand techniques and self defense for fellow officers, but also for any interested men, women and children of all ages.

About his clientele, he said, "People come from all walks of life. They don’t fit any mold. I have accountants, engineers, teachers...I have taught a 71-year-old woman and about the youngest I would teach is six years old."

He emphasized a family atmosphere. His college-age daughter has been taking classes for years, and his wife is in the studio’s self-defense class. He provides classes for students in wrestling and other school sports as well as general self-defense for kids.

"I want your grandma, your wife, your kids to come and feel comfortable. That’s the demeanor and vibe of our gym. We have rules: no politics, no religion, no sexual preferences...Everybody is equal here."

A wide array of options available 


Wilder Police Chief Chad Martin (behind) takes advantage of the local training in martial arts.

In addition to jiu jitsu, the studio provides training in self defense, wrestling, grappling, boxing, kickboxing and an Israeli military self-defense and fighting system known as krav maga. Smith has a black belt in jiu jitsu and his business partner, Mark Hoffman, has a purple belt.

Hoffman, the father of triplets, teaches an anti-bullying class for kids. In total, the studio has seven martial arts instructors and two wrestling coaches. One name local sports enthusiasts will recognize is Aaron Pryor, Jr., who serves as the boxing instructor.

COVID-19 presented challenges for the studio, but Smith said extensive cleaning routines were in place long before the pandemic started. Fortunately, he also took over space that was used for a dance studio next door, allowing more room for social distancing. Having small group instruction helps as well, but he said those taking classes do have to consider the risk and sign a waiver.

Providing more options can increase safety for all

Knowing that police departments have funding challenges, Smith and Hoffman devised a special rate for police officers, but Smith said he has been surprised that only a handful of area departments have taken advantage of his offer.

Smith speculated that funding is one issue. Some departments are stretched so thin they worry about covering shifts for officers who might get injured while training. Still others, he said, have been resistant to change.

He said he wants every Northern Kentucky police officer to become comfortable and familiar with these techniques so they become a natural part of their response options in any situation. Both he and Carpenter said reaching for your gun should be a last resort, not a first choice.

When asked about the ongoing discussion today about police use of force and efforts at reform, they both agreed that providing hand-to-hand training could provide an alternative in many situations.

Pulling out a gun or taser should be the last things you do, said Smith. He wants officers to be comfortable in their personal space and even able to use that space to their advantage. While it won’t work in every situation, he said, the right training can lead to much better and safer decisions.

Carpenter agreed, "The stakes can be very high...anytime you mix with someone under stress, it could go bad in several ways." With training you are better able to respond quickly and appropriately.

As he approaches his 20th year with the department, Carpenter said he is happy that both Officer Brandon Laffin and Sergeant Derek Faught began training at the martial arts academy this past July and are quick studies. He said he is proud that Chief Kilgore and the Fort Thomas community have been supportive and forward thinking in providing this training. 
The Northern Kentucky Martial Arts Academy is located at  869 Oak Street in Ludlow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Highlands Parts Ways with Weinrich as Head Football Coach

Weinrich Guided the Bluebirds to the Class 4A State Championship in 2014

FTM File Photo. A new head coach will take the sidelines for the Highlands Bluebirds football team next fall.

Coach Brian Weinrich told the Highlands Bluebirds football team on Tuesday afternoon that he will not return to the sidelines in 2021.

Weinrich has served on the Highlands coaching staff since 1995, when former Head Coach Dale Mueller brought him on as an assistant. Weinrich served as Defensive Coordinator between 2002 and 2013 and helped the Bluebirds win 11 state championships during Mueller's 20 seasons as head coach.

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For the 2012 state title game, Weinrich filled in as head coach after Mueller traveled to New York to attend a family funeral. Weinrich played wide receiver and defensive back as a senior on the 1989 Class AAA state championship Highlands team that beat Paducah Tilghman, 7-3 in the title game before going on to play collegiately at Campbellsville University.

After Mueller retired following the 2013 season, the Highlands administration promoted Weinrich to head coach, and he led the Bluebirds to the Class 4A state championship that fall over Owensboro.  Led by the likes of Beau Hoge, Alex Veneman, Brady Murray and Lou Bunning, Highlands trailed Owensboro, 42-21 at halftime.  But the Bluebirds made the necessary adjustments at intermission and came back to win 49-42 in the game dubbed "Triple-21 Comeback."

Mueller pointed out a number of ways Weinrich helped the program over the years. He recalled halftime of the 1996 Class 3A state championship game when Weinrich told Mueller the team had to change the game plan and explained why. The staff did that and it helped the Bluebirds beat Hopkinsville, 21-14.

"I have to say I have as much respect, really love for Brian Weinrich as I do any other guy that I know," Mueller said. "I can remember (offensive line coach) Scott Turner saying to me one time, 'Brian is just a football genius.' He was right. Brian has just been so loyal to Highlands football. He just studied and studied and studied. He knew the guys on our team and the guys on the other team maybe even better than their parents knew them. But I think the best thing is the way he treated the players. He treated each guy so professionally whether it was the best player or the worst player. I never heard him use any language that was inappropriate. He wouldn't belittle guys. He was so positive."

But since winning the 23rd state championship in school history, which ranks second in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Bluebirds have gone 38-34 with only one double-digit win season. Quarterback Grady Cramer led the 2018 team that went 10-3 and lost 36-0 to Covington Catholic in the region championship game.

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Highlands had its first two losing seasons since 1955 at 3-8 in 2016 and 5-6 this past year, a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.  But Weinrich agreed the Bluebirds might have had a winning season this past year under normal circumstances.

Since the start of 2014, Highlands has gone 4-7 against arch-rival Covington Catholic. The Colonels have won a school-record seven straight against the Bluebirds, including consecutive playoff wins for the first time in school history in 2018 and the 38-21 win at Wooten Field in Park Hills in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs Friday.

The new head coach will have a lot of experience to work with next season:  a number of sophomores including quarterback Charlie Noon, wide receiver Brennan Kelsay and linebacker Sam Robinson earned a sizable number of snaps in 2020. 

Record-breaking day for Kentucky Covid-19 cases, deaths

Governor Andy Beshear announced 4,151 new Covid-19 cases today, the highest number of new cases reported in a single day with 35 deaths including a 76-year-old man from Kenton County.

"There is no way to sugar coat it," said Gov. Beshear. "Today is the very worst day for reporting on the spread of coronavirus and it is the deadliest day we have had."

Where to get tested for free in NKY

There are 358 testing locations spread across Kentucky. 

In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Covington's Gravity Diagnostics offer free, appointment-only drive-thru testing at 25 Atlantic Ave in Erlanger, the former Toyota HQ building off Mineola Pike.

The site is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You will be able to collect your own sample without leaving your vehicle and receive results within three to five days.

Additionally, appointment-only drive-up testing is available through St. E at 7200 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria. The free testing site is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Schedule an appointment at those sites online at To find all coronavirus testing locations near you, click here.


Beshear announced Monday that Kentucky is finalizing its plan to distribute an initial shipment of Covid-19 vaccines to two vulnerable groups around the state. The federal government is expected to deliver 38,025 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Kentucky as early as mid-December.

Residents and staff in long-term care facilities will be the first to receive a portion of these free vaccines. There are an estimated 50,300 people total in that group, and 26,000 will be vaccinated from the first shipment and will get the second "booster" dose three weeks later.

The second group to receive 12,000 free vaccines in the first shipment will be frontline healthcare workers treating coronavirus patients at Kentucky medical centers. This vaccine will be administered by the state through those medical centers, and the state will finalize the list of medical centers receiving vaccines by Friday.

An additional 76,700 doses are projected in a first shipment of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, estimated to ship in late December.

Case information:

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, daily update 

New cases today: 4,151
New deaths today: 35
Positivity rate: 9.59%
Total deaths: 1,943
Currently hospitalized: 1,777
Currently in ICU: 441
Currently on ventilator: 241

NKY cases:
Kenton County: 126
Boone County: 102
Campbell County: 73

Long-term care: 

Active Cases: Residents - 2251; Staff - 1193
Total Cases: Residents - 10327; Staff - 7426

Total Deaths: 1,268 

Fort Thomas Farmers Market "Holiday Market" to run Dec. 2, 9th

It’s the last TWO WEEKS of the Fort Thomas Farmers Market and we are making things merry & bright!  Our last two markets will be holiday markets, featuring local artisans selling their handmade goods. Our regular farmers and vendors will also be bringing additional selections to market, to take care of all of your holiday gifting and shopping needs.

Artisans coming to our holiday market include:

Liz Ganter of Recycled Java is a N.Ky based venture that repurposes aluminum expresso capsules into fun, affordable jewelry and decorative pieces. These are colorful, lightweight and environmentally friendly gifts perfect for your holiday shopping.

Bradley Turnbaugh of Langley Woodworking has a small Ft. Thomas based artisan woodshop. He specializes in hardwood cutting board, butchers blocks, wine displays, and more!

Paul Tulley of Fort Thomas, currently a DAAP student at University of Cincinnati will be selling his handcrafted leather goods and accessories which includes wine carriers, totes, and bracelets.

Lisa Orem with Stylin’ Highlands has Unique, personalized and affordable gifts for everyone on your list. Blankets, bags, spiritwear.  Ohio, Kentucky... babies to grandmas we have something special!

Tom Broderick of Tommy and Friends makes hand-rolled honeycomb style beeswax candles from pure beeswax sheets.  Beeswax candles are cleaner burning than normal paraffin candles and burn with a brighter, more golden flame.

Rick’s Brittle will be selling his family recipe for his famous 
Chipotle, Bacon Peanut Brittle.

Ryan Durbin is the owner and maker for RD Ceramics. His work includes everyday dishes, such as mugs, cups, bowls, plates, pitchers, and vases which are primarily wheel-thrown, created with white or speckled stoneware clay, and is food, dishwasher, & microwave safe. 

Heidi Dutcher of Faded Finds will be offering Up cycled home Christmas decor as well as a wide variety of home made gifts. Faded Finds offers vintage, art, signs, lamps, and home accessories to be used to decorate for Christmas, as well as to enjoy throughout the entire year.

The Market is held at the Mess Hall, on Cochran Avenue, inside Tower Park. This market will run Wednesdays, October 7th – December 9th, and the hours of operation are 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Just a reminder: Seniors 65 years and older shop early at 2:45 pm.

For more information and all the latest Market updates, please check our website:


Help St. Vincent de Paul help others to stay warm this winter

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the need to keep our neighbors in need warm, dry and healthy is more significant than ever. The simple pleasure of having a good fitting winter coat or even a coat at all is something that many take for granted. 

Book your appointment now!

The temperatures can get dangerously cold in our community. No one should have to weather the chilly winter season without a proper coat. St. Vincent de Paul, WLWT, Warm98 and Gold Star remain committed to continuing their annual coat drive and distribution for the 20th year. However, just like anything else in 2020, the way this support is collected and then distributed to those in need has had to adjust to reflect these turbulent times. 

With the help of WLWT, Warm98 and Gold Star Chili, St. Vincent de Paul began collecting coats in early October and will continue collecting coats through the end of January. This year, coat collection sites are limited to drop-offs at St. Vincent de Paul stores throughout Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. In Northern Kentucky, select community fire departments and local businesses, Arlinghaus Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning and Payroll Partners, have also joined the effort. A list of drop-off points can be found at Monetary donations are also appreciated to supplement material donations and can be made on the Gold Star and St. Vincent de Paul websites. 

There is a particular need for children and plus size adult coats. Scarf It Up For Those In Need has donated additional hats, gloves/mittens and scarves again this year. Thanks to the generosity of the local community, St. Vincent de Paul Northern Kentucky distributed 2,000 donated coats to children and adults during distribution days last winter. This year’s goal is to distribute 2,200 in Northern Kentucky communities. 

Typically, SVdP would host several events to distribute the coats. However, large gatherings are not advisable due to the threat of COVID-19. Instead, individuals in need of a coat can contact the St. Vincent de Paul helpline at 859-341-3219 to request a voucher to redeem for a coat in the Erlanger, Florence or Falmouth locations. Coats will be distributed through the network of stores through the end of February.

Annual Wreath Across America Needs Your Help

FTM File

 The annual Wreaths Across America that honors our fallen soldiers is scheduled for Saturday, December 19, 2020 in the Evergreen Cemetery. And you can help this year with your donation of time or funds.

Wreaths Across America (WWA) is the national organization that annually raises funds and places wreaths on the graves of veterans across the nation. The program started at Arlington Cemetery and has spread to Veterans' cemeteries across the nation.

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Locally, volunteers will place wreaths in the Civil War Battery and the VA’s Soldier’s Lot at the Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate directly across from Jeff Wyler on US 27.

Wreaths will simultaneously be placed at veterans cemeteries throughout the United State on that date as part of the WAA program. They normally place hundreds of wreath each year. 

Right now the group, spearheaded by Paul Whalen, is appealing for funds to buy wreaths at $15 per wreath. At this time they have enough to pay for about 106 wreaths out of 450 graves in those two locations. If you would like to contribute, checks should be made out to WAA and mailed to PO Box 22; Fort Thomas, Kentucky 41075. Notations on checks should be KYESLS.

Or you donate online at 

Wreaths will be taken from the VFW at 9:00 A.M. to the two locations in Evergreen Cemetery. All volunteers shall wear face masks and gloves and observe social distancing. 

There will be a short ceremony at 9:30 at the Soldiers Lot.  The SAR Honor Guard and Representative Rachel Roberts are scheduled to speak. 

Wreaths will be available "outside" the John R. Little VFW on Electric Avenue in Southgate. If you would like to volunteer, the group needs with vans and pick-ups to meet at 9:00 A.M. at the VFW for transport to the Soldier's Lot and the Civil War graves in the front of the cemetery. When observing the brief ceremony, it is suggested that everyone stand behind every other Veteran's Grave Marker. 

Wreaths Across America

Saturday, December 19, 2020

9:00 A.M.

Evergreen Cemetery

Monday, November 30, 2020

Gov. Beshear, Dr. Stack: First Vaccine Shipments Arriving Soon

Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH), said the state is expecting to receive approximately 38,000 doses of the vaccine against the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) as early as mid-December.

“Those will be provided to 38,000 individuals. We can go ahead and provide the first of these shots, and then we will receive the booster shots about three weeks later,” said Gov. Beshear. “We will be ready on moment one that we’re able to provide these vaccines.”

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require an initial shot followed by a booster shot.

While the number of doses and allocation plan are subject to change, the Governor said as of today the majority of the state’s initial vaccine shipment will go to long-term care (LTC) facilities; about 12,000 doses will go to hospitals to help inoculate health care workers.

“Every week we do not vaccinate long-term care residents, we lose them. With vaccines, we can provide such better protection to these individuals,” said Gov. Beshear. “We’ve been taking aggressive steps since the beginning of this virus, committed to fighting back, not surrendering to it or accepting avoidable loss.”

The state’s immediate goal is reducing COVID-19 deaths. With 66% of the deaths coming from LTC facilities, vaccines could help significantly decrease Kentucky’s COVID-19 death toll beginning in January. Also, because LTC residents tend to require the most care, vaccinations in LTC facilities will help reduce COVID-19’s burden on Kentucky’s health care system.

This week, the state is participating in an end-to-end exercise with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pfizer and McKesson to test one shipment of an empty thermal shipping container and a mock ancillary kit to one clinic site, the University of Kentucky Medical Center. This test run will help the state prepare for the initial vaccine distribution to LTC and health care facilities; the initial distribution will, in turn, prepare the commonwealth for even larger, more complex distributions in the months ahead.

“There is an extensive process in play here. First of all, these companies had to build these vaccines, they had to do the research, they had to demonstrate that they were safe,” said Dr. Stack. “Concurrently, we’ve had to consider how we will use these vaccines when very small quantities are available at the beginning, but there are many, many people who need the vaccine. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is going to have an emergency meeting tomorrow to further refine their recommendations.

“There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re not out of the woods yet. If we all mask up and socially distance, we can buy our hospitals the time they need.”

Kentuckians can visit the KYCOVID-19 website for more information on the vaccines, including the state’s draft plan and FAQs. A public service communication campaign is also expected to launch in December.

Case Information 
As of 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

New cases today: 2,214 
New deaths today: 12
Positivity rate: 9.42%
Total deaths: 1,908
Currently hospitalized: 1,741
Currently in ICU: 421
Currently on ventilator: 229

NKY cases:
Kenton County: 97
Boone County: 73
Campbell County: 43
Grant County: 33

The Governor said this is the second highest Monday COVID-19 case report.

Here's the Skyline that was featured on The Simpsons

290 Clifton Avenue, Skyline Chili. 

Social media has been percolating with screenshots after creators of the longest running scripted show in TV-history "Simpsonized" some local iconic places in Sunday's broadcast of The Simpsons. 

But some social media commenters were wondering which Skyline Chili location was used as inspiration from the fade out shot on the show. 

Creators confirmed it was the Clifton Avenue location, found at 290 Ludlow Avenue in Cincinnati. The depiction is detailed, as you can see above. 

The show (season 32, episode 8)  follows unlikely duo Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers on their "800-mile" voyage to the Queen City for an administrator's convention where Chalmers plans to deliver a keynote. 

The episode features some iconic Queen City spots including the Roebling Bridge, Duke Energy Convention Center and, of course, the Clifton Skyline.

There was even a flying pig wearing a Reds uniform — holding a sign which read, "Welcome to Cincinnati: Birthplace of Pete Rose's Gambling Problem."

Apparently, while doing research for the episode, The Simpson's crew scored some "sweet mail-order Skyline Chili," and when the pandemic hit, Executive Producer Matt Selman happily took it home to ride out "the end of times." 

In a more subtle ode to Cincinnati, Selman said "WKRP in Cincinnati" was referenced twice in the episode, in the opening and closing credits. 

The Newport Skyline location, 25 Carothers Road, is running a deal right now: 

Buy $30 gift card and get a free $5 gift certificate and family packs are now available: 

-Buy a family 4 pack and get 4 3 ways, 6 Cheese coneys, 4 mints, a bottle of hot sauce, Crackers all with forks and bowls and trays. Best of all NO DISHES family 4 pack is $39.99 Save $10
- Buy a family 6 pack and get 6 3 ways, 8 Cheese coneys, 4 mints, a bottle of hot sauce, Crackers all with forks and bowls and trays. Best of all NO DISHES family 6 pack is $59.99 Save $10

City of Newport launches grant programs for restaurants, bars, gyms/fitness centers

The City of Newport has launched a COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program to provide grants of up to $1,000 to assist eligible businesses impacted by the pandemic. 
"The program was created in response to the impact COVID 19 and the state mandate closures is having on small businesses in Newport," said Newport Assistant City Manager Larisa Sims. “It is intended to assist restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness centers.” 
Orangetheory Fitness. Located at Newport Pavilion. 

The City is also working with local restaurants on options to expand outdoor dining. Restaurants interested in doing so should contact Bev Holiday at, for more information.  

The funds from this assistance program may be used to cover the cost of tent rental or other necessary items related to the mandated closures.  

The financial assistance is being offered on first come, first serve basis until the funding is fully committed. More information on the program and an application can be found on the city's website.  
Businesses can begin applying Nov. 30. The application period will close Jan. 4.  
Eligibility requirements include: 

Sweet Tooth Candy Acquired by Pompilio's Ownership Group

Sweet Tooth Candy & Ice Cream has announced that it has been acquired by another Newport restaurant stalwart. 

In a Facebook post, Sweet Tooth Candy & Ice Cream announced that is now owned by Joe Bristow and Larry Geiger, operators of Pompilio's Italian Restaurant.

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"If you have been a Sweet Tooth customer for a while, and many of you have, you may have heard that Bob and Norma Schneider were considering selling the business. We are very excited to announce that Joe Bristow and Larry Geiger, owners of Pompilios Italian Restaurant, have been working with Bob and Norma to purchase Sweet Tooth. You may notice updates to the Sweet Tooth logo and a fresh coat of paint at the store but we are happy to announce that Bob will still be making all of the delicious candy and ice cream that you know and love."

Sweet Tooth's former owners, Bob and Norma Schneider - not to be confused with Schneider's Sweet Shop in Bellevue - had previously announced that they were "working toward retirement." 

The shop, located on 11th Street in Newport, has been open since 1972.

The new owners will keep the popular candy and ice cream recipes that their fans are used to.

KYTC District 6 Snowfighters to Report for First Winter Event

FTM file.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 6 snow and ice removal crews will report to duty this afternoon at 3 p.m. for the first winter weather event for the Northern Kentucky area. 

KYTC has been monitoring this first threat of precipitation.  Some counties have been spot treating areas as needed. The National Weather Service advises rain and snow mix is expected to change over to snow this afternoon and continue overnight with a possible accumulation of 1-2 inches.  

D 6 Snowfighters will mobilize ahead of the evening rush hour to treat state roads and interstates.   Crews will especially focus on bridges, overpasses and higher elevated roadways that would be more prone to freezing.  Dropping temperatures during the overnight hours may create the potential for slick spots on the Tuesday morning commute. 

Motorists should plan their morning commute by leaving early to allow more time to reach their destination or later to allow the conditions to improve. If you are able, stay and work from home.   If you must travel, motorists should simply remember – When it snows, take it slow.

District 6 starts out with 31,350 tons of salt each winter season stored in the domes located at the state maintenance facilities.  There are 135 trucks available to treat state highways and interstates. 

Maintenance crews in KYTC District 6 have responsibility for clearing over 2,000 miles of state-maintained highways in the counties of Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Kenton, Owen, Pendleton and Robertson. That equates to 4,670   “lane miles” – all driving lanes from rural state roads to interstate highways.  District 6 state maintenance crews are prepared to work to keep roads in the best possible condition during winter weather.

In the Northern Kentucky counties of Boone, Kenton and Campbell, District 6 is responsible for 1,868 lane miles of roadway. Crews have stockpiled 16,500 tons of salt and over 26,000 gallons of brine for de-icing in the three counties. Seventy-five trucks are available for snow and ice removal – With the current Brent Spence Bridge closure, two trucks  will concentrate on the six-mile section of I-75 between Buttermilk Pike and the Brent Spence Bridge that includes the “Cut in the Hill.”

When snowstorms hit, crews in affected counties are assigned 12-hour shifts to plow and treat state roadways on a priority basis – part of the Transportation Cabinet’s mission to keep traffic moving in a safe manner with an emphasis on maintaining mobility along critical corridors.

Priority A routes include critical state routes and those most heavily traveled such as interstates and main roads between counties or to hospitals, which receive the highest priority for snow-clearing efforts. Priority B and C routes include other important but lesser-traveled state routes.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has a webpage just for snow and ice information. The public can visit to learn more about priority routes, access helpful winter weather tips and fact sheets and view informational videos on salt application and snow removal.

In addition, the public can monitor winter operations in real time on the state’s interactive traffic system – – to find out what’s happening on state routes in their local counties.

Every snowstorm is different and presents unique challenges, such as air temperature, pavement temperature, timing of snowfall and ice. Last winter season, 2019 – 2020, District 6 crews used 9,900 tons of salt and 1,175 gallons of liquid chloride.  No brine was needed for snow and ice events. In all, District 6 spent $3.4 million on equipment, materials and labor.

You are an important part!  Safe travel begins with YOU!

Be prepared:

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Highlands Gives Valiant Effort in Playoff Loss at Covington Catholic

Colonels Score 28 Straight to Pull Away in Second Half

Twitter Photo. The Highlands Bluebirds football team lost 38-21 at Covington Catholic in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs Friday.

Editor Note: There will be no video highlights for this game.

The scoreless skid at Wooten Field stopped Friday. But unfortunately for the Highlands Bluebirds football team (5-6 overall), the losing streak against the defending Class 5A state champion Covington Catholic Colonels (9-1) did not.

Highlands took its first lead over the Colonels in two years at 14-10 with 7:26 left in the third quarter. Sophomore quarterback Charlie Noon scored from 14 yards out and sophomore kicker Davis Burleigh booted the second of three extra-point attempts.

"That was definitely a good feeling,"
said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "We worked hard to put ourselves in that position. It was a great play by Charlie on fourth down."

But Covington Catholic responded scoring the game's next 28 points behind the legs of three-year senior starting quarterback Caleb Jacob on the way to a 38-21 victory in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs. Jacob scored all five CovCath touchdowns rushing for 95 yards on 16 carries for an average of just under six yards per carry. Junior running back Brayden Collins rushed for 80 yards on 10 carries averaging eight yards per touch for CovCath.

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"There was no wearing down. (CovCath) found a groove offensively,"
Weinrich said. "We could never win field position. Their kickoff team did a good job when they did score putting it down in the end zone, putting us on the 20 and made it difficult to drive the field every time."

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Federal Judge: Gov. Beshear cannot stop in-person classes at private religious schools

Newport Central Catholic, FTM file. 

A federal judge has struck down a portion of Governor Andy Beshear's executive order requiring private as well as public schools to halt in-person classes until December 7 for elementary schools and January 4 for middle and high schools. 

U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove said in a 22-page order that he was granting a preliminary injunction to 17 private Christian schools that had filed a lawsuit against Beshear’s emergency restriction. He said his order would apply statewide.

The order does still remain in place for public schools.

"There is ample scientific evidence that COVID-19 is exceptionally contagious," the judge wrote in his opinion. "But evidence that the risk of contagion is heightened in a religious setting any more than a secular setting, or in K-12 schools as opposed to preschools, universities or colleges is lacking.”

“If social distancing is good enough for offices, colleges, and universities within the Commonwealth, it is good enough for religious private K-12 schools that benefit from constitutional protection," Van Tatenhove wrote. "Ultimately, the First Amendment protects the right of religious institutions ‘to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.”

He went on to write that the Governor, nor Commissioner for Public Health, Dr. Steven Stack haven't made an adequate case to close in-person schools. 

“(They) have not adequately explained why K-12 schools must close” while preschools, universities and colleges remain open as long as certain precautions are taken."

Beshear’s order also seems to run counter to CDC recommendations, said the order, noting that CDC Director, Robert Redfield, recently said that school is one of the safest places for children.

"The truth is, for kids (Kindergarten) through 12, one of the safest places they can be, from our perspective, is to remain in school," Redfield said. "And it’s really important that — following the data, making sure we don’t make emotional decisions about what to close and what not to close."

A spokesperson for Governor Beshear said that an appeal has already been filed in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

“We are disappointed but not surprised that Judge Van Tatenhove, for the second time, has refused to acknowledge the U.S. Supreme Court decision that found an action like this is both legal and constitutional,” said Crystal Staley, spokeswoman for Gov. Beshear. "Let’s be clear: lives are on the line and everyone must do their part to defeat the virus.”

Tatenhove was the same judge who ruled earlier this year that Beshear could not halt in-person services at houses of worship. The Kentucky Supreme Court earlier this month unanimously upheld the governor’s emergency orders.

Danville Christian Academy, a Boyle County school that serves 234 students in preschool through 12th grade, and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed the lawsuit on November 20 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. 

They plan to open in-person instruction on Monday.

Locally, no private schools have announced their plans. 

Last week, Gov. Beshear issued the school-related executive order as well as  new restrictions that apply until mid-December for restaurants, bars, gyms, offices, indoor gatherings, weddings and funerals in response to a third wave of Covid-19 cases spreading across the Commonwealth.