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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Brighton Center Hosting 12th Annual Wine Over Water Fundraiser

Wine Over Water, presented by BB&T, will move to September this year! This year’s 12th annual tasting event will take place on Saturday September 7 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Wine Over Water is an evening of tasting exquisite wines, local craft beer, and delectable foods all while raising funds to support a vital community resource – Brighton Center.

The mission of Brighton Center, Inc. is to create opportunities for individuals and families to reach self-sufficiency through family support services, education, employment, and leadership. They plan to achieve this mission by creating an environment that rewards excellence and innovation, encourages mutual respect and maximizes resources.

The 12th Annual Wine Over Water tasting event will feature exceptional wines from, Evaton SoGrape, Mezzacorona, Old 502 Winery, Stonebrook Winery, Underwood Wines and an international tasting selection along with a selection of beers from Braxton Brewing Company and Hofbrauhaus.

Food vendors include Buckhead Mountain Grill, Center Table Catering, Cincinnati Airport Marriott, City Barbeque, FIRE at RiverCenter, Jack’s Casino, and Hofbrauhaus.

NEW this year the event will also include a special Bourbon tasting thanks to DEPs Fine Wine & Spirits.

Live entertainment will be provided by The Night Owls and guests will enjoy spectacular sunset views from the bridge.

Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 if purchased at the door and includes a souvenir tasting glass, six food tickets and six drink tickets. Tickets are limited. Anyone interesting in attending is encouraged to purchase tickets early.

For more information or to order tickets please visit

Sommelier Shannon Depenbrock Hembree of DEP’s Fine Wine & Spirits is providing the VIP experience. Guests of the VIP experience will enjoy a private table for two or four all night in our VIP event area. Includes special VIP check-in, a flight of five wines, plus a ticket for a glass of your choice, volunteer food runner between 7-8, special Riedel crystal wine glass, and free parking at 601 E Pete Rose Way in Cincinnati.

VIP wines are specially selected and poured by Sommelier Shannon Depenbrock Hembree of DEPs Fine Wines & Spirits. Table for two is $250 and table for four is $500.

“Wine Over Water is a unique fundraiser that supports Brighton Center’s 41 distinct programs and services aimed at helping individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency through the individualized bundling of services. Everyone who purchases a ticket is playing a part in supporting our mission and the thousands of lives we impact throughout the region,” said Tammy Weidinger, President and CEO of Brighton Center.

Clay Frink and Family Advocate for Local Brain Injury Support Group

It has been seven years since Clay Frink was struck by a car in Fort Thomas, resulting in 78 days at Children's Hospital in recovery.

Clay has recovered and since then the Frink family has been advocating for the BRIDGES Helmet Program. BRIDGES, Inc. is a local brain injury support group that helped and supported Clay and his family throughout his recovery.

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"Wearing a helmet is the easiest way to prevent a head injury in wheeled "vehicles", and we do this in support and conjunction with the Fort Thomas Fire Department," said Clay's mother, Pam Frink.

The Frink Family set up a BRIDGES booth on the front lawn of the Fort Thomas Fire Department during the Independence Day Parade and ended up fitting 85 people, mostly children, for bike helmets. Pam stated that they gave away 116 helmets in 2015.

"This is our give back to the community that supported us through his recovery", Pam said.

BRIDGES uses corporate sponsorships and proceeds from both the Northern Kentucky Brain Injury Conference and also the Bernard Family Golf Outing to fund its Bicycle Helmet Program. The purpose of the program is to promote brain injury awareness, safety and prevention.

Op-Ed: Marketing Our Region As One

By Brent Cooper - President and CEO, NKY Chamber of Commerce

At a gathering of Kentucky business leaders last year, an economist pulled up a list of the largest cities in Kentucky.  Louisville (600,000), Lexington (308,000), Bowling Green (61,000) and Owensboro (59,000) were in the top four.  The city of Covington, Northern Kentucky’s largest city, came in at number five with 41,000.  That presentation prompted a series of serious conversations about how Northern Kentucky should present itself.  

How should we better market ourselves to Frankfort, as well as anyone looking to do business or relocate here?

To anyone that has recently moved here or any visiting tourist, Northern Kentucky looks like one big place. In my opinion, we are.

Our Northern Kentucky counties are packed with cities and people in a way that is, well, unique to the rest of the state. In fact, if we were to combine just parts of Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties, the result would be the second largest county overnight, with more than 400,000 people.

Here’s an interesting comparison.  If you’ve ever been to the Hamburg Pavilion off Man O War Boulevard in Lexington and traveled to the Bluegrass Airport, you’d find it’s about 15 miles in distance. In that scenario, you travel through one city, one county, and one 911 system to get to your destination.

Here in Northern Kentucky, if you were to travel from Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights to our airport (CVG), you would only travel 14 miles.  But here, you cross through six cities, three counties, and three different 911 systems. I’ve driven this route for years, and I honestly had to look it up on a map because I wasn’t sure how many cities you drive through.

There are 120 counties in Kentucky, and most of them have one main city or town.  In our neck of the woods, we are 37 cities in the three northernmost counties alone and 20 of those cities are amongst the top 100 largest cities in Kentucky.

Looking at Northern Kentucky cities by population, the top five are Covington (41,000), Florence (32,000), Independence (28,000), Erlanger (19,000), and Fort Thomas (16,000). Newport (15,000) comes in at sixth largest.

By themselves, each Northern Kentucky city is 10 percent or less of our overall population.  And while each one is critically important to the whole, none of them are an island standing alone. In my opinion, one of the greatest features of each of our cities is that they are in close proximity to the others. 

Fort Thomas is minutes from Newport on the Levee and MainStrasse in Covington. Fort Wright is minutes from shopping in Florence and Crestview Hills. And all of them are minutes from CVG and all the amenities of Greater Cincinnati.

We are a collection of small towns linked as one larger community. We are part of the Greater Cincinnati experience, that is a key component of who we are.  Here, you get the best of both worlds. And part of our story is that, together, we are one of the three largest metro areas in the state of Kentucky.

Fifty years ago, our Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce was founded by a group of leaders who clearly recognized we are stronger together. While we have certainly accomplished a great deal in that 50 years, much remains to be done. As we consider the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead in a global economy, it is important to remember that what was true all those years ago is still true today. 

Fort Thomas Home Walking Tour: Part V

By Vanessa Fisse

Fort Thomas Matters continued its Home Walking Tour on July 16, 2019.

The city of 16,500 that sits on a ridge overlooking the Ohio River is home to a myriad of different home styles from cozy cape cods to million dollar mansions.

This home walking tour is a little different because we decided to showcase the homes located in Tower Park: Pearson and Greene, as well as Alexander Circle. The developers of Alexander Circle, Bloomfield/Schon, are hard at work to rehab these historic homes.

RELATED: Part I --- Part II --- Part III --- Part IV
We're positive these houses are on their way to looking their absolute best. We will check back in to update everyone on the progress when they are closer to completion.

To view as a slide show, click the first image below: 

Call Ashley Barlow. 859-781-5777. This is an advertisement. 

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The view from Alexander Circle

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

US-27 lane shifts and road closures start tomorrow

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has an update for the US-27 (Alexandria Pike)/ I-471 Interchange. A pavement rehabilitation project is in progress on the US 27/I-471 interchange in near the Fort Thomas Plaza.

Tomorrow, July 17, there will be a traffic shift from the current configuration (all traffic on Southbound side), to the Northbound lanes. One lane will be used for Northbound travel, one lane will be a center turn lane, and one lane for Southbound travel.

This will start at 6 a.m. and should be in place by 8 p.m.  

There will also be a closure on KY 1632 (Moock Road) at US 27. Message boards will be in place to notify the public of the closures once dates are confirmed.

Ruth A. Eger Leaders of Distinction Award Recipients Announced

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Leadership Northern Kentucky program, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (NKY Chamber) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Ruth A. Eger Leaders of Distinction Award:

Karen Cheser – Superintendent - Fort Thomas Independent Schools
Dave Schroeder – Executive Director – Kenton County Public Library
Jude Hehman – CEO – Furlong Building, Mayor - City of Fort Mitchell
Dr. Raymond Hebert – Professor – Thomas More University

Named Best Yoga Studio in Kentucky by "Best Things Kentucky"

RELATED: See the 40th Class of Leadership Northern Kentucky 

Nominated by fellow Leadership Northern Kentucky alumni, award recipients are individuals who have made notable contributions towards the advancement of the Northern Kentucky community since participating in the Leadership Northern Kentucky program. Past award recipients have included:

Gary Bricking
Ted Bushelman
Helen Carroll
Carri Chandler
Kathy Collins
Brent Cooper
Robert Coughlin
Jeff Eger
Ruth Eger
Bob Elliston
Lee Flischel
Donald Fritz
Chris Goddard
Mike Hammons
Paul Hemmer
Robert Hoffer
Molly Navin
Thomas Prewitt
Lisa Raterman
Rick Robinson
Dale Silver
Rhonda Whitaker

“We are excited to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Leadership NKY by honoring our Leaders of Distinction,” said Dawn Denham, Executive Director of Leadership Northern Kentucky. “With over 1,300 alumni, selecting recipients of this award is not an easy task. The four alumni chosen this year are leaders who have made a significant impact in our region. They are champions for Leadership NKY and our mission.”

The Ruth A. Eger Leaders of Distinction Awards will be presented on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019 in conjunction with the Leadership Northern Kentucky 40th Anniversary Alumni Luncheon. Hosted the at The Madison in Covington (700 Madison Ave., Covington, KY 41011), from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the alumni-only event will celebrate the recipients of the Ruth A. Eger Leaders of Distinction Awards as well as welcome the new Leadership Northern Kentucky class.

City Passes Development Agreement for Central Business District Project

Fort Thomas residents gather to learn more about the Central Business District project Development Agreement.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

At the July council meeting, city officials passed a Development Agreement between the city and developers of the recently proposed development along North Fort Thomas Avenue in the Central Business District.

The council vote was even, three to three, so Mayor Eric Haas cast his vote in favor of the agreement to break the tie.

Before the vote, council went into Executive Session to discuss the agreement in detail citing Kentucky state law that allows for closed sessions in matters that concern discussions between a public agency and a business entity on a specific proposal if details could impact the business.

Details of the agreement were not shared with the public before the closed session, but were shared in the public meeting just prior to the vote.

The agreement outlines commitments for the developer and the city

The agreement covers the scope and parameters of the project, financing details and outlines the commitments and responsibilities of the city and the developer as well as how any future disputes might be handled. The developer also agreed to requests for screening, landscaping and other issues of concern to neighbors on Woodland Place that were outlined in the most recent proposal.

The project is valued at $20 million, will cover 1.5 acres and will be mixed use, as laid out in the proposals shared with the Planning Commission and Design Review Board earlier this year.

As the project proceeds, plans will be presented to those to bodies, especially the Design Review Board that oversees many of the construction details.

All council members and the mayor expressed favorable opinions of the developers involved, known in the agreement as NAP Fort Thomas LLC. The group includes Greiwe Development, North American Properties, Sibcy Cline and M + A Architects.

The developers plan for most funding to come through an Industrial Revenue Bond or IRB. These bonds are attractive to developers because they offer a lower interest rate and a long-term, fixed-rate financing package. The bonds are not tax exempt.

The bonds are sponsored by a public entity (in this case the city of Fort Thomas), but the bonds are used by a private business (the developer) to secure financing for the construction and other aspects of project development. The developer is totally responsible for repayment of the loan. The city would not be held fiscally responsible. This is the same tool that was used for financing of the Alexandria Circle project.

Council split over city financial commitments

Yet, disagreement concerned the city’s additional fiduciary commitments to the project. At issue for some of the council members was a part of the agreement that involved the city’s purchase of .8 acres of the property for a public parking lot for $1.6 million. This amount would be paid to the developer by December 31, 2019.

Council members Adam Blau, David Cameron and Mark Collier each expressed support for the project overall, but they voted against the agreement due to the use of taxpayer monies to purchase the parking area as a public parking lot.

"I believe this development will be a key part of the city. I think we are fortunate to have North American Properties and Rick [Greiwe] behind the development. However, personally, I am uncomfortable with some of the commitments from the city so for that reason I’m voting no tonight. I do hope it is successful in the future and as of tonight I will be supportive of the property in the future," said Cameron.

"When I’m looking at this issue, I’m looking at what the purpose of this process has been. When the city did the comprehensive plan update, redevelopment of the CBD was something that was prioritized. We have the best partners you could ever ask for in Rick Greiwe and North American Properties. The goal of getting this to a point where it creates something that can synergize other parts of the city is one that we should all embrace," explained Collier.

"But the bottom line is that even with the best partners available we can’t get to that point without subsidizing this...the sticking point for me has always been cutting a check even with the assumption that it will come back to us in the future. I just think that as fiduciaries for the city and taxpayers we can’t take a risk like this...I just can’t feel comfortable doing that right now. I am going to be supportive of this project, too, and I hope it’s going to go well, but tonight I am going to vote no," he said.

Roger Peterman, who voted in favor of the agreement, said "This happens to be the type of work I do professionally...putting together projects like this. We do need to respond to citizen input on the Central Business District, and there are other areas such as the US 27 corridor, one that I think we need to focus on."

He noted that the project has a top quality developer and that it is particularly exciting that North American Properties is a part since it is involved in projects and sees the potential throughout Northern Kentucky and downtown Cincinnati.

"Thinking of this as subsidizing this project is not the lens I would view this through," he added. "We are meeting our fiduciary responsibility to this city. This project is going to generate new revenue. No question about this. The problem is the new revenue we are going to get we will not get in the first year."

He likened the process to that of purchasing a house. Buyers usually don’t have all the money up front and must pay over time for the value of the home. He said the city is providing money upfront but would get the money back over time through revenue generated by the project itself.

Highlights of the Development Agreement

Here are a few highlights of the agreement:

Orangetheory Fitness, Newport Pavilion. 

General agreements:

  • The Developer agrees to build a mixed-use residential and commercial condominium property valued at approximately $20 million on the designated five parcels of property (1.75 acres).
  • The Developer agrees the site will be prepared and ready for construction to begin October 2019 with the understanding that the city will provide financial enhancements and public improvements as outlined in the agreement.
  • The Developer agrees to proceed on the project as presented to the Planning Commission and Design Review Board in phase one (approved in May 2019).
  • The Developer agrees to construct at least 18 condominiums with two parking spaces per unit plus visitor parking in an underground garage and will make reasonable efforts to secure tenants for the commercial mixed-use building, including a sit-down restaurant.
  • The Developer agrees to the timeline. Construction would start in October 2019 with a target completion by the second quarter of 2021.
  • The City agrees to install curbs, asphalt and light fixtures according to site plan specifications prior to the completion date of second quarter 2021.
  • The City agrees to provide post construction streetscape along North Fort Thomas Avenue, Highland Avenue and Woodland Place according to city guidelines for curbs, sidewalks, pavers and trees up to the property line of the development.

Operational agreements

  • The City agrees to sidewalk and parking lane closure on Fort Thomas Avenue during construction and to allow the Developer to erect a construction fence on Fort Thomas Avenue to run the length of the property. The fence will enclose the entire construction area from about September 2019 to May 2021 or as needed for the construction schedule.
  • The City agrees to allow the Developer to also erect a construction fence along Highland Avenue and a specified section of Woodland Place for the safety of pedestrians. The city also agrees to a temporary closure of sidewalks on Highland Avenue and Woodland Place but parking will be maintained in these locations. The City may provide crossing guards as needed.
  • Construction workers will be allowed to park in a city-owned parking lot at no charge. 
  • The City agrees to assist the Developer with maintenance of traffic around the development during critical construction dates. The Developer will give the City 48 hours notice in advance of the dates.
  • The Developer agrees to perform an environmental remediation and clean up of the site and buildings in preparation of construction using Kentucky EPA approved procedures.
  • The Developer agrees to construct a new storm water detention system that conforms with SD1 requirements.
  • The Developer agrees to upgrade or replace utilities (electrical, water, sewer) on the site.
  • The Developer will secure the property with erosion control devices to contain run off in keeping with SD1 regulations and to provide regular cleaning of the site and of adjacent streets during construction.
  • The Developer agrees to limit hours of construction from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and, if needed to maintain schedule, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. No work will commence on official holidays. An exception may be made for impending inclement weather (such as for 18-hour concrete pours).
  • The Developer agrees not to schedule deliveries of materials to the site during certain high traffic school hours, whenever possible. Deliveries will be avoided between 7:30 and 8 a.m. and between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.
  • The Developer also agrees to maintain site safety with fenced areas and primarily will use one access drive off North Fort Thomas Avenue. Access from other points will be limited to physical needs to move materials or have access to parts of the building.

Woodland Place/Adjacent neighborhood commitments

  • The Developer will construct the revised garage plan that will include two nine-foot entry and exit garage doors and a bump out to hide the doors subject to approvals by the City commissions.
  • The Developer will provide no less than four visitor parking spots in the garage.
  • The Developer will screen the development utility boxes within code limitations.
  • The Developer agrees to use North Fort Thomas as it's primary location for construction activities and will restrict construction traffic on Woodland Place. The Developer also agreed to notify the neighborhood 48 hours in advance if access to Woodland is needed for construction.
  • The Developer agrees that the address for the development will be on North Fort Thomas Avenue.
  • The Developer agrees to limit light pollution using regulations provided by the city zoning ordinance and Design Review Board specifications for parking lot lighting. The Developer also agrees to build a berm and landscaping along the parking lot.
  • The Developer agrees to limit trash pick up to between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. and will select a trash removal company whose trucks can exit Woodland Place without impacting street parking.
  • The Developer agrees to install and maintain landscaping in the area previously occupied by a parking lot and in accordance with the neighborhood.
  • The Developer agrees to submit details of the Woodland Place curb cut to the City and Design Review Board to review for pedestrian safety issues.
  • The City agrees to participate in the cost of removing a utility pole and boxes on the corner of Highland and Woodland to improve visibility for pedestrians and vehicles exiting the garage.

Bonding issues

  • The City agrees to issue industrial revenue bonds (IRBs) pursuant to the provisions of KRS Chapter 103, as financing for the development for a bond term of 30 years. This will be subject to the approval of a "Pilot Agreement" that will be worked out at a later date. (A pilot agreement is a payment in lieu of taxes that is made to public schools or other entities reliant on property taxes).
  • The City and Developer agree the City will have no obligation to pay the bonds and that any obligation falls to the Developer. At the closing of the bonds, the title to the property will then go to the City. At that point the City will lease back the property to the Developer.

Public parking and other financial agreements

  • The Developer agrees to prepare the site for the public parking lot including drainage, electrical access to meet city requirements. The lot will be landscaped by the Developer according to the plan specifications.
  • The Developer agrees to cause the Condominium Association to be responsible for the maintenance of the parking lot with regard to snow and leaf removal, litter removal, light bulb replacement and other day-to-day issues.
  • In exchange, the City agrees to purchase the public parking lot, approximately .8 acres on the site subject to perpetual easement for a below ground detention vault below the parking lot. 
  • The City agrees to pay $1.6 million to the Developer for the public parking lot by December 31, 2019.
  • The City must notify the Developer within a reasonable time if it is determined the Developer is not satisfying the requirement to secure commercial tenants as outlined. If the Developer has satisfied those requirements (or if it has not but the City failed to notify the Developer), and construction of the commercial building has not commenced as of January 31, 2021, the City will have the right and obligation to purchase the site of the commercial building from the Developer for $825,000.

A copy of the entire agreement has been made public and will be available by request from the city. Next steps in the project will be a continuation of the IRB process and more plan details will be presented to the Design Review Board and the city as they unfold.  
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Monday, July 15, 2019

Bengals veteran announces retirement

Cincinnati Bengals guard and Fort Thomas resident, Clint Boling, has announced his retirement from the NFL after eight seasons in Cincinnati.

Boling joined the team in 2011 as a fourth-round draft selection (101 overall) out of the University of Georgia.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. Located at 90 Alexandria Pike, Fort Thomas. 
He went on to serve as the team’s No. 1 LG from 2012-18, and appeared in 114 career games (including playoffs) with 112 starts.

“After eight years in the NFL, it is time for me to step away from the game due to medical reasons,” said Boling.

The exact medical reason remains unclear. He has been sidelined all summer with an undisclosed injury.

“This is not an easy decision, but it is the right one for me, my wife Kelly and our two young girls. I want to thank the Brown family for giving me the opportunity to play my entire career with the Bengals. I also want to thank my teammates, coaches, fans and everyone who has supported me throughout my career," Boling added.

Cris Collinsworth, ProScan Make Bengals Only Franchise with In-Stadium MRI

The Pink Team: Beth Otto, Carol O'Brien, Lynnette Wyler, Meggan Sulfsted, Ashley Collinsworth, Calysta Bevier, Ellen Knue, Nancy Fehr, Tom Hiltz, Francie Hiltz, Cris Collinsworth, Holly Collinsworth, Dr. Stephen Pomeranz, Karen Cassidy, Penny Pomeranz, Lori Daniels, Maggie Fennell, Maria Konerman.
The Cincinnati Bengals have a luxury no other NFL team does. ProScan Imaging has a location in Paul Brown Stadium, and it is the only MRI in an NFL stadium in the country.

With ProScan Imaging technology in place at Paul Brown Stadium, an injured player can quickly determine confirmation of an injury or whether they can re-enter a game. Typically, athletes that are injured have to wait until the day after to receive an MRI.

"It's awesome," Bengals guard Christian Westerman said. "It's so convenient."

14 N. Fort Thomas Ave. 
"Somebody walks off the field, and they are in the MRI scanner in as little as five minutes," said the CEO/founder of ProScan Imaging, Dr. Stephen Pomeranz. Dr. Pomeranz runs the facility at the stadium. "You're talking: saving between as little as six, but usually on the average, 12 to 24 hours of diagnostic time."

Pomeranz has been affiliated with the Brown family since 1985 and runs the 30 ProScan centers nationwide. He initially reached out to the Bengals, and Cris Collinsworth — who helps run the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund to combat breast cancer — served as a conduit as a well. Cris Collinsworth is one of the driving forces on making ProScan Imaging in Paul Brown stadium happen.

The Bengals became the first professional team to have an MRI in their stadium after a nine-month process. The ProScan Imaging MRI is unique because it floats atop inflatable air bags since it is a magnet that could move when football fans roar and jump around during games.

"It's a technical achievement," Pomeranz said. "It's novel, valuable, pragmatic."

Pomeranz and Collinsworth met in person with the Houston Texans and spoke to Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, about their teams having a ProScan Imaging MRI facility in the stadium, but nothing was pursued. Teams have X-ray machines at their stadium, and according to Pomeranz, a couple of teams have MRIs at their training facility.

Even though it would be ideal for every NFL stadium to have an MRI facility, there are a few obstacles involving the engineering, cost, and space. Just to place the MRI into Paul Brown stadium was an accomplishment in itself. The machine weighs more than 100,000 pounds, so to get it into the stadium they had to move it on wheels via a railroad track.

"There were a lot of challenges to get in there." Pomeranz said.

Stadiums are often cramped with other amenities that cater to fans. Therefore, some stadiums simply do not have the room for an MRI machine at that size.

Lastly, and possibly the most prominent reason why most NFL stadiums do not have an MRI facility is that MRIs are extremely costly. It costs about $750,000 per year. Those costs include service, finance payments, and personnel.

Serving Kentucky since 1963. 
It may surprise some that the Bengals franchise welcomed this cutting edge technology since they are not known for lavishly spending on free agents. Pomeranz, however, said owner Mike Brown and his family are misrepresented.

"It's a family-owned business," said Pomeranz. "We're in a small-market community. They're very thoughtful people, and this is one demonstration."

The MRI facility is open to the public Monday through Saturday. However, it is closed to the public on game days, and time slots during training camp are held exclusively for the Bengals players.

"They are our Number one priority at that location," said ProScan's senior director of imaging operations and sales, Jaclyn Klare Schmerge.

Friday, July 12, 2019

This Newport restaurant just made a prestigious list of Best New Restaurants in America

Pictured: Fried Chicken Sandwich on a buttermilk biscuit with spicy slaw, honey & hot sauce.
Los Angeles, New York City, D.C., Boston, Houston and.... Newport? released its 2019 Best New Restaurants in America list and The Baker's Table, located at 1004 Monmouth Street (Newport, 41071) has made the list amid 15 other restaurants in some of the biggest and most metropolitan cities in the United States.

The Baker's Table, owned by David Willocks, opened in the location formerly housed Packhouse Meats and Lucy's on Monmouth in December of 2018.

RELATED: The Baker's Table to Open on Monmouth Street in Newport. 
RELATED: Lucy's on Monmouth is Closed, For Now 

Willocks is brought his Head Chef talent from the San Francisco Bay area at an Indian restaurant to northern Kentucky. The menu also has French and Italian influences.

He told Fort Thomas Matters at this opening that the theme of the restaurant is to "feed people with love".

Phone: 859-905-0714 - Email: This is an advertisement.
Willocks also provided catering services and private home party events via the Kick Start Kitchen in Covington.  He said that based on the compliments from clients, he pursued a brick and mortar building to expand his services.

The Baker's Table offers seasonal rustic cuisine. The menu will also include specialty coffees, teas, beer, wine and cocktails.

RELATED: See their menu here.

Here's what Hillary Dixler Canavan, Eater restaurant editor, said about the restaurant.

The Baker’s Table

Newport, KY

What: A homey daytime cafe from a husband-and-wife team offering rustic American dishes that capitalize on top-tier bread baking.

Why: What makes a restaurant a tourist magnet and what makes it a standby? Many travelers long to find a gem tucked away on a small-town main street — the kind of place you want to linger in and then brag about to your Instagram followers. Locals, however, may find that what they actually need is a restaurant with a well-priced menu that outshines a home kitchen and rewards return visits. When a new restaurant like the Baker’s Table hits both marks, it has the makings of an essential.

Visitors to (and from) Cincinnati should head over the Taylor Southgate Bridge to dunk fluffy ricotta doughnuts — made by chef, baker, and co-owner David Willocks — in bright strawberry-lemon curd, to carve into a fried chicken sandwich served on a textbook buttermilk biscuit, and to nurse an Amaro spritz from the bar. The cozily eclectic room, designed by co-owner Wendy Braun, invites the midday lazing that defines a vacation’s lunch. But if I lived nearby, I’d wander in for the easy comforts of a full-bodied tomato soup served alongside a grilled cheese on Willocks’s glorious sourdough, a kale Caesar studded with brioche croutons, and a chewy, salted chocolate chip cookie. Even a regular might feel like they’re on holiday — as long as there are still a few bites left on the table.

This Moeller soccer team tribute to Jared Lorenzen will give you chills

Earlier this, Moeller Head Soccer Coach Mike Welker buried one of his best friends, Jared Lorenzen.

What he did next will bring you to your knees as he vows to keep Jared’s memory alive forever.

Welker and Lorenzen were business partners at Throwboy Tees. The company pledged 100% of all proceeds for sales in July will go to a fund for Lorenzen's children. To date, they have raised over $50,000.

Welker and Moeller sporting Highlands #22 Lorenzen jerseys. 

To purchase a shirt, go here.

Jared Lorenzen Tribute Courtesy of Archbishop Moeller Soccer from Archbishop Moeller Alumni on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Newport on the Levee to Demolish Mitchell's Fish Market

Removing original Newport on the Levee brick and mortar to help with remake of property

The new owner's of Newport on the Levee promised to refresh and renew the mall after purchasing it for an undisclosed amount in December of 2018.

North American Properties has begun making good on that promise with the announcement today that the building that housed Mitchell's Fish Market, a tenant at the Levee since 2001, would be torn down to make way for a new tenant. What that tenant or tenants is isn't quite clear, but based on drawings by Reztark Design Studio, it will have some open air patio space and be built with two floors.
Hassman and Doyle Lawfirm. 859-655-4430. This is an advertisement.

Mitchell's permanently closed on January 1, 2019.

North American Properties said it will spend $100 million,to upgrade the mall and add a new mix of food, retail and entertainment destinations, but no new tenants have been announced yet.

Over the next year and a half, Cincinnati-based North American plans to re-configure the mall's physical footprint to better take advantage of the panoramic views of the river and Downtown.

Remembering Jared Lorenzen in his most important role: dad

Jared Lorenzen with kids, Taylar and Tayden. Kentucky Sports Radio, Dr. Michael Huang. 

By G. Michael Graham 

Since his passing eight days ago, a lot has understandably been written about Jared Lorenzen's athletic achievements, most notably on the football field.

The 1999 Highlands graduate set high standards during his days at Highlands and the University of Kentucky. I never saw him play at Highlands. But in 2001, I became the Sports Editor at the Commonwealth Journal in Somerset, Kentucky and saw him play a number of times as a redshirt sophomore and junior at UK.

My fondest memory came in the 2002 season opener in Louisville in the Governor's Cup. The Louisville Cardinals led by quarterback Dave Ragone had high hopes of crushing the Bowl Championship Series that year. But Lorenzen and company crashed the Louisville party instead winning 22-17.

That team finished 7-5 making something out of a season when the Wildcats were not bowl eligible. The Wildcats could have had a better record had they finished some of the games such as the last-second "Miracle in the Bluegrass" loss to Louisiana State, 33-30.

But since I moved to Northern Kentucky in August, 2012, I had the pleasure of getting to know Lorenzen in another big role as a parent. Lorenzen always came to see his daughter Taylar, who will be a senior this fall, play softball. She was an eighth grader the last time Highlands won the region championship in 2016.

Jared Lorenzen and his family have had plenty to cheer about watching Taylar and the Highlands softball team in recent years. The program owns two 9th Region championships and has won the 36th District championship the previous two years.

As a sophomore in the 36th District championship win over Dayton in 2018, Taylar Lorenzen fell one hit shy of hitting for the cycle going 3-for-3 with a three-run home run, single, double and two runs scored. The Bluebirds needed every single hit in the 10-7 win that saw Dayton score five runs in the top of the seventh to make it interesting. Taylar earned the 36th District All-Tournament Most Valuable Player award that season.

I'm sure Jared let out a huge cheer when Taylar hit the go-ahead solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to put Highlands up 3-2 on Dixie Heights in the 9th Region semifinals at Beechwood just six weeks ago Wednesday. Taylar went 1-for-2 in that game. She finished with five doubles on the season.

Unfortunately for the Bluebirds, Dixie Heights rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to record a 4-3 win. The Lady Colonels ended up winning the region.

I walked out to the parking lot after the game and saw Jared. We talked about the importance of not letting other peoples' misgivings become ours in what would be our last conversation.

When my wife called me on July 3 to tell me Jared passed, I could not help but think of his kids Taylar and Tayden. They didn't deserve to lose their dad at such young ages.

My wife lost her dad when she was 21. Not a day passes when I don't wonder what it would have been like to meet the man who would have been my father-in-law.

Taylar saw how much her dad loved athletics at a young age and has developed her own internal love for softball. One thing Jared told me is he would never push his kids to put time into something they don't love such as athletics. Unfortunately, some people lose sight of that in today's world.

We're still a few years away from seeing if Tayden will make any marks at Highlands athletically. But videos over the years showed the two of them throwing mini footballs around so you never know.

After letting out some more tears at Jared's visitation on Wednesday, I met his immediate family including the parents. I told them I'm there for them.

But the time at St. Pius Catholic Church did end on a positive note. I saw Taylar and she talked about the day being a happy day and not a sad one. That speaks volumes for someone who just lost her father.

She's right. From what I knew about Jared, he would not want everyone sad forever. He'd want us to move on and become lights to others in such a dark world. He was definitely that.

Jared Lorenzen was one of the nicest men I've ever met. For that, his life in all facets deserves to be celebrated.....


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Details for Kentucky Sports Radio Jared Lorenzen Tribute Show at Highlands High School

Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio is hosting a live radio tribute show on Thursday, July 11 to honor Highlands alum (1999), Jared Lorenzen. The former Bluebird, University of Kentucky Wildcat and Super Bowl Champion died at the age of 38 last week.

Lorenzen was a friend of Jones and co-hosts, Ryan Lemond and Drew Franklin and was a repeat guest and co-host of the show.

“We wanted to do something to honor our good friend, Jared, and there was no better place to do a tribute show for him than at his alma mater, Highlands, in Fort Thomas,” said Lemond.

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The event will be held at Highlands High School on the balcony overlooking David A. Cecil Memorial Stadium. The event is open to the public, however seating is limited. The show starts at 10:00 a.m. and runs to noon. The public can enter the school via the main entrance starting at 9:30 a.m. Overflow seating will be available in the cafeteria adjacent to the balcony.

You can also video stream the show on Fort Thomas Independent Schools Facebook page and on radio at or on the iHeart Radio app, search “WLAP”.

“We’re happy to host Kentucky Sports Radio at Highlands for their Jared Lorenzen tribute show,” said Dr. Karen Cheser, Superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools. “It’s going to be a great opportunity to hear from friends all across the state and nation about what Jared meant to everyone. For our school and community, that’s especially important. He left an indelible mark in the fabric of our school system.”

Athletic Director, Kevin Nieporte, agreed and said he was excited to invite the public to view the show in person, which overlooks one of the most picturesque football fields in the tai-state.

“I have fielded calls from everywhere in the state about KSR’s tribute show for Jared tomorrow," said Nieporte. "It’s clear the positive impact he’s had on everyone. We’ll always remember Jared and we’ll always remember KSR for allowing the opportunity to remember the good times we all shared with him.”

Guests on the show will include some of his teammates, coaches and friends.