Saturday, September 23, 2017

WATCH: Highlights from Highlands-Simon Kenton Game Heart Breaker

Pioneers Score Game-Winning TD with 14 Seconds Left to Edge Bluebirds

Head Coach Brian Weinrich and staff challenged more play-makers to step forward, especially with the game on the line.

The Bluebirds (2-4 overall) had a lot more of them do that in order to give Highlands a good chance to win the tough battle in Independence against the undefeated Simon Kenton Pioneers on Friday. But once again, they did not step forward in the final minutes and the Pioneers edged the Bluebirds, 35-30 in non-region action scoring the game-winning touchdown with 14 seconds left. Highlands has lost four in a row for the third straight season.

"We have to make plays. It's that simple," Weinrich said. "We had the game. It shouldn't have been close. We know and our guys know. It doesn't matter. They made the plays and we didn't make the plays. You can't win games if you don't make plays."

Need a new website for your business? Call 859-628-2481. This is an advertisement.
Simon Kenton senior quarterback Matt Shearer ran in the game-winner from eight yards out to lift the Pioneers to the victory and Christian Seger made the extra-point. The Pioneers recovered an onside kick to set up the drive after Shearer hit senior wide receiver Fisher Hayden for a 16-yard touchdown with 1:28 left in the game.

Highlands gave itself a chance by not turning the ball over for the second straight game while recording three takeaways. Junior linebacker Alex Starkey and junior cornerback Bailey Armstrong recovered Pioneer fumbles and junior defensive lineman Ben Sisson had a number of tackles in the backfield and intercepted a Shearer pass after jumping up in the air, redirecting the path up and into his arms before running 11 yards for a touchdown to put Highlands up 17-7 with 2:02 left in the second quarter.

"(The Highlands defense) played well. We were out there a lot," Weinrich said. "We had a chance to put them away and we didn't do it."

On the offensive side, Highlands ran the ball better than it has in recent games. The Bluebirds had 382 yards on 83 plays for an average of just more than 4.6 per play and 21 first down. Highlands had 221 yards rushing total with nice protection from the offensive line. Senior Larry Wilson broke out to rush for 171 yards on 18 carries and including a 52-yard scamper for an average of 9.5 per touch.

Highlands quarterback Carl Schoellman completed 16-of-27 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Griffin Huber had three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown and senior Nick Veneman had four receptions for 34 yards and touchdown. Wilson and senior Jared Wogan added three catches each.

The Bluebirds did better converting on third and fourth down this week. They converted 7-of-19 on third down for 37 percent and 2-of-3 on fourth down for 67 percent. Simon Kenton converted 4-of-11 for 36 percent and neither fourth-down try.

"Anytime you lose, it's frustrating," said Zach Deaton, Highlands Offensive Coordinator. "You didn't make the plays you need to make in order to win. That's what happened whether it's in a couple minutes or over the course of the game. We have to get better at not making those mistakes."

This is an advertisement. 
On the other side, Simon Kenton ran 74 plays for 461 yards for an average of about 6.2 per play. The balanced Pioneers had 225 yards rushing and 236 passing. Shearer completed 15-of-29 passes for that yardage to go with three touchdowns and an interception and rushed for 110 yards on 17 carries and two touchdown for an average of 6.5 per touch. Senior Sam Murray added 105 yards on 14 carries for an average of 7.5 per touch and three catches for 48 yards. Hayden had seven catches for 136 yards and three touchdowns. The Pioneers had most of their passing success on short and medium routes after that point.

"I think that says a lot for the kind of teammates we are and the love we have for each other," said Jeff Marksberry, Simon Kenton Head Coach. "That's kind of what we've tried to build within our team. I could see it on film. I could see (Highlands) getting better. I could see the confidence they were gaining and it showed (Friday). That's a game you don't want anyone to lose. We're fortunate to be on the winning end of it. We had a lot of seniors who played a lot of football for us that stepped up at the end and made some plays."

Both teams did not have the services of key running backs. Highlands junior Cooper Schwalbach was not able to play and junior Jon Sergent could not go for Simon Kenton.

Highlands received the ball first and punted after moving the ball some to swamp field position. But on the first offensive play, Hayden ran behind the Highlands secondary and ran 84 yards for a touchdown with 9:02 left in the first quarter.

But the Pioneers did not lead for long. Highlands drove down the field and Veneman broke free for a wide-open 23-yard touchdown pass from Schoellman on the right side of the end zone. Highlands junior Grady Cramer then took the snap in the swinging-gate formation and ran up the middle for a two-point conversion with 7:29 left in the first to give Highlands an 8-7 advantage.

Later in the quarter, Highlands saw junior Nick Bowman hit the first of three field goals from 26 yards away to make it 11-7 Bluebirds. The Bluebird defense played solid for several possessions, but the offense could not add to the lead.

But that's when Sisson stepped forward with his big play. But Simon Kenton responded with a touchdown drive to end the first half. Shearer found Hayden for a three-yard out route on the left side of the end zone to cut the Highlands lead to 17-14 at halftime.

"I wasn't nice to them at halftime," Marksberry said. "I just wasn't happy with our execution, wasn't happy with our performance. Even through the second half, we still continued to struggle a little bit. We were able to get some stops and we weren't able to convert a couple third downs, keep the ball and go score earlier. We made it interesting and fortunately, we had enough left in the tank to pull through and I'm really proud of them."

The Bluebirds extended the lead to 24-14 in the third quarter. Huber took a Schoellman pass and broke free for a 23-yard score and Bowman hit a 33-yard field goal with 11:51 left in the game. Highlands had a touchdown called back on a tight wide receiver hold prior to the kick.

But the Pioneers struck quickly. Shearer scored from two yards out with 10:11 left to make it 27-21 Bluebirds.

Following two defensive stops, Highlands drove the field again with a steady dose of strong runs. Bowman booted a 30-yard field goal with 3:12 left in the game before the Pioneers pulled it out.

Highlands has next week off to prepare for Class 5A, District 5 action. Dixie Heights comes to Fort Thomas on Oct. 6.

Link to Box Score:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fort Thomas Resident Gathers Help for Hurricane Maria Victims

By Courtney Reynolds 

I was eight-years-old when Hugo hit.

We had just moved to the suburbs of Villa Hills to a home our parents built years before. I have literally grown up in two places at once, so if I say St. Croix is my home, it isn’t because it is “cool” or “unique” but a place that taught me survival and family. My chosen family is in St. Croix and being there understood that you did what you needed to and you didn’t rely on “outside” folks in times of crises. Thus, Hugo was different. At the time in 1989, I can still remember saying “good night” to our father who was staying at his drug store to weather the “supposed” Category 5 hurricane.

No hurricane had hit the island like that in 100 years and everyone expected Hugo to dissipate: they were wrong.

My mother stayed awake all night with landlines down and the news only covering the more popular Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico, as it headed to Florida. For three solid days, we heard nothing from our father – nothing. My sister and I were sent to our new Catholic white suburban school as if nothing was wrong while we waited for word if our father was alive from a place our neighbors didn’t even realize was part of our country. The only reason we simply found out he was alive was through a HAM operator. For three days we watched looting, desperation, and death on the television as if it was simply entertainment for the US as they didn’t realize that the USVI was full of their fellow citizens as well.

And that brings us to the past few days. In less than a week, St. Croix weathered two category five hurricanes which is quite simply unheard of. Luckily, we have new apps and social media so we have slowly been able to check in to find out if our friends and family are alive. ALIVE. We aren’t focused on housing damage (which there is), or flooding, or looting – we are trying to find out if our friends from childhood and chosen family are simply breathing and made it through the terrifying night. Do you know what a hurricane entails? As the eye passes over you a silence beckons but tornadoes also hit. It is eerie and terrifying, and as you lose your roof and bearings, and your ears fail to pressurize, you pray to everything and nothing that you will simply make it through the night. Just two days’ shy of the 18th anniversary of Hugo, my friends did that.

As I write this I still don’t know if my best friend is alive and made it through with her three kids. And please, don’t say “why don’t they leave?” That isn’t possible in the islands. You can’t simply drive 100 miles and have the weather pass and most people also can’t afford that.

My grandfather, Dr. John Naber, talked me into moving to Fort Thomas as I went through a painful divorce in 2011 and this wonderful community took us in and I have never regretted it. Now I beg this community, whom I have tried to benefit, to help my fellow Virgin Islanders at this desperate time. Anything we can use, any man power, any funds, and donations are not too small. I am taking a flight once the donations fill up to bring supplies such as water since that is the quickest method as possible. However, after that we are filling pallets to send full of essential items, items that fellow Crucians sent to St. Thomas after they were disastrously affected by Irma. Because that is simply what you do as a Crucian and I think fellow Fort Thomians understand that as well. My grandfather certainly did and if you don’t know me, know that Dr. John Naber respected our island and home and was the biggest fan. We appreciate anything and everything you can contribute. Blessings to you and thank you for reading.

Contact information for the St. Croix Foundation:

St. Elizabeth recognized for support of Catholic education

St. Elizabeth Healthcare received the Faith, Hope and Inspiration Award from the Alliance for Catholic Urban Education (ACUE) for its long-time support of economically disadvantaged students in Northern Kentucky.

Since 2012, St. Elizabeth has donated more than $66,000 and recently pledged $250,000 total over the next five years to provide tuition assistance for students (K-8) in six urban Catholic elementary schools in Campbell and Kenton counties.

“Our vision of becoming one of the healthiest communities in America involves more than quality medical care,” said Garren Colvin, president CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “It starts with providing a healthy, safe and nurturing environment for our youth.”

More than 50 percent of ACUE students live in poverty, and most families can’t afford the cost of their children’s education. The parishes and schools in these neighborhoods provide a quality, values-based education to children regardless of their faith, ethnicity, ability or economic status. In fact, 45 percent of ACUE students are not Catholic.

“We are so grateful for partners like St. Elizabeth who are bringing a Catholic education to the children who need it most,” said Tim Rawe, general chair of the 2016-2017 ACUE Annual Appeal. “St. E’s donation will help offset the more than $2 million in aid required to support these students.”

City Council Roundup: Taxes Pass, Chicken Rule Unchanged

Law, Labor and Licensing Committee Chair David Cameron (r) reports on chicken ordinance.
(Councilmember Ken Bowman listens at left.)
by Robin Gee

City Council passed the expected property tax rate increase at its September 18 meeting. Voting four to two, council passed a 2.4 percent hike in the 2017 property tax rate for a new overall rate is .412 per $100 of property.

The new tax rate includes the compensating rate plus a four percent city revenue increase, the maximum allowed by law.
This equates to a 10-cent increase for every $1,000 in property value. For example, the average home value in the city is $216,000, so the property tax increase would be $21.60 for that property.

RELATED: Proposed Tax Rate Approved

Chicken ordinance remains unchanged

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Longtime Cold Spring restaurant closes with emphatic explanation

Gourmet Wok, one of the original tenants of County Square Plaza, off Martha Layne Collins Blvd. in Cold Spring has closed.

A sign posted on the door read, "Sorry. We quit." 

Calls to the owners of the restaurant have not been returned.

The restaurant had a 3 out of 5 star rating on Yelp and a 3.5 out of 5 star rating on Google.

Two Arrested Overnight in Fort Thomas for Burglary

Two men were arrested at around 2:30 a.m. last night after Fort Thomas Police spotted a suspicious looking car on the corner of James and Highland Avenues.

Officers Brandon Laffin and Wayne Dutle were patrolling the Fort Thomas streets in tandem, looking for potential burglars, when they saw a car idling on the street. They made a stop and found David Holt, 33 from Price Hill, in the car with stolen merchandise that included computers, iPads and stolen money.

They charged him with possession of drug paraphernalia, public intoxication (excludes alcohol) and receiving stolen property over $10,000.

Later, officers found Paul Fraley, 34 also from Price Hill, and also charged him with receiving stolen property.

Those charges are Class C felonies, which can carry 5-10 year sentences.

Fort Thomas has seen a rash of car break-ins over the last several years and according to Fort Thomas Police Lt. Rich Whitford, nearly all of them have involved vehicles that were unlocked.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Police: Car Break-Ins Now Totaling 100 (Feb. 2017)

"These two officers were specifically detailed to look for subjects who may be breaking into our citizens' cars. We have been getting hit hard in recent years," he said. "Both of these subjects admitted to breaking into cars. This was great police work by our guys."

Whitford said a search of the vehicle led to the return of items totaling approximately $12-15,000 dollars.

Michelle Chalk's Classmates Remember Her During Homecoming Dance

What a wonderful community is Fort Thomas.

Michelle Chalk would have attended her first high school dance last weekend it not for the tragic accident that occurred in August of this year in Fort Thomas.

But that didn't stop her classmates from helping her family celebrate the occasion.

RELATED: Listen: Keith Chalk Talks About Their Family's Life-Changing Tragedy (Podcast) 

Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund Celebrate Annual Pink Ribbon Luncheon

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. 
Laughter is the best medicine!

Duke Energy Convention Center will become the Pink Ribbon Comedy Club on Wednesday, October 18th as the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund celebrates their Annual Pink Ribbon Luncheon.

Top comedian Tom Papa from New York City will provide laughter for all. Papa is the host of award- winning podcast Come to Papa and a regular guest on Conan and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and has toured with Jerry Seinfeld. With more than 20 years as a stand-up comedian, he has found success in film, television and radio as well as on the live stage. Papa was seen alongside Michael Douglass and Matt Damon in HBO film, Behind the Candelabra which won 11 Emmys. He was also seen in the hit Comedy Central series, Inside Amy Schumer.

Event emcee, Cris Collinsworth will recognize the Stephanie Spielman Fund as this year’s Power of Pink Award recipient. Each year, the Pink Ribbon Luncheon recognizes the outstanding efforts of an organization that has used their first or secondhand experience with cancer to give back to the community. The Stephanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer research has raised millions of dollars towards the fight against breast cancer. Maddie Spielman, Stephanie Spielman’s daughter will accept the award. The Pink Ribbon Luncheon is also very excited to recognize Honorary Chairs Bob and Suzi Brant who have been instrumental in the growth of the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund and longtime supporters of the Pink Ribbon Luncheon.

Highlands-Simon Kenton Game Story

Bluebirds Face Tough Test in Independence

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands sophomore Zach Lewin (41) and senior Joe Steiden (27) pursue Lexington Catholic junior wide receiver Nathan Schnurr (1) in the game Friday.
The song goes, "This moment. We own it."

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

After 20+ Years, Our Subway is Gone... Now what?

OP-ED by Dan Gorman

I admit it – I took it for granted.  With one of the lowest failure rates of any franchise chain in America, I assumed the Subway in the heart of our business district would always be there.  I was shocked when it closed with no notice.  The note on the door says business had been declining for the past three years, and the owner could no longer pay his taxes.  I look at other buildings in our Central Business District and wonder why they sit empty for so long.  I truly admire those that can make it work.  Please, please support them any chance you can get.

As a real estate investor in Fort Thomas, I work with the City to attract new businesses to our town.  I spend a lot of money to renovate their spaces, and watch the owners invest tens of thousands of dollars as well.  I’m always optimistic, but sometimes wonder - will our town welcome and support them?  Will they thrive, or just survive?  Will they attract customers from outside of Fort Thomas, customers that will support our other businesses as well?

I drive around, and see our neighbors – Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Covington - reinventing their business districts, drawing our residents, one by one, out of Fort Thomas to spend their money.  Each time a building goes vacant in our Central Business District, it becomes more difficult for the remaining businesses to thrive.

Henry Ford said, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”  

Fort Thomas Attorney Accepted into Prestigious Special Education Advocacy Institute

Barlow (second from left) celebrates her new certificate in Special Education Advocacy. 
Ohio and Kentucky students have a valuable asset in local attorney, Ashley Meier Barlow, who has expanded her legal practice to include representation of students with disabilities.

Protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state laws, students with disabilities are entitled to education plans that suit their individual needs.

Barlow, a former German teacher, is the mother of Jack, a student with Down syndrome, who has such an Individual Education Plan.  She began learning about special education advocacy while advocating for Jack, started answering questions for friends, and realized she had a passion for helping families with the special education needs.

“I’ve been involved in the disability community since Jack’s birth, and I’ve advocated in the national and state levels for many changes.  But education is so important to me, and with my experience as a teacher, this area of law is a no brainer for me,” Barlow told Fort Thomas Matters.  

Weekend Of Music Wraps Up At The Pub With The Vims

The Vims perform at The Pub on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 10:30 p.m. with blues band, The Kenton Lands Band, opening at 9:30 p.m.
If you are looking for something to do after the Band of Helping Hands Blues Festival at the Fort this Saturday, look no further than the Olde Fort Pub.

The Vims with ties to Fort Thomas are ready to entertain with an evening of "witty, modern rock mixed with alternative music nostalgia reminiscent of the sub pop records glory days."

2017 Proposed Tax Rate Approved

Fort Thomas property owners will see a 2.4 percent hike in their 2017 property tax bill. A proposed overall tax rate of .412 per $100 of property was approved by the city council in a four-to-two vote at its September 18 meeting.

The new tax rate includes the compensating rate plus a four percent city revenue increase, the maximum allowed by law.

Councilmembers Ken Bowman and Lisa Kelly voted against the new rate. Bowman expressed concern at the last council meeting that the city should consider not raising the rate to the maximum allowed amount.

"With trash collection and school board going up, I would like us to find a middle ground instead of going for the maximum amount every time," said Bowman at the previous council meeting.

RELATED: City Council Roundup: Property Tax Discussion Points to Increase

Councilmember Roger Peterman said a public hearing on the new tax rate was held last week but no one from the audience asked about the tax hike. He said he had hoped to be able to address concerns people might have.

Per the KRS statute, the tax rate meeting was advertised in the back pages of The Recorder.

He offered his perspective on the topic. "At this point in the process, approving this tax rate becomes more of an administrative act. We considered this tax rate when we developed the budget, and we’ve already adopted the budget for this year," he said. "We are depending on those revenues to balance the budget."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

WATCH: Highlands Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Video

Highlands Hall of Fame 2017

Need a local chiropractor? Click here. This is an advertisement. 

Bub Basham, It's a Wonderful Life Living in the Same Neighborhood for 90 Years

Lois and Bub in the sports memorabilia room. 
Floyd “Bub” Basham told me that “We love the city. We love everything about it. We’ve had a great life. I couldn’t want a better place to live. Right here. “  And right here turns out to be only three buildings from where he was born.

And if I didn’t know any better I might be tempted to say that Jimmy Stewart portrayed Bub’s devotion to his town and family in the film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Bub married his school sweetheart, Lois, raised their family, worked, played, and continues to give to his community.

 Bub is 90 years old and has lived within 150 feet of where he was born. That’s right. He lives on Miller Lane in a home that he and his friends built in the late 1950s. And that is only a few doors from the corner of North Fort Thomas Avenue and Miller Lane where a grocery store, Stegner’s,  stood at one time. Bub’s parents lived upstairs and that’s where he was born. The Board of Education building sits on the site now.

This is an advertisement. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Former Highlands, UK and NFL player Jared Lorenzen launches his documentary and weight loss challenge platform.

Former NFL Quarterback, University of Kentucky, and Highlands star, Jared Lorenzen, has begun filming a 12- month documentary that will chronicle his journey to combat obesity and live a healthy lifestyle.

After gaining weight post his football career, he will allow cameras to follow him in his home state of Kentucky while he also challenges the state to join him on his quest to health and wellness. Jared recently gained national attention by launching his Facebook page The Jared Lorenzen Project, which showed the former Bluebird ballooning his weight to over 500 pounds.  He has teamed with The Now Lets Get Foundation to provide a platform that will focus solely on combating obesity and instilling health and wellness through education, fitness and nutrition.

“I want to show everyone that it’s never too early or too late to start the journey towards health. I want people to know that if I can do it then you can do it. My goal is to use platform to put a face to obesity. The Facebook page is a platform that everyone can join, feel safe to express themselves, get the inspiration and answers on health and wellness they need to make the change in their life,”  said Lorenzen.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. This is an advertisement. 

PICTURES: Highlands Athletics Inducts Third Hall of Fame Class

The third Highlands Athletics Hall of Fame class was inducted September 17, 2017. 

This is an advertisement. 

St. Elizabeth Healthcare Spotlight: 'Am I at risk for HPV?'

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is known to be the culprit in many cases of cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers in women, penile cancer in men, and scores of other cancers in both genders. Vaccinations are the key to prevention and recommended for all girls and women ages 9 to 26.

Join St. Elizabeth Healthcare at 10a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, for a free educational session about HPV-related cancers and diseases. Attendees can speak to health care professionals and hear success stories from survivors. The event will beat the St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center, 3861 Olympic Blvd., Erlanger.

Register online at

Highlands Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Officially Inducted

Many Memorable Names Take Stage in Highlands History

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Brady Walz (with cap) said he's learned a lot of valuable lessons from his grandfather Roger Walz on handling adversity. Roger Walz received induction into the Highlands Hall of Fame on Sunday along with nine other individuals and one team.
People who have done it know the road to success has a lot of challenges.

But those who have deep connections to those who have done it, they have someone to ask advice on that bumpy path. That is the case with some children and grandchildren of at least three inductees into the third annual Highlands Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

Fort Thomas Resident Now Selling Gorgeous Paint & Paper From Across the Pond

Fort Thomas resident Thomas Jackson in front of his Farrow & Ball display at his storefront, Bloodline Merchants.
Last year we wrote about Thomas Jackson, who recently moved with his family from England to Fort Thomas, KY. With him he brought enough antiques to fill a 4,600-square-foot shop across the river in his storefront, Bloodline Merchants (4855 Eastern Ave.). 

The store has been the go-to source for folks interested in unique, reasonably priced antiques, many of which are found at the Newark International Antiques & Collectors Fair, held every two months northwest of London, and the Lincolnshire Antiques & Home Show in the East Midlands. Recently, Jackson has begun offering a new product from across the pond: Farrow & Ball paint and paper.