Monday, June 26, 2017

Drone Video: Fort Thomas Farmers' Market

The Fort Thomas Farmers' Market is in full effect. It runs every Wednesday, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. at the Fort Thomas Plaza, 90 Alexandria Pike.

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There is plenty of parking, food trucks, entertainment and new vendors.

See who is new and who is returning here. 

RELATED: Fort Thomas Couple Starts Balanced Brilliance 

Campbell County Political Activist Guilty of Drug Trafficking

These prescription pill bottles were seized from JR Roth's residence in June of 2016 after a search warrant was executed. Pictures obtained by Fort Thomas Matters. Case photo. 
A local political activist will be sentenced Tuesday, after a Campbell County jury found him guilty of two felony counts of trafficking in a controlled substance on Thursday, June 22.

John "J.R." Roth, 61, was indicted in August of 2016 for possessing morphine and oxycodone with the intent to sell.

After a two-day trial in front of Judge Fred Stine and prosecuted by Commonwealth's Attorney, Kyle Burns, the jury returned two guilty verdicts that will carry up to 15 years in the state penitentiary. The first count, trafficking of morphine over ten dosage units, accounted for 10 years of the sentence, while the count of trafficking of oxycodone carried five years. The jury gave instructions for both counts to be served consecutively.

Fort Thomas Matters has learned that Roth could have received between two to five years had he pled guilty before trial.

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In June of 2016 a search warrant for Roth's Cold Spring home was obtained by the Campbell County Drug Strike Task Force after law enforcement had received information from a cooperating witness that identified Roth as being a trafficker in oxycodone.

JR Roth was arrested in June of 2016 for the current drug trafficking charges. Mugshot: Campbell County Detention Center. 
According to the affidavit filed in support of the search warrant, she told police that she had been in contact with Roth and agreed to go to his house to buy the oxycodone after being provided with audio and video recording devices and $100 in documented funds by police.

The report goes onto say that the cooperating witness was given five pills, later determined to be Oxycodone 10mg, in exchange for $80.

The next day, on June 15, 2016, the cooperating witness made a recorded call to Roth who indicated he was out of Oxycodone but that he had morphine he could sell to her.

From the executed search warrant, police confiscated $56,000 in shrink wrapped cash, his phone, multiple prescription bottles and 12 firearms.

A Kaspar report was performed on Roth by police and determined that he had a prescription for oxycodone, but not morphine.

Over recent years Roth has not been a stranger to the courtroom.

In July, Fort Thomas Matters was the only media outlet there when he was taken into custody directly from a Campbell County District courtroom after a motion was filed by the County Attorneys' office to revoke an appeal bond after he was found guilty of mistreating horses on his Campbell County farm.

The conviction of that verdict was affirmed from a 2013 case in which a jury found him guilty of second-degree cruelty to animals.

RELATED: Northern Kentucky Tea Party Activist Sent To Jail 

That case is still on appeal.

A previous conviction had been expunged upon diversion.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Call To All Veterans: Fort Thomas Wants To Honor You

Veterans Way (left) with the museum (right) in the background. FTM file. 
Sean Donelan, of Fort Thomas, is looking for veterans. Any and all to participate in activities for the city's Sesquicentennial celebration.

"Retired, active-duty, reserve, guard. Basically anyone who has worn the uniform," he said.

During the Fort Thomas 150 year celebration, there will be a number of ways he said the city is going to honor area military.

He's helping to organize a contingent to walk in the parade, as well as inviting them to be the first to see the new Charters of Freedom monument in Tower Park.

Charters of Freedom being built. FTM file. 

RELATED: First Charters of Freedom Monument in Kentucky To Debut in Fort Thomas (June 9, 2017)

He has also worked with the city to get a street renamed. The street running to the Fort Thomas Museum and Amphitheater will now be known, officially, as Veterans Way.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Names New Assistant Superintendent

Jamee Flaherty. FTM file. 
There has been a lot of change at the Fort Thomas Independent Schools District Office with the retirement of the top two administrators: Gene Kirchner, Superintendent, and Jon Stratton, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services.

It was reported here first that Karen Cheser, former Deputy Superintendent for Boone County Schools, was hired as Superintendent of FTIS.

Jon Stratton’s replacement has now also been named; Jamee Flaherty, Principal of Johnson Elementary School, has been named as the Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and will replace Stratton upon his retirement on June 30.

Flaherty has been Principal of Johnson Elementary since the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.  During her two years of tenure, she has gained insight into the Fort Thomas schools and has seen firsthand the school remaining most in need of capital improvements.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Northern Kentucky Investigative Firm at Forefront of Forged Documents

Campbell County Courthouse. FTM file. 
It's been a murky few days in the Campbell County court system as accusations and a confession of forgery to secure a new venue for convicted murderer, Shayna Hubers, has been uncovered.

In 2015, Hubers was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but defense attorneys later learned that one of the jurors was a convicted felon and under Kentucky law, felons are not qualified to serve on the jury. She was granted a new trial set for January 2018.

With the media coverage the case had received, Hubers and her attorney were seeking a change of venue for the retrial, but in order to do that, she needed affidavits signed by Campbell County residents, which essentially said that they too, believe that Hubers could not receive a fair trial in Campbell County.

So on Tuesday, Hubers submitted 156 affidavits from Campbell County residents that she claimed were signed by residents in support of a change of venue for her trial.

City of Fort Thomas Awarded Grant Over $500,000 to Build Sidewalks

Fort Thomas partners with Southbank Partners to build walkways on North Fort Thomas Avenue

N. Fort Thomas Avenue leading to the city limits near Dayton. FTM file. 
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has granted the City of Fort Thomas $592,300 from the federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) to build sidewalks on North Fort Thomas Avenue. Currently there aren’t any sidewalks on this part of the Avenue.

“This grant award will provide sidewalk connectivity on the northernmost portion of the community, which is vital to our goal of pedestrian connectivity throughout the entire city,” said City Administrator Ron Dill.

RELATED: Safe Routes to Schools Grants Filed Once Again by Fort Thomas  (Sept 2016)
RELATED: Grants Still Pending (Feb. 2017)
RELATED: Funding Comes Through for North Fort Thomas Sidewalk Project (June 2017)

The TAP grant will allow for infrastructure improvements in the city without any direct costs to the residents. Fort Thomas’ Comprehensive Plan emphasizes development of varying types of pedestrian accesses as a high priority, including sidewalks and trails. The development of these sidewalks will provide access for residents of this area of the community. It will also explore pedestrian corridors and opportunities for connectivity on a regional level.

Highlands Head Coach Happy for New KHSAA Football State Championship Home

Kentucky State Title Games Returning to Lexington

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Jackson Hagedorn (46) and senior Crosley New (7) bring down Dixie Heights running back AJ Dilts (23) in junior varsity action last season
The tradition-rich Highlands Bluebirds football program has to worry about beating the likes of Covington Catholic, Dixie Heights, South Oldham and even Bowling Green before even thinking about it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Criminal Littering Disrespects Public Property

Steve Franzen. Provided. 
By Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney

We often prosecute cases in District Court for criminal littering when someone throws a bag of trash out of a car window or dumps piles of trash along a city or county road.  Kentucky’s law on criminal littering covers the above situations but also several additional types of littering.  Under Kentucky law, a person is guilty of criminal littering when he:

A) Drops or permits to drop on a highway any destructive or injurious material and does not immediately remove it.  This will occur for instance if a supply company lost some brick or building blocks from a truck and failed to clean it up immediately; or

B) Knowingly places or throws litter on any public or private property or in any public or private water way without permission (e.g., throwing trash out of a window or dumping along a road); or

C) Negligently places or throws glass or other dangerous pointed or edged substances on or adjacent to water to which the public has access for swimming or wading or on or within fifty feet of a public highway; or

D) Discharges sewage, minerals, oil products or litter into any public waters or lakes within the state (e.g., dumping old motor oil into a creek).

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Criminal littering under Kentucky law is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $500 fine.  In addition, we will typically require the Defendant to clean up whatever mess they made and pay any damages to the property owner where the littering occurred.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"Cleats For A Cause" Is Helping Young Athletes In Need

As a part of a summer service program, HHS Senior Michael Dunn is asking for donations for a good cause,.
Michael Dunn, an HHS incoming senior and varsity football player is on a mission to help kids in need.

He says football is his passion, and as a part of a summer service project, he has created "Cleats for a Cause."

After playing against local area teams in junior league and high school, Dunn says he saw firsthand players that did not have the proper equipment necessary to give them a basic equal chance to compete, regardless of their skill.

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"I knew that I needed to do some service for my community involving a cause that I am passionate about. I have been very blessed to have had the means to buy the equipment that I need to play the sport I love, football. Living in the Fort Thomas community where the game is supported in such a great way, you don’t often think about kids in less fortunate communities that don’t receive the same support or who don’t have the means to buy the equipment to play. This is why I came up with the "Cleats for a Clause" project," Dunn said.

Fort Thomas Couple Starts Balanced Brilliance Organic Farm

Terrence and Lizzie Mueller pose with a couple of their chickens. 
Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden that he “went to the woods to live deliberately.”That can be said about Terrence and Lizzie Mueller and their Balanced Brilliance organic farm.

There is no mistaking that Terrence Mueller is the son of retired Highlands’ football coach, Dale Mueller. It is uncanny how much they look and sound alike. Terrence’s degree is in mathematics and education and he was set to follow in his father’s footsteps.  Lizzie Mueller is from Cincinnati and is a DAAP fashion design graduate and spent a few years designed clothing for Chico’s, a popular fashion chain for women.  Other than casual family gardens and a love of fishing and the outdoors, neither had much exposure to real farming, but then, something happened that sent their lives in a direction that they never anticipated but are nonetheless grateful for taking.

VA Homes Project Passes First Big Hurdle

City Administrative Officer, Ron Dill, Mayor Eric Haas, and city attorney, Jann Seidenfaden. FTM file. 

by Robin Gee

The VA homes project passed a major milestone on Monday night. At its June 19 meeting, Fort Thomas City Council approved the development agreement between Fort Thomas and the developer, Bloomfield/Schon, clearing the way for the city to purchase the homes from the VA and to proceed with plans for infrastructure, clean-up and construction.

The city and developer ironed out details of the agreement over several weeks, and were putting the final touches on the language just before the council meeting. In fact, council went into a brief executive session with the developer’s lawyer Jim Parsons to discuss inclusion of phrasing designed to safeguard the project timeline expectations.

RELATED: VA Homes Developer Shows Preliminary Plans for Historic Homes