Tuesday, June 30, 2015

PODCAST: Fort Thomas Proposed Budget (2015-2016)

Download this episode (right click and save)
FTM file. 

Last week we began our Budget Transparency Series where we began peeling back the budget, line by line. We examined the amended budget for 2014-2015. 

The amended budget for fiscal year July 1 2014 - June 30 2015 was voted on at the last council meeting and passed unanimously. Each June, the finance committee meets with city staff and after getting requests from each department and committee, will allocate funds for the next fiscal year. This year's finance committee is comprised of John Muller, Lisa Kelly and Roger Peterman.

The following June when a new budget is being drawn, the previous year's budget is amended to reflect the actual revenues, expenditures and surpluses available.

There was a point of contention among council regarding the proposed budget in an exchange between Councilman Adam Meier and Roger Peterman that may lead to a battle on what the city does with property taxes in September.

Bike Helmet Giveaway at 4th of July Parade

Joey riding his bike. 
My 13-year-old Joey was out riding bikes with his buddy August last summer on a beautiful Saturday afternoon as he had done so many times before when my phone rang. Joey's number appeared on the caller ID but when I answered, it was August. He seemed upset and all I could hear was screaming. "What is going on," I said. "Is Joey okay?" 

Suddenly a woman gets on the phone. She explains Joey has been in a bike accident by the Fort Thomas Swim Club and that I should come get him. My husband Nick and I quickly jumped in the car.

We arrived to find him bleeding, crying and having a hard time getting up. 

The Pub and Southern Smoke BBQ Serving Up Something a Little Spookier

“Bobby Mackey’s has nothing on the Pub.”

The Paranormal Investigators of Northern Kentucky broke this to Megan (Arnzen) Krieg, who is part of the Arnzen family, the owners of the Fort Thomas Pub.

A paranormal investigation of The Pub came after the decision to renovate the top floor of the building of the Pub and Southern Smoke BBQ. Krieg, a self-proclaimed Facebook-picture-posting-fanatic, snapped a photo of the contractor while he was showing her and her brother, Nate Arnzen, the progress.

“I take so many pictures, and I didn’t even catch it until later on when I was going to post it,” she said.

The picture, posted below, shows the contractor in the demolished space. With a severed head.

Monday, June 29, 2015

BREAKING: Highlands High School Announces Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

FTM file. 
The Highlands High School Athletic Hall of Fame committee is excited to announce the members of the 2015 Inaugural Class.

NCC Boosters Hosting Annual Golf Outing

The annual Newport Central Catholic Boosters' golf outing is just around the corner and the available foursomes are filling up quick.

The outing will be held Aug. 7 at Hickory Sticks Golf Course.

Image via ncchs.com

Dedication Ceremony for World War II Memorial Restored by Alexandria Teen

Noah Sell. Provided. 

An Alexandria teen is seeing his vision of restoring World War II monuments realized when he, along with the Campbell County VFW, will rededicate the monuments next month. 

Noah Sell, 16, raised money to clean the stone pillars and refurbish the plaques that are at the entrance of the stadium at Campbell County Middle School. 

The pillars are a monument to graduates of Campbell County High School who lost their lives during World War II. Sell, whose great-grandfathers served during World War II told Amanda Nageleisen:
"When I was in middle school, kids always sat on these big concrete posts, and I never really knew what they were. If kids knew what they were, they wouldn't be sitting on them."

Details of the ceremony:

Griffith Competes at USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championship

Highlands Alum First in NKU History to Qualify for Event

Highlands alum and NKU athlete, John Michael Griffth via NKUNorse.com 

EUGENE, Ore. – Northern Kentucky University track and field athlete John Michael Griffith competed at the prestigious U.S.A. Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships on Saturday.

Griffith placed 11th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, crossing the finish line in a time of 9:57.38. This marked the first time in the program's history that NKU was represented at the elite-level event.

Griffith qualified for the U.S.A. Junior Outdoor Championships with a time of 9:25.97 in his second-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Oliver Nikoloff Invitational in March. The trip to Eugene, Oregon, caps off a strong freshman campaign that saw the Fort Thomas, Kentucky, native earn a bronze-medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2015 Atlantic Sun Conference Outdoor Championship.

The freshman is the first athlete in the program's history to every qualify for the meet.

Griffith talked about the chance to run before the meet.

FTM examines new All-Star Game Home Run Derby Format

# # #

2015 Gillette Home Run Derby Presented by Head & Shoulders

Bracket Format:
  • Single-elimination tournament in which loser of each bracket is immediately eliminated.
  • Seeding based on 2015 home run totals through July 7th, with ties broken by awarding the higher seed to the batter with more home runs hit since June 15th.  Any tie thereafter will be broken by a coin flip.
  • In each bracket, the higher seed will hit second.

Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Player 1
Player 1/8
Player 8
Winner Rd. 2
Player 4
Player 4/5
Player 5
2015 Home Run Derby Champion
Player 2
Player 2/7
Player 7
Winner Rd. 2
Player 3
Player 3/6
Player 6


Meet Kate Callahan, One of This Year's Luke Muller Golf Outing's Honorees

Kate Callahan, one of this year's Luke Muller Golf Outing's honorees

Six-year-old Kate Callahan loves animals, including her dog Ringo and her many pretend pets. "She's been caught hiding dog food in her room to feed her stuffed animals multiple times," says Cameron Grimme, a longtime family friend. Callahan goes to school and summer camp, and she loves the zoo—especially the giraffes and zebras. "Every once in a while she will put her foot down, which is always good for a laugh," Grimme says. "One time she came to wake up her parents to make her breakfast, and after being told to give them 'five more minutes' for the second time she yelled to them, 'So you're just going to let your 6-year-old daughter with cancer starve to death?' as she stormed off to her room." 

That's the other thing about Callahan—she has Pilomyxoid Astrocytoma, an inoperable mass in the center of her brain. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Midway Cafe - Fort Thomas, Kentucky Sets Opening Date

The Midway Cafe announced two weeks ago that they would be rebranding their concept and reopening their doors soon. Now, owners Matt Albers and Dave Edmonds have announced an opening date.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Police Officers to Donate to Fellow Officer in Need

Lauren, Kate, James and Casey Kilgore visit with the Duke kids: Finley, Marlow and Knox. 
Typically, the first reading of a new city ordinance doesn’t generate much positive publicity.  But “Ordinance No. O-12-2015” is anything but typical.   As is often reported in this space, one of the greatest assets a community has is the support of the members of said community.  A few weeks back in this space, FTM reported on Lt. Casey Kilgore of the FTPD and his ongoing battle with cancer (story here)  Now, as the battle continues, his “troops” have rallied and the aforementioned ordinance is under consideration.

The ordinance, which seeks to allow a full-time employee of the city to donate her/his vacation time to another full-time employee of the city, was originally requested by Kilgore’s co-workers.  Councilman Ken Bowman supports the ordinance, saying, “I was thrilled to see the demand from Casey’s coworkers and friends to find a way to help him and his family at this time”.  He went on to say he “was even more thrilled when we found a way to do the right thing and make the changes necessary to allow for this great idea to become a reality.”

The ordinance has some strict requirements on when one full-time employee can donate vacation time to another which include the diagnosis of a “critical illness.”

Fourth Annual Michael Bradford Memorial Cornhole Tournament

Michael Bradford and Sasha Cantrall
Seven years ago, Dan Gorman and the guys on Tower Place started playing cornhole on Thursday nights (rain or shine). While the group is primarily comprised of Tower Place folks, they have regulars that don't live on the street.

"The way this game has brought the men of our neighborhood together over the last few years has been a really neat thing to be a part of." Gorman said. "Personally, I really started to love cornhole because of the way it united our group of guys, and I also like trying to figure out how to do cool things in the city.  I worked with Debbie Buckley (Renaissance Manager/Economic Development Director) to create an event at the Independence Day Celebration, and I contacted the American Cornhole Organization for help.  

This is the organization that travels around the country hosting tournaments, including the World Championships of Cornhole (www.americancornhole.com).  They help us advertise our tournament, they run the event, and the winner of our tournament gets a pass into the World Championships - this creates a draw for some of the better players in the region."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Travelodge in Newport is Demolished

Makes Way for Hampton Inn and Suites
Reader submitted, R.J. Seifert.

The Travelodge in Newport near the Taylor-Southgate bridge is no more after being demolished Thursday. A frequent stop for Newport Police over the years for drugs and prostitution, undercover operations had been successful over the last year and crime had slowed.

The new location is slated for a Hampton Inn and Suites but the owners of the Travelodge will remain the same.

The Travelodge in Newport holds a prominent location near Newport on the Levee and serves as a gateway from downtown Cincinnati. Newport Police Chief, Tom Collins, said that he believes "it will attract a better caliber of visitor." 

The $5.5 million extension of Ky. 9/AA Highway will realign and widen Ky. 9 from 12 Street to its ending point at the intersection of York and Third streets near Newport on the Levee. 

The new Hampton Inn will be right next to a roundabout the state has planned that will go through the adjacent Ovation site.

Photo Credit: R.J. Seifert.

Photo Credit: R.J. Seifert. 

Gov. Beshear’s statement on Supreme Court ACA ruling

Gov. Steve Beshear. Provided. 
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 25, 2015) – “Making healthcare coverage accessible and affordable to all citizens is the cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act. To conclude that the law’s intent was only to offer subsidies to those who purchased healthcare coverage through their state’s health benefit exchange when many states declined to establish one would have penalized the very individuals the law was designed to help. I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court wisely ruled in favor of those 6.4 million people in the nation who could have lost their access to affordable health insurance.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell has no impact on Kentuckians who qualified for discounts through kynect, as their subsidies were never in question. However, it reaffirms that, from the very start, we did the right thing for the more than 500,000 Kentuckians who have qualified for healthcare coverage through kynect since January 1, 2014.” – Governor Steve Beshear

Lovell's Hardwood Flooring - Fort Thomas, Kentucky

Lovell's Hardwood Flooring is in the heart of the Midway District at 1029 S. Fort Thomas Avenue. Lovell's Hardwood is part of the #FTMFamily. 
By Hannah Condon 

Summertime and home projects seem to go hand in hand. If you’re thinking about refinishing or installing hardwood floor and don’t want to deal with a big business or a big mess, Lovell’s Hardwood is just the company for you.

Lovell’s Hardwood, a local family owned business, started 15 years ago when Bobby and his brother, Nick, co-opted at a Bellevue hardwood floor company. When that company in Bellevue closed, they, along with their father Al, decided to open their own family business and Lovell’s Hardwood was born.

There are many different hardwood floors that can be installed in your home. Lovell’s installs engineered hard wood, solid hard wood, pre-finished, and job site finish, which is the installment of raw wood and then sanding it on site.
Time and cost for installing hard wood floors varies with the type of project the residential or commercial client may want. "Sometimes we go in and do a little entry hall way which is a one day job, and sometimes we go into a 20,000 to 30,000 square foot home or commercial building which usually takes up to 2-3 weeks,” said Lovell.

Speaking of time, one thing that discourages people from wanting to refinish floors is thinking they need to leave their home while the project is completed. With Lovell’s Hardwood, many jobs don’t require you to leave the house. The only thing they ask is that the customer removes the furniture from that area. Homeowners only need to find a place to stay for very large areas or whole house jobs.

Highlander Event Center - Fort Thomas Kentucky

The Highlander Event Center (90 Alexandria Pike) had a ribbon cutting ceremony last night to signify it's completion.

For details visit their website at www.nkyantiques.com or call Tammy Viox, Event Manager, at 859.441.3000 or via email at tammy@nkyantiques.com.

Hergott commits to Central Michigan, focused on senior season

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands quarterback Austin Hergott throws a pass against Harrison County last season. Hergott verbally committed to play the same position at Central Michigan University on Monday.
It's not been easy to sell colleges when you don't have much film from your junior season.

That's been the case with Austin Hergott and for Beau Hoge a year ago. Both found themselves behind talented senior quarterbacks as juniors so they were not able to put together many quarterback highlights. Hoge mostly played wide receiver as a junior.

But Hoge overcame the obstacle and landed a spot at Brigham Young University. Hergott just followed that same path as he verbally committed to continue his career as a quarterback at NCAA Division I Central Michigan University of the Mid-American Conference on Monday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Amazon Hiring Hundreds in Hebron

Amazon in Hebron, via WLWT. 
Amazon’s fulfillment centers in Hebron are hosting a job fair this week to fill hundreds of full-time positions that offer competitive wages and comprehensive benefits starting on day one. Interested candidates can apply on-site and qualified applicants will leave with job offers.  

WHO:                  Amazon Fulfillment Centers in Hebron, Kentucky

WHAT:                Job Fair to hire hundreds of full-time employees

WHEN:                Thursday, June 25, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

WHERE:              Double Tree by Hilton, 2826 Terminal Dr. Hebron, KY 41048

Applicants are asked to bring a photo ID and proof of education (high school diploma, DD-214, GED or equivalent).

Details of VA Developer Agreement with Bloomfield/Schon

VA Homes. FTM file. 

In May, FTM broke the news that through the Request for Qualifications process, the city had selected Bloomfield/Schon as the sole developer to rehab the vaunted VA homes in Alexandria Circle located in Tower Park. 

Bloomfield/Schon (Cincinnati) was selected over Neace Ventures (New Albany, Indiana), because according to the city's engineer, Bloomfield/Schon was willing to see the project through from beginning to end. From the report: "Regardless of the timeframe it would take to sell each residence, Neace Ventures was not proposing to complete any of the restoration, including the exterior. Therefore, there is the possibility that it would be several years or more before the residences would not look blighted. (Bloomfield/Schon is) open to selling a shell of a building to the right buyer who would also appreciate the historical value and complete a restoration in a timely manner. They seemed aware of the true costs associated with this project as well as thoughts and ideas to financially make the project work."

The agreement prepared by the city on June 1, 2015 and signed off by council on June 15, 2015 details some of the specifics, including when the developer and the city must decide to move forward or cut bait.

- According to the agreement, the city will allow the developer sole and exclusive rights to "investigate and determine the feasibility of the project" for 12 months. The developer can, at any time, abandon its efforts and walk away from the project. Also, within the agreement the city and the developer can extend the agreement twice, that could extend it a total of 6 months.

Taste of Fort Thomas at Tuesday Summer Concert Series

The summer concert series. Click to see bigger. 

So Bruno Mars isn't coming to Fort Thomas. Well played, graphic designer of this ^^^ poster. The Klaberheads, however, are performing.  They are a family band who regularly performs at Cincinnati's Oktoberfest. You can expect more than polka. Expect them to break out Bruno Mars or Frank Sinatra.

Also highlighting the free event next Tuesday (June 30) is the Taste of Fort Thomas. The inaugural event will feature local businesses, including some that you may have tried for the first time last week at the Art Around Towne event.

Food vendors will be set up by 6 p.m. and music will start at 7 p.m. Here are the restaurants that will be represented:

Fort Thomas Pizza
Highlander Bourbon and Wine Bar

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Find Waldo in Fort Thomas with Blue Marble Books

Click image to Find Waldo. 
Elusive Book Character Creates Summertime Fun and Supports the Shop Local Movement

Where's Waldo?  He is in Fort Thomas, Kentucky of course.

The famous children’s book character in the striped shirt and black-rimmed specs is visiting twenty-six different local businesses throughout our community this July. Those who spot him can win prizes, including buttons, book coupons and more.

From Best Furniture Gallery (1123 South Fort Thomas Avenue) to Smitty’s Barber Shop at (910 North Fort Thomas Avenue), Waldo will be well hidden in local business establishments. Find Waldo is a great summer vacation activity and a wonderful way for residents to support local businesses and the Shop Local movement.

Anyone who wishes to participate can pick up a “Find Waldo Local in Fort Thomas!” passport at Blue Marble Books with the names of all the participating businesses, and get their passport stamped or signed for each Waldo they spot. The first 100 Waldo seekers to get their passports stamped or signed at ten or more sites can bring their passports back to Blue Marble Books to collect prizes. 

Collecting store stamps or signatures at twenty or more businesses will entitle diligent seekers to enter in a grand prize drawing on July 25, with the top prize being a 6-volume deluxe set of Waldo books.

Fort Thomas Kentucky Amended Budget (2014-2015)

FTM Budget Transparency Series
FTM file. 
In an effort to inform and make things as transparent as possible for the residents of Fort Thomas, Fort Thomas Matters will begin peeling back the budget, taxes and expenditures of the City of Fort Thomas in a series of reports.

The amended budget for fiscal year July 1 2014 - June 30 2015 was voted on at the last council meeting and passed unanimously. Each June, the finance committee meets with city staff and after getting requests from each department and committee, will allocate funds for the next fiscal year. This year's finance committee is comprised of John Muller, Lisa Kelly and Roger Peterman.

The following June when a new budget is being drawn, the previous year's budget is amended to reflect the actual revenues, expenditures and surpluses available.

The amended budget was first read on June 1, 2015 and was voted on and adopted on June 15, 2015.

The proposed totals have a strikethrough and the actual totals are listed next to those.

Estimated Carry-Over Balances:
General fund: $10,171,611
Road aid fund: $1,747,501
Central business district (debt) fund: ($776,305)

TOTAL REVENUES (taxes, fees, investment income, etc).

In Other Words: There is Magic in the Rain

By Chuck Keller 

This story is not about adoption. Not about disabilities. Not about single parenting. It’s about magic.

I like it when I talk with someone and I end up seeing the world differently afterwards.  I have that just about every time I talk to Wynne Philippe who adopted a beautiful girl from China.  The baby, Anna Grace, is missing the lower part of her leg and now has a prosthetic made by the talented Rob Pinkston, Patty Biltz, and Laura Tate at Superior Prosthetics Solutions in Newport.  But that did not stop Wynne and it certainly has not stopped little Anna Grace.   She is off and running in life. Wynne said:

“In the past year with AG (and in the year leading up to her while I was working on her adoption), I learned so many lessons. The adoption process (especial the adoption of a child with "special needs") is nothing short of a huge leap of faith. And while it was super scary, it was the best decision I ever made.  Anna Grace has taught me so much about trust, courage, determination, resiliency, and love.  She's a pretty incredible little girl (even if she does make me crazy sometimes with her 3 year old strong will and sassiness!)  Although I often have to remind myself that the strong will that makes me want to lose my mind sometimes is the same strong will that made her survive for 27 months in an orphanage.  And that same strong will had her up and walking in a body cast 2 days after having part of her leg amputated.” 

I want to stop the story here for a second to introduce the Chinese proverb of the Red Thread that says, “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." It is an appealing concept because we are connected to all of our important people regardless of nationality, distance, and time. The myth claims that the red thread connects loving parents, however separated by space and time, with their baby until they become family.