Saturday, July 22, 2017

Unlock the Block Music Fest | July 22

Have you heard about the Unlock the Block Music Fest? Well you’re about to on July 22nd, in the heart of Latonia-a Covington community. Join the Leadership Northern Kentucky Class of 2017 for the inaugural music fest created to activate community vibrancy and potential in Northern Kentucky!

Latonia was chosen as the site for the family friendly event because of its potential, engaged community, and rich history. Will you help us unlock the block?

 “Unlock the Block” will feature lively music from local bands: DV8, rock cover band; Ben Walz, acoustic folk/rock blend; and The Turkeys, folk-rock and Americana.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Interim Principal Named for Highlands High School

Jeff Schneider. Provided. 
Fort Thomas Independent Schools has selected Jeff Schneider to serve as interim principal of Highlands High School (HHS). Schneider has been assistant principal at HHS since July 2012.

Before joining the administrative team at HHS, Schneider’s educational background included experience as a high school social studies teacher as well as a district activities coordinator with Kenton County Schools.

Schneider earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and master’s degree in Secondary Education and Rank I in Instructional Leadership from Northern Kentucky University.

Local Resident Joins Fort Thomas Police Department

Joe Paolucci. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

Local resident and Highlands High School grad Joe Paolucci is the newest Fort Thomas Police Department recruit.

Introduced by Fort Thomas Police Chief Mike Daly at the July 15 city council meeting, Paolucci heads to the police academy this week and will return after graduation on January 26, 2018.

Police Chief, Mike Daly, introducing Paolucci to council. FTM file. 

Fort Thomas Schools Approve VA Homes Funding Plan

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Superintendent Karen Cheser,
School Board Chair Brad Fennell and Board Member Karen Allen. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

The VA Homes project moves forward another notch with approval of a vital piece of the funding puzzle.

At a special session held Wednesday, July 19, the Fort Thomas Independent School Board agreed not to contest the project funding agreement that would provide a pilot payment to the schools in lieu of tax revenue.

"This wasn’t just a rubber stamp decision made by the school board. We dug in and thoroughly looked at the numbers to reach the most fiscally conservative decision we could and allow the city to make their deal," said School Board Chair Brad Fennell.

RELATED: City Signs VA Homes Deed 

With the help of Treasurer Andy Remlinger, the board poured over spreadsheets mapping out various funding scenarios and projections. Fennell and the rest of the board worked to find a plan commensurate with the projected tax revenue that such properties would provide.

The city and the school board went back to the table after an initial payment proposal of a set amount based on current property tax rates. After much discussion and research, the school board proposed, and the city accepted, a pilot that would give the schools an unfixed amount based on funds remaining after developers take what they need for bond repayment.

Background and details

The VA homes project is funded with an Industrial Revenue Bond, or IRB. Property taxes are not collected under IRBs but money will be collected from homeowners equivalent to a property tax bill. This money goes to the developers to cover their investment in the property.

Because most schools, including Fort Thomas, rely on property tax funding, IRBs provide for a pilot payment taken from the money collected that would be paid to the schools.

The VA Homes developers have asked for a fixed payment of $135,700 a year for the thirty-year bond. Starting in Year Three, Fort Thomas Schools will receive all funds remaining after that amount is deducted from money collected.

In Year Fourteen, the city will begin to receive 15 percent of the money as well remaining after the developer’s share is deducted, a concession made by the school board.

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Ensuring school funding

Two things especially helped make the pilot payment workable for the schools. First, because taxes are not collected, the properties will not be included in the tax rolls and will, therefore, not be subject to the state’s SEEK formula.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Highlands Championship Team Recap

Seniors on 1996 Highlands State Championship Football Team Maintain Friendships

PHOTO: Ernest Coleman, Cincinnati Enquirer. Highlands senior Justin Frisk (32) breaks a tackle in the Class 3A state championship game and scores the tying touchdown. Frisk rushed for 1,932 yards and 31 touchdowns that year. He currently works with former teammate Matt Kleier at MK Interiors in Bellevue.
The 1996 Class 3A state champion Highlands Bluebirds football team may be remembered for the dominance on the field.

But something bigger stands out to many of those players. It's something they carry with them in the present.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Art Around Towne | Friday, July 21 | Fort Thomas, Kentucky

This is poised to be the biggest Art Around Towne, yet. 6-9 p.m. on N. Fort Thomas Avenue.

There will be:

30 art and boutique vendors
17 food truck and beverage vendors
Lucie Rice Exhibit at Fort Thomas Coffee
Live music with Logan Sparks on The Lawn at Fort Thomas Central; complimentary refreshments while supplies last w/ tip proceeds benefiting the St. Thomas Summer Festival.
West Sixth Brewing Co at the Clock Tower
Charities Guild of NKY wine booth at Schone Kitchen Design; proceeds benefit their shoe fund
Outdoor seating located at the Clock Tower and The Lawn at Fort Thomas Central

Plus much more. Come get into the community spirit.

RELATED: Cooking Demonstrations at Schone Kitchen Design 

Car Crashes into Campbell County Fiscal Court Building

Reader submitted. 
A car crashed into the entrance of the Campbell County Fiscal Court building, which may have been caused by the driver having a "medical incident" according to police.

The accident happened at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the government building at 1098 Monmouth Street.

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Newport police said the driver jumped the curb before he crashed into the building's entrance.

The Dance Realm Studios | Registration and Open House

Registration Dates:
Tuesday, August 1 6:00-8:00 PM

Wednesday, August 16 6:00-8:00 PM

Tuesday, August 29
6:00-7:30 PM

A few class options:

Thursdays 5:30-6:15
Saturdays 10:15-11:00

Mondays 1:00-2:15
Mondays 5:45-7:00
Saturdays 9:00-10:15

Thursdays 3:45-5:15

For more ages of our 6 & 7 year old students, please contact the studio for proper placement.

Schone Kitchen Design To Debut Cooking Demonstrations During Art Around Towne

Schone Kitchen Design (33 N. Fort Thomas Avenue, Fort Thomas, KY) has a new "chef-in-residence". Schone is owned by local architect, Ashli Slawter.

Professional chef, Nicole McDonald, will be doing two cooking demonstrations at 33 N. Fort Thomas Avenue during Art Around Towne on Friday, July 21. The demonstrations will start at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

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Slawter said that she hopes folks will come in to get seasonal cooking tips from McDonald and while they are there, get some inspiration for their homes.

McDonald is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. A self-described “lover of foods,” she has always loved entertaining and has applied her 20+ years of private chef and catering experience to various facets of Simply Gourmet, her meal kit delivery service.

Also during Art Around Towne, Ashli will be giving away 10 VIP Homearama tickets to tour the newest ideas for home renovations and architecture. Be sure to come back to work with your hometown professionals at Ashli Slawter Architecture.

Ashli Slawter Architecture will be giving away 10 VIP tickets to Home-a-rama. 

Highlands Swimmer To Compete in Deaflympics

USA Deaf Swimming National Team Prepares to Depart for the 2017 Deaflympics

Tyler Brown, from Fort Thomas,  (center) is representing Team USA in the 2017 Deaflympics. 
A student athlete from Highlands High School is competing for Team USA in the 2017 Deaflympics.

Tyler Brown is part of the USA Deaf Swimming Team and along with being a state qualifier for Highlands, he swims for the Northern Kentucky Clippers.

Team USA has departed for the Deaflympics in Turkey and eight swimmers have hopes of earning medals for the United States. They will be competing with athletes from over 37 different countries.

2017 Team USA includes the following athletes:

Highlands Senior Sophia Manyet Takes Aim For Hollywood

Sophia in David James' short film "The Next One" (provided)
by Colin Moore

You might recognize Sophia Manyet.  She’ll be a senior at Highlands this year and works at Highlands Fitness Center and at the Highlands Country Club. She was Audrey in Highlands High School’s performance of Little Shop of Horrors. Oh, and she’s also an aspiring movie actress who you may have seen in a recent feature film or commercial.

“I love to step into other people’s shoes and show what they’re thinking. Maybe sometimes you can be an evil character and show why they’re doing what they’re doing. For me it’s almost as easy as breathing, it’s a way to live a thousand lives in one lifetime.”

Some of us have to work out what we want to be when we grow up, Sophia has known for some time. “I think I’ve known I wanted to be an actress since I was four or five. We would go to the movies and when we came home I would be pretending to be one of the characters.” Her mom, Rebecca, knew even earlier.

“When she was about three she would go in front of the mirror. One minute she’d be crying, the next minute she’d be smiling. My husband and I looked and each other and thought “We’re into something here!””

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Frontier Airlines announces six new nonstop destinations from CVG

Brings Frontier’s total service to 22 destinations

Frontier Airlines is growing its CVG service again with the addition of six nonstop destinations, including Seattle, Miami, San Antonio, Austin, Jacksonville and Raleigh/Durham.

All six destinations will be served by Frontier’s A320 family of aircraft. Flights to Miami will begin October 5th, 2017 and operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.  *Flights start at $34 each way for Discount Den members and $49 for non-members.

Flights to Seattle, San Antonio, Austin, Jacksonville and Raleigh/Durham will start in the spring 2018 with ticket sales beginning in late August.

“With today’s announcement, Frontier now offers our Low Fares Done Right to even more destinations from Cincinnati,” said Mark Mitchell, chief accounting officer. “Customers traveling from Cincinnati now have more low-cost options in these markets, and with The WORKS and The PERKS bundles, we offer the best value in U.S. air travel.”

City Signing of VA Homes Deed Met With Applause

Members of council, Ron Dill and Jann Seidenfaden watch Mayor, Eric Haas, sign the deed for the VA homes. FTM file. 
by Robin Gee

The VA homes are now in the hands of the city of Fort Thomas. At the July 17 meeting of City Council, Mayor Eric Haas signed the 31-page deed transferring ownership of the homes and surrounding property from the Veterans Administration to Fort Thomas.

March for Public Education Will Hold Rally at Peace Bell on Saturday

Education is key to achieving the American Dream, but educators fear that our public education system is in danger. To raise that awareness, there will be a March for Public Education at 10:00 AM on Saturday, July 22 at the Peace Bell in Newport. The march will coincide with the march in Washington, DC. 

The national website,, says “Public Education marches to challenge the educational status quo that leaves students over-tested, dehumanized and financially burdened by their educational experiences. M4PE marches to change the national conversation around educational issues, affirms that public education is a right not a privilege and that education is essential for a functioning democracy....The march supports teachers, students, parents and communities, advocates for educating the ‘Whole Child,’ calls on legislators to address the student debt crisis and opposes the privatization of public education.” 

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Josh Blair, one of the local organizers, says, “The purpose of the event is to celebrate public schools, public school teachers, administrators, volunteers, and of course, public school students and their accomplishments. Non-educators are welcome to attend.  We’ll have a few speakers who are not educators - specifically students and parents/PTA members.”

Monday, July 17, 2017

New Fort Thomas Schools Superintendent: "Join Me For Coffee"

Karen Cheser. FTM file. 
The new superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools is hosting two "Coffee Chats with the Superintendent" this week to get to know her community more intimately.

Karen Cheser, who started her term as the leader of the district on July 1, will be at Fort Thomas Coffee tomorrow (July 18) from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and Thursday (July 20) from noon-1:00 p.m.

Monera Chic Boutique Shop It Forward | Fort Thomas, Kentucky | Women's Clothing NKY

Come Join Monera Chic Boutique and Q102 for their Shop It Forward event, Tuesday, July 25 from 6-8:00 p.m.

This is an advertisement. 
- Sales all day
- Q102 and Katie Walters
- Door prices
- Drinks and appetizers starting at 5:00 p.m.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the prevention of woman's colon cancer.

RELATED: Tera Huddleston Reflects on Her Fundraiser 

Zombie Movie Filming in Fort Thomas Shuts Down Street Temporarily

FTM file. 
A call from a concerned citizen to Fort Thomas Police shut down both lanes of traffic on S. Fort Thomas Avenue in the Midway Business District on Saturday.

A call was placed to emergency dispatch at around 10:45 a.m. that described a man with a gun behind the businesses that line the avenue.

C.A.S.T. brings Les Miserables to Fort Thomas, While Changing for the Future

Jake Moses from Seven Hills High School and Maggie Seibert from Highlands High School, playing Valjean and Cosette
by Colin Moore

Starting Friday the 21st of July C.A.S.T. will begin their latest production, Les Miserables, at Highlands High School. On stage it may not look like much is different, with Les Mis following in the footsteps of the successful and well-received C.A.S.T. productions of the last six years, but behind the scenes there have been some big changes.

Commonwealth Artists Student Theater started off under the umbrella of Fort Thomas Independent Schools, but this time last year Jason Burgess and his wife Amy came to the conclusion that things might have to change:

“We talked about how we’d reached our maximum potential attached to Fort Thomas Schools. We realised if we wanted to offer more, more productions, more workshops, that we’d have to branch out and become our own non-profit, with our own board. We’ve loved our partnership with Fort Thomas schools, and we’ll keep partnering with them in some way in the future.”