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Monday, August 19, 2019

Tower Park Live Concert Series Continues Tuesday, 8-20

The Fort Thomas Summer Concert Series continues Tuesday, August 20 at the amphitheater in Tower Park with live music from Catalina Wine Mixer Band plays yacht rock night from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Q102's Katie Walters is hosting the event. The event will feature food trucks from Texas Joe, It’s Just Bricks, Kona Ice, and Cups ‘n Cones Ice Cream as well as Braxton Beer Trucks.

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The event is also being used as an opportunity to help the Henry Hosea House stock their food pantry. Please bring a canister of powdered drink mix (like Kool-Aid or Lemonade) to donate.

Yacht Rock was one of the most commercially successful genres of its era, existing between the mid-1970 and early 1980s.

If you like Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Toto, and Christopher Cross, you'll have an incredible time in Fort Thomas on Tuesday.

The SkyWheel is ready to be shipped to Newport

The 235-ft. observation wheel is ready to be shipped to Newport and is scheduled to break ground in September.

On July 22, the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers informed the city of Newport that it had approved the permit for the construction. Efforts to bring a SkyWheel to Newport were first reported in 2015.

Final terms between the city of Newport and SkyWheel Attractions, along with the Newport Aquarium and Newport on the levee ownership, will bring the privately funded SkyWheel to Newport. The total investment is expected to be around $15 million.

EGC Construction will build the bridge and pier for the SkyWheel. The assembly of the wheel and associated equipment will be done by the Netherlands-based company called Dutch Wheels, which is the manufacturer of the SkyWheel.

Newport's SkyWheel has already been manufactured and tested in the Netherlands. It is being stored in shipping containers, ready to transport to the United States. Officials say the wheel could open two months after the completion of the pier construction, which is predicted to be finished in March 2020.

The SkyWheel will be accessible to all abilities. It will stand more than twenty stories high and has thirty fully-enclosed gondolas with glass windows and doors to view the Ohio river, Northern Kentucky, and the beautiful Cincinnati skyline. The climate-controlled gondolas hold up to six riders for three or four revolutions.

“Like with the first SkyWheel on the coast of Myrtle Beach, we chose Newport because if its unparalleled views of the Ohio River and Cincinnati’s skyline,” said Matt Stack, president of SkyWheel Attractions.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare, American Legion Ride in 10th Annual Teddy Bear Ride

Collaborative effort to benefit children who visit St. Elizabeth Emergency Department 

The American Legion Riders will hold the 10th Annual Teddy Bear Ride on Saturday August 24, at 12 p.m. to benefit children who visit the St. Elizabeth Florence Emergency Department. The ride begins at the American Legion Post 4 at 8385 U.S. Highway 42 in Florence and continues to St. Elizabeth Florence.

Anyone interested in experiencing the excitement and thrill of witnessing more than 100 Harley Davidson motorcycles? Come watch them roar up to the hospital’s main entrance at the St. Elizabeth Florence location.

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Anyone is welcome to attend. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and kickstands are up at 12 p.m. Riders are expected to reach St. Elizabeth Florence at approximately 1 p.m. The only cost is a donation of a new teddy bear(s). All bears and stuffed toys must be new and bagged. There will also be teddy bears ready for purchase on day of event for $5.

This event was started by the director of the Florence American Legion Riders in 2010 to “help put a smile on a child’s face when experiencing a visit to the hospital or emergency room.” This event has become a tradition for the community. In the past ten years, more than 30,000 bears have been donated, creating 30,000 smiles on a child’s face.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Highlands-Ballard Football Scrimmage

Bluebirds Find Areas of Improvement in Scrimmage

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands offensive linemen set up blocks in the scrimmage against Louisville Ballard on Friday. The Bluebird offensive linemen, from top to bottom, are Max Dierig (55), Jackson Roy (66), Brock Huber (54), Dylan Turner (77) and Kaleb Kissee (69).
The Highlands Bluebirds football team has generally approached scrimmages like a practice throughout the years.

You don't have the usual scouting reports and various game preparations. But the Highlands coaching staff said facing someone that's not a teammate helps expose things that need worked on.

The Class 6A Ballard Bruins located on Louisville's east side came to town Friday (8-16) with those same intentions. The varsity teams started off the game with a certain number of plays on offense then defense before the junior varsity teams came in.

After those sequences, the varsity teams played two 12-minute quarters. The score was not kept. But during those 24 minutes, the teams tied 13-13. Ballard did have a touchdown called back on a penalty late in the second quarter.

"You don't watch it like a game. There's so much you're thinking about during the scrimmage," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "It's hard to get into the flow of a scrimmage as a player. We saw things we hadn't seen last week and summer. We found some good things."

Friday, August 16, 2019

Interests rates are at their lowest since 2016, here's what one local Fort Thomas broker says to do

A stately Fort Thomas home was just featured on the Fort Thomas Matters Home Walking Tour. 

The market has been volatile lately with stocks fluctuating and people looking for safety in the bond market.

While many of those indicators can seem overwhelming, local Entrust Mortgage broker and Fort Thomas resident, Lee Witte, has one takeaway: interest rates are at their lowest levels since 2016.

“It’s amazing how many people will shop for cars, clothing, insurance but they won’t shop their mortgage,” he said.

Witte said that consumers should be shopping their rate, but according to a new survey by Fannie Mae, one-third of them are not. He said the interest rate drop last week meant that 8.2 million 30-year mortgage holders could likely qualify for a refinance and save at least 0.75% off of their current interest rate by doing so.

"I pride myself on my ability to not only connect with the consumer and gain their trust but also provide them with the quality service they deserve. Purchasing a home is one of the largest transactions a person may ever be involved in so it’s important to make sure you are choosing an expert in that industry," said Witte.

There are multiple reasons consumers may look to refinance their mortgage like lowering their interest rate, shortening their term, pull cash out for home improvement projects or to consolidate debt.

If you are in the market to purchase a home or would like a Free Mortgage Refinance Analysis contact Lee Witte at 859-380-5674, or email He's an independent broker, meaning that he can shop a multitude of banks and rates to get you the best deal.

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Pot Grow Operation Halted by Dayton Police and Drug Strike Force

Adam Frank Baird was arrested for a marijuana grow operation in Dayton, Kentucky.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

Dayton Kentucky police, assisted by members of the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force, made an arrest on August 12 of Adam Frank Baird, age 48, in connection with a marijuana grow operation found in his Dayton home on May 22.

Police seized and destroyed 91 marijuana plants found in the home along with equipment used in growing the plant. Baird had alluded police capture since the initial discovery and was finally located at a relative’s home in Alexandria.

In May, while investigating an unrelated complaint, Dayton Police Chief David Halfhill noticed a strong smell of fresh marijuana plants emanating from the home.

“Once they opened the screen door, the smell was so strong. There was no ventilation in the house. Even outside, the smell of the plants was coming out through cracks in the foundation,” he said.

Baird arrived home before the house could be searched and, although given the option to enter his home, he ran away. After obtaining a search warrant for the house, Chief Halfhill conducted the search and found his suspicions were correct.

In all, the bust represented 1,998 grams of marijuana.

The chief called in the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force to assist. The force supports the drug-crime-related work of police departments in Campbell, Boone and Kenton counties.

Highlands Student Earns Perfect Score on ACT

Highlands High School rising senior Maria Broering earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT test.

Maria took the ACT for the fourth time in June. She prepared for the ACT by taking online practice tests through Naviance and the official ACT app. She also filled her class schedule with advanced and AP courses, which helped her develop the necessary skills to do well on the ACT. She credits her teachers at Highlands for her 36 and other academic achievements, including first place in Kentucky on the National Spanish Exam three years in a row and high passing scores on all of her AP exams.

“I love going to school at Highlands,” said Maria. “I am so grateful for all of my wonderful teachers who have always pushed me to do my best.”

In addition to her school work, Maria is involved in many clubs at HHS. She is a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, FCCLA, and Spanish Club, and she was recently elected Secretary of the Math Honor Society.

Maria runs cross country and track, but her favorite sport is soccer. She has played for the HHS varsity team since 2016 and has verbally committed to play collegiate soccer at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where she will be studying dietetics to become a registered dietitian.

“Maria is a hard-working student who knows what she wants,” said Laura Schnitzler, Highlands High School guidance counselor.  “She pushes herself to do her best, and it is no surprise she achieved a 36 on the ACT.  We are proud of her achievement!“

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Fort Thomas Home Walking Tour: Part VII

By Vanessa Fisse

Fort Thomas Matters continued its Home Walking Tour on August 15, 2019.

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

We decided to showcase the beautiful homes that Fort Thomas has to offer through a virtual walking tour. Be on the look out for more to come!

RELATED: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VI

To view as a slideshow, click the first image below:

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The Bellevue Vets ballfield got a makeover and you have to see it

The Cincinnati Reds, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, the Cincinnati Zoo, and Duke Energy are partnering for a day-long service project today at the Bellevue Vets Complex.

Over 200 volunteers will be working on projects throughout the day.

The Bellevue Veterans Club sports facility has served tens of thousands of boys and girls in Northern Kentucky area for decades.

Russell Madden, an Army Spc. veteran killed in action, will have the t-ball field named for him at the complex. He was lost his life while battling for his country in Afghanistan in 2010. Madden's hometown was Bellevue.

Memorial Parkway, which runs from Bellevue through Fort Thomas, was renamed Russell Madden Memorial Highway in 2012.

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Other attributes of the filed include:

• New synthetic turf infield and renovated outfield that will be home to the Bellevue High School baseball team
• “Palace of the Fans” backstop along with new dugouts, fencing and scoreboard
• Groeschen Family Press Box
• New playground, interior and exterior painting and landscaping
The Bellevue Vets is located at 24 Fairfield Ave. in Bellevue.
The volunteers will begin work at 9 a.m. and the dedication and ribbon-ceremony for St. Elizabeth Healthcare Field at the Bellevue Vets is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Scheduled to speak at the dedication ceremony are:
• Bob Castellini, Cincinnati Reds CEO
• Garren Colvin, St. Elizabeth President & CEO
• Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo Director
• Amy Spiller, Duke Energy State President, Ohio & Kentucky

In addition to the Madden family, the project has significant connections to another Bellevue family.

The press box at the new high school field will be named in honor of Tom and Leo Groeschen. Tom was a longtime Greater Cincinnati sportswriter who passed away in November. His father Leo was a Red Sox draft pick and prospect before serving in the Korean War. Leo was also a legendary coach at Bellevue Vets.

Russell and Tom both played ball at the Bellevue Vets complex as kids.

2019 Highlands Cross Country Preview

Both Teams Eyeing State Championships

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior Maggie Schroeder returns after winning the Class AA individual state championship last year. That marked a first in the history of the Highlands girls cross country program. The winning time was 19 minutes, 7.68 seconds.
The Highlands Bluebirds cross country teams fielded young teams last year.

Of the seven runners that ran in the Class AA state meet at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, five of the girls were in middle school. The girls placed a seventh straight top-two finish with a runner-up score of 115 points and the boys finished sixth with 214 points.

Scott won the AA girls race with 106 points and Lexington Catholic ran away with the boys AA championship with 85 points. The Highlands girls had won the AA state championship five of the previous six years.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Welcome House Launches New Mobile Outreach Vehicle to Assist NKY Homeless

The Welcome House of Northern Kentucky launches its new medical mobile outreach RV this week with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The organization received funds from Impact 100 last year, those funds added up to $104,000. This grant allowed the Welcome House to purchase a mobile outreach vehicle, medical equipment, food, and hygiene supplies. Much of the organization's outreach, which targets the region's homeless population, takes place at shelters, street corners, and encampments.

"We know there are many individuals and families who are homeless living outside urban areas who do not have transportation to medical and service coordination ordered in urban settings. It was from this knowledge that Open Door was launched," said Danielle Amrine, CEO of Welcome House.

Programs at Welcome House address the variety of needs of those living in poverty or on the verge of homelessness. In 2017, Welcome House expanded their services to include homeless street outreach. The homeless outreach team, known as Open Door, is made up of three members — a Kenton County/Campbell County Outreach worker, a Boone County Outreach Worker, and a registered nurse.

Cruise In & Concert this Saturday, August 17 in Cold Spring

Great music, cool cars, great food & drink

Enjoy an evening in the park filled with beautiful cars, great music and great food! The event takes place at Municipal Park — 5694 E Alexandria Pike, Cold Spring. The cars will be in the park from 4:30-7:30 p.m., and the Derek Alan Band will start at 7 p.m. Packhouse Food Truck will be there along with the Braxton Brewery Truck.

The Derek Alan Band is a country music group from Independence, Kentucky. Their set-list includes some of the most popular songs that are currently on the country charts along with some of the greatest country classics.

Packhouse will be the food supplier of the event. Each day they prepare a new menu of three specialty packed meatballs, three sides, and two garden fresh salads.

The Braxton Brewing Truck is supplying the beverages. They offer craft beers, seasonal beers, as well as seltzers.