Thursday, February 21, 2019

Silver Grove Dari Bar Opening Date: March 16

Jessica Duke wrote this article for Fort Thomas Matters on March 10, 2017. 

Although it feels as if winter never actually fully came, springtime is still upon us!

See Rob's Listings here. 
And how, you ask, can one be so sure?  Well, are you sitting down? If not, do so to prepare yourself for the excitement- The Dari-Bar in Silver Grove, KY is opening soon.  That’s right, everybody’s favorite spring/summer/fall tradition is back open for business after a mild winter that only made our appetites for fried meats and frozen treats all the more insatiable.  I can almost taste the fried mushrooms and chicken fries now and can’t wait to have that and wash it down with a grape slushy.

Actually, come to think of it, I can ALREADY taste those items because I was the lucky beneficiary of an early meal and let me tell you, the food is every bit as good as I remember it from five long months ago.

For some reason, this food simply tastes better than any other does after watching my son hit a game-winning base hit or my daughter score a goal down at Pendery Park.  The ice cream and slushies taste colder after a day of hiking through Tower Park.  This food tradition combines better, it would seem, with my many family traditions.  So, I ask of you all, what favorite food/activity pairing do you have for The Dari-Bar?  Baseball and banana sundaes?  Soccer and a slushie?  The orchestra and an onion ring, perhaps?  Leave a note below to give your favorites to other readers and be sure to stop by The Dari-Bar this weekend (remember, cash only) for your favorite treat, and if it gets to cold this weekend they encourage you to CALL ahead (859) 781-2221.

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Jessica Duke wrote this article for Fort Thomas Matters on March 10, 2017. 

Get Tickets to the Fort Thomas Education Foundation “Hand Me Down Ball” Here

On Saturday March 2, 2019, the Fort Thomas Education Foundation (FTEF) will be hosting their 16th annual dance at the Community Center (Mess Hall) in Tower Park in Fort Thomas from 8 p.m. to midnight.  The theme for this dance is “Hand Me Down Ball”. This huge annual bash, to benefit the Fort Thomas Independent School District, features incredible live music, creative costumes, an awesome party, and raises more than $50,000.

The FTEF then donates this money to the schools via a grant process, which sees participation from teachers and program leaders at all five schools in the district.

Tickets to the event are only $35 each, a discount of $10 from last year.  The live band, The Sly Band, will be jamming all night long with much of Fort Thomas dancing along.  Costumes are highly encouraged and usually quite creative; and with a theme like “Hand Me Down Ball”, it will be great to see what outfits from yesteryear, grandparents’ lettermen jackets, and repurposed items are worn by attendees.

The mission of the FTEF is to “support the educational excellence of the public schools” by providing “funds beyond the operating budget for educational programs and activities for students and staff,” per the FTEF website (  The monies raised at this dance go directly toward supporting that mission and, in the past, the FTEF has funded musical instruments, 3D printers, robotics, and many other programs as well as raising $11M in capital campaign funds toward the renovated Highlands High School.

In place of a silent auction this year, the dance will feature several live raffles with major items to win such as a bourbon basket, Highland Hills Country Club golf experience, and many more!

Tickets can be bought online at and sponsorship opportunities still exist for businesses or individuals.  Tickets include appetizers, music, and dancing.  Drink tickets can be bought online in advance or at the door, along with raffle tickets.  Be sure to bring cash to participate in the raffle! Cannot wait to see everyone in their grandparents’ finest on Saturday, March 2 from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Community Center!

Opinion: It's Time to Invest in Kentucky's Infrastructure

By Brent Cooper, President/CEO of NKY Chamber of Commerce

Reliable transportation is key to any successful economy.  Business leaders are keenly aware of this fact.  If you’re waiting on a critical shipment, want your employees to arrive on time, or if you’re running to catch a flight at CVG, you need reliable transportation.

You’ll hear business groups talk about large companies impacted by transportation issues: places like Amazon, DHL, Kroger, etc.  But from my perspective, it’s the small businesses that are impacted most when transportation is not reliable.  After all, of the 7,400 businesses in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties, 93% are 49 employees or less.

Consider a small Florence based HVAC repair business with eight employees.  If two of their employees are delayed getting to a customer in Fort Wright due to traffic congestion, that is 25% of their workforce that can’t charge for their time.   And the business they are intending to help?  They suffer while they wait.

Located in the Fort Thomas Plaza. 
Or look a small restaurant in Covington that doesn’t have anyone showing up for happy hour because people don’t want to fight through rush hour traffic on I-75.

Lost productivity and revenue due to transportation issues has a huge impact on small business.

And let’s not forget about the impact of a daily commute.  How much time is wasted sitting in traffic on a daily or weekly basis?  Without question, traffic delays impact an organization’s talent attraction and retention results.

For these reasons the NKY Chamber has been championing reasonable transportation solutions and drawing attention to the various transportation needs throughout the region.

The need for additional resources dedicated to transportation is obvious.  The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet estimates an additional $490 million is needed annually just to address all maintenance and new construction needs throughout the state.

However, due to a change in Kentucky’s gas tax in 2014, we are seeing a $200 million annual loss in road fund revenue.  That’s right - a loss in revenue at a time when more is needed.

That means we have $200 million less each year to repair our crumbling roads and bridges, while the needs of maintenance and new construction continue to be ignored.

States we are competing with are investing in their infrastructure, making their economies more competitive. You don’t have to go far to see what I mean.  Indiana and Tennessee recently increased their investments in infrastructure.  Ohio is considering the same right now.

We need to keep pace.

If we don’t do anything, we won’t have any money for new road projects over the next four years!  Pretty hard to grow with that forecast.

NKU Student Creates Program to Help Beauty Industry Professionals to Recognize Domestic Violence

Highlights for Hope, a new initiative created by a Northern Kentucky University graduate student, looks to educate professionals in the beauty industry to recognize domestic violence and provide a sounding board for individuals impacted by it.

Taylor Zumwalt, a student in NKU’s Master of Social Work program, realized many victims of domestic violence have relationships with their salon professionals. She saw these relationships as an opportunity for victims to take the step to end the abuse – leading her to create Highlights of Hope.

Highlights of Hope, a training program through NKU’s Norse Violence Prevention center, educates salon professionals to recognize the signs of domestic violence, understand how to broach the subject and provide victims with resources to seek help.

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“Many salon professionals were saying that their clients tell them a lot of personal things and are seeing signs of what they think is domestic violence, but they didn’t know how to handle them,” said Zumwalt. “I want these professionals to have the resources to share and be able to direct their clients to find help. It’s awareness focused and not interventionist training.”

As part of her Master of Social Work requirements, Zumwalt was required to create a community project while working at the Norse Violence Prevention center. She had read an article about Illinois passing a law requiring domestic violence training for salon professionals, and the idea for her project took shape.

“I thought this law was pretty cool, but I asked myself, ‘why can’t we train people even without a law?’ I reached out to Chicago Says No More, the group that was behind the push for the Illinois law, and they provided some guidance. From there, I created Highlights for Hope,” said Zumwalt.

A number of salons in the area participated in training events last fall, including 501 Salon & Spa in Bellevue, Kentucky. Salon Owner Kate Moeves says the program was incredibly helpful.

“There is a unique relationship between a stylist and their clients, where you can open up and share things. The training also walked us through how to bring up the subject in a respectful way and know what to do if a conversation does happen,” said Moeves. “Another great part of Highlights for Hope is having domestic violence brochures placed discreetly in the salon, so clients can get information if they are not ready to talk about it.”

Michael's College of Hair Design in Florence, Zoe Grace Salon in Fort Mitchell and the Great Clips in Cold Spring also participated in Highlights for Hope training. Taylor is looking to get the word out to more salons, both in Kentucky and Cincinnati. The training is free and can be personalized to fit their services.

Mudslides Have Route 8 is Closed, Again

PHOTO: On the stretch of road between River Road and Tower Hill, there are multiple roadside memorials visible to memorialize those who have lost their lives due to vehicle crash fatalities on Route-8. FTM file. 

A wet month has closed one of Campbell County's most dangerous due to a mudslide.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Officials alerted media that Route-8 was closed from River Road to Tower Hill until further notice.  This is the second time this month the road has been closed due to mud slides.

The cabinet has been studying the road, which is routinely known to shift and move, for years.

Recently, they redesignated the road, which is now known as KY-6335.

KYTC said redesignating the stretch of road would give the option of reducing the speed limit and lowering weight load limits as conditions dictate to encourage local use only.

So far those changes have not been implemented.

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Just last week a 78-year old man from Flemingsburg lost control of his vehicle on the road near Aquaramp in Fort Thomas, overcorrected and went down the steep embankment toward the river, only to be stopped by the CSX railroad tracks below.

RELATED: Another Scary Accident Occurs on Route-8 in Fort Thomas 

On the stretch of road between River Road and Tower Hill, which is now closed due to the slide, there are multiple roadside memorials visible to memorialize those who have lost their lives due to vehicle crash fatalities.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet branch manager Mike Bezold told WCPO it was a matter of economics.

“We did a study about a couple of years ago to determine what it would cost to get Route 8 up to just a typical two-lane, up to 10-foot lanes,” he said. “It was over $50 million dollars just to get Route 8 up to just passable standards.”

He said the state legislature wasn’t willing to set aside that amount of money for a road serving an estimated 2,000 vehicles each day.

Over the last several years, twenty-seven different locations of Route-8 between Tower Hill and River Road have been repaired on either side of the road.

Repairs are made on an ongoing basis as water runs under the road and shifts it.

“We are making changes to encourage through traffic to seek an alternate route,” said Bob Yeager, chief district engineer for KYTC District 6. “Reducing the daily traffic on this section of Mary Ingles Highway from River Road in Fort Thomas to Dodd Drive in Dayton will provide safer passage for the local citizens who use this roadway.”

Highlands Cruises into District Championship

Bluebirds Win Big to Open Tournament Play

The sixth-ranked girls basketball team in Kentucky served notice it is ready for a long post-season run with a convincing victory in the 36th District semifinals.

The Highlands Bluebirds (27-4 overall) cruised into the 36th District semifinals with a convincing 73-18 win over the Bellevue Tigers (17-15). Highlands has been to the district championship nine straight years and has won it the last four seasons. The Bluebirds have won 29 straight against district opponents.

"We talked before the game that Bellevue was our next opponent and we just had to come out and take care of business," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "We did that limiting them to only 14 points in the first half. That's a credit to our defense."

Richey said Highlands missed its first eight shots before recording a lot of steals and turning them into points. Highlands led 47-14 at halftime and extended it to 60-17 after three.

The huge lead let the Bluebirds play all 15 players on the bench. Senior Zoie Barth led the way with 13 and junior Piper Macke scored 12. The Bluebirds won the rebounding battle, 34-25.

Barth was also the recipient of the $1,000 inaugural Ray Gabbard Memorial scholarship award. Gabbard is a former basketball official in Kentucky.

Highlands made 23-of-45 shots for 51 percent including 9-of-20 from three-point range for 45 percent and 18-of-24 free throws for 75 percent. The Bluebirds also had 10 assists, 14 steals, one blocked shot, 14 fouls and eight turnovers. Senior Chloe Jansen had three steals to lead Highlands.

"We're actually very focused," said Naya Figg, Highlands senior forward. "We've been running sevens (drills) getting our bodies in shape and I feel like we're very prepared. We're willing to work hard and put in the effort to win."

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Highlands Prom Changing Starts New Tradition at NKU

By Nicki Johnson

Highlands Prom and Prom to Dawn are going to be sailing in another direction this year as they change the venues of both events for the first time in over twenty years.

Prom had been held at the Syndicate in Newport for many years and Prom to Dawn which had been held at the high school for twenty years will both relocate to Northern Kentucky University.

Prom which is hosted by the Junior class will be held at the Student Union Ballroom with no dinner and students will have the flexibility to dine on their own.  Prom to Dawn will be at the Recreation Center following Prom starting at midnight and ending at 3:30 a.m.  The decision to change venues was made since there was an increase in the number of students wanting to attend last year and many were unfortunately turned away due to lack of space.

Located at Newport Pavilion. The Best* 1-hour workout class in the country. 
Prom to Dawn is a drug and alcohol-free sponsored event to keep the juniors, seniors and their dates safe after Prom.  Traditionally the high school was transformed into the party theme of the event which took many volunteer hours to achieve.

Junior parent Angela Stevens said, “I spent about twenty hours decorating to transform the school into a magical place and it will be nice to have it simplified”.

The theme this year will be “The Bluebird of the Seas” cruise ship which many of the activities at the NKU recreation center will be able to accommodate without massive amounts of decorating and rearranging.   There still will be some of the same traditional activities from years past but some new things to do such as swimming, rock climbing and other activities.

Senior Karli Baioni said, “I’m so glad they are having it at NKU. We had to put our stuff in the corner just to make room for people to eat and I’m happy about having more space in a place outside of school.”  

Highlands Rallies Past NewCath, 57-54

Bluebirds Advance to 9th Region Tournament for First Time Since 2014

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands sophomore Sam Vinson (20) defends Newport Central Catholic's Ross Pangallo (32) in the 36th District semifinals on Tuesday. Highlands advanced to the 9th Region Tournament for the first time since 2014 with a 57-53 win.
If the panic came anywhere, it was the in the stands, not the locker room of the visitors.

The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team (20-10 overall) came into the 36th District semifinals as the second seed favored to win over the host and third seed Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (9-19). But the Thoroughbreds played like anything but a team that came into the game on a 10-game losing streak on their home floor. They gave an expected battle against the Bluebirds and led 31-21 at halftime Tuesday.

But Highlands made the necessary adjustments at halftime and came back to record a 57-53 win to advance to the 9th Region Tournament for the first time since 2014. The Bluebirds take on the Newport Wildcats (23-8) on Thursday back at NewCath for the district championship at 7 p.m. Highlands last won at NewCath, 58-44 on Jan. 9, 2010.

"I walked in at halftime. I said, 'We're going to win this game. There's not a single body in here that thinks this game is over so we just got to keep grinding and play the defense," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "That really was the difference in the second half. It was a matter of us getting stops and kind of finding our rhythm on offense. The best part about this is just the composure of this group. That's having guys who have been around for a long time, recognizing the situation and just being themselves."

Prior to last season, NewCath had won nine straight district tournaments. The Thoroughbreds will not advance to the region tournament for the first time since 2008. Highlands beat NewCath, 60-40 at home in the first round of the district tournament that year before beating Newport and Bellevue on the way to its last district championship that year during the blind draw days.

Listerman especially commended seniors Nate Roberts, Alex Starkey and junior Jacob Brass for their defense in the second half. Starkey had four assists and three rebounds to go with six points. Roberts blocked two shots and recorded a steal with Brass recording two steals and a blocked shot.

"It just helped us get a couple extra possessions," Brass said. "We started to get it going in the fourth quarter playing hard. It's a rivalry game so it's always fun. We knew the other team would play better than it usually does. We just had to respond. In the first half, we didn't play very well. But in the second half, we played better."

For the game, NewCath made 20-of-51 shots for 39 percent including 4-of-12 from three-point range for 33 percent and 9-of-15 free throws for 60 percent. But after going 12-of-22 in the first half for 55 percent, the Thoroughbreds made 8-of-29 in the second half for 28 percent. NewCath tried to dribble to the basket and make things happen, but Highlands contained it better in the second half.

Highlands made 22-of-40 shots for 55 percent including 5-of-14 from three-point range for 36 percent and 8-of-15 free throws for 53 percent. The Bluebirds made 8-of-17 shots for 47 percent in the first half and 14-of-25 in the second half for 56 percent.

The Bluebirds saw their top three scorers lead the way offensively. Sophomore Sam Vinson finished with 18 points making two three-pointers to go with three assists. His lay-up with 5:44 left in the fourth quarter tied the game at 44. Vinson also had a three-point play with 14 seconds left in the third to trim the Thoroughbred margin to 42-39 entering the final period.

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Highlands senior Ryan Leigh finished with 13 to go with two steals and an assist. Leigh made three three-pointers including two in the fourth quarter to key the rally. His third triple with 4:50 left in the game gave Highlands the lead for good with 4:50 left in the game.

"I wasn't hitting many in the beginning," Leigh said. "I've had a couple games this year where I wasn't hitting early. All my coaches kept telling me, 'Keep shooting, Keep shooting. They'll go in eventually.' At the end, they started going in."

The Thoroughbreds doubled and triple-teamed Highlands senior post Ben Sisson. Sisson still finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and blocked two shots. Sisson had a monster dunk with 4:20 left in the third quarter.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Spring Preview Sale at Monera This Thursday!

Back From Atlanta with Spring Trends!

Monica & Tera in Atlanta at 2019 Market!


Banish the winter dulls with Spring cheer and a fun evening out! Join the ladies at Monera Chic Boutique on Thursday evening for a very special Ladies Night Out Spring Preview & Sale! They are making space for all the new items they purchased at market!

New Arrivals for Spring 2019 at Monera


Monera will close at 2:30pm on Thursday and reopen at 5:30pm completely transformed. Shop the new styles, fabrics, colors, and prints of Spring and enjoy 20% off your entire regular priced purchase!

We spoke to owners Tera & Monica who shared their impressions of the new Spring trends including the midi (it's back and it's SO CUTE!!), lots of animal and snake prints, colors like blush, warm yellows, purples, and sage. We'll take those rich colors in our Spring wardrobes!

Shop new spring items at Monera

New Spring arrivals at Monera

We can't wait to see what the ladies at Monera have in store for Thursday! Shake the dull out of your Winter and lighten up with some Spring color and spunk!


NCC 19th Hall of Fame Class Inducted

On Saturday, February 16, Newport Central Catholic High School inducted a new class into the NCC Athletic Hall of Fame:

Stephen Everson ’02, Sam Diehl ’06, Camron Jacob ’93, Jimmy Sandfoss ’94, Beth Bueter Barney ’00, Molly Messmer Simons ’86, Jennifer Wetterstroem Wolf ’97, and Coach Kevin Turnick.

The 2006 State Champion Football Team was honored as the “Team of Distinction”.

Also, NCCHS awarded the Coach Jim Connor Award to Mr. Denny Barnes ’70.  The Coach Jim Connor Award is an award that exemplifies the ideals and traditions of Newport Central Catholic and for  excellence achieved in work and personal life.

Bracketology: UK vs. NKU, Part II?

Fort Thomas Matters traveled to Indianapolis in 2017 to watch Northern Kentucky University take on the University of Kentucky at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

For NKU, it was their first trip to the NCAA tournament and on the big stage, they didn't disappoint.

Hall of Fame announcer Jim Nantz, called them "scrappy" and the blue blood scraped out a 79-70 victory.

RELATED: Nantz: "Scrappy" is the perfect word to define NKU

Now, according to ESPN's Joe Lunardi, a matchup of the 15-seed Norse and 2-seed Wildcats could come to fruition according to his projections.

Learn How to Turn Sap Into Syrup

The Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy turns ten years old this year and they will celebrate with a “10 for 10” public events. This is the first event. It’s free and you don’t have to make a reservation. 

How does tree sap become maple syrup? Find out Sunday, February 24 in a hands on hour demonstration.

Trisha Schroeder, event organizer and an FTFC Director, says, “Participants will learn all about sap and how it becomes syrup.   They will learn why the sap is rising for only this short time in February/March by briefly learning about the life cycle of a tree. The program will go over tools to tap a tree and demonstrate how to tap a tree. The program will end by heading outside to the woods in Tower Park to learn how to identify a maple tree in winter. They will discover a small grove of maple trees with one that has been tapped and, if it is running that day, to taste the sap straight from the tree. Whether the tree is running that day or not, the participants will get to taste the three stages of maple syrup production.” 

Monday, February 18, 2019

Ben Sisson Voted MVP, Defensive Player of Year by NKY Coaches

Highlands forward Ben Sisson was named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in Division II by the Northern Kentucky Boys Basketball Coaches Association.

Sisson, a 6-foot-5 senior is having a breakout season, leading his team by averaging 16.7 points and 10 rebounds a game for the Bluebirds.

At 19-10, Highlands has its first winning record in nine years, just finishing up the regular season by beating state-ranked Beechwood at home. They've won 11 of their last 14 games.

Sisson, a two-sport star at Highlands, was injured during his junior season.

Highlands Senior guard Ryan Leigh, was also named to the Division II team and Austin King earned the Academic Award.

The coaches association will select a Coach of the Year and 9th Region Player of the Year after the playoffs.

A complete list of the top players and award-winners in each division:

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Reid Jolly (Campbell County), Kelly Niece (Simon Kenton), Drew Wilson (Campbell County), Blaine Walters (Cooper), Nick Thelen (CovCath), Trey Meister (Scott), Ty Houston (Cooper), Chad Ohmer (Scott), Vince Rankin (Ryle), Jalen Scott (Conner), Grant Disken (CovCath), Brenden Ginn (Conner).

Player of the Year — Reid Jolly (Campbell County)
Mr. Hustle — Tanner Lawrence (Campbell County)
Defensive Award — Michael Spencer (Cooper)
Academic Award —  Andrew Schmitt (Ryle)

Ben Sisson (Highlands), Scotty Draud (Beechwood), Tahj Harding (Newport), Makhi McGuire (Newport), Wyatt Vieth (St. Henry), Treshaun Cody (Lloyd), Donnie Miller (Newport), Evan Mullikin (NewCath), C.J. Brannen (Beechwood), Pete Knochelman (Holy Cross), J.D. Schumacher (Brossart), Ryan Leigh (Highlands).

Player of the Year — Ben Sisson (Highlands)
Mr. Hustle — Conner Shea (St. Henry)
Defensive Award — Ben Sisson (Highlands)
Academic Award —  Austin King (Highlands)

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Bluebirds Record Doubleheader Sweep of Beechwood

Bluebird Boys End Three-Game Losing Streak Against Tigers

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Nate Roberts (center) dribbles right as Alex Starkey (32) moves up. Highlands beat Beechwood, 68-58 to conclude the regular season.
For the previous three seasons in this annual doubleheader, the Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team came away victorious in the first game, but the Highlands boys were not able to complete the sweep of the Beechwood Lady Tiger and Tiger squads.

That changed Friday as both Highlands teams won completing the sweep for the first time since 2015. It marked the end of the regular season for all four teams.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Fort Thomas Home Destroyed by Fire, Robot Vacuum Thought to be Cause

At 2:04 p.m. on Thursday, February 14, Megan Price was getting ready in her Fort Thomas home in the 50 block of Delta Avenue.

That's when she heard the smoke alarms going off downstairs.

"I was in the shower and my smoke alarms started going off. I jumped out the shower and ran downstairs and my living room was smoky behind my couch. I ran back upstairs to get dressed and when I came back down my couch and wall were on fire," said Price.

She said that those alarms saved her life.

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"I cannot stress enough to test your fire detectors at your home. Mine saved my life this afternoon," she said. "The boys and I may have lost our home but we are blessed to still be alive."

Price, said her two sons, ages 7 and 4, were at school at the time of the fire. She says says the home and all of its contents are a complete loss. They are staying with her parents while they figure out what to do next. She said everyone is healthy, but they have nothing left.

"The kids haven’t been to the house yet they were pretty upset on the phone when I talked with them," she said.

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Besides the advice Price gives about making sure your smoke detectors are functional, she is also giving a warning about a robotic vacuum that she believes was the cause of the fire. She said that she purchased it in November during a Black Friday sale.

"The robot vacuum malfunctioned and caused it," said Price. "I just saw it on fire underneath the couch before the whole thing went up. The police have that as evidence as well as part of my couch that wasn’t destroyed." 

Price says the vacuum brand was a "Deebot", purchased at Target for $149. Price said she would urge people who purchased the same model to be vigilant and to check with the manufacturer about similar instances.

Woodfill Elementary School Principal, Keith Faust, enlisted the help of the school and Fort Thomas community to help Price and her sons in their time of dire need. The seven-year old is a first grader there. They are seeking donations of clothing, gift cards to local restaurants and stores. Donations can be dropped off at Woodfill Elementary School at 1025 Alexandria Pike, in the front office.

"Let’s teach our children about empathy, compassion and helping those in need," he wrote.

RELATED: See The Price's Amazon Wishlist here

They are looking for donations of: