Wednesday, September 20, 2017

2017 Proposed Tax Rate Approved

Fort Thomas property owners will see a 2.4 percent hike in their 2017 property tax bill. A proposed overall tax rate of .412 per $100 of property was approved by the city council in a four-to-two vote at its September 18 meeting.

The new tax rate includes the compensating rate plus a four percent city revenue increase, the maximum allowed by law.

Councilmembers Ken Bowman and Lisa Kelly voted against the new rate. Bowman expressed concern at the last council meeting that the city should consider not raising the rate to the maximum allowed amount.

"With trash collection and school board going up, I would like us to find a middle ground instead of going for the maximum amount every time," said Bowman at the previous council meeting.

RELATED: City Council Roundup: Property Tax Discussion Points to Increase

Councilmember Roger Peterman said a public hearing on the new tax rate was held last week but no one from the audience asked about the tax hike. He said he had hoped to be able to address concerns people might have.

Per the KRS statute, the tax rate meeting was advertised in the back pages of The Recorder.

He offered his perspective on the topic. "At this point in the process, approving this tax rate becomes more of an administrative act. We considered this tax rate when we developed the budget, and we’ve already adopted the budget for this year," he said. "We are depending on those revenues to balance the budget."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

WATCH: Highlands Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Video

Highlands Hall of Fame 2017

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Bub Basham, It's a Wonderful Life Living in the Same Neighborhood for 90 Years

Lois and Bub in the sports memorabilia room. 
Floyd “Bub” Basham told me that “We love the city. We love everything about it. We’ve had a great life. I couldn’t want a better place to live. Right here. “  And right here turns out to be only three buildings from where he was born.

And if I didn’t know any better I might be tempted to say that Jimmy Stewart portrayed Bub’s devotion to his town and family in the film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Bub married his school sweetheart, Lois, raised their family, worked, played, and continues to give to his community.

 Bub is 90 years old and has lived within 150 feet of where he was born. That’s right. He lives on Miller Lane in a home that he and his friends built in the late 1950s. And that is only a few doors from the corner of North Fort Thomas Avenue and Miller Lane where a grocery store, Stegner’s,  stood at one time. Bub’s parents lived upstairs and that’s where he was born. The Board of Education building sits on the site now.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Former Highlands, UK and NFL player Jared Lorenzen launches his documentary and weight loss challenge platform.

Former NFL Quarterback, University of Kentucky, and Highlands star, Jared Lorenzen, has begun filming a 12- month documentary that will chronicle his journey to combat obesity and live a healthy lifestyle.

After gaining weight post his football career, he will allow cameras to follow him in his home state of Kentucky while he also challenges the state to join him on his quest to health and wellness. Jared recently gained national attention by launching his Facebook page The Jared Lorenzen Project, which showed the former Bluebird ballooning his weight to over 500 pounds.  He has teamed with The Now Lets Get Foundation to provide a platform that will focus solely on combating obesity and instilling health and wellness through education, fitness and nutrition.

“I want to show everyone that it’s never too early or too late to start the journey towards health. I want people to know that if I can do it then you can do it. My goal is to use platform to put a face to obesity. The Facebook page is a platform that everyone can join, feel safe to express themselves, get the inspiration and answers on health and wellness they need to make the change in their life,”  said Lorenzen.

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PICTURES: Highlands Athletics Inducts Third Hall of Fame Class

The third Highlands Athletics Hall of Fame class was inducted September 17, 2017. 

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St. Elizabeth Healthcare Spotlight: 'Am I at risk for HPV?'

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is known to be the culprit in many cases of cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers in women, penile cancer in men, and scores of other cancers in both genders. Vaccinations are the key to prevention and recommended for all girls and women ages 9 to 26.

Join St. Elizabeth Healthcare at 10a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, for a free educational session about HPV-related cancers and diseases. Attendees can speak to health care professionals and hear success stories from survivors. The event will beat the St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center, 3861 Olympic Blvd., Erlanger.

Register online at

Highlands Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Officially Inducted

Many Memorable Names Take Stage in Highlands History

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Brady Walz (with cap) said he's learned a lot of valuable lessons from his grandfather Roger Walz on handling adversity. Roger Walz received induction into the Highlands Hall of Fame on Sunday along with nine other individuals and one team.
People who have done it know the road to success has a lot of challenges.

But those who have deep connections to those who have done it, they have someone to ask advice on that bumpy path. That is the case with some children and grandchildren of at least three inductees into the third annual Highlands Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

Fort Thomas Resident Now Selling Gorgeous Paint & Paper From Across the Pond

Fort Thomas resident Thomas Jackson in front of his Farrow & Ball display at his storefront, Bloodline Merchants.
Last year we wrote about Thomas Jackson, who recently moved with his family from England to Fort Thomas, KY. With him he brought enough antiques to fill a 4,600-square-foot shop across the river in his storefront, Bloodline Merchants (4855 Eastern Ave.). 

The store has been the go-to source for folks interested in unique, reasonably priced antiques, many of which are found at the Newark International Antiques & Collectors Fair, held every two months northwest of London, and the Lincolnshire Antiques & Home Show in the East Midlands. Recently, Jackson has begun offering a new product from across the pond: Farrow & Ball paint and paper.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Highlands-LexCath Game Story

Knights Hand Bluebirds Tough Defeat

Of the 17 losses since the start of 2015, this one could be considered the most painful.

The Highlands Bluebirds football team led for a good part of the game -- until the final 45 seconds. The Lexington Catholic Knights put together two touchdown drives in the final 4:55 to steal a 21-18 victory at David Cecil Memorial Stadium on Homecoming Night on Friday.

Friday, September 15, 2017

WATCH: Fort Thomas Fourth Graders Learn Fort Thomas History

Homecoming Weekend: Community Tailgate at Fort Thomas Central

This weekend is a big weekend in the Fort as the community welcomes back graduates and inducts a new class into the Athletic Hall of Fame.  It’s Homecoming weekend!  And what better way to kick off the weekend with not one, but two tailgate parties and a spaghetti dinner.

Friday, before the 2-2 HHS Bluebirds take on the 2-2 Lexington Catholic Knights, Barb Thomas, owner of Fort Thomas Central, will have a community tailgate party at The Lawn in front of her store.  The tailgate will begin at 5:30 and end at 9.  The following food trucks will be on site: Texas Joe and Marty’s Waffles.  Additionally, the store will be open during this final party before Fall officially begins and 10% of proceeds from sales will go to the Charities Guild of Northern Kentucky.  Finally, she will have several pop-up stores in the parking lot including Usborne Books, India Hicks Experience, Matilda Jane, and Stella & Dot.  Be sure to come out, eat, shop, and have a great time.

If Mexican or Waffles aren’t your thing, though, stop first at Woodfill Elementary in the cafeteria and have some spaghetti.  The annual Big Top Festival kick-off spaghetti dinner begins at 5 pm and ends at 8 pm.  Cost is $6 for children and seniors, $8 for adults, or $25 for family-sized portions (dine-in only).  All of the proceeds from this sale go directly to the Woodfill PTO to support the students at Woodfill.  And don’t forget, Big Top Festival is this Sunday from 12-6 and will feature many children’s games, bounce houses and other entertainment devices, and an auction for adults.

Finally, for those returning graduates or local alumni, be sure to stop at the Shake Your Tailfeather Tailgate party on the plaza in front of the Highlands High School gymnasium.  This event is free for alumni and will feature grilled brats and hot dogs and a lot of fun.  Make this the meeting place for your fellow reunion friends before going into the game and meet members of the Fort Thomas Education Foundation Alumni Association Committee.  Also, don’t miss the HHS Marching Band, which will come by the event to play the fight song before the game.  And finally, enter for a chance to win a framed photograph of the fully renovated HHS campus.  The fun starts at 6 and ends at game time.

So, bring a big appetite and a bunch of friends.  Grab some spaghetti, shop at FTC, and grab a hot dog while enjoying the fight song. And remember, Go Birds!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dr. Karen Cheser Named Vice-Chair of Professional Learning Community Board

Today EdLeader21, the professional learning community (PLC) for leaders committed to 21st century education, announced new leadership appointments to the Advisory Committee. Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools Dr. Aaron Spence and Superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools (KY) Dr. Karen Cheser have been named PLC Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively.

Cheser, who was hired by the Fort Thomas Independent School Board earlier this year, brings many years of experience to the positon including most recently being the Deputy Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer of Boone County Schools, a KY Distinguished District of Innovation.

She began her career in education in 1988 with positions that included teacher, coach, literacy and math specialist, principal, distinguished educator and district administrator. Prior to her years in education, she worked for Procter & Gamble Inc. in sales and brand management.

“I am excited to be a part of the PLC and to have the opportunity to share my experiences while learning from this seasoned group,” said Cheser. “Building community and providing opportunities for students is at the core of my mission for Fort Thomas and I will bring those values to this group.”

Dr. Spence became Virginia Beach Superintendent in 2014. As Superintendent, he oversees the operation of 86 schools (serving almost 68,000 students) as well as all administrative support functions for the school division. He returned to Virginia from having served most recently as Superintendent of Moore County Public Schools in North Carolina.

“We are so honored that Dr. Spence and Dr. Cheser have agreed to lead the Advisory Committee and will help carry out EdLeader21’s mission,” said EdLeader21 CEO Ken Kay. “They each bring a unique perspective which will benefit the organization and help move our important work of 21st century education forward.”

The EdLeader21 PLC Advisory Committee is made up of 19 members, each of whom serve a two-year term.

Don't Miss Fort Thomas' First Blues Festival Next Weekend

Kids Zone 1:00-3:00 PM Amphitheater Stage 1:00-10:30 PM
VIP After Party 8:45-12:00 AM (Ticketed Event)

Fort Thomas will host its' first ever Blues Festival Saturday, September 23rd.
Mark your calendar for next weekend's  Band of Helping Hands Blues Festival on Saturday, September 23rd at Tower Park. Nearly a year in the making, Fort Thomas has partnered with a great non- profit organization, Band of Helping Hands to bring some great talent to town.

The annual Music & Merchants festival was replaced this year by the Sesquicentennial celebration in July, and Fort Thomas Councilman Ken Bowman said this event in its' place is something you won't want to miss.

"One of my favorite performers will be playing in the Community Center, aka the Mess Hall for about 400 people, said Bowman who helped organize this day long event.

Mississippi singer/songwriter Paul Thorn and his band have agreed to this ticketed portion of the day, and if you are not familiar with Paul Thorn, you need to be. You can't help but to become a fan. This is a very rare opportunity to catch them in such an up close and personal space."

Paul Thorn's true to his roots southern style is a unique blend of blues and rock. He will be performing a great up-close and personal experience at the Band of Helping Hands Blues Festival.
All of the profits from the Paul Thorn portion of the event will be donated to the Band of Helping Hands Organization and used to provide possibilities and opportunities for children and young adults through education, music, art, athletics and personal growth experiences.

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Band Of Helping Hands supports and funds activities for children and young adults in our area in the form of mentoring and personal growth, helping those who are faced with special needs, challenging home situations, medical complications and financial constraints. Through support, encouragement, and experiences, their goal is to provide possibilities and opportunities for these individuals.

Greg Mebs, Fort Thomas resident and founding member of G. Miles and the Band of Helping Hands started the non-profit organization. As a counselor with a company of 45 employees - 27 therapists and case managers that serve high-risk kids and families with intense mental health, wraparound services, he started the Band of Helping Hands with a mission to build into kids, families and communities through arts, sports, etc.

Highlands-Lexington Catholic Football Preview

Bluebirds Seek More Bright Moments in Homecoming Game

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Larry Wilson (21) tries to break a tackle while offensive linemen Michael Dunn (73), Keaton Huddleston (54) and Sam Sparks (56) try to make room in the game against Ryle.
It has been a mix of great moments and inconsistencies for these 2-2 football squads.

Both the host Highlands Bluebirds and Lexington Catholic Knights hope to see more of the first and less of the second in the non-region game Friday at David Cecil Memorial Stadium in their first meeting since 2014 at 7:30 p.m. It is the annual Homecoming game for the Blue and White.