Saturday, September 22, 2018

Highlands-Simon Kenton Video Highlights

Highlands Rolls Over Undefeated Simon Kenton, Improves to 5-1

Bluebirds Earn Another Huge Victory

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior wide receiver Adam Weyer (9) hauls in a touchdown catch in front of Simon Kenton junior defensive back Isaac Bleier (23) on Friday at David Cecil Memorial Stadium. Weyer scored from 25 yards out in the first quarter. The Bluebirds defeated the Pioneers, 38-9.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior defensive back Bailey Armstrong (left) pursues Simon Kenton senior quarterback Caleb Farfsing (18).
A number of signs pointed toward another huge win for the host football team Friday.

The Simon Kenton Pioneers from Class 6A's District 6 came into the game at David Cecil Memorial Stadium undefeated. But the combined record of the five opponents the two teams faced coming into the game favored the host Highlands Bluebirds. The combined record of the first five Highlands opponents was 14-11 compared to 6-17 for the Pioneers.

Simon Kenton beat one team with a winning record in the Conner Cougars, 31-13 in a lightning-shortened game on Sept. 1 in Independence. Highlands scored a few quick touchdowns and the defense held up until the Bluebirds put the points on the board to pull away for a 38-9 non-district victory. Both teams are 5-1 on the season.

"It was a good start," said Zach Deaton, Highlands Offensive Coordinator. "We need to keep that start rolling through the whole game. I was proud of us executing in the front part. We just need to make sure we execute on the back end."

This marked the 890th victory in program history for the Bluebirds and their first win over Simon Kenton since 1998. The Pioneers stayed undefeated after beating the Bluebirds the last three seasons (See sidebar in sports for more details).

Simon Kenton out-gained Highlands, 270-245. But the Bluebirds defense again made a team drive the field and took advantage of Pioneer mistakes along the way. Highlands averaged a little more than four yards per play on 60 plays compared to just under three on 91 plays for Simon Kenton.

The Pioneers run the read option with senior quarterback Caleb Farfsing, senior running back Jon Sergent and junior running back Austin Hammack out of the spread formation. Sergent ran for 10 yards above his average per game going for 73 yards on 13 carries for an average of 5.6 yards per carry. But the Bluebirds contained them.

"We worked all week in terms of our angles, our alignment and what our keys were and the whole focus was keeping (Farfsing) where we knew where he was," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "We didn't want him to get out out there (in the open) because when he gets out there, he's dangerous. All it takes is one play. He's really hard to tackle in the open. We made the sure the guys were where they needed to be."

Farfsing led the Simon Kenton attack that gained 178 yards on 49 carries for an average of 3.6 per carry with 84 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown for an average of seven per touch. Hammack had minus-five yards on four touches. Farfsing and Hammack averaged 103 and 76 yards rushing per game coming into the game. Simon Kenton averaged just under 269 yards rushing per game entering the game. Hammack left the game with an injury in the first half and Farfsing left the game in the second half.

The Highlands 3-5 defense consistently penetrated the Simon Kenton backfield recording 12 tackles for a loss including three sacks. Junior defensive linemen Conner Zell and Griffin Welsch led the Bluebirds with two tackles for a loss each. Senior defensive lineman Zach Lewin and senior linebacker Jackson Hagedorn had one sack each.

Hagedorn recorded another defensive touchdown for the Bluebirds. On the first snap after Farsing left with an injury, freshman Jack Nelsen took over as quarterback for the Pioneers. Simon Kenton snapped the ball past Nelsen. Hagedorn picked up the loose ball on a scramble and dashed 35 yards for a touchdown to put Highlands up 31-7 with 4:26 left in the third quarter.

"I think it really changes the tide of the game," Hagedorn said of defensive scores. "It really gives us the momentum when we get the ball back. Even if our offense doesn't do that well, we know they'll do well the next time. But when we come out, we can depend on ourselves to get a touchdown and if they do, that's even better."

That marked the only turnover for the Pioneers. Highlands lost two fumbles. One came in the third quarter when a ball hit off a Bluebirds player on a Simon Kenton punt. But Hagedorn's touchdown came shortly after that. Senior defensive back David LeCount had a fumble recovery for Simon Kenton.

The consistent pressure forced the Pioneers to have to throw the ball. Farfsing and Nelsen combined to complete 10-of-29 passes for 92 yards. Sergent, junior running back/wide receiver Quincy North and junior wide receiver Evan Mulberry had two catches each, but none had more than 23 yards receiving. The longest pass play went 20 yards for Simon Kenton.

"Anytime a team relies on what they do and you can get up, it should help you," Weinrich said. "They were continuing to grind the ball and keep the ball away (from Highlands) because that's their offense. Even though they weren't throwing the ball, they're a big play offense. They're always one play away from making something happen because they get you going one way then all of a sudden, here comes the quarterback so they don't always have to throw the ball just because you're down. What they do is what they do and we couldn't let the scoreboard affect how we were playing defensively."

Highlands passed for 152 yards and rushed for just 93 as the Simon Kenton 3-4 defense keyed on stopping Bluebirds senior running back Cooper Schwalbach holding him to 38 yards on 15 carries with a game-long run of eight yards for an average of just more than 2.5 yards per carry.

The majority of the Highlands rushing yards came with 1:05 left in the game. Sophomore running back Joe Buten broke free for a 69-yard scamper up the middle. Buten finished with 70 yards rushing on five carries and a touchdown for an average of 14 yards per touch. Schwalbach averaged 77 yards per game rushing and Buten 36 entering the game.

Highlands tried to loosen the Simon Kenton defense through the air. But the Bluebirds could not connect consistently against the experienced Pioneer defense. Highlands senior quarterback Grady Cramer was 8-of-23 for 103 yards and one touchdown. The Pioneers recorded five sacks in the game.

"The main thing for us between a successful drive and an unsuccessful drive was how aggressive we were up front," said Max Dierig, Highlands offensive lineman. "On every play we scored, we were putting our faces in their chests and really driving them back. When we weren't scoring, we were being more passive and trying to catch their guys off the line. When your mindset is right to play on the offensive line when you're out there, you're going to dominate every play."

Highlands junior quarterback Collin Hollingsworth came in for a couple drives and completed 5-of-6 passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. On 4th-and-goal from the Simon Kenton 4, Hollingsworth completed a crucial touchdown pass in the left front corner to senior wide receiver Austin King with 2:18 left in the first half to give Highlands a 24-7 lead at halftime.

"It was crazy. I saw a bunch of pressure up front," Hollingsworth said. "There was a guy coming at me so I ran to my left on my (throwing) arm side. I saw him breaking out on the out route. It was simple."

Six different Highlands receivers had catches for the Bluebirds. King led the way with five catches for 16 yards and Schwalbach had three for 34 including a 20-yard completion. Junior Hunter Ahlfeld recorded a 30-yard catch in the first half and ran into the end zone. But the side judge ruled he stepped out of bounds at the Simon Kenton 15. Highlands missed a field goal several plays later.

The game started off strong for Highlands as junior linebacker Brycen Huddleston returned the kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. That marked Huddleston's second kickoff return for a score this year.

Highlands has had consistent special teams play this season. Cramer had five punts for an average of 39 yards including a 52-yarder in the first half. Cramer had two punts inside the Simon Kenton 20. Simon Kenton had one return for 10 yards. On eight kickoffs, Bowman put two in the end zone for a touch-back and the Bluebirds limited Simon Kenton to a long of 21 on six kickoff returns.

"We really take pride in it," said John Kohler, Highlands defensive back. "We take emphasis. We take time in practice to work on special teams. We work on getting down the field as fast as we can. Then it comes down to the guys. We have a great group of guys. We fly down there and try to make plays. That's all it is."

Following a bad snap on a punt, Highlands took over at the Simon Kenton 11. Following a tough offensive pass interference call, junior Adam Weyer ran behind the Pioneer defense for a 25-yard touchdown catch on a post route and senior Nick Bowman made the point-after kick to put the Bluebirds up 14-0 with 9:41 left in the first quarter.

Simon Kenton then finished its lone drive offensively on the next series. Farfsing faked a hand-off then broke free for a 38-yard touchdown run and senior Christian Seger made the PAT to cut the Highlands lead to 14-7 with 7:13 left in the first quarter.

Highlands drove down the field and managed a Bowman 33-yard field goal with 2:50 left in the quarter to go up 17-7. On third down before the field-goal try, Cramer threw into the end zone. But pass interference was not called on the tight play.

Simon Kenton scored just two points in the second half. It came on a safety in the fourth quarter.

Highlands has its bye week before facing Dixie Heights on Thursday, Oct. 4 in Edgewood. That game starts at 7 p.m. and is the final road game of the regular season for the Bluebirds.

Box Score:

Friday, September 21, 2018

Woodfill Students Share Wildly Important Goals

Woodfill Elementary students present the Wildly Important Goals they've chosen for this year.
Four students from Woodfill Elementary School shared a new project that has engaged students in all grades. Ellie, Carly, Charity and Vinny, ranging from first to fifth grade, presented their WIGs at the September meeting of the Fort Thomas Independent Schools Board.

Wildly Important Goals, known as WIGs, can be personal or academic goals that each student selects to work on throughout the school year. This is the first year of the project, and this year’s focus for academic goals is on writing and communications, said Woodfill Principal Keith Faust.

The students shared their goals and explained how they keep track of the progress they’ve made toward their goals, such as improving grades, meeting higher expectations in rubrics and supporting their classmates.

Carly gave examples of lead measures that would help track her progression toward her goal of raising her grades. Her measures were proofreading, peer proofreading and working with the Spelling City app. She carefully tracks the measures each day on a chart in her notebook.

"Even our teachers have goals," explained Vinny. "My teacher says she wants to go from five books she’s read so far this school year to reading 12 books by the end of quarter one. Our principal says he wants to go from 30 minutes of quality face-time per day with staff and students to over 75 minutes per day."

Faust said in the next semester, students will choose "accountability partners" to help them stay on track and check in on progress toward meeting their goals.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Merchants & Music 2018 FOOD + KIDS ZONE Options

The 14th annual Merchants & Music Festival, sponsored by the Fort Thomas Renaissance Board, is Saturday September 22 at Tower Park in Fort Thomas.

The outdoor festival celebrates the merchants of Fort Thomas and pairs them with nationally-acclaimed recording artists as well as fun activities for the entire family. This free event is headlined by the 10,000 Maniacs and ends with Fort Thomas' own, The Leftovers, at 11:00 p.m.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Ale Trail Pub Crawl is Friday, September 21 2018 (DETAILS)

This year the festival's chair is Frank Twehues. Fort Thomas' Katie Walters, from Q102, will emcee the event.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About the 2018 Merchants and Music Festival 

"Tracy Davis and Hilary Blau and the rest of the Renaissance Board did a great job pulling together acts for the Kids Zone," said Twehues. "Without their involvement in the last week, the lineup below wouldn’t be so awesome. I may have been Chair of the festival in title, but others have done just as much if not more work.  Debbie Buckley's hard work will be very evident as we hope for another great night in Fort Thomas."

The Renaissance Board is Chaired by Brian Sand.

These acts include:
 - Belle from 4 – 6 in the shelter .
 - Face painting and balloon twisting from 2:30 – 6:00 – Will be in a booth outside of the shelter.
 - Caricature artist from 3:00 – 5:00 – Will be in a booth outside of the shelter.
 - Jennifer Ellis singing 3 – 4  - Outside of shelter.
 - Bounce Houses will be available from 2:30 on.  Located in the grass area near shelter and playground.

The event also has a lot of food options from regional vendors including:

·        Artic Freeze
·        Brent’s Landing
·        California Tri-Tip
·        Chloe’s Eatery
·        Colonel De
·        Farmhouse Lemonade
·        It’s Just Bricks
·        Jane’s Funnel Cakes
·        Kona Ice
·        LaOrangette
·        Melissa’s Soup Kitchen
·        Pinky’s Pit BBQ
·        Southern Smoke
·        Texas Joe’s
·        The Pop Shop

The Hidden Dragon is Northern Kentucky's Hidden Gem

Cold Spring has a hidden gem in the Hidden Dragon restaurant.

Owners, Thearvy and Karen Long moved their longtime successful business with the same name from Alexandria to Cold Spring in December of 2017.

Their new location at 56 Martha Layne Collins Blvd. is located in County Square Market.

For the Long's it has come full circle.

They met 30 years ago working at the Gourmet Wok location where the Hidden Dragon now sits.

Long then went on to become the Executive Chef at the Oriental Wok in Fort Mitchell for 24 years, which has routinely been rated highly by food critics everywhere as one of the best in Asian cuisine in the area.

RELATED: View The Hidden Dragon Restaurant Menu 

Long has taken that same approach with his Cold Spring restaurant.

The Living Media offices were recently delivered an array of takeout from the restaurant and you can immediately tell the quality of the food is exquisite. The vegetables are fresh and crunchy. The chicken is incredibly high quality. The rice is fluffy and soft and even the sauces taste like they are prepared on the spot.

The crab rangoon is the best we've ever had.

If you are in the mood for Chinese food, this is definitely worth a visit. You can now get Oriental Wok-style quality for a reasonable price in Campbell County at Hidden Dragon.

Hidden Dragon Asian Fusion
56 Martha Layne Collins Blvd, Cold Spring, KY 41076
Phone: (859) 781-8800

Order online and see the menu here. 


Mac's Pizza Pub Coming to Cold Spring

Mac's Pizza Pub will open this fall in Cold Spring.

The local chain will be the fifth for owner, Mac Ryan. This location will be at 42 Martha Layne Collins Blvd. in the County Square development.

Previously, that location was occupied by Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkers and Growlers.

Ryan, who has a background in staffing, manufacturing and finance, found his passion for working for himself in the restaurant industry.

"I truly want people to come in to one of my restaurants and receive a top quality product, provided at a reasonable price, be treated with respect and delivered in a fun, lively yet laid back atmosphere," he said.

Mac's has locations in Clifton, Covington in Mainstrasse, on Wooster Pike, and in Landen in Maineville.
Hassman and Doyle Lawfirm. 859-655-4430. This is an advertisement.

Besides their pizza, wings and burgers, the location in Cold Spring will also feature a 1960 Big Ball Arcade Roller bowling game.

Four Highlands Students Earn Highest Possible ACT Scores

Margot Seidel, Adam Groneck and Alexander Harrison celebrate achieving the highest score possible on the ACT. (Will Burnham also was honored but was unable to attend the board meeting).
 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

Four Highlands High School students have joined an exclusive club. They are among the less than one percent of students across the nation who have earned the highest composite score possible on the ACT test.

Will Burnham, Adam Groneck, Alexander Harrison, Margot Seidel were honored and congratulated at the September meeting of the Fort Thomas Independent School Board.

Each of these students earned a 36 on the college preparedness test, putting them in the .136 percentile, according to ACT data analyzed by

A little over two million students in the U.S. take the ACT test each year and only about 2,000 achieve a score of 34 or higher.

Students often take the test more than once, and the Fort Thomas students were no exception. They took the test two or three times in an effort to improve each time, making note of any weaknesses and boning up with online help, practice tests and attending ACT bootcamp events offered by the tutoring service TorchPrep.

Harrison shared this advice for those who plan to take the ACT: "Know your weak points. For me, I took it two times before I got the 36 score… You get your reports back, and you see what subjects you’re weak in and you go from there. There are plenty of resources online.

Hard work paid off for these students. Congratulations to them and to Fort Thomas educators and parents!

Highlands-Simon Kenton Football Preview

Bluebirds Hope to Figure Out Pioneers in Final District Tune-Up

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior running back Cooper Schwalbach takes off for a touchdown against Lexington Catholic on Friday. Schwalbach has rushed for five touchdowns this season.
Following the 44-27 Blue and White football team's win in Lexington on Friday, the Lexington Catholic Knights found themselves in a similar category with the Campbell County Camels.

They are both 4-1 on the season with their one loss coming to the Highlands Bluebirds, which owns a similar record at the midway point of the season. Highlands faces yet another undefeated team on Friday when the Class 6A Simon Kenton Pioneers (5-0) come to David Cecil Memorial Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.

Like the Scott County Cardinals and Ryle Raiders, the Pioneers had beaten the Bluebirds the last three years entering the season. Highlands could not stop the losing streak to Scott County. But the Bluebirds did end the skid against Ryle with a convincing 40-3 win in Union two weeks ago.

The Pioneers come into the game undefeated for the fourth straight year. Simon Kenton has outscored opponents, 198-84 for an average of just under 40 to just under 17 points per game.

"Trusting each other and your own abilities is such an important trait for teams to have," said Jeff Marksberry, Simon Kenton Head Coach. "It is great to see our guys believe in this component of our program year in and year out. Our guys buy into that philosophy and it is very important to us."

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Diamonds, Giveaways, Sales & A Trunk Show at Fort Thomas Jewelers

Antwerp, Belgium - Diamond cutting capital of the world


Lots of exciting sales and events happening at Fort Thomas Jewelers starting this month! Look forward to giveaways at Merchants and Music Festival, pre-sales on one of a kind hand picked diamonds straight from Belgium, a Holiday Trunk Show with stunning, handcrafted pieces, and of course the annual Holiday Blow Out Sale!

Pre-sales for Antwerp Diamonds - September 20th

Next month owners Vince and Renai Keairns will be returning to the diamond cutting capital of the world: Antwerp, Belgium. No budget is too small to preorder your own "handpicked" diamond.

Call or stop in to discuss this amazing opportunity. Pre-sales start this Thursday. Secure a unique hand picked diamond from the diamond capital of the world. This is a romantic, once in a lifetime experience!

Merchants and Music Festival - Saturday September 22th

Join the party in Tower Park this Saturday for an all day extravaganza of fun, food, and music! Show your support for the many hand working local businesses including Fort Thomas Jewelers who will be raffling jewelry, giveaways, and exclusive Fort Thomas Jewelers swag!

Bi-Annual Antwerp Trip - October 5th - 14th

Fort Thomas Jewelers owners Renai and Vince are traveling to Antwerp to hand pick diamonds from cutters exclusively for their customers. They will work with every budget so don't hesitate to stop in or call to discuss this unique opportunity. From round, brilliant cuts to oval and pear shapes the trip is an opportunity to hand select diamonds that have never been seen before. If you are planning a holiday engagement this is the perfect time to pick your sweethearts diamond!

Holiday Trunk Show - December 7th and 8th

It's that time of year! Fort Thomas Jewelers presents their Holiday Trunk Show. Join the party for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while shopping unique and handcrafted finished jewelry pieces as well as loose diamonds, semi mountings and more.

Countdown to Christmas Holiday Blow Out Sale - Starts December 1

The countdown begins December 1st to Fort Thomas Jewelers annual Holiday Blow Out Sale! Everything in the store will be up to 50% off (excluding loose diamonds) and will be priced to sell to clear out their inventory for the New Year! 

Address: 2780 Alexandria Way, Highland Heights, KY 
Phone: (859) 442-0506

Highlands Students Earn Perfect Score on ACT

Three Highlands High School students were recognized for earning a score of 36 on the ACT at the September Fort Thomas Independent Schools Board of Education meeting.  For comparison, of all students who took the ACT in 2017, only .136% earned a score of 36.

Seniors Margot Seidel and Alexander Harrison each scored a 36 on the ACT that was administered to all juniors in March 2018.

When asked about her success on the ACT, Seidel stated, “I think that the most important thing for me was getting exposure to the test early by taking it freshman year so by junior year I already knew what I needed to improve upon to get the score I wanted.”

As for her senior year at Highlands this fall, Margot’s class schedule includes AP literature, AP calculus BC, AP biology, AP government, and AP Spanish.

Proving the point that these students are already focused on their futures, Harrison said, "Pushing for these kinds of accomplishments now, even at lower grades, will pay off tremendously later on. Colleges are always looking for extra effort and extra achievement."

In his senior year at Highlands this fall, Alex’s schedule includes AP literature, AP calculus BC, and AP European history.

“A score of 36 is an achievement that very few students are able to accomplish,” said Trinity Walsh, Highlands High School guidance counselor. “We are proud of Margot and Alex. This is not only a recognition of their intellect but also demonstrates the importance of being goal-oriented and dedicated.”

Junior Adam Groneck earned his perfect score on the ACT in June, at the end of his sophomore year.

"I think that the most important part of preparing for the ACT for me was just repetition,” said Groneck. “If you don't get the score you were aiming for, but you're willing to put in the extra effort to take it again or to keep practicing, you're that much more likely to succeed."

This year, Adam’s schedule includes AP calculus, AP language, AP U.S. history, AP statistics and AP biology.

"We are very proud of Adam and his accomplishment,” said Laura Schnitzler Highlands High School guidance counselor. “It is impressive that he achieved a 36 after having just completed his sophomore year of high school. We are excited to see what else Adam will accomplish in his time at Highlands and beyond."

Academic challenge is the standard for this group. Throughout their high school years, each has elected to build class schedules that are primarily composed of rigorous advanced and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

Although these talented students have not narrowed down their college selections as yet, we have every confidence that they will accomplish great things in college and in life.

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1–36, and a student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. Some students also take the optional ACT writing test, but the score for that test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT Composite score.

ACT test scores are accepted by all major US colleges. Exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.

Highlands Alum, Bengal Nuisance Mike Mitchell Tries Out for Bengals

Highlands alum and former Pittsburgh Steeler, Mike Mitchell, tried out for the Bengals on Monday.

A second round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Mitchell, who starred collegiately at Ohio University, received only nine starts during his first four seasons with the Oakland Raiders. Mitchell finally became a starter during his first season with the Carolina Panthers, recording four interceptions during his first year as a starter in 2013. Mitchell also recorded 72 tackles that season to go with 4.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and 10 passes defensed.

RELATED: Mike Mitchell Talks About His Time at Highlands 

Mitchell, 30, signed a five year deal before the start of the 2014 season. Paired with strong safety and future Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu, Mitchell helped the Steelers go 11-5 during his first season in Pittsburgh after the Steelers had endured consecutive .500 seasons in 2012 and 2013. Mitchell then played alongside Will Allan following Polamalu's retirement in April of 2015, as Pittsburgh's pass defensed finished 30th in the league that season. Despite the secondary's issues, the Steelers were still able to win 10 games along with a playoff game over the AFC North rival Bengals.

Phone: 859-905-0714 - Email: This is an advertisement.
Mitchell's best year with the Steelers took place in 2016, when it turned in a borderline Pro Bowl season while helping Pittsburgh's secondary finish 16th in the league in pass defense. The Steelers advanced to their first AFC Championship Game in six years after playoff victories over the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

OTRimprov presents the 5th Annual Improv Festival of Cincinnati

5th Year of Festival features a new venue and 60% more performances

OTRimprov proudly presents the 5th Annual Improv Festival of Cincinnati. With a focus on diverse voices and female performers, IF Cincy features improv talent from Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Baltimore, Cleveland, Lexington, and from right here in Cincinnati. The Festival runs September 27-29, 2018. IF Cincy is excited to move to Memorial Hall OTR. Moving to a bigger venue allows the Festival to expand performance offerings, with more improvisers traveling to Cincinnati from across the nation. Additionally, more local troupes are scheduled to perform, highlighting  the continued growth of world class improv in Cincinnati.

Headlining the Festival are:

Working Title featuring Amber Nash, best known for her role as Pam Poovey on the Emmy- winning animated show Archer and Kevin Gillese, Artistic Director at Dad’s Garage in Atlanta.

Broke Gravy from Portland, OR, an award-winning troupe who uses honest audience interactions focused on personal experience to inspire and inform their scenes.

The Bearded Company (previously called The Bearded Men) from Minneapolis, MN. Their Dungeons and Dragons inspired improv set will feature members of OTRimprov and the action will be controlled by a 20 sided die.

Emily Fightmaster & Friends features Cincinnati native Emily Fightmaster, who has performed on some of the biggest improv stages in the world, including Boom Chicago in Amsterdam and on both the mainstage and with the touring company of Second City Chicago.

Last year’s Festival saw an increase in representation of diverse voices and perspectives on stage. The trend continues this year with women representing half of the performers in the Festival and multiple troupes comprised entirely of women or people of color. The producers of the Festival chose to solicit submissions for the 2018 Festival and expressly sought out diverse groups.

“We know how important representation is on the stage. And it’s working: last year, we highlighted women on our stage and in our classes right now, around 50% of our students are women. We want to make sure we are sustaining our inclusion efforts and working to increase our diversity. By highlighting some incredibly talented improvisors who also are women and people of color, we hope we can diversify our audience and continue to diversify the improv performers here in Cincinnati,” says Kat Smith, co-director of OTRimprov and co-producer of IF Cincy.

Everything You Need to Know About 2018 Fort Thomas' Merchants & Music Festival


The 14th annual Merchants & Music Festival is brought to you by the Fort Thomas Renaissance Board. The outdoor festival celebrates the merchants of Fort Thomas, KY and pairs them with nationally-acclaimed recording artists as well as fun activities for the entire family. It includes live music, shopping with our local merchants, and food vendors. The festival is FREE to the public and takes place at the historic Tower Park Amphitheater on September 22nd 2018.

This year the festival's chair is Frank Twehues. Fort Thomas' Katie Walters, from Q102, will emcee the event.

RELATED: Listen to the official Merchants and Music playlist on Spotify


3:00     Shut Up and Drive
4:30     The Tillers
6:00     Element3
7:30     Scott Miller
9:15     10,000 Maniacs
11:00     The Leftovers


2:00-6:00 p.m. Inflatables, Faceprinting, Caricature Artist, Balloon Artist, Belle!


Shuttles will be provided by Executive Transportation and will run from 3 p.m. continuously until 1a.m.

Parking and Shuttle Locations

Call Ashley Barlow. 859-781-5777. This is an advertisement. 
KLH Building: 1538 Alexandria Pike
Fort Thomas Plaza: 90 Alexandria Pike, Fort Thomas, KY 41075
Street Parking Available Near Tower Park:

Stables: 1038 S. Fort Thomas Ave.
Armory: 950 Cochran Ave.
On street parking

- Using your GPS? Type in 950 Cochran Avenue; Fort Thomas, KY 41075. That gets you to Tower Park, the site of our event.

- Douglas Avenue is closed to traffic. You may enter on River Road (the south end of the park). However parking is at a premium. You may also park on most any street in Fort Thomas and walk.

- Braxton Beer is our source for your beer. Please note: On all three Braxton trailers there is Miller product. We heard the cry for domestic beers. All beers are $5.00. Please, no coolers. 

- The event begins at 2:30 with the first band, Shut Up and Drive, playing at 3:00.

- The Kids Zone runs from 2:30-6:00 p.m. Inflatables and activities. At 3:00 Jennifer Ellis will be leading a sing-along with the kids in the shelter behind the restroom facilities.

Stilt walkers. 
- In addition to the brick restroom building, we will have 26 portable toilets and 8 handwashing stations throughout the park. We have lights for them at dusk.

- Please do NOT bring your dogs. It’s dangerous for them. We will have the Greyhound Rescue with several of their dogs in one of the booths.

- We have volunteers driving quads to help the handicapped get from the entrances to the Amphitheater. Flag them down if you need help!

In Other Words: You Can Ban Books But You Can’t Ban Curiosity or Ideas

I was mortified as I sat in the principal’s office with my parents. The principal was pleasant and professional. My parents, well, mostly my mother, was livid over a book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, that we were asked to read for high school English class. It was a bestseller and contained some language but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard - or even used. This should have been a teachable moment.

You know the book or the movie. The story examines one man’s journey into the world of psychiatric prison hospitals. I was enjoying it until my mother discovered it. She exploded. She thought it was trash and it wasn’t appropriate. She yelled at me for reading it. She yelled at my father for me reading it. She called the school and yelled at the principal. The result was that I didn’t have to read the book. Other accommodations would be made. I read it anyway because, you know, once something is forbidden, it becomes desirable. And that is, interestingly enough, the theme for lots of famous books.

I have gone back to examine that uncomfortable meeting over the years. There was much I didn’t know. My mother didn’t say much to me directly, but from the conversations she had with my father and the principal I gathered this. My mother was trying to protect me from the temptations of the adult world which was ironic since she read those torrid nurse romance novels that she regularly bought from the drugstore. She also thought that I couldn’t handle such a book. Still not sure what that means. We had a world full of misfits and slightly deranged people running through our life all of the time so I was confused by that. She was aghast that we would read a book with “that language” in it. If I were to repeat some of my mother’s cursing, you would blush. Once again, I don’t get it.

Voted best yoga studio in Kentucky by Best Things Kentucky. 

Two Fort Thomas Police Officers Receive Promotions, New Badges

Fort Thomas Police Chief Casey Kilgore (ctr) congratulates Sergeant Nathan Day. Day's father, George Day, did the honors of pinning on his son's new badge.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

Fort Thomas police personnel Nathan Day and Brent Moening both received promotions and new badges at the September 4 city council meeting.

Day was a detective in the department and has risen to the rank of sergeant, and Moening, who was a sergeant, has earned the rank of lieutenant.

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Police Chief Casey Kilgore said it was a "great night for our police department…Both of these guys are highly regarded by their peers. They are both very well-respected by our community."

Day has been with the department for six years and has served as detective. He runs the department property room and manages the department’s website.

"Nathan does a lot for us in terms of information technology. He runs all of our speed surveys, and he has served as a field training officer. So, in just six years he has already touched all the bases. He is doing a great job," said Chief Kilgore.

Lieutenant Brent Moening receives his new badge from his father, David Moening. Chief Casey Kilgore looks on.

Moening has served the department for 10 years, the chief said. He has served as a detective, a field training officer and is a certified hostage negotiator.

He is also well versed in information technology and serves as the administrative lieutenant. "If I need help with my computer, my software, Brent runs the show. He’s a great guy to have around, and he very much deserves to rise to the rank of lieutenant," said Kilgore.

The chief said both men are ready and able to help whenever called upon. The fathers of both men did the honors in pinning on their new badges.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Northern Kentucky Tree Work | Yard Sharks, LLC | Fort Thomas Tree Service

A tree fell on Grand Avenue today blocking traffic for about an hour. Four lanes of traffic were diverted down to one.

Tree work is complicated and expensive. We get referrals for tree work all the time and always point them to Yard Sharks, LLC. They are a locally-owned business that consist of highly skilled crew members.

"We specialize in tree removals, tree pruning, dead wooding, thinning, shaping, crown reductions, and mechanical support systems to ensure the structural integrity of your trees," said Rafe Fowee, owner of Yard Sharks.  "We have also recently expanded our work to include Bobcat services and land clearing."

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Fall is a great time of year to have your large trees, such as oaks and maples, cleaned up.

Call today to schedule a free evaluation!


Rafe Fowee was raised in Fort Thomas since the age of five. He attended Johnson Elementary School and Highlands Middle and High School and began working in the tree care and removal industry shortly after high school.