Saturday, July 21, 2018
But around the weekend of the September Slam at Scott High, one could sense the 2017 campaign would be much different. Following an injury-riddled 1-4 start to the season, the uptick began with a 4-1 finish for third place at the September Slam for the team's best finish in that tournament since the team started playing in it on a yearly basis in 2011. That also included the first win over rival Newport Central Catholic since 2012.
The Bluebirds came together as a team and reached heights not seen in years finishing 25-11 overall for the most wins since 2008 including a 16-7 mark against 9th Region opponents. That included a Cake Classic championship and their first 36th District championship since 2012.
Friday, July 20, 2018
|St. Elizabeth's Fort Thomas Hospital was recently recognized for a high level of nursing care. (Photo: St. Elizabeth Healthcare)|
By Robin Gee, Council Beat Editor
John Mitchell, senior vice president and chief operating officer for St. Elizabeth Hospital’s Fort Thomas location, opened the July Fort Thomas City Council meeting with an end-of-year community report and presentation summarizing some of the hospital’s recent accomplishments as well as some plans for the future.
He shared statistics about St. Elizabeth Healthcare as a whole and about the Fort Thomas location specifically. Here a few highlights:
- In 2017, the system had 4,500 births, performed more than 34,000 surgeries, had more than 55,000 inpatient admissions, 1.4 million outpatient visits and overall had about 3 million patient encounters.
- St. Elizabeth is the largest healthcare employer in Northern Kentucky employing more than 8,500. One thousand three hundred employees live in Campbell County, including 220 who are residents of Fort Thomas.
- The system has an economic impact of more than two billion dollars contributing about 10 percent of the economy of Northern Kentucky.
- The healthcare system also partners with education institutions and is working with Northern Kentucky University to build a Health Innovations Center and partnering with both NKU and the University of Kentucky to bring a medical school to Northern Kentucky.
- St. Elizabeth provides no cost sports medicine and athletic training to 22 high schools, three club sports programs and two universities in Northern Kentucky.
- The system also provides services and partnerships focused on community health issues including smoking cessation, diabetes, cancer and substance abuse disorder, including a new syringe exchange facility.
Mitchell added a sobering statistic — St. Elizabeth has clocked more than 3,200 visits to emergency departments this year for issues related to opioid addiction, representing 1.6 percent of total volume of ER visits, and has spent 3.3 million dollars on addiction-related services, doubling its addiction treatment capacity.
RELATED: Mobile Needle Exchange to Open at St. Elizabeth Healthcare Urgent Care in Newport/Fort Thomas
St. Elizabeth awards and growth plans
Mitchell listed several awards earned by the hospital system this year. The Fort Thomas Hospital location was awarded the 2018 American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With the Guidelines Gold Awards for both Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure as well as a 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award from Healthgrades.
The American Nurses Association also named the Fort Thomas location as a Magnet-designated hospital, a recognition for a high level of nursing care.
The hospital foundation recently launched a campaign to raise 120 million dollars for a new comprehensive cancer center on the Edgewood campus. The system also plans to build a multi-specialty clinic and urgent care facility along Highway 27 in Highland Heights.
In recent years, the Fort Thomas Hospital location has added a new medical office building, endoscopy suite, IT equipment and software, and has upgraded the oncology clinic, women’s wellness suite, emergency department and ICU.
With 15 million dollars in improvements planned for the next two years, Fort Thomas Hospital will gut and completely rebuild its operating rooms. Plans are also in place to install a new linear accelerator in cancer care unit.
|St. Elizabeth Healthcare Senior Vice President John Mitchell shares news about the system and Fort Thomas Hospital.|
"Our overall strategy for Campbell County is we are here to serve as a community hospital. Our focus is on short stays and surgical volume," said Mitchell.
Mayor Eric Haas thanked Mitchell and his colleague Scott Sedmak, director of community relations at St. Elizabeth, for the presentation and said community health and recreation plays an important role in the city’s visioning plans.
"One of our goals is to make Northern Kentucky one of the healthiest communities in the nation, and we are more than happy to partner with communities on walking trails, bike trails, playgrounds, anything that promotes a healthy lifestyle," said Mitchell.
Text change proposal to add self-storage in general commercial zone
About 40 people attended the council meeting to address the impact of a text amendment change to the city’s general commercial zoning ordinance. The change would allow self-storage facilities to be added to permitted uses within the zone and would add a definition of self-storage facilities.
City Attorney Jann Seidenfaden said the amendment was not for a specific facility and would impact all areas zoned for general commercial businesses. She also noted that by law council could not discuss or hear new information about the issue.
Testimony for and against the change was given and recorded at a public hearing held at the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on June 20. All discussion and supporting documents from that meeting were entered into the record and would be considered by council.
Many who came to the council meeting prepared to speak on the text amendment spoke instead about concerns over city communications strategies and on behalf of realizing visioning plan goals on the south end of town.
Council agreed to form a committee to look at additional ways to advertise upcoming meetings beyond the state required notice in the Campbell County Recorder.
City council heard the first reading of the text amendment and will vote on the matter at its next meeting on August 20.
RELATED: Residents Turn Out for Zoning Change on Storage Facilities
News from safety departments
Casey Kilgore as the now officially the new Fort Thomas chief of police. Although he has been serving in the position as acting chief since March, city council approved his appointment at the July meeting.The public is invited to join the city in honoring the service of two recent public safety retirees. Parties will be held in city council chambers from 4 to 6 p.m. The city will thank former Police Chief Mike Daly on July 31 and retiring Firefighter/Paramedic Matt Stuart on August 3.
Chief Kilgore and Fire Chief Mark Bailey both said July 4th festivities went smoothly and praised the community for a safe and fun event.
School and city officials have been exploring the issue of school safety for quite some time, said Dill. Now, with a fully staffed police department, it was a good time to consider a school resource officer position.
The officer will be assigned for the school calendar year to rotate between all seven Fort Thomas public and parochial schools throughout the work week, he said.
Right now the position is an assignment for the one school year but future plans for the position will depend on this first year. The officer will work other duties outside of the school year and will be available for non-school emergencies as needed at all times.
The goal, said Kilgore, is to not only have a police presence but to add an educational component.
"We would anticipate he will rotate among the seven schools, five independents and the two parochial, but the schedule and how much time he spends at each school will be up to him and each principal…He’s going to be flexible, we’ll be flexible, to make it work and hopefully will reach all the schools on a weekly basis. And down the road if one of our preschools calls and asks 'Can you send the SRO over to teach a class?,' we'd be open to that, too.”
RELATED: Fort Thomas Police Department to Deploy Officer in New Role as School Resource Officer
Alexander Circle and city project news
Dill said he was very pleased to note that the city has received historic preservation tax credits of more then $54,000 for the Armory and Mess Hall renovation projects.
He also noted the Alexander Circle project is now in the hands of the developers and construction is expected to begin soon. Developers and city staff have held pre-construction meetings and will be meeting with the safety departments to determine a plan to protect the public during the construction period. Expect an announcement soon about access restrictions and other safety measures in the area.
The first phase of the project will include utility work, replacement of roofs on all buildings, asbestos removal and further development of the first five units. Once construction is complete, access will be opened and the grassy area in the middle of the project will become part of Tower Park. Plans are beginning for walkways, an overlook and other improvements.
|Phone: 859-905-0714 - Email: email@example.com. This is an advertisement.|
After learning from the city about issues with water main breaks in the area, the Northern Kentucky Water District announced it will replace the main from Covert Run to the Fort Thomas city limits. This work must be completed before the city sidewalk project can begin. The Water District work is expected to be completed in fall clearing the way for the city to begin its work in early spring 2019.
Dill offered quick updates on other projects:
Grassroots & Vine, Fort Thomas' newest business held a soft opening last night their newly renovated space at 1011 S. Fort Thomas Avenue.
They open to the public Saturday, July 21.
Owners Barb and Chuck Thomas hosted around 150 people last night, who sampled some of the small plates and drinks available.
Grassroots & Vine is a specialty food market and restaurant which features small plates created with food from local farmers/small businesses, a bottle shop and two full service bars with an outdoor patio.
For the past 10 years, the Thomas' have been interested in gourmet market items and local offerings. As they settled in Fort Thomas and Barb opened her first business, Fort Thomas Central, their passion for local food was complimented by the concept of establishing a community meeting place. This idea evolved over time with their participation with Art Around Towne.From working with food trucks to partnering with other businesses, their full idea to highlight food and community became one central concept.
“Grassroots is an idea of going back to basics and using local producers, farmers, artisans which intertwines with community,” said Thomas. “I’ve grown to love Fort Thomas. I want to contribute more to the community while supporting it and enjoying it with families.”
|Architect of Grassroots + Vine, Ashli Slawter.|
|Resident Mary Healy addressed Fort Thomas City Council about the vision for the south end of town.|
Tension was high at the July Fort Thomas City Council meeting concerning a text change amendment for the city’s general commercial zoning ordinance.
About 40 people attended the council meeting to voice their continued concerns about the impact of the text change that would allow self-storage facilities to be added to permitted uses within the zone.
The text amendment affects all areas zoned general commercial within the city, but came about as a request from a local business owner, Bob Heil, who would like to build a storage facility near the south end of Fort Thomas.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Committee held a public hearing on June 20 to discuss the text amendment. At that time the public was invited to speak for or against the text change to add self-storage facilities and a definition to the list of permitted uses in the zone. The committee voted to recommend the text change and sent it to city council for a vote.
Thursday, July 19, 2018
In the year 2000, as a redshirt freshman, Jared Lorenzen was named the starting QB at Kentucky. The era of ‘Hefty Lefty’ (and other nicknames) had begun.
That is the Highlands Bluebirds girls squad. Highlands has won five Class AA state crowns in the past six years and looks like the early favorite to bring the gold back to Fort Thomas once again. Highlands owns 11 state championships in school history ranking only second behind St. Henry's 19 in Kentucky High School Athletic Association history.
Bands Against Cancer family music festival to be held Aug. 11 in Fort Thomas
“St. Elizabeth Healthcare Bands Against Cancer” was formed when Dr. Dan Flora, a physician at St. Elizabeth, and his patient Brian Lauer, a local businessman and musician, discovered their mutual love of music and determination to help others impacted by cancer. They teamed up with St. Elizabeth and the City of Fort Thomas to create a family event with music, food trucks and children’s activities to help Northern Kentucky residents touched by a cancer diagnosis.
Dr. Flora says, “When Brian and I discovered we both played in local bands and loved music, we started talking about how we could create an event that helped others dealing with a cancer diagnosis. We hope to make “St. Elizabeth Healthcare Bands Against Cancer” an annual event in Fort Thomas. I also like to think of this as the kickoff to the new St. Elizabeth Cancer Center because we will be breaking ground just two days before this festival.”
This concert event will be held at Tower Park in Fort Thomas from 2:30 – 11:30 p.m. The lineup of local bands is Southern Charm (3 p.m. start), Borderline (5 p.m. start), Naked Karate Girls (7 p.m. start) and Britney’s Lipstick (9:30 p.m. start).
Lauer is a member of the band Borderline and he credits his band mates with helping him through his treatment. “I hadn’t played in a band for a few years. When my friends and neighbors saw I was struggling during treatment, they wanted to give me something else to focus on, so they invited me to a band rehearsal and then to a gig. I have been playing with them ever since.”
All proceeds will go to Cancer Family Care, a local nonprofit helping alleviate the suffering and strengthen the well-being of any child, adult and family coping with cancer. Cancer Family Care has offices in Ft. Thomas and Florence. All donations and sponsorships for this event will be earmarked to support Northern Kentucky families coping with cancer. Sponsorships are still available by contacting Cancer Family Care at (513) 731-3346 or donate directly at www.cancerfamilycare.org.
Lauer describes why creating this annual event was so important to him, “My wife, Mandy, and my children Lucas and Preston, as well as my friends and family, were a constant support to me during my cancer diagnosis and treatment.
By raising money for Cancer Family Care through this music festival, I feel like I am paying forward everything they gave to me while helping others who may not have such a strong support system. Music also helped me through my treatment, so it just made sense to hold a music festival.”
Highlands High School is excited to announce the 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame Class. Inductees include: Angela Barre Falhaber, David Freer, Tammy Schlarman Freihofer, Eric Glaser, Justin Frisk, Coach Bill Herrmann, Scott Kuhnhein, Jean Pritchard, Kimberly Draud Rohmiller, and Michael Vories.
The Team of Distinction is the 1978-79 Boys Basketball Team.
The members of the team were Dip Redmond, Bruce Bowdy, Dan Sullivan, Michael Vories, Joe Conley, Steve Ling, Chris Vogel, Jim Malone, Bob Muntis, Jeff Fischer, Rich Dees and Dave Malone, Head Coach Ken Shields. The following individuals also assisted with the team Bill Petty (Assistant Coach), Mike Listerman (Assistant Coach), John Messmer (Assistant Coach), Todd Yates (Manager), Dan Hamberg (Statistician), and Tom Steltenkamp (Student Trainer), Paul Lorenz (Manager), and Mike Jansen (Manager).
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Fort Thomas Officer, Zac Rohlfer, will move into his new role starting this school year.
The agreement comes after months of talks between the schools and the city and was introduced simultaneously during the Fort Thomas Independent School Board of Education meeting and the City Council meetings on July 16. Both boards passed the agreements unanimously.
The agreement is for one year and will be financed by the City of Fort Thomas for the 2018-2019 school year.
“We meet annually with the schools prior to each school year. In those meetings and through the course of the year this topic has come up repeatedly because of the events nationally,” said Ron Dill, City Administrative Officer. “This year because we are fully staffed, the police department felt they could place an officer in as an SRO for this year.
We’ve had a great collaboration with the schools and we wanted to be certain that we include the parochial schools because they are also in our community and can be served the same way. It’s important for our residents to know if their children are in our schools, in our city, that we are equally concerned with them regardless of their school location, whether it’s the independent school district or at a parochial school.”
Rohlfer, who was selected as the SRO by the Fort Thomas Police Department, will maintain an office at Highlands High School. Newly minted Police Chief, Casey Kilgore, said that the timing was perfect.
“We’re very excited and we’re very happy for this new position. We’ve had questions from several people throughout the community about the SRO program, and we felt the time was right to do it now that we could get one of our own officers could serve in that capacity on a full-time basis.
The timing of it worked out so well. We barely got him into the SRO class that started Monday. There was only one seat left when we decided whom we were going to pick. We got him in for today so we’re happy.”
Rohlfer has been with the Fort Thomas Police Department for his entire career, hired in 2008. He will perform a regular workweek of hours with such hours and pay to be based on duties and pay equivalent to a regular police officer.
“I’m most excited to get to interact with students regularly and hope it allows them to have far more good interactions with an officer,” said Rohlfer. “My main goal, initially, is to form relationships with the schools and make sure together we're doing everything possible to keep students safe.”
Jamee Flaherty, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services in the Fort Thomas Independent School District, outlined the responsibilities for Rohlfer during the Board of Education meeting, Monday.
“There is an educational opportunity that will go beyond just being in the buildings. We hope to have engagement in classrooms with formal interaction with students at each school regarding citizenship and bullying, offensive behavior, drugs, violations of city ordinances, state laws, school policies or any other conduct that’s expected of students.
“We’re very excited about the partnership and that the city’s in a position to provide an officer to be involved with our students at the outset of each day.”
She said that when requested by the principal, the SRO could be involved in parent or faculty meetings to support and understand the program.
Additionally, Rohlfer will be available for conferences with students, parents and faculty members to assist them with problems of law enforcement or of a crime prevention nature. He’ll also assist the principals with developing plans and strategies to prevent or minimize dangerous situations. But Rohlfer will not be the school disciplinarian.
“That’s a school responsibility,” said Flaherty. “The SRO is also not to be used for regularly assigned lunchroom duties, as hall monitors, or other monitoring duties.”
The most recent available data on how many districts employ a SRO comes from a 2018 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (a part of the U.S. Department of Education), based on a survey of public schools conducted in the spring of 2016. The Center reported that 42 percent of public schools reported that they had at least one SRO present at least one day a week during the 2015-2016 academic year.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
|Natural Start Preschool members make mud pies for butterflies.|
You have probably noticed how butterflies gather around puddles after a rain or after you have watered the garden. With a few extra steps you can enhance that garden for butterflies by building a mud bath in the garden. Jan Jolley of the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy says, “Butterfly puddling is a dramatic and beautiful sight. So in addition to helping butterflies, you will attract them to your garden and be able to enjoy watching them as well.”
Photos: Mobile Needle Exchange to Open at St. Elizabeth Healthcare Urgent Care in Newport/Fort Thomas
|John Mitchell, COO Fort Thomas, Covington, St. Elizabeth Healthcare. FTM file.|
Officials from the NKY Health Department, St. Elizabeth and elected officials were on hand to give information to the public. In attendance were Dr. Lynne Saddler, District Director of Health at NKY Health; St. Elizabeth Healthcare leadership, including Garren Colvin, President and CEO, Dr. Dora Savani, Gary Blank, Vice President and COO, John Mitchell, COO Fort Thomas and Covington; Tom Lampe and Brian Painter, Campbell County Fiscal Court; and Ken Rechtin, Tom Fromme and Bev Holiday from the City of Newport.
After passing an ordinance two years ago which would allow the exchange to be open in Campbell County, Newport City Commission finally passed their own resolution, and chose this location with St. Elizabeth's blessing.
The preferred location, from the Campbell County Fiscal Court majority and the NKY Health Department, would have been at the Campbell County Health Center offices, located at 1098 Monmouth Street in Newport.
With the Newport Commission signing off on the plan, Covington will also be able to exchange syringes, as well as offer resources and sterile equipment for intravenous drug users.
While the Covington exchange is a one-for-one, meaning users must bring a needle to get a needle, that will not be a requirement at the Newport exchange. Officials say that they will use those opportunities to encourage additional testing like HIV tests and get them information on treatment. If users do not bring back needles to exchange three times, they will not be able to get new equipment. Depending on their usage rates, patients will be able to receive up to 40 needles at a time. Kits also include sterile water, gauze, band-aids, alcohol pads and a sharps container for used needles. Narcan is also available to take.
Northern Kentucky Health Department will run the mobile needle exchange units starting next week on July 24. The program is Northern Kentucky’s second; Grant County’s needle exchange program has referred over 100 people to treatment and distributed over 400 naloxone kits in its two years of operation.
The mobile unit, provided by Kentucky Fire Commission, will be parked at St. Elizabeth locations in Newport and Covington every Tuesday and Thursday.
“We are grateful to St. Elizabeth and to the Kentucky Fire Commission for partnering with us on this urgent public health matter. Their generosity means that those in need of these important and often life-saving services will have easier access to our syringe access exchange program,” said Dr. Lynne Saddler, District Director of Health at NKY Health.
Nearly half of HIV infections in Northern Kentucky in 2017 came from injection drug use, according to data from state and local public health officials. Hepatitis C cases also increased 8.4 percent in 2017; about 1,404 cases of acute and non-acute Hepatitis C were reported last year.
The needle exchange program will operate on the following schedule:
1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at St. Elizabeth Healthcare Urgent Care in Newport/Ft. Thomas at 1400 N. Grand Ave
1 to 4 p.m. Thursdays at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Covington at 1500 James Simpson Jr. Way
|Inside the mobile unit.|
|Narcan is available to patients after being educated on how to use it.|
Luke Muller Golf Outing to Benefit Whitney Sutkamp and "Super" Luke Knapke | August 18 | Fort Thomas Provides
This year’s beneficiaries are Whitney Sutkamp and Luke Knapke (aka Super Luke). Let us help them both with a day of community support and love. Please take a moment to find out a bit more about Whitney and Luke (while you are registering for the Outing) at www.lmgo.org
Whitney means more to Terri & I than she’ll ever know. Within the first week of our Luke’s diagnosis and subsequent month stay at Cincinnati Childrens’ a young adult named Whitney showed up to see Luke and be present with Terri & I. Whitney brought along a photo album from when she was 4, the same age as our Luke. You see Whitney has already been through this fight once, the album was from her Make A Wish trip to Disney, she had childhood cancer. You cannot imagine the OPTIMISM it provided to Terri & I to see a strong, vibrant, healthy teenager standing before us that day. We could see there is a path through this and it looked a lot like Whitney.
If you would please forward this to anyone I may have missed or anyone you think would participate – we would appreciate it! Post the flyers, spread the word.
Thank you and may many blessings come your way,