Monday, October 15, 2018

Dan Zalla: Why I'm Running for Campbell County Circuit Court Judge (District 2)

The honor of my life, except for raising my four daughters, has been serving as your Campbell County Circuit Court Judge, Division 2. If elected on November 6th, my pledge is to continue to be Faithful to the Rule of Law; Faithful to the Principles of Equal Justice; and Faithful to the Promise of patient and respectful treatment to all who come before the Court.

The responsibility of your Circuit Court Judge demands total impartiality and fairness, regardless
of the issue before the court. The responsibility demands that the judge follow the laws enacted
by your elected representatives. Moreover, this responsibility demands that the judge preside over a court without regard to personal beliefs. I strongly believe in these responsibilities in the operation of the Campbell Circuit Court on behalf of all of the citizens of Campbell County.

I also believe a circuit court judge has the responsibility to keep our neighborhoods and communities in Campbell County safe from crime and havoc.  Drug traffickers, who prey upon our citizens, while seeking leniency for themselves, have no place in Campbell County. Their drug activities are abhorrent to the common good and wellbeing of our neighborhoods and communities.

I respectfully ask for your vote on November 6th, so I can continue to preside over your Campbell County Circuit Court.


Judge Dan Zalla

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Highlands-Covington Catholic Video Highlights

Instant Classic: Highlands Covington Catholic, 2018

Turnovers Hurt Bluebirds in Battle with Covington Catholic

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, A first-down measurement went in favor of the Highlands Bluebirds football team late in the battle against Covington Catholic. The Bluebirds fell short 21-14.
This annual rivalry high school football game between the Northern Kentucky powers Highlands Bluebirds and Covington Catholic Colonels looked to be the closest it had been in three years.

It did not disappoint.

While the Bluebirds (6-2 overall, 1-1 district) fell short 21-14 in the Class 5A, District 5 battle, they left with the full confidence they are once again state championship contenders. The Colonels (8-0, 1-0) still own the state's longest winning streak at 23 in a row.

The thing that will haunt Highlands in this game is the turnovers. The Bluebirds threw two interceptions and lost a fumble while CovCath lost a fumble. Two of the Highlands turnovers gave the Colonels short field position they used to score 14 points.

"That was one heck of a game," said Eddie Eviston, CovCath Head Coach. "They came out and did some things offensively. Our defense was kind of bending, but they weren't really breaking all game. Obviously, it came down to a good defensive stand there at the end and kept them from tying the game or going for the win."

Junior defensive lineman Conner Zell recorded the fumble recovery for the Bluebirds. That marked his second one of the year tying junior linebacker Mason Schwalbach for the team-high.

Highlands ran for 299 yards of total offense on 71 plays compared to 256 on 51 plays. But Covington Catholic averaged just more than five yards per play compared to 4.2 for the Bluebirds. The Colonels had one solid drive down the field.

"I'm very proud of the offense," said Zach Deaton, Highlands Offensive Coordinator. "Obviously, there was a play here or there that we missed and in a game like this, you can't miss them. But I'm very proud of what we did offensively. We battled through the whole game. I don't know the stats are. Those are all great, but we want to be with more points than them at the end of the game so we will spend every second between now and each game that we play working to get to that."

CovCath came into the game averaging just more than 452 yards per game offensively. The Bluebirds held the Colonels well below their passing average of 231 yards per game to just 45 yards. Sophomore quarterback Caleb Jacob completed 4-of-10 passes for that amount. Junior tight end Michael Mayer had just one catch for 28 yards. Senior defensive lineman Ben Sisson sacked Jacob once.

"The defense played well," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "There are some things we have to clean up obviously. There were a couple times we got lost and a couple times you get lost against a team like that, that's where they got their completion to (Mayer) to put them in position to score that first touchdown. There were a few times we could have gotten off the field sooner. We played fast. We played aggressive. We played confident. A good offense is going to do things. But our guys did a good job responding to the adjustments we were making based on the adjustments they were making. Like I told them after the game, it doesn't matter now. Now we have five weeks to get ready." 

But CovCath rushed for 256 yards. Senior running back Casey McGinness came into the game averaging 163 yards per game. He finished with 179 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns averaging 6.6 yards per carry.

"Our defense worked its tails off (Friday)," said Alex Starkey, Highlands senior linebacker. "They struggled getting anything and when they did get touchdowns, they were from the 10 going in. It's a tough loss, but we're going to come back and see them in November."

Highlands rushed for 185 yards against a 3-4 CovCath defense that allowed just 302 yards all season. A reason for that may be the Colonels have jumping out on teams early and forcing opponents to throw the ball.

Like pretty much every opponent this year, the Colonels focused on containing senior running back Cooper Schwalbach. Schwalbach had 36 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown averaging just more than 2.5 yards per carry. His touchdown with 3:11 left in the third quarter made the final score.

But sophomore running back Joe Buten gave the Bluebirds a spark rushing for 134 yards on 17 carries for an average of just under eight per touch. His 40-yard dash late in the first quarter set up Highlands at the CovCath 5. Highlands took its only lead when senior quarterback Grady Cramer hit senior Hunter Ahlfeld for a 2-yard touchdown with 11:57 left in the first half.

Cramer completed 14-of-29 passes for 114 yards one touchdown and two interceptions to six different receivers. The Colonels sacked Cramer twice.

Senior Nate Roberts had four catches for 33 yards and Ahlfeld had two catches for a team-high 34 yards. Senior Austin King had three catches for 20 yards and junior Adam Weyer had two receptions for 24 yards.

Following Ahlfeld's score, CovCath tied the game with 7:41 left in the half. Senior Duncan Summe ran a sweep around the left end for the score. After recovering a Highlands fumble inside the Bluebird 15, McGinness scored from three out with 6:10 left in the game to give the Colonels the lead for good at 14-7. Sophomore Ryan Schneider had the fumble recovery for the Colonels.

"It's one of those things where we've been used to scoring a lot more, but we had to do what we had to do to kind of control this game and come away with a win," Eviston said. "The biggest thing I can take away from this is our kids fought hard for four quarters. That was good to see."

Highlands had a chance to tie the game later in the half. But Summe intercepted the ball at the CovCath 1.

Senior Jack Coldiron had the interception early in the second half that set up the Colonels up at the Highlands 2. McGinness scored his second touchdown from two yards out to give CovCath a 21-7 advantage with 9:04 left in the third quarter.

"There was one where (the ball) just didn't quite get there and it was raining pretty well so I don't know," Deaton said. "(On) another interceptions, we kind of gave up as we were trying to make a play to end the half. We'll look at those and figure out what's going on, but I'm pretty happy with the decisions that were made by (Cramer) and some amazing throw there too. We'll get better at those for sure."

Highlands had a chance to tie the game late in the first half taking over at its own 26 with 4:53 left in the game after stopping McGinness just short of the first down on 4th-and-1. The Bluebirds came inches from tying the game. Ahlfeld got behind the CovCath defense, but the ball went off his hands.

The Bluebirds had a 4th-and-7 from the CovCath 33 with 40 seconds left. But the Colonels stopped Cooper Schwalbach from making the first down and took a knee to end the game.

Both teams made plays on third and fourth down. Highlands converted 6-of-13 for 46 percent on third down and 2-of-4 on fourth down for 50 percent. CovCath converted 3-of-9 third-down opportunities for 33 percent and neither of its two fourth-down tries.

Highlands concludes the regular season with two home games. The Bluebirds play host to the Greenwood Gators (2-6) from Class 5A, District 2 on Friday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Box Score:

Friday, October 12, 2018

St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas on Lockdown; Man with Gun Threatening Himself

UPDATE: 5:23 p.m. --

St. Elizabeth Hospital in Fort Thomas is no longer on lockdown after police reported that the man with a gun in his car shot himself. 

Police said the man was suicidal. 

After a nearly two-hour standoff and negotiation, he shot himself and was immediately taken into the hospital.


St. Elizabeth Hospital in Fort Thomas is on lockdown with police and SWAT officers at the facility.

Police said there is a suicidal man in a vehicle parked in the hospital parking lot.

Employees and patients have been told to shelter in place. Police and the hospital say there is no threat inside the hospital and that police are negotiating with the man.

He is not threatening others currently.

Paid for by Michelle Snodgrass. 

A "silver alert" came in over the loud speakers inside the hospital at about 3:30 p.m., notifying patients and staff to stay inside.

A source inside the hospital receiving treatment told Fort Thomas Matters that they did not know if there was an active shooter or not for over an hour.

Arrangements Set for Colonel De's Celebration of Life

As you know lost a visionary and creative genius yesterday due to a heart attack.

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Colonel De have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Colonel leaves behind a company that only he could have built with passion and integrity.

RELATED: Colonel De Stewart, 71, Passes Away Suddenly 

A celebration of Colonel’s extraordinary life will take place Tuesday, October 16.  The celebration will take place at “The Mess Hall” at Tower Park located at 801 Cochran Ave in Fort Thomas, KY from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

No words can adequately express our sadness at Colonel’s death. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.  Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society in De’s honor here.

De was in the process of receiving chemotherapy for multiple myeloma when he suffered a fatal heart attack.  

Jason Kilmer: Why I'm Running for Kentucky House of Representatives (District 68)

By Jason Kilmer

Truth be told, I decided many years ago that I was going to run for this office at some point in my life.  From the time I learned that our government consisted of a legislative chamber made up of representatives of the region in which you lived I have wanted to represent the people of Campbell County, Kentucky; more specifically the people of central and southern Campbell County.  I have always felt a deep connection and understanding to and of the people.

What it took for me to decide that now was the time was that I felt stable enough in my personal life that I felt comfortable enough to embark on a campaign for State Representative.  That and the fact that I really felt uncomfortable with how we were being represented in Frankfort.  I believe that Joe Fischer has gotten complacent.  His years, twenty, mostly unchallenged for the People’s House, left us, in District 68, yearning for more; granted, Mr. Fischer had to work in the minority for the most of those years.  I had watched our district come to a stand still as far a progress.  I had seen our state routes crumble and slide down hillsides.  I had seen gas stations and fast food restaurants stack our main corridor (US 27).  I had seen mom and pop businesses come and go.  I had seen our schools literally crumbling.  Then, in 2016, Mr. Fischer got his chance to work in the majority here in the state legislature.  That “new majority” told us that they did not have faith in our public schools, that they were going to syphon away the funding to a parallel school system, charter schools, that offered nothing in the way of improving education.  That “new majority” told us that they were going do a tax reform that raises taxes on those that are not as affluent.  That they were going to give those living high-on-the-hog a greater unfair advantage.  They told us that they were going to reform our public pension system and get our state out of debt.  Instead, they tried to scrap that pension system that so many of our loved ones rely on for their retirements and they gave away record numbers of corporate welfare leaving us in such a bind that they had to borrow from the surplus that the teachers health insurance fund had created.  Essentially, doing what they have been railing against, that created the pension “crisis”.  They instilled a new set of taxes that affect the those in the lowest income brackets negatively and reduced the retirement income tax exemption by $10,000.  That is $10,000 those on fixed incomes rely on. They have robbed Peter to pay Paul, but in this situation, we are Peter and they are Paul.  Joe Fischer had been such a do-nothing representative that he admittedly sat on his hands, for nearly twenty years, while Johnson Elementary and Grant’s Lick Elementary have topped the lists of schools needing the greatest capital investments, saying at the Johnson Town Hall last Fall that, “he’s been hearing your complaints about Johnson since he’s been in the Legislature.”  If I were your representative, you would not have to wait twenty years for school improvements or road repairs of our most used thoroughfares despite being in a majority or not.  A proper representative can get things done despite who has the majority and can reach across the aisle for the common good.  I believe I can do that.

I look forward to properly serving this district.  I will fight to improve our schools, both public and private.  I will fight to create careers for the people of Kentucky, not just jobs.  I will fight for policies that balance budgets and create an economy where everyone has a chance to succeed.  I will fight to make this district, this county, this state places where people want to live, work, and play.  We will become self-sustainable by building each other up rather that tearing each other down.  I will do this for you because I am you.

Thank you.

Joe Fischer: Why I'm Running for Kentucky House of Representatives (District 68)

By State Representative Joe Fischer

As your incumbent State Representative for the 68th House District, I am running for re-election this year because I recognize that Kentucky has an historic opportunity to permanently place the Commonwealth on a sustainable path to economic prosperity. With your support, we will seize this opportunity on November 6th.

Before Republicans gained control of the State House in November 2016, Kentucky had been mired in a swamp of high unemployment and low economic growth. While controlling the Kentucky House for 95 consecutive years, House Democrats consistently adopted socialist tax and spending policies that drove new entrepreneurs and existing businesses to neighboring states with more favorable economic prospects. For years, Kentucky Democrats believed that higher taxes and more regulations on employers, such as a $15 per hour minimum wage, would somehow create more jobs. The Democrats continued to borrow and spend money on patronage projects and ignored their looming pension obligations to teachers and state employees.  In response to these ill-fated Democrat policies, Kentucky manufacturers moved further to other states or countries while coal mining companies simply shut down and declared bankruptcy.

After 95 years, the people of Kentucky grew tired of Democrat policy failures. So they elected Governor Bevin in 2015 and a new Republican House Majority in 2016. Immediately, the Governor repealed or amended hundreds of stifling regulations, allowing employers to conduct business more safely and efficiently. He aggressively recruited large and small businesses to invest in the Commonwealth

In our first week serving in the majority, House Republicans passed historic legislation that has transformed the Commonwealth into an economically prosperous and fiscally responsible place to live, work and raise a family. As a result, Kentucky workers are free to decide for themselves whether or not to join or pay dues to a union. Taxpayers now pay normal market wages for state funded construction. Lawmakers’ salaries and pensions are open records. Unborn children are guaranteed the right to life after 20 weeks gestation. Kentucky women are now given the opportunity to see their baby’s ultrasound before submitting to an abortion.

These conservative Republican policies have exponentially increased business investment throughout the Commonwealth, including Amazon’s massive project near CVG Airport that will create over 3,000 new jobs that pay $70,000 per year on average. Kentucky’s unemployment rate has dipped to 4%. Campbell County’s unemployment rate is currently tied for lowest in the state at 3.1%. This level of economic growth and investment is unprecedented in the history of our state and county.

I have proudly advocated for these policies over the course of my 20-year career in state office. Finally, during the 2017 session, House Republicans were able to pass these important measures over loud protests from liberal democrats and their socialist allies. As a result, Kentucky is more business-friendly than ever. Business is booming, especially in Northern Kentucky. According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, Kentucky’s competitive tax climate has improved from 33rd to 17th place in the nation. The people of the Commonwealth expected House Republicans to deliver on its promises of economic growth, family values and personal freedom. We delivered.

Kentucky House Republicans cut state income tax rates from 6% to 5%, saving most families about 16% off their last years’ return. We made the process of adopting children easier and faster. We saved unborn babies from dismemberment abortions. As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, I passed Jenna’s Law that protects teen-age girls from brutal rapists. We made it easier for young children to provide testimony about predators that may have abused them. We increased jail time for those who sell deadly drugs and provided more funds and treatment for their victims. These policies have given Kentucky families renewed hope and strength.

House Republicans also delivered on our promise to repair the broken state pension system without reducing promised benefits to current members, without cutting SEEK funding of public schools, and without  raising taxes. After decades of neglect by House Democrats, the new Republican Majority voted to fully fund the teachers’ and public employees’ retirement plans, under the revised actuarial guidelines. House Republicans also appropriated an additional $550 million to begin paying off the $40B pension deficit that Democrats had allowed to accumulate. I personally managed to add more than $7M in the budget for reconstruction of Johnson Elementary School in Fort Thomas, despite the severe budget constraints.

Today, as a result of these sensible Republican pension reforms, Kentucky teachers and public employees enjoy more security in their future retirement years than they have for decades, while the Democrats mismanaged their system. From 2010-2016, House Democrats annually appropriated about $250M (on average) to the teachers’ pension plan (KTRS). Since 2017, the new Republican General Assembly and Governor Bevin have budgeted over $750M per year to KTRS, a 200% increase. By the way, not a single House Democrat joined us in reforming the system and fully funding it.

As an attorney who has worked in the financial services industry for over three decades, I understand the risks and benefits of pensions and other retirement plans. I deal with actuaries on a daily basis in my profession. What I don’t understand is how union leaders can stridently oppose a plan that fully funds and restores financial stability to a broken system so that teachers can rest assured that they will receive all the benefits they were promised. Do teachers really want Democrats to regain power just to squander their pension funds again?

I recognize that most opposition is driven by partisan politics. I understand that House Democrats want their political power back. But to what end? For decades, they ignored the fiscal problems that have kept our state and future generations mired in debt. They refused to cut taxes and regulations to attract 21st century businesses to the Commonwealth. Even today, they have no realistic plan to raise the economic tide that can lift all Kentuckians to a higher level of success. House Democrats have always been more interested in pork barrel politics than fiscal responsibility or economic growth.

Over the past two years, Kentucky has made great strides under House Republican leadership. We have cut income tax rates and reformed our tax code. We have fully funded and saved the pension system without changing benefits. We have increased funding for public education to record levels. We have reformed the adoption process and cut red tape. We have rescued babies from late-term abortions. We have locked up drug dealers and other criminals who prey on defenseless women and children. We have offered hope and treatment for addicts. We passed Marsy’s Law to give crime victims a voice in the criminal justice system.

We can all take pride in these achievements because of the benefits they bring to every Kentucky family. This is why the voters gave Republicans the House Majority. But there is more to accomplish in the next biennium.

I intend to permanently lock-in these conservative policies. I will propose further cuts in income tax rates. I will re-file the Kentucky REINS Act that will allow the General Assembly to strike down oppressive regulations. As chair of the Judiciary Committee, I will move legislation, such as my Asbestos Transparency Bill, to bring meaningful reform our civil justice system. I will make our streets and highways safer by penalizing those who take illegal drugs and then drive under the influence. I will continue to fight for public education by fully funding teachers’ pensions and the SEEK formula. I will advocate for building a new Grant’s Lick Elementary School. And I will always protect innocent human life from conception until natural death.

For these reasons and many more, I am running for re-election as State Representative for the 68th House District. I humbly ask for your support on November 6th.

Wil Schroder: Why I'm Running for Kentucky State Senate (District 24)

Submitted on behalf of Sen. Wil Schroder. 

Wil Schroder is the Republican nominee for the State Senate. As a member of the Senate, Wil helped pass business-friendly legislation that led to record investments in the state, thousands of new jobs, and record low unemployment.  Wil played a key role in crafting bipartisan legislation to address the heroin epidemic and expand treatment options for addicts while appropriately punishing traffickers. In 2018, he helped craft a balanced budget that fully funded the state’s pension plans for the first time in decades and also allocated record per pupil student funding.

Additionally, Wil was instrumental in securing funding for Johnson Elementary in a tough budget year.  Fort Thomas School District was one of two school districts in the Commonwealth to receive funding for construction.

Further legislative accomplishments by Wil include sponsoring the ABLE Act, which allows families to save for disability-related expenses without fear of losing access to other assistance programs. He also co-sponsored a performance-based funding bill that helps Northern Kentucky University to compete with other universities for the funds allocated to them.

Wil Schroder has a passion for public service. Growing up in a household with a father who was a judge for twenty-nine years, and a mother who was a public and private school teacher, Wil was surrounded by parents who believed in giving back to one’s community. When Wil was two years old, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Wil was soon exposed to a world where friends, relatives, and neighbors volunteered time and time again to make dinners, carpool, and watch Wil and his sisters. This sense of watching out for one’s neighbor had a profound impact on Wil. Whether it was volunteering in high school as a youth soccer coach, mentoring middle school students in college, or serving as a youth group leader at his church, giving back to his community has been an important part of Wil’s life.

Prior to being elected, Wil served the public as a felony prosecutor in the Campbell County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office. In that role, Wil represented the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the people of Campbell County in hundreds of felony cases and worked closely with law enforcement and crime victims.

“It has been my absolute honor and privilege to serve the people of Campbell, Pendleton, and Bracken Counties as a State Senator. In the last four years, we have passed pro-life legislation, worked to address the heroin epidemic by punishing traffickers and increasing treatment options for users, and set an economic corporate investment record of $9.2 billion dollars. While we have made great progress, there is still more work to be done to make Kentucky a better place to live, work, and raise a family. I hope to continue to have the great honor of representing the people of the 24th District as we work to address serious issues impacting the Commonwealth.”

Wil is married to his high school sweetheart, Marci. The two are active members of the Next Chapter Church in Wilder and are the proud parents of their two-year-old daughter, Grace, and recently born son, Trey. His children serve as constant reminders of what is at stake for Kentucky’s future.


The midterm election will take place on November 6, 2018. Many state, local and national races will be on the ballot. 

FTM will publish all articles written by the candidates in order to give the voting electorate a better understanding on how they may elect. These will be shared in the order by which the candidates are listed on the ballot. 

We gave a simple prompt: Here's Why I'm Running This Year. 

Rachel Roberts: Why I'm Running for Kentucky State Senate (District 24)

By Rachel Roberts

My name is  Rachel  Roberts.  I’m  running  for  State  Senate  in  the  24th  district,  and  I’m  fighting  for  our  future.

I’m  going  to  work  my  heart  out  to  earn  your  vote,  win  this  election.  I’m  no  politician,  I’m  a  small  business  owner,  a  mentor,  and  a  community  leader.  I’ve  been  all  over  this  district  listening  to  people  say  they  want  better  jobs,  fair  taxation  policies,  solutions  to  the  epidemic  of  addiction,  and  a  strong  education  system.    I  am  running  for  office  because  our  region  needs  a  stronger  and  smarter  economy,  our  health  care  system  is  failing  everyday  Americans,  and  insider  politicians  in  Frankfort  are  bent  on  breaking  our  children’s  schools.

Like  so  many  people  I’ve  spoken  with  throughout  Northern  Kentucky,  I’m  exhausted  by  career  politicians  from  legacy  families  who  say  they’re  going  to  fix  things  and  then  do  nothing.  The  corruption  must  end.  I  come  from  a  long  line  of  proud  Kentuckians.  I  was  raised  by  parents  who  taught  me  the  core  values  of  hard  work,  responsibility,  and  honesty.

My  great-grandpa  was  a  fireman.  My  grandfather  was  a  naval  specialist  and  NASA  engineer.  My  mother  graduated  from  Chase  Law  School  and  spent  her  early  career  working  to  strengthen  labor  relations.  My  father  graduated  from  the  Kentucky  Military  Institute  and  is  a  county  addiction/mental  health  specialist.  Now,  in  a  time  of  great  need  for  our  region  and  state,  I  am  following  in  their  footsteps  to  do  what’s  right  and  serve  everyday  folks  like  you.

I  have  spent  my  life  building  a  strong  home,  successful  businesses  and  a  community  that  reflects  the  guiding  values  with  which  my  family  raised  me.  I’ve  spoken  with  thousands  of  concerned  citizens,  and  I  hear  you  when  you  say  we  need  to  find  new  and  innovative  ways  to  drive  revenue  so  we  can  actually  fix  our  crumbling  infrastructure.  We  need  to  get  creative  and  community-focused  if  we’re  going  to  dig  in  and  deliver  on  solving  the  opioid  epidemic.  And  we  have  to  stop  attacking  public  schools  and  teachers.  Instead,  we’re  going  to  work  smarter  and  harder  to  set  our  children  on  a  better,  stronger  path  forward.

I  will  fight  to  protect  retirements  for  seniors,  and  respect  and  honor  the  service  of  our  public  school  teachers.  Kentucky’s  teachers  receive  zero  Social  Security  benefits  and  I  will  work  to  find  a  new  revenue  stream  to  honor  our  promise  to  them.    One  of  Kentucky’s  top  economic  drivers  is  agriculture  and  farming.  In  talking  with  farmers,  I  hear  their  frustration  that  government  is  getting  in  the  way.  I  will  be  a  strong  voice  for  family  farms,  many  of  whom  are  small  business  owners  like  myself.  

What  I  witnessed  during  the  last  session  of  the  Kentucky  General  Assembly,  was  alarming.  We  no  longer  saw  democracy  in  action;  we  saw  a  majority  party,  with  control  of  the  House,  the  Senate  and  the  Governor’s  office  run  roughshod  over  process  and  the  people  of  our Commonwealth.

Within  their  total  power  grab,  the  elected  members  of  our  General  Assembly  stopped  listening  to  teachers,  first  responders,  working  people,  senior  citizens  and  retirees  and  instead  listened  only  to  the  big  money  interests  which  have  permeated  our  governing  process.    Part  of  the  rushed,  secret,  legislation  known  as  the "sewer bill" is  now  before  the  Kentucky  Supreme  Court,  in  a  challenge  to  the  constitutionality  of  the  manner  in  which  the  legislation  was  passed  by  the  majority.

As  citizens,  we  expect  our  legislators  to  abide  by  the  constitution  and  allow  for  an  open  process  with  respect  to  our  laws  and  the  budget.    My  goal  is  to  bring  resources  back  to  our  region  for  infrastructure  improvements  and  schools,  and  develop  real  solutions  for  the  people  who  live  here.  I  am  accessible  and  open  to  the  citizens  of  this  district.

You  can  reach  me  directly  at or  by  calling  me  at  859-878-2588.

The midterm election will take place on November 6, 2018. Many state, local and national races will be on the ballot. 

FTM will publish all articles written by the candidates in order to give the voting electorate a better understanding on how they may elect. These will be shared in the order by which the candidates are listed on the ballot. 

We gave a simple prompt: Here's Why I'm Running This Year. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Johnson Elementary School Hullabaloo Festival | Saturday, October 13th

With the weather FINALLY turning to fall, it is time to officially welcome the season with this Saturday’s Johnson Elementary School Hullabaloo Festival.

This annual PTO-sponsored event raises a significant amount of money that directly benefits the students of Johnson Elementary, a National Blue Ribbon Elementary, through classroom aids, technology, enrichment programs, and other teacher-requested teaching tools to help the learning process.  The Fall Festival takes place October 13 from 10 am to 5 pm at Johnson Elementary School (full disclosure, the author is also the chair of the event but promises it will still be awesome!).

This year promises to return some of the best features from prior years and to showcase new, exciting, and fun activities.  Rain or shine, there will be a ton to do for everyone.

Children’s Activities:

Multiple bounce houses will be available throughout the day (weather-permitting).  All-day bounce-house bracelets are available for purchase, $10 per child.  Additionally, children’s games including soft drink ring toss, football toss, and many more games of chance will be setup throughout the schoolyard.  Tickets for the games are two for $1 and prizes will be won throughout the day, including every kid’s favorite- the cakewalk with special guest announcers!

Also, face painting and glitter hair spray as well as other arts and crafts options will be available for children.

While the pumpkin catapult has been retired this year, the pumpkin smash will return! Kids will have the opportunity to don their protective eye gear and smash pumpkins with a hammer, making as big a mess as they can!

Adult Activities:

There will be many opportunities to get a leg-up on holiday shopping with the Silent Auction items held for sale this year.  Some items include four tickets to Cincinnati Ballet’s The Nutcracker AND backstage passes, passes for four golfers at Highland Country Club, Ultimate Air Shuttle tickets to Chicago, Bosom Ball tickets, be on the cover of Fort Thomas Living, and more!  Also, new this year, win an opportunity for your child to participate in the once-in-a-lifetime Johnson Elementary School groundbreaking ceremony! Once again, the auction will be entirely online so even if you cannot attend, you can still bid by going to: Hullabaloo Auction and viewing the items from there.  The auction will stay open one hour later to maximize the fun, closing at 5 pm this year.

Also available for purchase will be books, CDs, DVDs ranging in price from 50¢ to $2, plus bag options for $10.  There will be board books, beginning readers, chapter books, reference books and puzzles/activities for kids.  For adults, there is fiction, non-fiction, reference, cookbooks and more, depending on donations.

Additionally, the major raffle drawing will see one lucky person win $1,000; tickets can be purchased during the event if you did not yet pre-purchase.

Food Options:
Baked goods available throughout the morning for purchase.  New this year, instead of lunch in the cafeteria, food trucks will be on site to provide attendees plenty of dining options with a portion of their sales donated back to Johnson!  So come hungry and feed the family at Marty’s Waffles, California Tri-Tip, and/or Packhouse. 

Be sure not to miss the one fall event that will have the whole town talking and some lucky ones winning!  So, be sure to stop by Johnson Elementary school on Saturday October 13 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; play some games, buy a cake, bid on the silent auction of your choice, maybe win $1,000 and go home happy knowing your dollars make a difference in a child’s education.

Hullabaloo would not be a success without its sponsors. Please thank and support our sponsors below:

2018-2019 Hullabaloo Corporate Sponsors

Highlands-CovCath Clash in Battle of Top Teams in Northern Kentucky

Bluebirds, Colonels Renew Annual Rivalry at David Cecil Memorial on Friday

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior center Max Dierig blocks after snapping the ball in the game against Dixie Heights. Highlands plays host to Covington Catholic on Friday at 7 p.m. in a battle between the top-ranked and fifth-ranked teams in Kentucky's Class 5A.
There is nothing better for a large crowd when your opponent brings to town the state's longest current winning streak at 22 in a row and happens to be your arch-rival.

The Highlands Bluebirds (6-1 overall), still ranked fifth in the latest Associated Press poll, plays host to Class 5A's top-ranked Covington Catholic Colonels (7-0) in what could be the best match-up between the two teams with a combined 30 state championships in several years. Game time is 7 p.m. Friday at David Cecil Memorial Stadium.

"That's why you play the game - to compete at the highest level," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "They're a very good team. We feel good about our team. We feel good about how we continue to get better week by week by week. I think our guys are ready to go."

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CovCath won its seventh state championship last year including a 52-0 win over Highlands in Park Hills. The Colonels recorded their first-ever undefeated state championship run.

"Personally, I think it starts with the culture where it doesn't matter what your record is. It could be 15-0. It could be 8-8, whatever it is," said Eddie Eviston, CovCath Head Coach. "It's just a matter of working every day to be the best that I can be. If the best doesn't win, then at least you don't have any regrets. But if you work really hard, then could reach your maximized potential, who knows? You might have a chance. We're still trying to build a program here from a staff standpoint. We've had some success along the way. You can't really worry about other teams. We have to concentrate on who we are and go from there." 

The Bluebirds have been working back toward that level this season. They hope to prove they are back there with a strong showing Friday in what could be a huge sell-out crowd.

Both teams have quality wins on the season. Highlands has defeated three Kentucky teams ranked in the Associated Press poll in Simon Kenton (5th in 6A), Campbell County (10th in 6A) and Lexington Catholic (7th in 3A). Their only loss is to Class 6A's sixth-ranked Scott County in a lightning-shortened 28-7 defeat. The Bluebirds have outscored the opposition, 248-87 compared to 313-87 for CovCath.

Both teams have beaten the Union duo of Cooper and Ryle. The Colonels have quality wins over two out-of-state opponents in 6-1 Kings Mills Kings (Ranked 9th in Ohio's second-largest Division II) and Indianapolis Bishop Chatard (Top-ranked team in Indiana's 3A AP Poll).

Both teams like to be balanced so they can take what defenses give them in their spread offenses. Both teams have been stout on defense this year. The Highlands 3-5 defense is allowing averages of 104 yards per game rushing and 135 passing.

The Bluebirds have made plays all over the field. It starts up front with pressure from the defensive line with guys like senior Ben Sisson, Gavin Downard and juniors Zach Lewin and Conner Zell. Then the linebackers such as seniors Jackson Hagedorn, Nick Bowman, Alex Starkey, juniors Brycen Huddleston and Mason Schwalbach fill in with defensive backs such as seniors Bailey Armstrong, Casey Greene, junior Jacob Brass and sophomore Jason Noe holding things down in the back. Schwalbach has a team-high two fumble recoveries and Hagedorn is tied with senior Greene with a team-high three interceptions.

Highlands has 13 quarterback sacks this year. Hagedorn leads the way with three with Lewin, Huddleston and Starkey recording two each. Hagedorn has taken both an interception and fumble recovery back for touchdowns and Huddleston snatched the ball away from Lexington Catholic senior wide receiver Tommy Knopp and took it back 52 yards for the touchdown.

That defense will be charged with containing a CovCath offense that averages 221 yards per game rushing and just more than 231 passing. The Colonel offensive line led by senior center Carter Black, senior Grant Hemmer and junior Lucas Jones has opened up plenty of holes for junior running back Casey McGinness.

McGinness has started at least a couple times in his four years in high school. McGinness has rushed for 1,140 yards on 114 attempts and 17 touchdowns for an average of exactly 10 per carry. McGinness also has 15 catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns.

Junior tight end/defensive lineman Michael Mayer, a 6-foot-5-inch, 240-pound Notre Dame commit, has been brutal on both sides of the ball. He has a team-high 24 catches for 425 yards and six touchdowns. Defensively, Mayer has a team-high 45 tackles including eight for a loss, two fumble recoveries, an interception return 76 yards for a touchdown at Chatard and one quarterback sack.

When he's had to throw the ball, sophomore quarterback Caleb Jacob has delivered. Jacob has completed 87-of-127 passes for 1,603 yards, 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

"Just like any game, but especially in this game when you have two good teams going against each other, they're going to have big plays. We're going to have big plays and you have to stay even the best that you can," Weinrich said. "For a game like this, you have find a way to get some unconventional scores, some unconventional turnovers in situations that are not script. There are going to be plays that you don't draw up so you hope that your guys are prepared and they have enough experience. They're flying around and trusting what they're doing so that when those situations present themselves, they're able to take advantage of them."

Another big target offensively has been senior 6-5, 215-pound wide receiver Jack Coldiron. Coldiron has 16 catches for 401 yards and four touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Zac Coburn has 11 catches for 155 yards and one touchdown.

The Highlands offense put together a solid half against Dixie Heights after not finishing several drives in the first half that could have helped put that game away sooner. Behind an offensive line led by seniors Will Salmon, Trent Johnson and juniors Max Dierig, Brock Huber and Dylan Turner, Highlands is averaging 177 passing and just more than 137 rushing the ball.

"We just have to do what we do," said Zach Deaton, Highlands Offensive Coordinator. "We have to do what we've been doing offensively all year and keep getting better at the little things that we do. We don't have to completely reconstruct an offense or change anything. We just have to make sure we execute what our offense is designed to be."

"Colonel" De Stewart, 71, Passes Away Suddenly

"Colonel" De Stewart, 71, died this morning from an apparent heart attack.

De was best known for founding his company, Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices and acting as the company's brand ambassador and symbol. Colonel De has three locations, including his corporate headquarters in the Hiland Building in Fort Thomas.

His name and image are symbols of the company.

“We have suffered a major loss.  Our family, friends and customers will have a huge void because De was larger-than-life,” said his wife and business partner, Susan. "His joy was spending time with his son, Ashley, daughter-in-law Christi and beloved grandchildren." 

Stewart was all about family. He and Susan also spent many countless hours on their patio drinking bourbon with their rescue dog, Cinnamon.

In May of this year, he and Susan opened up Colonel's Kitchen in Fort Thomas.

"We've done this together from the beginning," Susan told Fort Thomas Matters in February.

They set up their first spice store, a card table at Findlay Market, in 2006.

"I asked him what his dream was and he said he wanted to open a store that sold herbs and spices. As soon as I heard that, I asked him what his second choice was," she said jokingly.

"But six months after setting up that card table in 2006, we needed more space." 

The "Businessman Chef", Stewart had built an empire. A Fort Thomas resident, he fully invested a large chunk of his capital into the Fort Thomas Central Business District by renting a majority of the space in the Historic Hiland Building, located at 18 N. Fort Thomas Avenue.

“Small businesses hire the most people in this country, and we deserve more than the short stick that we’re given by the banks,” he told Fort Thomas Matters in February 2018.

Among the many full-time employees in the Colonel De family are are seven chefs with a cumulative 250 years of experience.

“We have done every business expansion by bootstrap,” he said.

A family man and a community stalwart, Colonel De Stewart will be missed.

Stewart was famous for characterizing the relationship between he and his customers.

The relationship we have with our customer is the second most intimate relationship you can have. I’m not going into their bedroom, but I’m going into their kitchen. I am helping to feed their family."

Highlands Volleyball Continues to Raise Bar

Bluebirds Own Consecutive 25-Win Seasons

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, The Highlands volleyball team celebrated its second straight 36th District volleyball championship with a 3-0 win at Newport Central Catholic on Wednesday.
Based on the way this season has gone, anything less than the Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team recording a sound victory in the 36th District championship game Wednesday would have been a surprise.

That did not turn out to be an issue as Highlands celebrated its second consecutive district crown with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-12) victory over the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (13-15 overall) on the hill. With the second victory over the hosts on their home court, Highlands at 25-10 also hit 25 victories on the year for the second straight season.

Highlands hopes not only those two accomplishments, but others not only become the norm, but the expectation year in and year out. The Bluebirds are 103-74 since Highlands Head Coach Katelyn Sallee took over the program in 2014. After consecutive 17-18 seasons, Highlands broke through with a winning 19-17 record in 2016.

"I think every year we've seen that trust increase more and more. You can have leadership in a team and a coaching staff. If the follower-ship isn't there, it doesn't work," Sallee said. "I've been really encouraged to see this team rally around us and rally around each other and just move in one direction instead of move in different directions and really getting in line behind the goals we've set for us and pushing toward that as opposed to individual goals or anything else that could divide or that could limit our success. I think it's only going to become more and more."

Sallee can't say enough about the parent support. Matt and Mandi Gessner started the Little Birds program at Woodfill Elementary years ago and the fruits of the labor have paid off. Their daughter is senior libero Olivia Gessner.

"I feel like people are having my back and encouraging me. I try to share at the beginning of each year and throughout the year, 'Hey, I have blind spots like everybody so please help me.' We are in this together," Sallee said. "When we're heading into a tournament that we're hosting or we're heading out of town or we have Senior Night coming up. I want people to share me and talk to me about what they see heading around the corner and things that could help us as a program to build and honor the girls for the work they've put in. I think it's really important to have those lines of communication open that parents know your serious that you actually do want feedback. I actually do want feedback because I know it'll make me better. There are a lot of parents who really buy into that and realize that a healthy communication is going to help make the team better. That's been fun helping develop over the years too."

Sallee has three assistants in Colleen Dunn, Molly Wehage-Maxwell and Jessica Ginter. Maxwell was also an assistant when Highlands won the district championship in 2012.

The Bluebirds own four straight wins over the Thoroughbreds. Prior to that, that win in the 2012 district championship marked the lone win for Highlands over NewCath in 25 meetings since a 2-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-21) Bluebird win in Fort Thomas on Sept. 20, 2005.

"I definitely think our program is growing overall at the freshman, JV and varsity level," Maxwell said. "We just keep building. We have a really consistent coaching staff and I really think that's why it's led to the back-to-back district (championship) wins. Katelyn has a really good knowledge as far as college play. Colleen and I have been here for a while too so we just mesh. If one person knows what to say or doesn't know then someone else fills in so we really connect. We're usually all on the same page and really we're just there to support each other so it's great."

Ginter, a 2015 Highlands graduate, came back to coach the freshman team this year after playing a couple seasons at Eastern Kentucky University. Ginter was a senior in the first Highlands team Sallee coached in 2014.

"It feels great just to be back in this atmosphere," Ginter said. "These girls are awesome. All the coaches are great. The girls make it so fun. I'm so proud of them and so happy for them. Their win just watching them light up brings back all those happy memories and I'm glad that they get to experience that too."

Olivia Gessner again did her part leading Highlands with 13 digs and an ace. The Bluebirds had 36 kills and assists, 35 digs, five aces and two blocks.

Junior setter and all-tournament team member Audrey Graves had all 36 assists. Graves recently passed 2,000 assists for her career.

Highlands once again had balance attacking from all sides of the court. Senior Margot Seidel once again put up another solid all-around game with a team-high 13 kills, three aces and seven digs. Seidel earned the tournament's Most Valuable Player honor.

Several other Highlands hitters had nice nights. The Bluebirds had the 36 kills on 72 attempts and 12 errors for a .333 hitting percentage. To calculate hitting percentage, one takes the number of kills minus the number of errors and divides that total by attempts. Freshman CC Shick recorded eight kills with junior Ava Hockney and sophomore Laura Winkler making six each.

"When I do something really well, it really boosts my confidence up and I play even better," Winkler said. "We've gotten a lot better. If we can control the first ball, then Audrey can set up someone and we can kill it."

Highlands has tried to improve its blocking this year. Hockney recorded one solo block and combined with freshman Nicole Ossege on another.

"As a middle, I really try to focus on the opponent's dominant hitter because eventually they're going to be the one who has the most powerful swings," Hockney said. "We really want to protect our defense so we typically drift toward that player to block them better. With the underclassmen playing their first district (tournament) games on varsity, we really had to let them know that we still have to play our hardest even though we beat NCC in the regular season. It's not going to be a blow-over."

Sallee said the Highlands coaching staff pulled the upperclassmen aside and talked to them about leadership. Junior Casey Dunn has still been a huge part of the team's success even though she has not been able to play since the win over Campbell County.

"It's just really great to see how far we've come," Casey Dunn said. "It's so much fun beating teams we haven't beaten in the past and overcoming things that usually we wouldn't have been able to, but it's a lot of fun being on this team - the environment and everything. We're all so close that when one person is down, we pick them up and it really gets us through tough situations on the court and off the court."

Several underclassmen have seen more varsity time that anticipated with the injuries. That includes freshmen Madison Clore and Sophia Sarakatsannis.

"They support us and it's not a big deal if you make a mistake," Clore said of the upperclassmen. "Everything is fine and they'll bring you up. We want to work as hard as possible to help them win. Everyone has been great from day one. There are no problems."

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Highlands Alum, Mike Mitchell, Signs with Indianapolis Colts.

The Indianapolis Colts today signed free agent safety Mike Mitchell.

Mitchell, 6-1, 221 pounds, has played in 137 career games (84 starts) in his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2014-17), Carolina Panthers (2013) and Oakland Raiders (2009-2012) and has compiled 464 tackles (337 solo), 13.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, 41 passes defensed, 10 interceptions, seven forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and 22 special teams stops.

He was the catalyst on the 2004 Highlands State Championship Team.

Mitchell attended Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky for his first three years and lettered as a sophomore and junior before transferring to Highlands where he completed his senior year. That year he earned Kentucky All- Star honors, and was named All-State honorable mention.

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He has started eight postseason contests and has tallied 39 tackles (19 solo), 1.0 sack, two passes defensed and one forced fumble. Mitchell was originally selected by the Raiders in the second round (47th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft.

From 2014-17, Mitchell started all 61 games he appeared in with the Steelers and registered 281 tackles (201 solo), 1.0 tackle for loss, 23 passes defensed, four interceptions, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He also started seven postseason contests for Pittsburgh and collected 34 tackles (17 solo), 1.0 sack, one pass defensed and one forced fumble. In 2013, Mitchell started 14-of-15 games he played in with the Panthers and finished with 66 tackles (50 solo), 4.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, eight passes defensed, four interceptions and two forced fumbles. He started one postseason contest for Carolina and tallied five tackles (two solo) and one pass defensed. From 2009-2012, Mitchell saw action in 61 games (nine starts) with Oakland and compiled 117 tackles (86 solo), 8.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 10 passes defensed, two interceptions, one forced fumble, four fumble recoveries and 22 special teams stops.

Last Chance to Contribute to Charters of Freedom Plaque

Landscaping plans are underway for Charters of Freedom installation.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor  

There is still time to show your support for the Fort Thomas Charters of Freedom monument, but the window of time to add your name to the plaque that will be installed on the monument is closing fast.

Donate to the Charters of Freedom by Wednesday, October 10, to add your name to the plaque that will cover the monument’s time capsule. Those donating $250 or more can add their name to the cover, and those who donate $1,000 or more can select an item to be placed in the time capsule that will tell your story to future generations.

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Erected for the city’s sesquicentennial celebration last year, the monument site is still undergoing development with landscaping and installation of the time capsule. Money raised through donations will help offset the cost of the improvements at the site.

The plaque will be placed on the time capsule at the city’s 2018 Veterans Day celebration on Saturday, November 10, starting at noon. All are invited to attend and share in honoring veterans and in celebrating the important history of the community.

For more information, contact the city at 859-441-1055.

RELATED: Veterans Day Celebration Will Add to the Charters of Freedom Installation

Seniors Invited to Free Scam Jam Event in Cold Spring on Oct. 11

This week, Northern Kentucky-area seniors are invited to learn how to protect themselves from financial fraud and scams. The Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is hosting a free Senior Scam Jam event at Cold Spring First Baptist Church. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. DFI is in partnership with Elder Maltreatment Alliance, the Northern Kentucky Area Development District, Kentucky AARP and other partners to provide this free event.

See Rob's listings here. 
Scam Jam topics include cybercrime, insurance fraud, mail fraud, investment fraud, and tax fraud and identity theft.  Registered participants will be provided with lunch, take-home materials and a chance to win door prizes. The event is free, but registration is required.

WHO:             Senior citizens in Northern Kentucky and surrounding areas

WHAT:            Free workshop on fraud and scam prevention

WHEN:           9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018

WHERE:         Cold Spring First Baptist Church
                        4410 Alexandria Pike
                        Cold Spring, KY 41076

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Two New Services Business to Open in Alexandria

Wagner Chiropractic is located on the first floor of the building that houses the Alexandria library.

Dr. Michael Wagner, who has been serving patients for more than ten years, has moved to a new location at 8333 Alexandria Pike, on the bottom floor of the building that houses the Alexandria branch of the Campbell County Public Library.

The move brings a name change to Wagner Chiropractic. Dr. Wagner is already seeing patients but is planning an official grand opening for the community in the coming weeks.

Dr. Wagner focuses on spinal care, muscle therapy and weight loss. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bowling Green State University and a bachelor’s in human biology and a doctor of chiropractic from The National University of Health Sciences in Chicago.

Hassman and Doyle Lawfirm. 859-655-4430. This is an advertisement.
Guthier Heating and Cooling, in business since 2010, will open a new location in Alexandria this month. The company will be located at 7923 Alexandria Pike.

Carrie and Jesse Guthier of Guthier Heating and Cooling opening in Alexandria.

Jesse Guthier has 18 years experience in the field and has been operating the company with his wife Carrie from their home office in Melbourne.

"We are super thrilled to be opening our first storefront location and excited to be a part of the Alexandria community. We are also excited to see where this will take us," said Carrie Guthier.

Highlands Fall Sports Pep Rally | Thursday, October 11 | 8:20 p.m.

Let's celebrate the incredible fall sports run at Highlands High School.

All are invited to join: students, community members, parents, fans.

Let's get in the spirit cheers, Marty's Waffles, Texas Joe and BEAT COV CATH on Friday, October 12.

‘Bystander CPR’ Saves Mayor and Emphasizes Importance of Life-Saving Technique

By Jessie Stringfield-Eden 

In early October 2017, Mayor Eric Haas and his wife Jan were sitting on the deck, enjoying their lake house in Jamestown, OH after a busy weekend. That Friday they had enjoyed the Highlands V.S. Dixie Football game, participated in a walk for charity on Saturday and they had planned Sunday as a much-needed day for relaxation… unfortunately those plans were dashed as Eric turned to his wife Jan and said that he felt faint.

An instant later, Jan realized that Eric had fainted and she was trying desperately to wake him back up.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Mayor Suffers a Heart Attack 

Jan, the owner of a Trent Montessori school, was thankfully trained in CPR and had had a short refresher lesson that Friday at the Highlands football game when St. Elizabeth and the Fort Thomas Fire Department had hosted a training session for ‘hands only’ CPR. The combination of both of these CPR training methods allowed Jan to begin CPR on Eric. Jan used primarily breath centered CPR training and then grabbed her cell phone but in being so flustered, she struggled with calling 911. It was only after dialing ‘999’ four times that she had a moment of clarity and was able to dial 911. Thankfully, EMTs were nearby and arrived quickly.

Although Eric doesn’t remember most of the experience, he remembers his recover and his family has helped him to remember.

RELATED: LISTEN: Mayor Haas Speaks on in near fatal heart attack (FTM Radio, Nov. 2017)

“They took me to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton and kept me there for a week. I was having some memory issues and I kept trying to move my leg which had a stint in it so my kids kept telling me ‘Dad, you can’t move your leg,’ and I kept asking why. They would reply ‘because you had a heart attack. Mom saved your life.” I would reply “She did??” And then cry a single tear. This happened over and over and they referred to it as ‘Groundhog Day’."

After bypass surgery and rehab, Eric has made a full recovery and maintains his health by eating right and exercising daily.

The experience has made Eric a firm believer in the importance of CPR training for all. “Everybody should take CPR training. I was trained fully after my issue. Everyone knows kind of what to do but go ahead and try doing it. Just that little bit of knowledge could save someone’s life. It’s great that St. E. is doing this.”

Training the general public in hands-only CPR has been a community effort and it has been extremely important to the Fort Thomas Fire Department, Fort Thomas Independent Schools and St. Elizabeth Hospital. Members from each one of these organizations were in attendance at the Highlands v.s. Dixie game last October, just days before Mayor Haas had his heart attack, to teach the method to attendees with CPR mannequins which were donated by Laura Randall with the non-profit organization Northern Kentucky EMS (NKEMS), the American Heart Association Training Center in the area.

Community outreach and training in the form of this kind of event is vital in reducing heart related deaths, according to Laurie Conkright with St. Elizabeth Hospital. “In the past 3 years, we’ve reached about 10,000 people,” said Conkright. “This program began in 2015 by the Heart and Vascular Institute to reduce heart related deaths by 25% in 2025.”

According to Lt. Eric Scherpenberg, the Public Information Office for the Fort Thomas Fire Department, the training event at the football game focused on a simple message of “PUSH HARD <> PUSH FAST <> PASS IT ON”. He also stated that ‘Bystander CPR’, in general, is one of the strongest predictors of survival in cardiac arrest. This method is extremely valuable in emergency situations and assists emergency medical providers.

This method can also be the difference between a person surviving and walking out of a hospital or experiencing severe brain damage. “When someone collapses and goes into cardiac arrest, irreversible cell and brain death can occurs in as little as five minutes due to lack of oxygen being transported around the body. In addition, it is significantly more difficult to restart a heart that has been deprived of oxygen for a prolonged period of time. Hands only CPR ensures that blood keeps being circulated around the body preserving critical organs like the brain until a defibrillation attempt can be made. For most people, the time from when a person collapses till when an ambulance arrives is often greater than five minutes. Hands only CPR fills this crucial gap of time with a life saving intervention until professional help arrives,” said Lt. Scherpenberg.

“Hands only CPR is easy to perform, easy to learn, and has almost no risk of disease transfer which is a major stumbling block for people concerned about giving mouth to mouth.” 

Lt. Scherpenberg further emphasized the importance of all CPR training but there is also an understanding that not everyone in the community can attend a class to become certified. “While traditional CPR is important to learn and is the Gold Standard of cardiac arrest care, it is not practical for everyone in the community to attend a class,” said Lt. Scherpenberg. “Hands only CPR provides a vital resource for our community that can boost survival rates from 8% all the way to 31% and higher.” 

The importance of teaching the community CPR has truly been an all-encompassing community effort between several different organizations and community members...and Lt. Scherpenberg is deeply appreciative. “This was truly an amazing community event,” said Lt. Scherpenberg. “In addition to the organizations that supported us, I would like to offer special thanks to the following people who supported this event from the beginning: CAO Ron Dill, Chief Mark Bailey, FF/P Chris Rust. FF/P Chris Wulfeck, Josh Ishmael, Danielle Stiner, the Highland's broadcasting team, and my wife Cheri who helped with every aspect of the event.”

Interested in learning more about hands-only CPR? The Fort Thomas Fire Department is going to hand out some Fire Prevention Week materials and the Highlands Film and Broadcasting class is going to have their PSA play on the video score board at the Highlands v.s. Covington Catholic game on Oct. 12.

This game will not feature full training but you can learn more about the method at this event.

Can’t attend? There are several ways to learn! “Anyone can learn more about the hands-only CPR technique by watching this video from the American Heart Association on our website,” said Laurie Conkright with St. Elizabeth. “You don’t have to be formally trained to use this method. For those who want full training in CPR, many area fire departments provide community training. It’s important to keep in mind, it’s more likely that you will need to perform CPR on a loved one, rather than a stranger.”