Friday, May 29, 2015

Senator Wil Schroder Addresses Controversial Comment by Cpt. Maris Herold

Sen. Wil Schroder. Provided. 
Captain Maris Herold, of the Cincinnati Police Department, was in the midst of providing a crime update to the neighborhood council's safety committee when she made a controversial comment about moving crime to Kentucky.

“Hopefully, we can push crime into Kentucky. I don’t care if you quote me at this point.”

Among the topics discussed were strategies for combating drug activity, juvenile-involved burglaries and Tuesday's fatal Walnut Hills shooting.

Herold, who was a Dixie Heights graduate, oversees District 4 which includes the neighborhoods of Mount Auburn, Corryville, Walnut Hills, Avondale, North Avondale, Paddock Hills, Bond Hill, Roselawn, Carthage, and Hartwell, according to the police department's website.

State Senator, Wil Schroder,  turned to FortThomasMatters to provide some commentary on the comments and to offer a dialogue to leaders across the river. Schroder's comments:

Schwalbach to Cross Finish Line of Jackie's Run Saturday

By Mark Collier and Stephanie Class 

Schwalbach with fellow runners Joshua Strzala and Walt Neubauer take time for a selfie on Jackie's Run. You can make a donation Saturday or at
Fort Thomas resident, Steve Schwalbach, has been running a lot over the last week. After today, he will have tallied up 312 clicks in the last eight days as he's traversed the state of Ohio, starting in Cleveland and ending up at the Water Tower in Fort Thomas tomorrow at 6:00.

"Jackie's Run" started last year as Schwalbach decided to run the state of Kentucky to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer's disease. Saturday will be a chance for local Fort Thomas residents to come together to help put an end to this disease by donating to the Alzheimer's Association. Event goers can cheer Steve onto the finish line and enjoy an after party at the Olde Fort Pub.

Raising funds for Alzheimer's is a cause close to Schwalbach's heart. “My mother had Alzheimer's for more than fourteen years. She passed away this past March,” said Schwalbach. According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, and someone in the United States develops the disease every 67 seconds.

Steve also runs in honor of Clem Fennell (III), who was diagnosed with dementia in 2007.

L to R: Clem Fennell (IV), Casey Fennell, Vickey and Clem (IV)

"I’m often asked how he is doing and unfortunately this disease continues to take away Dad’s abilities. He has been completely mute and living in a nursing home for over three years. His mobility is extremely limited, as he continues to decline both physically and mentally," said his son, Clem Fennell IV,  "Witnessing these changes is heartbreaking and to know that there are another 5.3 million Americans suffering is tragic, but thanks to passionate people like Steve, advances are being made in the search for an end to Alzheimer’s and dementia." 

NKY Music Scene: Adrian Belew on The Denems, The Beatles and a time of innocence

I had the honor of speaking with Adrian Belew about the induction of The Denems into the NKY Music Legends Hall of Fame taking place on June 4th. You could hear the pride and joy in his voice while we discussed the band and the era.

"It was a time of innocence. No worries. Talking about it is like taking a walk back in time. We lived and breathed the music of The Beatles." said Belew. "The Beatles were about love. Much of todays music is dark and glorified violence. So much sensationalism in the world. There is some wonderful music being released still...but, the mystery has been stripped with most of the music currently being recorded."

After The Beatles invaded the shores of America in 1964, Mike Wilshire and Terry Dalhover (students of Boone County High School) wanted to get a four-piece rock group together. They had been bitten by the bug called Beatlemania. Wilshire knew a guitar player from Covington Catholic High School named Dave Behle. He was asked to join Wilshire and Dalhover in the band. Once Behle agreed, the search for a drummer began. Wilshire also knew of a new kid that just started at BCHS. A talented drummer and vocalist named Steve Belew completed the original lineup. All that was left was a name for the band. After Dalhover saw a performance from Glen Campbell on the television wearing all denim, they had their name. The Denems were born.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

St. Catherine Festival (June 4-June 6) - Win a Car!

St. Catherine of Siena. FTM file. 
St. Catherine Summer Festival is a rite of summer and you're not going to want to miss what's happening next week at the corner of N. Fort Thomas and Rossford Avenues.

The festivities start Thursday, June 4th, with a golf outing. There will be a noon shotgun start and $85  gets you golf, drinks, lunch and dinner. Additionally, you can pay $70 for golf, drinks and lunch or $25 for dinner and drinks. Interested parties contact Derek Carnohan at 859-866-3245 or

Friday, June 5th, is the Adult-only (21 and up) Music Fest featuring the St. Catherine All Star Band. The party goes from 7-11 p.m. Enjoy brisket and pulled pork sandwiches. Beer and wine served.

Saturday, June 6th, from 5:30-midnight is the main event. The festival has food, kids games, bounce houses and The Carter New Band playing.

Bluebirds earn elusive 9th Region crown

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, The Highlands players celebrate after winning the 9th Region title Wednesday. The Bluebirds will make their first state tournament appearance since 1973.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior and Tournament Most Valuable Player Jake Whitford (4) goes up to make a play.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Brady Murray slides in safely in the third inning to score the game's first run. He came all the way around from first base on the play.
FLORENCE - From the last out in last year's title game, the returning players primed up to come back and ram through the doors to that elusive 9th Region baseball crown.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Heroin Overdose Kits to be Provided to St. Elizabeth Hospitals in Northern Kentucky

First Lady Jane Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway announced Tuesday that heroin and opiate overdose reversal kits will be made available to people treated for overdoses at the St. Elizabeth Healthcare system in Northern Kentucky.

The funding will be provided through the Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee.

Highlands High School Students Premiere Play at Cincinnati Fringe Festival

On a snow day in March, Highlands High School students Ben Eglian and Kaiya Linkugel chose not to spend the day napping or sled riding with friends during a coveted day off school. Instead, they made the trek through the icy streets to Newport's Pepper Pod, where the duo had their first discussion about Escape Routes.

Escape Routes is a play written by senior Ben Eglian, which dives headfirst into the hearts and minds of today's teenagers. Eglian enlisted the help of junior Kaiya Linkugel to serve as co-director on the project, which debuts this month as part of Cincinnati Fringe Festival's FringeNext division. FringeNext features four plays chosen from high school students. With the exception of Highlands High School's Theater Department Director Jason Burgess serving as producer, the play is entirely run by students.

How to Attract Goldfinches

By Jill Fessler 
Jill Fessler at the Wednesday Farmers Market. FTM file. 

You will be surprised to know that yellow birds fly around your home.

The American Goldfinch can be found in Northern Kentucky year round.  My neighbor told me about these birds many years ago.  “Put out a thistle feeder, and wait a few days; they will find it” he told me.  On my next trip to the garden store, I purchased a finch feeder and a bag of tiny black nyjer thistle seeds.

Sure enough, in a few days I had brightly colored yellow finches in view from my kitchen window.  This is easy!  All you need is a finch feeder and thistle seed.  The problem is, once they find the feeder, the seeds are eaten in just a few weeks.  Plan to refill your feeder often.

I am ever amazed each time I see them.  The male birds are bright yellow with a black patch on their head.  The female birds are grey and yellow, less bright in color.  The summer months are the best time of year to see the yellow colored male finches.  They nest in the fall when food sources are plentiful.  Then in winter, they molt and turn brown in color.

Fort Thomas Studies Imperial Apartments After Residents Complaints

Imperial Apartments. Google Street View.
Last January police swarmed on scene at Imperial Apartments at 825 and 831 S. Grand Avenue. It was the latest in a series of events that seemed to occur frequently at the apartment complexes at the corner of S. Fort Thomas and S. Grand Avenues.

Back in 2013, there was talk of implementing an ordinance that could have held landlords more liable for their tenants behavior. (FTM coverage)

At that 2013 council meeting Chief Mike Daly indicated that the department had temporarily stepped up patrols and enforcement in that area and that that strategy had worked.

City Administrator Don Martin, updated council on that strategy in his City Administrator's report last month. "Several months ago a resident who lives adjacent to the Imperial Apartments attended a council meeting and asked that the city consider an ordinance to address his concerns about behavior activity at the apartments," Martin wrote in his report. "The police department has been working with the owners of the apartments and has had great success in correcting behaviors through enforcement and eviction."

The following is the call / response / activity data for the Imperial Apartments for the past five full years and for 2015 to date (April).

'Nothing Sissy' About Pilates and TRX at Fit Philosophie

Fit Philosophie is part of the #FTMFamily 

What do Tiger Woods (professional golfer), Curt Shilling (MLB pitcher), and Jason Kidd (NBA basketball player) have in common? The same thing as Fort Thomas’ Fit Philosophie clients Raido Kudre and Jim Goehle. Pilates is what keeps them limber and strong.

Pilates and TRX (a training method that uses portable suspension equipment), are often thought of as classes for women. These training methods, however, were both created by men, said Fit Philosophie’s owner Jennifer Lynn.

“Initially the inventor (of Pilates) would go to the hospitals and visit wounded soldiers,” she said. “It started by building the apparatus around the bed of soldiers. Then he became more famous for working with ballet dancers. In modern times, it has become more of a fitness staple.”

Knowing this background of Pilates may make men more comfortable using the equipment and training method. Similarly, TRX and spinning were also created for high-level workouts, Lynn said.

“Spinning, TRX and pilates were all invented by men. TRX was invented by a Navy SEAL so that soldiers with no equipment could have something to train with when they were out in the field. Spinning was created by a cyclist who had a lot of high-level athletes that he was trying to figure out how to better train indoors.”

Raido Kudre has been a member at Fit Philosophie since this January, and said that he started slowly with Pilates and TRX and has been pleased with the results he has seen. He had never done Pilates before, and didn’t know what to think about Pilates, but said he was very impressed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fort Thomas Military and Community Museum: Northern Kentucky Music Legends Exhibit

The amphitheater summer concert series lineup. Click to see bigger. 
The Northern Kentucky Music Legends induction ceremony and concert will be held June 4, 2015 at 6:00 until dark at the Fort Thomas Amphitheater in Tower Park.  This group honors performers, bands, composers, lyricists, recording studio, and other musical artists from Northern Kentucky who have spent 20 or more years sharing their love of music.

There will be a small exhibit that night only in the Community Center.  It is a partnership between the Fort Thomas Military and Community Museum, under the direction of Fort Thomas Renaissance, the Behringer-Crawford Museum, the Northern Kentucky Music Legends committee, and music promoters and producers with the goal of reaching new audiences and increasing understanding and awareness of local music.

If you go:

Fort Thomas Police Monthly Report (April 2015)

FTPD firearms instructors are Sgt. Chris Carpenter and Officers Adam Brown and Doug Bryant. Photo courtesy FTPD. 
In April officers wrote 30 speeding 10 DUI charges, 24 charges for non-traffic offenses and 116 traffic charges. They issued 119 written warnings and totaled 33 court appearances. There were 16 drug related charged placed on 12 adults and 7 charges placed against 4 juveniles. Four of those are Fort Thomas residents. Traffic stops led to 8 of those charges.

Officer Derek Faught led the FTPD in the amount of total state citation charges, with 38. Officer Adam Peak was second with 32 and Officer Doug Hoffman was third with 30 .

Officer Brandon Laffin completed his field training program and was assigned to second shift.


Why Fort Thomas Picked Bloomfield/Schon Over Other Potential VA Homes Developers

VA Homes. FTM file. 
After years of of trying to attract a developer for the 10 historic VA homes in Fort Thomas, the city changed its approach from a "Request for Proposal" process to a "Request for Qualifications process. The main difference being that a minimum bid was set by the city in the "RFP" versus simply asking for qualifications of a developer this time around.

Bloomfield/Schon (Cincinnati) was selected over Neace Ventures (New Albany, Indiana).

In 2011, when the homes were appraised at $2.4 million, the city struck out when asking companies to submit bids to renovate the officer homes. Then just last year, the appraised value had since been lowered to $510,000. The city asking price for a minimum bid was lowered to $900,000.

"One of the main obstacles we were facing was that million dollar marker," said City Administrator, Don Martin in a previous FTM article. "We believed by having this minimum bid reduced to under that mark we would really generate some interest."

Monday, May 25, 2015

Highlands Baseball, Softball Move on in Region

By G. Michael Graham
The Birds played St. Henry today at UC Medical Center Park in Florence. 
From this point forward, the Highlands Bluebirds baseball and Ladybirds softball teams know they will have to earn everything.

Both 36th District championship teams took care of business in the 9th Region quarterfinals Monday in games they were expected to win soundly. The Bluebirds (30-6 overall) took care of the St. Henry Crusaders (13-18) by an 8-1 count at University of Cincinnati Medical Center Park and the Ladybirds (23-8) downed the Beechwood Lady Tigers (10-16), 12-0 in five innings at Northern Kentucky University. Both teams played in the first games of the day.

The Bluebirds hit .478 (11-for-23) as a team. But they also took advantage of five Crusader errors. The first four Highlands runs were unearned. Highlands plays on a turf field after playing most of the regular season and district tournament games on grass.

"The (wet) conditions weren't the best. I think that had an effect on (the Crusaders)," said Jeremy Baioni, Highlands Head Coach. "We did enough to win. That's what we were looking for. The ball rolls a little bit better and a little bit faster. For the most part, you're going to get true hops. You also have to slide early so you don't slide through a base. You make a bunch of adjustments here. But anywhere else, we might not have played because of the rain so we'll take it."

Highlands saw three players record multi-hit games. Jake Whitford reached in all four plate appearances recording a single, double, triple and walk. He scored twice and batted in two. Teammate Todd Ramey went 3-for-4 with a double, run scored and three RBI. Catcher Luke Hennigan went 2-for-3 with a triple and RBI.

(PICTURES) Memorial Day Parade

The 74th Bellevue-Dayton parade. Photos via Justin Vanderglas. 
The 74th Memorial Day Bellevue-Dayton Parade started at10:30 a.m. at the Veterans Monument in Dayton at Sixth and Main streets and ended at the Bellevue Veterans Club at 24 Fairfield Ave.

The party is continuing RIGHT NOW with O'Fallon Fest in Dayton, between 8th and 9th streets. There's a window of opportunity so get out and enjoy the day!

Bowser's Great 8-Day Escape Has Happy Ending Thanks to Fort Thomas Community

Nick and Ticiana Darland, with their Yorkshire Terrier, Bowser

This is supposed to be a story about Bowser, an almost-1-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, except, it isn't.

Most good stories start at the beginning and the beginning of this story is quite precise: Monday, May 4th, 10:15am. Connie Hall's nephew, Nick Darland, and his wife, Ticiana Darland, of Newport, Ky., were traveling in Miami, Fla. Hall's son, Sammie Hall, was dog sitting the couple's dog—Bowser—at his home in Newport, Ky. On Monday, May 4th, Sammie brought Bowser to Hall's house for a visit.

"My dogs were in the backyard with me, when they heard the garage door open," Hall says. "In their excitement, they ran into the house to wait by the door when Sammie was bringing Bowser in. Bowser was spooked by the dogs and took off like a rabbit. My dogs also ran after him! I was able to get the big dog back in the house as Sammie ran after Bowser. I got my second dog back in and jumped in the car to go after Bowser. Sammie was directed by a neighbor [as to] which direction Bowser was running. By the time I got to St. Catherine, Sammie was heading back down to get his car. Bowser disappeared that quickly."

Hall and her son searched for an hour before Hall decided to print Lost Dog fliers. The two then spent the afternoon putting signs all over town.

"Day turned to evening and before we knew it, it was dark," Hall says. "The owners did call earlier and Sammie didn't have the heart to tell them Bowser ran off. We were sure we'd find him, but as it started to turn dark, I told Sammie I needed to start posting it on some lost-and-found sites. He agreed."

sign created by Connie Hall to help find Bowser

Saturday, May 23, 2015

BREAKING: Two Vehicle Crash Shuts Down Memorial Parkway

The pickup truck involved in the accident. FTM file. 
A two vehicle crash on Memorial Parkway occurred at around 5:20 PM that has closed the roadway down and sent at least one man to the hospital.

According to Sgt. Chris Goshorn of the Fort Thomas Police Department, an older model pickup truck believed to be going the wrong way traveling east towards Fort Thomas may have crossed over the line and hit a red cadillac sedan.

"The male driving the truck was extracted from the roof and taken to UC Hospital. Witnesses on the scene said that speed may have been a factor," said Sgt. Goshorn. "He was not conscious enough to determine whether or not he was intoxicated so we have filed a search warrant to obtain his blood."

His injuries were described as serious. 

The couple driving the red cadillac walked away from the accident, but were both visibly shaken, according to Goshorn. "We have the major crash reconstruction team on the way and it looks like Memorial will be shutdown for a minimum of two hours."

Fort Thomas resident, Connie Hall, said she followed the pickup truck out of the Kroger parking lot in Newport. "He was driving very erractically, spinning his wheels and stopping and starting very fast," said Hall. "He picked up speed (as he drove towards Fort Thomas on Memorial Parkway) and he lost me. When I got around the bend (by Memorial Village Apartments) I came upon the scene." 

Hall, who was the first person on the scene said she and another driver helped the two individuals out of their car.

"He had some blood on his arm, but they both seemed okay other than that. Just shaken," said Hall.

FTM file. 

FTM file. 

Reflecting on Memorial Day

By Wil Schroder 
State Sen. Wil Schroder. Provided. 

The phrase “thank you” is used many times a day and is sometimes used with little thought.  We say “thank you” to the bagger at the grocery store or “thank you” to the person that holds the door open for us as we walk into work in the morning.  Other times, we use the same two words to express our gratitude for something of much more significance.

Recently, I was asked to be the key-note speaker at a reunion for the veterans that made up the 501 Parachute Infantry Regiment in WWII.  The feats of these brave men have become legendary and have been written about and even detailed in films and movies.  While I was excited and honored to accept, I was also a little nervous.  While I do not mind public speaking, the thought of trying to articulate to a group of men who gave their all to their Country, and lost some of their best friends along the way, is intimidating.  What can I say or do that truly reflects my appreciation for the sacrifice made by our men and women in the military? It seems that sometimes our English language does not have a term to express one’s true feelings of thankfulness.

As a member of Kentucky’s Legislature, I often reflect on the fact that our Commonwealth and Nation would not be possible without their commitment and sacrifice.  It is not lost on me that the lives lost in service to the U.S. were given to ensure that our government remains “of the people, by the people, and for the people” as President Lincoln said.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Roundup: Highlands baseball, softball shut out NC by combined 13-0 to claim district crowns

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, The Highlands softball team celebrates its second straight district championship Thursday. The Ladybirds beat Newport Central Catholic, 5-0 scoring four unearned runs in the win.
BELLEVUE - It was a Blue and White day in 36th District championship games Thursday.

The Highlands baseball and softball teams combined to shut out Newport Central Catholic by a combined 13-0 to claim the crowns. The baseball team (29-6 overall) pulled away from the Thoroughbreds (14-19) late in Bellevue in the 8-0 win to claim its fourth straight district championship. A few miles south in Winkler Field, Highlands (22-8) played error-free defense and took advantage of five NewCath (20-10) errors to claim its second straight crown in the 5-0 victory.

District champions face runner-up squads in the first round of the region tournament. In baseball, Highlands will face either Covington Catholic, St. Henry or Boone County next while NewCath will take on either Beechwood, Dixie Heights or Ryle. In softball, Highlands will face Ryle, Dixie Heights or Beechwood. NewCath will take on Conner, Notre Dame or St. Henry.

In the baseball title game, Highlands scored twice in the first inning. But the Bluebirds did not score again until the fifth inning. They scored three in the fifth and three more in the sixth.

"We talk about it all year long," said Jeremy Baioni, Highlands Head Coach. "It's not necessarily how many hits you get, it's when you get them. Defensively, if we play well, our pitchers for the most part are keeping us in the game. They're keeping the ball down and giving our guys chances to make some plays. We made plays behind them (Wednesday) and (Thursday)."

In Other Words: Seriously, Just Go

By Chuck Keller 

Chuck Keller. Provided

It’s coming up on summer vacation time. So maybe we should take a moment to examine what we can learn from our journeys because, you know, it really is a small world.

One of the complaints that I have heard about Fort Thomas is that we live in a bubble. That somehow we live an insular life.  Well, that is hard to believe with as much as residents travel around the state, country, and globe. Fort Thomas is certainly a well traveled population. And you can tell by the t-shirts that proclaim where we were. Writer and filmmaker, Susan Sontag wrote, “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”  And at least one resident would agree.

Rita Byrd has visited five continents and over thirty countries in her global journeys.  After she retired last year as the Assistant Superintendent of Fort Thomas Schools she took her dream trip of three and a half months trekking around Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. She and her traveling companions have shared years of wonderful adventures so she has lots of travel stories, advice, and lessons.

Rita caught the bug when she and her sister traveled to England. It was an easy trip because we speak the same language, but she was hooked. Then she was off to various European destinations, cruises, and even bigger trips.

Fort Thomas Comes Together For #FTPD4210STRONG

Police officers potentially put their lives on the line in the name of protecting a city’s citizens on a daily basis.  Despite living in a very safe community, the Fort Thomas police officers never know when the line of duty could put them at risk.  However, sometimes, the most dangerous thing facing our officers lies not on the streets of Fort Thomas, but elsewhere.  For Lt. Casey Kilgore, this became very real when he was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma earlier this year.

Kilgore was originally diagnosed with non-life threatening melanoma in 2011 and, at the time, the doctor told him the likelihood of it spreading was very slim.  However, he went back to the doctor with a terrible and lingering cough this winter and after an x-ray revealed a spot on his lungs and 3 biopsies later, Kilgore received the diagnosis of Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma in his eye, lungs, and spleen.  Since then, he has completed radiation on his eye and is hallway through with radiation on his lung.  Additionally, he began immunotherapy last week which is a different targeted approach to melanoma.  Through a combination of these treatments, Kilgore is very hopeful that he can control the disease for a very long time, especially given his level of fitness.

Kilgore and wife Lauren, proud parents of two young children and one due in August, are Fort Thomas residents and through this trying time, they have been impressed by how our small town has come together in support.  Bracelets bearing the hashtag #FTPD4210STRONG are being sold to support the family and the hashtag itself has gone viral as well as #TeamKilgore, a hashtag that Amy Goshorn, wife of Sergeant Chris Goshorn, proudly proclaims as she holds up the bracelets bought in support of Kilgore.  In fact, when looking at the trending images with that hashtag, one can even see a photo of Cincinnati Red Todd Frazier sporting his #FTPD4210STRONG Bracelet.

FTPD stands for Fort Thomas Police Department and 4210 is Kilgore's badge number.