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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

A Comprehensive List of Local Races for Campbell County

 

The filing deadline has passed for the May 17, 2022 primaries.


This content, along with the filings in Kenton and Boone Counties were first published soon after the filing deadline on 1/25 on our newsletter, The Daily Link. To get news alerts and scoops, you can sign up for free, here.  

This edition of The Daily Link News Alert is brought to you by Dinsmore. 



by Robin Gee

The deadline to file for the 2022 primary election has passed. The primary will be held May 17, and the general election is set for November 8.  For information on voting and to find out where to vote, go to the Kentucky Board of Elections voter information website.

Here is a list of what's happening in Campbell County.

City council and mayor races

Bellevue Mayor

  • Charlie Cleves (i)
  • Chasity Bothman
Bellevue City Council (6 seats)
  • Stephen R. Guidugli (i)
  • Ryan Salzman (i)
  • Michael Almoslechner
  • Shauna Kruse (i)
  • Sean Fisher (i)
  • Terry Hatton
  • Patrick Hogan (i)
Dayton Mayor
  • Ben Baker (i)
Dayton City Council (6 seats)
  • Joseph Neary (i)
  • Jeff Volter (i)
  • Christina Kelly (i)
  • Beth Ellen Nyman (i)
  • Jessica Lovins
  • John Walker Wirick
Fort Thomas Mayor
  • Eric Haas (i)
Fort Thomas City Council (6 seats)
  • Lauren McIntosh
  • Jeff Bezold (i)
  • Eric Strange
  • Benjamin Pendery (i)
  • Andy Ellison
  • Kevin Duke
  • Christopher Kirkwood 
  • Adam Blau (i)
  • Jason Kilmer
  • Vickie Ellis
Newport City Commissioner (4 seats)
  • Mike Radwanski
  • Ken Rechtin (i)
  • Beth Fennell (i)
  • Richard Livingood
  • David Capella
  • Gordon Henry
  • Ed Davis
  • John Anthony Santini 
  • Julie Smith-Morrow
  • Steven Mergerle 

Campbell County races
Note that only contested races will appear on the primary ballot

Campbell County Judge/Executive

  • Republican: Steve Pendery (i), Anna Zinkhon
Campbell County Commissioner - District 1
  • Republican: Dave Fischer, Brian Painter (i)
  • Democrat: Melissa Whalen

 Campbell County Commissioner - District2

  • Republican: Geoff Besecker (i)
Campbell County Commissioner - District 3
  • Republican: Tom Lampe (i)
  • Democrat: Patti Michelle Piatt

Campbell County PVA

  • Republican: Daniel K. Braun (i)

Campbell County Attorney

  • Republican: Steven J. Franzen

Campbell County Clerk

  • Republican: Jim Luersen (i)

Campbell County Sheriff

  • Republican: Mike Jansen (i)

Campbell County Jailer

  • Republican: James Daley (i), William “Billy” Fuller, Noah Schoultheis 

Campbell County Coroner

  • Republican: Mark Schweitzer (i)

Campbell County Surveyor

  • Republican: Ryan M. Hartig

Justice of the Peace (1st)

  • Republican: Frank Meyer
 Campbell County Constable (1st)
  • Republican: Ken Warden (i)

Justice of the Peace (2nd)

  • Republican: James J.W. Glahn
  • Democrat: Suzanne Sparks
Campbell County Constable (2nd)
  • Republican: John Roth, Barret “BJ” Champagne

Justice of the Peace (3rd)

  • Democrat: Mike Dutle (i)
Campbell County Constable (3rd)
  • Democrat: Jim Peluso (i)

Fort Thomas City Council Calls for Applications for Upcoming Member Vacancy

Fort Thomas City Council is calling for applications to fill a seat that will be vacated mid-term. FTM file.

by Robin Gee

The recent Fort Thomas City Council meeting heard the official resignation of council member Connie Grubbs, who has taken a new position at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. 

RELATED: Connie Grubbs Set to Resign from Fort Thomas City Council

Mayor Eric Haas and council members congratulated and thanked Grubbs for her service and began a discussion on the logistics and legal aspects of replacing a council member mid-term.

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Process timeline and parameters


City attorney Tim Schneider gave a timeline for the process. Grubbs’ resignation would be official the day after the January council meeting. Until the next council meeting on Feb. 22, she would have the option to withdraw the resignation and so it would not be in full effect until the next council meeting. At that time, the clock begins ticking.

After their February meeting, council has 30 days to fill the open position and that person would fulfill the rest of Grubbs’ term, which ends Dec. 31. If council does not replace her within that 30 days, Schneider said, the governor would take over and appoint a replacement.

He advised that all planning for how and when a replacement would be appointed must be done in open session. In fact, he said, all aspects of the replacement can be done in public. Council is permitted to go into executive session only to discuss individual candidates, although even that part of the process can be done in a public forum.
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Making the decision


Council suggested that their preference would be to go into executive session to discuss the candidates. 

Council member Adam Blau said, while he is in favor of as much transparency as possible, he did not mind going into a closed session to discuss applicants. 

"We know people pretty well in this community, and some personal things might come up," Blau said. "So I think you don't always want all that brought out in public."

Council member Ben Pendery agreed. 

"I think it’s appropriate to do this in executive session because you want to be able to have an honest discussion...I think it’s important that we properly vet these people so you can choose the right one," Pendery said. "You can do that in executive session."

Following the meeting, council put out the call for applications for the position. Applications, which consist of a letter of interest and qualifications statement or resume, are due Friday, Feb. 11, by 4:30 p.m.

A special session will be held Tuesday, Feb. 15, to decide on a replacement. This meeting will be open to the public, but council may choose to go into executive session to discuss the applicants. The meeting will be held in the Mess Hall (801 Cochran Ave.) at 5 p.m.  

Groundhog Day Family Fun Event Set For Tower Park



The Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy will hold a family friendly Groundhog Day event for children in Tower Park on Wednesday, February 2 beginning at 4:30 and the last group needs to finish by 6:00. 

Meet at the tennis courts in Tower Park to start the hike. Participants will search for the groundhog shadows along a trail that will reveal a bit of information about groundhogs and their special day. If you find the hidden word then you can win a child’s Groundhog Day craft. 

FTFC Education Director, Trisha Schroeder, will lead the event. “It should be a lot of fun, and it is socially-distanced because it is a self-led hike through the woods.” 

You can reserve a spot by sending an RSVP by February 1 to Trisha Schroeder at trident@fuse.net. 

 


Highlands Rolls Past Bishop Brossart

Bluebirds Record Third Straight Win

Highlands seniors Oliver Harris (13) and Cole Kocher (2) box out in a recent game.

Using another big third quarter, the Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team (14-6 overall) turned a close game into a lopsided victory.

Highlands trailed the Bishop Brossart Mustangs (7-13), 22-20 after the first quarter before building a 48-41 halftime lead. But the Bluebirds outscored the Mustangs, 18-4 in the third quarter to go up 66-45 after three periods on their way to a 94-61 victory.

"We did a much better job of just sitting down and guarding them," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "We kept our pressure. We didn't trap as early. We pulled it back and picked our spots a lot better."

This ties the highest point total of the year for Highlands and is the fourth time the Bluebirds have scored 90 or more points in a game. Highlands lost to Walton-Verona, 97-94 to open the regular season on Nov. 30.

Thirteen Bluebirds scored in the game with five scoring in double figures. Senior forward Oliver Harris led the way scoring 22 points. Senior guard Zach Barth and sophomore guard Brayden Moeves scored 15 points each with Moeves making all five three-pointers. Junior guard Will Herald hit four triples on his way to 12 points and senior forward Cole Kocher scored 11.

Highlands made 38-of-60 shots for 63 percent and 14-of-24 for 58 percent and 4-of-6 free throws for 67 percent. The Bluebirds also had 28 rebounds, 25 assists, eight steals and eight turnovers. Barth had seven assists and three steals. Harris had six rebounds.

One player scored in double figures for Bishop Brossart. Senior center David Govan scored 17 points.

The Mustangs made 24-of-38 from the field for 63 percent including 4-of-10 from three-point range for 40 percent and 11-of-16 free throws for 69 percent. Bishop Brossart also had 14 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and eight turnovers.

The lopsided score let some reserves see action. Freshman guard Hank Shick scored his first three varsity points on a triple in the fourth quarter.

"The coaches all do a great job of getting us experience at a young age," Shick said. "I think it really helps our confidence for when we do have to play in pressure situations at the varsity level."

Monday, January 24, 2022

Race for Kentucky Senate District 24 Heats Up

The Kentucky primary election will be held on May 17, and the general election is November 8.
Photo: Mark Payne.

by Robin Gee

Four people, three Republicans and one Democrat, are vying for the seat formerly held by Sen. Wil Schroder to represent Kentucky Senate District 24. The primary election for both Republicans and Democrats will be held on May 17. The general election is set for November 8.

The three Republicans include Shelley Funke Frommeyer, Jessica Neal and Chris Robinson. Robinson initially filed to run in the primary for Kentucky House District 68 but redistricting changed the Grant’s Lick resident’s district to 78. He said he saw no need to challenge the GOP incumbent in that district and made the decision to join the senate race.

Donate to the NKY Community Journalism Fund, a component fund of Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky. 

Highland Heights city council member Rene Heinrich has joined the race for the seat on the Democratic side.

The primary election for both Republicans and Democrats will be held on May 17. The general election is set for November 8.

Shelley Funke Frommeyer (Republican)

Shelley Funke Frommeyer

"My husband Richard and I felt called to get involved and do our part for the community, and I have spent a lot of time meeting with people and listening to their concerns. Their encouragement and support for the issues that are important to me, fiscal responsibility, smaller more efficient government, the protection of individual freedoms and commitment to strong family values, made it clear this is a position where I can make a real difference," said Frommeyer.

A financial planner from Alexandria, she is busy preparing for her run. So far, she’s raised $20,000, she said, and has more fundraisers planned. "I am running for the state senate to be a voice for all the people, and before I began grabbing cash as a fast as possible, I wanted to make sure there was grassroots support for our agenda, and clearly there is," she said.

"We need leadership in Frankfort focused on removing barriers to business development: programs geared toward encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners and a firm commitment against growing government using one time money from Washington that is compounding the massive debt we are passing on to our children."

Frommeyer grew up on a farm in rural Kenton County and graduated from the University of Kentucky. After becoming a Certified Financial Planner, she joined her father’s firm. After her father’s retirement in 2012, she moved the business to the Covington RiverCenter and continues to council clients in financial planning.

"I am going to Frankfort to lead in the example of good people like former Senator Art Schmidt who served our community with a compassionate conservative heart, whose daughter Mary Ann signed my filing papers. I want to emulate the leadership of people like Pendleton County Republican Party Vice Chair David Shipp, who also signed my papers," she said.

"I am going to Frankfort to serve the people, make a difference, and come home. My career has been financial management not politics, and I am not entering the arena for a new career, but as an opportunity to serve others."

Rene Heinrich (Democrat) 

 

Rene Henrich is joined by her family as she files to run

"Today, I’m excited to announce my candidacy for State Senate in the newly drawn 24th district. We need leaders with integrity who will bring a collaborative approach to legislating in Frankfort. I’m excited to offer my leadership experience, my love for our region, and my strong belief that we can do much better in Frankfort, to the people of Campbell, Bracken, Pendleton and now a portion of Kenton Counties," said Heinrich.

Heinrich is an attorney with a practice in Newport and has represented more than 2,000 children and their families in neglect and abuse cases. She is a member of Highland Heights city council and graduated from Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University.

"We can do things like work to protect our families, bring our tax dollars back to our area and ensure this district has a passionate voice advocating for all of us, and I am fired up to fight for those things," she said.

Jessica Neal (Republican)

Jessica Neal

"I am running for state senate to bring authentic, principled, conservative leadership to Frankfort," said Neal.

Neal grew up in Fort Thomas and now lives in Cold Spring. She said her family has deep roots in Kentucky. A graduate of Highlands High School, she earned a bachelor in music degree with a double major in music education and performance from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

She has worked in the financial services industry for seven years before accepting a position at P.L. Marketing in Newport in 2019 where she supports The Kroger Co. in a variety of capacities including merchandising, data management and floor planning, she said.

"I have lived in Cold Spring for nine years, and I am proud to call Kentucky my home...I keep active in my community by attending local meetings in my city and county, from school board to city council. I am a member of We the People Kentucky (WTPKY), Northern Kentucky Young Republicans (NKYR), the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA). Additionally, I am a Republican Precinct Youth Captain for Cold Spring and an active committee member of the Campbell County Republican Party (CCRP)," she said.

"I am thrilled to be running for state senate in the district in which I have lived for the majority of my life. I hope to earn your vote and get the opportunity to serve my fellow Kentuckians in Frankfort as your voice for Liberty!"

LEARN MORE: HWCG.com/NorthernKentucky

Chris Robinson (Republican) 

 

Chris Robinson filing with his wife, Lisa

"Our District is a complex mix of city, suburb and farm land. The center of the district is booming from Alexandria south. We need to insure that we are strategically planning for infrastructure development along with the recruitment of industry to support the growth," said Robinson.

"I’ve worked in an industry that shut itself down and the economic impact on the communities is devastating. Attracting businesses that have ancillary ties to locally owned small businesses is the key to long term success for our district," he said.

"We also need to be acutely aware of the social issues in our region. Job development and training programs that encourage our workforce to pursue skilled trades is a key component of a healthy, sustainable and growing community."

Robinson is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers veteran and licensed professional clinical counselor, and small business owner. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northern Kentucky University and a masters in education degree from Xavier University. He is also a basketball official for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.

"I’m very interested in developing resources and opportunities within our district. If we have learned anything from the past couple years, it is that the small business owners are the resilient backbone of our economy,” he said, adding, “I believe in transparency, servant leadership and access to our elected officials. I’m a Constitutional guy…and I intend to continue to uphold and defend those rights."

Robinson lives in Grant’s Lick with his wife Lisa.

Bluebirds Take Down 14th Region Opponent

Highlands Records Home Win

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior point guard Zach Barth (left) sets up a play in a recent game.

The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team (13-6 overall) welcomed in its lone opponent of the regular season from the 14th Region on Saturday and took care of business in an 86-68 win.

The Breathitt County Bobcats ventured north from the mountains of eastern Kentucky with an impressive 14-4 record. The Bobcats won the All "A" region crown on Jan. 9.

"It was about getting the game fast," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "We did a great job of taking care of the basketball. I thought we did a great job of moving. We were very patient in getting the good looks that we wanted."

The Bluebirds again used balanced scoring to record the win. Senior guard Zach Barth led the way scoring 25 points on three three-pointers. Junior guard Will Herald also made three triples on his way to 21 points. Senior forward Cole Kocher and junior guard Seth Ryan scored 11 points each. Barth also had six rebounds, seven assists and five steals. Senior forward Oliver Harris and sophomore guard Cam Giesler had five assists each.

Highlands made 33-of-59 shots for 56 percent including 8-of-16 from three-point range for 50 percent and 12-of-17 free throws for 71 percent. The Bluebirds also had 24 rebounds, 19 assists, 10 steals and just eight turnovers.

"Everyone had a really good game. That's why it showed up on the scoreboard," Ryan said. "Everyone was getting the job done. When one person scored, it created opportunities for others."

Breathitt County made 29-of-53 shots for 55 percent including 5-of-12 from three-point range for 42 percent and 5-of-8 free throws for 63 percent. The Bobcats also had 21 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and nine turnovers.

Freshman 6-foot-3-inch point guard Austin Sperry led the Bobcats with 23 points. Juniors Christian Collins and Luke Bellamy scored 10 points each.

"(Sperry) is really long. He attacks the rim hard," Listerman said. "We did a very good job of making it difficult for him in the second half."

How the New Lease Standard Could Impact Your Business

Chris Guidugli, CPA, Rudler, PSC


by Chris Guidugli, CPA, Rudler, PSC

A new Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) lease standard, FASB ASC 842, became effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2021, for non-public companies. This new GAAP standard impacts how businesses account for leased property, which could have a significant impact on a business’s ability to meet existing debt covenants or possibly even their ability to secure new financing. There are two types of leases under the new lease standard: an operating lease and a finance lease. This article focuses on operating leases.

Prior to implementation of the new lease standard, accounting for operating leases under GAAP was relatively simple. Generally, a business would expense their operating lease payments every month and there was no asset or liability recorded on the balance sheet (unless the lease had escalating lease payments or certain other features). However, a business was required to disclose any future minimum lease payments in the notes to their financial statements. Essentially, disclosing their liability for future lease payments under the lease contract.

Under FASB ASC 842, the new lease standard that recently went into effect for non-public entities, companies are now required to record a liability for the present value of the future lease payments, with a corresponding "right-of-use" (ROU) asset. The entity will then expense the lease payments on a straight-line basis, similar to the prior lease standard. The reason? It will more accurately reflect a business’s current financial situation.

What qualifies as an operating lease under the new lease standard? The standard defines leases as contracts or portions of contracts that give control over a physical asset for a specific period of time in exchange for consideration (typically cash payments). Examples include office space, buildings, computers, vehicles and equipment. Instances of leases not covered by the new lease standard includes software subscriptions and leases for intangible assets.

The impact of this change can be significant for small to mid-size business owners, many of whom may not be prepared to meet the new requirements. Here’s what you need to know to bridge the "GAAP" (pun intended) in your accounting records moving forward.

Assess your liabilities


If your organization’s financial statements are prepared on the GAAP basis, there could be a few obstacles on the road to implementing the new leasing standard requirements: (1) Identifying all the companies’ leases that are subject to the new standard; (2) Identifying provisions in each lease that affects the calculation of the ROU asset and/or lease liability; (3) Calculating the ROU Asset and/or lease liability (4) Effects of implementing the new standard on debt covenants.

In the past, your company would not have included the ROU assets and corresponding lease liabilities on your balance sheet, but now they will be included under the new standard, which could have a significant impact on your business’s debt covenants. For example, if your business leases an office building for $6,500 per month for 10 years, a lease liability of about $644,000 would have to be included on your balance sheet (assuming a 4% discount rate). That’s a fairly large increase in liabilities, which could in turn throw off some of your company’s debt covenant ratios and could result in a bank not renewing or calling a loan.

Potential solutions


To help prepare for and offset likely obstacles, business owners should take a couple steps. First, talk to whoever is requiring your business to prepare your financial statements on GAAP basis to see if they are willing to accept financial statements that are prepared on a different basis of accounting. If they cannot accept financial statements prepared on different accounting basis, discuss the effects of the new lease standard on your financial statements and how implementing the new lease standard could impact pertinent ratios and come up with a game plan to address these changes (i.e. how to address failed debt covenants as a result of implementing the standard).

Second, if your business’s financial statements are currently on GAAP basis and you can move away from GAAP to another basis of accounting, you may want to consider doing so. GAAP basis does not differentiate between small and mid-sized businesses versus major corporations that have a dedicated accounting department that can implement the new standard. Leases for smaller items, like copiers or postage machines, may not seem like large expenses in the grand scheme of things but could be subject to the new standard. This could make your company’s accounting more complex, increasing the time it takes to prepare your monthly financial statements.

Time to call a professional


The new lease standard can be an overwhelming undertaking for many small business owners, both in terms of time needed and the complexity involved. Speaking with a professional that has the expertise and resources to properly handle your reporting requirement can save you unnecessary trouble – and dollars – in the long term. New standards brings new complications. Having a professional available to advise you of the best solution for your company can go a long way.

 


NKU Announces New Director of Office of Research, Grants and Contracts

Craig Holloman, the new director of the Office of Research, Grants and Contracts at Northern Kentucky University.

Northern Kentucky University announced that Craig Holloman has been hired as the new director of the Office of Research, Grants and Contracts. Holloman will also serve as executive director of the NKU Research Foundation Board.

Holloman will help guide the research initiatives of NKU in an effort to foster increased collaborations with federal, state and local funding agencies, as well as promote innovative research efforts with regional business and industrial organizations.

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"It's great to be a part of the NKU family and to be in this position to support faculty in expanding the research enterprise of the university," Holloman said. "There are so many opportunities available to secure research funding for the northern Kentucky area, and I look forward to working alongside the RGC staff and NKU faculty to develop innovative ways to explore those opportunities and increase our research funding in this region."

Holloman joins NKU from the University of Nevada, Reno, where he served for 10 years as research administrator within the College of Engineering. There, he spearheaded the development of its Engineering Research Office and oversaw an annual portfolio of approximately $20 million in research funding.

BisbeCapital.com

A native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Holloman previously served approximately 12 years through the Pennyrile Area Development District and the West Kentucky Workforce Board in administering workforce training programs and assisting economic development initiatives funded through the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the U.S. Department of Labor. He received his bachelor's degree with a major in business administration from Murray State University, a master's degree in interdisciplinary administration from Western Kentucky University, a master of business administration (MBA) and a master's degree in higher education administration from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Through his leadership and vision, Holloman plans to expand and enhance research administration support of the RGC to NKU faculty, staff and students by providing a streamlined, holistic approach to secure increasingly competitive research funding for the northern Kentucky region.

For more information, visit nku.edu.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Winter Weather's Impact on Car Accidents and Injuries

 


By Merk & Gile Law

With winter weather upon the tristate area, snowfall, ice, and below freezing temperatures are becoming increasingly more common. These treacherous conditions appear on roads, sidewalks, stairs, and parking lots making the surfaces increasingly slick. The slick conditions increase slip and fall accidents, as well as motor vehicle accidents in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati area.

After a slip and fall injury you should first go to a doctor, even if you think your injury is relatively minor. This is important for several reasons. One, you may be injured more severely than you think, because some symptoms of injury do not appear until days or weeks later. Another reason for seeking medical help is to document the accident. Have pictures taken of both your injuries and the accident scene, if possible. And keep copies of all medical bills. If an accident report was made, obtain a copy of it and seek help from an attorney to assess the best course of action for you to take.

As for motor vehicle accidents that result from hazardous winter conditions, one out of four motor vehicle accidents is weather-related due to ice, snow, sleet, or slush on the roadways. Ways to avoid becoming a statistic in these winter weather crashes would be to slow down, take your time, keep your distance, be extra cautious, and if possible stay home. However, if you are involved in a winter weather caused motor vehicle accident, stay calm, take pictures of the scene, call the police, and remain safe. 

After the accident, you should go to a doctor, even if you think your injury is relatively minor because your injuries may be more severe than you think with symptoms developing a few days later. Another reason for seeking medical help is to document the accident. And if an accident report was made, obtain a copy of it and seek help from Merk & Gile Law to assess the best course of action.

Finally, with the treacherous winter conditions increasing, remember to be cautious and vigilant when out in hazardous conditions. If you do need to venture out in the winter weather and happen to get injured in a slip and fall accident or motor vehicle accident make sure to contact Merk & Gile Law to have your case assessed in order to determine the best course of action.



If you ever need help or have any questions do not hesitate to reach out to Merk & Gile Law at (513) 481-5678. 

We are located at 639 Washington Avenue, Newport, KY.




Friday, January 21, 2022

Candidates Lining Up for Campbell County Family Court Judge Seat

Campbell County Courthouse. FTM file. 

Three local attorneys are competing to fill the open seat for Campbell County Family Court Judge following the announcement by Judge Richard A. Woeste that he will not seek reelection.  

Attorneys Brenda Bonecutter, Abigail Voelker and Andrea Janovic have filed for the seat in the 17th Judicial Circuit.

 

Brenda Bonecutter

Attorney Brenda Bonecutter with her husband attorney Scott A. Crisler and their two daughters.

"The Dependency, Abuse and Neglect Docket is an important part of Family Court, and I have witnessed the good this docket does for the children of Campbell County and am proud to have represented so many families over the years through the process. The importance of making sure every child has a safe place to live, the basic necessities that so many take for granted and the right to an education is paramount," Bonecutter said, adding, "I would be proud to serve the citizens of Campbell County as the next Family Court Judge."

Bonecutter is a longtime Fort Thomas resident She graduated from Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 1997 and has been general law practitioner specializing in family law. She was appointed and has served as guardian ad litem for the past 23 years. Her law practice, The Bonecutter Firm, L.L.C. has served clients in both Kentucky and Ohio in all areas of family law including divorce and dissolution, paternity, custody and parenting time, child support and adoptions.

She lives in Fort Thomas with her husband Scott A. Crisler and two daughters, and has lived in the county for almost 30 years. 
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Abigail Voelker

Attorney Abby Voelker of Alexandria

"I am passionate and dedicated to protecting some of the most vulnerable children within our county. I recognize the uniqueness of each case in family court being examined individually and with compassion. My extensive understanding of Family Court makes me uniquely qualified," said Voelker. 
 
"In addition to my experience, I seek to bring new ideas to the bench and intend to utilize a 'trauma focused" approach to cases I hear. I am dedicated to the residents of Campbell County and seek to continue the tradition of making Campbell County great." 
 
With more than 15 years in family law, Voelker's owned a private practice that focused on all aspects of family law including divorce, custody, as well as dependency, neglect and abuse cases. In 2017 she closed her private practice to join the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Human Services as a staff attorney. 
She serves on the Kentucky Bar Association Committee on Child Protection and Domestic Violence. She also served as a member of the Holly Hill Board of Directors, and said she has "served countless hours working with children, has coached youth sports teams and is a foster parent."

Voelker is a lifetime resident of Campbell County. She lives in Alexandria. 
 

Andrea Janovic

Andrea Janovic of Fort Thomas

Janovic, of Fort Thomas, is also running for the position. She has worked for more than 10 years in Northern Kentucky and has an office in Newport. She attended college at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and graduate school at the University of Rochester, before obtaining her law degree at Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 2005. Her law practice is varied, a large portion being cases before Campbell District Court, including probate, small claims, evictions, criminal cases and guardianship. She has also handled many cases of elder exploitation, will contests, parent-rights and grandparent rights. 
 
She served almost eight years on the Newport Board of Education, and served on various committees at the local and state levels for the local board and the Kentucky School Boards Association during her tenure. She has also been an adjunct professor at various colleges and universities, teaching courses in anthropology and criminology. She is on the board of Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate and is one of the founders of the Friends of Evergreen Cemetery.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Highlands Hires Northern Kentucky Native to Take over Volleyball Program

Woods Excited about Highlands Facilities, Traditions

Contributed Photo. New Highlands Volleyball Head Coach Michelle Woods (right) holds the 2020 Ohio Division III District Tournament Championship Trophy with assistant Kat Sickinger (left). Woods spent the last two seasons as head coach at Cincinnati McNicholas leading the Rockets to consecutive district tournament championships. Woods is a 2009 Newport Central Catholic alum and also played collegiately at Mount Saint Joseph.
 
The current players may not know Michelle Woods.

But she is a familiar name in the realms of Northern Kentucky high school volleyball. Highlands Director of Athletics Wes Caldwell said her experience and knowledge of the game stood out in the decision to make her the next head coach of the Highlands Bluebirds volleyball program.

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"She's a great in-game coach,"
Caldwell said. "She's very good with the teaching mode that we're going to need with the next couple years with the younger kids making that transition to the varsity level. We're excited to have her on board and just looking forward to her interacting with the kids. We're looking forward to a great season and a great off-season."

Woods, who is a Learning Specialist at the University of Cincinnati, grew up in Northern Kentucky. She graduated from Newport Central Catholic in 2009 helping the Thoroughbreds to the first three of six consecutive region crowns in the old 10th Region alignment playing the libero role. NewCath drove to the state semifinals her senior year before losing to eventual state champion Louisville Mercy. Her senior year was the last year under long-time Head Coach Jenny Mertle.

Woods described how Mertle made the tough decision to bring Kaela Freppon, Alyx Schulte and her up to the varsity as freshmen in 2005. But it paid off.

"I've known her all my life," Woods said of Mertle. "She approached it as it's an overall experience. We had assistants that kind of dove into more aggressive things. She wanted to be successful. I know it was difficult for her. But she had to see the vision of the program. We had a heck of a run my senior year and that's what Mertle was doing."

Woods had been the head volleyball coach at Cincinnati McNicholas the last two seasons. The Rockets combined to finish 29-21 those two years winning consecutive Division III District Tournament championships. That is similar to winning region crowns in Kentucky. Division III is the second-smallest of four classes in Ohio.

"I wanted to get back to Kentucky honestly and be a little bit closer to home," Woods said. "I needed a little bit of a change. Even though there are some similarities, there are differences between Kentucky and Ohio volleyball in the way things are. Northern Kentucky is kind of small. Once you grow up, you kind of know anybody and everybody in the volleyball community. Once I saw that open, I wanted to give it a shot because Highlands has a rich culture in sports and academics. I'm a big promoter of the student-athlete."

Prior to taking over the program at McNicholas, Woods served as the junior varsity coach there. She also served as a varsity assistant at Summit Country Day and coached softball at Villa Madonna. She attended grade school at Villa Madonna when her Dad Michael was the Director of Athletics.

Woods played collegiately at Mount Saint Joseph helping the Lions to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament crowns and appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament as a sophomore and senior. She played Defensive Specialist there under Head Coach Jon Bennett and served as a captain. The Lions tied Transylvania University for the regular season crowns in 2012 and 2010 and finished in a five-way tie for the regular season crown in Woods' junior year in 2011.

Woods finished her career with 1,271 career digs. That ranks eighth all-time in school history.

"I like to be very loud, enthusiastic and into the game. I will run through a wall for a ball to be honest. I still play with my friends. We play competitive," Woods said. "That's where I fell in love with the game all over again and started coaching because (Bennett) challenged me. I had to step back and say, 'What is my role on this team?' Then I kind of had to run with it. He kind of built that tough mindset for me and that hard work ethic. I like to have fun. Don't get me wrong. But it's all about the experience. We're going to get the job done. We're going to win and then we can have fun."

Woods could not say enough about how the community has been supportive even 48 hours after the school named her head coach. Woods has already spoken with Mandy Gessner, who helped start the Little Birds volleyball program and the Highlands Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Aaron Letinski.

Woods listed a goal of making sure volleyball is enjoyable, not overwhelming in the Little Birds program. She has experience coaching middle schoolers and will run a pre-season clinic a week from Saturday. Woods also hopes to have the high school players show up at middle school practice and make them feel welcomed.

The size of the Highlands Fieldhouse impressed her. She had to run conditioning at previous schools and said it was tough finding time for 12 teams to work out in small weight rooms. She is glad the players will receive training that is specific to volleyball.

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"I can't wait to take advantage of every single thing that is at Highlands,"
Woods said. "Being new, I want to make sure I'm doing the right things. I have my coaching style and things like that. But I want to make sure I'm not stepping on any toes."

Highlands graduates nine seniors from last year's team that finished 28-8 including four-year starter CC Shick, who is committed to Hanover College (Indiana). But Woods experienced that at McNicholas. She noted every player is different.

"Obviously, the coaching style is going to be different with me coming. They're kind of probably nervous. But I'm going to meet the girls and hopefully get in the weight room and in the gym to start getting them to feel comfortable around me," Woods said. "That way they can feel more comfortable on the court. I'm going to challenge them. But I also have to realize that they are younger. But I think as long as they are excited and willing to put everything in, they're going to perform how well the coaching staff wants."

Highlands has won five consecutive 36th District Tournament championships under former Head Coach Katelyn Sallee. The Bluebirds beat Dixie Heights in the 9th Region Quarterfinals in 2017 and 2019 before losing to Notre Dame in the semifinals. Woods is meeting with the returning players on Friday and Sallee over the weekend.

Two juniors saw action in at least 31 games last year. They are setter Kenzi Vennefron and outside hitter Emma Daly. The Bluebirds sometimes put two setters on the court last year with Vennefron and Madison Opitz. Vennefron had 388 assists and 32 assists last year and Daly recorded 44 kills, 14 digs, five solo blocks and three assisted blocks.

"I think she has a very distinguished background with volleyball and I think it will grow our program in good ways. I'm just excited to get to work with her," Daly said. "Our goal is to use what we've learned from those past players and apply it to these upcoming seasons with our new coach."

Woods is well aware that the last two state champions have come from the 9th Region. St. Henry won it last year and Notre Dame won it in 2020. 

Ryle and Cooper have been on the heels of those two, but have not been able to break through in the region tournament. Ryle beat Notre Dame and St. Henry during the regular season last year before losing to Notre Dame in the region semifinals. That marked the first time in school history that Ryle had beaten Notre Dame. Dixie Height has also been in that group in recent years.

"I think the competitiveness in Northern Kentucky is there and I think it's only going to get better. It starts in the off-season," Woods said. "We're hopefully going to get this ball rolling quick so that we are able to at least give ourselves an opportunity to compete with these teams and hopefully whether it's regular season and hopefully in tournament. It's not about who's the tallest. Of course, that's an advantage. We need to be in the best shape that we can be and make sure we're approaching the season the right way. We have some time to do that."

CVG Has Lowest Airfares in Region Four Years in a Row

DOT chart shows Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport average fares are 9 percent lower than the national average.

 
The U.S. Department of Transportation released its average airfare ranking report for the third quarter of 2021, and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) once again has the lowest airfares in the region. 
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CVG has held this title for four consecutive years since the second quarter of 2017. Among the top 100 U.S. domestic airports, CVG ranks #78 with an average fare of $286; down 15 percent compared to 2019 and nine percent below the national average of $314. To learn more on how the rankings are determined, you can visit CVG’s On the Horizon blog. 

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Regional comparisons:
  • CVG ranked #78 — average fare $286
  • Louisville (SDF) ranked #67 — average fare $303
  • Indianapolis (IND) ranked #62 — average fare $307
  • Columbus (CMH) ranked #48 — average fare $323
CVG ended 2021 at 70 percent of pre-pandemic passenger levels, serving an estimated 6.4 million travelers. The mix of low airfares and more travel options at CVG will continue to fuel the return of air travel as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and most recent surge of the Omicron variant. 

St. Henry Volleyball Standout Wins Gatorade POY Honors for Kentucky

Preston Helped St. Henry to First State Title since 1981

PHOTO: Mark Setters. St. Henry senior Taylor Preston takes a swing in the state tournament this past fall. Preston won the Gatorade Player of the Year honors in volleyball for Kentucky recently.

Taylor Preston first heard about winning the Kentucky High School Volleyball Gatorade Player of the Year award from Oklahoma University Head Coach Lindsey Gray-Walton.

Preston earned the award after helping the St. Henry Crusaders to their first state championship since 1981 in November. St. Henry Head Coach Maureen Kaiser told Preston she was up for it a couple months ago.


Preston is up for the National Gatorade Player of the Year honor as a result. She is also able to give a $1,000 grant to a local or national organization that helps young athletes recognize the benefits from playing sports.

Standing at 6-feet-2-inches, Preston will play for collegiately for the Sooners this fall.  Gray-Walton served as an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky before heading to Norman in 2018.

“Now being here and actually winning it, I have no words,” Preston said. “I just turned to my friend and said, ‘Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe this’ and I was shaking. It was such an amazing feeling. I know that my hard work has paid off and it’s being known.”

Preston recorded 460 kills, 148 digs, 42 blocks and 21 aces earning Most Valuable Player for the state tournament. She earned First Team All-State and First Team All-American honors. St. Henry also won the All “A” State Tournament in September.

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Kaiser pointed out Preston is part of a loaded team. The senior setter Cora Taylor is committed to Butler University and libero Abby Schaefer is committed to Western Kentucky University. The Crusaders have two sophomore ranked in the top 150 by Prep Volleyball. Outside hitter/middle hitter Alivia Skidmore is ranked 14th and defensive specialist Elizabeth Tabeling is ranked 150th.

“She’s just athletic, smart. She’s aggressive even from behind the 10-foot line offensively and I think that’s what scored a lot of looks overall,” Kaiser said. “She just doesn’t hit from the three rotations in the front. She is a six-rotation offensive threat at all times. She’s definitely a one-of-a-kind athlete. She has the physique, the talent, the mentality and the skills. She’s a worker.”

The award does not recognize only athletic talent, but solid academic achievement and character on and off the court. Preston owns a 3.97 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. Preston also took on the role of a student ambassador at St. Henry and volunteered locally with the Boonespring nursing home and local youth volleyball programs.

Preston said she plans to major in Business at Oklahoma. She’s aware she’ll be required to attend study tables her freshman year.

“That’s something that’s super important to me,” Preston said. “It’s making sure I’m on top of my work in the classroom being a student-athlete. I’ve definitely worked hard to keep that up there.”

Kaiser and Preston pointed to the end of 2020 as the start to the journey of the state title. The Crusaders had their battles with Coronavirus 2019. St. Henry lost to Dixie Heights playing the junior varsity in the 34th District title game before Preston and others could come back in the 9th Region quarterfinals. St. Henry lost to eventual state champion Notre Dame in three games.

St. Henry finished the year 36-8 overall. The Crusaders lost four games to out-of-state competition, twice to Louisville Sacred Heart and once to Louisville Assumption. The only region loss came against Ryle.

“It just stuck with us,” Preston said. “We just knew that this was going to be year. We were going to prove it and we definitely did that.”

But the Crusaders beat Notre Dame in both the regular season and 9th Region championship game. St. Henry lost just two games out of the nine postseason games. The first came against Notre Dame in the region title game and the second came in the state semifinals against Sacred Heart.

Kaiser listed several things needed to win a state championship. That’s a good coaching staff, talented players with mental composure and some history.

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“When you put on the uniform, I try to preach to the kids ‘You’re not just playing for you.’ You have St. Henry on your back,” Kaiser said. “We’ve been around for a very long time. You represent me, your school, your student body. I will say the student body played a huge role. When I look back at some of the Sacred Heart tape, the amount of support and enthusiasm we had in that gym, I would give them two points for almost every game.”

The third time against Sacred Heart wound up being the charm when it counted the most. Preston could not express how much the state title meant for Kaiser. Kaiser was a freshmen when St. Henry won its other state championship in 1981.

Kaiser just completed her 30th season as head coach of the Crusaders. St. Henry finished state runner-up against Assumption in 2005 and 2006.

“It’s just incredible honestly to look back at. Since it had been so long since they’ve won a state championship now thinking about it, it just makes it that much more special,” Preston said. “To think I was a part of that, it’s just amazing. I’m grateful for it so much and to be coached by Maureen, too. She’s helped me so much throughout the years. I wanted to make a statement once I left St. Henry and I think now looking back, I did that. It’s so much to grasp literally that we won state. It’s cool to think about.”

Preston recorded 27 kills on 63 attempts with just eight errors for a .302 hitting percentage in the semifinal game against Sacred Heart. She also had eight digs and one solo block. St. Henry lost the first game by a tight 25-23 score. The Crusaders came back to win the second game, 25-11 before winning two tight matches, 26-24 and 27-25.

St. Henry had to overcome the challenge of playing two state tournament games the same day. The semifinal game at George Rogers Clark High started at 10 a.m. and the state championship game took place at 7 p.m.

“Going into it, we knew (Sacred Heart) was probably going to be the hardest game and that’s what really motivated us to play the best we possibly could,” Preston said. “After we won that game, we were pretty confident, but not too confident. We had a huge break in between and we kind of like reenergized, got food and just relaxed for a bit. We made a game plan to play our hearts out and that’s exactly what we did.”

St. Henry faced a Mercy Jaguars squad that had finished state runner-up the previous four seasons. But Preston put up a phenomenal 25 kills on 44 attempts with just four errors for a .477 hitting percentage. Preston also had four digs, one solo and one assisted block. Taylor had 42 assists.

“The last game especially as a senior going, I knew that I had to give everything I could. I couldn’t be more happy with how I did play and that feeling of just like kill, after kill, after kill, after kill. It was just an amazing feeling doing that with my teammates,” Preston said. “I have one of the best setters I could possibly ask for that was just setting me dimes the whole time.”

Preston and her teammates know Kaiser and the assistants are not afraid to hold them accountable. But a championship environment has been built at St. Henry as a result.

“She’s helped me to have such a positive mindset,” Preston said of Kaiser. “Playing volleyball, obviously, you make a lot of mistakes. That’s the whole point of the game. I’ll make mistakes and I’ll just get in my head. I think one thing that’s so special is she’s helped me just to let it go. She’s really helped me know that I am that player out there on the court and I need to be there for my team. This past year, she’s brough out team together so much. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons that we won is because we played for each other. She put it out there for us. We felt like such a family. That’s something that’s always going to hold a place in my heart.”

Preston will work on improving her all-around game playing for the Northern Kentucky Volleyball Club this spring. Preston has played middle blocker and outside hitter in her volleyball career. But she’ll mostly play outside hitter at Oklahoma. She enjoys meeting and playing against other players from across the country in club volleyball.

“In club, you’re playing so much more competitively because you’re playing players from all over the country,” Preston said. “I think that really helps build mentally because going into some games, they have such good players. You know you have to be mentally strong going into it, just be confident and not play down to a lower level. It makes me want to play harder because I want to go out there and beat them.”