Sunday, February 26, 2017

State Swimming, Diving Meet Results

Murphy takes runner-up in 1-Meter Diving

Photo via Highlands Twitter Account.
Freshman Finn Murphy had the best finish for the Highlands Swimming and Diving Teams at the state meet Saturday at the University of Louisville.

Murphy took runner-up honors in the 1-Meter Diving event with an overall score of 389.35 in the finals. Champion Gus Staubitz, a senior from Covington Holy Cross, scored 432.9 points.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Unselfish Highlands Team Gesture

Martin, Barth hand all-tournament honors to injured teammates

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior and the 36th District Tournament's Most Valuable Player in Macy Gabbard (right) and sophomore Chloe Jansen (second from right) pose with other members of the all-tournament team on Thursday. Teammates Jenna Martin and Zoie Barth passed the honors to their injured teammates.
People generally forget who made the all-tournament team as the years pass in all rounds.

But this year's 36th District Girls Basketball Tournament at Dayton may be an exception to that rule thanks to an act of kindness. After beating Newport Central Catholic, 69-41 to claim their fourth district championship in five years, the coaching staff unsurprisingly named sophomore Zoie Barth as the tournament's Most Valuable Player and senior Jenna Martin to the team.

But instead of accepting the awards, the dynamic duo gave them to injured teammates. Barth gave the MVP award to senior Macy Gabbard and Martin gave her award to sophomore Chloe Jansen.

Gino Guidugli Accepts Coaching Position at UC

Gino Guidugli (center). Photo: Central Michigan Life. 
Fort Thomas resident, Gino Guidugli Highlands (2001), is returning home.

Central Michigan Life first reported that the former University of Cincinnati quarterback has accepted  the position of running backs coach at UC.

Guidugli was recently promoted to Offensive Coordinator at Central Michigan University.

From earlier reports:

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Friday, February 24, 2017

City of Fort Thomas Sets City-Wide Yard Sale Day

In December of 2015, Fort Thomas Mayor, Eric Haas, City Council Members and City Administrator, Ron Dill met for a long-term planning session with the goal of creating a vision for enhancing the city.

Mayor Eric Haas starts leading the city's visioning process with a white board session. in Dec. 2015. FTM file. 
The city has since hired professionals to steer that process, but from that original whiteboard session a city-wide yard sale went from brainstorm session to reality.

Last year, 255 homes participated in the first city-wide yard sale. This year, the city wide yard sale will occur on Saturday, May 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

RELATED: Brainstorming Session Could Lead to New Topics for Fort Thomas City Council 

Fort Thomas residents will soon be able to register their sale location. By registering a sale location, residents will be included in a listing and map of all sales happening on May 20. Yard sale permits will not be required for this city-wide sale. Shoppers looking for a bargain  will be able to download a list and map showing the location of all sales that have been registered with the city.

A few notes:

Have Fun While Getting Fit With Dance2Fit With Marquita

Fort Thomas resident Marquita Lonaker is offering Dance2Fit classes locally. Photo provided
A few years ago, Fort Thomas resident Marquita Lonaker said she desperately needed to make a lifestyle change.

"I was overweight and so unhappy with myself, Lonaker said. My self esteem was at an all time low. I joined gyms - 3 different ones - but could never stay committed. I would get so bored there and wouldn't give it 100%."

It was one day when she was browsing Facebook that Lonaker came across a video of a woman her age doing a dance fitness routine on a YouTube channel called Dance Fitness with Jessica.

"I was immediately so intrigued by it, I subscribed to her channel right away and began doing her dance fitness routines in my living room, she said.

Citizen Input Encouraged on Grand Avenue Dangers

Fort Thomas City Council listened to concerns of Susan Twehues, a resident of Grand Avenue. She represented about 15 of her neighbors and spoke about their perceived increasing danger of living on that road. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

A fatal crash, several wrecks and near misses along a curved stretch of Grand Avenue brought about 15 local residents to the February Fort Thomas City Council meeting to voice their concerns and ask for the city’s help in addressing the issue.

Susan Twehues, who lives on Grand Avenue, was first on the scene of the fatal crash in September 2016, just two doors from her home. Another crash occurred at about the same spot on January 21 sending a car over the curb, through several yards, across the four-lane highway and into an embankment.

RELATED: Fatality Occurs on Grand Avenue

Twehues said she’s counted three wrecks in the last nine months and for every crash there have been several tire squeals that cause her and her neighbors to cringe and brace for the bang of impact.

“This last one came through my front yard. And Fort Thomas is a city where people love to walk. If you had a pedestrian walking…This happened at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, a time during the week when kids are walking home from school. How can we be sure our kids are going to be safe?”

RELATED: Another "Scary" Accident on Grand Avenue 

A car traveled through three yards before crashing head-on into a tree on Grand Avenue in September 2016. The crash resulted in a fatality to the driver. FTM file. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fort Thomas Police: More Car Break-Ins in Fort Thomas, Total Now Up To 100

Another string of car break-ins have occurred in Fort Thomas. Via Dayton Police. 
Another string of burglaries of unlocked cars has hit Fort Thomas.

Lt. Rich Whitford of the Fort Thomas Police said close to 20 cars were broken into off Newman Avenue in the area of Azalea Terrace, Park Place, Boardwalk Dr. and Robanette Ct. on Tuesday morning.

RELATED: Rash of Car Break-Ins in Fort Thomas (January 2017)

"It's late, 3:00 to 4:00 in the morning. It's the M.O. of whoever is doing this. Again, all of the cars were unlocked. Please lock your cars, don't leave valuables in plain sight," he said.

There have been multiple media reports about this type of crime over the past year. Over a hundred cars in Fort Thomas have now been broken into over the last six months, with this recent rash of crime.

Fort Thomas City Council OK's Money For Creation Of App

Chuck Keller addresses council at the Feb. 21 meeting. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

Fort Thomas residents and visitors will have a new way to take in the city just in time for the 150-year celebration this July. City Council members voted at the February council meeting to move ahead with development of a Tour Buddy mobile app by voting to allow the expenditure for up to $5,000 this year.

The Tour Buddy app provides walking tours, maps, events and historical information on cell phones, tablets and other mobile devices. The app is used across the country for cities, museums, universities and even cemetery tours.

Chuck Keller, a member of the Fort Thomas Sesquicentennial Committee, shared features and advantages of the app at the meeting. He has been working with the app, adding festival events and three sample tours for different parts of the city. Council and city officials have been able to explore the app for about a month.

“It becomes a very interesting e-card for the city, a way to introduce ourselves to new businesses and new residents,” said Keller.

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HHS Baseball to Experience Big League Park

Bluebirds take on Cincinnati St. Xavier at home of Reds

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Brady Gosney makes play in the state tournament last year. Highlands plays Cincinnati St. Xavier at Great American Ballpark on April 8 at 4 p.m.
Consecutive 9th Region crowns and a state runner-up finish in 2015 show how much the Highlands Bluebirds baseball team has risen in recent years.

The Bluebirds have consistently faced tough competition during the regular season since Head Coach Jeremy Baioni took over the program in 2009. That includes games against Greater Catholic League South opponents.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Opinion: Using Local Taxes For Charter Schools Is a Bad Idea

Brent Cooper. 
By Brent Cooper

If you have a kid in the Fort Thomas Independent School district, or live in Fort Thomas, I hope you will take a close look at Kentucky’s House Bill 520.  Let me explain why.

Fort Thomas schools are the hub of our community.  

When test scores come out, we share them with each other online.

When there are sporting events, choir performances, school plays, etc., the entire community shows up.  In Fort Thomas, you don’t just see one parent at school, you often see both.  And it isn’t unusual to see both sets of Grandparents, the church pastor, and the closest neighbors!

Having arguably the best school system in Kentucky didn’t happen by accident.  We invested to make it happen. 

Despite our success, the State of Kentucky doesn’t treat us very well.

Battling Heroin in Fort Thomas | What's Being Found On Those Arrested

Map of opioid-related arrests in NKY. NK Health Dept. 
Fort Thomas Matters is committed to shining a light on the fight against heroin in our community. To that end, we will be highlighting information that we have obtained from Fort Thomas Police reports that demonstrate who is being arrested in the community, where they are from, what they are being arrested for and with.

We will look for trends before culminating the coverage into a podcast with law enforcement officials, where we'll discuss the trends that they are seeing and how they are dealing with the increasing trend of opioid addiction.

This series is merely meant to shed light on statistics. We will try to make sense of that and analyze those numbers during the podcast with officials.

The first part of this Battling Heroin in Fort Thomas series looked at how many individuals have been arrested within the confines of 41075 and where they are from.

These next statistics will demonstrate the trends on what type of paraphernalia is being found when stops lead to arrests. There were 142 items confiscated directly from arrests in 2016, up 31% from 2015 and 273% from 2014.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Highlands High School Names New Boys Soccer Head Coach

Chad Niedert. 
Highlands High School has selected Chad Niedert as the new boys soccer head coach. Niedert is a mathematics teacher at HHS as well as the HHS boys soccer assistant coach for the past two years.

Previously, Chad was the boys soccer head coach at North Oldham High School where he took his team to the state quarter finals. Chad has a vast knowledge of the game and played collegiately at Xavier University.
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No Pass - No Drive Law

Steve Franzen. 
By Campbell County Attorney, Steve Franzen 

In 2007, the Kentucky Legislature passed “The No Pass/No Drive” law requiring sixteen (16) and seventeen (17) year old students to meet sufficient academic and attendance standards to maintain their driver’s license or learners permits. Any family that has had a teenager recently apply for a first time learners permit has seen this requirement because a school compliance verification form must be completed by the school before the permit is issued.

A student is deemed to be non-compliant and to have his or her license or permit revoked if either they have had nine or more unexcused absences, including suspensions, during a semester or not passing at least 66% of his or her classes.

In Other Words: A Nod to the Past With an Eye on the Future.

Prather's Sears kit home on Tremont Avenue
Many times we don’t even realize we’re looking at history because we live right in the middle of it.  For example, we may see The Vallonia,  Alhambra, Magnolia, Clyde, Westly, Bellewood, Sheffield,  and Brentwood around us and not even know it. What are they?

They are all names for specific Sears kit homes. Yes, that Sears.

From the early 1900’s to around 1940, Sears sold thousands of kit homes across the country. They were affordable, stylish, and well built. The styles ranged from simple to moderate to elaborate. Everything was shipped on a train to the owner - the frame, windows, the trim, cabinets, fixtures, plumbing, electric, nails, everything. All the owner or builder had to do was follow the instructions.

There are dozens of Sears kit homes in Fort Thomas. Dozens. Hiding in plain sight. But we don’t recognize then because there were so many different styles and some have been modified over the years and we se them as common stock.

Sears home owner and enthusiast, Don Prather, says, “They just loaded them up on train cars and shipped them all over the country.”  Don took me on a Sears home tour around town one afternoon. I was amazed at how many there are. His grandfather was a builder and realtor in Fort Thomas in the early Twentieth Century.

The Sears heyday for kit homes just happened to coincide with the expansion of Fort Thomas in the early Twentieth Century.  The city was near a major rail line, land was reasonably priced, and people wanted affordable housing.