Thursday, October 20, 2016

Schone Kitchen Design - Fort Thomas, Kentucky

How awesome is this? Just click on the post above, LIKE and SHARE the post and YOU could win this pink KitchenAid mixer. 

Thinking about a new kitchen? Stop in to learn more about our cabinetry and design services. We are unique in a crowded industry bringing top quality hand built cabinetry, professional designers (architect Ashli Slawter Architecture) and master craftsman (Marcel Design Builders) together to collaborate.

You can trust a kitchen from Schone Kitchen Design to be not only beautiful and functional, but also built to withstand a lifetime of dedicated use.

RELATED: Schone Kitchen Design Opens at The Studios of 33 North

Call them: 859-516-8420

FTM Radio Podcast: City Council 2-Minute Drill


We have been covering the upcoming November election on Fort Thomas Matters since January of this year.

That's a long time, but it's an important election and an important job and as the media outlet that covers Fort Thomas the most, we take this responsibility very seriously.

You can read our coverage of the debates, read the op-eds of the council and listen to all of our podcasts here or if you're at your desktop, simply click the "Election 2016" tab above.

This podcast will take a break from the serious nature of debate. We went through all nine candidates and gave them two minutes to answer questions that weren't serious or political in nature because, hey, it was fun.


"Creepy Circus" appears on Miller Lane

The Combs' creepy circus tent on Miller Lane

by Colin Moore

There are people who love Halloween, there are people who LOVE Halloween and then there are the Combs family of Fort Thomas. Family friend Trinity Walsh says that for them “Halloween is like their Christmas, Super Bowl and twenty-first birthday all rolled up in one – they love the holiday!”

Last year the Combs started a tradition of building a haunted house in their yard on Miller Lane, If you’ve been on the street in the last couple of months you can’t have missed their latest effort, a “creepy circus tent” complete with giant clown’s face. Despite the similar theme, the haunted house is in no way related to the recent outbreak of creepy clown sightings.

Highlands-Grant County Preview

Searching for a victory in Dry Ridge

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highland senior linebackers Carter Burke (29) and Dalton Cornett (41) pursue Covington Catholic quarterback AJ Mayer (left) in the game in Fort Thomas on Friday. Highlands travels to Grant County this Friday for a 7 p.m. game.
The trip to Dry Ridge will be more than just another stop in district action unlike previous trips there for the Blue and White.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Crawford Insurance Steps Up To Support A Fellow Coworker

Staff at Crawford Insurance Agency in Bellevue is stepping up for co-worker's breast cancer journey.

Recently, Fort Thomas resident and Crawford Insurance Agency employee, Susan Dewald was diagnosed with breast cancer. Crawford Account Manager Joan Schwartz, also from Fort Thomas said the the staff knew they needed to support Susan's cancer journey.

"Crawford owners and staff stepped up to the game, collected donations for our "Suzy Q" and purchased shirts and are wearing them to work in her honor, said Schwartz. "All the money is being donated to Susan to help with her expenses."

Due to her part-time status, DeWald does not have the benefit of paid time off.

As a result, Schwartz says they have been supporting her emotionally as well as financially in hopes of keeping her spirits high. Everything done so far has been a surprise to Susan.

DeWald found out her diagnosis in July and says it was a day she will never forget.

Details on Fort Thomas' Deal To Acquire the VA Homes

The General's quarters home in Alexander Circle will be one of the most coveted homes if the homes are taken under development by the city's qualified partner. FTM file. 
On Monday when the Fort Thomas city council dismissed to executive session to discuss the fate of the historic VA Homes in Tower Park, Mayor Eric Haas was excited. He had known since earlier this month that a deal for the city to acquire the historic homes was moving forward.

RELATED: (BREAKING) Fort Thomas Clears Hurdle To Acquire VA Homes 

"I knew we had gotten a better deal than what we originally asked for," he said. "It's a long time coming and a best case scenario for the city and the homes. Our new agreement makes the process simpler now because (after the abatement plan is approved by the VA), the negotiations will just be between the city and developer."

The big shift that allowed for the transfer of the homes from the VA to the city, according to city officials, came when the VA allowed the agreement to be changed so that the city could take ownership of the properties after the lead and asbestos remediation would be completed, and not before.

That small change in language represented the largest obstacle and delay in the project.

Fort Thomas Pumpkin Walk - Trick or Treat - Holiday Walk

FTM file.
Pumpkin Walk Thursday, October 27 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Trick-or-Treat, Monday, October 31 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Holiday Walk, Sunday, December 4 5:30-8:00 p.m.

RELATED: What's New for the Fort Thomas Pumpkin Walk

RELATED: Holiday Walk (2015)

The rest of Campbell County Trick-or-Treat times are found here:

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Blue Marble Books - Fort Thomas, Kentucky Fall Events


Blue Marble Books is part of the FTM Family. 
How much fun can fall be? We’re going to try to answer that question with lots of fun fall events for kids of all ages! Check out the events below for what we’ve got going on at Blue Marble.

Halloween Sidewalk Chalk Drawing Contest & Book Sale - Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Come help us celebrate Halloween by using the blank sidewalk canvas in front of our store to draw your favorite spooky characters or scenes! We'll have treats and give away prizes for participants. We'll also have a sidewalk sale on Halloween books. We will provide some chalk, but we encourage you to bring some, too. Anyone is welcome to try their hand at sidewalk art, but parents and/or guardians must be present with kids while drawing.

Teen Fiction Writing Contest - Submissions accepted throughout November - We know there’s a lot of great writing talent out there, and we want to read your fictional stories! As such, we’re having a teen fiction writing contest to give teenagers a chance to grow and share their talent. There is no cost to participate, and we will accept submissions between 11/01/2016 and 11/30/2016. Once all the submissions have been judged, we will host an award ceremony at Blue Marble Books. Submission forms available at the store or by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

PICTURES: Developers Meet To Walk Through VA Homes in Fort Thomas

The entrance to Alexander Circle holds eight of the ten historic VA homes. FTM file. 
A day after the news broke that the City of Fort Thomas had a new agreement to acquire the historic military homes in Tower Park owned currently by the Veterans Administration, developers were walking through the properties to see what they were working with.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Has New Deal for VA Homes 

Built in 1888, the ten homes have some serious structural issues. There is extensive water damage and the homes have not been winterized for a number of years. Lead paint and asbestos must be removed and an abatement plan must be signed off of by the VA before the homes can be transferred.

In one of the homes, #30 in Alexander Circle, one of the developers asked for a shovel to remove a dead squirrel that was inside the home.
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That's the bad news.

The good news is that the city has identified a qualified and interested developer in Bloomfield Schon and the VA has shown some flexibility by allowing the homes to be transferred to the city without first removing the hazardous lead and asbestos.

Fort Thomas Matters will have more on the details of the agreement.

Developers surveyed the VA homes on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. FTM file. 

FTM file. 

FTM file. 

#7. FTM file. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

BREAKING: Fort Thomas Considers New MOA for VA Homes in Tower Park

FTM file. 

The City of Fort Thomas will buy the VA homes for $510,000 after the VA has agreed to a significant change on their end to allow the homes to be sold before the lead and asbestos in the historic homes are removed.

Fort Thomas City Council unanimously gave Mayor Eric Haas the authority to sign a memorandum of agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to purchase the ten vacant homes behind the city’s Tower Park after dismissing into executive session.

Dill told council that the deal was sent to council during the first week in October.

"I'm all smiles," said councilman Ken Bowman. "It's still a ways away, but we are moving in the right direction."

VA Homes. FTM file. 

It's been 13 years of work since city council first began to try to acquire the now decaying buildings from the Veteran's Administration. The historic homes, once used to house army leadership near the city's military center, have become one of the biggest issues that face city council candidates as they face re-election in less than a month.

The properties have been vacant and have fallen into extreme disrepair.

RELATED: City Council Candidates and Challengers Debate at Fort Thomas Matters Forum

The city wanted to buy the properties, and then transfer the homes directly to a developer to renovate them, so that they would not be on the hook financially.

In trying to acquire the homes over the years, two "request for proposals" went unanswered, as many developers shied away from the price tag, uncertainty of the old infrastructure, which included abatement of lead and asbestos or both.

Ultimately, a change from the "request for proposal" to "request for qualifications" made it easier to identify one developer to take on the project.

Local 22 Year Old Entrepreneur Follows Passion and Fun for Exhilarating Ride

From XhilaRacing Facebook page.
Looking for something different for date night? Tired of doing the same old same old? Looking for something to do with your buddies? How about a girl’s night adventure? Then give this a try - high speed indoor go kart racing.

XhilaRacing, located on Spiral Drive in Florence behind Sam’s Club, is the place. It’s a huge indoor space (39,000 square feet of racing space) that includes a game room, several party rooms, and meeting rooms.  Fort Thomas’ Kenton Noran, 22, is part owner. He comes by his lifelong passion for anything related to cars honestly. His father is a major car collector so he grew up around lots and lots of cars.  

Steelers Mike Mitchell Talks About Time at Highlands

Highlands Mike Mitchell. 
Some really interesting soundbites coming from, as they take a "locker room look-back" on defensive back, Mike Mitchell.

Mitchell was the Covington Catholic transfer that led the Bluebirds to the state finals before being ruled ineligible by the KHSAA and was not allowed to play in the team's state final game.
Barre 3 Ft. Thomas. This is an advertisement. 

The suspension was fought for five years in a the courts before ultimately being overturned.

Take a minute to watch his account of what happened here. 

Highlands teammate held up Mitchell's #23 at the state final game. 

A smattering of headlines from Mitchell's senior season. 

The final result. 

CGNK Happy Feet Ball Raises Money to Buy Shoes for NKY Children

The Happy Feet Ball is November 5, 2016. Provided. 
On Saturday, November 5, 2016, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight, the Charities Guild of Northern Kentucky will host their annual Happy Feet Ball, the organization’s largest fundraiser for their Shoe Fund.  The event will take place in the Ambassador’s Room at the Newport Syndicate.

The theme is “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and cocktail attire is recommended.  Entertainment will include casino games from Cincinnati Circus (Black Jack, Texas Hold-Em, Craps and Roulette), Music from McFadden Music DJs, and a silent auction. There will be hors d'oeuvres and open bar, with a special VIP room for Diamond and Spade sponsors. Tickets are $75 per person and available at

While Guild members look forward to a fun night, they are primarily focused on ensuring a successful fundraiser for their Shoe Fund.

“We are excited about this year’s event.  It’s going to be a great party! But we really hope to raise the money needed to continue providing shoes to those children within our community who are in desperate need,” says Shari Lecky, Co-Chair of this year’s event.  “That is our objective.   This is such a great cause, and we hope others will want to help us!”

The Guild's Shoe Fund has provided shoes to children in need for over 25 years. The Guild partners with area schools, churches and social service agencies to identify those in need, and then distributes a $30 voucher for a new pair of shoes at a national discount retail store.

Providing this basic need has enormous benefits. When children arrive at school with shoes in good condition, school officials report that they are able to focus more effectively on learning.  The Guild is proud to currently partner with Burlington Coat Factory for redemption of the vouchers.

One of the best aspects of the Shoe Fund program is that students experience the pride of shopping for their own shoes.  “Most of the time they buy gym shoes and sneakers, but sometimes they choose boots,” reports Amy Kees, the Shoe Fund Treasurer.  “Often they will get a pair of shoes for $20, and then also sandals, flats, or socks to use up the rest of the voucher.”

Fort Thomas Farmers' Market To Continue (Indoors) Throughout Winter

Blue Oven Bakery is a market favorite and will continue through the winter indoor months. FTM file.

The Fort Thomas Farmers' Market is a great example of how local businesses working together, and community support, can make a neighborhood venture thrive.

Because of the success of this year's indoor Farmers' Market it will continue—throughout the colder months—inside Fort Thomas Antiques & Design Center.

"Our decision to have an indoor market is completely vendor driven," says Leigh Gorman, manger of the Fort Thomas Farmers' Market. "This is a definite sign of success for our community. I would have never dreamed that we would've created enough business, after one year in our new location, to drive an indoor market. This is a huge sign of success and proof of what I already knew, and why I wanted to get our market revitalized to begin with. I knew that our community could support a thriving, weekly, local food market, that would bring fresher, quality foods and ingredients to our neighborhood."

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The outdoor Farmers' Market will continue through October, and the first indoor Winter Market will be held November 2, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Winter Market will be held during those hours every Wednesday for 30 weeks, until warmer weather allows the Market to move back outside for its typical 22-week run.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Highlands-CovCath Game Story

Bluebird winning streak over arch-rivals stops at 15

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands sophomore wide receiver Nate Roberts makes a catch in Friday's game against Covington Catholic.

It is a nightmare that does not feel as though it will end anytime soon.

The Highlands Bluebirds football team (1-7 overall, 0-2 Class 5A, District 5 hoped to resurrect something out of the long season with an upset win over the Covington Catholic Colonels on Friday at David Cecil Memorial Stadium. Instead, the blue Colonels ended the 15-game losing streak to the Bluebirds with a convincing 63-26 victory dating back to 2006. The loss extended the longest losing streak for the Bluebirds since 1939 to seven straight.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

"Smash and Grab" Crime Gang Back In Fort Thomas

The Fort Thomas Dog Park has been the scene for "smash and grab" crimes that Fort Thomas Police attributes to the "Felony Lane Gang." FTM file.  

On Saturday, September 3, Fort Thomas resident David Thompson said that he was leaving the Fort Thomas dog park when he noticed two cars with smashed windows.

"I had my dogs at the park and two cars were damaged by thieves. This has happened before. One woman lost her purse, credit cards and $100. Two cars had windows broken. Nobody heard or saw anything," said Thompson. "It's sad that our community has to worry about this. The police officer commented told us that these thieves, 'keep coming back here.'" 

He didn't know it then, but according to Fort Thomas Police Lt., Rich Whitford, those "smash and grab" thefts were crimes attributed to a well-known crime crew, known as the "Felony Lane Gang."

It's not the first time this crime syndicate has been to Fort Thomas.

Fall Family Tradition: Neltner Farms

Neltner Farm Fall Festival
One of my favorite Fall family traditions is going to the pumpkin patch.  Every weekend in October my family trudges to a different farm, parks the family car amongst all the other city-slicker automobiles, and steps out in our favorite Fall fashions to enjoy the beautiful season, the smell of cider, the sounds of a horse-drawn hayride, and the sights of pumpkins everywhere the eye can see.  And perhaps no local farm does it better (nor certainly any closer to Fort Thomas) than Neltner Farms in Camp Springs, KY.

Last Saturday, my family and a few of the children’s friends went to Neltner Farms; we’ve gone every year for at least the last five years but every year the farm does something a little bit different, a little bit better.
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In addition to many of the Fall favorites such as a corn maze (or is it maize maze?), pony rides, apple cider, and a pumpkin patch, this year Neltner Farms added a wine-tasting tent that featured wines from both Camp Springs and Stonebrook Wineries.  Stonebrook (which happens to be my go-to favorite for all of you looking to buy me a gift) sells their Pumpkin Spice Wine, a white wine base with every sorority gal’s favorite spice added, exclusively at Neltner Farms.  Trust me, after consuming a bottle (safely from my home that evening), that alone is worth the trip.

Check out this tent for the wine tasting
But that alone is NOT all there is to do there.  For the children, Neltner Farms has a petting/feeding barn with goats, sheep, a horse, and ducks.  Additionally, they have both pony rides and a tractor pull ride for kids.  Face-painting, a Fall-themed train display, and the hardest corn maze I’ve ever been in round out the family fun.  And fair warning on the maze, we went last Saturday and I’m pretty sure my husband is still looking for the heart-shaped hole punch (the maze features five different items to find and then punch out of a punch-card and to those who collect all five, a free apple is given; I don’t think Neltner Farms has given an apple yet).

Train area
And last but certainly not least, Neltner Farms has a hay-ride taking riders back to the pumpkin patch where hundreds of high quality pumpkins of all sizes await their new forever-homes, and then returning to the main entrance of the farm.  It is a nice ride, the cost of which is included in the price of admission.
Legit lost in the maze
Speaking of admission, the cost is $5 per person (children under age three are free) and it includes the hay-ride, the corn maze, and the petting zoo area.  For a small fee, feed is given out for the animals.  The rides are $3 each.  As for food, there was a full lunch available for an additional cost and, of course, gallon jugs of Apple Cider ($8 per gallon, $5 for a half gallon).  And pumpkins were also for sale for $0.45 per pound ($2.50 each for pie pumpkins).