Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fort Thomas Teens Impress Local Theatergoers

At the end of May, a group of Highlands High School students premiered the play Escape Routes at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Fort Thomas Matters first covered the show's trip to the festival by speaking with writer and co-director Ben Eglian and co-director Kaiya Linkugel in the days leading up to the premiere. During the festival, Escape Routes quickly won over audiences in the Cincinnati area, and was presented an award for their theatrical achievements. Fort Thomas Matters recently caught up with Eglian again to discuss the impact that Escape Route's experience at Fringe Fest has left on him.

Eglian's show was part of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival's high school division, FringeNext, which features four shows that were carefully chosen to perform at the festival. FringeNext was created to help showcase new talent and encourage teenagers to push the limits of their creative abilities. Escape Routes left a mark on audiences, and the production walked away with the FringeNext Audience Pick award for their performances at the festival. “The day I got this award was probably the best day of my life. It was the most insane thing because I had to go up and give a speech the night that I won and stuff. It was just incredible, absolutely incredible. There weren't really any words,” said Eglian.

Fort Thomas Independent Lunch Revenue Increases After Opting Out Of Federal School Lunch Program

The Fort Thomas Independent Schools Board of Education Office. FTM file.
After abandoning the federal school lunch program at the end of last school year, the Fort Thomas Independent School District saw a significant increase in the lunch sales in the 2014-2015 year.

FTIS School Superintendent Dr. Gene Kirchner pointed out the district turned away about $260,000 in federal funding by leaving the program, but instead of a projected $160,000 shortfall, the district fell about $40,000 short of breaking even.

Campbell County Attorney's Office: Guardianship

By Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney

Campbell County Attorney Steven Franzen. Provided. 

The County Attorney’s Office often gets calls concerning guardianships and what needs to be done to establish a guardianship.  This article will review some of Kentucky’s laws concerning guardianships.

A guardianship is a legal relationship between a capable adult (a guardian) and his ward, either a minor (a person under 18 years old) or a legally disabled adult.  A guardianship provides the guardian with the decision-making authority and responsibility over the personal affairs of the ward to include daily activities and healthcare decisions.

The Home Doctor - Fort Thomas, Kentucky

By Hannah Condon

Is something broken and needs to be fixed?  Do you want to turn your basement into usable living space? Are you wondering where you can look for a company that can help you with home projects big or small?

The Home Doctor is in! Anthony Lung and Daron Race worked together for over five years when they decided to branch out on their own and start the Home Doctor. With the skills they learned on their previous jobs they opened their own home repair and remodeling business. They offer many different services to their clients, such as small repairs, flooring, exterior house repair, room remodeling and basically anything that needs fixing.

We are all blue collared people, we know how it is to work for a living. We know when someone wants to spend money on their house they want a good quality job and don’t want to pay high prices and that’s where we come in," said Race.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Play It Again Sports - Florence, Kentucky

FTM file. 
By Hannah Condon 

Are you tired of buying new sports equipment for you or your children season after season? Do you want to find deals that are reasonable? Maybe just a place where you can give back sports equipment and exercise equipment that you haven’t used.

Play It Again Sports is the place for you! Geoff Gray, the owner, bought this franchise in the year 2000. Recycled sports equipment is something which everyone can afford. This is not a consignment shop; this shop sells new and used sporting goods equipment. So there is no fee to sell or trade your items.

Not everyone can afford new equipment and this store gives people a place to get rid of their used equipment buy what they need and make some money,” said Gray.

Forbes names NKU among ‘America’s Top Colleges’ for seventh year


Northern Kentucky University is once again ranked among the nation’s top higher education institutions by Forbes Magazine.

This is the seventh year NKU has been included in the magazine’s “America’s Top Colleges” rankings, an elite list of 650 public and private universities across the nation.

The rankings focus on student outcomes in five categories: student satisfaction, post-graduate success, student debt, graduation rate and academic success.

Local Boy Scout Creates Evergreen Cemetery Virtual Walking Tour

Evergreen Cemetery; photo by Mark Collier

Evergreen Cemetery, Campbell County's largest cemetery, located on Alexandria Pike in Southgate, Ky., was established in 1847. Driving past you likely have noted its beauty. But did you know how many prominent Kentuckians are buried there?

There's William Horsfall, who ran away from home, became a Civil War drummer and received the Medal of Honor at 15. There's Newport native Brent Spence (of the Brent Spence Bridge fame), a banker, attorney and influential congressman. There's Nelson B. Klein, a member of New York's "Irish Brigade" in WWI and, later, an FBI agent involved in numerous high-profile investigations. And, of course, there's the Shaler Battery, built as a Civil War defense—and so much more.

Thanks to Patrick Ganote, an 18-year-old senior at Highlands High School and member of Boy Scout Troop 70, all of this information is now easily accessible and relatable due to his creation of a virtual walking tour for his Eagle Scout project.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Governor's for the 1820s---Adair, Desha and Metcalfe

By Paul Whalen 

Kentucky and the nation were facing political realignment in the 1820s.  The Federalist Party had met its demise.  During the election of 1820, President James Monroe of the “Democratic-Republican” Party without Federalist opposition won all but one of the votes of the Electoral College.

The “Panic of 1819” hit Kentucky hard and was an issue in the early 1820s.  The Courts did not give debtors the relief sought.  As a result, some legislators wanted to create a new court system which would treat debtors more favorably.

The Presidential Election of 1824 was between four members of the “Democratic-Republican” Party.  They were Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay and William H. Crawford.  As none of the four received the required majority of 131 votes in the Electoral College resulted in the election being decided by Congress.  Henry Clay, then Speaker of the House threw his support to John Quincy Adams.  With Clay’s support, John Quincy was elected President.  Once Adams assumed office, Clay was appointed Secretary of State.  The bitterness caused by Clay’s support of Adams and subsequent appointment was called the “corrupt bargain” by supporters of Jackson.  The Democratic-Republicans who supported Jackson were now called Democrats and those who supported Adams and Clay were called Whigs.  The Whig Party would dominate Kentucky politics until after Clay’s death in 1852.

Term: 1840-1824

Friday, July 31, 2015

Campbell County Road Construction Update

US 27 (Monmouth Street/York Street) – A pavement repair and resurfacing project is in progress on US 27 (Monmouth Street/York Street) between KY 8 (3rd Street) and KY 1120 (11th Street) in Newport. Work will take place during night time hours starting at 8 PM until 6 AM the next morning. Work may also take place on weekend nights.  Drivers should exercise caution and watch for traffic control devices, flaggers, construction personnel and equipment entering and leaving the work zone.  Work is weather dependant.  Anticipated completion is August 3, 2015.

KY 10 (East Main Street/Flagg Springs Pike) – Pavement repairs and resurfacing have begun on KY 10 (East Main Street/Flagg Springs Pike) in Campbell County. Work will occur between US 27 and KY 1997 (Stonehouse Road). Drivers should exercise caution and watch for traffic control devices, flaggers, construction personnel and equipment entering and leaving the work zone.  Work is weather dependant.

KY 1997 (Stonehouse Road) – Pavement repairs and resurfacing have begun on KY 1997 (Stonehouse Road) in Campbell County. Work will occur between KY 9 (AA Highway) and KY 10 (East Main Street/Flagg Springs Pike). Drivers should exercise caution and watch for traffic control devices, flaggers, construction personnel and equipment entering and leaving the work zone.  Work is weather dependant.

Northbound US 27 – Cold Spring

Pendery Rips Sanitation District Spending Priorities

Story & photo by Bryan Burke, associate editor The River City News 

During the Campbell County Mayor’s Meeting in the Fiscal Court Chambers at the County Administration Building in Newport on Tuesday, Judge/Executive Steve Pendery criticized Sanitation District 1's board of directors for its refusal to increase its rates which he says prevents necessary growth to overcome the utility's financial woes.

Pendery said that SD1 is actually losing more money by refusing to increase its customers' rates.
“There are several hundred million dollars worth of projects in Northern Kentucky that would not have been served by the Sanitation Board had the judges/executive not come out to complain about it, because they're focused on never doing a rate increase,” Pendery said. “They are drawing down reserves, there haven't been rate increases and this is in the face of inflation and the fact that they're actually getting less money each year by about one percent in each of the last six years because people are using less water. Water is metered, you pay depending on how much you use, and water consumption is going down, so you would expect there would have been a six percent rate increase just to offset the decrease in water use and that has not happened.”

He said that Northern Kentucky has become the fastest growing job market in the state thanks to intelligent investment in the infrastructure necessary to facilitate that growth, and not because of austerity measures of tightening its belt.

2015 Highlands Football Preview

Highlands Defense hopes to continue to play aggressive football

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands nose tackle Tyler Robinson makes a tackle against Harrison County last year. He had eight tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks last year.
It's been a trademark for this successful program for a while.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

2015 Highlands Football Preview

Bluebirds aim to add another brick to solid foundation
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior running back Jared Pulsfort (91) scores against Covington Catholic in a junior varsity game last year. Pulsfort could earn some carries this season.
Complacency could have set in years ago.

It often happens after teams win that first state championship. But for this program, after the first title in 1960, another followed in 1961 and it would not be the last one in a while. More of them came and 55 years after that first one, the Highlands Bluebirds football team has built a dynasty.

Lorenzen to go into UK Hall of Fame in September

Jared Lorenzen, a 1999 Highlands graduate, will be inducted into the University of Kentucky Hall of Fame the weekend of Sept. 25-26 when the Wildcats take on Missouri. He completed 862-of-1,514 passes for 10,354 yards during that time. All three are still school records.
If you open up recent Kentucky Wildcat football media guides, his name still stands tall.

Fort Thomas Named One of Top 10 Beautiful, Charming Small Towns in Kentucky

Inside the clock tower in the Towne Centre District. FTM file. 
Fort Thomas was named one of the most charming small towns in Kentucky by OnlyInYourState.com. 

They came in at number 5. Here is their article:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Water Main Valve Leaking in Front of Highlands

FTM file. 
As subcontractors for the Northern Kentucky Water District are working to replace the water main between Bellaire and Covert Run on North Fort Thomas Avenue, another water main valve is leaking  on Memorial Pkwy in front Highlands and will require a repair through the night.

Study Names Kentucky School System One of Best in Country

FTM file. 
A study from WalletHub has named Kentucky's public school system among the best in the nation.

According to a press release from WalletHub, the study compared the quality of education in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia by analyzing 13 key metrics. "Our data set includes such metrics as the pupil-teacher ratio, dropout rates, standardized-test scores and bullying incidents rates."

Previously, Highlands was named the best school system in the state of Kentucky by US World News and Report.

“We are very excited that Highlands High School has once again been recognized as number one in Kentucky and one of America’s best. Congratulations to our students, staff and community,” said Superintendent Gene Kirchner in a previous article.

The results are as follows:

Girls Soccer Preview: Highlands aiming to restore family atmosphere

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior Ellie Farley (2) makes a move against Dixie Heights in a game last year. Farley is one of six seniors returning this season.
It may not be fair to compare.

But when it comes to the Highlands Ladybirds soccer program, many think of the likes of past great players like Sydney Hiance, Caitlin Beck, Leslie Twehues, Alicia Browning-Gesenhues, Kara Dickerson-O'Hearn, Megan Leahy, Amber Barth-Wells and Mallory Adler. Those greats among others helped the program on its impressive run of 80-11-11 between the 2005 and 2008 seasons. Highlands captured back-to-back state championships in 2005 and 2006 and a state runner-up crown in 2008 during that time.

Fort Thomas Teams Win Multiple Knothole Championships

The Fort Thomas Stars, Class C Senior Champs. They have won back to back Knothole City Tournament Championships. 
Fort Thomas was guaranteed at least two Knothole World Series Championships this year after having five teams make it to three class finals.  

Each team played a best of three series in Blue Ash, including a double header to begin the series. In the end, Fort Thomas teams came away with two championship trophies.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Graffiti Found At Another Fort Thomas Park

Graffiti was found at Tower Park playground early Saturday morning. General Services Director, Ron Dill is aware of the graffiti and said that he hopes to have crews clean it up soon. 

Dill also updated FTM on the graffiti found at Winkler Park near Woodfill Elementary two weeks ago, which has been cleaned up. "It was a shame that we have to deal with items like that," he said. "Otherwise it's been a fun project and great addition to the community."

Vince Turner is part of a group of Fort Thomas residents that was upset that the graffiti occurred and is still offering a reward for information leading to a charge. 

The reward sits at $350. 

"The group of people that raised the money all feel like it was someone that painted on their house. Many of the girls and their parents have worked so hard over the years to finally have a home field they can be proud of and the community can be proud of," said Turner in a previous FTM article. "This is disgraceful and we want to find those responsible."

If you'd like to contribute to the reward, you can call Vince Turner at 859-866-9950. 

If you have information about the crime, you can call the Fort Thomas Police at 859-441-6562, email Detective Adam Noe at ANoe@ftthomas.org or submit tips anonymously via the Sentiguard app. 

Highlands High School Grad is Hollywood Bound

Kay Vermeil. Provided. 
“I want people to appreciate being alive again. I feel like that's not happening anymore," said Kay Vermeil when asked about how she wants her films to impact audiences. This might initially sound like an ambitious task for a recent high school graduate to take on, but Vermeil is certainly up for the challenge when she begins classes at University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts this fall. 

Vermeil's film career almost never happened. In fact, her initial introduction to the cinematic world was due to a scheduling issue at Highlands High School. “When I was a sophomore, I signed up to take a creative writing class, and that class didn't get filled. That class was dropped and my alternate was an Intro to Film class. And then as I kept going, I started liking it more and more,” said Vermeil. If more students had signed up for the creative writing course, there's a chance that Vermeil never would have had to the chance to fully realize her filmmaking skills. Luckily for Vermeil and the USC film community, a spark was ignited during those early cinema courses. 

Highland Country Club Celebrates 100 Years - Fort Thomas, Kentucky

The Highland Country Club is celebrating its 100th year anniversary all year.

"There have been supporters of golf in the area since the Inverness golf club was formed in the 1890's," said Dan Schlarman, general manager of the country club. "The club opened Sept 4, 1915. We have been celebrating all year and plan to have an old fashion golf outing with wooden clubs and a themed menu on Sept 5, 2015. In February we had a golf themed murder mystery and a wine dinner in March. Because of this anniversary, Highland was selected to host the Northern Kentucky Amateur Tournament. We have old photos and trophies on display in the clubhouse foyer." 

An aerial shot of Highland Country Club, provided by Kenton County Public Library Faces and Places

Schlarman is having an anniversary booklet made that will include pictures and the history of the club. The September 5th event is still in the planning stages, but will include a nine hole tournament with hickory shafted golf clubs, a turn of the century themed menu, and prizes for best period attire.
Dr. M. J. Schwegman at Highland Country Club, provided by the Kenton County Public Library

"Highland has remained an affordable private golf club, especially in comparison to other private clubs, he said. "Many older members continue as social members, for dining and events, when they no longer are able to play golf. The club has always struggled financially with a lean budget, but is supported by the membership."