Sunday, October 31, 2010
We can now add two more places to eat in the coming months.
1. What is probably the worse kept secret in Fort Thomas right now, Mios will be opening in the old Warner's building. Mark had reported these rumors in the past and I have made mention as well when I spoke with the owner's prior to a purchase agreement on the building.
While the sale isn't final, pending an SBA approval, the owners are making plans for the building and how best to use for the Mio's concept. The owners have engaged Ashli Slawter for some improvements to the restaurant but it could be after the first of the year until they have everything finalized and are in position to begin improvements.
2. A new Chinese restaurant is being planned for an open building in the Midway District. I don't have a lot of details beyond this. I have heard that the building has been purchased by the proprietors but little is known about the concept or plans for an open date.
While it is good to have places filling the empty store fronts I question the need for more Chinese concepts. With First Wok in the Fort Thomas Plaza, the New China Buffet opening in the Newport Pavilion, and the other stores in Newport and Highland Heights I am a bit concerned that the competition will be too intense without a different concept than cheap takeout.
What are your thoughts? What concepts would make a Chinese Restaurant successful in the Midway? How should Mio's use the basement area? Would it be possible to use the outdoor patio year round?
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Janovic: "I believe that I bring to the table a different set of skills and a different attitude than what has been there for the last decade or more. I believe my orientation is and always has been, and always will be, the individuals of Campbell County and their quality of life, their businesses. I'm an entrepreneurial person as well - I'm an attorney. I know what it's like to have income come in or not, or have different factors affect my well-being on a weekly basis. And also my background with issues of education and diversity. My background was anthropology and living abroad, and seeing beyond the borders of Campbell County and seeing how other cities have done things and provided services in different ways."
Pendery: "I think I've done a very good job over the course of a long period of time. I bothered to learn my job. I started at the beginning end of the scale as a city councilman and I worked my way up, having developed the expertise to handle the job, and I think what America needs these days are good managers."What's wrong with the country has a lot more to do with financial management than any other single issue, and we need to look to people who have some experience at that for answers."
Some key points/quotes from the article that I found interesting:
- Janovic, a Democrat, is being supported by the Northern Kentucky Tea Party - in my opinion - due to the fact that she is against the smoking ban on businesses.
- There is talk that even if Pendery loses his position as Judge Exec, he (along with Drees and Moore) will pass the ban during his last months as a lame duck official. He denies this.
- When told of Janovic's assertion that Pendery is out of touch with Campbell Co. residents, I thought Pendery's retort was interesting.
"I go to hundreds of community meetings a year, and have for 27 years. You know how many times I've seen my opponent? I met her for the first time at the Enquirer endorsement interview. So who's out of touch? Would that be me or her at that point?"
Friday, October 29, 2010
I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the Senate District 24 Campaign. It's four days until November 2 and I am still enjoying being out everyday in the 24th District talking with voters and listening to their issues! Every single day voters tell me how happy they are that I am running for Kentucky Senate because this is the first time anyone asked about how their lives are going and what their biggest issues are. It's affirming to learn that my campaign priorities are in line with theirs - investing in education, bringing jobs to the area, and public safety.
While I am attending every event that I can, my opponent Katie Stine has refused to participate in any venue with me. She has been a no-show at 8 different interviews, forums and debates including the Fort Thomas Business Association candidate forum. This is typical of Katie Stine's behavior in Frankfort - excluding many from the democratic process and not accepting meetings with important constituent groups.
I will be accountable to the voters, will be accessible, will listen, and will meet with everyone. Please visit my website for the truth at www.electjulie.com.
Donna Hoffman who is running for Campbell County Magistrate also had this to say:
The position of Magistrate in Campbell County is simply the old-fashioned Justice of the Peace who does civil ceremonies (marriages). This is not to be confused with the ballot issue you’ll be voting for or against on Election Day which asks if you want to change the system of government in Campbell County from a three district Commissioner system to an eight district Commissioner system in which the commissioner is entitled “The Magistrate.”Hopefully this helped make any voting decisions you may still be undecided on. I am assuming this will be the last comments since I am sure everyone else will be knocking on your door this weekend. 4 more days until this craziness is all over.
The current position of Magistrate receives no salary and is given no physical office to work from. I will be using many methods to make myself available to the citizens of Campbell County and am excited to be your public servant.
Please vote for me as your new Magistrate. I bring to the position a lifetime of experience including parent, teacher, business owner, writer, and concerned citizen whose family has been in Northern Kentucky and Campbell County for five generations.
Don't know about you, but I'm experiencing "Vote 4 Me" overload. I know that it seems like it gets more and more ridiculous every year, but between inmates shaving political signs in their heads, Hoffman vs. Woeste fights in our comments section and Aqua Buddha, I've reached the tipping point.
- A couple more absurd local political points.
The ballot supporters argued it was OK for Otto to advocate against Garrett because Garrett is his opponent. But they argued in their state complaint that it was improper to spend his campaign money to advocate against a ballot issue.
That same complaint also noted Otto used three different wordings on campaign materials to describe who financed them, even though he has just one campaign fund.- I don't know what type of politician Otto is, but it always seems like he gets into spats with his opponents. I know he's been a good businessman and a long time local official - but at some point, when does the political sparring become a pattern? This is why people get exhausted with politics.
- A political flier recently sent out against Republican challenger Steve Franzen by the group "Keep James A. Daley County Attorney" depicts national rock artists as criminals.
Justin Verst, the chair of "Keep James A. Daley County Attorney," who paid for the flier, said it was produced by the group's paid consultants, November Strategies. Verst said the fliers did go out with his group's permission.Daley said he heard the people in the photo were famous rock stars. "I have absolutely no idea of who those people are," he said.
- Add Daley to the list of people who also don't listen to terrible music. Since the flyer has come out, the bands have sent a cease and desist notice to Daley's campaign and has also been picked up nationally on MTV and statewide (probably most prominently) on Kentucky Sports Radio.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Scott Johnson has taken me up on my request for a final appeal to voters and wants your vote for re-election to the school board:
In my first term, I have researched the SEEK funding formula and documented that the state share of our budget has declined 20%, (to 36%) while the local share has increased 20% to 61%.
By state law, our schools are to be structured under a "state system of common schools"...."funded primarily by the state"...."supplemented by local tax dollars." With local taxpayers picking up 61% of the funding share, (and increasing every year) it's like being invited to dinner and getting stuck with the tab!
If re-elected, I will continue to press this issue, in particular, I will be looking for support for a legal budget, (can't be funded directly by the District) which Dana Deering estimates at $250K. Although a huge sum, (these days or any day) this amount pales in comparison to the $8m directly or indirectly raised for the renovation for Highlands - especially when the payoff could be $3.3 million in state-funded operating revenue PER YEAR, (20% of the district budget).
In addition, based upon contact with comparably impacted districts, (like Beechwood, Boone County, Kenton County, Campbell County, etc.) the prospects are good for a "legal / lobby" joint venture. While decreasing our local costs associated with overdue action, (reaction) it would also likely add weight to our argument.
Whether we win or lose any legal action, such action would provide members of the General Assembly, ("Re-Election, Inc.: No New Taxes") with the "political cover" necessary to get them off the dime to do what they know must be done, (as was the case with the 1990 Education Reform Act). It is the legal responsibility of the General Assembly, not Fort Thomas taxpayers, to "adequately" and "equitably" fund Fort Thomas Schools.
As Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate responded to our Amicus Brief nearly four years ago, (February, 2007) “We believe it is within our power to declare the SEEK formula, as it operates today, unconstitutional”,
In looking ahead two weeks to the election on November 2, I would appreciate your support in keeping this issue at the front of the District and Legislative agenda. If you live in Fort Thomas, whether you have kids in the system or not, you have a horse in this race.
Whether we each think that the District should increase the pace at which our, (up to 90 year old) buildings are replaced, that our curriculum should be bolstered or broadened to better address the needs of all students or that we should better enhance the athletic opportunities afforded our students, the abysmal lack of funding afforded by Frankfort stands as a challenge that must be overcome sooner rather than later.
By way of perspective, consider that the class of 2011 will be the NINTH class to go from KINDERGARTEN to COLLEGE while our district has continued to lose money from what is, Constitutionally, our PRIMARY source of funding: Frankfort. How much longer should we wait for the General Assembly to move on this question?
Thank you for your time, attention and support. Thank you, also, for being the sort of parent that yields the Fort Thomas students and graduates that result in spite of, rather than because of, the level of support that we receive from Frankfort.
Should any questions or concerns arise from your end, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
In an attempt to bring you any last minute information to help you make up your minds on who you will be voting for on Tuesday I asked each candidate if they had any last minute things to say to you the citizens. So far only two candidates have responded Greg Buckler and Steve Pendery.
Actually, Steve Pendery had nothing additional to say and only pointed people to the voter website on Cincinnati.com. You can check it out if you like but it is pretty boiler plate campaign stuff and you have probably seen most of the comments on door hangers or mailings. I am not sure if he is over-confident and mailing it in or if he doesn't take the site seriously - or perhaps he takes us more seriously than everyone else that didn't reply.
Regardless, here is Greg Buckler's (candidate for Jailer) message to voters:
First of all thanks for giving me an opportunity to reach out to the good citizens of Campbell County one more time before the election. My campaign has been based on experience and who is qualified for the job. I have attached my door hanger for you to review to show you what I have done in the last 12 years serving as the elected jailer of Campbell County.
The biggest thing that I guess I’m proud of is our community service program since starting this program in 2005 we have saved the tax payers of the county over $6,900.000.00 by providing FREE labor to our local government agencies and non profit organizations in the county. The second thing I’m proud of is how we have made the facility more efficient by using the latest technology in the corrections field and by making sure our deputies are properly trained and prepared to do the job they were hired to do.
I believe my experience as being the elected jailer for the last 12 years and being a police officer for 10 years prior gives me the qualifications and experience to be the elected jailer of Campbell County for the next four years. I’m also the only jailer candidate that has been endorsed by the Campbell County F.O.P. lodge which represents all police officers in the county with the exception of Newport who’s lodge did not do any endorsements in any races this election. Again thanks for giving me this opportunity and if you have any further questions please feel free to contact me.
So there you have it. I will pass along anything else if any other candidates respond and have any other last minute appeals to you the voter.
Monday, October 25, 2010
With a play on words we welcome the newest retail business to Fort Thomas. Cake Towne is opening near the 915 in the Inverness Business District. The sign above is located in the door with a business phone and a Facebook account.
From their Facebook page they describe their offerings as:
- Specializing in Cupcakes, Cake Balls, Event and Wedding Cakes
- Home of Chocolate Dipped Pie on a Stick
- Icing Shooter Happy Hour
- Daily Light Lunch Menu
- Luncheon Catering available
- Pup Cakes, Barkscottie, & Kitty Cakes will soon be available for your four legged friends......
Get ready Fort Thomas you are about to get a fresh bakery and the "home of chocolate dipped pie on a stick"
Sunday, October 24, 2010
A reader has alerted me to the fact that there could be some problems on voting day. The mechanics of voting in Kentucky seem to change every year. During the 2000 election with all the talk of hanging chads I proudly proclaimed to my Ohio co-workers that Kentucky had been doing electronic voting for years. However, we seem to have taken about 20 steps back in the past few elections. The last election had us using a pencil and paper and dropping them in a box. Apparently we will be changing again this year.
Due to the large number of local races, the ballot is two sided. On the front side there are 3 columns of races beginning with the Conway-Paul Senate race and then ending on the bottom right with the Family Court and Greg Popovich's unopposed District Judge race.
The back of the ballot begins with the race that has Judge Karen Thomas running unopposed. Then below here are the City and School Board Races and at the very bottom of the back side is the "Justice of the Peace/Magistrate" referendum. If you fill out the front and put it through the voting machine you will not vote for the city races and the referendum.
It is likely that the poll workers will remind you to fill out the ballot on both sides but if you are there during a busy period they may forget to remind you and it would be very easy to overlook filling out the back and thus skipping the vote for the city and school board races.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
- I am surprised by the sheer number of people coming out on this blog about the judicial candidate Gayle Hoffman. Perhaps these people are plants or just have an axe to grind but their comments sound genuine and if there is a shred of truth to anything they have said I would definitely vote for her opponent Richard Woeste. I have denied about half the comments just to avoid the appearance of piling on but there has been a consistent theme to the criticisms. This seems to be confirmed in a poll of area attorneys as written on by Amanda Van Benschoten in the Enquirer blog 'Kentucky Politics'.
- Perhaps my favorite outrageous candidate is Sparks - the jailer candidate. I was running on Saturday along US27 and saw a giant sign that said "Stop Prison Brutality". Now if that wasn't ridiculous enough I read this article in the Enquirer today. Seriously? A convict shaving 'vote sparks' in his hair? I know it surely could not have been at the request of Sparks but after reading campaign signs like those mentioned above I have to believe he is a bit off his rocker. I checked out his Facebook page and he seems nice enough - I am just not sure I can take him seriously.
- My thoughts on the whole Justice of the Peace vs Commission debate.... I know that the current commission all live in the north of end of town but two thirds of the people in Campbell County live in or near the 275 loop. If we were that unhappy with the representation we would have voted them out one by one. This is no excuse to completely change the form of government to gerrymander county government. The argument that it saves county money is a bit of a farce when it is a blatant attempt to shift the power of Campbell County government to the south end of the county.
- If I am judging by yard signs the winner of the County Attorney's race, my racquetball partner - Franzen, would surely be the winner by a landslide.
- Get ready for the onslaught of visitors this weekend as candidates use this coming weekend - the first of the final two before the election - to do some last minute politicking. This means at least three more door hangers, five more mailings, and a random encounter on the sidewalk. Enjoy the election
Here's a chance to get the Fort Thomas group another award.
They have been nominated for a Cincinnati Entertainment Award, in the Americana/Folk/Roots category - which is put on by City Beat Magazine.
Follow this link to help them out.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Things to Never Buy at Target - John Matarese "Don't Waste Your Money" guy.
Chipotle Mexican Grill:
Chipotle's menu consists of five items: burritos, fajita burritos, tacos, burrito bowls and salads. But there are 65,000 different combinations you can make. And if you ask for it, they are obligated to make it via the secret menu. Did anyone say guacamole sandwich?
Chick Fil A:
Super addicting chicken store, as my friend and fellow blogger Allison calls it. Just don't get too addicted, they close on Sundays.
Before moving its corporate headquarters to Minneapolis, B Dubs was anchored in Cincinnati, near it's Clifton campus location. Additionally, I will challenge any reader to a buffalo wing eat off.
Never been, but one of my favorite coupon sites, Retail Me Not, seems like they have a bunch of money savers from this store.
Part of off-priced retailer, TJ Maxx, off-price retailers engage in “opportunistic” buying, i.e. when forecasting mistakes, canceled orders, or overproduction result in more items that a full-priced retailer can buy, an off-price will come in and buy the merchandise at vastly discounted prices.
With over 1100 stores (Thanks Jen) nationwide, they've marked their territory in 48 states. You can bring your pet (on a leash) shopping there with you.
4th largest cell phone carrier.
All other rumored retailers: Hallmark, Cincinnati Bell, Mattress Firm, Valvoline, Bob Summerel Tire, 5/3 Bank all have presence in and around the immediate area (some just up the road in the Newport Shopping Center).
Since the last few days and Facebook follies, Tricia Macke let me know that her news director is creating a fan page for her because her personal page had gotten over 5000+ friends. I don't feel as bad now, because with the influx of requests, her mom, husband and daughter had been defriended as well.
I have secured a spot in her newly created personal page and all is right with the world.
Tricia Macke: Your sparkle has been returned to your Ft. Thomas crowned jewel status.
We can now go back to lesser issues at hand, including our local elections.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Earth Mother Market is moving indoors for the winter. Starting November 3rd the market will take up a seasonal residence in the Nevada building across the street in the Midway from its current location. The market hopes to keep as many of the current vendors as possible through the winter and they feel that at least 10 vendors will commit.
While no commitment has been made on hours of operation, they do feel that having an inside presence may allow them to extend the hours beyond 6 but there is nothing firm at this time. The market will keep its usual Wednesday time slot for the regulars now let's hope they can extend the reach to those that work corporate jobs.
Market organizers are working with Amber DePrez's Dutchgirl Enterprises whom is leasing the first floor space in the Nevada building for conference rooms and other business activities.
Speaking of the Nevada Building - it is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do. The building looks spectacular and is a major upgrade to the entire Midway district.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Just look at some of items mentioned in the Enquirer article:
- "Hyde Park's historic architecture makes it unique"
- "It really stands out from other areas of the city"
- The value its residents place on education
- "You have bikers, joggers and people walking around at night, It's a nice atmosphere to be in"
- The good planning by the city that helped shape the neighborhood
- The active nature of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Council
But the single most defining factor that led the American Planning Association to name Hyde Park one of the top 10 communities in the country is provided by quote from Tre Jordan of the APA at the beginning of the Enquirer article - "It has a great balance of the residential and the commercial. That makes it a suburbanesque urban area."
What? Retail being a key component of being a great neighborhood? No one wants a McDonalds drive thru or the Hofbrauhaus - just a good mix of locally owned stores such as coffee shops, bakeries or restaraunts.
"One of the things we work hardest at," said Ann Gerwin, president of the council, "is trying to preserve the right mix of residential and business. We want to protect the residential character of the community while supporting the local businesses
Tricia Macke Wxix
I have decided that I will not confirm a "like" of this public figure by Ft. Thomas resident, Tricia Macke, until she calls me back for an interview.
Just kidding, we love you Tricia. But seriously dude, call us back.
- Heard interesting banter on 700 WLW today on Tracy Jones' show, which pertains to a lot of discussion we've had on this blog.
Walking communities (Hyde Park, Mt. Lookout) vs. Home First, Car Dependent communities (Indian Hill). Maybe it was the fact that the Indian Hill callers seemed uppity to me, but I found myself siding with the walking community callers and wishing me had more of that.
Anyone else hear it?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
As has been my MO lately, I'll hit you with a few quick hitter links, because let's face it people will read anything in list form.
- Lots of dirt being moved around at Rossford Park. I got on the city's website and looked at the Master Plan. Looks really nice. A couple of features I think are worth highlighting: More practice fields for soccer, baseball, football. Lots of walking trails. Sled riding hills. The shelters were actually added to the plan after residents made suggestions to the planning commission in order to help combat and raise awareness for skin cancer. Will get more on that story as soon as I talk more with the residents who undertook this charge.
- Jack-o-Lantern Walk is being held Thursday, October 28 from 7-9.
- Trick or Treat will be on Sunday, October 31 from 4-6.
- Speaking of Halloween, we can find a lot to nit pick about our city, but at the end of the day, the influx of out of towners that we get on all Hallow's eve is a true testament to Fort Thomas. Its safety, its citizens and its community involvement is what adjoining cities strive to be and it's why they bring their children here. Just don't give them pennies. Or toothbrushes. Or fruit.
- Finally, if you, as a reader of this blog and resident of Fort Thomas have an issue that you'd like for us to bring to the forefront, by all means contact Darrin or me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, October 11, 2010
1) The first happens tomorrow evening as the group Northern Kentucky Forum brings you a discussion of the controversial ballot initiative surrounding the Justice of the Peace vs the Commission style of county government. This is a great way to rise above the rhetoric and get to the issues.
Panelists include Lloyd Rogers and Tim Nolan on the proponent side and Ken Rechtin and Kevin Sell on the side that supports keeping the Commissioner form of government that Campbell County has now. Richard Tanner from the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association will be there to offer insights about how each form of government works across the Commonwealth. Dan Hurley will moderate.
The event will be held at the Southgate Community Center and gets started at 6pm
2) The second event is a state-wide election candidate forum hosted by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth along with the Newport Citizens Advisory Council.
The event is for candidates with competitive races for the state legislature and the 4th Congressional District who represent Campbell County. These races are:
- 67th State Representative race - Dennis Keene and Roger Thoney (State Representative Keene will not be in attendance, but Mr. Thoney will),
- 78th State Representative race of State Representative Thomas McKee and Tim Fairfield
- 24th State Senate District race featuring State Senator Katie Stine and Julie Smith-Morrow (Ms. Smith-Morrow will be in attendance, but no word yet from State Senator Stine)
- 4th Congressional District race of Congressman Geoff Davis and John Waltz (the Waltz campaign will be attending, and no response from Congressman Davis)
Friday, October 8, 2010
Two examples of this was brought to my attention this week and both use technology to demonstrate how those employed by our tax dollars accomplishing this.
1. The first example is Highlands-art.com, the website to display student art. While the middle school art looks a bit grade school and focused on commercial logos, the high school art is more than stellar. From pencil drawings to digital media the items are strong. A nice recommendation would be to allow the community to purchase the works. Take a look and let me know if you would buy any of the items listed.
2. The second example is the redesigned Highlands Football website. This site is packed full of information for those who are big Bluebird Football fans. Some of the links include photos of various components of Highlands tradition, history (including championships), the current schedule, and a player roster. Go check it out - you will not be disappointed.
The common theme on these sites is the level of engagement between the school and the community. Even though I do not have a child in the education system yet it makes me feel good knowing that the school churn out excellence. It only contributes to the sense of pride that Fort Thomas has for Highlands and all our schools.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Just back from watching the Reds -ahem- play their first playoff game in 15 years in the Midway District. Pretty pathetic that I was holding out hope for breaking up the no hitter. I literally would have felt a lot better if Brandon Phillips would have dribbled one down the third base line and ruined Roy Halladay's no hitter.
Oh well. We'll get em Friday.
- Just a few items. The above picture is of the Olde Fort Pub's new deck. This is just phase one for what will be a more updated and family friendly enviroment.
- Loved reading Darrin's post about some of the retailers signing on at The Newport Pavilion. My bride makes me drive to Chipotle in Highland Heights at least once a week. So this will save me a few minutes (and I'm being dead serious, I'm really happy about this). In the same regard, I heard whispers that the the building for sale in the domicile formally known as Pergola could be either bought or leased by Mio's Pizza. If that sounds familiar it's because Mio's used to be in the place where Ft. Thomas Starbucks currently resides.
- How is Highlands' Football team, who hasn't lost in what seems like forever and coming off a top 10 National ranking finish, not ranked in the USA Today National Rankings? I call foul, sir.
- I love you, West Southgate.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
- Committments from Chipotle, Chick Fil A, and BW3, all rumored to be interested in the site but concerns had persisted and doubts about whether these retailers would ever get off the ground abounded. Ground will be broken on sites for those three retailers this winter
- Target's opening date is in March
- New investors have entered the picture and infused millions of dollars into the development and created the new Newport Pavilion LLC
- Once Target opens in March building will begin on retail space between Target and Kroger
- 68% of the development is leased and another 13% is soon to be under lease
- Famous Footwear
- Cincinnati Bell
- Lovely Nails
- Mattress Firm
- Bob Sumerel Tire
- 5/3rd Bank