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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fort Thomas Mid-week News Update

It has been a busy few weeks in the Murriner house and I have been a bit behind on updates.  In addition to what Mark posted yesterday there is lots of news to get to so here we go:

1. The city has released their Street and Sidewalk program for 2011 and if you live on Azalea Terrace, Brittany Lane, Budde Court, Burnet Ridge, Devon Lane, Elmwood Place, Jennifer Court, East Kimberly Drive, West Kimberly Drive, Overlook Drive, or Patricia Court then get ready to receive a bill in the mail for your share of the resurfacing and sidewalk work.

2. If you received your recent Fort Thomas Schools update in the mail you may have missed a small item on the back of the mailer.  The schools is now offering iCal school calendar integration.  For those of you using iCal or compatible calendaring program it is a great way to keep up to date with important school dates.

3. I posted an update on our Facebook page (Like Us Here) about another Highlands football player going to UK - this time it is the WR Sheehan who will be a preferred walk-on at UK next year - Go Cats!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mid Week Links

- Just a reminder: the Police Department is collecting e-mail addresses to add to the new FTPD E-Lert System that is replacing Nixle. If you are interested, please contact with your email address. Currently, there are around 225 people signed up now, and is scheduled to go live right after July 4th.

- Run down for the Fourth at the Fort celebration this year: 3-10:30 p.m. Saturday, July 2, and its annual Fourth of July parade at 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 4, following the Campbell County YMCA’s Firecracker 5K Race, which begins at 8:15 a.m. The celebration, which will be held in Tower Park, includes at classic car show, food, games, live music and a fireworks show at 10 p.m.

- Kentucky Senate President and Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams will walk in the Fort Thomas Fourth of July parade.  The Republican Party will also have in the parade Attorney General candidate Todd P’Pool, State Sen. Katie Stine, R-Southgate, and Campbell County Commissioners Pete Garrett and Brian Painter.

- The Fort Thomas Independent School’s Local Planning Committee (LPC) will hold a forum on Thursday, July 7, at 7pm at Highlands High School.  The purpose of this forum is to present the District Facility Plan (DFP) for final public review and comment before it is presented to the Board of Education for approval.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Watch for Home Invaders

While it is disappointing that the Nixle service is no longer free, the Fort Thomas Police Department still worked hard to get the news out to most of the mainstream media outlets about some recent home invaders.  I have embedded a recent news story on WCPO below:

The Post has a summary of the story if you are having a hard time getting the video.

Is Fort Thomas a Baseball City?

The above video is Reds 2B, Brandon Phillips, who is now is second among 2B for the All-Star game. Make sure to vote for him, Joey Votto, Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce, who are all within striking distance of making the game.

Obviously when you think Fort Thomas, you think football. Having played baseball and soccer while I was in school there, you almost feel like a second class citizen. After reading an article in Cincinnati magazine, "Where Have All the Reds Fans Gone?" by Craig Fehrman, I got to wondering how many Reds fans come from Fort Thomas.

Being a river city, minutes away from the ballpark negates the excuse of travel and perhaps the biggest excuse -winning- was expunged last year after winning the National League Central crown. The main thesis of his article was that there is not one reason why Reds fans don't sell out like St. Louis does on an almost daily basis. There are plenty of reasons, which is probably the toughest thing the Castellini's are trying to tackle.

Gas-ticket-beer prices, weather, the overabundance of entertainment options elsewhere, the quality of TV coverage (the Reds viewership on Fox Sports was rated 4th last year), the quality of radio coverage (the Reds ratings behind Marty were ranked best in the big leagues) and simply the "small-marketness" of Cincinnati are all reasons why someone may not be apt to head down to Great American Ball Park for a game.

The Reds ownership is obviously trying to bring "winning baseball" to Cincinnati. The fan experience is amazing. The team is young and exciting and you just get the overall impression that they care. I think it may be possible that Cincinnati isn't a baseball town, and by extension either is our city or our region. Yes, the Reds were the first professional baseball team. Yes, we were the first team to play at night and we do have 5 World Series Championships, which includes two titles from arguably the best team ever in the Big Red Machine in the 1975 and 1976.

The Reds also set their attendance mark in 1976 with 2,629,708 fans showing up that year. The bad news: The Reds are the only team in baseball to have set its best attendance mark before 1988.

So this begs the question: Are we going to Reds games from Fort Thomas? And if not, what is the reason?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Return from Vacation News & Notes

I just got back from vacation in Colorado; lugging three kids ages three and under up Pikes Peak, around Garden of the Gods, and all across Denver was quite the adventure but it is back to work.  To the news:

1. Signs have popped up around town indicating that hydrants will be flushed this week.  If you have questions about which hydrants and when contact the city.

2. The weather continues to wreak havoc on local Fort Thomas events as the YMCA decided to postpone their bike race this weekend.  From the Y: The Campbell County YMCA World Famous Mountain Bike Race has been posted until Sun, 6.26 due to the recent weather.  The race will occur at the same times and same place. 

3. Maybe this isn't new news but my first trip into the Newport Pavilion Kroger since before vacation had me completely befuddled as the isles have been re-arranged.  I like to think I can handle change but it is amazing how a few changes at the local grocery can have the impact it does.  I have to admit though the old layout didn't make a lot of sense and the new arrangement seems much more intuitive.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fort Thomas Broadcaster Needs Your Vote

Keeping in line with my theme for the day, one of the blogs I admire and try to emulate in style is It was started by University of Kentucky fans, Matt Jones and one of my buddies, Rob Gidel around the middle of this decade. Who knows how they did it, but they built that lowly blog into a journalistic juggernaut: the go to place for Kentucky sports news, a daily TV show on CN2 and one of the most downloaded sports podcasts in the world.

Our IP addresses have no doubt crossed, as we've had KSR contributors Mark Krebs and Chris "Tomlin" on our site as well. Now local broadcaster and friend of the blog, Will Chambers, is vying to become Matt Jones cohort on his daily TV show, KSTV.

Chambers has made it through the first round of an American Idol style competition and now he needs your help. I'll let him take it from here:

"Mainstream" Local Media Trying to Evolve?

A few truths about my beliefs of a new media have become quite evidently over the last month or so.

Number 1: has become more keen to that fact that we (and other blogs/websites) are their competitors. A few weeks back, as soon as Fort Thomas Matters published a post, it was linked on the Fort Thomas/Campbell County page of cincinnati/ We are still linked on their page, however we are now relegated to a side link along the page's right edge.

Number 2: Campbell County Connects - the Community Recorder's version of a blog is now the main focus on the above mentioned page. It's basically the Recorder published online in order to compete with the instantaneous 24/7 news/cycle that we live in that make websites like ours so popular.

Number 3: The Enquirer's revenue based on online advertisements are becoming more prominent. If you've ever tried clicking on an Enquirer article, you've no doubt had the screen move on you. It's annoying, but it's obvious what they are selling their clients. Their ads are a lot more "in your face" than ours, but it's my belief that they are more efficient and functional that traditional "hard copy" ads of the past.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ft. Thomas Hot Links

As we skip another spring and transition from a record breaking rain fall last month, to having to break the sprinklers out in early June, lots of progress are being made at the city's parks. I plan on posting a "photo story" on the new structures around town next week.

In other news:

- There is going to be a concert at Tower Park this Friday. I think. At some point, I believe we posted a schedule for the city's concerts, but the only confirmation I can find currently is a hand written poster board near the water tower.

- I've seen the yellow flags, denoting the Midway business district. The blue flags are flying to street lights as well. But I haven't been able to track down a red flag in the Inverness business district. Anyone seen one?

- The Nky Rivermonsters ended their season with a first round loss in the UIFL playoffs. After finishing the regular season with a league best 11-3 record, the Rivermonsters were penalized for going over the salary cap, losing their no. 1 overall seed and home playoff game(s).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Public Safety or Revenue Enhancement? You Decide

I had planned a post about my recent Sunday afternoon of getting ticketed for not wearing my seat belt when I received an email from a reader indicating another revenue enhancing action by the Fort Thomas Police.  Two stories to be aware of to avoid paying fines and penalties to the city or county.

1. Click it or Ticket - I heard the radio commercials like everyone else and generally I buckle up.  I don't have a new car that beeps incessantly until you buckle your seat belt but I am pretty good at remembering so I ignored the commercials.  That is until Sunday.  I was driving home from Tower Park (which is .4 miles from my home) with my wife, 14 month old twins, and my three year old son.  I hit the intersection of Highland and Fort Thomas Ave and came to a complete stop at the 3 way intersection.  I noticed a Campbell County officer (as a side note - why is a Campbell County officer necessary when the Sheriff and Fort Thomas City Police patrol?) stopping as well and since it was his turn I paused to let him go.  He waited, and waited, and finally I went.  As I entered the intersection he went as well and did a wide turn and flipped on the lights.  To compound the embarrassment my three year old asks from the back seat if I was going to jail.

The officer was polite but indicating he was patrolling for the purpose of writing tickets for Click it or Ticket.  Despite no moving violations they are apparently pulling over anyone they see and writing tickets.  I doubt this was truly for my safety since it is 25 mph through town and I was traveling exactly .4 miles to my house (normally we walk but since we were hiking the trails with the kids we decided to drive) and the whole scene definitely created a bigger safety situation than I created by not buckling.

2. I received an email from a reader of Fort Thomas Matters who had this to say:
They just went down Ohio Avenue and gave out $10 tickets to all cars that are parked in the wrong direction.  The office said it was a city directive and to let them know if we disagreed with it.  He said they would be doing it through out the town. 
Has anyone else had this happen?  For your feedback I am opening up the posting restrictions - you don't have to be a registered user.

You have been sufficiently warned - be sure to buckle up and make sure your car is in the right direction.  This will clearly keep the mean streets of Fort Thomas safe and secure.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rating the Burbs: Fort Thomas No. 4

According to Cincy Magazine, Fort Thomas came in at number 4 as an overall community in this year's "Rating the Burbs" feature for the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area. Only Madeira, Union Twp. and Terrace Park came in ahead of the Fort (1,2 & 3, respectively). Suck it Indian Hill.

The fifth annual "Rating the Burbs" project was the magazine's biggest ever. With stats on more than 130 communities, including more than 65 school districts, the rankings provide a comprehensive look at life in Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky villages, cities and townships.

The ratings were based on a number of factors, including census data, crime reports, home sales, and schools among other criteria. The census provided data on more than 175 villages, cities, townships and census designated places in Kentucky's Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties as well as Ohio's Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren counties.

Here's what the article had to say about Fort Thomas:

The ever-popular "Fourth at the Fort," business districts with real character, and a renovated town center are just some of the attractions in Fort Thomas, a community along the Ohio River. Like its name suggests, Fort Thomas has a rich military history. Just minutes from downtown Cincinnati off I-471, the city is home to the historic Fort Thomas Military and Community Museum. Most homes are single family, and the parks are getting makeovers to provide even more recreational opportunities.

We've talked about this magazine's feature before, and I'm sure Darrin will have more analysis on this later, but right now I feel like George Jefferson.

Please click that last link. It will make your Friday.

5 Things to Know Why Music is Good for Kids

by Discover Music with Nancy Knauf
St. John’s United Church of Christ
415 Park Ave. Newport, KY 41071

There's nothing else I can add to this column, by Nancy Knauf. If she is as good and professional at Kindermusik as she was with this column, I know the kids are in good hands. Without further adieu, here's Nancy:

Most adults I know have fond memories of participating in musical activities while growing up but how often do they reflect on how music helped them to develop as a student or as a person?

Here are some of the reasons why music is so good for a child’s development.

1) Develops active listening skills.

I love the look on a child’s face when I ask him to listen to a new song or a recording of natural sounds – like a dog barking or flowing water. One 2 year-old boy always scrunches up his nose as he listens, then makes an “oh” sound as he starts to make his own sense of it. Is that a drum? A clock ticking? Is it soft? Is it loud? Listening with your child and labeling music with descriptive words will help him to listen with purpose.

2) Develops self confidence and self expression.

As a singer and a natural extrovert, it is not unusual for me to respond to feelings and experiences with a song. In the music classroom, I have observed the “shy” 4 year old girl transform into a song leader in less than 8 weeks. She is often a very good listener and a good singer and just needs time to exercise her independence. The classroom is a supportive environment to try out these new skills. According to the “shy” girl’s grandmother, after music class she now likes to sing to everyone on the bus.

3) Develops the brain.

Just Google this topic and you’ll find lots of articles and research studies that support the idea that music is important for intellectual development in early childhood. Early integration of music into a child’s daily routine improves his ability to think, reason, create and express. There is even research to suggest that music training at an early age can develop neural connections necessary for understanding complex mathematical and scientific concepts. Playing an instrument also develops eye-hand coordination that is valued by every profession and sport. And singing songs helps children learn new vocabulary.

4) Develops a sense of community.

Playing instruments or singing together in a group develops ensemble skills. I personally love the interaction that occurs when children “circle dance.” Movement is joyful to them. These dances were built on the tradition of communities coming together pre-technology to dance and enjoy each other’s company.

5) Music makes just about every activity more fun.

A simple story about a dog owner losing sight of Rover in the park leads children to sing, “Where, oh, where has my little dog gone?” I beat the drum as they keep a steady beat and seek out the imaginary dog. Julie Andrews sings, “My Favorite Things” as the thunderstorm rages outside the Von Trapp mansion. Adding music to stories and everyday events transforms moments into memories.

Discover Music with Nancy Knauf offers Kindermusik® classes at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Newport, KY. Kindermusik is an international music and movement program designed to stimulate early childhood development. Classes nurture a love of music and provide a foundation for learning ABC’s and 1, 2, 3’s – important building blocks for school and life success. Click here for summer class schedule.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May Fort Thomas News in Social Media

I know it is the first day of June but it is a great time to reflect on all the things you missed if you are not a Facebook Fan or a Twitter Follower of Fort Thomas Matters.

1. Highlands wins 2A track title (Facebook)
2. Video link from Lexington of Patrick Towles (Facebook)
3. A fan posted about a picnic on June 4th to honor Veterans (Facebook)
4. Invitation to attend the Fort Thomas Schools planning meetings (Facebook)
5. A Highlands Middle Schooler is participating in the national spelling bee competition (Twitter)
6. We broke the Collinsworth story before other local media by retweeting Chris' tweet (Twitter)