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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two for Tuesday News

Two quick notes on some things of interest:

1. Cardinal Hills Rehab Hospital which is housed in St Elizabeth's Fort Thomas location is closing.  The closure means a loss of 92 positions.  Lets hope they replace the space with other specialized health services that can make the hospital relevant for health care in the region.  Recent moves by St Elizabeth continue to scale back services at the facility but sharpen the focus on women's health - lets hope they find a productive use for the un-used space.

2. A Fort Thomas business, Love Letters, that doesn't get a lot of press is featured in Groupon today.  For those of you who may not be familiar with Groupon it is a group coupon site that features local businesses around the Cincinnati area and other metro areas around the country.  They more or less created the group coupon craze and was extremely popular the first year or so in business.  However, they have fallen on hard times that started with a poorly thought-out Super Bowl commercial and followed by an IPO that quickly fizzled.

Despite the setbacks - it can be a boon for a retailer to be the featured merchant on Groupon.  Cake Towne was the other featured retailer from Fort Thomas and here is to hoping that introduces people to a great retail concept located in the Inverness business district.  If you haven't checked them out - buy the Groupon and stop in and check it out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fort Thomas News to Start Your Week

A few observations to start the week before a long Labor Day weekend:
1. Has anyone noticed that the Sears Hardware store next to Remke is on the way out of business?  Can't say I am all that surprised and with a Lowes or Home Depot on every corner it had to happen sooner or later.  Let us know if you have found a good deal in their liquidation sale....

2. Another reason why I love living in Fort Thomas is the random blimp sightings.  Just a few weekends ago it was the DirectTV blimp and over the weekend it was the one and only Goodyear blimp.  The proximity to Lunken (apparently a refueling stop for blimps) seems to bring a few more sightings than normal.

3. I know I may be the only one who reads it but did anyone happen to notice the following on the front page of the "What's Happening in Campbell County" newsletter that gets mailed every 6 months?  The front page had a Q&A about the new weather siren policy and one of the questions said - "What about an impending enemy attack?"  Really?  Really?!

4. I mentioned the Fort Thomas Matters Facebook page and our quest to get to 250 fans in a previous post. Once we got to 250 someone would win a $25 gift certificate to an area establishment.  Eric Haiss was the winner of 6 lattes from Starbucks or 12 drip coffees - pick your poison.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No More Parking in the Wrong Direction

You knew I would have to make mention of the article in the Recorder entitled "Council Keeps Wrong Way Parking Ordinance" from three weeks ago.  You may remember my post from June on possible revenue enhancement from area authorities which I was widely criticized for publishing.

The second point of my post from June was about ticketing for parking in the wrong direction.  Despite comments on the post from city police that it was just a misunderstanding - City Council reaffirmed the ordinance to prohibit parking in the wrong direction on all city streets and support enforcement.  You have been warned - you may be ticketed.  A quote from the article:

While the issue mainly effected highly travelled streets like Highland Avenue, North Fort Thomas Avenue and South Fort Thomas Avenue, it would be difficult and confusing to allow the parking on less-traveled streets and not busy streets, Steller said.  Steller said the hope is that through public education of the ordinance, residents will comply.

Although I understand why parking in the wrong direction is an issue I am not sure what the impetus behind this was as I am unaware of any recent accidents that has created this safety concern on side streets.  As a reader pointed out in the comments section of that previous post enforcing this on side streets require more traffic on dead-end or cul-de-sac streets as residents have to drive down and turn around.  Funny how our city decides where to spend their time and energies.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fort Thomas Mid-week News Update

A few news and notes for your hot mid-week pleasure:

1. BBC writer, Paul Slade, has written a great story about the Pearl Bryan murder from the 1890's.  It is truly a fascinating read as it was apparently the OJ Simpson murders of its time - and right here in Fort Thomas.  Give it a read if you get a chance.

2. Has anyone else noticed the construction that is apparently happening at the new Chinese restaurant?  Not sure about time frames but it is finally a positive sign beyond just a poster board sign that has been hanging in the windows since February.

3. A reader sent in a link to yet another great story about Highlands, Cris Collinsworth, and Patrick Towles.  Give it a read as Collinsworth gives his assessment of Patrick's possible upside as a quarterback at higher levels.

It's Happening Here!

The Renaissance Board continues to promote business the right way in Fort Thomas. Love the enthusiasm from Debbie Buckley and crew. Here's a message from Debbie:

It's hard to think that we only have a few weeks left of summer harvests! The Farmers' Market is bringing us a full array of specialties. Wednesday 3-7 pm at the parking lot at the corner of River Road and S. Fort Thomas Avenues.

Thursday evening at the Amphitheater at 6:00 brings us the Hawthorne/Steins & Co. Jazz Band. Wow! I have their CD and it is exceptionally good stuff! Come prepared to purchase one of your own. At 7:00 the Green Hills Concert Band will play. Where else can you get nearly 3 hours of free, live music!!! Once again, the Museum staff will be manning the concessions.

Be prepared! August 26 and 27 will be the city-wide business sidewalk sale. Big shout-out to Allison Head and Vicky Hiance from Three French Hens who head this up each year. If you would like to participate, contact Vicky (781-9600) to purchase balloons--they indicate you're involved in the sale! Only $2 each so order plenty.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Anyone Else Excited About Football?

With this weekend's win over Boyle County it reminded me of how extremely excited I am about this year's high school football season.  I wanted to hit a couple highlights of what I look forward to this year for Highlands Football:

1. Patrick Towles as the future at UK quarterback - being a UK alum and a huge fan it will be fun to watch a future UK star.  I wasn't a Fort Thomas resident when Jared was the starting QB for the Bluebirds but I am sure it was fun.  I saw a couple games last year and Patrick was exciting to watch.

2. My wife's first Highland's football experience - somehow we have lived here seven years and she has yet to go to a Highlands game.  I am not sure how that happened but I refuse to let another season go by without her experiencing the fun.

3. How high the team can climb on national rankings - Highlands has started the season with a MaxPrep preseason ranking of 29.  With the amount of future Division I talent on this team and the drop to 4A stringing wins together should drive them up the rankings with a possible Top 10 finish again.

4. Big match up with Elder later this year - October 21st is the big match-up at the Pit.  If you get a chance to go watch - the Pit is truly a great place to watch a high school football game.

5. Patrick Towles vs Zeke Pike on September 1st here in Fort Thomas.  The battle of future SEC quarterbacks promises to bring all the area's sports media and it very well could live up to the hype.  Jody Demling of the Courier Journal wrote a great story on the duo if you are interested in more.

The full Blue Birds schedule is listed here - find your favorite expectation.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

St. Elizabeth Receives a Checkup (Guest Post by Ben Petracco)

Drive along Grand Avenue and you may notice the hillside being tapered back from foliage, the sidewalks being torn up and construction equipment all along the street. Based on my last post, I guess I have a thing for streetscapes, but this caught my eye. I inquired with Ron Dill, the Director of General Services for the city, to see what all the work was about.
Mr. Dill told me, “The work being done is a collaborative project with St. Elizabeth along with involvement from the cities of Newport and Fort Thomas as well as the utility company.”
The initial phase of the project already looks great, it has opened up the sidewalk so much by cutting the trees back. I mentioned the sidewalks. They did not get overlooked in the streetscape; they will be replaced also, from the entrance to the hospital all the way down the hill towards the stoplight.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fort Thomas Themed Posters for Sale

Local artist, Chris Smith, has put together a couple of great collages  featuring Fort Thomas and Highlands football.  The posters sell for $20 and some portion of the proceeds have been donated to the Johnson Hullabaloo and the Ladies Luncheon at the Swim Club.  They make a great, unique gift as we are getting closer to the holiday season.  You can buy the posters by visiting Chris' Facebook page (which is interestingly only available after she accepts your friend invitation) or by emailing Chris directly at

Chris calls the photo collages About a Life Collages:
I have the "Fort Thomas -Love it", "Highlands Football" and I am working on basketball and band.  Also I spell out a child's name with photos from their activities and interests.  I love them because each collage is so much more than the pictures. There 's a life and history behind each!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Local Historian's Kentucky Governors Blog

Have you ever wondered where certain landmarks got their names or possibly just read a name on a state historical marker and had your curiosity piqued?  Now a new resource, History of Kentucky Governors, written by local historian Paul Whalen is your go to place.

Here are just a few tidbits written recently on the blog:

  • Governor Lazarus W. Powell was also President Buchanan's emissary to the Mormons and one of KY's Civil War US Senators
  • Preston H. Leslie elected in 1871. A Democrat, he traveled with his Republican opponent the future Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan and shared hotel rooms etc. He is also one of 6 Kentuckians to serve as governor of Montana.
It truly is a phenomenal site packed with information including lists of Kentuckians that have served as governors of other states.  Go check it out if you get a chance.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fort Thomas News to Start Your Week

1. Thankfully, after much discussion Campbell County is changing their siren policy.  Now the sirens will only sound during an actual Tornado Warning.  There are some caveats since the real purpose of the weather sirens is to alert those in the outdoors - they reserve the right to also sound the sirens when other significant emergencies occur.  I truly believe eliminating this ambiguity has the potential to save lives during an actual weather emergency.

2. I have been critical in the past about the length of time it took to get the amphitheater up and operational and about the lack of programming but I have to give some major props to the lineup the city has secured for the rest of the summer.  They have something planned every week through the middle of September and have a good mix of days on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights so there are really no excuses.  The lineup includes theater, music, and the Navy Band.  Lets turn out and make these events worthwhile for the city to continue to find good programming:

Thursday, August 11 at 7:00 will be the Green Hills Big Dance Band. 
Tuesday, August 16 at 8:00 is "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Friday, August 19 at 7:30 is the Back to School Bash.
Thursday, August 25 at 7:00 is the Green Hills Concert Band.
Thursday, September 1 at 7:00 is the Navy Band, "The Cruisers."
Thursday, September 8 at 7:00 is the P&G Jazz Band.
Tuesday, September 13 at 7:00 is the Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra.

3. Reminder on Facebook likes.  We just need 12 more to get to 250.  Some of the things that you have missed over the past month by not being a fan of Fort Thomas Matters on Facebook includes:

  • A conversation on gas stations in Fort Thomas
  • Link to video of the capture of an ex-UofL football player for breaking into Fort Thomas homes

Please share FTM's Facebook page with your friends, once we get to 250 we will give away a gift certificate to one of our fans.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Yard Sales Aplenty This Saturday

The time honored tradition of rummaging through other people's stuff. I don't know why it's so appealing, but damn, it's fun. My mother-in-law is an avid early birder, and got my bride and I started in on it when we bought our first house. We are pretty set on dishware and knick-knacks right now, but there will be plenty of chances to fill your own garage's with discarded treasures this weekend.
  • The Women's Recovery Center at 375 Weaver Rd. in Florence, KY is having a huge yard sale this Saturday, August 6th from 8-2. They are a non-profit organization, so all the earnings will be used for health visits at the facility.
The visits cost $30 each and many of the women don't have the means to be able to pay for these on an ongoing basis.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Macke Leads Teams to Undeafeated Seasons, Championships

Apparently, Tricia Macke has game.

Anyone who has attempted coaching 3rd and 4th graders knows getting them to pay attention in practice is an accomplishment in itself. Getting them through seasons upon seasons without so much as a loss should put you on the Mt. Rushmore of youth coaching. (See Gordon Bombay, Morris Buttermaker, and Phil Weston).

Congrats to them.

(from Left) Bailey Armstrong, Spencer Macke, Nate Roberts, Eddie Etter, Ben Sisson, Tanner Juett *Trenton Barrett not shown; Coached by Tricia Macke

4th Grade Boys, Gametime Royals 2011
Spring league and tournament champs, 14-0 at Nothin But Net

Coach Tricia Macke, Maggie Jones, Meghan Walz, Melanie Weyer, Coach Cindy Graves (bottom from Left) Piper Macke, Rebeka Sergent, Bailey Hall, Audrey Graves *Ali Gessner not shown.

3rd Grade Girls, Gametime Royals 2011

Spring league and tournament champs, 14-0 at Nothin But Net

These girls played against teams one and 2 years older than them and were undefeated.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Seen & Heard Around Fort Thomas

A few observations from around town the past couple weeks:

1. Mio's may very well be back on.  Heard rumors that financing was finally completed.  However, the sign is still up and I have still had no confirmation from the prospective owner.

2. Anyone seen the new deck on the back of the Highlands Country Club?  It is a nice added touch that is expansive and looks out over the fairways.  Hosea had formed a partnership with the club to host weddings and I assume this must be fruit from that investment.  I say that because this economy has to be tough on a private club like HCC but it could just be overall updates that have been long overdue from a very dated building.

3. Anyone else disappointed that Graeters hasn't opened yet?  They are really missing out on this amazing hot summer season and they have to be kicking themselves for taking so long.  Despite the long wait, I heard that  they are doing a major upgrade of more than the physical building but also the menu that includes not just baked goods but possibly even deli sandwiches.... so stay tuned

4. Anyone else notice that finally one of the three homes that have been trashed over the past several years near the corner of Highland and Mayfield Avenues is finally getting an owner and some tender loving care?  I think I have litterally watched them fill up 4 major Rumpke trash bins decluttering the home and it appears they are about to put a fresh coat of paint on it - now if we can just get the other homes in good condition as well.

5. Finally, what the heck is going on at Convenient in the middle of town?  New ownership hasn't exactly been kind to this place.  The isles are all chopped up and it looks like a maze in there.  What is wrong with straight organized isles?  While the food options may have shrunk the lottery options have exploded.  I know they are trying to wring profits out of the place but this is not the mix of products that will have me stopping in more often.