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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Newest Addition to Newport Pavilion (and It's Happening update)

There is new signage up for the newest addition to the Newport Pavilion and it's none other than........

Not the splashiest or sexiest addition, but a new addition nonetheless. I also noticed a sign for the leasing company which was displayed near the Memorial Parkway entrance. As you enter from that driveway, the Tire Discounters will be on your left, caddy corner from Edible Arrangements, New China Buffet, etc.

It's Happening in Fort Thomas update:

TODAY is the Farmers' Market in the Midway District at River Road and S. Fort Thomas Avenue from 3-7 pm. I am again furnishing you with my family dinner menu so you'll have an idea of the kinds of things available: We had pork chops, fried apples, green beans, and tomatoes. I also bought sausage and cabbage for a great stir-fry we like. The third meal was spaghetti squash to go along with the bread and dipping oil. By the way, Doc's Dressings are now available at Fort Thomas Drugs and Remke Markets.

PLEASE read this note from our own Fort Thomas Fire Department. Let's fill up the slot quickly!
We have organized a blood drive for October 27th. Hoxworth will be bringing their Bloodmobile and parking on the Fire Department ramp between the hours of 1pm and 7pm for blood donations. If you are interested in making a blood donation, please go to the web site below and sign up.
Please feel free to share this email with anyone that you think may be interested in making a donation. I am sure that there are many residents who will be interested in helping out.
Jamey Gadzala
So many thanks to ALL who helped make such a success of Merchants & Music. If you are interested in serving on a committee for this event, please contact me in the next few weeks. We would love to have additional help.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Forbes Rates Fort Thomas a Great Suburb to Retire To

While it is usually the schools that make national rankings today the community at large was rated nationally by Forbes Magazine.  The magazine rated the top 25 suburbs to retire to and Fort Thomas made the cut along with communities such as Naperville IL, Fishers IN, and Plano TX.

According to the magazine they looked at the following criteria:

Here’s how our roster came together. First, we set a 25-mile limit for the distance from the suburb to the center of the big city. A longer trip than that struck us as interfering too much with getting to the cultural, sporting and other amenities found in larger cities. Drawing data from such sources as, we scrutinized a variety of other factors. They included cost of living and the tax climate for retirees (generally a function of state law). We evaluated availability of hospitals and higher education (it’s never too late to keep learning). We took into account data for crime rates (almost all the towns listed register less than half the national crime rate) and air quality.Finally, we looked at mass transit options—-especially the proximity of rail–back to the big city.
I would love to hear from some of the senior members of our community - does Fort Thomas meet your needs?  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

This Week in Fort Thomas Sports (plus notes)

Van Damme it's Friday.

A few quick notes before getting to the sports post.

-Obviously Sept. 21 has come and gone and still no Kroger fuel center. Bummer.
- Merchants and Music Festival is tomorrow. See you there. First one to spot me and tell me they read the blog, gets a beer on Fort Thomas Matters.
- It's the first day of fall and the weather obviously knows it. Call Birkley Services at 781-5500 to schedule your annual maintenance on your furnace before the weather gets too cold.

- Fort Thomas' crowned jewel and friend of the blog, Tricia Macke talked to Bill Cunningham about his new national talk show, which debuted this past week. The interview took place while shooting baskets and ended with our girl challenging Willie to a three point contest.

-Another friend of the blog, Will Chambers put a package together for Kentucky Sports TV on CN2, about the emergence of Highlands Quarterback and UK commit, Patrick Towles. Still don't know how Chambers didn't win the KSTV contest.

-Oh the Bengals. I am embarrassed to say my family still has our season tickets and I am once again vested into the hope of a winning season. Unfortunately they keep getting in trouble. WR Jerome Simpson had 2.5 pounds of marijuana delivered to his Villa Hills home. Upon searching the premises, police found packing material and an additional 6 pounds of pot.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fort Thomas Police Using Technology To Help You

We have talked about the Nixle service on FTM before and how the FTPD used it to communicate possible safety concerns prior to a giant cost increase that made it no longer feasible to use.

In the past few weeks, not only has the FTPD found a replacement for Nixle but they have also debuted a service to find missing children:

1. Those people who were signed up for Nixle have been subscribed to the new E-lerts system.  The first message I received through the system was about some recent car break-ins around Woodfill.  But today I received a second message that detailed the other service...

2. The other service that the FTPD has debuted is the use of "A Child Is Missing" to alert citizens and hopefully locate them quickly in the event a child becomes misplaced.  I am copying the text of the email that I received that explains how the services will be used and how everyone will be notified when the child is found:

Yesterday a child went missing near Ruth Moyer Elementary.  The officers on scene utilized a free system called "A Child Is Missing".  This is a free service that utilizes regional telephone databases to make automated phone calls to assist in finding lost children, elderly citizens and handicapped citizens.  "A Child Is Missing" can geographically target a specific radius of an incident and is thus ideal for these such situations.  If you did not get the phone call then you were outside of the initial search parameter.  This system is ONLY for missing children, elderly citizens and handicapped citizens. In the end, the child was found at a friends house very quickly. "A Child Is Missing" is not FTPD E-Lerts.  They are not affiliated and do not interact. The Fort Thomas Police contacted "A Child Is Missing" today and they are ONLY a notification system to get the word out that a child needs to be found.  They do not send out a follow-up when the child is found.  Since this child was located so quickly, we did not move to send it out via E-Lerts.  Our staff has met on this issue and the decision has been made to use E-Lerts to call off such searches, even if E-Lerts did not send out the original notice.  This should help get the word out.  Should a child be missing longer than the one yesterday, then we would utilize E-Lerts as well to notify of the missing child.
Since we are on the topic of safety, I also ran across a recent Fox 19 story about a sexual predator, living in Fort Thomas, that was busted again this week for violating the terms of the Sex Offender Registration rules.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fort Thomas News to Start Your Week

A few updates from things we have posted on Facebook or Twitter or perhaps we failed to mention in the past couple weeks:

1. Fort Thomas tax rates are going up again.  In what is an annual rite of passage council voted to increase tax rates by 4% for the upcoming fiscal year.  The city estimates that it will generate $159,000 in additional tax revenue that will be directed to rising personnel costs of $110,000 in retirement costs and $114,000 in insurance costs.

2. Moore Hardware located on 27 is closing.  They are combining with Pilot Hardware in Alexandria and Bellevue but closing the lone store in Fort Thomas.  I only shopped there once since I moved to Fort Thomas but they were able to get me Trex deck screws when Lowes was not able to stock them.  I am sorry to see another locally owned store go down.

3. Woodfill was named a Blue Ribbon school.  Woodfill was one of only six schools in Kentucky and the only Northern Kentucky school to get the honor.  Since I have lived in Fort Thomas I believe every Fort Thomas elementary school including Saint Thomas has been named a Blue Ribbon school.  Congrats to Woodfill & Fort Thomas Education!

4. The Fort Thomas Frisch's is officially closing on September 30th as the new store in Highland Heights is opening on October 3rd.  As we mentioned in a previous post - it was only a matter of time with a brand new store being built right down the street.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Upcoming Events in Fort Thomas

Here is a sampling of events coming up over the next month or so in and around Fort Thomas:

September 23 - Family Night at the YOn Friday, September 23rd the YMCA will be offering a family friendly movie event.  The YMCA will be showing the movie Hoodwinked Too for all of our members on a projector in the gymnasium.  Bring your pillows, blankets, and popcorn and enjoy the show with your family!  This event will take place from 7:00PM – 9:00PM. 

September 24 - Merchants & Music Festival from 4 - 11pm.  Great lineup again featuring the Rusty Griswalds again as well as local artists Tupelo Honey and the headliners the Thunderbirds.

September 24 - A Taste of the Season - fundraiser for the Standing Room Only booster group for Highlands' drama program.  The event is 6pm to midnight and includes a preview of the 2011/2012 HHS theatre season as well as dinner, live music by 4th Day Echo, wine, bourbon and cigar tastings with experts from various local vendors and wineries (priced separately), cash bar, and a live auction.  The event will be held at The Inn at Oneonta, 7729 Mary Ingles Hwy, Melbourne, KY 41059.   Tickets can be purchased for $30/person after 9/9/2011 or at the door.  For ticket information, please contact Nikki Fennell at 859.866.3235 or

October 8th - Johnson Hullabaloo - the annual event will be held from 11am to 6pm with a lot of the usual fun.  You can check out all the details at their website linked in their name.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fort Thomas... Not That Wealthy

The Biz Journals publication, publisher of the Cincinnati Business Courier published a listing of communities around the country they considered to be the wealthiest.  The ranking is based on a percentage of households earning over $150,000 annually.

According to this ranking Fort Thomas was the 1,774th wealthiest community in the US and the fifth wealthiest in NKY behind Union, Lakeside Park, Villa Hills, and Edgewood.  According to this study 15.21% of households earn above this threshold and 34.75% earn above this amount when you factor in interest, dividends, or rental income.

I am sure there are other ways you could measure this and I am not sure it means anything other than just an interesting statistic.  Nevertheless this feeds into the issues with school funding that we have chronicled in the past and will continue to be an issue as long as the school funding formulas in the state of Kentucky remain unchanged.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Business District Signage Complete (pictures)

I took these first two pictures on a crisp April 20th day. These signs were spawned by the Renaissance Committee, in attempting to display the three distinct business districts (Inverness-North side, Towne Center-Central, and Midway-South side) so that out-of-towners could more easily identify a different business sector of the city.

I wondered in an earlier blog post (I'm too lazy to find it at the moment) why these two flags went up fairly early and the Inverness signage did not.

It came to me today, as I was heading into work. Perhaps there was a shortage of red ink due to our government's inability to balance a budget. Don't forget to tip your bartenders.

Back to the point: unless I'm mistaken, I'm fairy certain they have just gone up in the last few weeks. Would love to hear if there's an explanation for it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Momentum Growing on Kroger Gas Station?

Obviously it's been a long time coming but it seems as if the Kroger fuel center could be nearing an open. Through the movement of equipment, gas trucks filling the pumps and prodding Kroger employees for information, all signs point to an opening around the end of the month.

Other than our website, probably the best information of all things Newport Pavilion can be found at the Newport Pavilion Fans Facebook page here. They also point to a February groundbreaking for Chic Fil A, as well.

I, for one, cannot wait to have a normal option for fuel. Normal being the operative word, and if you have to fuel up around Fort Thomas you know what I mean. Let me explain for those who don't.

BP: Consistently overpriced. Also, from our Facebook page conversation, (click "Like" for another opportunity to win prizes) not the most customer-friendly management.

Marathon: (Inverness district) Great family business - also the consensus on the facebook page. Overpriced at times and most notably, no credit card swipers at the pumps. Not that big of a deal, but definitely a factor if you're in a hurry.

Shell: Not centrally located. Only convenient for those on the South Side of town.

Speedway: (10th street and Monmouth - both Newport) Oh the sights you'll see at these locations. Bottom line - you get the feeling you are being preyed upon. Latest example: last week a woman was pumping gas at the Monmouth St. location. She was car jacked with her dog, purse and newly bought soccer equipment for her son still in the car. The thief drove a few blocks, picked up three comrades, and tossed the dog out of the car. Luckily, she found the dog three hours later.

Obviously that type of thing doesn't happen every week, but I think more people than not will welcome a Kroger gas option.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fort Thomas Women’s Club Presents CakeTown COMEDY JAM!

The Fort Thomas' Woman’s Club proudly presents the CakeTown COMEDY JAM! (comic relief for tax relief) on Saturday and Sunday October 8-9, 2011 at the Village Players Theater in Fort Thomas. The two-hour show of light entertainment will feature stand up comedians, short comic plays, musical comedy and storytelling by some of the Tristate’s funniest and most accomplished performers, actors, and writers.

The Carol Burnett-type comic variety show is rated PG-13 and features a lineup with local favorites, including Teri Foltz, recent Funniest Person in Cincinnati Finalist; Thomas Cox, Funniest Person in Northern Kentucky 2009; John Bunyan, Funniest Person in Cincinnati, 2010; Newport humorist Charles Egerton; Award-winning Fort Thomas playwright Phil Paradis; Newport musical humorist Peter Lloyd; and musician Max Colvill, who is also a senior at Highlands High School.

CakeTown COMEDY JAM! will be presented on Saturday, October 8, at 8 PM, and on Sunday October 9, at 3 PM at the Village Players Theater, 8 North Fort Thomas Avenue, Fort Thomas, KY 41075. Tickets are $15 and may be reserved by calling (859) 441-LOVE. Tickets also may be purchased at the door before show time. Proceeds will benefit the Fort Thomas Woman’s Club and the Village Players.

Donated and framed artwork by Sara Hamel, Fort Thomas artist, and framed photographs by Charles Edgerton and Jeff Porter, former Highlands student, will be offered for silent auction in the lobby prior to the show and during intermission. Frames and matting of artwork and photographs are courtesy of Bowman’s Framing.

All technical and box office personnel, comedians, actors, performers and writers involved in CakeTown COMEDY JAM! are volunteers. CakeTown COMEDY JAM! is produced by Teri Foltz, a recently retired Highlands English teacher.

For more information, contact Teri Foltz at (859) 803-3689.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's Happening... In Fort Thomas

If you haven't noticed by now, "It's Happening" is an semi-regular update from Renaissance Coordinator, Debbie Buckley. I haven't met many people more supportive of promoting new and differentiating events for our city than Debbie and you can hear her enthusiasm in her updates.

Without further adieu:

September has arrived, Labor Day is over, and Fall is coming. Our Farmers' Market is still going strong. To hang on to a few more weeks of Summer harvests, join us at the Market on Wednesdays from 3:00-7:00 pm at S. Fort Thomas and River Road. Our vendors are faithfully producing wonderful goods. Please help us make sure they return next year by supporting the end of harvest goodies they provide!

This week's concert at the Amphitheater will be Thursday at 7:00 with the P&G Big Band. Remember, if it's raining, the concert moves indoors to the Community Center (former Mess Hall).

If last week's audience was any indication, we should have another great evening of fun! So many thanks to David Thiel for bringing the Navy Band to Fort Thomas. Dave made all the arrangements, provided food and drinks out of his own pocket, and then led the members of the band to the museum for a tour. If you missed the evening, you missed dozens of Navy personnel in their white uniforms, meeting and greeting the audience. It really was a memorable evening. Thanks! Dave. Once again, our fabulous museum volunteers will be providing concessions.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gigapan Views of the Highlands Game

I really didn't intend to do another Highlands football post but then Chris Stegner posted a link to a gigapan of the football game last night and I couldn't resist.

In case you are not familiar with gigapans it is a new photographic technique that captures the entire crowd at a sporting event or concert that in some cases allow you to tag yourself for social media purposes.  I first saw it used for U2 concerts but now you can check yourself out at the Highlands game last night by visiting our 
Facebook page and clicking the link to the Gigapan of the game against Dixie Heights.

I admit - it is a bit creepy and cool at the same time but I can't stop panning around and finding my friends.  There is also some really funny stuff that happens with gigapans when people are moving around such as the random floating head.  See who you can find as well...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's Football Time in the Bluegrass

All three of Fort Thomas Matters' favorite football teams play football tonight. It's got to be the first time that has happened on a Thursday, but I'll take it. I'll be going to the worst team of the bunch tonight as I take in (semi-professional) football at Paul Brown Stadium.

With the Highlands game being broadcast on the Big Ten Network, I can at least DVR the Birds and my University of Kentucky Wildcats as they take on Dixie and Western Kentucky, respectively.

There is absolutely nothing better than Friday nights in Fort Thomas. Comment on your favorite Friday night traditions for football games. Tailgating? How early do you get there? Plans afterward? I have to say as a student, we were so dominant during my tenure at Highlands the Friday night tradition was more about who was hosting the party after the game. Regardless of where it was, the night usually ended at Dixie Chili with a 3-way and an alligator (gross - I know).

Saturdays in Lexington were usually more about the football. The smell around the stadium is unmistakable. It's a rare combination of BBQ, bourbon and Chanel No. 5. God, I love football season.

Here's the TV truck parked in front of Highlands. (Hat tip - Arnzen):