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Saturday, June 30, 2012

This Sucks!

During one of the hottest stretches on record this is the map of outages in the Cincinnati Duke Energy service area.  Yesterday's storm couldn't have come at a worse time - and notice the large number of blue dots in the Fort Thomas area.

This afternoon areas in Fort Thomas that did have power for most of the day went back out again.  Grand from 471 to Highland was one such area and there were others.

Duke Energy has indicated that these outages could be in place until July 2nd - 2 more days of blistering heat without air conditioning can be dangerous.

Please be sure to check on elderly neighbors and provide water or shelter if needed.  And if you are one of the lucky ones in the Fort, Campbell County, or Cincinnati area then count your blessings.

Fort Thomas Weekend News and Notes

1. Fort Thomas Police issued this alert this week....

The Fort Thomas Police are investigating two burglaries that occurred on 6/26/12. These burglaries are believed to have been committed around 10:00 am -2:00 pm on Wessex Court and Wessex Place (located off of Memorial Parkway just north of Clover Ridge). A neighbor witness stated that he observed a white male knocking at his door. The witness did not answer the door, but stated there was a white male 5'6" to 5'9" wearing a white t-shirt, a ball cap and sunglasses.

Access to both residences was made through an unsecured back window. A small amount of jewelry and jars of change were taken from both residences.
We strongly recommend all residents PLEASE lock you doors and windows when not at home and to be alert for suspicious individuals and activity.  If you observe anyone who does not seem legitimately going door-to-door or is in the neighborhood in a suspicious manner, please call the Campbell County Dispatch Center at 859-292-3622 for a Fort Thomas Police Officer to be dispatched for investigation, or call 911 if you observe a crime in progress.

2. While the US Supreme Court made all the news this week by upholding key provisions of ObamaCare the KY State Supreme Court may be making a ruling with more local significance.  They have agreed to hear the case of the Cincinnati Enquirer vs The City of Fort Thomas in regards to releasing the files on the Cheryl McCafferty case.  Stay tuned for this one as the ruling here in conjunction with her request for a retrial should keep this in the news for a while longer.

3. Our Friends at the Senior Services of Northern Kentucky has issued a request for help to Fort Thomas Matters Readers - please answer the call:
"Love to shop? There are several seniors in our community that need help with grocery shopping. Call Sarah at 859.292.7979 to volunteer to help. Share with your friends!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Van Damme It's Friday Links

It's Friday! It's hot! And the storm is over. Speaking of that storm, that really escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.

Had to get The Anchorman reference in there. Anyway, as I look out onto North Fort Thomas Ave, I'm sure my view of downed branches and strewn leaves aren't unique. Even though the storm seemingly came out of no where, it left in its wake hundreds up people in Fort Thomas without power.

Including two Fort Thomas businesses. Here are their FB statuses:

Update: We are without electricity and have closed for the evening. We will check again late tonight and early tomorrow and determine when we can open. Please check back here and/or our website for more information and updates. Thank you and we hope you and your family are doing well through this weather.

Friday night, Mio's is now closed. No power so we had to shut the doors. We actually had power after the transformer explosion down the street (loud!). But I guess Duke had to shut us all down to fix the issue. Bummer!


- The 5 person FTM crew finally concluded our NKy's Best Pizza Quest last night at Mio's, so be on the lookout for that soon.

- While we are on the Facebook kick, a tip from one of Fort Thomas Matters' advertisers, Birkley Services - for all your heating and cooling needs. 781-5500:

So, the temperature has been in the 100 degree range. There is a good chance your air conditioner will not keep up. Even if everything is in perfect working order. Here are some things you can do to help. Change/clean your air filter. Make sure ALL vents are open and unobstructed. If the coils on the outdoor unit are dirty, hose them off. Close your blinds. Don't fire up the oven. Turn off anything in your house that can produce heat if you don't need it on. Lights, computers, TV,s, etc...all the little things add up quickly in this heat.

- From friends of the blog, Fort Thomas Provides, who need volunteers for tomorrow's Independence Day celebration:

We need a few more people to help out with the Fort Thomas Independence Day Celebration this Saturday, June 30th, from 3pm – 10pm. Duties include: selling tickets for the rides and directing people to park. If you can spare 1-2 hours, please let me know.

You can contact them via FaceBook or LinkedIn.

- Trying to decide whether or not I want to get beat by 2-time defending Olde Fort Pub Hot Dog Eating Contest Winner, Joe Peter, next Wednesday at the Olde Fort Pub. I've done it twice before, and come in second, two times. But Joe is a lean, mean hot dog-eating machine. If I get a sponsor, I'll be down. Any takers?

Either way, it's always a good time and you should experience it at least once. This will mark the 6th annual competition and starts at 3:00.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

First Annual ACO Sanctioned Cornhole Tournament in FT June 30

The American Cornhole Organization is hosting a sanctioned tournament next to the Mess Hall during the Independence Celebration at Tower Park on June 30.

There will a tournament each hour, starting at 3pm and ending 7pm (4 total). The first three tournaments are for the more casual player, with $200 in prizes being awarded between the top three teams (a team consists of two players). The final tournament, which begins at 6pm, is for the more competitive player, withcash prizes totaling $400 split between the top three teams.

To make it more interesting, the 4pm tournament will feature a street v. street component, with an award going to the highest placing team from a particular street.

This is a really exciting addition to the Independence Celebration, but we need your help. This cornhole tournament will become a regular part of the festivities if this first one is a success. There is space for 32 teams each hour, and the entry fees are only $10 per team.

The event is being put on by the top company in the nation, and will include official boards and bags, judges, and prizes.
Register the day of the event, or pre-register at

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Andrea Conners Pleads Guilty

Credit: The Enquirer/Patrick Reddy

Credit: The Enquirer/Patrick Reddy

Credit: Fox 19

Well, former Highlands teacher, Andrea Conners, plead guilty to a sex abuse charge today in front of Judge Fred Stine at the Campbell County Courthouse Tuesday. Said Judge Stine,
"You subjected a juvenile who was less than 18 years old to sexual contact and during that, when that occurred, you were a person in a position of authority or special trust because you were his teacher,"
Conners, who plead guilty without a plea deal will be sentenced August 8th and could face up to 5 years in prison.

As embarrassing as this has been for everyone involved, the way it's played out in the media couldn't have been better for Highlands:
  • The rumors that wafted through the hallways of Highlands that ultimately caused Conners' resignation in early May stayed fairly quiet until her resignation was made public.
  • Dixie Heights teacher, Sarah Jones' similar case has had more salacious details available, which has cast a shadow over Conners' case.
  • Superintendent Gene Kirchner, in conjunction with Conners' attorney team, (inadvertently or not) has been been on the same page by attempting to keep all details out for public consumption. No one would think they would do anything differently, but for some reason it seems this sexual case between a teacher and her student has been overlooked.
  • Perhaps this biggest sigh of relief by Highlands officials happened today, when Conners plead guilty instead of taking her chances in open court - thereby halting any chance of details of her sexual rendezvous with the unnamed Highlands student from coming out.

Whatever the case may be, Conners is looking at jail time, Highlands has some mud on its face and internet trolls everywhere will be typing "Andrea Conners, Highlands, Sex Scandal" into their google searches for years to come.

After googling that myself, perhaps the most interesting take on this story comes from London. Not exactly sure why they are covering this story, but when the story first broke in May, the comments were intriguing. I have no empirical data on this whatsoever, but the theme of the comments were that this type of thing happens in the United States a lot more than anywhere else in the world.

Also, not sure that I've seen it reported anywhere else, but their headline is pretty telling:
Teacher faces up to FIVE YEARS in jail for having sex with teen football player... and her husband is principal at nearby high school

Not sure that the fact that the student was a football player is a fact, and if it hasn't been reported, that's pretty unethical. What do you think her sentence will be?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fort Thomas Weekend News and Notes

How about a picture of the Bellevue Kroger rehab to start the news updates?  On to the rest of the news:

1. In a bit of a shocking twist last Friday the city eliminated the positions of Jay Treft (Economic Development Director) and Dave Buerger (Recreation Director).  The moves weren't apparently based on any current financial hardships but in preparation for potential future economic hardships that the city could possibly face.

While I don't think Jay ever set the world on fire with business development it sure sends a message about what the city thinks of supporting anything remotely resembling a business environment with a pulse.

2. Another big story this week was the naming of Moyer's new principal.  Matthew Haskamp, the current assistant principal at Highlands will take over for Brewer on July 1st.  I know Jay was beloved but what is everyone's thoughts about Matthew as a solid replacement?

3. The drama program's boosters - Standing Room Only has announced their date for the annual fundraiser "A Taste of the Season" - September 8th.

4. Jerry and Bonnie Jansen have been named as the grand marshals of the 2012 Fort Thomas Fourth of July parade.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lumley / Miller Neighborhood Yard Sale - Saturday

This is a little shameless self promotion (and the picture is only a lame attempt to show off my cute little kiddies) but, you may be interested in the Lumley heights neighborhood yard sale.  This Saturday from 8 am until 1pm (or until people stop buying stuff).  I hope to see you there.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mark v. Food Recap (Izzy's 110 Challenge vs. The Cincinnati Rollergirls)

2.5 pounds of corned beef, a pound of sauerkraut, a pound of potato pancake, a "thunderdome" of bread coming in at another pound and 8 slices or imported swiss cheese. All in all around 5.5 pounds of Reuben WENT IN OUR BELLIES!

The Fort Thomas Matters Crew (Darrin, Ben and I) took on The Cincinnati Rollergirls Saturday in the Izzy's 110 Reuben Challenge at their Florence location and came out on top, finishing the behemoth sandwich in just under 6 minutes.

A special thanks to Izzy's GM, John Bent, Jacquie Bauereis, Adam Turer - who redeemed himself from Man vs. Food Nation for team FTM, Holly Funk of the Cincinnati Rollergirls, and of course our worthy competitors: Sk8r-Kinney, Cherry Choke, Big Ugly and Maul Cop.

Our intern, Zeke the Intern, is producing a better video than what you may be used to, so be on the lookout for that. For now, the still pictures will have to do. In the end, the thing that matters most is we raised another substantial amount for The Brighton Center, who were represented well by Bear Clifton, Anita Prater and some of the gals from The Brighton Recovery Center.

The Izzy'z Reuben was definitely probably one of the tastier challenges that I've taken on. No wayI could have done the whole thing by myself, like my eating coach Joe Larue did in 22 minutes and some change, but possibly three-fourths would be well within reach. Not to give too much away from the video, but the key for me was Izzy's famous pickles. After getting a little flavor fatigue, a few pickles reset everything and I began craving more Reuben. So daggone delicious.

Also, big ups to and for providing door prizes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fort Thomas News - Midweek Update

A few random odds and ends to get you over the hump:

1. A few sports stories featuring Fort Thomas athletes:

2. Meyer Aquascapes' Pondarama Water Garden Tour ( I didn't even know such a thing existed) will feature a Fort Thomas home this year.  Here is the excerpt from the press release:
Dave and Terri Jager 25 West Villa Place Ft. Thomas, KY  41075 This is a well maintained small backyard that has been beautifully transformed into a backyard paradise. This lovely 11 x 16 Weathered Limestone Pond has a 25 foot stream with two waterfalls with an added touch of beautiful driftwood.

3. Go vote for a friend of FTM's Jenn Hardin of @jennhtweet fame as she compete's in Maxim's 'Hometown Hottie' contest.  You can read the bio but lets help push her over the top to a big win.

4. Here is a list that I am glad Fort Thomas isn't on.  WCPO reports on a website ranking the Top 10 communities where couples are unfaithful.  Thankfully Fort Thomas isn't ranked but if you are curious Montgomery comes in at #1 

Don't forget Mark vs Food this Saturday - chance to win a Divot Card, support the Brighton Center and watch some hilarity with the Cincy Rollergirls.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Divot Card Giveaway

If we haven't given you reason enough to come out to Izzy's in Florence this Saturday, here's another: We'll be giving away 2 Free Divot Cards (a $69 value). What better gift for your dad for Father's Day? (or brother, husband or boyfriend)

With the divot card, you receive 21 FREE 18-Hole Greens Fees (over $700 in savings), FREE driving range balls, Pro shop discounts all at courses around Ft. Thomas and Campbell County.

The courses include: California, Devou Park, Reeves, The Pioneer, The Willows, Weatherwax, Elks Run, Fox Run, Glenview and Neumann.

If you can't make it to try to win the free Divot Cards this Saturday, you can purchase them at Perfect for the weekend warrior.

To recap this weekend's events:

Who: The FTM gang + Adam Turer from Man vs. Food Nation vs. The Cincy Rollergirls
What: The Izzy's 110 Challenge
When: Saturday, 6/16 @ 1:00. (A portion of proceeds all day will go to The Brighton Center)
Where: Izzy's (Florence location - 7905 Mall Rd.)
Why: To Raise money for The Brighton Center - NKY's most complete social services agency)

Door prizes so far:
2 $25 gift cards for
2 Divot Cards at
Cincy Rollergirls SWAG

If you'd like to donate door prizes or money to The Brighton Center, feel free to email me at

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's Happening In Fort Thomas (Update from Debbie Buckley)

Amphitheater Concerts! Robin Lacy & DeZydeco will be performing at the Amphitheater at 7:00 Tuesday evening!!! This terrific band is sure to bring a crowd. Bring your blankets, chairs, a picnic, or enjoy hamburgers and hotdogs brought to you by the Fort Thomas Museum volunteers!

Farmers' Market! When those precious little zucchini and summer squash started showing up last week, it was obvious summer has really come! Tomatoes were flying! Lots of onions, lettuce, spinach, kale, cucumbers too. And of course, the bread, cheese, wine! The dressings, dipping oils, salsas, olive oils. And the lotions, creams, natural detergent and lip balms. The natural dog treats. THEN the fabulous jams and jellies, honey, homemade coffee cakes, brownies, pickles, relishes, and soup starters. To set off your table, there were lots of beautiful flowers and plants as well. And then the herbs . . .

Congratulations! To the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy group for a spectacular Garden Tour! All the volunteers outdid themselves. And to the Museum Committee who kept the Museum open during the Tour just a week after a very successful Antique Show. Fort Thomas has the very best volunteers!!!!

Independence Day Celebration! June 30 is coming soon!!! This year's event is even bigger! The Classic Car Show; a Nationally Sanctioned Cornhole Tournament; Hot Wax Band; Inflatables, Pony Rides, Petting Zoo for the Kids; Food, Beer, Wine! Time: 3:00-10:00 pm at Tower Park. Be watching for the details on the Cornhole Tournament! And get those throwing arms ready--this is going to be open to all you folks willing to take a risk!!!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mark vs. Food Saturday, 6/16 vs. The Cincinnati Rollergirls (modeled by Jenn Hardin)

(Next Mark v. Food Challenger (?) The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Todd Frazier

Mark 3 - Food 0.

I'll be taking my undefeated record in food challenges to Izzy's in Florence this Saturday, 6-16, at 1:00.

We'll be taking on the Izzy's 110 Reuben Challenge, which was featured on Man vs. Food Nation. Adam Turer, who attempted the challenge on Adam Richman's show under his tutelage, will be joining the Mark vs. Food team, along with Darrin, Ben and I.

The 4 Cincinnati Rollergirls, who no doubt could kick our asses, will be bringing their appetites with them to take the FTM crew on and raise money for The Brighton Center.

We'll have some door prizes as well, including $25 gift codes to Side note, if I were you and I won the gift code, I'd get the shirt above, modeled by none other than Fort Thomas' resident pastry chef and model, Jenn Hardin, of Cinsational Sweet Treats.

Todd Frazier is the next Chuck Norris.

Anyway, here's more information on the challenge. If you'd like to donate money to Mark vs. Food, which benefits The Brighton Center, contact me via email.

All About the Challenge

: 110 Reuben Challenge

History: For the 110th anniversary of the restaurant, Izzy's wanted to do something quirky and different that honored Izzy Kadetz's spirit. He was a character who was loud and loved to banter with his wife. He charged people for their lunch by how much he thought they could afford.

Ingredients: The 110 Reuben Challenge is a huge sandwich that needs to be eaten in 30 minutes along with the jumbo side order of Izzy’s own kosher sliced pickles. Here's what makes up the sandwich: a super-sized potato pancake, 1-lb. of Izzy’s Famous Corned Beef, a colossal pile of sauerkraut, imported Swiss cheese -- all on a gigantic poppy seed oval loaf.

Attempts & Successes: 50 people have tried to complete the challenge, but only 5 have been successful.Will Adam Turer be one of them? Tune in to find out!

Winners Receive: If you are successful you get your money back, plus a T-shirt and a photo on the Wall of Fame. If you aren't, you get a button that says "I Attempted the 110 Reuben Challenge."

Other Food Challenges: Izzy's doesn't have any other food challenges, but they do hold fun events, such as a potato pancake-eating contest at local colleges. And don't worry, the 110 Reuben Challenge will stick around even after Izzy's 110th anniversary year is over.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Garden Tour This Weekend (by Ben Petracco)

I apologize for my recent absence from Fort Thomas Matters. A recent proposal to my future wife has placed a premium on my free time. I have essentially been practicing my enthusiastic nod of approval for everything my fiancĂ© decides on. From photographers or floral designers I just nod and agree with whatever she suggests, I’m no dummy.

(Editor's note: Atta boy, Benny).

The flowers were one of the recent tasks Sarah and I tackled, and with blooms and arrangements on my mind, the signs all over town for the Fort Thomas Garden Tour caught my eye.

The Fort Thomas Garden Tour is being held at Tower Park this weekend: Saturday June 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday June 10, from noon to 4 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the museum located in Tower Park the day of the event. There is a map of the gardens that are included in the tour, so you can view them at your own leisurely pace. The Fort Thomas Garden Tour provides a great opportunity for residents of Fort Thomas to show off their hard work that they dedicated to their gardens!

While the tour is going on there is also a flower swap going on at Tower Park. Everyone that wants to barter for bulbs or exchange some perennials is encouraged to participate.

The Fort Thomas Garden Tour will provide plenty of opportunities for participants to appreciate beautiful garden displays as well as a chance to take some flowers home to start your own masterpiece!

As the green thumbs unite if you see a particularly amazing garden display please forward a picture to Fort Thomas Matters at our Twitter account, @FtThomasMatters, or post it on our Facebook page!

Cornhole Tournament for Brighton Center Sunday 6/10 feat. 5 Time Corn Hole Champion of the World

Details below:

Join us for the 7th Annual Corn hole Mania
Date: Sunday June 10th 2012

Time: Registration begins at 1:00pm (call to RSVP)
Tournament begins at 2:00pm

Location: 375 Weaver Road
Florence, Kentucky 41042

Costs: 30.00 per team
50% of entry's will be paid to top teams

Sonya Strunk
Corn Hole Mania

Five Time Corn Hole Champion of the World
Brighton Recovery Center for Women presents
Sponsorship Opportunities Available

Have your company logo available for all to see. Call for details.
There will be entertainment for everyone in the family! Bring the kids for a day of fun!!!!
Food & Drinks available but please no alcoholic beverages!!

Split the pots, raffles and long toss competition will be going on all day!
All proceeds raised from this event go to the Brighton Recovery Center for Women.
Follow us on facebook:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Back to Reality Post

Hat tip to Mama on a Budget for the upgraded logo

Is this real life?

Honestly, I really don't know. Went to Vegas for a bachelor party over Memorial Day weekend and was the best man in the wedding the subsequent week. Been in a haze ever since and being in a haze is not conducive for writing/editing a blog. Kudos to Darrin and Jess for the updates and especially on the cash mob at The Blue Marble.

Because she's better at these things - and because the gals that read this blog might enjoy it - here's my friend, Allison's recap on the wedding here.

- The first concert in the amphitheater is tonight at 7:00. It's a jazz ensemble. Bring a blanket and take pictures so we can steal them and put them on our website. Or give them to us. Your call.

- The Garden Tour is this weekend. Via The Community Press.

- Patrick Towles and Ozzy Sheehan left the friendly confines of Fort Thomas for bigger and better things in Lexington to get started on their Kentucky football careers. Patrick will compete with Max Smith, a redshirt Sophomore, for a chance to start at Quarterback. Ozzy may be a candidate for redshirt this year, but don't count out either former Bluebird for pushing to getting on the field this year.

- The fourth Mark vs. Food installment is scheduled for June 16th at 1:00 at the Izzy's location in Florence. We will be taking on the 110 Reuben Challenge, which was featured on Adam Richman's Man vs. Food Nation. More details to follow.

To date, we've raised $1400 for The Brighton Center through these competitions. If you follow me on twitter, you've already figured out who I'll be taking on. If you don't follow me, go do it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blue Marble Cash Mob A Success

I hope you had a chance to make out on Saturday and show our amazing independent children's bookstore a little love.  If you didn't you still can, it just will not be as a part of a larger group of community members supporting a local treasure.

While the turnout didn't appear to be overwhelming there was a steady stream of people through at least while I was there.  The cash mob also brought the Blue Marble some extra media attention as both Channel 19 and WCPO were there to cover it.  Follow the link on 19 to see the short story and a picture.

I hate to admit but it was also the first time I had been in the store and I have to say it was amazing.  For anyone who has read the Goodnight Moon book they have a replica room upstairs that was very well done (pic above)

The store also has a great garden out back where they do author events such as the one on Saturday that included a butterfly show and tell.  Pretty amazing stuff for a 33rd anniversary.  If you are ever in the market for a great pre-school birthday present stop in and grab a few books - you won't be disappointed.