Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Opticare Vision/Express Mobile Transport

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Van Damme It's Halloween (Bellevue Kroger, Trick-or-Treat, Best Furniture, Fighting Moms, DEPs)

- The Bellevue Kroger opened a few weeks back, after closing for renovations in May. The 37-year-old store was last renovated in 1997 and the latest renovation had me wondering if the remodel made sense since the opening of the Kroger Marketplace at Newport Pavilion.

I ran into the Chief Financial Officer of Kroger last Wednesday and asked him about it, specifically whether the Bellevue Kroger was cannibalizing sales from the Newport location.

The answer was an emphatic, "No."

I didn't write down the sales number that he rattled off, but he did mention that the first month sales at Bellevue doubled from when they were last open (over $400,000). The Kroger Marketplace in Newport sales stayed even (over $1,000,000) and is still one of the most profitable Kroger in the area.

- Trick-or-Treat is TODAY from 6-8. You ever wake up first thing in the morning and forget which day it is? Well, I did that yesterday and posted that Trick or Treat was today (Tuesday). I was obviously a day off and hilarity ensued on our Facebook page. Cliff's notes version: a very special reader accused us of libel.

- Speaking of Trick-or-Treat, I'm about to go "old man" here, but what's with kids on Halloween nowadays? I don't know if this theme carries throughout Fort Thomas, but on my street, unless you are waiting out near the street with your candy, kids will not come to your door. In my day, we knocked and rang the door bell at EVERY SINGLE HOUSE. I'm sure our parents loved that.

Best Furniture Gallery:
Feast For Your Home
Sample assorted wines from StoneBrook Winery and enjoy a bourbon tasting offered by Rookwood Bar & Restaurant. Delectable hors d'oervres will be served by Bouquet, Center Table-Catering, Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices, Oriental Wok, Pompilio's, and Virgil's Cafe.  Enjoy browsing the new collections and special holiday displays at Best Furniture Gallery. Also featuring live music from NKU Jazz Studies and mini massages by Mary Alice Walter, Licensed Massage Therapist.
Tickets may be purchased online by clicking the "BUY NOW" button for $25, or at the door for $30. (Proceeds to benefit Brighton Center)

For more information, please contact Becky Timberlake at (859) 491-8303 Ext. 2412 or 

Best Furniture Gallery will provide each attendee with an exclusive discount voucher good for 15% off any one Accessory/Seasonal Item purchased the night of the event. (Some items excluded). A generous portion of the sales from this offer will also benefit Brighton Center. Must be 21+ to be admitted to this event.

- The signage is up at the new DEPs location on Alexandria Pike in the old Moore's Hardware location. If you need liquor/beer now is the time to buy as they are liquidating their inventory. Tell them Fort Thomas Matters sent you.

- School traffic is claiming more frazzled nerves and lost tempers. This time at Moyer Elementary (my alma mater). Again, from the FTM Facebook page:

I witnessed two ladies fighting today at Moyer's school pickup over a parking space! There was yelling, curse words, and the threatening of calling the cops. They caused quite the scene with many spectators. I was in shock as were other bystanders. First, this behavior was shameful. Second, please get the loop finished at Moyer before they start killing each other!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fort Thomas Mid-week News Update

1. With Halloween upon us it is a good reminder of what we love about Fort Thomas and the great community atmosphere we have in this town.  I thoroughly enjoy Trick or Treating and getting to spend time with neighbors around fire pits.

Our Facebook page has chronicled many of these great festivities and it has provided an opportunity for others to share their experiences and suggestions for making the events even better.  One such suggestion includes moving the recent Jack o' lantern walk to a Friday or Saturday night to possibly get more participation from kids who have an early bed time during the week.  What do you think?

2. Shout out to district art teacher Nikki Everett who was named the Kentucky Elementary Art Educator of the Year out of a group of 1100 elementary art teachers.  Just another example of how we are blessed with great teachers who connect with students and inspire.

3. Finally, (in a shout out to my friend John Homer) you will appreciate this article on Honeysuckle if you have ever spent a Saturday afternoon trying to cut this nasty root out of your property line.  Some groups around NKY including right here in Fort Thomas have made some progress against this nasty vine around tower park.  A quote from the article:
The plant has also been the focus of the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy. The group that calls themselves “The Eradicators” having been fighting back against honeysuckle from the Tower Park tree trail. This fall, they are concentrating on the area around the Fort Thomas Military and Community Museum.

Mama on a Budget: Happy (almost) Halloween

As you’ve likely heard, Frankenstorm is coming to play a trick with your Halloween plans.  So, if you’d like some indoor options on Halloween to avoid the “perfect storm” instead of trick or treating, see the list below:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Highlands High School Presents 'The Crucible'

Did you know that local students have spent the last few months accusing each other of witchcraft?

The Highlands High School drama department is performing The Crucible beginning Thursday, November 1st. Arthur Miller's classic play is a dramatization of the Salem Witch Trials. Written in 1952, the backdrop of the Salem Witch Trials was used to symbolically serve as commentary on the rise of McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Highlands handles Ryle rushing attack, rain

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

UNION – It has been a trademark of the Ryle Raiders.

They spread you out and put one or two running backs in the backfield and try to run the ball at different angles. Ryle came into the year with high expectations with the return of senior quarterback Nathan Davis.

But Davis has been injured a good portion of the year and the Raider offense has struggled. Ryle had eight guys carry the ball against Highlands on Friday. But the Bluebird defense held its own in the 58-13 victory. Davis did not play against Highlands.

The Raiders ran for just 210 yards on 63 carries for an average of 3.3 a touch. Tanner Paulice led the way with 59 yards on 26 carries averaging just more than 2.2 a touch.

“We were trying to get back and really stop the run,” said Matt Gall, Highlands sophomore defensive lineman. “We knew they were going to try to run against us after they saw the (Cincinnati) Elder film. I think we did a good job just playing hard and playing tough. Coach (Highlands defensive coordinator Brian) Weinrich emphasized getting in the backfield and driving them back when we tackled them.”

Playing in the Rain:

The rain kept a lot of people from the game Friday. The temperatures stayed in the 40s and 50s across Kentucky with heavy downpours. The rain came lightly during and after the game.

Highlands smashes Ryle, 58-13

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

UNION – A little optimism abounded for the home team here – for a quarter.

After a turnover-filled first quarter, the Highlands Bluebirds found their offensive groove. The quick-scoring offense put up 31 points in the second quarter and Highlands pulled away from the host Ryle Raiders, 58-13 at Borland Stadium on Friday.

“The guys just played so well after that start,” said Dale Mueller, Highlands Co-Head Coach. “I was really proud of them. They didn’t lose focus at all. They started executing.”

Class 4A’s top-ranked Bluebirds (9-1) quickly swished the bad taste of last week’s 38-24 loss to Cincinnati Elder, which snapped their 28-game winning streak, out of their mouths. The win also marked their first here since their only loss to a Kentucky team since the start of 2007, 28-26 in 2010.

NewCath extends winning streak to four in a row

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Head Coach Eddie Eviston and the rest of the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds coaching staff made one thing clear to their football team after Tuesday’s practice.

They were not going to let the Thoroughbreds become complacent after breezing through Class 2A, District 6. Fourth-ranked NewCath responded with its biggest win of the season scoring 34 straight points to beat the rival Beechwood Tigers, 34-14 at Newport Stadium on Friday. Both teams finished the regular season 6-4 overall. The Thoroughbreds ended the regular season with four straight wins.

“If you are a champion, and you are a winner, then you’re just going to love the fact that you can go out there and compete on Friday nights,” Eviston told the Cincinnati Enquirer before the game. “It shouldn’t matter what the situation is.”

This marked NewCath’s first win over Class 1A’s fifth-ranked Beechwood since 2009 and first since Eviston took over as head coach in 2010. The Thoroughbreds have still won five of the last seven meetings and moved to 13-23 all-time against the Tigers.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Best Furniture Galley has 12,848 Square feet. With a guess of 12,900 feet, the winner of the $200 gift certificate is .............

Shannon Glascock Hewins. 

Contact me via my email or message us at our Facebook page to figure out how we can get it to you. Thanks everyone who participated, and remember to Like Best Furniture Gallery's Facebook page and Fort Thomas Matters' Facebook page to enter into future contests. 

Van Damme It's Friday (Jeff Ruby, Fort Thomas Jr. Football, Taunya Nolan Jack)

- We're announcing the winner of the Best Furniture giveaway this afternoon at noon. The person who was closest to guessing the amount of square footage throughout their entire store will win a $200 gift certificate. We did a video that showed just how big the store is. It's humongous. I grew up in Fort Thomas and had probably driven by it 1000 times and I was absolutely astonished just how much they had. 

- A few stories I've been working on lately I wanted to let you know about:

1) I interviewed Jeff Ruby on Wednesday. Ruby's got a really interesting connection to Fort Thomas and Highlands that I wanted to delve into. What I found was even more interesting than I had originally thought. 

2) The Fort Thomas Junior Football League is 2 weeks away from concluding its 2012 season. As soon as it is, I've got a story that will highlight the absurdity of the way some parents act during the games. 

You won't want to miss either story, so keep checking back.

- State Senator from Fort Thomas, Katie Stine, endorsed incumbent Campbell Circuit Court Clerk, Taunya Nolan Jack.  Stine, who has been well known for being a watchdog on budgets called Nolan Jack, "experienced, efficient and effective."

- Brighton's Fright Night is tonight at 9:00 at Molly Malone's in Covington. Should be a blast. Side note, Molly Malone's is the best place in the Greater Cincinnati area to watch soccer, for all of those inclined. 

- Have we come up with a consensus for Highlands Football's quest for their 6th straight state championship? I thought it was Race for Seis, but Mio's has a huge banner claiming it's Blitz for Six. 

- What's Fort Thomas selling on Craigslist? 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NewCath battles rival Beechwood to end season

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

It is a tale of two Northern Kentucky football powers with two similar seasons.

Both the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (5-4) and Beechwood Tigers (6-3) struggled early against opponents from bigger schools. But they righted the ship against district competition sweeping through it and are now looking for momentum going into the postseason.

The two teams own a combined 15 state championships. Beechwood’s last state title of 11 overall came in 2008 while NewCath’s last title came in 2010. The Tigers lost to western Kentucky power Mayfield in the last three state semifinals.

The teams meet Friday at 7 p.m. at Newport to conclude the regular season for the sixth straight year. Beechwood has won the last two meetings. The Tigers knocked the Thoroughbreds from the ranks of unbeaten with a 29-20 win last year and won the 2010 meeting, 40-39 in double overtime on a controversial two-point conversion.

Highlands hopes to bounce back against Ryle

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The Highlands Bluebirds football team knows it can’t add on to its state record of 13 undefeated seasons.

But the Bluebirds (8-1) did learn a valuable lesson from Friday’s loss to the Cincinnati Elder Panthers. They need to prepare better for teams like Elder that have big offensive lines and a bruising running back.

“We feel like we made a big step up (Monday),” said Dale Mueller, Highlands Co-Head Coach. “We looked at the film. One guy at the Olympics this past year came in second and said, ‘That’s really what I trained for. That’s what I got.’ We trained for 8-1. That was our fault. Now, we want make sure we train for the state championship.”

Elder running back Chris Schroer ran for 259 yards on 45 carries for an average of 5.8 a carry and five touchdowns in the 38-24 Panther win that snapped Highlands’ 28-game winning streak. Other opponents have tried running between the tackles against the Bluebirds, but not with the same level of success. Boyle County did it well in the first half of the season opener.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

5 Things to Know about Shari’s on the Avenue

In this installment of “5 Things to Know” I reached out to Shari Lother and her full service hair and nail salon, Shari’s on the Avenue.  Shari has been in the hair business for 26 years.  Shari and the wonderful ladies at the salon provide personalized professional service that leaves every customer leaving the salon feeling confident and refreshed.  Of those 26 years Shari has owned her own salon for 17 years, and with such a successful business right in the middle of town Shari’s on the Avenue was the perfect business to feature!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday Evening Fort Thomas Notes

1. The Villa Grande subdivision is petitioning to be added to the Fort Thomas school system.  The development is in city limits but as a result of an evolution over time it along with a spot East of Dayton, KY are still assigned to the Campbell County School District even though the rest of the areas around it are associated with city school districts.

2. If you have seen this man you are asked to call Fort Thomas police.  In addition to drinking 40's he is accused of shop lifting.  I know the owners of the convenient market have really struggled with stopping theft and this could send a strong signal to others if he can be caught.

3. The Cincinnati Business Courier just released a summary of the Top 15 schools with highest ACT scores in NKY and Highlands came in at #2 behind Beechwood.  I was surprised by the disparity between the two schools with an average composite score by Beechwood of 25.6 and Highlands at 23.8.

Mama on a Budget- Fort Thomas Pumpkin Walk

Halloween 2011- Russel and Carl from Pixar- UP
One of Knox’s favorite books right now is called “This is Not a Pumpkin” which is about seventy-nine pages of pumpkin pictures followed by a jack-o-lantern with the punch-line being that everybody knows “pumpkins don’t smile”.  Well, to Bob Staake, the author of that gripping novel, I’d like to say that Jack-o-lanterns do a heck of a lot more than smile or frown as he suggests.  The best ones are replicas of famous works of art, scenes from scary movies, and even a brain.  To see some such examples, make sure to go to the Jack-O-Lantern Walk & Contest, presented by the Fort Thomas Recreation Department on October 25 from 7-9 pm. 
The pumpkin walk itself is quite a lot of fun but preparation begins well before the day of the event.  The pumpkins along the walk are all donated by residents from school-children to local artists.  Prizes are awarded for the best pumpkins in each of the various categories and even a small (very small) prize purse is given away. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Know it's Monday but... (HHS Nation-wide, FTPD blood drive, Citizens Police Academy)

- Highlands' 28-game winning streak and 44-game home winning streak was snapped Friday, as they bowed out to Elder, but that didn't stop NBC's Sunday Night Football from highlighting the Bluebirds during their Bengals/Steelers broadcast Sunday night.

Even though (former Reds broadcaster) Al Michaels called HHS "Highland High" - it was still really cool to see the boys on national TV.

- The Fort Thomas Police is holding their annual blood drive for Hoxworth next Thursday, November 1st from 1-7. If you'd like to sign up for an appointment, go here to do that:

- Staying with the Fort Thomas Police theme, the Citizens Police Academy is accepting applications (which can be turned into our police department) until 11/30/12.

The course starts on January 8, 2013. It will be held every Tuesday from 6:30 PM to approximately 9:00 PM for twelve weeks.

The Citizens Police Academy will be a twelve-week course that citizens can attend for learning about police departments and the criminal justice system. The meetings will be held at various locations in Campbell County and will cover topics in areas of patrol functions, S.W.A.T., firearms, Crime scene investigations, K-9 patrol, accident reconstruction, and Criminal Investigations, Legal system. 

- We'll be announcing the winner of the $200 gift card to Best Furniture on our Van Damme It's Friday Links this Friday. If you got your guess in for the total square footage of their store, be sure to check back Friday to see if you won!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ft. Thomas Library Hosts 'Accidental Friends' Performance

The Ft. Thomas Library is hosting a play from Playhouse in the Park's "Off the Hill" series. The "Off the Hill" series takes its name literally - the performances move out of the playhouse and into various venues throughout the Greater Cincinnati area. You can catch the performance of Accidental Friends at 2:00pm on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at the Ft. Thomas/Carrico Branch.

Michael G. Burns (1943-2012)

Mr. Mike Burns was a fixture at Highlands High School.  He was a teacher and a multi-sport coach that pushed students to achieve for 37 years.  His brash personality preceded him, but his passion for helping his pupils was unwavering.

Mike himself was a gifted athlete specifically in football and softball.  He played both sports in college and coached both sports at Highlands.  He led one Lloyd football team to a state championship and led four Highlands football teams to the same pinnacle of success.
Mike’s personal athletic achievements include Greater Cincinnati Softball Hall of Fame inductee in 1997, and he was also inducted into the Northern Kentucky Coaches Hall of Fame and the Tioga (PA) County Sports Hall of Fame.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Playoff pairings set for Highlands, NewCath football teams

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The playoff matchups have been set for the Highlands Bluebirds and Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds football teams.

Both will be top seeds in their respective classes and favored to win state championships. Highlands (8-1) is going for a Kentucky record six in a row and 22nd overall and NewCath (5-4) hopes for its second in three years and fifth overall.

The Bluebirds won their 16th district championship in 17 years smashing the rest of Class 4A, District 7 by a combined 232-59 with one shutout. The only close game came Sept. 21 in a 35-21 win over the Covington Catholic Colonels.

Newport Central Catholic was never seriously challenged in Class 2A, District 6. The Thoroughbreds outscored the other four opponents, 219-32 with two shutouts. NewCath has won eight straight district championships.

Elder ends Highlands' 28-game winning streak

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

During their impressive run of five state championships, the two losses for the Highlands Bluebirds football team came in even years.

The Bluebirds hopes to buck the trend this year. With the way their seasons have gone, the only game of major concern after the wins over Boyle County, Scott County and Covington Catholic was the home contest against the Cincinnati Elder Panthers of the Greater Catholic League.

That fear came to fruition in a 38-24 loss at David Cecil Memorial on Friday. The Panthers used their huge offensive line to open holes for junior running back Chris Schroer and the Highlands offense missed some opportunities in the defeat.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Campbell Co. Does Not Need a 4th Library

In an attempt to represent both sides of an issue getting a lot of local attention, the proposed library tax, the writers of Fort Thomas Matters have decided to do a point/counterpoint summarizing the arguments both for and against.  It is worth noting, the articles do not necessarily represent the opinions of FTM nor the individual authors of each article and, as always, we encourage you to independently research this and all issues before voting.  Most importantly, we encourage you to exercise your civic duty and vote on November 6th.

Politics are an emotional business. Sometimes it's difficult to have discernment- especially when an issue on the ballot is near and dear to your heart.

One of the issues on the upcoming ballot for Campbell County residents will be whether or not to build a 4th public library in the southern end of the county.

When an issue like this comes up for the public to decipher whether or not it's in our public's best interest to go forth, I try to keep emotion out of it and look at facts. I don't go as far as listing a pro/con sheet on each issue, but in this case, I will. And yes, I know this stance will tick off fellow Mamas on a Budget.

Please take mercy on me. 

Library a Value to Entire Community

In an attempt to represent both sides of an issue getting a lot of local attention, the proposed library tax, the writers of Fort Thomas Matters have decided to do a point/counterpoint summarizing the arguments both for and against.  It is worth noting, the articles do not necessarily represent the opinions of FTM nor the individual authors of each article and, as always, we encourage you to independently research this and all issues before voting.  Most importantly, we encourage you to exercise your civic duty and vote on November 6th.

$31.20.  Essentially, the argument boils down to $31.20.  That is the equivalent of 6.78 Venti Two-pump pumpkin soymilk iced chai tea lattes.  Would I give up nearly seven of these delicious drinks to support the literacy of all residents of the county and to grant fair and equal access to resources no matter the street address?  My answer is a resounding yes!

NewCath claims eighth straight district title

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

TAYLOR MILL – The emotions hit high points in the battle between the last two Class 2A state champions, both from District 6.

But when the final horn sounded, the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds showed why they’re once again the team to beat in the district and region if not the entire state of Kentucky. The Thoroughbreds (5-4 overall, 4-0 district) rolled to their third straight win and 23rd consecutive regular-season win against district opponents with a 49-10 bulldozing of the Covington Holy Cross Indians (3-6, 2-2) on Thursday at Scott High. They ended up outscoring the four district opponents, 219-32.

This marks the eighth consecutive district title for NewCath and 20th overall. The Thoroughbreds improved to 17-2 all-time against Holy Cross. The only losses to the Indians came in 2006 and in the regional title game last year.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Edgewood Drive's Annual Fall Pig Roast

Edgewood Drive likes pig butts and they cannot lie. Seriously, they really do. 

Edgewood Drive feasted on smoked pig butts and an impressive array of homemade side dishes during Edgewood Drive's 2nd Annual Pig Roast on Saturday, October 13. This street just might take the prize for best chefs in Ft. Thomas, and I'm already looking forward to tasting next year's dinner. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Forecast 2020: Show Me the Jobs

Next Tuesday there is a valuable event being offered by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to explore the regional employment outlook over the next 8 years.  Forecast 2020: Show Me the Jobs” will be the next installment in the Fort Thomas Seminar Series. 

Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce    Winter sports tryout information

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Car Accident Victim, Clay Frink, Going Home

Photo courtesy: Facebook/prayforclay

Monday July, 30 tragedy struck Fort Thomas. Highlands Junior, Clay Frink, was hit by a car at the intersection of Highland and Fort Thomas Avenues. 78 days at Childen's Hospital - and finally Clay's going home. God is good.

I can't say it any better than his dad, Neal, so I'll copy a portion of his last post from the Pray for Clay Facebook page.

Mama on a Budget- Benton Farms

I have never loved the fall; it means summer is over and winter is threatening.  My husband, a fall aficionado, tried to get me hooked on the smell of a crisp morning or the beauty of the changing leaves but was finally successful a few years ago when we cooked and pureed pumpkins to use fresh pumpkin in a variety of different recipes.  Since that fall, it has been my personal mission to eat as many pumpkin-flavored items as possible and to find the perfect fall pumpkin farm.  This year, I think I may have succeeded.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Early Weak-Links (Miss Kentucky, Deer, 471 Traffic, Brighton Fright Night)

- Apparently I was the weak link (see what I did there?) in the last episode of Mark vs. Food at Quaker Steak and Lube in Florence, KY last Friday. 

FOX19s Frank Marzullo, who had been in New York City hobnobbing with the likes of Rachel Ray during the week, came down with a stomach bug 3 hours before the event.  My bride, along with my Miss Kentucky Amanda Mertz and her boyfriend, Josh Sweigert stepped up to the plate for Frank and hit it out of the park. 

Team #WinTheCup  defeated Team Beverly Hill Country Club in the narrowest of margins before a raucous crowd in the Atomic Hot Wing Challenge. I did finish the challenge in record time, so I may try to claim victory in the sixth battle of #MarkvsFood, and have my 6-0 record sporting an asterisk.

Zeke the Intern is working on producing the video for your viewing pleasure. All joking aside, the real winner here was once again, The Brighton Center. Thanks again to sponsors for this event (, Moba Interactive Inc and Quaker Steak and Lube - especially Maria Kunkel). 

- It's deer mating season. Obviously if you live in Fort Thomas, you've seen bucks on the prowl. In the parks, in your backyard, or running the streets, make sure you've got your radar up.

Fort Thomas was spotlighted in a story in The Enquirer, in which Art Lander, spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, called our city's bow hunting ordinance "a model program in Kentucky."

- Northbound 471 construction is finished and the Southbound construction is slated to start in April of next year. Northbound lanes were reduced from 4 lanes to 2 for 70 days this summer. Southbound lanes will be reduced from 4 lanes to 2 for approximately just under 90 days this spring.


Here's the biggest impact on Fort Thomas from the article:

To alleviate congestion on the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge, the right-hand lane that now exits onto Ky. 8 in Newport will be extended south to the Memorial Parkway exit.

The Brighton Center Emerging Leaders is hosting Brighton Fright Night Friday, October 26 at Molly Malone's in Covington. It's a $10 donation at the door for drink specials, a costume contest, raffle tickets for over $1,000 in prizes. Should be a good time.

Pumpkin Smashing

Holiday Lane- Fort Thomas Ky

Well, once again a lively discussion has ensued on our Facebook page which I love to see!  The only downside is that this time, it was started by an event that caused my son to burst into tears: the theft and subsequent smashing of the pumpkins he had searched so hard for at Benton Farms (see Mama on a Budget story for this, coming tomorrow).  I posted the picture of Holiday Ln. where dozens of pumpkins were smashed in the road and asked “How do we stop this Fort Thomas tradition?”
As of this morning, there are 34 comments on this topic ranging from “That’s hilarious” to suggestions to put tacks on the bottoms of the pumpkins or “doggie doo doo” and the creation of new traditions such as one reader who suggested Ft. Thomas celebrate a “pumpkin smashing day” after Halloween and make it a fun and controlled event.   There were also discussions about the need for increased police patrol in October, knowing this is an issue and, quite possibly most pointedly, cries for people to know where there kids were and what they are doing.
It was a mix between some real rage and some who found comedy in the situation.  Personally, I take issue with the fact that it is the theft and destruction of property even if it is only intended by the thieves to be a harmless prank.  Additionally, it does not make me feel safe to know that people are coming on to my porch and stealing things from me. 
This “tradition”, which we called “Cabbage Day” when we were in high school, has been going on for more than a decade at least and I have never seen any attempts at curbing this.  I enjoyed reading the suggestions about how to redirect the behavior in a positive manner.  To me, what was most germane, was the question posed by several readers to the parents of those who were doing the destruction (I am assuming it was bored teenagers): do you know what your kids are doing?
As a society, it seems a lot of us have deviated from parenting our children instead choosing to befriend and accommodate and indulge them but as a community, I was hoping we were better than that.  To me, “it takes a village” is not just a turn of phrase but a call to action for a community to educate our young people and raise them to make good decisions, not “harmless pranks” and “victimless crimes” which actually reduce our even younger kids to tears.
A pumpkin costs only $4.00 but at what true cost was it smashed?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thoroughbreds run away from Wildcats, 49-0

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The seventh-ranked Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds football team wanted to win consecutive games for the first time this year.

They did that with a 49-0 thumping of the in-town rival Newport Wildcats on Friday in the Fireman’s Bell. The Thoroughbreds moved back to .500 at 4-4 overall and 3-0 in Class 2A, District 6 action. The Wildcats fell to 3-6 and 1-2.

“We played well from the very first play through the final horn,” said Eddie Eviston, NewCath head coach. “I think our kids were focused and into it. It was good to see.”

Highlands holds own against Diamond Spread attack

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

COVINGTON – The Highland Bluebirds football team’s defense faced a spread offense for the second consecutive week.

But it was a different spread look. The Covington Holmes Bulldogs came out in the Diamond spread look unlike the traditional one-back formation that Pendleton County employed last week.

The Bulldogs lined up either quarterbacks Desean Peterson or Frederick Vickers in the shotgun and had two running backs beside them and one behind them in an offense similar to what the University of Nevada employs. Six different players ran the ball for Holmes, who came in without injured quarterback Rashawn Coston.

“Basically, we just had someone key the quarterback and watch his every move,” said Jehad Henderson, Highlands senior linebacker. “When he ran to one side, you came at an angle and tried to (tackle) him the best you could.”

Highlands claims 16th district title in 17 years

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

COVINGTON – Fans and outsiders see things like overall program wins and consecutive state championships.

But the Highlands Bluebirds football team players and coaches will be the first to say they look at accomplishing things on a day-to-day or year-to-year basis. This year’s Bluebirds can now say they have an undisputed Class 4A, District 7 championship after a 57-28 victory over the host Covington Holmes Bulldogs at Tom Ellis Field on Friday.

“We were looking to play really well in this game,” said Dale Mueller, Highlands Co-Head Coach. “The guys were ready to play and we jumped on them right from the start.”

The Bluebirds (8-0 overall, 4-0 district) have won six consecutive district championships and 16 in the previous 17 seasons. The only year they did not win a title was 2006 when Covington Catholic beat them on a last-second touchdown pass.

Highlands bulldozed the rest of the district after beating arch-rival Covington Catholic, 35-21 on Sept. 21. They outscored Pendleton County, Harrison County and Holmes a combined 197-38. The Bluebirds contained the Bulldog offense and their Spread Diamond attack (see side story).

Highlands extended its winning streak to 28 with the win. The Bluebirds have scored 455 points, 65 touchdowns and put up 4,206 yards of total offense. That averages just under 57 points, just more than eight touchdowns and 525.8 yards per contest.

Holmes came into the game an improved team. The Bulldogs are 5-3 and 2-1 and could face Covington Catholic in a battle for second place and a home playoff game in the first round of the playoffs this Friday. Holmes won four games last year and lost 77-0 at Highlands.

The Bluebirds outgained the Bulldogs, 562-340 in total offense, including 418-87 at halftime. This included 303-51 through the air. Quarterback Donovan McCoy completed 12-of-18 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns – all in the first half.

McCoy and backup quarterback Drew Houliston completed 16 passes to 11 different receivers. Luke Turner led the way with two catches for 67 yards. Ryan Greene, Luke Brockett, Nick True and Jaylen Hayes also had two catches respectively.

Zach Harris had another big game running the ball for the Bluebirds. He gained 110 yards on three carries for an amazing average of 36.7 yards per touch and one touchdown. Hayes finished with 73 yards rushing on 14 carries for an average of 5.2 a touch and Ryan Donovan had two touchdowns carrying the ball 15 times for 70 yards and an average of 4.7 a carry.

“We rested some guys,” Mueller said. “We got Zach Harris out after he ran the ball three times. It was a good game for us.”

The Bluebirds jumped out on the Bulldogs in the first quarter and never looked back. Colin Seidl returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown and McCoy completed the two-point conversion pass to Brandon Hergott.

Highlands received the ball back about two minutes later and struck quickly. Harris broke free for a 71-yard touchdown.

The Bluebirds received the ball at the 50 after the Bulldogs failed to convert a 4th-and-1. Harris ripped off two runs for 39 yards after an incomplete pass and McCoy found Jack Grimm in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass to put Highlands up 22-0. The offensive line gave McCoy enough time to find Grimm on the play.

“The team executed the plays (Friday),” Grimm said. “They (offensive linemen) gave Donovan (McCoy) the opportunity to see what’s going on from the backfield. It depends on the play call. Once we see Donovan scrambling, we try to find the open hole to let him throw the ball to.”

Highlands was not finished. The Bluebirds scored again minutes later when Jensen Feggins scored on a 57-yard touchdowns reception. Highlands led 29-0 after the first quarter.

The Bluebirds extended the margin to 50-14 at halftime. Greene caught a 27 pass from McCoy and Highlands scored twice in the final minute. Donovan cut around the left side for a 9-yard scamper and Highlands received the ball back at its 33 with 25 seconds remaining after three Holmes incomplete passes.

“We work on various things,” Mueller said. “We work on the end of the half a lot. We execute that really well. A big part of football is at the end of the game, if the game is on the line, you have to be able to get down the field and score.”

McCoy completed a 31-yard pass to Turner to the Holmes 36. After two incomplete passes, Brockett lined up for a field goal. But the Bluebirds decided to take a shot at the end zone with one second remaining after the Bulldogs jumped offsides. McCoy lofted a pass toward the end zone and Turner grabbed the tipped pass for the 31-yard score.

“Before the play started, we knew it was hail mary so I told the other two (wide receivers) to tip it outside because we had done it the play before and it almost worked,” Turner said. “We just hoped it would work that time.”

The Bluebirds scored just one touchdown in the second half. It came with 28 seconds remaining when Donovan scored on a 5-yard touchdown.

Highlands did move the ball in the second half. They lost a fumble at the Holmes 9 and did not convert a 4th-and-goal on two trips to the red zone.
The Bluebirds face 5-3 Cincinnati Elder on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Fort Thomas.

Anita's Mexican Bar and Grill Lunch Specials

The first time I walked into Anita's Mexican Bar and Grill, it was absolutely packed. Luckily it was a nice night, so we were able to find a seat on the newly built patio outside.

The chips and salsa were brought out quickly, but the thought went through my head that we could be there a while. A brand new restaurant, with brand new servers and a raucous crowd generally means you're going to be left waiting longer than you would have liked.

Then our server came. Not agitated, calm and prompt. As crowded as it was, we were served quickly. The food was amazing, the drinks never got low. Have I mentioned the margarita's have Frisch's ice?!

At the end of the meal, I wanted to meet the owner, Pedro Meza. I asked the little worker who was tirelessly refilling our chips and salsa. He pointed out Pedro, who just happened to also be our server that night.

With that I knew: Anita's was going to be a success. Meza, who could obviously see the servers were being stretched thin with the large crowd, took the bull by the horns and started serving tables, busing tables, running drinks.

Here are the lunch specials, specifically for our Fort Thomas Matters readers. All lunch specials plus a drink for only $5.99. They are super fast and will get you in and out.

Special Lunch #1
One beer chile relieno, one chicken taco, beans and guacamole salad.

Special Lunch #2
One chicken burrito, rice and beans.

Special Lunch #3
One beef burrito, one beef taco with your choice of rice or beans.

Special Lunch #4
One lightly breaded cheese stuffed poblano pepper, rice and beans.

Special Lunch #5
One beef taco, one cheese quesadilla and rice.

Speedy Gonzalez
One beef taco, one cheese enchilada with your choice or rice or beans.

Try them out for lunch and - bold statement alert - Anita's is better than Rio Grande. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Throughbreds win second straight district title

Photo by G. Michael Graham. The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds won their second straight district title with a 1-0 win over Highlands at Tower Park on Thursday.

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

There are many reasons to throw out records once the postseason comes around.

One is the return of key players from injuries.

The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds soccer team played competitive soccer all year, but had a hard time finding victories because of injuries, defensive mistakes and an inability to score goals. That changed Thursday in NewCath’s 1-0 District 36 victory over the Highlands Bluebirds at Tower Park. Both teams advance to the 9th Region Tournament.

This marked the second consecutive district title for the Thoroughbreds. They beat Bishop Brossart for the 19th District title last year before beating Covington Catholic, 1-0 to win the 10th Region crown and losing 1-0 to Montgomery County in the first round of the state tournament.

NewCath also beat Highlands for the first time since 2004. The Bluebirds went 11-0-2 in the last 13 meeting against the Thoroughbreds, including a 2-0 win on Sept. 22 at Tower Park.

Lady Breds defeat Ladybirds for first district title since 2005

Photo by G. Michael Graham. The Newport Central Catholic Lady Breds soccer team claimed its first district title since 2005 with a 2-0 win against Highlands at Tower Park on Thursday.

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Both soccer teams knew they were headed to the 9th Region Tournament.

It was just a matter of pride and momentum unlike previous years in the old 19th District with Bishop Brossart and Campbell County.

The Newport Central Catholic Lady Breds came away with both in a 2-0 victory at Tower Park on Thursday. NewCath (12-5-1 overall) won its first district championship since 2005 and snapped a run of six consecutive district titles for the Ladybirds (3-10-3). Heavy thunder and lightning forced the cancellation of the regular season meeting for the two squads.

The Lady Breds had not been to the regional tournament since 2009. They came into the 19th District Tournament as the top seeds last year, but Highlands won the semifinal contest 1-0 before losing 4-1 to eventual state champion Notre Dame in the 10th Region title game.

Van Damme It's Friday Links (Quaker Steak and Lube, Sgt. Zachary Rawlings, Blighted Properties, Sgt. Casey Kilgore,

Photo Credit: FOX19

Sergeant Zachary Rawlings, who recently finished a 10-month tour in Afghanistan, has been welcomed home by multiple signs and marquees throughout Fort Thomas.

When he returned home last week, he began his second mission. Rawlings started a Facebook page, Running For Our Heros, where he pledged to run 1,000 miles to raise money for the families of  fallen soldiers PFC Brandon Pickering, of Fort Thomas, and SPC Russell Madden of Bellevue. 

He's raised $3,000 so far, with a goal of $10,000 and plans on finishing the final 100 miles here on American soil.

- Tonight is Episode VI at Quaker Steak and Lube in Florence, KY with Miss Kentucky Amanda Mertz and FOX19s Frank Marzullo. Come on out. A portion of your dinner proceeds with go to The Brighton Center.

Miss Kentucky 2012, Amanda Mertz

- Congrats to Fort Thomas Police Sgt. Casey Kilgore, who graduated from the FBI National Academy. I've interacted with Sgt. Kilgore a number of times and he's the epitome of what an officer should be: polite, professional and someone you'd want to have a drink with - off duty of course.

- From our buddies at The River City News, 49 properties are slated to be razed in Covington, pending approval of the state preservation office.

I've tackled this issue in Fort Thomas from time to time on FTM - with no response from the city - and while there certainly aren't 49 properties in our city that would meet the requirement to be razed, there ARE properties that are hurting the city and need to be demolished.

Of the 49 homes in Covington set to be razed, about half are city owned - the rest are privately owned. Some of the reasons given for demolition are: abandoned and blighted, highly visible; owners non-responsive; owners deceased, blighted and abandoned; structural damage; materials being stolen.

- What's Fort Thomas Selling on Craigslist?
I don't know what's sadder about this jacket: the fact that it exists or the fact that the guy selling it originally bought it for $400. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Late, Mid-week News Update

A few items of note over the past week or so....

1. There is a very cool note from the airplane crash victim, Gary Johnston, on the Fort Thomas Matters Facebook page.  He speaks kindly of the emergency response team and gives a special thank you to Tom Morrison for calling 911.

2. I found this really cool video on Youtube where someone recently sent a remote controlled glider with a video camera around Fort Thomas.  There are some great shots of the river and the homes surrounding it as well as the trees changing colors.

3. The Highland United Methodist Church historian needs your help.  They are looking for anything relating to Highland United Methodist Church history, including photos of any church related events such as weddings, children’s activities, church sponsored outings, etc. Also, newspaper/magazine clippings or documentation of any group outing or event, etc. (Anything HUMC-related that would help to record our past would be most welcome.!) Please submit to