Saturday, August 31, 2013

Highlands hammers Campbell County, 50-8


By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

This in-county game might become a great rivalry one day.

But on Friday, it was all Blue and White after the first quarter. The Highlands Bluebirds rolled to a 50-8 victory over the visiting Campbell County Camels in the 60th overall meeting between the two teams, but first since 2004.

Notebook: Bluebirds handle heat well


G. Michael Graham Photo. Highlands running back Zach Harris (center) takes a handoff in Friday's 50-8 win over Campbell County while Ryan Greene (80) and Tyler Schweitzer (77) block. The Bluebirds improved to 51-9 all-time against the Camels with the victory.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Hydration is a big thing during the early warm months of the season.

Games have been played in 80-degree temperatures to start the season. But that does not bother Highlands Bluebirds football team because of its depth. The Bluebirds are 2-0 after a 50-8 win over Campbell County on Friday.

“The guys do a good job of getting water,” said Dale Mueller, Highlands Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator. “They start all through the day. You see them in classes drinking water or Gatorade. Then they get to the game and they’re already ahead in the game.”

Jaguars pull away from Thoroughbreds in second half


G. Michael Graham Photo. The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds line up in their recent win over Ashland. NewCath fell to Cooper, 31-22 on Friday in the Skyline Crosstown Showdown at Dixie Heights.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Most teams who come out plus-four in the turnover department win football games.

But that did not happen for the Newport Central Thoroughbreds in the Skyline Crosstown Showdown at Dixie Heights on Friday. The Cooper Jaguars still moved the ball better in a 31-22 victory. Both teams are 1-1 on the season.

Cooper lost all six fumbles and the Thoroughbreds threw two interceptions. But the Jaguars outgained the Thoroughbreds, 376-209 in total offense. NewCath could not stop the balanced Cooper attack. Jaguar quarterback Will Ludwig completed 17-of-29 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns in the win.

“I knew they were going to be a pretty decent, tough team and they were,” said Dan Wagner, NewCath head coach. “We had momentum early and lost it. Once they got it, they didn’t let it go.”

Friday, August 30, 2013

3 Easy Steps to Listen to FortThomasMatters Radio

Van DAMME It's Friday!



1) Listen here:
2) Go to iTunes. Type in "Fort Thomas Matters" and download our podcast to your iPod, iPhone or iPad.

3) Go to our Podbean page to listen to the current and past editions. That is found here

Shoutout to Zeke the Intern for walking me through this.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

BREAKING: FTPD Reports Daytime Burglaries Trend for August

This picture was taken on Lumley Avenue after the neighbors there called the police. The crew in the picture drew three Fort Thomas Police cruisers and the woman was taken into custody.

The FTPD have released an E-lert this afternoon reporting a rising trend in burglaries and break-ins over the last month.

The E-lert reads:

"Over the course of the last 30 days, there have been 8 daytime burglaries committed in Fort Thomas. These are by far the most difficult to catch, as people moving about during broad daylight alone is not considered suspicious activity. When the first of these occurred, we were hopeful that a pattern, trend or MO would emerge, but at this time there are none."

The E-lert also indicates that there are no suspects at this time, and that no trends have been identified in entry or whether or not the home is equipped with an alarm system.

The notice also makes clear that this issue is not isolated to Fort Thomas, but several cities in the area are suffering from the same issue.

Lt.'s Rich Whitford and Ken Fecher both associate this string of daytime burglaries, in part, with the larger trend in drug abuse (particularly the heroine epidemic) that has begun in Northern Kentucky over the last few years.

The E-lert also provides a list of steps residents can take to assist the FTPD in this investigation:


  1. Be smart, be nosey, be alert. If you see someone lingering around an area and it just doesn't seem right, call the dispatch center (859-292-3622) and report it. If you see a burglary in progress, dial 911.
  2. Take care to protect your property. Communicate with neighbors if you are going to be gone. Let them know if you will have someone out of the ordinary at your home when you are gone for the day. If you know that your neighbor's home is unoccupied during the day and you see anything out of the ordinary happening, call the dispatch center.
  3. Be alert for DOORBELL DITCH. We believe that the suspects are ringing doorbells and/or knocking. They watch to see if anyone answers. If so, they move on. If you have this happen to you when you are home, it is worth calling in at this point. If you answer and no one is there, go outside and stroll around to see if anyone emerges.
  4. Get descriptions. If you are calling in on something that you saw or someone, please give them a good look. License plates and car descriptions. Person descriptions in great detail. Anything you see is worth noting, and again, call it in.
  5. DON'T OVER THINK IT. If you think something is wrong, call it in. All too often we hear after the fact that people saw something suspicious but talked themselves out of calling it in. You are not bothering us.
Lt. Fecher urges residents to sign up for the FTPD E-lert system. You can do so by emailing the FTPD and indicating you'd like to receive FTPD E-lerts.

Also, if you previously subscribed to the E-lert service with an Insight email address, Lt. Fecher reminds you to make sure your email service has transferred to Time Warner. He is reporting several dozen email addresses not receiving E-lerts because of this issue.

NewCath battles 2012 5A runner-up



G. Michael Graham Photo. Newport Central Catholic linebacker Jack Sutkamp lays out Ashland wide receiver Rj Washington in Friday's win while teammates Logan Neff (54), Kole Zenni (9) and Colin Hoover (6) converge. The Thoroughbreds hope for more hits like that during the year defensively.

By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds football team tends to reload with the best in Kentucky.

Their opponent Friday hopes to develop that same consistency. The Thoroughbreds face the Cooper Jaguars for the first time in school history at 6 p.m. in the Skyline Crosstown Showdown at Dixie Heights.

Both teams are coming off successful 2012 campaigns. The Thoroughbreds won their fifth state championship with a 30-26 win over the Caldwell County Tigers in the Class 2A state championship and the Jaguars lost to Bowling Green, 34-20 a few hours later.

Highlands, Campbell Country renew county rivalry



G. Michael Graham Photo. Highlands wide receiver Brandon Hergott (middle) finds a lot of open space after making a catch in Saturday's game against University Christian while teammate Jensen Feggins (16) follows. The six-time defending state champion Bluebirds face Campbell County at 7 p.m. Friday.

By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

They do not want this football game to be about them.

But when the pupil and staff are trying to implement similar concepts that have made the mentor and staff successful over the years, it’s a storyline that is hard to overlook. Highlands Bluebirds Head Coach Dale Mueller and Campbell County Head Coach Stephen Lickert both said they cheer for each other and their teams when they’re not playing each other.

That one game takes place on Friday in Fort Thomas when the Bluebirds and Camels meet on the gridiron for the first time since 2004 at David Cecil Memorial Stadium. The 60th meeting between the two county rivals takes place at 7 p.m.

Jeff Ruby Responds to Lawsuit

A Personal Note From Jeff Ruby8.28.13by Jeff Ruby
Dear Friends,
Even though I have been advised to not litigate through the media, after watching one-sided, accusatory news coverage, I agree with my team that I must respond. I will keep it brief. I know you are smart enough to connect the dots.
We have the greatest employees in the world. We invest a tremendous amount of resources into ensuring they have the necessary training, knowledge and experience to perform to the best of their ability. Simply put, our servers are the best in the business. Therefore, they are highly compensated—averaging $65K a year, with shifts that average 7 hours a day. Because of my gratitude toward them, I pay one million per year out of my own pocket so every employee from dishwasher up has 100% company-paid health insurance coverage. The billion dollar restaurant chains (including casinos) don’t provide the coverage I do. My team is my family and I love them dearly. We look forward to defending our loyalty to them.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Police Round-Up: South Side Vandalism, Labor Day Weekend, Phantom Gunshots, and the Dispatch Numbers



Since we didn't do a Police Round Up last week on FTM, this week's post will recount the last 2 weeks' in FTPD news.



Vandalism on the South Side

Graffiti on the street in southern Fort Thomas. Photo credit: Ben Petracco

Last week, FTM broke the story on graffiti cropping up on the southern end of Fort Thomas, on South Ft. Thomas Ave. and on Grandview Ave.

The vandalism -- at least that which has been found so far -- is limited to graffiti on street signs, other street features (see above), and neighborhood local business's signs.

The FTPD is still gathering information regarding the vandalism. FTM will report when they have released that information.

Graffiti on the street in southern Fort Thomas. Photo credit: Ben Petracco

Graffiti on the street in southern Fort Thomas. Photo credit: Ben Petracco
Hearing Gun Shots?

As you'll see below in the Dispatch call report, the last two weeks saw another "Gun Run/Shots Fired" call to dispatch on Aug. 17th. According to FTPD Lt. Ken Fecher, the call was cleared as "unable to locate." 

"This is common in town," Lt. Fecher said, "especially around the streets along the river. Any loud crack gets called in as possible shots fired and is often unfounded. It can be anything from fireworks, to backfires of engines or someone firing a gun in the woods." 

Despite the drama of the Aug. 6 shooting on Grand Ave., because of the variety of possible, often unidentifiable sources for the sound, many of the "gunshots fired" calls to dispatch lead to a blind search of the area and little more.

Labor Day Weekend


Whether you believe it or not, it is that time of year again... time for WEBN Riverfest and the Labor Day fireworks. And as with any major celebration like this, the FTPD has a few suggestions on how to make it fun as well as safe and respectful to the community.

Lt. Fecher says respect for your neighbors is the name of the game. "This means, please do not invade anyone's private property for viewing unless you have permission," he says. "If you park or sit in a public place, please do so in a manner that does not impede traffic or pedestrians."

And if you'll be venturing down to Newport, Bellevue, or Covington to view the fireworks, Lt. Fecher suggests reading up on that city's protocols for the weekend.

"And in both situations," continues Fecher, "we ask that people follow the public alcohol consumption laws and pack out whatever litter they may have."

Calls to Dispatch, 8/11-24

Over the last 2 weeks, there were 675 calls to dispatch for FTPD, and the trends we've seen this summer so far have remained steady. The busiest day for calls through the middle of August was Friday, with 120 total calls to dispatch from 8/16 and 8/23.

Of note, the last two weeks saw calls for:

  • Disturbance - 19
  • Animal complaint - 11
  • Suspicious Persons/Vehicles - 47
  • Traffic Stops - 145
  • Assist other Agency - 33
  • Gun Run/Shots Fired - 1
  • Disorderly Juveniles - 11




Former NFL Player, Current ESPN Analyst Merril Hoge Hosts "Heads Up Football" in Fort Thomas


Merril Hoge will spend some time with the Fort Thomas Junior Football League tonight after their games at Highlands High School. 
Hoge will join other past NFL players such as Barry Sanders, Randall Cunningham, David Fulcher, Jake Plummer and former Highlands High School standout, Marty Moore.  
More than 900 youth football leagues across the United States representing more than 200,000 players and 30,000 coaches nationwide have committed to the health and safety of their young players by adopting Heads Up Football, a new USA Football pilot program for the 2013 season dedicated to making the game better and safer.
The Heads Up Football program promotes a positive youth football experience and advances player safety by providing coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches. Heads Up Football aims to take the head out of the game.
USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams.
Heads Up Football is comprised of five primary elements:
Heads Up Tackling
·     USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling technique, endorsed by medical and football experts, teaches players to keep their heads up and out of the line of contact.
Coaching certification
·     All coaches within a youth program are trained to teach the game’s fundamentals by completing USA Football’s nationally accredited Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.
Concussion recognition and response
·     Coaches learn and are assessed on CDC concussion recognition and response through USA Football’s Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.
·     Coaches, parents and players are taught concussion-related protocols at the start of the season at a leaguewide clinic and have them reinforced throughout the season.
Player Safety Coach
·     Appointed by each participating Heads Up Football youth organization. This individual is trained by USA Football to implement Heads Up Football’s player safety protocols, including coaching certification, and conducts safety clinics for coaches, parents and players.
Equipment fitting
·     Coaches, parents and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.
Seventy-eight former NFL players also will participate in the program as Heads Up Football Ambassadors, working with youth leagues to reinforce the Heads Up message.
Youth coaches of participating leagues will be trained in Heads Up Football techniques before leading their teams this season. All head coaches and assistant coaches are required to complete USA Football’s accredited Level 1 Coaching Certification Course, which includes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response protocols; proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting; and Heads Up Tackling techniques, which aim to take the head out of the line of contact, and teach proper fundamentals.
Parents can help ensure their youth football players are participating in a better and safer brand of football by visiting www.usafootball.com. Youth leagues can register online today for Heads Up Football and to have their coaches certified

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More Updates on Newport Pavilion (When Will Other Retailers Open? Olive Garden? More Traffic?)

Obviously the big news of the day was the fact that TJ Maxx is headed to The Newport Pavilion. The discount clothing retailer's bricks and mortar are already under construction on the south corner of the development next to Dick's Sporting Goods.

The long-term speculation was that Marshall's could be the next retailer to be announced, but it turns out its sister store was the next on the block. Back in June, FortThomasMatters made some guesses about what would be the next retailer. While we guessed correctly that it would be a clothing-first retailer, we were a little off base from TJ Maxx.

A few more updates from our past stories and some questions sent to us on behalf of our readers. This information is directly from our Anchor Associates contact:

Monday, August 26, 2013

TJ MAXX to Newport Pavilion

Per our contact at Anchor Associates, the discount retailer will open in a 23,000-square-foot space at the Newport Pavilion.

Along with Kroger Marketplace, Target and Dick's Sporting Goods, TJ Maxx will bring the first true, "clothing first" retailer to the development.

T.J. Maxx is already under construction next to the Dick’s. 

This story will be updated. 


The Heroin(e) Diaries (Part 4)


With the help of The Brighton Recovery Center for Women and a special woman named, Mel, FortThomasMatters has been quietly rolling out The Heroin(e) Diaries over the last month and a half. You wouldn't find these stories touted on our Facebook or Twitter pages for the simple fact that I didn't know how these stories would be received. I know Mel and work with The Brighton Center and I know the miracles they perform on a daily basis, but for someone unfamiliar with the addiction disease, they may not have understood why I was talking about heroine and addiction. I wanted to protect them. 

These stories are different from what you are used to on FTM, but judging from the amount of clicks these stories get, you think they are important.

So do I. 

Good and important content always find a way. Perhaps with the death of 30-year old Fort Thomas native, Nicholas Specht, on August 12th, this story needs to be screamed from the hilltops of Fort Thomas. You can read about Nicholas' fight with heroine here (72 Hours of Heroine), via one of our readers' blogs. 

I actually remember Nicholas from kindergarten. We completely lost touch early on in grade school, but deaths like that always seem to affect you more than you think they would. 

Stories like Nicholas' make Mel's all the more important. She is one of the lucky ones that was able to live to tell about her addiction story. You can read the first 3 parts of her story below:


Melissa is a 37 year old woman struggling with addiction. She is fighting her way through addiction with the help of the Brighton Recovery Center for Women.

In an effort to put a face on addiction, FortThomasMatters.com is documenting her journey. It's real and raw and relevant. She is our Northern Kentucky neighbor. She is our heroine. Her story is important.

Here's Mel:
________

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Highlands gives good showing on national television (Video Highlights)


By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

A lot of the nation now knows why this football team is the deeply talented Highlands Bluebirds.

The Bluebirds took some big punches early on against the feisty University Christian Fighting Christians. But the Bluebirds once again responded with a huge counterpunch scoring 47 straight points to beat the Jacksonville (Fla.) visitors, 47-17 Saturday afternoon in the season-opener for both teams on ESPNU.

“We always say, ‘If we’re down two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, that’s our game,” said Dale Mueller, Highlands Co-Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator. “We’re going to win that game because we’re going to battle until the end. It started off really slow for us but we didn’t miss a beat.”

Injured players still have roles for Bluebirds


G. Michael Graham Photo. Highlands sophomore defensive lineman Tyler Robinson (50) puts pressure on University Christian quarterback Billy Cobb (4) in Saturday's game. Robinson recorded the sack in the Bluebirds' 47-17 win.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter         

It can be a hard pill to swallow when you’re told you’re out for the entire football season.

The Highlands Bluebirds have endured their fair share of injuries early in the season. But for now, only two will not play this entire season. Senior offensive lineman Johnny Kemplin is out because of back issues and junior running back Josh Watson will miss because of a torn anterior cruciated ligament.

But both still plan to contribute to the team. Kemplin has been filming games.

“Johnny Kemplin is an example of guy that’s out for the good of the team,” said Dale Mueller, Highlands Co-Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator. “We’re a fraternity of guys that are out to help the guys win. They may have injuries, but they're still going to do what they can to help the team win.”

Saturday, August 24, 2013

NCC outlasts Ashland, 37-26 (Video Highlights)


By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

NEWPORT – Friday’s victory gave great signs toward another big year based on the way they tend to improve as the season progresses.

The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds held off the visiting Ashland Blazer Tomcats, 37-26 to open the season. The two teams had not met since NewCath Head Coach Dan Wagner’s senior year in 1976 – a 21-7 Tomcat win.

“They had trouble stopping us, which I didn’t really think they could stop us after the second or third series,” Wagner said. “But then by the same token, we had trouble stopping them. In Mac (Franzen’s) first football game (at quarterback), we’re not going to come out and play perfect football. It doesn’t work. But we stopped when we had to. I just told them that was the worst we’ll play all year.”

Friday, August 23, 2013

Van Damme It's Friday Links (Jeff Ruby Contest for $2,500, Fort Thomas Jewelers Moves, FTMRadio Podcast Details)


Van DAMME It's Friday! 

- I'm sure you parents that have kids back in school are praising Fort Thomas Independent Schools for scheduling a 3-day week to get the hectic new routines under control. Incognito Van Damme agrees. Lots of things to look forward to this weekend!


FTMRadio will be at Fort Thomas Central tomorrow at 1:00-2:30 for the 2013 Highlands Football Kickoff Tailgate. We'll be there, live podcasting and Barb Thomas at Fort Thomas Central will have Free eats, Sips & Dips and Music, with a 10% Bluebird discount. 

Stop in before you head to the game! GO BIRDS!

- Could you use $2,500? Well if you can't, stop reading. Everyone still here? Good. Lead site sponsor, Jeff Ruby and Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment has a contest going to give away $2,500 to one lucky person who exhibits a creative way to utilize their #JeffRuby carry out bag. See details below. 


- A "Random Act of Art" broke out on North Fort Thomas Ave this past week in front of Johnson Elementary . I had not actually been aware of these random acts of art, but it's a kind of a really neat thing. 

Has anyone else seen any of these scenes, like the one below, around Fort Thomas? I like these much better than the vandalism happening on the South end of town. 



- Fort Thomas Jewelers began moving into their new digs this week. I went Wednesday, and they were in "move-in-and-put-furniture-together" mode. I did not stay long because I abhor putting furniture together and if they asked, I would have had to help. So I left. But I did get a few pictures. 

They are on Alexandria Way (formerly Alexandria Pike) across from Applebees. When their brand new location is opened, they'll be opening with a City Barbecue and Sprint stores as their neighbors. Although they will be in Cold Spring, I think it's really cool they kept the name "Fort Thomas Jewelers." 

Give them about a week, then go see Vince and Renai. It's going to blow you away. 


- Longtime reader and Fort Thomas resident, Randy Adams, is coordinating a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University at Highland United Methodist Church in Fort Thomas this fall.  

The course is nine weeks and begins on September 9. Free child care is available. Meeting will be  on Mondays at 6:30 pm. For more information, or to register go to:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Highlands opens campaign on national television


G. Michael Graham Photo. Highlands quarterback Drew Houliston (right) lines up to take the snap in the Bluebirds' Spread offensive formation in the scrimmage Friday at Louisville Trinity. The Bluebirds take on the University Christian (Fla.) Fighting Christians on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in a nationally-televised game on ESPNU.

By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The Highlands Bluebirds football team may have 98 seasons under its belt.

But the 99th edition opens the season with a huge first. The Bluebirds had never played a team outside Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana until Saturday when the University Christian Fighting Christians of Jacksonville (Fla.) come to town for a nationally-televised game on ESPNU at 3:30 p.m.

UC head coach David Penland was the roommate of former Highlands player T.J. Kramer at Georgetown College. Penland called Highlands Co-Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Dale Mueller about playing this game that will feature a battle of defending state champions. The Bluebirds have won six consecutive, including the last two 4A titles, for a grand total of 22 championships while the Fighting Christians won the Florida 2A title last year, 28-10 over Dade Christian near Miami. That marked the seventh title for UC and first since 1994.

“Nobody calls us (to schedule a game) so we were just jumping up and down,” Mueller said. “Then I talked to (UC President and Superintendent Frank Ciresi) and we later made the arrangements to play the game. We’re going to play games that prepare us for the games that determine whether we win the state championship.”

NCC opens tough pre-district schedule against Ashland Blazer


By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds football team is not afraid to play teams in bigger classes to prepare for district play and this year is no different.

The defending Class 2A champions open the year against one of the top 10 teams in Kentucky in overall wins on Friday in the Ashland Blazer Tomcats. Ashland ranks ninth in the state with 645 wins in school history.

“We’re using those first five games as a measuring stick,” said Dan Wagner, NewCath Head Coach. “When we come out of those first five games, we’ll have played as good of teams as we’ll see in the playoffs. We always pride ourselves on being ready as the year goes along.”

Both teams come into the season with new head coaches. Unlike other head coaching changes, they were in-staff promotions so the players were already familiar with them. Wagner and Ashland head coach Tony Love served as defensive coordinators on the respective staffs previously before last year’s head coaches moved on. NewCath head coach Eddie Eviston took the Offensive Coordinator job at Georgetown College after the Thoroughbreds won their fifth state championship last year and veteran Ashland head coach Leon Hart retired.

Ashland enters the season fresh off a 9-3 campaign. The Tomcats constantly battle the Johnson Central Golden Eagles for district championships in Class 4A, District 8. The Tomcats lost 52-13 to the eventual state champion Highlands Bluebirds in the second round of the playoffs last year. But they trailed the Bluebirds just 15-13 at halftime of that game.

The Tomcats also play a challenging non-district schedule. That includes an annual game against southern Ohio power Ironton.

“We have always played a very challenging schedule. This year is no different,” Love said. “Similar to NCC, we are not afforded the ‘rebuild’ mindset by our community. Our players know this and take great pride in ‘the next man’ up and having no excuses.”

Both teams lost a good load of talented seniors from last year’s team. The Thoroughbreds (11-4 last year) are breaking in many new faces in their spread and 4-4 defenses after graduating 15 seniors from last year’s 2A state championship team. They beat Covington Holmes, 24-0 in two and a half quarters worth of scrimmage time on Friday. Quarterback Mac Franzen, Jack Sutkamp and Kalvin Moore scored rushing touchdowns for NewCath. Franzen plays defensive back with Moore and Sutkamp manning linebacker spots on the defensive side of the ball. Sophomore Jacob Smith is the leading returning rusher from last year.

Franzen previously said the passing game is coming along. Receivers like Tommy Donnelly will be looking to help carry the load.

“We want to get the ball and spread it around,” Wagner said. “We have enough people to be able to do that. Obviously, time will tell but I think we’ve got some young kids that are ready to step up and start playing. We have to get through these first five games and get them ready for these last five.”

Ashland graduated all but two starters on defense. The Tomcats run similar offenses and defenses to NewCath. Senior defensive lineman Luke Johnson and senior defensive back James Queen lead the Tomcats on the defensive side of the ball.

“Not knowing your opponent creates several challenges, especially early in the year where you don’t have a body of work to be able to study and break down,” Love said. “However, in some ways it can be beneficial because it forces the players to focus on the fundamental rules and keys we teach our players. In my opinion, it becomes relative due to the fact the other team is experiencing the same situation.”

The Tomcats will build their offense around sophomore running back Quinton Baker. Former University of Kentucky standout Al Baker’s son ran for 932 yards in nine games last year before missing the playoffs because of injuries. Hunter Prince will be the quarterback for Ashland.

“Basically on the end, they have a tackle that comes down under the other tackle,” said Colin Hoover, NewCath junior offensive/defensive lineman. “That usually means he’s crossing on the other side of the field and getting the handoff. We need to contain (Baker) and not let him get outside.”

Wagner said he’s been pleased with the team’s work ethic in practice this week. Moore and Franzen previously said their class wanted to provide strong senior leadership this year.

“Our kids know how to work. I’ll give them that,” Wagner said. “Obviously, you have to kick them in the tail occasionally, figuratively not literally to get them moving. We’ve been there and they know what it takes to get to the state finals so we’ll just keep working doing the same things we do. Senior leadership will do that for you.”

Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Newport Stadium. The Thoroughbreds also play Cooper, Campbell County, Dixie Heights and Simon Kenton before opening District 6 action.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Alt Rte: Bike Rack Plans Roll Forward

Rendering of design for new bike rack at Fit Philosophie

Roughly one month ago, Alt. Rte. reported on one Fort Thomas resident/entrepreneur who hopes to jumpstart an initiative to beautify the city by installing artistic, designer bike racks at strategic points throughout town.

FTM is happy to report that Jennifer Lynn, owner and operator of Fit Philosophie, has commissioned a design for what she hopes will be the first of several bike racks beautifying and serving local businesses. Fit Philosophie, Lynn's gym and fitness center located in the Inverness district on N. Ft. Thomas Ave., will be partially funding and overseeing the construction of the new bike rack, in conjunction with the city. 

Lynn hired local etcher and metalworker Luigi LaValle of Epinasty Designs to conceptualize and design the bike rack. "We collaborated on an idea of an artistic rack that implemented both function and a fabulous artistic design," Lynn said.



The bike port will house four racks, each rack capable of securing 1-2 bikes simultaneously. The racks will then be framed by a mesh fencing, to shield bicycles from street traffic and debris.

Zoom on design for mesh fencing
Lynn is most excited about the mesh fencing, though, because that's where the artistry of the rack lies. The fence mesh will be translucent and illuminated by small bulbs, creating an almost digitized stained-glass window effect. "I'm really excited about using backlighting to create a multicolor background," Lynn explained. "This way, at night the rack will really stand out in a unique way."

Now with a design ready, Lynn is hoping to begin construction by Spring 2014, at the latest. Lynn is still awaiting approval of the design by the city's Design Review Board.

"I want people to be excited about this and drive by and notice a piece of art that also helps the environment," Lynn said, "by creating and encouraging a more active, green-minded 

If you would like to contribute to this beautification initiative, or just show you support, stop in Fit Philosophie and share your support with Ms. Lynn.

Are you excited about Fit Philosophie's plan to shore up Ft. Thomas's bicycle infrastructure? Where else do you think Ft. Thomas could use a designer bike rack like this one? Tell us in the comments!