Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Opticare Vision/Express Mobile Transport

Friday, January 31, 2014

Preschools of Fort Thomas

Blue Marble Bookstore Presents:  Mama on a Budget-  Preschools of Fort Thomas

Preschool can be very confusing, especially for first time moms.  However, investment in early childhood education and a quality preschool can yield significant developmental dividends with your children down the line, so it is important to muddle through the confusion to find a preschool fitting you and your child’s needs.

That said, I was not Miss Polly Planner when it came to Knox’s preschool decision; I was standing at Teeter Tots and a mom told me she was going to sign her child up for preschool that following week.  Her child was a few months younger than my barely-two-year old!  Not to mention, school didn’t start until September and it was only February. So, I panicked, questioned my parenting, my existence, and yelled at my husband for his lack of forewarning; how did I miss this?

Well, it’s very easy to miss. And not only is it easy to miss, it’s extremely confusing to know what school your child should go to and how to get her registered.  I assumed registration would require a quick phone call.  Nope! 5:30 am queuing combined with coffee and a down-payment was required, not to mention trying to understand all the needed information!

So, to help with this difficult decision, here is some information on the local preschools.  Just FYI, several of the open houses start this weekend!

How is Ballot Position Drawn for Local Elections?

The ballot positions for the primary elections were drawn yesterday at the Campbell County Courthouse. Kentucky state law requires the ballot positions be drawn two days after the filing deadline.

Fort Thomas Brick Oven Pizza, Anniversary of Fire at Highlands, We the People, Highlands Bowling Upset State Champs,


We haven't done an old-fashioned Van DAMME It's Friday News and Notes for a while. We just eclipsed 93,000 page views over the last month so, suffice it to say, we've got a bunch of new readers. Thanks for reading!

Here's what's going on in Fort Thomas:

- The long-awaited brick-oven style pizza place in the old Mio's building is "still progressing" per my source. Back in October we announced that is was likely to happen and that an announcement would be made in late January. Here we are on the last day in January and nothing has been made official.

The last I had heard, they were waiting on financing documents. That property is important to Fort Thomas and the surrounding buildings. Getting them in as soon as possible is crucial right now so that they have things moving in a machine-like manner by the time the spring and summer patio season is in full effect.

Mio's opened on St. Patrick's Day in 2012. With an abnormally mild spring that year, they were rushed hard. The service was lacking from the get-go and they never could recover. Let's hope this announcement comes sooner rather than later.

- From the Fort Thomas Museum Facebook page:
Yesterday, Highlands High School's fire alarm went off. Thankfully it was only a malfunction in the system. This month, 52 years ago...we were not so lucky. On a cold January day, a fire started in the original Highlands High School. With no one injured, the school was a complete loss. In the following weeks, students were scattered all over the city. Classes were taken in various building near the school. During the process of designing the replacement building it was best thought that class rooms with no windows would keep student more attentive. Now with a facade that is similar to the old building, renovated with AC, Highlands is nearing completion. This year marks the 100th year, at this location on Memorial Parkway. What's your story?
- The Highlands "We the People" team won the state championship again. They will represent Kentucky in the national finals. A second team from Highlands finished runner-up, earning a wild card bid to nationals.

The contest, hosted by the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, assessed students’ knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution. Teams studied law, historical decision making and key events and then participated in mock Congressional hearings. Judges evaluated the students.
The teams are coached by Megan Boimann Hennies. 
The Highlands Boys Bowling squad beat last year's state champs, Simon Kenton, in the regionals Wednesday to secure their berth at the State Championship in Lexington in February.  

Highlands finished the night as regional runner-ups and will be the No. 2 seed. Campbell County is the No. 1 seed. 

Sophomore, Jake Farley, rolled a perfect 300 in December in a match against Covington Latin. I did that on the Wii one time. 

- The water main break on the corner of Holly Lane and Fort Thomas was picked up by a Louisville affiliate, WHAS 11, on Tuesday. I guess it was a slow news day, I guess. It was terrible for the residents, who had to chip away at ice that had formed over their cars tires. 

Silver lining: meeting Kathy Wieland. What a nice lady. Fort Thomas is awesome. 

Wil Schroder (R) Files for Kentucky State Senate Seat

Wil Schroder was the first to file for the KY State Senate Seat left empty by Katie Stine.  Photo Source: Press Release
Wil Schroder, an Assistant Campbell County Commonwealth’s Attorney, today announced his candidacy for the Kentucky State Senate’s 24th District, which covers Campbell, Pendleton, and Bracken Counties.  Senator Katie Stine of Southgate, who has served in the position since 1999, recently announced that she will not seek re-election next year. 

Scott Hildebrand (D) Files for Campbell County Sheriff

Scott Hildebrand will face Michael O'Day in the Democrat Primary for Sheriff in May. Photo source: press release
Lifelong Campbell County resident, Scott Hildebrand, has announced his candidacy for Campbell County Sheriff in the 2014 election.  Scott currently resides in Alexandria with his wife, Michelle and 3 daughters.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

REPORT: The Onion Unknowingly Reveals FTM Owner, Publisher Leading Mysterious Double-Life

Left: "Mark Collier" seen in Fort Thomas, KY (Facebook), Right: "Mark Collier" witnessed in Charlotte, NC (The Onion)
Imitative Reporter, Fort Thomas Matters

CHARLOTTE, NC/FORT THOMAS, KY — Just who is "Mark Collier?" FTM and The Onion are looking to find out.

According to a report filed Wednesday by national news source The Onion, Mark Collier, owner, editor, and contributor to this news site — and also alleged Charlotte-based digital marketing professional — has come to "the horrifying realization that he was [also] putting down roots in the city of Charlotte, N.C.”

Highlands Football Awards End of Year Honors

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The end result did not turn out the same for the previous six senior classes.

But the senior class of this past football season did what it could to add to the great history of Highlands Bluebird football. The Bluebirds rank second in the nation for the most wins in school history with 855 dating back to 1915. Valdosta (Ga.) is first with 882 victories since 1913.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

KY Symphony Orchestra, Digital Photography Classes, Mommy/Baby Yoga & More: February at the Fort Thomas Library

Mark your calendars carefully because there's lots going on at the Campbell County Public Library: Phillip N. Carrico/Ft. Thomas branch during the month of February. 

Probably the most exciting is a FREE concert by the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra's Newport Ragtime Band on Friday, Feb. 28a performance that kicks off an ongoing partnership between CCPL and ArtsWave, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit that works to promote the arts throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.

Here's a run-down of February's calendar:

Republican Deb Sheldon Files to Follow Katie Stine in Kentucky Senate

Fort Thomas, Kentucky.   Lifelong Republican Deb Sheldon filed paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State to formally enter the Republican primary to follow retiring State Senate Pro Temp Katie Stine.   

10 Ways to Kill Your Business Community

Fort Thomas is not alone in trying to cultivate a Renaissance within their business community. This article run in Alberta, Canada could be a good playbook for some of the candidates running for Fort Thomas city council to help our business community thrive. 

1. Don’t remain “everfresh.” We need to keep evolving as a business community. New business is good. Competition is good. Changing the look of our stores and content is critical. This “everfresh” concept comes an energy that people will pick up on. They’ll know that we’re a living, energetic community. So this means that buildings need to be maintained, cleaned and repaired. Disrepair speaks volumes to the consumer.  So do weeds growing around buildings and lots. We need to show how much we care about our downtown and our towns.

2. Allow buildings to remain empty. We need to encourage store owners to keep these buildings active and engaged in our downtown. Empty stores  and “Closed” signs give the downtown an abandoned look — and nobody shops in a ghost town.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Candidates File for Fort Thomas City Elections

Fort Thomas's current City Council, (from the left) Tom Lampe, Roger Peterman, Eric Haas, Mayor Mary Brown, Lisa Kelly, Jay Fossett, and Ken Bowman.

Reporter, Fort Thomas Matters

Today marked the deadline to file as a candidate for the 2014 elections in the city of Fort Thomas. 

CC Judge Executive Candidate Sell Hosts Tele-Town Hall

In an effort to bring public policy discussions out from behind bureaucratic red tape and into the public eye, Campbell County Judge/Executive Candidate Kevin Sell (R-Alexandria) will hold a Tele-Town Hall Event on Tuesday, February 4th at 6pm.  This conference call will allow Campbell County residents the opportunity to discuss public policy issues impacting the county with Sell and their fellow residents.

“It is important for our citizens to be aware of the events and issues that are impacting our county courthouse and our communities,” said Sell. “By engaging on these topics in a constructive way, we can work together to make Campbell County a better place to live and conduct business.”

St. Elizabeth offers Mobile Health Unit in February

The St. Elizabeth Cardiovascular Mobile Health Unit will conduct screenings throughout Northern Kentucky in February.

The mobile unit provides screenings, risk appraisals and education for diagnosing cardiovascular disease and stroke symptoms.

Newport Pavilion Announces New Tenant; Analysis on Big Retailer Opportunities

Since the announcement of retailer TJ Maxx coming to the Newport Pavilion last August, the reception for the latest retailers signing leases have been met with a resounding shoulder shrug by the online masses.

There is now signage up for Sport Clips, which will be next to Chipotle facing Carothers Road. FTM broke that story in November. Dr. G's Weight Loss Clinic was also announced in November. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ohio Supreme Court suspends attorney Eric Deters

A reciprocal agreement between the Kentucky and Ohio Supreme Courts resulted in attorney Eric Deters being suspended for 60 days in Ohio for the same actions that resulted in his suspension last year in Kentucky.
Deters isn’t accused of any new wrongdoing. He was suspended for 60 days last year by the Kentucky Supreme Court for violating the code of conduct for attorneys. Because of that suspension and the reciprocal disciplinary agreement, the Ohio Supreme Court also suspended Deters on Monday for 60 days for the same conduct.
Deters, of Independence, actually asked the Ohio Supreme Court to start his suspension now so he could get it out of the way.

Deters’ suspension last year involved false statements made in a libel suit brought against Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders and a separate civil suit filed in Campbell County involving a homebuilder.

Earlier in January, Deters won a Hamilton County civil case when a jury awarded his client $790,000 after it found spine surgeon Dr. Atiq Durrani negligent in a 2009 surgery.

This is Deters' second suspension. He served a 112-day suspension last year for knowingly making a false statement concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, breaking solicitation rules in a case involving a teen injured in a bus crash and failing to return a $1,500 fee to a client.

Village Players Presents 'Almost, Maine'

The Village Players have once again assembled an impressive cast an crew for their upcoming production of Almost, Maine. I recently spoke with the play's director, Dan Maloney, about the show. Maloney is not only proud of the show's upcoming production, but also passionate about importance of community theater.

Maloney is certainly no stranger to the world of theater. He has been involved in theater in various capacities for the past thirteen years. He started working with the Village Players back in 2011 during their production of The Lunacy of Love. "It’s mostly been a serendipitous relationship," said Maloney. "The group embraced me with open arms, and we happened to be a good fit for each other. Since then, I’ve been directly involved with three other Village Players productions including directing 2012’s award-winning production of The Curious Savage. Now, I’m just trying to pay it forward by welcoming new members while helping the group grow artistically."

This production of Almost, Maine has been two years in the making for Maloney and the Village Players. "I brought Almost, Maine to Village Players back in the winter of 2012 as we were trying to determine our 2012-2013 season, and the group fell in love with it. However, the way the season shook out, there simply wasn’t a place for it last year, but I was encouraged to bring it back again this year," said Maloney.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Senator Katie Stine’s Legislative Update

Senator Stine shakes hands with Governor Steve Beshear as Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo applauds after the Governor's budget address to the joint session of the legislature
After observing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, the Legislature continued its work that included a Tuesday evening joint session between the House and the Senate to receive the Governor's budget address.

As the Senate is the upper chamber of the legislature, it is traditional for the Senate President to preside over such joint sessions. This time Senate President Robert Stivers vacated the podium to allow me to become the first female legislator, and the first Senate President Pro Tem, to preside over the joint session of the Kentucky General Assembly in which Governor Beshear presented his proposed budget.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Country Music Festival to Come to Cincinnati

Exciting news! The Greater Cincinnati area will be getting its very first country music festival. The Buckle Up Music Festival is scheduled to take place over the course of three days spanning from July 18-20.  Concert stages will be set up along the Ohio River in Yeatman's Cove and Sawyer Point.

Friday, January 24, 2014

BREAKING: Incumbent Fossett will Not Seek Reelection for Fort Thomas City Council

Jay Fossett. Photo source:
Fort Thomas councilman Jay Fossett tells FortThomasMatters that he will not seek reelection for Fort Thomas City Council. Fossett was elected to the Fort Thomas City Council in November of 2012.

Fossett was formerly the City Solicitor in Covington and later became the City Manager, where he served in that position from 2005-2009.

"After discussing the issue with my family and business partners, I have decided not to run for re-election to Fort Thomas City Council. At this time, I believe its important for me to focus my time and energy on my two growing businesses -- Strategic Advisers (a public relations and digital media firm) and Omni Advocacy Group (a government relations firm)," said Fossett.

"From my short time serving on this body and my past experience in public management, I recognize that our city is in very capable hands -- both in terms of its elected officials and its management and staff. I have enjoyed my time serving on city council and will continue to serve until I finish out my current term at the end of the year."

More File for Council

Fort Thomas City Council Notes (1-21-14)

Van DAMME It's Friday

The first city council meeting of the year was one that perhaps yielded more news after the meeting was over as FTM broke the story that after 15 years Mayor Mary Brown would not seek reelection this year. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fort Thomas City Government takes full advantage of technology

Fort Thomas Matters Reporter

Technology has helped many governments get things done quicker and more efficiently in recent years.

The City of Fort Thomas has taken full advantage of many of them. The city government uses Time Warner as its Internet provider. The speeds are 50 megabits per second (Mbps) downloaded from the internet to the computers and 5 Mbps uploaded from the computers to the Internet. The City also uses Microsoft Windows as its operating system.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Kevin Sell Holds Fundraiser at Olde Fort Pub

L to R, Keith Pryse with Kevin Sell, Carolyn and Chris Smith at the Olde Fort Pub on Tuesday
Campbell County Judge Executive candidate, Kevin Sell, held a fundraiser at the Olde Fort Pub on Wednesday. Sell, who will challenge incumbent Steve Pendery, lost the election in 2010 to Pendery by 169 votes among almost 8,000 votes. The Judge Executive position is the top elected position in the county.

Fort Thomas Police Roundup (Bomb Threat Update, Shell Gas Station Break-In, Car Battery Thefts)

Det. Brad Adams receives his detective badge from Chief Mike Daly at the city council meeting on 1/21/14.
Before Chief Mike Daly began his monthly police report to council, he presented Detective Brad Adams with his detective's badge. Adams has been with the Fort Thomas police for 10 years. "For our department, 10 years is a long time running," said Daly. "He's done a lot for the community."

As Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, councilman Tom Lampe recognized Det. Adams' contributions to the department and the city.

Surrounded by his family and many of his fellow officers, Adams made sure to thank his family specifically, "My family has had to put up with a lot of 2 and 3 AM wakeup calls for the job and I'm thankful they understand that."

Congrats to Brad. 

There were a lot of updates from the Fort Thomas Police Department as council has been on an extended hiatus. Here they are:

BREAKING: Mayor Mary Brown to Retire

Mayor Mary Brown. Photo Source:
With less than a week until the filing deadline for Fort Thomas City Council and Mayor among other statewide elections, Mary Brown has informed Fort Thomas Matters that she will not seek reelection.

Update on Fire on Custis Drive

Fort Thomas fire crews were called to the corner of Custis and Alexandria Way this morning at about 6:15 AM.

The two-alarm fire was started on the first floor and made its way up the two story apartment building complex, causing a lot of smoke damage. Officials on scene did say that they do not think the building is a total loss.

According to sources on the scene, there was one person taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Fort Thomas with respiratory issues. It was a deaf and blind man who had trouble navigating through the intense smoke. He is expected to be released today.

Cpt. Greg Schultz of the Fort Thomas Fire Department said that the smoke alarms were functioning and exists were readily accessible, but stressed the importance of responding quickly to early signals. "A resident had reported that they had smelled something burning as early as 4:30 AM and had actually called the landlord to report a problem with the boiler. It's very important that when you hear a smoke alarm or smell smoke to respond as quickly as possible."

Cpt. Shultz also stressed the importance of knowing an exit plan.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. There was also a fire last week in Fort Thomas on Arcadia Drive, caused by a clogged dryer vent. That house also received a major smoke damage. 

With the sub zero temperatures fire hazards are commonplace this time of year. 

Mansion Hill Studio: Senior of the Month: January

One of the incredible things that Mansion Hill Studio can do with the senior photos is capture what brings the subject the most joy.  I’ve seen people with their pets, jerseys, awards, and instruments.  When my future husband and I had been dating only a few months, he came to my senior photo shoot with Mansion Hill Studio and seeing the joy the two of us shared, Craig Weiglein recommended we take a few photos together.  We did just that and looking at them now with eleven years of retrospect is an incredibly joyous experience.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

State Sen. Katie Stine: Anti-Heroin Agenda Set in Motion

The 2014 Regular Session is now in full swing and job creation, education, health and safety issues and good government are among the priorities emerging. As a member of leadership I have been  focused on making  committee assignments for proposed legislation to ensure that each issue is adressed by the committee of coresponding jurisdiction. Committee meetings are taking place each morning and then the full Senate meets each afternoon.In between, I continued meeting with constituents and stake holders regarding a myriad of issues. I have been especially focused on the rising rate of heroin addiction ,overdose deaths, and other drug related crimes in our community. 

St. Catherine Fort Thomas Hosts Open House and Fundraiser

St. Catherine Open House, Thursday, January 23 from 7:00-8:30Choosing a school is one of those "crossroads moments" that all parents face. At St. Catherine we have academic excellence with a focus on faith. All are invited to attend our Open House and learn why St. Catherine of Siena School is truly "where Faith and Excellence Meet". Babysitting provided!

Want to have a great time on a cold winter's night? Plan to attend the St. Catherine of Siena Love Boat Fundraiser 2014! This year we are "Shipwrecked".. and Shipwrecked is great when a tropical island awaits! Join us for a night of food, music and fun on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 6:30 pm to 12:30 am. The evening begins with the incredible Don Fangman providing a tropical twist on his classic standards, then things really heat up with our headliner band, The Sunburners! The Sunburners combine authentic steel drums, great vocals, and a killer backing band to create the ultimate island party experience. Additionally, we will have silent auctions, raffles and our famous split the pot! We invite all of our Fort Thomas neighbors to escape to the islands for the night with us. Tickets are $30 per person pre-paid, $35 at the door. Senior Discount (62+) $25 per person. Call 859-441-1356 or go to for more information and tickets.  

Highlands Middle School’s theatre brings back medieval times in the musical, Once Upon A Mattress

Highlands Middle School’s theatre brings back medieval times in the musical, Once Upon A Mattress

WHAT:            Students from Highlands Middle School’s Theatre Department incur madness, mayhem and side-splitting shenanigans on a raucous and rollicking road to happily ever after in the musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress, which is a charming retelling of the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea.
If you thought you knew the story of The Princess and the Pea, you may be in for a walloping surprise! Did you know, for instance, that Princess Winnifred actually swam the moat to reach Prince Dauntless the Drab? Or that Lady Larken's love for Sir Harry provided a rather compelling reason that she reach the bridal altar post haste? Or that, in fact, it wasn't the pea at all that caused the princess a sleepless night? Carried on a wave of wonderful songs, by turns hilarious and raucous, romantic and melodic, this rollicking spin on the familiar classic of royal courtship and comeuppance provides for some side-splitting shenanigans. Chances are you'll never look at fairy tales quite the same way again.

"Once Upon A Mattress is a family-friendly show that is perfect for middle schoolers," says Jason Burgess, director of Highlands Theatre. "We have assembled a great cast and creative team for this year’s production and we hope everyone will come out to see all of the hard work the students have put into it! After all, everyone loves a 'happily ever after' story!"

WHEN:         Thursday, January 30 – 7:30pm, Opening Night
Friday, January 31 – 7:30pm
                     Saturday, February 1 – 7:30pm
                    Sunday, February 2 – 2pm, Closing Performance                                    
WHERE:     Performing Arts Center
Highlands High School
2400 Memorial Parkway
Fort Thomas, KY

INFO:         Tickets: Students - $8, Adults - $10
Tickets are RESERVED SEATING only. Purchase tickets in advance online at Remaining unreserved tickets may be purchased at the door one hour prior to each show.

80's Throwback fundraiser to benefit Brighton Center

The Highland Country Club is hosting a fundraiser for the Brighton Center in February.

The Brighton Center's “The Fort Thomas Canteen 80’s Throwback” event is from 8p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday, February 8.

The master of ceremonies for the event will Katie Walters of Q-102.

All proceeds from the fundraiser go to help the Brighton Center.

All attendees are to dress in their best 80’s garb and be ready to boogie the night away for the Brighton Center.

Tickets are $20 which gets you 1 drink ticket and light appetizers are provided all night.

If you want to dance the night away to 80’s hits while supporting and outstanding organization mark your calendars for The Fort Thomas Canteen and 80’s Throwback.

Source: Press release

Christ Church to host comedy and cabaret show in February

Christ Church is hosting a show featuring talented singers and a local comedian.

Christ Church will be the place to be on Saturday February 15, as they will host the first ever “Comedy and Cabaret” show.

AAV Security Systems Inc

AAV Security Systems is a member of the #FTMFamily 
A comment thread on a recent FTM Facebook post regarding a home invasion in Fort Thomas made mention of how Fort Thomas is less safe than it used to be; a loyal reader responded that it is no less safe, FTM just now reports on crimes that are ignored by other media outlets.  I tend to agree that the latter is true but that is no excuse to stick our collective head in the sand when it comes to home safety and security.