Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Opticare Vision/Express Mobile Transport

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Highlands escapes Campbell County, 23-16

Allen Ramsey. Highlands senior wide receiver Justin Weyer (4) tries to make a catch against Campbell County's Eli Matthews (13) in Friday's non-district game in Alexandria. Highlands won 23-16.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The game started off on the usual great note for the visitors Friday.

The tradition-rich Highlands Bluebirds scored 23 points in the first quarter and appeared headed for another blowout win. But that didn’t happen. The defenses took over and the Campbell County Camels made a late run before Highlands escaped with a 23-16 win.

Bluebird Notes: Highlands moves to 101-5 since 2006; Graybill verbally commits to BGSU

Allen Ramsey. Highlands senior running back Griffin Urlage (20) finds a hole in the 23-16 Bluebird win. Highlands won its 13th straight over Campbell County on Friday.
Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands senior wide receiver Alex Veneman (6) hauls in a touchdown pass in the first quarter of Friday's non-district game in Alexandria. Veneman had five catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in the 23-16 Bluebird win.

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Last year, Campbell County Head Coach Stephen Lickert said the Camels would continue to play the Bluebirds and he hopes to beat them at some point.

Here is another reason to hope Patrick Towles has a big opening game

Via Larry Vaught, Vaughts Views

Patrick Towles and Jared Lorenzen at the inaugural Mark vs. Food event. FTM file. 

If you are looking for another reason to hope that Patrick Towles has a terrific game in his first start at quarterback Saturday for Kentucky, I think I have one.

Sure, a fast start by Towles will be huge for Kentucky and complete the comeback he’s had from forgotten redshirt to starter in a year.

But the reason you have to hope Towles can be successful is what it might mean to Brady Walz, a youngster from Fort Thomas who is battling Leukemia. Somehow Towles, who is from Fort Thomas, has found time to tutor Walz in math most weeks. He’s visited him in the hospital during times of treatment. Walz’ grandfather, Roger Walz, played football at Kentucky.

Brady Walz’ aunt, Jamie Walz, is one of the state’s all-time leading basketball scorers. His uncle, Jeff, is the successful women’s basketball coach at Louisville.He’s had a difficult week and Towles  hopes to find a way to go visit him Sunday — and wouldn’t it be terrific if Towles could talk to him about a huge Kentucky win in his first start.

Towles showed terrific perseverance to become the starting quarterback at Kentucky. However, he’s shown even more compassion to befriend and help Walz and to me that’s the type of character any team would want in a starting quarterback.

Mama on a Budget: Wise Owl Finds a New Home.

For children and teachers the past few weeks have been filled with back to school activities.  However, for some teachers, the “relaxing” summer was anything but; as reported here first, Wise Owl Preschool moved its home over the summer from their longtime home to their new home at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Thomas.  After being discontinued as a supported program, the preschool was left in a lurch until the leadership at First Presbyterian called and offered Wise Owl a new home with more space, an outdoor playground, and even better arrangements than before.  The only downside- moving nearly 30 years’ worth of preschool items across town to the new location.

After a summer of hard work and much community support, the school welcomed its returning (and new) four-year-old class earlier this week and next week will begin all their age-group programs.  Cindy Roth (director) and Nancy Pogue are thrilled to see the children return to a new facility but familiar faces.  Says Pogue, “Smiling faces, school bags in hand and Mom's waving good-bye... it is back to school time!   This has been an exciting week for The Wise Owl Preschool and its staff.  After a busy summer of moving boxes, crayons, glue, legos and a whole lot more, we are settling into our new "nest" and we couldn't be happier.  We thank The First Presbyterian Church for being so helpful, generous and gracious in assisting us as we prepare for a new school year in such a warm, friendly environment.”

I know my son didn’t miss a beat starting in the new environment.  How did you kids adjust?  Leave first-day of preschool comments and photos below and check back here often to see the adorable smiling faces.

Sales to Shop This Labor Day Weekend

via Fort Thomas Central

This holiday weekend brings end-of-summer sales that are too good to pass up. Here's your go-to guide for sales at local hot spots:

  • Fort Thomas Central (open until 5 pm today) - 60% off select items, 10% off regular priced items 
  • Target - Buy one, get one 50% off clothes, shoes and accessories 
  • Kohl's - $10 off $25 | Get the coupon here
  • Nordstrom - 40% off clearance sale
  • Anthropologie - extra 20% off sale 
  • J.CREW - extra 40% off sale
  • J. CREW Factory - 40-60% off everything
  • Old Navy - 40% off everything
  • Gap - Up to 40% off everything
  • Gymboree - 40% off everything
  • LOFT & Ann Taylor - 50% off new fall styles + extra 50% off sale  
  • Sephora - Up to 75% summer makeup favorites

Friday, August 29, 2014

Republican Party of Kentucky Rejects "Campbell County Conservatives" Planned Ouster

As first reported to FortThomasMatters on August 12 by sources close to the situation, the Republican Party of Kentucky officially rejected the "Campbell County Conservatives" group attempt to take over the county's party leadership.  The group's main contention was that the "malfeasance, nonfeasance and misfeasance."

The decision handed down by the executive committee, headed by Chairman Steve Robertson, came down to one question: was the Campbell County executive committee, reorganized in 2012, legitimately elected and organized?  Around 35 executive committee members from around the state answered that question in the affirmative.

Steve Robertson

In a letter sent to members of the "Campbell County Conservatives" by Robertson, he indicated that he and the executive committee met on August 19. "We respectfully ask that you not hold yourselves out as the "Campbell County Republican Party" or anything similar. Unfortunately those efforts, however sincere, will potentially create confusion during what we can all agree is a very crucial time for our party," said Robertson. 

City Council to Consider Property Tax Increase

Board of education battles "chronic funding problem"

The Fort Thomas Board of Ed. and Superintendent Gene Kirchner met Thursday to discuss a 4% increase in tax revenue/Pat LaFleur

It was not a simple "yea or nay" affair at Thursday night's public hearing, held by the Fort Thomas Board of Education (BoE), to gather public input before voting (unanimously) to approve a 4% increase in total tax revenue for Fort Thomas Independent Schools (FTIS) for the 2014-15 school year.

Bill's Poison Pen: Use Common Sense on Roads

By William Sandmann

I read an article with interest concerning the new seat belt law, and how its enforcement will reduce the number of lost lives, reduce injuries and save tax payers thousands of dollars.

This is very commendable, but I believe there are many other factors that contribute to the issues mentioned above. 

My wife and I are senior citizens of Fort Thomas, and are blessed with good health. We both are active, retired (but work part time) and enjoy our lifestyle, as I'm sure many other senior citizens of this community do. We both drive and observe the seat belt laws, but it angers me to see such disregard for safe driving habits of many derivers other than having your sear belts buckled.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tower Park VA homes (finally) approved for development

One of the "Officers' Homes," located on Alexander Circle/FTM file

Officials have announced today that the city of Fort Thomas has received approval to purchase the VA homes on Alexander Circle in Tower Park.

WANTED: Sex Offender Absconds From Halfway House in Newport

Donald Berkemeier via:

Investigators want help tracking down a convicted sex offender. Campbell County deputies said 36-year-old Donald Berkemeier failed to comply with sex offender registry requirements.  

He was convicted of abusing a 10-year-old child in 1997.

TODAY ONLY: Allegiant Airlines Drops Ticket Prices to Multiple Destinations from CVG

HEBRON, Ky. -- Allegiant Airlines announced Wednesday night that it will slash prices on airfare from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) to six of its vacation destination cities Thursday, for one day only.

Highlands, Campbell County prepare for county showdown

Allen Ramsey photo. Highlands sophomore running back Jared Pulsfort (91) makes a move in the scrimmage at Cincinnati St. Xavier on Friday. Highlands travels to Campbell County on Friday.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The teams may have faced off 60 times overall.

But none of those meetings have taken place at the new Campbell County High School Athletic Complex. That will change Friday when the county rivals line up for what is expected to become an annual meeting like it was between 1995 and 2004. The new stadium is entering its second season Campbell County played at Bob Miller Stadium behind the Campbell County Middle School for 69 years.

Local Police Seeking Bank Robber, Asking for Public's Help

UPDATE: Per a River City News report, this suspect has been apprehended, as of August 30. Robert John Hall turned himself in Saturday and is being held on $50,000 bond. Hall will appear in court Tuesday morning.

Police are asking for the public's help to identify a man accused of robbing Heritage Bank in Covington Wednesday afternoon.

The suspect allegedly displayed a handgun and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

He should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.

PHOTOS: St. Catherine Back to School

Noah and Naomi Lahner with Father Stef Bankemper

Maggie, Connor and Brady Carnohan with Father Michael Hennigan

Cameron, Ethan and Grace Myers

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

NewCath moves on from rain-out game

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

It was not supposed to happen like this.

But Mother Nature gave them no choice. Thus, the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds open the season at Cooper on Friday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

NewCath found itself in this position after Friday’s scheduled game at Ashland was rained out. Heavy storms in eastern Kentucky left Putnam Stadium in bad shape and they schools could not work things out to play the game.

Fort Thomas Plaza Mounting Comeback

Fort Thomas Antiques and Design Center 
The Fort Thomas Plaza had come upon some hard times over the last decade. Increasing competition, namely the Newport Pavilion and Newport on the Levee, have been the main culprit for the decline of the commercial real estate located at 90 Alexandria Pike. Most recently, Flipdaddy's spurned Fort Thomas Plaza for a spot at the Newport Pavilion. 

FTM has documented the timeline of the plaza, which can be read here. 

The property was transferred Woodmen of the World from Myers Y. Cooper Company in March of this year. Myers Y. Cooper bought the property in 2005 for $3,140,000 and transferred the property to Woodmen of the World for $1,750,000, who will make capital improvements to the property in lieu of demolishing the existing buildings and building new.

Fort Thomas Board of Ed. to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Tax Levy

Fort Thomas Board of Education Central Office, 28 N. Fort Thomas Ave.
Should the Fort Thomas Board of Education adopt the recommended 4% tax increase for the 2014-15 school year? The board wants to know what the public thinks.

Olde Fort Pub Brings In New Dining Out Option

The Olde Fort Pub is part of the #FTMFamily 

Southern Smoke BBQ has temporarily closed its doors and Newport and will turn their attention to 1041 S. Fort Thomas Ave at the Olde Fort Pub. They are open NOW and is open for dine-in, carry-out or catering.

They will be offering $5 daily lunch specials:

Pulled pork with chips of slaw

Hamburger with chips of fries

$1 rib bones

Pulled chicken with chips or slaw

Catfish sandwich with chips or slaw

Their hours are Sunday-Thursday 11AM-1AM and Friday and Saturday 11AM-2:30 AM.

Access to a Sold Out Event and WCPO Insider

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDxCincinnati is bringing people together to share via talk videos, live speakers and performers to spark deep discussion and connection. You can be apart of building a TEDxCincinnati Community.

Today through September 9th, WCPO Insider is selling pre-sale tickets to the previously sold out TEDxCincinnati event on October 16th. When you become an annual WCPO Insider you'll receive two tickets to TEDxCincinnati's Main Stage event (normally $65 each), plus an invitation with (2)drink tickets to our exclusive, member-only happy hour event. A $230 value is available now through Sept. 9 for only $99.

These tickets aren’t available yet through TEDx, making WCPO Insider the only vendor in the Tri-State to snag early tickets for a discounted price.

To sum it up:
2 TEDxCincinnati tickets now on = $99
2 TEDxCincinnati tickets on September 10th thereafter = $130

The event is held at Memorial Hall on Oct. 16, with the Main Stage Event beginning at 7:30 p.m. You can read more here or find out more information at :

BREAKING: Time Warner Cable Reports Outages Nationwide

Were you able to check the weather or your email this morning online? Probably not, if you're a Time Warner Cable customer.

Collinsworth named captain of Fighting Irish

Notre Dame safety Austin Collinsworth keys in on an opponent last year. The Fighting Irish named him one of four captains Tuesday.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Austin Collinsworth hopes to make his fifth and final year for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish his best one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Elana Brophy Memorial Foundation to hold annual benefit

Twelve years ago a 9-year-old girl lost her battle with pediatric cancer. Elana Brophy is honored every year by her family and friends in the Loop for Lana 5K Run/ Walk. The event benefits the Elana Brophy Memorial Foundation as well as the Cincinnati Children's Hosptial Medical Center; in particular the Cancer and Blood Disease Institute.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Street Class: Back to School Traditions

Addyson Masters on the first day of the 2014-2015 school year. 

On the first day of 7th grade, I started a back to school tradition that would carry throughout my entire middle school and high school career. I would host a "back to school breakfast" every year before school on the first day. All the girls in my grade were invited to load up on eggs, muffins, and fruit before taking on another school year. The breakfasts were a great way to reconnect after the summer, and they also helped calm any back to school nerves. It's now been over ten years since I've hosted breakfast on the first day of school, but other similar traditions are still going strong throughout Fort Thomas. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What They Are Saying About Patrick Towles as UK Starter

Patrick Towles
Towles: "I've been Kentucky through and through my whole life. I heard "no" a lot here. Didn't ever want to hear it again," via Kyle Tucker, Lexington Herald Leader

"(Towles) wanted to win the job in camp, and he did that. Now I think he’s got some loftier goals.” UK Coordinator, Neal Brown. Brown says Towles can run. Hit 19.8 mph in practice yesterday.

"He was "a lot different" since winning the job. I could see it in his arm, in his posture." Kentucky WR, Javess Blue.

Upcoming Traffic Announcements for Campbell County

There is some planned road work that is being done in Campbell County in the coming days. Most of the work will be done during off-peak hours, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, but it is better that you know about the traffic changes and road closures ahead of time.

Highlands improves in second scrimmage; NC-Ashland game rained out

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands senior defensive lineman D.J. Mills (42) pursues Cincinnati St. Xavier running back Sean Prophit (32) in Friday's scrimmage. 
Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands junior defensive back Austin Beal (right) steps in front of Cincinnati St. Xavier junior wide receiver Andrew Homer (left) and returns the interception 100 yards for a touchdown in Friday's scrimmage.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

CINCINNATI – The Highlands Bluebirds football team showed major improvement in the “glorified practice” Friday at Cincinnati St. Xavier’s Ballaban Field.

The varsity played for 2.5 quarters and won 15-10. The junior varsity played the last 1.5 of the four quarters and was outscored 20-0 making the final score 30-15 in favor of St. Xavier.

Whalen Appointed to Gateway Board of Directors


KCTCS Assistant General Counsel Pam Duncan administering the oath to Iversy Velez of Florence and myself.

Paul L. Whalen of Ft Thomas was appointed to the Board of Directors for Gateway Community and Technical College.

This is a continuation of Whalen's involvement with education.  He served on the Ft Thomas Board of Education for 3 terms and one term on the Kentucky Board of Education.  He has also served on the KY Committee of the Southern Association for K-12 accreditation.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Behind the Scenes look at the DIY Show Sledgehammer starring Fort Thomas’ own Meier Family

Adam and Laura Meier
On Wednesday August 20th, the DIY network aired an episode of their new hit show Sledgehammer which featured Fort Thomas residents Laura and Adam Meier (city council candidate) and their two young children.  FTM caught up with Laura Meier (newly formed superstar to be sure) to ask her about her firsthand experiences with the show (full disclosure, Laura is a close personal friend so it didn’t take much for me to “catch up” with her):

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cold Spring Police Need Your Help

The Cold Spring Police Department is investigating a theft that occurred at Mr. Spotless Carwash on 08/18/2014. If you can identify either of the two suspects or the vehicle please give us a call. 859-441-6289 or Campbell County Dispatch at 859-292-3622.

Update on Missing Person Rose Hartman

Rose Hartman has been located
The attempt to locate on missing person Rose Hartman has been canceled, according to Fort Thomas Police.  She had been located in Marion County, Ohio, and is doing fine.

Bill's Poison Pen - What's the Value of Speed Limit Signs?

By William Sandmann

I live four houses south of the intersection of Rossford and N. Fort Thomas Ave. There is a speed limit sign of 25 MPH posted just north of my driveway. Do you think it is effective? No! Some autos, pickups, commercials vehicles disregard the sign. The same is true of vehicles traveling south towards the intersection. It seems to me because of a stop sting at the intersection, vehicles must get up speed to break the speed limit. I think it's psychological. My neighbor has a radar gun and has clocked speeds of 50MPH. 

Highlands Alum Inducted in Univ. of Kentucky Hall of Fame

Marty Moore, Highlands 1989, is among 6 University of Kentucky greats will be inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in late September. The 2014 class includes former UK student-athletes Keith Bogans (men’s basketball), Pat Etcheberry (track and field athlete/coach, also strength and conditioning coach), Passion Richardson (track and field athlete/coach), Terry Shumpert (baseball), Sarah Witten (women’s tennis) and Moore. The class will be formally inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend, Sept. 26-27, in conjunction with the football game against Vanderbilt.

Highlands prepares for second scrimmage

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands senior quarterback Beau Hoge (7) takes a snap while Griffin Urlage (20) makes a move in Friday's scrimmage against Louisville Trinity. The Bluebirds travel to Cincinnati St. Xavier for their second scrimmage on Friday.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

In previous years, the Highlands Bluebirds football team played just one scrimmage against Louisville Trinity.

But when University Christian (Florida) could not work things out to return to Fort Thomas, things opened up for another scrimmage. Highlands will take on another tough opponent in that scrimmage when it travels to Tom Ballaban Field on Friday to take on the Ohio Division I power Cincinnati St. Xavier Bombers of the Greater Catholic League South. Game time is 7 p.m. in Cincinnati.

Thoroughbreds prepare for Tomcats, Baker in season-opener

G. Michael Graham Photo. The Ashland Tomcats (white uniforms) and Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (blue uniforms) face off in the season-opener on Friday again this year. NewCath won last year's meeting 37-26.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

It is a name that rings bells not only in eastern Kentucky, but for any opponent of the Ashland Blazer Tomcat football team.

Ashland standout running back Quentin Baker has been on the minds of the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds for a few weeks as they prepare for their usually tough non-district grind against bigger schools. Eventual Class 2A runner-up 

NewCath beat Ashland 37-26 at Newport Stadium to open last year. Baker rushed for 238 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns in that contest.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BREAKING: Missing Person, Rose Hartman

Rose Hartman, provided. 
Police are searching for Rose Hartman, 57, of Wilder, who was reported missing.

FTPD Finds Unclothed Woman Wandering Intoxicated Through Woods

FTM has followed up on a tip received from a Facebook follower regarding a woman seen fleeing from FTPD officers Tuesday night, wearing almost no clothing and under the influence of alcohol.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How Are Campbell County Ballot Positions Drawn?

County Clerk, Jack Snodgrass, pulls a numbered ping pong ball out of the official ballot position container, which has been in commission for the past 26 years.

Ever wondered how the ballot positions are drawn in Campbell County? (Here are the positions for Fort Thomas City Council) Wonder no more. 

Fort Thomas Couple's home renovation to be Featured on DIY's Sledgehammer on Wednesday, August 20.

As previously reported by FTM, City Council candidate Adam Meier and his wife Laura were selected to appear on DIY's new show, Sledgehammer.  FTM has received new details about the Meier's show, set to air at 10:00 PM on DIY.

Here's a description of their show from the DIY network:

Street Class: North Fort Thomas Avenue's Playwright

Tennessee Williams once said, "Yes, I have tricks in my pocket. I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion." These words may ring true for many writers, but they are especially resonant for North Fort Thomas Avenue resident and playwright Teri Foltz. 

Men's Journal Names Local Barbecue Spot As One of Nation's Best

The FTM team had City Barbeque at their latest team meeting. 
Men's Journal Named 18 of the Best Barbecue Spots in America and one in Highland Heights made the list. From the article, A Road Trip to the 18 Best Barbecue Spots in America:

May might officially be National Barbecue Month, but summer is the time for road trips. And while plenty of people have documented their journeys to all the Major League stadiums, theme parks, national parks, monuments, and presidential assassination destinations across this great land, we can think of no better adventure to take with your friends and family than finding the best, most unique, and most authentically American barbecue eateries in the country. These are the 18 spots you and anyone you can stand three weeks in a car with should be hitting along the way.

Duke Energy Reports Fuel, Oil Spill into Ohio River

Just after 11 p.m. Monday night, during a routine transfer of fuel oil at the W.C. Beckjord Station in New Richmond, Ohio, approximately 5,000 gallons of fuel were inadvertently discharged into the Ohio River. Duke Energy owns and operates the majority of the facility.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Breaking News: Patrick Towles named UK's starting quarterback

According to coach Mark Stoops' twitter account and Kentucky Sports Radio, Patrick Towles has been named the starting quarterback for the 2014-15 football season.

Photo courtesy

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Amazon Seeking to Fill 300 Positions at NKY Fulfillment Centers

Amazon fulfillment center, Hebron, KY/WCPO

HEBRON, Ky. -- The e-retail giant has announced it is seeking to fill 300 full-time positions at its fulfillment center located in Hebron.