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Friday, October 31, 2014

Jason Steffen Adds to His Endorsements

Jason Steffen. Provided. 
The Fort Thomas Firefighters join the growing numbers of local and statewide organizations endorsing Jason Steffen for the open State Senate seat for the 24th District, which encompasses all of Campbell, Pendleton, and Bracken Counties.  This past week, Jason Steffen was also endorsed by the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Over 20 statewide organizations have endorsed his candidacy, including the Kentucky Professional Firefighters Association, Kentucky Education Association, and the United Auto Workers.

Steffen, who is a Fort Thomas resident and an elementary school principal, said he is humbled by the overwhelming support he is receiving from the growing number of organizations endorsing his candidacy.  "Our campaign is working to provide quality education to our children and support working families."

He is looking to fill the vacancy of Senator Katie Stine, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Source: Press Release 

Fort Thomas Matters Election Bio: Justin Sanders, Kentucky Court of Appeals

Justin Sanders is running for election to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, 6th District/via

by Justin Sanders
Candidate for Sixth Appellate District, Kentucky Court of Appeals

Voters in the 6th Appellate District (essentially, the 21 counties north of Louisville) will choose a judge to fill one of Northern Kentucky's two seats on the Court of Appeals.  The Court of Appeals determines whether trial courts followed proper procedures, applied the law properly, and reached a fair decision.  Two issues matter in this race: fair representation for Northern Kentucky, and real courtroom experience.

Fort Thomas Matters Election Bio: Allison Jones, Kentucky Court of Appeals Sixth District

Judge Allison Jones is running for re-election to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, 6th District/Provided

by Judge Allison Jones
Candidate for Sixth Appellate District, Kentucky Court of Appeals

On November 4th, you will be asked to vote for one of two candidates to serve you on the Kentucky Court of Appeals for the Sixth Appellate District, Division, 1 (composed of the following 21 counties:  Bath, Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Fleming, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Henry, Kenton, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas, Oldham, Owen, Pendleton, Robertson, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble.)  The choice is incredibly important because most cases end at the Court of Appeals.  In deciding which candidate deserves your vote for this very important seat, I believe you should ask yourself one simple question:  which candidate has the proven experience, dedication to public service, and solid family values to represent you?

Council Candidate: City Should Incentivize Upkeep, Renovation of Older Homes

Adam Meier, candidate for Fort Thomas City Council, has proposed an initiative that would incentivize renovation and upkeep of Fort Thomas properties/Provided

by Adam Meier
Candidate for Fort Thomas City Council

My name is Adam Meier and I am a candidate for Fort Thomas City Council. Along with my wife and two young children, I live in a single-family home on the Avenue that we recently converted from a two-family. Doing most of the work myself, this conversion was a long and trying process, but worth it in the end. This experience was also a major contributing factor to my proposed "Pretty the City" initiative – a multi-prong approach to incentivizing renovation and upkeep on targeted property types within the city.

You see, one of the things I love about Fort Thomas is the character and charm of the old homes. But as most residents know first-hand, upkeep and renovations can be costly and time-consuming. Further, many of these beautiful old homes have been converted into multi-family rentals. Others have gone too long unattended and are now uninhabitable and/or vacant. The good news is that I have a plan to reverse those trends – and to do so in a manner that is revenue neutral to the city.

Mama on a Budget: The Fort is officially haunted, and other Safety Tips

Happy Halloween Fort Thomas

The scariest day of the year will bring with it something even scarier; have you seen the weather report? It is a very spooky and scary one with the most terrifying word heard round all of Cincinnati:  snow!  If you remember, last year we had driving rain and 20 mph wind gusts on Halloween.  Personally, I believe two years of Halloween weather-terror can only mean one thing: the Fort is officially haunted.

However, you can still have an enjoyable Halloween despite the spooky snow and terrifying rain.  To help you make it through the holiday alive, here is a list of Safety Tips and “Tricks” to make your night more enjoyable:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fort Thomas Trick or Treat Times

The Fort Thomas Trick-or-Treat time is Friday, October 31 from 6:00-8:00, but the weather isn't looking ideal.

Highland Football Playoff Predictions

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands senior defensive lineman DJ Mills (42) tries to tackle Holmes' Andrew Arnold (10) in a recent game. The Bluebirds could be at home four times in the playoffs.

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The Highlands Bluebirds football team could have four home playoff games this postseason like two years ago.

FTPD Turns Crime into Kindness, Donates Unclaimed Bicycles

FTPD donated 40 unclaimed stolen and recovered bicycles to the Brighton Center on Wednesday/FTPD Lt. J. Gadzala

Everyone once in a while, a wrong can be turned into an even greater right.

Such was the case on Wednesday, when the Fort Thomas Police Department donated some 40 unclaimed stolen and recovered bicycles to the Brighton Center in Newport, who will in turn give them out to local children in need, who otherwise would not have a bike of their own.

Opportunity for Free Money...

It's important to Alex Sale that she provides value to her clients. So when Comey & Shepherd Realtors participates in one of the biggest grant programs for home buyers, she wants as many of you to be take advantage of the opportunity as possible!
Below are the details of how you can get an additional $15,000 for the down payment on your new home.

The Home Ownership Center in Cincinnati is administering $5 million in grants to home buyers who are looking for an affordable home within the city limits - but you have to act...

Here's the program in a nutshell:

 - A second lien of $15,000, with 0% interest and no payments due
- Fully forgiven after five years, with 20% forgiven per year
- Available only for the purchase of owner-occupied primary residences in the city of Cincinnati.
- Available to borrowers who are approved for a first mortgage loan through Wells Fargo or another approved lender
- Available to borrowers earning 120% or less of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size

 Visit to sign up for the MANDATORY registration event November 21-22, or call Ann Lafferty at 513.533.2640 today for more information. Which means that if you are thinking of selling your home, and it's valued at around $200,000 or less - there will be 765 buyers motivated to execute a contract by January 15, 2014! Call her to start looking for your next home - or work on your sales marketing plan - today!

How can Highlands control Warren Central, Feggins on Friday?

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands cornerback Austin Beal intercepts a pass against Holmes in a recent game. Beal could be matched up against old teammate Jensen Feggins on Friday at Warren Central.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

One can either give in to the adversity or rally around teammates and conquer it.

The Highlands Bluebirds football team (7-2 overall) is known for doing the latter and it hopes to do that this week on a long road trip to end the season. Highlands fell to Cincinnati Elder, 49-35 on Friday in Fort Thomas and wants to remove that sour taste from its mouth and head into the postseason on a high note.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Street Class Follow-Up: Fort Thomas Linked to the Cincinnati Area's Scariest Place

Two years ago, I spoke with Fort Thomas native and co-owner of The Dent Schoolhouse, Bud Stross. We discussed how the owners first got their start by creating yard haunts in Fort Thomas on Majestic Drive and Rosemont Avenue  before taking over The Dent Schoolhouse in 2004. While Dent is still owned and operated by Chuck Stross, Bud Stross, and Josh Wells, the attraction has certainly evolved over the past few years. It has continued to receive national media attention, and has secured its status as the scariest haunted house in the tri-state area. I recently caught up with Bud Stross again to talk all things Dent. 

Fort Thomas Ranks Among Nation's "Best Suburbs"

Fort Thomas has ranked among Business Insider's 50 Best Suburbs in the U.S./FTM file

Fort Thomas has ranked among the 50 best suburbs in America, part of a list released last week by Business Insider.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

State Open to Funding Moyer Renovation or Replacement

The state has committed to funding a total renovation or replacement of Moyer Elementary in 2015/Google

Whether it will be a renovation or a replacement of the building, Fort Thomas Independent Schools have been assured that the state will bear nearly all of the financial burden required to update the Ruth Moyer Elementary School facility, a project estimated to cost approximately $20 million, maybe more.

ALERT: Police searching for armed robbery suspects

Newport Police are requesting assistance in locating two male suspects wanted in connection with a robbery with a gun.

2015 Heroin Action Plan to be announced

It's no secret that Northern Kentucky has a heroin problem. In fact, I personally know of two young men (age 26 and 30) who have passed away this week from heroin. By now everyone knows some of the reasons for this epidemic; it's cheap, the heroin laws in Kentucky are not as strict as Ohio, dealers will give samples for free, people are addicted after one use and rehab has a long waiting list and is very expensive. Most people know someone on heroin, maybe even someone who has died. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Annual Kirkin' O' the Tartans Parade to March Mid-November

The patron saint of the Episcopal church in Fort Thomas is Saint Andrew, who is also the patron saint of Scotland. The church, being Anglican anyway, has a special love of Scotland, according to church member Andrew Modrall.

Every year the church has a celebration in November, which includes the Feast of St. Andrew.

NKU Women's Basketball Team Offers Exclusive Team Access to Young Girls

Northern Kentucky University women's basketball team will offer a program that will give young girls exclusive access to the team.
The program called "Coach P's Platoon" will be for 4th through 8th grade girls. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Did Highlands manage its first win over Elder at home?

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands quarterback Beau Hoge takes the snap while Josh Watson (28) and Chandler New (14) head downfield in Friday's game against Cincinnati Elder.

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Things have not been kind to the Highlands Bluebirds this year against non-Kentucky competition.

Who might the Bluebirds play in the first round of 4A playoffs?

Allen Ramsey Photos. In the top photo, the Highlands student section dressed in orange to show support for freshman Brady Walz, who is battling Leukemia. The bottom photo shows Highlands junior wide receiver Mitch Cain (16) trying for extra yards in Friday's game against Cincinnati Elder. Elder won 49-35.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The Highlands Bluebirds football team just can’t seem to find ways to beat the Cincinnati Elder Panthers consistently.

They dropped to 1-7 all-time against Elder (6-3) with a 49-35 defeat in Fort Thomas. Their lone win against the Panthers came three years ago on Oct. 21, 2011 at The Pit, 34-29.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Man With Fort Thomas Ties Charged with Attempted Murder

Stan Van Lierop. Facebook. 
A day after SWAT busted into a home off Memorial Parkway in Newport to save a woman from her fiancé, another man has been charged with attempted murder less than a mile from there. Thursday's hostage situation occurred in the 20 block of Wilson Road, while this incident occurred close to 24 hours later in the 100 block of Memorial Parkway.

Fort Thomas Matters Election Bio: Jason Steffen, Kentucky State Senate

Jason Steffen is running for Kentucky State Senate/Provided

by Jason Steffen
Candidate for Kentucky State Senate 

As a lifelong resident of Campbell County and being born and raised in Fort Thomas, it is important that we are represented by people that are members of our community.  Members that were raised here and choose to raise their families here.

Fort Thomas Matters Election Bio: Wil Schroder, Kentucky State Senate

Wil Schroder is running for Kentucky State Senate/Provided

by Wil Schroder
Candidate for Kentucky State Senate 

Wil Schroder for State Senate: Fighting for Kentucky
My name is Wil Schroder, and I am the Republican candidate for the Kentucky State Senate.  I am running for the State Senate because I believe that I can make positive changes in Frankfort to help get our state get back on track.

To understand me, and why I want to be your next State Senator, I think it is important that you know about my background and why I have a passion for public service.

Fort Thomas Matters Election Bio: Joe Fischer, Kentucky State Representative

Joe Fischer is running for re-election to the Kentucky State House of Representatives 68th District/Provided

by Joe Fischer
Candidate for Kentucky State House of Representatives 68th District
Biographical Information

By way of introduction, I am Joe Fischer, the incumbent State Representative for the 68th House District in Campbell County. I have represented our community in Frankfort for the past 16 years. I am currently seeking re-election to my ninth term. Previously, I served 11 years on the Ft. Thomas City Council.

Fort Thomas Matters Election Bio: Shae Hornback, Kentucky State Representative

Shae Hornback is running for the Kentucky State House of Representatives 68th District/Provided

by Shae Hornback
Candidate for the Kentucky State House of Representatives 68th District 

Three of the greatest challenges we face together in Campbell County are the challenges all Kentuckians face.

Judge/Exec candidates focus on differences in final debate

Democrat and current county commissioner Ken Rechtin (left) is challenging Republican incumbent Steve Pendery for Campbell County Judge/Executive/Provided

Candidates for Campbell County Judge/Executive met one final time Thursday night, in a final effort to sway voters. Incumbent Republican Steve Pendery faced off against Democratic challenger and current county commissioner Ken Rechtin.

"The theme of tonight is 'differences,'" said moderator and FTM Chief Mark Collier early in the discussion, setting the tone for what was the candidates' third meeting, one in which they couldn't even agree on how much they've agreed with one another as colleagues on fiscal court.

County Commissioner, Judge/Exec candidate wants to fight heroin with education and treatment

Campbell County Commissioner Ken Rechtin has announced "Day One: Save our Citizens"/Provided

Much is being said about heroin addiction in Northern Kentucky communities, specifically in Campbell County, which has emerged as a hotbed for dealers and users alike. Emergency responders, physicians and hospitals, law enforcement and judicial systems struggle just to tread water in their respective roles of dealing with the enormity of this epidemic. Most tragically, families are being torn apart and people are dying at an alarming rate.

Mama on a Budget: Jack O Lantern Walk

The moniker “Cabbage Night” refers to a tradition in Ontario from the mid-20th century whereby teenagers would uproot cabbage from local farmers and throw it about for general mischief.  “Mischief Night”, as it is commonly referred to, dates back to the late 18th century, celebrations of which have varied in time and revelry but typically have occurred on or about the 30th of October.   Unfortunately, Fort Thomas is not immune to this inane tradition.  However, if you want to “save” your pumpkins this year, then be sure to take them to the armory in advance of being cabbaged and allow them to participate in the annual Fort Thomas Recreation Department’s Jack-O-Lantern Walk.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How can NewCath even its record Thursday?

Allen Ramsey Photo. Newport Central Catholic running back Jacob Smith looks for room in the recent win against Newport.

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
They took care of things quickly a week ago against one overmatched opponent.

The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds football team (3-4 overall, 3-0 District 6-2A) would not mind doing it again Thursday at Covington Holmes against another struggling district opponent. The Thoroughbreds face the Covington Holy Cross Indians (1-7, 1-2) at 7 p.m.

FTPD bike, foot patrols proving effective against theft, night-time crime

FTPD are finding foot and bicycle patrols offer an alternative to easily seen cruiser lights during night-time shifts/FTM file

Fort Thomas Police arrested and charged two Newport men Monday night in connection with several alleged car thefts around Fort Thomas.

What makes this unfortunately run-of-the-mill arrest slightly different? The arresting officer, Off. Derek Faught, apprehended the suspects while on bicycle patrol.

Man in Custody, Female Hostage Safe on Memorial Parkway

Photo via Fox 19. The hostage was taken out of the residence at 6:30 this morning. 
A 38 year old man is under arrest and a female hostage, his fiancé, is safe after a SWAT situation in Newport this morning.

Police from Bellevue, Newport and Fort Thomas responded to a residence on Wilson Drive near Memorial Parkway after receiving a hang-up 911 call at 2:06 a.m.

What first is Highlands shooting for Friday?

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands wide receiver Cashel Coughlan (89) tries to make a catch in Friday's win at Covington Holmes. Highlands takes on Cincinnati Elder in Fort Thomas at 7:30 p.m.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

While the Covington Catholic Colonels may be the main arch-rival of the Highlands Bluebirds football team, the Cincinnati Elder Panthers might as well be the main nemesis.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

BREAKING: New Restaurant Signs Lease at Newport Pavilion

Property 35
FTM has confirmed that another lease has been signed at "property 35" just west of TJ Maxx. There will be a total of 6 retailers in that space.

Amazon creating thousands of seasonal jobs for 2014 holiday rush will be adding 80,000 seasonal positions this holiday season, nation-wide/Amazon

The e-retail giant Amazon has announced it is seeking to fill some 80,000 seasonal positions at its fulfillment and sortation centers around the U.S., including thousands at their Kentucky facilities, in an effort to meet rising customer demand during the holiday season.

Amazon operates a fulfillment center in Hebron.

According to a news release, thousands of last year's seasonal hires were ultimately offered full-time roles, post-holiday. Amazon expects to do the same this year.

IBANK Debates (State Senate/Judge Exec) Tomorrow

Your last chance to hear candidates battle it out in person will be tomorrow at Devanna's in Cold Spring.

Wil Schroder and Jason Steffen will be on stage for the first and only time together at 6:30 PM. Ken Rechtin and Steve Pendery will follow them at 7:30. Rechtin and Pendery have debated two times already.

FTM Publisher in Chief, Mark Collier, will be moderating both of these debates. Be sure to click on the "ELECTION 2014" at the top of the page for more details on their stances.

Campbell County PVA Opinion: I'm More Qualified, Challenger Choosing to Campaign on Lies, Misinformation

Daniel Braun, incumbent, is running for Campbell County PVA/Campbell Co. PVA office

by Daniel Braun
Candidate for Campbell County Property Valuation Administrator

My name is Daniel Braun, and I am the Property Valuation Administrator in Campbell County.  I have served the people of Campbell County as PVA for the past 12 years, following 6 years of working for the county and state.

Campbell County PVA Opinion: Election Opportunity to Clear Office of Controversy

Andrea Janovic is running for Campbell County PVA/Provided

by Andrea Janovic
Candidate for Campbell County Property Valuation Administrator 

I decided to run for Campbell County Property Valuation Administrator after learning of controversies involving the current PVA, Daniel Braun.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Message from Fort Thomas Recreation Department

From the Rec Dept: "We have found a camera and we are trying to find the owner. Please look at the attached picture and let us know, if you recognize the church or even recognize the wedding."

Macbook Airs teach students to work like adults

HMS students were all given an Apple Macbook Air laptop at the start of the school year/Wikipedia
Watching demonstration videos, being able to communicate quickly with every teacher and student in the school, and a lighter backpack are just a few of the benefits Highlands Middle School students are seeing from having their own Macbook computers.
Every student in Highlands Middle School was given a Macbook Air at the beginning of the school year. They use the computers in every class and are even able to take them home to do homework. The goal is to have students work like adults work in everyday life but this transition hasn't been without challenges.

Kenton Co. Judge Exec commissions task force to assess CVG board

The CVG Airport board has gone under fire recently for fiscal irresponsibility/CVG

A recent audit of the CVG Airport board by Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen revealed questionable spending on trips, contracts, and hires.

Now, Kenton County Judge/Executive Elect Kris Knochelmann has announced the creation of a task force to develop a recommended CVG Airport board structure. The task force’s work will be reported by the end of the year to the Kenton County Fiscal Court and Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus. 

CAUGHT: Police apprehend fourth, final suspect in NKY rape case

Police have apprehended Deyshawn Perry in connection with an underage rape case in Covington/Covington Police

Ludlow Police have made the fourth and final arrest in an underage rape case opened earlier this month.

FTIS announces Highlands fitness center open to public

FTM file. 

Although Highlands High School students have been benefiting from the new fitness center already, it will be unveiled to the public on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. The facility is the centerpiece of the district’s health, wellness, fitness and training initiative associated with Phase IV of the Highlands renovation project.

Monday, October 20, 2014

ALERT: Police searching for two males wanted for NKY, Cincinnati thefts

Troy Gabbard (left) and Justin Warren (right) are wanted in connection to several thefts throughout Northern Kentucky/Newport Police

Newport Police are searching for two males, suspected in connection with several thefts that have occurred throughout Northern Kentucky and in Cincinnati.

Fort Thomas Matters Election Bio: Cameron Blau, Campbell County District Court Judge

Cameron Blau, pictured here with his wife Marla and their sons Colin and Logan, is running for Campbell County District Court Judge/Provided

by Cameron J. Blau
Candidate for Campbell County District Court Judge, Division 1

Change and growth in a community isn’t always easy and it takes great strength and conviction to work towards it, so I want to begin by thanking everyone in our community who has taken time out of their busy lives to help improve this great community we call home.  My name is Cameron Blau and I’m running for District Court Judge here in Campbell County.

Budding Journalists - Got Music?: A Peek into the Life of the Highlands Marching Band

The Highlands Marching Band performs during this year's 4th of July Parade/FTM file

by Megan Benzing
FTM "Budding Journalist" 

Have you ever thought about joining the Highlands Marching Band? If so, this article will cover what you need to know about the Highlands Marching Band.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Q&A with Rob Robinson from Fort Thomas Antiques & Design Center


Fort Thomas Antiques & Design Center, a new retail concept combining antique booths with a coffee shop twist, is set to open on November 1. I had an opportunity to catch up with Rob Robinson to learn more about this new venture. 

What first did the Bluebirds accomplish at Holmes on Friday?

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands senior Alex Veneman (6) hauls in a pass in Friday's game at Covington Holmes. The Bluebirds improved to 107-6 since the start of 2007 with the 36-0 win.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

COVINGTON – It had been a little more than a year since the Blue and White kept an opponent off the scoreboard.

Bluebird Notebook: How did the younger players develop Friday?

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands quarterback Beau Hoge (7) scored on a sweep right in the first quarter of Friday's game at Covington Holmes. Hoge completed 9-of-19 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the 36-0 Bluebird win.
Allen Ramsey Photo. Evidence shows that Alex Veneman (6) caught the ball with one foot in-bounds in the first quarter of Friday's District 7-4A game between Highlands and Covington Holmes. The officials ruled Veneman's catch out of bounds on the play. But Veneman still recorded six catches for 119 yards in the win.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

In lopsided contests, the younger Highlands Bluebirds earn some playing time.

That has been the case in all three district contests this year. Highlands (7-1 overall, 3-0 District 6-4A) hit the running clock in the three district contests and the wins over Paducah Tilghman and John Hardin.