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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

FTM Year in Review (#9-#1)

The most read stories of the year, #9-#1:

FTM Year in Review (#19-#10)

The most read stories on FTM in 2014, #19-#10:

FTM Year in Review (#29-#20)

Thanks again to our readers! You guys rock! Here are our most read stories of the year, #29-#20:

FTM Year In Review - Top Stories of the Year (#30-#40)

2014 was a great year for FTM. In 2013 we celebrated our 1 millionth page view. It took us a little over 6 years to get to that mark. Sometime in October of this year, we surpassed the 2 million mark. That kind of growth is promising and goes to show what hard work and grinding everyday will get you.

We have become the go-to source for Fort Thomas news and our aim at having the most informed citizenry in the region will not stop. We want our readers to know the issues. We want our readers to know how our money is being spent and how the decisions in the city are made.

We have joined the WCPO News Network with the ranks of other new-media newsmakers that will extend our reach even further and have signed some partnerships with more FTMFamily members to continue our podcasts going into 2015. We will continue to bring you Fort Thomas Matters in print through the pages of the Fort Thomas Living each month.

Ring in the New Year Locally!

Where are you heading tonight for your NYE party?!? We have some local options that are sure to be a big hit!

Olde Fort Pub - Fort Thomas, KY   
NYE 2015 Party!! $10 Includes Appetizers, Champagne, Party Favors & Live Music by The Doppel Gängsters.

Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse - Cincinnati, OH
The Kelsey Mira band will be ringing in the new year in Cincinnati! NYE will feature Clifford Adams on keys, Alex Cook on bass, Bernie Phelon on drums, and Yemani Schneider on guitar! Join us from 9pm-1am

Fort Thomas Pizza - Fort Thomas
Champagne toast, plenty of party favors and free jukebox all night long.

Gangster's Dueling Piano Bar - Newport, KY
Sold out for tonight's Party! Try to buy your tickets early for next year's celebration!

Uber to donate portion of NYE fares nationwide to Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Uber expects to have one of its busiest days of the year on New Year's Eve, and it is taking advantage of the business to benefit an important organization.

This New Year’s Eve, between 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 and 6 a.m. on Jan. 1, Uber will donate $1 of every ride nationwide to Mothers Against Drunk Driving when users enter the promo code MADDNYE.

Photo courtesy blog

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Police Swarm Imperial Apartments

FTPD responded to Imperial Apartments Tuesday afternoon and evening./HB 

Fort Thomas Police swarmed Imperial Apartments in Fort Thomas Tuesday afternoon.

Christ Church to host 2nd annual Comedy and Cabaret

Christ Church United Church of Christ will host a blended musical and comedy event Saturday.

The second annual Comedy and Cabaret at Christ Church will feature talented singers from the Tri-State performing solos, duets and group numbers as well as a comedy routine from Shelly Iker.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Kick Off New Year with Ninth Annual Frostbite Run/Walk

Participants at the 2013 Al Salvato Frostbite Run, Walk/YMCA of Greater Cincinnati

For those who have more exercise as one of their New Year's resolutions, the Campbell County YMCA has the event for you.

Fort Thomas Police Officer Recognized for Drunk Driving Busts

FTPD Officer Derek Faught (right) upon his commissioning in 2013. Faught was nominated this year for recognition for his commitment to DUI enforcement./Image via Enquirer

Earlier this month, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety recognized law enforcement officers all across the state for aggressive targeting of impaired drivers. Fort Thomas's own Officer Derek Faught was among those nominated for recognition.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

CVG Continues to Add New Destinations into New Year

Allegiant Airlines is preparing to add more destinations out of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) after the new year.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

FTIS: What's the Recipe for A Strong School District?

If you live in Northern Kentucky, then you have heard of Fort Thomas Independent Schools (FTIS). You know that it has a championed football team and excellent state test scores. You may have even heard that the state’s School Facilities Construction Committee (SFCC) selected one of its elementary schools to be the recipient of a multi-million dollar renovation.

What you may not know, however, is the recipe to the District’s success. What actually makes it so winning and why did the SFCC select it to receive funding?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Watch LIVE as Santa Delivers Gifts All Over the World!

NORAD is currently tracking Santa's Christmas Eve travels around the world./NORAD

Tonight's the big night, and, in keeping with a nearly 60-year tradition, NORAD -- the North American Aerospace Defense Command -- is tracking Santa's movements as he works round-the-clock tonight to deliver gifts all around the world.

FTM has tapped into that feed:

Go HERE to Watch "The Interview" the Movie

Sony has decided to release "The Interview" in select theaters and online ($5.99). You can click the link below to stream the full movie now.

Our growth has been tremendous over the last year, but hopefully FTM is not targeted by the North Koreans for linking this. Either way, we ain't scurred:

Faster Internet is Coming to Kentucky

A new infrastructure for broadband service is coming to Kentucky/Provided

A new public-private partnership will develop a robust, reliable, fiber “backbone” infrastructure to bring high-speed Internet connectivity to every corner of the Commonwealth – with the critical first components scheduled to be operational in less than two years.

Governor Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers announced the partnership with Macquarie Capital today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ALERT: Police Searching for Accused Kidnapper

Police are searching for this accused kidnapper./Erlanger Police

This man is wanted for kidnapping, and the Erlanger Police are asking for help finding him.

Have You Seen the Wildcats' Holiday Video? INTENSE...

UK wishes #BBN "Happy Holidays" with this powerful video./YouTube

The UK Wildcats basketball program has released a holiday greeting to #BBN, and let's just say it's... intense.

Lampe Sworn in to Campbell County Fiscal Court

Former city councilman Tom Lampe was sworn in to Campbell Co. Fiscal Court Monday/Provided

Tom Lampe, former Fort Thomas city councilman, is taking his experience to the next level.

Street Class: Christmas Traditions Around Town

While some people are at home dreaming of a white Christmas or arranging a major award to display in their front window (fra-gee-lay is indeed Italian, right?), many Fort Thomas residents are celebrating the holiday season with their neighbors. Christmas parties pop up throughout the city during the month of December, and many streets have created their own unique Christmas traditions over the years. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Fire, Police Swarm on Arcadia Drive for Home Explosion

Emergency services have reported to Arcadia Dr. in Fort Thomas./CC

This story has been updated. - 12/24/14

Multiple Fort Thomas Police, including emergency service officers have reported to a residence in the 60 block of Arcadia Drive.

At 8:30 PM Monday night, witnesses on the scene reported multiple fire trucks and at least four squad cars from Fort Thomas and Newport on scene for an explosion that occurred in the basement of the house.

Study Says Majority of Northern Kentucky Favor Smoke-Free Law

A new survey shows the majority of people in Northern Kentucky are in favor of a state-wide smoking ban./CC

A survey recently released by the Northern Kentucky Health Department shows strong, widespread support for a state-wide ban against smoking indoors or some other smoke-free law in Kentucky.

This Music Teacher May Have Retired, But He Hasn't Stopped Playing

Ken Foltz may have retired from teaching music, but not from music itself./Provided

by Kara Gebhart Uhl
FTM Contributor

Ken Foltz grew up an only child on Sheridan Ave., and music, as it does for many, became a companion.

It's That Time of Year: Show Us Your Inner Clark Griswold!

Show us your inner Clark Griswold, Fort Thomas!/Warner Bros.

Here it is, readers, a little later than usual but just in time for Christmas: announcing the Fourth Annual Griswold Award!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Police Arrest Suspect Accused of Kidnapping Newborn

via: WLWT - Florence police have arrested a suspect accused of stealing a car and a 20-day-old baby from a Florence gas station Thursday. The Florence Police Department was able to get a warrant for the suspect in the case.

Flu Hits Record Levels in Northern Kentucky

Cases of the flu have hit record levels in Northern Kentucky this year./CC

The Northern Kentucky Health Department is reporting that cases of influenza throughout the region have already hit record levels this year, and there is likely more to come.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Explosion Causes Evacuation of Florence Mall

Florence Mall, busy with a large crowd of holiday shoppers, was evacuated Saturday afternoon, after an explosion occurred on the premises.

This Woman Is Wanted for a Strong-Arm Robbery of a Family Dollar

Police are looking for a woman they think was involved in a robbery of a Family Dollar. /Covington Police Facebook

Police are looking for a woman they believe was involved in a strong-arm robbery at a Family Dollar store earlier this month.

Ladybirds Continue Winning Streak Over Campbell County

Highlands senior Alex Combs (center) puts up a shot while Campbell County's Mackenzie Schwarber (5) and Carson Gray (10) watch./Alex Ramsey

by G. Michael Graham
FTM Sportswriter (originally published on Fort Thomas Matters Sports)

The Highlands Ladybirds basketball team has done a great job attacking the basket all season.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Police Release Video of Suspect Who Stole Car with Infant Inside

This video footage was taken at the Marathon station where the suspect ditched the vehicle, with the infant in the car.

Police are continuing their search for the suspect involved in Thursday afternoon's car theft in Florence that resulted in a 3-hour AMBER Alert across Northern Kentucky. They have now released video footage of the suspect.

Two Bluebirds Nominated for Statewide Football Award

Beau Hoge (left) and Alex Venetian (right) have both been nominated.

Two Bluebirds -- quarterback Beau Hoge and wide receiver Alex Veneman -- have both been nominated for an award given out every year by the Associated Press.

Don't Miss a Fort Thomas Playwright's World Premiere Performances

A German officer, played by Jeffrey Miller (right), confronts a British soldier (Aaron Epstein) in "Soldier's Christmas." (Photo by Matt Steffen)

The holiday season is always filled with various celebrations, entertainment, and traditions. This year, a new play is premiering, and you will certainly want to add it to your Christmas to-do list. Award-winning Fort Thomas playwright Phil Paradis has penned an impressive work of historical fiction. According to the play's website, Soldier's Christmas “is an epic tale of war and peace set in Belgium in late December of 1914, dramatizing the Great War’s effects on front-line soldiers as well as on their families at home. This original play with song presents the personal stories of disenchanted, battle-weary British and German soldiers who throw down their rifles, leave the mud of the trenches, and join hands in one of history’s most astonishing Christmas celebrations.”

The inspiration for Soldier's Christmas came long before the first draft was ever written. “I heard about the Christmas Truce from my eldest uncle when I was a boy. It struck a chord with me. Over the years, I came across it in history classes. And maybe a dozen years ago, I heard author Stanley Weintraub on NPR discussing the Truce and his book Silent Night and was very impressed. That rekindled my interest. I thought that the story of the Christmas Truce might make a good stage play, so I began to conceptualize how that might be. And I sketched it out. Then I started the research,” said Paradis.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

AMBER ALERT: NKY Police Searching for Missing Infant

A 20-day-old infant is missing after a car was stolen from a Florence gas station Thursday afternoon.

Authorities said they have found the baby reported missing Thursday after a vehicle he was inside was stolen at a Florence gas station.

Fort Thomas Gas Prices Dropping, But Slowly

Gas prices in Fort Thomas remain 20-30 cents higher than nearby gas stations as of Thursday afternoon./FTM file
News outlets across the country have been reporting a dramatic decrease in gas prices. The Greater Cincinnati area, and even some regions in Northern Kentucky, are also benefiting from this market swing.

But how does Fort Thomas compare to the rest of the Tri-State in seeing decreased gas prices?

Turns out, not great.

First Mountain Lion Seen in KY in Over 150 Years Killed

A mountain lion was found and terminated at a Bourbon County farm Monday evening. Note: The mountain lion shown here is not the same that was found on Monday.

The first wild mountain lion Kentucky has seen since before the Civil War was discovered in a tree on a Bourbon County farm before it was shot and killed by a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife officer Monday night.

Trust in each other, coaches leads to 5-0 start for Ladybirds

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highland junior McKenzie Leigh (31) battles for a rebound in a recent win against Dayton while Brianna Adler (right) gets in position. The Ladybirds are beating opponents by an average of 29.4 points in their 5-0 start to the season.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

It’s a trait that makes teams successful.

The Highlands Ladybirds basketball team has it right now and it has led to a fun time on the court in its 5-0 start to the season. That trait is a strong family atmosphere.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WANTED: Assault Suspect, Ex-Convict on the Loose

Eric Van Unthank is on the loose in Northern Kentucky, and considered dangerous/Grant Co. Sheriff's Office

UPDATE: Eric Van Unthank was taken into custody Thursday morning around 7 a.m. He was found walking down a road in Boone County.

The Campbell County Sheriff's Office has issued an alert Wednesday afternoon regarding a wanted suspect who is on the loose, and should be considered dangerous.

Police Need Your Help Finding These Two Men, Wanted for Theft

Alexandria Police are searching for two individuals wanted for stealing from GameStop in Alexandria last week.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

FORUM: How Can Northern Kentucky Bring More Jobs Back Home?

Northern Kentucky economic leaders discuss why 1 in 3 jobs have been going to Texas/Provided

Economic and business leaders from Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky came together to try to answer the question on economic developers’ minds all across the nation: What’s up with Texas?

As part of Northern Kentucky Forum’s final event of their 2014 season, a panel of experts met at the NKU METS Center in Erlanger to discuss what exactly has taken one in three new jobs to the Lone Star State in recent years.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Crash in Fort Thomas Closes I-471 South

I-471 SB at Grand Ave./via WCPO traffic cam

Channel 9 is reporting that two of the southbound lanes on I-471 at US-27 were closed after a crash Tuesday morning.

Fort Thomas City Council Roundup (12-15-14)

Mayor Mary H. Brown presiding over her last council meeting on 12-15-14.
The end of an era has nearly come to a close, as city council and Mayor Mary Brown concluded their final meeting of 2014. Brown as well as Councilmen Tom Lampe and Jay Fossett are concluding their tenures at the Fort Thomas local government level. Lampe will take higher office after winning a seat in the general election on the county fiscal court as County Comissioner. Fossett will be leaving the public sector and will continue his consulting and public relations career at Strategic Advisors.

Departing members of council, Jay Fossett and Tom Lampe. 
For Brown, a council member since 1977 and mayor since 1999, it's certainly been a long ride. "This council and past councils have made my job very easy for the most part," she said. "This city has benefitted greatly from the service of our citizens. Fort Thomas is truly blessed. It's kind of sad, leaving, but I am assured that (the city) is in good hands."

At the end of business, the majority of council members took turns giving Brown public accolades. "The attitude you've continued and fostered will be one of your best legacies you're leaving behind," said Councilman Roger Peterman. "From the parks to the city streetscapes, you've done a lot of good in Fort Thomas."

Remke Donation Will Provide Hot Holiday Meal to Thousands in Need

Brighton Center in Newport received a huge food donation to feed families in need this holiday season/Facebook

6,000 local people in need will now enjoy a hot meal this holiday season.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Blue Marble Just Received a Wonderful Holiday Gift

Blue Marble Books has just received a wonderful holiday gift from a nationally bestselling author.

Metro, TANK provide services 'bridge,' unveil regional stored-value card

Regional travel doesn’t stop at the river, and now your bus pass doesn’t have to either.

Beginning Monday, Metro and the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky are introducing a new regional stored-value card that can be used on all Metro and TANK buses.

Darryl Haley, Metro’s interim CEO, and Andrew Aiello, TANK general manager, introducing the regional stored-value card with Metro operator Carl Evans and TANK operator Debra Gillen

Friday, December 12, 2014

Marine Found Fatally Shot in Newport, Police Asking for Help

Anthony Martin via WLWT
Via WLWT: NEWPORT, Ky. —Newport police are investigating after finding a Marine dead in his apartment. Investigators said Anthony Martin’s  family got worried when he didn’t show up to Thanksgiving dinner.

Martin’s family told police that they searched his apartment, but he wasn’t there.

OPINION: What really makes a great school system GREAT?

By John Deering (in collaboration with Mark Twain and Jonathon Swift) 

Well, after some deep thought and having been a disciple of Principal/Superintendent Harold Miller – the most pragmatic educator I have ever known -- I have this great idea for making schools of our country greater.

I think I am qualified since I have been a teacher/adjunct professor and a principal of two schools for almost fifty years. (I’ve seen it all!) Now, for years and  years, some of us have thought the quality of the supporting homes from which our students have come is the primary reason for the success of our schools -- or the failure there of.

HOWEVER, is this the really basic reason for the success or the failure of schools?  Then there is this business that teachers make the difference. School boards and administrators have been reaching hand over hand to hire the very best teachers they can. Gosh, how many teachers do we need?  We’ll get back to this!

PREVIEW: Highlands Basketball May Take 9th Region by Surprise

Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Parker Harris (10) puts up a shot in the 9th Region quarterfinals against Covington Holmes last year. Harris is one of two returning starters for the Bluebirds.

by G. Michael Graham
FTM Sports Writer, originally published to Fort Thomas Matters Sports

It was a feeling the squad hopes to see a lot more.

The Highlands Bluebirds basketball team had just achieved its main goal of the season making it back to the 9th Region Tournament with a 75-64 win over the Newport Wildcats in the 36th District semifinals. The Highlands students formed a tunnel for the players and coaches to head back to the locker room.

The Blue and White proceeded to lose to arch-rival Newport Central Catholic, 65-36 in the district championship before bowing out to Covington Holmes, 60-41 in the 9th Region quarterfinals. The Bluebirds finished 9-15 on the season.

Highlands ventured into its first full off-season with Kevin Listerman as head coach. The Bluebirds hope to not only make it back to the Bank of Kentucky Center this season, but take bigger steps into returning to a region contender. Highlands has not won a region game since 2009, nor has it won a district championship since 2008.