Thursday, July 31, 2014

Highlands, NC continue to emphasize integrity in wake of Cordia sanctions

G. Michael Graham photo. The Newport Central Catholic and Highlands boys basketball programs have vowed to continue to develop their programs within the rules in the wake of the sanctions against eastern Kentucky school Cordia. Cordia, under the guidance of former Kentucky Wildcat Rodrick Rhodes, will not be able to play any scrimmages or games in either the regular or postseason next year.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

It is a situation any high school athletic program hopes to avoid, let alone Highlands and Newport Central Catholic.

Former Kentucky Wildcat basketball player Rodrick Rhodes took over the Cordia Lion boys basketball program in 2011 and the Lions quickly rose to unprecedented heights. Newport Central Catholic beat Cordia twice last winter including a 72-61 victory in the All “A” State championship on Feb. 2 in the Frankfort Civic Center.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Flipdaddy's Newest Retailer at Newport Pavilion


Last Friday FTM reported what we were hearing properties 35 and 40 on the site map at Newport Pavilion could be. From the article:

So what could the last retailer be?

City Rec Department to Offer Fall Fitness Classes


The Armory, in Tower Park, is home to the Fort Thomas Recreation Department

The Fort Thomas Recreation Department has announced its fall fitness class schedule:

BREAKING: NKY Police Searching for Purse Snatcher




COLD SPRING, Ky. -- The Cold Spring Police Department has reported on their Facebook page that a woman was robbed yesterday around 1 p.m., in the lot of County Square, on Martha Layne Collins Blvd.

HHS Drama Dept. to Host Broadway-Themed Fundraiser


Standing Room Only, a parent booster organization that supports the Highlands High School Drama and Performing Arts Program, is holding its fifth annual fundraiser: "The Taste of the Season."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Several knothole teams bring championships back to NKY

Several Northern Kentucky baseball teams saw success on the diamond recently surely outshining their professional counterparts across the river.
The Lil' Nasty Boys District 22 Knothole team, the Pride Athletics' under nine D Senior team and the Pride Athletics' coach pitch knothole team won their respective championships.

Auditions for THE FACULTY LOUNGE, a new play by Teri Foltz



The Faculty Lounge”- Come meet five teachers from every high school in America.  Hear what they never say in the classroom.

Auditions for THE FACULTY LOUNGE, a new play by Teri Foltz,  will be held August 4-5 at the Village Players Theater at 7:30 pm.  Please arrive early to fill out paperwork.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fort Thomas Officer Included on Panel to Investigate Death of Teen by Boone County Officer

An independent panel is looking into the case of a preschool teacher fatally shot by a Boone County Deputy in April. Samantha Ramsey, 19, was shot to death leaving a field party after being stopped by Deputy Tyler Brockman
Via WLWT, Channel 5 - After WLWT filed a complaint with the Kentucky Attorney General’s office, prosecutors have released the names of police officials that make up a special investigative panel looking into the officer-involved shooting in Boone County.

WLWT has been persistent in knowing the make-up of the panel because it’s playing such a key role in the case. WLWT filed a complaint with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office after open records requests for the information were ignored by multiple offices, including the commonwealth attorney and the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

The panel is made up of officers from police departments in Florence, Fort Thomas and the Campbell County.

Street Class: World's Top Orthodontists Call Burney Lane & Sweetbriar Avenue Home


Fort Thomas has been recognized over the years for a variety of accomplishments – education, athletics, and park systems just to name a few. We are also lucky to have a community full of accomplished residents. We take the shop local movement seriously, and that applies to all local services. Gruelle Orthodontics currently has three locations: Fort Thomas, Florence, and Cincinnati. They are also in the process of expanding to a fourth location in the area. Drs. Terry Gruelle and Jerrod Dempsey have worked to make Gruelle Orthodontics one of the most prestigious practices in the world. 

Dr. Gruelle calls Burney Lane home while Dr. Dempsey resides on Sweetbriar Avenue with his family. Dr. Gruelle built his practice from the ground up after first opening up in Fort Thomas. He has been a staple in the Fort Thomas dental community for years, and was joined by Dr. Dempsey two years ago at Gruelle Orthodontics. Their partnership was a lifetime in the making for Dr. Dempsey. Dr. Gruelle has known Dr. Dempsey since birth, and the two families have remained incredibly close over the years. When Dr. Dempsey started considering a dental career, he turned to Dr. Gruelle for advice. “I knew I wanted to do something in that direction, so I talked to Terry when I was 14, 15, 16. He encouraged me to go into the dental field. My parents and sister both encouraged me as well. By the time I was 17, I knew I wanted to be an Orthodontist. I went to UK and stayed there for 11 years, and came back. From the very beginning, I knew I was coming back to work with him,” said Dempsey. Their close relationship is also beneficial to the success of their practice. “We're able to collaborate,” said Gruelle. “It's nice to know that you have a back-up in the clinic taking care of things. I think that continuity of treatment is really important when you have two people working closely together. Jerrod is like a son.” 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fort Thomas Schools Opt Out of Federal School Lunch Program

Despite record enrollment at Fort Thomas Independent Schools, the school system city-wide has seen a decrease of 169 lunches served each day since instituting the federal school lunch guidelines. 
The Fort Thomas Independent School system has decided that it will no longer choose to follow the federal lunch program, which has made its requirements increasingly stringent on school systems across the country.

By opting out of the program, the Fort Thomas Independent Schools are declining $265,000 in federal funds. The estimated budget and revenues for the 2014-2015 school year is $1,340,000. The School Board weighed the decision to turn down the money against increasingly strict guidelines, which they believed would continue to see the number of lunches served to decrease over the upcoming year.

Further leading to that decision was the fact that Fort Thomas receives the lowest federally funded per student rate in Kentucky, the Board felt they had the least to lose and most to gain by opting out of the program and constructing one that they felt would fill cafeteria lines.

In a letter to parents, Superintendent Gene Kirchner said,
"…we have seen a decline in student participation in our lunch program over the past two years. This is a trend that is happening in many school districts across the country due to increased federal regulation."

Kirchner went on to say that the decision will allow FTIS to increase the quality and quantity of the food choices they offer. The prices will remain the same for the 2014-2015 school year and the free/reduced prices will still be available for those families who qualify.

The Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act was instituted in 2012 and saw steeps declines in the number of lunches served in Fort Thomas Schools despite record enrollment numbers.

Year                Lunches Served 
2009-2010       256,142
2010-2011       266,482
2011-2012       269,621
2012-2013       259,233   *Federal Mandate of School Lunch starts in August
2013-2014       239,586

School Board member, Scott Johnson, spoke of the decision and how off-campus lunch options might have affected the decrease in cafeteria revenue. "One might point to popular alternatives like Twisty Grill at the Methodist Church for HHS students who wish to go off campus, -a small minority- the loss of participation has been system-wide, even for the elementary and middle schools which have a "captive audience," said Johnson.

"Feedback from our families would indicate that the regimented selection offered under the federal guidelines, along with the austere portion sizes, have forced many families to pack lunches in order to achieve both the desired selection and portion sizes that their students need.  The option of brown bag at all levels, not the open campus at HHS, has been the mechanism for the loss of participation in the lunch program system-wide."

_________

Here's what FTM reported on this subject over the previous years:
October 2009
November 2012
November 2012




Is this a sinkhole in Fort Thomas?

Is a sinkhole forming on the corner of Orchard Hill and Memory Lanes?
Calls from some concerned residents took FTM to Orchard Hill to check out an apparent sinkhole forming. According to residents, the hole grew from about 10 inches in diameter to 50 in about two weeks time. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fort Thomas Teen Competes on 'Jeopardy!'


Photo provided
Via Kiesewetter- Eileen Bunch of Fort Thomas finished third in her "Jeopardy!" teen tournament debut, likely eliminating her from the two-week contest.

Bunch 15, who will be a sophomore this fall at Villa Madonna Academy in Villa Hills, finished with $2,799 after correctly answering the final "Jeopardy!" question. Nikki Aria, a high school junior from Worthington, Ohio, missed the final question and ended with$1 more at $2,800.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mama on a Budget: Tips from the FTPD to keep safe

Fort Thomas Police Department
When I was sixteen years old, my father would get so annoyed with me because I would leave my car unlocked consistently with all of my valuables inside of it.   One day, to prove a point, he stole my CD player (for all you young readers, CD players were like a miniature record player… and record players were like a smaller phonograph… and, well, I’ve lost you young readers now, right?).  However, this had no effect on me because I just figured he had stolen it (and I was right).  When you grow up in a small, sleepy town like Mayberry Fort Thomas, you can take your safety for granted and get the sense that you’re untouchable; in fact, I still leave my car unlocked (drives my paranoid husband batty).

But maybe his paranoia is somewhat warranted.  I recently heard a lecture from Officer Will Hunt of the Fort Thomas Police Department who was a guest speaker at the latest Fort Thomas Mom’s Club meeting and when an officer tells you something, you start to listen (sorry Dad)!

What Is The New Building at Newport Pavilion?

Property "35" is currently under construction. Property "40" could be the last big retailer to sign onto the Newport Pavilion. 
It's been a few months since FTM has updated our readers with Newport Pavilion news and rumblings, so let's check in with what we are hearing.

What is being built on the southeast corner by Panera?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Alex Sale Hosts Stunning River Views Open House


Fort Thomas resident and realtor, Alex Sale, of Comey Shepard is hosting an open house in Union Township, OH. The address is 833 Wingate Drive. 




100th Season Celebration: Bluebirds hit uncharted territory in Mueller's first 11 seasons

Contributed Photo. Highlands graduate Derek Smith (right) makes a play for the Bluebirds in the late 1990s. Smith started for three years at Tight End and Defensive End for Highlands helping the Bluebirds to the state championships in 1996 and 1998.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of stories about past teams leading up and into the 100th season of Highlands football.

It was the offseason after the 1993 campaign. Highlands lost 29-26 in overtime to Conner in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs in Tom Duffy’s final season. Duffy took the job at Henderson County.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Get to Know the Candidates: Q&A with John Muller, Running for City Council


This year, all six Fort Thomas City Council members, along with Mayor Mary Brown, face re-election. As part of FTM's efforts to keep you, the Fort Thomas electorate, informed and prepare you for the upcoming election season, the Q&A below is part of an ongoing FTM series spotlighting candidates in the 2014 elections. Incumbents and challengers are asked a nearly identical set of questions, then a second round of follow-up questions, if necessary. This week we spoke with John Muller, running for Fort Thomas City Council.

John Muller, a candidate for Fort Thomas City Council, is a businessman serving as a Nursing Home Administrator and is also a licensed Physical Therapist. John works for Carespring Healthcare Management as an executive vice president for the corporation which has retirement and nursing care facilities throughout the Tri-State. John lives with his family on Fischer Lane in Fort Thomas.


The Bank of Kentucky invests in the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute campaign

The Bank of Kentucky has made a major investment to improve the heart health of our region.

St. Elizabeth Foundation announced that The Bank of Kentucky and R.C. Durr Foundation have committed $1.25 million toward the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute campaign.

This is a second major commitment by The Bank of Kentucky in recent years, following its collaboration with St. Elizabeth Healthcare in 2010 to sponsor the first cardiovascular mobile unit in Northern Kentucky.

President and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare John Dubis and President of The Bank of Kentucky Bob Zapp  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Buckle Up Country Music Festival Rocks the Cincinnati Riverfront


If you've been following along this year, you know I've been counting down the days until the area's first country music festival hit Yeatman's Cove and Sawyer Point on the banks of Cincinnati. I applaud the Buckle Up producers for stepping up to create this event. It was definitely welcomed by the tri-state's country music following.

Over the course of three days, the festival featured over 90 acts performing on seven stages. After experiencing a concert layout like this, I actually prefer it over Riverbend. There was not a bad seat in the house. No matter where you stood, you always had a great view of the stage and performers. I also loved the fact that you could avoid crazy long delays in the parking lot after the festival by leaving your car in Newport and walking across the bridge. 

I also enjoyed the variety in vendors. The food was far better than regular venues. With upscale options like Taste of Belgium, you were able to enjoy more than nachos and popcorn. 

Despite the continuous rain, I had a great time on Friday evening. Everyone rocked their ponchos and umbrellas. It seemed the rain was constant, but that didn't stop fans from hanging out all night.

Monday, July 21, 2014

City of Fort Thomas Offers Free Self-Defense Classes





The City of Fort Thomas will be conducting free self-defense classes in August. The classes will feature some of the self-defense strategies developed by the Rape Aggression Defense Systems (R.A.D) program. 

The classes are open to all females ages 14 and older (any 14-year-old participants must have parental consent), and take place at the Council Chambers at the City Building. Classes will he held from 6:00pm until 9:00pm on the following dates: August 6, 7, 13, and 14.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mama on a Budget: Fort Thomas Central Artisan Market

Artisan Market Tonight

Looking for something fun to do while anxiously awaiting the opening of 15 North next door (opening sometime this fall)?  Stop over to Fort Thomas Central for their second installment of their Artisan Market. 

KHSAA does many things well, can improve on other things

G. Michael Graham
Over the years, I’ve dealt with several athletic associations.

Out of all of them, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association does a fantastic job. Commissioner Julian Tackett and his staff in Lexington have always done a great job making things media-friendly and getting information in a timely manner.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Explore 16 Local Farms on Campbell County Backroads Farm Tour

Campbell County Backroads Farm Tour/Provided

Join the Campbell County Conservation District Farmland Work Group’s Fifth Annual Backroads Farm Tour scheduled for Saturday, July 19, 2014, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Rain or Shine!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Campbell County Public Library Releases Fiscal Year End Report

Campbell County Public Library, Phillip N. Carrico Branch on Highland Ave. in Fort Thomas

The Campbell County Public Library (CCPL) has released its annual year end report for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, this year as an infographic.

Artisan Festival at Fort Thomas Central this Friday, Council Candidate to Host Cash Mob

Source: Press Release 


Anthony Bonomini, candidate for Fort Thomas City Council has organized a cash mob to support and promote local small businesses. Bonomini is asking everyone to show up at Fort Thomas Central for the Artisan Market between 5-8pm, Friday, July 18, 2014. The purpose of this “cash mob” is for everyone in the community to show up at For Thomas Central for the Artisan Market and purchase original artwork, pottery, jewelry, and all natural products.

Fort Thomas Animal Hospital Dog Days of Summer Dog Wash on 8/2


Newport Stadium hosting annual Campbell County Junior Olympics

Teams from several different Northern Kentucky towns will be competing in track and field events in August.

Newport Stadium will be hosting the annual Campbell County Junior Olympics track meet on August 3.

Boys and girls ages five to 18 are invited to participate in the event.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

BREAKING: Fort Thomas City Council Election Field Narrows

Fort Thomas City Council/FTM file

FTM has received word that Nick Root, Fort Thomas resident and candidate for City Council, will not continue his candidacy for the city's legislative body.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Last Chance to Spend Time with "The Addams Family"


Don't miss out on your chance to catch a performance of The Addams Family at Highlands High School's Performing Arts Center. The show's final weekend of performances kicks off this Friday, July 18.

This production of The Addams Family is brought to the stage by the Commonwealth Artists Summer Theater (C.A.S.T.) group. C.A.S.T. is a collection of talented high school students from all throughout the Greater Cincinnati area." The cast and crew includes students from Anderson, Turpin, Newport Central Catholic, Covington Catholic, St. Xavier, Highlands and Scott high schools, plus more." said the Fort Thomas Independent Schools website. The production is directed by Jason Burgess, who also serves as the theater director at Highlands High School. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Budding Journalists: You're on the Air!

You may not know this but Fort Thomas Independent Schools provides fun summer enrichment classes for kids. This year I chose to participate in two classes, one of which was "You're on Air", a podcasting class. If you want to sign up for this class next summer, I have all the information and other kids’ feedback you need.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Donate School Supplies at Any Campbell Co. Public Library Branch

A collection bin at the Campbell County Public Library Cold Spring/CCPL

Campbell County Public Library (CCPL) is partnering with Northern Kentucky Harvest to help Boone, Kenton & Campbell County students start the 2014 school year fully prepared for the classroom.

New Spence Bridge could heavily impact Fort Thomas, area economy

G. Michael Graham Photo. The four lanes on the Brent Spence Bridge (above) currently stand 11 feet wide. A new bridge may bring more businesses to places in the area such as Fort Thomas.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Reporter

The Ohio and Kentucky state governments may not agree on certain aspects in the replacement of the nearly 51-year old bridge.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

St. Thomas Grad To Play in Jeopardy! Teen Tournament

St. Thomas Elementary graduate Eileen Bunch with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek/Sony Pictures
The Enquirer is reporting that a recent St. Thomas Elementary graduate Eileen Bunch will compete in the $75,000 Jeopardy! Teen Tournament later this month.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blue Marble Named One of Nation's Best Kids' Bookstores

The Great Green Room, at Blue Marble Books in Fort Thomas/Blue Marble

Fort Thomas's own Blue Marble Books has been named one of the nation's best kids' bookstores in a recent survey.

Traffic Update: Grand Avenue

Update from Sgt. Casey Kilgore:


"Eaton has moved over to Grand Avenue to resurface.  They started this morning near St. Elizabeth, and are working their way south to the intersection of S. Grand and S. Ft. Thomas.  The timeline they have given us is approximately four days to finish the project."

4th of July Parade Winners!

The Highland United Methodist Church Precision Lawn Chair Drill Team, voted Most Entertaining in this year's 4th of July Parade

The Campbell County YMCA -- sponsors of the Fort Thomas Annual 4th of July Parade -- have announced this year's winners.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ken Rechtin issues another challenge to Steve Pendery for Judge Executive debate

It has been more than month since Ken Rechtin issued Steve Pendery a challenge to debate.

Rechtin said when they saw each other on June 30, he brought up the debate. Pendery suggested that The Independent Business Association of Northern Kentucky and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee would be each hosting a debate and that there was "plenty of time."


Rechtin said he disagrees with Pendery's statement that there is plenty of time.

In fact, Rechtin said he believes that an open, frank debate is long overdue and quite simply: “It’s about time.”

"The sooner we begin this conversation the better informed the citizens of Campbell County can become about our differences," Rechtin said.

If there is one thing that Pendery and Rechtin can agree on it is that on any issue that faces Campbell County, the better the citizen is informed, the better the outcome will be.


The Independant Business Association of Northern Kentucky will be hosting some candidate forums this fall. But before the Primary Election, Rechtin said, he was told by a representative of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee that since the only contested fall races were in Campbell County, they would not be holding candidates’ forums for the fall elections.

Rechtin said he spoke with a chamber representative this week and a decision to hold fall candidate forums has not been made.

Rechtin said he will be reaching out to possible debate hosts and sponsors. Once those have been secured he hopes that Pendery will be open to discuss debate formats, moderators, panelists and all other necessary details.

Rechtin's initial proposal is a series of three debates to be held in September and October. One debate in each of the northern, central and southern sections of Campbell County.

The issues that would be covered in the debates would include, economic development in Campbell County, combatting the growing heroin epidemic and the leadership as the CEO of Campbell County.

At this time Pendery has not accepted nor declined Rechtin's offer to debate.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Council facing more questions than answers with breed-specific legislation

A crowd gathered Monday night as the Public Safety Committee considered revising the city's breed-specific requirements for dog ownership/Pat LaFleur

The Fort Thomas Public Safety Committee, along with Mayor Mary Brown and other members of City Council, met tonight to discuss the city’s current breed-specific legislation restricting Fort Thomas residents from owning pit bulls and “pit-looking” dogs. While each committee member called it “a good discussion,” the committee took no action but to schedule a third Public Safety Committee meeting on the topic, further extending the process.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

PHOTOS: Fort Thomas Celebrates 4th of July with Annual Parade




Fort Thomas and other Northern Kentucky residents gathered on Friday to celebrate Independence Day with the city's annual parade and Fourth at the Fort festival, and if you're like us, you wish it weren't over. The FTM team was there to capture these photos, so you can relive the fun until next year:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Area's First Country Music Festival Hitting Sawyer Point Soon


Just your friendly reminder - Ticket prices for the area's first country music festival, Buckle Up, are set to increase this Monday, July 7.

They are even offering discounts when buying in bulk, so get your friends together and make one purchase to save!

If you plan to buy three one-day tickets, you can get the fourth for only $25 (a savings of $40). If you buy three three-day passes, you can get the fourth three-day pass for just $85 (a savings of $60).

Got your tickets, but wondering what to wear? Be sure to check out my go-to guide for comfy, but cute concerts tees here.

Let's get ready to "buckle up," my friends!


Read more from Simply Sarah Style: 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

City has procedures for taking care of potholes

G. Michael Graham Photo. The Fort Thomas General Services Department fixes potholes year-round. The biggest time of the year to replace potholes is early spring.

By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Reporter

Like many cities, Fort Thomas residents see potholes on the streets throughout the year.

Family owned firework retailer explains key to safe, fun holiday celebration

With the 4th of July happening this weekend there will inevitably be backyard barbeques and celebrations-a-plenty. A 4th of July party just is not the same without some aerial pyrotechnics ... yes, I am talking fireworks.

I got in touch with the marketing coordinator at Tri-State Fireworks, Lauren Burns, to get some information straight from the source: What fireworks are essential for a successful display? What fireworks is everyone else buying? A little history on their business and of course how to enjoy a safe 4th of July display.