Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Opticare Vision/Express Mobile Transport

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ladybirds capture holiday classic in thriller

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Macy Gabbard lets a shot fly in Wednesday's game at Conner. Highlands won the LaRosa's Holiday Classic.
When they made their moves without hesitation, it often led to a good shot.

Fort Thomas Matters 2015 Year In Review

Dear Readers,

This has been a banner year for Fort Thomas Matters. Let's review:
- The most stories published (980).
- The most clicks ever by a wide-margin.
- A podcast channel in its second year with downloads increasing every show. 
- 28 issues printed and mailed of The Fort Thomas Living. 
- A partnership with WCPO that has been a win-win for both partners.

I love this job because of the people I get to talk to and work with everyday. The businesses, schools and city are my passion and I can't believe I get to cover them on a daily basis. It doesn't feel like work to me.

My FTM team: Jessica, Stephanie, Kara, Michael, Amanda, Gina, Nick, Liz, Chuck, Ben, Pat and Hannah, Allen. You guys have been awesome this year. No way FTM continues to improve without you all.

Most importantly, the readers. You realize that there's been a serious lack of attention to Fort Thomas. I know this because of the voracity with which you help us find stories, the rate at which our clicks continue and the growth of our social media platforms.

It's impossible to do a recap of what happened locally and only include a few items. That's why I've laid out the top 100 stories we covered this year.

Most are Fort Thomas items, some are podcasts and some are features. The vast majority were breaking right here in our space on Fort Thomas Matters. All of them had a great deal of success. We'll continue to be your leader for original news and reporting because we are entrenched in the community. People trust us and I take that very seriously.

So again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting us through your readership and engagement on our stories on our social media platforms. Thank you for shopping local and supporting our FTM Family advertisers. Thank you for showing an interest in the community around you.

I'll continue to keep up my end of the deal,

Mark Collier

Mysterious crash in Newport leaves one dead, police searching for answers. 
First City Council meeting with new members. 
No Bids Again for VA Homes. 
DUI Crash Damages Business on N. Fort Thomas Ave. 
FTM/Q102 Partner to Throw 80s Party to Benefit Brighton Center


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Governor Matt Bevin Appoints Another Northern Kentuckian to Administration


Brett Gaspard. Provided. 
Governor Matt Bevin announced today the appointment of Brett Gaspard as Executive Director of Boards and Commissions. Gaspard brings more than 20 years of private sector experience with a strong emphasis on contract management, government relations and community engagement.

“I am pleased to have someone of Brett’s experience and character serving in this position,” said Gov. Bevin. “The selection of qualified candidates for our many boards and commissions will play an instrumental role in producing a brighter future in Kentucky. Brett is a man of high integrity and high intelligence and I am confident that he will do an excellent job guiding the vetting process in an effective, fair and transparent manner.”

Bevin: We Will Transform The Way Medicaid is Delivered in Kentucky

Download this episode (right click and save)

Gov. Matt Bevin. 
Governor Matt Bevin and Health and Family Services Secretary Vickie Yates Glisson announced plans to develop a transformative Medicaid program for Kentucky. Governor Bevin has requested Mark D. Birdwhistell, a former Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, to assemble a team of experts to assist in the drafting of a Medicaid waiver solution for the Commonwealth that addresses the financial unsustainability of the current Medicaid program.

FTM Radio covered the conference.


Gov. Matt Bevin said former CHFS Secretary Mark Birdwhistell will head team of experts drafting a Medicaid waiver for Ky.

Bevin: "We are going to transform the way in which Medicaid is delivered in Kentucky and will serve as a beacon for other states to emulate. Bevin said he's looking to Indiana as Medicaid model, but customized for Ky's needs."

Bevin: "I truly believe by the middle of next year to know whether this is going to work or not."

Bevin: "Traditional Medicaid alone as it exists is not sustainable. The study that it was by the outgoing administration was a lie."

Bevin: "Waivers are not just about saving money. More than the dollars, we want to make sure that people will have good health outcomes."

Bevin: "I’m equally confident and uncertain that this could work. I have confidence that we could come up with a solution. I’m more confident that we’ll come up with a viable solution. This will not be another version of something you’ve seen."

Bevin: "We owe people the dignity and respect to be able to make decisions while they are dependent on the assistance of others."

In Other Words: “Sorrow is the Child of Too Much Joy.”

Inside Out. Pixar. 
By Chuck Keller

Perhaps you have seen the animated movie Inside Out, a wonderful story about personified emotions where sadness saves the day.  You see, sorrow helps us feel compassion, to be human, to have perspective. Joy makes us giddy; sorrow makes us somber. And reflection makes us wiser. It reminded me of the Chinese proverb, “Sorrow is the child of too much joy.”

In order to understand where we are going we have to stop every now and then and look back, see where we have been. Reflection adds a needed perspective. But as I review this year I am struck by how many wonderful people have died or who have come close to death. Too many - young, old, family, and friends - to name.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Website Lists Newport As Most Dangerous in Kentucky

FTM file. 
A website that describes itself as "info-tainment" has named Newport as the most dangerous city in Kentucky. It also has listed Covington as #4 and Dayton as #5.

RoadSnacks says their mission is to "try to paint a picture of what’s happening in a region based on “Friday Night Science” — how’d you argue at a bar."

When determining the most dangerous cities in Kentucky, here's what they had to say:
"While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the most dangerous, we didn’t want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI’s last three years of reporting. Specifically, we analyzed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year.

Violent crimes are defined as rapes, murders, robberies and aggravated assaults.

We only looked at cities that have populations of more than 5,000 people as of 2013, which is the last year the report was available. This left us with a total of 74 cities in Kentucky to rank.

Finally, we made 2013 factor more heavily than 2012, since more recent crimes are a bigger determining factor in how dangerous a place is. You can see our overall ranking at the bottom of the post."

We must note that this report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments. It simply states where crimes occurred most frequently

This is the list of the top 10 most dangerous cities, according to them.

Police Aim to Save Lives With ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’

By Steve Franzen, Campbell County Attorney

If you’re enjoying the holidays with a drink, the Campbell County Attorney’s Office has a message for you: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across America will be actively searching for and arresting drunk drivers from December 17 to January 1. They have good reason to: in 2013, 10,076 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver. In December 2013 alone there were 733 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Twenty-three of those deaths occurred on Christmas Day.

It’s time for all drivers to get the message.  Drunk driving is a choice you make, and when you make that choice, people get hurt or die. That’s why we’re joining with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to share the message: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. The safest way to get home is to drive sober or catch a ride with a sober designated driver. If you plan on drinking at the holiday party or at a restaurant, hand the keys over to someone else – a sober friend, a taxi, uber or public transportation. Or, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend by identifying their location so they can be picked up. The app is available at for Android and for iPhone users.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Meet Sam Shelton, a Highlands High School Junior Who Applied for City Council

Sam Shelton, HHS 18-year-old junior, recently applied for vacant City Council position.

Since 18-year-old Highlands High School Junior Sam Shelton was young, he's wanted to be mayor of Fort Thomas. Recently, while sitting in one of his favorite classes, his United States history teacher, Jason Harnish, said that younger people need to start getting involved in government and politics. "While he was talking, in my backpack was my application for city council," Shelton says.

The City of Fort Thomas City Council received 13 letters of interest and bios from potential candidates. Sam Shelton was one of them. "A few were strong enough to rise to the top in our deliberation," says Councilmember and Owner of Bowman's Framing Inc., Ken Bowman. "We were all surprised, but impressed to see one from someone still in high school." 

FTM Advice Column: Ask Thomas

Photo via 
FTM is partnering with Thomas Cox, Executive Director for Families Matters, to answer your tough family questions. If you have a question you'd like Thomas to ask, post in the comments section here, send a message to our Facebook or Twitter pages or shoot us a text at 859-379-5706. 

RELATED: Alcoholic or Party Girl?


Dear Thomas,

My 15 year-old son, Derek, is very much in danger of failing his sophomore year.

His biggest problem is he will not go to school. He misses at least one, sometimes two days a week. I wake him up every morning but then I leave before he does. Some days he goes back to bed, other days he leaves for school but just does not seem to make it there. Derek is failing everything. I cannot make him go to school; he just will not listen to me.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Lorenzen Part of Latest Larosa's Hall of Fame

Patrick Towles and Jared Lorenzen at the first ever, "Mark vs. Food" in 2012. FTM file. 
Jared Lorenzen, (HHS 1999) will be inducted into the Larosa's High School Sports Hall of Fame on June 26, 2016.

The hall is in its 41st year of recognizing area high school athletes and coaches. The hall has honored 257 exceptional individuals since its founding in 1975.

Lorenzen, who was also inducted into the University of Kentucky Hall of Fame in 2015, is the 7th Highlands player or coach inducted to the Larosa's Hall of Fame.

He joins Scott Draud, Owen Hauck, Homer Rice, Ken Shields, Derek Smith and Jaime Walz Richey.

The 2015 members are: Jayme Cramer (St. Xavier, Class of 2001); Rodney Geier (Cincinnati Country Day, Class of 1971); Jared Lorenzen (Highlands, Class of 1999); Emily Hunter Taylor (Indiana Hill, Class of 2003); Mel Thomas (Mount Notre Dame, Class of 2004) and St. Xavier coach Jim Brower (1988-1994 and 1998-current).

Information provided by the LaRosa's Hall of Fame committee:

Landlords and Tenants - Campbell County Attorney - Steven J. Franzen

Information from the County Attorney's Office
By Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney

An interested reader of this column sent me an e-mail recently with a very good suggestion to write about the topic of landlord/tenant law.

The law surrounding landlords and tenants can be quite different depending on where you live.  A property being rented can either be governed by common law or by the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTA) as found in Chapter 383 of Kentucky Revised Statute.  For example, if your rental property is in Dayton, Bellevue, Newport, Woodlawn, Southgate, Melbourne, or Silver Grove, the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act is the applicable law in the landlord tenant relationship.  If you’re outside of these areas in Campbell County, such as Alexandria, the common law applies.

Depending on the applicable law, there are some significant differences in the rights, duties and remedies of landlords and tenants.  However, there are some universal rules that apply to all leases.  Specifically, there is no right to “self-help.”  What this means is there is no right, without a court order, of the landlord to forcibly evict a tenant, turn off electricity or water in order to get a tenant to move, or lock a tenant out of the rental property.  If you attempt “self-help” in Kentucky, the penalties can be steep and include attorney’s fees.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Blue Marble's Dave Richardson Wins James Patterson Bonus Award

Dave Richardson. 
James Patterson has done it again.

In 2014, he gave away over a million dollars to independent booksellers across the country as way to thank them for their literacy work and as to help them make much-needed store improvements. Now Patterson’s awarding various amounts to schools, libraries, and independent bookstore employees based on nominations submitted via his website.

Dave Richardson, who has been with Blue Marble Books for almost 13 years, is an incredibly worthy recipient of the holiday bonus. He is one of 87 recipients across the country and one of three recipients in all of Kentucky and Ohio

Anyone who knows Dave knows that he knows books inside and out.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Highlands shows great signs in 7-2 start

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Lauren Epperson (24) goes up for a shot in Monday's game against Campbell County. The Ladybirds are 7-2 on the season.
The team entered the season knowing there would be some growing pains.

St. Thomas School Organizers Toy Drive for Children's Hospital

St. Thomas Schools student council. FTM file. 
Last week, the student council of St. Thomas School generously organized a toy drive for the Children’s Hospital infant and teen ward in the spirit of Christmas Giving.

Students through grades K-8 donated a variety of gifts to give to the patients who will be staying at Children’s Hospital throughout the Holiday Season.  The  hospital was overwhelmed by the generosity of our families during this Advent season.

"We believe it is important to positively reinforce the generous behavior of today's youth to ensure that it withstands the test of time," said Kris Schnell of St. Thomas School.

The Village Players of Fort Thomas invites you to their winter production:

Dearly Departed
Written by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones

In the Baptist backwoods of the Bible Belt, the beleaguered Turpin family proves that living and dying in the South are seldom tidy and always hilarious. Despite their earnest efforts to pull themselves together for their father's funeral, the Turpin's other problems keep overshadowing the solemn occasion: Firstborn Ray-Bud drinks himself silly as the funeral bills mount; Junior, the younger son, is juggling financial ruin, a pack of no-neck monster kids, and a wife who suspects him of infidelity in the family car; their spinster sister, Delightful, copes with death as she does life, by devouring junk food; and all the neighbors add more than two cents.

As the situation becomes fraught with mishap, Ray-Bud says to his long-suffering wife, "When I die, don't tell nobody. Just bury me in the backyard and tell everybody I left you." Amidst the chaos, the Turpins turn for comfort to their friends and neighbors, an eccentric community of misfits who just manage to pull together and help each other through their hours of need, and finally, the funeral.
This is an advertisement. 

Nathan Henegar, Director
Peggy Kenney, Producer
Kate Brockmeier, Stage Manager


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Carlos Dunlap and Lovell's Hardwood Flooring Team Up To Spread True Meaning of Christmas

Carlos Dunlap and Bobby Lovell loaded up the truck and brought Christmas to 22 local families. This family was one that has had a incredibly back string of circumstances. 
Last week Lovell's Hardwood Flooring (1029 S. Fort Thomas Avenue) partnered up with Carlos Dunlap of the Cincinnati Bengals and his foundation to provide 22 pre-lit Christmas Trees, ornaments, toppers, candy and small gifts for local families in need of a little help.

Dunlap, Al Lovell, Bobby Lovell and his son Jaxson, hand-delivered the holiday cheer to the families.

"It was important for me to show my young son the importance of helping others and focus on giving instead of getting," said Bobby Lovell. "It was a fulfilling and joyful experience."

The smiles on the faces of the families made the day worth it. The picture that starts this article illustrates that.

The Dennards are having a tough time. Mom is trying her hardest to support her three young children all the while dealing with cancer treatments. She was diagnosed last year.  Her husband recently passed away from an infection following a surgical procedure.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Governor Matt Bevin Fulfills Commitment to People of Kentucky

Issues Five Executive Orders
Gov. Matt Bevin
Today, Governor Bevin issued five Executive Orders pertaining to marriage licenses, minimum wage, hiring practices within the state government, the restoration of rights to felons and a superfluous state board.

“Today, I took action to uphold several commitments I made during my campaign so that we can implement real solutions that will help the people of Kentucky,” said Governor Bevin.  “While I have been a vocal supporter of the restoration of rights, for example, it is an issue that must be addressed through the legislature and by the will of the people.  As we move into the New Year and upcoming session, I look forward to working with legislators and stakeholders to build consensus and drive policy that makes a meaningful impact on the lives of all Kentuckians”

The following Executive Orders are being filed today:

Brainstorming Session Could Lead to New Topics For Fort Thomas City Council

Mayor Eric Haas leads a white-board brainstorming session before the regularly scheduled council meeting on Monday. FTM file. 
By Clayton Castle 

Fort Thomas began planning for the long-term on Monday night as Mayor Eric Haas met with City Administrator Ron Dill and city council members in a long-term planning session, with the goal of creating a vision for enhancing the city.

“We have done a lot in the city the past several years,” Haas said. “We just think it’s time to revitalize and plan again. I just wanted to give council first the opportunity to brainstorm ideas.”

Haas says there is no timetable on finishing the project and that it would be an ongoing process.
This is an advertisement. 
The meeting was held before the regularly-scheduled council meeting and ideas such as revitalizing the parks, most notably Tower Park, and other roadway projects were discussed.

One of the biggest projects that was discussed is the use of the Mess Hall and possibly getting more use out of the building.

The Mess Hall is a historic building in Tower Park that was built in 1890 by bricks used from a brick yard that was located at what is now Highlands High School. The building was used as an operating Army mess hall for soldiers that would fight in the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.

After its discontinued use, the mess hall has been used as a community center, but is not used as much as the city would like for it to be. The city discussed updating and renovating the mess hall to be more “up-to-date”, while keeping the historic architecture of the building.

Bringing more business to the mess hall is also a priority, including bringing business retreats and “team-building” activities to the mess hall, which would incorporate other ideas that were discussed for other parks, including adding a zip-line and tight ropes course.

Also discussed was the possibility of renovating the Armory building, but Dill was quick to remark of the possible price tag of updating the Armory.

FTM file. 

“Just to renovate the Armory would run close to half a million dollars,” Dill said.

Other projects that were discussed in the brainstorming session were a skate park, city-wide yard sale, roundabouts, enhancements to Route 8, and replacing and updating the entrance signs to the city.
Mayor Haas said that the public will be asked to give input in the future towards the long-term planning of the city’s future.

“We will have public meetings to gather input at some point in the process,” Haas said. “I just don’t know when exactly that will be, but we will definitely be including the public in all of this.”

A full list of the brainstorming session (un-edited):

Fort Thomas City Council Roundup 12/21: Council Appoints Chuck Thompson to Fill Vacant Seat

FTM File. 
By Amanda Dibiaso

The Fort Thomas City Council held their monthly meeting Monday, December 21.

The big news of the night was the appointment of Chuck Thompson to fill the vacant council seat.

The council was tasked with appointing a new council member following Councilman Adam Meier’s resignation, which officially went into effect at the meeting.

Meier announced his resignation in November after accepting the position of Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy under Governor-Elect Matt Bevin.

Immediately following last night’s meeting, council went into executive session to discuss candidates who had applied to fill Meier’s position until the term that expires on December 31, 2016.

City Administrator Ron Dill said there was a lot of interest in the position, and that the council considered 13 different applicants in their deliberation.

When the executive session concluded and council re-opened the public meeting, they unanimously voted to appoint Chuck Thompson to fill the seat.

“There were several good candidates,” said Councilman Ken Bowman. “It was not an easy decision.”

Bowman said Thompson, who served on the Fort Thomas School Board until 2010 and is the owner of Fort Thomas business CTS Development LLC, has a lot of experience in Fort Thomas and cares a lot about the city.

“He seemed like the best choice,” Bowman said.

Dill said Thompson will take the oath of office and join council at their January meeting.

Check back for more on this story.

Here’s your round-up from the rest of the meeting:

Monday, December 21, 2015

BREAKING: Fort Thomas City Council Appoints Vacant Council Seat

Chuck Thompson. Facebook. 

Fort Thomas City Council adjourned to executive session for an hour to discuss the vacant council seat, created when Adam Meier was hired to be Governor Matt Bevin's Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. 

Fort Thomas Police Monthly Report (October)

FTM file. 
Community Events
Cookies for a Cop dropped off cookies to officers in October. The organization, in its second year, has distributed over 100,000 cookies in 27 states just to show officers that they support them.

A similar initiative, Safe Harbor, was picked up locally by FTM and carried out throughout the streets of Fort Thomas.

Officers also met with a local Boy Scout Troop, Wise Owl students, families at The Barrington, Johnson Elementary students, helped with Woodfill's Big Top Festival and the Pumpkin Walk as well as sponsoring another blood drive for Hoxworth Blood Center.

Officers Zac Rohlfer and Brandon Laffin and guest, Cincinnati Reds second baseman, Brandon Phillips, spoke to Johnson Elementary School students for Red Ribbon Week.

Phillips started the presentation off by talking to the kids about never doing drugs.

Sgt. Brent Moening received a thank you note from a resident that he assisted when she returned to her car from visiting Rossford Park and it wouldn't start. Moening checked fuses, lent them tools and flashlights to find the problem, but the car wouldn't start. They had to have it towed, but Moening kept his promise of checking on the car throughout the night.

Det. Adam Noe received a thank you note from a teacher at Highlands Middle School. Noe came to the class to talk to students about a "blood evidence" unit they were working on for math and science.

Officer Sean Donelan received a thank you note from the daughter of an elderly resident he assisted with involving a potential scam. He went to her house on his off day and even answered the phone while he was at her house, at her request.

Sgt. Chris Carpenter and Officers Doug Bryant and Michael Dietz, as members of the Kenton County SWAT team, received a Proclamation from the City of Independence and many members of the community in Independence for their professionalism and diligence dealing with the hostage situation. 

- Det. Rowland graduated from the five week Kentucky Criminalistics Academy.
- Burglaries are continuing to be an issue in Campbell County and Fort Thomas. During October, there were several burglaries including some that were related to vacant properties.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Police Monthly Report (September)

Fort Thomas Detectives received 14 new cases in October, of which 10 were theft and burglary related.

October cases included a thefts, fraudulent use of credit cards, burglary, sexual offense, and theft of identity (pie chart below).

Fort Thomas Community Comes Together to Help Chad Smith's Family

Tanith and Chad Smith

The world suddenly seems so big when looking for someone you love.

Still, there was hope. And determination. And so much love.

Saturday morning 60 people arrived at Cincinnati Music Hall to join Texas Equusearch Ohio Chapter in a coordinated search for Fort Thomas resident Chad Smith. I was assigned to a team that was sent to an area close to where Chad had last been spotted Monday. I bummed a ride off someone who turned out to be a neighbor of the Smith family. Just last week Chad had spoken to him about a wheelbarrow he still needed to return, and asked for help with lifting something heavy. Their children played together often. Upon hearing the news that Chad was missing this particular neighbor took it upon himself to drive around Cincinnati the night prior to the search, looking, hoping.

Tera Huddleston on the Hold 'Em to Help 'Em Benefit - Monera Chic Boutique, Fort Thomas, Kentucky

The Huddlestons. Provided

As reported on Fort Thomas Matters, a benefit was held on November 21 at the Carnegie Center in Newport, Kentucky to help support the family of Tera Huddleston.

Huddleston, a Fort Thomas resident, is battling colon cancer.  The night was highlighted with a Texas Hold’Em tournament that featured 56 players, which was followed up with music from Carter New.

Over 450 attended the event to show their love and support.

"On behalf of everyone who helped with the organization of the Hold’Em to Help’Em benefit for Tera Huddleston, I would like to thank everyone who participated, whether it was by donation, attendance, sponsorship, or otherwise, we could not have done this without you.  The response from the community and all of those around us was overwhelming and absolutely astonishing.  If you took part in this event in one way or another, be proud of what we were able to accomplish," said Joe Grimme, event organizer.

Tera Huddleston asked if she could use FTM as a platform to express her thoughts. Here they are:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fort Thomas Man Found Dead

Chad Smith. 
A Fort Thomas man that has been missing since Monday has been found dead in Cincinnati.

Chad Smith, was the subject of a search headed by EquuSearch, which started at 8:00 a.m. this morning.

Soon-to-open Newport Gallery to Host Holiday Artisan Market this Saturday and Sunday

Dibiaso Designs. 
By Amanda Dibiaso 

Artifact, the soon-to-open gallery and workshop located at 114 East 8th St, Newport Ky, is hosting a preview holiday shopping event this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Holiday Artisan Market will feature unique, locally produced art and wares including photography, paintings, reclaimed wood art and decor, hand-made soap and bath products, jewelry, terrariums, as well as a variety of vintage items and antiques.

Artists featured at the event include Bellevue artists Matt Meyung (of Phoenix Vintage), Molly Meyer and Jason and Amber Davis, Fort Thomas artist Vince Dibiaso (of Dibiaso Designs), as well as several other area artists/companies including Ryan Hill, NoCoast Bath, Melissa Burch, Monique Brent, Alfonso Huckleberry, Petite Potager Terrariums and more. The event also features special guest Darkness Brewing, a craft beer brewer out of Bellevue.

Artifact, which will have it’s official grand opening in the coming weeks, will serve as a gallery and studio/workshop space for several of the artists involved in the event.

For more information about Artifact and the Holiday Artisan Market event, visit

Medical Study Recruitment

Healthy males or females needed for a medical drug study located on site in Lexington, Kentucky. You will receive $9,000 for your participation in one of two groups.

The first group will start Jan 15-Jan 26, with two return visits for checkups on Jan 27 and Jan 28.
The second group will start Feb 2 - Feb 13, with two return visits for checkups on Feb 14 and Feb 15.

If interested, leave a message on the Fort Thomas Matters Facebook page (here) or a text the FTM tip-line, 859-379-5706.

Please read the requirements of the study before leaving a message.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Patrick Towles Announces Where He'll Transfer

Patrick Towles and Jared Lorenzen at the first ever Mark vs. Food contest in 2009. FTM file. 
Patrick Towles announced November 29 that he would be transferring from the University of Kentucky.

Today, he announced his future plans.

More Information to Help Find Fort Thomas Man, Chad Smith

Tanith and Chad Smith. Smith may look thinner than in the picture provided. 

Lt. Rich Whitford, of the Fort Thomas Police Department, updated media today at 2:00 p.m. Here's the latest that we know with regard to the search of Fort Thomas man, Chad Smith.

- He left around 8:00 a.m. Monday. 
- He was seen in Winton Terrace 12:00 p.m. that day, which was the last time that anyone has seen or heard from him. 
- If you see him call 911. Give a description of what he looks like, what he's wearing, his location and which way he's going. 
- When he left, he did not have a coat, cell phone or money. 
- There will be a search tomorrow starting at 8:00 a.m. at Cincinnati Music Hall. EquuSearch. 


Highlands Pair Fares Well in Football Showcase

Highlands Center, Evan Richardson, anchored the line in the 6th annual Best of the Bluegrass football showcase. 
The sixth annual Best of the Bluegrass all-star football game, which pits high school players from across Kentucky against players from the Greater Louisville area, is this Sunday at St. Xavier. The Kentucky roster features more than a dozen players from Lexington and the surrounding area.

Highlands brought a contingent down in Quarterback, Austin Hergott, and lineman, Evan Richardson. 

"It was alot of fun," said Hergott. "I got to meet a lot of great athletes and made some friendships with many of them. The coaches were great and it was cool playing under another system. I learned a lot of lifetime lesson from them in the game of football."

Highlands QB, Austin Hergott, with his maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather and his brothers, Brandon and Cameron.

Just as they did a year ago, the Kentucky football all-stars built a comfortable lead in the Best of the Bluegrass All-Star Game on Sunday at St. Xavier High School.

This time, however, the Kentucky stars stymied a late comeback by the Louisville stars and pulled away for a 40-21 win on an unseasonably warm day. A year ago, Louisville rallied for a 31-28 win.

Richardson said he had a great experience.

"I thought the talent that was brought into the game was extremely impressive. It was a great experience playing with so many kids that cared about the game so much and wanted to do what was necessary to win. My excitement going into the game was having the chance to meet a group of kids that were qualitatively different than the average high school football player," he said. "This was definitely the case. It was an honor to be chosen to play on the team and it was very fun to play with a group of guys that were obsessed with the game of football."

The Kentucky stars got off to a quick start Sunday, scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter. On his team’s second possession of the contest, Pulaski County quarterback Riley Hall hit Bryan Station’s Andre Davis, who raced 77 yards for the first score of the game.

On Kentucky’s next possession after Bowling Green’s Tre Fant intercepted a pass, Lexington Catholic’s Jaylen Jones scored on an 8-yard run.

For the Louisville stars, it got worse. Kentucky’s lead swelled to 21-0, as Hall, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound player who led the Maroons to the Class 5-A state title game each of the past three seasons, hit Caldwell County’s Josh Young in stride down the left sideline for a 50-yard touchdown.

“The quick start was big in a game like this,” said Kentucky coach Johnny Hines of Pulaski County. “He (Hall) has done that all year. He’s done that for four years. I’m not a bit surprised.

“We really executed well offensively – early,” Hines said. “We ran some great routes and we had protection.”

The Louisville stars steadied themselves just a bit before halftime, as Male quarterback Hayden Shelton, who led the Bulldogs to the Class 6-A title, found Fern Creek two-way standout Lamarius Kinslow on the left sideline. Kinslow, who has committed to play at Western Kentucky, powered his way into the end zone.

At WKU, Kinslow said he likely will concentrate on the defensive side of the ball.

“Actually, I’m OK with that,” he said.

In the third quarter, the Kentucky lead grew to 28-7 on the game’s top defensive play. Warren Central defensive back Damani Walker intercepted a pass and raced 70 yards for a touchdown with 4:55 left in the third quarter.

“Damani Walker – he was outstanding in the secondary,” Hines said.

Shelton and the Louisville stars, though, kept battling. On the final play of the third quarter, Shelton – pressured heavily the entire game by the Kentucky defensive front – scrambled for a 32-yard score, cutting the deficit to 28-14.

After the Kentucky stars fumbled on the kickoff return, Shelton found Central’s Kambron Brown on a fourth-and-goal at the 8-yard line, trimming the deficit to 28-21.

We just wanted to make plays,” Shelton said. “We got a lot of confidence down the stretch.”

“They have some great players,” Hines said of the comeback by the Louisville team. “They bounced right back.”

Nonetheless, the Kentucky stars iced the game with two late scores: A 21-yard halfback pass from Davis to Tates Creek’s Robbie Lofton and a 5-yard pass from Highlands quarterback Austin Hergott to Scott County’s Keith Guy, the latter with 41 seconds left.

Hines said the difference was the continued pressure applied by his defensive line, particularly Trey Hornbuckle of Murray. “I thought our defensive line was the best unit in the game,” he said.

“They’re probably the best front four I’ve played against,” Shelton said. “I just tried to make plays. You just have to keep fighting.”


Louisville 0 7 7 7 21
Kentucky 21 0 7 12 40

Ky – Andre Davis 77 pass from Riley Hall (Derek Burgett kick); Ky. – Jaylen Jones 8 run (Burgett kick); Ky. – Josh Young 50 pass from Hall (Tyler Dummer kick); Lou – Lamarius Kinslow 12 pass from Hayden Shelton (Jalen Troutman kick); Ky. Daman Walker 70 interception return (Burgett kick); Lou – Hayden 32 run (Troutman kick); Lou – Kambron Brown 8 pass from Hayden (Troutman kick); Ky. – Robbie Loften 21 pass from Davis (kick failed); Ky. – Keith Guy 5 pass from Austin Hergott (attempt failed)

Lou Ky
Total yards 240 283
First downs 17 8
Rushes-yds. 33-42 29-97
Comp-Att-Int 22-45-4 10-21-1
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-2
Penalties-yds. 3-15 2-10
Punts-avg. 7-34.1 7-31.5

QB—Riley Hall, Pulaski Co.; Austin Hergott, Highlands

RB—Keith Guy, Scott Co.; Jaylen Jones, LexCath; Dillon Powell, Simon Kenton

WR—Andre Davis, Bryan Station; Charles Gaines, Lloyd Memorial; Robbie Lofton, Tates Creek; Brett Slusher, Beechwood; Josh Young, Caldwell Co.

TE—John Stratton, Daviess Co.

OL—Trey Binder, Scott Co.; Jordan Felker, Caldwell Co.; Nate Murray, Bell Co.; Evan Richardson, Highlands; David Sandlin, Simon Kenton; Will Southall, LCA; Will Ulmer, Madison Central; Lucas Williams, Owensboro

DL—Jeremiah Happy, Scott Co.; Johnny Hernandez, Mayfield; Mikel Horton, Bryan Station; Tre Hornbuckle, Murray; Tucker Mueller, Simon Kenton; Justin Overstreet, Beechwood; Marcus Watson, Cooper

LB—Tavian Board, Owensboro; Braxton Bradshaw, Mercer Co.; Devante Colton, South Warren; Mason Helton, Pulaski Co.; Stephen Ray, Danville

DB—Mason Alstatt, Lafayette; Dee Cain, Caldwell Co.; Tre Fant, Bowling Green; T.J. James, Owensboro; Devon Key, Bryan Station; Davonte Robinson, Henry Clay; Damani Walker, Warren Central

P/K—Derek Burgett, Pulaski Co.; Tyler Dummer, Scott Co.

QB—Tim Comstock, Manual; Hayden Shelton, Male

RB—Xavier Arnette, Central Hardin; Devin Gentry, Male; Logan Holbrook, Spencer Co.; Starr Thompson, South Oldham; Jamison White, Fern Creek

WR—Kambrin Brown, Central; Clay Davis, Louisville Christian; Ethan Tuggle, Henry Co.; Zack White, Central

TE—Anthony Southers, Central

OL—Isaiah Arnold, Male; Logan Ashkettle, South Oldham; Matthew Boeckmann, St. Xavier; Evan Flener, Fern Creek; William Garcia, Butler; Kyle Goss, Collins; Jalen Jacob, Manual; Cody Wells, DeSales

DL—Ethan Adams, St. Xavier; Marcus Davis Male; Omardrick Douglas, Ballard; Marcus Harbin, Iroquois; Tre Mills, South Oldham; Tony Smyzer, Male

LB—Logan Butler, St. Xavier; Aaron Duncan, Central; Isaiah Kelly, Oldham Co.; Marcel Kilgore, Pleasure Ridge Park; Lamarius Kinslow, Fern Creek; Jack Kuerzi, Male; Antonio Watkins, Butler

DB—Omari Alexander, Manual; Demetrius Holt; Darion Keener, John Hardin; Jaylin Talbott, Southern

P/K—Austin Johnson, DeSales; Jalin Troutman, Bullitt East

Contributions from Kenzie Winstead. 

Tenants, Landlord at Odds Over Zoning at Fort Thomas Plaza

The Fort Thomas Planning Commission listens to an issue on 12-16-15. FTM file. 
The Fort Thomas Plaza has had a mixed past. Anchor tenants Drug Emporium and Fischer Homes are  gone, as are past owners of the shopping center, Myers Y. Cooper and Woodmen of the World and Neyer Properties, who managed the property for the latter.

Ken Perry, of Ken Perry Realty, bought the center and the new anchor tenant, Fort Thomas Antiques & Design Center came in during 2014.

Now, in the opinion of some of the tenants, a potential addition to the Fort Thomas Plaza could derail the forward momentum of the center.

Active Day is an adult daycare facility that is currently renting space at 725 Alexandria Pike. Because of the nature of the business that Active Day offers, they would need to have a text amendment changed and voted on by the Fort Thomas Planning Commission to be able to move to the Plaza, which is currently zoned as General Commercial space.

The Future of the Fort Thomas Plaza (2013)
Fort Thomas Plaza Mounting Comeback (2014)
Fort Thomas Plaza's Future is Bright (2015)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

FTM Radio: New Concerns for District Court Judge Gregory T. Popovich

Judge Greg Popovich. 
Download this episode (right click and save)

FTM Radio discusses the article, written for WCPO, that breaks the story of new concerns for District Court Judge Gregory T. Popovich. The story starts:

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Ky. -- New allegations have arisen against Campbell County District Court Judge, Gregory T. Popovich.

The Judicial Conduct Commission, the only entity authorized under the Kentucky Constitution to take disciplinary action against a sitting judge, sent a letter to Popovich on October 2, 2015 detailing 54 incidents of alleged judicial misconduct.

In addition, the JCC asked Popovich to respond to an allegation that he had abused the subpoena process from his prior judicial conduct hearing in May to harass the previous complainant.

This is not the first time the commission levied charges against Popovich. 

You can read the full story here on (Paywall warning)

Each Year the Keller Family's Ever-Growing Gingerbread Display Delights Residents

The gingerbread-themed holiday display at 260 Rosemont.

As much as we silently curse the tangle of wires and the strands we bought only last year that no longer work, there's a reason we put up Christmas lights every year. For some, it's tradition. For some, it's for the children. For some, despite the headaches, it's a joyous holiday chore.

What results is a gift, not only for the inhabitants of one's own home, but also for neighbors and the community. Take a drive around Fort Thomas after dark this weekend—we gift well.

While on that drive, there is a must see: 260 Rosemont. The Keller family has gifted all of us with a beautifully handcrafted, lifesize gingerbread-themed display. Cars slow, families get out to admire. And what many don't realize is that the display is truly a family affair. Each piece represents a member of extended family and as the family grows, so does the display.

Highlands Graduate On Beating Cancer

Hicks enjoys normal life

Contributed Photo. McKenzie Hicks (left) is shown after watching brother Braden Hicks (43) play football for Morehead State University. McKenzie Hicks has been cancer-free for more than a year.
McKenzie Hicks works from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. as a registered nurse in the Neonatal Intensive-Care Unit (NICU) at Cincinnati Children's Hospital with babies 24 to 42 weeks old.

The 2009 Highlands graduate and former standout soccer player admittedly has her good and bad days. But she'll take that normal life compared to where she was starting in February, 2011 when doctors first diagnosed her with a Cancer called Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Report: For 9th Consecutive Year, Kentucky Worst State for Animals, provided. 
Kentucky ranks as the worst state for animals, nine years in a row, according to a recently released report by national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).

For ten years, ALDF has released the Rankings Report, the longest-running report of it’s kind, to track animal protection across the 50 states.  Rankings are based on a comprehensive review of each jurisdiction’s animal protection laws including over 4,000 pages of statutes.

Joining Kentucky at the bottom for 2015 are Iowa (49), Wyoming (48), Utah (47), and North Dakota (46).   The top five—leading the nation in animal protection laws—include: Illinois (1), Oregon (2), Maine (3), California (4), and Michigan (5).

Highlands Basketball Schedule Continues At Alternate Venues 
Highlands boys and girls will continue playing their home basketball games on a different count.

As part of the reconstruction and remodel of Highlands, construction on the gym was slated to be completed by mid-November, but water ruined the three-year old hardwood at the Highlands gym, which forced the Board of Education to pass an emergency measure to replace it in October.

Due to construction on the gymnasium, the Highlands High School boys and girls basketball teams will be hosting their home games at Highlands Middle School and Thomas More College through January 9. If construction finishes early, they will bring the Birds back to HHS as soon as possible.

Below is the schedule of home varsity games through January 9:

Level and Times
December 19
JV/V 6 and 7:30pm
December 21
Campbell Co.
JV/V 6 and 7:30pm
December 30
JV/V 2:30 and 4pm
January 2
JV/V 6 and 7:30pm
January 5
Notre Dame
JV/V 6 and 7:30pm
January 7
JV/V 6 and 7:30pm

Water warped the hardwood in the Highlands gym in late September 2015. This caused a total replacement of the three-year old hardwood and delayed misplaced the entire volleyball team season, as well as a majority of the basketball seasons. 

Christmas Donations for the Veteran’s Hospital Needed

Although it has felt more like Spring than Christmas, everywhere across our fair city, people are getting into the holiday spirit.

From the beautiful holiday tree at Inverness Square to the lighted trees lining the Avenue, seasonal spirit abounds.  However, for many this time of year, history, tragedy, hardship, or health, makes celebrating the season all the more difficult.  This holds true in many areas of our city, not the least of which is the Veteran’s Hospital in Tower Park.

Enter Linda Slone, Fort Thomas volunteer extraordinaire, and her band of philanthropic friends.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Imperial Apartments Transform Into The Grandeur

The Grandeur at 825 and 831 S. Grand Avenue. 
The properties at 825 and 831 S. Grand Avenue sold to a new management team in July, as first reported by Fort Thomas Matters. The former Imperial Apartments have been rebranded and reconstructed as The Grandeur. 

After years of problems between the last management company, the residents who lived in the properties and the neighbors surrounding the buildings, city council was bombarded with requests to help the neighbors curb the perceived bad behavior. 

Then, perhaps the best thing that could have happened, did. 

Courtyard Properties bought the units for $720,000 and planned to invest a large amount into the buildings, starting with the back. Property manager, Jesse Brewer, told FTM back in July that the former Imperial Apartments fit their investment profile.

"We buy undervalued properties that we see an opportunity to increase their value. (Imperial Apartments) had all the ingredients. We are going to empty out the back building and will be releasing those tenants so we can start renovating. New landscaping, removing some old trees, making the property more visible, a new roof, and making each interior have a nicer layout will be our main objectives," he said.

Brewer recently told FTM that they have completed remodeling of seven units, with plans to remodel all 16. He said units are available now and that rents will start at $850 per month. Under Kramer Apartments LLC, rents were between $600-$650, which were some of the lowest in the city.

You can see "BEFORE" pictures of the units at this link.