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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Flipdaddy's Newport Pavilion Open for Business

COO Ed Biery with Store Manager, Jordan Davis welcoming guests to the party. 
FTM was in attendance last night for the Flipdaddy's soft open. There are 36 beers on tap, and we attempted to try everyone one. It was a valiant effort.

I can say this without hesitation, it's going to be a success. The service, quality of food and the beer selection alone, is going to make Flipdaddy's Newport do very, very well.

COO, Ed Biery, a Newport Central Catholic product, said, "I grew up in Newport so it’s neat to come back to my roots. The burger is what sets us apart. The proprietary blend of beef, fresh buns, fresh ingredients. It’s just a better meal. We are providing an up-scale burger experience without the upscale prices.”

FTM recommends the Rise and Shine burger, pretzel bites with beer cheese and Galaxy High IPA (Madtree Brewing).

Braxton Brewing Company and Eight Ball Brewing Company were both in attendance to tap the first locally brewed kegs.

More Pictures BELOW

Bluebirds prepare for stretch run

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Joseph Martin connects with one in Tuesday's 11-5 win over Simon Kenton. Martin is batting .426 with four home runs on the season.
The Blue and White entered the baseball season with high expectations.

Highlands Named Most Challenging High School in Kentucky

Highlands was named "The Most Challenging High School in Kentucky." To see this list larger, click on the image or scroll to the link at the end of the article. 

A week after being touted as having the best middle school in the state, Highlands was named by the Washington Post as the most challenging high school in Kentucky, edging out duPont Manual in Louisville, Beechwood, South Oldham and Villa Madonna Academy in Villa Hills.

Campbell County High School, Ryle and Conner were ranked 13, 15 and 16, respectively.

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Superintendent, Gene Kirchner, said, "We are extremely excited that Highlands has once again been recognized by the Washington Post as Kentucky's most challenging high school. This distinction serves as affirmation for one of our core beliefs within the Fort Thomas Independent Schools. That is, success begins with having high expectations for all students. It becomes reality by fostering the belief in students that they can truly achieve those expectations. This is just as much a tribute to our elementary and middle school programs as it is to Highlands. The preparation that it takes to achieve at this level begins very early for all children in Fort Thomas."
Highlands Principal Brian Robinson agrees with Kirchner's sentiments. "Encouraging a large number of students to take challenging courses and then providing the resources for them to be successful is a very important part of our strategy to ensure students are prepared for post-secondary success," he said. "We are truly blessed to have a community that supports education, students who come to school ready to learn, and teachers and faculty who are experts in their field dedicated to individual student success."  

Here is how this list was chosen, by Washington Post contributor, Jay Matthews.

1. How does the America’s Most Challenging High Schools list work?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

15 North Wood-Fired Oven Sets Opening Date in Fort Thomas

A selection of pizzas that will be offered at 15 North.

The long-awaited wood-fired-oven pizza restaurant, 15 North, has passed the final inspection hurdles and has set the opening date, according to owners Ed and Lori Gossman.

The Gossmans, who have run successful restaurant businesses previously in Washington DC, understood the challenges that location had in the past and set a plan in place to overcome those obstacles from day one. First, opening up the concept on the second floor. Second, getting the equipment right. Third, making sure that the restaurant flowed, to ensure service would be quick and professional.

"We wanted to slow it down a little. D.C. is such a fast pace way of life and so spread out," said Gossman in a previous FTM article. "Comparing Fort Thomas to there is apples to oranges. We lived 45 minutes away from the restaurant and were putting something like 50,000 on the cars every year. We wanted our kids to go to school in Fort Thomas. We love the city."

The restaurant will have Neapolitan inspired pizzas and will be more comprehensive than a pizzeria. "Especially over time after we settle in and expand our menu," said Gossman. "In addition to a multitude of craft beers we will have a concise but excellent selection of wines and a handful of classic and contemporary inspired cocktails."  

Best Furniture Gallery Evolves to Constantly Serves Community Better

Best Furniture as it was first being established.
If you’ve ever walked past Best Furniture Gallery on South Fort Thomas Avenue, you may notice its quaint appearance from the outside. The illusion of its small size ends as soon as you walk through the door. Owner Craig Reis says that this is what takes most people by surprise when they come to the store.

Fort Thomas Police Monthly Report (March 2015)

FTM file. 
Community Events:

- FTPD and the Kentucky Attorney General's Office and 1st Presbyterian Church teams up to present a public awareness program in reference to fraud. This was covered on FTM and in the Fort Thomas Living.

- Det. Adam Noe and Lt. Rich Whitford, in conjunction with area jewelers including Ft. Thomas Jewelers, assisted the Highland Heights Police Department with a program called "ID is Key." The program was initiated to combat the increase in thefts of jewelry from residents across the Northern Kentucky area.


 -Sgt. Chris Carpenter and Officers Doug Bryant and Zac Rohlfer traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica to provide tractical instruction to 182 members of the Costa Rican Police Forces - all out of their own pockets. The trio also used personal vacation time from work to volunteer their time.

“The Director of TACITA Ministries stated the level of professionalism, quality of instruction and the generosity displayed by these men was remarkable. They are certainly a credit to their department as well as to the community in which they serve,” said Police Chief Mike Daly.

- Sgt. Carpenter and Officers William Hunt, Brandon Laffin and Daniel Cropper received a thank you letter from Dayton Police Chief David Halfhill.

According to police reports, a subject entered a Dayton pharmacy and demanded methadone. The suspect was able to get away. The Fort Thomas officers arrived, set up a perimeter and were able to assist with searching and apprehending the subject.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Local High Schoolers Open Online Clothing & Accessories Boutique

Anna Steffen and Kennedy McDermott, owners of Kandid Boutique 
A high schooler's spring is busy. It's a blur of alarm clocks that ring much too early, procrastinated papers that require all-nighters, practices that push the body and relationships that test the heart. It's a time of angst and drama, first loves and first breakups, and the keen understanding that childhood is behind and adulthood awaits. Hours are dedicated to rehearsals, volunteering, projects, practices, after-school jobs, text conversations and college applications. And for two local high schoolers, this busy spring also signified something else: the launch of Kandid Boutique.

Fort Thomas Fire Department Monthly Report (March 2015)

March was National Emergency Preparedness Month and the FTFD assisted the Campbell County Office of Emergency Management by communicating with all schools for the statewide tornado drill on March 10.

In the month of March the Fort Thomas Fire Department totaled 149 responses. Of the 149 responses, 105 were EMS responses.

There were 34 fire incident responses in the month and the FTFD provided 15 mutual aid responses to neighboring communities, while Fort Thomas received help in 12 responses from other communities.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fresh Thyme to Newport Plaza 
FTM reported 2 weeks ago that Fresh Thyme would likely become the next tenant to fill a portion of the old Remke Markets location. Today the Enquirer filed reports that would back that up. 

From that article:

New Grocery is "Coming Soon" to Replace Closed Newport Kmart

Written by Michael Monks of The River City News and Mark Collier of Fort Thomas Matters

The site map shows ALDI Supermarket with a "Coming Soon" tag.

Want a cart? Put a quarter in and when you're done, return it to get your quarter back. Want a bag to take your groceries home? Bring your own or buy a reusable one at the store. Want to pay for your groceries? Better bring cash or have a debit card.

It looks like at least one replacement is on the way to Newport Plaza II where the former Kmart store sits vacant.

In Other Words: One of Life’s Big Little Secrets

Chuck Keller. In Other Words
By Chuck Keller 

Perhaps you have experienced this. A stranger starts a conversation with you for no particular purpose. What’s your reaction? Don't be surprised if a big man with a big heart starts one with you. Neil Hollingsworth has never met a stranger. He talks to everyone. And if you are lucky, you will learn a little life secret.

Neil is married, has four children (Austin, Brooke, Colin, and Caleb) and is active in youth sports and church. Sound pretty typical, doesn’t he? Well, he is - to a degree.  Until you listen to his story.

Neil is always quick to ask how you are and if you need anything and how your day is. And he is sincere. He has a lot to share. We met for breakfast and the question eventually came up, “What good is something if you don’t share it?” 
Today it seems that service is a big part of many kids’ lives. It’s part of the college application.  It wasn’t for Neil when he was a child. Service was just not part of his growing up. But ultimately he said that he felt “called to help” others. “We have been given a lot of gifts,” he claims. So he got involved with a church sponsored program to help homeless families. He took his then young daughter Brooke to play with the children of those families while the adults tended to their business. She was saddened when she realized that other people did not have the same luxuries that she had. It made her sad at first but then she felt good about how she helped another. He remembers her asking, “Why am I here and what are we doing?” That was a big question for a little girl.

Ei8ht Ball Brewery Announces Bottle Release of Award-Winning Reintarnation Ale

Ei8ht Ball Brewing has announced plans to release bottles of their Great American Beer Festival gold medal winning beer Reintarnation on May 1.

The first 120 bottles of the highly-touted brew will be available for purchase beginning at 5 p.m., as well as on draught in their taproom, located at 18 Distillery Way, Newport, Kentucky.

 Photo courtesy

Highlands Middle School Students Got Talent

By FTM "Budding Journalist" Sarah Cayton

Zoe Zoeller and Emma Horton, sixth graders, sing Jar of Hearts

Musicians, comedians, dancers, clowns and magicians took over Highland High School on Friday, April 24th, during the Highlands Middle School annual talent show. The performances featured the hidden talents that many students in the school don't usually have the opportunity to show their peers. The show lasted from 7 to 8:45 pm and took place in the high school's performing arts center.

The show was organized by Mrs. Lori Duncan, who is the band teacher for the middle and high school. Auditions, ran by Duncan, determined who would show off their talents during the show, as well as who would emcee it. Eight graders Vicky Alcorn and Emrel Woody, along with seventh grader David Herfel emceed the show.

Emrel Woody, 8th grader, was one of the three Emcees.
Acts for the night included singers, musicians, a comedian, a magician, a circus act, and an Irish Jig. Even Principal Mark Goetz go in on the fun by showing off a card trick. The finale of the talent show was the percussion band, which featured instruments such as xylophones and drums. The group played a piece called Under Construction.

Seventh Grader Joey Holt shows off the circus skills he picked up at Circus Mojo
Adele Ross soothes the audience with her violin
Catherine Young wasn't going to let crutches keep her from singing
A few select acts will be chosen to boost morale while the school takes the K-PREP, which is the state's standardized test.  The second show will be performed for students after the testing for that day is concluded.

NKY's Women's Ministry Hosts Heroin Information Session: Community Collaborative

Donna Blanchet and son Logan

Press Release


Monday evening, June 15th will be the date for this special event for this summer’s speaker series sponsored by Northern KY Women’s Outpost Ministry.  The goal is to bring together many agencies, civic leaders, and all other persons who either have been affected or who are helping to fight this killer epidemic to work collaboratively.

Featured this evening will be Donna Blanchet of Cincinnati who will share her story of how Jesus Christ delivered her from a life of heroin and prostitution.  Ellen Fitch, founder and director of Woven 139 Ministries along with Nicole Page will share their work with many women like Donna, and the development of a 2 year residential Faith Based program for women due to open in October 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Heroin is running rampant and ruining lives across our country, and our beloved NKY /Greater Cincinnati area is no exception.  The vision for our area is to have more long term Christ centered residential programs.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

OBIT: Pearl Edward Baker

Pearl Edward Baker. Provided
Pearl Edward Baker , 71 of  Silver Grove  and  Navarre,  Florida, passed away on Wednesday April  15, 2015 at the University of Alabama Hospital in  Birmingham, AL. He was born on March 7, 1944 in Combs, KY  to his parents Pearl and Nettie Baker, he spent his childhood growing up in Silver Grove.

He graduated from Silver Grove High School, and was college graduate from Brewton Parker & Troy State University and a Post Graduate of Auburn University. He served in the United States Navy for 2 deployments during Vietnam.  He worked as a Regional Director for  Solvay Pharmaceutical. Pearl was an avid fisherman, he loved to golf, never missed a UK Basketball game, and was their biggest fan, Pearl loved to read and watch old Western movies.  Besides being preceded in death by his parents Pearl & Nettie Baker, he was also preceded by his niece Elizabeth Pearl Steidel.

He is survived by his son; Jason (Pat) Baker, a grandson; William "Webb" Baker,  sister; Louise Baker  (Stan) Steidel, and nieces and nephews; Melanie (Steve) Pelle, Jennifer ( Joey) Jones, Paige, Steven, Jordyn and Addyson.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday April 28, 2015 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church 7 Court Place, Newport, KY 41071. Services will begin at 6:30pm.  Memorial Donations are suggested to  Silver Grove Independent Schools ~ Athletic Fund , P.O. Box 400 , 101 W. 3rd Street , Silver Grove , KY 41085.  Cooper Funeral Home is serving the Family.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

15 North Makes Pizzas Fast, Really Fast (And They're Hiring)

The wood-fired oven is getting tuned up. 
The centerpiece wood-burning over at 15 North is fired up and ready to go. Adorned in beautiful, blue tile work, it's going to be a show. As they await their last minute inspections, owners Ed and Lori Gossman have been trying their hand at mastering the intricacies of the restaurant.

Tuning the temperature of the oven just right. Putting the finishing touches on the open dining room concept upstairs and making sure every detail is thought out down to the trim on the door frames (which were reclaimed wood floors from the former locations). FTM will announce the opening date as soon as they are ready. It's close.

FTM Radio Podcast: Holtman's Donuts to the Fort? Real Deal on Fort Thomas' "Most Hated Tax"

FTM Radio Sponsor: Omega Processing Solution

Download this episode (right click and save)

Segment 1:
FTM Radio talks with Renaissance Board Chair, Brian Sand. Sand was with the Holtman's Donuts crew when they visited Fort Thomas. Hear his thoughts on their reactions and where they were looking.

Segment 2:
We talk about the street repair tax and why it's been around for so long. We also give our prediction about what it'll take to end it.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Highland UMC to Participate in 30-Hour Famine

I normally write my columns after tucking my full-bellied children into their warm beds and while eating my homemade black bean flourless chocolate cake.  This level of abundance is something I (and likely many of us who live in cozy Fort Thomas) completely take for granted; however, for 842 million people worldwide, hunger is a very real, daily struggle.

In order to better understand and empathize with the plight of hunger, as well as raise money to combat this worldwide problem, the youth of Highland United Methodist Church in Fort Thomas will be participating in a 30-hour Famine.  This program, sponsored by World Vision, began in 1990 but this will be the first time for Highland UMC to participate.

Flipdaddy's Newport Pavilion Sets Opening Date

FTM broke the news that Flipdaddy’s Brilliant Burgers & Craft Beer Bar was opening its fourth restaurant at Newport Pavilion last July. With construction moving forward at a face pace, CEO Bob Dames and COO Ed Biery, have announced to FTM their opening date.

Highlands Centennial Celebration Boasts Big Time Prizes, Chance to Finish Long-Term Goals

A rendering of the outside plaza/ walk way project at Highlands
The Centennial Celebration for Highlands, is being held on May 15 at the Hall of Mirrors in Cincinnati and is thrown by the Fort Thomas Education Foundation. There are only 150 tickets being offered (300 seats).

It will be a chance to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Highlands campus and the completion of fundraising and construction on the school. Ten years and nearly $10M ago the FTEF formed a public/private partnership with the FTIS District. The FTEF also raises money for teacher grants and endowment

The goal and vision of the partnership was to transform Highlands High School into a state-of-the-art,  21st century learning facility for students and teachers and the community.

670 families have donated to the foundation, which has gotten them to 90% of their goal.

The Centennial Celebration is our last fundraising effort to help achieve the remaining funding needed to completely finish the construction of the gymnasium, plaza, the community spaces in front of the gymnasium, reconfiguration of the driveway & pedestrian walkway in front of school and the  ‘Walk of Fame’ entrance to the Highlands Field.

The Highlands Centennial Celebration may be one of the biggest fundraisers yet, and boasts a chance to win "Bluebird," a 1955 Ford Thunderbird, valued at over $35,000.

A 1955 Ford Thunderbird has been donated as the main prize for the Education Foundation Centennial Celebration. The car has been valued at $35,000. 
The donors of "Bluebird" are Fort Thomas Education Foundation board members, Chuck and Shari Thompson. "Shari and I are honored to be a part of the Fort Thomas Education Foundation.  It is rewarding for us to donate our time and resources to an organization that has done so much for our  public schools.  There is no better investment in our community," said Thompson. "Yes, letting go of the Bluebird is bittersweet but the excitement it has generated for the Gala makes it more than worth it."

Tickets, per couple, cost $1,000 and automatically enters you in a drawing to win the car or one of eight other prizes, which range to a week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to a party bus trip to Keeneland or the bourbon trail.

With just 150 tickets being sold, that means if you purchase a ticket, a couple has a pretty great chance of winning something big.

“As the HHS campus turns 100 this year, I can’t think of a better birthday present than the completion of the Campaign for Highlands fundraising and renovations to the school,” said Amy Shaffer, FTEF Board Member. “The success of this project is a testament to the strong partnership between the FTEF and the district. It shows what can be accomplished when a community comes together to achieve a common goal. We should all be very proud of what we have achieved. Imagine if we continue to build on this success what the next 100 years will hold.”

Shaffer and Kim Halbauer are co-chairs of the event.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bluebirds make most of new field house with no spring practice

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands rising seniors Conner Welsch (5) and Cody Stamper (23) pursue Ashland's Jalon Taylor (24) during the playoff game last year. The Bluebirds will not have a regular spring practice this year because the school is replacing the turf at David Cecil Memorial Stadium.
They may not have had their annual spring practice this year.

Highlands Middle School Named Best in State

Highlands Middle School was named best in the state by

Best Public Middle Schools ranks 19,710 middle schools based on key student statistics and 4.6 million opinions from 280,000 students and parents. A high ranking indicates that the school is an exceptional academic institution with a diverse set of high-achieving students and faculty, and the students are very happy with their experiences.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fort Thomas City Council Notes (4-20-15)

Two seats were left empty at Monday's meeting. Roger Peterman took over as Mayor Pro-Tem for the meeting. 
Monday's meeting was a little unorthodox, as Mayor Eric Haas was absent. Council had to appoint a Mayor Pro-Tem to run the meeting. City Administrator, Don Martin, mentioned that typically the most senior member of council is appointed to that temporary position and after a very brief discussion, that is what happened when Roger Peterman moved to the middle seat in chamber.

Councilman Jeff Bezold was also absent.

Onto the notes from the meeting.

- Catherine Ampfer spoke to council and asked them to reconsider the current street resurfacing plan. Ampfer, who spoke against the tax at the public hearing last month, lives on a street that was assessed two years ago, so she already has paid her share. "I'm up here to represent citizens that are being double taxed. I know that it's always been done like that in Fort Thomas, but to me that's just not a good reason to continue (this practice). I feel like it's an undue burden. Please find a way to fund (repaving and repairing the streets) with existing taxes."

Adam Meier chimed in and said that he would commit to looking at other options that may seem more equitable. "I personally agree that it's probably not the most fair situation," he said.

Highlands Graduate/Grant Co. Football Coach Open Letter to Coaches About Stopping Bully Culture

Kevin Siple. Via Facebook. 
Highlands alum (1979) and current Grant County football coach, Kevin Siple, understands the "bully culture" more than most.

As a football player in high school, college (at Georgetown College), he's been coaching and teaching for the past 29 years. He gets it. Occasionally he takes the opportunity to reach out to area coaches, via email, to get a dialogue going on a variety of different topics. Recently, he used his unique platform to talk to coaches about bullying.

"I have always been very aware of the kids in the schools where I have worked who are the "underdogs."  The kids that seem to be on the outside looking in at all the social groups.  It breaks my heart when I see those kids continue to be ignored day after day.  As I look back all my years as a teacher, the few times I've ever really gotten upset with students is when they are intentionally trying to hurt another students feelings," said Siple.

Siple see the biggest difference between when he first started coaching and now is the immediacy and sometimes gang mentality that can occur online, where it's more difficult to police as a school. Social media bullying is defined in many high school handbooks, including in Fort Thomas Independent Schools.

"Kids act and behave the same as when I started.  The difference now is that they are all so much more sophisticated and much smarter than we were.  Obviously, internet has provided them with such a great vehicle for information," said Siple. "Social Media has been the big difference for me, and forcing us as educators/coaches to adjust and adapt.  We always have  had training rules for our athletes.  Now, we have to have a social media policy and educate the kids on what's appropriate in that world."

Here is Siple's email that was sent out to coaches earlier this month:

Eight Local Mother's Day Gifts Ideas

Mother's Day is just around the corner but don't fret, the #FTMFamily member businesses have you covered. Whether your looking to take mom out to dinner, give her a beautiful gift or a little pampering, you can find it locally and possibly on sale. Here are eight local gift ideas:

1. Anointed Touch Massage and Studio Root Skin Care have partnered up to offer a Mother's Day Special. The $100 gift certificate will include a full body massage by Tiffany Maple, owner of Anointed Touch, and hand treatment, brow design and skin care analysis by Tami Root, owner of Studio Root Skin Care. This two hour pampering will be performed at Studio Root Skin Care, 9 Highland Avenue, Fort Thomas. Call 859-441-6500 to reserve a select appointment now through September, 2015.

2. Have mom's favorite photo or print framed at Bowman's Framing on North Fort Thomas Avenue. Mention Mother's Day to receive a 15% discount.

3. Fort Thomas Jewelers top five Mother's Day gifts are the custom Mother's Pea Pod necklaces, Mother's Stackable Birthstone rings, Reflection Beads in kids' initials or birthstone colors (similar to the Pandora bracelet), diamond stud earrings and the Angelica Stackable bracelets (similar to the Alex and Ani bracelets).

"We are running a Mother's Day sale of 20-50% off select items, not including loose diamonds, as well as we have Mother's Pea Pod necklaces that our custom made in our store and exclusive to us," said

4. Fort Thomas Central is offering several specials. "For the mom who is always on the go... pamper her with bath and body luxuries by Lollia," said Barbara Thomas, owner of the shop on North Fort Thomas Avenue. "Buy two items and receive a free petite hand cream."

Scarves, handbags and jewelry is 20 percent off for the fashionista mom. One of a kind vintage glass flowers and garden stakes also make a great gift.

5. Fort Thomas Florist has a variety of gift options including fresh flowers, plants, wreaths, vases and much more.

6. The Fort Thomas Antiques and Design Center isn't only a great spot to find a unique gift but it also features the Highlander Bourbon and Wine Bar, which could make a fun night out for mom. The crew at FTADC have completely transformed the space and now gives Fort Thomas Plaza an anchor tenant that will attract other new businesses to the area. You're going to want to check this out!

7. Monera Chic Boutique offers unique jewelry, women's clothing and accessories that mom is sure to love.

8. Dinner out at 915 Pub and Grill, The Old Fort Pub or Anita's Mexican Restaurant can make a great gift for mom.

These are just a few of the businesses in Fort Thomas that offer a great meal or gift for Mother's Day. A quick walk or drive around town and you are sure to find the perfect gift for May 10.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Women of the Fort Thomas Woman’s Club Celebrate Their 100th Anniversary

The Women of the Fort Thomas Woman’s Club Celebrate Their 100th Anniversary

By John Deering

To help others is to elevate ourselves, and to elevate ourselves is to help others is the credo of the Fort Thomas Woman’s Club that is currently celebrating its one-- hundredth anniversary. It is safe and appropriate to say the women of this organization have most assuredly lived up to their creed!  One hundred years ago on February 19th a group of ninety-seven women got together at the Altmont Hotel* in Fort Thomas to form a Woman’s Club and also to join the Federated Woman’s Club.”  The first president was Mrs. Murray R. Hubbard – her first name is not listed, but that was the way women’s names were listed in those days – by the names of their husbands. Until 1966, a list of the living Charter Members was published in the Year Book of the club. Some of the first members remained living in Fort Thomas, but others had moved away as close as Cincinnati and Maysville and as far away as California, Florida, Maryland, Georgia, and Arkansas.

The current officers are:

Ohio River Foundation Works to Restore, Protect, and Educate

The Ohio River is a major part of many of our daily lives. Maybe you cross the river to get to work each day, perhaps your house boasts a view of the river, you might meet up with friends at Newport on the Levee or The Banks, or you could enjoy boating along the river during a sunny day. While many of us may look to the Ohio River for recreational purposes, the Ohio River Foundation is working to ensure that the river itself is taken care of properly.
The Ohio River Foundation (ORF), a non-profit organization, was formed in 2000 to protect and restore the river's water quality, and to also offer education programs. I recently spoke with Fort Thomas native and Highlands High School alum Sara Luse about her involvement with ORF. Luse serves as a River Explorer Educator and is also responsible for the group's Social Engagement. “My biology advisor and professor from NKU, Dr. Miriam Kannan, told me about the Ohio River Foundation. She was one of the board members for the organization. The River Explorer educator position was very appealing to me since my area of concentration in college was in aquatic biology and I always had the desire to teach,” said Luse. 

Ramey, Quillen to Sign Their Letters of Intent This Week

Todd Ramey in a game in the 2013 season. G. Michael Graham, photo. 
Two Highlands athletes have made their college decisions and will sign their letters of intent at their respective schools this week.

Highlands High School baseball player Todd Ramey will sign a letter of intent to play baseball at Georgetown College. The signing will be held at 3pm on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in the media center at Highlands High School.

Ramey is a three-year starter with a batting average of .396 over that time period.

"Todd is being rewarded for his hard work, determination and commitment to become a better baseball player,” said head baseball coach Jeremy Baioni.  “It has been a dream of his to get an opportunity to continue his playing career at the next level.  I am extremely proud of the baseball player and young man Todd has become.  Georgetown College is getting a great young man."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Kroger Marketplace at Newport Pavilion Continues to Revamp

Contractors work on some of the new frozen aisles at the Newport Pavilion Kroger Marketplace
Earlier in March we talked to Kroger officials who described the changes that would occur at their Marketplace store at Newport Pavilion.

They described the reason to go away from selling furniture and transitioning into housewares and clothing by pontificating that people simply "buy socks more often than couches."

Makes sense.

25-year reunion celebrates Reds 1990 World Series Championship

More than 30 members of the 1990 World Champion Reds are scheduled to appear April 24 and 25 at Great American Ball Park to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1990 wire-to-wire season. 

The following players and coaches are scheduled to participate: Todd Benzinger, Glenn Braggs, Tom Browning, Keith Brown, Norm Charlton, Eric Davis, Rob Dibble, Mariano Duncan, Kip Gross, Chris Hammond, Billy Hatcher, Danny Jackson, Barry Larkin, Terry Lee, Terry McGriff, Hal Morris, Randy Myers, Paul Noce, Ron Oester, Paul O’Neill (Saturday only), Joe Oliver, Luis Quinones, Sam Perlozzo, Jeff Reed, Jose Rijo, Ron Robinson, Rolando Roomes, Chris Sabo, Scott Scudder, Stan Williams and Herm Winningham.

New Service Organization Provides Birthday Parties For Children

We recently spoke with Kelly Gindele, director of a new service organization dedicated to providing birthday parties to children who would not ordinarily get one due to poverty, homelessness, serious illness, disability or tragedy. Read on to find out more and how you can help. 

Newport FD successfully rescues man from Ohio River Sunday

Photo courtesy Queen City Discover Blog
Northern Kentucky emergency crews responded to the banks of the Ohio River after reports came in shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday of a person floating in the river.

Authorities said the Newport Fire Department pulled the man out of the water just before 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Moyer Elementary School SBDMC Names New Principal

Dawn Laber. Provided. 
The Moyer Elementary School Site-Based Decision-Making Council (SBDMC) voted unanimously to hire Dr. Dawn Laber as principal of Moyer Elementary School. Laber is presently the assistant principal at Highlands Middle School, where she has served the past four years.

Laber earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education as well as her doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Kentucky University.

Prior to joining the administrative team at Fort Thomas Independent Schools, Laber was an elementary teacher at Ockerman Elementary for 12 years; she then served four years as an instructional coach and curriculum consultant with Boone County Schools.

Fort Thomas Animal Hospital on the Canine Influenza

FTAH is apart of the #FTMFamily
Drs. Jean Pritchard and Allen Turner of Fort Thomas Animal Hospital have been a Fort Thomas stalwart for years for all issues dealing with our four-legged friends.

The canine influenza is something that has killed many dogs around surrounding states and infected thousands of others. Dr. Turner recently addressed it on their Facebook page.

"As most of you know, there has been an outbreak of canine influenza in the Chicago area that has affected approximately 1,000 dogs. The University of Wisconsin has established (that) this is a new strain of canine flu from Asia."

14th Annual Queen City Classic Chess Tournament

Local broadcasting celebrity Cris Collinsworth is probably best known for his incredible in-game analysis and witticisms on Sunday Night Football or his actual pigskin prowess on a football field, in either order likely depending upon your generational divide.  However, locally, he is as known for his philanthropic presence from dancing the night away dressed as Batman at the Fort Thomas Education Foundation Dance to his latest charitable endeavor- emcee of the Queen City Classic Chess Tournament where children from the Pleasant Hill Academy grade school who have been participating for the last seven months in the Chess in Schools program (sponsored by the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund- CCPF) had the opportunity to battle test their chess skills against local, national, and even international chess masters.

The tournament, which began fourteen years ago, took place over the March 20th weekend and was held once again at Paul Brown Stadium.  Corbin, Jory, and Penny Pomeranz, founders of the tournament, first got the idea to hold it at the stadium after leaving a football game and envisioning how neat a Chess tournament could be at this venue, especially compared to the typical tournament.  They envisioned emcees, grand masters, ongoing chess lessons, and a fun and engaged crowd compared to the stale tournaments where dinner was vending machine leftovers.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

2015 4th of July Parade Grand Marshal Announced

Congratualtions to long-time Fort Thomas Resident, Judy Schroder.

 Photos were taken in Fort Thomas Drug Center

Campbell County Fiscal Court Approves Use of Funds for Southbank

Fort Thomas Money Yet to Be Earmarked for Use

Campbell County Fiscal Court. FTM file. 

By Bryan Burke, Associate Editor, The River City News

The Campbell County Fiscal Court passed a resolution that sets out the joint use of riverfront development funds appropriated to the Campbell and Kenton County Fiscal Courts for development of the riverfront. Campbell County Judge/Executive Steve Pendery elaborated further on the issue after the meeting.

“In a legislative session at least two years ago there was $150,000 that was voted to go to riverfront development in Northern Kentucky," Pendery told The River City News. "It started out at the House as being $150,000 directed to fund the activities of Southbank, but there was a compromise reached that in order to pass it, it took that language out. So the language that remained said that the money needed to go to riverfront development and needed a coordinated expenditure as between Kenton and Campbell Counties. The first time we got the money, we got $75,000. The money was then divided up between more than one user, Southbank being one. This time, Southbank approached us and explained how they would propose to spend the money this go around and the ask covered the whole amount and we're giving them the money based on the description on how it's going to be spent. That was coordinated with Kenton County. They had $75,000 to pass along, too, so we've complied with the law and the money's going to Southbank.”

Campbell County Commissioner Charlie Coleman said he had spoken with Southbank President Jack Moreland about where and what that money was specifically earmarked to develop.

“Newport and Bellevue will be using these funds for the Red Bike project. Dayton is looking into a study for a pier and use their funds for that,” Coleman said.

County Administrator Matt Elberfeld said that Fort Thomas is considering saving their part of the funding for when Red Bike expands there in the future.

FTIS School Board Round-Up (All-Day Kindergarten, Social Media, State Champs, Action Items)

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham. Members of the Highlands Varsity, Junior Varsity and Middle School Dance Teams received recognition for their state championships at Monday's monthly board meeting.

The Fort Thomas Independent School District recently allowed non-resident students to enroll in All-Day Kindergarten allowing the district to have a fifth class next year.

There will be two classes at Johnson and Moyer Elementary schools and one at Woodfill. But there will be just four all-day Kindergarten classes for the 2016-17 school year because of the additions and renovations at Moyer.

While it will allow the students who did not make the lottery draw at Johnson the opportunity to go to the All-Day Kindergarten there, there is one downside. FTIS might only be able to hire a teacher for just one year to fulfill that need.

Alexandria Teen to Restore WWII Monument

This article ran in its entirety on and was written by Amanda Van Benschoten 

ALEXANDRIA – The stone pillars at the entrance to Bob Miller Stadium at Campbell County Middle School are weathered and faded.

Generations of students and football fans have walked past them. But few ever noticed what was inscribed on them – until one evening last fall, when Noah Sell and his dad, Kevin, happened upon the pillars while waiting for his brother's basketball practice to end.

What they found came as a surprise: the pillars don't just mark the entrance to the stadium; they're actually a monument to the Campbell County High School graduates who lost their lives in World War II.

"When I was in middle school, kids always sat on these big concrete posts, and I never really knew what they were," said Noah Sell, 16. "If kids knew what they were, they wouldn't be sitting on them."

History of Kentucky's Governors (1812-1820)

Issac Shelby. 
2015 is a Gubernatorial election year, with a full-slate of Republican candidates set to take on presumptive Democratic candidate and current Kentucky Attorney General, Jack Conway. 

Fort Thomas resident, Paul Whalen, continues his look into the history of Kentucky's Governor's that will take us up to present day. 

By Paul Whalen

During the period 1812 through 1820, Kentucky faced unusual circumstances.  In 1812, the nation officially went to war with Great Britain on June 18th. Support for this war (War of 1812) was spear-headed by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Henry Clay of Kentucky.  Kentuckians were concerned about incursions from Native Americans from the Northwest and control of inland waterways to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River and New Orleans.  To a lesser extent, Kentuckians were concerned about American navigation of the Great Lakes.

Isaac Shelby’s 2nd Term

Agitation for war with Britain was in the background for Kentucky’s 1812 gubernatorial election.  In the Congressional elections of 1810, Kentucky sent two “War Hawks” to the U.S. Congress—Henry Clay and Richard M. Johnson.  Both wanted war with Britain not only to deal with British tyranny on the high seas, but to end the threat posed by Great Britain and its Indian Allies in the Old Northwest.  Kentuckians were concerned about the threats posed by the Indian nations in the Northwest (present day Indiana, Illinois and Western Ohio), as well the British in Canada.  At the time, Clay and Johnson advocated U.S. takeover of Canada.