Friday, January 30, 2015

Here's Who's Running for Governor, Other Statewide Offices This Year in Kentucky

Six state level offices are up for reelection in 2015./CC

Six state level offices are up for election in 2015 in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and the deadline to file for May's primary elections was Tuesday.

Here's a run-down of who is running for Kentucky's next Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, State Auditor, and Commissioner of Agriculture, followed by a brief history of Kentucky's first two governors, Isaach Shelby and James Garrard.

The capitol building stands to have quite the roster change-up, as only two incumbents are running for reelection.

Nationally Acclaimed Children's Author Visits Fort Thomas Elementary Schools

Author Bruce Hale speaks to students at Woodfill Elementary School./Provided

Last week, Bruce Hale, nationally acclaimed author of the Get Gecko and Clark the Shark book series for children, visited Fort Thomas Elementary Schools.

Mama on a Budget: Fort Thomas Free Fridays

Something big happens this weekend and no, I am not referencing that football game on Sunday.  I am referencing the calendar changing to February and the third and final giveaway of the Free Friday Giveaways!  Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we have a $20 gift certificate to Fort Thomas Jewelers.  For those of you who love jewelry, this could be for you!  Not a jewelry fan but prefer flowers instead?  They are selling roses from the 24k Rose Company.  These are actual roses dipped in gold or lacquered and are quite stunning in appearance.

So, remember to share this status (just like you “share” your love with your special someone this Valentine’s Day) for your chance to win.  Oh, and reaching out to Seth Winkler who was last week’s big winner- you have until Sunday to claim your prize or we give it away to someone else!

NKY Legislator Working to Strengthen DUI Laws

Rep. Dennis Keene will hold a press conference on Tuesday in support of his DUI bill./Provided

Representative Dennis Keene (D-Wilder) will speak at a press conference on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. in the Kentucky Capitol Rotunda in support of House Bill 60 that he has filed to strengthen Kentucky’s DUI laws.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Planet Fitness in Newport Evacuated

Planet Fitness, Newport Plaza. Facebook. 
UPDATE: According to authorities on the scene, the smoke and subsequent smell that caused the evacuation at Planet Fitness originated from Remke Market. A manager at Planet Fitness that asked to not be named said that there was a mechanical malfunction at Remke Market and the ventilation system filtered smoke into Planet Fitness.

Thirty minutes after it was evacuated, they are open for business and will be open tomorrow. "If you can stand the smell, you can still work out," said the manager.

___________

Smoke cleared Planet Fitness in Newport at about 6:30 Thursday night. Three emergency units responded to the scene.

Around 75 customers were forced from their workouts as they spilled out to the parking lot in an already crowded Newport Plaza.

NewCath aims for history in All "A" State Tournament

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Newport Central Catholic's Zack Pangallo goes in for a score in a recent game. The Thoroughbreds open the All "A" State Tournament Thursday against Hancock County at 11:30 a.m.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

It’s been a challenge they’ve handled the past two years and it is one they hope to do again and enter the history books.

Fort Thomas Students Help Villa Win Academic Competition

Student from the Villa Madonna Quick Recall Team. 
The Villa Madonna Academy High School Academic Team competed in the District Governor's Cup. The Quick Recall Team included Fort Thomas students Eileen Bunch and William Martin.  The team won three straight matches to earn second place and secure a spot at Regionals on February 14.

Eileen Bunch also earned first place in Arts & Humanities and second place in Language Arts and will advance to regionals. Bunch, a St. Thomas graduate, was featured on Teen Jeopardy last year. 

Villa also won a trophy for placing 2nd overall at the district tournament.

Congratulations to Gabriel Powell of St. Thomas Elementary School.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Governors Will Rely on Tolls to Fund Brent Spence Project

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Ohio Governor John Kasich held a press conference Wednesday discussing the Brent Spence Bridge replacement project./PL

Calling any further delay moving forward with a replacement plan for the Brent Spence Bridge a “roadblock for America,” Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Ohio Governor John Kasich unveiled their joint plan to finance the bridge project at a press conference in Covington Wednesday afternoon, and, as anticipated, tolls were the central topic of conversation.

DUI Arrest/Crash Leads to Damage of Fort Thomas Business

Ford Ellington Florist was damaged as a result of a DUI  suspected crash. 
Ford Ellington Florist was damaged early Sunday morning as a result of a vehicle crash. The suspect who was driving the car was arrested on suspicion of DUI around 2:30 AM.

Owner of Ford Ellington Florist, Kevin Ford, received a call from Fort Thomas Police around 3:00 AM and was told that his business at 16 N. Fort Thomas had been damaged.

Branson AirExpress: Low Cost Airline Coming to CVG

Press release just officially hit the FTM inbox. Branson AirExpress will add nonstop flights to New Orleans, Cancun and Branson from CVG starting May 7.

Another Highlands Coach Receives National Award

Brian Allesandro coaches boys and girls cross country at Highlands High School./FB

A Highlands High School coach has been named Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Senator Schroder Visits Woodfill Elementary

State Senator Wil Schroder paid a visit to Woodfill 4th graders last week./Provided

On Thursday, January 22, Kentucky State Senator Wil Schroder was on campus at Woodfill Elementary School to talk to 4th-grade students about state and national government. This was the senator’s first classroom visit since taking office January 1.

Kentucky Congressman Proposes New Industrial Hemp Legislation

New legislation sponsored by a Kentucky congressman would allow for the cultivation of industrial hemp in the U.S./CC

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY), Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), and a bipartisan coalition of 45 lawmakers have introduced federal legislation that requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing cultivation of industrial hemp. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 (H.R. 525) amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana.

Free Sundays at the Campbell County Y

The Campbell County Y is apart of the #FTMFamily
The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati is partnering with the nonprofit Interact for Health to create "Funday Sundays" – meaning free admission to 12 YMCA locations starting Sunday, Feb. 1, through Sunday March. 29. The program will run again Sundays in November and December.

Each YMCA will be open from noon until 6 p.m., and free child watch is available, too. Bring a photo ID, and you'll have to fill out guest paperwork. You can go burn that pre-game guacamole and be back on your couch for the 6:30 p.m. kickoff.

Duke Energy to Begin Required Gas Line Inspections in Fort Thomas

Required inspections of residential gas lines will begin next month./CC

City Administrator Don Martin announced earlier this month that he has been contacted by Duke Energy regarding upcoming, required gas line inspections throughout the city of Fort Thomas.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

National Meat Week Comes to Olde Fort Pub

The Olde Fort Pub is part of the #FTMFamily 

Like meat? Like shopping local? Like being apart of the newest thing? Then tomorrow night you'll fit right in at the Olde Fort Pub as "Meat Week" has chosen to put Southern Smoke BBQ and their $1 rib bones on the slate to pair with trivia night.

Meat Week is a national holiday started in 2005. Each January, for 8 consecutive nights, people across the country gather over piles of BBQ. In every participating city, there is a devoted Captain who creates the schedule of restaurants. Other cities that are participating this year are Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus, Greenville, LA, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Antonio and Washington DC.

Support "Protect the Pecs" in February

Protect the Pecs founder and director Steve Del Gardo (far left) at the Cincinnati Reds Give Back Game with Rich Whitford, Dr. Herzong, and Brian Thomas. 

Go ahead and bust out your calendars, we need to talk about your plans for Wednesday, February 4, 2015. On February 4, you can choose to have lunch at your desk with some boring combination of lunch meat and cheese while trying to avoid your boss. Maybe for dinner you can heat up the previous night's mushy leftovers. Or you can catch up with friends over a heaping pile of buffalo wings while your favorite sports teams battle it out in the background. Need more convincing? Okay, here you go: dining at the Newport BW3 location will feature more than just chicken wings and beer on February 4. Your food and drink orders will also help to support male breast cancer. I'll just wait here for a moment while you add "BW3" to your schedule on February 4. 

Brent Spence Bridge: Tolling vs. Anti Tolling Websites


In the last year and a half, the Brent Spence Bridge has become a backdrop for national speeches by governmental bigwigs, the lynchpin for local and state-wide elections over the last election cycle and will no doubt be a deciding factor in the race for the Governor's mansion this fall.

The issue has garnered a lot of attention and money and has spawned two major local contingents: Build Our New Bridge Now and NKY United. Click the links to visit their sites.

Both coalitions claim bipartisan support and have picked up support from some major business, political and civic leaders on both sides.

Most recently, State Senator Chris McDaniel brought Fort Thomas into the BSB conversation by suggesting an "outside the box" solution of building a bridge across from Newton, Ohio which almost certainly places the bridge in Kentucky in or near Fort Thomas.

"I see the biggest options out in front of us right now moving more to the East, trying to align in between 471 and 275 somewhere to the east of town," said McDaniel.

Grimes Announces 2015 Election Plans

Allison Lundergan Grimes, who came up shorting trying to unseat Mitch McConnell last November,  has been considered a likely candidate to run for Kentucky's next governor./CC

Allison Lundergan Grimes -- the Democrat who challenged veteran Senator Mitch McConnell in one of 2014's most closely watched races -- has been considered one of the most likely candidates to run for Kentucky's next governor.

Monday, January 26, 2015

KY Organ Donor Registry Has Record Life-Saving Year



The Circuit Court Clerks of Kentucky made 2014 a momentous year in the fight to save lives.  With 998 Kentuckians on the waiting list for an organ transplant, there is no better time to join the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry.

More Heroin Legislation Introduced in General Assembly



Campbell County Representative Dennis Keene (D-Wilder) has proposed what he calls a "compromise bill" to the Kentucky House of Representatives that will address the growing heroin problem in Northern Kentucky and throughout the Commonwealth.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Mama on a Budget: Fort Thomas Free Fridays


According to the 2013 statistics, just over 16,000 people reside in Fort Thomas.  Last week’s giveaway generated more than 14,000 page views!  What an incredible response.  Nearly ninety of you shared the status for your chance to win the $20 gift card to Fort Thomas Central.  Congratulations to Judy Boothe, our winner from last week.  And good luck to each of you this week.  Remember to share the status on Facebook to be eligible to win!

Here's What NKY Lawmakers Plan to Accomplish This Session

Northern Kentucky's state legislators convened for a panel discussion Thursday evening./Provided

Northern Kentucky’s representatives in Frankfort came together Thursday night to explore the most pressing issues facing our region, in a panel discussion that looked ahead to how those issues will be addressed during the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

Aspiring Fort Thomas Businesswomen Looking for Opportunity

Towne Centre District. FTM file. 

Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly implied that Studio G had closed for business. This is not the case. The story has been corrected.

Back in May, FTM ran a story about Blue Marble celebrating its 35th anniversary of serving the Fort Thomas community (here).  Blue Marble got its start as a toy store and now primarily sells books; since that store moved, though, several new tenants have come and gone in that same space, none of which specialize in opportunities for children.

Now, a duo of Fort Thomas moms and aspiring businesswomen sought to change that recently when they proposed a new concept: a child’s edu-tainment center for parents and children to have an outlet for play, creativity, learning, and shared fun.  However, the owner and landlord of the property agreed to go a different route with the space, instead opting to pursue a different tenant.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Carjacking Suspect Behind Bars, Kidnapped Man Found Safe

William Sellers was arrested Wednesday night for stealing a minivan with a passenger inside.
The man who stole a minivan at gunpoint in Newport Wednesday afternoon parking lot is behind bars.


Fiscal Court Addresses Illegal Dump in Campbell Co., Updated on TANK



by Bryan Burke
Associate Editor of The River City News
(republished with permission)

The Campbell County Fiscal Court accepted a grant of just under $85,000 to clean up an illegal open dump located at 8242 Licking Pike in Campbell County. The dump was first spotted by county officials when they were on sight at a nearby location at which it became evident at first sight that the dumping was illegal and extensive. If the amount of the grant proves insufficient to fund the clean up the Fiscal Court may apply for a supplemental grant which if awarded would pay for the remaining cost of the effort.

Latest Highlands championship season concluded with Triple 21 Comeback

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands linebacker Patrick Schoepf (33) goes for a sack in a game in 2014 against Warren Central. Schoepf will be one of 26 seniors to graduate this spring from the latest state championship team.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The Highlands Bluebirds football team may have a state-record 23 state championships including seven in the last eight years.

NCC inducts 15th Class Into Athletic Hall of Fame

Newport Central Catholic High School announced its 15th class of inductees into its Athletic Hall of Fame.

The inductees were: Jayme Thiem '05, Jeff Brauley '83, Scott Wiggins '94, Amy Meyers '01, Don Plummer '59, and Jim Wissman '53.

Also being honored as the "Teams of Distinction" are the 1999, 2000, and 2001 State Champion Softball Teams.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

BREAKING: Newport Police Searching for Carjacking Suspect

UPDATE:
Clifford Dragoo was found safe in Over-The-Rhine, near the intersection of Logan and Green. The suspect is still loose. Surveillance footage at Remke is being distributed:
STILL AT LARGE: The suspect of the carjacking in Newport.



GOLDEN ALERT:
PLATE 7737742
2006 Black Chrysler Town and Country Mini-Van.
LOOKING FOR SUSPECT: Heavy-set African American, in his 30-40s.
LOOKING FOR VICTIM: Clifford Dragoo

51-year old Clifford Dragoo was in the backseat when the carjacking took place

What Can the City Do for the VA Homes?

After striking out on another round of bidding on the VA homes, what can the city do to get this moving?/FTM file

It’s been almost a decade since the city began the laborious process of gaining the necessary approval from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to acquire the historic military homes located on Alexander Circle in Tower Park, known around town as the VA homes, and put them on the market for development.

Now, as FTM reported Monday, even though the city has secured all the necessary stamps and approvals from the feds — in addition to going through several rounds of appraisals to determine the properties’ real value — when it came time to bid, no buyers came calling.

This is not the first time the city has been left without an offer, leading some to wonder if the city is doing enough to incentivize the deal.


NKY Legislators Look Ahead to General Assembly Session



For now the sixth consecutive year, Northern Kentucky Forum will host a panel of General Assembly delegates representing the region, for an overview of how they plan to represent Northern Kentucky interests during this year’s legislative session.

The panel will include Senators Will Schroder (R-Campbell, Pendleton, Bracken) and Chris McDaniel (R-Kenton, Campbell) and Representatives Dennis Keene (D-Campbell) and Diane St. Onge (R-Kenton). Schroder will be the lone freshman legislator on the panel.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fort Thomas Canteen 80's Throwback Party


Big hair, leg warmers, bright colors, pleather pants, fun music and totally awesome parties at the Fort Thomas Canteen is what I remember when I think of the 80's. Last year, I got to relive all of those cool things and will get to do it again in just a few weeks.


A Veteran Newport on the Levee Business Has Closed Its Doors

Newport on the Levee has reclaimed the space of a long-time tenant./CC

Newport on the Levee has reclaimed the space previously occupied by one of its longest-standing tenants, making way for the expansion of another.

St. Catherine Open House Tonight

St. Catherine is holding their annual Open House on Tuesday, January 20th at 7:00. We invite all families looking for a small, Christ-centered K-8 school to come and see what St. Catherine has to offer. We focus on helping each student reach their full potential spiritually, academically and physically. Babysitting will be provided. St. Catherine School is located at 23 Rossford Avenue in Fort Thomas.

These Two Fort Thomas Students Vying for Spot in National Spelling Bee

4th-grader John Laskey (left) and 8th-grader Kara Wright will compete for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee./Provided
Fort Thomas is sending two students to the next level of the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee this year.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fort Thomas "Surprised" No Bids Submitted for Vaunted VA Homes

The deadline to submit bids to acquire the VA homes in Tower Park was Monday./FTM file 

The VA homes redevelopment project hit a major snag, and city officials were left puzzled, when not a single developer offered a bid to acquire and rehabilitate the residential properties located in Tower Park.

According to the city's own timeline for the project, the deadline to submit a bid was Monday by 2 p.m. -- a deadline no one chose to meet.

What Happened at Imperial Apartments This Time?

Michael Fox was arrested at Imperial Apartments in Fort Thomas last month./CCDC

Last month, Fort Thomas Matters followed an extended police response to Imperial Apartments, located at the intersection of S. Fort Thomas and Grand Avenues. Now, FTM has learned what happened.

Campbell Co. GOP Announces KY Governor's Race Endorsement

James Comer and Taylor Mill's Chris McDaniel (pictured, left) have received the Campbell County GOP's nomination for this year's race for KY Governor./LRC

In a meeting Tuesday evening of the Campbell County Republican Executive Committee it was announced that the party had made the decision to formally endorse the Comer/McDaniel ticket for Governor/Lt. Governor in the upcoming May primary. Both Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer and State Senator Chris McDaniel were in attendance.

Brighton Center to Offer Free Tax Preparation During Tax Season



Brighton Center will open three Volunteer Income Tax Assistance tax preparation sites for the 2015 Tax Season.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free tax help to people who generally make $52,417 or less, persons with disabilities and the elderly who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.

Couple Departs Fort Thomas on Bicycles, Travels 3,624 Miles

On April 21, 2014, Eric Berendsen and Michelle Harris departed Fort Thomas with a goal to bike across the country via the Trans-America Trail.


Eric Berendsen and Michelle Harris at the start of their journey, Robson Ave., Fort Thomas.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year Crowns Highlands' Shuley

Ethan Shuley. FTM File. 
The Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year have been crowned. The winners were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2014 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Click each player’s name to view his credentials.

THE WINNER:

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dale Mueller Wins National Coaching Award


Dale Mueller, athletic director and former head football coach at Highlands High School, has been named National Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). This award is based on the 2013-14 playing season.

Additionally, Mueller is just one of 21 coaches to receive a national level award and the only one in the category of boys’ football. Over 500 coaches were recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.

The NFHS based their selections on the following criteria: career coaching record, community service, involvement in other school activities, professional involvement at local, state and national levels, and basic philosophy of athletics.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected as the National Coach of the Year for football by the NFHS. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate the great efforts of the players, coaches, and administration. This award is particularly special because the NFHS not only recognizes the team's success on the field but also the football program's philosophy of attempting to have a substantial positive impact on the people involved. I have been truly blessed to be a part of it,” stated Mueller.

Friday, January 16, 2015

BUDDING JOURNALIST: Cool Jobs Around Town - WieFit's Brian Wiefering

WieFit, located in Newport, was launched by Brian Wiefering./Google


by FTM "Budding Journalist" Lexie Crawford

Have you ever gone to the gym WieFit, in Newport, Kentucky? If you have, then you might know the owner, Mr. Brian Wiefering. Well, this article is all about him. A few of you may already know, I have been writing a series of articles about people around Fort Thomas with cool jobs. This time, let's turn the spotlight to Brian!


Call for Volunteers: Friends of Evergreen Cemetery

Evergreen Cemetery, Alexandria Pike near Highland Ave./Google

The Friends of Evergreen Cemetery will hold the first meeting of 2015

Several projects will be discussed, and everyone is welcome.

Mama on a Budget: Fort Thomas Free Fridays


It seems like forever since I last wrote a Fort Thomas Matters column so for those of you who don't know, my family added one more girl into the mix with the birth of my daughter, Marlowe, on December 19. You don't really know the power of community until you see the outpouring of support you get following a major life event.  For those of you who hang on my every word and avidly await my next story (wait, surely no one like that exists, right?), I want to thank you for being so patient with me. Bringing a third child into the mix over the holidays was not the easiest of tasks. My favorite comedian Jim Gaffigan said "You want to know what it's like having a fourth kid? Imagine yourself drowning than someone hands you a baby." I would imagine he'd say the same thing about a third child; at least that's what I'm hoping. Otherwise, I'm a slacker. Needless to say, it takes a whole lot of encouragement to leave the house, especially amidst "Polar Vortex: The Sequel". So, in protest, I have decided the only way I will be leaving this winter is with the proper incentives.  If, like me, you're suffering as well, then you will love this new series to help us beat the winter blues: "Fort Thomas Free Fridays"!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A New Highway & Bridge in Ft. Thomas? No Way, Say Pendery, Davis, Talk Radio Host

Written by Bryan Burke and Michael Monks for The River City News

The Brent Spence Bridge, via UrbanCincy.com

A proposal tossed out this week by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer & State Senator Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) related to constructing a bridge over the Licking River from Fort Thomas to Newtown, Ohio has not been well received by local leaders, has been ridiculed on talk radio, has concerned Campbell County Judge-Executive Steve Pendery, and has not been pitched to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet yet.

Comer is running for governor in 2015 with McDaniel as his running mate. They face Louisville businessman Hal Heiner and former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scot in a 3-way Republican primary slated for May. McDaniel previously called for a "reset" in the Brent Spence conversation during a December forum in Covington.

When asked of the feasibility of such a project proposed by the gubernatorial ticket, Chief District Engineer of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet - District 6, Rob Hans carefully pointed to the study done in 2003 when the area was assessed and improvements for the Brent Spence Corridor were recommended based off of that study's findings.

Hall makes college choice


PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands setter Kaitlin Hall (30) gets in position in a match this past fall against St. Henry. Hall recently signed with NCAA Division II Spalding University in Louisville.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Kaitlin Hall provided a lot of stability at setter over her high school volleyball career.

Her dedication to helping the Highlands Ladybirds turn the corner paid off on Friday. She signed to play at NCAA Division II Spalding University of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The school is located in Louisville.

Omega Processing to Partner with Fort Thomas Matters on Locally Based Podcasting Series



Building upon 2014's extremely successful election-season podcast series, OMEGA Processing Solutions (www.omegap.com) and FortThomasMatters (www.FortThomasMatters.com) are partnering on a year-long podcast series featuring local guests talking about local issues. 

The sponsorship is an integral part of OMEGA Processing's commitment to community and service in its hometown.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Could McDaniel's New Bridge Proposal Include Fort Thomas?

Could this be where the newest bridge will be constructed?
With the Governor's race coming this November, the Brent Spence Bridge will certainly get a lot of attention as candidates look to cash in on the Northern Kentucky vote. Whether you are for or against tolling in order to build a new bridge, candidates are trying to walk the tightrope on what is popular and what is realistic.

State Senator, Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill), is the Lt. Governor candidate on the ticket with Agriculture Commissioner, James Comer. McDaniel is anti-tolling, and spoke to The Enquirer and Bill Cunningham on 700 WLW about his ideas on how to build a new bridge.

What was most noteworthy from McDaniel's comments to The Enquirer was that he's not convinced a new bridge should be built next to the existing span where the BSB currently carries traffic.

So where should the new bridge be built? Perhaps Fort Thomas.