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Saturday, April 30, 2016

BREAKING: Fort Thomas BP Robbed

A robbery occurred at the Fort Thomas BP station at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

Owner, Jeff Landrum, said that his employee was 30 minutes into her shift when a white male in his mid-20s came in and threatened a gun.

No one was hurt. 

The employee, who was visibly shaken, said that the man was wearing a gray hoodie that covered the top part of his head and a phone that covered the bottom part of his face. She said he weighed about 125 pounds.

Amy Ward, also an owner at the Fort Thomas BP, said that this is a rare occurance.

"We also own a gas station in another part of Northern Kentucky, and the station in Fort Thomas feels like a vacation normally," she said. 

The assailant got away with $200 in cash.

"It's not that much money, but it does steal your sense of security," said Landrum.

Detective Adam Noe from the Fort Thomas Police said that they have a vague description of the suspect. They do not have a description of a car at this time but he is asking that if you have information to call Campbell County dispatch at 859-292-3622.

Fort Thomas Matters Podcast: John Slawter

Download this episode (right click and save)
John Slawter. Provided.

Fort Thomas Matters is providing in-depth discussion with all nine Fort Thomas City Council candidates. All podcasts were recorded before any one was published so all candidates were on level playing ground.

Fort Thomas Matters Radio is sponsored by OMEGA Processing Solutions.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Art House of Fort Thomas Will Move Location, City

The Art House is located at 19 N. Fort Thomas Avenue in Fort Thomas. FTM file.  
By Jennifer Summer 

Fort Thomas’ Art House will soon be closing its doors in Fort Thomas and moving to another Northern Kentucky city.

The Art House will be partnering with The Madison Gallery and Inspirado Restaurant in Covington to renovate a second floor space across from the Madison Event Center.

Fort Thomas Matters has received an exclusive statement from owner Parrish Monk:

Shelby Whitt, Highlands Swimmer, Signs with DePauw

Shelby Whitt, fourth from left, with her fellow Bluebird Swimmers this year after their historic state finish. 

Highlands High School senior swimmer Shelby Whitt signed a letter of intent to continue her swimming career for the DePauw University Tigers, a member of the North Coast Athletic Conference. The signing was held at yesterday in the media center at Highlands High School.

According to, she is the 27th ranked swimmer in Kentucky.

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Whitt helped lead the Bluebirds to five straight Region 7 Combined Team Championships and two Girls Team Region 7 Runner-up finishes.

A very talented student-athlete, Whitt is a five-time KHSAA State Qualifier and has placed in the Top 8 at the State Meet the past four years. She also holds school records in the 500 Freestyle, 200 Freestyle Relay and 400 Freestyle Relay. For the past six years, she has been coached at Highlands by Amanda Johnson. Whitt also competes for the R.C. Durr Barracudas, where she is coached by Lisa Harkrader.

Fort Thomas Named "Safest City In Kentucky"

FTM file. 
Another website has listed Fort Thomas as the safest city in Kentucky. 

Background Checks compiled a list of the 15 safest cities in Kentucky, based on FBI crime stats and “proprietary” algorithms.

“Our list was compiled based on FBI violent crime stats and proprietary research data. Rates are normalized per 100,000 residents with the state average being 212 for violent crime and 2,247 for property crime. This is calculated by taking (# of crimes/population) *100,000.”

Here’s what they said about Fort Thomas.

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Located in Campbell County, the city of Fort Thomas is home to 16,300 residents.  The community sits on the southern bank of the Ohio River and is considered a suburb of Cincinnati. The city is known for its quality schools and is the safest place to live in the state of Kentucky.  The violent crime rate in Fort Thomas is 42.6, and the chance of being affected by property crime here is just 1.4%.

Here's the rest of the list:

Kroger Expands Online Ordering to Newport Pavilion: ClickList

I don’t deserve this… I really don’t deserve this.  But I’m getting it anyway!  Actually, we all are!
I’m not sure what we did right, what higher power intervened on our behalf, or why this is happening, but it is!

ClickList grocery ordering has come to the Newport Pavilion Kroger.

If you have never heard of ClickList and don’t understand my glee, read on for an explanation of what it is, a how-to guide, and a few tips from an old pro (actually, I tried it once but it worked great).
This is an advertisement. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fort Thomas Community Events for Mr. Jeff Schneider and Family

Jeff with Stephanie and their three girls (8, 4 and 4 months). 
On April 15, 2016 Stephanie Schneider passed away unexpectedly in her home, leaving behind a husband and three young girls.

Highlands High School Assistant Principal, Jeff Schneider, was Stephanie's devoted partner.

The Highlands and Fort Thomas' communities are organizing two events this Friday and Saturday to do their part to help the family.

Fort Thomas Farmers Market: Vendors, Food Trucks, Schedule

Fort Thomas Farmers Market 2015. FTM file. 
By Jen Kohl

Hey Fort Thomas, your farmers market is about to get a whole lot better!

For the past several years local farmers and artisans have been bringing delicious home-grown and made products to us in the Midway District of town.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Farmers' Market to Move in 2016

This year, the market will be relocated to the parking lot outside of Fort Thomas Antiques & Design Center at 90 Alexandria Pike; and it will be an experience.

Like other farmers markets across the country, ours will now offer local live entertainment, food trucks and activities for the entire family. While maintaining the integrity of local producer based markets, the day will provide a social event for everyone to enjoy!

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. This is an advertisement. 

FTEF Conducts Grant Patrol, Delivering Largest Amount of Teacher Grants in History


The FTEF (Fort Thomas Education Foundation) conducted their annual Grant Patrol Thursday, April 21 – Monday April 26. This fun tradition gives the FTEF the opportunity to surprise FTIS teachers who have submitted an FTEF Grant Request with the news that their request has been funded. This year marks the largest amount of teacher grants awarded by the FTEF allowing them to deliver nearly all of the requested items. 

The FTEF received requests for 10 grants from teachers and administrators at all five FTIS schools. Due to the success of the Annual Dance – Live From Fort Thomas it’s Saturday Night and generous donations from many in the community we were able to fully or partially fund all of the grant requests totaling more than $72,000. This year’s grant recipients are:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Student from Woodfill Elementary Stars in the Musical, “Annie, Jr.” at NKU’s “Mainstage”

Woodfill student, Sophia Veshapidze, to portray Annie at NKU's "MainStage." 
by Michele Pam Wright

Sophia Veshapidze, a fifth grader at Woodfill Elementary School, has been singing her heart out for many years. Now she has a wonderful opportunity to star in a local musical.

She will be performing the role of Annie in “Annie, Jr.” The musical will be performed at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) as part of their music preparatory department, “Mainstage.” Sophia has been a member of “Mainstage” for four years.

“Mainstage” is a musical theatre company for ages 8-17. It’s a comprehensive musical experience that combines singing, acting, and dancing and is under the direction of Jamie Martin. Students engage in solo and ensemble singing, scene staging, costume and set creation, and of course performances on the "Mainstage."

Sophia has had several performances just in the last two years. In 2015 she sang “The Star Spangled Banner” at Samuel Woodfill Elementary School’s Awards Day, and had a solo in “Freak Flag” from Shrek the Musical and “Be Our Guest,” both at NKU’s  “Mainstage” in their winter concert.

In Woodfill Elementary’s Variety Show of February 2016, she performed “Summertime” by George Gershwin and looks forward to singing the “Star Spangled Banner” in the Fort Thomas Elementary School’s Field Day as well as her upcoming performance in “Annie, Jr.” at NKU’s “Mainstage.”

Asked what she enjoys most about performing in “Annie, Jr.,” Sophia said, “It’s a lot of fun because it’s so interactive and I get to sing a lot.”

Sophia’s parents, David and Victoria Veshapidze, are understandably proud of Sophia and her musical accomplishments which also include playing the violin, performing in All State Choir, and performing in the “Star” program which is part of Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati.

“Annie, Jr.” will be performed Friday, May 6th at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 7th at both 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for children under age 10 and $7 for general audience.

For more information on NKU’s “Mainstage” musical theatre company, go to:

Fort Thomas Schools To Establish New Teaching Positions

Fort Thomas Board of Education. FTM file. 
By Jennifer Summer

At the April 14th Board of Education meeting, motions were passed to add additional teaching positions.

The first motion was to establish three new positions for elementary specials teachers in Art, Music, and World Language.  The motion was put forth by Mr. Jeff Beach and was passed unanimously.*

A second motion was presented to establish a new position for elementary Instructional Technology Specialist, and was passed unanimously.

Superintendent Gene Kirchner stated, “As part of our digital conversion initiative, we are expanding to the elementary level.  I’m really excited to say tonight that all of the children K - 5 next year will each have an iPad at all of our elementary schools.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

OP-ED: Build the Heroin Interdiction Wall: Now

Brian Painter. Provided. 
By Brian Painter 

Campbell County Fiscal Court rolled out our plan to control the heroin epidemic in our county in a five hour meeting last Wednesday.

This six pillar plan covers all aspects of controlling the spread of addiction to opiates from prevention to treatment. One aspect of the plan is interdiction of heroin.  Interdiction (source control) is the area where the facts surprised me the most. I want to share some of the fact grabs that I got during the last year as we studied the issue, to help understand why we are getting hit by this tidal wave locally.

Ninety percent of the opium grown in the world comes from Afghanistan.  Our congressman, Thomas Massie, sits on the budget oversight committee that monitors U.S. spending there.  He spoke at a chamber event recently, and gave some facts.  He said that we have spent over 8 billion dollars to control opiates from Afghanistan: and production has doubled and purity has increased during that time. Apparently the money we spent on building the roads and bridges there and improving the electric grid in Afghanistan has been put to use by the Afghani’s.

I don’t think this was intended.

Construction on U.S. 27 in Highland Heights Continues

Road construction continues on US 27 near the intersection of I-471 in Highland Heights. 
A pavement repair project is in progress on US 27.  Work will take place from Ripple Creek Road extending north to the intersection with I-471.  

Beginning Friday night, April 29th, 2016 at 9 p.m., work will be performed in the northbound right lane at the intersection with KY 2345 (Martha Lane Collins Blvd). This lane closure will remain in place until Monday, May 2nd at 6 a.m.

RELATED: Road Construction on US 27 to start April 18. 

Five Questions With Author, Lydia Staggs

Lydia Staggs. 
By Chuck Keller

Fort Thomas native and Veterinarian Lydia Staggs can now add author to her resume with the publication of her novel Shamar.

Lydia, who now lives in Panama City Beach, works as an aquatic veterinarian at the largest marine rehabilitation center in the Florida panhandle and is an affiliate professor at Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She has rescued dolphins stranded in swimming pools during Hurricane Katrina and has de-oiled hundreds of animals affected by the BP oil spill.

1- What inspired you to write a novel? Was there a person or event that inspired this particular story? 

If you had told me when I was younger I had written a novel, I would have laughed at you.  I never thought about being a writer.  I have always been an avid reader.  A few years ago, I was still in my "resist the e-books" phase.  I wanted that physical book in my hands.  I went to a book store looking for a new book to read.
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When I asked one of the store employees about a great book series, they told me since I was a woman I would probably like Fifty Shades of Grey.  I know many people love those books, but that genre is not for me.  I've always loved fantasy, science fiction, or historical fiction.  I left this particular book store, walked across the street to the next bookstore and asked the same question; only to receive the same answer from two different employees.

I then decided to walk around to just see if something caught my eye.  I walked by the "Young Adults" section, and happened to notice some of my favorite titles in this area.  When I saw Jane Austin and Shakespeare had been placed here, I got very angry for some reason.  It seemed to me, the impression was women only wanted to read romance novels, and some of the classic authors were now considered teenage literature.

This lead me to whining about this situation to some friends of mine at work, and we joked around that maybe I should write something.  I started writing a few days later, and it took off.  

2 - The title, Shamar, and the book cover seem ominous. What's the story about?

Shamar is Hebrew for protector, which is explained in the book.  As for the cover, I like the color black.  To me, it is a classic, clean color.  Throughout this book there is a theme [developed] with colors.  The animal eyes are those of a wolf, which is the animal our main character, Juliet, rescues at the beginning of the book.

The story is about Juliet Greene, a veterinarian, who goes back to Kentucky to work.  She is involved in an anti-poaching program in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.  She thinks she is saving the life of an ordinary wolf, but soon some rather interesting things start taking place in her life, and her patient mysteriously vanishes.  In this small Kentucky town, Juliet meets a wide cast of characters, and they seem to all be hiding something from her.  She struggles to find the truth, but when she does, it comes with a price.    

3 - Who is your intended audience? 

Anyone who likes fantasy fiction, should like this book, but I mostly geared it towards female readers.

 4- How long did it take to write?  Did you establish a writing routine? Was it easier or harder than you think? 

Since I am a full time veterinarian, it took me 3 months to write the first draft, and then almost a year of revisions.  I had someone help me edit the book and give me feedback the entire way.  I then let five people read it to get their thoughts on it.  My parents didn't even know about this until I got my first acceptance letter from a publisher.

I decided to write every night after I tucked my child into bed.  I would write between thirty minutes to an hour.  The writing was easier than I expected, but getting it published was harder. There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through.

5 - How can people buy your book? Will you ever do a book signing in Fort Thomas? 

My book can be purchased either directly from my publisher, A-Argus Better Book Publishers, or any of the major book sellers like Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  It is also available electronically.

I would love to do a book signing in Fort Thomas.  The book is set in a town in Kentucky, and I wanted to highlight my home state.  It would mean a lot to me to be able to come back home, and have a book signing.

OP-ED: Needle Exchange Enables Drug Users

By Larry Robinson

Needle “Exchange” is not what the name implies! Campbell County does not need to enable drug users and potential users by giving away a “Drug Users Starter Pack” disguised as an exchange program.

At a recent Campbell County Tea Party meeting the contents of the package were shown to those in attendance.

The kit contains: Three new needles, rubber strap, cotton balls, cup and all the other necessary items a user needs to shoot up, see picture above.

Does the taxpayer really need to give supplies to the users, thus enabling their addiction?  Is it morally responsible for the taxpayer to help users inject drugs?

Nothing in this program attacks the real problem, DRUG ADDICTION.

Why do we not stay on target and spend this money, time, effort on work with our youth and teach them the dangers of using drugs, the danger of purchasing something from an unknown individual and injecting these items into their bodies.

I support Commissioner Coleman in voting against this program. I encourage Commissioner Painter to stand with the taxpayer and vote “NO.” I also call on Commissioner Lampe to recuse himself from this vote due to his conflict of serving on the board of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Foundation on the Business Support Committee.

St. Elizabeth Hospital is a main backer of this program.

Larry Robinson is a Campbell County Resident and member of the Northern Kentucky Tea Party.

Arbor Day Tree Dedication to Landmark Tree Trail Creator, Bill Thomas

Members of the Thomas family gather around the tribute to the late Bill Thomas. 
By Chuck Keller

As part of the city wide Ignite the Parks and Arbor Day celebrations, the city paid tribute to Bill Thomas by planting a tree in his memory at the head of the Landmark Tree Trail. The group of volunteer workers were enthusiastic about removing invasive species as well as dedicating the trail to the man who established it.

Barb Manyet, member of the Tree Commission said, “We were discussing cleaning up the Landmark Tree trail. That’s about when Bill’s daughter, Katie, wrote a letter to the city asking if we could have a clean up day. So the Tree Commission organized volunteers, tools, and we did it!”

And that is how it started and the enthusiasm grew from there. In addition to their work, the Tree Commission distributed native tree saplings to plant in yards.

Katie Mills, Bill’s daughter, said, “I think this was wonderful. He is just smiling down. He hated honeysuckle but he loved this [Landkmark Tree] trail so today was pretty much the perfect combination. I just hope that this can continue every year. I remember him making this trail. Every night. I remember all of us (children) being on it. He loved it and the town.”

Mayor Eric Haas said, “This is an awesome day. There are a lot of people up here clearing the head of the trail. It really makes the whole trail stand out. And celebrating Bill is so perfect for today because he had so much to do with all of this - with the trail and the trees.I  am glad so many people could participate.” 
This is an advertisement. 

Mayor Haas read an official proclamation recognizing the city’s participation in national Arbor Day. In his remarks he said,

Hagedorn Appliances Celebrates Big Milestone By Giving Gifts

Bill Hagedorn in 1941. 
Hagedorn Appliances is celebrating its 75th anniversary, but DCCH Center for Children and Families is receiving the gifts.

DCCH will receive a portion of all Hagedorn sales from April 23-30. The Dixie Highway appliance store is also giving away a $750 gift card.

“I’ll just build them myself,” William “Bill” Hagedorn exclaimed in 1941.
This is an advertisement. 
The NKY entrepreneur started his business by sharpening lawn mower blades as a side job to help pay the bills while being a milkman in Erlanger.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Fatal Accident in Southern Campbell County

A fatal wreck in Southern Campbell County today. Reader submitted (JA). 

Campbell County Police and Southern Campbell Fire District along with other police agencies and fire departments responded to a fatal vehicle collision which occurred in the southbound lane of US Highway 27 near the intersection of State Highway 154.  

Preliminarily investigation findings and statements obtained thus far, subject to change as further details are learned, appear to indicate the single occupant/driver of the pickup was traveling northbound in the southbound lane of US 27 when it collided with a Rumpke sanitation vehicle proceeding south and subsequently burst into flames.  

Highlands Softball Player to Sign Letter-of-Intent

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands first baseman Brennah Dutcher catches a bunt attempt and throws to first for a double-play in Friday's state softball tournament game against Owensboro Apollo. Highlands finished the historic year 27-14. June 2014.

Highlands High School senior softball player Brennah Dutcher will sign a letter of intent to play softball at Denison University. The signing will be held at 3pm on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in the media center at Highlands High School.
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Dutcher is a four-year starter, locking down first base and third base duties during those years. Brennah hit an amazing .526 last year, which included 17 doubles and 35 RBIs, and she is on point to repeat those numbers again in her senior season. Brennah is one of the best hitters in NKY and the state.

“Brennah is a prime example of hard work paying off,” stated Rob Coffey, Highlands High School head softball coach. “She has been extremely focused during off season training and leads by example with her work ethic. I’m very proud of Brennah for her hard work and dedication to our program.”

OP-ED: Campbell County Needs Needle Exchange Now

Kevin Sell. Provided. 
By Kevin Sell

The Campbell County Fiscal Court has had no less than two meetings in recent weeks where testimony, supporting and opposing, has been provided for this issue.  I appreciate the leadership of Judge Steve Pendery and Commissioner Tom Lampe in their support of this measure, but it does take at least three to pass a motion.  The statistics are credible and the evidence to support needle exchanges is compelling, however we still need that one vote.

If you have been watching the meeting on cable, or reading the coverage in local media, you know that Commissioner Charlie Coleman remains firmly opposed along with his friends in the tea party represented by Erik Hermes.  They apparently cannot find evidence to suggest a needle exchange will prevent disease.  I can tell you that plenty of information is available and right from our very own District Health Department (Over 800 cases of Hepatitis C in 2014 alone).  Even more information is available from the State of Indiana where they are trying to manage a HIV outbreak that is largely due to needle sharing.

Best Places For Your Child's Next Birthday Party In Fort Thomas and Northern Kentucky

Marlowe Duke celebrates her 1st birthday at Fort Thomas Coffee. Photo provided by Jessica Duke. 

Celebrating a child's birthday is momentous and exhausting—especially if this is the year you're going big with a birthday party that involves extended family and friends. Take the party out of the house, though, and things simplify quickly. Many fun, affordable and unique places exist—both in Fort Thomas and in surrounding communities. Here are some of our favorites.
Barre3 Ft. Thomas. This is as advertisement.

This 8th birthday party celebration included a hike and a scavenger hunt at Tower Park.

• Shelters can be rented at Tower Park, Highland Hills Park and Rossford Park. Prices range from $25 to $75 and cover the entire day but reservations fill up fast—rent early. Riggs Memorial Park, which has a small shelter, requires no reservation and is first come first serve. Depending on the location amenities include picnic tables, grills, play equipment, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, disc golf courses, walking trails and seasonal restroom facilities. Bring some snacks and cake, minimal decorations (decorations may not be hung or attached to the shelter) and maybe a party game or two. But the play equipment provides plenty of entertainment, as do the trails should you wish to take the children hiking, especially in Tower Park. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Young Artists Showcased at The Art House - Fort Thomas, Kentucky

Regan Silverton. FTM file. 
By Jennifer Summer

The Fort Thomas Art House had its first show featuring young artists, ‘Emerge’, this past weekend.  The event was a showcase of original art created by Fort Thomas’ very talented youth.  This show was curated by parents Amy Silverton and Chris Franzen-Smith.

Tracy Davis State Farm. This is an advertisement. 
“We thought it would be a good idea to start a series that showcases the emerging artists, meaning our young people in this area, and give them a chance to display their talents and have a voice in the community of what they love and enjoy,” said Amy.

There will be three more shows, beginning in the Fall, that will be separated by elementary grades.  The show also intends to expand in the future to the middle school and high school.  The show is all-inviting and all-welcoming; any student can submit work regardless of whether they have had any formal art training.
FTM file. 

Ninth grade student Regan Silverton was one of the contributing artists, showing four of her original digital photographs and selling another large print.  “I like walking around and taking photos of shoes.  I put the camera on the timer and was walking and you can see the shadow of the camera with a tree in the background.”

“The show was a success because it inspired aspiring young artists to continue to create.  Seeing how the community came together to support the show made me realize that our mission here is not in vain and that we need to continue our important work to support artists in all levels of their artistry,” Parrish Monk, Director of The Art House said.

“Parrish just gives out such a great energy and is so welcoming.  Everyone who came last night made the comment that they wanted to come back,” Amy added.  Amy also wished to give a special thanks to Mint Yoga Studio (opening soon in Fort Thomas) for sponsoring the show.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Kim Halbauer Recognized as "Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky"

Kim Halbauer. Provided. 
Eight accomplished professionals and community activists were honored Thursday with Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky Awards.

The awards have been given annually since 1984 and are presented by Toyota.

Fort Thomas resident, Kim Halbauer, was one of those eight recipients.

Halbauer is Senior Vice President and Director of Private Banking for Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky for Fifth Third Bank. Over her 23-years with the bank, she has served in a variety of leadership roles in the Commercial, Retail and Investment Advisors divisions.

“Kim is a ‘brilliant community leader,'” said nominator Brent Cooper of C-Forward. “She is a true professional, a community leader and a terrific parent . . . Everything she has done and continues to do exemplifies outstanding service to her profession and the community.”

Kim Halbauer at the banquet. PHOTO: Brent Cooper. 

Kim is immediate past chair of the TRI-ED Foundation board, and executive mentor at Xavier University, a member of the Gateway Foundation board and the Fort Thomas Education Foundation board, and past president of the Diocesan Board of Education.

She is active in numerous other community organizations. She was a member of both Leadership Cincinnati and Leadership Northern Kentucky.

The other 2016 Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky are:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Dan Baker Elected to Kentucky Track & Cross Country Hall of Fame

Bluebird coach will be honored at Red Dog track meet May 10

Andrea (Reitano) Burkhardt with Coach Dan Baker in 2001. Provided. 
Former Highlands High School coach, Dan Baker, is the newest member of the Kentucky High School Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame.

A winner of multiple Kentucky state titles and “Coach of the Year” awards during his tenure as Highlands’ Head Cross Country and Head Boys Track coach [Enq: from 1994 to 2009], Dan received the ultimate award this year with his induction into this prestigious group.  He is to be honored for his achievement with a brief ceremony at Highlands’ “Red Dog” Track Meet, May 10 at Tower Park.

Wrong Way Driver Causes Three-Car Collision on 471

Lindsay Milligan. Campbell County Detention Center. 
A three-car crash on 471 N on April 16 left one driver in jail, debris all over the roadway and all three cars towed from the scene.

Lindsay Milligan, 21, of Cincinnati, was arrested by Fort Thomas Police and charged with driving under the influence and wanton endangerment. She had a passenger in her car.

Just after 3 a.m., Campbell County Dispatch put out an "attempt to locate" on a late model Ford Taurus that was coming into Kentucky from Cincinnati  and was traveling south in the northbound lane on 471.

Minutes later, a head on collision occurred at the 2.7 mile marker.

Emergency Responders Map the Fort Thomas Trails

A map of the Tower Park Trails was created by emergency responders. Click on image to see larger.  
by Michele Pam Wright

What happens when you’re hiking on a trail and you need help? You call 911 of course. But what do you tell them when they ask for an exact location?

A group of emergency responders hope to solve that problem. They’d like to place markers on the trails and create a map so that injured hikers can be reached as soon as possible.

They’ll create the map using Global Positioning Services (GPS) and a Geographic Information System (GIS). Once the map is completed they’ll be able to access the map on the computer. The map they’ve been using has some trail markers, but not GPS coordinates.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Northern Kentuckian Turns 100

Josie Rapp with Erlanger Mayor, Tyson Hermes. PHOTO: The River City News. 

Living 100 years is rare and it deserves to be celebrated in a special way.  On April 16th there will be a large gathering of family and friends to mark this milestone of one century on this earth.  Josephine Ann Rapp, the youngest daughter of four children, was born on April, 19, 1916 into a loving family of Lebanese immigrants that realized the importance of hard work.  Her parents owned a pool hall in downtown Cincinnati at 4th & Sycamore.  Growing up, she loved school, but began working at an early age.  Always a positive person with an upbeat outlook on life, her resilient nature has carried her through many struggles, such as the terrible loss of her Brother and Mother, before her first birthday.  She would grow to become very close with her mother-in-law, Margret “Maggie” Rapp, who lived to the ripe old age of 105 years old.

Married to Charles C. Rapp, at Sacred Heart Church in Bellevue, Kentucky on June 22 of 1940, they were blessed with 10 children and raised the family in Bellevue for over 40 years.  They celebrated 62 years of marriage before his passing on May 4, 2002.  As the matriarch of the Rapp family, her true passion has been her children.  She never misses a birthday for her 28 grandchildren, 45 great grandchildren and 5 great-great grandchildren.  Grandma is a treasure that graces our lives with her beauty, wit and wisdom.  With a heart of gold, her generosity is legendary.

Fort Thomas City Council Roundup (April)

Vance Patterson giving presentation on the Charters of Freedom Foundation. FTM file. 
By Jennifer Summer

The Fort Thomas city council met on Monday, April 18, 2016 at 7 p.m.

A special guest at this meeting was Vance Patterson and his wife Mary Jo, from North Carolina.  The Pattersons have founded the Charters of Freedom, a nonprofit organization that seeks to build and display educational monuments of The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution, and The Bill of Rights in cities across the country.  Mr. Patterson gave an in-depth presentation highlighting why Fort Thomas should consider adding these monuments to the community, the goal of which is to educate our youth about American history.

Patterson says, “Imagine, if you will, a school teacher taking her third or fourth grade students on an annual filed trip to Your Charters of Freedom Monument.  Sitting on the grass in front of The United States Constitution, they are listening to stories about our Founding Fathers and learning some about our Founding Documents.  While they are there, they will learn about state and local history, along with local heroes.”

Funds for this project would be raised by private funding as a gift (it operates as a 501C3), and would not tax the community.  Donors and community funding drives would be needed.  The cost of the monument built with granite or limestone is between $70,000 - $80,000 and the cost for a brick monument is $20,000.  The community would be responsible for preparation of the site, and the Charters of Freedom Foundation would take care of the installation.

Council members spoke briefly about a possible location for the monument at the Fort, and decided further consideration and discussion would take place.

Highlands "Light Years" Ahead in Spring Practice

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands wide receiver Trent Buchert (4) blocks for Nick Kendall (8) in the Class 5A state semifinals against Pulaski County last November. Buchert is one of the returning wide receivers this season.
Just stepping onto the David Cecil Memorial Stadium grass for spring football provided excitement last week.

The Highlands Bluebirds football team experienced it for the first time in two years after coming back from Spring Break. Highlands did not have that luxury a year ago when the school refurbished the turf field originally installed in 2002 because it showed signs of wearing down.

"We (coaches) were just talking that if we stopped spring ball after three days, we already feel that we're light years ahead of where we were at this time last year just having a field to practice plays," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "We're confident we could successfully run a game plan with what we have now. That's huge in April."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fort Thomas Schools Continues to Expand Digital Conversion

FTM file. 
By Jennifer Summer 

In 2014, the Fort Thomas Board of Education approved plans to move forward with a major instructional technology initiative. The Fort Thomas Digital Conversion Plan is specifically meant to ensure that we effectively leverage technology as an instructional tool in order to better prepare our students for 21st century success.

In August 2014, all Highlands Middle School students received MacBook Air laptops; Highlands High School students will received the same in August 2015.

At the April 14th Board of Education meeting, Board Chair, Karen Allen, reported on the Elementary Digital Conversion Committee.  The committee consists of about twenty-five members and they have recommended that iPads be given to students in grades K - 5 for the Elementary Digital Conversion roll-out.

The students will also be able to bring their iPads home with them.

RELATED: Macbook Airs Teach Students To Work Like Adults (OCT 2014)

Allen accompanied Gene Kirchner, Ginger Webb, Diana McGhee and all three elementary principals on a visit to the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California to discuss ideas and strategies on the implementation of a one-to-one iPad initiative.  Teachers and staff will begin learning how to teach with the iPads this year, with professional development is scheduled for May 27.

Highlands Students Accepted To Summer Governor's Programs

GSP Students 2016 – (L-R) Helen Ross, Isabella Keller, Payton Epperson, Kayla Groneck
GSA Students 2016 – (L-R) Savannah Slaby, Nadia Ibrahim, Sophia Manyet, Adrian Mester
Eight Highlands juniors have been accepted into honorary scholarship programs this summer.

The Governor's Scholar Program is a six week summer residential program for outstanding high school students in Kentucky.

In order to participate in the program, students must be nominated by their high schools and then compete on a state-wide level. In addition to an academic profile that includes difficulty of course load, G.P.A., and at least one standardized test score, the application requires an outline of all extracurricular activities, a history of volunteer service, and a list of job positions held. Teacher recommendations include both quantitative evaluation and qualitative descriptions of the student’s performance and potential. The final component of the application is an original essay.

HHS juniors accepted into the Governor’s Scholar Program (GSP) are:

Highlands Ranks Highly in National Rankings

FTM file. 
Highlands High School was again named one of “America’s Best High Schools” by the recent U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best High Schools 2016” report, receiving a Gold Medal designation and ranking 271 nationally.

Last year, Highlands was ranked 197. 

More than 21,150 high schools were analyzed, and the gold medal designation is awarded to the top 500 schools. Only five high schools in Kentucky earned a gold medal designation, the highest award given.
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Additionally, Highlands High School was ranked first in Kentucky and at 117 nationally on the Washington Post’s 2016 list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.” This year, just more than 10% of the approximately 22,000 U.S. public high schools reached the standard to earn placement on the list. The top 220 schools are in the top 1% nationally.

Fort Thomas Central - Fort Thomas, Kentucky - Local Gift Shop - Northern Kentucky

Fort Thomas Central is located at 3 N. Fort Thomas Avenue, Fort Thomas, Kentucky 41075. Fort Thomas Central is part of the #FTMFamily. 
Theres a lot going on at Fort Thomas Central. Owner, Barb Thomas, is opening up "Charm", a shop within a shop on Thursday, April 28. There will be special promotions all week and a "Charm Brunch" featuring Marty's Waffle on Saturday, April 30

Just make a purchase that day and get a free waffle. And they're awesome. 

Charm is a boutique designed exclusively for female teens and young adults and was created to fill a void in the local shopping scene, and create a go-to shop for that demographic. 

Fort Thomas Central has always carried a small selection of items for this demographic, and customers were often coming into the shop inquiring about more items for teens and young adults.

“We really want to capture the 16 to 25 year olds, and offer clothing lines, gift items, and fashion accessories that would be fun and carefree for that target market,” said Thomas. Charm will be filled with boho and vintage inspired items that can't be found at the mall or other chain stores. Whether you're a teenage girl looking for a gift for your BFF, or you're looking to update your wardrobe before heading back to school, Charm is where you can find your new favorite items. 

A sampling of what you can find at Fort Thomas Central.