Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Opticare Vision/Express Mobile Transport

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Highlands baseball, softball teams take care of business in 9th semifinals

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Members of the Highlands softball team pose after the 9-4 9th Region semifinal win over Boone County. The Ladybirds and the Bluebird baseball team play for region championships Thursday.
FLORENCE - It has become a staple in recent years.

The 36th District champion Highlands Bluebirds baseball and Ladybird softball teams found themselves again playing for 9th Region championships with semifinal victories Tuesday. The Ladybirds (23-10 overall) took down Boone County (13-17), 9-4 at Veterans Memorial Park in Newport and a few hours later, the Bluebirds (22-17) blanked the 34th District champion 17-12 St. Henry Crusaders, 4-0 at University of Cincinnati Health Stadium.

Top This Donut Bar Nearing Grand Opening

Top This Donut Bar is nearing an open date. These pictures were taken on May 24, 2016. FTM file. 
Fort Thomas has been looking forward to Top This Donut Bar since Fort Thomas Matters announced the signing of the lease in September of 2015.

The Top This team has been working with co-owner of the building, Dan Gorman, to fit the building to a new unique space and told FTM they were excited to open in Fort Thomas. 

A roll-top garage door will be used to have access to the street-side of N. Fort Thomas Avenue. Construction and retrofitting the space has taken place over the last year and Fort Thomas residents are excited. On Saturday, interviews were held at the facility. 

So when can you expect to start building your own donut? 

This is an advertisement. 

In Other Words: I Give My Younger Self Advice in a Commencement Speech

Dear Younger Self:

Graduates hear pretty much the same commencement speech across the country. Most are variations on “Today you begin a new chapter in the book of life….” Yawn. It’s a sweet sentiment and, even if it true, it’s a tired metaphor - so tired that the audience can take a quality nap, update Facebook, tweet a short thought, or post goofy Snapchat photos of the commencement speaker. (This will make sense much later in your life. Trust me.)

You sit there under that cap and gown excited, nervous, worried, sweaty, and a bit terrified. You are not sure of yourself or your future. Not sure if you can really make it. Not sure if you made the right decisions. Knowing that you made a lot of bad decisions. Not sure of anything. Welcome to the world.  Life does not move in a straight line. It’s like zig zagging through a crowded cafeteria only to find your favorite seat is taken. Remember that? Your life is more like a jigsaw puzzle and your job is to put it together to see what image emerges.  Remember those summer evenings on the porch with the family working on jigsaw puzzles? Yeah, it’s like that.

I don’t want to take anything away from what your commencement speakers will tell you, (Who was that anyway? All you will remember is the protester and the rain.) but school is just a small part of your education. In fact, you won’t remember anything they say. You will have that piece of paper that indicates you have the ability to learn or at least endure seat time - but you have much more to learn.  Everyone does. But I am talking directly to you. Us. Myself.
This is an advertisement. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Popular Food Blog WannaBite Produced in Fort Thomas Home

The Engels family produces the popular WannaBite food blog from their Fort Thomas home.

Many of you have probably seen food videos online—they're short, often shot directly above the bowl or pan, overlaid with simple text, upbeat music playing in the background. Take, for example, this video, WannaBite's most recent, showing you how to make Cheesy Potato Taco Casserole

Fun, right? This wasn't made in a large corporate setting—rather it was dreamed up, shot, produced and written in a Fort Thomas home, as is all the content on WannaBite.

The brainchild of Fort Thomas residents Nathan and Lacy Engels, WannaBite is a food blog filled with recipes and how-to videos. A graduate of Moyer Elementary and Highlands High School (class of 2000), Nathan Engels attended Campbellsville University. In addition to his work on WannaBite, he works full time as Senior Marketing Strategist at Northlich, a Cincinnati ad agency, with various brands including St. Elizabeth, Kroger, Marco's Pizza, Formica and others.

Lacy Engels, originally from Franklin, Ky., also graduated from Campbellsville University with a degree in music. She primarily writes and manages WannaBite as well as teaches voice lessons and volunteers on the worship team at her local church. 

In addition to the main site, WannaBite also maintains an active social media presence. You can find them on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram
This is an advertisement. 

Following is a Q&A about the Engels' work on WannaBite, their most popular posts and how they handle such a time-intense blog while also working and raising their daughter, who attends Woodfill Elementary.

Inspiration to start WannaBite: We had a 2-year-old and I kept finding myself asking her "wanna bite?" My wife said it would be a great blog name, and bam, a new blog was born.

Launch date: November 2012.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Highlands Senior Has Perfect Attendance Since Kindergarten

Lauren Ossege. FTM file. 
By David Ketcham 

Lauren Ossesge, better known for her rockstar running skills and several achievements in all things track has yet another accomplishment in her hands. Since Kindergarten, Lauren has not missed a single day of school her whole elementary, middle, and high school career.

"I honestly don't know how I did it. I was just never sick enough to miss school. It seems if I was ever sick it was on days where I was off school. It was just a goal for me to see how long I could go without missing school," says Lauren.

Track and field has been a huge part of Lauren's life, so much so she is taking her skill to EKU with her where she will be continuing to run track. She is very appreciative of the sport for keeping her in gear and giving her another reason to attend school daily. "With my schedule, it would be very difficult to make up school work I missed. My grades were something I am proud of as a result of me taking my schooling so seriously."

School yields much responsibility Lauren faced everyday, such as getting to school on time, classwork, and homework. A lesson well learned.

Any parent that has a star child like Lauren knows what a little pride is.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ladybirds Finish Runner-up in AA Track and Field; Boys: Fourth

PHOTO: Bob Jackson. The Highlands two-mile relay team finished fourth in the Class AA state meet Friday. From left are seventh-grader Maggie Schroeder, junior Chloe Gastright, sophomore Karsen Hunter and senior Molly Mearns.
By G. Michael Graham 

For the Highlands Ladybirds track and field squad, it marked the highest finish since the last of four straight state championships in 2011. The Bluebirds did not come close to winning another state championship, but they still finished fifth with 43.7 points Friday at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

The Ladybirds ended up finishing second in the Class AA state meet with 67 points. Boyle County won it with 88 points capturing both hurdle championships and collecting 18 points in the long jump and triple jump.

"After a sixth-place finish, I'm really happy with (runner-up)," said Brian Alessandro, Ladybird Head Coach. "We ran really well, especially in some of the relays and individual events. They improved a lot so I'm very proud of them."

The Mercer County Titans won the male Class AA state championship with 74 points. They edged the state-power Paducah Tilghman Blue Tornado by three points. Tilghman hoped to win its 30th state championship. Highlands won the crown two years ago and finished a point behind Tilghman last year.

Highlands senior Mikayla Reichert expected to have a big day and came through. She won the discus throwing it 37 feet, two inches and the discus at 125-3. The Univeristy of Kentucky signee edged out Elizabethtown senior Ngozi Akukwe by one foot and an inch.

Newport Farmers Market - Newport on the Levee Concert Series - Taste of Newport - Newport Italianfest

Newport Italianfest June 9-June 12. FTM file. 
Our friends to our west have a lot of things coming up in the next few weeks. Here's a sampling of what's happening in Newport.

Newport Farmers Market Is NOW Open on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to Noon.

The Newport Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 9 to 12 at 711 Monmouth Street in the Daily Market parking lot adjacent to the Pepper Pod Restaurant.  It will be open every Saturday through October 29th rain/shine.

The Farmers Market provides a variety of home grown fruits, vegetables, annual and perennial flowers. When the Market opens the farmers plan to have baked goods, herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, asparagus, and flower plantings.  The local farmers continue to strive to provide safe food to our Northern Kentucky community.

The farmers accept WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and SFMNP (Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program) coupons.

Kerry Tent Sale at NKU – Thursday, May 26 – Monday, May 30

The Kerry Dealerships are hosting a Tent Sale at NKU from Thursday, May 26 – Monday, May 30.  Hours: Thursday & Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday 9am-8pm, Sunday 10am-6pm and Monday 10am-6pm.


Live on the Levee. 

The largest patio party in Northern Kentucky is back for 2016 as Bud Light's LIVE at the Levee Summer Concert Series presented by The New 94.9 returns on May 26th and runs through September 8th.

The free Thursday night concert series takes place from 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. on the Riverfront Plaza next to the Newport Aquarium.

Band Line Up:
May 26th - The Rusty Griswolds
June 2nd - Gee Your Band Smells Terrific
June 9th - DV8
June 16th - The Newbees
June 23rd - The Whammies
June 30th - Soul Pocket
July 7th - Swan
July 14th - StrangeLove
July 21st - Dan Varner Band
July 28th - Shut Up & Drive
August 4th - Naked Karate Girls
August 11th - Glory Days
August 18th - The SunBurners
August 25th - Soul Pocket
September 1st - DV8
September 8th - The Rusty Griswolds

Memorial Day Parade – Monday, May 30 – Beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Parade route:  
South on York Street to Sixth Street
East on Sixth Street to Monmouth Street
South on Monmouth Street to Tenth Street
Parade ends at Tenth Street (City Building)

Following the parade, a ceremony in honor of our Veterans, will be held in front of the Newport City Building at Tenth and Monmouth Streets.  A complimentary continental breakfast will follow, in the first floor Multi-Purpose room of the City Building.

Reminder: On Monday at 3:00pm everyone is encouraged to take time to stop and remember the Veterans who have gone before us and those currently serving our country who continue to give us our FREEDOM today!

East Row Garden Walk – Saturday and Sunday - June 4 & 5, 2016
East Row Garden Walk. Via FTM media partner,
Begins at 6th & Washington – Water Tower Square Parking Lot

Mark your calendars for the 20th Annual East Row Garden Walk the first weekend in June — June 4 and 5 — in Newport Kentucky’s East Row Historic District. The Walk will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

For 20 years, curiosity, a passion for gardening and a desire for unique ideas have enticed thousands of visitors to tour the charming gardens on the walk, which features nine private gardens including some enver before opened to the public.

This year, a portion of the proceeds will go to the TreeRevitalize Program which is spear heading the planting of new tress in all areas of the city.  This program has lead to the platning of over 200 new tress in Newport in the last two years. Another planting is scheduled for October of this year.

Taste of Newport – Sunday, June 5th 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 

700-800 Blocks of Monmouth – Rain/Shine – Delicious Food and Live Music and More.

Participating food businesses: 27 Bar + Kitchen, BB Riverboats, Bello’s Bike Pops, Bernhard’s Bakery, Bourbon & Broad, Carabello Coffee, Dick’s Last Resort, Dixie Chili, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Gangsters Dueling Piano Bar & Restaurant, Gourmet Chili, Hot Head Burritos, JerZee’s Pub & Grub, LaMexicana Restaurant & Grocery, Lana’s Diner, Mister Softee, Newport Pizza, Packhouse, Peluso Market, Pepper Pod Restaurant, Pompilios, Sis’s on Monmouth, Smooth Nitro Coffee (located at The Hatchery in St. Paul’s Evangelical Church), Webb’s BBQ, Wiedemann Brewing.

All food items will be priced $5 and under.  A selection of domestic and craft beers will also be available for purchase.

Live music will be performed in the 700 & 800 blocks of Monmouth featuring alt rock, classic rock, western, country, acoustic, jazz, originals and more.

Newport Italianfest - Thursday, June 9 through Sunday, June 12, 2016 

Celebrate the 25th Annual Newport Italianfest

Enjoy live music all weekend at Festival Park on Riverboat Row between the Purple People and Taylor Southgate Bridges.

Thursday, June 9: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
5:00 p.m. Pete Wagner Orchestra
8:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony
8:30 p.m. Honored Italian-American Sons and Daughters Award:Wayne Carlisle
8:45 p.m. Pete Wagner Orchestra

Friday, June 10: 5 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
5:00 p.m. Pete Wagner Orchestra
6:15 p.m. Honored Italian-American
Ceremony: Larry Giancola
6:45 p.m. Ragdoll
8:00 p.m. Papa John’s Pizza Eating Contest
8:30 p.m. Moreno Fruzzetti
10:00 p.m. Diamanti
After Reds Game - Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks

Saturday, June 11: 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
10:00 a.m. Lauren Hill’s 5K Spaghetti Run
12:30 p.m. Pete Wagner Orchestra
3:30 p.m. Moreno Fruzzetti
4:30 p.m. Ragdoll
6:00 p.m. Diamanti
7:15 p.m. Moreno Fruzzetti
8:15 p.m. Papa John’s Pizza Eating Contest
8:30 p.m. Ragdoll
10:00 p.m. Diamanti
11:00 p.m. Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks

Sunday, June 12: Noon – 9 p.m.
12:30 p.m. Pete Wagner Orchestra
1:30 p.m. Ragdoll
2:00 p.m. Cooking Contest
2:45 p.m. Moreno Fruzzetti
4:00 p.m. Diamanti
5:15 p.m. Ragdoll
6:30 p.m. Moreno Fruzzetti
8:00 p.m. Diamanti

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Future of Route 8 (KY-8) Under Study by State Officials

This stretch of road on KY-8 was suspected to have been the cause of a fatality in 2015. FTM file. 
By Jennifer Summer 

At the May 16, 2016 Fort Thomas City Council meeting discussion took place regarding several projects that will effect the travel of Fort Thomas residents.

While some of the projects will be a nuisance temporarily over the summer months, one of the roadways could be a candidate for much longer closure.

According to City Administrative Officer, Ron Dill, KY-8 (Route 8) is under study through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The oft-repaired road has long had issues with road slippage, which has been a constant issue for motorists and District 6 of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. In June of 2015, a motorcyclist was killed after crashing on the road. His riding partners blamed the condition of the road for the accident.

RELATED: Fatal Motorcycle Accident on KY-8 in Fort Thomas

Burgers on a BUNBURY: Midway Cafe Serves up Music Festival

The Bunbury Music Festival (June 3-5 at Sawyer Point/Yeatman’s Cove) features some of the best… restaurants in the City!  Sure, the musical lineup is pretty great too featuring such greats as Florence + The Machine, The Killers, deadmau5, Of Monsters and Men, and G. Love and Special Sauce.  But some of the best action will be at the food tents where Fort Thomas’ very own Midway Café will be one of the flavorful features!

Matt Albers, co-owner of the one-year new Midway Café (along with wife Erika Kraus Albers and partners Dave and Staci Edmonds), is proud to be one of the twenty-one food vendors selected for the three-day music fest.  Originally, more than 200 local restaurants, food trucks, and other culinary creators applied for consideration but ultimately, Midway and twenty others were selected.  Erika Albers said the following of Fort Thomas and the festival selection, “We truly believe it’s because of the support of Fort Thomas that we were chosen to do Bunbury Music Fest.”

Albers also credits Fort Thomas residents for promoting the restaurant, which she said was intended to become like the “CHEERS bar,” leading it to be named to several City Beat “Best” Lists.

The people of Fort Thomas are the ones that got us the nomination in City Beat after being open a short six months for best wings, best new bar, best burgers in NKY, and most under the radar new location,” says Albers.

However, prime position at Bunbury serving their burgers (from Ebert’s Meats), grilled chicken sandwiches, slow smoked chicken wings, and freshly made Saratoga chips will open taste buds around Greater Cincinnati to what Fort Thomas residents have long known.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

BREAKING: Three Candidates Chosen for Vacant Campbell County Judge Seat

John Hayden (L) and Camerson Blau. FTM file. 
Three candidates have been chosen to fill the 17th District Court Judicial vacancy that was previously held by Judge Gregory T. Popovich.

Campbell County Chief Assistant Courty Attorney, Cameron Blau, Newport City Commissioner and Attorney, John Hayden, and retired attorney Bob Monfort, were chosen by the Judicial Nominating Committee (JNC). That slate will now be sent to Governor Matt Bevin's desk, where a candidate will be chosen within 60 days.

Any person meeting the required qualifications and desiring consideration to fill the District Court Judge vacancy had to notify the Judicial Nominating Commission on or before April 27, 2016. Those individuals were then sent a questionnaire which were then received in the Judicial Nominating Commission's office on or before May 11th.

RELATED: Judge Greg Popovich To Resign 

"I want to thank the Judicial Nominating Commission for the confidence and faith they placed in me by selecting me as one of the three judicial candidates that will be provided to our Governor Matt Bevin to fill the vacancy of District Judge, Division I in Campbell County," said Blau.

Hayden said he received a call from the Chief Justice of Kentucky, John Minton, at 2:30 p.m., congratulating him on being on the three-person slate.

"I’m really excited about possibility about being appointed to the seat," said Hayden. "I have a lot of respect for Mr. Blau and Mr. Monfort, and I'm looking forward to getting out to campaign in earnest for the November election regardless of the outcome."

A special election will take place this November for the unexpired term, after the appointment is made.

Monfort, an Alexandria resident and former assistant prosecutor under Lou Ball, Jack Porter and Michelle Snodgrass said that he let the nominating committee know that he would not be running in the special election in November.

"I’m honored to have been chosen by the committee," he said. "I am absolutely not going to run and am looking at this as an interim appointment only. If i were to get the appointment, I believe the voters should choose the candidate so that no one would get to run as an incumbent. 

There are some great candidates in this race, but with my experience I feel like I could hit the ground running."

Rolling Thunder Memorial Ride (Pictures)

The 8th Annual Rolling Thunder POW/MIA Memorial Ride took place yesterday, May 25th, and started at the Army Reserve Center in Fort Thomas. A beloved Fort Thomas tradition, the local ride (Ohio Chapter 9) serves as a prologue to the national Rolling Thunder Memorial Ride held Memorial Day weekend in Washington D.C. This year, Ohio Chapter 9 wants your help—as a rider (car or motorcycle) or observer.

Commander of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary Unit #19 and organizer of this year's local Rolling Thunder Memorial Ride, Kate Hempleman, said of the ride, ”So many men were being left behind despite thousands of reported sightings of live Americans in captivity. These sightings were being ignored by the government and press. 

The two Vietnam vets weren't OK with this and decided to do something about it. In 1988 they held the first Rolling Thunder ride, gathering in D.C. with 2,500 riders. Their voices were heard."

The weather reports were threatening, but the ride went off without a hitch, cruising through Fort Thomas and Newport, waving at citizens and schools along the way. Below are a sampling of pictures from the ride. 

 25 More Photos Below

Exceptional Talent at the 2nd Annual Highlands High School College Arts Signing Day

13 Highlands students signed at the College Arts Ceremony on 5-19-16. FTM file. 
By Michele Pam Wright

There were laughter and tears last Thursday as senior students from the Art, Communications, Music, and Theatre departments at Highlands High School announced the colleges they’ll be attending.

Each student went through a grueling ordeal to gain admission to the college of their choice. Acceptance required not just several forms of intent, but interviews, auditions, submissions and, of course, top grades. Many students were awarded generous scholarships.

After spending years together at school every day, its finally starting to sink in that they will soon be scattered to the winds as they continue their academic journeys in the field of their choice.

Universities include the University of North Carolina, Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University, Purdue University, DePauw University, The University of the Arts (Philadelphia), and Eastern Kentucky University.

Jason Burgess, Drama and Theatre teacher.
When asked where the idea of an Arts Signing Day came from,  Jason Burgess, the Drama and Theatre teacher said, “The idea came from a parent. Our school has a signing day for the athletes and we wanted to recognize the exceptional talent from our students in the arts as well.”

One of the students at the signing day, David Ketcham, was a Kentucky State Champion in 2015 in the feature writer division. Ketcham, who will be majoring in journalism at NKU, said, “My teacher at HHS, Mrs. (Diana) McGee is just awesome. She’s not just a teacher, but also a friend. Journalism gives me freedom and has been a good decision for me.” 

Ketcham said his decision to go to NKU was based on his desire to stay close to family, but also because NKU has an excellent communications program.

Below are the students who were part of Highland’s 2nd Annual Signing Day:


Highlands Track Teams Aim High at State Meet

Twitter photo. The Highlands track teams celebrate after winning the 4th Region on Saturday. They go to the state meet Friday at the University of Kentucky starting at 4:30 p.m.
Many track teams are strong in distance. Some are strong only in sprinting events. It's the teams that can score many ways that win championships.

The Highlands track teams have that depth to win the Class AA state championships Friday at the University of Kentucky. The teams would not mind capturing state championships in the same year for the first time in school history. The meet starts at 4:30 p.m.

Fort Thomas Antiques & Design Center - Event Center - Highlander Coffee - Bourbon

The Fort Thomas Antiques & Design Center also houses the Highlander Event Center, Highlander Coffee House and Highlander Bourbon and Wine Bar. They are part of the #FTMFamily. 
The Fort Thomas Antiques & Design Center is so much more than just another Antique Mall.  They are a 24,000 square foot Event Center, Coffee House and Bourbon & Wine Bar surrounded by beautiful antiquities, mid-century pieces, Depression Era glass, interesting curios, unique lamps re-purposed from industrial and farm items, vintage clothing as well as new women's apparel and men's accessories.

Now, you can browse their antiques and shop online! Just click on the "Shop" menu item at the top of the page of the link below.

RELATED: SHOP ONLINE at Fort Thomas Antiques & Design Website

"We are bringing antiques & "picking" into the 21st century," said owner, Rob Robinson. "We have over 50 items now listed and will continue to add more each day.  When you see that perfect item for your home, apartment or lake house, you can now purchase it online and we will hold it here for pick up, arrange for local delivery or even ship it any where in the continental U.S."

Robinson said that he's giving away a $100 gift card to be given away on Wednesday, June 1. To enter, just scroll to the bottom of the new home page and register your name and email.

You can do that here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fort Thomas City Council Round-Up (May)

LtoR: Chuck Thompson, Roger Peterman, Jeff Bezold, Eric Haas, Lisa Kelly, Ken Bowman, John Muller. FTM file. 
By Jennifer Summer 

The Fort Thomas City Council met on Monday, May 16, 2016.  All members were present except for Mayor Eric Haas, who was attending a State Chamber of Commerce conference. The meeting was called to order at 7:02 pm with council member Roger Peterman sitting in for the mayor.

Minutes were read from the April 18, 2016 council meeting.

A Fort Thomas resident who lives on Bluegrass Avenue addressed council about a property next to him that is consistently neglected. Mr. Mark Vallegas stated that the home has damaged gutters, a dead tree in the front, and grass that is left un-mowed.

“We have an absentee owner [who lives in Florida] and a tenant that’s not maintaining the property and a system that tries to address that that seems to be broken.”

Mr. Vallegas said that when the city cracks down and tells them to clean up, they “do the bare minimum and the situation just gets worse.”

City Administrative Officer, Ron Dill said, “There’s been multiple years where this particular owner has been notified and some of it is a seasonal issue; the high grass and high weeds. We’ve discovered recently that the owner had moved two different times, to Florida and North Carolina, but they are local again. 

The hardship to getting proper notice is sometimes an issue, but when we notify an owner under our ordinances, they are given 14 days, which requires a second notice before we can enter it into a district court system. I think our possibility for change would be shortening those time periods for certain types of violations through our zoning text.”

Mr. Vallegas continued, “My question is, giving the high regard that we have for the city, it just seems like the process for addressing these issues is broken. My understanding is that in other cities they have a process where the city is able to go in, have someone take care of the issues and then bill the owner. That seems to be a better solution to solve the problem rather than continuously send letters and have them not take any action. What’s a better way to address the problem? The issue is getting worse and worse every year.”

Former council member, Adam Meier, campaigned in part on an initiative that would deal with code enforcement of problem homes and vacant homes.

RELATED: Meier's 'Pretty The City' Initiative Moves In Front Of Council 

Councilman Jeff Bezold said he still believes that's a good idea.

“There are bank owned properties out there and they have people in place to take care of these things and they pay them, but they’re not setting it up or they’re not doing it, one or the other.  We need to step in as a city.  There’s a whole department for it. I am pushing for dilapidated properties to be dealt with with a stronger hand.  I would like to include it under Pretty the City because it makes sense.”

The monthly reports for the Fire Department, Police Department, and City Administrator were read by Chief Mark Bailey, Chief Mike Daly, and Ron Dill, respectively.  The heroin epidemic remains a primary concern.  Chief Mark Bailey stated, “St. Elizabeth has donated 16 boxes of Narcan. This will certainly help our supply of Narcan on hand.”

The status of the VA homes were also discussed.

This is an advertisement. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Brain Tumor Results in Two "Birthdays" for Fort Thomas Woman

The McMahon family at Disney as part of Make-a-Wish Foundation
Think about an important event in your life. Some people mark their memory calendars of important events by weather, food, clothes, music, or place. Carlie McMahon marked her calendar with a French Chew when she thinks about November of 2001.

Carlie is one of those instantly memorable people. She has a electric smile, twinkling eyes, an infectious laugh, a big heart, is a bit of a klutz, and an amazingly positive outlook. Asse her to tell you about how she fell out of her school desks a number of times.  But Carlie is just plain old fun to be around. Oh, and she survived a brain tumor that could have easily killed her.

Carlie was in the 6th grade, 11 years old and the youngest of four girls. “I had gotten up like it was a normal day. I went to school and had gone to my classes. We hadn't been back from lunch too long when I had a 7 minute Gran Mal seizure at my desk. I was rushed to Children's and I was diagnosed after many tests.” The tests revealed a brain tumor as the cause. “My tumor was on my motor strip so it affected my handwriting and I was very clumsy. I was also having frequent headaches.” She relies all of this matter of factly like it was a day at work.

One of Carlie’s three older sisters, Jessica McMahon Bouldin, recalls when she got the news, “I felt dizzy and helpless, scared and angry. Like what I imagine an out of body experience to be.”  And that was the beginning of an arduous journey but unlike the difficult journeys of fiction where the protagonist must carry on alone, Carlie had a large group going with her - her family.  First of all, this is a big family that includes blood and legal relatives and “framily" (friends who are treated liked family).

She underwent a two hour surgery on Friday, November 23 to remove the tumor. She was lucky not to need radiation or chemo.  Of course she missed some school, but she eventually made it back.

Carlie’s sister, Abby McMahon Ball recalls, “Mom and dad took Carlie home that night and explained to her what was going on and what had to happen. When I first saw her after I heard the news she was just sitting in the bed smiling.  I don't think I ever hugged her so tight (Well, maybe after surgery). After that it was and is a big blur. We were all scared to death except Carlie. She was braver then anyone I've ever seen. After being a parent now I feel sicker then sick for what my parents went through, but they never lost faith. St Catherine put together a rosary prayer service before her surgery and the church was full of support and prayers.” That is a great group of extended family to have.

Tim Nolan Details What Happened With State Appointment and Rescindation


Download this episode (right click and save)

SUBSCRIBE to the Podcast here on iTunes or anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Please comment and rate us.

RELATED: Gov. Bevin Appoints Northern Kentuckian to New State Commission 

- Nolan was appointed to a new state Boxing and Wrestling Commission by Gov. Matt Bevin on Monday, May 16.

- He drove Wednesday from his home in Campbell County to Frankfort for its very first meeting - only to be told he had been un-appointed after being asked to resign on Wednesday, May 18.

- What he wrote on his Facebook page that he says got the appointment pulled.

- Explaining some of the Facebook pictures that some float as controversial.

- The local website that has drawn his ire.

- The part of judicial politics that aren’t talked about.

- Some language is explicit.

Recorded Friday, May 20, 2016.

Workman HVAC - NKY Heating - Cooling - Geothermal

Workman HVAC is part of the #FTMFamily 
Workman HVAC is now offering a "Complete Comfort Coverage Plan."

Never worry about unexpected repair costs again. 

Call Blain today at 859-485-7500. 

RELATED: Meet Blain Workman, Owner/Operator 

Some of the details of the program:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Campbell County Road Construction

Traffic entering the Memorial Parkway bridge on May 23, 2016. The Northbound ramp has been closed. FTM file. 
It's not quite summer on the calendar, but summer road construction projects have begun in earnest, with the closure of the Northbound ramp to 1-471 off of Memorial Parkway starting today.

Here are a list of other construction projects in Campbell County.

·         KY 1120 (Memorial Parkway) Bridge over I-471 (1.4 – 1.6 mile-marker) -   A bridge restoration project that includes installing a sidewalk will is in progress.  Motorists and pedestrians will encounter intermittent lane closures. The I-471 NB on-ramp (Exit 4) is scheduled to be closed from May 23 – June 6.   The I-471 exit-ramp (Exit 4) is scheduled to be closed from June 6 – June 20.  The full closure of the bridge will be June 20 – August 15.  Please note that this schedule can change and is weather dependent.  Motorists should plan accordingly by allowing extra travel time or finding an alternate route.  The project is expected to be complete mid-August 2016.

7 More Projects Below:

Highlands Senior Prank: 2016

The "Not So Senior Prank" today at Highlands. 

With the hours counting down in the 2015/2016 school year, the Highlands seniors unveiled their senior prank today.

But according to Highlands senior, David Ketcham, it actually wasn't much of a prank at all.

"It was actually a super last minute plan. Someone finally took initiative and proposed tailgating before school. So this morning after it was talked about, seniors woke up around 5:30 a.m. to start setting up. We brought breakfast, a pool, a grill and coolers. 

We jammed out to music and had a great time for a good half hour until the first teacher, English teacher Beth Bloom pulled up. She finally walked past us, dancing and praising us. She had great spirit!" 
This is an advertisement. 

Ketcham said that all the teachers were being great sports about the prank, including Principal, Brian Robinson, who was presented with a plate of breakfast on his way into school.

Ketcham said that perhaps the best benefit of getting up so early was the parking. "The seniors loved the close parking because no one else was there!"

More Pictures Below:

Mikayla Reichert To Sign Letter-of-Intent at UK

Mikayla Reichert. FTM file. 
Highlands High School track and field athlete Mikayla Reichert will sign a letter of intent with the University of Kentucky. The signing will be held at 3pm on Monday, May 23, 2016, in the media center at Highlands High School.

Mikayla joined the Highlands track and field program her sophomore year when she transferred to Highlands.  Her dedication and persistence led her to break both the shot put and discus records at Highlands. Her indoor weight throw qualified her to the New Balance Indoor meet this winter, where she placed in the top 30. Her 45’10’’ weight throw is the farthest in KY history.  She has proven to be one of the best throwers in Kentucky state history in the shot and disc as well.

This is an advertisement. 

While attending the University of Kentucky, Reichert intends to study Pre-Med.

Fort Thomas Independence Day Parade Is a Beloved Tradition

Fort Thomas Independence Day Parade, 2015.

Friday evening, July 1, Sally Brewer's family will set up lawn chairs in front of Dobbling Funeral Home—just as they've done since the late 1960s or early 1970s (no one is quite sure when)—in preparation for this year's Fort Thomas Independence Day Parade, organized by the Campbell County YMCA and a dedicated group of citizens, Saturday, July 2.

"Our family has an unbroken chain of attendance to the Fort Thomas Fourth of July parade that goes back many years," Brewer says.

They are not alone.

For years Fort Thomas residents have planned their summers around the Independence Day parade, not wanting to miss the shiny firetrucks and marching band, the lawn chair brigade and the dance routines, the waving politicians and banner-carrying scout troops, the candy throwing (and collecting), and all those little flags on wooden sticks held by families decked out in red, white and blue, eager for the Tower Park festivities and evening fireworks—quintessential Americana.

It's a tradition that dates back to when most residents agree the first Independence Day Parade took place—1967, the centennial celebration.

The children and grandchildren of Ken and Marie Shields gathered in front of Dobbling Funeral Home for the parade, 2012.

"When the grandchildren were little my mom made 16 red, white and blue bags for them to use for parade candies," Brewer says. For many years after the parade Brewer's family would head straight to Tower Park for festivities, including live music by Dan and Gail Crowe. They would always seem to snag picnic tables under the shelter, and Judy and John Messmer, as well as Tootie and extended family, would join them, Brewer says.

Brewer's parents, Ken and Marie Shields, moved to Fort Thomas in 1965, the year they were married. Ken coached and taught at the former St. Thomas High School, then at Highlands High School from 1975 to 1988, and then at Northern Kentucky University from 1988 to 2004. Marie taught with Fort Thomas Independent Schools for 28 years. They raised their five children in Fort Thomas, and all five children—and 16 grandchildren—still live in the city.

"The parade is a great tradition for us," Marie Shields says. "[It] keeps getting bigger and better, as well as longer in duration each year." She remembers when there was more live music—a bigger high school band and guest bands—and less candy. "A candy treat now is very commonplace," Marie Shields says. "Not so in the early years." 

Brewer's sister, Dawn Hils, remembers walking the parade with her softball teams and decorating floats as a Highlands High School cheerleader. "Major park festivities were big in the 1980s," Hills says. "They'd have singing and dancing on the tennis courts and even a beauty pageant near the Mess Hall." Today Hils has a tradition of getting a picture of her son, Abe, with Abe Lincoln (Bob Sweeney) each year.

Ken and Marie Shields, Grand Marshals in 1997, with Don Brindle driving.

"We were especially honored one time as a family when my parents, Ken and Marie Shields, were Grand Marshals in 1997," Brewer says. "They rode on the back end of a convertible owned by Gary Devoto." Then again in 2006, the Ken Shields Family were Grand Marshals.

The entire Ken-Marie Shields Family was named Grand Marshals in 2006. In the picture above, Ken and Marie's son, Kenney Shields, is driving. 

These days, the Shields, their five adult children and spouses (including the Hils and the Brewers), and their 16 grandchildren gather to watch the parade together, as well as some aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins.

Fort Thomas Celebrates Highlands Renewal

Superintendent Gene Kirchner. 
 A rainy May made way for a perfect Sunday afternoon at Highlands High School as school officials, donors and the community celebrated the competition of a 10-year, $40 million dollar renovation to the Highlands High School campus.

A big crowd took in festivities at 2400 Memorial Parkway, which will continue to allow the students who matriculate to have unbridled success in their studies.

The theme of the day was how the attitudes of local stakeholders was the key to making sure the project was a success.

Of the $40 million, $10 million was raised locally by the Fort Thomas Education Foundation, a private, non-profit, whose mission is to provide a private school experience in the public school system.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sullivan University Expanding to Northern Kentucky

Sullivan University plans to offer classes later this year in Fort Mitchell.

Sullivan University, which for more than 50 years has provided students with higher education opportunities to improve their lives, is bringing its career-focused education programs to Northern Kentucky.

Based in Louisville, Sullivan University plans to offer classes later this year in the former Columbia Sussex building on Grandview Drive adjacent to Interstate 75 in Fort Mitchell.

Sullivan's history of working closely with the businesses community to design education and skills training programs for employers will be a major asset in the region, said Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Trey Grayson.

"Workforce development is one of the major issues facing Northern Kentucky and a top priority of the Chamber," Grayson said. "Sullivan University has a tremendous reputation and track record of success when it comes to providing the education programs and training that meet employer demands.  We are excited about assisting Sullivan, which recently became a Chamber member, making and enhancing connections in the Northern Kentucky business community."

The Sullivan University Center for Learning–Northern Kentucky will be led by Dr. Vicki Berling, a Northern Kentucky native and resident who has held administrative and management positions at Northern Kentucky University and Thomas More College.

"This is exciting news for Sullivan University, for the residents of Northern Kentucky and for the employers in Northern Kentucky," said Sullivan President Glenn Sullivan. "Northern Kentucky is a vibrant community with a growing, diversified, and dynamic economy that aligns perfectly with Sullivan’s career-focused education programs that prepare students for their life and professional goals while providing employers with a trained and skilled workforce.

“Led by Dr. Berling, an experienced and accomplished educator and administrator who knows Northern Kentucky’s education and workforce needs, we are anxious to begin offering classes in the region,” President Sullivan said.

The Sullivan University Center for Learning–Northern Kentucky initially plans to offer education programs that are tailor-made for some of the region’s largest industries, including Logistics and Transportation Management; Business Administration; Healthcare Management; Conflict Management; as well as all of the outstanding online programs offered by Sullivan University.

“Sullivan’s offering of career-focused education programs are right in tune with what Northern Kentucky employers need right now,” Dr. Berling said. “I’ve been watching Sullivan for the last decade or so as the university has increased its presence in Kentucky. It’s an organization I’ve long admired and I’m honored to be part of the University’s expansion into the community that I am proud to call home.”

Sullivan University, which celebrates its 54th anniversary this year, already has established relationships in Northern Kentucky by forging articulation agreements with the Campbell County, Grant County, Williamstown and Fort Thomas school districts for its renowned culinary program at the National Center for Hospitality Studies at Sullivan University, which allows students to use high-school credits in certain culinary programs toward their degrees at Sullivan.

Logistics is one of the fastest growing industries in the region, so much so that the Cincinnati Business Courier dubbed the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area "the Silicon Valley of Logistics."

Lacy Starling, one of the owners of Legion Logistics in Florence, said she was "excited to hear" that Sullivan University was bringing its Logistics and Transportation Management Program to the new Northern Kentucky Center for Learning because the industry needs skilled workers.

"Our regional economy needs more skilled supply chain and logistics employees," said Starling. "Programs like Sullivan's are the only way we are going to fill that gap."

Union, Ky., resident Carol Coley was suffering from a medical condition when she met a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) who impressed her. She decided to pursue a CMA and enrolled at Sullivan University to begin studying for an Associate's Degree.

"Sullivan not only worked with me on the classes I needed to take, but they also identified that what I was really interested in was cardiac care," Coley said. "Through their Career Services, they helped me get my first job. And now I'm taking the knowledge that I've learned on the job and studying at Sullivan for my Bachelor's degree. "

Coley, now a Certified Cardiac Device Specialist who currently works as a Technical Service

Specialist for a top medical sales company,  said thanks to Sullivan's online classes, she doesn't have to leave her Boone County home to continue her educational goals as well as continue growing in  her career. She recently received a scholarship from Sullivan based on an essay that she wrote regarding how Sullivan has contributed to her ongoing educational and career development.

"I can't say enough about Sullivan University," she said. "They understood what I wanted out of an education, and more importantly, they really understood me because they took the time to get to know me. They make it so easy with online classes and a curriculum that really does teach what you need to know out in the business world."

Joi Johnson of Cincinnati holds Master's Degrees from Sullivan in Conflict Management – one of the programs Sullivan is initially bringing to Northern Kentucky - and Human Resource Leadership. She is now considering returning to Sullivan to pursue her doctorate.

"I had a great experience at Sullivan from start to finish," said Johnson, who works at a large Cincinnati health insurance company.  "The admission process was simple and to the point, and I worked with my advisors to get the classes I needed. The education I received was great and I have recommended Sullivan to friends and family based on the experience I had there."

Dr. Berling holds degrees from Western Kentucky University (B.A. in Public Relations), Thomas More College (Master of Business Administration), and Indiana State University (Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration). After spending seven years working in healthcare management, Dr. Berling served as Contract Manager for the successful Thomas More College TAP Program from 1997 to 2004 before joining Northern Kentucky University in 2005, where she served as Executive Director of Distance & Online Learning and Interim Director of Norse Advising, a central advising office of the Student Success Center.

“I’m extremely excited about building something from the ground up,” said Dr. Berling, who grew up in Ludlow and now lives in Edgewood. “Throughout my career I’ve always been adept at moving an agenda forward and I have a good sense of focus, organization, and setting and meeting an agenda. I understand Northern Kentucky, I’ve been here most of my life and I know that Sullivan University will connect with the people here.”

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Campbell County F.O.P. Lodge #10 - Jason "Woody" Faulkner Golf Outing

Annual Golf Outing Supports Local Charities

The Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) Lodge 10 is hosting the Annual Officer Jason “Woody” Faulkner Memorial Golf Outing on Friday, June 24th, 2016 at A.J. Jolly Golf Course. The golf outing directly supports local charitable events throughout the year.

Fort Thomas Police Officer Sean Donelan has been helping organize the golf outing for approximately ten years. For Donelan, the event allows him to enjoy a day of golfing with friends while also helping serve the community. “Of course the event is fun, and the camaraderie of getting together with police officers from the different departments, judges, lawyers, business owners, and all the supporters of F.O.P. is great, but all the effort, all the work, all the time that we take to do the outing is manifest in the second weekend in December when we get to take a bunch of kids Christmas shopping, who otherwise wouldn't have Christmas," said Donelan.

Officer Donelan isn't the only member of the FTPD working to make this year's golf outing the best to date. Lieutenant Casey Kilgore and Officer Will Hunt are also helping to organize the event. They have all experienced first-hand how this golf outing is able to help support the community. In 2015, 37 Northern Kentucky police officers helped 40 children with their Christmas shopping at Cops and Kids (formerly known as Shop with a Cop).

RELATED: Campbell County Officers Puts On Cops for Kids (PICTURES)

In addition to Cops and Kids, the funds raised from the outing are used to support local athletes participating in the Special Olympics. Officers also look forward to attending the Special Olympics each summer. “We have the honor of putting medals on athletes after finishing their events,” said Donelan. 
Fort Thomas Police Officer, Sean Donelan. 

Jason “Woody” Faulkner's life and work are remembered each year during the golf outing. Faulkner was a Detective with the Campbell County Police Department, and died of cancer in 2007. He was in charge of handling personal crimes for children, which would include cases of sex abuse and child abuse crimes. “He was a special person,” said Donelan. “He loved golf, and he absolutely loved the Cops and Kids Christmas shopping program. It just seemed fitting that Jason Faulkner was the namesake of our golf outing, so we made him the namesake about six or seven years ago.”

PHOTOS: Highlands High School Renovation

Heading into the newly renovated gym. That "2015" headstone will be replaced by a "2016."
The Fort Thomas Education Foundation and the Fort Thomas Independent Schools will celebrate the completion of the Highlands High School campus with a community event THIS Sunday, May 22.

The event will begin with a brief presentation at 12:30 p.m. at the newly completed Gymnasium Plaza. Following the presentation, attendees will be invited to tour all HHS buildings to see the results of the past decade of renovations, including both academic buildings, the gymnasium and locker rooms and the new Highlands Fieldhouse. 

Families can also enjoy bounce houses and other fun games along with cake and $1 cheese coneys.

A BIG THANKS to Mr. Brian Robinson, Principal, for the guided tour.  These photos were taken on May 13, 2016. 

These "stages" are also now functional bench seating around the new gym. 

The new entry way heading into the football stadium. Later, this will feature the "Walk of Fame" that will highlight the Highlands Hall of Fame members.