Friday, September 30, 2016

OP-ED: Leadership from the Bench

Judge Cameron Blau with his family. Provided. 
By Judge Cameron J. Blau

Having been responsible for approximately 150,000 cases in Campbell District Court over the last decade, I can still be surprised.

A little over a week ago, a young man showed me how true this statement was when he overdosed in my courtroom at approximately midway through my court docket.  This taking place two weeks after a young woman did the “heroin nod” in the hallway in the courthouse while waiting to check in with pretrial services for a felony offense related to the use of heroin.

“Nodding off” is a term commonly used by law enforcement when a person after having recently used heroin looks as though they are falling asleep or dozing off. This can and has occurred far too often in northern Kentucky, even as they drive.

I believe you have the right to know what is going on in our judicial system because transparency and information sharing are key ways for an informed community to know what resources are available to assist their loved ones.

Fort Thomas Ranks As Number One northern Kentucky School District

Complete Rankings and lists below 
Highlands High School. FTM file. 
Fort Thomas was once again ranked as the number one school district in Northern Kentucky, according to statewide test scores as the Kentucky Department of Education released school report cards for the 2015-16 school year.

Last year for the first time, Fort Thomas Independent Schools took away the top spot among Kentucky school district test results from Louisville area Anchorage Independent, after coming in second statewide for the 2013-2014 year. This year, Fort Thomas Independent was number three.

Murray Independent and Anchorage Independent checked in at the number one and two spots, respectfully this year.

RELATED: View the entire report here. 

In the statewide assessment system, schools earned points on a scale of 0 to 100 for their students’ performances on subject tests. Also factored into schools’ overall scores were various other pieces of academic data, including achievement gaps, graduation rates, growth and more.

Fort Thomas Independent received an overall accountability score of 82.9. Beechwood Independent came in close behind, with a scores of 80.7.

While Fort Thomas' rank dropped slightly, the overall scores are up from 81.5 and 82.5 in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, respectfully.

While none of the schools in the district ranked in the top 10, they all performed well among the 173 districts statewide.
Rankings in parentheses among high schools, middle schools and elementary schools: Highlands High School (16), Highlands Middle School (14), Moyer Elementary (11), Woodfill Elementary (12), Johnson Elementary (41)
This year, the college/career readiness rate increased 1.6 points over last year to 68.5. The four-year graduation rate also went up - to 88.6 from 88 in 2014-15.

“Kentucky schools are to be congratulated for their continued progress on graduating more students with the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in the 21st century,” said Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt. “The gains we are seeing are the result of a lot of hard work by our teachers, administrators and our students with the support of parents community members and our education partners.”

Here is a look at each Campbell County school district, in order of achievement and with the schools' rankings out of 173 districts, 228 high schools, 326 middle schools and 709 elementary schools noted.

FORT THOMAS

Johnson Elementary School Hullabaloo Festival THIS SATURDAY

Johnson Hullabaloo Festival
With a chill in the air and the smell of pumpkin spice EVERYTHING abounding, it must finally be Fall which can only mean one thing: the Johnson Elementary School Hullabaloo Festival is upon us!  That’s right, the BEST fall festival in town happens tomorrow, October 1, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at Johnson Elementary School in Fort Thomas.  The festival truly has something for everyone and ALL proceeds from the fundraising festival go to benefit Johnson Elementary students directly allowing for the school to provide state-of-the-art and cutting edge teaching techniques to our students by purchasing items such as SmartBoardsTM, SuccessMakerTM software, technology and facility updates, and enrichment programs, like Art in Motion and Red Ribbon Week that are otherwise not in the budget.

OK, so full disclosure- I co-chaired the Hullabaloo planning committee this year with Lizzie Zaebst. I am admittedly biased but once you’ve read everything that this Fall Festival has to offer for people from ALL walks of life, you’ll agree that there is simply no better way to spend a Saturday than having fun at the Hullabaloo and investing in our children’s future.



Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fort Thomas City Council To Debate Two Times in October

FTM file. 
For the first time since 2008, the Fort Thomas City Council will discuss their candidacies and platforms in a public forum.

First, on Tuesday October 4, 2016 at 6:45 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center, a Highlands student-led panel discussion will focus on the future of Fort Thomas.

Members of Mr. Bill Poff’s broadcasting program and Mrs. Kym Grillot’s Student Youth Leadership Panel have partnered to a discussion-style forum for city council candidates in the 2016 election.

Every facet of the production is student-created. Fort Thomas Matters will be in attendance to cover the event, which will also be live streamed.

Then, on October 11, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at The Midway Cafe in Fort Thomas, a city council forum will be moderated by Fort Thomas Matters', Mark Collier. The forum will be hosted by the Fort Thomas Business Association and will be an opportunity to meet the candidates in a relaxed setting.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Fort Thomas Matters has been covering the city council race all year. To read their introduction op-eds, and listen to the podcasts, click our Election 2016 tab at the top of the page or click here. 

Council candidates, in the order they'll appear on November's ballot:

1 - John Slawter
2 - Sam Shelton
3 - Chuck Thompson
4 - Lisa Kelly
5 - John Muller
6 - Jeff Bezold
7 - Ken Bowman
8 - Roger Peterman
9 - David Cameron

Bob Yeager named Acting Chief District Engineer for District 6

Rob Hans, Chief District Engineer for the Kentucky Dept. of Transportation, will retire. 
Bob Yeager was named Acting Chief District Engineer (CDE) for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) District 6 office in Covington yesterday. Yeager replaces Rob Hans who is retiring as the CDE effective October 1, 2016.

After many years of service with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Hans, will retire effective October 1, 2016.

Yeager is a long-time Fort Thomas resident.
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Hans began his career with the Cabinet in 1989 in District 6 and has been the Chief District Engineer at the District 6 office in Covington since September 2008. Prior to his appointment as Chief District Engineer, Rob served as a district bridge engineer, a district maintenance engineer, a branch manager for operations, a branch manager for planning, and a branch manager for engineering support.


Pair of Fort Thomas Residents Help Lead Council on Visioning Process

L to R: City Clerk, Melissa Kelly, Chuck Thompson (Council), Jann Seidenfaden (City Attorney), Ron Dill (City Administrator) listen to Chris Manning on the next steps on the city's visioning process. FTM file. 

Members of Fort Thomas City Council met on Monday evening, September 19th, to discuss a new visioning process for the city. Two residents are leading the planning, Chris Manning and Tom Fernandez ,(Fernandez was not present for this meeting). Fernandez, who is on the Board of Adjustment and was a former city councilman, was not present.  Manning is principal at the Human Nature Company, and is also on the city's Design Review Board.

Manning was involved in the street-scaping plans in Fort Thomas Forward in 2000, as well.

RELATED: Brainstorming Session Could Lead to New Ideas 

Ron Dill City Administrator said that the two residents could help lead and facilitate discussions that started in December of last year to move the city to the next level.

"Chris and Tom have come forward as partners and we bring them on board in a professional capacity as facilitators to walk us through the process.  We are very happy to have Chris and Tom on board.  They've put their heads together to help us in this endeavor."

RELATED: Fort Thomas Looking Into Creating New Comprehensive Plan 

Manning shared what he feels makes Fort Thomas a standout community; the timeless values that make us who we are, our strong leadership, and the fact that we are always striving to be better. 

"Even when things are going well, they could always be better," he said.

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Planning the Bye Week; Powderpuff Game TONIGHT!

Bluebirds look to regroup during bye week

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior defensive back Sam Taylor (44) records an interception Friday against Simon Kenton. Highlands has a bye week this week.
This marked the point where the Highlands Bluebirds football team turned the corner last year after a rough 1-5 start in terms of the bye week.

Highlands hopes for a similar story. The Bluebirds reeled off seven straight wins after the bye week before losing 41-31 to Pulaski County in the Class 5A state semi-finals in Fort Thomas.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ruth Moyer Elementary Named National Blue Ribbon School

Five Schools Win Overall 

Ruth Moyer Elementary. FTM file. 
Today the U. S. Department of Education (USED) named five Kentucky public schools as 2016 National Blue Ribbon Schools, based on their overall academic excellence.

Moyer Elementary in Fort Thomas was one of those.

Most recently in 2014, Johnson Elementary won the award.

RELATED: Johnson Named National Blue Ribbon School 

Fort Thomas, recently ranked the #1 school district in Kentucky by Niche, has been named a National Blue Ribbon School five previous times.

·  Highlands High School, 2007
·  Johnson Elementary, 1997 and 2014
·  Moyer Elementary, 2009
·  Woodfill Elementary, 2011

"It takes dedicated students, parents and teachers working together to become a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Ruth Moyer Elementary is a shining example of what is possible when that happens," said Gene Kirchner, Superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools. "There are very few schools around the country that have earned this distinction twice. Congratulations to the entire Moyer community. We are all extremely proud of their accomplishment." 

The other four Kentucky schools and their districts are:
·         Gray Middle School – Boone Co.
·         Johnson Elementary – Laurel Co.
·         Schaffner Traditional Elementary – Jefferson Co.
·         Southwest Calloway Elementary – Calloway Co.
This is an advertisement. Barre3 Ft. Thomas.

Boy Riding Bicycle Struck, Killed on Way to School in Alexandria

7900 block of Alexandria Pike in Alexandria. Google. 
A boy, riding his bike in Alexandria when he was hit by a pickup truck, has died from his injuries.

The incident happened at 7:12 a.m. in the area of 7930 Alexandria Pike, near Campbell County Middle School.

Police described the boy as a juvenile but gave no other information. The victim, his school and the driver have not been identified.

Safe Route to Schools Grants Filed Once Again by Fort Thomas

The intersection of N. Fort Thomas Avenue, Barrett Drive and Covert Run. FTM file. 
At the September 7th city council meeting, council shared that Southbank is once again filing the Safe Route to School application on behalf of Fort Thomas, similar to what was filed last year.

This time, according to City Administrator Ron Dill, the city may have a good shot at securing the grant.

RELATED: September 2015 City Council Roundup

The city had partnered with Southbank to submit the application in hopes of receiving nearly $600,000 in funding from the Kentucky Safe Routes to School program to extend the sidewalk along North Fort Thomas Avenue.

The sidewalk is proposed to be extended from Covert Run/Barrett Drive to the corporation line near Broadview and would be located on one side only.

This will mark the third time the application will be made in an attempt to 'wear them out.'  "Maybe persistence will pay," remarked council member Ken Bowman.

The first time the city applied was years ago (within the last ten years), with the most recent being last year.  These applications are considered annually and if they are rejected the city either doesn't hear back or receives a denial.

Council member Jeff Bezold asked, "Have we asked the residents on the North end of town if they want this?"

Bowman and City Administrator, Ron Dill, said that the majority of residents responding favorably and generated a petition asking for it.

Council hopes to have an update on this at the October meeting. 

Tight Win Over the Arch-Rival

Highlands records fourth win against Notre Dame since 2008

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands sophomore Hannah Gish (6) plays the ball ahead in the game against Notre Dame on Tuesday. Highlands won 3-2.
Make no mistake.

The Highlands Ladybirds soccer team (14-1-1 overall) will take any win over the Notre Dame Pandas (11-6-1) because it happened for just the fourth time since 2008 in 16 meetings with the 3-2 thriller at Tower Park on Tuesday. One of the two teams has won a region championship every year since 2003. The Pandas have won the last five region crowns on their way to two state championships. Highlands moved to 9-0 in 9th Region action with the win.

But the last thing Highlands wants to do is develop a false sense of security with the win. The Ladybirds know they need to improve before potentially facing the Pandas again in the 9th Region Tournament.

"It's hard to learn from a win because you don't have any punishment," said Olivia McQueary, Highlands junior goalkeeper. "But hopefully through practice, we can work on our weaknesses because they were definitely exposed (Tuesday)."

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Body Found in Campbell County Identified

Dustin Meadows. Provided. 
The body of Dustin Meadows, has been found along the Ohio River in Campbell County, according to police.

A search crew, consisting of friends and family came upon the body this morning at 10:30 a.m., in the 7000 block of Mary Ingles Hwy. across from the Beckjord Power Station.

RELATED: Melbourne Man Goes Missing; Friends Asking for Help 

Meadows had a home in Melbourne a half mile from where he was found. According to friends, he went missing on September 20.

Meadows was born and raised in Fort Thomas and graduated from Highlands in 1996.

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Campbell County Man Missing - Dustin Meadows

Dustin Meadows. Provided. 
A Melbourne man is missing and his family is seeking help.

Fort Thomas Police Lt. Rich Whitford said that Dustin Meadows, went missing near his home off 10-mile road in Melbourne, Kentucky on last Tuesday afternoon, September 20.

"If you have information leading to the whereabouts of Dustin Meadows, please contact the Fort Thomas or Campbell County Police Department. There is a search and rescue going on as we speak," said Whitford. "We are walking the river banks, trying to located him at this time."

Justin Frisk, a friend of Meadows said that he was last seen between 2:00-4:00 p.m. on last week near the river. He said that he may have been intoxicated when he was last seen and that all of his belongings were inside of his home, including his money and credit cards.

"He was ex-Army and all of his boots and clothes were still in his home as well," he said.

Meadows is a 1996 Highlands High School graduate and was born and raised in Fort Thomas.

To contact Fort Thomas Police, call 859-441-6562. To contact Campbell County Police, call 859-547-3100.

Below is the message Frisk shared via Facebook:
"FACEBOOK, we need your help!!! I have a very close friend ( Dustin Meadows) that has gone missing in Campbell county area. Dustin was Last seen in the Melbourne area along the riverbank. Please pass this picture along and any information you might have, please contact me ASAP!! If you have a boat and are willing to help let me know. Dustin Is family to me.... Keep him and our family in your prayers!!!"

Fort Thomas Monument Man is Fourth Generation to Make His Mark in Stone



Tim Rolf
You may not know Tim Rolf, owner of Rolf Monument in the west end of Newport, but you have no doubt seen his work - around the county, the tristate, in area businesses, and maybe, if you know where to look, even on film. 



But first a little side story. When I  visited Tim at the shop I was greeted by Duke, the canine ambassador. He is all wags and doggy smiles. Turns out that Duke adopted Tim when Duke was a pup and didn’t have a name or a home. He wondered into the Rolf Monument shop in Newport’s west end one day and has stayed for the last twelve years. Tim takes him everywhere. He generally works as the grief therapy dog for customers.  

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Oh, and Duke speaks. Really. Tim showed me first thing. We have this regular dog a and pony show. And I am the pony. I tell people that if Duke ever gets lost he can say his name. What’s your last name? Then Tim peppers him with a series of questions. What’s that called on top of a house? What’s sandpaper? The greatest ball player of all time is Babe…?” And Duke barks out a resounding “Roff!” Which could be interpreted as Rolf, roof, rough, and Ruth. Duke is a smart and affectionate ambassador. And he is the second Duke. Tim’s uncle had the first Duke that hung around the shop many years ago.

Duke, the mascot and talking dog.

Monday, September 26, 2016

CRAVE at the Banks To Close

Crave Cincinnati. 
Another Banks restaurant in downtown Cincinnati has closed.

Julie Gosdin, also known as Wine Me, Dine Me, first reported and confirmed by FTM that the staff was informed of the closure at the end of business yesterday. They were permanently closed as of today.

Crave joins closures of Johnny Rockets, Toby Keith's I Love This Bar, WG Kitchen & Bar and Mahogany’s at the Banks.

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"It'll be interesting to see what tenant comes in next and whether they will subdivide the large space," said Gosdin. "With GE's new headquarters, there will be more demand for lunch spots."

Calls to the Banks management and the CRAVE parents companies have yet to be returned. 

Local Man Writes Book About Wife's CF Fight, Helps Others in Similar Situations


Raymond and Rebecca Poole. Provided.

Two years ago, December 31, 2014, Fort Thomas couple Raymond and Rebecca Poole were not cheering in the New Year with party hats and champagne. Instead, Rebecca was going through respiratory failure from cystic fibrosis (CF), and she was placed on a ventilator in a chemically induced coma. For the next six months she remained on life support, in hopes of qualifying for a lung transplant.

Provided.

Rebecca and Ray were new to Fort Thomas, having relocated from Wisconsin only a few months prior. Ray says while they also knew she would eventually need a transplant one day, they were both surprised by her rapid decline at the end of 2014.

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"Even before I got over the shock of seeing her in that condition, my concerns spanned the full spectrum," Ray says. "I wondered if I would have enough vacation from my new job to spend my days at the hospital. With no family living nearby, I needed to keep everyone informed yet calm and be ready to receive them if they chose to visit. Beyond the medical worries, our house was not yet unpacked, I still had to register our cars in KY, her insurance company wouldn't talk to me and I had no idea where she put the checkbook. It was overwhelming, to say the least."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Highlands Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Inducted

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Here are the newest members or representatives of the newest members of the Highland High School Hall of Fame.
The second annual Highlands Hall of Fame induction ceremony brought back a number of great memories Sunday.

Team of Distinction:
Highlands 1959 Boys State Track Championship Team:

This marked the championship during a time when the Kentucky High School Athletic Association had no classes. The Bluebirds edged Louisville Trinity by four points. Highlands did not win another championship in the sport until 2014.

"It was a lot of fun," said Gary Herfel, a member of the first Highlands Hall of Fame class last year and member of that team. "To go to the state meet, you had to win your individual event in the regional. Hopefully, the only way you had a chance to win the state meet would be to have a fair number of people on your team win their events in the regional. You'd see a team that had three points at the state because they only had one person go who won their event in the regional."

Individuals:
Ewell Waddell:

Waddell led the Bluebirds football team between 1942 and 1954. Highlands recorded a 91-37 record during that time with five Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference titles and a mythical state title in 1943.

"Not only was he interested in the team, he was interested in winning," said Judge Waddell's son Phil. "He was interested in having Highlands on the map so to speak. But he loved every one of his players. I can remember him coming home from a game or practice and talking about which he players he appreciated having on his team."

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Gary Cochran:

Cochran lettered on the gridiron for four years in addition to track and field for three years before graduating from Highlands in 1958. He helped the 1957 undefeated football team to a mythical state championship and set the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference in the shot put as a senior before playing fullback for the University of Kentucky's football team for four years. His shot put record stood for 30 years.

"We're still a team," Cochran said. "We see each other on the street. Coach (Homer) Rice (a 2015 Highlands HOF inductee) is a genius. He raised his voice one time. He's the kind of guy that when he tells you to do something, you don't say how or what or what angle, you just do it."


Highlands Golf: Hoping for State

Bluebird golfers have high hopes in 8th Region Tournament

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. The Highlands Bluebirds golf team plays in the 8th Region Tournament at Laurel Oaks in Maysville on Tuesday. 
Highlands enters the postseason with a sparkling 10-1-1 record. That includes a win over Newport Central Catholic and a split with the Covington Catholic B team.


"They do a good job. They're coachable," said Bert Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "The best thing I like about them is they're improved since the first part of the year with the management of the course. We hope to carry that into the region."

The Bluebirds have not won a region crown in a while but 2015 graduate Parker Harris qualified for state individually a couple years in a row. The 8th Region tournament is Tuesday at Laurel Oaks in Maysville. Grant County is the favorite to win it again, but Mason County, Bourbon County and Bishop Brossart could also compete with Highlands to be the second team from the region to go to the state tournament.

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Highlands-Simon Kenton Game Story

Pioneers outgun Bluebirds on Homecoming


PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior Braden Posey (1) makes a move Friday. Posey had seven catches for 65 yards against Simon Kenton.
The Blue and White put up Highlandsesque numbers against an experienced defense on Friday.

The problem is the Highlands Bluebird football team's defense allowed much more of that against the Simon Kenton Pioneers at David Cecil Memorial Stadium. The undefeated Pioneers (6-0 overall) left Fort Thomas with a Highlands school record tying 77-53 non-district victory as a result (see notebook). That school record for the most points by both Highlands and an opponent came three years ago when the Bluebirds beat visiting Warren Central, 71-69 for a combined 140 points.

Highlands-Simon Kenton Notebook

Bluebirds hopes to bounce back from tough start like last year

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior wide receiver Nick Veneman (middle) makes a tough catch in the first half against Simon Kenton. Veneman had four catches for 141 yards and three touchdowns in the loss to the Pioneers.

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham. Highlands Homecoming King Noah Moore (left) and Queen Hannah Harris (right).
It's not the type of history anyone wants to be a part of.

But after scoring in the 70s against opponents four times in 2013 and three times in 2011, a team did it to the Highlands Bluebirds football team Friday tying a Highlands school record. The Simon Kenton Pioneers became just the third team in the proud history of the Bluebirds to score in the 70s against them in a 77-53 victory on Homecoming.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Merchants and Music - Fort Thomas - Everything You Need To Know

The amphitheater was being prepared on Friday for the big music festival in Fort Thomas on Saturday. FTM file. 
The day is here. The 13th annual Merchants & Music Festival is here. All the information you need is in this post.

Chairwoman, Linda Sloan, has two words. "We're ready."

MUSIC SCHEDULE

1 p.m. - Tana Matz

2:30 p.m. - WildWood

4:00 p.m. - Humming House

5:30 p.m. - Sundy Best

6:30 p.m.  - Kentucky Headhunters

9 p.m. - Brothers Osborne

After Party 11:00 p.m. - Danny Frazier Band

Looking out from the amphitheater stage. FTM file. 
KIDS ZONE SCHEDULE

1-2 p.m. Princesses Anna & Elsa in costume

2-3 p.m. MadCap Puppets

3-4 p.m. Cool Critters animals to touch & pet

3-5 p.m. Spiderman, Captain America, Snow White

4-6 p.m. Magicians and Stilt Walkers

FTM file. 
THE HISTORY OF MERCHANTS & MUSIC 

PODCAST: The "almost headliners," secrets from behind the scenes, and the scoop on beer/bourbon.

VENDORS/FOOD OPTIONS

HOW-TO MERCHANTS & MUSIC - TIPS FOR THE DAY

BOURBON - A NEW ADDITION. WHEN AND WHERE TO GET IT

KIDS ZONE - WHAT'S NEW

M&M FAQ's


10 more pictures below: 

Update on VA Homes

FTM file. 
At the September 7th city council meeting, the status of the VA homes renovation was discussed.

A meeting took place to discuss due diligence and moving forward with cost estimating for the development and rehabilitation of the homes.  According to City Administrative Officer, Ron Dill. He said the developer remains completely on board with the project and are presently in the process of pursuing those numbers.

The snag in the works come down to when the VA will part with the property.  Dill said, "We don't have an issue with our developer, we have an issue with the VA getting to the point where they can transfer the property."

The developer does not have a role in trying to acquire the property; that's between the city and the VA.

"We're on the sideline waiting for that to happen," said Ron Dill"Without any time frame for construction or any ability to control that process, anything they (the developer) put into this project is just resources on a hope that we actually obtain the property.  So, to ask them to continue to spend money on the project is a risk they'd have to be willing to take."

Previously, the city had entered into a contract with developer, Bloomfield Schone as the sole qualified developed through a blind bid process.

The timelines, as outlined in that document, had the properties being transferred from the VA to the city in December of this year.

Former Moyer Kindergarten Teacher Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Education:

An Elf on the Shelf for learning

Lindsey O'Connell. Facebook. 
Worried your child is not prepared for preschool or kindergarten?  You are not alone.

Former Moyer Elementary kindergarten teacher Lindsey O’Connell created a children’s book and plush owl toy to help parents reinforce early childhood education at home.

A survey of 518 kindergarten teachers by Age of Learning Inc., an education technology company, shows “65 percent stated that children are only somewhat prepared or are not at all prepared.” Two-thirds of the teachers surveyed reported that the majority of children do not know their alphabet when they enter kindergarten.

Children in all grade levels also struggle to retain knowledge over summer break. A study by the tutoring service Oxford Learning found that “on average 2 months of reading skills and 2.6 months of math skills are lost over the summer.”

O’Connell is a Teach For America alumna, a former kindergarten and special education teacher and a mother of two. O’Connell says she created the book “to motivate children to learn core skills, like letters, numbers and shapes while having fun.” By pairing the book with the owl toy, she found children got excited about learning each morning and it had an impact similar to that of the popular Christmas toy Elf on a Shelf.

O’Connell has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund My Owl Pal. Backers can reserve a book and owl with a $38 pledge.

Owls are expected to fly to homes before the 2017 school year. Go here for more information.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Highlands edges NewCath in another classic

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior Blake Shuley (9) makes his move in the game Thursday against Newport Central Catholic. The Bluebirds won 1-0 for their eighth straight win.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team has shown how a tight bond helps immensely overcome adversity all season.

It once again helped Highlands (11-1-2 overall) defeat the 36th District arch-rival Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (9-5), 1-0 in another physical game. The Bluebirds also moved to 7-0-1 in 9th Region action with their eighth straight win and 10th shutout of the season.

Merchants & Music Festival Fort Thomas (Podcast)


Merchants & Music. FTM file. 

Midway Cafe - Fort Thomas - Tailgate Time

The Midway Cafe is part of the FTM Family. 

Fort Thomas Matters is once again partnering with The Midway Cafe in Fort Thomas to offer incredible deals on the weekend.

Every Saturday and Sunday from 1-7 p.m. you can buy a bucket of Budweiser or Bud Light and 10 wings from $20 to catch all of the college and NFL games.

- Newly installed TVs on the front patio with new tailgate tables.

- Cornhole

- NFL ticket

And if you haven't tried the Fort Thomas Matters burger, you absolutely should.

It's an Ebert's Meats patty, topped with ham, crispy fried jalapenos, pepperjack cheese, and their new garlic aioli! It goes great with cold beer!

The FTM burger. 



Tower Hill To Install More Piers For Slipped Road


At the September 7th city council meeting, council members discussed upcoming construction and repairs to be done on Tower Hill.

A year ago, emergency repairs had to be made there due to slippage.  Recent heavy rains have created two more slip areas on Tower Hill causing the sections to begin to fail, one of them quite significantly.

From Watch Point Drive to the bottom where it flattens out is an area that is prone to slippage.  The first pier work was done in 1982, and more needs to be done as soon as possible.

"There is still a long length of Tower Hill that does not have piers and obviously history is telling us that we'll wind up piering all of it," said city administrator Ron Dill.

Highlands Hometown Heroes Save The Day


Brady Gosney, Grant Murray, Steven Beltsos, Jamir Logan, Jared Pulsfort and Bill Murray
It's been almost three months since a Fourth of July weekend five high school students and their families will likely never forget.

Kanda Hutson Beltos, a 1982 Highlands High School graduate, and her family were at Norris Lake when they met up with high school friends Cindy and Bill Murray, their son and three of his friends.

Beltsos' son, Steven, a junior at St. Xavier High School, fell from a rope swing 15 to 20 feet, missing the lake and falling to the shore line, breaking his pelvis and badly injuring him. That is when HHS seniors Grant Murray, Brady Gosney, Jared Pulsfort and Jamir Logan, without hesitation, came to the rescue.

"Without these young men’s strength and nimble skills, I truly do not know how we would have gotten my son out of the water, onto the boat, said Beltsos.

They were never squeamish with the blood, helped move him multiple times and each of them gave Steven words of encouragement." 

Once Steven was loaded onto the Murray's boat, they drove to a marina where they were met by the paramedics.
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Highlands-Simon Kenton Football Preview

Highlands hopes to put on good Homecoming showing

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior defenders Dalton Cornett (41), Noah Kremer-Stegman (38) and Kyle Rust converge on the ball in the game Friday at St. Xavier. Highlands takes on Simon Kenton at 7 p.m. on Friday for Homecoming at David Cecil Memorial Stadium.
The host football team will see a visiting team come to town for Homecoming that stands where the Highlands Bluebirds stood the previous six seasons before last year at the season's midway point.

That's a perfect 5-0.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fort Thomas Fire Fighters Retire with 47 Years Service

Members of the Fort Thomas Fire Department at the Grilling for Tim event at Tower Park in July. 
In July Fort Thomas quietly lost two of its longest serving public servants, as Captain Jeff Parker and Lieutenant Steve Rath retired from Fort Thomas Fire Department, after nearly 50 years of combined service.

Captain Parker retired with 25 years of service to FTFD, 17 as an officer, while Lieutenant Rath had 22 years, with the last 3 as an officer.  Fire Chief Mark Bailey said the department has lost: “Two wonderful gentleman and they’ll be sorely missed. They’re both welcome back at the station any time.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fort Thomas Touch-A-Truck Event (2016)

FTM file. 
The Fort Thomas Recreation Department has set the 2016 ‘Touch-A-Truck’ Event. This year’s event will be held on October 1st at the Stable Building Parking lot next to the VA and Natural Start Pre-School in Fort Thomas.

The event is Saturday October 1, 2016 Tower Park Stable Building Parking Lot 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

"This event is designed to educate children and their families on different equipment, vehicles or tools that our emergency responders or private companies utilize on a daily basis," said Kat Disney, Fort Thomas Recreation Department Director.

Saturday October 1, 2016 Tower Park Stable Building Parking Lot 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

Only seconds to spare from penalty kicks

Ladybirds beat Lady Breds on Gessner's late goal

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands freshman Ali Gessner (13) snaps off the game-winning goal against Newport Central Catholic with eight seconds left in the second five-minute overtime frame. Gessner's 10th goal of the season lifted Highlands to its first regular season win over NewCath since 2007.
It seemed like the hosts put up shots from every angle.

But no matter the location, the Highlands Ladybirds soccer team could not become the first team to put one past Newport Central Catholic Lady Bred fourth-year starting goalkeeper Meg Martin. That's until the clock in the second five-minute overtime frame ticked below double-digit seconds from penalty kicks in the 36th District campaign.

Martin turned away the first nine Ladybird shots on goal. But on the last rush forward with less than 30 seconds left in overtime, Martin blocked away a Highlands shot, but the ball did not clear the 18-foot box. Highlands freshman Maria Wiefering tracked it down from the left of the goal and found the team's leading scorer at more than the right time. Freshman Ali Gessner took it near the top of the box and smashed it past Martin for the game-winner giving Highlands the 1-0 victory.

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