Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Vehicle Crash on I-471 Has Traffic Backed Up For Miles

Reader submitted. 
A vehicle crash on I-471 in Campbell County near Fort Thomas before US-27 has the two right lanes blocked with traffic backed up for miles near the 275 merge.

Traffic is moving very slow, use alternate routes if possible. There is no report yet of the condition of the people involved
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FTM will update this story.

More reader submitted pics:



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fort Thomas Mom to Meet Man Saved by Son's Donated Heart


Nick and Debbie (provided)

by Colin Moore

Over Labor Day weekend many of us will spend time with family and loved ones. Debbie Pollino of Fort Thomas will travel to Minnesota to meet a stranger who has her deceased son’s heart and listen to it beat for the first time in over two years.

Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare and for Debbie, the nightmare came true in January 2014. Her son Nick had been at an early morning meeting and always called on his way back from there to her house. She waited for the call but it never came, so she called his cell phone. A police officer answered and told her that Nick had been in an accident on I-275 and was taken to University Hospital. When she arrived at the hospital doctors were performing emergency surgery, removing part of his skull to allow his brain room to swell but after a short time it was clear that he wasn’t going to make it.


Police Chase Ends in Bellevue, Briefly Locks Down Elementary School

Memorial Parkway in Fort Thomas was backed up this morning because of a police chase that ended in Bellevue. Reader submitted photo (GS). 
Grandview Elementary School was briefly locked down Tuesday in Bellevue after a police chase ended almost at its front door.

Memorial Parkway from Fort Thomas heading towards I-471 was backed up this morning during the morning commute because of the commotion nearby.

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Campbell County dispatch said officers chased a man on I-471 who had had reportedly waved a gun after the chase ended.

The chase left the interstate and ended near the front of the schoolTwo men fled into the woods, but were quickly arrested.

Children Use the Great Outdoors as a Classroom for Life


OAC students on a fall hike. 

Every child is born a naturalist. His eyes are, by nature, open to the glories of the stars, the beauty of the flowers, and the mystery of life, observed Indian writer, Ritu Ghatourey.

That takes your work to a more meaningful level when you know that you could change someone’s life through nature. It’s important to introduce children to nature because there are social, cognitive, physical, emotional, and even financial benefits to developing a lifelong relationship with nature. Some children discover nature early while others discover it a little later.

Chelsea Manning, the new Program Coordinator for the Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, says, I have a degree in Public Relations but when I graduated I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. My parents told me to follow my passion.  So she worked with inner city children in Cincinnati. Then after a while she moved on to work with underserved children at Brighton Center and that’s where she met Denny McFadden, the founder and executive director of OAC. She volunteered as a self described weekend warrior and then took on her current duties as Program Coordinator for OAC, the organizers of the highly successful Paddlefest (and the most visible fundraiser for OAC) and the outdoor club for underserved teens.


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Monday, August 29, 2016

Highlands Student Charged With Unlawful Possession of A Weapon

Highlands High School. FTM file. 
A Highlands High School student has been booked into the Campbell County Juvenile Detention Center after a loaded Smith and Wesson 380-pistol was found in his possession Monday afternoon.

RELATED: BREAKING: Student Brings Weapon to Highlands, Police Investigating

The student, a male juvenile, has been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon on school property, a Class D felony that carries a sentence of 1-5 years.

RELATED: UPDATE: Student Brought Gun to Highlands 

Lt. Rich Whitford of the Fort Thomas Police said that it was an isolated incident and that the students who alerted school officials should be noted for their bravery.

“We're proud of these students for coming forward and their parents for talking with them,” he said. “It could have been tragic. There's no reason to bring a gun to school. There's nothing that bringing a gun to school can help in any situation. (The student who brought the gun) knows he made a mistake”

He said that several students reported it to school officials about 1:12 p.m., and officials immediately located, removed and searched the student and found the gun in his possession. No specific threat was made against a person or the school.
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Superintendent Gene Kirchner told FTM that the protocol in place in the schools was followed precisely as it should have.

RELATED: LIVE Press Conference at Fort Thomas Police Department 

"Our students did the appropriate thing. They told their teachers, who then did exactly what we have in place. They went to the students classroom, called (the student) out of class, brought (the student) to the office and began to interview him," said Kirchner.

UPDATE: Student Brought Gun to Highlands

The Fort Thomas Independent Schools Board of Education Building. FTM file. 

Today Fort Thomas Independent School officials sent an email to parents and staff, making them aware that a student at the high school was in the possession of a weapon on campus.

According to Superintendent, Gene Kirchner, the students and school officials acted on the situation just as they should have to ensure everyone's safety.

RELATED: BREAKING: Student Being Interviewed by Police For Having Weapon At School 

Kirchner described the events leading up to the incident to FTM.

He said during lunch, the student showed a gun to other students, but did not make a threat of any kind, which he said was confirmed from the students who saw the gun and the individual who had the gun on campus.

"Our students did the appropriate thing. They told their teachers, who then did exactly what we have in place. They went to the students classroom, called (the student) out of class, brought (the student) to the office and began to interview him," said Kirchner.

"That's when they determined that yes, there was a gun. They confiscated it, the police were called and notification was sent out to staff and parents immediately," he said.

The initial email sent out did not describe the weapon as a gun.

Police Investigating Student With Weapon at Highlands High School

Highlands High School. FTM file. 
An email from Fort Thomas Superintendent, Gene Kirchner, was sent to parents today to inform them that a student was "in possession of a weapon."

It's not yet clear what the weapon was.

Kirchner said that Highlands High School officials were notified early this afternoon.

The email said that the administration investigated and found it to be credible and "true." Police are interviewing the student involved.

Kirchner said that at no time did the student involved make any specific threat and went on to say that "(they) are thankful for the bravery of the students who came forward to report this incident."

Kirchner, in the email, said that "everyone involved in the situation followed proper emergency procedure to ensure the safety of all students and staff."

Fort Thomas Matters will update this story as soon as information becomes available.

The Colonel's Creamery Is Looking For A New Location

Don Lambert of The Colonel's Creamery serves ice cream at Art Around Towne in Fort Thomas. FTM file. 
Today, The Colonel's Creamery is closing up shop at The Friendly Market in Florence after opening in September 2013 as one of the artisan food market's original vendors.

"The Friendly Market space was an excellent vision but poorly executed," Colonel's Creamery founder Don Lambert said.

In March, FTM reported The Colonel's Creamery was in negotiations to open a walk-up window at 42 N. Ft. Thomas Ave adjacent to the Convenient Deli Mart. However, that is no longer the case.

RELATED: The Colonel's Creamery Granted Building Alterations at 42 N. Fort Thomas Ave

Lambert said in working with a real estate agent, they were represented well in the negotiations but didn't have the firsthand dealings with the current ownership group.

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"Things change, and I'm not sure what occurred," Lambert said.

2nd Story Matters Features Stories of Trials, Triumphs and Laughter

Storytellers at the second installment of Story Matters, presented by Fort Thomas Matters. Photo by Mary Lou Keller.

On August 26 six storytellers shared their tales to a packed house at Fort Thomas Coffee for the second installment of Story Matters, presented by Fort Thomas Matters. Fort Thomas Police Officer Sean Donelan donated homemade wine.

The brainchild of Chuck Keller and Mark Collier (of Fort Thomas Matters), and Lori Valentine (owner of Fort Thomas Coffee), Story Matters, with a nod to Cincy Stories, strives to celebrate our residents and history through the age-old act of storytelling. Through these stories community members quickly get to the heart of the matter, revealing love, life, loss and their personal truths.

At this free event, open to the public, stories are recorded and archived, and will be presented during the city's sesquicentennial celebration in 2017.

Michael Clos. Photo by Mary Lou Keller.

Michael Clos, who grew up in a family of storytellers and now works at P&G, as a part-time adjunct professor at Thomas More College and as a standup comedian, humorously shared how life doesn't always go as planned—and why that's OK. "Always trust your instincts," Clos says, when telling about a cheetah encounter he had while working at a Skyline Chili kiosk in the The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. More nuggets of wisdom included: "Never be too proud to ask for help. Never stop learning. Foremost, I pray." Clos always talked about the importance of not being afraid of failure. "Every failed plan becomes a new plan," he says.


Shelly Schlarman Walsh. Photo by Mary Lou Keller.

Keller introduced Shelly Schlarman Walsh as a social worker, super mom and loyal friend. Walsh, who grew up in Fort Thomas, married her husband, a teacher, in 1997. Early in her marriage she held strong to this belief: "We're going to be a team." They had three children and she described her family as typical until October 2012, when her husband caught a cold. That cold quickly snowballed—there was an upper respiratory infection and bronchitis. Ultimately, an MRI revealed masses in the brain. "This community came together like I've never seen before," Walsh says. A benefit at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Fort Thomas, with music by her husband's musician friends, brought in more than 600 people. The Walsh family freezer was filled with food for weeks. "So much love came into our family," she says. Walsh's husband survived, and on the anniversary of his second brain surgery, the couple welcomed a fourth child. "I want to thank you as a community for all that you did," Walsh says. "We are all so lucky to be a part of this community."  

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Snezana Popaja Tenhundfeld. Photo by Mary Lou Keller. 

Snezana Popaja Tenhundfeld fled Bosnia as a war refugee at the age of 12. Her story began in the spring of 1992, when she recalls walking with her aunt and mother on a dark night, the starts bright. She says she remembers feeling so happy. A few hours later, bombs began to fall. The aftermath of the civil war between the Serbs, Croats and Muslims in the 1990s were hundreds of thousands of lives lost and millions of people displaced, Tenhundfeld says. Initially Tenhundfeld's family stayed put. "We had our family, we were together—that was what was important," she says. But eventually, it became too hard. "The fear kept us awake at night," she says. In 1994, the family fled to Serbia, hiding in a tiny village. They applied for a refugee visa and for nine months, "we relied on the mercy of others to help us through. We saw the goodness in others."

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Brent Reed Joins The Next Chapter

Karen and Brent Reed. Provided. 
Brent Reed, former Worship Pastor at Highland Hills Church in Fort Thomas, has joined The Next Chapter Church in Wilder in the same role.

Brent is a long time resident of Northern Kentucky and has been in worship ministry for over a decade and a half.  According to Aaron Bromall, spokesperson for the church, Reed's main role at The Next Chapter "will be bringing an even greater focus on worship and creative arts, helping the community to grow deeper in their love for Christ, His people and their desire to bless the world."

Brent will also take a leadership role in guiding the church forward as they celebrate 9 years since their founding by Pastor Rob Roy in 2007.  Brent’s first Sunday leading worship was today, August 28th.

The Next Chapter is a non-denominational Christian church whose focus is on loving God, loving people and being a blessing to the world.    They meet at 1030 a.m. Sunday mornings at 101 Beacon Dr. Wilder, KY.


Old Kentucky Maker’s Market Event Series to Be Hosted In Bellevue

Inaugural event to spotlight community, Kentucky sprit, local artists and businesses on September 2

WHAT: Old Kentucky Maker’s Market, a series of 3 events hosted in Bellevue, KY will begin on Friday, September 2nd. OKMM events will spotlight the unique Bellevue community and Kentucky-inspired food, beer and bourbon vendors along with local artisans/makers.  The opening event will feature:

·      Some of the best BBQ In the USA from Eli’s BBQ (additional food/dessert vendors to be announced on Facebook page)
·      Craft brews from Braxton Brewing
·      Entertainment from renowned local bluegrass band The Comet Bluegrass All Stars
·      Unique art, jewelry and other crafts from local artisans including Bluegrass Beards and ArtifactNKY, (additional vendors to be announced on Facebook page)

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WHO: Anyone who has Kentucky spirit! All those who love BBQ, bluegrass music, local craft beer, and supporting great local artists and businesses.

WHERE: The reimagined parking lot and sidewalk at 700 Fairfield Avenue, Bellevue KY 41073.

WHEN: September 2nd, 5:00 p.m.
The Old Kentucky Maker’s Market will officially open at 5:00 p.m., and the monthly Bellevue First Friday will be taking place all along Fairfield Avenue. Visitors are invited to explore the great shopping and dining options on “The Avenue” and then join in the fun at the OKMM.

WHY: Bellevue residents love their community and are working to continue to attract new businesses, new neighbors and new visitors to their unique piece of the Greater Cincinnati community. It might only be 5 minutes from Downtown, but Bellevue is ALL Kentucky, and the OKMM events will put this Kentucky soul in the spotlight. Join us!

MEDIA CONTACT: For additional information contact Anna Hogan (anna.hogan@gmail.com) or check out the OKMM Facebook event page: http://bit.ly/OldKYMakersMarket.


*Sponsored by the City of Bellevue and InVue

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Become A Part of the Citizens Police Academy of Northern Kentucky

Ret. Sgt. Chris Goshorn, Lt. Rich Whitford and Ofc. Sean Donelan. FTM file. 
The Campbell County Police Chief’s Association has combined efforts in conducting their Consolidated Citizens Police Academy in Northern Kentucky.

Participating police agencies include Alexandria Police, Bellevue Police, Campbell County Police, Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, Cold Spring Police, Dayton Police, Fort Thomas Police, Highland Heights Police, Northern Kentucky University Police, Southgate Police and Wilder Police.

Classes will be held one evening a week for approximately 2.5 hours. Classes begin September 20th. Applications may be obtained and submitted to your local participating police department of follow this link:

"This is a great opportunity for both citizens and law enforcement to learn from each other," said Campbell County Sheriff Mike Jansen. "Past participants have stated to us that they have become more knowledgeable of the tasks that law enforcement officers must handle and perform on a daily basis." 


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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD APPLICATION

Applications can be sent by FAX to 859-292-3826 or Emailed to Sheriff@campbellcountyky.org

The Citizens Police Academy will be a twelve-week course that citizens can attend for learning about their local police departments and the criminal justice system. The meetings will be held at various participating police departments and will cover topics in areas of patrol functions, S.W.A.T., firearms, crime scene investigations, K-9 patrol, accident reconstruction, criminal investigations, the court system, communications and detention.

Highlands-Campbell County Game Story

Campbell County stuns Highlands on last-second field goal

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior defensive back Sam Taylor (44) pursues Campbell County junior running back Alex Dowds (5) during Friday's game in Alexandria. 
Three years ago following a 50-8 defeat in Fort Thomas, Stephen Lickert said the Campbell County Camels football team would continue to play the Highlands Bluebirds with hopes of beating them at some point.

That point came Friday as the Camels beat the Bluebirds, 24-21 when junior Nic Mayer booted a 29-yard field goal as time expired in Alexandria. It marked the first time since 1991 (12-6) that Campbell County defeated Highlands and just the 10th time in 63 meetings. Both teams are 1-1 on the season.

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Highlands-Campbell County Notebook

Tough Schedule looms ahead for Bluebirds

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior wide receiver Trent Buchert (4) looks for yardage in Friday's game at Campbell County.
The loss Friday at the Campbell County Camels could hurt the Highlands Bluebirds football team in more ways than one.

The biggest reason is the schedule the next four weeks against four Class 6A teams ranked in the Associated Press poll's Top 10. Highlands takes on the Scott County Cardinals on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Fort Thomas followed by games at Ryle and Louisville St. Xavier before coming home against Simon Kenton. Highlands lost to all four teams last year going 1-5 before Class 5A, District 5 action began. Highlands still redeemed itself to win another district championship and a ninth straight region crown before losing 41-31 to Pulaski County in the state semi-finals.


All four teams posted victories on the season to move to a combined 7-0 on the season. Scott County handled Pulaski County, 48-19 to move to 2-0 and Ryle edged Lexington Henry Clay, 34-28 to also move to 2-0. St. Xavier opened the season with a 42-28 win at Lexington Catholic and Simon Kenton handled Lexington Bryan Station, 50-7 to also improve to 2-0. All four teams advanced to at least the second round of the 6A playoffs last year.
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The series against Campbell County:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Physical Altercation Leads to Charges for Male Juvenile

Grand and S. Fort Thomas Ave. FTM file. 

A male juvenile is being charged with assault 4th after an altercation with female juvenile yesterday afternoon in Fort Thomas.

Assault in the fourth degree is defined as intentionally or wantonly causing physical injury to another person.

The rumor mill began to churn this afternoon, when it was whispered that the assailant used a knife in the attack, but according to Fort Thomas Police Lt. Rich Whitford, that isn't the case.

"We were called today about an incident yesterday after school. Our officers located the individual today and interviewed him," he said. "There were also some witnesses who are cooperating that saw the assault."

Whitford said that the victim was punched in the face and that charges will be filed.

The Dance Realm Accepting Students - Fort Thomas, Kentucky

The Dance Realm is part of the FTM Family. Provided. 
IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN THE DANCE REALM FAMILY!  We are accepting students for ballet, tap, jazz, tumbling, and Hip-Hop for ages 3 and up.

FALL REGISTRATION AND OPEN HOUSE:  Tuesday, August 30th 6:00-7:30.  REGISTER NOW!  Classes begin September 12!

The Dance Realm Studios staff offers a nurturing approach to teaching dance.  We aspire to build CONNECTIONS at our studio.  EACH child is an individual and their OWN individual talents and growth need to be celebrated during EVERY class.  We believe that dance education should be fun and entertaining - and our instructors are not afraid to be a little goofy or "over the top" to make that happen!

HIP-HOP/LEAPS & TURNS CLASS:  With Destiny Ridge, University of Cincinnati Dance Team Member.  Destiny is a 6 time National Winner and just recently won Worlds!  Come be a part of this dynamic class on Tuesdays from 3:45-4:45.
The Dance Realm. Provided. 

The newest and hottest workout, TABATA, is coming to The Dance Realm.  TABATA is designed to not only burn mega calories "during" your workout, but boost your metabolism to burn 5x more calories "AFTER" your workout!

Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Drives Panel's Debate

FTM file. 
Concerned that the minimum auto insurance allowed under Kentucky law doesn’t provide motorists with enough coverage for property damage, a panel of state lawmakers met today to discuss whether legislative action was needed.

“The current limit seems to be sufficient to cover the vast majority of claims,” Carl Breeding, representing the Property Casualty Insurers of America, said in testimony before the Interim Joint Committee on Banking and Insurance. He cited industry research that found the average property damage liability claim in Kentucky was $3,467 – far below the current $10,000 limit.

Breeding said 22 states have property damage limits of $10,000 or less and four states have property damage minimums of $5,000. There are seven states at $15,000. Three are at $20,000. The remaining 19 are $25,000. He said only two states have made changes to property damage limits in recent years. Indiana and Kansas both will increase their limits to $25,000 from $10,000, effective next year.

“It is our opinion that raising the limits raises costs for insurance and ultimately will impact those most often struggling to afford basic coverage,” Breeding said.

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He said Kentucky already has a relatively high uninsured motorist rate despite some severe penalties for driving without insurance including fines of up to $1,000, 90 days in jail and license suspension. Breeding said the Insurance Research Council estimates 15.8 percent of all motorists tooling along Kentucky’s roads are uninsured. The national rate is 12.6 percent.

Insurance Institute of Kentucky Executive Director Mark Treesh said raising the minimum coverage will cause premiums to rise. He said that will most likely increase the number of uninsured motorists.

“What you really face is a public policy decision,” he said, adding that lawmakers will have to decide whether it is better for some to be underinsured instead of being uninsured.

Highlands Athletics Going Live Across the Country

Fans can see select Highlands events across the country live

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands running back Jared Pulsfort (3) takes the ball from quarterback Brady Gosney (5) in Friday's scrimmage at Cincinnati St. Xavier. Fans can see some Highlands football games on the NFHS Network this season.
Whether you live in Colorado, California or further away from Fort Thomas, one can see various Highlands High School sporting events live via the National Federation of State High School Associations Network.


As of now, Highlands plans to broadcast all the home varsity football games, some away football games and select games from other sports such as basketball and volleyball for an annual pass of $30. It must be purchased through the Highlands High School Athletic Department at (859) 815-2608 by August 31. Highlands High teacher Bill Poff will guide the broadcasts by Highlands High students.

"This is geared toward students," said Matt Haskamp, Highlands Director of Athletics. "It gets them real-world experience."

Fort Thomas Hidden Studio Named to National Register

Harlan Hubbard's studio. FTM file. 
Fort Thomas’ tag-line is “The City of Beautiful Homes” and is replete with historic, beautifully crafted and well-maintained, sprawling homes the walls of which, if they could talk, would tell tales often more beautiful than the home’s Victorian façade.

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The walls, however, are not the only storytellers and the façades not the only art that has graced this town; likewise, the best stories do not necessarily come from the most sprawling manors but sometimes originate from much smaller, much simpler homes or even one-room studios, much like that of famed artist and former Fort Thomas resident Harlan Hubbard who, at the age of 19, moved from the Bronx to Fort Thomas, KY where he would live until the age of 43. He would marry his wife Anna Eikenhout, and where he would spend most of his days living a simple lifestyle and working in a simple, single-room studio which still stands in the wooded area behind Sidney Thomas’ and the late Bill Thomas’ home on Highland Avenue.

Front door, Hubbard's Studio. FTM file. 

Now, after the tireless efforts of several Fort Thomas residents and the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy (FTFC), Hubbard’s studio will stand forevermore, having been named to the National Register of Historic Places.  Future plans for the studio are to restore it and turn it into a place where local schools, museums, artists, scientists, or interested citizens can gather and learn about a “harmonious way to live” with nature, per Chuck Keller, one of the key Fort Thomas residents (and fellow FTM writer) involved in this conservation project.

FTM file. 
Keller, along with research conducted by Trisha Schroeder and the guidance of the FTFC, was instrumental in getting the studio named to the National Register.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mint Yoga Helps You Find Balance

Owner and instructor, Tiffany Brennan, in her new studio space.
The first thing you notice when you walk into Mint Yoga is that there is room to breath. And controlled breathing is an important part of yoga to quiet your mind and reduce stress.

Tiffany Brennan
, the owner of Mint Yoga, had an open house last Sunday, August 21st, at her newly renovated studio on 18 N. Ft. Thomas Ave. The studio was packed with potential clients who were admiring the expansive space. It offered just the right amount of embellishments such as an orchid, hand-carved seating, and colorful pillows. The renovation exposed a long wall and the ceiling to display the incredible architecture hidden from previous renovations. The long brick wall is covered with three large arches and the high ceiling boasts several impressive beams with decorative architectural ornaments. Most of the walls are painted a pale, relaxing mint green. There are no mirrors. Brennan believes, "No mirrors, no judgment."

Highlands-Campbell County preview

Bluebirds aim to eliminate shoot-outs

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior defensive back Joe Steiden (left) leaps in front of Cooper's Dante Hendrix (8) during the first quarter Friday. Steiden broke up the pass nearly coming down with an interception.
The Blue and White will take the offensive output of the season-opener any day.

But the Highlands Bluebirds football team does not want to get into the habit of getting into shoot-outs with teams, especially with four opponents from Kentucky's largest Class 6A ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 on the horizon. Highlands put the ball in the end zone on 8-of-11 possessions in the season-opening 52-42 victory over the Cooper Jaguars for about 73 percent.

The 1-0 Bluebirds take on the county rival Campbell County Camels (0-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. in Alexandria. Campbell County lost 21-7 at East Central (Indiana) on Friday. The Camels of Class 6A's District 6 are hoping to bounce back from a 1-10 campaign last year. East Central lost to Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger in the Indiana Class 4A state championship game last year.

Highlands 1997 graduate and former Bluebird running back and linebacker on the 1996 Highlands Class 3A state championship team Stephen Lickert is in his sixth as the head coach of the Camels. Campbell County won district championships in Lickert's first two seasons there.

"We got back to the basics," Lickert said. "We have several new, but very talented coaches that have focused on fundamentals. We also went back to doing what we as coaches know. Early last year, we had gotten away from who we are offensively and defensively. We are back to doing the things on both sides of the ball that made us successful."

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The Bluebirds punted on two possessions in the first half and ran out the clock on the final possession of the game. Highlands, ranked second in the Class 5A Associated Press poll, put up 488 yards of total offense on 66 plays for an average of just less than 7.4 yards per play. The Bluebirds also converted on 6-of-10 third-down conversions for 60 percent and both fourth-down tries.

The Bluebird offensive line opened up holes tiring the Cooper defense that saw players go both directions while Highlands has none. Highlands rushed for 367 yards on 53 attempts for an average of just less than seven yards a touch. Senior running back Grant Murray had 25 carries for 161 yards and two touchdowns for an average of 6.44 a carry and senior running back Jared Pulsfort had 18 carries for 131 yards and three scores averaging 7.3 a touch.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Highlands Grad Comes Full-Circle with Big Brothers Big Sisters Program


Kara Olson with her Little Sister, Janae.

When it comes to raising families, we've all heard the ubiquitous saying that "it takes a village." Just like real life villages, some are large, some are small, some are filled with family, and some with friends that become family. And of course, just like in actual villages, there's always room for the village idiot (not that any of us would know anything about that, right?).

For Kara Olson, her village also included a volunteer from Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Cincinnati while she was growing up in Fort Thomas. Olson currently lives and works in Pittsburgh while also attending graduate school. Her experience with BBBS has now come full circle for her as she serves as a Big Sister in Pittsburgh. 
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Olson first became involved with BBBS after her older brother, Bret Olson, was matched with his Big Brother in elementary school. The Olsons' father passed away when Bret was five and Kara was just two and half years old, and a neighbor suggested that they look into the BBBS program. “Mom was looking for a male influence for Bret, and BBBS sounded like a great one. After I saw the great time that Bret had, I decided it was something I wanted to do too and begged my mom to sign me up," said Olson.

Merchants and Music Committee Focuses on Family This Year

FTM file. 
The Merchants and Music Festival in Fort Thomas is about showcasing the businesses of Fort Thomas and the city that they call home.

To do that, the event has grown with new attractions, more music and bigger festivities.

But while the event centers around music and Fort Thomas' businesses, it's still about the concert goer and ultimately, the family.

Linda Slone is this year's Merchants and Music Chair. She said that every year the committee in charge of the festival attempts to make an addition to the festival and that is especially true in the festival's thirtieth year. She said she believes that a "princess meet and greet" would help bring in the crowds early to get the festival off to a strong start.
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"We knew that we wanted to do add something to the Kids' Zone because that brings in the crowd early," she said. "I saw a picture of the princesses on a friend's Facebook page and knew that this is what would bring in the families early."


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Memorial Parkway Bridge Opens

After 100+ days, the Memorial Parkway bridge has been reopened to through traffic. This is the turn lane heading south towards I-471. FTM file. 
A bridge restoration project on the KY 1120 (Memorial Parkway) that crosses over I-471 is finally complete after beginning construction on May 11. The project called for the bridge to be closed to traffic and pedestrians for a 60-day period between late May and August, however weather added some time onto the project.

RELATED: Memorial Parkway Bridge Project to Close for 60 Days 

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There is still one lane closed on the bridge, eastbound, but both north and south exits are open at exit 4 of I-471.

In Other Words: Public Art Encourages Us To Live Artfully

FTM file. 
Art, especially public art, improves the quality of our lives.

It makes us ponder an issue or ask questions.  It reflects the values and ideals of a community. It forces us to question our assumptions. Public art reflects how a community views the world.  And it is good for business.

So I just returned from a short vacation and I noticed something - the amount of public art - sculptures, murals, water, landscaping - and how people react to it. It enhanced our visit. It revealed something about the town or area - their attitudes and aspirations - and it made us slow down to enjoy the world.  And it was fun, informative, and provocative. Some pieces were quirky and some were majestic. I noticed people taking family photos in front of the art, people stopped to read plaques, and people talked about what some of the pieces meant. People sought it out.

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So when I came home I paid attention to what public art is in Fort Thomas - the sculpture of playing children in the the pocket park at Grand and Highland, the statue that sculptor Michael Skop created in the front yard of the family home, the student mural about water at Johnson school, sculpted pocket park gardens, a water feature on the plaza in front of the Methodist church, the clock tower in the central business district, and beautiful flowers adorning the boulevard through the center of town.  But there is room for more.

Sculpture at Grand and Highland in Fort Thomas.