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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fort Thomas Education Foundation Dance | March Into Fort Madness

"March Into Fort Madness" at the the upcoming FTEF Dance and Silent Auction scheduled for March 4th, 8:00 p.m. to Midnight.  This year the event will be held at the Fort Thomas Mess Hall with musical guests, The Rusty Griswolds LIVE!

We would like to thank the FTEF Annual Sponsors and the FTEF 2017 Dance Sponsors.

FTEF Annual Sponsors:

Highlands Students Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists

Helen Ross and Corinne Smith. 
Highlands High School seniors Helen Ross and Corinne Smith have been named finalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Approximately 1.5 million students took the PSAT in October of their junior year. Of these juniors, about 16,000 gain scores that qualify them as Semifinalists, and this group is then narrowed to 15,000 Finalists.

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To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. The semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s essay and information about the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Approximately 90% of semifinalists advanced to the finalist level; from this group, all National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. All finalists are considered for National Merit Scholarships offered in 2017.

The “Napoleon of Promoters” was Early Fort Thomas Developer and Major Influencer

Samuel Bigstaff, developer of Fort Thomas

Fort Thomas became Fort Thomas largely because of the efforts of one man - Samuel Bigstaff, a colorful and dynamic character. He was a Confederate prisoner of war, a smooth talker, a speculator, developer, entrepreneur, and lawyer who pretty much set Fort Thomas on the path it took to becoming what it is today. He is a fascinating character and Chuck Taylor of the Fort Thomas History Museum is the perfect person to tell Bigstaff’s story.

Samuel Bigstaff ran away from his Bath County, Kentucky home to join the Confederate army when he was sixteen years old. He was captured, escaped, was shot in battle, captured again, and eventually sent to the Newport Barracks at the junction of the Ohio and Licking Rivers in current Newport. Chuck Taylor describes Bigstaff, “He was a Confederate prisoner of war, was captured twice, and finally wound up at Newport Barracks. He must have been a charmer because he had free run of the Newport Barracks.” That’s right. A prisoner of war had the run of the military installation and was rumored to have attended the officer’s club. Remember, he was a Confederate prisoner who never rose above the rank of private.

Bigstaff met Alice Webster, the daughter of a prominent Newport lawyer, F.M. Webster, and married her after the Civil War. Recognizing Bigstaff’s intellect, her father paid his way to law school in Cincinnati. Bigstaff stayed in Newport because he sensed opportunity. And, boy, was there ever an opportunity about to happen.

Monday, February 27, 2017

How Fort Thomas Came To Be

The exterior of the water tower being constructed. 
By Sam Shelton 

On the 27th of February 2017, the City of Fort Thomas will be celebrating its one hundred fiftieth birthday. Since 1867, our city has grown to become one of the best places to call home in Northern Kentucky. Our story begins before the founding of the District of Highlands in 1867.

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A century earlier, around 1749, one of the largest Indian battles known as the Battle of the Highlands took place in the hills overlooking the Ohio River between the Cherokee, the Shawnee, and the Miami Tribes. The battle lasted for three days and by the time it ended the Cherokee were forced to leave. Before leaving, the Shawnee and the Miami Indians treated their wounded and buried their dead before heading North. Almost 600 Indian warrior graves were discovered on Highland Avenue in the early 20th century.

Decades later early settlers began to call the hills home. The Perry Brothers were one of the first to make their home here owning most of what is now the north end of town. Slowly the property was subdivided amongst their descendants. During this time Cincinnati and the surrounding river cities start taking shape, yet the District of highlands would still be mostly undeveloped. However, this soon changed as one man’s vision of opportunity grew.

This man was Samuel Bigstaff. At the age of 15 he ran away from home to enlist in the Confederate Second Kentucky Cavalry. At the battle of Versailles, he was captured by the Union, but would later escape to join his regiment in Liberty, Tennessee. After the battle of Snow Hill, with a rifle ball in his leg, he was sent to several prisons before being transferred to the Newport Kentucky Barracks. Bigstaff soon became friends with many of the workers at the barracks and citizens in Newport. After being released he would marry Mary Alice Webster, daughter of a successful attorney, and later attend law school. He worked his way up the ladder becoming Vice President of the Newport Street Railway Company and found himself in the real estate business after inheriting property in Newport.

The Greenline streetcar on N. Fort Thomas Avenue. 

Bigstaff knew that the barracks flooded yearly and saw an opportunity to expand his companies. He insisted that the barracks be moved into the surrounding hills. After getting the approval from Washington D.C., he invited members of the army to visit the new site located in the District of Highlands. The men rode their horses through the 111 acre peach orchard, surveying the property in 1887. Bigstaff saved the best part for last- the view of the mighty Ohio river and miles and miles of forested land that stretched out over the horizon. It was at this point that General Sheridan proclaimed “… this new Fort will be ‘The West Point of the West!”

Fort Thomas 150 Profile Picture | Cover Photo | Sesquicentennial

Happy 150th Birthday Fort Thomas!

You may be seeing this logo everywhere today. Why? Because today is the official establishment date of Fort Thomas. It all started on February 27, 1867.

Save the dates of July 2 - July 8 where we will celebrate the Fort Thomas Sesquicentennial! More details coming soon, but be sure to subscribe to Fort Thomas Matters wherever you get your news for updates on how you can participate.

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If you'd like to celebrate today, join the celebration by uploading the logos in this post to your social media account. They were designed by Fort Thomas resident, Cathy Sonnett. 

If Instagram is your thing, be sure to give that new page a follow: @FortThomas150. Tag the page with any Fort Thomas pictures and use the hashtag #FortThomas150.

You may just see your picture on our platforms!

Use this image as your profile picture on social media today! Click on the image, right click, then save to your desktop. Image created by Cathy Sonnett. 

Use this image as your cover photo on social media today! Click on the image, right click, then save to your desktop. Image created by Cathy Sonnett. 

Fort Thomas Family Photo Cakewalk Wants Your History

The walls of Chuck Keller's home are filled with photos—and history. 

Today is the official birthday of the City of Fort Thomas—150 years old. Much ado is being made about the history of Fort Thomas as we approach our sesquicentennial celebration in July. But each business, organization, club, church and resident of Fort Thomas carries individual stories—stories of the past, and stories that help shape our future. And for many Fort Thomas folks, their stories run generations deep.

The Fort Thomas Family Photo Cakewalk allows you, your business, your organization, your club or your church to share your history with residents through photos and memorabilia, while also supporting the funding of the statue of General George Thomas, the city's namesake, which is expected to cost more than $130,000.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

State Swimming, Diving Meet Results

Murphy takes runner-up in 1-Meter Diving

Photo via Highlands Twitter Account.
Freshman Finn Murphy had the best finish for the Highlands Swimming and Diving Teams at the state meet Saturday at the University of Louisville.

Murphy took runner-up honors in the 1-Meter Diving event with an overall score of 389.35 in the finals. Champion Gus Staubitz, a senior from Covington Holy Cross, scored 432.9 points.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Unselfish Highlands Team Gesture

Martin, Barth hand all-tournament honors to injured teammates

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior and the 36th District Tournament's Most Valuable Player in Macy Gabbard (right) and sophomore Chloe Jansen (second from right) pose with other members of the all-tournament team on Thursday. Teammates Jenna Martin and Zoie Barth passed the honors to their injured teammates.
People generally forget who made the all-tournament team as the years pass in all rounds.

But this year's 36th District Girls Basketball Tournament at Dayton may be an exception to that rule thanks to an act of kindness. After beating Newport Central Catholic, 69-41 to claim their fourth district championship in five years, the coaching staff unsurprisingly named sophomore Zoie Barth as the tournament's Most Valuable Player and senior Jenna Martin to the team.

But instead of accepting the awards, the dynamic duo gave them to injured teammates. Barth gave the MVP award to senior Macy Gabbard and Martin gave her award to sophomore Chloe Jansen.

Gino Guidugli Accepts Coaching Position at UC

Gino Guidugli (center). Photo: Central Michigan Life. 
Fort Thomas resident, Gino Guidugli Highlands (2001), is returning home.

Central Michigan Life first reported that the former University of Cincinnati quarterback has accepted  the position of running backs coach at UC.

Guidugli was recently promoted to Offensive Coordinator at Central Michigan University.

From earlier reports:

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Friday, February 24, 2017

City of Fort Thomas Sets City-Wide Yard Sale Day

In December of 2015, Fort Thomas Mayor, Eric Haas, City Council Members and City Administrator, Ron Dill met for a long-term planning session with the goal of creating a vision for enhancing the city.

Mayor Eric Haas starts leading the city's visioning process with a white board session. in Dec. 2015. FTM file. 
The city has since hired professionals to steer that process, but from that original whiteboard session a city-wide yard sale went from brainstorm session to reality.

Last year, 255 homes participated in the first city-wide yard sale. This year, the city wide yard sale will occur on Saturday, May 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

RELATED: Brainstorming Session Could Lead to New Topics for Fort Thomas City Council 

Fort Thomas residents will soon be able to register their sale location. By registering a sale location, residents will be included in a listing and map of all sales happening on May 20. Yard sale permits will not be required for this city-wide sale. Shoppers looking for a bargain  will be able to download a list and map showing the location of all sales that have been registered with the city.

A few notes:

Have Fun While Getting Fit With Dance2Fit With Marquita

Fort Thomas resident Marquita Lonaker is offering Dance2Fit classes locally. Photo provided
A few years ago, Fort Thomas resident Marquita Lonaker said she desperately needed to make a lifestyle change.

"I was overweight and so unhappy with myself, Lonaker said. My self esteem was at an all time low. I joined gyms - 3 different ones - but could never stay committed. I would get so bored there and wouldn't give it 100%."

It was one day when she was browsing Facebook that Lonaker came across a video of a woman her age doing a dance fitness routine on a YouTube channel called Dance Fitness with Jessica.

"I was immediately so intrigued by it, I subscribed to her channel right away and began doing her dance fitness routines in my living room, she said.

Citizen Input Encouraged on Grand Avenue Dangers

Fort Thomas City Council listened to concerns of Susan Twehues, a resident of Grand Avenue. She represented about 15 of her neighbors and spoke about their perceived increasing danger of living on that road. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

A fatal crash, several wrecks and near misses along a curved stretch of Grand Avenue brought about 15 local residents to the February Fort Thomas City Council meeting to voice their concerns and ask for the city’s help in addressing the issue.

Susan Twehues, who lives on Grand Avenue, was first on the scene of the fatal crash in September 2016, just two doors from her home. Another crash occurred at about the same spot on January 21 sending a car over the curb, through several yards, across the four-lane highway and into an embankment.

RELATED: Fatality Occurs on Grand Avenue

Twehues said she’s counted three wrecks in the last nine months and for every crash there have been several tire squeals that cause her and her neighbors to cringe and brace for the bang of impact.

“This last one came through my front yard. And Fort Thomas is a city where people love to walk. If you had a pedestrian walking…This happened at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, a time during the week when kids are walking home from school. How can we be sure our kids are going to be safe?”

RELATED: Another "Scary" Accident on Grand Avenue 

A car traveled through three yards before crashing head-on into a tree on Grand Avenue in September 2016. The crash resulted in a fatality to the driver. FTM file. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fort Thomas Police: More Car Break-Ins in Fort Thomas, Total Now Up To 100

Another string of car break-ins have occurred in Fort Thomas. Via Dayton Police. 
Another string of burglaries of unlocked cars has hit Fort Thomas.

Lt. Rich Whitford of the Fort Thomas Police said close to 20 cars were broken into off Newman Avenue in the area of Azalea Terrace, Park Place, Boardwalk Dr. and Robanette Ct. on Tuesday morning.

RELATED: Rash of Car Break-Ins in Fort Thomas (January 2017)

"It's late, 3:00 to 4:00 in the morning. It's the M.O. of whoever is doing this. Again, all of the cars were unlocked. Please lock your cars, don't leave valuables in plain sight," he said.

There have been multiple media reports about this type of crime over the past year. Over a hundred cars in Fort Thomas have now been broken into over the last six months, with this recent rash of crime.

Fort Thomas City Council OK's Money For Creation Of App

Chuck Keller addresses council at the Feb. 21 meeting. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

Fort Thomas residents and visitors will have a new way to take in the city just in time for the 150-year celebration this July. City Council members voted at the February council meeting to move ahead with development of a Tour Buddy mobile app by voting to allow the expenditure for up to $5,000 this year.

The Tour Buddy app provides walking tours, maps, events and historical information on cell phones, tablets and other mobile devices. The app is used across the country for cities, museums, universities and even cemetery tours.

Chuck Keller, a member of the Fort Thomas Sesquicentennial Committee, shared features and advantages of the app at the meeting. He has been working with the app, adding festival events and three sample tours for different parts of the city. Council and city officials have been able to explore the app for about a month.

“It becomes a very interesting e-card for the city, a way to introduce ourselves to new businesses and new residents,” said Keller.

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HHS Baseball to Experience Big League Park

Bluebirds take on Cincinnati St. Xavier at home of Reds

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Brady Gosney makes play in the state tournament last year. Highlands plays Cincinnati St. Xavier at Great American Ballpark on April 8 at 4 p.m.
Consecutive 9th Region crowns and a state runner-up finish in 2015 show how much the Highlands Bluebirds baseball team has risen in recent years.

The Bluebirds have consistently faced tough competition during the regular season since Head Coach Jeremy Baioni took over the program in 2009. That includes games against Greater Catholic League South opponents.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Opinion: Using Local Taxes For Charter Schools Is a Bad Idea

Brent Cooper. 
By Brent Cooper

If you have a kid in the Fort Thomas Independent School district, or live in Fort Thomas, I hope you will take a close look at Kentucky’s House Bill 520.  Let me explain why.

Fort Thomas schools are the hub of our community.  

When test scores come out, we share them with each other online.

When there are sporting events, choir performances, school plays, etc., the entire community shows up.  In Fort Thomas, you don’t just see one parent at school, you often see both.  And it isn’t unusual to see both sets of Grandparents, the church pastor, and the closest neighbors!

Having arguably the best school system in Kentucky didn’t happen by accident.  We invested to make it happen. 

Despite our success, the State of Kentucky doesn’t treat us very well.

Battling Heroin in Fort Thomas | What's Being Found On Those Arrested

Map of opioid-related arrests in NKY. NK Health Dept. 
Fort Thomas Matters is committed to shining a light on the fight against heroin in our community. To that end, we will be highlighting information that we have obtained from Fort Thomas Police reports that demonstrate who is being arrested in the community, where they are from, what they are being arrested for and with.

We will look for trends before culminating the coverage into a podcast with law enforcement officials, where we'll discuss the trends that they are seeing and how they are dealing with the increasing trend of opioid addiction.

This series is merely meant to shed light on statistics. We will try to make sense of that and analyze those numbers during the podcast with officials.

The first part of this Battling Heroin in Fort Thomas series looked at how many individuals have been arrested within the confines of 41075 and where they are from.

These next statistics will demonstrate the trends on what type of paraphernalia is being found when stops lead to arrests. There were 142 items confiscated directly from arrests in 2016, up 31% from 2015 and 273% from 2014.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Highlands High School Names New Boys Soccer Head Coach

Chad Niedert. 
Highlands High School has selected Chad Niedert as the new boys soccer head coach. Niedert is a mathematics teacher at HHS as well as the HHS boys soccer assistant coach for the past two years.

Previously, Chad was the boys soccer head coach at North Oldham High School where he took his team to the state quarter finals. Chad has a vast knowledge of the game and played collegiately at Xavier University.
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No Pass - No Drive Law

Steve Franzen. 
By Campbell County Attorney, Steve Franzen 

In 2007, the Kentucky Legislature passed “The No Pass/No Drive” law requiring sixteen (16) and seventeen (17) year old students to meet sufficient academic and attendance standards to maintain their driver’s license or learners permits. Any family that has had a teenager recently apply for a first time learners permit has seen this requirement because a school compliance verification form must be completed by the school before the permit is issued.

A student is deemed to be non-compliant and to have his or her license or permit revoked if either they have had nine or more unexcused absences, including suspensions, during a semester or not passing at least 66% of his or her classes.

In Other Words: A Nod to the Past With an Eye on the Future.

Prather's Sears kit home on Tremont Avenue
Many times we don’t even realize we’re looking at history because we live right in the middle of it.  For example, we may see The Vallonia,  Alhambra, Magnolia, Clyde, Westly, Bellewood, Sheffield,  and Brentwood around us and not even know it. What are they?

They are all names for specific Sears kit homes. Yes, that Sears.

From the early 1900’s to around 1940, Sears sold thousands of kit homes across the country. They were affordable, stylish, and well built. The styles ranged from simple to moderate to elaborate. Everything was shipped on a train to the owner - the frame, windows, the trim, cabinets, fixtures, plumbing, electric, nails, everything. All the owner or builder had to do was follow the instructions.

There are dozens of Sears kit homes in Fort Thomas. Dozens. Hiding in plain sight. But we don’t recognize then because there were so many different styles and some have been modified over the years and we se them as common stock.

Sears home owner and enthusiast, Don Prather, says, “They just loaded them up on train cars and shipped them all over the country.”  Don took me on a Sears home tour around town one afternoon. I was amazed at how many there are. His grandfather was a builder and realtor in Fort Thomas in the early Twentieth Century.

The Sears heyday for kit homes just happened to coincide with the expansion of Fort Thomas in the early Twentieth Century.  The city was near a major rail line, land was reasonably priced, and people wanted affordable housing.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Studio Root Skin Care | Skin Care Northern Kentucky | Brow Shaping Northern Kentucky

Studio Root Skin Care is part of the FTM Family. 
Tami Root is one of the area's most sought-after estheticians. With more than 30 years of experience in the beauty industry she has twice been voted "Best of the City" by Cincinnati Magazine for her spa services. 

Tami has spent years studying skin care and has developed a fun and easy way of classifying skin types. In addition to customized treatments, Tami takes the time to educate clients, teaching everyone from pre-teens to older adults on how to properly care for their skin. Tami's approach has earned her the admiration and loyalty of longtime clients—women and men—many of whom she now calls friends.

Testimonials of Two Local Clients:

Johnson Elementary Students Donate Wax Museum Proceeds

Johnson 4th-graders present a check in the amount of $536.85 to Make-A-Wish Foundation representative Rebecca Dykstra.  
A Fort Thomas elementary school is doing their part to helping build the city's namesake statue and giving back to a charity that helps terminally ill children.

Johnson Elementary 4th-grade students raised $1,073.70 with their annual Kentucky history wax museum project.  Money collected through donations received during the wax museum presentations were split  between the George H. Thomas statue fund and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Orangetheory Fitness Newport Pavilion. Try your first class FREE. Just mention Fort Thomas Matters. This is an advertisement. 
At the January 3 Fort Thomas City Council meeting, Fort Thomas resident, Bob Heil, spoke about the statue of General Thomas that he has undertaken on behalf of the city.

RELATED: Planning Underway for 150th Celebration in Fort Thomas

"We're going to finally honor our namesake in a very public way," he said.

Originally, there were hopes to have the statue completed by July of 2017, but he said that the creation is about a two and a half year process.  The sculpture is being created by Matt Langford, a passionate local artist who has researched General Thomas thoroughly and who has created other works.
Johnson 4th-graders present a check in the amount of $536.85 to Fort Thomas 150th Celebration committee representatives  Debbie Buckley and Bob Heil.  The committee is heading the George H. Thomas statue fund.

The estimated cost is $150,000, and the location has been determined to be part of the Midway Streetscape project.  The goal is to raise $100,000 in a private fundraiser.  Any donor who contributes $10,000 will receive a limited edition smaller (12 inches tall) bronze sculpted replica of the full size version of General Thomas.

Heil asked Council if they would be willing to put up the first $10,000 for the statue.

H/R Real Estate Acquires Property on Monmouth Street in Newport For Headquarters

Clay Horan and Adam Rosenhagen in front of their new building they purchased to host H/R Real Estate headquarters. FTM file. 
An emerging northern Kentucky real estate brokerage has closed on the sale of a building for their new headquarters in Newport.

H/R real estate partners, Clay Horan and Adam Rosenhagen bought 920 Monmouth Street earlier this month for $175,000. It is a 2,400 square foot single-story commercial store front located next door to the Newport City Building, Police and Fire Department.

The building has some history.

The building was previously occupied by Intelligent Phone Systems most recently, but prior to that during Newport's Sin City Years, the building was home to The Top Hat - a small bar and musical venue.

Previously, Horan and Rosenhagen were working out of the Vennefron Signs Building at 2106 Monmouth Street in Newport.

"The location and the city's focus on development fits well with the overall vision we have for our brokerage," said Rosenhagen.

Fort Thomas Business Association Kicks Off Small Business Saturday Movement Throughout the Year

Small Business Saturday is popping up on Saturday, February 25. 

Everyone is familiar with Small Business Saturday in November. This Saturday the Fort Thomas Business Association (FTBA) is kicking off a monthly #ShopLocal movement that allows you to give back to the Fort Thomas community in so many ways.

Blue Marble Books and Midway Cafe are teaming up to support the #ShopLocal movement and give back to its community with 10 percent of sales benefitting Woodfill Elementary's Big Top Festival.

"We make an effort to promote Small Business Saturday every November, but it’s simply not enough anymore," says Mark Collier, FTBA treasurer. "Look around on N. Fort Thomas Avenue right now. 'For Sale' and 'For Rent' signs are too prevalent. We must take it into our hands to help these small businesses not just survive, but thrive. Without that intentional effort to 'shop small' we’ll never break this reputation that Fort Thomas unfortunately has of not supporting the businesses that call Fort Thomas home."

This is where YOU come in.

This Saturday, February 25, stop by both locations. You must shop at both locations in order for the proceeds to go towards the Big Top Festival. It doesn't matter which store you shop at first. Customers will receive a ticket to present to the second location to guarantee donations. Buy a book or two at Blue Marble and grab lunch at Midway—it's the easy, and perfect for the entire family.

"Midway is thrilled to be a part of the kick off of Fort Thomas Small Business Saturday," says Erika Kraus, FTBA vice president and Midway co-owner. "Being able to partner up with other local businesses including ones without store fronts, to give back to Woodfill Elementary, seems to be a perfect fit all around. By supporting Fort Thomas Small Business Saturday we make Fort Thomas a destination, keep money in our local community, and encourage entrepreneurship. Fort Thomas is a family. We have to always support our own first.”

Both locations will also be offering special events to celebrate the kick off. They include:
• Storytime at Blue Marble Books at 11:30 a.m.
• Acoustic music by Ky Myle at The Midway Cafe 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
• Pop-Up Shop LuLaRow presented by Amy Goshorn at The Midway Cafe 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"One of the great things about Small Business Saturday is that it functions as a reminder to the community that local businesses are here and that we need our community's support if we're going to continue to thrive," says Tanya Bartlett, Blue Marble Books' digital marketing and media specialist. "In rolling out a Small Business Saturday event each month, our goal is to certainly remind community members that we're here, but we also want to advance the idea—in this case with Blue Marble and Midway Cafe donating 10 percent of our day's sales to Woodfill Elementary's Big Top Festival—that we also support our community. It's a win-win idea."

Drew Schwegman, FTBA's president, will be at both locations Saturday. "I'm looking foward to supporting Blue Marble and  Midway Cafe on February 25, and hope this is the first of many Small Business Saturdays," he says.

Blue Marble Books (1356 S. Fort Thomas Ave.) will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Midway Cafe (1017 S. Fort Thomas Ave.) will be open 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. 

"We are so lucky to live in a community that supports schools," says Loryl Haggard, president of Woodfill Elementary's PTO. "Small businesses have consistently provided us with donations, silent auction items and support so that our children have access to fantastic technology, experiences and educational opportunities. We were thrilled to learn that Blue Marble Books and Midway Cafe chose to support Woodfill's Big Top Festival as the kick off of Fort Thomas Small Business Saturday." 

And Ashley Winburn, Big Top Festival chair, says that just as they chose to support us, we need to support them. 

"We hope the entire Woodfill community shows its support Saturday by visiting both locations, and giving back to the community that has given so much to us," she says.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Tiniest Church In The World Is Located Right Here In NKY

Via Thomas More College. 
Do you know the story about the little church in Crestview Hills by Thomas More College? Our friends at Only In Your State, take a look:

If you’re fascinated by history, religion, or both, then you’ve got to check out this church on a college campus in northern Kentucky. In 1922, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not dubbed it “the Smallest Church in the World.” It looks like something you would find in the hills of Scotland, not Kentucky, which makes it all the more captivating. Continue reading to find out more about Monte Casino Chapel.

Monte Casino Chapel is located on the campus of Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, not far from Cincinnati. You can find it sitting next to a small lake off of Turkey Foot Road.

Fort Thomas Developers Present Business Plan to Planning Commission

Kyle Stevie presents his development plan for the two Midway district properties he and his partner, Chris Reid, recently acquired. FTM file. 
On Wednesday, February 15, a public hearing was held in front of the Planning Commission of Fort Thomas to review the business development plan for Fort Thomas developers, Chris Reid and Kyle Stevie.  The neighbors and business partners recently acquired 1011 and 1013 S. Fort Thomas Avenue, which had been problem properties in the Midway business district for years.

RELATED: Midway District Properties Sold To Fort Thomas Developers

We learned more about the developers' plans for the building as the commission reviewed items like parking, noise levels, acceptable uses for potential tenants and how the new tenants would fit into the already tight-quartered Midway Central Business District.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Highlands Ranked Top 100 Public High School in the Nation

Highlands High School. FTM file. 
Another year, another national ranking for Highlands High School.

TheBestSchools.Org has ranked the Bluebirds as the 74th best public school in America, checking in ten spots before the only other Kentucky school in the top 100, duPont Manual.

Wyoming High School in Cincinnati also made the list at #48.

Superintendent, Gene Kirchner, said he was thrilled with the news.

Highlands Quarterback Will Play in College

Brady Gosney., FTM file. 
Highlands High School football player Brady Gosney will sign a letter of intent to play football at Hanover College.

The signing will be held at 3 p.m. today, in the Media Center at Highlands High School.

Brady is a two-year letterman who was awarded Offensive MVP his senior year and was also All-NKAC.
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Fort Thomas Church Becomes Haven For The Deaf Community

ASL Interpretation is now offered at Grace Fellowship Church. Photo courtesy of GF Church
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 36 million adults suffer some type of hearing impairment while 2-3 children out of 1,000 are born deaf or have some degree of hearing loss.

In the United States alone, as many as 2 million of these deaf individuals are unable to listen to church sermons or speak with members of their congregation.

Pastor Peter LaRuffa of Grace Fellowship Church in Fort Thomas remembers one day spotting a mother trying to sign to her young daughter during church service.

Hulafrog "Most Loved" Awards Are Announced

Congratulations to the Northern Kentucky Hulafrog "Most Loved" Winners. Categories ranged from Most Loved Book Store (The Blue Marble) to the Most Loved Preschool (Bluebird Christian Preschool).

Parents voted between Jan 6-Feb 3 on their faves, and these 25 came out on top.

See the full list here. 

Hulafrog is national website with local affiliates that connects parents to local events and businesses in their community as well as to each other.

Ladybirds Move On

Highlands turns attention to Beechwood

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands sophomore Ashley Hayes grabs a rebound in a game earlier this year against Dayton.
It had not even been 24 hours since the lopsided defeat, but the Blue and White seemed as determined as ever to improve before the regular season concludes Friday at the end of Tuesday's practice.

Many teams fall apart after a loss like Highlands suffered in a 73-30 defeat to the Simon Kenton Lady Pioneers in Fort Thomas on Monday. That marked the biggest defeat since Jaime Walz-Richey became the head coach of the Ladybirds basketball team in 2002. The previous high had been a 42-point loss, 71-29 to Notre Dame in Park Hills on Feb, 24, 2005.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Kentucky Shatters Export Record at $29.24 Billion in 2016

Aerospace, motor vehicles and pharmaceuticals remain state’s top exports
Gov. Matt Bevin touring Denyo America in Danville, KY. 
Kentucky’s exports broke an all-time record in 2016 with $29.24 billion in goods and services shipped abroad from the Commonwealth, a 5.8-percent increase from 2015, Gov. Matt Bevin recently announced.

Aerospace products and parts led all categories with more than $10.85 billion in goods exported internationally, an increase of more than 24 percent over 2015. Kentucky ranked second nationally for 2016 in aerospace-related exports.

“Kentucky is headed in the right direction and the business community is taking notice. This new record is unequivocal proof of our positive trajectory,” said Gov. Bevin. “As we improve our business climate, global demand for our brands and expertise continues to grow, attracting new companies while at the same time strengthening existing partnerships. Together, we are moving forward. The economic future in Kentucky is very bright, indeed!”

Overall, the state’s 2016 exports increased $1.6 billion over the 2015 total. That placed Kentucky eighth among all U.S. states by percentage increase, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Division and WISERTrade.

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