Friday, March 31, 2017

St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas Annual Card Party and Luncheon


The Ladies Auxiliary and volunteers at St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas are gearing up for their annual card party and luncheon fundraising event.

The event, which is being held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch served at noon) on Tuesday, April 4, at the Highland Country Club, is a yearly fundraiser for the St. Elizabeth Auxiliary, a group of volunteers who work to make improvements at the hospital. The Auxiliary’s main goal is to improve patient services. Volunteers manage the event and ask the community for help.

Recently the Auxiliary made a donation to the COR – 12 heroin project for the community. Past projects have included the History Wall located in front of the first floor elevators, televisions for waiting areas, walkers for the nursing floors, the renovation of the skilled nursing unit and cafeteria, and three $1,000 scholarships for graduating volunteers.

The card party and luncheon is a $20 person, which includes lunch, raffles, pot-o-gold, and card games. For more information, call Lisa at 859-212-5227 or Joyce at 859-212-5359.

Kentucky General Assembly’s 2017 Session Ends

FRANKFORT, Mar. 30 -- House Minority Caucus Chair Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, speaks on HB 482, an act relating to law enforcement training, in the House. LRC.
The 2017 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly ended Thursday evening shortly before midnight after months of work that led to passage of over 130 bills that will impact most areas of Kentucky life, from public education to the fight against drug abuse.

Most new laws – those that come from legislation that don’t contain emergency clauses or different specified effective dates – will go into effect in late June.

A partial list of bills approved this year by the General Assembly include measures on the following topics:

Abortion. Senate Bill 5 prohibits abortions in Kentucky at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The prohibition does not apply in cases where an abortion is required to save the life or prevent serious risk of permanent bodily harm to the mother.

Autopsy photos. House Bill 67 will limit distribution of autopsy photos, videos or other autopsy images to law enforcement, attorneys or others with a right to the information. The measure, named Jack’s Law, honors a Kentucky child killed in an accident whose autopsy photos were distributed to the media against his parents’ wishes.

Bible literacy. HB 128 will allow schools to offer an elective social studies course on the Bible that teaches biblical content, characters, poetry and narratives and their impact on today’s world.

Charter schools. HB 520 will allow publicly funded charter schools to operate in Kentucky beginning next school year. Local school boards would be allowed to authorize an unlimited number of the schools, which will be established by contract and governed by independent boards. A local board’s decision regarding charter schools could be overridden by the state school board, although the courts could be called on to review the state board’s action. Also included are provisions requiring that teachers and administrators hired to work at the charter schools be state-certified and that the mayors of Louisville and Lexington be allowed to authorize charter schools in their cities upon request.

Coal fields. HB 156 establishes the Kentucky Coal Fields Endowment Authority to fund improvements to infrastructure, water, economic development, public health and technological access in the east and west Kentucky coal regions. Improvements will be funded with $7.5 million in state coal severance dollars, and projects will be selected based on their economic development and job creation potential and their ability to be self-sustaining.

Driver’s licenses. HB 410, known as the REAL ID Bill, will create a voluntary travel ID or enhanced driver’s license to board airplanes and enter federal facilities, including military facilities, as of Jan. 1, 2019. The legislation is designed to meet anti-terrorism standards in the federal REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005. It also spells out rules for issuing a “standard” driver’s license, permit or state personal ID card.

Education reform. SB 1 will create new rules for how students are taught and tested and how teachers are evaluated in Kentucky public schools. The legislation will require a review of academic standards in the schools beginning next school year and every six years thereafter while implementing a performance-based assessment of student learning and new benchmarks for measuring college and career readiness.

Emergency vehicles. HB 74 will only allow white light to be emitted from motor vehicle (including motorcycle and moped) headlamps, although non-halogen headlamps will be allowed to emit a slight blue tint if they were factory-installed. The intent of the bill is to make it easier for motorists to distinguish emergency vehicles from non-emergency vehicles. Fines will be levied for violations.

Fentanyl and other opioids.

Gene Kirchner On Why He's Retiring, How Charter Schools Will Affect Fort Thomas

Superintendent Gene Kirchner sits for an interview in his office with Mark Collier. FTM file. 
Superintendent of Fort Thomas Schools, Gene Kirchner, announced his retirement at the March 13 Board Meeting. In this exclusive interview with Fort Thomas Matters Radio, Kirchner tells Mark Collier why and what's next.

The Charter School bill, HB 520, from the last General Assembly is also discussed.

"We’re talking about kids here. We’re not producing widgets. These are children," he said.



The story:

In a surprise announcement at the March 13 Fort Thomas Board of Education meeting, new Board Chair, Brad Fennell, read the resignation letter of Superintendent, Gene Kirchner.

While the news surprised some, Kirchner said it was just about the number of years he had in the retirement system.

“I love my job, but with 34 years into the Teachers Retirement System, it just made sense to step aside at this time,” he said. "It was the Law of Diminishing Returns."

In Kenton County, three top administrators with over 30 years experience abruptly retired from the Kenton County School District, including the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent.


Belladance: Local Dance Studio wins BIG

Belladance Senior Dance team 
This time of year, talk of the “Big Dance” abounds but while some might think of college basketball, Julie Tedesco Keller (owner of Belladance) could only think of the incredible success of her dance teams at the Revolution Talent Competition in Columbus, OH on March 19.  This major regional competition featured 546 different routines but at the end of the day, Belladance’s Senior Team stood out amongst all the rest, receiving first in their division, first place overall, and the highest scoring routine of the entire weekend. This qualified them to travel to the World Competition in New York City in early August.
Co-Owners of Belladance Julie and Bella Keller

Keller, who opened the studio last summer, is incredibly proud of the accomplishments of her dancers at this tournament but also has a special reason to be proud- Bella Keller, Julie’s high school senior daughter, danced with the winning senior team.  Additionally, Bella was awarded a platinum medal for her solo performance, a first place trophy in her category, and third place out of all 28 of the solo performances.  As if that weren’t enough, Bella recently got the news that she had received a full-ride Governor’s Scholars Program scholarship to attend Northern Kentucky University to study dance and has decided that while pursuing her degree will also continue with, and enhance her role in, Belladance Studios- taking on the role of co-director with Julie Keller.

As Julie Keller approaches one-year of operation at her Fort Thomas studio and reflects back on the time spent there, she cannot help but feel quite content and proud of all of the accomplishments. Says Keller, “This studio has such a family feel and we are in a truly happy place; we’ve received so much love and support during our first year here.”

Keller went on to say that her husband agrees but- continuing with the college basketball theme- he is amazed that “there is not only March madness on the court but it is happening in the dance world too.”

Small Lyrical Group
And madness might be the perfect word to describe the success of Belladance at the competition.  In addition to the senior team’s victories, Keller's younger team, The Sparkledots, competed on Saturday and received a platinum medal, first in their category, and first place overall for their age group.  On Sunday night, The Sparkledots received recognition for being the “highest scoring novice routine of the weekend,” per Keller.

Julie Kuhnhein, mom of eight-year-old Annie Kuhnhein who participates on The Sparkledots and had her first solo, says of her Belladance experience, “We have danced with a majority of studios around Fort Thomas and feel like we have found the perfect fit for us at Belladance.”  Kuhnhein went on to say, “This studio is an amazing combination of artistic talent, true passion and a well-run business that feels like family. Julie and Bella have a vision that I did not truly appreciate until watching our team compete this year.”

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Unemployment rates down in 115 Kentucky counties in February 2017

via MeetNKY
Unemployment rates dropped in 115 Kentucky counties between February 2016 and February 2017, rose in three and stayed the same in two counties, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.   

Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 3.5 percent. It was followed by Fayette and Oldham counties, 3.8 percent each; Scott and Shelby counties, 4 percent each; Jessamine County, 4.2 percent; Boone and Warren counties, 4.3 percent each; and Allen, Campbell and Spencer counties, 4.4 percent each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 20.8 percent. It was followed by Elliott County, 12.5 percent; Leslie County, 11.8 percent; Carter County, 11.7 percent; Menifee County, 11.4 percent; Harlan County, 11.3 percent; Lewis and Knott counties, 11.1 percent; and Wolfe and Letcher counties, 11 percent each.

In contrast to the monthly national and state data, unemployment statistics for counties are not seasonally adjusted. The comparable, unadjusted unemployment rate for the state was 5.5 percent for February 2017, and 4.9 percent for the nation.

Mentoring Plus Celebrates Seven Years Of Helping Youth With Seeds Of Hope Gala

Mentoring Plus - Guiding Kids, Supporting Families, Strengthening Communities
Mentoring Plus, a grassroots non-profit organization founded in April 2009 by several lifelong Northern Kentucky residents, came together with a  mission - to empower disadvantaged youth and their families to fulfill their potential and to contribute to the well-being of the community by forming relationships based on mutual trust, compassion and respect.

Program Director Robin Anderson says Mentoring Plus relies heavily upon the dedicated community volunteers that make the program such a success. Anderson is one among an administration team and board that have more than 100 years of experience in the areas of juvenile justice, juvenile mental health and the education system.

Role Changes for Highlands Football Coaches

Bluebirds See New Ideas in Off-Season

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands linebacker Cooper Schwalbach (91) reacts after a play against Boone County last year.
Coaching continuity goes a long way toward success in any sports program.

The Highlands Bluebirds football coaching staff has had a lot of that over the past few years. But there will be some new roles on the staff this upcoming season. Head Coach Brian Weinrich also served as Offensive Coordinator the past three years similar to what former Head Coach Dale Mueller did for years before retiring after the 2013 campaign.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Missing Alexandria Teen


The Campbell County Police Department is seeking help from the public locating the missing juvenile pictured here. Shiann "Shi" Godby has been missing since 3/13/17 after leaving her Alexandria home.

She has been off her medication during this period and may be residing in the Newport/Covington area.

She is 5'03", has blonde hair, and was last seen wearing a neon green t-shirt with a black hoodie.

Anyone with any information regarding her whereabouts is asked to contact the Campbell County Police at 859-547-3100 or Campbell County Dispatch at 859-292-3622.

Highlands High School Alumni Association merges with Fort Thomas Education Foundation

Announces HHS Alumni/FTIS Teacher of the Year Dinner

FTM file. 
Two Highlands organizations are merging.

The Highlands High School Alumni Association (HHSAA) and the Fort Thomas Education Foundation (FTEF) have joined forces in an effort to expand the support and resources offered to our alumni, schools and community. A new committee within the FTEF is being formed which will seek to guide the HHS Alumni Association in a direction consistent with the mission of FTEF and the tradition of the HHS Alumni Association.

The Highlands High School Alumni Association will continue to plan event under the FTEF in order to engage with alumni and friends.

Please join us for the HHS Alumni/FTIS Teacher of the Year Dinner on Saturday, April 29th, at the Highland Country Club. For reservations for the event, please contact the HHS Alumni Association at HHSAA1891@gmail.com, visit www.FTEF.org or call 859.815.2004.

Parking Lot Is Approved For St. Andrew's Church

Board of Adjustment members Steve Kowolonek, Carol Dixon, Steve Dauer and Jim Beineke. Not pictured: Carla Austin. 
After six years and upwards of $20,000 in design plans, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, located at the corner of Chalfonte Place and S. Fort Thomas Avenue, got the initial approval from the Board of Adjustment of Fort Thomas to build a 23-space parking lot adjacent to their building.

They submitted a design plan in October 2016 for a 23-space parking lot and the addition of a driveway that would allow for a circular flow of traffic entering on Chalfonte Place and exiting on South Fort Thomas.

RELATED: St. Andrews Proposed Parking Lot Plans Progress (November 2016)

Amid residents' concerns, the church withdrew that application and started fresh.

"We went back to the drawing board," said Jeff Flaherty, the lead for Cardinal Engineering. "The citizens had some concerns, so we listened to those and I think we've addressed them."

This is an advertisement. 
The biggest item that was changed was the removal of the driveway that would run parallel to the church and turn onto Chalfonte Place.

The lot, which is proposed to be 117 feet by 60 feet will add 62 plants, trees and shrubs after seven trees are slated for removal. It will turn off from S. Fort Thomas Avenue and will slope down to grade. There will be three street spots eliminated with the construction of the parking lot apron. General Services Director, Kevin Barbian, added that the plan addresses the city's requirements in terms of landscaping and lighting and that the church had gotten the proper approvals from the Kentucky Department of Transportation, Duke Energy and the Fort Thomas Fire Department.

"Also most notably they were able to save the biggest and most-known tree in the greenspace bowl," said Barbian.
St. Andrews. FTM file. 

Barbian noted that the church is currently zoned residential, but the church was requesting a conditional use permit to allow for the construction of a parking lot.

"They could decide to build a house on that greenspace tomorrow and so long as they adhered to the setbacks and site designs, (the city) could not have a say in that," he said.

Board Chair, Jim Beineke, echoed those sentiments.

"We all like greenspace, but we have to remember this space is privately owned. They could build a house there tomorrow and there would be nothing we could do," he said.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Story Matters Part VI - Replay


Story Matters is a live storytelling event presented by Fort Thomas Matters' Chuck Keller and Mark Collier and hosted at Fort Thomas Coffee. The event was held on March 16.

Here is the recap, via Facebook live.

Gary Simon - 5:29
Ally Cox Allesandro - 12:51
Casey Gesenhues - 24:30




This is an advertisement. 
Bradley Younger - 0:10
Maryanne Zeleznik - 9:45
Molly Hardin - 22:14



The next event will be held on May 18 at Fort Thomas Coffee.

Franzen: Do Not Get Caught In The Delinquent Tax Web


By Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney

Every year my office gets dozens of calls stating that they never received a tax bill for their property.   If you own property, you must pay taxes on that property.   If you do not receive your tax bill, then state law places the burden on you to obtain a copy of your bill and pay the taxes.   The punishments mandated by state law are so severe that the consequences of inaction will inevitably cost you additional precious funds.  Do not get caught in the delinquent tax web.   Pay your real estate taxes before they become delinquent.  

Kentucky’s penalties for not paying property taxes on time are, to put it mildly, harsh!  Please consider this article a warning about the consequences of not paying property taxes timely.  State law mandates that delinquent tax bills incur penalties and interest.  Fees as much as 30% of the face tax amount are added to the tax bill in addition to 1% per month or 12% per year in interest.   These delinquent tax bills are put up for sale sometime between July 14 and September 1st of each year.   The State has very carefully removed authority on these matters from the local officials. The County Attorney’s office attempts to notify the delinquent tax payers of the pending sale date 60 days and again 30 days prior to the tax bill sale.

This is an advertisement. 
The already burdensome penalties and interest that are levied, increases exponentially when the tax bill is actually sold.   When the bills are transferred to the Clerk by the Sheriff, the tax bills become Certificates of Delinquencies.  Certificates of Delinquencies are sold to third party purchasers and their lien is recorded with the County Clerk. Once a tax bill is sold to a third-party purchaser, a certificate of delinquency is filed by the County Clerk in the real estate records establishing a lien on the property.  The third-party tax bill purchaser sends a letter to the property owner notifying the delinquent tax bill payer that their tax bill has been purchased and stating the amount of fees that are due.   After a waiting period, the third-party tax bill purchaser can file a foreclosure suit against the property.  State law permits the third-party tax bill purchaser to add administrative fees, costs, and attorney fees to its bill.  After this process, your tax bill is several times the amount of the original bill and you are in danger of losing your property in a foreclosure sale.  A property owner may also have to pay the attorney fees of their mortgage holder during this process.


Fort Thomas Couple Begins Simple Cultures That Offers Simple Healthy Food

Simple Cultures products. 

The Spicy Pickles made by Simple Cultures are the best pickles I have ever had. That is a seriously bold claim, but once you try them then you will be a believer too. And when you finish the jar, you can add the leftover juice to make a healthy martini. Well, that is the claim that Tom and Marta Vennemann made.

And after tasting their products, I believe them. As I ate one of their pickles, Marta says, “And it’s good for you.” She is referring to the probiotics used in making the pickles. Seriously, if eating healthy tastes this good, then sign me up.

Marta and Tom Vennemann began Simple Cultures in 2016. And like so many great ideas, this was the result of several intersecting events. Marta is a nurse, a mom, a wife, and an avid cook. She wanted the best for herself and her family. Then she was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 41. Tom observes that, “Being a cancer survivor changed her outlook on things especially about what we put in our bodies.”  Fortunately the disease was caught early and an effective treatment cured her. But she had questions.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Rep. Diane St. Onge’s Bill to Protect K-9s Signed into Law

Shaka the Police Dog. http://stubbydog.org/2013/07/k-9-cop/. 
Gov. Matt Bevin recently signed a measure into law to stiffen penalties for harming K-9 unit dogs, which serve as an incredible asset to Kentucky’s police forces.

Try your first workout on us! Mention FTM at the counter. Orangetheory Fitness at Newport Pavilion. 

House Bill 93, sponsored by Rep. Diane St. Onge, R-Lakeside Park, will make a person guilty of assault on a service animal in the first degree when they intentionally kill or cause serious physical injury to a service animal; cause physical injury to a service animal by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; or wantonly cause serious physical injury to a service animal by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.

Healthcast to Launch in Fort Thomas

Heathcast, a recent graduate of Covington’s UpTech tech accelerator, is launching in Fort Thomas.

Healthcast monitors your health environment, from hyper-local conditions to international outbreaks. The service is completely anonymous, and by aggregating user’s inputs, it also gives everyone a picture of what is going around the community. Results are benchmarked against public health data.

Trent Montessori Celebrates 35th Anniversary

This year Trent Montessori in Newport celebrates its 35th anniversary. 

Fort Thomas resident Jan Haas decided that she wanted to work with children outside of the traditional teaching method while attending Hanover College. So, after receiving a B.A. in sociology and early childhood education, Haas took Montessori training with the dream of eventually starting her own school.

"During my written and oral exams, Renilda Montessori, Maria Montessori's granddaughter, encouraged me to start my own Montessori school," Haas says. "I worked one year for a Parent Coop in Fairfield, Ohio, and then decided to open Trent the following year."

This is an advertisement. 
Since opening 35 years ago, Trent Montessori in Newport has served more than 400 children from Fort Thomas.

In 1982 Trent Montessori moved to its current location, 305 Park Ave., Newport.

Thirty-five years ago Haas and her husband, Eric Haas (the mayor of Fort Thomas), lived in an 1889 Victorian called "The Trent House"—a Kentucky landmark—in Newport's Mansion Hill neighborhood. "We started the school in this historic home," Haas says. They applied through the Kentucky Department of Education as a private school and opened Trent Montessori's doors on September 15, 1981. In 1982 they moved the school to its current location, a historic home at 305 Park Ave., Newport.


Midway Cafe Menu | Midway Cafe Fort Thomas Menu | Midway Cafe Burger

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Fort Thomas Applies For Riverfront Trail Grant

The riverfront along Route 8 in Fort Thomas. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

A new walking and hiking trail could replace an underutilized patch of city-owned property along the riverfront if all goes well.

The city of Fort Thomas agreed to back a request for a state Recreational Trails Program grant to turn what is currently a half-acre eyesore along Kentucky 8 into a natural looped trail.

Robert Yoder presented on a proposal to apply for the grant at the March City Council meeting. The Main Street director for Dayton, Kentucky, he is also a trails grant expert for Southbank Partners and is working on three similar grant requests for trails in Northern Kentucky.


The grant presents an excellent opportunity at this time, said Yoder, because the funding split has moved from a 50-50 to a more affordable 80-20 split. He estimates the entire project could run about $62,000, but the city’s share would be about $12,500. That amount could go down, he added, if volunteers helped with cleanup of the site.

The property is owned by the city and had been used for storage and staging in the past, but has been lying unused for several years. When Yoder surveyed the area, he saw potential under layers of discarded litter and underbrush.

The site has three levels, he says. The bottom is river beach with a flat middle level and a higher level going up to the highway. There is room for a kayak or canoe launch and for 5,800-feet of natural looped trail on the property.

The $62,000 estimated cost covers trail construction including bringing in some gravel and clay, cleaning up garbage, clearing dead brush and installing trail markers, signage, info kiosks, benches and four or five trash cans.


Four Overdose On Busy Fort Thomas Street, Revived With Narcan

A minivan that held four individuals who were overdosing on opioids is towed away, just down the street from the Fort Thomas Armory. FTM file. 
Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m., Fort Thomas Police were dispatched to S. Fort Thomas Avenue to a parked minivan that had multiple individuals inside who, according to witnesses, had appeared to be overdosing from narcotics.

According to Fort Thomas Police Lt. Rich Whitford, police discovered four individuals in a late model minivan. Police called for the life squad, who administered the life-saving drug, Narcan, to all four individuals in the vehicle. They were revived and taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital for further medical evaluations.

The four passengers of the van were all from Alexandria, Kentucky.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Clean Northern Kentucky to Prevent Drug Abuse and Protect Our Community

Free Drug Disposal Pouches Now Available to Help Families Safely Dispose of Medications

Rep. Addia Wuchner. 

Government officials, local drug prevention coalitions, local pharmacists and others gathered today to launch a new initiative to help Northern Kentucky residents safely dispose of any expired or un-needed medications, especially opioid pain medication and other narcotics, to help prevent misuse, abuse or addiction. To facilitate safe disposal, a total of 6,000 drug disposal pouches are now available for free to Northern Kentuckians at more than 30 locations, including all Kroger pharmacies in Northern Kentucky.

Using the pouches, individuals can safely dispose of medications at home.

“Just as drug addiction often begins in the medicine cabinet, our spring cleaning needs to start there as well,” said Rep. Addia Wuchner (R-Boone County), Chair of the House Committee on Health and Family Services and a Registered Nurse, who spearheaded the drug disposal pouch initiative. “Medication disposal pouches are safe, effective, easy to use and provide one more option to protect our communities by making sure that unused prescription pain medications and narcotics are disposed of safely and are not accidentally or intentionally misused.”

The drug disposal pouches were donated by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and use patented technology to neutralize the active ingredients in opioid painkillers and other drugs in pill, liquid and transdermal patch forms. A proprietary activated carbon bonds to pharmaceutical compounds when water is added, rendering the drugs ineffective and safe for disposal in any setting, including the home.


Momentum Builds For Fort Thomas Visioning Project

FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

Next steps in the development of a vision for Fort Thomas’s future was the topic of a discussion by city officials on Monday.

Mayor Eric Haas, City Administrator Ron Dill, council members and city staff met with planning consultants to hear ideas for how best to organize and proceed with the visioning process.

Mark Brueggemann of CT Consultants, an engineering and architect firm, and Chris Manning of Human Nature, landscape architects, presented ideas for how work could be divided, as well as a tentative schedule.

Both firms have expertise in urban development and planning and have worked closely with the city on other projects including Fort Thomas Forward, an urban design and streetscape plan developed in 2000-2001.

The consultants suggested six project committees, each covering a different area of vision planning:

Land Use and Zoning
Transportation and Connectivity
Parks and Open Space
Utilities and Infrastructure
Regional Partnerships
Funding and Implementation

The group discussed committee leadership and membership, and agreed that each committee would include a council member, city staff member and members of the community. Mayor Haas added that Fort Thomas is fortunate to have residents with interests and expertise in many of the areas covered by the committees.

Traffic Stop Ends in Struggle on Memorial Parkway

Newport and Fort Thomas Police swarmed the black Volkswagen yesterday on Memorial Parkway. FTM file. 
Yesterday on Memorial Parkway a traffic stop at 8:45 a.m. caused a backup as police attempted to stop a man accused of being under the influence of heroin just outside Stardust Lane in Fort Thomas.

Fort Thomas resident Thomas McGill was arrested and charges of DUI, Improperly being on the left side of the road, Resisting Arrest, and Possession of a Controlled Substance, 1st Degree (Heroin), and Failure To Produce Insurance Card.

A witnesses called in the possible intoxicated driver.

Campbell County Detention Center. 
Newport Police stopped McGill near Stardust Lane on Wednesday morning, after he was observed traveling around 5 miles per hour and crossing the center line. According to police records, once McGill got out of the car – which he stopped in the roadway – he could not maintain his balance and had extremely slow speech. Also according to the citation, McGill pulled away from the officer and reached for his jacket pocket, at which time he was subdued.

Other officers from Newport and Fort Thomas Police assisted in subduing McGill who continued to struggle. In his pocket, police found what they suspected to be heroin.

Top Shelf Lobby Names New Partner

Provided. 
Top Shelf Lobby announced today that Justin Clark is joining the firm as Partner, effective April 1, 2017. Clark most recently served in the Administration of Governor Matt Bevin as General Counsel for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Before joining the Bevin Administration, Clark was a partner in the Louisville office of Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC, one of Kentucky’s oldest and largest law firms. His legal experience involved general and complex business litigation, insurance regulatory matters, healthcare litigation, construction law, antitrust litigation, intellectual property litigation, professional liability defense, and constitutional law. Louisville Magazine named Clark as one of its “Top Lawyers” from 2012-2016, and Clark’s peers rated him as “preeminent,” ranking him at the highest level of professional excellence for his knowledge, communication skills, and ethical standards.

“Top Shelf Lobby is excited to have Justin join our firm as partner,” said Top Shelf partner, Marc Wilson. “His skill sets, his legal experience and knowledge of the process in state government is a tremendous asset that will help grow our firm to the next level.”


What's Next For Highlands Soccer

Elevating Under Niedert; wants Bluebirds to Play Fearless Soccer

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior Nick Gish (7) plays the ball against Beechwood last year. Gish is one of the returning starters promoted Head Coach Chad Niedert will be working with this fall.
Head coaches often say they want to leave the program in better shape than what it was when they took over.

Recently-promoted Highlands Bluebirds soccer head coach Chad Niedert found himself taking over a struggling program in his first head coaching stint in 2013 as the new head coach of the North Oldham Mustangs. The Mustangs struggled to a 5-12-2 season in 2012 losing in the first round of the 29th District to Oldham County, 3-0.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Naked Karate Girls To Play at Olde Fort Pub

The Naked Karate Girls. 
Fort Thomas becomes a music town when the weather gets warm.

Tuesday night concerts in Tower Park during the summer, a promised "big headliner band" for the city's 150th birthday celebration in July followed by a Bluesfest in September are just some of the acts that are coming to "the city of beautiful homes."

But with a question mark still behind the city's sesquicentennial main music act, it's possible that Friday night's surprise gig by the Naked Karate Girls at the Olde Fort Pub could be one of the most fun nights of the year.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. This is an advertisement. 
"We are all very excited and grateful to be hosting such an amazing and fun band for such a good cause," said Mike Arnzen, one of the owners of The Pub. "Katie Walters has worked tirelessly to put this all together."

The proceeds at the door will be donated to Henry Hosea House in Newport, which provides a safe environment for their clients with daily nutrition, support, healthy guidance and social interaction.

So how did this come about?

"The Naked Karate Girls reached out to me at the beginning of year about a possible charity show in northern Kentucky," said Walters, a Fort Thomas resident and Promotions Coordinator for Q102.

"After working on the event for several weeks, we decided on the Fort Thomas Pub. NKG's drummer, Glen Kukla, graduated from Highlands with me and Todd Hosea, so this gig is very special for us."

Todd Hosea's father David, started Henry Hosea House to honor his father.

This event for the Naked Karate Girls is special.

"The band has a fully booked schedule and normally play large venues," said Walters. "The fact that everything fell in place, makes this event even more amazing. It definitely is a "one night only" gig. A party like The Pub has never seen before."

What to know about the event:

Patrick Towles Shines at Pro Day

Patrick Towles at his Pro Day. 
Former Highlands quarterback, Patrick Towles, had a nice day for himself yesterday at the Boston College Pro Day where he and his college teammates worked out in front of pro scouts.

According to the website, DraftAnalyst.com, Towles turned in some athletic testing numbers then looked good throwing the ball.

This is an advertisement. 
"Towles measured 6047/241 pounds including a hand of 9.5 inches.  His vertical jump reached 33.5 inches, he touched 10-feet even in the broad then timed 4.59s in the forty.


Mike Dunn Golf Scholarship Outing Masters Thirty Years

Mike's family at the 29th annual outing (Mike Dunn Scholarship Fund)

On Friday June 9th a couple of hundred people will gather at AJ Jolly Golf course in Alexandria to play some golf and raise some money in memory of Fort Thomas resident Mike Dunn. That someone is so well liked and remembered that they inspire this kind of turnout is impressive, but what is truly amazing is that the tournament is now in it’s 30th year, which tells you how much people think of Mike and his family.

Jayson Dunn, Mike’s brother agrees: “It says a lot about how he was, that people still turn out in his memory after all these years. A lot of people who come annually never met him, but they feel like they know him through this event.”

Mike Dunn graduated from Highlands in 1982.

An outstanding athlete, Mike was a captain of both the football team and the baseball team, and after his senior year was headed to Georgetown College on a football scholarship. During his final year he broke his leg during a baseball game when a base runner slid into him. During the x-rays doctors discovered a cancerous tumor in his leg.  He bravely fought cancer for 6 years but sadly passed away in 1988, never complaining and always with his usually happy-go-lucky outlook on life. Jayson remembers “He was always the same super-giving, wonderful person, even through his chemotherapy, which was pretty terrible back in those days.”


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Grant County Needle Exchange Marks One Year

Creative Commons Photo. 
As northern Kentucky leaders grapple with where or whether to install needles exchanges across the three northern Kentucky counties, just south in Grant County, health officials are lauding the first year of operation.

According to a release sent by the Northern Kentucky Health Department, the Grant County syringe access exchange program has helped 130 people prevent infectious diseases spread through IV drug use. Services are offered on Wednesday afternoons at the Northern Kentucky Health Department’s Grant County Health Center in Williamstown, Ky.

Meet Samuel Woodfill: Common Man, Uncommon Soldier


Samuel Woodfill displays his Medal of Honor. 
A farm boy is not going to waste a shot when hunting. And that’s a lesson Samuel Woodfill learned at an early age on the family farm not far from Madison, Indiana. He did not have much formal education, but don’t be fooled by that. He was bright, observant, patient, calm under pressure, and knew his way around the woods. He was eager to join the military to perhaps follow in his father’s footsteps, a veteran himself.

After he joined the military Woodfill was stationed in the Philippines and Alaska before being stationed at Fort Thomas, where he met Lorena Wiltshire, who people said was a descendant of Daniel Boone. They married on Christmas Day of 1917 and called 1334 Alexandria Pike home. They had no children.

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In the final months of WWI, Woodfill, under General Pershing’s command was now a first  lieutenant and in charge of a machine gun company, engaged in battle in France. The epic Battle of the Argonne Forest began on September 26, 1918 and lasted 47 days. It was the largest and bloodiest battle in US military history to date involving over a million US soldiers. The loss of life was extraordinary; the US lost over 26,000 soldiers while the Germans lost 28,000 soldiers in this extended battle alone. That would be like losing the entire population of Fort Thomas three and a half times in seven weeks.

But let’s stop the story here for a minute. Soldiers at the time were not trained in marksmanship. In fact, many soldiers did not even fire a weapon until they engaged in combat. So when a cool headed farm boy accustomed to being the patient hunter entered a combat situation, his prowess was revealed. And eventually honored.

Northern Kentucky Lawn Care | Yard Sharks | Tree Maintenance Northern Kentucky

The Tower Park Trail Shark. FTM file. 
By Rafe Fowee

Owner, Yard Sharks LLC, a Fort Thomas-based landscaping company. Yard Sharks is part of the #FTMFamily 

Fort Thomas is a beautiful, historic town with many mature tree–lined streets. While this is certainly beautiful to the eye and healthy trees are an asset to nature, these older trees can sometimes pose a dangerous threat to houses, vehicles, outbuildings, fences, and even people or pets in our community.

As we move into the spring, the frequency of storms and strong winds increase, which we have already seen this year. These storms can wreak havoc for homeowners. Yard Sharks has removed trees off of sheds, driveways, and even houses, after they have caused much damage following a storm. Most of these incidents can be prevented.

Owner, Rafe Fowee. Call him today at 859-640-9308.
A tree often has tell-tale signs of weakness or disease, such as splitting or cracks in the bark,  dark spots on tree branches where they split off from the trunk or other branches, or crowning (trees that have a lean,  resulting in the ground bulging on the opposing side of the lean). There are also more obvious signs of distress in trees, such as various limbs or an entire tree that won’t produce leaves. This is called dead wood. Any trees with weakness or disease can pose a serious threat.

Yard Sharks can take a look at your yard to help you identify any potentially hazardous trees, and we can discuss a plan to have these issues taken care of. You can save money, time, inconvenience, and damage to your property by allowing us to help you look for some of these warning signs now.


Yard Sharks consists of a highly skilled tree service crew, with each team member having a minimum of 10 years of experience in the tree industry. In addition to having a highly skilled team, we use reliable and up-to-date equipment, including rigging gear, lifts, bobcats, stump grinders, cranes, and more. We offer free consultations for any size tree job, big or small.

The positive feedback and support that we have received from the Fort Thomas community has encouraged us to continue to provide top-notch service for this upcoming season and many more years to come.  We are excited for the opportunity to serve this wonderful historic community once again.

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Rafe Fowee was raised in Fort Thomas since the age of five. He attended Johnson Elementary School and Highlands Middle and High School and began working in the tree care and removal industry shortly after high school. 

He graduated from Northern Kentucky University with Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, but his true passion is working in the outdoors, and he started Yard Sharks, LLC, out of Fort Thomas.  

Says Fowee, "I am excited about the opportunity to provide lawn care and tree service to fellow residents of this historically beautiful town."