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Friday, April 28, 2017

Newport Library Features Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit: Hometown Teams

The Newport Branch of the Campbell County Public Library system is hosting the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit: Hometown Teams. The exhibit seamlessly combines local and national sports artifacts to show how sports have shaped our society. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

This Is Life, Live in Fort Thomas

Lori Valentine waves. FTM file.
This Is Life, Live aired last night on TLC. It was filmed in Fort Thomas at Fort Thomas Coffee. While the subjects weren't from Fort Thomas, the producers chose the city because the location was just what they were looking for to unveil the story line.

RELATED: National Live Television Event Filming in Fort Thomas

"The producers of the show found us online and contacted me a few weeks ago. He said he was looking for a location similar to ours and wanted a small town feel, which of course Fort Thomas is perfect for that," said Lori Valentine, owner of Fort Thomas Coffee.

As for the show itself, here's the recap.

Here's the Fort Thomas Matters Facebook Live prior to filming:

Highlands to Add Archery Next Year

Highlands is starting an archery program. 
Archery has been sanctioned by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association since the 2012-13 school year.

A number of schools in Northern Kentucky have teams and the Highlands Title IX committee recently did a student survey showing a strong reason to recommend the school board approve adding it. Highlands Director of Athletics Matt Haskamp said more than 70 kids want to participate in the sport and school board member John Weyer said he does not see a reason why the board won't approve it.

Green Team Landscaping and Rotating Panels Will Complement New Signs

The sign on River Road. FTM file. 
Earlier this month the first couple city welcome signs were installed around Fort Thomas. The new signage will not only welcome residents to the City of Fort Thomas, but also inform them of up-and-coming events. With that comes landscaping and temporary panels that will change throughout the year.

There are six total slated for installation. Southbank Partners offered a $20,000 gift to the entire signage project, which offsets the overall $26,883.92 cost, City of Fort Thomas City Administrative Officer, Ron Dill, says.

Many residents are familiar with the Fort Thomas Garden Club and their work which can be seen around the city. The Fort Thomas Green Team was founded several years ago by members of the Garden Club along with others in the Fort Thomas community. "Since its beginning, the Garden Club is proud to have a representative on the Green Team committee," says Fort Thomas resident Alison Murphy, a member of Green Team. "The City oversees the Green Team." This years members of the Garden Club who are also serving on the Green Team include Murphy and Robin Lindeman.

The Green Team is an independent nonprofit organization, and it will be in charge of the landscaping around the city's new signs. Dill says the Green Team's goal is to provide enhanced green space in the community through placement of trees and landscaping. "They have participated in numerous projects since [their formation] and have been a contributing partner with our city over that time," he says.

The Green Team is an evolving organization.

"Traditionally, Green Team has focused on the Gateway Parks that beautify the entrances to our city, and more recently on smaller projects that maintain these areas or add to them," Murphy says. "There is interest within the committee to expand our efforts by creating volunteer opportunities that help beautify our city and educate citizens at the same time on good horticultural practices. We are exploring this idea with our committee, but we do not have events planned at this time."

Currently the Green Team is focused on the city's new signage landscaping. "The city has prepped the sites and will be working toward adding landscaping in the next month," Dill says. "We haven't settled on an exact landscape design but have discussed a 'pallet' of planting options. Some of the locations may warrant additional plantings, perhaps even trees, to provide a full backdrop setting."

Signage on US-27, just off I-471. FTM file. 

In addition to landscaping, several signs will include temporary, rotating panels, which will be hung below the main signs. "These will be specific to city events, i.e. Farmers' Market, summer concerts, Art Around Towne, etc.," Dill says. "They will be changeable for events and seasons." Signs that are currently slated to carry panels include the one on Memorial Parkway and the one on Grand Ave.

Enter Cathy Sonnett.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Local Business Featured on National TV Tonight

FTM File
As reported earlier today on Fort Thomas Matters, a television production studio has descended upon Fort Thomas with multiple satellite trucks and taken over the central business district to produce a “national live television event.”  Crews continue to set up in Fort Thomas Coffee, the location chosen by producers of the show, to air this live, national television program.

Fort Thomas Matters has now learned that the show will air at 10:00 pm tonight on TLC and is called “This is Life Live”.  The show promises to be an “unprecedented four night event” and to provide viewers with a “front-row seat” to watch real families from across the country experience extraordinary circumstances.

The show’s website is and it includes a short promotional video.

Fort Thomas police have all off-street parking in the immediate area around FTC closed until 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning.

Be sure to tune in and post your reactions to the big reveal on the FTM Facebook Page.

National Live Television Event Filming in Fort Thomas

Fort Thomas Coffee. FTM file. 
A television production studio has made its way to Fort Thomas today.

Multiple satellite trucks have ascended to the the central business district to produce a "national live television event." Crews are setting up something that will air tonight.

Gov. Bevin: Braidy Industries to Create 550 Jobs with $1.3 Billion Aluminum Rolling Mill in Eastern Kentucky

Startup producer for aerospace and automotive industries to spearhead regional revitalization

Matt Bevin at Covington's Braxton Brewery. FTM file. 
Gov. Matt Bevin and executives from Braidy Industries Inc. today announced the company will build a $1.3 billion aluminum mill and create 550 advanced manufacturing jobs in Greenup County to produce sheet and plate for the automotive and aerospace industries.

The announcement marks a turning point in bringing economic vitality to Eastern Kentucky, and comes just two days after the 53rd anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 declaration of the “War on Poverty” in Appalachia.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Gov. Bevin Joins Mark Collier on FTM Radio 

“Braidy Industries’ decision to locate in Eastern Kentucky has the potential to be as significant as any economic deal ever made in the history of Kentucky,” said Gov. Bevin. “This $1.3 billion investment will create enormous opportunity for people in the region, and would not have been possible without our recently passed right-to-work legislation. I look forward to the success of Braidy Industries as they leverage the incredible work ethic found in Eastern Kentucky. The ripple effect of this investment will be significant and will produce positive change in the region for generations to come.”

Braidy Industries will construct a 2.5 million-square-foot aluminum mill on more than 300 acres near South Shore in Greenup County. The company expects construction to begin in early 2018, with completion in 2020. Construction will create about 1,000 jobs.

Initially, the facility will produce about 370,000 tons of aluminum per year for the automotive and aerospace industries, with opportunities to expand over time.

The average wage of workers in the new facility will be about $70,000 per year. The company will also provide low-cost healthy meals, a day care, a fitness center and other amenities to create an employee-friendly workplace.

Early cicadas coming to Fort Thomas

Some people might say that the only good thing about cicadas is that we only see them once every 17 years, however Mount St Joseph's University believes Fort Thomas may be in line for an extra visit this Spring.

According to Mount St Joe's cicada website Brood X, the main 17 year group of cicadas, isn't due until 2021. On their last visit a group of the brood hatched 4 years ahead of schedule in 2000 instead of 2004, and they believe the same may happen this year. As well as Fort Thomas, Fort Mitchell, Latonia, Taylor Mill, Covington and Florence may also see early visitors.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fort Thomas Small Business Saturday April | FTBA | Monera Chic Boutique | Diamonds & Dimples | Cobblestone Cafe | Faded Finds

Click the image to view in larger window. 
The Fort Thomas Business Association's Small Business Saturday event is this Saturday, April 29th, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The participating businesses are all conveniently located in the Highland Plaza at 654 Highland Avenue in Fort Thomas.

Businesses included in Saturday's open market are: Monera Chic Boutique, Faded Finds, Diamonds and Dimples and Cobblestone Cafe. If you've not been yet, this is the perfect opportunity to shop local and support local business owners and entrepreneurs.

Each Small Business Saturday, the participating businesses also give back 10% of sales to a local charity. This month's event will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

Since February, the FTBA has held Small Business Saturday events to engage local residents throughout the year. In February Blue Marble Books was up 700% in sales compared to a normal Saturday. Midway Cafe Fort Thomas was up 50% in sales compared to a normal Saturday. A portion of the participating business proceeds were donated to Woodfill's Bigtop Festival.

In March Small Business Saturday participant Fort Thomas Central was up 50% and Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices was up 857% at their retail store in Fort Thomas. A portion of the participating business proceeds were donated to Highlands High School Prom to Dawn.

Please be intentional about shopping local! See you there.

Fort Thomas Schools Assistant Superintendent, Jon Stratton, To Retire

Jon Stratton. FTM file. 
Fort Thomas Independent Schools, the top district in the state, is losing another key administrator to retirement.

Jon Stratton, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, is retiring at the end of this year effective June 30. Superintendent, Gene Kirchner, announced his retirement in March. 

He told Fort Thomas Matters that after 27 years, he's ready to move onto his next adventure. 

"I'm looking forward to supporting the school system as a community member and I am confident that Fort Thomas Schools will continue to evolve on the path of educational excellence," he said. 

Stratton started his education career in 1990 in Pikeville, Kentucky as an 8th grade Social Studies teacher for six years. From there, he moved into the Guidance Counselor position at Pikeville Middle and High School before becoming Principal. He and his family, wife Penny and children Rebecca and  Ben, moved to Fort Thomas in 2002 and was hired at the Central Office in 2014.

U.S. News & World Report Names Highlands One Of America's Best High Schools

FTM file. 
Highlands High School was again named one of “America’s Best High Schools” by the recent U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best High Schools 2017” report, receiving a Gold Medal designation and ranking 273 nationally.

More than 20,400 high schools were analyzed, and the gold medal designation is awarded to the top 500 schools. Only four high schools in Kentucky earned a gold medal designation, the highest award given.

Campbell County YMCA. This is an advertisement. 
Superintendent Gene Kirchner stated, “I am excited to see that Highlands High School received a Gold Medal designation, ranking in the top 500 high schools in the nation. Congratulations to our students, staff and community.”

Schools were awarded gold, silver, or bronze medals based on state proficiency standards, how well they prepare students for college, and other factors. To produce the 2017 Best High Schools rankings, U.S. News & World Report teamed with North Carolina-based RTI International, a global nonprofit social science research firm.

RTI implemented the U.S. News comprehensive rankings methodology, which is based on these key principles: that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.

Finance Committee May Revisit Street Tax Issue

Steve Meyers asks council to reconsider the method for street repair. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

Street repair assessments are an ongoing concern for many Fort Thomas property owners. While the practice of taxing residents of a street for improvements and repairs began in the 1920s, Fort Thomas is one of a very few Kentucky municipalities to continue to cover partial costs of road improvements in this way.

At the April city council meeting, resident Steve Meyers of Highview Drive questioned the method as outdated and inequitable. Highview Drive is one of six streets to be repaired in 2017 along with Custis Avenue, Washington Avenue, Lafayette Avenue, Lilac Lane and Diana Court.

Meyers said he did not have a problem with being taxed but felt the way the tax bills were determined, according to a property’s front footage, was unfair.

“I think basing it on assessed value would be much more fair. You take the total value of the property on the street and divide that by the total expenditure. Then you divide that up according to the assessed value of each property…That’s how other city services are taxed,” Meyers said.

“In my opinion. the roads should belong to all the citizens of Fort Thomas and should be contributed to by all the citizens according to the value of their properties.”

The current method uses a combination of criteria including how much of a property’s front footage abuts the street, length and width of the street, lot size (corner lots vs. regular lots), number of intersections and curb height.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Blue Marble Spring, Summer Events | Blue Marble Books Fort Thomas

There’s something fun for everyone with book signings, Children’s Book Week, Educator Appreciation Nights, 38th Anniversary Sale, & Find Waldo Local!

Blue Marble has filled the calendar with some fun events for everyone this spring and summer! Read on to see all that we have planned.

Mindee Arnett Book Signing, Friday, April 28, 2017, 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. - Join us for a book signing with BookFest's featured author, Mindee Arnett, on Friday, April 28, 2017 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. Arnett is known for her Arkwell Academy Series (The Nightmare Affair, The Nightmare Dilemma, and The Nightmare Charade) and the Avalon Series (Avalon, Proxy, and Polaris). According to her website, Arnett lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. When she’s not telling tales of magic, the supernatural, or outer space, she spends time riding horses and honing her first-person shooter gaming skills.

Children’s Book Week, Saturday, April 29 through Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Do you like inspiring a lifelong love of reading in children and teens across America? We do, too! Join us throughout the week as we celebrate children’s books and reading with various activities! Events are as follows:

Independent Bookstore Day Sidewalk Sale, Saturday, April 29, 2017 – 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Join us for this celebration of independent bookstores across the nation! We’re having a sidewalk sale on books, books, and more books! Sale prices for books included in the sidewalk sale will be priced as marked.

20% OFF Book Sale, Monday, May 1 through Saturday, May 6!

Fort Thomas Jr. Football League | A Letter From the President

FTM file. 
For the past 60 years, the Fort Thomas Junior Football League (FTJFL) has been providing a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for the children of our community to participate in an instructional team sport.  The lessons learned through such participation have helped shape our children’s future in an impactful and positive manner.  The FTJFL looks forward to another 60 years of providing this community benefit.

The FTJFL has made a number of changes over the years.  We have started playing teams from outside of our league to give our kids a chance to face different competition, while at the same time maintaining the structure of our league.  We have increased playing time for all age groups.  We have re-instituted a college scholarship for HHS graduates that played in our league.  We took a team of 8th graders to Knoxville, Tennessee this year to play in the Battle in Rocky Top football tournament, which we plan on doing in the future.

This is an advertisement. 
The FTJFL is considering adding a division in which 2nd and 3rd graders could participate.  If there is enough interest expressed throughout the community, the league plans on starting this new division in the 2017 season.  If you have a child in this age group and would like more information, please contact Dave Simons at

Our league is always looking for responsible, committed volunteers for various duties.  As always, if you or anyone you know may be interested in coaching, contact any board member that is listed on our league website,  You do not have to have a child in the league to be a coach.  We are also looking for volunteers who would like to serve on the board or as game day supervisors.

We are continually trying to improve the experience that the players and parents have while participating in the FTJFL.  We are always open to your suggestions on how to achieve this goal.  Please do not hesitate to contact any board member on what you think will help improve the league.

Dave Simons
President, Fort Thomas Junior Football League

The Lawn @ Fort Thomas Central Opens April 26, 2017

Fort Thomas Central is part of the #FTMFamily. 
The Lawn @ Fort Thomas Central (3 N. Fort Thomas Avenue) opens this Wednesday with the first food truck popping up for lunch.

RELATED: New "Third-Place" To Open in Fort Thomas 

The food truck schedule at The Lawn. Click image to view larger. 
Owner, Barb Thomas, said she hopes The Lawn will create a gathering place in the center of town for folks to meet up, take a rest, enjoy pop-up food trucks, events, live music, giant Jenga, corn hole, play dates/birthday parties, outdoor seating with umbrellas and old school community fun.

"My goal is to bring community energy to the Towne Center on a daily basis," she said. "Art Around Towne, The Holiday Walk and miscellaneous small business events have helped tremendously to bring the community outside and to take advantage of our beautiful Towne Center."

The Lawn grand opening will be Friday, May 5th, 6-9 p.m.  Barney and The Howlers will be playing on the front porch. There will be food trucks, giant Jenga, corn hole and a Derby Hat Contest.  There will be plenty of outdoor seating with umbrellas, soda and water for purchase; coolers welcome.  The rain-out date will be May 6th as a backup.

Grand Opening day festivities at The Lawn. Click image to see larger. 

Police Investigating Fatal 3-Car Crash in Florence.

Photo via Brittany Clark. Reader submitted. 
A person is dead after a three vehicle crash in Boone County.

Boone County Sheriff's deputies responded to the crash on Dixie Highway, near the intersection of Totten Lane, shortly before 9:30 p.m., Saturday night.

Police say that a 1995 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Maxwell Detzel, 22, of Fort Thomas, was traveling northbound on Dixie Highway, crossed the center line at a curve in the road and hit a 2007 Dodge Magnum driven by Ernest Wright, 39, of Cincinnati.

Mr. Detzel's Camaro then continued on into the southbound lane where he also hit a 2000 Honda Civic driven by Joshua Ray, 26, of Fort Mitchell.

More Details Emerge For Farm To Fort Dinner

Tables will line the street by the Mess Hall in Fort Thomas for the Farm to Fort dinner planned for July 2. FTM file. 
As plans are falling into place for the biggest celebration Fort Thomas has seen in 50 years, local farmers are hard at work planting crops for the first ever Farm to Fort dinner that will kick off this year's Sesquicentennial on July 2 at 5:30 p.m.

RELATED: Fort Thomas' Version of Diner En Blanc 

Volunteer Courtney Shannon describes the event as a locally sourced dinner that will have guests dressed in white, sipping cocktails and nibbling on Kentucky inspired gourmet fare created by the chefs at Colonel De's.

"I can't wait for this dinner, such a special and meaningful way to start the sesquicentennial festivities," Shannon said.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

St. Thomas Preschool Receives High Rating

FTM file. 
St. Thomas Preschool in Fort Thomas has received a 5-Star rating from the Kentucky All Stars Pilot.  

The KY All Stars is the state's quality rating and improvement system serving all early care and education programs.  Participants demonstrate a commitment to providing quality care and education.

Programs are rated in the following areas: family and community engagement, staff qualifications, classroom and instructional quality and administrative and leadership practices. Under the previous program, Stars for Kids Now, St. Thomas held a 3 out of 4 Star Rating since 2011.  Under the new rating system, they were able to achieve the top 5 Star rating.

This is an advertisement. 
St. Thomas Preschool was founded in 1994 with Kim Weyer as the director/teacher.  Debbie Eberhart joined the staff as a substitute in 2010 and became the assistant in 2015.

Highlands' Walz Tapped for U.S.A. Basketball Job

Highlands alum, Jeff Walz. 
Highlands alum and Louisville women's basketball coach Jeff Walz has been tapped to lead the USA Basketball Women's U-23 National Team, USA Basketball announced Wednesday.

Walz will coach the team this summer in the inaugural 2017 U-23 Four Nations Tournament, played Aug. 12-15 in Tokyo. Players on the team will be U.S. citizens who are freshmen, sophomores or juniors in college.

RELATED -- Viral Video: Jeff Walz Message To Entitlement 

This is an advertisement. 
The gig is Walz's first USA Basketball head coaching assignment. As a USA assistant coach in 2014 and 2015, he helped both teams go a combined 12-0 en route to gold medals.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Top of the Tower: Local Dog Sparks Animal Rights Movement

By Stephanie Class, Imitative Reporter 

RABBIT HASH, KY -- Adam and Tina Roberts recently took a trip down to Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, and visited the town's iconic General Store. “We were looking forward to seeing the rebuilt store, and to support the town,” said Tina. However, what was supposed to be a nice afternoon for the couple and their 4 year-old Border Collie, Bullwinkle, almost turned into a catastrophe.

They had spent the afternoon listening to bands performing at the store, and also were introduced to the town's mayor, Brynn. Rabbit Hash is known for electing dogs as town officials, and 3 year-old pit bull Mayor Brynn has been in office since the beginning of 2017. Bullwinkle particularly enjoyed getting to know Mayor Brynn, and spent close to an hour chasing down tennis balls with her. From Adam and Tina's perspective, the day had been rather idyllic.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Campbell County School Board Member, Former Judge Charged

Tim Nolan. 
Attorney General Andy Beshear announced today that a former Campbell County District Judge has been charged with human trafficking, a Class B felony; first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor, a Class C felony; and third-degree unlawful transaction with a minor, a Class A misdemeanor.

Timothy Nolan, 70, of California, Ky., was arraigned today in Boone District Court by Elizabeth Chandler, Special Campbell District Judge. An arrest warrant was sought for Nolan April 20 by Campbell County Police Department for the crimes that occurred in August 2016.

Nolan was recently elected to the Campbell County School Board and supporter of the northern Kentucky tea party.

The next hearing date is scheduled for May 5, 2017 for a Preliminary Hearing at 2:00  in Boone County.

Judge Chandler placed Nolan on an ankle monitor with no contact with victims and family – in person, telephone or electronic means. He was released on bond under his own recognizance.

Beshear’s Special Prosecution Division is handling the case. The division is responsible for assisting local prosecutors in complex or sensitive cases, as well as, handle cases in which local prosecutors recuse themselves.

HHS Students Are Offering A Part-time Preschool

FTM file. 
The time between Spring Break and the end of the school year can often feel like a “sprint to the finish.”

For many parents, they are counting down the minutes until they have three uninterrupted months during which time they must occupy and enrich the lives of their school-aged children. Often they do this while balancing continued care for their non-school aged and/or part-time preschool-aged children and the millions of other activities, end-of-year events, and other daily items that arise as summer approaches.  If you happen to be one of these harried persons, the Highlands High School Family and Consumer Science Department students may be able to help.

As they have done for several years in a row now, HHS students are offering a part-time preschool for children ages 3-5.
Two classes for $12. Ask about this special at the front desk and tell them Fort Thomas Matters sent you. This is an advertisement. 

The goal of this program is two-fold: 1) create an enriching and safe environment under which preschoolers can learn and develop, and 2) create a supervised learning opportunity for high school students who want to focus on early childhood education as a possible vocation.  This well-controlled and well-organized program does exactly that.

For three weeks beginning on April 26 and running through May 12, children can go to Highlands High School for one of two different Monday, Wednesday, Friday sessions (either 9:05 to 10:55 or 1:05-2:40).  The cost for the program is $20 per child.  During this time, children will engage with high school students (under the supervision of the Family and Consumer Science Department teachers) and do crafts, develop motor skills, learn, create, and otherwise be developed.

On a personal note, I have been sending my children to this program for four years and will be sending my youngest two again this year.  They are well cared-for, happy, and excited to be a part of this program each year and I am excited to have an extra hour or so to accomplish tasks from my to-do lists while knowing that my children are in great hands.

To reserve a place in this three-week preschool, call and leave a message on the department’s voicemail system at 859-815-2664 or email Ahren Wagner at  There will be a form to complete to enroll one’s child and the high school will also need to know the child’s name, age, gender, and shirt size.

If you’re looking for a way to gauge your child’s readiness for preschool, to find time to yourself to help with the “sprint to the finish” of the end of the school year, or you want more outlets to develop your child’s budding creativity and love of school, this program is right for you.  Not to mention, by allowing your child to participate, you also help to create future generations of engaged, knowledgeable, and passionate young persons to teach future generations of children.

Court Records Indicate Pattern of Troubled Marriages Marred By Abuse

Editor's note: Testimony given in the following article has not been proven in a court of law. They are verbatim from court documents and describe a version of events from the petitioner's point of view.

John "Will" Allender III, 38, from California, Kentucky is accused of fatally shooting his wife around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, five minutes after a Campbell County District Court Judge denied an emergency protection order he filed against his wife.

He had also petitioned the court for protection of the couple's six children. Judge Karen Thomas also denied that.

Sources close to Fort Thomas Matters state that Allender applied for the order against his wife, Cheryl, 37, less than an hour earlier in Campbell County Circuit Court after reviewing legal paperwork that was sent to him regarding pending divorce proceedings.

According to police, Allender said he shot his wife Cheryl "four or five times" after she entered his room holding a gun. Her body was found in the yard.

The EPO that was denied on Tuesday by Allender stated the following:

"following a verbal argument in which I removed myself from to avoid further conflict, she followed me into my separate apartment (3 family home) unlocking the closed door. She attempted to make me to hit her and when I confronted her to leave my dwelling ran outside screaming that I was going to hurt her. 

She owns 3 firearms and I believe she is not currently mentally stable. I believe that she poses a danger to me and to our 6 minor children. I ask that she be barred from our home and be kept no less than 500 ft from me and my children until her mental state can be determined by a qualified professional."

Police reported Allender told them he shot his wife after she entered his room in the house holding a gun. They found him facedown on the front lawn, his gun ten feet away.

According to witnesses in the police report, they said that Allender's wife didn't have time to get a gun before he shot her.

This is not the first time Allender has had marital issues and domestic abuse accusations.

Allender, now in his third marriage, had full orders of protection against him filed with the courts by his previous two wives.

First wife Kimberly Cummins was granted protection in March of 2000.

She told the court that she had tried to end the marriage, but Allender would not allow it. From that court document, she stated the following:

On Saturday he came over to get some of his stuff that I had ready for him. Once in we talked for a little then he started tearing through the house looking for his clothes which he had already picked up under police escort. I asked him to leave he told me he was moving back in. He forced me to kiss him... We wrestled on the front porch. I tried to get back inside without him but he wedged himself in the doorway. I noticed the door started to bend so I told him if he came in and sat on the couch I'd let him in. He said okay but then ran into the kitchen. 

I stood on his foot and held one of his arms he twisted my wrist then grabbed his stuff and went to his car. I locked the doors and called my dad and then called police. 

On previous occasions the neighbors have called the police because he was throwing me around the house. He's been in jail for domestic violence. We went to mediation instead of pressing charges. While being married, he's forced me to have sex with him. After I asked him to move out he had my mail forwarded to his parents house. He denies it, but the post office has the paper showing that he asked to have my mail forwarded. This went on for about a week and a half before I found out the post office said they sent my mail to his parents house. But he says he never got it. 

Also 3 months before we got married I was trying to leave him. When he got to the trailer and found me packing stuff he tried to break my leg on the couch and held me in the air and squeezed me around the middle to try and make me faint. My parents and his mom sat down with us after that to try and make things work out but a month after we got married I tried to barricade myself in our room because he went off on me again. He reached around the door where I was hiding and squeezed my inner thigh as hard as he could. I was wearing jeans and he still left nail marks and a huge bruise."

Allender also filed for an EPO against Cummins, also claiming abuse by her.

Moyer Elementary Renovation Pictures

Moyer Elementary's rendering of their addition and renovation sits on the front steps of the elementary school's entrance. FTM file. 
In 2015 school and city officials broke ground on the front lawn of Ruth Moyer Elementary on a drizzly, grey November day.

Fast forward to April of 2017 and the progress and light at the end of the tunnel is within reach. The Kentucky School Facilities Construction Commission pledged to pay the bulk of the estimated $20 million cost in September 2014.

Fort Thomas Matters joined Superintendent Gene Kirchner, the Fort Thomas School Board, project architect, Joe Hayes, and state officials on a tour of what's been done and what's still left to do. Fort Thomas Schools Director of Operations, Jerry Wissman, led the tour.

"The new Ruth Moyer Elementary is going to be absolutely stunning," said Kirchner. "Many generations of Fort Thomas children will benefit greatly from the investment that this community has made in their future. I am so proud to have played a small role in making that happen."

School Board Chair, Brad Fennell, said that he hoped that the state would be able to see that their money was being put to good use.

"It's my hope that the state can use our our school system, not just our academic prowess, but also the beautiful facilities that we've designed and built as a showplace and as an example for the rest of the state," he said. "We've built a lot of buildings since I've been here, but the key is that we're progressively getting better. Moyer has been the culmination and it may be that Johnson will be even better." 

The budgeting process for awarding state money to schools occurs in 2018, which could be the year that the district receives money for Johnson. The elementary school in the northern part of Fort Thomas is perennially one of the most archaic in terms of facilities.

At Moyer, the front part of the building, which will maintain the same facade that residents are used to, has yet to undergo construction.

The population of Moyer has ballooned from 450 students in 2011 to 521 today, which is why the school leapfrogged Johnson Elementary in terms of need. The finished product of the school will hold 550 students, which is the maximum size that the Kentucky Department of Education allows based on the school enrollment.

Standard classrooms will be about 850 square feet.

"Every classroom has its own personality," said Wissman. "To the credit of the architect. It's not just a box." 

Each classroom will include "glass boards," which have been provided by the Moyer PTO and Moyer Athletic Boosters.

"Those are uniquely Fort Thomas. The latest and greatest," said Kirchner.

They come with a 50-year warranty.

The entry way, performance center and cafeteria are expansive with a high-reaching 40-foot ceiling. The stage is the center point between the gym and performance center and will provide seating on either side to accommodate large crowds. The gym has an arched ceiling, which Kirchner said they had to fight for.

"The KDE said it was an extravagant cost, but they way we saw it, with our past experiences, it was needed and very functional."

The central corridor, which has a terrazzo floor with a carefully designed pattern, is wide and overlooked by a balcony with classrooms on the second floor. There will be water fountain and water bottle stations in each room to maximize classroom time.

The first and second grade will be located on the second floor, but next year, the first grade will temporarily be in the larger resource classrooms while the rest of the building is being constructed. The third floor will house fourth and fifth grade classrooms.

There will be a looped driveway around back that will lead to a playground. Wissman said that the playground equipment, which was purchased just five years ago, will be reassembled, with a few new items to be added with student input.

The tour ended in the current cafeteria to juxtapose the old versus what will be. Currently the students gets twenty minutes for lunch with a ten minute recess. Wissman noted that the upgraded facilities should allow staff to cut the preparation time in half.

Construction and renovation is on time, with furniture slated for delivery in the last week of July to give teachers a few weeks to get their classrooms organized before school is to start back in August of 2017.

The front lawn has become the school's recess play field while the construction in the back of the building is taking place. FTM file.  

The back part of the new building was matched perfectly to the front. FTM file. 

The Fort Thomas School Board (L to R): John Weyer, Karen Allen, Jeff Beach, Lisa Duckworth and Brad Fennell (Chair). 

Wissman leading the tour. FTM file. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

GoFundMe Set Up For Allender Children

Lost in the tragedy that occurred in Campbell County when Will Allender killed his wife, Cheryl, are the six children who were left behind.

RELATED: Mother of 6, Shot, Killed in Campbell County 

There has been a GoFundMe page set up for them with a goal of $50,000. So far, 102 people have raised over $6,000 in total in the last day.

Please considering sharing this post.

The link is here. 

Here's what the page says:

Highlands Students Accepted to Summer Governor's Programs

Pictured L-R: GSP students Savannah Brady, Griffin Leighty, Bonny Lemma; GSP Alternates Elizabeth Juengling, Natalie Wehrle; and GSA student Libby Birkley.
Highlands High School (HHS) is honored to announce the students who have been accepted into Governor’s summer programs.

HHS juniors accepted into the Governor’s Scholar Program (GSP) are:
·         Savannah Brady
·         Bonny Lemma
·         Griffin Leighty
·         Elizabeth Juengling (Alternate)
·         Natalie Wehrle (Alternate)

GSP is a six week summer residential program for outstanding high school students in Kentucky who are rising seniors. In order to participate in the program, students must be nominated by their high schools and then compete on a state-wide level. In addition to an academic profile that includes difficulty of course load, GPA, and at least one standardized test score, the application requires an outline of all extracurricular activities, a history of volunteer service and a list of job positions held. Teacher recommendations include both quantitative evaluation and qualitative descriptions of the student’s performance and potential. The final component of the application is an original essay.

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City To Weigh In On TANK Proposal

The #11 TANK bus waits for riders on N. Fort Thomas Avenue. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee 

Concern about the proposed elimination and consolidation of Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) bus routes that serve Fort Thomas brought several people to the recent April city council meeting.

TANK has proposed major changes to bus routes 11 and 16 that serve northern Fort Thomas. In essence, route 11 stops would be eliminated entirely and route 16 service would be greatly reduced including elimination of a park-and-ride facility at the Newport Shopping Plaza.

RELATED: Bus Route in Fort Thomas May Be Eliminated 

The group presented a list of concerns and alternatives for consideration, and asked for the city’s support and influence with the TANK Board and the Campbell County Fiscal Court in an effort save bus route 11 or to provide viable alternatives for riders.

Alternatives on their list included smaller buses, providing service only at peak commuting times, additional park-and-ride locations and a modest rate increase.

City Administrator Ron Dill said he has heard from other residents who are concerned about the changes. He said the city will advocate for consideration of alternatives to TANK’s proposal and that he feels both TANK and the county will give citizen input careful consideration.

TANK issue promotes citizen action

Now is the time to speak up with concerns about the proposed changes, said Marjorie Hull, a resident of Sterling Avenue who commutes each day to work on TANK Route 11.

When Hull first received word of the route changes at the end of March through a text message from TANK, she spoke to her bus driver and other passengers about her concerns and discovered few knew about the proposal.

Highlands Football Trying Offense and Defense in Spring Ball

Bluebirds Take Different Approach in Putting Players in Right Positions

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands defensive lineman Michael Dunn (73) causes a fumble against Grant County last year. Dunn played on both lines at the end of last season .
The Highlands football coaches would be the first to tell you the toughest part of their jobs is putting players in the right positions to succeed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

State Champions Recognized by Fort Thomas School Board

JV Dance Team.
There were state champions everywhere at the most recent Fort Thomas School Board meeting. So many champions, in fact, that the location had to be changed from the Board of Education building to the black box room at Highlands High School.

The Board recognized and congratulated Helen Ross for her State Championship win on the General Knowledge Exam at the Governor's Cup competition.

Ross had previously scored a perfect ACT score of 36 and was named a National Merit Finalist.

RELATED: Highlands Student Earns Perfect Score on ACT

Many other teams have recently won state championships. Below are those teams and team members.

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Odyssey of the Mind - State Champions
Johnson Elementary 3rd Grade Odyssey of the Mind

Lillian Foley
Elise Hellmann
Sydney Lehman
Kaitlyn Ryan
Liza Zengel

HMS Dance Team - State Champions in Pom

Patrick Towles Works Out For Cincinnati Bengals

Yesterday was local prospects workout day for the Cincinnati Bengals and a familiar name participated, albeit in an unfamiliar role.

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles participated in tight end drills today at the Bengals workout and said he’s willing to switch positions to make it in the NFL.

RELATED: Towles Shines at Pro Day. Here's How He's Ranked For Stat Services 

Call Ashley Barlow for your legal needs. 859-781-5777. 
Towles played quarterback at Kentucky for four years before graduating and transferring to Boston College for his fifth year of eligibility. Last season, he started for the Eagles, putting up 1,730 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Towles left Cincinnati yesterday and flew to San Diego to work out for the Chargers.

Mother of 6 Shot, Killed in Campbell County

Cheryl Allender of California, Kentucky was shot and killed Tuesday. Her husband, Will Allender, was charged with the murder. Photo: provided. 
A mother of six was shot dead by her husband in California, Kentucky,

The shooting was reported around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday in the 11600 block of Mary Ingles Highway. More than five hours after the shooting, investigators were still at the scene gathering evidence.

Cheryl Allender, 37, was shot dead, Campbell County police said.

She was a mother of six, neighbors said, and a member of Mentor Baptist Church. Neighbors added that several young children lived in the home.

Witnesses said they heard around five gunshots and a car peeling out of the driveway.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

First City Welcome Sign Installed on Memorial Parkway, River Road

New signs were installed this week. FTM file. 
The City of Fort Thomas installed its first new iron signs on Memorial Parkway and River Road this week.

In June of 2016, Fort Thomas Matters reported that the city's Renaissance Board had asked council to approve a purchase of new city signage that would not only welcome people and residents to the city, but also inform them of what's happening in Fort Thomas.

RELATED: New City Signs Will Welcome, Inform (June 2016)

Constructed out of black iron with a military script font, each permanent sign will have a place to hang thinner, stop-sign like material, easily changeable, advertising different events.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. This is an advertisement. 
The city was hoping to have the signs in place by the end of the last summer, but the signs had to be modified because the Kentucky Transportation Departments required a bigger setback from the road.

RELATED: New Fort Thomas Signage Will Welcome and Inform

Bids were requested because the expenditure was over $20,000 and Elsmere Ironworks won the bid at $26,883.92.

Things to Do This Earth Day, Saturday, April 22

Harlan Hubbard studio.
Here are a few interesting things to do around town on Earth Day.

But first, a little background.  Our current environmental awareness began around 1970 as a warning regarding increasing pollution levels. Earth Day began as a counterculture event but is now a mainstream celebration of our relationship and responsibility to the world around us. Now the annual celebration encourages people to get outside, participate in some sort of environmental community service, and to otherwise make the world around us a better place, or just to enjoy the natural world.

Of course, our modern concept of environmentalism can be traced to Henry David Thoreau who celebrated the richness of our relationship with the planet as well as his frustration with a lack of respect for the environment in his essays and books, most notably Walden.  The man who is known as Kentucky’s Thoreau, Fort Thomas’ Harlan Hubbard, picked up on that theme and revealed that relationship in his paintings and his writings. He, like Thoreau, “went to the woods to live deliberately” in order to deepen his understanding of nature, himself, and mankind.

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He lived without electricity or running water for over 40 years in a small house that he built from locally sourced materials on a hill overlooking the Ohio River downstream from Carrollton, Kentucky.  But he really began his experiment years before that over at 129 Highland Avenue in an art studio that be built from reclaimed materials. That building is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here are three things that you can do this Earth Day in Fort Thomas.