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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Two Cars Stolen in Fort Thomas in a Week

Unlocked cars in Fort Thomas were rifled through once again over the past week, but thieves were overlooking some valuables in search of keys. FTM file. 
Another rash of car "break-ins" have hit the streets of Fort Thomas.

Break-ins italicized in the lede of this article because despite the warnings by police, media coverage and sheer number of families that have been victimized, thieves are still preying on cars that are unlocked in Fort Thomas.

"It's a real problem," said Detective Adam Noe. "It's one that we really can't prevent. Our residents are being preyed upon and we can't stress it enough: don't allow yourself to be a victim. It's as simple as locking your doors."

Noe said this time thieves hit in clusters on Pentland and Sweetbriar Avenues, before making their way back into the Summit Avenue subdivision in Fort Thomas. Within the last week to ten days, he estimated that around 20 people had reported that their cars were rummaged through.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Bluebirds Smash Way Back to Region Championship Game

Bluebirds Score 15 Runs in First Two Innings of Semi-Final Blowout

PHOTO: Bob Jackson. Highlands junior Drew Rom fires to the plate in the game against Beechwood on Monday. Highlands handled St. Henry, 15-1 in five innings to advance to its fifth region championship game in six years Tuesday.
Lately, the 9th Region Baseball Tournament at University of Cincinnati Health Stadium has been Highlands time.

The Bluebirds (24-12 overall) entered the semifinals Tuesday with a record of 11-3 in region play starting with the 2012 run to the region championship. Highlands had been to the region title game four of the past five years including wins in the title games the past two years.

You Are Invited: Fort Thomas Museum Will Hold Open House on Sunday, June 4, 2017

The ornament. 
As part of the city’s celebration of its 150th birthday, the Fort Thomas Military and Community History Museum will hold an Open House on Sunday, June 4, 2017 from 2:00 - 4:00 PM.

 Although the commissioned statue of General Thomas will not be ready just yet, the museum has received the generous donation of a new portrait of General Thomas that will be unveiled at 2:30 PM during the Open House.  This gracious donation by attorney Jim Galbreath and his wife Sandra is different from any of the portraits currently in our collection and will be a wonderful addition to the museum.

In addition to the unveiling, the museum will also be introducing a limited edition ornament of the Community Center, better known to most of us as the Mess Hall.  This polished, pewter-finish ornament is 3-dimensional and is the first in a planned series of ornaments commemorating iconic structures in the fort and in the city.  The cost is $20 per ornament payable by cash or check with proper ID.

If you’ve never been to the museum in Tower Park before, this is a chance to take a quick peek and plan a longer visit.  If you have visited in the past, come by and see the changes.  The Beverly Hills room remains especially poignant as this year is the 40th anniversary of the tragedy.  The rotating exhibit rooms feature a selection from our collection of original WWI and WWII propaganda posters called the Art of War.  The military room on the first floor is crammed full of artifacts and memorabilia spanning the Spanish-American War through WWII.  The community room illustrates bits and pieces from the defensive batteries of the Civil War before we were a city, artifacts from the long-gone Altamont Hotel, illustrations and information about the infamous Pearl Bryan murder, and documents and pictures telling the tale of the life and death of a family-owned grocery store typical of several scattered throughout Fort Thomas.

Make Plans to Visit Fort Thomas Artist Harlan Hubbard Art Exhibit and Sale of Rarely Seen Pieces

The Hubbard Studio is on the National Register of Historic Places

You can buy a piece of local legendary artist Harlan Hubbard and help restore his Fort Thomas studio. You are invited to visit Bowman’s Framing shop on North Fort Thomas Avenue on Saturday June 3, 6:00 - 8:00 PM. Bill and Flo Caddell, who have the largest private Hubbard collection, will display and sell many seldom seen and rare pieces. Half of the proceeds will benefit the restoration of the Hubbard Studio that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places last year.

Try two classes for $12 at Orangetheory Fitness Newport Pavilion. Mention FTM at the check-in desk. This is an advertisement. 

Highlands High School Graduation 2017

The Highlands High School Class of 2017 graduated on May 28, 2017. Photographer, Brian Frey, produced these photos. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tower Park Flag Display Represents Veteran Suicides

A flag display in Tower Park will remain for three weeks to honor veterans and soldiers who have committed suicide. It is estimated that there are 660 veteran suicides per month. FTM file.
A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs study has estimated that roughly 22 veterans or soldiers commit suicide a day. In 30 days, that is 660. That number of flags line the hillside in Tower Park this Memorial Day, representing each man or woman that took his or her own life.

This past Friday, Howard Berry and a group of friends spent the afternoon putting up the display. Berry is the father of U.S. Staff Sergeant Josh Berry who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and was a survivor of the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas. Josh died by his own hand in 2013.

The display was put up Friday afternoon. FTM file
Berry says the flags aren't just about Josh.

"He's just one of the flags. Each flag represents a man or a woman that died by their own hand, Berry said.

The public at large is not gonna be aware of there's a bunch of flags, that looks nice, but when you see 660 flags which is 22 times 30, it kinda gets your attention."
660 flags line the hillside to represent each veteran that commits suicide in a month. FTM file

Since Josh's death, Berry says he has had a lot of questions for leaders in Washington D.C. as well as for people at the VA hospital. He has become more aware of a lot of young men and women who have been dying by their own hand

"I've decided to honor these forgotten soldiers. By forgotten, I mean their best thinking was to end their lives. They fell through the cracks - each and every one of them. Whatever the reason, they couldn't get the care they needed, and they all wore a uniform at some point.
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Fort Thomas Resident and Woodfill Teacher Retires After 39 Years

Anne Klei has taught at Woodfill Elementary for 38 years.

While teachers throughout Fort Thomas Independent Schools have been preparing their room for summer, several have been packing up their rooms for good—including a 1st grade teacher who has taught at Woodfill Elementary for 38 years.

Anne Klei grew up on Grant St., directly behind Woodfill. She attended St. Thomas School, and graduated from its high school in 1973. She began her college education at Thomas More College, thanks to a scholarship, and then transferred to Northern Kentucky University (NKU), graduating in 1977. She later obtained her master's degree from NKU as well.

Klei began her teaching career at Silver Grove Schools, where she taught a learning disabilities class. The remainder of her career has been at Woodfill, beginning in 1979. She's taught special education, 2nd grade, a combination of 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders (during the KERA reform), and 1st grade.

Try to Fort Thomas Matters burger, only at The Midway Cafe. This is an advertisement. 

She and her husband, Mark, who both still live in Fort Thomas, raised two daughters in the city.

"Teaching has not been just a job for me, it's been my life," Klei says. "I get so excited when a student reads a book all by him/herself, answers a difficult math problem, shows me a story they wrote. One of the things I've enjoyed the most is getting boys and girls excited about reading—showing them what adventures lie in books."

Many parents have been thankful for Klei's dedication throughout her 39 years of teaching, including those in her most recent class.

"We are so grateful that both of our kids were placed with Mrs. Klei," says Woodfill parent Shelley Frey. "Although they are only a year apart in school, their personalities are vastly different. Mrs. Klei encouraged, supported and challenged each of them in ways that each uniquely needed. She took the time to really see and know my kids. They emerged from the first grade feeling successful and confident. Her passion for teaching was clear in every interaction. We can't thank her enough for her dedication."

Woodfill parent Kena Cole echoed these sentiments. "Mrs. Klei was a wonderful teacher for Zachary," she says. "She pushed him to what he's capable of instead of allowing him to get bored. She kept him on task and held him responsible for making poor choices. She's exactly what he needed this year."

Police Department Annual Report highlights

Fort Thomas Police personnel participate in a wide range of community events.

by Robin Gee

The Fort Thomas Police Department Annual Report for 2016 is now available. Police Chief Mike Daly shared highlights of the report at the April city council meeting. Fort Thomas was recently named the Safest City in Kentucky, and Chief Daly credited his staff and strong relationships with the Fire Service and other city departments. 

Before launching into the full report, Chief Daly told a story that illustrates the heavy toll that the heroin epidemic is taking on the region. Earlier that week fire and police personnel responded to a call about an overdose of a young woman. The person calling 9-1-1 was the woman’s three-year-old daughter. The child was with her mother when she collapsed. The little girl ran to a neighbor’s house for help. The chief said the woman recovered but it was sad to see how this drug problem affects even the smallest members of our community. 

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The Year in Review

The report opens with a message from Daly discussing the department’s efforts to keep the public safe and to strengthen ties within the community. He thanked the 23 officers and Police Clerk Debbie Lucas for serving the citizens of Fort Thomas. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Jim Bunning, Former US Senator and Baseball Hall of Famer, Passes Away

Sen. Jim Bunning. 
Jim Bunning, a former U.S. senator and baseball Hall of Famer, has died. According to his family, he passed away last night at 11:55 p.m.

He had suffered a stroke in October.

Bunning was a Hall of Fame baseball pitcher with the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies.

He later was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District, and was elected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky, where he served two terms.

Bunning was born in Southgate, Kentucky, the son of Gladys (née Best) and Louis Aloysius Bunning.He graduated from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati in 1949 and received a bachelor's degree in economics from Xavier University.

In 1952, Bunning married Mary Catherine Theis. They had five daughters and four sons. One of Bunning's sons, David L. Bunning, is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Another son, Bill, is the head brew master at Ye Olde Brothers Brewery in Navarre, Florida. Jim and Mary Catherine also have thirty-five grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren, as of 2013. One of those grandchildren is Patrick Towles, former starting quarterback for the University of Kentucky and Boston College football teams.

Towles, a Highlands graduate, wore the same number 14 that his grandfather did.

Bunning was one of the Senate's most conservative members, gaining high marks from several conservative interest groups. He was ranked by National Journal as the second-most conservative United States Senator in their March 2007 conservative/liberal rankings.

First elected to office in 1977, Bunning served two years on the city council of Fort Thomas, Kentucky before running for and winning a seat in the Kentucky Senate as a Republican. He was elected minority leader by his Republican colleagues, a rare feat for a freshman legislator.

Bunning was the Republican candidate for Governor of Kentucky in 1983. He and his running mate Eugene P. Stuart lost in the general election to Democrat Martha Layne Collins.

Bunning threw two no-hitters, one being a perfect game. His perfect game was the first thrown by a National League pitcher in 84 years and he's one of only seven pitchers to throw both a perfect game and an additional no-hitter.

"Today Kentucky truly lost a political icon," said Kentucky State Senator Wil Schroder.  "I will be forever grateful for Jim Bunning’s leadership and dedication to service at the local, state, and national level.   I, along with so many others, owe him a debt of gratitude for his support and will always cherish his friendship.  My thoughts and prayers are with Mary and the Bunning family."

Visitation will be held Muehlenkamp-Erschell Funeral Home in Fort Thomas, Kentucky from 2-8 p.m. on June 2. Mass of Christian burial will be at Saturday, June 3, at 10:00 a.m. at Catherdral Bascilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky.

Bunning was 85 years old.

Small Business Saturday | Mint Yoga Studio | Fort Thomas Business Association

Small Business Saturday is happening TODAY at The Hiland building on N. Fort Thomas Avenue.  FTM file. 
As part of the Fort Thomas Business Association initiative, local businesses will team up on the 4th Saturday each month to celebrate the #shopsmall movement and to give back to the Fort Thomas Community.

Today, May 27th - Mint Yoga is participating in Small Business Saturday along with Tom Vennemann & Marta Vennemann of Simple Cultures fermented vegetables. and Jamie Kallmeyer with Graceful Style Home, A Clothing & Home Boutique (located in the Highlander Event Center) will be in the lobby area of the Hiland Building with clothing and accessories.

FTM file. 
Stop in NOW for some tasty food, stylish duds and “YogaBites”!

FTBA President, Drew Schwegman, with Mint Yoga Studio owner, Tiffany Brennan. FTM file. 

All Yoga Class Passes, Mint Yoga Apparel, and Chakra Bracelets will be 20% off when you purchase in the studio and 10% of Mint's proceeds will go to The CARE Closet.

Chipotle Hack: Credit Card Info Stolen At More than 30 Tri-State Restaurants

FTM file. 
Chipotle Mexican Grill is investigating a breach in the restaurant’s payments systems that could have jeopardized customer credit card information.

The hack was announced Friday and impacts more than 30 locations in the Tri-State area.

The Campbell County YMCA. This is an advertisement. 

The hacker malware could access track data such as cardholder names, numbers, expiration date and internal verification codes, according to a statement from the company.

The time frame of the hack varies by location, but most restaurants were impacted between March 25 and April 18 of 2017.

Most of its 2,249 restaurants were affected,  said company spokesperson Chris Arnold.

"Because of the nature of the incident and the data involved, we lack sufficient information to determine how many unique payment cards may have been involved," he said.

The company has been working hard to rebound from food safety issues in 2015 that resulted in a sales drop. The company has since been climbing back, with its stock up to $480.15 on Friday. On January 4th, the first trading day of the year, Chipotle stock traded for $381 a share.

The company said consumers should check their credit card statements for unauthorized activity and report unauthorized charges to the card issuer. "Payment card rules generally provide that cardholders are not responsible for unauthorized charges reported in a timely manner."

Chipotle said it's working with cyber security firms to evaluate ways to enhance security measures. In addition, "we...are working with the payment card networks so that the banks that issue payment cards can be made aware and initiate heightened monitoring."

All 14 Chipotle locations in the city of Cincinnati were impacted. Other local stores include:

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fire Department Annual Report highlights

Children at St. Thomas school learn about fire trucks and fire safety.


by Robin Gee

Fire Chief Mark Bailey presented the Fort Thomas Fire Department Annual Report for 2016 at the April City Council meeting. After expressing deep gratitude for his relationships with city officials and staff, he opened with praise for the men and women of the fire department, some of whom attended to hear his presentation. 

"I have 18 of the best firefighters and EMS in northern Kentucky, no doubt, hands down, they do it day in and day out. They are the best," Bailey said.  

Here are some highlights from the Fire Department Annual Report, which is available on the Fire Department website. 

The year in review

The number of runs the Fire Department handled for 2016 was down slightly from the year before. The department went on 1,768 runs in 2016 compared to 1,942 in 2015.
The annual report gives a detailed summary of fire and EMS service each month including the number of responses, drills and staff hours. In addition to responding to calls, the fire service provides safety education throughout the community and participates in a number of trainings each year. 

City Council Roundup: Legislator report, VA homes, police news and a special proclamation

Kentucky State Senator Wil Schroder

by Robin Gee

Zoning changes for the VA homes project, dispatch center upgrade funding, visioning plans and street assessments were among projects addressed at the May 15 Fort Thomas City Council meeting.

Kentucky State Senator Wil Schroder also addressed council with a brief report on the last legislative session, and council honored a special local couple who have contributed much to the community over the years. 

Legislator’s report

Senator Schroder addressed council with a brief report on the most recent state legislative session.

He noted that 793 bills were filed and 202 bills were passed by both chambers this session and highlighted a few he felt would have the strongest impact on the community.

Repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law led his list. The law had required that wages and benefits paid for construction of state and locally funded public projects reflect an average hourly wage set by the state for a specific area. By repealing the law, state-funded projects would no longer be subject to prevailing wage.

Schroder, who was in favor of the repeal, said the move can result in significant cost savings for municipalities. He cited a recent highway project in Fort Mitchell that came in $75,000 under the initial estimate due to the reduction in wage costs.

Senate Bill 104 also passed the legislature. The bill makes adjustments to an existing pension reform bill passed in 2013 aimed at cracking down on a practice known as “spiking” of state pensions. Because pension amounts are based on the highest earning years, some employees work overtime to boost earnings and their pensions in the last years. To combat the practice, caps are set on earnings that can be counted in the final pension formula.

Highlands Track, Field, Tennis Recap

Ladybirds Take Fifth in 2A State Meet

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands finished fifth in the Class 2A state meet this past Friday. The Ladybirds mile relay team finished first.
The Highlands track and field teams expected to go through some retooling years.

The Ladybirds still managed to finish fifth in the Class 2A state meet at the University of Kentucky on Friday with 46 points and the Bluebirds took 11th with 17 points. The Ladybirds finished 14 points behind state runner-up John Hardin. Boyle County repeated as 2A girls state champs with 87 points and Mercer County won the boys with 113 points.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fort Thomas Couple Celebrate 60 Years With Family and Community

Bonnie and Jerry Jansen at their Fort Thomas home.

by Robin Gee

About 60 years ago at a home in Fort Thomas, college student Jerry Jansen sat his parents down and confessed a secret. He had been married to his true love for four months. Only a few miles away, a young woman about to graduate from Holmes High School was making the same confession to her parents. She was now Mrs. Bonnie Jansen.

It started innocently enough. Jerry met Bonnie in the youth group at the Madison Avenue Christian Church in Covington. They had been dating awhile, but it was getting hard to travel home from college to see her. They were destined to be together so why not make it official? The couple decided the solution would be to get married.

After they got over the initial shock, family members gave the impetuous young couple two to three years tops. Yet Jerry and Bonnie defied the odds. Three children, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren later, the couple celebrated their 60th anniversary on May 18, 2017.

Despite the dour predictions, says Bonnie, "Our love just grew and when the kids came, the love grew with them."

Fort Thomas Mayor Eric Haas proclaimed the day as Jerry and Bonnie Jansen Day in honor of the anniversary and the couple’s long legacy of community service, including their role in the creation and care of the Fort Thomas Military and Community Museum.

Deep roots and a strong work ethic

NKY Women’s Outpost Summer Speaker Series

 JoAnn Cornett, Nickie Hornsby, Paige Durst-Snell, Deedee McGraw; back row:  Dottie Dunn, Rhonda Vasseur, Rose Anne Bertram, Cheryl Raso, Bonnie Lackey. Provided. 
“Reviving The Hearts of Women” is the focus of this year’s annual summer series.  This interdenominational Christian Ministry welcomes women to come and enjoy six Monday evenings in June and July, from 6:45 – 8:30 p.m.

Bevin, Brannen, bobblehead highlight NKY Night

The third annual Northern Kentucky Night at Great American Ball Park on May 20 featured Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball coach John Brannen, an Adam Duvall bobblehead and a Reds comeback victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Northern Kentucky Night is sponsored by St. Elizabeth Healthcare, which first created the event in 2015. Among the activities: Bevin threw out a ceremonial first pitch to Duvall, the Reds left fielder and a Louisville native. Brannen, who led the Norse to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance, threw out a ceremonial first pitch to NKU Athletic Director Ken Bothof.

The ͞Healthier Northern Kentucky Award͟ was presented by St. Elizabeth to Kenton County Judge Executive Kris Knochelmann, Deputy Judge Executive Joe Shriver, JSAP Director Jason Merrick, Jailer Terry Carl and Kenton County Commissioners Beth Sewell, Jon Draud and Joe Nienaber for their Jail Substance Abuse Program (JSAP). Not all were present for the presentation.

The national anthem was performed by Megan Urz, Ellie Chancellor and Amanda Steier, 2017 Northern Kentucky University School of Arts graduates in Musical Theatre. The honorary captain was Bridget Schultz, representing New Perceptions, an Edgewood-based non-profit that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

The Reds recognized Hometown Heroes Dr. Kimberly Vormbrock, a primary care physician, and Dave Simpson, a courier in the purchasing department, and other veterans who work for St. Elizabeth.

To top off the day, Cincinnati won 12-8, rallying from five runs down.

Sesquicentennial Festival Schedule is Jammed with Fun Activities

FTM file. 

There are so many events happening this week.  Please keep an eye on the city's website, Fort Thomas Matters, the City’s Facebook page, and the Tour Buddy smartphone app for updates on all the events.  We also need a lot of volunteers.  Please find your favorite event and sign up. We are always open to new ideas. Contact Linda Slone 859-750-9532.   Thank you!

Volunteer Sign-Up: The festival needs lots of volunteers to make everything run smoothly. You can visit this site to sign up for volunteer slots. You can do this on your phone or laptop. Copy and paste this link.

Sunday, July 2: Fundraising Party

9:00 AM: Old Fort Trail Challenge.
Want to celebrate the Sesquicentennial with a challenge?  Are you one of the many people who love Fort Thomas for how walker and runner friendly it is? Are you the outdoors type?  If so, why not walk right off the sidewalks and into the beautiful forests of Fort Thomas by participating in the Old Fort Trail Challenge. The challenge is to hike all of the Tower Park trails (as laid out on a map) all in one day. Check-points will be located throughout the trail system where participants can stamp their maps and read a sign to learn a little bit about Fort Thomas history.  Not sure if you can hike the whole trail system? Don't worry, just hike what you can.  Hikers who do complete all of the trails can return their stamped map and receive a badge of completion. This event will take place on Sunday, July 2 from 9:00 am until noon. There is a $20.00 entry fee per family that includes one t-shirt. Additional t-shirts can be bought for an additional $15.00 fee.This event is sponsored by the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy and all proceeds will go toward protecting the forests in Fort Thomas. You must register by June 21 in order to receive the t-shirt. Take the challenge and sign up today at Or contact Trisha Schoeder at or 859-441-2661.

5:30 PM: Farm to Fort White on White Fundraising Dinner.  
*This is ticketed affair. 

Pre-Sesquicentennial Checklist. Do This Now To Have Fun Later

FTM file. 

Things are heating up for the big 150th celebration this July. Here are a few things that you can do now to prior to the Sesquicentennial:

Family Photo Cakewalk: Location - Mess Hall.   Reserve a 3’ x 5’ space. Families, businesses, clubs, and churches can display their personal histories in Fort Thomas offering another type of photographic view of the city’s development. Contact to reserve space(s) for your family, business, church, club, or non-profit to showcase your individual history. Whether you have lived in town 6 generations or 6 months, all are welcome.  Cost: $100. Benefits the General Thomas Statue.

Fort Thomas App:- Download the Fort Thomas guide from Tour Buddy from iTunes or Google Play store. You will find an events guide, historic tours, and special information for the week long festival. Go to Tour Buddy. Download the app. Search for Fort Thomas, KY.  The app is free.

Photo Contest Display: Location - Mess Hall. See all of the submissions and winners that capture the Spirit of Fort Thomas. Contact All photos will be displayed in the Mess Hall and first place entries win cash awards. Posters are all over town.

Sesquicentennial Book Club: Location - Carrico Public Library.  Join in a lively book discussion of Master of War: The Life of General George H. Thomas by Benson Bobrick. There are 2 opportunities for discussion: Thursday, June 29 at 2 PM: Friday, June 30 at 10:30 AM and 7 PM. Reserve your place by emailing Lanita Boyd at

Volunteer Sign-Up: The festival needs lots of volunteers to make everything run smoothly. You can visit this site to sign up for volunteer slots. You can do this on your phone or laptop. Copy and paste this link.

Student Essay Contest: The Art and Scholarship Department of Fort Thomas Woman’s Club is sponsoring an essay contest on “What Fort Thomas Means to Me” for the Sesquicentennial (150th) celebration.  The essay must be at least 100 words but no longer than 500 words.  Attach a cover sheet that includes name, address, phone number, and birthday or age.  Mail it to the Fort Thomas Woman’s Club, P O Box 75073, Fort Thomas, KY 410754. Entries must be submitted no later than Thursday, May 26, 2017.  Winners will receive a monetary gift from the Woman’s Club and will be the City’s honored guest riding in a convertible in the 4th of July Parade.  Winning speeches will be read during the Sesquicentennial Celebration.

Pet Mayor Essay Contest: Answer one of these prompts, “What my pet means to me” or “What my pet has done that is wonderful or heroic” and you could be have the next Pet Mayor. Submit essays to Pet Wants at or drop off at 1118 S. Ft. Thomas Ave by July 1.

Calling All Veterans.  We want to recruit YOU to be honored in our Independence Day Parade.  To sign up, call Sean Donelan at 859-572-1243.  The dedication of Veterans Way will take place immediately after the parade and will include a photo of all military and veterans as part of the dedication.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Longtime Johnson Elementary School Teacher Retires in Style

Lisa Bowman and Nick Behymer. FTM file. 

Today was the last day of the 2016-2017 school year and with it also brought the last day for many teachers and administrators in the district who have filed their retirement paperwork.

RELATED: LIST: Here's Who'll Retire This Year from Fort Thomas Independent 

One of those educators was longtime Johnson Elementary kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Lisa Bowman. The school helped commemorate her last day by wearing flamingos, her signature symbol of happiness.

She finishes her career, having taught for 26 years, all but one in Fort Thomas Schools.

"She has dedicated her life to teaching," said Mandy Gallenstein Haigis, Bowman's daughter.

"I have seen her dedication to her kids over the years. Johnson is her second family. Growing up I strived to be like my mom, the hard work, the dedication, the love she had for her job. She loves what she does, and it shows year after year with the lives she has changed."

Bowman teaches kindergarten now, but started out as a teacher assistant while earning her degree and raising her two children. She did her student teaching at Woodfill and after one year out of district, came back to Johnson, where she has been ever since.

Aside from kindergarten, she's also taught first, second and third grades.

Many parents and colleagues sent their well-wishes to Fort Thomas Matters for publication: