Saturday, July 22, 2017

Unlock the Block Music Fest | July 22

Have you heard about the Unlock the Block Music Fest? Well you’re about to on July 22nd, in the heart of Latonia-a Covington community. Join the Leadership Northern Kentucky Class of 2017 for the inaugural music fest created to activate community vibrancy and potential in Northern Kentucky!

Latonia was chosen as the site for the family friendly event because of its potential, engaged community, and rich history. Will you help us unlock the block?

 “Unlock the Block” will feature lively music from local bands: DV8, rock cover band; Ben Walz, acoustic folk/rock blend; and The Turkeys, folk-rock and Americana.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Interim Principal Named for Highlands High School

Jeff Schneider. Provided. 
Fort Thomas Independent Schools has selected Jeff Schneider to serve as interim principal of Highlands High School (HHS). Schneider has been assistant principal at HHS since July 2012.

Before joining the administrative team at HHS, Schneider’s educational background included experience as a high school social studies teacher as well as a district activities coordinator with Kenton County Schools.

Schneider earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and master’s degree in Secondary Education and Rank I in Instructional Leadership from Northern Kentucky University.

Local Resident Joins Fort Thomas Police Department

Joe Paolucci. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

Local resident and Highlands High School grad Joe Paolucci is the newest Fort Thomas Police Department recruit.

Introduced by Fort Thomas Police Chief Mike Daly at the July 15 city council meeting, Paolucci heads to the police academy this week and will return after graduation on January 26, 2018.

Police Chief, Mike Daly, introducing Paolucci to council. FTM file. 

Fort Thomas Schools Approve VA Homes Funding Plan

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Superintendent Karen Cheser,
School Board Chair Brad Fennell and Board Member Karen Allen. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

The VA Homes project moves forward another notch with approval of a vital piece of the funding puzzle.

At a special session held Wednesday, July 19, the Fort Thomas Independent School Board agreed not to contest the project funding agreement that would provide a pilot payment to the schools in lieu of tax revenue.

"This wasn’t just a rubber stamp decision made by the school board. We dug in and thoroughly looked at the numbers to reach the most fiscally conservative decision we could and allow the city to make their deal," said School Board Chair Brad Fennell.

RELATED: City Signs VA Homes Deed 

With the help of Treasurer Andy Remlinger, the board poured over spreadsheets mapping out various funding scenarios and projections. Fennell and the rest of the board worked to find a plan commensurate with the projected tax revenue that such properties would provide.

The city and the school board went back to the table after an initial payment proposal of a set amount based on current property tax rates. After much discussion and research, the school board proposed, and the city accepted, a pilot that would give the schools an unfixed amount based on funds remaining after developers take what they need for bond repayment.

Background and details

The VA homes project is funded with an Industrial Revenue Bond, or IRB. Property taxes are not collected under IRBs but money will be collected from homeowners equivalent to a property tax bill. This money goes to the developers to cover their investment in the property.

Because most schools, including Fort Thomas, rely on property tax funding, IRBs provide for a pilot payment taken from the money collected that would be paid to the schools.

The VA Homes developers have asked for a fixed payment of $135,700 a year for the thirty-year bond. Starting in Year Three, Fort Thomas Schools will receive all funds remaining after that amount is deducted from money collected.

In Year Fourteen, the city will begin to receive 15 percent of the money as well remaining after the developer’s share is deducted, a concession made by the school board.

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Ensuring school funding

Two things especially helped make the pilot payment workable for the schools. First, because taxes are not collected, the properties will not be included in the tax rolls and will, therefore, not be subject to the state’s SEEK formula.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Highlands Championship Team Recap

Seniors on 1996 Highlands State Championship Football Team Maintain Friendships

PHOTO: Ernest Coleman, Cincinnati Enquirer. Highlands senior Justin Frisk (32) breaks a tackle in the Class 3A state championship game and scores the tying touchdown. Frisk rushed for 1,932 yards and 31 touchdowns that year. He currently works with former teammate Matt Kleier at MK Interiors in Bellevue.
The 1996 Class 3A state champion Highlands Bluebirds football team may be remembered for the dominance on the field.

But something bigger stands out to many of those players. It's something they carry with them in the present.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Art Around Towne | Friday, July 21 | Fort Thomas, Kentucky

This is poised to be the biggest Art Around Towne, yet. 6-9 p.m. on N. Fort Thomas Avenue.

There will be:

30 art and boutique vendors
17 food truck and beverage vendors
Lucie Rice Exhibit at Fort Thomas Coffee
Live music with Logan Sparks on The Lawn at Fort Thomas Central; complimentary refreshments while supplies last w/ tip proceeds benefiting the St. Thomas Summer Festival.
West Sixth Brewing Co at the Clock Tower
Charities Guild of NKY wine booth at Schone Kitchen Design; proceeds benefit their shoe fund
Outdoor seating located at the Clock Tower and The Lawn at Fort Thomas Central

Plus much more. Come get into the community spirit.

RELATED: Cooking Demonstrations at Schone Kitchen Design 

Car Crashes into Campbell County Fiscal Court Building

Reader submitted. 
A car crashed into the entrance of the Campbell County Fiscal Court building, which may have been caused by the driver having a "medical incident" according to police.

The accident happened at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the government building at 1098 Monmouth Street.

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Newport police said the driver jumped the curb before he crashed into the building's entrance.

The Dance Realm Studios | Registration and Open House

Registration Dates:
Tuesday, August 1 6:00-8:00 PM

Wednesday, August 16 6:00-8:00 PM

Tuesday, August 29
6:00-7:30 PM

A few class options:

Thursdays 5:30-6:15
Saturdays 10:15-11:00

Mondays 1:00-2:15
Mondays 5:45-7:00
Saturdays 9:00-10:15

Thursdays 3:45-5:15

For more ages of our 6 & 7 year old students, please contact the studio for proper placement.

Schone Kitchen Design To Debut Cooking Demonstrations During Art Around Towne

Schone Kitchen Design (33 N. Fort Thomas Avenue, Fort Thomas, KY) has a new "chef-in-residence". Schone is owned by local architect, Ashli Slawter.

Professional chef, Nicole McDonald, will be doing two cooking demonstrations at 33 N. Fort Thomas Avenue during Art Around Towne on Friday, July 21. The demonstrations will start at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

This is an advertisement. 
Slawter said that she hopes folks will come in to get seasonal cooking tips from McDonald and while they are there, get some inspiration for their homes.

McDonald is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. A self-described “lover of foods,” she has always loved entertaining and has applied her 20+ years of private chef and catering experience to various facets of Simply Gourmet, her meal kit delivery service.

Also during Art Around Towne, Ashli will be giving away 10 VIP Homearama tickets to tour the newest ideas for home renovations and architecture. Be sure to come back to work with your hometown professionals at Ashli Slawter Architecture.

Ashli Slawter Architecture will be giving away 10 VIP tickets to Home-a-rama. 

Highlands Swimmer To Compete in Deaflympics

USA Deaf Swimming National Team Prepares to Depart for the 2017 Deaflympics

Tyler Brown, from Fort Thomas,  (center) is representing Team USA in the 2017 Deaflympics. 
A student athlete from Highlands High School is competing for Team USA in the 2017 Deaflympics.

Tyler Brown is part of the USA Deaf Swimming Team and along with being a state qualifier for Highlands, he swims for the Northern Kentucky Clippers.

Team USA has departed for the Deaflympics in Turkey and eight swimmers have hopes of earning medals for the United States. They will be competing with athletes from over 37 different countries.

2017 Team USA includes the following athletes:

Highlands Senior Sophia Manyet Takes Aim For Hollywood

Sophia in David James' short film "The Next One" (provided)
by Colin Moore

You might recognize Sophia Manyet.  She’ll be a senior at Highlands this year and works at Highlands Fitness Center and at the Highlands Country Club. She was Audrey in Highlands High School’s performance of Little Shop of Horrors. Oh, and she’s also an aspiring movie actress who you may have seen in a recent feature film or commercial.

“I love to step into other people’s shoes and show what they’re thinking. Maybe sometimes you can be an evil character and show why they’re doing what they’re doing. For me it’s almost as easy as breathing, it’s a way to live a thousand lives in one lifetime.”

Some of us have to work out what we want to be when we grow up, Sophia has known for some time. “I think I’ve known I wanted to be an actress since I was four or five. We would go to the movies and when we came home I would be pretending to be one of the characters.” Her mom, Rebecca, knew even earlier.

“When she was about three she would go in front of the mirror. One minute she’d be crying, the next minute she’d be smiling. My husband and I looked and each other and thought “We’re into something here!””

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Frontier Airlines announces six new nonstop destinations from CVG

Brings Frontier’s total service to 22 destinations

Frontier Airlines is growing its CVG service again with the addition of six nonstop destinations, including Seattle, Miami, San Antonio, Austin, Jacksonville and Raleigh/Durham.

All six destinations will be served by Frontier’s A320 family of aircraft. Flights to Miami will begin October 5th, 2017 and operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.  *Flights start at $34 each way for Discount Den members and $49 for non-members.

Flights to Seattle, San Antonio, Austin, Jacksonville and Raleigh/Durham will start in the spring 2018 with ticket sales beginning in late August.

“With today’s announcement, Frontier now offers our Low Fares Done Right to even more destinations from Cincinnati,” said Mark Mitchell, chief accounting officer. “Customers traveling from Cincinnati now have more low-cost options in these markets, and with The WORKS and The PERKS bundles, we offer the best value in U.S. air travel.”

City Signing of VA Homes Deed Met With Applause

Members of council, Ron Dill and Jann Seidenfaden watch Mayor, Eric Haas, sign the deed for the VA homes. FTM file. 
by Robin Gee

The VA homes are now in the hands of the city of Fort Thomas. At the July 17 meeting of City Council, Mayor Eric Haas signed the 31-page deed transferring ownership of the homes and surrounding property from the Veterans Administration to Fort Thomas.

March for Public Education Will Hold Rally at Peace Bell on Saturday

Education is key to achieving the American Dream, but educators fear that our public education system is in danger. To raise that awareness, there will be a March for Public Education at 10:00 AM on Saturday, July 22 at the Peace Bell in Newport. The march will coincide with the march in Washington, DC. 

The national website,, says “Public Education marches to challenge the educational status quo that leaves students over-tested, dehumanized and financially burdened by their educational experiences. M4PE marches to change the national conversation around educational issues, affirms that public education is a right not a privilege and that education is essential for a functioning democracy....The march supports teachers, students, parents and communities, advocates for educating the ‘Whole Child,’ calls on legislators to address the student debt crisis and opposes the privatization of public education.” 

Need a local chiropractor? Click here. This is an advertisement. 
Josh Blair, one of the local organizers, says, “The purpose of the event is to celebrate public schools, public school teachers, administrators, volunteers, and of course, public school students and their accomplishments. Non-educators are welcome to attend.  We’ll have a few speakers who are not educators - specifically students and parents/PTA members.”

Monday, July 17, 2017

New Fort Thomas Schools Superintendent: "Join Me For Coffee"

Karen Cheser. FTM file. 
The new superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools is hosting two "Coffee Chats with the Superintendent" this week to get to know her community more intimately.

Karen Cheser, who started her term as the leader of the district on July 1, will be at Fort Thomas Coffee tomorrow (July 18) from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and Thursday (July 20) from noon-1:00 p.m.

Monera Chic Boutique Shop It Forward | Fort Thomas, Kentucky | Women's Clothing NKY

Come Join Monera Chic Boutique and Q102 for their Shop It Forward event, Tuesday, July 25 from 6-8:00 p.m.

This is an advertisement. 
- Sales all day
- Q102 and Katie Walters
- Door prices
- Drinks and appetizers starting at 5:00 p.m.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the prevention of woman's colon cancer.

RELATED: Tera Huddleston Reflects on Her Fundraiser 

Zombie Movie Filming in Fort Thomas Shuts Down Street Temporarily

FTM file. 
A call from a concerned citizen to Fort Thomas Police shut down both lanes of traffic on S. Fort Thomas Avenue in the Midway Business District on Saturday.

A call was placed to emergency dispatch at around 10:45 a.m. that described a man with a gun behind the businesses that line the avenue.

C.A.S.T. brings Les Miserables to Fort Thomas, While Changing for the Future

Jake Moses from Seven Hills High School and Maggie Seibert from Highlands High School, playing Valjean and Cosette
by Colin Moore

Starting Friday the 21st of July C.A.S.T. will begin their latest production, Les Miserables, at Highlands High School. On stage it may not look like much is different, with Les Mis following in the footsteps of the successful and well-received C.A.S.T. productions of the last six years, but behind the scenes there have been some big changes.

Commonwealth Artists Student Theater started off under the umbrella of Fort Thomas Independent Schools, but this time last year Jason Burgess and his wife Amy came to the conclusion that things might have to change:

“We talked about how we’d reached our maximum potential attached to Fort Thomas Schools. We realised if we wanted to offer more, more productions, more workshops, that we’d have to branch out and become our own non-profit, with our own board. We’ve loved our partnership with Fort Thomas schools, and we’ll keep partnering with them in some way in the future.”

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fort Thomas Man Sentenced To 27 Years For Rape, Sexual Abuse

Ryan Schomaker. Campbell County Detention Center.  
Stephen "Ryan" Schomaker, 35 from Fort Thomas, was sentenced to 27 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in April to rape, sexual abuse, and promoting a sexual performance by a minor in a case involving an 11-year old girl. He turned himself in to authorities on May 19 and has been housed in the Campbell County Detention Center since then.

He will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. 

The victim's mother and grandmother, via the victim, read statements to Judge Julie Ward before she sentenced Schomaker, who looked straight ahead and down during the proceeding. Schomaker acknowledged his guilty plea to the judge in writing, but did not address the court. 

"I wish he would have accepted responsibility out loud in the court room. Sometimes saying a couple of words to the family goes a long way," said Campbell County Commonwealth's Attorney, Michelle Snodgrass. 

She and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney, Sheryl Heeter, prosecuted the case. 

The victim, now 13, sat feet away from her former abuser in front of the judge. She had her maternal grandmother read a statement. In it, she addressed Schomaker directly. 

"Going through all of this has been agony!  I’ve been scared, nervous, and uncomfortable for years thanks to you. I don’t understand how you could do this to me. You only care about yourself.  I don’t understand how you manage to do this and mess up your whole life. 

It’s amazing to see how many people care about me. I’m glad they all listened and now you get to go away and not hurt me or anyone else anymore."

The victim's mother held the hand of her daughter as she read her statement. 

"No child that is being abused or mistreated should be scared to speak up or ask for help.  She was. She was scared of what you might do to her so she kept quiet.  She was scared everything around her would change, it did.  She was scared that people wouldn’t believe her and unfortunately there are still some people that don’t.  People that she used to call family. 

"Her innocence was stripped from her.  But thankfully she eventually had had enough.  She spoke up and told the ugly truth about what you had been doing for years.  You deserve every second of the next 27 years that you spend behind those bars."

Snodgrass addressed the victim directly during court proceedings to commend her on her strength.  

"Most people wouldn’t have the strength that you had to confront the person who did this to you. We wouldn’t be here had you not come forward," she said. "An important message that I wanted to get through to you was that you're not a victim anymore. Today you became a survivor. You made it through this and got the justice you deserved." 

The victim's mother also addressed her daughter in court. She referred to her as her "hero". 

"You have saved so many young girls from abuse.  Not just other kids that he may have come into contact with but also young girls and even grown women that hear your story and see your strength and decide to speak up against their abusers too.  You are a blessing to all of us."

Background of the case

Thursday, July 13, 2017

In Search Of Glory: "Do You Think I'm Tina Glory?"

Part III

Fort Thomas Crowned Its' First Pet Mayor at Pet Day

Caesar, Fort Thomas' first Pet Mayor
Pet Day at Tower Park was a huge success on Saturday. The turnout was amazing, the weather was beautiful and dozens of pets and owners came out to enjoy the day.

Sponsored by Pet Wants, the day's events included a pet parade, pet talent shows, pet vendors, pet blessings and family pet photos.

Stray Animal Adoption Program also adopted out nine pets.

The highlight of the day came when Caesar was crowned Fort Thomas' first ever Pet Mayor.

The pet mayor was picked based on an essay written by his owner, Alex Walker (below). Caesar is a service dog that has become a hero to his owner.

Caesar, Alex Walker and Mayor Eric Haas

Sunny won Vice Mayor
Boo took home Honorable Mention

A hero entered my life on April 24th 2008, forever altering my view of the world around me. This hero didn’t have an elaborate cape or a high-tech suit; instead he wears a mostly brown fur coat. This hero answers to the name Caesar and he is here to help society when he is needed the most.

Ironically, as a pup, Caesar was unwanted by society. When he was about 5 months old Caesar was dropped off at the local animal shelter. Here he would spend the next month of his life. Despite the rejection from his previous owner Caesar never became downtrodden. Despite his charming personality Caesar was struggling to find his forever home. Across this great nation, we are plagued by overcrowded animal shelters; the shelter which housed Caesar was no exception. Caesar had until April 20th 2008 to find a suitable adopter. Not a single person displayed interest in adopting Caesar by the time he was scheduled euthanized. However, as fate would have it, a staff member of the shelter became quite fond of Caesar. This worker was able to extend Caesar’s stay at the shelter until the end of the month. Like people, sometimes animals need a second chance at life.

The next week is when everyone’s fate had changed.  A young couple seeking to make an addition to their family made a spring trip to the pound and fell in love with a smelly, smiling, wiggly brown puppy known as Caesar.  The staff at the animal shelter was beyond grateful that we were able to see all the positive qualities in the often overlooked puppy.

During the weeks that followed the initial homecoming, we sought professional training to ensure we grew together as a well-balanced and behaved pack.  Caesar excelled during his training sessions. At the time his trainer commented he would make a great assistant animal due to level-headedness while harboring an eagerness to please.

During this time my grandfather became ill and was moved into an assisted living facility.  Initially, I would just bring Caesar along on my visits to see my grandfather, especially since my grandfather was always an animal person.  Bringing Caesar on visits brought forth a joy in everyone; doctors and nurses made extra rounds just to pop in and get a kiss from the puppy and his presence just brought so much joy into a very sterile environment.  Eventually, Caesar became an unofficial employee of the nursing home and made visits to any patient that wanted to relax petting and hanging out with Caesar, or possibly just to receive to some wet sloppy dog kisses as well.  Caesar loves being affectionate with anyone and his eyes would light up just walking through the door of nursing home knowing he was about to be giving and getting lots of love.

My grandfather passed away in September of 2013. Until his passing, Caesar was one of my grandfather’s favorite guests to come visit. Within the same year as my grandfather’s passing a separate medical condition surfaced. This medical condition is able to be aided by a service dog. Again fate would intervene; the dog instructor that Caesar had worked with is well renowned for training service animals.  Though additional training, Caesar was able to become a certified service dog. By the grace of God we haven’t needed his additional skillset, but the security of knowing a safety-net exists provides peace of mind.

Final Season at Cornell for Highlands Alum

Hope Enters Third Year as Starter for Big Red

PHOTO: Steve Hope. Cornell Defensive End and 2014 Highlands alum Seth Hope (middle) makes a tackle on Dartmouth running back Miles Smith (28) in an Ivy League game last season. Hope is entering his third season as a starter for the Big Red.
Playing football in the Ivy League lets men like 2014 Highlands alum Seth Hope continue to play the sport they love while earning a great education at a prestigious school.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bicyclist Injured After Run-In With Car Door

Photo: Joe Seiter. 
A bicyclist was struck today on Memorial Parkway in front of Highlands High School as a driver of a parked car opened their car door as he was riding by.

The accident occurred today around 5:15 p.m.

According to Fort Thomas Police Lt. Rich Whitford, the bicyclist was transported to the hospital for his injuries.

Resident, Joe Seiter, witnessed the aftermath of the incident.

Escaped Prisoner Located, Extradited Back to Campbell County

Derek Guillion. Campbell County Detention Center. 
An escaped inmate from the Campbell County Detention Center that walked away from his work detail on June 30 is back in custody.

Derek Gullion, 29, left his equipment and walked away from the work detail near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Kenton Street in Dayton at about 2 p.m.

RELATED: Campbell County Prisoner Escapes During Work Detail 

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Names New Assistant Superintendent

The new top brass at Fort Thomas Independent Schools: Bill Bradford, Karen Cheser and Jamee Flaherty. FTM file. 
Since Gene Kirchner announced his retirement from Fort Thomas Schools in March, the district has had to replace not only its superintendent, but its two assistant superintendents as well. Both Jon Stratton and Ginger Webb announced their retirements in April and June, respectively.

There have been some shuffling and moving parts but here's where things sit currently:

Karen Cheser was announced as superintendent on May 19. She was most recently deputy superintendent/chief academic officer of Boone County Schools.

RELATED: Karen Cheser Named Superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent 

Then in June, Jamee Flaherty was named assistant superintendent for student services, replacing Stratton. She spent two years as Johnson Elementary's principal before being promoted.

RELATED: Jamee Flaherty Named New Assistant Superintendent

Ashley Dikeos, who was in the role of elementary assistant principal for the district for the past year, was hired to replace Flaherty as principal at Johnson. Her replacement is to be named this Friday.

Brian Robinson, principal at Highlands, sent his letter of resignation this week, and will be moving onto The College Board, taking a role to help implement and shape Advanced Placement testing nationwide.

Sommer Rosa will be stepping in for Sam Jones as Special Education Director. Jones also left the central office this year. Rosa was most recently the Director of Special Education at Pendleton County Schools for a year after spending four years in that same role at Beechwood Independent.

To replace Webb, the district has selected Bill Bradford as the new assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. He is currently the principal at River Ridge Elementary School in the Kenton County School District, a position he has held for the past two years.

He attended his first school board meeting Monday night.

Bradford’s career in education began as a Spanish teacher at Lafayette High School in the Fayette County Public Schools, where, after teaching six years, he advanced to the position of instructional support specialist for the district. Additionally, he has served as principal at Sixth District Elementary School and then as assistant superintendent for learning support at Covington Independent Schools.

Bradford earned his bachelor’s degree from Transylvania, his master’s degree in Education from Georgetown University and his Rank I in Instructional Leadership from Eastern Kentucky University. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Education at Northern Kentucky University.

A seven-member committee was formed to review and interview the applicants for this position. The committee was unanimous in their selection of Bradford as the top candidate.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Leadership Northern Kentucky is Critical to the Region

Brent Cooper. FTM file. 
By Brent Cooper

Whether you know it or not, Leadership Northern Kentucky (LNK) is a critical ingredient in the long-term success of our community.

The contributions by LNK classes over the years are wide ranging.

LNK classes have done everything from installing handicap doors at Redwood, to creating a Healthy newborn site for Transitions that serves mother’s going through addiction recovery.

Without LNK, there wouldn’t be a Maker space in Boone County, a Hope Box Derby to support Health Point, or an upcoming 2nd Annual River Cities Relay (August 26th) that will provide charitable spending for multiple nonprofits in the region.

The latest LNK class of 2017 is taking on “Unlock the Block”, July 22nd in Latonia.  This music fest was created to activate community vibrancy and potential in Northern Kentucky.

As you can see, LNK has been going strong since the very first class of 1979, ten years after the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce was founded.   The program now boasts over 1,500 graduates!

Although it has changed over time, the core strategy remains – to use the community as a classroom to develop leaders who will effectively serve the region.  

Fort Thomas Property Goes To Throwback Look

FTM file. 
A cornerstone property that is for lease has undergone a facade change that has some Fort Thomas residents reminiscing about times past.

The property at 1 S. Fort Thomas Avenue, owned by Ken Warden, was most recently used by him as his headquarters for his real estate company. He painted the outside blue and yellow to match with his branding and in doing so, painted over the black and white lettering of Highland Branch Bank. It had also previously housed Blank's Pharmacy, among other businesses.

Warden left the private sector to step into a role in Frankfort under Governor Matt Bevin as the head of the Kentucky Real Estate Authority.

FTM file. 
The makeover of his building is not ushering in a new bank right now and there's no painting involved. Warden is just stripping the paint to reveal what used to be.

"I just wanted to go back to the front that was there prior to my office," he said. "You can not believe how many have contacted me since the work started wanting to know what was happening. A few have said they remember when it was a bank."

Highlands Principal To Take Job at The College Board

Brian Robinson. FTM file. 
Brian Robinson, principal at Highlands High School, is leaving the top job at the high school he's been at for most of his professional career.

He's leaving to take a job at The College Board as the executive director for Advanced Placement program implementation.

The College Board is an American not-for-profit organization that was formed in December 1899 as the College Entrance Examination Board to expand access to higher education. The headquarters are in New York, but Robinson will be staying local and still sending his children to Fort Thomas schools.

"The College Board is very much up my alley and their mission is connected to what I believe needs to happen across country," said Robinson. "If you’re going to grow and you've got an opportunity to do something like this, you've got to take that chance." 

Former Fort Thomas Independent superintendent, John Williamson, left the district in 2012 to also take a role at The College Board as senior director of AP. Robinson will report to Williamson in his new position.

Sesquicentennial Bike Decorating Contest and Parade — IN PHOTOS

On Saturday, July 15, Fort Thomas residents gathered at Tower Park to show off their cleverly decorated bikes and parade in front of Mayer Eric Haas, who won the same bike decorating contest at the city's centennial celebration 50 years ago. Here are some photos from the event.

These bikes celebrating the sesquicentennial were a winning entry.

New HIGH Fitness Dance Class Comes to Fort Thomas

Looking to change up your exercise program? Did you indulge a bit more than expected over the holiday? Then you might want to try HIGH Fitness. 

Katie Derrick leading a class.

Instructor Katie Derrick says that “I started attending HIGH Fitness classes one year ago when I started my weight loss journey after having my second child. I was having postpartum anxiety and learned that exercise naturally helped the problem. HIGH Fitness is huge in the West right now, so I finally gave in, found a class right away, but couldn't stop going because it was so much fun. From there, I loved it so much I decided to certify to become an instructor in April and now teach four classes a week.” 

Derrick says that “the class is a “fun fitness class that incorporates aerobic interval training with music you love and intense easy to follow fitness choreography. It combines FUN (pop songs of old and new that everyone knows and loves) with INTENSITY (interval, plyometrics and cardio) with consistency (each song has specific simple moves taught the same by all instructors). Together they make a recipe for success, repeat participation and results!”  

You can check out the class Wednesday. Here are the details:

Date: July 12
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: The Dance Realm Studios, 8 Highland Ave
Cost: $5

One of Katie Derrick's classes.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Cobblestone Cafe Celebrates 12th Anniversary

The original Cobblestone Cafe in 2005. Provided. 

Story originally published on June 13, 2015. 

Story by Kara Uhl 

July 11, 2015, Brenda Spade fulfilled a dream. "I love to eat at small, independent restaurants that have homemade food and a friendly, fun atmosphere, and I was ready to try doing something of my own," she says. "I knew the kind of place I wanted to own—a place people would feel special and welcome, [a place that would] serve great homemade food and become part of the community. So with the help of family and friends, I took a leap of faith and made the cafe into what it is today."

A recent picture of Brenda Spade and her daughter, Jen Black. 
That cafe is Cobblestone Cafe and this year marks its 10th anniversary. Three generations of women, along with seven other employees, serve homemade quality food made in-house daily. Their first-rate customer service has delivered unparalleled loyalty—many customers are regulars.

More than 30 years ago Spade was working a full-time office job and bartending at night. "I realized how much I liked the fast pace and never-a-dull-moment of the food industry," she says. "Once I quit the day job there was no going back—I met great people and learned a lot." Spade spent 20 years working at Drawbridge Inn, and later had stints at Chez Nora and Warner's Restaurant. Ten years ago she noted the space where Cobblestone now stands was for rent and Spade saw potential.

"The first three years were a challenge," Spade says.  Her daughter, Jen Black, helped open summer 2005 but then went back to school to finish out her senior year—Black graduated Miami University in 2006. "There were a lot of very long days and nights—we were busy right from the start," Spade says.

Black took a job with Hyatt Hotels in Dallas, Texas, upon graduation, but says it wasn't truly what she wanted to do. "After many late-night phone calls with my mom it was decided that I should come back and help with the cafe," Black says. "Business had picked up quite a bit in the time that I was gone and it was just too much for one person to handle."