Saturday, September 23, 2017

Highlands-Simon Kenton GameStory

Pioneers Score Game-Winning TD with 14 Seconds Left to Edge Bluebirds

Head Coach Brian Weinrich and staff challenged more play-makers to step forward, especially with the game on the line.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fort Thomas Resident Gathers Help for Hurricane Maria Victims

By Courtney Reynolds 

I was eight-years-old when Hugo hit.

We had just moved to the suburbs of Villa Hills to a home our parents built years before. I have literally grown up in two places at once, so if I say St. Croix is my home, it isn’t because it is “cool” or “unique” but a place that taught me survival and family. My chosen family is in St. Croix and being there understood that you did what you needed to and you didn’t rely on “outside” folks in times of crises. Thus, Hugo was different. At the time in 1989, I can still remember saying “good night” to our father who was staying at his drug store to weather the “supposed” Category 5 hurricane.

No hurricane had hit the island like that in 100 years and everyone expected Hugo to dissipate: they were wrong.

My mother stayed awake all night with landlines down and the news only covering the more popular Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico, as it headed to Florida. For three solid days, we heard nothing from our father – nothing. My sister and I were sent to our new Catholic white suburban school as if nothing was wrong while we waited for word if our father was alive from a place our neighbors didn’t even realize was part of our country. The only reason we simply found out he was alive was through a HAM operator. For three days we watched looting, desperation, and death on the television as if it was simply entertainment for the US as they didn’t realize that the USVI was full of their fellow citizens as well.

And that brings us to the past few days. In less than a week, St. Croix weathered two category five hurricanes which is quite simply unheard of. Luckily, we have new apps and social media so we have slowly been able to check in to find out if our friends and family are alive. ALIVE. We aren’t focused on housing damage (which there is), or flooding, or looting – we are trying to find out if our friends from childhood and chosen family are simply breathing and made it through the terrifying night. Do you know what a hurricane entails? As the eye passes over you a silence beckons but tornadoes also hit. It is eerie and terrifying, and as you lose your roof and bearings, and your ears fail to pressurize, you pray to everything and nothing that you will simply make it through the night. Just two days’ shy of the 18th anniversary of Hugo, my friends did that.

As I write this I still don’t know if my best friend is alive and made it through with her three kids. And please, don’t say “why don’t they leave?” That isn’t possible in the islands. You can’t simply drive 100 miles and have the weather pass and most people also can’t afford that.

My grandfather, Dr. John Naber, talked me into moving to Fort Thomas as I went through a painful divorce in 2011 and this wonderful community took us in and I have never regretted it. Now I beg this community, whom I have tried to benefit, to help my fellow Virgin Islanders at this desperate time. Anything we can use, any man power, any funds, and donations are not too small. I am taking a flight once the donations fill up to bring supplies such as water since that is the quickest method as possible. However, after that we are filling pallets to send full of essential items, items that fellow Crucians sent to St. Thomas after they were disastrously affected by Irma. Because that is simply what you do as a Crucian and I think fellow Fort Thomians understand that as well. My grandfather certainly did and if you don’t know me, know that Dr. John Naber respected our island and home and was the biggest fan. We appreciate anything and everything you can contribute. Blessings to you and thank you for reading.

Contact information for the St. Croix Foundation:

St. Elizabeth recognized for support of Catholic education

St. Elizabeth Healthcare received the Faith, Hope and Inspiration Award from the Alliance for Catholic Urban Education (ACUE) for its long-time support of economically disadvantaged students in Northern Kentucky.

Since 2012, St. Elizabeth has donated more than $66,000 and recently pledged $250,000 total over the next five years to provide tuition assistance for students (K-8) in six urban Catholic elementary schools in Campbell and Kenton counties.

“Our vision of becoming one of the healthiest communities in America involves more than quality medical care,” said Garren Colvin, president CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “It starts with providing a healthy, safe and nurturing environment for our youth.”

More than 50 percent of ACUE students live in poverty, and most families can’t afford the cost of their children’s education. The parishes and schools in these neighborhoods provide a quality, values-based education to children regardless of their faith, ethnicity, ability or economic status. In fact, 45 percent of ACUE students are not Catholic.

“We are so grateful for partners like St. Elizabeth who are bringing a Catholic education to the children who need it most,” said Tim Rawe, general chair of the 2016-2017 ACUE Annual Appeal. “St. E’s donation will help offset the more than $2 million in aid required to support these students.”

City Council Roundup: Taxes Pass, Chicken Rule Unchanged

Law, Labor and Licensing Committee Chair David Cameron (r) reports on chicken ordinance.
(Councilmember Ken Bowman listens at left.)
by Robin Gee

City Council passed the expected property tax rate increase at its September 18 meeting. Voting four to two, council passed a 2.4 percent hike in the 2017 property tax rate for a new overall rate is .412 per $100 of property.

The new tax rate includes the compensating rate plus a four percent city revenue increase, the maximum allowed by law.
This equates to a 10-cent increase for every $1,000 in property value. For example, the average home value in the city is $216,000, so the property tax increase would be $21.60 for that property.

RELATED: Proposed Tax Rate Approved

Chicken ordinance remains unchanged

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Longtime Cold Spring restaurant closes with emphatic explanation

Gourmet Wok, one of the original tenants of County Square Plaza, off Martha Layne Collins Blvd. in Cold Spring has closed.

A sign posted on the door read, "Sorry. We quit." 

Calls to the owners of the restaurant have not been returned.

The restaurant had a 3 out of 5 star rating on Yelp and a 3.5 out of 5 star rating on Google.

Two Arrested Overnight in Fort Thomas for Burglary

Two men were arrested at around 2:30 a.m. last night after Fort Thomas Police spotted a suspicious looking car on the corner of James and Highland Avenues.

Officers Brandon Laffin and Wayne Dutle were patrolling the Fort Thomas streets in tandem, looking for potential burglars, when they saw a car idling on the street. They made a stop and found David Holt, 33 from Price Hill, in the car with stolen merchandise that included computers, iPads and stolen money.

They charged him with possession of drug paraphernalia, public intoxication (excludes alcohol) and receiving stolen property over $10,000.

Later, officers found Paul Fraley, 34 also from Price Hill, and also charged him with receiving stolen property.

Those charges are Class C felonies, which can carry 5-10 year sentences.

Fort Thomas has seen a rash of car break-ins over the last several years and according to Fort Thomas Police Lt. Rich Whitford, nearly all of them have involved vehicles that were unlocked.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Police: Car Break-Ins Now Totaling 100 (Feb. 2017)

"These two officers were specifically detailed to look for subjects who may be breaking into our citizens' cars. We have been getting hit hard in recent years," he said. "Both of these subjects admitted to breaking into cars. This was great police work by our guys."

Whitford said a search of the vehicle led to the return of items totaling approximately $12-15,000 dollars.

Michelle Chalk's Classmates Remember Her During Homecoming Dance

What a wonderful community is Fort Thomas.

Michelle Chalk would have attended her first high school dance last weekend it not for the tragic accident that occurred in August of this year in Fort Thomas.

But that didn't stop her classmates from helping her family celebrate the occasion.

RELATED: Listen: Keith Chalk Talks About Their Family's Life-Changing Tragedy (Podcast) 

Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund Celebrate Annual Pink Ribbon Luncheon

The Pink Team: Beth Otto, Carol O’Brien, Lynnette Wyler, Meggan Sulfsted, Ashley Collinsworth, Calysta Bevier, Ellen Knue, Nancy Fehr, Tom Hiltz, Francie Hiltz, Cris Collinsworth, Holly Collinsworth, Dr. Stephen Pomeranz, Karen Cassidy, Penny Pomeranz, Lori Daniels, Maggie Fennell, Maria Konerman. 
Laughter is the best medicine!

Duke Energy Convention Center will become the Pink Ribbon Comedy Club on Wednesday, October 18th as the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund celebrates their Annual Pink Ribbon Luncheon.

Top comedian Tom Papa from New York City will provide laughter for all. Papa is the host of award- winning podcast Come to Papa and a regular guest on Conan and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and has toured with Jerry Seinfeld. With more than 20 years as a stand-up comedian, he has found success in film, television and radio as well as on the live stage. Papa was seen alongside Michael Douglass and Matt Damon in HBO film, Behind the Candelabra which won 11 Emmys. He was also seen in the hit Comedy Central series, Inside Amy Schumer.

Event emcee, Cris Collinsworth will recognize the Stephanie Spielman Fund as this year’s Power of Pink Award recipient. Each year, the Pink Ribbon Luncheon recognizes the outstanding efforts of an organization that has used their first or secondhand experience with cancer to give back to the community. The Stephanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer research has raised millions of dollars towards the fight against breast cancer. Maddie Spielman, Stephanie Spielman’s daughter will accept the award. The Pink Ribbon Luncheon is also very excited to recognize Honorary Chairs Bob and Suzi Brant who have been instrumental in the growth of the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund and longtime supporters of the Pink Ribbon Luncheon.

Highlands-Simon Kenton Game Story

Bluebirds Face Tough Test in Independence

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands sophomore Zach Lewin (41) and senior Joe Steiden (27) pursue Lexington Catholic junior wide receiver Nathan Schnurr (1) in the game Friday.
The song goes, "This moment. We own it."

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

After 20+ Years, Our Subway is Gone... Now what?

OP-ED by Dan Gorman

I admit it – I took it for granted.  With one of the lowest failure rates of any franchise chain in America, I assumed the Subway in the heart of our business district would always be there.  I was shocked when it closed with no notice.  The note on the door says business had been declining for the past three years, and the owner could no longer pay his taxes.  I look at other buildings in our Central Business District and wonder why they sit empty for so long.  I truly admire those that can make it work.  Please, please support them any chance you can get.

As a real estate investor in Fort Thomas, I work with the City to attract new businesses to our town.  I spend a lot of money to renovate their spaces, and watch the owners invest tens of thousands of dollars as well.  I’m always optimistic, but sometimes wonder - will our town welcome and support them?  Will they thrive, or just survive?  Will they attract customers from outside of Fort Thomas, customers that will support our other businesses as well?

I drive around, and see our neighbors – Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Covington - reinventing their business districts, drawing our residents, one by one, out of Fort Thomas to spend their money.  Each time a building goes vacant in our Central Business District, it becomes more difficult for the remaining businesses to thrive.

Henry Ford said, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”  

Fort Thomas Attorney Accepted into Prestigious Special Education Advocacy Institute

Barlow (second from left) celebrates her new certificate in Special Education Advocacy. 
Ohio and Kentucky students have a valuable asset in local attorney, Ashley Meier Barlow, who has expanded her legal practice to include representation of students with disabilities.

Protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state laws, students with disabilities are entitled to education plans that suit their individual needs.

Barlow, a former German teacher, is the mother of Jack, a student with Down syndrome, who has such an Individual Education Plan.  She began learning about special education advocacy while advocating for Jack, started answering questions for friends, and realized she had a passion for helping families with the special education needs.

“I’ve been involved in the disability community since Jack’s birth, and I’ve advocated in the national and state levels for many changes.  But education is so important to me, and with my experience as a teacher, this area of law is a no brainer for me,” Barlow told Fort Thomas Matters.  

Weekend Of Music Wraps Up At The Pub With The Vims

The Vims perform at The Pub on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 10:30 p.m. with blues band, The Kenton Lands Band, opening at 9:30 p.m.
If you are looking for something to do after the Band of Helping Hands Blues Festival at the Fort this Saturday, look no further than the Olde Fort Pub.

The Vims with ties to Fort Thomas are ready to entertain with an evening of "witty, modern rock mixed with alternative music nostalgia reminiscent of the sub pop records glory days."

2017 Proposed Tax Rate Approved

Fort Thomas property owners will see a 2.4 percent hike in their 2017 property tax bill. A proposed overall tax rate of .412 per $100 of property was approved by the city council in a four-to-two vote at its September 18 meeting.

The new tax rate includes the compensating rate plus a four percent city revenue increase, the maximum allowed by law.

Councilmembers Ken Bowman and Lisa Kelly voted against the new rate. Bowman expressed concern at the last council meeting that the city should consider not raising the rate to the maximum allowed amount.

"With trash collection and school board going up, I would like us to find a middle ground instead of going for the maximum amount every time," said Bowman at the previous council meeting.

RELATED: City Council Roundup: Property Tax Discussion Points to Increase

Councilmember Roger Peterman said a public hearing on the new tax rate was held last week but no one from the audience asked about the tax hike. He said he had hoped to be able to address concerns people might have.

Per the KRS statute, the tax rate meeting was advertised in the back pages of The Recorder.

He offered his perspective on the topic. "At this point in the process, approving this tax rate becomes more of an administrative act. We considered this tax rate when we developed the budget, and we’ve already adopted the budget for this year," he said. "We are depending on those revenues to balance the budget."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

WATCH: Highlands Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Video

Highlands Hall of Fame 2017

Need a local chiropractor? Click here. This is an advertisement. 

Bub Basham, It's a Wonderful Life Living in the Same Neighborhood for 90 Years

Lois and Bub in the sports memorabilia room. 
Floyd “Bub” Basham told me that “We love the city. We love everything about it. We’ve had a great life. I couldn’t want a better place to live. Right here. “  And right here turns out to be only three buildings from where he was born.

And if I didn’t know any better I might be tempted to say that Jimmy Stewart portrayed Bub’s devotion to his town and family in the film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Bub married his school sweetheart, Lois, raised their family, worked, played, and continues to give to his community.

 Bub is 90 years old and has lived within 150 feet of where he was born. That’s right. He lives on Miller Lane in a home that he and his friends built in the late 1950s. And that is only a few doors from the corner of North Fort Thomas Avenue and Miller Lane where a grocery store, Stegner’s,  stood at one time. Bub’s parents lived upstairs and that’s where he was born. The Board of Education building sits on the site now.

This is an advertisement. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Former Highlands, UK and NFL player Jared Lorenzen launches his documentary and weight loss challenge platform.

Former NFL Quarterback, University of Kentucky, and Highlands star, Jared Lorenzen, has begun filming a 12- month documentary that will chronicle his journey to combat obesity and live a healthy lifestyle.

After gaining weight post his football career, he will allow cameras to follow him in his home state of Kentucky while he also challenges the state to join him on his quest to health and wellness. Jared recently gained national attention by launching his Facebook page The Jared Lorenzen Project, which showed the former Bluebird ballooning his weight to over 500 pounds.  He has teamed with The Now Lets Get Foundation to provide a platform that will focus solely on combating obesity and instilling health and wellness through education, fitness and nutrition.

“I want to show everyone that it’s never too early or too late to start the journey towards health. I want people to know that if I can do it then you can do it. My goal is to use platform to put a face to obesity. The Facebook page is a platform that everyone can join, feel safe to express themselves, get the inspiration and answers on health and wellness they need to make the change in their life,”  said Lorenzen.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. This is an advertisement. 

PICTURES: Highlands Athletics Inducts Third Hall of Fame Class

The third Highlands Athletics Hall of Fame class was inducted September 17, 2017. 

This is an advertisement. 

St. Elizabeth Healthcare Spotlight: 'Am I at risk for HPV?'

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is known to be the culprit in many cases of cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers in women, penile cancer in men, and scores of other cancers in both genders. Vaccinations are the key to prevention and recommended for all girls and women ages 9 to 26.

Join St. Elizabeth Healthcare at 10a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, for a free educational session about HPV-related cancers and diseases. Attendees can speak to health care professionals and hear success stories from survivors. The event will beat the St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center, 3861 Olympic Blvd., Erlanger.

Register online at

Highlands Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Officially Inducted

Many Memorable Names Take Stage in Highlands History

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Brady Walz (with cap) said he's learned a lot of valuable lessons from his grandfather Roger Walz on handling adversity. Roger Walz received induction into the Highlands Hall of Fame on Sunday along with nine other individuals and one team.
People who have done it know the road to success has a lot of challenges.

But those who have deep connections to those who have done it, they have someone to ask advice on that bumpy path. That is the case with some children and grandchildren of at least three inductees into the third annual Highlands Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

Fort Thomas Resident Now Selling Gorgeous Paint & Paper From Across the Pond

Fort Thomas resident Thomas Jackson in front of his Farrow & Ball display at his storefront, Bloodline Merchants.
Last year we wrote about Thomas Jackson, who recently moved with his family from England to Fort Thomas, KY. With him he brought enough antiques to fill a 4,600-square-foot shop across the river in his storefront, Bloodline Merchants (4855 Eastern Ave.). 

The store has been the go-to source for folks interested in unique, reasonably priced antiques, many of which are found at the Newark International Antiques & Collectors Fair, held every two months northwest of London, and the Lincolnshire Antiques & Home Show in the East Midlands. Recently, Jackson has begun offering a new product from across the pond: Farrow & Ball paint and paper.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Highlands-LexCath Game Story

Knights Hand Bluebirds Tough Defeat
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Trent Johnson (65) and senior Michael Dunn (73) pursue Lexington Catholic running back Keith Brinkman (20).
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior running back Cooper Schwalbach looks for running room. Schwalbach had 81 yards rushing and a touchdown in the 21-18 loss to Lexington Catholic.
Of the 17 losses since the start of 2015, this one could be considered the most painful.

The Highlands Bluebirds football team led for a good part of the game -- until the final 45 seconds. The Lexington Catholic Knights put together two touchdown drives in the final 4:55 to steal a 21-18 victory at David Cecil Memorial Stadium on Homecoming Night on Friday.

Friday, September 15, 2017

WATCH: Fort Thomas Fourth Graders Learn Fort Thomas History

Homecoming Weekend: Community Tailgate at Fort Thomas Central

This weekend is a big weekend in the Fort as the community welcomes back graduates and inducts a new class into the Athletic Hall of Fame.  It’s Homecoming weekend!  And what better way to kick off the weekend with not one, but two tailgate parties and a spaghetti dinner.

Friday, before the 2-2 HHS Bluebirds take on the 2-2 Lexington Catholic Knights, Barb Thomas, owner of Fort Thomas Central, will have a community tailgate party at The Lawn in front of her store.  The tailgate will begin at 5:30 and end at 9.  The following food trucks will be on site: Texas Joe and Marty’s Waffles.  Additionally, the store will be open during this final party before Fall officially begins and 10% of proceeds from sales will go to the Charities Guild of Northern Kentucky.  Finally, she will have several pop-up stores in the parking lot including Usborne Books, India Hicks Experience, Matilda Jane, and Stella & Dot.  Be sure to come out, eat, shop, and have a great time.

If Mexican or Waffles aren’t your thing, though, stop first at Woodfill Elementary in the cafeteria and have some spaghetti.  The annual Big Top Festival kick-off spaghetti dinner begins at 5 pm and ends at 8 pm.  Cost is $6 for children and seniors, $8 for adults, or $25 for family-sized portions (dine-in only).  All of the proceeds from this sale go directly to the Woodfill PTO to support the students at Woodfill.  And don’t forget, Big Top Festival is this Sunday from 12-6 and will feature many children’s games, bounce houses and other entertainment devices, and an auction for adults.

Finally, for those returning graduates or local alumni, be sure to stop at the Shake Your Tailfeather Tailgate party on the plaza in front of the Highlands High School gymnasium.  This event is free for alumni and will feature grilled brats and hot dogs and a lot of fun.  Make this the meeting place for your fellow reunion friends before going into the game and meet members of the Fort Thomas Education Foundation Alumni Association Committee.  Also, don’t miss the HHS Marching Band, which will come by the event to play the fight song before the game.  And finally, enter for a chance to win a framed photograph of the fully renovated HHS campus.  The fun starts at 6 and ends at game time.

So, bring a big appetite and a bunch of friends.  Grab some spaghetti, shop at FTC, and grab a hot dog while enjoying the fight song. And remember, Go Birds!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dr. Karen Cheser Named Vice-Chair of Professional Learning Community Board

Today EdLeader21, the professional learning community (PLC) for leaders committed to 21st century education, announced new leadership appointments to the Advisory Committee. Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools Dr. Aaron Spence and Superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools (KY) Dr. Karen Cheser have been named PLC Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively.

Cheser, who was hired by the Fort Thomas Independent School Board earlier this year, brings many years of experience to the positon including most recently being the Deputy Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer of Boone County Schools, a KY Distinguished District of Innovation.

She began her career in education in 1988 with positions that included teacher, coach, literacy and math specialist, principal, distinguished educator and district administrator. Prior to her years in education, she worked for Procter & Gamble Inc. in sales and brand management.

“I am excited to be a part of the PLC and to have the opportunity to share my experiences while learning from this seasoned group,” said Cheser. “Building community and providing opportunities for students is at the core of my mission for Fort Thomas and I will bring those values to this group.”

Dr. Spence became Virginia Beach Superintendent in 2014. As Superintendent, he oversees the operation of 86 schools (serving almost 68,000 students) as well as all administrative support functions for the school division. He returned to Virginia from having served most recently as Superintendent of Moore County Public Schools in North Carolina.

“We are so honored that Dr. Spence and Dr. Cheser have agreed to lead the Advisory Committee and will help carry out EdLeader21’s mission,” said EdLeader21 CEO Ken Kay. “They each bring a unique perspective which will benefit the organization and help move our important work of 21st century education forward.”

The EdLeader21 PLC Advisory Committee is made up of 19 members, each of whom serve a two-year term.

Don't Miss Fort Thomas' First Blues Festival Next Weekend

Kids Zone 1:00-3:00 PM Amphitheater Stage 1:00-10:30 PM
VIP After Party 8:45-12:00 AM (Ticketed Event)

Fort Thomas will host its' first ever Blues Festival Saturday, September 23rd.
Mark your calendar for next weekend's  Band of Helping Hands Blues Festival on Saturday, September 23rd at Tower Park. Nearly a year in the making, Fort Thomas has partnered with a great non- profit organization, Band of Helping Hands to bring some great talent to town.

The annual Music & Merchants festival was replaced this year by the Sesquicentennial celebration in July, and Fort Thomas Councilman Ken Bowman said this event in its' place is something you won't want to miss.

"One of my favorite performers will be playing in the Community Center, aka the Mess Hall for about 400 people, said Bowman who helped organize this day long event.

Mississippi singer/songwriter Paul Thorn and his band have agreed to this ticketed portion of the day, and if you are not familiar with Paul Thorn, you need to be. You can't help but to become a fan. This is a very rare opportunity to catch them in such an up close and personal space."

Paul Thorn's true to his roots southern style is a unique blend of blues and rock. He will be performing a great up-close and personal experience at the Band of Helping Hands Blues Festival.
All of the profits from the Paul Thorn portion of the event will be donated to the Band of Helping Hands Organization and used to provide possibilities and opportunities for children and young adults through education, music, art, athletics and personal growth experiences.

Need a new website for your business? Call 859-628-2481. This is an advertisement.
Band Of Helping Hands supports and funds activities for children and young adults in our area in the form of mentoring and personal growth, helping those who are faced with special needs, challenging home situations, medical complications and financial constraints. Through support, encouragement, and experiences, their goal is to provide possibilities and opportunities for these individuals.

Greg Mebs, Fort Thomas resident and founding member of G. Miles and the Band of Helping Hands started the non-profit organization. As a counselor with a company of 45 employees - 27 therapists and case managers that serve high-risk kids and families with intense mental health, wraparound services, he started the Band of Helping Hands with a mission to build into kids, families and communities through arts, sports, etc.

Highlands-Lexington Catholic Football Preview

Bluebirds Seek More Bright Moments in Homecoming Game

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Larry Wilson (21) tries to break a tackle while offensive linemen Michael Dunn (73), Keaton Huddleston (54) and Sam Sparks (56) try to make room in the game against Ryle.
It has been a mix of great moments and inconsistencies for these 2-2 football squads.

Both the host Highlands Bluebirds and Lexington Catholic Knights hope to see more of the first and less of the second in the non-region game Friday at David Cecil Memorial Stadium in their first meeting since 2014 at 7:30 p.m. It is the annual Homecoming game for the Blue and White.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Highlands' Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Highlands High School seniors Savannah Brady and Natalie Reed have been named semifinalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Additionally, Highlands had four commended students: Joseph Broering, Audrey Cann, Bonny Lemma and Samantha Lohner.

The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in October of their junior year. Of the 1.5 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT scores qualify for recognition in the National Merit® Scholarship Program.

WATCH: Highlands Hosts Visual and Performing Art Auditions

The Fort Thomas Independent Schools Visual and Performing Arts auditions took place Saturday at Highlands High School in the areas of visual art, vocal music, instrumental music, music composition, drama, and dance.

Students were referred to the program and were sent invitations to participate by appointment in the defined areas.

"Our gifted and talented program, Quest, is available for students who meet eligibility in grades 4-12," said Jamee Flaherty, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. "Visual and Performing Arts is one of five areas that students can qualify to participate.  The others areas, which are defined by the state, are General Intellectual, Academic (Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts), Creativity, and Leadership."

The students were required to bring two letters of recommendation, a letter written by the student, an arts survey completed by the parent and student, and portfolio pieces that were reviewed.

Highland Heights/ NKU Rank Among Top 10 Safest College Towns

For the second time in a month, Northern Kentucky University has been ranked as one of the safest college campuses. Safewise, a home security company, listed Highland Heights/NKU as the seventh safest college town in the nation.

SafeWise compiled the top 30 safest college towns based on the most recent FBI crime statistics and safety programs.

“As one of the state’s fastest-growing colleges, NKU has managed the influx of higher student populations while keeping crime rates low,” SafeWise reported.

Try a class free. Click here. This is an advertisement. 
SafeWise also took into account reviews from Unigo, a website that matches students with colleges, scholarships and student loans. The reviews show students describe NKU’s campus as diverse, safe, inclusive and welcoming.

Golf Cart Delivery Coming to Fort Thomas

by Robin Gee

Santa will stick to the sleigh, but some Fort Thomas residents will see a new method of holiday delivery in their neighborhoods this season.

Package-laden golf carts will be tooling around some neighborhoods as part of a United Parcel Service (UPS) program designed to help handle increased volume during the peak usage time.

UPS rolled out the program in some states in 2015 as an effort to handle the large volume of holiday delivery traffic created with the rise of online buying or what they refer to as eCommerce.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. This is an advertisement. 
In Kentucky, UPS ran a successful two-year pilot program that started with 61 carts in 2015 and went to 111 in 2016 in select residential areas that had speed limits under 35mph.

This year, the state legislature cleared the way for the full program by passing an amendment to the KRS statute that allowed the company to use the golf carts for commercial purposes.

Before that legislation, UPS would have had to comply with each individual community’s standards if the community had adopted ordinances regulating golf carts and similar vehicles, City Administrator Ron Dill told council at the September 5 meeting.

He added that the legislation does still allow local authorities say over certain things including when delivery can take place, such as sunrise to sunset or during specific hours. Golf carts for private use will still be prohibited.

Safety first

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Police Identify Victims In Fatal Crash on Alexandria Pike in Alexandria

Police have identified two people who died after a crash on Alexandria Pike on Monday.

The victims are Diana Hendricks, 56, and Daniel Hendricks, 27, of Butler, Kentucky. They were mother and son.

The crash, which closed down Alexandria Pike, occurred on Alexandria Pike at the intersection of Kenton Station Road around 4:40 p.m. Monday.

Deer Dangers Frustrate Residents

Deer on Covert Run. FTM file. 

by Robin Gee

Deer mating season is just beginning but reports of increased deer activity throughout our area highlights dangers to motorists, as well as both safety and nuisance concerns for residents.

Herman and Peggy Lauer of Capri Drive addressed Fort Thomas City Council at the September 5 meeting to request help with deer on their property. The couple counted 17 in their yard recently.

The current city ordinance, passed in 2007 and amended in 2011 and 2013, allows hunting with arrows on properties with at least three contiguous acres. The Lauers do not have the required acreage and have not been able to find neighbors along the deer path who will allow hunting.

Need a local chiropractor? Click here. This is an advertisement. 
Peggy Lauer feels the deer pose a real threat, not only to motorists, but to people outside. The deer use her yard as part of a path to go over Memorial Parkway.

"They are just not scared of people. They just go charging through the yards, you could get run over by them," said Lauer. "They won’t move in your driveway and they seem to be eating everything, even things they never touched before."

Recently, she said, one deer almost bit her grandson. She has seen bucks fighting in the yard and is afraid to go outside when deer are around.

Ordinance results unclear

The city of Fort Thomas has had a deer ordinance in place since 2007 and amended it in 2011 and again in 2013 to expand the times discharge of arrows would be allowed. The ordinance, which also prohibits feeding of deer, has yielded mixed results.

The most recent aerial count, conducted by Vision Air Research in 2013, indicated there were 96 deer in the area, down from 205 in 2010. Ninety-six deer factors out to about 15 per square mile, a density considered manageable by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife standards.

Councilman Roger Peterman said that he's skeptical of those results and the way the data was collected.
He noted that the number of deer-related vehicle accidents has not decreased. There were 22 such accidents in 2016, down from 27 in 2013 but still 69 percent higher than the number reported in 2010.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Deer Accidents

The question remains, if controlled hunting does not cull the herd enough, what is the answer?

A different approach?

Councilmember Ken Bowman pointed to alternatives. "I know there’s been some success across the river with a sterilization program. The numbers are going down; it’s proving to work. We haven’t gone there but maybe we should."

A deer sterilization pilot program in Cincinnati’s Clifton neighborhood is in it’s second year of field operations. After residents there objected to bow-hunting in three area parks, the Cincinnati Park Board approved a research study and pilot program with permission from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

So far, the program, which is funded through grants and private donations, has shown promise. The deer population in the area has decreased by 16 percent according to the program’s second-year report. The program had sterilized and tagged 51 female deer as of January 2017.

When this option was discussed five years ago, expense was a concern.

"It could be revenue neutral, at no cost to the city if we can find citizens and vets who are willing to step up," said Bowman. "We haven’t had that conversation but it is my hope that we will."

City Administrator Ron Dill said the deer problem has been a topic of concern and conversation across the area. Fort Thomas will host a city managers group meeting in October. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will be there, and urban deer management is high on the agenda for discussion, he said.

All agreed that one thing residents can do right now is to refrain from feeding the deer. Lauer noted that she's seen neighbors do this. The Fort Thomas ordinance prohibits feeding and imposes a fine of $100 for the first violation, $250 for the second and $500 for the third.   

Monday, September 11, 2017

City Council Roundup: Property Tax Discussion Points to Increase

Council members Ken Bowman and David Cameron during the tax rate discussion.

by Robin Gee

The 2017 property tax rate was the primary focus of the first of two Fort Thomas City Council meetings scheduled in September.

The council met on September 5 to discuss a proposal for the property tax rate, taking into account assessments provided by the Campbell County Property Valuation Administrator.

"Everything is set forth by state statutes, specifically Kentucky House Bill 44," explained Joe Ewald, director of finance.

"Our assessments increased again…as a result we end up with approximately a 10 cent per $1,000 increase for the tax rate, which actually ends up being a 2.4 percent tax rate increase."

Overall, the proposed tax rate will be .412 per $100 of property, which includes the compensating rate plus the four percent revenue increase allowable by law. The rate for 2016 was .402 per $100.

Woodfill Elementary's Spaghetti Dinner + Big Top Festival THIS Weekend

Community members play games at last year's Big Top Festival.

For many folks in Fort Thomas September means Big Top. The well-loved festival returns this weekend with Woodfill Elementary's Friday night Spaghetti Dinner and Sunday's Big Top Festival.

Local Attorney Nathaniel Sizemore Follows his Movie Dreams

Nathaniel Sizemore (provided)
by Colin Moore

At age 30 Nathaniel Sizemore sat down to take stock of his life. He’s Vice President and General Counsel of Sizemore Inc. His professional life is good and the company has been named on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies in the US. He serves as an adjunct professor at NKU and as a visiting professor at UC. He’s happily married with a beautiful daughter. He’s active in the Fort Thomas Lions club and the local community. Still, he felt like something was missing. “I asked myself “What is it that I am not doing, that I’ll regret later in life?”” He realised that he needed a creative outlet, specifically to be involved in film and television in some way.

A year later Nathaniel is acting and producing film and TV projects part time and his first opportunity came through an article he read on Fort Thomas Matters.

“Whether I make it or not, it’s a fun ride and it’s the journey that counts. I want to show my daughter that you can be a working professional and still have that creative outlet.”