Friday, December 15, 2017

Con Artist Scams Elderly Fort Thomas Resident for $6,000

Fort Thomas Police want you to know that they will never call you unsolicited for funds.

That seems like a common sense plea to the public, but according to Lt. Rich Whitford, residents are being duped by persistent and convincing con artists.

He said that recently a Fort Thomas resident had been conned to the tune of $6,000, the first one that's occurred in Fort Thomas.

"There's a regional scam happening in the area that is targeting the elderly. Scammers are posing as law enforcement agencies and the callers tell the victims that there is a warrant for their arrest," said Whitford. "We will never do that. Law enforcement agencies never do that."

Campbell Co. YMCA. This is an advertisement. 

Community Groups in Northern Kentucky Respond to Recent ICE Raids

About 130 people attended a meeting sponsored by Supporting Latino Families in Northern Kentucky.
An informational meeting was held Thursday, December 14, at the Holy Spirit Church in Newport for those wishing to help individuals and families impacted by last week’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid in Northern Kentucky.

Last week, at least 22 people across Northern Kentucky were detained by federal immigration officials. People were picked up at home and on the way to work.

Fort Thomas Children Help Star in Crossroads Last "Awaited"

Often lost amidst the holiday hustle is the meaning behind Christmas.  Families who celebrate the Christian faith often have unique, church-focused traditions to ensure the Advent and Christmas season is faith-based.  One tradition many local families enjoy is now in its 11th year of production- Awaited, written, produced, and hosted by Crossroads Church.  For a dozen Fort Thomas children, this year they will not only be attending this hard-to-get ticketed production but also will be joining the cast and crew.

According to their press release, Awaited is the “highest-attended Christmas performance” in the city with two locations and 130,000 total guests over 47 different shows.  The tickets are free but they do go quickly and thus can be difficult to come by (to get tickets, go to The final show will be on December 23.

For a little background, Crossroads advises, “Awaited is an original Crossroads production which began in 2007. Utilizing all local and largely volunteer talent for everything from costume and set design to musical arrangements and dance, it’s a Christmas experience for the whole family. The show includes 450 cast and crew, 2 ten-piece bands, adult and children’s choirs, original dance performances, and layered video projections. Audience members are immersed in the experience—from stars on the ceiling to snow falling to choir members and dancers moving throughout the auditorium.”

For Lori Valentine, owner of Fort Thomas Coffee and Fort Thomas resident, the show is much more personal.  Valentine’s children, Kit (age 8, 2nd grade at Moyer) and Honor (13, 8th grade HMS) are performing in the show for their 3rd and 4th year, respectively.  Says Valentine, “the show itself is gorgeous, so professional and so creative. (…) The music is incredible; I feel so lucky that my kids have the chance to participate in something so positive and important that is centered around serving others at this time of year.”  Valentines child, Honor, goes on to say, “It’s really cool to see how Awaited is changing people’s lives and I love being a part of that.”

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Leading Tech Boom in Region

A University of Kentucky graduate with a degree in English education and a minor in journalism, Diana McGhee, primarily an educator, teaches a journalism class at Highlands High School in addition to her job as the district’s director of technology and information. McGhee has worked for Fort Thomas Independent Schools since 1989 when she was hired as the middle school guidance counselor.

After Kentucky passed its master plan for technology in education in 1990, McGhee was appointed technology coordinator because of her reputation as a tinkerer. She was someone who would take things apart and put them back together just to see how they worked. McGhee has witnessed the vast shift of technology from back-office administrative functions into the classroom. Now it is a vital part of the lives of students and teachers. Her vision for the district states, “Our technology is utilized by teachers and students in transformative ways to enhance student achievement and to make real world global connections.”

McGhee and her staff are proud to have achieved a 1-to-1 ratio of technology devices to students. That involves far more than simply passing out computers. With a student population of 3,000, there is a tremendous amount of work involved preparing systems, imaging and testing MacBooks and iPads, and conducting orientation for students and parents. With a mid-August deadline, it doesn’t leave much time for a summer break.

Two More Arrested, Charged in Connection with Taxi Driver Murder

Three people were arrested this week in connection to the shooting death of a Newport taxi driver, police said.

Wednesday, Justin Russell was arrested and charged with murder after Newport patrol officers stopped his car just after 2:00 p.m. and saw shell casings from a gun in plain view.

Then later that day, Alyssa Baker, 19, and Jarrett Anness, 18, all from Newport, were arrested and charged with murder after police learned more information about the two during interviews. Additionally evidence collected helped lead to the charges.

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Sources tell Fort Thomas Matters that Russell and Baker have dated for a number of years and have children together.

"These cases have to develop very rapidly when it comes to evidence for us to have a good chance of us apprehending the suspect," said Lt. Chris Fangman of Newport Police. "The longer it goes, the tougher it gets and our detectives did a great job."

Det. Dennis McCathy said that they had determined there was an exchange of counterfeit money for narcotics, which could be a potential motive for the killing. He could not say how much money was used in the drug buy.

Surveillance video showed a shadowy figure fire into DePhillips' cab and seconds later he could be seen driving almost two blocks before crashing into nearly a half-dozen other vehicles in the 900 block of Washington Street.

Police say that DePhillips was homeless and was staying in vacant properties, hotels and his taxi.

A female passenger, who police say was acquainted with DePhillips, was in the back seat of the taxi while the shooting took place.

Russell doesn't have much of a criminal record in Kentucky, but was arrested in November in Campbell County and charged with alcoholic intoxication in a public place.

Baker and Anness do not have serious criminal records.

PHOTO: Anness, Russell and Baker. Mugshots provided. 

Northern Kentucky Man Sentenced to 35 Years for Conspiring to Distribute Meth

Matthew Wesley Shaffer, 39, of Walton, Ky., was sentenced today, to 35 years in prison, by United States District Court Judge David Bunning. In August of 2017, Shaffer was convicted by a jury of two counts of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute it, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

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At his trial, Shaffer was identified as the president of the Florence, Kentucky, chapter of the Iron Horsemen motorcycle club and as a national enforcer for that organization. He has multiple prior felony convictions. The evidence at trial further established that Shaffer directed a group that was transporting large amounts of crystal methamphetamine from California to Northern Kentucky and distributing it, during 2015 and 2016.

Newport Catholic Head Football Coach to Step Down

Replacement search is underway 

NCC Coach Dan Wagner announced his decision to step down as head coach of the football program.  

Wagner, a 1978 graduate of Newport Catholic began his coaching career at Newport Catholic in 1980 and was the Defensive Coordinator for the Thoroughbreds prior to becoming Head Coach in 2013.

He took over for former head coach, Eddie Eviston, who is now at Covington Catholic.

RELATED: NCC Promotes Wagner to head coach. 

NCC Principal Ron Dawn was quoted as saying, “Dan has been a long time coach for many years and we appreciate and thank him for his commitment to NCC and dedication to our student athletes.  As he pursues other opportunities we know his love for and service to the NewCath community will continue.”  

The Holiday Season is in Full Swing at Blue Marble Books!

Blue Marble Bookstore


Blue Marble Books is as charming and festive as ever this holiday season. Just walking in the door seeing all the lovingly displayed books and thoughtfully selected toys give the spirit a lift. Shelves are overflowing with books, puzzles and favorite plush characters - Scaredy Squirrel and the tenacious Pigeon are always a big hit! 

Holiday shopping hours include Sundays from 1:00-4:00 pm and the shop will be open on Christmas Eve for last minute gifts and stocking stuffers! 

Blue Marble Books Picture Book Wall

While trying to decide which of the Elephant and Piggy books you want to give, see if you can spot any of the five hidden paper candy canes and enjoy a real one if you find it. 

Raggedy Andy sitting beside "The Girl Who Saved Christmas" by Matt Haig


The Blue Marble staff has a list of book recommendations that your friends and family will adore - and probably don't have in their collections! From picture books to novels, you are sure to find a treasure.  

"Wakem The Rooster, Up All Night" by Dave FitzSimmons

Wakem the Rooster, Up All Night

"The Wolf, The Duck, and The Mouse" by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

A beautifully illustrated story about a duck and mouse who get swallowed by a wolf, and decide to live in his belly.

"The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse" by Mac Barnett

"The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse" by Mac Barnett

I'm Afraid Your Teddy Is In Trouble Today by Jancee Dunn

Elves on shelves aren't the only ones making trouble when the people are away. The toys in "I'm Afraid Your Teddy Is In Trouble" are having a blast - love the illustration of the penguin and dog sliding down cushions on cookie sheets.

"I'm Afraid Your Teddy is in Trouble Today" by Jancee Dunn

"I'm Afraid Your Teddy is in Trouble Today" by Jancee Dunn

For middle schoolers trying to navigate a brave new world of social media, "Posted" by John David Anderson would be an excellent book to give and read with your child which may lead to fruitful discussions. 

Anderson dives into the world of middle school with a clear sense of how it works and what it needs. Kids, and the rest of the world, need more books like this one. — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Anderson captures the tumultuous joys and pains of middle school with honesty, creating characters with whom readers will find common ground and insight. Words have lingering and persistent power, Anderson makes clear, but so does standing up for others and making one’s voice heard. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Highlands Football Grads Continue to Win at Next Level

Dougherty, Bunning Contribute to Lindsey Wilson Success

Contributed Photo from Lindsey Wilson Athletic Department. Highlands graduate Jared Dougherty (10) boots an extra point during the season.
Contributed Photo from Lindsey Wilson Athletic Department. Highlands graduate Lou Bunning (50)  holds his ground during a game this year. Bunning started all 12 games at center for the Blue Raiders this year.
Highlands Bluebirds Head Coach Brian Weinrich has said Lindsey Wilson College Head Football Coach Chris Oliver and the Lindsey Wilson College Blue Raiders coaching staff have done a great job recruiting the Bluebirds in the past.

The winning tradition at Highlands is a major reason like it is other places. Highlands graduates Lou Bunning (Highlands Class of 2015) and Jared Dougherty (2016) helped the Bluebirds to their 23rd and most recent state championship in 2014. Dougherty helped the Bluebirds go back to the Class 5A semifinals his senior year in 2015.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Newport Man Arrested, Charged with Murder in Shooting

An arrest has been made by Newport Police in the shooting and killing of a taxi driver just before midnight last night.

Justin L. Russell, 20, from Newport was charged with murder of David DePhillips, 38, also from Newport.

He will be housed at the Campbell County Detention Center.

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Newport Police said that patrol officers stopped a vehicle today at 2:05 p.m. that matched a description of a car leaving the scene of the crime last night at Washington Avenue and 10th Street. By 2:14 the suspect had been arrested on separate charges after officers saw shell casings in plain view of the suspect's vehicle.

Police said that a witness gave a positive identification of the suspect and surveillance video corroborated those accounts.

Caroline Huseman: In Memoriam

Caroline Isabel Huseman, 19, of Fort Thomas, passed away suddenly on Saturday, December 9, 2017.

Caroline was a member of St. Thomas Parish where she also attended elementary school. She was a 2016 graduate of Newport Central Catholic High School.

Caroline continued her education at Northern Kentucky University, majoring in early childhood education and was also a member of the Theta Phi Alpha Sorority. Caroline was born December 15, 1997 in Cincinnati, OH to Brian and Linda (nee: Fischer) Huseman. Caroline is survived by her parents Brian & Linda (nee: Fischer) Huseman, Brother, Nicholas Huseman, Sister, Natalie Huseman, also survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

New Kentucky Driver's License Program Promises Greater Security

John-Mark Hack, commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Registration addresses Campbell County Fiscal Court.
--> A big change is coming for the more than 3.5 million Kentucky driver's license and personal identification card holders.

A new law that will go into effect in January 2019, will change how state driver's licenses and ID cards are issued and will bring the commonwealth's system into compliance with federal laws passed after the 9-11 attacks in 2005.

Located at 18 N. Fort Thomas Avenue, in the Hiland Building. 
According to John-Mark Hack, commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Registration in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the new licenses will not only finally meet federal standards, but will be much more secure than the current system.

"When we are fully implemented, Kentucky will have one of the nation's most secure, most technologically advanced identity credential issuance systems in the nation," he said.

 The need for increased security

"Our current system has a relatively higher risk of fraud compared to other systems," he explained. "We have a highly decentralized driver's license issuance system. We have 120 independently elected circuit court clerks who are the legal issuance authorities."

There are 142 locations across the state that issue driver's licenses and id cards. That's "142 cameras, 142 supplies of blank license card stock and 142 supplies of laminate. With everything you need to make driver’s licenses and personal ID cards spread out over 142 not completely secure locations, you can imagine why our system is not compliant with federal law."

House Bill 410, passed in March of this year, will offer two tiers of licenses depending on the travel needs of the cardholders and double the time between renewals. Most important for security will be the reduction of issuing authorities from 120 down to one that will be a more secure location within the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. 

Two tiers and a longer renewal

The circuit court clerks' offices will continue to serve as the point of contact for customer service and will take applications and required forms of identification, but the license card will be issued through the mail. People will be issued temporary cards, good for 30 days, until their licenses arrive.

The two tiers include new voluntary travel IDs and standard licenses or personal identity cards.

The voluntary travel ID will be issued to those who want to use their ID to board commercial domestic flights. This card also allows the holder to enter certain restricted government facilities such as nuclear power plants and some military bases. The voluntary travel ID requires more information including proof of identity, two out of three forms including a Social Security card, certified birth certificate or a U.S. issued passport, as well as two proof of residence items such as a bank statement or utility bill.

The standard driver's licenses and personal ID cards require less paperwork (the same information that is currently required) but cannot be used for air travel or to get into restricted facilities. Standard card holders will still be able to enter government buildings commonly open for public business such as the Social Security office or courthouses.

Costs for the cards will include a slight increase to help pay for the new system. Current licenses and identification cards cost $20 and are good for four years. The new volunteer travel ID will be good for eight years but will cost $48, a fifty-cent increase per year. The standard cards will also be good for eight years and will cost $43.

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Rolling it out 

Hack emphasized that another improvement better protects citizen’s personal information. "The bill also ensures your personal identity information will be kept only in the state database system and not shared with other states or the federal government except for the strictly limited purpose of fraud detection. For that, they have to have a very credible reason to ask for the information."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued an extension for compliance to the state that will expire next fall. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has filed for an extension that, if granted, will give the state more time to implement and roll out the new system.

To avoid confusion, Hack says his department will be issuing information as it becomes necessary. Those whose renewal dates fall in 2019 will have many questions and concerns, but the department's goal is to roll out the program in a controlled manner to avoid as much confusion as possible. Right now his department is waiting to learn if an extension has been granted.

The state also issued a request for proposals for a new vendor for the equipment and production supplies, and a decision on that should come very soon. Hack says his department’s goal is to select a vendor by the end of 2017 to have a full year to work on the new system.

More information will come available soon. Keep an eye on the website for details as they unfold.

Taxi Driver Shot, Killed in Newport with Passenger in Backseat

Driver shot dead in apparent attempted robbery, passenger unharmed 

A taxi cab driver was shot and killed during an attempted robbery as a female passenger sat in the backseat overnight, Newport police said.

Someone approached a parked taxi near East 10th Street and Washington Avenue and shot through the driver's side window about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to police.

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The driver tried to escape after getting shot, but he crashed near East 10th Street and Washington Avenue.

He was taken to UC Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Highlands Middle School Teacher: Supported, Encouraged and Ready to Fight

Mrs. Linda Turner, Quest teaching assistant, said, “A positive outlook on anything that we face in this life is a true healer for the mind, body, and soul. If a person is diagnosed with cancer and thinks from that moment on that they are doomed, that is in essence giving up and you must always have hope. That is so important.”

A positive outlook was very important for Mrs. Melinda Greenwood, Quest teacher, when accepting the challenge of her lifetime.

On August 1, 2017, Mrs. Greenwood received the news that she had a slow-growing, brain tumor three centimeters in length. She said, “It was by accident, since I had no symptoms.  It was found on a CT Scan completed by my ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor to find out issues with my sinuses. Unfortunately, they found a tumor as well.  I feel very blessed to have found it early, and to have caught it by accident!”

The doctors took a biopsy of the tumor on August 24, which revealed the tumor was cancer, specifically Oligodendroglia, Type II. According to The Brain Tumor Charity, “Oligodendroglia’s are primary brain tumors which means they have originated in the brain instead of spreading from elsewhere. They belong to the group of brain tumors known as gliomas as they develop from a type of glial cell known as an oligodendrocyte.”

Common symptoms include seizures, weakness in the body, blurred vision, stomach aches, and headaches. Mrs. Greenwood experienced none of these symptoms which was why they did not discover the tumor earlier.

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Mrs. Greenwood underwent brain surgery to remove the tumor in mid-August. Sadly, the surgery was not a success due to the fact that her speech center was located within the tumor. Mrs. Greenwood said, “Removing the tumor would have meant losing my speech completely.” Her speech was not something she was willing to give up. The second option for her was chemotherapy.

Mrs. Greenwood is currently receiving treatment from the Duke Brain Tumor Center in North Carolina and Dr. Henry Friedman, who was featured on 60 minutes several times for his break-through Brain Tumor treatments. Mrs. Greenwood said, “I visit the center at Duke every two months to monitor my progress, and to see if additional treatments need to be added.  In the meantime, I take chemotherapy pills for 5 days every month.  I won’t lose my hair, and I’m able to eat more often.  So far, it really hasn’t been too bad, plus I’ve been able to catch up on my favorite Netflix shows during treatment.” 

Mrs. Greenwood’s has tried to keep her daily routine as normal as possible. She said, “Daily life has been pretty normal, other than during the chemotherapy treatment days.” She has even continued to come to work almost every day. Mrs. Greenwood said, “I’m still at work because I love my job!  Those that are around me know that teaching is my passion.  It keeps me focused on something other than my current issues to continue to work with students when I feel good enough to be here.  As cliché as it sounds, my students, my son, my husband and family, church community, friends and work community are what has kept me so positive and hopeful during this entire situation.”

One of the biggest factors in Mrs. Greenwoods positive mindset is her support system of family and friends. Mrs. Turner said, “The teachers have reached out to her through different ways of support. They have made her meals, offered to watch her son, and sent her home when not feeling up to par.”

The teachers at Highlands Middle School have a generous reputation.

Fort Thomas Couple to Open Fort Thomas Ice Cream

In February of this year, two Fort Thomas real estate developers presented a business plan to the Fort Thomas Planning Commission that called for an ice cream shop and a bourbon and wine bar to become two of the newest Fort Thomas businesses to open in the Midway business district adjacent to Tower Park at 1011 and 1013 S. Fort Thomas Avenue.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Developers Present Business Plan to Planning Commission 

The commission approved that plan but the original tenants targeted by KCCA Developers, The Colonel's Creamery and Aged and Oaked Bourbon and Wine Bar, did not pan out.

However, developers Kyle Stevie and Chris Reid stuck to their plan and a new similar tenant has signed a lease at 1013 S. Fort Thomas Avenue.

Enter, Fort Thomas Ice Cream, owned by Fort Thomas residents Jason and Angela Williams.

Fort Thomas Ice Cream under construction. FTM file. 
For Jason Williams, the decision to own his own business has been a dream of his. The couple moved to Fort Thomas a little over four years ago and had always remarked to each other that the city needed an ice cream shop.

"Over time it was the running joke in our house when we saw spaces become available for rent in Fort Thomas that it was going to become "our" ice cream shop," said Angela, who works as a Senior Construction & Development Project Manager for one of the largest Real Estate companies in the world. She will continue her career there and said her main focus is Construction Management of Commercial Office and Retail spaces within the Cincinnati area.
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Call Rob Beimesche, with HUFF Realty. 859-240-3219.  
The Williams have three children who go to St Thomas School. Fate intervened this summer while they were helping to run the St. Thomas Festival this summer.

"We ran into Chris Reid, co-owner of the two buildings to the left of Midway Café and started talking to him about the spaces and he mentioned that they were looking at a deal with Colonel Creamery and it had just fallen though. I looked at my husband and said, 'This is it! There is our ice cream shop!'"

Jason, an independent distributor for Nature’s Own bread,  sold his bread route about a month ago to focus on the ice cream shop and the two have been busy readying the space for a February 2018 opening date.

"Given the fact that we are well aware that opening an ice cream shop in the middle of winter is crazy we are planning on having a soft opening in February 2018 and will start booking parties at that time," said Angela. "We plan on having our taste testing and flavor naming and then a grand opening in March or April."

The main focus at Fort Thomas Ice Cream will, of course, be the ice cream, which will all be made in-house by Jason. He is currently working on perfecting his recipes using all-natural and local ingredients.

"I really care about what goes into the ice cream," said Jason.

"We want feedback on our flavors and to get the community involved from the beginning.  We feel this will help Fort Thomas and other local residents put their stamp on our shop," said Angela. "We want people to feel that they can come and hang out and relax at our shop, meet for ice cream and really enjoy the space as well as the desserts."

Build-out finishes are beginning. It's safe to say that the Williams are excited and passionate about their business venture. FTM file. 
The couple also plans serving coffee, donuts and pastries as well as other desserts such as brownies, rise crispy treats.

"The desserts will change frequently," said Williams.

There is also a nice size space in the back of our shop that will have the ability to book parties.

"The location of the ice cream shop, I feel, is the best location in Fort Thomas for us," said Angela.  "With Tower Park, the VA, the Highlands soccer fields and multiple schools within walking distance, I think it will really be a success. In addition, the longevity of other establishments around us, Midway Café, The Pub and Fort Thomas Pizza, it really speaks to how successful retail and restaurant tenants can be in that area."

Plans for the space directly next to Fort Thomas Ice Cream are not yet available.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Police: Icy Roads Likely Caused Campbell County Crash that Killed Teen

Icy roads likely caused a fatal crash in Northern Kentucky, Campbell County police said Monday.

The crash happened around 4 p.m. Saturday on US-27 near the Campbell and Pendleton county line.

Authorities say that a 17-year-old was driving northbound when she lost control of her car and traveled into the southbound lanes.

Cobblestone Cafe Takes Care of All Your Holiday Needs

Brenda & Jen of Cobblestone Cafe


A burst of warm air, the ding of a bell suspended just above the door and comforting smells of home cooking welcome every visitor to Cobblestone Cafe. Fort Thomas residents know and love Cobblestone Cafe as a lunch spot and deli counter that always delights. Owner Brenda and daughter Jen work hard to make their corner of the world a place that soothes the soul and feeds the body. 


Cobblestone Cafe Gift Certificates
Gift certificates make excellent teacher and co-worker gifts. Tuck a $5.00 gift certificate into a sparkly envelope for the perfect stocking stuffer!


Wrap Tray from Cobblestone Cafe


Hot soups change daily and pair perfectly with any sandwich, salad or wrap. Have you tried the Mediterranean Hummus Wrap? Personal favorite - each bite is chickpea and red pepper bliss. Bring the kids along for any deli sandwich or a PB & J which is magical and your kids will assure you is nothing like the ones you make at home.

As colder temperatures move in with Christmas and New Year approaching, the Apple Waldorf salad is at an all-time high demand. It's the perfect side dish for any holiday party - pick it up by the pound and delight your friends, family or co-workers. Eat it alone or pair each bite of hearty walnut, sliced grape, crisp celery and diced apple with salty, buttery crackers. You can't go wrong with a salad that hails from New York City and is older than the Eiffel Tower. Cobblestone Cafe will get you through the business of the holiday season with gifts and good food.

Need a few box lunches to perk up a meeting or an array of sandwiches, salads and side dishes for a large holiday party? 

Leave the home cooking and artfully arranged party trays, platters, wrap trays, pretzel bun trays and of course dessert trays in the able hands of Cobblestone Cafe. Call Brenda or Jen a day or two before your special occasion to place your order.

Check out Cobblestone's catering menu here or call them at 859-781-3000.


Cobblestone's Cobbie the Snowman

Cobbie the Snowman appears every December outside Cobblestone's door. This year everyone is invited to tap into your imagination and put a creative twist on Cobbie by coloring, embellishing and getting carried away by your creative muse.  The coloring contest is open to adults and children - a separate prize for the age categories - and runs until Dec. 22. Most creative Cobbie wins a prize! 

Cobbie Coloring Contest Details:

Cobbie the Snowman coloring sheet
  • Pick up a Cobbie coloring sheet at Cobblestone
  • Drop off in box by front door
  • Turn in by Dec 22, 2017
  • Adults and kids welcome


Cobblestone Cafe Staff

Wishing everyone a joyous holiday season full of warm hugs, hot soup and good cheer!

Cobblestone Cafe is located at 654 Highland Avenue, Fort Thomas, KY.
Get in touch by phone: 859- 781-3000
Check out their menu online

Moyer Elementary Teacher: Give a Girl the Right Shoes and She Can Conquer the World

“Girls on the Run is so much fun! Girls on the Run is number one!”

These words were repeated by booming voices week after week from 16 unique young girls with the drive and energy to run the world (and a 5K)! When I first joined the Girls on the Run (GOTR) organization nearly 6 years ago, I did so as a teacher trying to get involved in my school and make connections with the community and my students. Up until that point I had completed a handful of 5Ks for fun, but never did I think about the race until the morning of, look at my time, or even consider training. It wasn't until I decided to join GOTR as a running buddy that I started to think that running might be the sport for me. Over time I continued to increase my volunteering with GOTR and eventually became a head coach. Although the program is intended to teach young girls 3rd-5th grade to be joyful, healthy, and confident, I found that it did those same things for me, a 24 year old at the time, each week.

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During my time with GOTR, I have run eighteen half marathons and three full marathons. I have made it my goal to run a half or a full in all 50 states, plus Washington D.C. With each new state, I am reminded of just how grateful I am for GOTR and the lifestyle changes it has brought me. However, this journey is no longer about me; I have found my strength and running path. It’s now my time to pay it forward by promoting this incredible program and the many lives it is changing across the country and our community.

Last October, I was able to raise over $1,600 in order to run the Chicago Marathon as a GOTR Solemate. My current work with the program is as a Mission Adelaide volunteer. Being part of this committee, I have had the privilege of visiting sites to experience the beauty of the program firsthand with the girls and coaches, while also working to meet the team’s needs. My most recent site visit was at Johnson Elementary School in Fort Thomas.

Cincinnati Ballet To Honor Michelle Chalk

Ava Rosenstiel and Michelle Chalk as toy soliders in Cincinnati Ballet's 'The Nutcracker'; photo provided by the Chalk family

Last December, Keith and Patty Chalk's daughter, Michelle, was performing in Cincinnati's Ballet's 'The Nutcracker' as lead soldier and dragon carrier. It was a busy, but exciting, time of year for this Fort Thomas family. Parents of the Nutcracker's Kids Cast are expected to volunteer backstage, and Keith loved this work.

"My favorite memories are backstage," he says. "Watching Michelle with her friends in the holding area as she interacted with the other children. Escorting her and her group up to the wardrobe area to transform into character. Escorting her and her group to the stage, and watching the performance from the wings. Escorting them off stage, back to the wardrobe room, and back to the holding area. These young children were pros."

Michelle, a 15-year-old soon-to-be Highlands freshman, died August 1, 2017. Her father talks about the tragedy, here.

Michelle Chalk, Ava Rosenstiel, Jenna Harney at the cast party for Cincinnati Ballet's 'The Nutcracker'; photo provided by the Chalk family
Getting through the days, no, hours, in a seemingly joyful month for all is difficult for many, including the Chalks. Initially, Keith and Patty weren't sure if they were going to see The Nutcracker this year. But they also wanted to see Ava Rosenstiel, a Highlands High School freshman, and a friend of Michelle who was cast as a soldier in 2016 and 2017. They also wanted to see Jenna Harney, the daughter of Sonja Harney, the owner of Dance Express, where Michelle started to learn dance at the age of 3. "We knew 'The Nutcracker' would be a triggering event for us," Keith says. "Something that we hoped we could endure."

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But then, they got an email. It was from Cincinnati Ballet.

"I read it to Patty and I could barely get through it before I broke down in tears," Keith says. "In perspective, I view the Cincinnati Ballet as a big deal. They are very professional there. From the dancers, to the musicians, to the stage hands, to the security and the ushers ... they are all professionals. I've rehearsed with 2nd Act performers and the conductor. I've worked behind the scenes. They have earned my respect. Then to have them honor my sweet daughter ... it is beyond my ability to put it into words. It is a gift beyond value. They are artists that are using their creation to honor Michelle."

This year Cincinnati Ballet is honoring Michelle's memory in 'The Nutcracker' playbill. In addition, yellow ribbons will be placed on the casting boards at all of the entrance doors to the Springer Auditorium.

"As soon as Cincinnati Ballet had heard of Michelle's tragic passing, I began the discussion with the artistic and executive teams to begin a discussion as to how to honor Michelle's memory in 'The Nutcracker' playbill," says Suzette Boyer Webb, Cincinnati Ballet's Director of Second Company.

Rosenstiel asked Webb if yellow ribbons could be used to help memorialize and remember Michelle. "We were happy to determine a way to make this happen," Webb says.

In addition, Cincinnati Ballet gave the Chalks eight complimentary tickets to the December 20th performance of 'The Nutcracker.' "Patty, myself, and Thomas and Robert (Michelle's brothers) will be using four of the tickets," Keith says. "Two of the tickets will be used by Patty's parents (Don and Judy Maumann). The remaining two will be used by Michelle's godmother (Elizabeth Nelson) and her husband (Brent Nelson). Our extended family have purchased many more tickets for that performance."