Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lindsey Cooks with Colonel De Gourmet Spices and Herbs: Unsmoked Beef Back Ribs

Unsmoked Beef Back Ribs

By Lindsey Cook

So yeah, I got this new gig writing for Fort Thomas Living. I get to buddy up with Colonel De on what to write about.

It’s cool.

We got together for our first powwow and geeked out a bit over Julia Child and all the neato ideas we have and things we could do. We talked green strawberries, peach cobbler, farmers markets, mayonnaise, Halloween costumes, cookbooks, archiving recipes, and converting measurements to metric.

It was amazing.

You shoulda been there.

We coulda sold tickets.

But seriously, folks. The Colonel and his chefs want people to cook for themselves. And they want to help you do that. There is a lot of knowledge on that team. They are ready to share. I am a pretty decent home cook, but I am making a list and checking it twice of things with which to pick the chefs’ brain. Not actually pick brains. I have eaten brains, but I don’t want to eat people brains. I am not even sure I want to eat animal brains again, but I tried ‘em. So far, on my list are duck and biscuits. Don’t judge, biscuits are fussy little boogers that don’t like to be touched.

We decided to start on the grill with Beef Back Ribs.

Pork ribs are all over the place around these parts. Beef ones, not so much.

And how can you make them without a smoker and without a lot of fuss. Like, how to do this so peoples will actually do this.

So, the Colonel hooks me up with 3 rubs, 2 of his expert choosing and one of mine, and sends me on my way. Colonel De chose Western Beef Rub and Cowboy Rub. I chose Dukka, an Egyptian spice blend.

I am excited.

This is going to be so much fun. I am totally geeking out over tasting all this stuff. I love food. Flights of fancy floating through my unpicked, untasted, fully-formed-if-not-fully-functioning-thank-you-children brain.

But wait.

I am pretty sure I have never eaten Beef Back Ribs. I have certainly never made them.

Ok, no big deal. That is already part of the schtick. Try something new, right? Gastronomical and culinary adventuring.

It’s cool.

But wait.

The other part of the schtick is a story.


Alas, another regret. (Edith Piaf playing in the background even though she regretted nothing)
Twenty-five, thirty years ago Findley Market looked different than it does today. But it was every bit as awesome. My mother would drag my brother and me down on the weekends. Who are we kidding? We both went willingly. We loved it. We continued to go together occasionally in our late teens/early twenties without Mom. There was a hot dog cart. The dude sold Polish sausages with peppers and onions swimming in cart grease that were just so good. I got one just about every time I went.

And there is the regret.

There was another dude selling some random cut of smoked beef out of a short, little back alley on the far side of Findlay. The side not on the parking lot side. The Saigon Market side (you should go to Saigon Market). That side looked WAY different over there. It was behind a gate. It was not sanitary. It couldn’t have been. It was questionable in so many ways.

But smelled so delicious. It wafted. It billowed. It enveloped you in sweet, smoky wonderment.
We would talk about getting some smoked meat probably every time we went. Then we would chicken out (ha! Get it?) I would get a Polish sausage with peppers and onions dripping in orange grease and be pretty darn satisfied.

But not all the way smoked meat satisfied.

We never got the smoked meat. The dude is gone now. I looked a very long time later and his smokers were still in the short, little back alley behind a gate. I will have to remember to look for them next time I am there. And maybe cry a little.

If anyone has any experience with back alley smoked meat I would love to know how it was.
In great detail. I will close my eyes and ask you to talk slowly.

And on that note…

How to Not Smoke Beef Back Ribs
2 Slabs Beef Back Ribs – or however many will feed your family.
Your favorite Colonel De rub – Or try something new. Taste one or two before choosing. We had Western Beef Rub, Cowboy Rub, and Dukka. They were all delicious. I found the Western a little sweet for my tastes, but my family, including the kids loved it. The Cowboy Rub had some heat to it, really mingled with the beefiness of the ribs, and married well with the sauce. The Dukka had the most heat and partnered well with the strong beef flavor, it was a more aggressive flavor. I wouldn’t turn down second helpings of any of them.
Aluminum Foil

What to do:
1) Heat oven to 250 degrees.

2) Generously sprinkle each side of the ribs with the rub. Really massage it in. Don’t be shy, there is a lot of flavor in beef ribs for the rubs to stand up to.

3) Wrap each slab in 2 or 3 layers of aluminum foil, whatever it takes to encase it well. Splitting each slab in half may make this a little easier.

4) Place the wrapped ribs on cookie sheets and pop them in the oven. Let those bad boys slow cook for about 4 hours. After 4 hours pull them out to see how things are going. The meat will shrink back on the rib and the bones should move nicely and easily when wiggled. The bone may just pull right out, that is not a bad thing. If they are not quite wiggle-icious keep them cooking for a bit longer, check every half hour or so.

5) Once the ribs are nice and tender open the packets and increase the heat to 350, cook for another 15-30 minutes. Cooking the ribs in the packets does not form any kind of crust, they will be wet and a little gooey. Opening the packets and increasing the heat dries that outer wetness a bit and gives a little crusty bark to the ribs. If you want to put barbeque sauce on the ribs, this is when you do it.
Remove the ribs and let them rest for 15 minutes. Try not to faint from the heavenly aromas.

Some Notes:
Call your butcher ahead of time to make sure they have beef back ribs. I popped into Avril-Bleh on Saturday to purchase mine to find they do not usually have them. They can get them though, and did.
I found the beef ribs leaner than pork ribs, clean up was a breeze.
If you have a smoker, you probably know how to use it and should go buy some beef ribs right now.
These can absolutely be finished on the grill instead of the oven.
While these took over 4 hours to cook, I only had my hands on them for about 20 minutes total and that wasn’t even all at once.

Fort Thomas' Small Town Quirks Reveal Who We Are

My hometown of Junction City, Kansas decided to pave the ten blocks that made up the city core. Shortly afterwards all of the side streets sank a few inches. Not just one street, but every single one.

The main street was just fine, but drivers were forced to take intersections slowly or risk damage to their vehicles. Well, the city leaders repaired it but they liked how drivers slowed down so they incorporated dips in the road at each intersection. Sort of like reverse speed bumps. It really forces drivers to slow down. It’s a town quirk. And it’s easy to spot outsiders. They’re the ones cursing when their coffee jumps out of their cups or the exhaust falls off. It was initial bad engineering that resulted in something that worked well for them. Quirky.

Fort Thomas has its own little quirks that hide in plain sight. Here are a few I have discovered on my walks.

Fort Thomas is a town of walkers, runners, and cyclists - a mobile community. And sometimes things get lost. Take this helmet, for example. It’s been sitting in front of the city building for at least five days now. The owner has not claimed it and no one has stolen it. I once saw a backpack sit in front of the high school for a long weekend. No one bothered it. That says something about the community. I’m sure we might disagree on what it says, but I want to think that we are basically an honest group - even though there is theft from cars, homes, porches, and persons. Sure hope this helmet is reunited with its owner.

Then there is this. Someone left a few items outside the Methodist church so some kind person placed them on the electrical box next to the sidewalk. There is a child somewhere in town with only one shoe. Tell the parent where the other shoe is, please.

Then there is the fire hydrant at Inverness. My only thought as I walked by was “Ouch! That’s going to hurt to hook up the fire hose.” But it might keep dogs from leaving liquid notes for other dogs.

This is the odd lane out. 
The other three lights at Highland and Grand look like this. 

And then there’s the intersection at Highland and Grand. Notice anything unusual about the photos? There is an inconsistency in the lanes. I wonder the logic. Traffic backs up along Highland at times. Pay attention to this little quirk the next time you drive through the intersection.

Like a number of businesses and residents, Colonel De puts out water for dogs. Thoughtful. And it's strategically located next to a tree.

Speaking of trees, there is this bird house/feeder that someone built in a dead tree along the sidewalk on West Southgate.  This is an example of the adage “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Carving in Tower Park in the Model Native Garden.
Wood carving in Highland Park along one of the trails. 
A local chainsaw artist has created a handful of carvings in stumps of dead trees in Highland Park and one in Tower Park. Looking forward to his next piece.

Someone hauled creek rocks up a hill and created a series of statues - men, women, children - in the woods on private property. I’m reluctant to give the location, but it’s pretty cool. This is just one of many creative stone sculptures.

Newport Fire Engulfs Two Home Overnight on Washington Avenue

An intense fire blazed overnight on Washington Avenue in Newport, near the city-owned parking lot of the former Trauth Dairy plant.

Crews arrived at 2:00 a.m. and are still on scene hours after firefighters battled the flames that engulfed two vacant homes at 1028 and 1030 Washington Avenue.

No one was hurt.

Officials say that the fire started in one home and spread to the home next door. Neighbors say that no one lived in the homes, which were boarded up.

The cause of the fire is not known, and due to the dangerous nature of how this fire has burned, may not be identified, according to officials.

Firefighters from multiple jurisdictions were seen rushing out of the home as the upper floor and roof collapsed due to the extreme heat.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Fort Thomas Resident Offers Tips for Traveling Overseas with Kids

Author Lisa Littner, along with her husband, Rob Littner, and their daughters, Adelaide (left) and Evelyn (right) in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland.

By Lisa Littner

Traveling internationally with children can often seem daunting and overwhelming. However, with some planning and preparation traveling to another country can be enlightening for children and fun for parents.

Children of different ages have different needs when traveling. Thoughtful packing, planning and researching child-friendly activities can lead to a successful trip. Here are some tips and strategies to help make traveling with children fun and enjoyable.

Infants: Children of this age are actually easy to travel with in many ways. If their nap and eating routines are maintained as close as possible, they are often content in a new environment. Packing such things as a favorite cup from home and kids' dishware that can be washed for multiple meals can help a child adjust to the idea of possibly trying new and different foods. Disposable bibs and burp cloths that can also be used as diaper-changing liners are helpful to have at this age. If staying in a hotel, packing a travel-size bottle of dish soap can be helpful for washing bottles, dishware and bibs in the sink. Lodging with washer and dryer facilities is also beneficial. Bringing a baby carrier and a stroller is recommended to get the most out of exploring a new place. Such things as strollers and car seats can be checked on the plane without a cost at the airline's check-in counter, so parents don't need to bring these items to the gate unless being used in the airport. Many hotels have pack-and-plays and highchairs available at no cost even if they are not advertised on their website.

Toddlers: Toddlers love having a few small toys from home and a comfort item to take on trips. A blanket from home can be used for warmth on a plane ride and also serves as a source of comfort. Bringing a pillowcase from the child's bed at home does not take up much space in a suitcase and can be a source of familiarity that can be especially useful when staying in different hotels throughout a trip. Night lights can help reduce fears of sleeping in a different place.

Adelaide Littner enjoying a playground in Dublin, Ireland.

Researching nearby playgrounds is also beneficial as a daily playground visit gives kids a chance to release some energy. Playing at playgrounds in a different country can often offer a cultural experience for the entire family since both parents and kids can interact with the local families. Kids can hear different languages spoken, but still experience the commonality of play with other kids. Parents may be able to talk to other parents and gain information about restaurant recommendations and other family friendly activities while at a playground.

The authors' children in the southern area of Iceland. 

School-age Children: Children who are school-age can be involved in the planning process for an overseas trip. The more involvement that they have, the more that kids will gain from the trip. If wanting to surprise the children about a trip's destination, a scavenger hunt around the house could be done with questions/clues featuring fun facts about the destination with the destination's location revealed at the end. Giving children a choice of several different activities when trip planning can allow them to feel more empowered and engaged in the process. Families can spend time before the trip reading about the history of the country, the geography, geology and learning more about the culture. Having these educational opportunities beforehand makes the trip so much more impactful when kids experience it.

If wanting to do a guided tour, having a great child-friendly tour guide can add entertainment and deepen the education for children. Having a guide tell entertaining stories and having kids interact with someone from a different culture for an extended time period adds to the memories made.

Collecting souvenirs as a family of things from nature (like rocks, dirt and sand) from each destination can serve as fun travel mementoes. Families can keep a travel journal during a trip. The journal can be electronic and be video clips taken of children talking about what they thought of each destination while there. Children can also take their own videos and pictures on a phone so they can have their own perceptions of trips to recollect on. Families can also collect such things as postcards and brochures to paste in a book. A journal can also include stains from foods tried during the trip or smears of dirt from a hiking trip (which kids will find fun to compile).

Teens: Having teens involved in the planning process for a trip can keep them engaged during the vacation. Having a teen design part of the itinerary and allowing them to pick attractions that match their interest is helpful. If possible, allow teens to access the internet at times during the trip. Being able to keep in touch with their friends may be a huge plus for a teen. Allow teens time to sleep late and have down time during the vacation. Including activities that offer new and adventure-filled experiences may also attract teens' interest. Teens may also appreciate some time exploring a destination on their own as long as both parents and the teen feel safe about that option.

Adelaide Littner and Evelyn Littner playing in the sand in Mousehole, England, a village in the Cornwalll area. 

Travel bargains: Traveling overseas can be costly, but with some research and planning costs can be reduced in certain areas of one's travel budget. Staying in an Airbnb is a very family friendly choice. They are often cheaper than hotels and offer amenities like having a full kitchen and washer/dryer. Children typically do not enjoy eating out in restaurants as much as adults do. If staying in lodging that offers a full kitchen, children can have more choices on the foods that they would like and money can be saved on meals not eaten in restaurants. With some research, one can often find Airbnbs that have toys, a swing set or are in close proximity to a playground. Airbnbs can also offer a unique experience with lodging and add to the adventure of traveling.

If interested in flying to Europe, utilizing the low-cost carrier Wow airlines from CVG can offer options for various countries. If willing to drive to Chicago and park, families can often save a significant amount on flights by taking a direct flight to Europe from Chicago and a layover in another city can be skipped. Lower-cost airlines like SAS (Scandinavian Airline Systems), Iceland Air and Norwegian Air fly directly to many countries in Europe from Chicago. There are also parking garages near O'Hare airport that cost $10 a day to park if booked in advance and even with that expense it is still much less costly to fly to Europe from there.

If booking a flight on a U.S. airline that is codeshared with an international airline, look for tickets on that international airline's website as well as the U.S.-based website to compare costs. Sometimes international airlines offer a small discount for children's tickets and that discount can often be as much as $100 a ticket. Children age infant to 23 months can ride in their parents' laps at no cost on most airlines as well.

Traveling during Thanksgiving week is costly for domestic flights, but often a good time to find a bargain flight to Europe. Traveling to the Caribbean or to Europe during spring break can offer reduced crowds and costs compared to the high seasons of winter for the Caribbean and summer for Europe.

Traveling with children can slow down an itinerary, as more downtime and rest time are necessary. However, it can deepen the travel experience for the whole family. Children that travel overseas are given the chance to see the cultural differences as well as the commonalities when visiting another country. They are able to receive a first-hand education about history, geology and geography as it applies to the destination visited. Many memories that last a lifetime and impact a child's development in a positive way are made through travel.

Adelaide Littner in Puerto Rico.

Recommended Travel Products:

Car Seat Travel Cart: If wanting to use a car seat during the plane ride (which can be helpful for naptime), toddlers can ride in their convertible car seats through the airport using this cart. This is especially helpful to use during a layover.

Kids Sleep Mask: A cute mask that helps with napping on the plane and can be a comfort item too.

Headphone Splitter: If kids are in agreement to watch the same show, having a headphone splitter while traveling can preserve the battery life of iPads and tablets by having kids share instead of watching something individually.

Blanket/Pillow Combination: Since airplane blankets are often hard to come by these days, kids will enjoy this soft blanket in multiple color choices. The blanket's cover is a pillowcase and it includes an inflatable pillow.

Evelyn Littner in old San Juan Puerto Rico.

Recommended Family Travel Websites:

David Freer - 2018 Highlands Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee

The Class of 2018 Inductees will be recognized during HHS Homecoming weekend October 19-21 including a public induction ceremony at Highlands Performing Center followed by a banquet dinner at The Syndicate.

Highlands High School is excited to announce the 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame Class.  Inductees include: Angela Barre Falhaber, David Freer, Tammy Schlarman Freihofer, Eric Glaser, Justin Frisk, Coach Bill Herrmann, Scott Kuhnhein, Jean Pritchard, Kimberly Draud Rohmiller, and Michael Vories.

The Team of Distinction is the 1978-79 Boys Basketball Team.

David Freer graduated from Highlands in 1971, where he earned varsity letters for four years in football and basketball, and was a five-year letterman in track.  He was a star running back in football and was co-captain for an undefeated 1970 State Champion team leading Kentucky in scoring with 206 total points (26 touchdowns, 47 extra points, and a field goal).

He was also a co-captain in track his senior year.  His long list of football accolades includes several local and All-State honors from the Louisville Courier-Journal 1st team, Lexington Herald-Leader 1st team, Associated Press, and UPI.  In addition to being recognized on the state level Mr. Freer received national recognition after being named to the 1970 Sunkist Prep All-American Football Squad and a member of the Scouting Systems of America 1970 All-America Football Team.  Dave was also awarded the Babe Ruth Sportsmanship award his junior year at Highlands.

After high school, Dave attended Eastern Kentucky University on a full football scholarship.  Mr. Freer has given back to Highlands serving as teacher, coach, and assistant principal and continues to work at his alma mater as the in-school suspension instructor.  He resides in Fort Thomas with his wife Christie Dunham and has 2 children: Ben (’98) and Melissa (’01).

The Highlands Athletics Boosters Association sponsors the Highlands Athletic Hall of Fame. The Class of 2018 Inductees will be recognized during HHS Homecoming weekend October 19-21 including a public induction ceremony at Highlands Performing Center followed by a banquet dinner at The Syndicate. 

Fort Thomas Community Plan – June Public Open House

In September of 2017, committees began to meet to create a Community Plan for the City of Fort Thomas as a guide for the next 20 years.  Six committees were formed that relate to different aspects of the community and they include:

- Land Use and Zoning
- Transportation and Connectivity
- Parks and Open Space
- Utilities and City Owned Facilities
- Regional Partnerships
- Funding and Implementation

Hassman and Doyle Lawfirm. 859-655-4430. This is an advertisement.
Since September, the committees have met on a regular basis and findings from the Awareness (first) Phase of the project were reported at a public forum on January 24.

Since then, as part of the Exploration (second) Phase, the committees have been diligently working to investigate options and recommendations for each of their associated topics.

These options will be presented at the next public open house which is scheduled for Monday, June 25th, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mess Hall, and your input is needed to make sure the plan represents the broad views of our community!

At the start of the forum, the City and Design Team will provide an overview of progress so far and of the next steps in the planning process. After the brief presentation, the remainder of the forum will be an open house with stations set up for each committee.  Each station will include large posters that highlight that particular committee’s summary of findings to-date, preliminary options and recommendations.  During this informal open house time, you will be able to talk to the committee members, ask questions, and provide feedback on the recommendations being considered.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Highlands-Louisville St. Xavier Game Story

Walks, Home Runs Doom Highlands in State Championship Loss

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior catcher Bryce Ziegler looks over to the dugout for a signal.

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands sophomore Ethan Kavanagh hustles around third to score the first run of the game in the first inning. Kavanagh went 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. The Highlands Bluebirds pose with their state runner-up trophy. Highlands finished the season 29-14 overall.
The only major team accomplishment not in the trophy case for the 9th Region champions stood in front of them.

But in order to gain that first gold trophy, the Highlands Bluebirds baseball team (29-14 overall) had to beat the team that had the most state championships in Kentucky High School Athletic Association history with seven. Compared to three years ago, the Bluebirds stayed competitive with the Tigers for most of the game. But St. Xavier pulled away in the fifth and sixth innings with two home runs to pull off a 10-6 win.

St. Xavier (37-2) captured its third state championship in the last five years. The Tigers beat Campbell County, 1-0 in the 2016 title game and Simon Kenton, 5-2 in the 2014 championship. Highlands also finished state runner-up in 2015 losing 10-3 to West Jessamine.

"Hats off to Highlands. (The Bluebirds) battled like crazy," said Andy Porta, St. Xavier Head Coach. "Highlands junior Grady Cramer came in and shut us down for a little while, but that's a great ball club."

Both teams wound up with similar hitting averages for the game. St. Xavier went 9-for-26 for a .346 batting clip and Highlands went 9-for-29 for a .310 average. The Bluebirds did take advantage of four Tiger errors while committing just one.

The difference came down to walks. Highlands walked 11 batters and St. Xavier only walked four.

"You can't walk guys and give them free base runners," said Jeremy Baioni, Highlands Head Coach. "They swing it really well. We've talked about it in the last 24 hours. They have pop all the way through their line-up. That caught up with us."

Ryan Nicholson led St. Xavier going 3-for-4 with a double, three runs batted in, two runs scored and the go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning scoring senior Andrew Littlefield ahead of him. Littlefield hit a three-run home run to right to put St. Xavier up 9-4 in the sixth scoring senior Trey Sweeney and junior Cam Scheler ahead of him. Nicholson scored St. Xavier's 10th run on a junior Brandon Tucker single to put the Tigers up 10-6.

Those four runs in the bottom of the sixth proved to be the difference in the game. In the top of the seventh, senior Tyler Gulley reached on an error and senior Drew Rom smashed a home run to right to make the final score of 10-6 off Tiger junior winning pitcher Brycen Harkins. But Harkins retired three of the next three Highlands batters to finish the game.

"(Battling) is what this group does," Baioni said. "I'm just so proud of them. They just fight, fight and fight and really don't get too bent out of shape. You saw it in the last inning. They were still fighting and putting great at-bats together. We're just so blessed to coach at Highlands with kids like this that just work their tails off and try to do the best they can."

Harkins (8-0) pitched the final three and 2/3 innings to earn the win. He struck out five, walked two and allowed just two hits and two runs including one earned.

Sophomore Ethan Kavanagh led the Bluebirds going 3-for-4 with a run batted in and run scored. Junior Cooper Schwalbach added a triple for Highlands. Rom, Kavanagh and senior third baseman Sam Hennigan made the all-tournament team for the Bluebirds.

Highlands scored in the first inning just like the 4-3 semifinal win over McCracken County. Kavanagh smashed a single up the middle then took second when junior catcher Bryce Ziegler grounded out to first. With two out, Gulley lined one to center that Harkins appeared to track down. But Harkins didn't make the play allowing Kavanagh to hustle around third to score.

But the Tigers came back and took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first off Dreves. Junior second baseman Alex Adams walked and took third when junior left fielder Aric Lyons executed a successful hit-and-run. Sweeney then hit a double just over the first-base bag to score Adams and Lyons to put St. Xavier up 2-1. After Scheler singled, Sweeney scored on a Highlands throwing error.

"I'm so happy for these kids," Porta said. "We've had a challenging schedule all year long. We put the pressure on them all year long. They played really tight (Saturday). I'm sure they'll admit that. But they did enough to win the ballgame."

But Cramer came in and retired the next three batters. Cramer kept the Bluebirds in the game pitching four innings. He struck out one and allowed three earned runs, three hits and walked seven.

Highlands trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the top of the third. Senior Joe Steiden walked and Ziegler singled to center. Steiden and junior pinch runner Casey Greene moved up a base on a wild pitch forcing St. Xavier to bring in senior Evan Burnett to pitch. Gulley hit a sacrifice fly to left scoring Steiden.

The Tigers took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the third. Scheler walked and moved to second on a ground out. With two out, Nicholson singled him home.

But the Bluebirds came back to tie the game in the top of the fourth. Senior Carson Fitters and Cramer led off with consecutive singles before Schwalbach landed a sacrifice bunt to move Fitters to third and senior pinch runner Grant Summers to second. Hennigan then hit a high chopper to third allowing Fitters to score. Summer had to hold at second. Kavanagh then singled home Summers to tie the game before Harkins came in to get the last two outs of the inning for St. Xavier.

The Bluebirds graduate 10 seniors from this class. They are Rom, Gulley, Fitters, Steiden, Dreves, Summers, Ryan Adkins, Hennigan, Jackson Recht and Evan Lewin. The group graduates with two state runner-up finishes, four straight 9th Region championships and four 36th District crowns.

"The senior class is a great group of guys," Recht said. "We've worked so hard since September so it's obviously not the greatest that we weren't able to close it out (Saturday), but I'm proud of every one of these kids. We gave ourselves an opportunity. That's all we can ask for. We ran into a really great baseball team. Their record shows it at 37-2. It just says so much about our program and the people in our community."

2018 KHSAA State Baseball Tournament Schedule:

Friday, June 15, 2018

Highlands-McCracken County Baseball Gamer

Bluebirds Nip Mustangs, 4-3 for Return Trip to State Championship Game

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior first baseman Trey Gabbard makes a play to nip McCracken County senior James Dodd in the state semifinals Friday.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior third baseman Sam Hennigan makes a play while senior pitcher Drew Rom watches. Highlands beat McCracken County, 4-3 to advance to the state championship game. 
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. The Highlands students cheer the Bluebirds to the win.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands seniors Carson Fitters (8) and Drew Rom (18) among others celebrate after the Bluebirds earned their second trip to the state championship game in four years.
The Blue and White had to grind out a win to make it back to the state tournament and another one to open the state tournament despite outscoring the previous seven post-season opponents, 65-6.

That experience came up huge as the four-time defending 9th Region champion Bluebirds (29-13 overall) grinded out a 4-3 win over the 1st Region champion McCracken County Mustangs (34-9) to advance to the state championship game Saturday. Highlands will face Louisville St. Xavier Tigers (36-2) for the gold at 7 p.m. back at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

Naked Karate Girls Share What You Can to Benefit Brighton Center’s Food Pantry

The City of Fort Thomas will hold a free concert to benefit Brighton Center’s food pantry. Share What You CAN, sponsored by Crawford Insurance and United Bank will take place Tuesday June 19 at Tower Park Amphitheater in Fort Thomas from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Katie Walters of Q102 will emcee the concert.

Attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to benefit the over 2,800 families who accessed Emergency Assistance through Brighton Center last year alone.

The Concert will feature the Naked Karate Girls. A kids meet and greet will take place at 6 p.m. where each child will get an autograph and photo with the band.

Food trucks and drinks will be available for purchase from:

Enjoy food and drinks from:
- PretzelFuls, LLC
- Yum Dogz
- Melissa's Soup Kitchen
- Live Happy
- StoneBrook Winery
- Braxton Brewing Company

This fundraiser comes at a critical time for families. The summer months create increased demand as children are at home and parents with already tight budgets are providing meals their children would normally receive at school.

Any non-perishable item is always appreciated, but the following are items we currently need the most: Tuna, spaghetti sauce, cereal, can fruit (peaches, fruit cocktail), and beans (black, kidney, and pinto).

Non-perishable items can also be dropped off in advance of the concert at any United Bank NKY location or at Crawford Insurance.

St. Thomas School Leading the Way in Science with Innovative STEMscopes Program

As Benjamin Franklin said, "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."

St. Thomas Catholic School, in Fort Thomas, is doing just that with their innovative science program, STEMscopes. STEMscopes is a state-of-the-art program which includes a series of in-class investigations and activities to bring science to life for students so that they can “learn by doing” and fully engage in the scientific process. It is a blended in-class and online science curriculum, built on an instructional philosophy that centers on students learning science through hands-on exploration and inquiry. St. Thomas School was the first in the Diocese of Covington to pilot this program, in the most recent school year.

The robust curriculum is designed to better prepare the students for higher education, and eventually careers, immersed in the areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). Lessons are built using the research-based “5E+IA” model, which stands for Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate, Intervention, and Acceleration. Students also have access to available resources that can be browsed at home, including videos, games, math and reading connections, and STEMscopedia. The STEMscopedia reading passage replaces the traditional textbook and incorporates hands-on activities and a “Connecting with your Child” piece to encourage scientific dialogue for the student to further reinforce concepts learned in school with parents.

St. Thomas School teachers, Teresa Brennan and Lynda Myers spent last summer evaluating and learning the curriculum to prepare for the 2017-18 school year. Mrs. Brennan and Mrs. Myers successfully executed the STEMscopes program in its inaugural year with students and parents already realizing the benefits.

Maura Eckerle, a seventh grade student in the program said, “I think STEMscopes is a program that is much better, in my opinion, than past programs, because it helps me better understand what we are studying through visuals and experiments.”

Fourth grade parent, Melissa Bredwell, recognizes the difference. “It is refreshing to see my student both enjoying and THRIVING in Science! The sky is the limit to a child who appreciates the benefits of STEM, and we are blessed at St. Thomas to have such dedicated educators, who work effortlessly for our students’ benefit.”

Science curriculum has begun to transition from the more traditional textbooks, worksheets, and memorization into inquiry and project-based learning and St. Thomas School has their finger on the pulse of this movement.

Colonel De Has Something Spicy Cooking Up For Tonight's Art Around Towne

The first Art Around Towne is scheduled for tonight from 6-9 in the Central Business District of Fort Thomas.

Many artisans, brick and mortar and pop-up shops will be hosting events, music and fun.

The Colonel's Kitchen, located at 22 N. Fort Thomas Avenue will be serving from their large garage door window.

RELATED: Here's Every City-Sponsored Event in Fort Thomas This Year 

"It is our "No Truck Food Truck" concept," said "Colonel" De Stewart. "We will be serving blackened red fish sandwich, red beans and rice with pickled pork, and rabbit jambalaya. On the spice side, right next door, we will have young author Lauren Hudson signing her second book in a trilogy and her third book overall."

Stewart said that Hudson, a recent graduate of Dixie, will be the first author his shop will feature during each art walk.

The Deception is Hudson's second novel.

The 18-year-old Dixie Heights High School grad has spent the past year getting straight A’s, acting in her high school musical production “Grease,” competing in the National Mock Trial Championship, preparing for an internship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and getting ready to major in neuroscience at the University of Kentucky. In between homework assignments and other responsibilities, she has also been finishing her new novel, “The Deception,” which has already been named Best Young Adult Book in the San Francisco Book Festival.

“The Deception” is Hudson’s second novel, but her third book overall. At age 13, she co-authored the nonfiction “Our Best Tomorrow: Students Teaching Capitalism to America” with her father, attorney Robert Hudson. At age 17, she was named 2017 Independent Author of the Year in the Great Southwest Book Festival for “The Ascension,” which also received top honors in the Great Southeast Book Festival, the Great Northwest Book Festival, the London Book Festival and others.

“I could not accomplish what have, without my father and certain other people in my life,” Hudson said. “The purpose of the ‘Ascension’ series is to show the importance of relationships with family and friends.”

Angela Barre Falhaber - 2018 Highlands Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee

Highlands High School is excited to announce the 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame Class.  Inductees include: Angela Barre Falhaber, David Freer, Tammy Schlarman Freihofer, Eric Glaser, Justin Frisk, Coach Bill Herrmann, Scott Kuhnhein, Jean Pritchard, Kimberly Draud Rohmiller, and Michael Vories.

The Team of Distinction is the 1978-79 Boys Basketball Team.

Angela Barre Falhaber graduated from Highlands in 1998, where she lettered in five different sports, collecting 20 throughout her career.  Angela not only participated in these five sports during her six-year career, but also received regional and state recognition while doing so. She was a member of the swimming, basketball, volleyball, softball, and golf teams.  Angela has numerous accomplishments, awards, and accolades to her resume. Some of the highlights are Associated Press Kentucky Female Athlete of the Year 1998, Finalist for the LaRosa’s Athlete of the Year 1998, Kentucky Athletic Directors Scholarship Award Recipient 1998, Highlands Babe Ruth Sportsmanship Award 1997.

Angela earned many All-Tournament and All-Star Team selections during her time at Highlands, but her most impressive collection may have been through the sport of swimming.  She was a member of the 1995 State Championship team, qualified for state all 6 years, was a regional champion in multiple events, and was selected as 1st Team All-Region and pre-season All-State.  According to former coach Luci Cecil, “Angela was the epitome of a student athlete at Highlands, excelling at five sports, while maintaining academic excellence.”

After high school Angela earned degrees from the University of Kentucky and Xavier University and is currently teaching Physical Education in Oak Hills School District.  Angela resides in Wyoming, Ohio with her husband Brian and their two daughters: Ellie (8) and Alexis (5).

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Beshear Sues Walgreens for ‘Dual Role’ in State’s Opioid Epidemic

Attorney General Andy Beshear today filed suit against Walgreens for its dual role as distributor and pharmacy in allegedly failing to legally monitor its own operations that shipped and dispensed large quantities of opioids through its more than 70 locations statewide.

Beshear said the company’s actions flooded Kentucky communities with dangerous prescription drugs, directly contributing to the state’s drug epidemic.

Since taking office, Beshear has been working to hold opioid manufacturers and distributors accountable and to find workable solutions to the drug epidemic.

Phone: 859-905-0714 - Email: josh@joshmcintoshlaw.com. This is an advertisement.
The lawsuit, filed in Boone Circuit Court, alleges unfair, misleading and deceptive business practices by Walgreens for excessively distributing and dispensing opioids in Kentucky and for failing to legally report to state and federal authorities the suspiciously large orders it received for prescription opioids.

“As Attorney General, my job is to hold accountable anyone who harms our families,” Beshear said, “While Walgreens’ slogan was ‘at the corner of happy and healthy,’ they have significantly harmed the health of our families in fueling the opioid epidemic.” 

Beshear said he filed his sixth lawsuit in Boone County because of the large number of Kentuckians who have died from overdoses in Northern Kentucky.

“While the pain of addiction and loss of a loved one may never heal, I want to make sure these billion dollar companies take responsibility and become a part of the solution,” said Beshear.

Beshear’s lawsuit alleges that Walgreens, whose 2018 second quarter sales topped $33 billion, failed to use its unique position as a pharmacy and distributor to prevent the flood of opioids into Kentucky.

As a distributor, the company has real-time data regarding exact amounts of pills, pill types and customer orders for its store and is legally required to report suspicious orders to the DEA. The company has distribution centers close to Kentucky’s borders in Illinois and Ohio.

As a pharmacy, it is legally required to monitor and flag suspicious customer prescriptions, such as individuals traveling long distances to fill prescriptions or doctors prescribing outside the scope of their usual practice.

Beshear said Walgreens knew or should have known of Kentucky’s exceedingly high rate of suspicious opioid shipments and prescriptions and the significant correlating risk of abuse, misuse and diversion of prescription opioids.

Today’s action is the sixth opioid related lawsuit Beshear has filed.

In November 2017, Beshear’s first filed suit against manufacturer Endo Pharmaceuticals regarding its drug Opana ER. The suit alleges Endo violated state law and directly contributed to opioid related deaths and overdoses in Kentucky.

This year, Beshear has sued three national opioid distributors, Pennsylvania-based AmerisourceBergen, Ohio-based Cardinal Health and San Francisco-based McKesson Corporation, which together are responsible for supplying 85 percent of opioids in Kentucky, and New Jersey pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson and Johnson.

As the lawsuits progress, Beshear said his main priority is to make sure these drug companies are hauled into a Kentucky court and held accountable to those they have harmed – the people of Kentucky.

Beshear’s office also works to combat illegal drug use and abuse in Kentucky communities. Investigators from the Office of the Attorney General are assigned to the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA). The Appalachia HIDTA consists of counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Under prevention, Beshear launched the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program, the state’s first initiative to allow Kentuckians to safely dispose of opioid medications at home. The pilot program includes Henderson, Floyd, McCracken and Perry counties. Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection is also working with the faith-based community to distribute the pouches at senior events.

Breaking Down the Data in the Campbell County Primary

Sponsor: OMEGA Processing Solutions 

Tyler Owen, candidate for County Commission District 1, joins Mark Collier on this podcast to breakdown what happened in the May 22 primary.

If you love Campbell County politics, you may listen to this twice.

Why didn't Fort Thomas turn out?
Which precinct was the most interesting in the county?
Which precinct was the mean?
What could happen in the general election?

We answer these questions and take a small dip into Highlands baseball as well.

You can always subscribe to our podcast by searching "Fort Thomas Matters" on iTunes.