Friday, March 23, 2018

Highlands Hosts Shark Tank Competition to Better Greater Cincinnati Region

Highlands Business Management students in Mrs. Elise Carter's class are learning real-life skills in a competition that aims to show off their presentation abilities and business know-how in Highlands version of The Shark Tank.

Modeled after the critically acclaimed and award-winning reality show that has reinvigorated entrepreneurship in America, Highlands has employed Fort Thomas superintendents, Highlands High School administration, and business community members to judge their Shark Tank.

859-781-5777. Call Ashley Barlow. This is an advertisement. 
“The service learning project that Mrs. Carter has embedded into this course provides our students with the opportunity to develop valuable essential skills that will be transferable across any career, or area of study, that they may elect to enter into," said Assistant Superintendent and "shark judge", Bill Bradford.

"The students’ business plans included a thoughtful integration of research and development.  One of the most influential expectations of this project that will impact their real life experiences is in the collaboration and group accountability among peers, as well as the presentation aspect of articulating a business plan to an authentic audience.”

While the sharks on the show search to invest in the best businesses and products that America has to offer, Highlands sharks, including superintendent Dr. Karen Cheser and United Property Group owner, Dan Gorman, listened to students who have developed fundraisers for existing non-profit organizations. The goal for these non-profit organizations was to develop a service within their business plan that would allow them to give back or volunteer within the Greater Cincinnati community.

"I think overall, student preparation and buy-in were great. Students really invested the classroom time to learn about their non-profit organization and a few even did a site visit. For many, it was eye opening and required students to put themselves in another person’s experience," said Carter.

Gorman said that he was most impressed with the data presented while in the Shark Tank and the personal solutions to the needs facing non-profit organizations in our community.

“I really enjoy seeing how the kids perform under pressure,” he said. “Their eye contact, how well they know their subject matter, the confidence in the way they speak, how they're dressed; it's an amazing way to give them real life experience.”

Here's When Fort Thomas Ice Cream Will Open

Fort Thomas residents, Jason and Angela Williams, have been hard at work over the winter transforming 1013 S. Fort Thomas Avenue into Fort Thomas' newest business: Fort Thomas Ice Cream.

Now, we know when they'll open and what's on the menu.

The official opening date is Wednesday, April 4th.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Couple to Open Fort Thomas Ice Cream 

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.

She told Fort Thomas Matters that on Friday, April 6th, they will host a taste-testing event from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

"Anyone will be able to come and sample any and all flavors with the purchase of at least one scoop of ice cream," she said.

She said that during the week of April 9 through April 13, Fort Thomas Ice Cream will have a flavor naming contest.

"The contest will consist of one ice cream flavor selected by Fort Thomas Ice Cream to be name after one of the schools in Fort Thomas," said Williams.

In order to cast a vote, purchase a scoop of ice cream in the shop and you are eligible to cast a vote.
Menu and party packages are listed below:

Thursday, March 22, 2018

BREAKING: Casey Kilgore Named Fort Thomas Chief of Police

Fort Thomas Police Chief Mike Daly has publicly announced that he plans to retire after 27 years of service. Chief Daly will retire on July 31, 2018. Daly has served as the Fort Thomas Police Chief since August 1, 2005.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Police Chief, Mike Daly, Announces Retirement 

Lieutenant Casey Kilgore has been named as Daly’s successor. Kilgore has been with the Fort Thomas Police Department since November of 2000.  He has spent his entire police career with the City of Fort Thomas. He currently serves as the first shift Patrol Lieutenant.  Lieutenant Kilgore has earned his Bachelor's Degree in Criminology from Ohio University, and his Master's Degree in Public Administration from Northern Kentucky University.  While working on his Master’s Degree, Kilgore implemented a comprehensive community survey that allowed multiple stakeholders to share their input with the Fort Thomas Police Department.  He has proudly served the citizens of Fort Thomas as a Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Field Training Officer, SWAT Team Commander, Media Officer, and Bike Patrol Officer.

RELATED: Casey Kilgore is Named Grand Marshal for 2016 4th of July Parade 

Lieutenant Kilgore has attended several police leadership courses to prepare himself to lead the police department.  These include School of Strategic Leadership, Criminal Justice Executive Development, the Academy of Police Supervision, and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.  He is a member of the Campbell County Police Chiefs Association, the Northern Kentucky Police Chiefs Association, and he serves as the Vice President on the Executive Board of the FBI National Academy, Kentucky Chapter.

After much discussion over the last few months, Mayor Eric Haas, Mr. Ron Dill C.A.O., and Fort Thomas Council Members concluded that Lieutenant Casey Kilgore is the most qualified candidate and best fit to lead the Fort Thomas Police Department into the future. With such an impressive candidate within the department, there was consensus that a lengthy and costly external search for a new chief was not necessary. The promotion of Casey will allow for an easy and effective leadership transition.

LISTEN: Fort Thomas Independent School Leadership Provide District Updates

Dr. Karen Cheser - Superintendent Fort Thomas Independent Schools
Bill Bradford - Asst. Superintendent, Teaching/Learning
Jamee Flaherty - Asst. Superintendent, Student Services


Campbell County's Longest Serving Employee, Golf Pro Terry Jolly, Retiring after 40+ Years

Terry Jolly (3rd from right) with Commissioner Tom Lampe, Lisa Krummen, Commissioner Brian Painter
by Colin Moore

Many golfers see the course as somewhere they go to get away from their home life. Somewhere they can leave the stresses of family life behind and have three or four hours in their own company, or the company of friends. Long time Head Professional at AJ Jolly Golf Course, Terry Jolly, is not one of those men. For the last 45 years the course has been a family affair for him. His parents dropped off there at 15. His brother Gary worked there too. His wife Lisa has worked beside him for almost his entire time there. His son Justin was literally born and raised on the course. Terry is Campbell County’s longest tenured employee, however this June that will come to an end and he’ll leave the only job he’s ever had.

What Terry has meant to Campbell County in that time is immeasurable, according to Commissioner Brian Painter: “It’s only when we were hiring a new police chief that it dawned on me.  That’s an important process, so there were many panels, and so many checks and balances. But the golf pro at AJ Jolly interfaces with many more members of the public in a year than the chief. There are about 23,000 rounds of golf per year, and it’s incumbent upon the professional to be welcoming to everyone who comes through the door. That’s reflected in Terry.

“In his time at AJ Jolly, Terry has been more important to the social fabric of Campbell County than any politician, more than any mayor. Both in terms of the number of people he dealt with, and the way he treated them.”

Dean Emphasizes Respect as New Highlands Girls Soccer Head Coach

Dean Hopes to Bring Another Banner to Tower Park

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Gwen Gorman attacks the ball during the 9th Region semifinals against St. Henry at Dixie Heights last season. Gorman is one of 19 players returning for new head coach Alex Dean this season.
New Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer head coach Alex Dean was in junior high when the team claimed back-to-back state championships in 2005 and 2006.

Dean would like nothing more than to help the program bring home another title. The big thing for the 2011 Highlands graduate and former player to do that comes down to respect. That's respect for teammates, the coaches, opponents and officials specifically.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dog Park Fridays! New Service from Dogs to Frogs

Kari Capek Conrath and husband Ian (photo: provided)

Kari Capek Conrath understands the anxiety and worry that come with leaving your beloved family pet in the hands of strangers. She founded Dogs to Frogs after her dog experienced an extremely stressful two weeks in a kennel which left him thin and listless. Kari, a lifelong animal welfare advocate, turned the upsetting experience into a successful, full service, home based pet sitting service. Dogs to Frogs consistently receives glowing reviews for the care, attentiveness and love shown to the animals in her care.


Every dog in town is going to be talking about Kari and her new service - Dog Park Fridays. For $10 your dog can have a fantastic afternoon of running, playing and getting all that energy out so everyone is ready to start the weekend on a happy note.

How Dog Park Fridays work: 

  • Set up a free "meet and greet" to determine if Dog Park Fridays is a good fit for your dog. The Dogs to Frogs approach puts your pet first and you can rest assured the team is respectful and attentive to the unique personalities and body language of your dog.
  • Kari will come to your house, pick up your dog and provide them with one hour of socialization and intense, energetic play at a local dog park. She will bring them home and make sure they are all settled in before she leaves. 
Service cost: $10 per one hour dog park visit

Lennox, Ramona and Cory (photo: provided)


The benefits for you and your dog are many. Depending on factors such as breed and build, dogs need an average of 30 minutes to two hours of active play per day. "Active" meaning engaged in an activity - mentally and physically. Spending long hours alone and confined is often miserable and can lead to behavioral and health problems. 

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), problems that result from inactivity include:
  • Destructive chewing, digging or scratching 
  • Investigative behaviors, like garbage raiding 
  • Hyperactivity, excitability and night-time activity 
  • Unruliness, knocking over furniture and jumping up on people 
  • Excessive predatory and social play 
  • Play biting and rough play 
  • Attention-getting behaviors like barking and whining
  • Digestive problems
  • Restlessness rather than sleepiness
Add Dog Park Fridays to your dog's weekly routine and come home to a happier, healthier companion who is ready to relax with you at the start of the weekend.  

Bob & Sadie out on the town (photo: provided)


You asked and Kari delivered! In addition to Dog Park Fridays, Dogs to Frogs will soon be offering lunch time walks - a highly requested service whose benefits include complete and utter joy for your dog. A mid-day walk provides opportunities for exploration, and heart healthy exercise leading to overall improved behavior.

Kari Capek Conrath (photo: provided)


Going on vacation this spring break or summer? If you have a pet - any pet - that will be left at home and would benefit from daily walks, some cuddling, medication or enrichment, look no further than Dogs to Frogs. Kari and her team are amazing.

Call Dogs to Frogs: 859-429-2PET (2738) 

Highlands Students Turn Hard Work Into Wins

Highlands bowler Andy Campbell talks about his championship win. His coach is Glenn Schmidt.
--> Students from Highlands High and Middle schools stepped into the winner’s circle at the March meeting of the Fort Thomas Independent School Board.

Anticipating the room would be filled with family and friends, the board moved its monthly meeting to Woodfill Elementary to have room for several students who would celebrate earning special honors that night.

Students in athletics and the arts were honored for outstanding achievement.

Andy Campbell breaks records, grabs state championship

First up was Highlands senior Andy Campbell, fresh from earning the state bowling championship title. He won the honor handily, with scores of 239, 236 and 233 in his first three games and an overall five-game score of 1107, a full 84 pins ahead of the second-place score, according to his coach Glenn Schmidt.

For Campbell, it was a culmination of a dream he’d had since middle school. "I started bowling five years ago in the eighth grade and I really wanted to be on the bowling team. At the time I was not very good to be completely honest with you. I went to Glenn and said I wanted to join the team and he said maybe next year."

Instead of getting discouraged, Campbell took it as a challenge. "I used that as motivation to work really hard. So in the last three or four years I put in thousands of hours practicing every single day to get to where I was able to. With all our practice and Glenn’s help I was able to finally pull it off at state, and I couldn’t have done it without him."

"And I’m sure glad we hung in there together because Andy has done an awful lot for the Highlands bowling team," said Schmidt. "He’s become an extraordinary bowler, you just wouldn’t believe what his record shows. I couldn’t be more proud of Andy."

Campbell broke state records the season before last with an average of 244, said Schmidt. "I think it’s gonna be a state record for years to come."

The coach said he looks forward to following his student's career. Campbell will attend the University of the Cumberlands (also known as Cumberland College) in Williamsburg this fall and has already signed up for the bowling team.

RELATED: Highlands Senior Bowls to Individual State Title

Diver Finn Murphy and his coach Bernie Brungs receive hardy congrats from school board members.

Finn Murphy’s hard work pays off

Perseverance was key for Highlands diver Finn Murphy who took the championship crown at the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state competition just a few weeks ago.

Murphy admitted the path had been rough at times. He had come close before, coming in second at the Region Seven meet. But he says he has learned not to worry so much about the past and to concentrate on what lay ahead. He did that and won, receiving high points—and had the opportunity to perform a favorite new and difficult dive, the inward two-and-a-half.

The sophomore credits his hard work, his family’s support and the guidance of his diving coach, Bernie Brungs. In fact, it was Brungs who helped the diver turn his head around to prepare for the competition.

"Not many people know this but Finn was about ready to quit diving last year after the state meet," said Brungs. "He is a lot like my son who used to dive, and sometimes as divers we get in our own heads. It’s not an easy sport…I knew I could help him with the mental side."

Shortly after they began to work together, Murphy asked his coach if he could learn a particularly difficult dive, the inward two-and-a-half. It was a dive rarely done at the high school level, but Brungs told him to go ahead and try it.

"So he did it and he came up excited. And that is so exciting when a kid learns a new dive and you see that look on his face. That was my main focus. When I was hired, I came on with the idea I wanted the kids to dive, I wanted them to enjoy and I wanted them to learn."

At the state meet, competition was high but Murphy remained focused, scored high and even risked doing the difficult two-and-a-half, scoring 5.5s and 6s from the judges and taking the championship.

The Bluebirds capped off an excellent season overall. The team came in third in the statewide event.

"What a feeling as a coach to be there and watch it. To be able to celebrate with his family and friends, all the work we did to get there....It was a pleasure coaching Finn and the rest of the kids all year long. They did everything I could possibly ask of them."

RELATED: Bluebirds Finish Third at State Swimming, Diving 

Coach Samantha Reynolds introduces the Highlands Middle School dance team.

Dance Teams Take Energetic First Place Wins

Both the Highlands Middle School and Highlands Junior Varsity dance teams had reason to celebrate. Both teams took first place in state competition in pom, and the junior varsity team also earned first place for their hip hop routine.

First up were the members of the middle school dance team in grades six through eight with their coach Samantha Reynolds.

"This was a remarkable group," said Reynolds. "It really was a big year of change for us. I came from junior varsity last year to middle school, so they had a new coach. And, half the team is new this year so we had a big turn over."

Despite the challenges and a mix of new and experienced dancers, the team really came together, she said. "Each one of these girls truly earned it. This was not one of those years where we thought we had it in the bag. It was a big surprise, and I think the win was so much sweeter this year because [the team] really worked so hard to get here."

Team members each listed experiences they felt were the highlights of the year. Winning state was a favorite moment, of course, but many mentioned working together preparing for routines, learning new moves and making new friends.

Sixth grader Samantha Heilman said, "This is my first year on the dance team and my favorite was being with all these amazing people every morning and every afternoon on Fridays."

Junior Varsity dance team gathers on stage. Coach Jessica Dattillo is at the podium.

Jessica Dattillo coaches the junior varsity team. Like the middle school, her team had to get used to a new coach, she said. "These girls worked hard, and I was impressed throughout the year at their hard work. They were willing to do and learn anything."

Megan Ellison, a junior, said the wins at state were a great boost because they had faced a number of injuries this year and it had been rough, but "all the hours of practice and conditioning really paid off."

RELATED: Highlands Dance Teams Perfect Routines

School board member Lisa Duckworth congratulates art student Libby Birkley and teacher Andy Eckerle

Art student Libby Birkley designs state school boards banner

Each year the Kentucky School Boards Association holds a competition for students to design a banner representing their school district to be displayed at the organization’s annual conference. The banners are required to incorporate the conference theme. This year, it was "Adapting and Achieving."

Libby Birkley entered the competition to represent Fort Thomas and won. Her banner depicting changing computer technology was displayed at the conference held at the beginning of March in Louisville.

Highlands art teacher Andy Eckerle introduced Libby. "It’s no surprise Libby would be selected. Besides being recognized for this banner, she is the first student I’ve had who received a Gold Key Award for her portfolio…. She has the gift of being talented technically while also being creative. And she has that other gift of being able to take constructive criticism, which is essential in being a good visual arts student."

Campbell Co. YMCA. 
Birkley added, "I’ve always been interested in art and that motivated me to get involved with art classes and camps in the summer and to go to the governor’s school last summer, but I do think that part of it was because of the great environment in the art room here. I know next year when I’m in college I will miss that."

She will enter the Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) program at the University of Cincinnati next fall.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Herald Family Dentistry Expands Northern Kentucky Practice

Herald Family Dentistry, owned and operated by Highlands graduate Dr. Joe Herald, is expanding his practice to hiring a new associate.

Dr. Michael Rolf, a Campbell County native and Newport Central Catholic High School graduate began seeing patients earlier this month at the office, located at 525 Alexandria Pike on the border or Fort Thomas and Southgate.

"I am thrilled for this opportunity to join Herald Family Dentistry," said Rolf. "I have known Dr. Herald for a while and am honored to work with his amazing staff and wonderful patients. This career move brings me closer to home and exciting challenges as Herald Family Dentistry continues to grow." 

Herald said that the addition of Rolf will allow his office to offer more procedures in their office, in addition to, more evening and convenient appointment times.

RELATED: Herald Family Dentistry Halloween Candy Buy-Back Program 

Rolf, who said he is most passionate about helping patients achieve a beautiful and healthy smile while feeling comfortable and relaxed, completed his education at the University of Louisville with both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. In 2014, he graduated at the top of his class, excelling in cosmetic and implant dentistry.

2018 Merchants & Music Headliner is Announced

10,000 Maniacs highlights the return of the Merchants & Music festival.
Fort Thomas celebrates the return of one of the region’s premiere family festivals, Merchants & Music, with the announcement that multi-platinum alt rock favorites 10,000 Maniacs will perform.

This year, the event date is Saturday, September 22.

The event returns to Tower Park and will feature a full day of food, music, kids’ activities and fun. Merchants &Music also provides a showcase for local businesses in Fort Thomas and across the area.

After taking a year off to make room for Sesquicentennial events last year, Merchants & Music will mark its 14th year.

Founded in 1981, the 10,000 Maniacs have released close to 20 albums including their acclaimed breakout album, “In My Tribe.” Last year they celebrated 35 years since the release of their very first full-length recording, “Secrets of the I Ching.”

After the recording but before the release of MTV Unplugged, original lead singer and main songwriter Natalie Merchant left the band to pursue a solo career. She was replaced by Mary Ramsey, who was the lead singer from 1993 to 2001 and then from 2007 to the present.

The current edition of 10,000 Maniacs remains active, playing shows throughout the United States.  On this tour, the band will feature songs from these two works and from their legendary performance on MTV’s Unplugged as well as their most popular hits.

Fort Thomas Police Chief Announces Retirement

Chief Mike Daly has 27 years in criminal justice, most of them in Fort Thomas. He will retire July 31.
The March Fort Thomas City Council meeting concluded on a bittersweet note with the announcement that Police Chief Mike Daly will retire as of July 31, 2018.

Daly began his career as a police officer in Newport for three years but spent 24 years serving the community as a member of the Fort Thomas Police Department including 13 years as chief.

"We are grateful for your years of service to the city of Fort Thomas," Mayor Eric Haas told Daly. "Our police force is in great shape thanks to all your hard work. We appreciate everything you’ve done for the city and wish you the very best of luck in the next chapter of your life."

Hassman and Doyle Lawfirm. 859-655-4430. This is an advertisement.
Daly responded with high praise for the city and the community. "Fort Thomas is an amazing city to work for. There is no other city like this. We are blessed in the city, that’s for sure."

Monday, March 19, 2018

Fort Thomas City-Wide Yard Sale Date

The third-annual Fort Thomas Citywide Yard Sale date has been set.

This year, the sale will take place on Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You can sign up your home to be listed on the city's website.

In its first year, over 250 homes registered, while last year saw a decline of about 100 homes.

A few notes:

Mayors Talk Pensions and More at NKY Chamber Event

Northern Kentucky mayors speak at Chamber panel: Chris Reinersman, Eric Haas, Diane Whelan
Mayors from Independence, Florence and Fort Thomas shared their thoughts on a wide range of topics at a government forum hosted by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

About 60 people attended the lunch and mayor’s panel at The Metropolitan Club in Covington last month to hear what local mayors thought about the governor’s budget and the impact of decisions in Frankfort on local communities.

Fort Thomas Mayor Eric Haas was joined by Mayor Chris Reinersman of Independence and Mayor Diane Whalen of Florence. Kristin Baldwin, vice president of public affairs and communications for the Chamber, served as moderator.

State pension reform impact on city budgets

Pension reform sparked the first and most in-depth discussion. Baldwin noted that the current bill, Senate Bill 1, does not address the County Employee Retirement System (CERS), the issue that most directly affects cities and counties.

"We’ve heard from our legislators that there is another companion bill that is probably going to go with this one that hopefully will address all of your concerns [about CERS]," she said.

Initial estimates of the financial impact of SB1 on city and county budgets is alarming, the mayors said, but they are waiting for more details on a possible phase-in plan or other opportunities designed to help municipalities meet the additional costs.

"The impact [of SB1] on my budget is a fifty percent increase in employer contribution rates," said Reinersman. "For me that’s about an additional $365,000."

RELATED: NKY Cities Staring Down Big Pension Increase (The River City News)

To put it into perspective, he said, Independence will purchase new radios and emergency communication equipment this year that will cost roughly $350,000. In preparation, money has been set aside in the budget for several years. The pension bill would add slightly more than that to the budget with no time to prepare.

Haas said in Fort Thomas city officials have not paid much attention to speculations about the cost of the pension bill, because the city budget could not begin to address those costs.

With Private Money in Place, Deer Sterilization Program Still Faces Hurdles, Skepticism

In December, Fort Thomas residents presented checks totaling $4,380 from donors to the city to seed funding for a new deer sterilization program.

RELATED: Residents Raise Funds for Deer Control Project
RELATED: Donors Pony Up Cash, Deer Program Moves to Committee 

Resident Beverly Erschell, who handed over the checks to Mayor Eric Haas at the December council meeting, said a group of concerned residents came together over the fall months to research the issue of deer overpopulation in Fort Thomas. They decided on a plan that provided birth control to deer through contraceptive darts.

Currently, the City of Fort Thomas allows for bow and arrow hunting within city limits.

Council voted to allow the city to take private donations for the fund and referred the issue to the Law, Labor and License Committee.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. 
"I appreciate very much everybody’s involvement in this," said Mayor Eric Haas at the December council meeting. "There’s more information we have to gather to figure out how to make this program work. (City Administrative Officer) Ron [Dill] has been investigating that…We are heading in the right direction."

At this month's committee meeting, Dill reported how the city would go about implementing the program, and that's when things became a little less clear for the future of the darting initiative.

"It's complicated because there are not a lot of programs out there to draw from," Dill started. "Darting has not had a widespread application so far nationally. In test groups there has been success, but there hasn't been a lot of long-term success because it becomes a political issue. You're not going to see a reduction in deer population in a short period of time. It's a slow reduction and a long-term commitment."

Dill said that this research brought him to the Science and Conservation Center, based out of Billings, Montana, who is the sole distributor of porcine zona pellucida (PZP), a natural sterilization enzyme that is used to make the sterilization vaccine.

"It's not as easy as just purchasing the darts from this company," he continued.

Dill said that for the program to work, according to officials at the Science and Conservation Center, darts would have to be administered to a deer twice in the first year and every year thereafter. On top of that, because there are no deer sterilization programs in Kentucky, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife would have to sign off on the program and those administering the darts would need to be trained by the Science and Conservation Center.

"The center said they have fielded a lot of inquiries, but have not had a lot of follow through. It's difficult state by state to get this approved," said Dill.

Hearing the potential roadblocks to the program, councilman and committee member, Roger Peterman, voiced his concern with the program.

"I want a full financial analysis of what this program is going to cost," he said. "I don't care if we get volunteered money."

Councilman Jeff Bezold, said that the hunting community would not hunt deer within the city if sterilization through darting were allowed. He estimated that hunter kill approximately 40-50 each season within the city.

"The hunting community will not eat deer that have been darted. They will stop harvesting deer because it's a chemical and they aren't sure what they would be eating," he said, noting that the venison could be used to feed the hungry through programs like Hunters for the Hungry.

"We're restricting ourselves by not maximizing the potential of other hunting programs."

Councilwoman, Lisa Kelly pointed out that the Humane Society has studied the issue and has found that there are no side effects of PZP to human or other animals.

"It's a natural protein extracted from pig ovaries, which makes antibodies that block fertilization," she said. "Feeding PZP to animals or people does not work. If it's eaten, it's digested safely. These programs do work. We have the funding in place from private citizens and I think we owe it to them that we study this. What's the worst that can happen?"

Bezold said that hunting community would favor measures that would include an expanded time period when deer could be hunted as well as "earning a buck tag."

"Earning a buck tag is better way to cull the deer population because hunting the female deer is what experts say helps cut down on the deer population. When someone comes to Fort Thomas to get a trophy buck, you could argue that actually doesn't do anything to add to the success of our archery ordinance and in fact, could be hurting it," said Bezold.

Still, Peterman was skeptical, who noted that he wanted to review studies that were relevant and scientific.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Coming Home: From Highlands High School to Kramer Family Dentistry

Dr. TJ Kramer and wife Kara Kramer in front of Kramer Family Dentistry 

Dr. Troy J. Kramer (TJ) remembers many afternoon walks to the Subway on North Fort Thomas Avenue to grab a bite to eat at lunchtime when he was a student at Highlands High School. More than a decade later he has established his dental practice along that very route.

Dr. Kramer grew up in Fort Thomas and spent many evenings on the Highlands football field as a linebacker and running back. He attended Georgetown College and Louisville Dental School where he received his Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD).

He and his wife Kara were married this past September and live in Fort Thomas. In January of 2018 they opened the doors of Kramer Family Dentistry in the space formerly occupied by Laura Bowman, DDS. The timing could not have been more perfect.

Fort Thomas Matters spoke with Dr. Kramer recently about Kramer Family Dentistry and his time on the football field at Highlands High School.

Fort Thomas Matters (FTM): What new services will Kramer Dentistry be offering for patients at this location? 

Dr. Kramer: At Kramer Family Dentistry we treat patients of all ages. We offer a wide range of dental services including root canals, extractions, and periodontal treatment. These services previously were not offered at this office. 

FTM: How would you describe your bedside manner and the atmosphere at Kramer Family Dentistry? 

Dr. Kramer: Our staff wants all patients to feel comfortable at our office. We want to get to know our patients, have conversations with them about things other than dentistry. Our staff and I are very approachable in this way. I am very determined to bring an energetic attitude to our office in order to keep every day fun and exciting for all patients. 

FTM: What aesthetic dental services are offered at Kramer Dentistry? 

Dr. Kramer: Cosmetic dentistry including veneers, teeth whitening, and bonding. 

FTM: Tell us about your experience playing football at Highlands.

Dr. Kramer: While at Highlands High School, I was fortunate enough to have been coached by the legendary Dale Mueller. Being a member of the football team helped form me into the person I am today but having Coach Mueller as a role model taught me discipline, hard work, perseverance, accountability and a good work ethic. These attributes have carried over into my dental practice and I am a better dentist because of them.

Highlands High School Football Team - #4 TJ Kramer

Dr. Kramer is happy to be back in Fort Thomas both as a resident and a new business owner - his days are spent improving smiles, catching up with friends, reminiscing about growing up in the Fort and establishing himself with new patients.

Kramer Family Dentistry is accepting new patients and takes more insurance plans. In addition to general dental services they provide many previously outsourced procedures. Services include crowns, dentures, fillings, extractions and root canals.

Jeff Walz to be Keynote Speaker at Highlands Alumni Dinner on April 13

Walz Guiding Louisville to Another Successful Season

Louisville Athletics Photo. Louisville women's basketball head coach Jeff Walz celebrates after the Cardinals won the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship. Walz is the guest speaker at the Highlands Alumni Dinner on April 13.
Jeff Walz has not hesitated to throw some good one-liners out during post-game interviews.

After a win over Tennessee in 2013, the University of Louisville Cardinals women's basketball head coach and 1990 Highlands alum told ESPN, "We're the ugly ducklings that ruined the party." Then after a loss to Maryland, he told reporters, "You finish last, you come home with a trophy."

Walz will be the guest speaker of the Alumni Dinner on April 13 at the Highland Country Club. A cocktail hour goes from 5 to 6 p.m. before the program begins. The cost is $30 per ticket.

Walz will pave the way for the evening's honorees. Tom Jones (Class of ’63) will be honored as Alumni of the Year. Teachers of the year include Bill Poff (Highlands High School), Kevin Nieporte (Highlands Middle School) and Nancy Browning (Johnson Elementary School).

Buy tickets online, look for the Aceptiva link on, Facebook or Twitter or call 859-815-2004

Call Ashley Barlow, 859-781-5777. This is an advertisement. 
Walz has led the Cardinals to new heights in his 11th season at Louisville. Walz has led the Cardinals to a 32-2 record including 15-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and a ranking of third in the country in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls. Walz earned the ACC Coach of the Year award as a result.

The Cardinals are 295-95 since he took over the program in 2007. They have gone to the NCAA Tournament eight straight years and all but one season during that time. Louisville has gone to the Sweet 16 seven times and finished national runner-up twice under Walz in 2009 and 2013.

But for the first time this season under Walz, the Cardinals won both the ACC regular season and tournament titles beating the University of Notre Dame twice this year. The Cardinals had not won a conference tournament since winning the Metro in 1993.

But a big reason for that is Louisville spent a number of years in the Big East with the University of Notre Dame and the University of Connecticut. Louisville improved to just 3-12 against Notre Dame during Walz' tenure, but is still looking for that first win over UConn. The Huskies beat the visiting Cardinals, 69-58 on Feb. 12 to drop Louisville to 0-13 in the series since Walz became head coach. The only conference loss came to Florida State.

Louisville enters the NCAA Tournament as a top seed for the first time in school history at the KFC Yum Center in downtown Louisville. The Cardinals take on 16th-seeded Boise State on Friday at Noon. The winner takes on either Marquette or Dayton on Sunday.

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Arbor Day Foundation Names Fort Thomas Tree City USA

Fort Thomas was named a 2017 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.

Fort Thomas's four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

"Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest has in a community first hand," said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Additionally, recognition brings residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether it s through volunteer engagement or public education."

Trees provide multiple benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Gov. Bevin Cuts Ribbon on Maxim Crane Works’

Company’s new $4.71 million headquarters consolidates operations in Northern Kentucky

Gov. Matt Bevin today joined local officials and company executives from Maxim Crane Works LP, a nationwide crane rental and lifting services provider, to open a $4.71 million office that consolidates the company’s operations into Kentucky and is creating 100 full-time jobs.

“Maxim Crane Works has been a steady corporate partner in Kentucky for more than 80 years, and this latest investment showcases even further commitment to the commonwealth,” Gov. Bevin said. “Maxim Crane is a powerful name within its industry, and we are proud the company continues to strengthen its presence in our state. Congratulations to the company, the community of Wilder and the Northern Kentucky region on this incredible new endeavor.”

Before the ribbon cutting, Maxim executives toured guests through the new 17,000-square-foot office. The building brings together Maxim’s operations and leadership functions in Campbell County, where the company has operated a regional headquarters since 1937. Maxim bases about 400 cranes in Wilder for quick deployment to customers across the Eastern US. Its growth projections – including organic and via acquisition – helped bring the project to fruition.

“This is a project that clearly demonstrates the benefits of a pro-business government working together with the private sector to generate jobs and economic growth at a record pace,” said Frank Bardonaro, COO for Maxim. “We appreciate the support of the Governor and local leaders to provide Maxim the opportunity to bring more jobs and opportunity to the local community as a result of this tremendous joint effort.”

“I am honored to be able to present our employees, customers and the next generation of Maxim employees with this state-of-the-art facility,” added Bryan Carlisle, the company’s CEO. “We are extremely grateful to our employees for providing us with this opportunity to continue what started a few miles away in 1937 and has grown into the largest and most successful Crane Rental company in the USA.”

Maxim is a coast-to-coast provider of crane rental and lifting services. With over 50 locations across the country, Maxim provides services in every state and has consolidated more than 30 crane-rental companies.

Sen. Wil Schroder, of Wilder, noted the company’s prominence within its industry.

Subway to Reopen in Fort Thomas' Central Business District

A new Subway franchise owner has negotiated a lease to reopen a Subway in the Central Business District in Fort Thomas. 

Kyle Young, 36 from Hillsboro in Cincinnati, is set to open his eleventh Subway franchise located near the intersection of Highland and N. Fort Thomas Avenues.

In August, after 25 years of continuous operation the restaurant closed suddenly and abruptly. The franchisee who owned the Fort Thomas franchise for the last ten years, taped a note to the door, which indicated that revenue had dropped 35% over the last three years.

Call Andrew Burkhart, of Fort Thomas, to build your website. 
"We have tried everything we can to stay a part of the community," the note read. "However, due to the drop in revenue, we have gotten behind on paying business taxes and the state has stated that they will be permanently shutting us down."

With multiple high-profile closures in the Central Business District, Subway's shuttering was the tipping point for many to wonder whether or not Fort Thomas' central business corridor could survive.

This month, the opening of Fort Thomas Public House and imminent opening of The Colonel's Kitchen has given a glimmer of hope amid adjacent closures of Top This Donut Bar and Vitae Viride.

Subway, which is set to open in April, according to Young, said that he believes that the Fort Thomas location can be successful.

"The store had a strong sales history and was in business for over 20 years," he said. "After reading hundreds of comments on Fort Thomas Matters and multiple people stopping me on the street, I still see a need for Subway today."

2018 Highlands Baseball Preview

Bluebirds Expect Another Big Season

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior pitcher Hunter Dreves fires away in the 9th Region Tournament last spring. The three-time defending 9th Region champion Bluebirds expect to have another deep rotation this season.
Trips to Whitaker Bank Ballpark have been a regular thing for the Highlands Bluebirds baseball team these past three years.

Highlands owns a record of 84-38 with three consecutive 9th Region championships during that time and has won six straight 36th District championships. The Bluebirds avenged a 2016 first-round loss to Johnson Central with a 3-1 to open last year's state tournament before losing a tight 3-2 game to eventual state champion Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park. Highlands finished state runner-up in 2015.