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Monday, April 30, 2018

Here's the Menu Colonel's Kitchen Will Open With

Colonel's Kitchen opens tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. at 18 N. Fort Thomas Avenue in the Hiland Building.

Their menu will be pared down a bit, as they ease into their open.

RELATED: Colonel's Kitchen Will Open May 1 

Here's what's on the menu tomorrow. Click the image to view in a separate window.

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Man Sentenced to 16 Years For Drug, Weapons Offenses

Bryan Kenneth McCloud, 35, formerly of Dayton, Ohio, was sentenced today to 192 months in federal prison, by United States District Judge David L. Bunning, for drug distribution and weapons offenses.

McCloud pled guilty in October 2017 and admitted that he possessed approximately 20 grams of crystal methamphetamine, with the intent to sell it. McCloud also admitted that he possessed two firearms, including an AK-47 rifle, in furtherance of his drug trafficking. McCloud was arrested in Newport, Kentucky, at the conclusion of a high-speed chase that ended when he crashed his vehicle into a residence. McCloud had four prior robbery convictions in his criminal record.

State Rep. Joe Fischer named a road “Lloyd Rogers Highway.” Click here to read about it. Paid for by friends of Lloyd Rogers.

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Under federal law, McCloud must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence; and upon his release, he will be under the supervision of the United States Probation Office for 10 years.

Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Amy Hess, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, jointly made the announcement. The Bellevue Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Tony Bracke represented the United States.

Collaboration, Communication and More: Portrait of a Fort Thomas Graduate

"21st Century Skills Word Cloud" (via Creative Commons from holtthink)

Compassion, collaboration, communication, empathy, optimism for the future are among the many skills or traits identified so far in the Fort Thomas Independent Schools "Portrait of a Graduate" process.

Announced earlier this year, school administrators are working with teachers, parents, community members and students to paint a picture of the strengths of a Fort Thomas schools graduate. The goal is to identify the most important skills and focus on strategies designed to bolster and build these strengths in students from preschool through high school graduation.

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Superintendent Karen Cheser gave an update of the process at the April school board meeting. Earlier this year teachers, counselors and administrators did preliminary research and visited high-performing school districts elsewhere in the country. School officials met with business leaders and conducted community conversations.

"We will be getting student input in the next few weeks over lunch…When we looked at what our teachers were saying and the community conversations, some additional themes came out. One was self-efficacy, students who believe they can achieve. Also a growth mind set, as well as empathy, not just compassion, but the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes," she said.

Other themes included continuous learning, perseverance or grit, and optimism. Collaboration was a skill mentioned often, she added.

Next steps

The next step is to survey teachers, community members and students about the traits that have been identified and to ask for additional ideas for skills, she said.

From there, once the list of skills is set, the schools will reach out again to all stakeholders to get input on strategies needed to develop and support those skills. Cheser anticipates creating several strategic planning teams to address individual skills.

Not only will the Portrait of a Graduate help identify and build important skills, the work can help students throughout their school careers, said Cheser. One idea teachers brought back after visiting other school districts is to create a learner profile that would stay with students. It would identify their strengths, their learning styles, what works best for them.

"It could provide a snapshot, not only for the adults around them, but for the students themselves, to know themselves better," she said.

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Cheser also discussed key skills and focus areas already in place at Fort Thomas schools that she feels are key to the portrait. "Communication, collaboration and critical thinking -- you hear over and over again these are three cornerstones for Fort Thomas Independent Schools. While we call them 21st century skills, they’ve been around a long time and we continue to build these. We already know each of these three skills are so strong here and we want to continue with them."

An opportunity to learn more

Midway Cafe Hosts Prom Through the Ages


Midway Cafe is partnering with four breweries to bring you a night of Buddy Holly, disco, "Hollaback Girl" and Elvis Presley. Slow jam with your sweetheart, apply too much hairspray, and take advantage of the second-in-a-lifetime chance to be Prom King or Queen.

Here's your chance to relive the prom of your dreams or to live it for the first time. If you were like me you got dressed up, forgot to take pictures and skipped the whole thing for Mongolian BBQ with your BFF. Obviously a huge mistake, but one that can be amended May 12th at 7:30pm.

Local breweries BraxtonFifty West, Madtree and California based Lagunitas will be sponsoring the event. A small cover of $1 will be collected at the door which will go to next year's Prom to Dawn at Highlands High School.   

There will be specialty cocktails - perhaps a "Glory Days" martini - and a DJ who will patiently listen to all your nostalgic music requests. Slip back into time, pick up a corsage from Fort Thomas Florist & Greenhouses (do not forget the corsage!) and ask your dream date to accompany you to prom.


  • Saturday, May 12th
  • 7:30pm - 11:30pm
  • $1 cover 

Visit Midway Cafe: 1017 South Fort Thomas Ave Fort Thomas, KY
Call: 859 781 7666

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Colonel's Kitchen Will Open May 1

De and Susan Stewart's first restaurant, Colonel's Kitchen, will open Tuesday, May 1 at 7:00 a.m. at 18 N. Fort Thomas Avenue in The Hiland Building.

Stewart, who has achieved success in his previous business Colonel De's Gourmet Herbs and Spices, will feature breakfast and lunch and brunch on the weekends.

All the menu items will be made from scratch and will utilize a spice or herb blend from his kitchen.

"Our chefs are extremely excited to stretch their wings," said Stewart, who noted that his six chefs have a total of 150 years of experience in the kitchen. "They are like little kids at Christmas right now."

Chefs Matt Buschle, Jeff Hyde and Doni Atterbery will be featured at their newest location.

"I want it to be the local place that you go to get good food and see someone you know in a family environment," said Stewart. "Everything that we fix, we'll be using our spices and blends."

Breakfast and lunch will be offered Monday through Friday, with a brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The space is located in the former Top This Donut Bar location and will be reconfigured and rebranded. It will hold around 50 occupants. Patrons will walk up, order their food, sit down, and their food will be brought to their table. Food will also be available for carry-out. The space will also be available for rent during the evenings.

"It's going to be a restaurant by day and an event center by night," said Stewart.

Stewart said that the menu is going to have a core group of items that will be constants with some rotating specials that will have a local and seasonal flare.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Driver Loses Control, Crashes into Home on Grand Avenue

The driver of the vehicle (maroon SUV) hopped the curb, drove into the yard where he hit the white van and finally the house on the left. FTM file. 
Lindsey Hartness was in her front yard on Grand Avenue taking her dog out. She walked back inside to her home and three minutes later, in the very spot that she was standing, a car jumped a curb on a windy spot in the road, barreled through her yard, and smashed into her car that was parked in her driveway.

It was the third time her car had been hit in a similar manner and the second time her car had been totaled. Each time drivers, who have been intoxicated in some form or fashion, have failed to navigate the windy stretch of the 100 block of Grand Avenue and have headed toward the homes that sit back off the road about 20 yards.

She's lived in her home for six years, but she said it's a trend that she believes is increasing.

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"In the last two years it's gotten bad," she said. "We're scared. We need a guardrail. Something needs to be done to keep cars out of our yards and homes. The sign they put up after the last accident clearly didn't do anything to stop this guy."

After hitting Hartness' car, the driver of the vehicle then crashed into her neighbor's home, before coming to a rest. Hartness said that she came outside after hearing the noise and saw emergency responders administer a dosage of Narcan, a drug given to counteract and reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The vehicle hit this home. FTM file. 
Fort Thomas Police responded quickly to secure the scene.

“We know our residents are frustrated. We are too. We will continue to do everything we can to protect them," said Lt. Rich Whitford of Fort Thomas Police. "The accidents have been alcohol and drug related. This drug epidemic is not letting up, we are doing all we can to protect our residents."

Mark Mullins, 45, from Cincinnati, was taken to the hospital. He was charged with Driver Under the Influence and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

According to Whitford, the paraphernalia was a needle.

Mark Mullins, 2015 mugshot. 
In September of 2016, a similar accident occurred in the same block on Grand, resulting in a fatality. The driver in that accident jumped the curb and ended up crashing into a tree just two houses down from this crash.

RELATED: Car Crash Fatality on Grand Avenue

In January of 2017 a car jumped that same curb, overcorrected and traversed across four lanes of traffic before crashing into the northbound lanes of Grand.

That crash was the final straw for residents in that stretch of Grand Avenue, who have since joined the conversation at the city council level to ask for protective measures that could include a guardrail, a road diet or lowering the speed limit.

Car Accident Cuts Power to North End of Town

A young driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit a power pole at North Fort Thomas and Tower Hill knocking out power to the area. The Duke Energy website says that power will be restored by 10:15.

This story will be updated when more information in known.

Friday, April 27, 2018

BREAKING: House Fire on Chesapeake in Newport

Just in.

House fire on the corner of Chesapeake and Baum in Newport.

Fort Thomas Music Students Honored by Kentucky Music Educators

Fort Thomas students prepare for All-State Elementary Chorus performance. (photo courtesy of Fort Thomas Schools)

There’s music in the air at Fort Thomas Independent Schools this spring. Several students from elementary through high school have been honored for their hard work and musical talent by the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA).

After extensive auditions and competition from other students across the state, Fort Thomas students have been selected to join KMEA’s all-state choirs, bands and orchestras.

Elementary School Chorus

Some of the students were honored at the April school board meeting. The first group were those selected for the KEMA Elementary School All-State Chorus. All three Fort Thomas elementary schools made the cut with students from Woodfill, Johnson and Moyer.

Music teacher Mary Scaggs explained the almost yearlong audition process: "It starts back in September. We rehearse with the students. We practice a specific audition protocol. And then we audition them right around Halloween, early November…In December they send us a repertoire, and we rehearse the actual music from January to February."

Out of about 700 students across Kentucky who audition, only the top 200 fifth and sixth graders are invited to join the choir, she said. This year the following elementary school students were selected: John Exterkamp, Haylee Hogie, Georgia Horton, Sylvie Martin, Evelyn Meyn and Eva Sarakatsannis.

Additional elementary music teachers include David Rockel (Woodfill) and Alyssa Vanderpool (Johnson)

Middle School students and Junior High Chorus

Students from Highlands Middle School and High School freshmen in KMEA all-state choirs.

Next, students from Highlands Middle School were honored for their selection in KMEA all-state choirs. Students in Middle School who are in sixth grade are included in the Elementary Chorus, while those in seventh through ninth grade are in the all-state Junior High Chorus.

Teacher Beth Rowland said about 1,200 students audition for the two choruses and only about 300 are accepted. This year Highlands Middle School was represented by Reese Dunbar, Anne Exterkamp, McKenna Pinkston, Zachary Baxter, Jennifer Harrah, Emma Horton, Hank Slaby and Zoe Zoller.

This group includes five freshmen from Highlands High School in the Junior High Chorus.

High School Chorus

Three Highlands seniors were selected for KMEA All-State choirs

The KMEA all-state High School Chorus competition requires a rigorous audition process, says teacher Jacob Young.

"They actually have a live audition and they audition in voice parts, a quartet with a bass, tenor, alto and soprano. They have to hold their own voice part in the context of a group," he said.

Auditions include both prepared pieces and sight-reading. "Students complete a prepared song," he explained. "Ours was in German this year. Then they go to an individual sight-reading room where they are given a piece of music that they’ve never seen before…This year we were fortunate to have three high school students, all of whom are seniors."

The three students were Audrey Cann, Ella Grimm and Lexus Ossege.

"The great thing about the high school level is there are three choirs, a mixed choir, a men’s choir and a women’s choir. Lexus was part of the women’s choir, and Ella and Audrey were part of the mixed choir…Every year they have nationally recognized directors…It’s been an incredible experience and I’m fortunate to be able to teach these three really wonderful students who are among the best seniors in the state of Kentucky," Young said.

All-State Concert Bands

Two Highlands High School trumpeters were selected for the KMEA All-State Band.

For the KMEA All-State Band, "like the choir, there is a two-round process," explained teacher Lori Duncan. She said thousands of students audition across the state so students first try out in a regional district. Judges then recommend students to continue on in the audition process.

In December, those selected to move ahead went to Elizabethtown, where there were more than 100 students trying out just for trumpet alone, said Duncan.

"These guys had to audition in two different rooms. In the first room they did a prepared piece and then the second room, blind by number, they perform scales and then a piece of music they’ve never seen before. They have so many minutes to look it over and play it through sight reading," she explained.

Two Fort Thomas trumpet players from Highlands High School were selected to join the KMEA All-State Concert Band: Noah Cooley and Tony DeRosa.

All-State Orchestras

Highlands sent two students to KMEA All-State orchestras this year.
 More than 1,000 students from across Kentucky auditioned to be selected for the KMEA All-State Orchestra or the Commonwealth String Orchestra. This year Highland High School sent one student to each of the two orchestras.

"Auditions are a little different from the band and the choir," explained teacher Kathy Anderson. "In September we receive the music. It’s orchestral music, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, some of the greatest works ever written. They are given excerpts and scales. These could be any scales, so we have lots of scales to practice. And then they prepare the music."

She explained that students must set an appointment for an audition at one of 10 sites in the state. There is a judge present, but their efforts are also recorded, and the tape is sent to a series of judges in Louisville and Lexington who make the final decisions.

Highlands High student Will Russell was selected to be one of only 12 cellists to join the All-State Orchestra and violinist Keely Reitman has been named assistant concert master of the Commonwealth String Orchestra.

Anderson said competition is keen and students are up against others who are attending special music academies. Only a few years ago, when Fort Thomas first made the cut for KMEA orchestras, she said people asked "Highlands, what’s that?" Yet, since that time that question has been put to rest.

"I’m really proud of these guys," she said. "They have done really well, and they’re only sophomores so we have more things to do, expect more things to come."

Middle School Teacher of the Year

Thursday, April 26, 2018

What's New at Orangetheory Fitness Newport

Chad and Dianna Coley showing off their results OTF's Transformation Challenge

Transformation Challenge Winners & Going All Out for "I Do"

Orange Theory Fitness (OTF) is a small, personal training workout studio that offers a unique exercise experience. Men's Journal has called the OTF experience, "the best one hour workout in the country". OTF workouts are customized, high-energy, heart-rate based led by enthusiastic personal trainer coaches. Commit to it, stick with it, and results will follow. 


  • 60 minute classes
  • High-intensity - modifiable workouts
  • Burn 500-1000 calories - based on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption
  • Three blocks of cardio and strength training
  • Group workout
  • Led by a personal trainer

In January 2018 OTF Newport celebrated their two year anniversary and launched an 8-Week Transformation Challenge, a popular weight loss challenge that ended with grand prizes to the male and female members who showed the greatest overall improvement and weight loss. The combined weight loss for all participants was over 500 pounds!

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Event Scheduled For April 28, 2018

The Fort Thomas Police Department is encouraging citizens to remove potentially dangerous medicines from their homes and dispose of them safely on April, 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The weather will be nice, so Ofc. Sean Donelan and Det. Mike Rowland will be out front to make it  convenient for residents to drop off medications in front of the city building.

“National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and health issue by providing a convenient way for citizens to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths,” said Fort Thomas Police Officer, Sean Donelan.

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“Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands,” he said. “That’s dangerous and often tragic. This event gives people the opportunity to turn in their prescription drugs safely and anonymously.”

Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, 2018 in front of the city building.

Leftover or expired drugs can be harmful in a variety of ways. Out-of-date medications can degrade and lose their effectiveness. They can pose environmental pollution to water supplies if disposed of improperly. They can be accidentally ingested by children, stolen, misused and abused.

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

Last year, citizens across the U.S. safely disposed of 456 tons of unneeded medications during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Donelan said that the program is designed to be easy for citizens and offered the following tips for those interested in participating:

Highlands Holds Nothing Back in Spring Ball No Matter Grade Level

Sophomores Could Contribute on Varsity Next Season for Bluebirds

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands freshman Joe Buten escapes trouble in a win at Campbell County during the freshman team campaign last year. The coaching staff likes to see rising sophomores overcome the fear of facing older players during Spring football.
Former Highlands Bluebirds Football Head Coach Dale Mueller mentioned it years ago.

The toughest off-season for football players is generally between their freshmen and sophomore seasons. Mueller said some players do not come back out as sophomores out of fear of playing against older players.

That's why the coaching staff has to figure out what level each rising sophomore is ready for and where to put them on the field whether offense or defense. Players generally play on one side of the ball starting their sophomore seasons after going both directions on the freshman team. Highlands Offensive Coordinator Zach Deaton said it's another reason why the coaches get to know the players personally through weight training.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

WES Talks, Speaker Recap

Woodfill Elementary School hosted WES Talks on Tuesday, April 24.

The event featured speakers telling powerful, short and compelling stories from their experiences addressing 21st Century Skills.

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Bob Herzog, Local 12: 1:45
Matthew Kremer, City of Erlanger: 11:22
Nancy Grayson, Horizon Community Funds: 21:00
Pat Crowley, Strategic Advisers: 29:45
Karen Cheser, Fort Thomas Independent Schools: 38:23
Nick Gates, Commonwealth Orthopedic: 46:18
David and Kelly Russell, Young Life: 1:00:00
Eric Neufarth, 5/3: 1:13:00
Dan Gorman, United Property Group: 1:26:00

Obituary: Barbara Lampe Haas

Barbara Lampe Haas passed away on Monday, April 23, 2018.

She was a graduate of Saint Thomas High School, Fort Thomas, and Edgecliff College and a member of Saint Catherine of Siena Parish, Fort Thomas. Barb was active in national, state and local politics and was instrumental in the election of prominent leaders across the political spectrum.

She was dedicated to her community, and was on the Board of Trustees at Summit Country Day School, the Board of Directors at Welcome House, Board Chair of Northern Kentucky Symphony and a volunteer at Saint Bernard Food Pantry.

Barb is survived by her husband, Dr. Joseph F. Haas, and their children, Monica (Russell) Desch, Jeffrey (Layne) Haas, Adam Haas & Carrie (Nate) Jessie; her siblings, Joan Ferris, Jim Lampe, Sue (Mark) Grimme & Tom (Kim) Lampe and her grandchildren, Luke & Grant Desch, and Joseph Jessie. She is preceded in death by her parents, Miriam "Min" & John "Jack" Lampe.

Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 27th at Dobbling Funeral Home 106 Fort Thomas Avenue in Fort Thomas. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 28th at St. Catherine of Siena Church with the burial to follow at St. Stephen Cemetery, Fort Thomas.

Executive Transportation, Newport, KY is Hiring!

Drivers Wanted! 

Executive Transportation Company is now accepting applications for Airport Shuttle Driver positions. Full and part-time positions available. DOT physical/medical card required. Must be over 25 years of age with knowledge of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Applicant must pass a criminal, DMV and drug test.

Apply at 1810 Monmouth Street, Newport, KY.

Northern Kentucky’s Largest Celebration of New Homes “Cavalcade of Homes” is Almost Here

The Cavalcade of Homes begins Saturday, May 5th and features twenty homes in Northern Kentucky.

The Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky will produce the 2018 Cavalcade of Homes May 5-6, 12-13, and 19-20.  The hours are noon to 5 p.m. each day.  Admission is free.

“The Cavalcade of Homes has been a Northern Kentucky staple since 1963.  At first a fall event, the Cavalcade of Homes has become Northern Kentucky’s annual rite of spring. This year visitors can experience 20 newly built homes by our Registered Builders; a moniker of professionalism," said Brian Miller, Executive Vice President of the Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky.

If you're looking for a realtor, there are three on the Fort Thomas Matters roster. Their sponsorship of Fort Thomas Matters helps make local news possible.

Rob Beimesche - Huff Realty - 859-240-3219
Adam Rosenhagen and Clay Horan - HR Real Estate - 859-496-1113, 859-903-5706
Tami Wilson - Century 21 - 859-380-6007
Clint Copenhaver - Sotheby's International Realty - 513-379-3467

"With a low inventory of homes for sale both on the resale market and in the newly built market, the Cavalcade of Homes is an outstanding opportunity to meet the professionals that have built our community for decades and learn how a newly built home can not only give you every convenience you need in your home with todays technical and energy efficient convenience.”

The following are the homes in this year’s Cavalcade of Homes:

Highlands High Student Puts Classroom Skills to the Real-World Test

Highlands senior Thomas Wade works with a student client to customize a tool he designed to assist with communication.

Thanks to a unique collaboration, students in Fort Thomas schools are using the technology skills they’ve learned to address real-world problems to help others in the classroom and the world beyond.

Highlands High School senior Thomas Wade, who helps run the Help Desk at the middle school, put his skills to the test when asked to use what he’d learned in engineering and technology classes to design and create a tool that would help students with communication challenges. Now students are using customized versions of his device to help them in school and in everyday activities.

It all started in February, when Nicole Ponting, a speech language pathologist at Highlands Middle School, attended a national conference on assistive technology, a field that has grown exponentially thanks to advances in technology and in the understanding of people’s needs.

"When I first started, we had devices with two switches, yes and no, and you had these bulky devices that kids would carry around. And they were so expensive. Assistive technology has come such a long way."

Today, technology is smaller, lighter and does much more, she said. In fact, most can be adapted to iPads and even cell phones. Students carry the same tools as their peers, and the equipment has become common in school and beyond.

"That’s a huge piece of this, the transition to adulthood and being independent. You see these devices all the time in work places now," she said.

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Ponting, special education teacher Andrea Smith and other educators decided to form a team to explore ideas and possibilities for assistive technology in the district. One idea was to tap into the resources available to create tools to augment and address some of the issues students using adaptive devices face.

Finding a solution only a few doors away

One issue involved students who have challenges with verbal communication. The students use Proloquo, a symbol-based Apple application on their iPads to help them communicate words and ideas. Symbols or pictures are laid out on a grid with each square representing a different word or idea. The app can be customized for students with different abilities, from those who may only be able to use a few symbols to those who are able to use multiple options and folders with many symbol choices.

The app is a wonderful tool, said Smith, but many of the students have some difficulties with digital dexterity and hitting the right symbol or key can be frustrating. Students who are frustrated tend to be less communicative and to lose interest in the activity.

At the conference, Ponting learned about a somewhat expensive plastic grid that can be snapped onto an iPad to help guide fingers and keep them where the user intends to go. The Fort Thomas team wondered if students with the skills and access to 3D printers at school might be able to make the grids for their fellow students.

Wade shows off the adaptive grid he created. He plans to pursue a technology career upon graduation.

They took their idea to Brian Mercer, a digital learning coach, and he knew exactly what to do. He charged Wade with creating and customizing the grids.

Wade explained the process: "The general idea is that we make the model of what we want in the Tinker-CAD program, then take that file and move it to an application called Cura, which allows us to save it as a file the 3D printer can print and use a SD card to transfer it to the machine."

Drawing from the skills he learned in the Fundamentals of Engineering Design and other classes, Wade used the middle school lab to make the grids. The lab is well-equipped with two 3-D printers, a laser cutter, a vinyl cutter, robotic arm and general equipment for woodworking and similar projects, he said. Students can use the equipment at any time if they are enrolled in the class and a teacher is present.

Improving communication and opportunities

County Attorney: Don't Steal, Deface Political Signs

By Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney

Soon, political campaigns will be going through the arduous task of putting up political signs.

Many people seem to feel that taking or damaging a political sign is not a criminal offense but rather that it just a common occurrence in the territory of political campaigns.  However, that is not the case.  A theft of a political sign is no different than the theft of any other personal property.  Under Kentucky law, a person is guilty of theft by unlawful taking if he takes or exercises control over moveable property of another with intent to deprive that person of the property.  This would certainly include political signs as well as any other property.  Taking a political sign out of someone’s front yard is no less of a theft than taking a chair off of the porch.

Theft of property under Kentucky law is a Class A misdemeanor if the item has a value of less than $500.00 dollars punishable by up to a fine of $500.00 and up to a year in jail.

Kentucky also has a law that provides that a person is guilty of criminal mischief in the third degree when, having no right to do so, or any reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, he intentionally or wantonly defaces, destroys or damages any property.  This law would also apply to damaging, destroying or defacing political signs as well as to damaging other personal property.  Examples of this would include defacing the sign by spray painting over it.  Such conduct would constitute criminal mischief in the third degree under Kentucky law which is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to a fine of $250.00 and up to ninety days in jail.

During the upcoming campaign season prior to the election on November 8th all candidates and their workers and supporters should understand that defacing or taking political signs is criminal conduct and will be prosecuted as such.  It is certainly frustrating and aggravating to put so much time and work into putting up political signs only to have them damaged or stolen.  All campaigns should be respectful of each other and all the hard work involved in campaigning including but not limited to the placement of political signs.

Moreover, no candidate or campaign has the right to place their political signs in the public right of way.  Political signs or for that matter, any signs placed in the public right of way are a nuisance and potentially dangerous.  Such signs will be lawfully removed by the local jurisdiction responsible for the right of way.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Beshear, Task Force Streamline Human Trafficking Notification Process to Better Assist Victims, Investigations

2017 Human Trafficking Task Force Report released, highlights Kentucky’s awareness efforts

Attorney General Andy Beshear and Catholic Charities of Louisville today released the 2017 Human Trafficking Task Force Report that focuses on the state’s coordinated efforts to fight human trafficking.

The report highlights Kentucky’s new streamlined notification process that better assists in investigations and follow-up victim services for reported cases of human trafficking across the state.

The changes allow for a quicker response to incidents of suspected human trafficking in Kentucky and is one of numerous efforts outlined in the annual report of the Kentucky Human Trafficking Task Force.

The report is the first overall look at the state’s coordinated efforts to fight human trafficking since Beshear’s office and Catholic Charities of Louisville, co-chairs of the task force, received a federal grant in 2016. The grant was the first from the U.S Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance and Office of Victims of Crime ever awarded to a Kentucky agency for human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a growing and gruesome crime in the Commonwealth,” Beshear said. “In order to combat it, we needed to streamline the information sharing protocols between our federal, state and local task force members to more efficiently respond to reports of human trafficking. Now, law enforcement can immediately investigate and advocates can immediately offer victim services.”

Marissa Castellanos, program director of the Bakhita Empowerment Initiative, a program to combat human trafficking at Catholic Charities of Louisville, said the Kentucky Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force has been an important tool for Kentucky’s movement forward in protocol development, proactive investigations, increased collaboration among agencies, and data collection and reporting efforts.

As a result, trafficking victims are being identified at a higher rate, response has improved and services are more accessible to victims,” Castellanos said. “Catholic Charities remains committed to the work of victim-centered advocacy and service provision for labor and sex trafficking victims identified in the Commonwealth. We are grateful for the leadership and support of the Office of the Attorney General, and our many other community partners in these efforts.”

Beshear said training all partners to recognize human trafficking has been a key component in streamlining the notification process of potential reports of the crime.

In 2017, Beshear’s office and Catholic Charities conducted 80 statewide trainings, reaching nearly 3,500 individuals and created the state’s first coordinated effort to train hotel staff to recognize and report human trafficking.

Woodfill Students Exhibit Leadership Skills Through Puerto Rico Fundraiser

Students at Woodfill Elementary raised more than $2,000 to benefit the ongoing relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

What began as a small seed of an idea grew into an ongoing partnership with Northern Kentucky University (NKU), and a joint gift of $4,000 to help support the ongoing relief efforts in Puerto Rico. 

Heather Turner, Woodfill’s Spanish teacher, said she, along with Johnson teacher Julie Dashley and Moyer teacher Silvia McClamrock, were discussing donating gifts to children in Puerto Rico back in December. (Today, more than six months after Hurricane Maria, some are still without power.)

Woodfill Spanish teacher Heather Turner, along with students, showing off the Puerto Rico fundraiser T-shirts.

“I thought T-shirts in Spanish would be an easy way to raise a lot of money, and I talked to some 5th graders about taking on leadership roles to make the fundraiser happen,” Turner says. 

Students created a slogan, and made posters and commercials to advertise the campaign.

Students chose to sell T-shirts as well as collect change. Their slogan: “Change the world with your change."

With a team of 15, Turner says students organized everything from commercials to informational posters, promoting the campaign daily. They had a contest for most money raised and the winning class, which donated more than $200 in change in just two weeks, won a piñata. 

Each classroom had a collection box for coins.

“The hardest part was counting all the coins and rolling them up each morning and afternoon,” Turner says. “I could not have done this without great student volunteers like Sydney and Stephen Shoemaker. They really helped.” 

Turner hoped that a local Puerto Rican would be able to accept a check on the behalf of Puerto Rico. She was put in touch with Irene Encarnación, a Spanish professor at NKU who is from Puerto Rico. After several phone calls, Turner and Encarnación – who had been raising funds for Puerto Rico at NKU – decided to partner and merge donations from both schools to make a bigger impact.

“We both agreed that we were searching for a non-profit organization that we could trust where each cent would go to the hands of people who really need it in Puerto Rico,” Turner says. 

Turner says Encarnación visited Puerto Rico over her spring break, made videos and interviewed locals, as well as attended town hall meetings regarding the rebuilding and reinstallation of electricity. “She came back with Comité pro desarollo de Maunabo,” Turner says. 

In the end, Woodfill’s ¡Yo soy Líder! Desde KY a Puerto Rico Ayudamos a Nuestros Amigos campaign received an equal match of $2,000 from NKU’s Latino Institute for Excellence (LIFE). Encarnación, a co-chair along with Leo Calderon of NKU LIFE Puerto Rico Relief Campaign, surprised Woodfill students on March 27 with an equal $2,000 gift match.

NKU surprised Woodfill students with a matching gift.

“Encarnación came to school with a large check, presented to the 5th graders, and we had many little Puerto Rican flags to celebrate our collaboration between KY and Puerto Rico,” Turner says.

The event, Turner says, marks the beginning of future collaborations between NKU and WES. “She was incredible,” Turner says of Encarnación. “All of the students really enjoyed her presentation and wanted their picture with her afterwards. She has a lot of charisma and gratitude to the students for what we had done to help her home country.”

The donation is set to directly assist in the reconstruction of Maunabo’s Natural Reserve, and will contribute to restore the facilities of la Casa Verde and their neighboring communities. 

“We are all connected,” Turner says. “It’s imperative, as global citizens, that we become educated in all facets of the world. Language, culture, religion, environmental issues – all of these things. They make us well-rounded, respectful and tolerant people. Puerto Rico is part of the United States. It is an incredible place to visit, with so many warm and generous individuals whom I have met personally. I have traveled to Puerto Rico twice and have friends from there. I think it is my responsibility to shape my student’s view of the world in hopes that they one day can share my compassion for others and be proactive to help others when a natural disaster strikes.”

The fundraiser became a school-wide campaign, with many students taking on different leadership responsibilities. 

Keith Faust, Woodfill’s principal, says the fundraiser served as a great example of success in terms of the school’s Leader in Me program. 

“One of the challenges of implementing a culture change like Leader in Me is that naysayers may question how you determine its effectiveness, as there are no traditional assessments or measures,” Faust says “To them I point directly to projects like the Puerto Rico fundraiser. Our students set a goal, developed a plan, synergized and proactively implemented their plan. They thought beyond themselves and were selfless in their actions. They internalized and lived the seven habits on a personal level to accomplish and surpass their goal. To me this evidence that we are developing leaders and doing it in a tangible way.”

Turner says her biggest reaction to the fundraiser’s success was gratitude. “It was a small idea that turned into a big fundraiser,” she says. “I am really proud of all of the students at WES where the climate here makes it cool to buy a shirt in Spanish that helps others."

Turner says she's also proud of the 5th grade leaders who stepped up to plan and orchestrate the entire fundraiser.  "I am also thankful to have administration that backed these ideas, and allowed for us to do the fundraiser," Turner says. "I also want to especially thank our secretaries and the local bank for their patience with all of the coin deposits. I could not be more thankful for a new friendship and collaboration with Irene Encarnación from NKU. I hope we can continue to work together on future endeavors. It is also very pleasing to know that at both Moyer and Johnson they continued the efforts to help Puerto Rico by selling their own shirts as well.”