Friday, June 22, 2018

Drew Rom Signs with Baltimore Orioles, Gets $650,000 Signing Bonus

Drew Rom, now a former Highlands baseball pitcher and Mr. Kentucky Baseball, has signed a rookie contract worth $650,000 to sign with the Baltimore Orioles.

Rom, who had committed to play for the University of Michigan, was picked in the fourth round of the amateur draft at number 115 overall.

According to, the 115 overall pick was slotted to earn a $483,300 signing bonus. In order to ensure that he would sign to play for them instead of going to college, the Orioles reportedly offered him a signing bonus of $650,000 as well as some money allotted for college when his professional baseball career comes to a close.

He has reported to Sarasota to begin his professional career with the Gulf Coast League Orioles.

"The best way I can explain Drew is with this simple quote, 'hard work pays off'," said Jeremy Baioni, Highlands Head Baseball Coach.  "He's such an impressive kid who has left a lasting impression on so many from Fort Thomas. We had our youth camp this week and the number one question from the kids was, 'will Drew Rom be here?'  He has an entire community, and region, pulling for him."

In 66.67 inning pitched during the regular season this year, Rom was 8-6 with a 2.42 ERA. He has 119 strikeouts and only 20 walks. Opponents hit just .190 against him.

Floyd “Bub” Basham and Lois Wasser Basham: Fort Thomas Fourth of July Parade Grand Marshals

The City of Fort Thomas has named their Grand Marshals for the Fourth of July parade in the city: Floyd "Bub" and Lois (Wasser) Basham.

Floyd was born at the corner of Miller & N. Fort Thomas Ave, above Stegner Grocery which was owned by his grandparents on September 11, 1927.  The Fort Thomas Board of Education is on that site now.  He was given his nickname “Bub” at birth by an uncle.  The family moved next door to 14 Miller Lane.  He then built and moved to 18 Miller Lane where he still lives today.  Miller Lane has been his whole life.

Lois was born in Davies County, Ky, on December 10, 1935 and at 6 weeks old her and her brother were delivered by train to Edna & Carl Wasser.  Lois grew up on Sheridan Lane in Fort Thomas.

Bub graduated from Highlands High School in 1945, where he played football, basketball, baseball and bowled.  He went on to play fastpitch softball on leagues and in tournaments.  He was in the Navy for 14 months during WWII and worked at his father’s Floyd Service Station, where Subway is now.  He married Lois in 1954.  In 1954, Bubs started working for Weingarter Lumber Company.  He has worked for lumber companies all his life. He worked many years at Moore’s Home Improvement.  He is still employed by Studer Residential Design and together Bub and Lois travel to regional meetings with contractors and introduce the new floor plans.

RELATED: It's a Wonderful Life Living in the Same Neighborhood for 90 Years 

Lois graduated from Highlands in 1954.  She worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer in the Classified Department when she married Bub, and worked there until their daughter, Lori, was born.  Then she started working at Ruth Moyer and at all the other schools.  She was a teacher’s aide at Woodfill School for 27 years until she retired in 2000 but she still substitutes at times.

Bub loves sports.  He played on a lot of church leagues and in 1995, he was inducted into the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame for catcher for two perfect games.  He is an enthusiastic supporter of the Cincinnati Reds.  His whole basement is dedicated to the Reds, which is his own private museum.  He has a remarkable memory for sports, people and events.  He can talk sports with anyone.  Bub, along with several well-known friends, started the Highlands Athletic Boosters.  They developed the first known bluebird for Highlands football to go on their helmets and jerseys.  Bub and his friends also started the first Fort Thomas Junior Football League in 1955 and was one of their first coaches.  Bub was honored as the 2014 Highlands High School Alumnus of the Year and is the oldest member of the Fort Thomas Masonic Lodge.  His great-grandfather, George P. Stegner, was the foreman on the Pearl Bryan murder trial.

Lois still volunteers at the schools today.  She started volunteering as a candy-striper at St Luke Hospital and helped establish Youth Haven.  She was a girl scout leader.  Her picture is in all of the Larosa’s restaurants.  Lois is still very active at St. Elizabeth Hospital, past-president of the auxiliary and was a chaplain for their group.  Her picture is in their lobby for her volunteer work.  Lois sings in the choir at their church, United Church of Christ, serves on council and does a lot of mission work with Brighton Center, Hosea House and other programs.

Lois and Bub have one daughter, Lori (Rick) Voss along with two granddaughters, Brittany (Chris) VanHoose and Charlotte (Charlie) Duggan.  They are still in contact with all their high school friends and meet frequently for lunch.  Bub and Lois are loved by everyone in the city. They still attend all the HHS football games, even traveling on the bus!

Their true loves are each other, their family and the students at HHS.  Their favorites are HHS Football Sideline Club, the HHS Athletic Boosters, the Fort Thomas Education Foundation along with their passion for the Cincinnati Reds.

Tower Place Cornhole Association Celebrates 10 Years

Three of the five original Tower Place Cornhole Association members: Dirc Lindeman, George Schurr and Steve Hensley. Not pictures: John Hengelbrok, Bill Keefer. 
Life has a way of dividing in how you spend your time into two main segments: obligations and freedoms.

For a group of Fort Thomas residents on Tower Place, every Thursday for the last ten years they have been meeting to play cornhole.

The Tower Place Cornhole Association is not a cobbled-together group that informally gets together socially. There are bylaws, and voting members. They have their own terms (see: Shicked, Royed, Toe-Tag or Double-Dirc).

They play year round, usually on Tower Place in someone's backyard or if the weather is bad at the Olde Fort Pub or a member's workplace.

Roofing, siding, gutters, painting. Call Matt Spencer, he's local, reliable and honest. 
There is a random draw for partners each week and they never play for money. It's the camaraderie and pride that draws them to play.

The original members are Steve Hensley, George Schurr, Dirc Lindeman, John Hengelbrok and Bill Keefer. The founder of the club, Hensley, moved to the street in 2008 and wanted to involve the neighbors in a social gathering in June of that year and the TPCA was born.

According to the TPCA website, other diehards include Tom MeyerWally Szymanski and Mark Schweitzer.

RELATED: The Tower Place Cornhole Association Website 

When I show up to the 10th anniversary of the club's inception there are about 20 people there in total. Some I know, Meyer, Dan Gorman and Dr. Nick Gates, some I'm meeting for the first time, Dan Orem or Schurr's sons, Evan and Elliott.

One thing is clear: this is not an obligation to this crew.

"We are doing life together," says Orem. "We all genuinely like each other and this is what life is about: deep connection." 

The joke (or maybe it's not because it was repeated to me on multiple occasions by many members that night) is that if you buy a membership to the club, you get a free house on Tower Place.

The atmosphere is light, but the group is competitive. They are really good players. Drinks and food flow freely. Inside jokes, statistics only they would understand and themed t-shirts are plentiful.

This night Meyer and Hensley win. Schurr sends an update to the group and updates the website a few days later. His backyard, where the event this night takes place, looks and feels like a cornhole "Field of Dreams." Grass is beautifully kept and engineered flat. A ring illuminates the ring on the board as day bleeds into night. The lights come on and the music gets a little louder. No one will complain because almost all of the neighbors are gathered there.

I'm happy I get to witness this group doing life together, because I'm a community guy and this is as community as it gets. Congratulations for doing life together, fellas. This is what it's all about.

Tower Place Cornhole Association Members List

Voting Members
Steve Hensley
Dirc Lindeman
George Schurr
Bill Keefer
Wally Szymanski
Dan Gorman
John Hengelbrok
Chuck True- Ghosting in
Chris Huth
Bryan Kiernan
Nick Winburn
Matt Jones- on hiatus

Official Members
Dan Orem
Nick Gates
Tom Meyer
Mark Schweitzer
Rob Roy
Steve Miller
Mark Goetz
Bruce Sidel
Elliott Schurr
Evan Schurr
Eric Schurr
Robby Henglebrook
Jake True
Tim Gestner
Nick True
Andy Miller

Probationary Members
Rob Woods
James Masters
Keith Brown
Gary Schwabach
Carl Bittner
Jeff Bertke
Keith Jansen

Guest Members
Tim Vara
Chris Cavacini
Mark Farley

Legacy Members
Charlie Gorman
Issac Woods
Chris Woods
Luke Woods
Alex Woods
Roland Hensley
Warren Huth
Logan Szymanski

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Teachers, Students Participate in Active Shooter Safety Training

On the first day of summer vacation at 8:00 in the morning, an overwhelming majority of students would be soundly and squarely in their beds getting a well-deserved rest after completing finals.

But in Fort Thomas Independent Schools, over 100 students attended a volunteer training at Highlands High School and Middle School, hosted by the school district and put on by area law enforcement.

Lt. Chris Carpenter of the Fort Thomas Police ran the event with the Kenton County Regional SWAT team, Fort Thomas Fire and Paramedics and several Fort Thomas Police Officers. Fort Thomas Independent Schools demonstrating what to do in active shooter scenarios.

Orangetheory Fitness. The best 1-hour workout in the nation. Located at Newport Pavilion. 
Carpenter said that the event at Highlands was the most well attended event his group had encountered. He said that the school had last held a training three years ago and are now progressing their training by adding a Department of Homeland Security program called, Stop the Bleed, a national awareness campaign that encourages bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

“It’s great that we have as many students here as we do,” said Lt. Carpenter, who has been on the Fort Thomas Police Department for 17 years and on the regional SWAT team for 15 years. “We want as many eyes and ears as we can get, looking out for a threat. This is not paranoia, the chances that it will ever happen here are very slim, but if it does happen here, everyone involved will be the attacker’s enemy. Everyone will be protecting each other and that makes everybody safer.”

Law enforcement held breakout sessions to teach the skills they would need later in the day in simulated active shooter training.

Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Jamee Flaherty, said she was pleased that students chose to attend the training on their first day of summer vacation.

“As we focus on continuous improvements, we want to recognize how we can best position our staff and students to develop the skills necessary to respond to a crisis situation involving an active shooter,” said Flaherty. “When we consider having students involved, it’s taking an additional step further to provide training to ensure that they have the understanding and the skills to react during an emergency. 

In addition we’re enhancing the faculty and staff training by including “Stop the Bleed” training which includes first-aid processes to be used in response to a school shooting.  Keeping everyone informed and aware of best practices is our end goal.”

Fort Thomas Sgt. Will Hunt, Officers Michael Rowland, Doug Bryant and Sean Donelan were in attendance from the police department and Captain, Tammy Webster, was in attendance from the Fort Thomas Fire Department.

Carpenter’s teenage daughters, Arden and Eden, were also in attendance helping law enforcement set up scenarios.

“It’s not just something that we’re asking others to send their children to, we are as well,” said Carpenter.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Tammy Schlarman Freihofer - 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.

Tammy Schlarman Freihofer graduated from Highlands in 1990, where she lettered in five sports: volleyball, basketball, softball, track, and tennis. She started playing high school sports in the 7th grade and in the 8th grade played on the varsity volleyball and basketball teams.

In volleyball, she led her team to three Regional titles.  She was recognized as First Team All-State in her junior and senior years and in 1989 she was the Northern Kentucky Player of the Year and the Kentucky Post’s Player of the Year.  In basketball, she led her team to three district championships. She scored over 1,000 points and grabbed over 1,000 rebounds. She was a member of the All District and Regional Tournament teams in basketball during her junior and senior years.

After graduating from Highlands, Tammy earned an athletic scholarship to play basketball at Northern Kentucky University (NKU). She excelled on and off the court and received multiple awards:  NKU Athlete of Distinction, All-Academic Team, NKU Career Achievement, and the Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Week multiple times.  Tammy is a Physical Education teacher at Longbranch Elementary in Union, KY.  She currently resides in Union with her husband Phil and their four children Kyle, Kay, Liz, and Corey.

Car Crashes Through Front Window at UDF in Wilder

United Dairy Farmers on Licking Pike in Wilder, located at the foot of Moock Road, is temporarily closed after a driver of a vehicle crashed through the front of the store.

The accident occurred at around 9:30 a.m. this morning.

No one was hurt.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. 
Store managers said that an elderly woman pulled up to the front of the store and hit the gas instead of the break.

Wilder emergency responders were on the scene and took the driver away for observation.

Just last week at another UDF in Green Township a driver had a seizure behind wheel and crashed into the front windows of the store.

No one was hurt in that crash.

Extraordinary House in Alexandria Started as a Sketch on Napkin…Seriously!

By Jessie Stringfield-Eden

Nestled in the countryside between Silver Grove, Camp Springs and Alexandria stands a house that will literally stop you in your tracks. With a pristine white exterior accented by black and gray angles, it is difficult to compare this house to any other houses in NKY…or anywhere for that matter!

Homeowners Nick and Lacy Owen designed this extraordinary structure themselves…but the initial idea began as a casual conversation one evening among friends. That conversation then became an idea which was sketched onto a napkin. That napkin sketch was then transformed into some Microsoft Paint designs by Nick which then led Nick and Lacy to meet with local architect Tim Enzweiler who helped draft the official plans and bring their dream home to life.

Inspired by a gray, white stucco and concrete house design on Google, the Owens fell in love with the round elements and modern design features and they began to steer their own personal style from their traditional home with tan walls and white baseboards towards a more modern feel. “Early in our marriage, we started buying more modern furniture for our traditional house,” said Nick, “We even started storing modern furniture in our basement for our someday ‘Dream Modern Home.” The Owen family had faith that their modern dream home would soon become a reality so they set a target date to finish the home — ideally before their second child, a boy named Hudson, was born.

With lots of hard work, determination and help from his Dad, Nick was able to closely meet that deadline.

“I built the majority of the house myself as the main contractor with lots of help from my Dad. The house took me 11 and a half months, from digging the hole, running electric, building every cabinet, painting the whole house, laying every piece of tile, to the final step,” said Nick,

“I worked my day job every day then drove straight to the house and worked until late each night. Then I’d wake up the next day and do it all again. I lost 25 pounds in the process, because I would work so hard that I didn’t even remember to eat. We lived with Lacy’s parents during construction. At the time, our daughter Harley was one and Lacy was pregnant with our second child. We had a goal of moving in before Hudson, our youngest, was born…and I missed that date by one week.”

After all that preparation and hard work, the outcome is a grand, 3.5 bath, 4 bedroom home that is an absolute showstopper for all those who drive by or have a chance to visit. The most unique characteristic is a space which Nick and Lacy affectionately refer to as “The Pit”, a 16’ x 16’ square living space that is sunken 3ft into the living room floor.

“We love to host and entertain,” said Nick, “The Pit is the perfect place for Lacy’s Bible Study group to gather, to watch a game or to watch the kids open birthday gifts.”

Now, don’t let the sheer perfection of this house fool you. The Owens put a tremendous amount of hard work into creating each unique aspect of their home. Their black and white dining room features a curved wall with a ‘barcode’ design. What initially appears to be perfect wall paper was actually taped off and hand painted by Nick over the span of several hours. This dramatic design paired with the black dining room set and crisp white, elevated floor with blue under mounted lights truly defines this conversation-starting space.

Nick also did the same in the children’s playroom with some inspiration from a festive yellow and gray rug Lacy bought. “I bought this rug and thought it would be so cool to match the same design on the wall,” said Lacy, “So…Nick spent hours painting that wall too!”

Another labor of love was the DNA-shaped chandelier in their loft area on the second floor. “That took me 3.5 hours to put together as each ball has a keychain-like ring to hook onto both ends,” said Nick, “I had bloody fingers after that!” This sparkling crystal ball design hangs in the dome area of the curved tower of their home and is highlighted with blue recessed lighting.

With so many unique pieces, several items could not be found locally so they ordered items from Pittsburg, Australia and even China. There are a variety of different textures and this house is a visual wonderland from the moment you enter. The attention to detail in this home highlights texture with wavy/curved stucco walls, shiny tile work, wooden accents, smooth concrete countertops and even metal accents. 

“The entry wave wall was challenging to install since it is a rounded wall,” said Nick. “The metal cross was an idea we had from the beginning. We knew this house was supposed to be used to host and share our faith with others. We knew the cross feature would be a way to honor God for blessing us with this amazing home.”

With so many fun features, it is hard to capture the full splendor of this home so here is a quick list of some of the most awesome amenities;

Groovy mid-century modern hanging ball chairs
A “funhouse” style mirror at the top of the stairs which gives the perception of a tunnel
Master Bath featuring a clear, modern bathtub, double vanities and a walk-in shower with 3 shower heads (one of which is a giant rain-style shower head!)
A fun, zig zag sidewalk that leads to the front door
A front facing delightfully crooked window in the Master Bedroom
Modern kitchen with bold red cabinets and additional red accents with an island featuring a metal, textured countertop with circular grinding pattern

Such a show-stopping house is bound to get some attention and the Owens are well certainly aware.

“We have heard through the grapevine that people call it the ‘Beetlejuice’ house,” said Nick, “Or the ‘Cat in the Hat’ house.”

They also get a kick out of the people who actually stop their cars on the road to gawk at the house which they fondly refer to as ‘lookers’. Even their kids, Harley and Hudson, point them out from time to time!

Although the Owens unsure if others like the style of their home, it cannot be stated enough that this house is definitely THEIR style and that this home is well loved, very lived-in and built on a solid foundation of faith. “My favorite thing about the house isn’t the looks or the uniqueness but that even though we take care of it and try to keep it nice, we can still have all of our family and friends over (with more than 20 kids who can literally terrorize a house), and enjoy everyone’s company,” said Nick.

“Sure, it is a unique house for this area but despite the straight lines and bold colors, it is still homey and warm and full of God’s love.”

*Note: Lacy is a Rodan + Fields Consultant, the #1 skincare brand in North America.  To find out more about R+F’s products for anti-aging, acne, sunspots, and sensitive skin, please contact Lacy Owen at 859-620-0045 or Check out their products at

Take the rest of the home tour here, 33 more pictures: 

Fort Thomas Matters Realtor Roster:
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 - Robinson Sotheby's - 513-379-3467

Phone: 859-905-0714 - Email: This is an advertisement.