Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Opticare Vision/Express Mobile Transport

Friday, June 29, 2018

Mint Yoga Invests into Fort Thomas Community

An entrepreneur starts with an idea for a business.

It's a risk, but the entrepreneur goes in with clear eyes and a full heart to bring something of their value to their community and in return, their hope is to sustain a viable business for their families and their employees. 

At Mint Yoga Studio (18 N. Fort Thomas Avenue), part of their plan was to invest back into the community. And invest they have. 

Tiffany Brennan, owner of the studio, has been intentional about moving yoga outside of the studio, to bring it to the community. You'll see them stretching at Tower Park, or teaching students techniques at Johnson Elementary or Highlands High School. Every Monday at 6:45 p.m., they hold a free class as part of the Jaren Lorenzen Project. 

"We don't just expect you to come to us, we'll come to you. We're a lot more than yoga," said Tiffany Brennan, owner of the studio. "We always think about trying to add value to our community, diversity or interest. We love when we hear from our clients that we have become a part of their daily routine."

Longtime Fort Thomas resident, Nancy Gray, is one of those clients who had recently making Mint part of her daily routine. 

"Mint is a welcoming community and local," said Gray. "I can grow in the practice of yoga, even though I started only about 18 months ago."
The reviews don't lie. Mint Yoga's client base is some of the most loyal in the state. Recently, because of their reviews, they were named the Best Yoga Studio in Kentucky by Best Things Kentucky

Fort Thomas is lucky to have them! 

Phone 859-442-2600 
18 North Fort Thomas Ave, Suite 301 
Fort Thomas, KY 41075 

Highlands High School Names Athletic Director

Kevin Nieporte has been named as the athletic director for Highlands High School.  Nieporte has been serving as the interim athletic director since June 4, 2018.

“The athletic director for Highlands High School is a key role to success in many different areas,” stated Matthew Bertasso, Highlands High School principal. “The hiring committee was impressed with Mr. Nieporte’s passion and love for Highlands and Fort Thomas. The tradition and future success of Highlands’ athletics is in great hands.”

“I am very excited to be the Highlands High School athletic director.  This has always been my ultimate goal and I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to achieve my dream job,” said Nieporte. “Being entrusted to carry on the tradition of athletics excellence at Highlands is an honor and I am looking forward to taking our program to the next level.”

Nieporte, a 1992 HHS graduate, has devoted his entire 19-year educational career to Highlands Middle School where he served as a science teacher and athletic director.

Missing from Campbell County - Sean Anthony Pope

Please help find Sean Anthony Pope, missing from Campbell County, KY – last seen in Alexandria on June 20th – last contact with family, Friday, June 22, 2018.

Sean, 31 stayed most of the time with his girlfriend in Silver Grove, but last address is listed as Southgate, KY.

Sean has a history of depression and while he has faced issues in his past with drug and alcohol addiction, it is not assumed that he suddenly left behind his life after being drug-free and employed for the past 16+ months.  His family states that in recent weeks, he was dealing with some of high-stress situations and had quit drinking for twelve days prior to leaving.  On the 21st of June, Sean contacted his mother to say that he went out that Wednesday and decided to “drink” and just needed to get away for a couple of days but that he was ok.  He contacted his mother a few more times on the 21st of June and stated he was ok with the last message the morning of Friday, June 22nd at 9:00 AM stating he was coming home, but needed to stay with his mom, Lori.

He never arrived and did not message any more.  The phone number he texted from was not Sean’s number, since his cell phone had broken earlier that week. According to his family, this is completely out of character to just disappear or not attempt to make any kind of contact with someone, anyone for this amount of time.  Also, to note…the number he texted from had several attempts by family members trying to once again gain response but no one from that phone number will answer.

Sean left on foot, and has was wearing plaid shorts, a UK t-shirt and flip-flops when he left.  He 6’1” with brown (grayish) hair, brown eyes and weighs approximately 190 – 200 lbs.

New Specialty Market / Restaurant Concept “Grassroots & Vine” Brings Innovative, Locally Sourced, Community Table Experience to Fort Thomas

By Jessica Stringfield-Eden 

There has been a lot of buzz around town about “Grassroots & Vine”,a new specialty food market and restaurant in the Midway District. This new business which features small plates created with food from local farmers/small businesses, a bottle shop and two full service bars with an outdoor patio will celebrate it’s Grand Opening on Saturday, July 21stat 10 a.m. with wine tastings, food pairings and live music. So…what is a ‘specialty food market’? Well we sat down with owner Barb Thomas and Chef Joe Hren to learn more about what inspired the idea.

Concept & Location:
For the past 10 years, Barb and Chuck Thomas have been interested in gourmet market items and local offerings. As they settled in Fort Thomas and Barb opened her first business,Fort Thomas Central, their passion for local food was complimented by the concept of establishing a community meeting place. This idea evolved over time with their participation with Art Around Towne.From working with food trucks to partnering with other businesses, their full idea to highlight food and community became one central concept.“Grassroots is an idea of going back to basics and using local producers, farmers, artisans which intertwines with community”, said Thomas,“I’ve grown to love Fort Thomas. I want to contribute more to the community while supporting it and enjoying it with families.” 

When a commercial space near the Midway Historic District became available, the stars aligned and their idea of a speciality market where that very same Fort Thomas community could gather, enjoy music, dine and grab a gourmet basket to take home, was suddenly a launched into reality. Barb and her husband Chuck jumped on the opportunity. 

“We investigated other areas with higher foot traffic but for the past five years, I’ve had a business in Fort Thomas and I understand what the Fort Thomas community wants and can support,” said Thomas. “Everything just fell into place and this location made sense for our business concept.”

The building, located at 1011 S. Fort Thomas Ave., has literally been designed as a destination for community engagement and interaction. Guests will enjoy a variety of different dining areas from a lounge-y feel at one of their banquette booths paired with cozy, brown leather chairs to traditional bistro tables and high-top bar areas. There is even a functional seating area where guests can enjoy the view, a glass of wine or a cup of locally roasted coffee, while accessing an outlet to recharge their phone or laptop. 

The space is visually exciting as well with bright teal accent walls, rustic bar areas and high gloss, wooden table tops and several industrial accents, this space is sophisticated yet cozy and inviting. Local Artist Lucie Rice, who also created the “Grassroots & Vine” logo, has created the artwork featured inside as well. The exterior brick has been repainted a cheery Goldenrod shade of yellow and a brand new side patio is sure to offer a lovely outdoor dining experience. This impressive renovation has also given a nod to the historic details of the space by highlighting the original beams and rafters and using rustic chandeliers. 

Food & Community:
That’s just the space…we haven’t even gotten to the food yet! The menu at “Grassroots & Vine”, created by Chef Joe Hren, will feature small bites highlighting locally sourced fresh produce, cheeses, meats and breads. Chef Hren and Thomas connected through her friend who mentioned her Son-in-law was a chef. In these early stages of “Grassroots & Vine”, Hren was living in Florida but despite the distance, it only took two phone calls for him to understand what Thomas’ goal was for “Grassroots & Vine”.

“I had never met Barb but after talking to her twice, I knew her vision. Everything is starting to connect and come together,” said Hren.“We will be working with local farmers, bakers, and cheesemakers to create this communal table experience.” 

Don’t worry Parents – that ‘communal table experience’ isn’t limited to adults. There is also a kids menu with an emphasis on locally sourced, fresh food in a family atmosphere….and of course, an awesome dessert menu!

A Specialty Market, Live Music & More:
The “Grassroots & Vine” concept to highlight local offerings also extends beyond the table. On the specialty market side, guests can browse the bottle shop featuring local beer and wine. They will also love their gourmet gift baskets full of local food items. “People are going to be really excited about our gift baskets,” said Thomas,“These baskets are perfect gifts for a housewarming party or even a work event. They’re going to be a big thing for us!”

“Grassroots & Vine” will also offer live music by local musicians and special events throughout the year. You can even rent the space for small, private events (30-50 people for a seated event / 50-75 for a cocktail event). 

They are also hosting a hiring event Jun. 27-29 from 10am – 12pmfor counter service, bartenders, kitchen help and servers.

Be sure to like the “Grassroots & Vine” Facebook Pagefor news on their upcoming events and stop by for their Grand Opening at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 21stYou can also visit during their regular business hours below;

Tues / Wed: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Thur/ Fri / Sat: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sun: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Mon: Closed

10 Rules for the Olde Fort Pub's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Repost from 2010 (side note, I've been doing FTM for 8 years?)

Growing up in Fort Thomas, the Fourth of July is synonymous with the parade from Highlands to Tower Park, the Firecracker 5000 and hopefully now a filled amphitheater concert schedule.

The streets are lined with little ones scooping up candy, tussling with their friends over being in the line of fire of a water balloon or Super Soaker and in election years, pasting political stickers all over their parents' backs.

The 2018 festivities at the Olde Fort Pub. 

With our annual family reunions being held on Independence Day in Tennessee, I have only been able to attend a typical "Fort Thomas Fourth" a handful of times. Luckily for me, our family has hosted the reunion at our house in Fort Thomas two of the last three years. And coincidentally, over the last three years, the Olde Fort Pub has added to the lively lineup with their annual Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Never being one to turn down a challenge, I have been a party to two such contests. Two years ago, downing 10 hotdogs in 12 minutes - good for third place. And last year, 12 hotdogs in 10 minutes - again a third place finish.

Gross, I know.

I've retired from this ridiculous endeavor. And it's not like, a Brett Favre retirement. I'm done this time. Because I'm done, I don't mind giving you the blueprint for success should you choose to accept this mission.

Here are 10 things I learned on how to 1) not make yourself look like a complete joke (if that's possible) - and 2) give a go at winning the prestigious Olde Fort Pub Hot Dog Eating Crown (if there is one).

1) Do not under any circumstances eat for at least 4 hours - and ideally 6-7 hours - before the contest. My family sabotaged me in this way by ordering the impossible to turn away Larosa's before my last contest. A huge mistake.

Eric Glaser - 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.

Eric Glaser graduated from Highlands in 1997, where he lettered in basketball, baseball, and golf. In basketball, he played varsity all four years at Highlands. His senior year he led his team to the state tournament and they were the state runner – up. He was a member of the State All-Tournament Team and was the Northern Kentucky Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year in 1997. He scored 1,425 points and had 793 rebounds during his high school career.

He played varsity baseball beginning in eighth grade through his senior year. He repeatedly was a member of the All-Tournament team for the 9th Region and the 35th district. During his junior year he posted 18 strikeouts against Lloyd High School leading HHS to its first regional win since 1981. His junior and senior year he was the 9th Region MVP and in 1997 he was the Kentucky High School Basketball Coaches Association Mr. Baseball 1st Runner Up.

After graduating from Highlands, Eric was drafted in the second round by the Boston Red Sox. He was Pitcher of the Year for Short A in Lowell, MA and then he moved to middle A Augusta, GA where the team won the World Series and he pitched a winning game. He pitched in High A, Double A, and Triple A during his professional baseball career.  Currently, Eric is an auditor at Omnicare and he resides in Dayton, KY with his wife Katie and their two daughters Addison (7) and Charlotte (4).

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Activities for the Fourth of July in Fort Thomas

After the parade, which starts at 10:30 a.m., festivities for "Fourth at the Fort" will begin.

- Beginning at or immediately following the parade, Honey Hill Farm is providing a petting zoo which includes a 6-pony carousel and 20 zoo animals.

- From noon until 2:00 "Noah's Ark Workshop" for kids, which is similar to "Build a Bear" but we have four choices of 15" animals for the kids to create.  They may choose an elephant, monkey, hippo, or a tiger.  The cost is $12.  They will receive their animal and a bag to carry him/her home.

- At 2:30 Cincy Shakes will perform "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

- Maxwell Jump will have bouncy houses for the kids which will be at the Mess Hall.

- The Fort Thomas Farmers Market vendors will be part of this year's festivities.

- A Veterans display of digital camouflage will be parked near the Mess Hall.

- The music begins at 4:00 with School of Rock.

- At 6:30 3-Day Rule takes the stage.

- At 9:00 London Street will take us right through the fireworks show which begins at 10:00.

- Braxton Brewing will be on tap as well as Miller products at a separate trailer.  We have a total of 33 vendors.

Justin Frisk - 2018 Highlands Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee

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

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

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

Justin Frisk graduated from Highlands in 1997 and starred on the football team for three seasons.  As a team captain, he led Highlands to an undefeated (15-0) AAA State Championship in 1996 and a USA Today final ranking of 21st in the nation.

During his outstanding career, he ran for over 4500 yards scoring 74 touchdowns in a variety of ways. His senior year alone he rushed 209 times for 1932 yards averaging an impressive 9.2 yards a carry his senior year.  He was also a perfect 4 of 4 passing for 148 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Justin garnered local and state attention in 1996 winning the 3A Roy Kidd Football Player of the Year, Buddy LaRosa Male Athlete of the Year, Northern Kentucky AAA/AAAA Player of the Year, Highlands Team MVP Award and was named to the Kentucky/Tennessee All-Star game and was a finalist for Mr. Kentucky Football.

After high school Justin played football at Mesa Junior College and Thomas More College.  He has two children, Jaedyn and Jaxon. He currently resides in Cold Spring with his longtime partner, Rachel Crawford and her two children, Carter and Xander.

He works as a Sales Advisor at Drive Time in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Justin gives back to the community serving as an assistant youth football coach. He is also an active member at Crossroads Community Church.

Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter Two Years After Fatally Stabbing Friend in Fort Thomas

The scene on S. Fort Thomas Avenue. 

On June 16 2016, Harold "Hank" Shouse fatally stabbed his long-time acquaintance, Donnie Smith, after a verbal and physical altercation began near Shouse's workplace on S. Fort Thomas Avenue.

Both men were from Fort Thomas, and had known each other since childhood.

Today, over two years later, he pled guilty in Campbell County Circuit Court to Manslaughter in the Second Degree, which carries a 5-10 year sentence.

Shouse's pled guilty to a reduced charge given from the grand jury because of his claim of self-defense.

Judge Daniel Zalla will be sentence Shouse on August 6 at 8:30 a.m.

RELATED: Man Dies, Man Charged in Stabbing in Fort Thomas 

Shouse was originally charged with Manslaughter and has been held on a $100,000 cash bond in the Campbell County Detention Center since the incident.

In November of that year, Shouse's public defender has filed a motion to dismiss the indictment.

In documents filed on October 11, 2016 and obtained by Fort Thomas Matters, Shouse's defender, Andrea Kendall, is asking the court to dismiss the manslaughter charge against Shouse because "he was justified in using force to repel Mr. Smith's repeated and unrelenting attempts to attack him and prevent Mr. Shouse from a felony involving the use of force."

"Unfortunately for everyone involved," the motion read, "the small knife Mr. Shouse carried in his pocket punctured Mr. Smith's heart."

Shouse. Campbell County Detention Center. 
In that motion, Kendall describes what led up to the stabbing.

"Shouse, who was an employee of Fort Thomas Pizza, said he woke up and went to check on Fort Thomas Pizza since the power was out from a storm that came through the area the night before. He said he checked on the food in the freezer to see what he could save and what needed to be thrown out. He then said he was going to call (redacted) and let (them) know the power was still out and maybe they could ice down the beer to open the business to sell beer.

He then said he had a couple beers with (redacted). Shouse said he decided to go back to Fort Thomas Pizza and check on the business again. This time while checking on the business he was outside in the front of Fort Thomas Pizza talking to a customer, when Donald Smith came up to him and began cussing and threatening him. Shouse said Smith began to walk away and the two of them were still arguing while Smith was walking. Shouse remained in front of Fort Thomas Pizza. Shouse said Smith was almost (a block south) when he tuned around and started walking towards him again. Shouse said (another employee) was in between him and Smith and that Smith was yelling and cussing at Shouse and continued to come back irate.

Shouse said he doesn't remember exactly when but as Smith was walking back he reached into his pocket and pulled out his pocket knife.

Shouse said when Smith was close to him and (redacted), Smith lunged at them and that's when Shouse stabbed Smith. Shouse said after he stabbed Smith, Smith grabbed his chest and said something, but wasn't sure what he said and started walking away from him and (redacted).

Smith then staggered out into the road where he collapsed. Shouse stated he laid down the knife and walked over to Smith and began asking for people to help Smith and for someone to call 911.

Shouse himself said he tired to call 911 but his phone was still on airplane mode. Shouse said he wanted to help Smith but was unable to do anything. When Shouse was asked why he stabbed Smith he said he was scared. When asked why he was scared he said Smith had a look in his eyes. Shouse said he didn't want Smith to hurt (redacted) or him and also didn't know if Smith was going to try and damage Fort Thomas Pizza.

When Shouse was asked why Smith was upset with him he stated he didn't know. Shouse said he and Smith had been friends for a long time and that he once lived with Smith at his residence. Shouse said he and Smith had been in fights before but nothing like this.

2017-2018 Highlands Sports Year in Review

Bluebird Teams Captured One Team and Two Individual State Championships

Photo: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands girls cross country team won its fifth state championship in six years on Saturday at Kentucky Horse Park.
Another academic school year saw more great accomplishments for the Highlands High School athletic teams.

One team and two individuals captured state championships this year. The Highlands girls cross country team marked the lone team championship capturing its fifth state championship in the last six years. Highlands won the championship with 77 points placing six runners in the top 27. Ashland Blazer finished runner-up with 91 points.

"Our three, four and five runners were pretty far back," said Brian Alessandro, Highlands Head Coach. "They last couple meters is what won the race for us. I thought it would be closer than 14 points so I'm really pleased and happy."

The Highlands girls nearly had their first-ever individual state champion as well. Freshman Maggie Schroeder finished runner-up in 19 minutes, 17.78 seconds. That was just under two seconds behind Rockcastle County sophomore Victoria Dotson's time of 19:15.8.

"It means a lot. I really would have liked to win, but I left it all out there," Schroeder said. "I really wanted to see what I could do personally this year. If that is what you want to do, just go for it. A lot of times, it gets hard. We have a lot of people throwing up and passing out in practice. If you give up, nothing is going to happen. If you keep going, you can get there."

Highlands also had two individual state champions this year. Senior Andy Campbell won the boys individual state championship at Executive Strike and Spare bowling a total of 1,107 in five qualifying games. Campbell bested Jacob Rowan of Louisville DuPont Manual, 229-119 in the championship game. That marked the first individual state championship in bowling at Highlands and in Northern Kentucky.

"The amount of mental preparedness it took to prepare for state was probably a week long before the competition," Campbell said. "I tried to put myself through every scenario imaginable to make sure nothing caught me off guard. (The) conditions were tough, but I had prepared enough (that) I knew what needed to be done."

Campbell had to wait three matches in the four-person stepladder finals. He averaged 223 in six games in the tournament. Campbell scored 222 or more in five of the six matches.

"Andy's a very calm, cool and collect individual," said Glenn Schmidt, Highlands Head Coach. "He's very mature and he doesn't get overly excited. He knows he's got the capability to do what he needs to do to win. That's exactly what he did. He was like money in the bank all day. He threw the same shot. He hit his spot every time and he threw a lot of strikes. Technically, he won it without any competition."

In swimming, sophomore Finn Murphy won the boys one-meter diving championship with 452.6 points for the Bluebirds. He finished runner-up in the 7th Region meet.

"There's always a level of anxiousness or nervousness throughout the whole meet and everyone deals with them in their own way," Murphy said. "For me, I tried to take my mind off of it by socializing with the other divers. I've learned that if you focus too much on your next dive, you'll sometimes end up overthinking, which can lead to even more stress. As I'm setting up for my next dive on the board, I calm myself down by taking deep breaths to help clear my mind so that when I do the dive, I rely on my muscle memory. It's important to use trial and error to see what works best for you."

Overall, the Bluebird boys swimming and diving team won the 7th Region meet and finished third at the state meet with 154 points behind Louisville St. Xavier (453) and Lexington Catholic (229). Highlands won its first region championship since 1994 and ended Covington Catholic's 19-year domination of the region. Highlands scored 508 points to 381 for the Colonels.

"They did awesome," said Amanda Johnson, Highlands Head Coach. "I think we shocked some people. We went from 16th last year for the boys to third this year. That's crazy. That's a lot of places. The state meet gets faster and faster every year. I'm so proud of the kids. It was a great day."

The Highlands combined squads also won their seventh straight region championship scoring 760 points before finishing sixth at state. Dixie Heights finished second with 642.

The Highlands baseball team completed another impressive season with its second state runner-up finish in four years losing 10-6 to Louisville St. Xavier. It took a walk-off hit by pitch from Mr. Kentucky baseball Drew Rom to beat Covington Catholic, 3-2 for the Bluebirds to win their fourth straight 9th Region championship. Highlands beat South Oldham (4-2) and Paintsville (5-0) in the first two rounds to make it back to the state semifinals.

The Bluebirds had to hold off McCracken County in the state semifinals to go back to the championship game. The Mustangs had runners at first and second before junior Grady Cramer got the next two batters to pop out to junior Chris Bridwell at second to preserve the 4-3 win.

The Bluebirds finished 29-14 on the season. Led by 10 seniors, Highlands also won its seventh straight 36th District championship. That marked one of six district championships out of seven 36th District sports.

The Highlands girls track and field team ended up winning its sixth Class AA, Region 4 championship in the last seven years. The Bluebirds scored 158.33 points running away from the competition. The Highlands boys finished second at the region meet with 119.5 points. The Highlands girls finished fourth at state with 53 points and the boys finished 12th with 18.

The Highlands softball and boys soccer teams made it to the 9th Region title games. The softball team (20-11) had to etch out a win over Boone County, 2-1 in the region quarterfinals before handling St. Henry, 13-0 in five innings. The Bluebirds could not get past Ryle in a 4-0 defeat in the region championship.

Highlands graduated nine seniors on that team. Josie Daley played a big role on the 2014 and 2016 region championship teams and Brooke Dill had a big role on the 2016 team.

The boys soccer team made a remarkable run in the postseason. The Bluebirds (15-8) defeated Newport Central Catholic, 3-0 in the district championship before taking out Cooper, 3-1 in the region quarterfinals and Covington Catholic, 1-0 on penalty kicks. Highlands also could not figure out Ryle, 3-1 in a tough home loss in the region championship, but returns a good nucleus this fall to make another run.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mobile Needle Exchange Unit Coming to Newport on Grand Avenue

The Northern Kentucky Health Department will begin operating a mobile syringe access exchange program in Campbell County and Kenton County beginning the week of July 23.

The program’s mobile unit, provided by the Kentucky Fire Commission, will be parked at St. Elizabeth locations in Newport and Covington.

In February the Newport City Commission approved the mobile unit to be located in Newport at 1400 N. Grand Avenue after the Campbell County Fiscal Court approved the exchange in May of 2016. The Fiscal Court preferred the exchange be situated at the county building on Monmouth Street, but the Newport City Commission preferred a mobile unit on St. E's Newport campus, which sits a few hundred yards away from the Fort Thomas-Newport border.

RELATED: Campbell County Fiscal Court Approves Needle Exchange

At the exchanges, Health Department nurses will provide sterile equipment in exchange for used equipment, naloxone overdose reversal kits, rapid HIV tests and referrals for other health care services including substance abuse treatment.

Hassman and Doyle Lawfirm. 859-655-4430. This is an advertisement.
The mobile exchange unit will start operation on July 24 and will be parked in the parking lot of St. Elizabeth Healthcare Urgent Care Newport/Fort Thomas (1400 N. Grand Ave.) each Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m.

The public can tour the mobile unit at open houses scheduled from 2 – 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17 at that location.

The goal of syringe access exchange programs is to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by eliminating the sharing of used needles and syringes that occurs with intravenous drug use. Individuals who use IV drugs will receive sterile needles and syringes when they turn in used equipment. This helps remove contaminated needles and syringes from being improperly discarded in the community.

“Syringe access exchange programs in Newport and Covington are important steps forward in helping us stop the spread of infections such as HIV and hepatitis C,” said Dr. Lynne Saddler, District Director of Health at NKY Health. “We are grateful to St. Elizabeth and to the Kentucky Fire Commission for partnering with us on this urgent public health matter. Their generosity means that those in need of these important and often life-saving services will have easier access to our syringe access exchange program.” 

“We are committed to doing everything we can to help reduce the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases in our community,” said Garren Colvin, President and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “We have seen tremendous success in the Grant County syringe exchange program, and we know firsthand that these programs work. With the addition of these two new mobile unit programs, and with our community’s combined efforts to manage disease, we will be able to reduce the number of individuals who contract infectious diseases, and we will help our community overcome its fears and anxieties about critical health programs such as these.”

NKY Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kentucky Department for Public Health to investigate an unusually high number of HIV cases among people with IV drug use as a risk factor in Campbell and Kenton counties. Northern Kentucky also continues to have some of the highest rates of hepatitis C in the country.

The Newport and Covington programs will be two of more than 40 syringe access exchange programs operating in Kentucky. NKY Health also operates a comprehensive syringe access exchange program at its Grant County Health Center in Williamstown, Kentucky, now in its third year.

Local Boy Continues Summer Business on Highland Avenue

Whether you drive, walk, run, ride, skate, or levitate down Highland Avenue in the summer, you have likely seen one of the youngest entrepreneurs in Fort Thomas during his work hours. 

Three years ago, 11-year old Devon James began selling ice cold bottles of water in front of his house, and is continuing his business again this year. 

James first started selling bottled water as a way to become more financially independent. "I can use that money on whatever I want at the time," said James. James charges $1 per bottle, and saves his money for specific items each year. This year, he's saving up for some football equipment. He will also be using 10% of his earnings to help the homeless in the area. 

According to James, a majority of his customer base comes from busy drivers passing by throughout the summer. He's proud of the regular clients he has been able to serve, and enjoys chatting with them when they stop by to cool off with a bottle of water. 

What does James enjoy most about his water business? Being his own boss, of course. “The best part is not having someone tell you what you have to do, and you can run by your own hours or rules," said James. "And that you can spend the money on whatever you like.”​

James will be starting Highlands Middle School as a 6th grader for the 2018-2019 school year. When he's not busy selling water, he enjoys playing basketball, running track, and playing football. James is looking forward to moving up to the middle school in August, and experiencing everything middle school life has to offer. "I'm looking forward to being able to change classes instead of being in one classroom all day, and being able to meet people from the other schools in Fort Thomas," said James. 

Devon's mother, Eko James, is proud of her son's dedication and work ethic each summer. “I'm proud of him, I'm glad that he's determined. He doesn't quit. He gets his mind set on something and there's no stopping him," said Eko. 

Zoning Change Could Clear the Way for Self-Storage Facility

A hearing to discuss a proposal for a self-storage facility on Alexandria Pike will be held in August. Google Street View

At its June meeting, the Fort Thomas Planning Commission voted to recommend a text change to the city’s general commercial zoning ordinance that will add certain types of self-storage facilities to the list of more than 60 businesses approved for the zone.

While making the recommendation to city council, the commissioners also included a definition describing exactly what type of storage facility would be allowable. Under the definition, a self-storage facility is one that includes "individual, indoor, self-contained units leased for storage. A minimum of 95 percent of the units are accessed only by internal means."

The definition does not include the typical outdoor access storage business characterized by large garage-type units and multiple indoor and outdoor access points.

Public hearing set for August

About 30 people attended the Planning Commission meeting to address a request by Bob Heil, principal, president and CEO of KLH Engineers, for the zone change with a plan to build a self-storage facility at 1420 and 1424 Alexandria Pike. The facility would be a part of SafeShip, a company owned by Heil’s son Elliot Heil.

Heil proposes to build a two-story building that would be accessed by customers from a second-floor entrance. The approximately 43,000-square-foot building would contain 140 storage units per floor.

RELATED: SafeShip Proposing to Build Self-Storage Business On US-27

Commissioners noted that only changes to the zoning ordinance would be considered for the June meeting. The text change would apply to the entire general commercial zone and would affect all areas within the city designated to be in the general commercial zone.

A public hearing to discuss the Heil proposal specifically is set for the August 15 meeting of the Planning Commission. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

Neighbors express concerns

Although the public hearing on the Alexandria Pike properties was moved to August, several people from the neighborhood near the proposed Heil project were prepared to share concerns.

Jim Healy of Holly Woods Drive attended the meeting on his wife’s behalf. Mary Healy, who was out of the country, expressed her concerns to the commission through a letter that was read into the record.

In part, she said a zoning change concerned neighbors because the impact of a self-storage facility was unknown. She said a self-storage facility would not fit into the vision for the area.

"Such a facility is not within the vision or needs of Fort Thomas residents," she said. "During the meetings which I attended as a member of the Land Use and Zoning Committee ‘study group' beginning in the fall of 2017, various members expressed a desire for Fort Thomas to be a community like Hyde Park, Mariemont and to have successful retail like Bellevue/Dayton."

She added that none of the communities mentioned have self-storage businesses. At the same time, she noted there were 20 self-storage facilities in the Cincinnati area, four of them in Campbell County, that are not near residential areas.

Mary Healy’s letter listed additional concerns about the transient nature of self-storage facilities, potential traffic and noise issues. Jim Healy also presented a petition against the text changes signed by 18 Holly Woods Drive residents.

Nine residents from Holly Woods Drive, Hawthorne Avenue and Crowell Avenue, near the proposed self-storage facility, addressed the commissioners and echoed the Healys’ concerns.

Demand is growing

Heil, who lives on Greene Street, said he welcomes public discourse on the topic but took issue with some of the concerns about the nature of a self-storage facility.

"I am well aware of the perception of self-storage facilities as rows and rows of corrugated metal buildings with garage doors. Quite frankly, I do not want that in our city...As a property owner in one of our general commercial zones, I would want any building in that zone to add to the overall value of the neighborhood and not subtract from it."

Heil noted that a shift in demographics and lifestyle changes has resulted in a growing demand for self-storage and an increase in the demand for facilities in commercial zones.

"One in ten U.S. households now rent a self-storage unit. Applying that ratio to Fort Thomas, that means in Fort Thomas there is already likely 1,645 people who rent self-storage facilities,” he said.

We need to make sure our zoning ordinance addresses the modern needs of our citizens and the business community. I believe that the inclusion of self-storage businesses in our general commercial zone addresses a deficiency in our zoning ordinance."

Planning Commission recommends change

The commissioners voted five to two to recommend the text changes and definition to the general commercial zoning ordinance. The two members who voted "no" said they wanted more time to consider the issue and to take a closer look at the industrial as well as the commercial zoning ordinances.

The Fort Thomas City Council will consider and vote on the text change to the general commercial zoning ordinance at its July meeting. If passed, the change will affect all of the areas zoned general commercial throughout the city.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Here's What's Happening with the Fort Thomas Farmers Market Tomorrow (6-27)

It’s Safety Week at the Market this week.

Come visit with the Fort Thomas Police & Fire Departments.

Parking at Tower Park can be challenging; enter the park via Douglas St. to park in the Armory lot, at the playground or the museum. Or park along the Avenue & cut through to the park.

See you at the Market on Wednesday, June 27th, 3-7 pm, at Tower Park !

A Career in Student Service: Jamee Flaherty Looks Ahead to Next School Year in Fort Thomas

Jamee Flaherty, assistant superintendent for student services at Fort Thomas schools

A passion for service and a desire to support others in their quest for understanding has fueled much of Jamee Flaherty’s career.

Flaherty, who took over in 2017 as assistant superintendent for student services at the Fort Thomas Independent School District, says her "inner core" has always focused on serving others. Education has offered her an opportunity to pay it forward by fostering a commitment to learning in students.

"Going back to my high school days, I always gravitated toward working with children," she said. "I went into education as a career knowing that truly it was for the love of the experience and not for anything else."

Serving students in Fort Thomas is a great fit, she says. "I very much value the community involvement here, the support that our parents offer as well as the students who are always engaged and committed to striving for their best and working toward success."

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

Building a career in service

A native of Cynthiana, Kentucky, her first teaching job was in a kindergarten classroom in Fayette County. After marrying in 2001, she moved to Northern Kentucky and had her first experience in Fort Thomas Schools. She took a teaching position at Johnson Elementary.

While at Johnson, she took advantage of leadership opportunities whenever they became available, serving on committees and volunteering for districtwide projects. When an opportunity to move into an administrative role came along in 2007, she took it, becoming a principal in the Beechwood School District in Fort Mitchell. In her last year at Beechwood, she became director of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

In a small district, one wears many hats, she said, and so the experience prepared her for a future in administration. In 2015 she had the opportunity to "come home" to Fort Thomas and to Johnson Elementary as principal. Her combined experience as teacher and administrator prepared her for her newest position in charge of student services for the district.

Serving the whole student

In her role, Flaherty provides input and guidance in everything from residency, tuition, safety and transportation issues to programs such as special education, gifted and talented and ELL [English Language Learners].

"I am responsible for looking at the district's prospective of how best to run the schools efficiently," she said. In other words, she provides the district-level input for most of the day-to-day service needs of students and their families.

One area she does not handle directly is that of curriculum, teaching and learning. That area belongs to her colleague Bill Bradford, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. Flaherty and Bradford work together with Superintendent Karen Cheser on the larger issues and concerns of the district as a whole.

"The three of us communicate regularly both in passing and in formal meetings. But when I speak about my team, I typically would include all of the building level administration as well as other central office staff," she said.

She relies heavily on the input and expertise provided by staff. For example, she said, Jerry Wissman is the director of facilities and oversees building and campus construction and related issues. Yet, in a project such as the upcoming Johnson Elementary school remodel, she will work hand-in-hand with Wissman to ensure facilities meet the needs of all learners.

As a member of the leadership team, she has been involved in all the major projects affecting the district this year. The Johnson Elementary remodel is close to her heart. "As a past teacher and administrator of that building, I understand the dire need of a new building there. Being an open campus, Johnson does offer some safety challenges as well as the challenges of an aging building."

Ensuring a safe and engaging student experience

School safety is high on Flaherty’s list of priorities going forward. "We want to ensure that all of our students feel safe. In every building, on every campus. And in order to do that, we must be reflective of our current practices and determine where we have our strengths and weaknesses. We need to identify where we have potential to grow and change in order to ensure that we are doing the best we can to provide a safe environment for our students."

In that regard, she says, she has ongoing conversations with teachers, administrators and parents about topics ranging from actual building design and safety to bullying and how best to protect the emotional safety of students. She recently was involved in a project to measure student resiliency in an effort to identify and help students who may need support.

Flaherty says she is excited about the Portrait of a Graduate work and was fortunate to join a team who traveled to Minnesota to gather information on successful school programs earlier this year.

"We continually need to challenge our students and make sure that we are researching and invested in cutting edge practices in education and innovative tools. And so with our experiences here with the Portrait of a Graduate, Dr. Cheser has guided us through a yearlong process to really define what a graduating senior should know, do and be like."

In the end, she says, the work identifies skills that can be measured to help ensure the district is truly engaging and challenging students and fostering creativity, curiosity and innovation.

Looking forward to 2018-19

A "Hawkeye" Legacy To Live On Through BBQ Sauce

Fort Thomas resident and owner of Pendery Insurance Tom Pendery and Jeff "Hawkeye" Winkler's sister, Lyn Caruso. FTM file.
If you're from Fort Thomas or ever had a cold beverage at the Olde Fort Pub or Midway Cafe in the last three decades, chances are you knew Jeff "Hawkeye" Winkler.

Known for his infectious smile, quick wit and many talents, Hawkeye was a memorable character who touched many lives. One of those talents was his cooking, and a lot of us may remember his famous barbeque sauce and hot mustard.

Made for friends and family and served up for Sunday dinners, Hawkeye's barbeque sauce had quite a following - so much that he even sold it.

This is an advertisement. 

Lifelong friend, Tom Pendery, who says he probably bought more cases of it than anyone, used to ask Hawk for his recipe. Reluctant, Hawkeye would tell him he would leave it to him in his will.

We lost Hawkeye this past December. Today, Pendery has that famous barbeque sauce recipe and intends to market it to honor his old pal and make sure one of Hawkeye's many legacies live on.

"He always told me he would give me his barbeque recipe, Pendery said. I tried to talk him into the idea years ago. I told him I would fund the thing. Let’s take this public.

He was an accomplished cook; he was accomplished at many different things, and barbeque sauce was just one."

Hawkeye graduated from Highlands in 1968 with the title, "Most Wittiest." He attended Campbellsville College, bartended at the Midway Cafe for several years before becoming a staple bartender at The Pub for 24 years.

Having acquired his nickname as a boy at the Highland Theater, dear friend, Jim Dies said they named the manager, "Hawkeye" since he watched them like a hawk, always catching them causing trouble.

"Jeff would scream this name out in the middle of a quiet part of the movie and enrage the manager who could never figure out the culprit. It was of course, Jeff, and the name stuck with him ever since," said Dies.

His family says he also could best be found fishing at any lake in Campbell County.

Muskie fishing in Canada. photo provided by family
Hawkeye was an amazing bass player who would sit in with some of the best musicians around. He was the original bass player for rock band, East Orange Express, popular in the 60s to today. The band was inducted into the NKY Music Legends Hall of Fame this June and the band did not hesitate to mention Hawkeye at the induction.

As stated in his obituary, Hawkeye loved going to Keeneland and always took the scenic route; he knew every bird and recognized every song. He enjoyed golf and was loved for his humor and compassion for people, especially the down and out and those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Hawkeye was able to maintain his sobriety and made great strides with his own spiritual journey and was able to share that to help so many others.

East Orange Express - Billy Hinds, Danny Morgan, Bob Ritter, Hawkeye. photo provided by family
Hawkeye enjoyed all music and loved attending NKU concerts. photo provided by family
There were a lot of things people didn't know about Hawkeye. The Pub's Megan Krieg fondly remembers her best memory of him many years ago on a packed Saturday night when he surprisingly asked to take a break at the worst time. The next thing she knew, he was jamming with the band.

"I never knew that he was a genius musician, Krieg said. I knew him as a fellow artist because we talked about art and books often. And of course, I knew him for his barbeque sauce and mustard. I would be his guinea pig whenever he wanted me to be. I learned quickly that I loved every pretzel he dipped in his different sauces for me to try.

He was out of this world that night with the band. I was star struck - sort of like a daughter feeling so proud of her father. Those nights bartending at the pub were some of the greatest times of my life. I loved working with Hawkeye, and I loved that when I walked through the door he would always take a little bow like he was tipping his hat to me and he would say, 'Good day, my beautiful fine young lady.'"

Hawkeye also had a knack for making beautiful fishing lures as well and then there was the barbeque sauce - an in-home operation his sister Lyn Caruso said was labor intensive for him - but something he always put his heart and soul into and dreamed of one day taking up a notch.

After Hawkeye's passing, Caruso, found an old spiral notebook while going through his things. Full of one-liner jokes, the recipe was inside.

Call Ashley Barlow. 859-781-5777. This is an advertisement. 
"My brother was hysterical, Caruso said. It just amused me because of all these jokes, and I just randomly looked and saw that recipe. There it is!

Caruso said she was more than glad to give Pendery the recipe.

"It is a legacy that should live on, and he would be thrilled; he would  get a real kick out of it; he would think that it was awesome."

Caruso also found the labels Hawkeye created for his barbeque sauce and famous mustard & dipping sauce which Pendery will use.
"I want to take this up that next notch," said Pendery of the tangy sauce he describes as not smoky but unique and different from other sauces - perfect for ribs and chicken.

Starting off low-scale, Pendery plans to sell the sauce at the Fort Thomas Farmer's Market and eventually put it on market and specialty store shelves - as well as make a hot and mild version.

Pendery says it has been a learning and experimental process as there are a lot of channels - licensing, trademarks and legal processes to go through to get to the ultimate goal.

He says he takes this very serious. "I owe this to him," Pendery said.

Jeff "Hawkeye" Winkler. photo provided by family

"Hawkeye didn’t think he succeeded much in life compared to what was considered the everyday standard of success," Caruso said.

Creative, crafty, generous, and a non-judgemental soul who didn't know a stranger, Hawkeye underestimated the dynamic life he lead. I would say if success is measured in the amount of lives you impact, Hawkeye was a true success.

Fort Thomas City Museum to Hold Book Sale

Be sure to stop by the museum when you go to Tower Park the July 4th celebration. Stop in to visit - yes, it’s air conditioned - but also to browse and buy some books. The museum will be open for about three hours following the parade on July 4 and will be open from 12:00 to 4:00 on Thursday through Saturday and 1:00 to 5:00 on Sunday, July 9. While you’re there, be sure to check out some of the new displays. There’s a lot of history in that little building.

The Fort Thomas Military and Community History Museum is holding a book sale from July 4-9!  Deanna Beineke, museum director, says, “We have a surplus of books and no more room to store them.  Civil War, WWI, WWI, biographies, cookbooks, general military histories, genealogy tips and a few rarities that we cannot justify keeping.  Prices are reasonable -- nothing over $5 (for practically new coffee table books) and bargains aplenty.” 

The museum has a few big projects coming up. Beineke adds that they want to digitize  the many years of Fort Thomas Living; “I am looking for grants to help with that.” she says. “ That is more than 40 years of contemporary history that we cannot afford to lose.  We are also hoping to transfer a number of VHS tapes to DVD -- band concerts and a variety of programs produced mainly by the schools.” 

She lists some of the items you can find in the sale. “We have an abundance of Civil War history books, mostly non-fiction,  2 copies of Goodwin's Team of Rivals; Civil War Generals: Illustrated Biographies; some Catton and Foote books; biographies of Lincoln, Grant, and Lee; a couple of children's books; and a couple of multi-volume sets about battles.  We also have a number of WWII books: Churchill's Memoirs of the War; True Story of the Battle of Britain; The Great Raid: Rescuing the Doomed Ghosts of Bataan and Corregidor; a couple of books about Hitler; Eisenhower; some photographic books.  A few about Vietnam; The Torch is Passed about Kennedy; Remember the Alamo and a host of others not even in the catalog -- probably a hundred books or more.  Plus we have several copies of a personal Civil War memoir written by a relative of Bonnie Jansen and a few copies of a family memoir written by a descendant of Colonel Egbert.” 

Mass markets and magazines will be 50 cents or 3/$1; trades will be $1; hardbacks will be $2 if in excellent condition, $1 if obviously worn; sets will be $5.00.

The sale begins on Wednesday, July 4.  Someone will be at the museum for 2-3 hours following the parade.  Then we will have the books available during our regular hours from Thursday-Sunday, July 9.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Laws and Rules Regarding Fireworks in Campbell County

By Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney

As we get ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, a reader suggested that information concerning fireworks may be helpful.  Prior to 2011, the law with the use and sale of fireworks was heavily regulated in Kentucky.

Since then, the Legislature has allowed the use and sale of consumer fireworks, which include several ground and aerial based fireworks such as bottle rockets and roman candles.  Even though the use of fireworks is allowed, sellers must still have permits to sell fireworks issued by the State Fire Marshal.  The penalty for not having a permit is severe and could be up to $1,000 and/or confinement in the County Jail for up to thirty days.

Barre 3 Ft. Thomas. Located in the Fort Thomas Plaza. 
As citizens, before purchasing or using fireworks, you should check with local government to ensure compliance with local laws and ordinances that may restrict the sale or use of fireworks in your city.  For example, Cold Spring has a local ordinance regulating the use and sale of fireworks.

We all enjoy using and viewing fireworks on Independence Day.  However, this use leads often leads to injury.  In particular, children are injured using fireworks every year.  The State Fire Marshal recommends the following safety tips we all should follow for fireworks:

Use fireworks outdoors only.
Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
Always keep a bucket of water or a working water hose nearby.
Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them.
Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a "designated adult shooter."
Do not use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives -- they can kill you!
Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.
Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Read and follow all instructions on the label.