Tuesday, September 18, 2018

In Other Words: You Can Ban Books But You Can’t Ban Curiosity or Ideas

I was mortified as I sat in the principal’s office with my parents. The principal was pleasant and professional. My parents, well, mostly my mother, was livid over a book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, that we were asked to read for high school English class. It was a bestseller and contained some language but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard - or even used. This should have been a teachable moment.

You know the book or the movie. The story examines one man’s journey into the world of psychiatric prison hospitals. I was enjoying it until my mother discovered it. She exploded. She thought it was trash and it wasn’t appropriate. She yelled at me for reading it. She yelled at my father for me reading it. She called the school and yelled at the principal. The result was that I didn’t have to read the book. Other accommodations would be made. I read it anyway because, you know, once something is forbidden, it becomes desirable. And that is, interestingly enough, the theme for lots of famous books.

I have gone back to examine that uncomfortable meeting over the years. There was much I didn’t know. My mother didn’t say much to me directly, but from the conversations she had with my father and the principal I gathered this. My mother was trying to protect me from the temptations of the adult world which was ironic since she read those torrid nurse romance novels that she regularly bought from the drugstore. She also thought that I couldn’t handle such a book. Still not sure what that means. We had a world full of misfits and slightly deranged people running through our life all of the time so I was confused by that. She was aghast that we would read a book with “that language” in it. If I were to repeat some of my mother’s cursing, you would blush. Once again, I don’t get it.

Voted best yoga studio in Kentucky by Best Things Kentucky. 

Two Fort Thomas Police Officers Receive Promotions, New Badges

Fort Thomas Police Chief Casey Kilgore (ctr) congratulates Sergeant Nathan Day. Day's father, George Day, did the honors of pinning on his son's new badge.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

Fort Thomas police personnel Nathan Day and Brent Moening both received promotions and new badges at the September 4 city council meeting.

Day was a detective in the department and has risen to the rank of sergeant, and Moening, who was a sergeant, has earned the rank of lieutenant.

Orangetheory Fitness, Newport Pavilion. The best 1-hour workout in the nation. 
Police Chief Casey Kilgore said it was a "great night for our police department…Both of these guys are highly regarded by their peers. They are both very well-respected by our community."

Day has been with the department for six years and has served as detective. He runs the department property room and manages the department’s website.

"Nathan does a lot for us in terms of information technology. He runs all of our speed surveys, and he has served as a field training officer. So, in just six years he has already touched all the bases. He is doing a great job," said Chief Kilgore.

Lieutenant Brent Moening receives his new badge from his father, David Moening. Chief Casey Kilgore looks on.

Moening has served the department for 10 years, the chief said. He has served as a detective, a field training officer and is a certified hostage negotiator.

He is also well versed in information technology and serves as the administrative lieutenant. "If I need help with my computer, my software, Brent runs the show. He’s a great guy to have around, and he very much deserves to rise to the rank of lieutenant," said Kilgore.

The chief said both men are ready and able to help whenever called upon. The fathers of both men did the honors in pinning on their new badges.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Northern Kentucky Tree Work | Yard Sharks, LLC | Fort Thomas Tree Service

A tree fell on Grand Avenue today blocking traffic for about an hour. Four lanes of traffic were diverted down to one.

Tree work is complicated and expensive. We get referrals for tree work all the time and always point them to Yard Sharks, LLC. They are a locally-owned business that consist of highly skilled crew members.

"We specialize in tree removals, tree pruning, dead wooding, thinning, shaping, crown reductions, and mechanical support systems to ensure the structural integrity of your trees," said Rafe Fowee, owner of Yard Sharks.  "We have also recently expanded our work to include Bobcat services and land clearing."

RELATED: Fort Thomas' Yard Sharks Starts New Tree Care Business 

RELATED: Here's how to get your lawn off to a good start

RELATED: Yard Sharks: Services Offered

Fall is a great time of year to have your large trees, such as oaks and maples, cleaned up.

Call today to schedule a free evaluation!


Rafe Fowee was raised in Fort Thomas since the age of five. He attended Johnson Elementary School and Highlands Middle and High School and began working in the tree care and removal industry shortly after high school. 

Ohio University's Marching 110 to Perform at Highlands Under Friday Night Lights

When Highlands High School hosts Simon Kenton for a varsity football game on Friday, September 21st, a college team will be on-hand in Fort Thomas to showcase its talents on the field as well.

The Ohio University Marching Band has agreed to perform throughout the evening for a game that gets underway at 7:00PM at David Cecil Memorial Stadium.  Known as the "Marching 110", the OU band also plans to spend time mentoring current Highlands band members throughout the day.

Jacob Young, the Highlands High School choir director, played trombone and was the drum major for the Marching 110 during his college days in Athens, Ohio.

"The 110 is incredibly important to me," Young said.  "The 110 is constantly rated as being in the top 5 in the nation, most recently by Kirk Herbstreit from ESPN’s College Gameday."

Roofing, siding, gutters, painting. 
Young thought that this collaboration with his alma mater would make for an electric atmosphere at Highlands and presented the idea to the school's leadership at the beginning of the year.  "Jacob got me in touch with Dr. Richard Suk, the director of the marching band at OU," HHS band director Lori Duncan said.  "Since that time, Dr. Suk and I have been planning their visit to Highlands."

The Highlands Band Association, a booster organization, will be providing a reception at 5:00PM on Friday for the more than 300 members of the OU and HHS bands.  The meet-and-greet will allow current HHS band members to get a first-hand sense of the work ethic and dedication that it requires to perform music at the college level.  After that reception, Duncan said, the Ohio University and Highlands High School bands will rehearse for their joint post-game performance.

The HHS marching band still plans to perform before the game with the cheer and dance teams, while Ohio University will produce a rendition of the National Anthem.  The Marching 110 has also choreographed a halftime performance.  Once the game concludes, the two bands will fill the stadium with music on the field at the same time.  Young expects those watching to be impressed.

"Having been in the 110, I know how hard those kids work to perfect each maneuver, music and dance move," he added.

Highlands graduates are playing in bands at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.  And Duncan pointed out, "I think we may have several students that will be inspired to audition for Ohio University's Marching 110 after this amazing experience."

Ohio University plans to stay overnight in the area after the game and perform at the football game at the University of Cincinnati on Saturday, when the Bobcats meet the Bearcats at Nippert Stadium at Noon.  Next month, the Highlands marching band has organized a trip to experience the rich music culture of New York City, with visits scheduled at Radio City Music Hall, the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Schlarman, Henschen: Highlands, Newport Catholic Ties to Murray State, Kentucky Game

Schlarman Happy with Kentucky's Offensive Line Progress

University of Kentucky Media Relations Photo. Kentucky offensive line coach John Schlarman (middle) holds the ball up after receiving the game ball following the 27-16 win over Florida a week ago.
The sudden excitement surrounding the University of Kentucky football program can heavily be contributed to Highlands alum and Wildcat assistant coach John Schlarman.

Schlarman is in his sixth season in his current term as the offensive line coach for the Wildcats. Kentucky has been to two bowls during that time.

Schlarman and Kentucky sophomore defensive end Josh Paschal received game balls from Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops after the huge 27-16 win over the University of Florida a week ago. That marked the first Kentucky win over Florida since 1986 ending a 31-game losing streak to the Gators. Schlarman has been battling cancer recently.

The Wildcat offensive line opened up holes for the running backs to rack up 303 yards on the ground in the win. That included a 44-yard run by junior running back Benny Snell and a 31-yard touchdown by sophomore quarterback Terry Wilson. Kentucky averaged 7.4 yards per play and scored one touchdown rushing in the win.

"That offensive line, those tight ends blocked," Stoops told the press after the win over Florida. "We rushed the ball for 300 yards at Florida. That's a pretty good number. John is going through a lot, as we've talked about, but seeing him again, this past week go through six hours of chemo and pop up at practice like he didn't miss a beat. He's a strong man. He's going through a lot. I was grateful to be able to get him a win and of course, we got one for Josh Paschal. Great team victory."

The Wildcats moved to 3-0 after defeating Murray State, 48-10 on Saturday at Kroger Field. The Wildcats put up 528 yards of total offense on 74 plays for an average of just more than seven per play. Kentucky rushed for 245 yards on 43 plays for an average of about 5.7 per play.

"It's like I told them, we're 3-0. You can't be any better than that after three games," Schlarman said of the UK offensive line coming together. "Were we perfect? Absolutely not. There's a lot we can clean up. But I'm proud of them."

Schlarman said the Florida win was huge. But he said the team moved on quickly. Kentucky led just 17-3 at halftime but pulled away in the second half. The Wildcats led 34-3 entering the fourth quarter.

"Every man has to man up and have discipline," Schlarman said. "You only get 12 opportunities so that's something we talk about and they know that. We have some things we have to work on after (Saturday). At the end of the day, we have to win and that's always good to learn after a win so we'll do that we'll move on."

Schlarman said he feels good. His overall routine has not changed despite those battles.

"As long as no doctors tell me any different, I look forward to coming in and working hard every day at a high level and do what I need to do to help this team get better coaching the offensive line," Schlarman said. "That's what my goals were coming into the year and this is just something we're going to have to deal with along our path. We're going to take it one day at a time and just keep on trucking."

Tom Duffy was the head coach. He still has family in Fort Thomas and his parents live on the same street.

Schlarman started on the offensive line at Kentucky from 1994 to 1997. Prior to that, he helped the Bluebirds to the Class AAA state championship in 1992 with a 15-6 win over Paducah Tilghman when

"Especially from Coach Duffy, I learned about toughness. Never quit," Schlarman said. "Never give in when the going gets tough. That's something he put us in those situations and we overcame them. We won state championships and did some very good things when we were there. He didn't make it easy on us. At that time, it's hard as a young man and a young player. But as you get older, you realize he was doing the best thing for you. He was conditioning us to become men. I'm very appreciative for that and just everything my family has instilled. I have a lot of family up there in Fort Thomas so that will always be home."

Patrick Henschen, a 2017 Newport Central Catholic, dressed for this game. The 6-foot-6-inch sophomore moved from quarterback in high school to tight end.

Highlands-Lexington Catholic Video Highlights

Highlands Beats Undefeated Lex Cath in Lexington

Bluebirds Record Biggest Win of Season on Road

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior linebacker Brycen Huddleston (1), sophomore linebacker Andrew Arentsen (92) and junior linebacker Brennan Haigis (57) run toward the sideline during warm-ups prior to the game against Lexington Catholic. Huddleston had three tackles for a loss and returned a fumble 52 yards for a touchdown in the 44-27 Highlands win.
This year's edition of the Highlands Bluebirds football team had shown traits of past great teams.

Highlands just needed a huge win to show it is ready to be back in the conversation of those teams. Those past teams not only rose up for the challenge of facing a solid team on the road, but they put them away. Highlands, ranked fifth in Class 5A, did just that at the home of Class 3A's third-ranked Lexington Catholic Knights on Friday outscoring the hosts, 27-7 in the second half on its way to a 44-27 non-district win. Both teams are 4-1 at the halfway point of the season.
The best one-hour workout in the country. Newport Pavilion. 

"We talked at halftime about executing," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "We looked at the scoreboard and it should say Highlands 20, Bluebirds 17 because we really felt like their 20 points were a result of us. They're a good team. But we really gave them opportunities and so we needed come out and take those opportunities from them and make opportunities for ourselves. I really felt like we came and really focused on what we had to do. We made some plays. We just got more confident as the game was going on, trusting our coverages and trusting our packages up front. We just got after it."

LexCath did out-gain Highlands, 414-340 in total offense. But Highlands ran just 59 plays averaging just more than seven yards per play and the Knights ran 96 averaging just more than 4.3 yards per play. Highlands constantly made LexCath drive the field making plays on defense and capitalizing on Knight mistakes.

That mark may have been high above the Highlands defensive average of 196 yards per game. But the Bluebirds still held the Knights below their season average. The Knights entered the game averaging about 482 yards per game and the Bluebirds came in averaging just under 260.

The Bluebirds wound up plus-one in the turnover category again. Junior linebacker Brycen Huddleston returned a fumble back 52 yards for the touchdown. Senior linebacker Jackson Hagedorn had another interception and senior defensive back Casey Greene recovered a fumble.

"We had a good week of practice and did a cover two," Greene said. "It helped us keeping everything in front of us and not let the big plays happen because that's where they're mostly successful."

Highlands also made some plays in the backfield. Huddleston had three tackles for a loss with junior linebacker Mason Schwalbach making two including a quarterback sack. Senior Nick Bowman also had a quarterback sack.

On the other side, Highlands lost a fumble and did not recover an onside kick in the first quarter. The Knights tried another onside kick, but it went out of bounds.

The Bluebirds knew they could not take away everything from LexCath quarterback Beau Allen in their 3-5 defense. But they wanted to make sure the wide receivers did not get behind them for huge plays. The Bluebirds also wanted to make sure they tackled the receivers as quick as possible when they did make catches.

"We have been playing these guys for 15 years or so in playoff games or so, but nothing has changed at LexCath," Weinrich said. "It's all about the big play. As coaches, we had to keep telling ourselves. Focus on what our plan is and that's to stop the big play because we were getting a little frustrated with their dinking, but we knew that you can't dink and dunk way down the field. You're going to get greedy. You're going to drop a pass. You know you're going to get pressure so we knew we had to mix some things up front and just stay focused on what we were supposed to do and just be patient. After that, I really felt things played into our hands."

Allen hit a lot of short and intermediate routes completing 29-of-49 passes for 299 yards but no touchdowns to six different receivers in the spread offense that used mostly one-back looks. Senior Nathan Schurr led the way with nine catches for 70 yards. Highlands held both below their averages. Allen entered the game averaging 357 yards per game passing and Schurr averaged 91 yards per game receiving. Senior Tommy Knopp added six catches for 73 yards.

The Knights wanted to run the ball better and Ryan Nichols gave them some help there rushing the ball 21 times for 79 yards and a touchdown. But Highlands made stops when needed holding the Knights to just 9-of-19 on third down for 47 percent and 2-of-4 on fourth down for 50 percent.

Highlands senior quarterback Grady Cramer also had a big game in the spread offense. Cramer completed 18-of-26 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown to five different receivers. LexCath had shown vulnerability against the pass in its 3-5 defense allowing an average of just less than 167 yards per game rushing and 166.5 passing. Junior Hunter Ahlfeld led Highlands with five catches for 102 yards and senior Nate Roberts had four catches for 92 yards and a touchdown.

"This week, we gave a set of goals of what we wanted to do offensively in this game and we met most of those goals," said Zach Deaton, Highlands Offensive Coordinator. "But more importantly, we just took what the defense was giving us. Our offense is made in such a way to where if they take one thing away, something else is there. As long as we're seeing it and getting the ball there, it's effective. Brady did a great job of seeing what the defense was giving him and then getting the ball to the right place. That's really exciting for us because when he's doing that, really good things happen for us offensively."

The Bluebirds only rushed for 69 yards. But senior Cooper Schwalbach still scored two touchdowns and sophomore Joe Buten added another one. Schwalbach led Highlands with 12 carries for 46 yards and touchdowns. Highlands converted on just 1-of-7 on third down for 14 percent and did not try any conversions on fourth down.

Fans of both teams displayed displeasure over calls. But it turned out almost even. Highlands had 11 for 70 yards and LexCath had nine for 72.

Highlands drove the ball down and scored on its first possession for the fourth time this year when Bowman booted a 24-yard field goal. But after both teams traded punts, LexCath drove down and scored when Nichols scored from five yards out with 3:07 left in the first quarter. Following a recovered onside kick, the Knights scored again when junior Philippe Ilumva scored from four yards out to give LexCath a 14-3 advantage with 52 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Bluebirds responded with their own drive. Buten capped it off going around the right side for an 11-yard touchdown with 11:15 left in the first half to trim the margin to 17-10.

"Their defense respected our passing game more so that really allowed Cooper and I to run more free and helped us out," Buten said. "You just have to trust your teammates. Eventually, it's going to open up."

Highlands earned the ball back. But after a lost fumble, senior Trey Woody booted a 28-yard field goal to give LexCath a 17-10 advantage.

But LexCath botched the Highlands punt giving the Bluebirds the ball at the Knight 8 when Greene recovered it. Cramer hit a short pass to senior tight end Ben Sisson five yards to the three before Schwalbach scored from that distance going to the left side of the line to tie the game at 17 with 3:52 left in the half.

The Knights drove down and the half appeared to end when Allen threw an incomplete pass with one second left in the half. But a questionable pass interference call came on the Bluebirds even though it looked as though the ball was thrown high and appeared as though the LexCath receiver could not catch it. Woody booted the 22-yard field goal to give the Knights a 20-17 halftime lead.

LexCath received the ball to start the second half. But Hagedorn intercepted Allen at the LexCath 31. Highlands turned the turnover into a Bowman 20-yard field goal with 8:26 left in the third quarter to tie the game at 20.

The Bluebirds took the lead for good with 3:47 left in the third. Schwalbach scored from three yards out to give Highlands a 27-20 lead.

The Bluebirds put the game away in the fourth quarter. Bowman booted his third field goal with 8:26 left in the game before Roberts caught one near the left sidelines and darted toward the end zone to put Highlands up 37-20 with 5:11 left in the game. LexCath put a hand on Bowman's third field goal. But the ball just made it over the upright.

"There were some formations that we put out there that we knew we could isolate certain guys and try to take advantage of it," Deaton said. "When we got the ball there on top of it, it was awesome. I thought (Friday) was an awesome night for our team and our community. I'm excited about the direction we're going in."

The Highlands offensive line wore down Lexington Catholic. The Knights saw several players go both directions.

"We put in work doing what (offensive line) Coach (Scott) Turner and Coach (Wayne) Hall tell us during the week," said Trent Johnson, Highlands senior offensive lineman. "If we do what we are told during practice, it's going to translate to the games. Coach Weinrich definitely runs us a lot during the off-season to get us ready for games like this."

That is when Huddleston recorded his first defensive touchdown of the season. Allen completed a short out pass to Knopp for a four-yard gain. But Huddleston took the ball away from Knopp and scampered 52 yards for the touchown.

"(Allen) is one of the best high school quarterbacks I've ever played against," Huddleston said. "What we just really did is they had a lot of plays where it would be 3rd-and-2. They just run one play where they gain 10 yards. Screens and slants were their thing. Coach said we were going to be a coverage defense. But at the same time. we're going to have to come downfield, play fast and make plays."

The Knights scored their lone touchdown of the second half with 50 seconds left in the game. Allen scrambled 24 yards for the touchdown.

Highlands faces another undefeated squad at home Friday when the Simon Kenton Pioneers (5-0) come to town. Game time is 7 p.m.

Box Score Link:

Friday, September 14, 2018

Two New Businesses to Open in Newport

KTCHN, located at 706 York Street, is a collaborative experiential showroom that is designed around the heart of the home: the kitchen.

This unique collaboration of International and Greater Cincinnati’s top professionals creates a multidimensional experience that you can take home with you.
Voted "Best Yoga Studio" in Kentucky by Best Things Kentucky.  Located at 18 N. Fort Thomas Ave.

Most recently before renovation, the building was used to store props for the Ted Bundy biopic ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’, as well as hosted The Simple Portrait Project. 

Area 51 Grills, located at 937 ½ Monmouth Street, has also opened up.

Kathy Ashcraft, co-owner, describes her store as the "Biggest Little Store on the Planet."

"We have scratch and dent Grills and Smokers at 30% - 50% off, by Weber, Lion, Bull, Napoleon and more."

Transportation Officials Want to Limit Traffic on Route 8 in Fort Thomas, Campbell County

The Kentucky Transportation Department has announced that portions of Route 8 are being redesignated.

Route 8 stretches across Campbell County, but the portions that could be redesignated includes sections in Fort Thomas, Newport, Bellevue and Dayton.

This would give KYTC the option of reducing the speed limit and lowering weight load limits as conditions dictate to encourage local use only.

Join the tribe! Barre3 Ft. Thomas, located at Fort Thomas Plaza. 
In 2016, City Administrative Officer, Ron Dill, reported that KYTC officials were studying the future of Route 8, and were considering every possibility from closure to a total rebuild.

"Obviously Route 8 has had issues with slippage for a long period of time," said Dill in 2016.

"Twenty-seven different locations between Tower Hill and River Road have been repaired on either side of the road. It’s a large project potential and they are going to have to make some decisions on what they are going to do there."

Repairs are made on an ongoing, almost annual basis as water runs under the road and shifts it. The road is always high on the list as it relates to deer-related crashes in Fort Thomas and serious accidents, some of which have resulted in fatalities.

“We are making changes to encourage through traffic to seek an alternate route,” said Bob Yeager, chief district engineer for KYTC District 6. “Reducing the daily traffic on this section of Mary Ingles Highway from River Road in Fort Thomas to Dodd Drive in Dayton will provide safer passage for the local citizens who use this roadway.”

The adjusted routing of KY 8 is as follows:
Roofing, siding, gutters, painting. 

New Route 8:
• Run concurrently with US 27 from 3rd Street in Newport to Industrial Road in Cold Spring.
• Former KY 1998 (Industrial Road) from US 27 to the existing KY 8/Industrial Road intersection.

Former Route 8:

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Fatality Closes AA Highway in Cold Spring

The AA Highway was shut down for nearly two hours following a crash on Thursday.

Police on the scene reported that at least one person is dead.

Call Ashley Barlow. 859-781-5777. This is an advertisement. 
The crash occurred just after 2:30 p.m. near the intersection of AA Highway and KY-1998, a stretch of highway that has become increasingly dangerous.

Five emergency responders arrived on scene, transporting two to St. Elizabeth in Edgewood, two went to UC Medical Center and one went to Children's Hospital.

No more information is known about how many people were involved in the crash or the extent of their injuries.

Shop It Forward with Q102's Katie Walters at Monera Chic Boutique!


The ladies at Monera Chic Boutique look forward to Shop It Forward every year. It's a fun, upbeat event with a party atmosphere whose proceeds benefit an organization in our community. 

This year Shop It Forward is happening Tuesday, September 18 from 10am - 9pm. Monera will be stocked with carefully selected new fall clothes, scarves, jewelry, and other sundries we can't live without! 

As always, Shop It Forward is all about giving back. This year Monera will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the entire day to The Henry Hosea House making it a great opportunity to support a local business and an organization committed to doing good in our community. 

Fort Thomas' own Katie Walters from Q102 will be there from 6pm -8pm to get the good vibes started! Enjoy delicious appetizers, refreshments, newly marked down sale items and of course giveaways!! 

We can't wait to see you there!

Monera Chic Boutique is located at 654 Highland Ave, Unit 29 in Fort Thomas. 
Get in touch by phone: (859) 441 -0516

Highlands-Lexington Catholic Preview

State-Ranked Bluebirds, Knights Face Off in Lexington

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior defensive lineman Brennan White (99) pursues Ryle quarterback Keegan Stanken on Friday in Union. Highlands plays at Lexington Catholic on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Many believe the fear factor is back with the Highlands Bluebirds football team.

The great Highlands teams of the past have stood up in the face of huge challenges and this team has a grand opportunity to do that Friday in Lexington when the Bluebirds (3-1 overall) travel south to face the undefeated Lexington Catholic Knights (4-0). Highlands is ranked fifth in Class 5A in the latest Associated Press poll and LexCath is ranked third in 3A. Game time is 7 p.m.

This will mark the 10th meeting between the teams in program history. Highlands beat LexCath four straight times in the Class 4A semifinals between 2011 and 2014.

Longtime assistant and former University of Kentucky player Nigel Smith took over as head coach in February when Mark Perry took a job as the Director of Football Operations at Troy University (Alabama). Smith is just the fourth head coach in school history since the program started in 1991. Smith has been an assistant since 2003 and served as defensive coordinator on both the 2005 and 2007 state championship LexCath teams.

LexCath has outscored the opposition, 188-66 while Highlands has outscored opponents, 117-45. The record of the four Bluebird opponents including 6A's second-ranked Scott County (the only loss by a 28-7 score shortened by lightning) is 9-7 compared to 5-11 for LexCath.

"The young men we have have been close playing multiple sports since their elementary days," Smith said. "It is great to see that, not only because of the positive effects we see on the field, but the team is developing into a group of leaders inside the school building as well."

Despite the change in head coach, Highlands Head Coach Brian Weinrich noted one thing has not changed. The Knights like to use a variety of sets in the spread offense and make big plays. Their quarterback is junior Beau Allen. Allen has offers from a number of programs such as the University of Kentucky and Bowling Green State University (Ohio).

"With a quarterback like this, it's just a whole different game we haven't seen this year," Weinrich said. "He's so good at getting the ball where it needs to get to. He reads coverages really well. When he sees a void, he'll exploit it in a hurry. He has such a quick release. They have such a dynamic offense. A lot of high schools to be honest just run plays. These guys run plays based on what you're running. They have pattern concepts for different coverages so you have to try to anticipate what they're going to do. You have to disguise as best as you can without confusing yourself and that's a fine line."

LexCath is averaging just under 380 yards passing per game. Allen has completed 77-of-111 passes for 1,426 yards, 19 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Five Knights have 10 or more catches. Senior Nathan Schnurr leads the way with 17 receptions for 364 yards and four touchdowns.

"You have to be patient. You can't watch the quarterback," said Jason Noe, Highlands senior defensive back. "You have to stay on your receiver and watch him. You have to do your job no matter what. Whatever the coaches tell you, you have to do. Scott County is a good team. Ryle is a good team. You just have to play to your ability."

Allen is also a threat to run the ball. He has 21 attempts for a team-high 127 yards and a touchdown. He waited until the last second before taking off in the 54-13 win over Lexington Christian. The Knights average just under 103 yards rushing per game, but are not where they want to be in that department.

"We are constantly working to improve our running game," Smith said. "We would love to rush for more yards, but we have to be effective our run game no matter how many yards we have. The Highlands defense provides a steep challenge to us up front."

That Highlands 3-5 defense has stood tall this season allowing averages of just under 96 yards rushing and just more than 100 per game this year. The Bluebirds held the only common opponent between the two teams in the Ryle Raiders to just 82 yards of total offense. Ryle entered the game averaging 392 yards per game offensively.

"It just shows if we trust our keys and do what we're told to do, we can (contain) them," said Brennan White, Highlands defensive lineman. "Everyone's got to do his job because it doesn't work unless every person does his job to the best of his ability. We're the first line of defense, If (opposing skill position players) get by us, it's another 10-15 yards down the field before someone catches them."

It starts with the defensive linemen and linebackers putting pressure on quarterbacks and even creating turnovers. The Bluebirds have six quarterback sacks led by two from senior linebacker Jackson Hagedorn, eight interceptions with senior defensive back Casey Greene leading the way with two and six fumble recoveries. Junior linebacker Mason Schwalbach has a team-high two fumble recoveries.

On the other side of the ball, the Highlands spread attack is averaging just more than 138 yards rushing and just more than 121 passing. The Bluebirds hit some deep routes against Ryle. Senior quarterback Grady Cramer has completed 46-of-84 passes for 470 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions.

"It definitely brings another edge to the team," Cramer said. "Without the deep ball, we can't establish the running game. You can't establish the short passing game so it definitely gives us more to work with. Every catch we have is just another stepping stone to getting better. Obviously, the defense getting turnovers really helps us too with more chances to catch the ball and get in the end zone."

Ten different Highlands receivers have catches this season. Seniors Austin King and Nate Roberts have 12 catches each for 118 and 106 yards respectively. Roberts has three touchdown catches and King has one. Junior Hunter Ahlfeld has seven catches for 129 yards and three touchdowns.

"Our kids are now getting to the point where they've had a few games and are now getting comfortable figuring out how to get open or how to step to get that block just right," said Zach Deaton, Highlands Offensive Coordinator. "The more we can keep doing that, the better."

Senior Cooper Schwalbach continues to lead Highlands with 339 yards on 62 carries and three touchdowns for an average of 5.5 yards per catch. He had a 63-yard scamper around the right end to score on the first possession against Ryle.

Ryle moved the ball well against LexCath's version of the 3-5 defense in a 50-34 defeat. The Raiders rushed for 211 yards and passed for 215. Raider senior running back Kyle England rushed for 138 yards and quarterback Keegan Stanken completed all four passes for 133 yards and a touchdown with senior wide receiver Brandon Soden going for three catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. Highlands held England to just 27 yards rushing, Stanken to just 69 passing and Soden to one catch for seven yards.

The Knights have allowed averages of just under 167 both rushing and passing this season. Brennan Emnett leads LexCath with 34 tackles. The Knights have four sacks, three fumble recoveries and nint interceptions on the season. Lexington Christian threw three interceptions in the loss Friday.

"Turnovers are never good, especially when your offense is that good," Deaton said. "If we can make sure we execute our plays without turning the ball over, we'll give ourselves a chance to play well in the game."

Highlands is developing solid depth this year. The junior varsity team is 4-0 on the season and the freshman team is 3-0. The Bluebirds had to play running backs and linebackers on the offensive line on the JV last year.

"That's really what you try to do in spring ball and the summer," Weinrich said. "We've really prided ourselves since I've been here on coaching everybody year-round and getting better all the time. We really emphasize to everybody you never really know so take advantage of your opportunities. We've got such a good group now. They really worked hard in the spring and summer and it's really carried over. That's what is really helping us is having depth at each position and be able execute actual runs and actual schemes."

Highlands leads the all-time series against LexCath, 7-2. The Knights escaped Fort Thomas with a 21-18 win scoring in the final minutes to record the victory. The only other LexCath win in the series came in 2005 by a 17-0 score in the Class 3A region championship in Fort Thomas.

Cobblestone Cafe: We Treat our Customers like Family

13 Years of Home Cooked Goodness

Original Cobblestone Cafe Crew (photo: provided)
Fort Thomas' beloved Cobblestone Cafe celebrated its 13th anniversary this past July. For 13 years, mother and daughter owners, Brenda Spade and Jen Black, along with a devoted staff have created a thriving, family owned and operated business whose daily soups, fresh salads, and friendly smiles are integral to our little corner of the world.

Cobblestone is known for high quality, freshly prepared sandwiches, salads, and sides served in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere that is lovingly decorated like home. Every visit means warm soup, hand tossed salads, or a perfectly crafted wrap enjoyed in a sunny room.

Cobblestone Cafe was for many years know as "Mimi's House" to Jen's children, Brenda's grandchildren. Jen's daughters would visit their Mimi at Cobblestone for peanut butter and jellies, turkey and cheese sandwiches, cups of fruit, and of course lots of hugs. Jen's girls have grown up with Cobblestone Cafe and it will always be a home away from home and a place that holds part of their childhood within its walls.

When Cobblestone celebrated its 10 year anniversary Fort Thomas Matters spoke to Jen about being located in Fort Thomas.
"We believe that every small town needs a place where friends can meet for a bite to eat and have a conversation. Our mission statement says it all: To provide good food, make good friends, and have good times. Food you know and love!"

Several of the staff at Cobblestone have been there since the doors opened which is one of the secrets in the success sauce. Working together over the years means employees care and treat the cafe like home. The loyalty of the employees is a reflection of the overall positive, warm environment of Cobblestone.  Brenda, Jen, and their loyal staff have developed lasting bonds of friendship over the years.

Current Cobbleston Crew: Allie Cline, Holly Bram, Barb Dyleski & Terri Nau
Not pictured: Kandace Sipples and Luciey Garland

Allie Cline started at Cobblestone years ago and has recently taken over as the cafe's assistant manager. Allie is also recently engaged and planning her wedding - make sure to congratulate her on your next visit!

Being part of Cobblestone Cafe's team is a wonderful opportunity to work in a positive, professional atmosphere where an individual can grow, advance their career, and learn in a fast-paced environment. Brenda and Jen are always on the lookout for new talent to add to the Cobblestone family! If you are interested or know someone who is looking for a great place to work stop in and pick up an application!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Woodfill Elementary's Spaghetti Dinner + Big Top Festival THIS Weekend

This year's Big Top Festival will take place this Sunday, September 16, noon to 5 p.m., at Woodfill Elementary.

This weekend one of our city's beloved traditions returns, with Woodfill Elementary's Friday night Spaghetti Dinner and Sunday's Big Top Festival.

Friday, September 14, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the entire community is invited to dinner featuring spaghetti with homemade meatballs and sauce at Woodfill Elementary's cafeteria. 
Phone: 859-905-0714 - Email: josh@joshmcintoshlaw.com. This is an advertisement.

"This year we've hand rolled exactly 1,001 meatballs," says Rebecca Leonardi-Neufarth, who, along with her husband, Eric, has been overseeing the dinner for the past three years. They use a family recipe, for both the sauce and the meatballs. "My family (Leonardi) is from Northern Italy (Tuscany)," she says. "My family immigrated to Cincinnati in 1954," she says. "My Zia (Aunt) Lelia and I have made the meatballs together the past two years. She passed away in January. This third year making them without her was definitely bittersweet. Our time in the kitchen was always so special and important to our family."

Rebecca Leonardi-Neufarth (right), pictured with her Zia (Aunt) Lelia, 12 years ago.
The Leonardis and Neufarths turn the prep work into a family event. This year Rebecca and Eric, along with Rebecca's parents and Eric's parents, hand rolled all the meatballs. "While this year she [Zia Lelia] was not by my side making them, I am so proud to be representing my heritage and keeping her memory alive by sharing our family recipes with our community," Rebecca says.

Tuesday, Rebecca and her family will be making 22 gallons of sauce, a family recipe as well.

Diners enjoy last year's Spaghetti Dinner, an event that not only draws Woodfill families, but folks throughout the community.

Friday, family-style portions will be available for dine-in only, for $25. For individual portions, adult meals are $8 and child/senior meals are $6. New this year: soft drinks may be purchased for $1. Children may preview and play games that will be at the festival on Sunday, and win prizes.

"The one thing I like at the Spaghetti Dinner is that I get to see a lot of my friends and we get to eat Italian, and I know one of my friends from the school helped make it," says Nellie Albritton, a 5th grader at Woodfill.

Brandtly Winburn (middle), helping out at last year's Spaghetti Dinner with his friends, James Uhl (left) and Owen Uhl (right).
Woodfill students also help with this event. "My favorite part was hanging out with my friends and clearing tables when people finished eating," says Brandtly Winburn, a 3rd grader at Woodfill. "I also liked the cool aprons we got to wear."

The addition of homemade meatballs and sauce has turned a loved tradition into something quite meaningful in the Woodfill family. The students recognize this, too. When asked what her favorite thing about the Spaghetti Dinner is, 1st grader Allison Faust said, "meatballs."

Sunday's Big Top Festival, September 16, noon to 6 p.m., will feature inflatables, a silent auction, food, a cake walk, games and prizes for all ages, a basket raffle, candy wheel, body works, spiritwear and the ever-popular Up for Grabs booth.

Nellie Albritton and Sydney Albritton help their mom, Jana Albritton, with festival prep and planning each year. Here they stand before sample prizes given away at last year's festival.

"Me and my sister, Nellie, helped my mom fill the display cases at school with Big Top Prizes," 
says Sydney Albritton, a 3rd grader at Woodfill who says she likes getting her hair painted and winning prizes the most. "There are a lot of cool prizes and I wanted to keep some."

After playing games, students turn in their earned "Woodfill Bucks" for prizes.

"I helped my mom with prizes and donated candy and 2-liters,"
says Nellie Albritton, whose favorite thing to do at Big Top is "run around and play games with my friends, then go get prizes." She, along with many Woodfill students, is helping with fundraising, too. "I'm still selling raffle tickets," she says.

The Up for Grabs booth always has some big-ticket items ready for kids (and adults!) to win, including bikes.
Woodfill students are currently selling raffle tickets for $1. First prize is $1,000, second prize is $250 and third prize is $100.

Avery Barber, a 5th grader at Woodfill, has also pitched in. "I have helped by bringing in 2-liters, candy and basket raffle items," she says"I have also sold raffle tickets to family, friends and neighbors." Avery's favorite thing to do at the festival is play games. "My favorite games are cake walk and Up for Grabs," she says. "I love winning Woodfill bucks to buy prizes."

Kids participate in last year's cake walk.
Alison Winburn, a 1st grader at Woodfill, also loves the cake walk "because you get to take home and eat all kinds of delicious goodies," she says.

Woodfill parent Melissa Reed helps spray paint hair at last year's festival.
Parents are as much a part of the festival as children, and the entire school family rallies each year with sponsorships, donations for the silent auction and basket raffle, candy, pop and items for the cake walk. Countless community members donate time not only preparing for the festival, but setting up tents and games, running games, cooking pasta and handing out prizes.

Alison's mom, Ashley Winburn, is a Woodfill parent who works full time and is not able to volunteer at school during the day. So, for the second year in a row, she's chairing the event as her way of giving back to the school, teachers and staff that teach and care for her and the community's students each day. 

Sparetime Will Have New Owners and May Reopen Next Month

The owners of Sparetime's Belly & Soul, located at 7807 Alexandria Pike in Alexandria, announced on Saturday that they are closing their wildly popular diner.

Kevin and Christa Klein announced on the closure on their Facebook page. "It’s with heavy hearts we share we are closing as of today. Kevin & I have been blessed by this place and every person that walked through our door for the past 2 years. We will truly miss all of you!"

The Kleins, who had told Fort Thomas Matters in February of 2018 that the business wasn't about the money, backed up that sentiment in further comments.

"(The decision to close was) not tax-related and business was great. (It was) about having more Jesus and family time in our daily life. Just had to shift our priorities." 

They also noted that they will be donating the remaining money from the non-profit outreach, Belly & Soul Blessings, to several other nonprofits over the next few weeks.

They said they were looking for other owners to step in and continue the success that the business had seen since they acquired it in 2016. 

It didn't take long. 

Lisa Kremer, sister of Christa Klein, and her family will be the new owners of the restaurant, now called Ingram's Sparetime. Kremer has been working at the restaurant since it was reopened. 

"I loved my job and I love this community and all the customers I’ve met," said Kremer. "When my sister decided to close I knew in my heart I had to reopen. I’ve had such an amazing response already, I know I’ve made the right decision and can’t wait to get started. My customers are waiting!"

Ingram's may sound familiar to many who are reading this. Kremer's family owned Ingram's across from Campbell County high school for many years. It closed in 2000, but the fond memories persist. 

"While working at Belly & Soul I got to know a lot of our community and knew a lot previously who were Ingram’s customers from years ago," said Kremer, who is a California, Kentucky resident. "I guess being a restaurant owner its in blood our since my parents ran Ingram’s. Guess it’s my turn!"