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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Highlands Boys Soccer State Semifinals Preview

Bluebirds Aim to Stick with Identity

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior midfielder Keegan Brewer plays the ball ahead in the state quarterfinals against Daviess County on Saturday. Highlands faces Hopkinsville at 8 p.m. in the state semifinals at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington.
They can't let this fact make them overconfident for the state semifinals Thursday.

But it's hard to overlook the fact that on Aug. 25 in Owensboro, the next opponent for the Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (22-1-3 overall) lost 4-2 to the same Daviess County Panthers team (21-3-1) that the Bluebirds beat 3-0 in the state quarterfinals on Saturday at Dunbar. That's one of two opponents Highlands and the 2nd Region winner Hopkinsville Tigers (19-6-2) have in common. The two meet at 8 p.m. Thursday at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington.

The other one is Campbell County (10-8-4). Hopkinsville beat the Camels, 3-1 on Sept. 8 in the Boots and Butts Soccer Classic in Hopkinsville and the Bluebirds beat the host Camels, 7-0 on Aug. 28.

While Highlands handled Daviess County in the state quarterfinals, Hopkinsville had to go to penalty kicks to beat 6th Region champion Louisville Butler, 2-1. Both teams had tough Semi-State games winning by identical 2-1 scores. Highlands beat 10th Region champion Montgomery County in double overtime and Hopkinsville defeated 1st Region champion Calloway County in Murray.

"To be fair, I think we're a deeper team," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "I think were going to have 22 players on the field that at any given moment, we should have the bulk of the stronger players. If we play cohesively, we should be in good shape. We're in a position again where we feel like even more since Saturday, that as long as we play our best game and take care of our part so we don't fall short, we'll be in good shape."

The winner takes on either 11th Region champion Lexington Henry Clay (12-8-3) or Louisville St. Xavier (24-2-1) in the state championship at 8 p.m. back at Frederick Douglass on Saturday. Highlands beat Henry Clay, 2-0 at Bryan Station on Aug. 18 in the Lexington Soccer Showcase.

The Highlands identity all season has been solid defense and using the speed and height up top to create scoring chances. The Bluebirds have outscored opponents, 97-11 on the season. Highlands has 16 shut-outs on the season playing solid defense in front of senior goalkeeper Will Burnham.

"It's really important. We value our defense. We know we have one of the best defenses in the state if not the best," said Garrett Crowe, Highlands senior midfielder/defender. "We just believe if we stay in front of the ball and don't dive, we can beat any team in the state so we're just going to go out there and play the way that we usually do. Hopefully, we come out with the win and play on Saturday."

Highlands had an 0-1-2 stretch in three games. The Bluebirds tied East Central (Indiana) on Sept. 18 in Saint Leon, 2-2 in the lone game they've allowed more than one goal this season before losing 1-0 at Hamilton Southeastern and tying Bishop Brossart, 0-0 on Sept. 25.

"Sometimes we fall short on occasion," Niedert said. "We feel that it's been a while since that was the case."

Max Farris at 12 goals and 11 assists and junior Porter Hedenberg at 11 goals and 13 assists lead the way with 35 points each. Senior forward Luke Schweitzer is third with 14 goals and six assists for 34 points.
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Highlands has seen six players score at least 22 points this season.

Hopkinsville has outscored opponents, 95-51 on the season. Just more than 40 percent of the Tiger scoring has come from senior forward Ryan Rousel with 41 goals and 14 assists for 96 points.

"That's the one we've heard about," Niedert said "That's about their main player. I know he was recently named First Team All-State."

Four other players have 15 or more points for the Tigers. Senior midfielder Zach Moore is second with 12 goals and 18 assists for 42 points and junior midfielder Tyler Greenwell is second with 16 goals and six assists for 38 points.

Hopkinsville's goalkeeper is junior Xavier Bussell. The Tigers have eight shutouts this season.

Highlands last made the state semifinals in 2008. The Bluebirds beat Henderson County, 2-0 before losing 7-2 to Louisville St. Xavier in the state championship.

Directions to Frederick Douglass High School:

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Highlands Girls Soccer State Semifinals Preview

Bluebirds Face Unfamiliar Banshees in State Semifinals

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands goalkeeper Maggie Hinegardner (in pink) goes up to make a catch on a corner kick against Greenwood in the state quarterfinals on Saturday.  Teammates Hannah Hartman (11), Lauren Deckert (7), Tatum Price (5) and Hanna Buecker (16) get in position. Highlands plays Bardstown Bethlehem in the state semifinals at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Of the three opponents left in the girls soccer state tournament, the Highlands Bluebirds will take on the one they are not familiar with.

That's the private school Bardstown Bethlehem Banshees (24-2-2 overall). Bethlehem won the 5th Region and All "A" State Tournament. The Banshees beat 2nd Region champion Henderson County, 3-2 in double overtime on Saturday to make it to the state quarterfinals after Highlands (22-4) beat Greenwood, 3-1. Encyclopedia Wikipedia lists a Banshee as a female spirit in Irish mythology.

"I think the hunger that we have built throughout the year has been incredible," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "At the beginning of the year, we say these things that we want to be playing on Nov. 3. Then we get into the season, we start realizing, 'Wow. We have some talent. We can actually do this' and when we got into the post-season, the first game was going to be different for us because as a coaching staff, this was the first time kind of going under the pressure of the postseason and we handled that one then handled the district and regionals. Really after the regionals, we became more hungry because we realized that we can beat some good teams and we can make a run. After the Sweet 16 game, we came into the Elite Eight game with a little bit more hunger. Now we're looking into Wednesday knowing we're that close to being where we wanted to be at the beginning of the year."

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The state semifinals shift from the west side of Lexington to the east side at the newly-built Frederick Douglass High School. Frederick Douglass opened last year. Highlands played its state quarterfinal game at Dunbar High School.

The game starts at 8 p.m. after two-time defending state champion West Jessamine (18-4-1) and 7th Region champion Louisville Sacred Heart (23-1-1) face off at 6 p.m. Highlands went 1-2 against those two during the regular season losing both games to Sacred Heart and beating West Jessamine, 2-1 on Sept. 8 in Nicholasville. The state championship game is Saturday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. back at Frederick Douglass.

The teams have three common opponents in Louisville Assumption, Louisville DuPont Manual and Newport Central Catholic. Bethlehem went 1-1-1 against those three losing 9-2 to Manual in Bardstown on Aug. 20, tying Assumption (1-1) on Sept. 17 and beating NewCath (2-1) in the All "A" State Tournament.

Highlands went 3-1 against those teams winning both games against NewCath including a 1-0 victory at Morscher Field on Oct. 11. The Bluebirds beat Manual (3-0) in the Lexington Catholic Cup after losing 1-0 to Assumption two days prior.

Of the four losses for Highlands, three have come against teams from the 7th Region. The other one came Sept. 17 against Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Ursula, 2-1.

"The teams that we played are very, very good and I think that's going to help us out," Dean said. "We've played some tough teams and we know that we can handle them. If we play our A game, hopefully we come out on top."

Highlands has played solid defense all season outscoring opponents, 109-15 including 26-1 in the postseason. The Bluebirds have reached their preseason goal with 18 shutouts this year.

Highlands allowed just three shots with the lone on goal resulting in a goal against Greenwood. Junior Maggie Hinegardner played the entire game against the Lady Gators. But junior Rylee Thomas has also seen action in the goal for the Bluebirds.

"I think the defense is a whole team effort," said Kelsey Schuett, Highlands junior defender/midfielder. "It starts with the front line, the strikers then the midfielders are obviously next. Our defense does a good job of helping Maggie and Rylee in goal with shutouts and helping us not letting (opponents) get shots off."

Campbell County Elections: What to Watch For

By Tyler Owen 

November 6th is quickly approaching. It seems like just yesterday that I was anxiously awaiting the results for my race in this past May’s primaries. I was a candidate for county commissioner and, no two ways about it, got crushed in the final numbers. It was a good campaign and I have zero regrets.

For now, I wanted to take a moment now and share my hopes for a high turnout in the general.

The next presidential election will be in two years, along with the next U.S. Senate race. The governor will be running for reelection next year, along with the other statewide offices. This year the top of the ballot in Campbell County is headlined by a U.S. House of Representatives race that features two candidates not from the three most northern counties and seems to be solidly leaning towards the incumbent. History would dictate this is a year where many would not feel a need to get out and vote.

I feel the exact opposite is the case.

In Campbell County we have an array of elections that will have a huge impact on how we live our daily lives. It may not feel like it, but that’s the case. Let’s run through some of them, what they mean, and storylines to watch for.

We have three contested state house races in our county.

Democrat Dennis Keene, the incumbent, faces Republican Bob Schrage in the 67th. In the 68th Republican incumbent Joe Fischer squares off with Democratic challenger Jason Kilmer. Holding a small amount of territory in Campbell County, the 64th has the incumbent Republican Kimberly Poore Moser competing with Democrat Larry “Santa” Varney.

These three races represent a small portion of the state house competitions across the race that will determine if the Republicans will continue (until at least after the 2019 gubernatorial election) to hold all three branches of state government (the governor, the state senate, and the state house) or if the Democrats will reassume the majority in the house they lost in 2016.

The state senate race in Campbell County is the first regular election incumbent Wil Schroder (Republican) will take part in after winning the special election to fill the void 24th District seat after the retirement of Katie Stine. He takes on Democrat Rachel Roberts, a first time candidate and business owner from Newport who has become the rallying point for the local Democratic party.

A debate between the two candidates brought high attendance and showcased the current ire of educators and others enrolled in the state pension who witnessed a tumultuous 2017 legislative session which brought forth new action towards the underfunded pension system. This race appears to be much tighter than previously thought and may be the best chance the Democrats have to capture a legislative seat currently held by a Republican in Northern Kentucky.

A special election is also being held on the ballot to fill the vacated seat by Judge Fred Stine, who retired in 2017. Dan Zalla was appointed by Governor Matt Bevin to sit on the bench until the election could be held. He faces Fort Thomas attorney Derek Durbin, a former Campbell County prosecutor and current associate at a Kentucky law firm. This race is unique on the county-wide ballot as it is non-partisan.

In other county wide races:

WLWT-Channel 5 Names Midway Cafe "Best Wings" in Region

WLWT - Channel 5 (NBC) named The Midway Cafe, the Best Wings in Cincinnati.

Based on 900 fans responses, The Midway Cafe got around 55% of the popular vote, ousting old favorites like Knockback Nats and Knuk n Futz in Taylor Mill.

Channel 5's George Vogel, Elise Jesse and Brandon Saho came to Fort Thomas to try out the wings for themselves.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Car Thieves Caught with Help of Observant Business Owner 

A feature will run shortly on during the newscast and will spotlight the restaurant.

In Other Words: Tammy Schroder, Quiet Action Results in Great Help to Those Who Need It

Some people like it quiet. The noise interferes with action. They do things quietly. But not the way you might think. That quiet action describes Tammy Schroder and her family. This is a bad news - good news - better news kind of stories.

First the bad news. Tammy survived breast cancer in 2013. Her sister survived breast cancer. Her brother, Bobby Guthier, did not survive his encounter with bladder cancer. He died from surgical complications related to the cancer.

Now for some good news. Schroder is lively and energetic. Conversations are animated. She looks you in the eye and she is direct but compassionate. She will answer any question you have about her cancer. But she prefer to talk about her brother, Bob Guthier, and how his life and death has helped so many more.

This past September 8, the Highlands Men’s Golf League sponsored a golf outing and raised $10,000 in memory of Bobby Guthier who died in September of 2017.  Simply through word of mouth, the event sold out almost immediately. Tammy says they “didn’t even publicize it.”  That amazing outpouring of quiet support and love has fueled her passion to help other cancer patients.  Schroder says that it was “a day when we had six inches of rain.” So no one golfed but everyone had a good time.

There are a lot of good things going on - quietly. Not a lot of fanfare. Not a lot of promotion. Just word of mouth to help a great cause.  Schroder’s oncologists moved to Pikeville to serve an underserved population. She followed as well providing gift bags and gift cards to cancer patients.

Her brother, Bob, decided to help as well, but then he developed cancer and died. In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations and that money went to help even more Pikeville patients. So Tammy and friends started a 501(c)3 in Bob’s name and raised their first $10,000. They help local cancer patients as well.  “That’s how much this man was liked,” Schroder says. They are simply carrying out his wishes.

Regarding Pikeville, Schroder and her group provide thousands of dollars in gift cards and then allow the doctors to distribute them to patients in need - for food or gas or personal needs. Schroder says that,  “They may not go to radiation or a treatment because they can’t afford the gas for transportation.

Now for better news. Schroder said that over the last five years, she estimates that they have provided “$10,000 new clothing, about 200 wigs, care bags, gas cards.” They have given “close to $100,000 over the last five years.” That’s quiet action. No big fanfare. Just get the job done.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Fort Thomas Resident Sings with World-Renowned Opera Singer Andrea Bocelli

By Jessie Stringfield-Eden

It’s not everyday that you hear about someone in your community rubbing elbows with a celebrity. The opportunity alone may sound like dreamy music to some people’s ears but for Fort Thomas resident Kaitlin (Stephens) Guenther, it is a reality. This Friday, she will be singing with world-renowned opera singer Andrea Bocelli at US Bank Arena.

Here’s a quick Q & A with Kaitlin as she describes what led to this amazing opportunity.

FTM: What led to this opportunity?

Kaitlin: So, in order to be considered for the Bocelli choir, you had to first audition for the May Festival Chorus.  The audition process consisted of singing two classical pieces, one in English and one in a foreign language.  You also had to sight-read a piece of music.

At the first May Festival Chorus rehearsal, we were told that Bocelli's "people" wanted a small choir, not the entire May Fest Chorus, and that if you were interested in singing in that choir, you needed to notify the director.  He then told us that if a large amount of people showed interest, that he would select who would sing in the small choir.

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I first learned that Mr. Bocelli was coming to Cincinnati while watching a special on WCET.  During one of the breaks, it was mentioned the Bocelli would be accompanied by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and members of the May Festival Chorus.

I looked at my husband and said, "I have to find a way to be a part of that!"  That's when I began researching about the audition process for the May Festival Chorus. Participating with the May Festival Chorus is the first time I've worked with a professional group of musician in years. I was a single mom for six years and there just wasn't time to commit several hours a week to rehearsal and several days to performances. Thankfully, with the support of my husband and daughter, we've been able to make things "work" so that I can be a part of this prestigious group!

My daughter, a third grader at Johnson, is participating in the school choir, which rehearses the same day as May Fest Chorus, and she loves that we have choir on the same day!

FTM: How long have you been singing?  

Kaitlin: I've been singing since middle school, was very active in my high school chorus and Musical Theater programs (Campbell County), and went on to study Music Education at Xavier University, with double focuses in piano and vocal performance. I taught music in public schools for three years.

FTM: What were you most looking forward to working with him? 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Historic Day for Bluebird Soccer as Both Teams Advance to State Semifinals

Highlands Earns Another Double Date

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Lindsey Meyer hits home a penalty kick with 23:08 left in the first half. Meyer has 27 goals and 14 assists on the year for 68 points. Her career school record totals stand at 74 goals and 43 assists for 191 points.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Gwen Gorman fires a long shot for a goal in the second half. That was her third goal of the season.

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, The Highlands boys soccer team waits in the pre-game Saturday before beating Daviess County, 3-0 in the state quarterfinals.

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Garrett Crowe attempts a header against Daviess County.

With a combined 34 shut-outs this season, one goal has often been more than enough for the Highlands Bluebirds girls and boys soccer teams to win games this year, let alone two, three or more.

But both teams left little doubt in their state quarterfinal wins on Saturday scoring three each. Their opponents combined for one goal as they earned another "double date" back to Lexington for the state semifinals in the middle of next week.

Both made it this deep in the post-season for the first time since 2008. They both finished state runners-up that year.

Highlands Girls 3, Greenwood 1:

Head Coach Alex Dean listed a quick goal as a priority and it happened not once, but twice in the first 20 minutes. The Bluebirds (22-4) kept the Lady Gators (17-3-3) at bay after that. They have outscored opponents, 109-15 this year.

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"As we've said in the post-season, it's 1-0," Dean said. "We (play like) we're down 1-0. In the last game, we relaxed. We didn't relax (Saturday). (Greenwood) has a really skilled team and was able to put one in. We kind of refocused. We started the second half and said, 'Hey, we're still 1-0. So we put one in. Don't give up one and we should go home victorious.' The girls bought into it and we finished it out."

Highlands plays in the state semifinals on Wednesday against 5th Region champion and All "A" State champion Bardstown Bethlehem (24-2-2) at 8 p.m. at Frederick Douglass back in Lexington. Bethlehem beat Henderson County, 3-2 in double overtime in the state quarterfinals. The state championship is Saturday at 6 p.m. back at Frederick Douglass.

Louisville Sacred Heart (23-1-1) takes on two-time defending state champion West Jessamine (18-4-1) in the first semifinal game. Highlands lost both games against Sacred Heart during the regular season, but won 2-1 at West Jessamine on Sept. 8.

Highlands wound up out-shooting Greenwood, 23-3 including 12-1 on goal. Greenwood junior goalkeeper Elizabeth DeMarse had nine saves while Bluebirds junior goalkeeper Maggie Hinegardner did not have to make any. However, Hinegardner did stop a few crosses in the box.

"Before the game, we were telling them to work, work, work and they did the perfect amount of work," Dean said. "They didn't over-hype it. They didn't do too much. They just did the right amount and that helped us start off on the right foot. We continued to work the perfect amount so that was good."

Greenwood played without its top player in junior midfielder Anna Haddock. Haddock broke her foot during a practice in the post-season. The Auburn University commit had 42 goals and 19 assists for 103 points this season.

The Highlands back line again did a great job stepping to balls and clearing them to the mid-fielders. The mid-fielders again used their speed to push the ball to the forwards for shot opportunities. The next two point-scorers for Greenwood in sophomore mid-fielder Erin Heltsley (23 points on eight goals, seven assists) and senior midfielder Alexa Ketchem (eight goals, six assists for 22 points) had no shots.

"I think that everyone really worked hard," said Maggie Stieby, Highlands sophomore midfield. "I think everyone is just fighting to get to that final game. Everyone is putting whatever they can out there to get a touch and get it to one of the forwards or at least away from the opponents - anything they can do to help the team in any way."

Highlands earned the first goal just 11 minutes, seven seconds into the match. Sophomore forward Kenzie Nehus collected the ball from 25 yards out on the left and finished to the far post. Nehus has 11 goals and eight assists this year for 30 points. Nehus admitted she had a shot earlier in the game, but did not take it.

Nehus and freshman forward Chloe Bramble have older sisters that played on the 2005 and 2006 Highlands state championship teams. Nehus' older sister, Allie Nehus-Hanson, played a critical role on the 2005 state championship team as a senior and Bramble's sister, Amber Barth-Wells, scored the game-winning goal against Sacred Heart in the 2006 title game as a junior.

"Growing up seeing that state title, I've always wanted it," Nehus said. "(My older sisters Allie and Kayla Nehus) just tell me to play my best and play every game like it's my last. Of course, I'm going to try to do that. Putting one in the back of the net kind of helped out too."

Highlands did not have to wait much longer before the second goal. Junior Maria Wiefering dribbled into the box on the left side and drew a foul. Highlands senior Lindsey Meyer nailed the penalty kick to put Highlands up 2-0 just 16:52 into the game.

"Obviously, there's a lot of nerve in it, but you just can't overthink it," Meyer said. "We've practiced them every day going into the postseason just in case we go to penalty kicks. You just pick a spot and go there every time."

Meyer has 27 goals and 14 assists on the year for 68 points. Her Highlands career record totals stand at 74 goals and 43 assists for 191 points.

Greenwood scored its lone goal with 12:40 left in the first half. The Bluebirds could not clear a ball in the box and junior midfielder Annabel Justice kicked the ball from just outside the 18-foot box into the net on the left side to trim the Highlands lead to 2-1 at halftime. Justice finished the season with five goals and three assists for 13 points.

The only goal of the second half came from the Highlands back line. Senior Gwen Gorman took a very long shot from the right side of the field. It bounced in the box and over DeMarse's head for the goal. Gorman has three goals and five assists for 11 points this season.

Highlands had 13 corner kicks to six for Greenwood. Both teams received one yellow card each.

The Highlands girls beat Woodford County, 1-0 in their last appearance in the state semifinals in 2008. The Bluebirds proceeded to lose 2-0 to Sacred Heart in the state championship game that year. That team was led by the likes of Leslie TwehuesMallory Adler-KeeblerLaurene Wiseman and Laura Bush-Gillespie.

Highlands Boys 3, Daviess County 0:

The Bluebirds (22-1-3 overall) recorded their 16th shut-out of the year with a convincing win pulling away from the Panthers (21-3-1) in the second half. They have outscored opponents, 97-11 this season.
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Daviess County won the state championship two years ago and finished state runner-up last year beating the 9th Region champions along the way. The Panthers beat Ryle, 2-1 in double overtime in the state semifinals last year and Covington Catholic, 2-1 winning the penalty kicks, 6-5.

"I told the guys we're not just representing Highlands anymore," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "We love wearing that H. But we're now representing that whole geographical area. We've got some support just bigger than Fort Thomas. We have all the motivation that we need. The target on our back has grown. It has all year. But our guys have continued to rise to the occasion. I feel it benefited us to get here early, watch the girls and figure out what this whole quarterfinal thing is like, settle, just be fans for a moment, enjoy it then get after it and the boys played really well."

Highlands takes on 2nd Region champion Hopkinsville (19-6-2) at 8 p.m. Thursday in the state semifinals at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington. The championship game is Saturday back at Frederick Douglass at 8 p.m. Defending state champion Louisville St. Xavier (24-2-1) takes on Lexington Henry Clay (12-8-3) in the first semifinal game.

Highlands faced Henry Clay in the third game of the season. The Bluebirds beat the Blue Devils, 2-0 on Aug. 18 in the Lexington Soccer Showcase at Bryan Station.

Highlands out-shot Daviess County, 14-7 including an impressive 6-0 on goal. The Panthers entered the game with seven players with 14 or more points led by senior mid-fieler Brian Winkler's 87 on 35 goals and 17 assists. Daviess County junior goalkeeper Kaya Suzer had three saves.

Niedert said he spoke to several coaches and received similar reports. Daviess County's strength came in the front six. The Bluebirds did what they have done all season defensively clearing a lot of balls and making no mistakes handling the ball. They then took advantage of their height up top after the midfielders played the ball up the field.

"With our back four and (Burnham), we are very technical across the field," Niedert said. "We're not one of those teams that has one strong player. We've got a solid 11. Where we beat them is that we denied most of those chances going forward. I'm proud of what the guys did."

They did not allow any solid shots at senior goalkeeper Will Burnham. Burnham did not have to make any saves. But he still stepped in front of corner kicks and crosses into the box.

"It's a lot about having confidence in yourself, believing you can get the ball and keeping in mind where the attackers are in the middle and also where the man is out wide," Burnham said. "(You believe) you will get there first. You're not going to drop it. I'm really excited for the next game. This is the most important game in my soccer career I've ever played in."

It took a while to dent the scoreboard. But with 4:15 left in the first half, junior Porter Hedenberg took the ball on the left side and found senior 6-foot-5-inch forward Luke Schweitzer in the middle near the top of the box for the finish. That marked the team-high 14th goal this year for Schweitzer and the team-high 13th assist for Hedenberg.

"Basically as soon as I got past the last defender, I just got my head up and saw Luke wide open," Hedenberg said. "We've scored a couple goals just like that. Luckily, I got it to his right foot and it went in."

Also with 11 goals, Hedenberg is tied with sophomore Max Farris with 35 points this year. Schweitzer also has six assists for 34 points good for third.

Senior defender Devin Harris gave the Bluebirds the coveted second goal with 35:43 left in the game. He dribbled to his right and shot from outside the box deflecting into the top corner. Harris has two goals and an assist for five points this year.

Highlands-Boone County Highlight Video

Highlands-Boone County Game Story

Bluebirds Dominate Rebels, 55-14

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Brycen Huddleston returns a kickoff against Boone County on Friday. Huddleston returned a punt 47 yards for a touchdown in the Bluebirds' 55-14 win over the Rebels.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands sophomore defensive back Bryson Cody (31) tries to power through a block on a kickoff return against Boone County on Friday.
Highlands may not have finished the first offensive drive of the football game.
But the Bluebirds established good field position. The visiting Boone County Rebels (2-8 overall) fumbled on the ensuing possession and Highlands capitalized.

It would be that kind of dominating night for the Bluebirds as the rolled to a 55-14 victory in their final tune-up before the playoffs on a misty Friday at David Cecil Memorial Stadium. Highlands finished the regular season 8-2 for the first time since the 2014 Class 4A state championship team did it.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Police Searching for Escaped Campbell County Inmate

A Campbell County inmate escaped Friday morning when he walked away from his work assignment.

David Barney, 31, was last seen near the 100 block of Oak Street in Silver Grove at about 7:40 a.m., according to Kentucky State Police.

Barney is 6'0" and 180 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He has numerous tattoos on his forearms, across his waist and on his legs.

Officials at the Campbell County Detention Center notified KSP at about 8:21 a.m., troopers said.

Double Date at State! Highlands Boys, Girls State Soccer Previews

Highlands Girls, Boys Play Doubleheader in State Quarterfinals at Lexington Dunbar

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands sophomore Max Farris goes between two Montgomery County defenders in the Semi-State game at Tower Park on Tuesday. Highlands has 15 shut-outs this year and takes on defending state runner-up Daviess County at Lexington Dunbar High School in the state quarterfinals on Saturday at 5 p.m.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior defender Hannah Hartman plays the ball in the Semi-State 5 win over George Rogers Clark on Monday. Hartman helps pace a defense that has 18 shut-outs this year and has allowed just 14 goals this year. Highlands (21-4) faces 4th Region champion Greenwood on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Lexington Dunbar in the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
It will no doubt be a treat for the Highlands Bluebirds community Saturday afternoon in Lexington.

Both soccer teams sought a "double date" there for the state tournaments and achieved them with 36th District, 9th Region then semi-state championships. Both teams won those titles in different fashions. Highlands is the lone school that has both soccer teams remaining in the state tournament.

The games take place at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. at Paul Laurence Dunbar in Lexington. The Highlands girls (21-4 overall) take on the 4th Region champion Greenwood Lady Gators (17-2-3) in the first game before the Highlands boys (21-1-3) face the 3rd Region champion Daviess County Panthers (21-2-1) in the second game.

"We're going to be there to support them. We know they're going to be there to support us," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Boys Head Coach. "I think that in addition to just the players, you have all the different families and everybody else. We're looking forward to having the community support."

Highlands Girls:

Highlands survived a 1-0 win over Newport Central Catholic on the rugged terrain of Morscher Field in the 36th District championship before holding off the seven-time defending champion Notre Dame Pandas in the 9th Region title game at Ryle by the same score. Highlands handled 10th Region champion George Rogers Clark at Tower Park in the Semi-State Game 5 with few problems recording a 4-0 victory Monday.

Highland scored two goals in the first 10 minutes against GRC then put on the brakes. Head Coach Alex Dean said that can not happen Saturday.

"We just need to make sure that we keep on the attack once we get a lead," said Maria Broering, Highlands junior forward. "If we put one in early, we can't let up on the intensity. In the post-season, one goal doesn't mean anything. We always have to play with the mindset that we are down 1-0 no matter what the score is."

The Highlands girls have outscored their six post-season opponents, 23-0. Highlands has 18 shut-outs on the season including 10 in a row and has outscored the opposition, 106-14 overall. The Bluebirds have played solid defense in front of junior goalkeepers Maggie Hinegardner and Rylee Thomas led by the likes of defenders such as seniors Hannah Hartman, Gwen Gorman, juniors Lauren Deckert, Katelynn Helminiak, Natalie Ossege and Parker Price. Midfielders such as senior Hanna Buecker, juniors Kelsey Mathis, Abby Stein, Amy Herfel and sophomore Maggie Stieby have consistently won 50/50 balls and played them forward allowing the Bluebirds to go on the attack.

The strong Highlands forwards have consistently made things happen all season. Senior Lindsey Meyer leads the Bluebirds in scoring with 26 goals and 14 assists for 66 points. She scored two goals and tallied an assist in the win over George Rogers Clark. Her Highlands record-breaking career totals stand at 73 goals and 43 assists for 189 points.

But Highlands has seen nine different players score 10 or more points this season. Junior forward Maria Wiefering has 17 goals and nine assists for 43 points and sophomore Kenzie Nehus has 10 goals and eight assists for 28 points. The versatile Deckert (five goals, six assists) and sophomore Greta Noble (three goals, 10 assists) have 16 points each and Broering has seven goals and an assist for 15 points.

Junior Jordan Halpin has four goals and six assists for 14 points and junior Tatum Price has one goal and eight assists for 10 points. Freshman forward Chloe Bramble has emerged during the season scoring the lone goal in the 9th Region championship against Notre Dame. Bramble has five goals and three assists for 13 points.

Highlands has not lost since dropping a 2-1 game against Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Ursula. The Bluebirds have won 13 in a row allowing just two goals during the winning streak. The Bluebirds ventured to Lexington three times in six days for the annual Lexington Catholic Cup they've played in for years. They went 1-2 in it this year.

"It's kind of a tradition," Dean said. "That is really what helped get us prepared for the post-season going down on a Wednesday, which we play on a Wednesday (most) every year down in Lexington, which is hopefully what we can do next Wednesday. It is definitely a different feeling than just going to like a Ryle, which is like a 30-minute trip. That hour, hour and a half trip is a little bit draining on you mentally. You hate sitting on a bus then you get off the bus and are a little more tired than usual."

Greenwood has outscored opponents, 108-18 this year recording 10 shut-outs. Their leading scorer is junior midfielder and Auburn University commit Anna Haddock with 42 goals and 19 assists for 103 points. But Haddock has not played since the 3-2 loss to Bowling Green in the 14th District championship game.

But Greenwood has seen 10 different players score at least 10 points. The next leading scorers are senior midfielders Rachel Heltsley with eight goals and seven assists for 23 points and Alexa Ketchem with eight goals and six assists for 22 points.

"It's not a lot. But they have girls that can score," Dean said. "They're still a threat to contend for a title."

Greenwood's only two losses came to Bowling Green. The Purples beat the Lady Gators, 3-1 during the regular season on Sept. 13 and the district championship before Greenwood edged the Purples, 1-0 on penalty kicks in the region championship. Junior goalkeeper Elizabeth DeMarse came up huge in the region championship and in the Semi-State 2 win over Owensboro Catholic in a 2-1 win on penalty kicks both times.

The teams have one common opponent in two-time defending state champion West Jessamine. Highlands beat the Colts, 2-1 at West Jessamine on Sept. 8 and Greenwood tied West Jessamine, 1-1 in Bowling Green on Sept. 23.

Highlands hopes for a strong start in the first half scoring at least once then to win the second half. The Bluebirds did both against George Rogers Clark and Notre Dame. In a 2-0 win over St. Henry in the region semifinals, Highlands did not score until the second half.

Highlands is 1-2 against teams remaining in the state tournament. The Bluebirds lost twice to 7th Region winner Sacred Heart by 5-4 and 2-0 scores on Aug. 25 at Tower Park and Sept. 25 in the Lexington Catholic Cup respectively.

Highlands Boys:

The Bluebirds charged out of the gate in the post-season continuing the solid play shown in the regular season. They dominated Newport Central Catholic (6-0) to win their third straight 36th District championship before soundly defeating St. Henry (9-0) and Cooper (4-0) in the first two round of the 9th Region Tournament.

But the last two opponents tested the Bluebirds. Highlands held off host Covington Catholic (2-1) to win its first region championship since 2013 before senior Luke Schweitzer's header with 3:07 left in the second overtime gave the Bluebirds a 2-1 win over 10th Region champion Montgomery County in the Semi-State 5 game at Tower Park on Tuesday.

The Bluebirds have allowed more than one goal in a game once this year. It came in a 2-2 tie at East Central (Indiana) on Sept. 18. Highlands played in front of big crowds at Covington Catholic and Highlands Director of Athletics Kevin Nieporte estimated about 1,000 people attended the game Tuesday against Montgomery County.

Niedert admitted the scenes in the region championship and semi-state games as well as the state tournament are hard to simulate during the regular season. But he said those experiences in the last two games will hopefully come into play Saturday.

"Now we're a little bit more used to it," Niedert said. "We know that we're good enough to beat Daviess County. On paper, we actually probably are the favorites. It's just a matter of if we come and bring our A game. We've been dangerous the entire year. The one game we lost and our few ties, we didn't play poorly. We just didn't play 80 minutes solid. If we play 80 minutes solid, we're going to be in great shape."

Highlands has shut out 15 opponents this year outscoring opponents, 94-11 on the season. This includes 23-2 in the post-season with three shutouts. The Bluebirds have won eight in a row overall.

"I think our defense is just like the backbone of our team," said Alexander Foubert, Highlands junior. "Having a solid defense just helps us stay in games longer, especially (against Montgomery County) when our offense was struggling. We eventually were able to pull through and win."

Montgomery County scored its only goal just six minutes, 10 seconds into the game. Senior forward Daniel Shelton hit a corner kick from the left that curved into the goal for the Indians. Foubert said he was defending the front post, but lost the ball in the lights. But Foubert called that goal an anomoly and expects the Bluebirds to be fine going forward.

Highlands will start the game in the daylight assuming it starts on time. Sundown has come about a quarter before 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time lately.

The Bluebirds had 43 shots including 15 on goal compared to 10 shots with four on goal for the Indians. Montgomery County senior goalkeeper Danny Hernandez had 13 saves giving the Indians a chance at the end.

"We want to finesse (the ball) a little bit more," Niedert said. "It's hard to focus on that when we're creating so many opportunities. It's a matter of if we continue to create chances, we're going to be successful regardless of if we're finishing with a high success rate or not. Hopefully, we have three games left. We know the time is precious and we need to get after it."

Highlands six players that have scored 22 points or more this year. Sophomore Max Farris leads the way with 35 points on 12 goals and 11 assists. He had the game-winning assist on a corner kick against Montgomery County. Senior forward Luke Schweitzer scored both goals against the Indians. He is third on the team in points with 32 on 13 goals and six assists.

Junior Porter Hedenberg has done well setting up goal all season. He is second in points with 11 goals and 12 assists on the year. The other three double-digit scorers for the Bluebirds are junior forward Caymon Stevie with 29 points (13 goals, three assists), senior Carter Holmes with 23 (nine goals, five assists) and senior forward Cary Gorrigan with 22 (10 goals, two assists).

Daviess County has won five straight entering the game after losing 3-1 at home against 4th Region champion South Warren in the final game of the regular season. But the Panthers came back to beat the Spartans, 3-1 in the Semi-State 2 contest at home on Tuesday.

Daviess County won both the 9th District and region championships with convincing wins over Owensboro High. The Panthers beat the Red Devils four times this season. Daviess County beat defending state champion Covington Catholic, 2-1 by a 6-5 score on penalty kicks to win the state championship in 2016 and lost 3-0 to Louisville St. Xavier in the state championship last year.

Highlands faced the same situation against Covington Catholic in the region semifinals at Tower Park last year. The Bluebirds won 1-0 on penalty kicks.

"In the past, we've risen to the occasion and we talked just briefly (Wednesday) at training," Niedert said. "Truthfully, we probably have a little bit stronger team offensively now than we had last year."

Highlands will face a team that has outscored opponents, 126-27 this season. The Panthers have seven players that have scored 26 or more points. Senior midfielder Brian Winkler leads the way with 35 goals and 17 assists for 87 points and junior forward Jacob Boling has 27 goals and 16 assists for 70 points. The next two scorers for Daviess County are senior forward Maxten Miller with 16 goals and 19 assists for 51 points and sophomore forward Hunter Clark with 16 goals and 10 assists for 42 points.

Daviess County has nine shut-outs this year. The Panther goalkeeper is junior Kaya Suza.

But it's been hard to get things by Highlands senior goalkeeper Will Burnham in addition to defenders such as seniors Will Hochleutner, Drew Cavacini, Garrett Crowe, Alex Ford, Devin Harris and junior Ford Orem this year. Midfielders such as senior Keegan Brewer, Mike Penrod and junior Elijah Stevie have also done well winning balls in the midfield and playing them to the forwards.

"I'm really confident in our back line," Niedert said. "Their strength is they create a lot of chances to score a lot of goals. Our best way to defend that is to make sure they're spending time defending us. When it comes down to it, we have a bunch of backs and a goalkeeper that have done a really good job all year of keeping the ball out of the back of our net. So if we continue to thrive where we've been successful all year, I think we're going to be in good shape."

Highlands and Daviess County have two common opponents. Both are from the 8th Region in Oldham County and Simon Kenton. Both played Daviess County in the Panther Classic on Sept. 15. Daviess County lost 2-1 to Oldham County before beating Simon Kenton, 5-1.

The Bluebirds beat both opponents. Highlands beat Oldham County, 6-1 at home on Aug. 23 and won 2-0 at Simon Kenton on Sept. 1.

Highlands is 1-0 against the seven other teams remaining in the tournament. The Bluebirds beat 11th Region champion Lexington Henry Clay, 2-0 on Aug. 18 in the Lexington Soccer Showcase at Bryan Station.

The state semifinal and championship games will be at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington. The girls semifinal games take place on Wednesday, Oct. 31 and the boys semifinals take place on Thursday, Nov. 1. The times are both 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The championship games take place Saturday, Nov. 3. The girls play at 6 p.m. and the boys go at 8 p.m.

Directions to Dunbar High School:

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Coming Soon: Affordable Private Offices in Fort Thomas

At the grand opening of their Newport building, Dave and Abi Clabeaux welcome Newport City Manager Tom Fromme. (photo provided)
By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

A former doctor’s office on Alexandria Pike will be the new home of Fort Thomas Executive Offices. Set to open this winter, the building offers 14 small private offices for those seeking a quiet and secure space from which to work or run a small business.

Work has begun on the project located at 1501 Alexandria Pike in Fort Thomas. Expected completion will be some time in December with a grand opening set for early spring 2019.

The project is the second such venture for developers Dave and Abi Clabeaux of Cold Spring. While they have experience with residential renovation, they opened their first commercial property, Newport Executive Offices, in spring 2018.

"Our goal is to fill a need for small office spaces. We noticed a glut of large, 1,500-square-foot spaces, but very little available for small private offices," said Dave Clabeaux. Providing those spaces that individuals and small businesses could afford was key, he added.

The plan is to include wifi, a printer, a lobby area, break room and other amenities included in the one price for space rental. Most spaces will rent for $495 per month for about 120 square feet. While the layouts are similar, one office offers a private entrance while another has a private bathroom.

"We want to make the process as easy as possible with no extra fees," said Clabeaux.

One way he hopes to keep costs down is to make the building as energy efficient as possible. "Dr. Meyers [the former owner] did a great job in insulation, and we will be switching the lighting to LEDs. We find these can result in huge energy savings. We want to be as green as we can and save money."

As with the Newport project, the couple will donate five percent of net profits from the building to a charity. The charity for the Fort Thomas building has not been selected yet, but the Newport project benefits the Children’s Hospital Cardiac Division.

"We selected Children’s because our son had been diagnosed with a heart murmur. He is fine, but we felt this was important," Clabeaux explained.

Through their company, Omega Holdings, LLC, the Clabeauxes, both former school teachers, began rehabbing and reselling residential properties in Florida where they met. Abi Clabeaux is a native of Cold Spring, and the couple decided to move and settle in the area.

The Newport building is located at 830 Monmouth Street in Newport and provides 25 offices to individuals and small businesses such as an Internet marketing company and an attorney.

Fort Thomas Welcomes New Firefighter/Paramedic

Fort Thomas Fire Department Chief Mark Bailey pins a badge on new Firefighter/Paramedic Michael Wright
By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

Fort Thomas has a new firefighter/paramedic. Chief Mark Bailey introduced Michael Wright at the October City Council meeting.

Wright served in the Florence Fire Department for many years, becoming full time in 2014. He has also worked part time for both the Elsmere and Point Pleasant fire departments.

Chief Bailey said Wright was up against 30 other applicants and scored the highest on the test, and after his interview with the chief, City Administrator Ron Dill and Mayor Eric Haas, it remained clear he was the top candidate.

The chief pointed to the experience Wright brings with him to the department. "He knows the ins and outs, has some experience under his belt as a firefighter/paramedic… We are just very very pleased to have Mike as a part of our family. And, to have his family as a part of our fire department family."

Wright’s family, his wife Kate and their two daughters, were on hand to witness the badge pinning and to celebrate. Although he began work only a few weeks ago on September 24, many of Wright’s colleagues came to wish him well.

"To say I’m blessed to be here would be quite an understatement. I went up against 30 very good people, a lot of them are friends of mine, whom I know were very well qualified," said Wright.

He noted that community support and involvement is strong in Fort Thomas. "The atmosphere is completely different from what I’m used to. It’s a very community-oriented department. Coming from a busier department, we didn’t have much time to interact with our residents and get to know people like they do here. Thank you for the opportunity."

Council member Roger Peterman welcomed Wright on behalf of city council. "You say you are blessed, but we are blessed as a community to have the force we have here and the personnel involved."

Congratulations to Firefighter/Paramedic Wright and to the Fort Thomas Fire Department and community! He is badge number five and will work on third shift.

Fort Thomas Firefighter Michael Wright with his wife Kate and their daughters.


Long-For Sale Building on Memorial Parkway Sells, Business to Open This Spring

The Veterinary Medical Center of Fort Thomas will open this spring.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

A new veterinary clinic will open in Fort Thomas this spring. Veterinarian Kristi Baker, who owns a clinic in Independence, will open a second location at 2000 Memorial Parkway.

The Veterinary Medical Center of Fort Thomas will specialize in high service, low stress care of pets, providing general care, dentistry, behavioral care for dogs, cats and other pets including small mammals and some reptiles.

Work is now underway to renovate the space to include a treatment area, dentistry suite, four clinical exam rooms, Xray and surgery. Space is available to house dogs and cats separately for overnight medical care as well.

Dr. Baker has more than 10 years’ experience treating animals and says her aim is to make visits more pleasant and less stressful for both animals and their owners alike.

"We are excited to open a clinic in the community that we live in, and very excited to serve the community of Fort Thomas," she said.

A lot has changed since she took over her clinic in Independence in 2008. The business was on the verge of bankruptcy when she purchased it. Today, it is a vibrant and popular concern. Also since that time, she has married and started a family. While she plans to split her time between the two clinics, she is happy to be closer to her home in Fort Thomas.

Dr. Baker plans to hire another veterinarian part time to help, and she says hopes some of her Independence staff may also split their time between the two clinics. Her goal is to free up some of her own time for management of her growing business.

Highlands Looks to Move to 8-2 Against Boone County

Bluebirds Seek First 8-2 Regular Season Since 2014

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands sophomore offensive lineman Seth Mullikin (70), Trevor Harms (74) and senior offensive lineman Will Gastright (58) block for Highlands junior quarterback Collin Hollingsworth (with ball) and junior running back Tyler Brune (20) against Greenwood on Friday. Highlands concludes the regular season against Boone County on Friday at 7 p.m. at David Cecil Memorial Stadium.
When the weather turns colder at this time of the year, Highlands Bluebirds football Head Coach Brian Weinrich can't emphasize enough the importance of hydration and hygiene.

The Highlands Bluebirds (7-2 overall) will conclude the regular season against the Boone County Rebels (2-7) at the comfort of David Cecil Memorial Stadium and the turf field on Friday at 7 p.m. They knocked off the Rebels, 36-12 on a rainy, cold day in Florence on Boone County's grass field last year. There is currently rain the forecast with temperatures between 51 and 42 degrees.

"We try to get them to do that all the time, but at this time of the year with everything that's going around, (It's vital to) just simply take your stuff home and wash it," Weinrich said. "Also at this time of year, you don't hydrate like you should because you're not hot all the time. Then all of a sudden, you see guys cramping all over the field. You have to drink when you're not thirsty."

Highlands has one more win than last year and is seeking its first 8-2 regular season since the 2014 Class 4A state championship season. The visiting Rebels have two wins in a season for the first time since 2011 when they lost to Scott County in the Class 6A state semifinals.

Boone County beat Covington Holmes, 49-0 on Sept. 7 and winless Dixie Heights, 28-27 two weeks later holding off the Colonels on a two-point conversion late in the game. The Rebels have gone 6-69 over the last seven seasons. Opponents have outscored them, 263-156 for averages of just more than 29-17 per game.

On the other hand, Highlands has outscored opponents, 304-115 for averages of just less than 34-13 per game. The 3-5 Bluebirds defense has given up 1,061 yards rushing and 1,032 passing for averages of just under 118 rushing and 115 passing per game.

Highlands continues to do a good job putting pressure on opposing offenses with 15 sacks to go with 10 fumble recoveries and 14 interceptions. Highlands senior linebacker Jackson Hagedorn has three interceptions, one fumble recovery and three sacks. Hagedorn has returned an interception and fumble for touchdowns. Senior linebacker Alex Starkey also has three sacks.

Junior defensive back Jacob Brass returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown against Greenwood. Brass and senior defensive back Casey Greene have three interceptions with junior linebacker Mason Schwalbach and junior defensive lineman Conner Zell recovering two fumbles each.

Junior linebacker Brycen Huddleston finished a number of runs in the Greenwood backfield and junior defensive lineman Zach Lewin stuffed a sweep for a loss. Huddleston also returned the second half-kickoff for a touchdown.

"Whenever defense makes big plays, it gives you the momentum for the rest of the game," said Bailey Armstrong, Highlands senior defensive back. "So we have to stay focused because it's the most important time of the year. Whenever people make big plays, you have to celebrate and move on. Play the next play." 

Highlands will face a Power-I Boone County offense. The quarterback is senior Zach Grau and their leading rushers are sophomore Cauvey Vastine and senior John Mark Shutt.

"It creates some alignment challenges and uses different techniques that you don't see on a week-to-week basis," Weinrich said. "Just the whole angles, especially the way (defensive backs) have to attack the line of scrimmage, you can get lost coming in. The ball will bounce out on the back side or front side."

On the other side, the Highland spread offense showed more signs of greatness last week. The Bluebirds have thrown for 1,633 yards and run for 1,259 for averages of just more than 181 passing and just under 140 rushing.

"I think the guys we have out there are really starting to understand the offense," said Zach Deaton, Highlands Offensive Coordinator. "They're getting better each week at the little stuff nobody really sees and it's really starting to pay some big dividends for us in games on Friday."

When given time, the Highlands skill position players make things happen. Senior running back Cooper Schwalbach still leads the Bluebirds with 687 yards rushing on 125 carries and nine touchdowns for an average of about 5.5 yards per carry. Sophomore Joe Buten has started to come around lately with 407 yards on 57 carries and six touchdowns for an average of just more than seven yards per carry.

Highlands senior quarterback Grady Cramer has completed 123-of-217 passes for 1,535 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. Senior Nate Roberts leads all Highlands receivers with 34 catches for 586 yards and eight touchdowns. But a number of other guys have had big catches this year such as senior Austin King and junior Hunter Ahlfeld. King has 29 catches for 238 yards and two touchdowns and Ahlfeld has 23 catches for 394 yards and five touchdowns.

Defenses are allowed to stunt before the ball is snapped. But Highlands junior offensive lineman Dylan Turner said footwork is a big key against that. Boone County runs a 4-3 defense led by linebacker Shutt and senior Trevor Miller.

"It can be kind of confusing at times when defenses move around," Turner said. "But as long as we step the right way, just look in our gaps and make sure we're doing our job the way we're supposed to do it, we should be able to pick up those types of things. As long as we don't freak out when they see something different, we should be fine."

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Lisa Kelly: Why I Am Running for Fort Thomas City Council

Lisa Kelly
My name is Lisa Kelly and I’m running for re-election as a write-in for Fort Thomas City Council. My 10 years of service on council gives me the experience to hit the ground running so I can be your voice and work on your behalf.

My work on the Recreation Committee that brought improvements to Highland, Tower and Rossford Parks shows that I care about our green space and providing enhanced recreation options for our residents. I want to continue to make our home town feel like a “city in a park” and help to successfully implement our visioning plan over the next 5 years and beyond. I want to preserve our green spaces and residential zones, create opportunities for work and play within the city, but doing so in an appropriate way that respects our beautiful city, its great heritage and its future growth.

I also understand the importance of attracting and supporting small business to our community. I am the owner of Dirty Hairy’s Dog Grooming Salon and a Pet Wants franchise in the midway district. I know the hard work it takes to be a successful business owner and I will help those who share these aspirations.

As a small retail business owner within our city, it couldn’t be any easier to reach out to me. There is not a day that goes by without a conversation about city business. I am always happy to engage in that topic and am also glad to see people that are sharing their thoughts and concerns.

I have consistently voted against the annual tax increase, supported outdoor seating for our restaurants, supported the VA Homes purchase/renovation, voted against commercial developments in residential areas and supported speed limit adjustments and safety enhancements at crosswalks. I will continue to advocate for a more equitable split of cost for road repairs with property owners.

The most important thing to me is that YOUR VOICE is heard, so I want to ensure we continue to work towards greater transparency, better communication and notifications of proposals/plans so that you also have an opportunity to be part of the city government process and are never “blindsided” by proposed changes within our city.

As the only woman running for council, I bring not only a female perspective but a mother’s perspective. Years ago, I made the choice to raise my children here for the same reasons that so many others have. We are fortunate to live in a safe, walkable city with top schools and a great balance of amenities. My daughter Alex, and son Max both graduated from Highlands and were given a start in their adult life unlike any available in other cities. I would be surprised if when the time comes for them to start a new family, they don’t make that same choice.

In my last ten years as a council member, I am proud to have played a part in many of the decisions that have contributed to the continued improvement and quality of life in our city. There is much more to be done, and I sincerely hope to be a part of that process.

Boys Soccer Moves on in Dramatic Win in State Tournament

Highlands Faces Daviess County in State Quarterfinals

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Luke Schweitzer (14) leaps in the air and heads in the game-winning goal for the Bluebirds against the Montgomery County Indians in the Sub-State 5 contest at Tower Park on Tuesday. The Bluebirds advanced to the state quarterfinals with a 2-1 win. Senior Carter Holmes (10) gets in position to the right.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior goalkeeper Will Burnham goes after the ball while teammate Alex Ford (4) shields off Montgomery County senior midfielder Daniel Shelton (6) and Highlands senior Alexander Foubert (2) defenders the near post. Burnham made a save on the play.
The game definitely had the home fans nervous the entire time.

The underdog 10th Region champion Montgomery County Indians (17-4-1 overall) came to Fort Thomas determined to put up a battle against the 9th Region champion Highlands Bluebirds (21-1-3) in the Semi-State 5 contest Tuesday. Indians senior goalkeeper Danny Hernandez did everything he could to give the Indians a chance to advance to the state quarterfinals in Lexington on Saturday.

Hernandez rejected shot after shot recording 13 saves. The Bluebirds had that many corner kicks as a result of using their quickness to keep on the attack and in double overtime, one led the game-winner needed to advance. Highlands sophomore Max Farris hit the corner kick from the right side to the near side where it found senior Luke Schweitzer's forehead. Schweitzer bounced it just in front of the near corner and past a diving Hernandez for the game-winner to send the Bluebirds on to the state quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory with 3:07 left in the second overtime.

"I am in shock. (This is) one of the best soccer games of my life," Schweitzer said. "There is so much adrenaline right now. I can barely control myself."

Schweitzer scored both goals for the Bluebirds. The first one tied the game 1-1 with 26:18 left in the first half. He took  pass on the right side and hit one past Hernandez.

"We've talked all year about corner kicks, about being the guy that makes the difference," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "Max Farris played the perfect ball across. Thankfully, he was there to finish it. Since we've gotten to the postseason, the kids have kind of joked that all we've done is warm up, do a little possession, do some corners and some (penalty kicks) and it paid off (Tuesday)."

Schweitzer is tied with junior Caymon Stevie with a team-high 13 goals. Schweitzer also has six assists for a total of 32 points on the season.

Farris leads Highlands with 35 points on the season. The assist on the game-winner was his 11th of the season. He also has 12 goals.

"We deserved to win that game," Niedert said. "It shouldn't have gone to double OT. We were a better team I think. (Hernandez) was a heck of a keeper. He made the game as close as it was."

Farris and junior Porter Hedenberg among others constantly put pressure on the Indians up top with their speed. Highlands had 43 shots including 15 on goal compared to 10 shots with four on goal for the Indians. Hedenberg is second on the team with 34 points on 11 goals and 12 assists. Highlands senior goalkeeper Will Burnham made three saves.

"I think giving everything I got is what got us the win (Tuesday)," Farris said. "Even though we were down one in the beginning, we just kept fighting. It got us the win. The main thing is try not overthink it. Hopefully when the ball comes to you, it's just instinct to make the play happen."

Highlands takes on the Daviess County Panthers (21-2-1) in the state quarterfinals at at 5 p.m. Saturday at Dunbar High School in Lexington. The 3rd Region and 9th District champion Panthers won the state championship two years ago, 2-1 on penalty kicks over Covington Catholic before losing 3-0 to Louisville St. Xavier in the state championship last year.

Highlands is the only school in the state to see both the boys and girls soccer teams advance to the state quarterfinals. Highlands administrators indicated the Kentucky High School Athletic Association may hold the games back-to-back at one of the Lexington public high schools.

Montgomery County scored its lone goal just 6:10 into the game. Senior forward Daniel Shelton hit a corner kick that curved into the goal for just the 11th goal the Bluebirds have allowed this year. Highlands has scored 94 goals this season.

Gutters, siding, painting, roofing. 
"They were clearly a team that was willing to outwork somebody," Niedert said. "Montgomery had some technical skill, but I think every one of our players is a better individual player, but I think Montgomery made up for the difference in the middle by coming with a heck of a work ethic. They were grinding out every pass."

Highlands has only allowed more than one goal in a game once this year. It came in a 2-2 tie at East Central (Indiana) on Sept. 18.

"We have been focusing all week on practicing corners and defending them," said Ford Orem, Highlands junior. "We kind of started off slow. After we gave up the goal, we knew we had to get back onto it. We hustled on defense and cleared it up to our wingers, who crossed it and scored."

The game saw 13 fouls on Montgomery County and seven on Highlands. The Indians saw the game's only yellow card. Fans wanted penalty kick calls in the attacking box. But the Bluebirds received a few free kicks outside the box.