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Friday, November 15, 2019

Bocce and Beyond: Woodfill Students Share Unified Sports Program Success

Members of Woodfill's Unified Sports bocce team explained the program that provides opportunities for athletes of all abilities to play together.

By Robin Gee

Unified Sports is a program through Special Olympics that partners athletes with and without special needs in a program designed to build relationships, leadership skills, essential foundational skills, self-esteem and all-round good sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Woodfill students presented on their school’s Unified Sports program at the November meeting of the Fort Thomas School Board. The goal of the program, which includes 28 students from all grades, is to build and promote the concept of unified sports throughout the whole school and the community.

The program at Woodfill includes a unified club, unified physical education (PE) classes and a unified sports team. The school has chosen bocce as its sport for the program.

Eli, a Woodfill student and Unified team member, explained, "Special Olympics is only in the Northern Kentucky counties of Boone, Grant and Pendleton. Any child with a disability who wants to compete in sports must travel to play. Special Olympics currently has 15 sports, however there are only five unified sports – cheerleading, bowling, track and field, golf and bocce. Unified teams can compete at the state, national and world levels. We hope to compete at each of these levels in the future."

"It is our hope that we will continue to move on throughout this and grow unified bocce across the district... We really have become the unified bocce club for the whole region," added Principal Keith Faust.

Becoming a Unified Champion School

An additional goal would be for Woodfill to become a designated Unified Champion School. Criteria for a Unified Champion School set forth by the Special Olympics is to embody three elements — whole-school engagement, unified sports and youth leadership.

At present there are only three Unified Champion Schools in Kentucky. If Woodfill were to join this group, it would become the first elementary school in the nation to do so, but Faust said that goal is secondary to building a strong unified program within the school with focus on the PE program, after school club and the bocce team.

Another team member, Kamden, who joined the team with her brother Mason, described the PE program, "The goal for the unified PE class is to create an exclusive class that allows athletes and partners to work on foundational skills...Foundational skills support basic health and fitness such as body awareness, strength, flexibility and coordination."

She shared a quote from her PE teacher Matt Gessner, "I am absolutely thrilled with the amount of foundational skills in our athletes. With the leadership of our students, this program is teaching all the necessary skills to be successful," he wrote.

An after school opportunity

The unified club meets after school twice a month. Said student Simon, "Our unified club mission statement is to work together as equal partners in inclusion and empowering kids to be leaders who stand for unity and inclusion within the school and community."

Woodfill teachers Holly Solzsmon (special education) and Natalie Heidrich (Title 1), and instructional assistant Kathy Burgin are club sponsors.

Heidrich explained that each month involves a theme. Last month’s theme was friendship, and the students learned about what makes a good friend and teammate. This month the students are discussing the concept of perseverance.

"We started off with the popular story of the Tortoise and the Hare, and we talked about how Tortoise is slow, but sticks to it and in the end wins the race. We talked about how this is true in their teams and in life. They will work with people with different strengths, and if they support each other, they will experience a win...We connect back to our mission statement, building leaders who stand for unity and inclusion," said Heidrich.

The students share the club’s themes and discussions with the entire school through posters and signage, announcements and sharing at the school’s monthly school meetings.

Bocce for everybody

Faust added that the favorite element for the students and all involved is the bocce team. The school provides a court, and holds bocce matches on Tuesday nights. He said sometimes 50 to 60 people come to watch the students play.

Students Luke and Lorenzo explained how they play the game. Basically, a small white ball called a pallino is thrown onto the court and then balls are thrown towards the pallino. Those whose balls land closest win. Teams of three compete against each other.

Brogan, explained his reason for signing up, "I signed up for an after school enrichment program and that’s how I got started. I wanted to sign up because I wanted to play with my brother because he doesn’t get to play sports and I wanted to help him improve and work together with my other teammates."

Indeed, the sport allows students of all abilities and ages play together and build relationships and friendships as they learn leadership and teamwork.

Carmen Sarge has two sons, Brogan and Lorenzo, in the program. He serves as a coach for the team and gave a parent’s perspective on this unique opportunity. "It’s actually a real honor for me to be here to say a few words... To see how much fun they have and how included they feel when they are out there playing a sport with other kids is just amazing."

Sarge said when his older son Brogan was playing basketball in the Take Flight program at school, Lorenzo asked to go to every one of his practices. "And when you are a parent, especially of a child with special challenges and abilities, you really long for them to be included and feel included...With regular sport that’s not always available to some of these kids. Bocce was a solution to this issue that we as a family had been struggling with over the years."

He explained that, not only did his son get to compete with kids who might excel at other sports, he is on the same team with them and has the opportunity to form the bonds and relationships that happen between teammates.

"It’s been wonderful for Lorenzo and for Brogan as well. It benefits both of our boys...And, it’s a lot of fun. After the game one of the kids was going around hugging everybody. Their eyes light up; it’s amazing. I can’t say enough good things about the program."

Faust said the team is wrapping up now due to the cold weather but will be back playing in the spring. He invited the entire community to come out to Woodfill and cheer on the team. For more, check out the video students made about their Woodfill Unified bocce team experience.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Northern Kentucky Woman Indicted for Murder in Child’s Death

A Dayton woman accused in the death of her child has been indicted at the Campbell County Courthouse for first degree manslaughter. (FTM file photo)
 By Robin Gee

Stacey Schuchart, 29, was indicted today for murder in the death of her 17-month-old son, Sean Buttery, Jr. She will be arraigned in the Campbell County Circuit Court.

Stacey Schuchart is awaiting trial for manslaughter in the death of her 17-month-old son.

On August 16, the Bellevue-Dayton Fire Department responded to a call from Schuchart that her son was unresponsive. She said the child had hit his head on the microwave. Despite efforts to revive him, the child was pronounced dead at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

After the coroner found severe injuries inconsistent with Schuchart’s claim, she was arrested on September 13.

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The woman’s three-year-old daughter was also home at the time at the family's residence in Dayton, Kentucky. The coroner’s report stated that the three-year-old could not have contributed to the injuries. The child’s father was at work, and police have confirmed he was not at home at the time of the incident.

The coroner’s report revealed that the child had suffered traumatic injury inconsistent with hitting his forehead on a microwave.

Newport District Court Judge Karen Thomas read parts of the coroner’s report aloud. In addition to head and skull trauma, the child had lacerations, bruises and evidence of several recent wounds and injuries including a detached bladder and four fractures to the pelvis area.

The injuries were consistent with “the level of trauma you would expect in a serious car accident.”

The judge entered a plea for Schuchart of not guilty but denied a request from the mother’s public advocate for alternative monitoring due to the severity of the injuries and her past criminal record that included bail jumping and probation violations. Bond was set at $1 million.

Schuchart appeared in court on September 26, and initially was charged with first degree manslaughter. A Grand Jury changed the charge to murder. If convicted, she faces 20 to 50 years or life in prison.

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Staff Member Honored for Going the Extra Mile

Global Leader Award winner, staff member and avid school booster Mary Turner with her award.

By Robin Gee

People who work behind the scenes in offices and departments that support our schools often can be unsung heroes, taking care of the day-to-day business and quietly making sure administrators’, teachers’ and students’ needs are met.

At the November meeting, Fort Thomas school board members made sure to recognize and honor a staff member for her support and service she gives to her colleagues.

Mary Turner handles payroll and benefits for the school’s employees. The board honored her for the care she takes to ensure everyone has all the information and support they need to ensure their families receive the benefits provided for them by the district.

Superintendent Karen Cheser explained. "Mary does all our payroll and benefits, and sometimes she has to do things that are not quite as fun, such as tracking down people to get their insurance done. We heard from Whitney McKay, a counselor at Johnson, who contacted us to make sure we knew to say thank you to Mary for her persistence in making sure we enroll successfully for our health insurance claims."

In her nomination letter, McKay said "I carry my children on my health insurance, and in addition to this I have to have very expensive medication covered by insurance that is incredibly important my family."

She said she could not afford the medication without the insurance. She thought she’d registered properly and even printed out a receipt but came to find out that she had not. Turner reached out to her and said she’d make sure the family was enrolled.

McKay said Turner followed up and saved the family headaches and potential financial hardship. "She checked and I was so glad she did."

Cheser added that at some other institutions an office person might just send out a notice or email, but otherwise leave the respondents on their own. If things aren’t filled out or done right, that leaves the employee to suffer the consequences.

Woodfill Principal Honored as a Global Leader

Keith Faust, principal at Woodfill Elementary, received a Global Leadership award in November.

 By Robin Gee

No surprise to the teachers, students, parents and staff of Woodfill Elementary, Principal Keith Faust received a Global Leadership award for the work he has done to make his school culture one of learning, respect and leadership.

At its November meeting, the Fort Thomas school board honored Faust with the award after he was nominated by a visitor to the school, an educator who served recently as a substitute in Woodfill’s counseling department.

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Karen Strong, a retired classroom teacher, principal and Northern Kentucky University educator said she was privileged to do her second stint at Woodfill as a substitute and wanted to share her thoughts with the Fort Thomas school community.

In her nomination letter, she shared praise for both Principal Faust and for the school. "This is the second time I’ve spent extended time at Woodfill Elementary working for Keith Faust. It would be remiss of me not to share my reflections. After my first experience five years ago, I was so impressed with the building culture, the research-based standards and instructional practices, inclusiveness and the maximizing of staff potential. Fast-forward five years, and this amazing school has reached new heights."

To Strong, Woodfill’s principal, teachers, staff and students model all the characteristics outlined in Portrait of a Graduate and the Global Leadership effort. "I am most struck by the kindness, consideration and respect that is demonstrated among and between staff and students. This school exemplifies a community of learners. The staff and students have embraced Covey’s seven habits. These skills for living and learning should very much impact their entire lives," she said.

Highlands Soccer Player Maria Broering Scores Big in Academics

Highlands senior and Bluebirds varsity soccer player Maria Broering earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT exam.

By Robin Gee

Maria Broering, who just finished a great season on the Highlands Bluebirds varsity soccer team, demonstrated academic achievement as well. At the November meeting of the Fort Thomas Independent Schools Board, she was honored for earning a perfect score of 36 on the ACT exam.

Broering is also a National Merit Scholar Semi-finalist. Her name was included at earlier fall board meetings for her honors, but Superintendent Karen Cheser said it was difficult to get Broering to the meetings to congratulate her personally due to her demanding soccer schedule.

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Now that the season was over, it was time to honor Broering for all the senior’s achievements and contributions to Highlands.

About 1.6 million juniors from 21,000 high schools enter the national scholarship program each year by taking a qualifying test known as the PSAT. As a National Merit Scholar Semi-finalist, Broering was selected one of only 16,000 students to earn the designation.

About 15,000 of the semifinalists will advance to the finalist level. Finalists will be announced in early February and a little over half will be named winners and will receive a $2,500 Merit Scholarship or a scholarship sponsored by a private company or a college. More than 1,000 additional special scholarships will be awarded to finalists who were not named winners.

Broering plans to attend Ball State University where she will continue her soccer career. She plans to major in Dietetics.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

BB Riverboats christening new event center, celebrates 40 years in business

The Bernstein family christened a new component of their floating-family business today as they introduced River's Edge, a state-of-the-art event center on the northern Kentucky banks of the Ohio River.

The event center holds up to 225 guests to experience the romance of the river without ever setting sail.

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Located on their brand new Newport Landing dock facility, River's Edge is Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky’s only private event space located on the Ohio River.  It's designed to host and cater weddings, rehearsal dinners, family reunions, corporate meetings or sorority/fraternity parties.

40 years in business

BB Riverboats gets its name from the initials of the people who were instrumental in getting the business started; Ben Bernstein and Betty Blake.

In 1977, Ben Bernstein purchased the Mike Fink Restaurant in Covington, KY from Captain John Beatty.

In 1979, BB Riverboats was formed and a staff began booking cruises from the Mike Fink Restaurant. The first cruise was on March 15, 1980 on the M/V Betty Blake. The Betty Blake was a 400 passenger sternwheeler that was leased from the Gateway Clipper Company from Pittsburgh, PA.

Port of Cincinnati

It didn't take long after the grand opening of BB Riverboats to realize that the business was going to be a success. Following the first cruising season at the Mike Fink, a long-term home was purchased for BB Riverboats and it was moved further down the river, just below the John Roebling Suspension Bridge. BB Riverboats ran out of this location for about ten years before becoming part of Covington's riverfront entertainment complex, "Covington Landing", where it operated until 2005. In 2005, BB Riverboats moved up to Newport, KY, where it is located today on Riverboat Row.

Propelling into the Future

‘Making Spirits Bright’ is taking over Grassroots & Vine this holiday season

Looking for a festive place to “eat, drink and be merry” that still feels like a neighborhood hangout? This holiday season, Grassroots & Vine will transform into a Christmas pop-up bar and experience.  The concept, Making Spirits Bright, will take over the full-service bar and spread into the tasting room and onto the patio.  Sip on festive cocktails served in Santa mugs beneath Christmas lights, tinsel, garland, baubles galore and non-stop Christmas music.

The Christmas experience will take on a nostalgic, retro, mid-century modern but cozy feel.  There will be tons of photo opportunities, games and events throughout the month of December. You will feel right at home for the holidays!

Making Spirits Bright will open on Small Business Saturday, November 30th and run through Tuesday, December 31st with a New Year’s Eve party.  Hours will coincide with Grassroots & Vine’s business hours: Tuesday-Thursday 10 a.m. -10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. - 11 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.  The bar and restaurant will offer a festive menu of Christmas cocktails and snacks, as well as, their everyday lunch, dinner and beverage items, including CAKE, cookies, coffee, cider and hot chocolate.

Grassroots & Vine will tie-in between drink sales and the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky by donating a percentage of all Christmas themed cocktail sales for the month of December.  The Christmas cocktails menu will include drinks like Santa Clausmopolitan, A Kentucky Christmas, Chai Hot Toddy, Nice and Naughty Shots, just to name a few!

Making Spirits Bright at Grassroots & Vine is also available for private and semi-private holiday parties with in-house menu options.  Email today to reserve your holiday spirit!

Upcoming Holiday Calendar-of-Events
November 13th Kid’s Club “Kids Giving,” 5-7pm; $8 includes kids meal and craft/activity
November 14th-17th Annual Holiday Open House; FREE gift w/ purchase everyday
November 21st Holiday Edition Mega Wine Tasting, 6:30-8:30pm; $15 per person
November 30th ‘Making Spirits Bright’ opening on Small Business Saturday
December 1st Fort Thomas Holiday Walk
December 11th Kid’s Club Christmas Cookie Decorating; reservations required
December 19th Mega Wine Tasting – Big Bang Event!
December 31st First Annual Grassroots & Vine New Year’s Eve Party

*Local musicians will be featured throughout the holiday season. Please visit the events calendar at  for additional information.

The countdown has begun.  Be sure to join Grassroots and Vine this holiday season, Making Spirits Bright, spreading good cheer and joy, one “Merry Christmas” at a time!  Located at 1011 S Fort Thomas Avenue, Fort Thomas, KY.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Northern Kentucky accounting firm merges with Fort Thomas business

Rudler, PSC, a public accounting firm located in Northern Kentucky, announced a strategic merger with Scott E. Grosser, PSC CPAs in Fort Thomas.

Grosser's firm will assume the Rudler name and a second office will open in Fort Thomas in addition to Rudler’s primary location in Fort Wright to accommodate the expansion.

The Fort Thomas location will be at 20 N. Grand Avenue, Fort Thomas.

“This merger is a major milestone in our 50 years of business that will allow us to grow while remaining independent and continue to provide outstanding service to our clients,” said Alex Weidner, president of Rudler.

“Similarly to our firm, Rudler has a stellar reputation for treating their clients like family,” said Scott E. Grosser, owner of Scott E. Grosser, PSC CPAs. “This merger allows us to broaden our technology platforms to better serve our clients and lend our years of tax service experience to enhance Rudler’s current service offerings.”

Support Veterans Wreaths Across America This December With Your Time or Money

For the 5th year, Wreaths Across America is raising funds and to place wreaths on the graves of Veterans in the Civil War Battery and the VA’s Soldier’s Lot at the Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate on Saturday December 14, 2019.  Wreaths will be placed at veterans cemeteries throughout the United State on that date as part of Wreaths Across America (WAA) program. The program started at Arlington Cemetery and has spread to Veterans' Cemeteries across the nation.
Evergreen Cemetery holds the graves of over 440 veterans from the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  Organizer Paul Whalen says, “There are hundreds of National Cemeteries across the nation and the world doing this, including the Arlington National Cemetery.In the past, I believe we have placed the most wreaths on Veterans' graves in the Greater Cincinnati area.”
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In addition to funding wreaths, volunteers are needed to assist with placement of wreaths on the graves. Last year, the group placed over 310 wreaths last year.  Whalen says, “We would like to place 448 in order to include all the Veterans' Graves in the Civil War Lot in the front of the cemetery.”
Volunteers will meet at the John R. Little VFW for coffee and to pick up wreath for placement at 8:30 AM on December 14, 2019.

At 8:50, volunteers will proceed to veteran grave locations. The ceremony begins at 9:30.
 If you would like to make a donation to assist in this endeavor.  Wreaths are $15 a piece and donations are tax deductible.  Checks should be made out to “WAA” (Wreaths Across America) and mailed to Paul Whalen at P.O. Box 22; Fort Thomas, Kentucky 41075.  Checks should have Location KYELS and Group KY0098 marked on them as well.

Volunteers can email Paul Whalen at or call him at 859-466-3450 or Carolyn Noe at 954-815-2457.

Andy Eckerle takes the reins for Highlands Bowling

Bluebirds Ready to Soar with First-Year Head Coach

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Jordan Cole (left) and junior Tessa Killen (right) will be keys to the success of the Highlands bowling teams this year.
First-year Highlands bowling Head Coach Andy Eckerle mentioned the biggest component to success is like a lot of things in life.

That's consistency.

Eckerle takes over the Highlands bowling programs that have seen success since the Kentucky High School Athletic Association made it a sport in 2012. Eckerle said former Head Coach Glenn Schmidt still helps out at LaRu Lanes in Highlands Heights where the team practices and has home matches.

"I am kind of a newby with coaching. I have some experience bowling," Eckerle said. "It wasn't my sport growing up. I play it pretty consistently. (Schmidt) and I talk a lot. It's been key, too. We get a lot of practice time in and the kids are using it to their advantage. We have scheduled some practices trying to maintain focus trying to make sure that we practice as we hope to play trying to take our time on the lanes seriously."

The Highlands girls are coming off the first state tournament win in school history with a 3-0 (153-136, 171-139, 203-170) win over Harrison County. The Bluebirds then lost to Region 5 rival Campbell County by the same score in the elite eight. Campbell County finished state runner-up and won the region. Highlands has three region championships and six total appearances in the state tournament.

The Bluebirds graduated Emerel Woody and Erin Parrott from that team. But they return juniors Abby Bach and Tessa Killen. Woody and Bach made the individual state tournament last year with Bach making the state semifinals for a top-eight finish.

"I think they're chomping at the bit to get going," Eckerle said. "I know we've got some new additions who are real excited to get out there and get some experience, too so I think they'll be riding that wave into the year."

Sophomore Kristen Egan is a returning sophomore and junior Amanda Parrott is back bowling after taking several years off. New additions to the team are sophomores Madison Clore and Madalyn Taylor.

"For the new players, we're just focusing on getting them comfortable in the lanes and we're just carrying the team as much as possible," Killen said. "We've been doing a lot of spare drills and we've been simulating game play here at practice and helping them with their techniques."

The Highlands boys did not make it to state for the third year in a row. But eighth grader Alex Bach made it to state individually.

The Bluebirds return their top two bowlers in seniors Gunner Gabbard and Jordan Cole. Seniors Perry Daniel and Zane Goodwin are also returning seniors. Juniors Jonathan Egan and Kyle Tierney also return.

"I think we have three key senior bowlers that are strong," Eckerle said. "I feel really comfortable with the guys that we have."

Eckerle said he had a huge tryout for the squad. But he kept some new bowlers on the sidelines to prepare for beyond this season. He said the seniors have helped out there.

"(The underclassmen) have all been really outstanding," Cole said. "They understand their spot currently and they understand next year and the years to come, they're going to have more important role on the team. They understand they will eventually be some of the best bowlers on the team. They're very good at listening and are very coachable."

The Highlands boys have one lone Region 5 crown in 2016. The Bluebirds have been to state twice finishing state runner-up to Scott County in 2014.

Monday, November 11, 2019

KYTC District 6 Snowfighters to report for first winter event

Rain, snow and freezing temperatures coming our way

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 6 snow and ice removal crews will report to duty this afternoon at 4 p.m. for the first winter weather event forecasted for the Northern Kentucky area.

KYTC has been monitoring this first threat of precipitation.  The National Weather Service advises rain is expected to change over to snow later this afternoon.   Dropping temperatures during the overnight hours will also create the potential for slick spots on the Tuesday morning commute.

D6 Snowfighters will mobilize ahead of the storm to treat state roads and interstates in the Northern Kentucky area.   Crews will especially focus on bridges, overpasses and higher elevated roadways that would be more prone to freezing.

Motorists should plan their morning commute by leaving early to allow more time to reach their destination or later to allow the conditions to improve.   If you must travel, motorists should simply remember – When it snows, take it slow.

Maintenance crews in KYTC District 6 have responsibility for clearing over 2,000 miles of state-maintained highways in the counties of Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Kenton, Owen, Pendleton and Robertson. That equates to 4,670   “lane miles” – all driving lanes from rural state roads to interstate highways.  District 6 state maintenance crews are prepared to work to keep roads in the best possible condition during winter weather.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has a webpage just for snow and ice information. The public can visit to learn more about priority routes, access helpful winter weather tips and fact sheets and view informational videos on salt application and snow removal.

District 6 starts out with 31,350 tons of salt each winter season stored in the domes located at the state maintenance facilities.  There are 133 trucks available to treat state highways and interstates.

In the northern Kentucky counties of Boone, Kenton and Campbell, District 6 is responsible for 1,868 lane miles of roadway. Crews have stockpiled 16,500 tons of salt and over 26,000 gallons of brine for de-icing in the three counties. Seventy-six trucks are available for snow and ice removal – three of which will concentrate on the six-mile section of I-75 between Buttermilk Pike and the Brent Spence Bridge that includes the “Cut in the Hill.”

Every snowstorm is different and presents unique challenges, such as air temperature, pavement temperature, the timing of snowfall and ice. Last year, 2018 – 2019, District 6 crews used 29,900 tons of salt, 44,749 gallons of salt brine and 38,565 gallons of liquid chloride for snow and ice events. In all, District 6 spent $5.6 million on equipment, materials and labor.

You are an important part!  Safe travel begins with YOU!

Be prepared:

The following measures will help keep motorists safe and prepared:

Newport on the Levee offers rent-free retail space for local vendors

The new owner of Newport on the Levee is planning an expanded holiday experience that will include activating every available space in the retail development.

North American Properties will host Winter Wonder on the Levee starting Nov. 23. The experience will include a Light Up the Levee event along with shopping and entertainment opportunities.

To create a unique shopping experience, NAP is offering a select number of rent-free retail spaces to Greater Cincinnati specialty retailers, makers, artists, eateries and other purveyors.

The spaces, which range from 700 to 7,800 square feet, will be part of the Village at the Levee in the Gallery building and be available for reservations through Nov. 20. Retailers will be able to activate the spaces Nov. 23 through Dec. 28.

Interested vendors can submit applications on the Levee website or email for more information. Accepted vendors will be announced as they’re confirmed.

“We are in a unique position this year where we are preparing for the transformation coming in 2020 and have a limited number of retail spaces available for the holiday season,” NAP partner and chief investment officer Tim Perry said in a statement. “Newport on the Levee has always been a community-driven hub. To show our profound appreciation for the artisans and makers in our region and to offer our holiday guests gifts and merchandise they can’t find anywhere else, we decided to create an amazing popup experience surrounding our holiday programming.”

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Highlands-Conner Football Video Highlights

Ben Williams named Soccer Coach at NewCath

Today, Newport Central Catholic named Ben Williams as its new Boys Soccer Coach. He will be taking over the NCC Boys Soccer program starting in 2020 after serving as an assistant this past season.  He takes over the position left vacant by Coach Jeff Martin who will now be serving as the school’s Head Baseball Coach.

“I’m very excited to be leading these young men at Newport Central Catholic HS.  I enjoyed my time very much as a student-athlete at NCC and to now lead the soccer program as an alum, is truly an honor.  I’m looking forward to getting started,” said Williams.

Williams, a 2000 graduate of Newport Central Catholic, was a standout in both soccer and track.  He was a 1999 First Team All-Region selection for both the Northern Kentucky Soccer Coaches Association and The Cincinnati Enquirer and was also a 1999 All-State Honorable Mention selection.

Williams continued his soccer career at Wilmington College where he was a four year letterman and named captain his senior year.  His team advanced to the NCAA "Round of 32" during his sophomore season.

Principal Ron Dawn said, “I am really excited to announce Ben Williams as our new Boys Soccer Coach. It’s always great to have former players come back to coach. With the experience and knowledge that Ben possesses the future is bright for the soccer program here at NCC.”

NKY Chamber Government Forum to Address Vaping Epidemic in Northern Kentucky

On Monday, November 25, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (NKY Chamber) will host Government Forum: The Vaping Epidemic in NKY - Facts and Solutions. The event will bring together a panel of experts for a discussion on the region’s vaping epidemic and the proposed 2020 legislation before the Kentucky General Assembly.

Panelists will include Rep. Kim Moser, Chair of Health and Family Services, Kentucky House of Representatives and Ben Chandler, President and CEO, Foundation for Healthy Kentucky. Garren Colvin, President and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare will moderate.

E-cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine and come in many forms, with the most popular looking like USB sticks. The devices heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales. The liquid usually has nicotine and flavoring in it and other additives. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, e-cigarette use has grown dramatically over the course of the past five years, with usage by high school students exceeding adults.

“Northern Kentucky has a smoking problem,” said Brent Cooper, President & CEO of the NKY Chamber.  “While nationally 14% of adults smoke cigarettes, 23% of NKY adults smoke and this does not include the newest epidemic facing the youth of our region: vaping. This is a critical conversation for our community to be having as the health of our future workforce is at stake.”

The Government Forum will run from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. and will take place at St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center (3861 Olympic Blvd, Erlanger, KY 41018). Tickets are $30 for NKY Chamber members, $40 for future members, $25 for NKYP Passport holders and are available online at Pre-registration is required.

Government Forum sponsors include Event Sponsors AT&T and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The Host Sponsor is St. Elizabeth Healthcare

Alexandria murder suspect in custody, details developing

A suspect is in custody in connection to the shootings which occurred on N. Cottonwood Drive yesterday afternoon in Alexandria. Police are still investigating and will release more information when it becomes available.

Police arrested 18-year-old Richard Fessler early Saturday  morning in a neighborhood in Alexandria near Washington Trace. He was booked into the Campbell County Detention Center at 4:00 a.m. on charges of murder and attempted murder.

Alexandria Police Chief Lucas Cooper said one victim, who was shot twice, advised officers to a home where they found two other victims dead inside. Cooper said that there has not been a homicide in Alexandria in the time he's been with the department, 13 years.

Cooper said that they believe the suspect and victims knew each other.

Fessler had only one charge as an adult on his record, a shoplifting charge in August 2019. According to that case memo, police alleged that Fessler had stolen a facemask from Kohl's at the Crossroads Plaza in Cold Spring, valued at $30. He was given diversion by the court.

The case memo on that case also indicated that Fessler resided on N. Cottonwood Drive. It's not yet clear if the crime took place in the same home.

Chief Cooper said that a passerby acted quickly to help the victim who had been shot by stopping to help emergency treatment.

Ambyr Schnitzler told FOX19 she was driving through the area with her two kids in the car when she saw a man running down a cul-de-sac with his arms up and blood all over him.

“I needed to be there. I really believe that. He was shot in the shoulder and underneath his rib area and there was so much blood. I am not sure how many times he got shot. I just know those two areas and the whole time I was holding it and packing it and all that pressure. I made him stay with me, not to go into shock and he was telling me about his son. He just kept up with me until they got there,” Schnitzler told Fox.

The injured victim was transported to UC hospital. Their condition is unknown at this time.

The City of Alexandria Police Department issued a "shelter in place" for area residents while they attempted to located Fessler.

Highlands Falls in First Round of Class 5A Playoffs

Conner Makes Clutch Plays in Win over Bluebirds

PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands senior quarterback Collin Hollingsworth looks to make a play against Conner in the first round of the playoffs Friday. Hollingsworth completed 16-of-28 passes for 169 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in his final game as a Bluebird.
Going into the game, the Highlands Bluebirds football team (6-5 overall) knew it had to contain the prolific Spread-Option attack from the host Conner Cougars (8-3) and produce more on offense to advance in the first round of the playoffs.

The Highlands offense did produce more than in recent games. But Conner senior quarterback Jared Hicks and company made enough clutch plays to lead the Cougars past the Bluebirds, 38-28 in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs on Friday in Hebron. This marks the second first-round exit for the Bluebirds in four seasons.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Alexandria Police Looking for shooting suspect, residents to "shelter in place"

An active investigation on Brookwood Dr. in Alexandria, has led Alexandria Police to let residents know to "shelter in place until further notice" after police say a shooting occurred.

An emergency advisory message was sent to residents by police via Nixle. The message also indicated that the area should be avoided.

Authorities say they are searching for a suspect in a shooting.

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Campbell County Dispatch also put out an advisory to be looking for a man with a gun.

Dispatchers were told multiple people were shot in Alexandria and to be on the lookout for the suspect’s vehicle on the AA Highway.

The vehicle is reportedly a black Ford Focus.

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Campbell County Residents Receive Emergency Notifications with Smart911

Emergency Management officials in Campbell County announced today enhancement to Smart911 that allows individuals to receive emergency notifications. Through one sign up process, residents can share additional information with 9-1-1 and receive timely alerts.

Smart911 now enables residents and travelers to CAMPBELL COUNTY to sign up for free at or download the Smart911 app to receive timely and actionable emergency alerts via email, text or voice message. They can also identify when and how they are alerted and communicated with before, during, and after emergencies.

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“Individuals will receive notifications that will improve safety in our county and help inform residents of potentially life-saving actions they may need to take in an emergency,” said William R. Turner, Director of the Campbell County Office of Emergency Management.  “The information in Smart911 Safety Profiles and the emergency notifications allows both residents and first responders to be better informed in an emergency situation.”

Smart911 is a free service that allows individuals to improve their personal safety by receiving alerts and creating a Safety Profile for their household that can include any information they want 9-1-1 call takers and first responders to have in the event of an emergency they need to dial 9-1-1, their Safety Profile will immediately display on the call taker’s screen saving critical seconds and even minutes in response to the emergency and now individuals can receive alert notifications on potentially hazardous situations involving weather, traffic, and other emergencies.

“Smart911 saves critical time in an emergency when seconds count,” said Director William R. Turner, “The key information provided in a Smart911 Safety Profile enables us to know exactly where we are going and who we are looking for if a child goes missing or there is a house fire, those details can help us respond faster and more efficiently. Sending notifications through Smart911 allows us to keep the public informed of emergencies and how to be prepared and stay safe.”

Wilder Officer Christopher Vance Promoted to Sergeant

Sgt. Christopher Vance is congratulated by Wilder Mayor Robert Arnold after taking his oath of office.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

Wilder city officials, family and fellow officers were on hand at the city council meeting in October to congratulate Christopher Vance on his promotion to sergeant in the Wilder Police Department.

A graduate of the Kentucky Police Academy, Vance has served the city as an officer since 2013, coming to the department from the Covington Police Department.

At the meeting Wilder Mayor Robert Arnold said “When he was first hired with the city, it was also my first day on council so the first thing I got to witness as a new council passing a resolution to hire Chris. It’s great having him stay with us all these years and move up through the ranks. We certainly appreciate his effort and commitment to the city.”

Police Chief Chad Martin said his department has undergone many changes lately, and Sergeant Vance has provided important support and leadership throughout this period. “When three of the most senior officers within the department retired in close proximity, Sgt. Vance was instrumental in not only maintaining, but also increasing the overall efficiency of the department by implementing new processes."