Thursday, January 17, 2019

Signage Changed at Fort Thomas Location: United Bank to Become WesBanco

United Bank, formerly Citizens Bank of Northern Kentucky, will now become WesBanco.

Signage on its locations, including at 34 N. Fort Thomas Avenue, has been changed and temporarily covered with United Bank signage until the data transfer is complete.

In April of 2018 a merger was announced between United Bank's parent company, Farmers Capital Bank Corporation out of Frankfort, and WesBanco, a multi-state, bank holding company with total assets of approximately $10.9 billion.

Former branches of United Bank will continue to operate under the United Bank name until the data conversion, when they will be transitioned to WesBanco Bank in conjunction with the data processing and signage conversion.  Subsequent to the conversion date, United Bank customers will continue to conduct their regular banking transactions at United Bank's former banking locations.

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According to a release, WesBanco's merger with Farmers significantly expands WesBanco's existing franchise within Kentucky and bridges the gap between its existing Southern Indiana/Kentucky and Southeast Ohio/Huntington, West Virginia markets.

City Council Takes Oath of Office, Celebrates Final Community Plan

Campbell County District Court Judge Cameron Blau administers the oath of office to Mayor Eric Haas.

By Robin Gee, Council Beat Editor

At the January Fort Thomas City Council meeting, the first order of business was the swearing in of the mayor and the 2019 board of council. Two new members, Adam Blau and Mark Collier, joined the council this month.

Campbell County District Court Judge Cameron Blau opened the meeting by administering the oath of office to Mayor Eric Haas who began his service on the Fort Thomas city council in 1997.

The 2019 Fort Thomas Board of Council. Left to right: Ken Bowman, Mark Collier, David Cameron, Mayor Eric Haas, Jeff Bezold, Adam Blau, Roger Peterman
The judge then gave the oath of office to the new council that included the newly elected Blau and Collier as well as Ken Bowman, Jeff Bezold, David Cameron and Roger Peterman.

Family members and friends of the council members were on hand to wish them well. It was a special day for Judge Blau as he had the opportunity to give the oath of office to his brother.

Announcing a final Fort Thomas Community Plan

New beginnings were the order of the day with the announcement by City Administrator Ron Dill that the final Fort Thomas Community Plan had been approved by the Planning Commission.

The previous City Council approved the plan in December.

He introduced Frank Twehues of CT Consultants to present the document.

Twehues congratulated council. "I’m really excited to serve as the city engineer. I’ve been a resident here for 10 years. I didn’t grow up here, but I am proud to raise my family here and be able to participate in this project," he said.

"On behalf of myself and CT, as well as consultants from Human Nature, I must say this was a really fun project to work on. In the December 19th planning meeting the commission voted to approve the Fort Thomas Community Plan…It is now in your hands."

Mayor Haas said, "What I am excited about is we are now in the implementation phase. We are now beyond the point of talking about it. We’ve done the work. We’ve had community input. Now it’s time to implement."

City committees to reflect key plan areas

Haas and Dill explained that council committees have been reformulated where needed to support each of the six key areas outlined in the community plan document.

In addition to the traditional business of these committees, each committee will take on the responsibility of overseeing one of the key plan areas. This will keep projects in each area moving and will offer the opportunity to focus on ideas and opportunities as they arise. Each council member has been assigned to chair of one of the committees.

The six committees and the council members serving on each committee are:

Bluebirds Enter Final Month of Regular Season

Highlands Aims to Carry Good Habits into Post-Season

PHOTO: Bob Jackson. Highlands senior Zoie Barth attacks the rim hard in the win at Walton-Verona on Monday. Barth is currently ranked in the top five in school history in career points (2,096), assists (431) and steals (419). But Head Coach Jaime Walz-Richey said she'd exchange all that for a region championship.
District, Region and even state championships may not be won during the regular season.

But developing good habits and earning the best possible seeds for the district tournament during the regular season can pay off during the postseason for high school basketball teams. Extending or breaking streaks along the way also helps with confidence. The Highlands Bluebirds basketball teams have seen many positives there entering the final month of the regular season. Both teams last won the 9th Region crowns in 2001.

Before reaching the post-season, the Highlands girls (15-4 overall) would not mind extending two impressive streaks. The Bluebirds have recorded six straight seasons with 22 or more wins including a 30-4 mark during the 2014-15 season and have won 26 straight against 36th District opponents, which has led to four consecutive district championships.

Next on the schedule is a home game against the Cooper Lady Jaguars(2-13), which is struggling after the graduation of Lexi Held and Asyah Mitchell. Eighth grade guard Whitney Lind led the Jaguars averaging 14.1 points per game going into the 71-37 loss at Ryle on Tuesday.

"They're young and they're learning to play together," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "They have a couple eighth graders that are seeing some varsity minutes. (Cooper Head Coach) Nicole (Levandusky) does a great job with them so they'll come prepared and give us a good game. The girls understand Highlands is a big game on a lot of peoples' schedules so we have to be ready to go no matter what their record is."

Highlands turns around and plays again Friday at Campbell County (10-7). Both games start at 7:30 p.m. The Bluebirds beat the Lady Camels, 53-52 in overtime in Fort Thomas last year. Campbell County came into that game with just one loss and a top-three ranking in the state.

Highlands senior guard Zoie Barth has been as consistent in her sixth season in the varsity rotation. Barth has 330 points this season for an average of 18.3 per game and 5.2 rebounds. Barth has 2,096 for her career to go with 419 steals and 431 assists. Barth ranks fourth in school history in scoring, third in steals and fifth in assists.

"Zoie is a next-game mentality lady. She's going to do what it takes for the team to win," Richey said. "If it's making the extra pass to a teammate that's going to have a lay-up, she'd rather do that than have to score. We'll treat it like another game and see what she gets. Zoie had no clue how close she was to 2,000 points until maybe the day before. Zoie is not about getting in the record books. She'd trade it all in for the regional title."

Her brother Zach Barth, a freshman, dresses for the varsity and has seen some action. He said his sister has been a great role model for him.

"I'm just going to try to live up to the expectations and work hard trying to help the boys team as much as my sister's helped the girls team," Zach Barth said. "She doesn't take plays off. I'm going to try to do that."

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As a team, Highlands has made 384-of-860 shots for 45 percent including 115-of-326 three-point shots for 35 percent. The Bluebirds have also made 235-of-325 free throws for 72 percent and average 27 rebounds per game.

Junior Piper Macke is second on the team averaging 9.8 rebounds per game with senior Chloe Jansen and sophomore Rory O'Hara averaging 7.5 and 7.2 respectively. Seniors Ashley Hayes, Hanna Buecker and junior Maggie Hinegardner have also had double-digit games in the last couple weeks.

"Every practice, we go in and work hard every day," Zoie Barth said. "We know we have to practice how we play and just continue to really emphasize the little things and that every possession matters. It doesn't matter who we're playing. We need to capitalize on playing defense, getting rebounds, eliminating our turnovers, playing as a team. Those are all aspects of our game that you have to work on throughout the regular season so we can take them over to the post-season and hopefully, successfully use them."

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Cases of Flu Jump 65% During First Week of 2019

Half of reported cases have affected children

The number of influenza cases confirmed in Kentucky rose by 65 percent in the first week of 2019, adding nearly 1,000 cases for a total of 2,408 in the current flu season, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from the state Department for Public Health.

The department reported the first flu outbreak in a long-term-care facility, and for the first time reported cases in all 17 of the state’s health regions. It said all but one of those regions (which it didn’t specify) reported increased flu activity.

On the department’s county-by-county map, the relatively small county of Monroe and the less-than-average sized county of Perry stood out. The state has confirmed 106 cases in Perry and 71 in Monroe in the last calendar quarter. Others could have similar numbers; 46 of the state’s 120 counties had no cases or did not report. Those included some relatively large counties.

About half the Kentuckians who have been proven to have influenza in the current season are under 21. That underlines the importance of getting children vaccinated because they are more vulnerable to serious complications of the flu, which include death. There is still plenty of time to get the vaccine because flu season runs until May. It takes about two weeks to take full effect.

State officials and health advocates have made a special effort to get Kentuckians vaccinated this season, because last time around, more than 300 people in Kentucky, including five children, died as a result of the flu. The problem is national, and even the Golden Globe Awards got into the act, “with hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh announcing that techs from Rite Aid would be providing flu shots to attendees. This bold move was meant to call out the vocal anti-vaccine celebrities who use their platform to expound views that are not scientifically informed,” Sarah Fankhauser reports for Salon.

“Many who refuse to get the flu shot insist that they are not anti-vaxxers,” writes Fankhauser, an assistant professor at Emory University in Atlanta and an expert in infectious diseases. “Yet, the arguments spouted by those who refuse to get their shot are grounded in as little scientific basis as those typically given by anti-vaxxers.” Those arguments, and the facts to the contrary, include:

Every time I get the flu vaccine I get sick. 

“You can feel ill after getting the flu vaccine, but you didn’t get the flu from the vaccine,” Fankhauser explains. “It stimulates the immune system to make the appropriate antibodies, causes a bit of inflammation and that can cause uncomfortable symptoms. Another explanation is that you actually got sick, either from the flu virus you picked up prior to getting the vaccine, or from a completely different virus altogether.”

The vaccine is made from dead virus, so it can’t inflect you.

I never get the flu, so why should I get the vaccine? 

“Think about the flu vaccine like buying a lottery ticket—except that the vaccine has odds that are much, much more in your favor,” Fanhkauser reports. “The less selfish response: It’s not just about you. Limiting outbreaks and reducing the number of infections benefits everyone. Think about the immunocompromised, elderly or very young. Many people in those categories cannot get the flu vaccine or have limited protection from the vaccine, and they are at greater risk for contracting the flu and for developing severe complications, including death. When everyone gets the flu vaccine, the risk to these individuals is reduced.”

The shot only offers limited protection, so why get the vaccine if I’m just going to get the flu anyway? 

“Some people, and many who refuse to get the vaccine for this reason, have the idea that the development of the seasonal flu vaccine is haphazard. It’s not,” Fankhauser writes. “There is a rigorous, methodical scientific approach to developing the vaccine every year. Unfortunately, some years the vaccine is less effective than other years. However, the vaccine will always provide some protection, which is better than none. Even in the worst years, and even with limited protection, the vaccine can help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.”

It’s so inconvenient; I have to get it every year!

“It can be certainly inconvenient to schedule time to get the vaccine each year, but more inconvenient is the huge financial cost to getting the flu,” Fankhauser argues. “The costs can include doctor visits, medicine and a reduced paycheck for missing work. Companies and employers have to deal with covering shifts and lost productivity when employees take a week or more off of work to recover from the flu.”

THROWBACK PICTURES: The Highlands Bluebird Mascot

The Highlands Athletics Booster Bash is this Saturday, February 19 from 7-11 at the Olde Fort Pub in Fort Thomas. They are raising money, in part, to fund a new mascot costume. 

You can buy tickets here. 

Take a look at the "bird" through the years:

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Newport Central Catholic Inducts 19th Class into Hall of Fame

Newport Central Catholic High School has announced its nineteenth class of inductees into its Athletic Hall of Fame:

Stephen Everson ’02, Sam Diehl ’06, Camron Jacob ’93, Jimmy Sandfoss ’94, Beth Bueter Barney ’00, Molly Messmer Simons ’86, Jennifer Wetterstroem Wolf ’97, and Coach Kevin Turnick.  Also being honored as the “Team of Distinction” is the 2006 State Champion Football Team.    

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The induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, February 16, 2019 in the Newport Central Catholic Gymnasium.  The evening will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the induction ceremony at 7 p.m..  The cost of the event is $25.00 and reservations and payment will be accepted prior to February 8 in the form of cash, check or credit card.  For more information contact the NCC School Office at (859) 292-0001.

NCCHS will be awarding the Coach Jim Connor Award to Mr. Denny Barnes ’70.  The Coach Jim Connor Award is an award being given to Mr. Barnes for exemplifying the ideals and traditions of Newport Central Catholic and for the excellence he has achieved in his work and his personal life.  In addition, the Fr. John Hegenauer Community Service Award will be given to Mr. Steve Hellmann ’75 for his commitment to Newport Central Catholic and to the family values NCCHS strives to impart to its students.

Fort Thomas Kids & Family Expo This Saturday at Mess Hall

After the holiday high always comes the winter woes and this Friday, January 18th is shaping up to be awfully woeful; with a forecasted low temperature near freezing and nary a holiday party in sight, the day promises to be extra boring for parents and their children.

That is, of course, except for parents and children who plan to attend the Fort Thomas MOMS Club Kids and Family Expo at the Fort Thomas Community Center (Mess Hall).

This event was originally scheduled for last week.

Moms Offering Moms Support (MOMS) Club is an international organization of support groups for stay-at-home mothers.  The local chapter, the Fort Thomas MOMS Club, provides dozens of young and experienced mothers alike with support, lifelong friendship, and the proverbial “village” it takes to raise a child.

The second annual Fort Thomas Kids & Family Expo goes from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

There, you'll find animals and activities for the kids while parents can explore local schools and businesses. Admission is free.

Vendors and some local businesses are donating some silent auction items with proceeds going directly to The CARE Closet.

Kramer Family Dentistry.

Vendors include, (FTM Advertisers in bold):

*Blue Marble Bookstore

*Bluebird Preschool

*Performance Chiropractic

*Campbell County Family YMCA

*Saint Thomas School

*Grassroots and Vine

Highlands Athletics Boosters Raising Funds to Update Mascot Costume

The Highlands Athletics Booster Association is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, January 19 at the Olde Fort Pub.

The night will raise funds to support the purchase of a new bluebird mascot.

Music, dancing, food, silent auctions and a reverse raffle will all be featured and The Pub will be non-smoking during the event.

See Coffman's Realty Listings here.

Event goers are asked to use the hashtag: #TimeToFlipTheBird to help commemorate the evening.

Tickets should be purchased in advance by 1/18/19 on here.

Shayna Hubers Files for Divorce with Partner Whom She Met in Jail

In May of 2018, now-convicted murderer, Shayna Hubers, petitioned the Campbell County Clerk's office for a marriage license, so that she could marry fellow inmate, Richard Devon McBee Jr.. McBee was in jail on a robbery charge as well as being a persistent felony offender.

Hubers married McBee, a transgender woman who goes by the name Unique Taylor, on June 7, 2018. The two met while in custody in the Campbell County's jail.

Now, according to court documents, Hubers has filed for divorce.

RELATED: Shayna Hubers Requests Marriage License with Fellow Inmate 

Through documents filed by her attorney, Kelly Wiley of Covington, Hubers is asking the court to dissolve the marriage with McBee, who now lives at an extended stay hotel in Phoenix, Arizona. In the petition to the courts, Hubers states that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" and that the pair has separated since January 9 of this year.

Also according to court filings, Hubers stated that McBee is working as a self-employed tattoo artist. He has reportedly not been served with the divorce papers yet.

Taylor, 41, was in Campbell County facing a 2016 robbery charge and persistent felony offender charges for nearly two years.

Hubers' decision to wed Taylor was questioned by prosecutors during Hubers sentencing in October of 2018.

“She is married to an individual who spent 14 years in federal custody and who is now been picked up in Tennessee on another warrant about something else,” said Michelle Snodgrass, commonwealth attorney for Campbell County.

In October and after two trials, Campbell County Judge Dan Zalla sentenced 27 year old Shayna Hubers to life in prison for the murder of Highland Heights resident Ryan Poston.

RELATED: Hubers Jury Sees Life Sentence Carried Through Until the End 

Poston, an attorney in Fort Mitchell, was killed in his Highland Heights condo on Oct. 12, 2012 by Hubers, his former girlfriend. According to testimony that led to her conviction, after coming to Poston’s home against his wishes, the two argued and she shot Poston six times. She turned herself into police afterwards.

In Other Words: “Prewarning": Epic Rant Ahead

Found at a local gas station.

I don’t rant often, but when I do it tends to be epic. In fact, I am confident that it will come up at my funeral. Someone is bound to say, “Remember how he would rant about pre-treat or pre-pay?” If that happens, then my life served a greater purpose.

Let me explain.

My last few decades have been spent prewriting this very sentence.  I was recently pre-approved for a credit card.  I need to pre-pay before I pump gas. There is a dark force loose in the English language - the abuse of the perfectly good prefix pre-.

To be honest, this pet peeve just makes my head want to explode.  Granted, the explosive debris would consist of mostly hot air, scattered lyrics from obscure rock songs, commercial jingles, and obscure etymologies, but nonetheless, it would explode. It’s such a frequent rant of mine that friends needle me about it. In fact, my social media usually fills up with photos of “pretreated” roads. Can you hear the snickering?

18 N. Fort Thomas Ave in the Hiland Building. 
Pre- means “before,” “prior to.” “early,” or “in front of.” So when the prefix is attached to another word it means “before” whatever root word it’s attached to.  Preview means to “see before.” Perfectly good word. “Preclude” is different from “conclude” because the prefix adds a new dimension to the root word. Prediction is different from contradiction. So I am just baffled when I see that I have to pre-pay at the gas station.  Because either I pay or I don’t.

I mean, am I pre-paying for gas as I eat breakfast? Granted, I am fillng my “tank” and it might contain gas but that’s another story. Our language has the ability to be precise or vague but to intentionally muddy it in hopes of achieving clarity is absurd.

The most offensive uses of the prefix is “pre-treat” as in “The county will pre-treat the roads.” What the what? Either you treat or you don’t. I know. I’m channeling Yoda. Go ahead and laugh if you wish, but as soon as you put something on that road, it has been treated. It doesn’t matter if it’s beet juice or salt, it’s been treated.

Another pet peeve is “pre-order.” Uhm. Either you order or you don’t. Reserve is a fine word to use but one might think it’s too fancy or long and doesn’t have the ring of early cash. Or should I say “precash.”

One big box hardware store use to claim that they “pre-selected” items for their customers. What the what? Can you hear my teeth grinding?

Perhaps you pre-read the newspaper. Nope. You scanned it. Either you read or you don’t.

I had to turn the channel when the host of a home improvement show told his audience to “pre-drill.” Seriously? Those holes are called pilot holes. You drill a pilot hole. You either drill or you don’t.

I couldn’t believe what I heard from the state education department as they directed teachers on how to conduct “pre-writing” activities for students. Good grief! Either you write or you don’t. That period before actually writing is called planning. Planning is a wonderful word. And brainstorming is far more colorful term as I imagine the mental weather map on that. “Pre-writing” is a lazy word.

Pre- is a perfectly good prefix and serves our thinking well, but when it is used in such a ridiculous way it makes the speaker look silly and lazy.

This penchant for tagging pre- to words to create nonsensical words in the hopes of brevity or even clarity just muddies the thinking waters. Can one pre-muddy the waters?

Everyone has a pet peeve. Maybe it’s chewing with an open mouth. Not covering your mouth when you cough. Talking during a movie. Not washing hands in the restroom. Loud cellphone conversations. Not picking up after the dog. Making duck face. Mine is the abuse of a perfectly good prefix. I just want to run my fingernails down a chalkboard.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Cincinnati's First eSports Lounge coming to Newport on the Levee

A new eSports Lounge with up to 40 PCs and a library of nearly 100 of the most popular video games is set to open inside the GameWorks location at Newport on the Levee, San Francisco-based GameWorks Inc. announced Monday.

The gaming lounge will be the first in the Greater Cincinnati area, and is among four new lounges being added to GameWorks locations in Minneapolis, Chicago, Virginia Beach, Va., as well as the local area.
Provided: Gameworks. 

The new dedicated gaming lounge is slated to open on March 20. The lounges typically accommodate up to 100 guests, and feature multiple personal play stations and oversized couches to accommodate gamers and spectators.

Orangetheory Fitness Newport Pavilion. Start now! Mention Fort Thomas Matters at checkout. 

Esports, also known as electronic sports or professional video gaming, has been booming. More than 250 million people follow the competitions, according to the technology consulting firm Activate, and most of those viewers also play.

The company estimates that by 2020, 70 million people will watch an esports final, which is more than the viewership for the American professional baseball, soccer, and hockey finals. By that time, consumers will watch 3 billion hours of esports, or 10 percent of all sports viewing.

Already, more men age 18 to 25 watch esports than traditional sports, according to Esports Marketing Blog. Esports teams and leagues are collecting high-dollar sponsors, like Mercedes. They are selling professional franchises to the owners of “traditional” American sports teams. High schools are forming teams, and universities are offering scholarships.

Cincinnati-based North American Properties purchased Newport on the Levee in December and has promised to invest more than $100 million in the 360,000-square-foot mixed-use property along the Ohio River.

"As a Cincinnati-based company, we are dedicated to investing in the region and are committed to elevating the entire Newport on the Levee experience for the local community," Tom Williams, president and CEO of North American Properties, said in a written statement. "Newport on the Levee is a regional landmark and we are proud to bring our local ownership and passion to the re-imagination of a truly irreplaceable property."

North American Properties plans to announce renovations, construction and new tenants over the next few months. Hastings noted that space on the inside of the first floor of the mall will also be utilized for "mind and body" classes, which will be open to individuals and families.

North American Properties managing partner and chief investment officer Tim Perry said that when the revamp of Newport on the Levee is complete, there will be nothing like this in the entire midwest.

First Portrait of a Graduate Global Leader Award Winners Announced

Jerrod Dempsey and Terry Gruelle accept an award for Gruelle-Dempsey Orthodonics, named as a global leader and empathetic collaborator.

Fort Thomas Independent Schools' Portrait of a Graduate identifies what grads should know, do and be like.

Six people received the first Portrait of a Graduate Global Leader awards at the December Fort Thomas Independent School Boards meeting.

The awards, created by Superintendent Karen Cheser and her team, honors those whose contributions to Fort Thomas schools and community exemplify the qualities identified in the Portrait of a Graduate initiative.

"Any student, any parent, community member, teacher, staff member or administrator can be nominated by anyone in our community, and the nomination is aligned to our Portrait of a Graduate," Cheser explained.

The winners’ contributions touch on one or several of the core competencies: global communicator, empathetic collaborator, curious critical thinker, creative problem solver and courageous leader.

Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Jamee Flaherty presented the awards.

First up was Gruelle-Dempsey Orthodonics, represented by Jerrod Dempsey and Terry Gruelle. Flaherty shared a story about why the company was chosen for exemplifying both global leader and empathetic collaborator.

"On November 15th, we had a power outage at both the high school and middle school, and with that came some challenges. We were in the central office determining what our next steps would be...We were lucky to receive a phone call from Dr. Gruelle and Dr. Dempsey’s office to share that they would be able to help us problem solve with our lunch situation," she said.

Roofing, siding, gutters, painting. 
"They provided a hot lunch for all of our middle and high school students that included Marcos Pizza, Skyline and many other vendors…We recognize you for stepping up and for your connection to our community and we thank you for your support."

Woodfill Teacher Leah Fryman accepts award as empathetic collaborator from Jamee Flaherty.

Next was teacher Leah Fryman, nominated by Woodfill Principal Keith Faust as an empathetic collaborator. Faust wrote that Fryman’s energy and enthusiasm has been contagious. She is known for collaborating both inside and outside the classroom, bringing together outside businesses, groups of students and others for special projects.

Highlands science teacher Colleen Epperson was honored as a courageous leader and global communicator.

Highlands High School science teacher Colleen Epperson was recognized by her colleague Daniella (Del) Ehemann for courageous leadership and global communication. After observing a similar program at another school district, Epperson developed a new online environmental science course for Highlands.

"No one in our department has ever done something like that, and you have really shown courageous leadership…You are enjoying it, invigorated by it, students are loving it and it’s enticing you to do even more…It’s exciting to watch and your enthusiasm is infectious," said Ehemann to Epperson in her nomination letter.

Highlands High School teacher Mike Lipscomb was named an empathetic collaborator.

A new teacher at Highlands High School, Kim Klein, nominated three fellow teachers for their help, support and willingness to reach out to her as a new colleague.

She nominated Mike Lipscomb as an empathetic collaborator for his willingness to help her with technology questions and for consistently checking with her, sharing tips and ideas and for going the extra mile to help her.

Highlands High teacher John Warford received an award as an empathetic collaborator.

John Warford, was also nominated by Klein as an empathetic collaborator. She said he took extra care with her as a new person at the school, making sure she had all the materials and information she needed to make a smooth transition.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Accident on North Fort Thomas Avenue

Looks are deceiving. A driver hit an icy patch on what seemed an otherwise cleared roadway.  Fortunately, no one was injured.  Be careful.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Sen. Wil Schroder Legislative Update from Frankfort

By Sen. Wil Schroder 

The 153rd regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly convened this week with more than 150 profiled bills awaiting consideration. With only 30 working days to accomplish so much, I’m proud to say the Kentucky Senate went right to work. We had a productive first week in Frankfort and leave in good spirits about what is to come this session.

This week, the Senate’s activity involved some procedural measures. We welcomed everyone back to Frankfort to swear in members and confirm the Senate Leadership.  I was honored to be sworn in for another four-year-term and appreciate the support of so many who placed their faith and trust in me.

Following the tragic 2018 shooting at Marshall County High School, legislators formed the bipartisan School Safety Working Group for the purpose of developing a solution to better ensure the safety of our schools in Kentucky. Senate Bill 1, the School Safety and Resiliency Act, sponsored by Senator Max Wise (R-Campbellsville), was drafted as a result of the findings of the working group. The Senate Majority is encouraged by the overwhelming support of this proposed legislation, and we look forward to continuing discussion with the House on how to address this critical issue.

7 Tips if You Get Stranded In Your Car During a Winter Storm

Winter Storm ‘Gia’ Could Impact KY Driving Conditions

Winter Storm Gia is moving toward Kentucky and will most likely impact driving conditions for motorists this weekend. Kentucky State Police (KSP) is cautioning motorists to be prepared for potentially hazardous driving situations by preparing in advance of the storm.

“This storm has already spread snow, sleet and ice across the country and will likely provide challenging conditions here in the Commonwealth,” says KSP spokesman Sergeant Josh Lawson. “We are taking this opportunity to remind drivers of simple safety tips they can use as we transition into this winter weather season.”

Lawson says the agency relies heavily on its social media platforms to get pertinent information to citizens when winter weather hits the Commonwealth.

To meet the challenges of the upcoming winter driving season, KSP reminds drivers to plan ahead, make sure all passengers are properly restrained, drive defensively and ensure their vehicle is properly maintained to handle the effects of cold temperatures.

Other safe winter travel tips include:

●Refrain from calling 911 for road or weather conditions due to high call volume. Telecommunicators need the lines open to assist callers who have emergencies.

● Reduce speed in wintery conditions.

●Leave early – allow more travel time; expect delays.

●Increase distance between vehicles – the ability to stop is significantly affected on snow covered or icy roadways

●Clear all windows on your vehicle prior to travel – having unobstructed vision is vital to avoid running off of the road or having a collision.

●Ensure your windshield washer fluid is full and that you use an anti-ice solution.

●Turn on your vehicle’s headlamps. Remove any dirt, mud or snow from all vehicle lights.

●Use caution on bridges and overpasses as they are susceptible to freezing before roadways.

●Avoid using cruise control which can cause a vehicle’s wheels to continue turning on a slippery surface when speed needs to be decreased.

●Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas in the event you are stranded for an extended period of time.
●Charge your cellular phone prior to departure.

●Always dress warmly and keep a blanket in the vehicle.

●Carry a winter survival kit that includes items such as blankets, a first-aid kit, a can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for water), windshield scraper, booster cables, road maps, tool kit, bag of sand or cat litter (to pour on ice or snow for added traction), collapsible shovel, flashlight and extra batteries.

KSP is also requesting travelers to observe for stranded motorists. If you see or suspect that someone is stranded, contact KSP at 1-800-222-5555.

If you get stranded, staying in your vehicle is often the safest choice, says Lawson, who offers these added tips: