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Friday, June 28, 2019

Ken Dubuc, Fort Thomas Volunteer Extraordinaire, Needs Our Help

Ken Dubuc, a longtime CCYSL and St. Therese Parish volunteer, stands with his daughter, Morgan, at University of Kentucky. Dubuc has been diagnosed with two unrelated rare and serious diseases.

This spring, Ken Dubuc was up early, checking on the fields for Campbell County Youth Soccer League (CCYSL). It had snowed, and the Highlands High School soccer field needed some shoveling. So Ken did what Ken always does – he got out his shovel, and got to work, serving his community.

After awhile, a sergeant with the U.S. Army Reserves, who knew Ken personally, came over and said, "Ken! You shouldn't be doing this!" Several privates and corporals were called over to help finish the job.

In 2017, Ken was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension – a rare and incurable heart and lung disease. And in 2018, because life can be quite cruel at times, Ken was diagnosed with metastatic Angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer found in the lining of blood vessels.

(I should note here that on that wintery spring 2019 day, Ken, after shoveling – with help from the U.S. Army Reserves – refereed, too.)

Ken has served as secretary of CCYSL for almost 20 years, and as president for three.

"Ken's passion and dedication to this league is phenomenal," says Travis Parsons, who has been friends with Ken for more than 10 years and works with him within the CCYSL organization. "Our key goal [at CCYSL] is to offer affordable, recreational soccer to this county, and Ken is the frontline of this. He works with the county, cities and other clubs to make sure that our youth will have fields to play and practice on, and just enjoy this beautiful game for what it is. If he were payed hourly for his volunteer work, he would be a rich man."

Ken also coached CCYSL soccer and basketball at St. Therese for 20 years, and still referees when he can. He has also given more than 20 years of service to the St. Therese Parish and the St. Therese Athletic Club as treasurer, vice president and president. He ran the Mustang Classic basketball tournament and the Men's Stag for 14 years, and has volunteered at almost every parish function.

As a child, Ken and his family moved to Fort Thomas from Wilton, Conn. His family lived in Fort Thomas through Ken's sophomore year in college. At that time his parents moved to Philadelphia – Ken stayed. He married, and he and his wife lived in an apartment in Fort Thomas. After the birth of their second child, they bought a house in the Brookwood subdivision in Alexandria. Ken and his wife divorced, and Ken moved back to Fort Thomas.

Ken Dubuc's daughters, left to right: Reilley, Morgan and Kelsey.

He has three daughters – Kelsey, 28, is currently enrolled at Northern Kentucky University to become a respiratory therapist. Morgan, 25, graduated this month from University of Kentucky as a physician's assistant. Reilley, 16, will be a senior at Newport Catholic High School this fall – her goal is to become an orthodontist.

Throughout Ken's career he has managed sales and marketing departments in various industries including courier, optical, transportation, logistics, material handling and fulfillment. He's actively looking for a job that will allow work and flexibility while managing these two tough diagnoses.

Five months ago Ken underwent surgery to remove his right parotid (saliva) gland and the cancer within. While under general anesthesia there were complications and the surgery was cut short – this is common with pulmonary hypertension patients. For almost a week, Ken was intubated and in an induced coma.

Upon his release from the hospital, Ken began daily radiation treatments to the right side of his head and neck for 8 weeks. After 34 treatments, he lost all sense of taste making eating difficult. He also has suffered severe redness and peeling on his face (much like a bad sunburn) and deals with a constant sore throat and pain in the head and neck areas. He lost 30 pounds.

Following the radiation treatments Ken had a CT and PET scan. The results were not good. The scans showed that the cancer has spread to his chest with a possible re-occurrence in his right cheek – despite the radiation. He is now Stage 4, with a poor prognosis.

Despite this, Ken has approached his healthcare with the same intensity he has approached his volunteer work. Because of the cancer's rarity (only 300 people are diagnosed with it each year), there is little research to study. But still, Ken has dug into the work of educating himself in order to push for the best treatment possible.

In the meantime, bills have been piling up. And so, in true Fort Thomas fashion, it is time we, as a community, give back to a man who has given so much of himself to all of us.

"I just thought it was very important to not only be actively involved in my parish and community, but also in my children's lives," Ken says, when asked about his drive to volunteer so much of his time over all these years. "I was taught as a young man that it's very important to give back to your community for everything it has given you. Knowing somehow that I may have played a small part in helping to provide a child with an opportunity to participate in an event or sport was all the reward I could ever need. I always judged the success of the organization's efforts based on the size of the smiles on the children's faces."

Travis says Ken always has a positive attitude. "At times, speaking with him, he gets down," Travis says. "But how could you not? It is so much to take on and I would imagine having this eat at you every day is mentally exhausting. Somehow, through all this, he still maintains his love of youth sports. He is still a key piece of Campbell Youth Soccer. I just can't put into words the effort that it takes to make this available for our children. I don't know how he can battle disease and still have the time and energy to do what he does. It's nothing short of a miracle."

You can help Ken with his medical expenses, and read medical updates, here.

— Kara Gebhart Uhl

Thursday, June 27, 2019

PHOTOS: Fort Thomas Home Walking Tour: Part II

By Vanessa Fisse

Fort Thomas Matters continued it's Home Walking Tour on June 27, 2019.

The city of 16,500 that sits on a ridge overlooking the Ohio River is home to a myriad of different homestyles from cozy cape cods to million dollar mansions.

We decided to showcase the beautiful homes that Fort Thomas has to offer through a virtual walking tour. Be on the look out for more to come!

RELATED: Fort Thomas Home Walking Tour, Part I

Here are a few of our favorites, a sidewalk view, while out on a Fort Thomas Home Walking Tour.

To view as a slide show, click the first image below:                              

Sara "Pink" Morlidge Hamel Named Fort Thomas 4th of July Grand Marshal, (Schedules, Events, Times)

Linda Slone, Sara Hamel, Jim Trauth. 

One of the showcase weeks for the City of Fort Thomas is being held next week, with activities planned throughout the week, starting with the Citywide Pub Crawl on Wednesday, July 3. Eight locations will be participating, including 915, FT Public House, Colonel's Kitchen, Grassroots & Vine, Midway Cafe, The Olde Fort Pub, Fort Thomas Pizza & Tavern and the Highlander Bourbon & Wine Bar.

RELATED: Facebook Event Details. 

The 2019 Fort Thomas 4th of July Parade will be held on Thursday, July 4th starting at 10:30 a.m. at Highlands High School and snaking its way down S. Fort Thomas Avenue toward Tower Park.

The Campbell County YMCA starts the day off with the Firecracker 5K festivities. Sign up here.

The Midway Cafe (1017 S. Fort Thomas Ave) is hosting their 4th anniversary on the fourth, starting at 11:00 a.m.

RELATED: Midway Cafe Facebook Event Details. 

City of Fort Thomas Details:

7:40 a.m. Kids Fun Run
8:15 a.m. Kids Fun Run
Parade at 10:30 a.m.

Tower Park Festivities:
3:00-8:00 p.m. Cincinnati Circus and Facepainting
5:30 p.m. Model Behavior
7:30 p.m. Colour of Rhythm
10: 00 p.m. Fireworks 

About 75 floats participate in the parade each year.  This year the theme is “The Art of Kindness.”

"This parade brings out a lot of excitement within the community," said Linda Slone. She and Jim Trauth arethe event organizers.  "We have thousands of families lined up along the parade route just waiting to see and hear the different floats, especially for the candy."

Slone said that prizes are awarded based on how floats incorporate the theme.

"We have had some great floats along the years.  Music always helps!"

Prizes will be awarded at the next City Council Meeting in August.

This year the Parade Grand Marshal is Sara “Pink” Morlidge Hamel.

"She is so deserving for this honor. She is such great example of what makes us Fort Thomas and we are so happy to honor her in the parade," said Slone.

Slone said they are also honoring Bert and Dee Bathiany, Dan and Flo Grey, Rita Walters, Betsy Evans and Lee Cordray.  "This town would not be the same if it were not for each and every one of them."

The parade also have a Veterans’ Division.

"We started this two years ago and are going to continue to build this part of the parade each and every year," she said.  We have a good number of participants already."

If interested in being with the other Veterans and want to enter a vehicle, please call Sgt. Major Retired Lonnie Slone, at 859-750-7710.

"Godfather of Highlands Softball" Takes Over Program

Horner Named Fifth Head Coach in Fast Pitch Team History

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. New Highlands Head Softball Coach Milt Horner watched during a game last year. He's been involved with the fast pitch program since its inception in 2001.
Highlands Director of Athletics Kevin Nieporte calls Milt Horner the Godfather of Highlands softball for a very good reason. Horner has been around the fast pitch program since its inception in the 2001 season.

Nieporte and the Highlands administration named the 64-year-old and 1973 Highlands graduate the fifth head coach of the program Tuesday. Horner had been an assistant the last seven years to former Head Coach Rob Coffey and also helped his daughter, Jessica Horner-Donelan, when she served as head coach between 2008 and 2012.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Highlands College and Career Counselor Recognized for Helping Students in Transition

Highlands college and career counselor Trinity Walsh received an award for outstanding service to students from the Kentucky Association of College Admissions Counseling.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

Earlier this year, the Kentucky Association of College Admissions Counseling awarded Highlands High School counselor Trinity Walsh, the Caroline Quire Service Award, for her work in helping students make college and career goals and decisions.

Walsh received the award at the organization’s annual conference in Lexington and was recognized by the Fort Thomas Independent School Board at its June meeting.

The Caroline Quire Award recognizes an outstanding high school guidance counselor who has demonstrated service and contributions to the profession of counseling students in transition. Quire, who passed away in 2005, was an exemplary counselor and leader within the organization and the field.

Voted Best Yoga Studio in Kentucky by Best Things Kentucky. 
The board members thanked Walsh for continuing the strong tradition of Quire and other leaders in her profession.

Highlands Theatre Students Honored for Earning 11 Cappie Awards

Highlands drama teacher Jason Burgess is flanked by cast and crew of the production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" that garnered 11 Cappies.

At the June meeting of the Fort Thomas Independent School Board, students from the Highlands High School Theatre Department were honored for their record win of 11 Cappies, the most the department has ever won in the student theatre and journalism awards program.

The Greater Cincinnati chapter of the national Critics and Awards Program, known as Cappies, honored the Highlands students for their production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

Call Ashley Barlow. 859-781-5777. This is an advertisement. 
The goal of the Cappies is to encourage and recognize student theater but also to allow opportunities for students to serve as critics and to hone their skills as they review local high school theatre and productions and performances.

Teams of student critics gather to discuss the technical and performance aspects of the show. The students write reviews and share with the host schools. The best written reviews are selected to be sent to local press outlets.

Highlands received 23 nominations for their performance overall, and were recognized in May at a gala to celebrate the Cappies in downtown Cincinnati at the Aronoff Center.

School Board members congratulated the students and their teacher, Jason Burgess, and presented each student with a Certificate of Achievement.

Cappie winners were:

  • Up and Coming Critic: Juli Russ
  • Best Critic Team
  • Sound: Steve Lang, Maddi McIntosh, Liam Morris and Crew
  • Lighting: David Dierig, Austin Paolucci, Miles Sower and Crew
  • Creativity (Directing): Vicky Alcorn and Tammy Sanow
  • Stage Management and Crew: Stella Fahlbusch, Olivia Greenwell, Eleanor Todd and Crew
  • Featured Actress in a Musical: Lillian Reynolds
  • Female Dancer: Lizzy Roeding
  • Comic Actor in a Musical: Grant Sower
  • Lead Actress in a Musical: Zoe Zoller
  • Best Musical: 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
RELATED: Highlands Theatre Wins Record-Breaking 11 Cappies Theatre Awards 

Burgess thanked the board, the schools and the entire community for their support of the students and the program. "We are absolutely blessed to have the support that we have. The Theatre Department and the arts in general would be nowhere near what they are without the support we have of the district, and the leadership and the community."

Fort Thomas Home Walking Tour: Part I

By Vanessa Fisse

The rain has subsided and blue skies painted a picturesque background in Fort Thomas, Kentucky on June 25, 2019.

The city of 16,500 that sits on a ridge overlooking the Ohio River is home to a myriad of different homestyles from cozy cape cods to million dollar mansions.

Here are a few of our favorites, a sidewalk view, while out on a Fort Thomas Walking Tour.

To view as a slide show, click the first image below:

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Cornhole Tournament Fundraiser to be held at FT Public House for Highland Park Field

A group of private investors are raising money for the installation of artificial turf at the baseball field at Highland Park and they have planned a cornhole tournament to help with the cause.

The "Friends of Highland Park Cornhole Tournament" will be held Sunday, July 28, 2019, from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Fort Thomas resident, Joe Grimme, is organizing the event.

The entry fee is $50 per team.

Players sign up as a team (two players) to participate in a double-elimination tournament. Prizes will be awarded to the first and second place teams.

First place: $200
Second place: $100

Prizes donated by Fessler, Schneider & Grimme

Go to to register or email Joe Grimme at

Event hosted by Friends of Highland Park

KY Power, Pride Team up to help Jon McSorley, Chasity Harney

The KY Power and Pride baseball programs are coming together to help two families in need.

The First Annual Swing for a Cause Home Run Derby will raise much needed money for KY Power parent Jon McSorley and Pride parent Chasity Harney.

The event will take place on Saturday July 20th from 2 to 8:00 p.m. at the Newport Vets.

In addition to a traditional Home Run Derby for players ages 8-15 and adults, there will be lots of other fun games and prizes for the whole family. Can’t make it but still want to help Jon and Chasity? Make a donation for the families. 100% of the proceeds from this event will go directly to the families.

Let’s all pitch in a Swing for a Cause.

To register or donate – go here. 

Jon McSorley is a longtime resident of Fort Thomas. He is a husband, father, coach, and friend. He has coached basketball at Highlands High School for over 20 years.

Jon was first diagnosed in his late 20's with ulcerative colitis. Over a decade later in 2016 he was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease affecting the bile duct and liver called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). There is no known cure for this disease and patients with PSC are known to be high risk for cancer of the bile duct. Unfortunately, in January 2019, he was diagnosed with just that.

Treatment for this has taken Jon to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. On June 21st Jon received a new liver via transplant. He is currently recovering at UC Medical Center.

Village Players of Fort Thomas Starts New Era, Renovation of Historic Fort Thomas Women's Club

Village Players is at the beginning stages of planning renovations to its building. The theatre group took over the building from the Fort Thomas Women's Club in October 2019.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

After more than 100 years of service to the community, the Fort Thomas Woman’s Club made the decision to disband in the fall of 2018. The club, whose motto was "to help others is to elevate ourselves, and to elevate ourselves is to help others," made a final act of generosity that is set to elevate the community for years to come.

At the end of October, the organization gifted its building to its very special tenants, the Village Players. The theatre group, which was started by members of the women’s club and grew out of the club’s Music and Drama Department, has been located in the women’s building since 1967.

The theatre group built a thrust-style theater (a stage with seating on three sides) in the basement of the women’s building and took on a vibrant life of its own, bringing people from across the community into the space to enjoy community theater.


A new era takes shape

Last week, members and friends of Village Players were busy ripping out 1970s-era paneling and busting through old plaster at their building at 8 Fort Thomas Avenue.

It’s the beginning of an ambitious project to bring the building up to modern standards and to create a more friendly and accessible cultural and community center in the heart of Fort Thomas.
The building is in need of basic repairs to make it serviceable including a new boiler and radiators, upgraded HVAC, new drywall and other renovations. In addition, the group would like to make the space more accessible and bring it to life as a center for the arts and culture.

Excitement as the future unfolds

"Plans are not finalized yet, but we are beginning work with an architect," said Steve Myers, who has been active in community theater since the early 1970s and member of the Village Players since 1975.

"We have raised some money to start working on tearing down and planning what’s next, but we are working on a more concise plan going forward. We need to secure a grant. We have committees working on this, including a grant writing team," he said.

While the plan is to keep the group’s theater space in the basement of the building, he said, "I’m not sure what I would like to see it become. We want to open up the space and have a real box office...It’s scary but exciting. I’m anxious to see what will happen going forward, what path we will take."

Performances continue while plans are being made

Myers and volunteers were working on the tear downs while also preparing for the Village Players’ upcoming show, Life Story, that will run from Friday, June 28, through Sunday, June 30. The show features six new plays by local authors about "birth, death and the stuff in between."

RELATED: Village Players of Fort Thomas presents local playwrights' plays

The company does three full-run productions during the regular season from October through April with a family friendly play in December. The line up for 2019-2020 season includes "Arcadia" (October), "Room for Seconds" (March) and "The Last Five Years" (April) as well as "Of Dragons and Dwarfs" (December).

In the summer, they produce a shorter show to provide room for Caroline Stine’s InBocca Performance group for young actors.

Creating a space all can enjoy

Monday, June 24, 2019

Learn About the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act at Informational Event This Week

District Court Judge Cameron Blau addressed city council in February to urge adoption of the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, you can learn more about your rights and responsibilities under the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (URLTA) at an informational meeting this Wednesday, June 26, at 6 p.m. in the Fort Thomas city building council chambers.

District Court Judge Cameron Blau will discuss the act and answer questions at the open session. In April, the Fort Thomas city council voted to adopt the act, and it brings the city in line with all the other communities in Northern Kentucky.

Making the act uniform across all area municipalities will help landlords and tenant have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities no matter where they own property or rent in the region, said Blau.