Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Opticare Vision/Express Mobile Transport

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Rolling Thunder to Hold a Ceremony for Fort Thomas Native

Captain Joseph Shaw Ross

On Saturday August 3rd at 2:00 p.m., Rolling Thunder KY 5 will lay a wreath in a short ceremony to remember Captain Ross, a Fort Thomas native, at the Boone County Veterans and POW☆ MIA Memorial.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. Located at 90 Alexandria Pike. 

Captain Joseph Ross USAF
389th Tactical Fighter Squadron — 366th Tactical Fighter Wing — 7th Air Force

Born January 26, 1943 in Fort Thomas, Kentucky
Graduate of Highlands High School — Class of 1961
Graduated from the United States Air Force Academy — Class of 1966
Date last seen: August 1, 1968 in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam
Also missing: Colonel William J. Thompson from Houston, Texas

“As a community we can never forget about the ones we left behind on the battlefield. Our primary mission at Rolling Thunder is to remember. We are honored that we have the opportunity to bring awareness to the public so they know we will never forget the sacrifice,” said Todd Matonich, a United States Navy Veteran and Board Member at Rolling Thunder ® , Inc. Kentucky 5.

On August 1, 1968, Colonel Thompson, aircraft commander, and Captain Joseph Ross, pilot compromised the crew of a McDonnell F4D Phantom jet, call sign "Coach 1", that was the lead aircraft in a flight of two. The flight departed DaNang Airbase, South Vietnam on a night armed reconnaissance mission over Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam.

Enrollee to their assigned area, they were diverted by command to check out suspected truck traffic in the vicinity of their original target. Coach 1 dropped several sets of illumination flares that allowed them to confirm North Vietnamese truck traffic.

Ramps, exits closed this weekend at I-471 and US-27 in Fort Thomas, Southgate

Construction continues at US 27 at I-471 in Southgate, KY near Fort Thomas.

This weekend, starting at 9 p.m. on Friday, August 2 through 6 a.m. Monday morning, August 5, the ramp from I-471 to US 27 (Exit 2) and the ramp from US 27 to I-471 Southbound will be closed.

The closures are necessary for the pavement read project that is in progress.

Stop searching. Start finding. 
The nearly $2 million pavement rehabilitation project in Southgate started with lane closures on April 8.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has been replacing aging concrete with new asphalt at the U.S. 27 and Interstate 471 interchange, which has required lane closures, weekend ramp closures and a closure on Moock Road at U.S. 27, according to KYTC.

"We are excited to address the deteriorated pavement at the U.S. 27 and I-471 interchange," said Bob Yeager, chief district engineer for KYTC District 6. "This will improve the commute for the residents and motorists who live and travel within this area."

LMH Salon Marks 2nd Anniversary While Mourning Loss of Founder

Angie Cuthrell Raybourne

So much can change in a year.

This month, Angie Cuthrell Raybourne of Alexandria should have been clinking glasses while celebrating the 2nd anniversary of her dream come true – her own salon. Instead, family and friends fight back tears while sharing what happened February 16. Angie's heart stopped, suddenly, unexpectedly, at her daughter's 5th birthday party. She never recovered. She was 31.

I first wrote about Angie and her family in November 2017 (you can read that, here). Well, I really wrote about Angie's uncle, James (Jim) T. Mountain and his one-chair barber shop at 10 Renshaw Road in Highland Heights. Angie insisted it be that way because that's who Angie was.

Angie Raybourne and her dad, Mark Cuthrell, worked together for many months to turn what was formerly Jim's Barber Shop into Angie's dream salon.

LMH Salon

Angie poured her heart into the salon, completely gutting it while also preserving as much of the barber's shop's history as possible. Angie had incredible style, which was evident everywhere in the salon, from Jim's restored barber chair to the shadow boxes that display Jim's old tools to the color scheme (teal and yellow) to the salon's overall modern/vintage vibe. Angie was an artist; the salon was her canvas. Walking through the salon's doors is a bit like being privy to what Angie held deep in her heart. And although Angie's heart is no longer beating, the salon – "Angie's dream" – is still up and running. Family and friends hope its doors stay open for a long time.

RELATED: LMH Salon Opens While Jim's Barber Shop is Remembered

Angie grew up with parents Paula and Mark Cuthrell, and sisters Allison (Allie Scharf), Sara Cuthrell and Maria Cuthrell. Last week, on a sunny Tuesday, I met with Mark, Allie and Meg Bardo, one of Angie's best friends and fellow stylist, at the salon. So much of Angie was there, even though she, physically, was not. I spotted some chimes and a stepping-stone gifted by clients, a picture of Angie, words, remembrances. Still, I expected to see Angie.

When you own a salon and you die, tragically young, clients don't expect it – in fact, they don't even consider it a possibility. But the uncomfortable truth of life is this: It can end at any time. And when it does, people need to be told.

As a sister, and best friend, Allie and Meg said it was near impossible to say the words once, never mind over and over again. So acquaintances, a bit more removed, showed up as we do when our friends and neighbors are in need. They made dozens of calls to clients, canceling appointments, rescheduling (with Meg who has singlehandedly taken over the appointment book) and explaining what happened. But still, months later, the phone will ring. "I'd like to schedule an appointment with Angie please." And then Meg has to say the words, all over again. Sometimes they say, "I think I called the wrong salon." Other times, complete silence.

February 16, 2019. Angie and her husband, Greg Raybourne, celebrating their daughter's 5th birthday. No one knew the tragedy that would unfold just a little while later.

Family had gathered at Angie's parents' house on that cold day in February. Charley Jo, daughter of Angie and Greg Raybourne, was turning 5. Angie hadn't been feeling well and had pain in her left upper shoulder area. She thought it was due to cutting hair. She put some ice on it and then went to her parents' bedroom to rest. A few minutes later one of her sisters walked into the bedroom and then ran out. Something was wrong with Angie. A seizure, maybe? What they wouldn't know until later was that there were three major blockages resulting in a sudden massive coronary event in a seemingly healthy, vibrant, young woman. There was no way of knowing. Blame genetics. Blame bad luck. Blame life's sometimes mysterious cruelty.

Thankfully the children were all in another room playing and didn't witness the aftermath. An ambulance came. Commotion. Tears. A ride to St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas. Heartbreak.

Family says Charley is adjusting, in large part thanks to great love and care from her dad (Greg and Angie married in 2010), and from her grandparents, aunts, cousins and close friends. Charley says her mommy is "an angel up in heaven." Angie is often making her presence known throughout the family. Her spirit lives on, they say, through their everyday lives, in the small things they experience and in their memories.
Greg and Charley, loving and missing their wife and mom at the March 9, 2019 Epilepsy Walk.

Charley and Greg led this year's Epilepsy Walk in honor of Angie. 
Angie's sister, Allie Sharf, walking to support her niece and in Angie's honor. 

Many family and friends walked to support Charley and honor Angie.

Charley was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 3. Angie worked hard to learn all she could about the disease. She set out to fight the disease by finding ways to support the epilepsy foundation. This drive had become a big part of Angie's life. Family and friends walked in the March 9, 2019 Epilepsy Walk called "Emerald Miles." Greg and Charley led the walk and Angie was honored during the opening ceremony.

In June, Angie's parents attended the Rolling Stones concert in Chicago – because of Angie. For Christmas, Angie suggested concert tickets as a gift. Family chipped in and made it happen. Allie managed to snag two tickets online the hour ticket sales opened. Christmas Day Angie dressed in a Rolling Stones' t-shirt. Mark said he wondered why Angie was wearing a ratty old t-shirt to the family's Christmas celebration but decided she was old enough to make her own decisions. Little did he know the gift he would later open.

St. Stephen Cemetery, Fort Thomas

Angie's visitation was on February 22, a bitter cold Friday. It lasted five hours. Many people waited in long lines to pay their respects. Before leaving Angie's dad asked the funeral director to leave a light on – for his daughter. The next day there was a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary of the Assumption Church. Angie is buried in St. Stephen Cemetery, Fort Thomas.

Angie designed and drew this tattoo, which she called "Infinite Love." After her death, all three sisters got the same tattoo on their wrists.

Recently family and friends have noticed a bit of a shift. Conversation surrounding Angie is no longer centered on February 16. Rather, they talk about who Angie was – a loving, kind and fun mom, wife, sister, daughter and friend. A beautiful soul who was always smiling (except in the morning, her dad says, laughing – remembering). A helper through and through. A talented hairdresser, designer, artist, photographer, woodworker and baker. Someone who put family first, always. Family and friends are reaching further back, into pockets filled with good memories, happier times. As Angie would have wanted, they say. So they keep reaching in and taking a look at what comes out – there is a lot of happiness to choose from.

James (Jim) T. Mountain, Angie's uncle and former owner of Jim's Barber Shop.

Angie, in LMH Salon.
Clients still come to LMH Salon, still fulfilling Angie's dream. In her salon, back in 2017, before everything, Angie said, "I feel like he is here," when talking about her uncle Jim. Meg says she now feels the same about Angie.

Meg and Angie, 2017

Meg is actively looking for someone to – not fill Angie's space (no one could do that) – but to join the team at the salon, to cut and style hair and just help.

25th Annual Senior Expo (August 22) to be held at Newport on the Levee

Free admission! 

This is the Silver Anniversary of the Northern Kentucky Senior Expo!

This year, The Northern Kentucky Senior Expo will be held on Thursday, August 22nd, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Gallery area of Newport on the Levee.

This is a free event.

The Senior Expo will celebrate its twenty-fifth year in 2019, bringing together area organizations and providers with local seniors, their family members, and friends to connect older adults with needed services. Sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Area Development District/Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living and St. Elizabeth Healthcare, this annual event is a great opportunity for community members to gather information, access health screenings, and enjoy live entertainment.

With over 80 exhibitors in attendance to answer questions and offer services, the Northern Kentucky Senior Expo boasts a wide range of services to meet community members’ needs and interests. There will be health screenings, information sharing, giveaways and door prizes.  Stop by the Waltz Photography Photo Booth for a free photo.  Enjoy Live Entertainment during the Event featuring
Don Fangman singing your Sinatra favorites.  Enjoy Chair Volleyball and Chair Yoga with the R.C. Durr Y.M.C.A.  With free admission and wheelchair-accessibility, this indoor, air-conditioned event will be a great experience for anyone who is interested in senior services.

For more information regarding the Northern Kentucky Senior Expo, please call (859) 283-1885.

In addition to sponsoring the annual Northern Kentucky Senior Expo, the Northern Kentucky Area Development District/Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living (NKADD/AAAIL) is part of a national network of organizations established under the Older Americans Act. Created to respond to the needs of older adults living in the northern eight counties of Kentucky, the staff and volunteers of NKADD/AAAIL work as advocates, planners, coordinators, and developers to ensure that needed services are available to citizens of Northern Kentucky who are 60 years of age and older.

In this capacity, NKADD/AAAIL endeavors to bring funding to the region through various sources including governmental programs and public or private grants and provides information on issues affecting older Northern Kentuckians to the community at large.

The Aging and Disability Resource Center housed within NKADD/AAAIL is a great example of the community advocacy and assistance that NKADD/AAAIL provides. This consumer friendly call center has well trained staff to help individuals identify needs and to deliver information regarding available community-wide support options for adults 60 years of age and older and adults with disabilities.

The Aging and Disability Resource Center serves as a single point of entry for many publicly funded aging support services, completes screenings for various programs, and provides information and referrals in response to the many and varied inquiries that it receives daily.

By this means, the Aging and Disability Resource Center assists individuals in decreasing the confusion which frequently is associated with navigating the vast array of public and private services and providers.

Assistance from Aging and Disability Resource Center counselors may be obtained by telephone, email or by face-to-face interviews. Counselors are available Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at the Northern Kentucky Area Development District office (22 Spiral Drive, Florence, KY) or by calling (859) 692-2480. Individuals can also email the Aging and Disability Resource Center at

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Social Media Contest: Help Celebrate the Fort Thomas Farmers' Market

KDA Announces Social Media Contest to Commemorate Farmers' Markets

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles invites Kentuckians to celebrate Kentucky Farmers’ Markets Week by visiting a local market and posting photos from their visit to Instagram in August. Entrants have a chance to win a basket of Kentucky Proud products.

Phone: 859-905-0714 - Email: This is an advertisement.
For the second year in a row, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is conducting the social media contest to commemorate Farmers’ Markets Week Aug. 4-10 and raise awareness of the fresh local foods available at Kentucky farmers’ markets.

To be eligible for the contest, you must capture photos of the people, enjoyment, beauty, and culture of the Fort Thomas Farmers' Market.

Your account must be public in order to be reviewed. Each post should include a single photo, and you must tag the Kentucky Proud Instagram account — @kentuckyproud. Include #KyProudFarmersMarkets in your caption. Those who enter must be Kentucky residents 18 or over. Photos must be posted from Aug. 1-31 to be eligible.

The Fort Thomas Farmers' Market is located at 950 Cochran Avenue (Tower Park by the tennis courts), and takes place on Wednesdays from 3:00 — 7:00 p.m. (June 5 ‚ September 25) and 3:00 — 6:00 p.m. during October.

19th Annual Backpacks & Breakfast Takes Places Saturday August 10

Event Readies Kids From Low-Income Families For School

More than 900 backpacks filled with school supplies will be given away to school children from low-income families on Saturday, Aug. 10 at the 19th annual Backpacks and Breakfast event put on by Northern Kentucky Harvest.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 11 a.m. in Goebel Park at Fifth and Philadelphia streets in Covington’s MainStrasse. Participants typically begin lining up for backpacks as early as 6:30 a.m.

For the 19th consecutive year, Frisch's, which was Northern Kentucky Harvest’s original partner in the project, will serve a free breakfast to all who attend. 

Backpacks and Breakfast is open to qualified families in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties with children in kindergarten through 12th grade. The backpacks filled with new grade-specific school supplies will be given away on a first-come, first served basis to low-income families. Parents should bring a photo I.D. for themselves, Social Security or medical cards for their children and a recent (within 30 days) piece of mail with their name and address on it for proof of residence.

Fort Thomas City Crews Busy Removing Remnants of Hate Propaganda on Public Property

Fort Thomas city worker removing remnants of hate group stickers left along North Fort Thomas Avenue and elsewhere.

By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

Last night, Fort Thomas resident Bret Olson was walking down North Fort Thomas Avenue when he saw some stickers with disturbing messages plastered on light poles. With phrases like “Better dead than red” and “Conquered not stolen,” these were propaganda stickers produced by the neo-nazi hate group Patriot Front.

Angered at seeing these on public property in his community, Olson removed as many of the stickers as he could, 12 in all, and reported the incident to the Fort Thomas police.

"Patriot Front is a neo-nazi organization that masquerades under the banner of patriotism and in other cities participants have been charged with hate crimes," said Olson. Other residents have told him they’ve seen the stickers in Highland Park as well.

Stickering of light poles and other public property is a violation of a city ordinance, according to Fort Thomas Police Sergeant Will Hunt. He has asked city crews to remove remnants of the stickers found around town.

Similar stickers have appeared over the last few days in downtown Cincinnati near the Great American Ball Park.

Patriot Front is a splinter group and rebranding of Vanguard America, the Texas-based organization that participated in the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center that tracks US hate groups.

In Other Words: We Are the Stories We Tell

Shanty docked at New Richmond
There it was resting against the shore of the Ohio River at New Richmond, Ohio - a genuine mid-20th century shanty boat design built from reclaimed materials.

It was built by Wes Modes and friends and they have been floating rivers across the country off and on now for six years. They tow it to a drop off point, put it, and float off to an adventure. Later the boat is loaded on a trailer and prepared for the next journey.  But what started as a personal adventure has morphed into something bigger and more significant.  It is history - recorded and displayed.

I had the chance to chat with the crew of the shanty boat floating the Ohio on its way to its end in Louisville. When I first saw the roughly 8’ x 20’ shanty I couldn’t help but think how much it resembled the shanty that Fort Thomas’ Harlan Hubbard made famous in his New York Times bestseller Shanty Boat.  So I arranged a tour of Hubbard’s Fort Thomas home and studio. After the tour, we sat in the studio and chatted about why Modes is doing this project and what he intends to do with the interviews he collects along the way.

from A Secret History of American River People website
Modes is a lecturer at CA Santa Cruz but enjoys rafting rivers and adventuring.  Modes writes on his website that he holds “an MFA from the Digital Art and New Media program at UC Santa Cruz. I have exhibited my art and performed regionally since 1996. I am also a UCSC art lecturer and curator at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. In other lives, I am a high-tech runaway, writer, community organizer, geek, and mischief-maker.”  Click on this link to view his website, A Secret History of American River People (

The crew chronicles their interviews and adventures and posts them online. But the purpose of A Secret History of American River People is to build a collection of personal stories of those who live and work on the river. The stories are often contradictory, inspiring, and emotional tales of life along the river.  Many times these are the stories of the forgotten, the often powerless, overlooked, and sometimes neglected people and sometimes they are the stories of the fortunate.

Colleen Epperson snapped this as they floated by Ludlow
The crew on this particular trip was Wes Modes, Lauren Benz, Adrian Nankiveil, and Hazel the dog. They are artists collecting stories, displaying history, and having some fun. They are knowledgable, respectful, opinionated, direct, thoughtful, and honest. And you can’t help but be drawn in.

But back to the why. Benz muses philosophically, “The why grows.” She said one of the most common statements they hear is “You're living my dream."  She replies with, “It could be your dream too, you know.” 

Modes adds “The why is evolving. People are extremely open during interviews… The more we meet our goal of telling stories of people whose stories don’t normally get told the better the stories are that we get.” 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Gold Star Chili Open for Business in Alexandria

Store Features New Brand Design and Menu

Gold Star opened its brand-new Alexandria location on July 29 upon the completion of construction that began in March. The new restaurant location will feature Gold Star’s new brand design in and outside the building, as well as Gold Star’s expanded menu featuring fresh, grilled-to-order burgers.

The location at 8031 Alexandria Pike melds the traditional Cincinnati chili parlor experience and contemporary design into a comfortable, welcoming environment guests will love. The restaurant will serve Gold Star’s expanded menu that includes Cincinnati chili parlor classics, made with Gold Star’s family chili recipe made with a secret blend of 13 spices, as well as a variety of other options.

A grand opening celebration is planned for August 24 and 25. The celebration will feature a free cheese coney with the purchase of any regular drink, a giveaway for free cheese coneys for a year, and more surprises for guests.

Gold Star Alexandria’s opening is one of many store openings and remodels planned for 2019. In the coming months, the organization plans to remodel or complete new buildings in Wilmington and Franklin, Ohio.

Fort Thomas Home Walking Tour: Part VI

By Vanessa Fisse

Fort Thomas Matters continued its Home Walking Tour on June 29, 2019.

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

Your new home is waiting. Start your search, click here...

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: Part IPart IIPart III Part IVPart V

To view as a slideshow, click the first image below:

The Good King: Expanding Coloring Mission Recipients

By Jeremy Shannon 
Pastor, First Baptist Church of Fort Thomas 

A year and a half ago, Fort Thomas Matters ran a story featuring The Good King, a project and company run by Fort Thomas resident Arian Armstrong. The heart behind this project is to help encourage people, especially children, to learn how they can use art to change the world. With his own desire to share some of the good news happening in our community, I reached out to Arian to get an update on the work of The Good King.

RELATED: The Good King: Arian Armstrong's Magical World 

As a quick refresher, followers of The Good King account regularly receive a secret coloring mission, where they learn about someone in the world that is struggling in some way, whether an illness or some other tough life circumstances. People from around the world color a specially drawn image from Armstrong and submit them to her, Arian compiles these pages and gives them to the person in need. The hope is to encourage them in the midst of a struggle and let them know they are not alone.

There have many impactful moments through these secret missions, for example:

Mission 44: "Sir Brian of Peace. He's a father of 10, including 6 adopted with special needs, who was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. When we colored for him he was recovering from surgery and facing a grim prognosis. Now, more than a year later, he's stable, doing incredibly well, and living life to the fullest".

Mission 41: Kelsey the Wonder Girl, featuring a young girl who was battling leukemia. "Her secret coloring mission got shared on several popular dog's Instagram accounts. In one week, I received 100 photos of dogs with their colored page from a dozen different countries and an additional 150 from kids. She tragically passed away shortly after but her family was moved by the global response to her secret coloring mission".

After over 60 missions, The Good King has made a switch to expand the type of recipients featured in the secret coloring missions. Now, instead of solely featuring people who are struggling, Armstrong has decided to feature superheroes that are serving others around the world.  Arian is using coloring as a chance to encourage them and show gratitude for the ways that they are working to change the world in their own unique ways.

There is a famous quote from Mister Rogers that says “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said to his television neighbors, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” In talking with Armstrong, this seems to be right in line with this new direction for The Good King.

The most recent coloring mission is to support a hero named Kim who currently serves in a non-profit ministry in Romania called Elder Orphan Care. In her time working with Elder Orphan Care, Kim has been able to help over 300 elderly people get off the streets and in a place where they are safe.

According to Armstrong, this new direction is intentional because it is a more positive direction and one that can leave children more encouraged from week to week. A major goal for The Good King is to show people how they can use art for good. In order to accomplish this, there has been an intentional push to become an entire brand that will expand the ways that art can be used to change the world.

“I'm currently working on a kids book about the fictional backstory of The Good King Paper Co. It's meant to show kids that their gift of creativity can be a gift to the world. I'm hoping that this book, the secret coloring missions, and the other paper goods products I'm working on, will equip and inspire people to use art for good.” Armstrong said.

The results have been encouraging so far. Armstrong has partnered with a local book binding company in Cincinnati in a building that has been a site for printing for over 100 years. She has designed a series of sketchbooks and other items that help people think of ways that they can use their art as a means for encouraging, building up, and supporting others in a variety of ways. In February she attended the National Stationery Trade Show in New York and was able to get her work featured in several stores.

Jeremy Shannon said, "When reviewing the original feature there is a line that stuck out to me by Armstrong that said: 'I wish I could cure cancer. But I’m an artist. So I draw.'" From an outsider’s perspective, this is what makes the work of The Good King so impactful, especially in light of this new direction. We are not all gifted in the same way, but the good news is that those differences can be used to help impact people in unique ways.

By hearing about heroes who are changing the world, children (and adults) will be exposed to a variety of ways that they can help make the world a better place. While we might not be going to Romania to help those in need, we can support those who are and perhaps that encouragement is exactly what they need to keep going.

Be sure to follow the work of The Good King and see how you can join in their mission to save the world through art. In addition, we can all take a cue from this passion to learn how we can use our unique giftedness to brighten our corner of the world.