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Monday, September 30, 2019

The Legend of Rosie Red and her tie to the community

By Jeremy Shannon 

Other than my faith and family, perhaps there has been no more consistent presence in my life than the Cincinnati Reds. Some of my most vivid memories growing up are obscure moments at Riverfront Stadium or riding in a car listening to Marty and Joe call a game. I used to dream of living close enough to the stadium to be able to go to games all the time.  You can imagine the joy I have found over the last two years living only 5 miles from Great American Ballpark.

What I never expected was that many of my favorite memories would be centered not on the game itself but of the memories made with my three year old, Crosley, as we seek out her hero, Rosie Red.

During the 2018 season, Jesse Winker became the first player to hit the Toyota Tundra sign (it was a technicality, but ok). Where was I? Walking along the concourse with my daughter looking for Rosie.

At every Reds event our main objective is to find Rosie.

This has resulted in things like running halfway around the stadium or waiting by a concession stand for 3 innings because we heard that Rosie might make an appearance.  I, a grown man, have stood hollering like a fool for Rosie to walk over from the field to see us. Do you remember where you were this year during this year’s Kentucky Derby? I was down the left field line in the rain holding my phone up so my daughter could Facetime with Rosie before she went to bed.

Jeremy, Crosley and Rosie. 
Crosley is confident that Rosie is her best bud. We have attended enough games over the last two seasons that Rosie has sat with her at several games, picked her up, and opened her arms up for a hug. While mascots aren’t allowed to speak, her mannerisms make my daughter feel like she is the most important person in the world. Crosley is convinced that Rosie is just as excited to see her as she is excited to see Rosie.

A few months ago I learned that Rosie actually has strong ties to the Fort Thomas community.

Perhaps you have even met Rosie without realizing it. Since my hope is to share good news about things happening in our community, I knew this was a story that I could get 100% behind because I have felt the effects first hand.

As Superman is sometimes Clark Kent, Rosie’s daytime alias is Amy Burgess. Her husband is none other than Jason Burgess, director of the theatre program at Highlands High School. A few weeks ago I met with Amy and Jason at Tower Park to talk about her work as Rosie and also their connections to the Fort Thomas community. What quickly became apparent is their deep appreciation for the arts and a love for the students that they connect with every day.

Jason and Amy Burgess. 

The Burgesses are both theatre majors who met each other while interning with Ensemble Theatre in Cincinnati in the 2004-2005 season. Thirteen years ago, Jason took on the position as theatre teacher and Director of Theatre Programming. In addition Jason’s work, Amy directs the choreography for their shows. Around the same time that Jason began working at Highlands, Amy took on a role that she admits she never would have thought of when growing up.

“I didn’t dream of being Rosie because I didn’t know that was even a thing.”

In fact, what many people do not realize is that Burgess is the original Rosie Red and has been in the role since Rosie's inception in 2008. One of the cool things about being the original is that she has helped create the persona and helped establish how Rosie will be seen for hopefully generations to come. This has provided her with a great creative outlet. Additionally, they are able to use her experience as a great teaching opportunity for students. Jason specifically mentioned some of the teaching lessons for his students in showing them where hard work can lead as they prepare for their future.

He says he can talk to them about “the idea of a legacy. What will your legacy be? She created this character.”

The combination of working as Rosie Red and working with the theatre program can create for a hectic family schedule. With the Highlands drama program there are multiple shows going on during the entire school year, requiring long hours and late nights. Additionally, Rosie Red makes close to 250-300 appearances during the year in addition to 81 home games which creates a lot of demand for Amy’s schedule. Combine this with raising their two young daughters shows a strong level of commitment to not only the arts, but making a difference in the lives of others.

I’ve already mentioned the love affair that my family has with Rosie Red. Amy understands the weight of this responsibility and does not take for granted the ability that she has to brighten the days of those who come to see Rosie.

"It's cool to see how kids grow up through baseball, seeing them year after year at various events.  I think it is cool that kids admire Rosie and look up to her and want to seek me out and find me at a game.  It's an honor to be a part of their lives if only for a few moments."

She also spoke about how there are many kids that she has gotten to see as Rosie and how much fun it has been to watch them grow up over the years. Amy mentioned how there was recently a Reds marketing campaign about how baseball has been woven into the history of the city.  She is proud to be able to be a part of new memories that will continue the great baseball tradition of Cincinnati.
Because Rosie is not allowed to say anything while out and about, I thought I’d give Amy and Jason a chance to dish out on some things that perhaps they wished that people knew about mascot life. One of the biggest things that they said is that people do not realize that she is responsible for taking care of her suits.  That means sewing up different parts of the costume every week. She has a rotation of about four suits, but they get a lot of wear and tear.

Additionally, there is the physical toll involved. I asked about the heat and learned that there really are no good ways to keep cool, even though everyone seems to have a suggestion. Additionally, the costumes can result in medical issues like plantar fasciitis, which can result in pain during the season. After our interview she even talked about one of her daughters being born right before the 2012 playoffs and she went back to being Rosie just a few weeks after birth.

As a theatre family would probably be expected to say, “The show must go on.”

She can use this hard work to pick at their drama students a bit. Amy joked that they know she isn’t going to give them much sympathy about being hot, tired, or busy because they know exactly what she does. It’s all in good fun though and only possible because of the love shown to their students.
As baseball season is wrapping up, theatre season is already in full swing. I asked Jason Burgess about their current work and on the day we spoke he was in the middle of interviewing students who were interested in being a part of their next play, The Diary of Anne Frank.

Listening to their story, it is clear that following their passions have led them to this community and have positioned them to impact countless students through their work at Highlands and with the Cincinnati Reds. I, for one, am thankful their faithfulness has impacted my little girl and how we have been able to make memories that will last a lifetime.

In a world that needs good news, I am thankful that there are people like Rosie, Amy, and Jason who seek out ways to impact the world by doing the things that they love. How can you do the same?

This article was written with the hope of sharing good news of things happening in our community. We are looking for reasons to celebrate! If you have a story that you think should be shared, please contact Jeremy Shannon at

September School Board Meeting Updates: eSports, Workplace Ethics, Johnson Project

Work continues on the Johnson Elementary School Project. (FTM file)

By Robin Gee

Fort Thomas Independent Schools District board members got down to business at the September meeting covering updates on the Johnson School project, creating a position for a coach for a new activity, learning about a new certificate in development and sharing concerns about school funding issues.

Here are some of the highlights

Johnson Elementary — Director of Operations Jerry Wissman gave a brief report on the Johnson School project. Things are moving along as planned, thanks to the good weather lately, he said. While there is not much to see for those who pass by, work is underway in laying the footers and foundation. In fact, he said, the construction crew is putting in an average of 50 yards of concrete a day. Plumbers have been on hand as well to prepare for their work.

Wissman received board approval for changes that include adding more natural light through light tubes and skylights in the building.

Credit card fees — Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Jamee Flaherty shared a change in fees charged when using a credit card to make payments in the district. The district was charging flat rates based on the amount of money involved, but now will charge 2.75 percent for transactions when a physical credit card is provided and 3.5 percent plus 15 cents for transactions over the phone. The new schedule helps the school recover fees charged by the card companies.

Art fundraisers — Flaherty also presented a request by Moyer and Johnson elementary schools to hold two art-related fundraisers this year, known as Artome and Artsonia. The board granted permission to the schools for the events.

eSports — The board also approved hiring of an eSports coach. Two students approached the board in August to request that Fort Thomas schools participate in eSports. Approved by the Kentucky High School Athletics Association, eSports are popular with a wide variety of students who want to join a competitive program but who may not want or be able to be involved in traditional sports programs.

The eSport program has two seasons, winter and spring, culminating in a state competition. The program would be in place at Highlands High for the spring 2020 season.

Workplace Ethics Instruction — Assistant Superintendent for Learning Bill Bradford shared information on an Essential Workplace Ethics Instruction program and certificate. The requirement that all schools include the program passed the Kentucky legislature last year and implementation was set for this school year.

Bradford has been working with the 16 school districts in Northern Kentucky to collaborate on a program that will meet the state requirements. Districts also are required to work with the local Workforce Investment Board to ensure the program meets the needs of employers in the community.

"Every district should have in place a program that addresses essential workplace ethics," explained Bradford. "It can go beyond that, but the program must include adaptability, diligence, initiative, knowledge, reliability, remaining drug free and working well with others. Those are the core concepts that are written into law that all districts are required to have...Districts must also have an opportunity for students to earn a certificate acknowledging they have mastered the key attributes of these characteristics."

Bradford recently presented the districts’ program proposal to the Workforce Investment Board to receive approval and validation. He said the board was pleased with the result.

At Fort Thomas, "We are at a significant advantage. We have a head start with Portrait of a Graduate competencies." While not identical, concepts in the two programs complement each other, he said.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Motorcycle-car crash on Grand Avenue sends one to hospital with serious injuries

A crash involving a motorcycle and a car on Grand Avenue in Newport sent one person to University of Cincinnati Hospital this evening.

The crash shut down Grand Avenue from the I-471 south ramp in Newport to Churchill drive heading into Fort Thomas. One motorcycle and one vehicle were involved, heading southeast on Grand Avenue towards the I-471 northbound ramp.

The motorcyclist was transported to UC and the motorcycle, heavily damaged, was still on the roadway as of 8:30 p.m.

No more information is known about that person's status at this time.

Newport, Fort Thomas and Campbell County Police, along with accident reconstruction teams are currently on site trying to determine how the crash occurred.

Police told Fort Thomas Matters that emergency responders were leaving from St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas from a transport when they came upon the accident. Police and emergency responders were then dispatched to the scene at 6:30 p.m.

There was visible damage to the back of an Infinity sedan that was also involved in the crash. Police noted that the bystanders on scene were assisting the motorcyclist and providing information to police and the reconstruction team.

This story may be updated.

FTM file. 

Program Win Number 900 for Bluebirds Denied

Bluebirds Record Just Five First Downs in Shutout

PHOTO: Ed Harber. The Highlands seniors in Brycen Huddleston (1), Brock Huber (54), Jacob Brass (29) and Collin Hollingsworth walk out for the pre-game coin toss at Boyle County on Friday.
The Highlands Bluebirds football team generally looks forward to road trips like this in a challenging environment.

But this one turned into a game the Bluebirds (4-2 overall) want to put behind them quickly. The 3-5 Highlands defense kept the game within striking distance. But the offense could not put any points on the board as the host Boyle County Rebels (6-0) shut out the Bluebirds, 30-0. This marked the first time the Rebels did not hit the running clock all season.

Friday, September 27, 2019

12 Need-To-Know Facts For Merchants & Music (Saturday, 9-28)

Via the City of Fort Thomas

1. Parking is difficult. That’s why we have two designated parking lots where you can park your car and use the marvelous Executive Transportation vans/busses to get to Tower Park. No charge! Southside Medical Center and Fort Thomas Plaza have graciously allowed us to use their parking lots. Southside is at 525 Alexandria Pike. The Fort Thomas Plaza is at 900 Alexandria Pike. It’s less than 5 minutes from either lot to the Park. The shuttles will run about every 15 minutes.

2. Using your GPS? Type in 801 Carmel Manor Drive; Fort Thomas, KY 41075. That gets you to the parking lot on the south side of Tower Park, the site of our event.

3. Douglas Avenue is closed to traffic. Parking is at a premium. You may park on most any street in Fort Thomas and walk.

4. Braxton Beer is our source for your beer-drinking. All beers are $5.00.

5. The event begins at 1:00 with the first band, Borderline.

6. The Kids Zone runs from 1:00-7:00 pm. Inflatables, games, and activities. In addition to the brick restroom building, we will have 26 portable toilets and 8 handwashing stations throughout the park. We have lights for them at dusk.

7. Please do NOT bring your dogs. It’s dangerous for them. We will have the Greyhound Rescue with several of their dogs in one of the booths.

Merk & Gile Injury Attorney. 526 York Street, Newport. Free consultation 513-713-0862

8. The schedule for bands is:
1:00 Borderline
2:15 Tone Yard
3:45 River City
5:15 Band of Helping Hands
6:30 Powell Brothers
8:00 Travis Meadows
9:30 Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
After Party: Sudo Nano

9. We have volunteers driving quads to help the handicapped get from the entrances to the Amphitheater. Flag them down if you need help!

10. Our Fort Thomas Police and Fire Departments will be on site. If you have any problems, please call our dispatch number: 859-292-3622.

11. We have a silent auction full of great items. You can bid at them on-line or at the event. There is also a raffle.

12. We have two ATM machines for your convenience.

Fort Thomas Resident shares her recovery story: The First Step

By Jessica Eden 

I walk slowly up the stone pathway that leads to a grand, Victorian house and knock gingerly on the giant picture glass door. It’s the type of home you gawk at and admire as you walk your dog down the tree-lined streets of Fort Thomas. Stately and welcoming. A smiling woman appears and promptly welcomes me in and cheerily says “Hi, I’m Annie! Nice to meet you!”

Annie Bennet just has a way of making you feel instantly welcome.

We settle in the living room to chat. Even though I write for a living, interviews still give me butterflies because, well, sometimes, you never know how an in-person interview is going to go...but with Annie, I felt at ease the moment she opened the door for me and I took that first step inside her home.

Your new home is waiting. Start your search here. 
Annie Bennet has been a Fort Thomas resident for a long time. She was a single mom who raised three children; Teri, Christie and Michael, all while pioneering an organization designed to close the gaps in health services for women and mothers struggling with addiction.

Let's be honest, Annie could be the inspiration for “Wonder Woman” or a book or a movie. She has an energy that is positively explosive. She’s a go-getter. Throughout her life, she has remained driven and dedicated to her career and family — all the while, fighting a battle of her own.

You see, Annie is a recovering alcoholic. She has been sober for 31 years.

As a young, newly divorced single mother, she knew it was time to make a change. The first step she took after her divorce was enrolling in a program to help with her recovery.

“I got into recovery and the company I was with sold so I received a severance package which I used to attend graduate school. I admired My sister who was a social worker, so I decided to go for a Masters in Social Work,” said Annie. “U.K. had a graduate social work program out of NKU and while there I did a research project to identify gaps in services for women. I also had an internship in Bethesda’s Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program.  My research identified the biggest gap in services was alcohol and drug treatment for women with kids.”

Annie’s dedication to finding (and closing) gaps in the system for addicted women led her to grant writing...which eventually led to the opening of First Step Home, a resource for women struggling with addiction. “A national survey by the Junior League in conjunction with AllState Insurance Company identified similar gaps in services for women. I used this info to apply for funding and worked on a federal grant for months that didn’t get funded.

I thought ‘well, I’ll do something else’ but then I received a $137 check from The Drop Inn Center with a letter which stated that these were funds left over from contributions they received to cover the costs of burying an alcoholic woman found murdered on the streets of Cincinnati and we feel like if there were programs like your proposing there would be fewer of these women” said Annie. “Then, the First Step Home was born  - started by just a small group of recovering women. It was never just me, it was always a team. It was very much a calling. I had a sense of purpose and felt good about using my skills to better the community.”

After Annie got her masters in social work, she leased space in the former rectory (Camboni House) for St. Michael's Church in Lower Price Hill. Annie was elected as executive director of First Step Home with a starting salary of $18k a year. “We opened with under six clients in order to comply with building codes and then worked on raising the funds needed to bring the building up to institutional use standards in order to serve more women and their children. Initially, volunteers provided everything from staffing needs to food to counseling,” said Annie.

“As crack addiction and our waiting list grew, we were able to secure more funding and opened up another home in East Walnut Hills.  The building at onetime had been an elegant residence for the Pogue family, but ended up converted to a nursing home prior to becoming vacated. First Step Home received The Historic Preservation Award that year for the renovation of this building.”

A short time later, First Step bought apartments on Liberty Street and later most of the houses on Fulton Avenue in East Walnut Hills to house First Step Home graduates. “Since many of the women served had dropped out of school and had few job skills and a criminal history, sober and supportive housing was needed for them to have time to get back on their feet and become self-sufficient by going back to school or gaining job skills,” said Annie. 

Bennett is involved in First Step Home on the advisory board and on the executive committee and chair of the program committee at Shelterhouse, although they are separate organizations.

“Arlene Nolan was the CFO at First Step Home and she is now the Executive Director of Shelterhouse, the largest homeless shelter in southern Ohio. Jennifer Goodin was the Development Director and she is now the Executive Director of The Ronald McDonald House. Georgine Getty worked in development at First Step Home and she is now the Executive Director of Our Daily Bread,” said Annie.

“First Step Home was always about reaching potential, whether you were staff, volunteer, or a client.”  

Annie is still on the Shelterhouse board and Cheer Program Committee and her children acknowledge that the First Step Home was one of their mother’s greatest achievements.

“I’m sure you have already heard about the First Step Home that she started, but you really need to go see the incredible place they have made for women struggling with addiction,” said Teri. “It touches your heart to see how it changes the lives of the women and their children. Many of them would be dead or in prison if they didn’t have a place like this to help them. Knowing that my mom was a founder makes me feel so proud of her. She worked endless hours on grants, fixing up building to make it nice for the clients, took them on camping trips and just let them see that there is life without drugs and alcohol. If you can’t tell yet, I love my mom so much. It hasn’t always been easy but it got us to where we are today and I couldn’t be happier.”

By taking that first step towards recovery, Annie has, in turn, created a lasting, positive impact on countless lives. “My grandparents, Ruth and Ray Farager, Annie’s mom and dad, were people who always wanted to give back and that bled through to mom and her sister Teri,” said son Michael Plummer.

“They have both dedicated their adult lives to giving back and trying to help anyone they could. The web of lives my mom has not only helped but saved, is a miraculous feat considering she was an alcoholic single parent and could have easily stayed the course. I can tell you the numerous events I have been to that were honoring my mom and the countless people that have come to me to let me know that my mom has literally saved their lives...but it doesn’t stop there. These same people that have gone from drug and alcohol addictions that were not productive participants of society and now they are paying it forward by continuing in my mom’s steps and helping the next in line. 

That is why I say she has helped countless people, because she has set the stage for all these people to do the same. I haven’t even mentioned the lives of the children raised by these people who are now role models for their children instead of someone they have to visit behind bars. It is sad because our jails are full of nonviolent drug offenders and if they don’t get help, it is a cycle for them and their children. It is hard to grasp the difference my mom has made on the people she has worked with and mentored over the last 30 plus years.”

As it sometimes happens throughout the long, winding path of life, Annie’s career sometimes led to less time for her family. This hard fact of life remains on Annie’s mind. “When I was young, I had three kids, worked full time, had an 18 hour internship and I was going to school,” said Annie. “My life was insane...and I missed so much with my kids. Now, with my grandkids, we’re at every sports game and we take special trips with them. We are very devoted to them.”

Life, admittedly, wasn’t easy as a single parent. Annie’s oldest daughter Teri Judy, often had to step forward to help with her younger siblings but Teri says her mother’s energy and drive kept the family moving forward.“Divorce is very hard on a family. I was about 12 when my father moved out. My mother was working full time for my grandmother’s company and then ended up going back to school to earn a degree in social work," said Teri. “For me, it was difficult because I was the oldest and helped take care of my younger brother and sister. What I admire in my mom is her unbelievable amount of energy and drive. If she says she is going to do something, she will do it no matter what.” 

The youngest, Michael, admits that the challenges of a single parent household were there...but big sister Teri helped a lot. “If I am to think of challenges, the first thing that would come to mind is, as a young kid, how I survived all my sisters’ parties!” said Michael. “It really is a different lifestyle when you grow up with a single mom who works full time to support a family. I am sure we had all the same struggles as any family, but before my mom decided to enter a recovery program, there were definitely some rough times. To be honest, it would be my oldest sister Teri who dealt with all the difficulties of a single parent home because she was at an age where she could really help out by co-parenting.”

The one thing that all her children (and many grandchildren) agree on? She is an inspiration.

“Everything inspires me about my mom -- she has come so far and accomplished so many amazing things in her life, it is hard to pick one thing. The addiction obstacle she has overcome has definitely been what set the groundwork for all the amazing things she has done with her life and for others,” said daughter Christie Hosea.

“Since becoming Sober, my mom has become a different person and has helped so many others also change for the better. Starting First Step Home for women in recovery and giving these women all second chances at life was something I will always admire my mom for doing. She took a leap of faith when she saw there was a desperate need and a gap that needed to be filled in our community. She filled that gap and worked relentlessly to do so. Seeing my mother with my four children and the relationship they have is an accomplishment I hope to someday aspire to when I am a grandmother. Spending time with 'Big Annie' is almost a daily occurrence. She supports them all at their games, runs them to practices, picks them up at school and even helps feed them when I am in a bind. It definitely takes a village to raise kids and I am very fortunate that my village includes an amazing lady called 'Big Annie'". 

So, for those of you who haven’t met “Big Annie”, how can we all describe her? I asked Teri, Christie and Michael how they would describe her in just a few words;

“Caring, Energetic, Driven, Inclusive, Adventurous,” said Christie.
“She is the energizer bunny with a heart as big as the world...with a touch of OCD!!”, said Teri.
“An inspiration that is god given to help those around her,” said Michael.

For me, I would say that Annie is larger than life and it was my pleasure to bring her story to life.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

St. Thomas School Wins 2019 Blue Ribbon of Excellence Award

Saint Thomas School has been named a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and among the nation's top schools by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Catholic elementary school, located in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, is one of 362 recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools in 2019. Saint Thomas is the only private elementary school in the greater Cincinnati area to receive the award this year.

The Blue Ribbon award goes to schools based on overall academic excellence or based on progress in closing the achievement gap among student subgroups.

Deborah Flamm, the principal at Saint Thomas, said, "What makes this award prestigious is there are only 50 Catholic schools in the entire U.S. each year who receive the award. We are proud that our students rank in the top 15% of national assessment scores."

Flamm continued, "We have a lot to celebrate at Saint Thomas, and we could not have done it without our full community of support."

Now in its 37th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 9,000 schools.

On November 14 and 15, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 312 public and 50 non-public school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.  

Blue Marble Reviewers

Blue Marble Books and Fort Thomas Matters are teaming up to put student’s book reviews in the spotlight!

Each month the Blue Marble will select one student’s review to feature at the store and in the paper. This is a great opportunity to let your child be recognized for their amazing reading and writing skills!

Each month a local student can submit one review for any book of their choosing. The review is simple and fun. All that is required is two paragraphs. The first paragraph should briefly summarize what the book is about, and why they liked it. The second paragraph should answer one of our prompt questions. Students can add more as long as the review stays under 500 words.

To submit for this month, click the link below:

Merchants & Music Presents Bands Against Cancer Sponsored by St. Elizabeth

Date: September 28, 2019
Location: Tower Park, Fort Thomas, Kentucky
Time: 1:00-Midnight. 

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness will be the headliner.  Joining him on the stage will be Borderline, Tone Yard, River City, The Band of Helping Hands, The Powell Brothers, Travis Meadows, and Sudo Nano.

This year, Fort Thomas Renaissance and Bands Against Cancer are combining efforts into one event to raise funds for the new St. Elizabeth Cancer Center in Northern Kentucky.

A huge Kids Zone, food trucks, Braxton Brewing, lots of healthcare booths, our Fort Thomas and other community merchants, an impressive silent auction and raffle will add to the fun.

"The Betrayal or Pearl Bryan" author to discuss book at Kenton Co. Library

The tale of Pearl Bryan is one of those stories that is almost unbelievable. A young pregnant woman who was lured to her death in Fort Thomas in the 1890’s by the baby’s father and his accomplice. Tragically killed and beheaded, it was a story that captivated people far and wide. As this story has been told throughout the decades, the story has taken a life of its own. But what is true and what has been elaborated over the years?

On Tuesday, October 22 Larry Tippin, author of “The Betrayal of Pearl Bryan - Unraveling the Gilded Age Mystery That Captivated a Nation: True Crime” will present the findings of his research. Mr. Tippin scoured from thousands of pages of trial transcripts, depositions, contemporary newspaper accounts and other source documents to tell the real story of Pearl.

Fort Thomas named Kentucky's most underrated place to visit by national website

Fort Thomas was named Kentucky's most underrated city via and the Blue Marble was highlighted as a must visit destination.

Using a combination of data from Thrillist and, NetCredit found out which cities in each state got the best reviewed nightlife, weather and outdoor activities.

Are your garden beds ready for fall? Stop in to Fort Thomas Florist.  63 S. Grand Ave. 
The article states, "Kentucky’s safest city was founded around 1749 on the site of a tragic three-day battle between the Cherokee tribe, Shawnees and Miamis. Hundreds of graves have since been found. The area was also pivotal in the Civil War. It is named after George Henry Thomas, a southerner who became a heroic Union general."

Blue Marble Books, located at 1356 S. Fort Thomas Avenue, was highlighted as one of the best places to visit while in the city.

The full-service, independent bookseller with a personal commitment to customers and community, was founded in 1979.

RELATED: Blue Marble Books website 

From the article:

"The Blue Marble indie bookstore is emblematic of the city’s more peaceful nature today. The store specializes in books for younger readers and stocks hard-to-find editions, dolls and puppets. Children will love the Great Green Room, the Great Teen Room and the Secret Garden."

For the full article about the most underrated places to visit in every state, visit the NetCredit website:

Highlands travels to Danville to take on undefeated Boyle County

History on Line as Bluebirds Travel to Danville

PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands junior defensive back Jason Noe and the Bluebirds secondary will have a huge challenge Friday defending Boyle County senior wide receiver/defensive back Reese Smith. Smith, a West Virginia University commit, leads the Rebels with 19 catches for 538 yards and eight touchdowns.
History looms on the horizon for the Highlands Bluebirds football team.

The next victory for the Bluebirds will be the 900th in school history. They could become the second program in the country to hit that mark behind the Valdosta (Georgia) Wildcats. Highlands is 899-253-26 in 105 seasons and Valdosta stands 930-233-34.

But to achieve that feat, Highlands (4-1 overall) will have to do it in a very tough place to win Friday when the Bluebirds travel to Danville to face the undefeated Boyle County Rebels (5-0). Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Boyle County's Rebel Field. Highlands owns 23 state championships in school history and Boyle County has eight with the last one coming in Class 3A two seasons ago.

"I honestly don't think I've heard the guys talk about 900 wins. But we've brought it up a couple times because it's really cool," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "It'd be a mistake not to talk about it. It's such an unbelievable achievement for a high school football program to have. We're going to talk about it when it's appropriate, but in practice and getting ready for the game, we're going to focus on the game. With the change in the way they do the playoffs, getting a win over a team like Boyle County could do a lot for us not only for the confidence side, but also for the computer side. It's a really important game."

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Northern Kentucky political, legal institution, Lambert L. Hehl, Jr., passes away

Lambert L. Hehl, Jr. 7/2/1924 – 9/23/2019

Campbell County District Court Judge Lambert Hehl roasts Marie Weber at Quality Inn; Marie Weber (84) headed social service agencies for the state for close to 50 years. 1988 Ky Post via Kenton Co. Library Faces and Places. 

Lambert L. Hehl, Jr., passed away on September 23, 2019. An institution in the political and legal arenas of Campbell County and Northern Kentucky as a whole, Judge Hehl served as a Campbell County Commissioner from 1963 – 1974, a two-term Campbell County Judge Executive, and a total seven years on the bench as a judge in both Campbell County District and Circuit court.

Prior to his election as a county commissioner, Judge Hehl served as a state senator for three years. During his public service he helped bring the interstate through the region and developing the AA highway. For his contributions to local infrastructure, the 275 bridge linking Campbell County to southeastern Hamilton County was named the Combs Hehl Bridge after Judge Hehl and Governor Bert T. Combs.

Judge Hehl was a force in his community, holding membership in the Campbell County Jaycee’s, the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission, the Fort Thomas Optimist’s Club, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Campbell County Democratic Club and the Bellevue Vets.

Judge Hehl was also a Marine Veteran, serving his country in World War II.

Judge Hehl is survived by two children, four grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, and six great, great grandchildren.

Pictures from Kenton Co. Faces and Places:

Judge Lambert Hehl, attorney John Patton Jr., attorney Greg Popovich, Commonwealth attorney C. Huston Ebert.

Campbell County Judge Executive Lambert Hehl at meeting with people form Lakeside Terrace. 1980, KY Post. 

Compiled by Tyler Owen 

This local bugler helps honor veterans, families for their last earned tribute

John Kuntz Jr.
Buglers Across America is a non-profit organization is to provide a live, not recorded, bugler for the sounding of Taps at the closure ceremony for every Veteran and other appropriate occasions.

By public law, every Veteran can be provided military honors, if requested at the at time funeral arrangements are being made. The minimum to be provided for these Honors is a two-person team to fold and present the flag and the sounding of Taps.

Due to a critical nationwide shortage of available buglers in the military, this tribute has too often been relegated to a recorded version. In order to restore the dignity and to demonstrate the earned honor due our Veterans, former Marine, Tom Day, founded Bugles Across America in 2000.

The organization now has over 7,500 registered qualified buglers nationwide. BAA is listed in the Funeral Directors Red Book and they are recognized by the Pentagon as a real provider of Taps.

If you need their services, you can contact John Kuntz Jr. at or (859) 441-5924.

You can also visit the BAA website at, and click on “Request a Bugler”.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

In Other Words: Get Busy Doing Important Stuff

My family tree is in there somewhere.

So we did the DNA ancestry test thing. No surprises - lots of western/northern European with a touch of Eastern European Jew tossed in. Yawn.

I admit that I have done some research on my family tree but this question nags at me. Is it necessary to know our lineage in order to become who we are or wish to become? Does knowing our DNA heritage/family tree influence who we are? Does it matter? Or is it just an interesting side note? Paupers are the descendants of princes and princes usually have a criminal in the family’s past.

It’s interesting and fun to see who contributed in some way to my genetic makeup but I have spent my life determining who I am.  Not knowing anything of my past has not influenced who I became. I’d like to think that I became me by choice. In fact, not knowing is a benefit because I get to create my future; it is not determined for me.

Oh, sure, there might be a bit of larceny in me because a great-uncle spent time in prison for writing bad checks. Or maybe there’s a bit of musical ability because another relative owned an exclusive music business in California. Or that another relative was a distinguished university professor. Or that a grandfather died an alcoholic death. Or that a great-grandfather was a struggling farmer. Sure, all of that DNA contributed to my health and appearance and, perhaps, intellect, but it doesn’t determine me.

DNA won’t reveal what kind of person you are. So what if you are related to an English baron? What if he was a jerk? Your actions determine what kind of person you are.

I admit that it’s an interesting topic of conversation. But then I noticed that those conversations usually turn into a game of oneupmanship and that’s disappointing because then the conversation descends into that nasty I’m-better-than-you-are or I’m-more-important-than-you-are territory.

The dignity, or even indignity, of the past can and should inspire us to be a better person. A distant cousin who has spent considerable time researching our family tree claims that a relative of ours invented the wax carton that holds milk or juice. So what. It may be an interesting bragging point but it really doesn’t do anything for me. So what if I’m related to William the Conquerer or Charlemagne? I’m still responsible for the life I build and that distant past really does not translate into life credit for the present.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Newly-installed beacon crosswalk signal damaged after car crash, driver charged

Signal beacon that stood near Highlands Middle School lies on the ground after a motorist knocked it over Friday night.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

Less than two months after installation was complete, a motorist, who has been charged with driving under the influence, knocked over the beacon signaling device located on Memorial Parkway near Highlands Middle School.

On Friday, September 20, the driver slammed into the newly erected beacon at about 11:15 p.m. The beacon was recovered by city crews and taken back to the city building to determine if it can be repaired and redeployed.

Samuel P. Reynolds, 18 from Fort Thomas, has been charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Criminal Mischief in the 3rd degree, failure to produce an insurance card and a communication device violation. He was taken to the Campbell County Detention Center early Saturday morning.

The beacon was one of the four crosswalk safety devices installed by the city through its citywide Pedestrian Safety Initiative. Other safety devices have been installed at Moyer Elementary, St. Thomas School and Highlands High School.

The school crosswalk beacons are part of a citywide Pedestrian Safety Initiative.

2nd Annual Newport Arts and Music Festival — September 28

The Newport History Museum at the Southgate Street School is hosting its 2nd Annual “Newport Arts & Music Fest”

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

Date: Saturday, September 28th
Time: 11:00am-5:00pm
Location: 215 East Southgate Street.

The event will feature local artists/artisans with hand-crafted designs to sell, live music and more!

Former students of the Southgate Street School will be presenting Oral Histories of their student days and sharing their memories of Newport in years-gone-by.

Hofbrauhaus will be opening its Bier Garden area and serving its specialty micro-brews and tasty German cuisine.

The event is Free to attend and open to the public.

Live Music: 
  • 1:00-2:00pm — NKY Brotherhood Singers - A jubilee-style, Acapella, sacred gospel quintet
  • 2:30pm-3:15pm – Jazz Trio featuring: Kathy Wade –Vocalist, Brian Cashwell – Piano & Chris Berg - Bass 


Hand-crafted designs by local artists/artists for sale & Artwork on display by Newport Primary students for viewing.

And More!
  • Historic 1950’s Greenline Bus – climb aboard and tour the bus
  • St. Elizabeth Healthcare – Health Expo booth
  • NKU – History, Journalism & Art students will be on-site reviewing their Newport Public Art Project

For up-to-date planned activities/events, please visit the Newport History Museum Facebook page:

Cold Spring's 1st Concert in the Park — September 27th

Join the City of Cold Spring for the last Concert in the Park of the season!

Date: Friday, September, 27, 2019
Time: 7:00p.m. — 10:00p.m.
Music: Model Behavior
Food and drink: Mac's Pizza Pub and the Braxton Brewery Truck

NKY Chamber Hosts Eggs ‘N Issues: Bourbon Business in NKY

On Tuesday, October 15, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (NKY Chamber) will host Eggs ‘N Issues: Bourbon Business in NKY. A panel of experts will discuss the booming business of bourbon in the region and its impact on local businesses.

Panelists will include Brent Cooper, president and CEO of the NKY Chamber, Ken Lewis, founder and owner of New Riff Distilling, and Kristopher Thomas, B-Line board member and general manager at Aloft Newport on the Levee.

"Our spirits are high across the Northern Kentucky region due to the excitement surrounding bourbon," said Kristin Baldwin, vice president of public affairs and communications at the NKY Chamber. "We are excited to learn more about Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry from our local bourbon experts."

Eggs ‘N Issues: Bourbon Business in NKY will take place at Receptions Banquet and Conference Center (1379 Donaldson Road Erlanger, KY 41018). The event will begin with check-in, breakfast, and networking from 7:30-7:55 a.m., with the panel discussion and audience Q&A running from 7:55-9:00 a.m.

Registration for Eggs ‘N Issues is $30 for NKY Chamber members, $50 for future members, and free for NKYP Passport Holders. Pre-registration is required online at