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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Special Election: Democrat Rachel Roberts Nominated; GOP Continues Selection Process

Newport business owner and entrepreneur Rachel Roberts is the Democratic nominee for the February 25 special election for House District 67.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

News hit early Tuesday morning that Newport business owner and entrepreneur Rachel Roberts has been selected to be the Democratic nominee in the upcoming special election for Kentucky House District 67.

The position became open after newly elected Governor Andy Beshear tapped Representative Dennis Keene to serve in his cabinet as commissioner of the Department for Local Government. A special election to fill Keene’s seat will be held on February 25,2020.

How the Democrats do it

Selection of a nominee in a special election is a fairly cut-and-dry process for the state’s Democratic party.

Campbell County Democrat Party (CCDP) Chair Linda Nesbitt explained the selection process outlined by the state party’s bylaws. The rules covering special elections are very specific, she said.

The chair must hold a nominating convention. A nominating committee is formed of those members of the executive committee who are from the district, in this case District 67.

Eight members formed the nomination committee that met last night and after deliberation voted to select Rachel Roberts as their nominee.

Unlike the regular election process, those interested in running for the vacated office can and do express interest in the position to local party officials, but do not do a formal filing. Now that Roberts has been selected, she will present official documents in Frankfort.

Roberts is the owner of Yoga Bar Studios in Newport and an expert presenter on mindfulness and related topics throughout the region. She is co-owner of RAKE Strategies, a brand strategy firm. She also serves on the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road, the Newport Business Association and Mental Health America, Kentucky.

How the Republicans do it

Taking advantage of social media, the Campbell County Republican Party (CCRP) plans to announce their nominee on a Facebook LIVE event on January 5 to be held about 8 p.m. on the party’s Facebook page ("Campbell County Republican Party").

The process of selecting a nominee for a special election for the Republican Party does involve an application process. The CCRP executive committee selects the nominee after meeting to review applications and interview those interested. The committee consists of 10 people who were elected by local Republican voters in March.

District 67 residents interested in running can apply to the CCRP executive committee, but party officials urged those interested to do so soon because the executive committee will meet on January 5 at 6 p.m. to select the nominee.

"This may very well feel like a 'job interview' and I think that’s a good thing!" said CCRP Chair Sarah Cameron in a recent press release calling for applications.

Republicans living in the 67th District who are interested should contact CCRP officials by email for more information on the application process.

House District 67 includes Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Wilder, Highland Heights, Silver Grove, Melbourne, Woodlawn and portions of Southgate. Again, the election is set for February 25, 2020.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Fatal crash on US-27 in Highland Heights kills construction worker, results in charges for driver

A vehicle crash that occurred on Alexandria Pike (US-27) in Highland Heights near the intersection located by Lowe's Home Improvement has resulted in one fatality, another injured and the driver in jail.

The two-car crash occurred on December 23 around 1:30 p.m.

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

Jeffrey R. Holbrook, 53, of Bethel, Ohio died two days later on Christmas Day at University Hospital as a result of his injuries suffered in the collision.

According to Highland Heights Police, Holbrook was directing traffic around a construction zone in which crews were repairing a section of sidewalk. The scene was closed for several hours as crash investigation teams were reconstructing the crash site.

A release stated that "a Chevrolet Camaro, northbound in US 27, operated by 20 year old Karim Zein, of Independence, KY, disregarded Holbrook’s directions striking him and then a construction vehicle."

Karim Zein, 20, was charged with assault first degree after police say his vehicle struck and killed a construction worker in Highland Heights. 
A passenger, in the construction vehicle was transported and released from the hospital with minor injuries.

Today, Zein was initially charged with Assault First degree. After being released from the hospital for his injuries, he was held at the Hamilton County Jail and is being extradited to Campbell County today.

The crash is still under investigation.

Zein is being held on a one million dollar bond.

Data on yearlong study on unsheltered homeless in Northern Kentucky

Shelter provider locations are marked by a green triangle. The yellow circles are approximate locations of reported or known homeless camps in the three-county Northern Kentucky area. *Source: Report on the Unsheltered Homeless in Northern Kentucky July 2018 – June 2019 Northern Kentucky Homelessness Working Group (click to enlarge).

In early 2018, Kenton County, Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann asked Candace McGraw, CEO of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), to convene a broad-based working group to examine the issue of homelessness in Northern Kentucky.

The initial charge of the group was to explore the condition of the unsheltered homeless (as opposed to other definitions and categories of individuals experiencing homelessness), as well as to improve the quality and scope of data collected on the unsheltered homeless population.

“Candace and the working group released their initial report on unsheltered homeless, based on new data collected that represents the deepest study of this population ever completed in Northern Kentucky,” Knochelmann said. “I know this data, and the follow-up recommendations, will help our region develop a better approach to this important issue.”

The work led to a strong partnership with the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC), which administers U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs for the “balance of state” in Kentucky. Data collection focused on additional questions/elements included in the Kentucky Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS) at KHC. Client-level information included in the data is taken from emergency shelters, transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing projects for the KYHMIS participating agencies.

McGraw said that in business, good data drive strong and informed decision-making and the same holds true for public policy. It is especially necessary when confronting homelessness and housing issues.

“The working group that Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann asked me to convene identified gaps in data collection and looked to create efficiencies in data intake,” McGraw said. “Thanks to the leadership of our local non-profit service providers and other key partners, like the Kentucky Housing Corporation, we now have a more solid data set that demonstrates that homelessness is a regional challenge that requires regional attention and leadership to address.”

The data collection and findings do not include information from the following agencies that do not participate in KYHMIS, nor do they capture sheltered or unsheltered persons who never accessed a KYHMIS project.

• Women’s Crisis Center Emergency Shelter
• Family Promise Emergency Shelter
• Fairhaven Rescue Mission

Beginning on July 1, 2018, clients served in the participating KYHMIS partner projects/agencies were asked to provide responses to three new data points (additional to basic demographic data, etc.).

Johnson Students Propose Wildlife Habitat for New School Building

Teacher Jillian Booth with Johnson fourth graders who propose a new wildlife habitat for their school. They got help from Highlands students including Edrin Ahlfeld, junior, and Alex LaCourt, freshman (back row)

By Robin Gee

A proposal to create a wildlife habitat around the new Johnson Elementary School building was the student showcase presentation for the Fort Thomas Independent School Board meeting in December.

Johnson teacher Jillian Booth shared background on the project. Students and their teachers began to notice that the wildlife habitat that surrounded the school was being destroyed even in the pre-construction period before the new school project began.

"Last year, the students persuaded the community to build backyard habitats to sustain the animals, and now they are planning what the new Johnson school habitat could look like," said Booth.

The students had enjoyed hikes and learning about nature as they explored the area behind the old school building and wondered if they could restore and rebuild a habitat on the grounds around the new school building.

"The driving question for our project, was how can we persuade our leaders at Johnson to create a visually appealing school habitat that capitalizes on native plants to encourage healthy wildlife?"

Now open. 2000 Memorial Parkway, Fort Thomas, 

Tapping into resources and making a plan

The students formed groups to research and plan their proposal. Taking advantage of the close proximity to the high school, the students also sought help from two of Ron Rosel’s classes to help plan out the design and build some of the items the students would need for their plan.

Students from the high school Engineering and Manufacturing class designed and built bee hotels to house carpenter bees, good pollinators for the area, while the school’s Architectural Design class developed the plan that would help the students’ vision come to life.

The Johnson students researched the needs of various wildlife that they’d seen in the area. They also researched native plants that could help sustain the animals and insects. Included in their detailed plan were costs for each item and some ideas about funding.

The students’ presentation at the board meeting outlined the reasons why they felt the project was so important. They pointed to benefits for the animals but also for the students’ own learning environment.

"The new habitat will help kids learn about pollination and animal adaptations," their presentation stated. "It would also mean Mr. Jeff [Searcy] and Mr. Paul [Prewitt] would not have to mow the lawn in that area," an added bonus for school staff.

The students spent more than a week researching each of the animals and shared their findings. They focused on creating a habitat that would attract and support owls, bats, butterflies, bees and birds. They then researched what native plants would be best and available, the costs involved and some funding avenues.

Details of the plan

A map detailing placement of plants, trees and features for the Johnson habitat project.

They shared the detailed plan by the high school class showing placement of the trees, flowers and bushes as well as features like walkways and seating areas.

Trees and plants on the students’ wish list included oak leaf hydrangea, spice bushes, various native milkweed plants, tulip poplars, black oak trees, green ash trees and other native species. The students plan for a pollination garden for the bees and butterflies.

A breakdown of the needs and costs for each species in their plan included:

  • Owl budget: $434.66 includes four nesting boxes, two green ash trees, three black cherry trees, three tulip poplars, three black oak trees, two dogwood trees, two black gum trees, two juneberry trees and stepping stones.
  • Butterfly budget: $247.95 includes 32 swamp milkweed plants, 32 common milkweeds, 32 butterfly milkweeds, three bags of six poke milkweeds.
  • Bat budget: $345 includes five bat houses, five penny royal, five paw paw trees.
  • Bee budget: 842.56 includes black-eyed susans, two goldenrod, seven butterfly bushes, two sunflowers, six oak leaf hydrangea, 15 coneflowers, three aronia bushes, 25 stepping stones and two carpenter bee hotels.
  • Bird budget: $3,369 includes 15 spice bushes, three tables, two benches, three pine trees and five bird houses.

The final cost would be around $5,300. Students suggested a paver sale to help with funding and explored applying for a Lion’s Club grant for $1,000 and a possible Campbell County Extension grant for about $2,000.

School Board Member Karen Allen suggested the students create a “wish list” similar to a guest registry that community members might be able to buy an item on their plan list.

Project demonstrates all aspects of Portrait of a Graduate

Booth noted that the students drew on all the qualities identified in the school district’s Portrait of a Graduate. "We took 15 separate presentations and turned them into one, which took collaboration and leadership. The students were global communicators for two presentations, one for a Mentor Day, where they bounced ideas off professionals, and of course, critical thinking and problem solving were woven throughout."

The board praised the students for their work and presented them with Fort Thomas schools t-shirts.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Highlands Hoops Claims Another Holiday Tournament Crown

Bluebirds Hit Double-Digit Wins

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior point guard Sam Vinson brings the ball up the court during a recent game.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team heads into the new year with not just one tournament title, but two.

Host Highlands finished the 2019 portion of the schedule undefeated at 10-0 with another convincing 91-57 victory over the Louisville Waggener Wildcats (6-6 overall) on Saturday at Russell Bridges Gym to claim the Carespring Holiday Classic. The Bluebirds claimed the Mike Reitz Classic at Harrison County a week ago.

"Waggener is a good ballclub," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "They've lost to some pretty good teams in and around Louisville (including Male). I thought it was going to be a really good challenge for our guys. It was just really good to see us do that."

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Street Improvement Policy, New Ordinances, Resident Concerns at City Council Meeting

Fort Thomas City Council congratulates Fire Department Lieutenant Kyle Kaufman

  By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

An update on city projects, a new look at the city's street resurfacing program and concerns by a group of homeowners were among the topics discussed at the December meeting of Fort Thomas city council.

In the visitors’ section of the meeting, city council heard concerns from Melanie Powers, president of the Pearson Street Home Owners Association. The HOA represents six homeowners who live on the west side of the street in Tower Park.

As part of the Alexandria Circle project, the Northern Kentucky Water District had the water main moved from behind the homes to the front, which required new services into all the residences. Delays in the project left openings inside yards that allowed water to seep into basements and cause damage. According to Powers, the issues have not been addressed, and each time it rains more damage is incurred.

Homeowners seek city help

"The Water District approached us very early on in the construction phase of Alexander Circle and needed our agreement to change water pipes that were both in and around the homes there on Pearson Street,” she said.

"They promised us that we would be very happy with the results and, that by allowing these changes, our homes would be improved. We were promised minimal disturbance to the homes and that there would not be any damage in any way to the historic homes or to the HOA common grounds.”

The promises were false, she said. "What actually happened was that JNT Excavating, subcontracted by the Water District, completed substandard and incompetent work...That incompetent work has led to serious water damage in five of the six homes."

The homeowners have consulted engineers with expertise in this type of work and were told it was substandard, she said. As it stands now, there is an open hole in the common area and large trenches on the properties.

Despite numerous phone calls by Pearson and assistance to push the water district by Dill, she said her group has not heard from the water district, or the contractors involved.

"We now face thousands of dollars in damages, attorney fees, storage fees because five of the six of us can no longer use our basements for storage and other assorted expenses. This is wrong, no matter how you look at this," she said.

Looking for resolution

Powers asked the city for help pressuring the Water District and the contractors to respond and, perhaps to set up a fund to help offset the homeowners’ costs.

City Manager Ron Dill explained that the issue falls under the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Water District, but the city will continue to advocate for resolution for the home owners.

In the meantime, the residents are working with their own attorneys to push for repairs and compensation. So far, the contractors’ insurance companies have not offered reasonable compensation, said Powers.

Both Dill and Mayor Eric Haas have agreed to meet with the residents soon after Christmas. "We will try to stay on top of the information as we’re notified, continue the conversations with the Water District to encourage them to do something, but a lot of it’s out of our hands. Whatever we can do to help, we will do it," said Haas.

Public safety departments report

Fire Chief Mark Bailey announced the promotions of two city firefighters. He congratulated Captain Rich Daugherty and Lieutenant Kyle Kaufman for their well-deserved advancement.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Promotes Two Firefighters

Interim Police Chief Brent Moening gave the police report. A highlight of the month, he said, is the annual Cops and Kids event sponsored by the Campbell County Fraternal Order of Police, which raises money for the project throughout the year. This year, the department hosted 65 area children taking them to breakfast and lunch and providing $300 to each child for toys, presents and clothing for the holidays.

While the month included positive highlights such as the shopping event and the "ride with and officer to school day," Moening said it’s a season that is marred by an increase in burglaries and thefts.

He congratulated and thanked one area resident who was very helpful in the apprehension of a package thief operating in the area near the Gettysburg Apartments.

"He called to say he’d seen a suspicious vehicle in the area several times," Moening explained. "Two of our officers, Officer [Brandon] Vance and Officer [Brad] Reichenbach located the suspicious vehicle. From the front of the vehicle to the back was full of packages. They recovered $2,867 worth of stolen items. It’s an ongoing investigation, but we believe that this person had stolen $4000 worth of merchandise."

The police are in the process of returning the stolen goods to residents.

City manager reports health plan success

Dill reported shared progress on the city’s employee health plan. It is the first year of the self-funded plan. Data available only covers about three-quarters of the year in the program, yet, all indicators are very positive, he said.

"We are managing our expected increases, working with our employee groups... maintaining status quo for next year."

This year, he does expect a modest increase of about 7.1 percent, which is in line with where the city has been on projected numbers, but he expects more cost control as the program continues. "This year we will work with our groups, identify cost savings and implement them throughout the year." City council voted to approve continuation of the program.

Catching up with ongoing projects

Fort Thomas began celebrating Veteran's Day at the Charters of Freedom Monument in 2017

Before it gets lost in the holidays and end-of-year business, Dill said he wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved in the annual Veterans Day celebration. "We had a great crowd for our third year. It’s the right thing to do in community like Fort Thomas, and we’ve done it well. It’s become a very valuable event for our community."

The brief touch of wintery weather earlier in the season, allowed city staff to test out the work done on Memorial Parkway, said Dill. The good news is there were no ice formations, and it looks like the fix was effective.

City council and the community will hear next month on the progress of the Comprehensive Plan implementation project, Dill said. He and Chris Manning will make a formal report on this year and on the direction to take in the year ahead.

Dill also reported that the city website work has been ongoing. City staff has spoken with two contractors and will make a determination about who to work with soon.

City Proposes Solution to Speeding on Water Works Road

The placement of traffic calming devices known as bollards may be a solution for dangerous Water Works intersection at Memorial Parkway

By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

Dangerous speeds as drivers come off Memorial Parkway onto Water Works Road has been an ongoing concern for the city and for residents who live on and near the road.

After research and review, the city’s Public Works Committee has proposed placing traffic calming devices to change the angle at the intersection of the two streets to force drivers to slow down to make a 90-degree turn.

In July, neighbors addressed council with concerns for their safety and for pedestrians, including children on their way to school. Vehicles have been damaged as well by speeding cars failing to decelerate as they came off the state Memorial Parkway onto Water Works. Although police presence helped to slow drivers for a time, neighbors asked for a more permanent solution.

City officials referred the issue to the committee and staff to research and find potential solutions. After working with CT consultants to look into several ideas, the committee has settled on placing reflective fiberglass bollards near the intersection to force a slow down. Used throughout the US and Europe, bollards are intentionally placed to change, direct and restrict traffic flow.

City administrator Ron Dill said since the early 2000s engineers have agreed that creating sharp turning angles works well in slowing drivers down. The bollards, while more durable and solid than traffic cones, do not require major construction work and can be moved without much difficulty.

Dill presented a rendering of where the bollards might be placed at the intersection. Council member Roger Peterman expressed concern that the bollards where they were could cause damage to cars or cause drivers some difficulty making the curve even for those not speeding through the intersection. He was quick to add that he is not against using the traffic calming devices, but wanted to ensure they do not make a new set of problems.

Fort Thomas Promotes Two Firefighters

Captain Rick Daugherty with his wife Teresa and Fire Chief Mark Bailey

By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

Two members of the Fort Thomas Fire Department have been promoted to new positions within the department. City council and Mayor Eric Haas congratulated and thanked them at a badge pinning during the December council meeting.

"It’s a great pleasure to stand before you tonight and be able to make two promotions within our department," said Fire Chief Mark Bailey. "These gentlemen have worked hard, as does all of our department members, but I’m pleased to stand here tonight to promote two individuals to positions of captain and lieutenant."

New leadership for shift two

Captain Rick Daugherty is a twenty-year veteran of the department. He will step into some of the duties of recently retired Captain Chris Amon, said Bailey.

"Rick started with our department in October 1999, so just past 20 years. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2016 and took care of our grant writing procedure," said Bailey.

He noted the department’s success with grants, and Daugherty’s contributions to that effort, as well as to his record of service performing inspections, a task assigned to all department lieutenants.

"Tonight we are promoting Rick to captain,” said Bailey. “He will oversee shift two. He will be helmet number 654 as well as radio number. And, he’s going to take over our vehicle maintenance program. With the retirement of Captain Amon, we needed someone to head that up, and Rick has graciously accepted to do that and be primarily responsible for our vehicle maintenance program."

Bailey then invited Daugherty’s wife, Teresa, to pin on the new badge. Daugherty introduced some of his children who were also on hand for the event, including three daughters. He noted that his oldest daughter has just graduated from Northern Kentucky University and his son, who could not be there, is currently serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

"I want to thank everyone on council and the mayor. Thank you, Ron [Dill] for entrusting me to serve the city. I’ll do a good job," he said.

Continuity in duties and history

Lieutenant Kyle Kaufman receives his badge from his wife, Nicole, as Fire Chief Mark Bailey looks on

Chief Bailey introduced Kyle Kaufman, who will now serve as a lieutenant. "Kyle was hired by our department in August of 2011, so the last eight years he’s been with us as a firefighter/paramedic. He’s done a great job with that particular position," said Bailey.

Lieutenant Kaufman will go to shift one as a lieutenant and will take over the inspection process on that shift. He will also take over grant writing procedures from Daugherty, and that process of sharing history has already begun, said Bailey.

City and Army Communication Lines Open on Stable Property

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is aware of the city's interest in the stables, and discussion lines now appear to be open.

By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

The city and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are now talking actively about the potential for the Fort Thomas stable property, which is owned by the corps. The city would like to one day take over the property, but many steps have to take place before any plans can be discussed.

City Administrator Ron Dill reported at the December council meeting that the corps of engineers informed the city that it has been authorized to perform an environmental evaluation to determine if any harmful materials are present on the site that might require remediation.

Orangetheory Fitness, Newport Pavilion. 

Environmental remediation is a first step before any of the property can be sold, transferred or otherwise change hands.

Dill was cautious about any speculation on next steps but said at least preliminary discussions appear to be underway. The army corps is still using the structure for storage so, if the city were to acquire the property at some point, finding or building the army a suitable replacement property would be a consideration.

"The discussions are still very preliminary and will require additional information regarding any building specifications or property details. The news to report is that there is communication and acknowledgement of the city's interest in obtaining the structure," said Dill.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Grassroots & Vine featured on national travel website

Barb and Chuck Thomas. FTM file. 

Our friends at Only In Your State have featured another Fort Thomas business.

Grassroots & Vine (1011 S. Fort Thomas Avenue) is owned by residents Barb and Chuck Thomas.

They opened in a newly renovated space in the historic Midway District in July 2018.

RELATED: Photo gallery from G&V soft open (July 2018)

“Grassroots (was) an idea of going back to basics and using local producers, farmers, artisans which intertwines with community,” Thomas told Fort Thomas Matters just before they opened. “I’ve grown to love Fort Thomas. I want to contribute more to the community while supporting it and enjoying it with families.”

The building, located at 1011 S. Fort Thomas Ave., has literally been designed as a destination for community engagement and interaction. Guests will enjoy a variety of different dining areas from a lounge-y feel at one of their banquette booths paired with cozy, brown leather chairs to traditional bistro tables and high-top bar areas. There is even a functional seating area where guests can enjoy the view, a glass of wine or a cup of locally roasted coffee, while accessing an outlet to recharge their phone or laptop.

The space is visually exciting as well with bright teal accent walls, rustic bar areas and high gloss, wooden table tops and several industrial accents, this space is sophisticated yet cozy and inviting. Local Artist Lucie Rice, who also created the “Grassroots & Vine” logo, has created the artwork featured inside as well. The exterior brick has been repainted a cheery Goldenrod shade of yellow and a brand new side patio is sure to offer a lovely outdoor dining experience. This impressive renovation has also given a nod to the historic details of the space by highlighting the original beams and rafters and using rustic chandeliers.

Read what Only In Your State wrote about G&V below:

Special election date for House District 67 set

The date for a special election for House District 67 has been set.

Campbell County Clerk Jim Luersen told Fort Thomas Matters that February 25, 2020 will be the day that voters in 31 precincts across the cities of Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Highland Heights, Silver Grove, Melbourne, Woodlawn and portions of Southgate will have their opportunity to cast a ballot for Dennis Keene's replacement.

The special election will fill the unexpired term which expires on December 31, 2020.

Each county party will nominate one candidate before January 7, 2020.

A statewide primary and general election are already scheduled for May 19 and November 3, 2020, respectively.

Incumbent State Representative Dennis Keene resigned his position in the legislature in favor of an appointment to join the executive cabinet, leaving the house of representative seat in District 67 vacant.

Two candidates from each party have made their intentions known.

Mary Jo Wedding (R-Newport), is a local small business owner. Prior to the announcement of a special election, Wedding had previously announced her intent to run in the upcoming 2020 Republican primary and general election.

Rachel Roberts (D-Newport) has filed to run for the seat at the Democratic candidate. Roberts, a Newport business owner and entrepreneur, ran for State Senate in Campbell, Bracken and Pendleton Counties in 2018 against Sen. Wil Schroder.

Campbell County Launches Innovative New Website

In December 2019 Campbell County completed the first major redesign of its website in over 10 years.  The new and innovative website features a vibrant look with additional functionality and a mobile responsive design.  Working with Egov Strategies Campbell County’s IT staff worked to streamline the navigation and make it easier for residents, visitors and businesses to find the information they need.

The new website features five areas of information:

  • Live
  • Visit
  • Business
  • Government
  • Departments

The Live section provides information and access for citizens living in the county with information on county services, cities, schools, health care, library and more.

The Visit section gives those visiting an idea about what the county has to offer. This includes attractions, events, golf courses, parks, camping and more.

The Business section shares information for those looking to start or operate a business in the county, continuing a business license or for opportunities and bids with Campbell County Fiscal Court.

The Government section focuses on our elected officials, boards and commissions, Community organizations and transparency.  Meeting Center access is also based here giving everyone access to several organizations meeting minutes, agendas and meeting dates and locations.

The Departments section consolidates all of Campbell County Fiscal Court’s departments into a single area allowing visitors to easily search and access the content from County departments.
Other core enhancements added to the website that will help improve navigation through the website.

Icon quick buttons:  Located on the home page, these quick buttons take you to high traffic pages that are easily accessible giving user’s access to Meetings & Agendas, Calendar, Document Center, E-Notify, Parks & Rec, Transparency and the Animal Shelter.

Document Center: This is a central location for all documents, articles and more that can be accessed by type, department and year.

Meetings & Agenda: This will give quick access to meeting minutes, agendas and meeting dates and locations for Campbell County Fiscal Court, Campbell County Planning & Zoning and the Campbell County & Municipal Board of Adjustments.  In addition, there is access to other boards & commissions.

E-Notify: On this page you can sign up for Campbell County E-News, submit requests to departments, access county social media pages and County phone numbers.
The new website can be found at:

Tani Adewumi to Receive Queen City Classic Shining Knight Award

19th Annual Queen City Classic Chess Tournament to be held February 28-29, 2020
Cincinnati, Ohio. December 12, 2019

The Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund announces the Shining Knight Award recipient at the upcoming 19th Annual Queen City Classic Chess Tournament to be held February 28th and 29th, 2020 at Paul Brown Stadium. Tanitoluwa Adewumi will be honored as this year’s Shining Knight at the Simul Reception on Friday, February 28th in commencement of the Tournament. The Shining Knight Award recognizes those who have demonstrated a heartfelt commitment to their communities, have been a positive role model for children and have shown a dedication to improving the lives of others.

Tanitoluwa Adewumi, known as Tani, is a Nigerian refugee who learned to play chess while living in a homeless shelter in Manhattan. He participated and won the New York State Scholastic Primary Championship at just eight years old. After his story got out, a Gofundme page raised over $200,000 for Tani and his family and instead of keeping the sum, they donated 10% to their church and the rest was used to create the Tanitoluwa Adewumi Foundation to help struggling African immigrants as they start their life in the United States.

The Queen City Classic Chess Tournament started with the aim of providing a place where children could engage with other chess enthusiasts from around the tri-state area. In its first year, after expecting only 100 participants, it sold out at 350 registrants and now over 700 chess players take part year after year, making it the largest and most anticipated annual chess tournament in the Midwest. Each year, Chess Grandmasters Maurice AshleyGregory Kaidanov and Irina Krush attend. After tremendous success with the Queen City Classic Tournament, the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund decided to expand their reach by starting a Chess in Schools program in 2013.

After six years, the school program has grown to include over 40 schools representing over 100 weekly hours in Cincinnati and reaches over 2000 kids each year from all backgrounds. The benefits of chess instruction are tangible as children gain valuable critical thinking and strategy skills and continued advancement in the game helps foster cognitive and behavioral development as well as good sportsmanship and self esteem. Many instructors have noted an increase in test scores and academic success in children that have participated.

The 19th Annual Queen City Classic features a Simul reception and exhibition on Friday evening and an all day Tournament on Saturday February 29th, 2020.

For more information contact: Abby O’Neill, Assistant Director, at 866.577.7465 or Visit website:

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Highlands Hoops Wins First Crown in Years

Bluebirds Overwhelm Panthers

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior Luke Muller (11) and sophomore Oliver Harris (13) get in position while senior Jacob Brass (5) watches in a recent game. Highlands won its first holiday tournament in 14 seasons with a convincing 92-67 victory over Augusta in the Mike Reitz Classic at Harrison County.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team earned a huge gift just before Christmas.

That's the first holiday tournament crown since Kevin Listerman became head coach in 2013. The Bluebirds stayed undefeated at 8-0 and won Mike Reitz Classic at Harrison County with a sound 92-67 win over the Augusta Panthers (6-4 overall) from the 10th Region on Saturday.

"We talked about bringing energy (Saturday)," Listerman said. "I thought that the game would open up a little bit more than the game (Friday) and it did. We didn't get out of the gate real well, but we started to see the ball go through the basket the latter part of the first quarter and we started to stretch it out. We were able to dictate the tempo of the game despite them playing a lot of zone."

Last Chance to Meet Santa Claus at Newport on the Levee (Sponsored)

In his magical house on the Levee Santa Claus is getting ready to return to the North Pole on Christmas day. Don't miss out on the chance to experience this magical meeting with the "all-knowing" Santa before he leaves. Learn more about Santa's House on the Levee and book your appointment with him below!


...some of the most memorable and magical holiday memories are precious visits with Santa. And nowhere is it more enchanting than at Santa's House on the Levee.

Santa's House on the Levee is an award-winning, immersive, RFID-powered holiday experience which takes place in Santa and Mrs. Claus' beautiful and modern home located inside The Gallery Building—complete with a red-carpet arrival, sounds of a crackling fire, evergreen trim, Christmas d├ęcor and trees with stacks of wrapped presents, postal bags of letters, maps of the world highlighting Christmas Eve travel routes and coat racks of elf hats and jackets—all creating a unique, all-senses experience for big and little kids alike.

Bookcases of toys from years’ past help remind all generations of their favorite holiday memories.

Santa’s elves will greet you with warm, fresh-baked cookies and candy treats, and send you home with darling photos and a special gift from Santa.

But the best part of all is the special 1:1 time with our charming, jolly and “All-Knowing” Santa. With a little help from our proprietary technology, your little ones will be in awe for once they walk in, Santa doesn’t just greet them by name, but he really knows them like never before, able to share their “Naughty or Nice” status, their favorite gift wishes, what they need to improve upon…all the way down to where he will leave their gifts on Christmas morning!​

Don’t miss this extraordinary, one-of-a-kind experience. Click the button below to schedule your visit to Santa's House on the Levee!

This is a sponsored post produced by FTM on behalf of Newport on the Levee.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Rachel Roberts Files for Kentucky House District 67 Open Seat

House Seat Formerly Held by Dennis Keene

Alison Lundergan Grimes, Dennis Keene and Rachel Roberts. 
Today Rachel Roberts (D-Newport) filed to run in the 2020 Primary Election for Kentucky House of Representatives, District 67, recently vacated by former Representative Dennis Keene. Roberts, a Newport business owner and entrepreneur, ran for State Senate in Campbell, Bracken and Pendleton Counties in 2018 against Sen. Wil Schroder.

House District 67 encompasses the cities of Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Highland Heights, Silver Grove, Melbourne, Woodlawn and portions of Southgate.

Over 50 years experience in NKY. Call now, mention FTM. (859) 287-2499.
Governor Andy Beshear has not yet called the special election to fill the current term for the open seat.

“We have big shoes to fill with the departure of my friend, Dennis Keene,” said Rachel Roberts. “I will commit myself to continuing the legacy he has created of economic growth, community beautification, infrastructure development, and support for education and teachers. In the coming months when I am talking to voters in the district about my passion for education, training and promoting entrepreneurship, I will also be listening closely to the needs of the district. Together we will continue to have strong representation in the halls of state government in Frankfort.”

According to a release, Roberts received support from Dayton Mayor, Ben Baker, and Highland Heights City Council member, Rene Heinrich.

NCC's Ron Dawn wins 500th career game

Ron Dawn and Jimmy Pangallo. 

Congratulations to Newport Central Catholic's head basketball coach Ron Dawn on record his 500th win.

Dawn is in his third stint as boys head basketball coach at his alma mater 29 years after first taking the job in 1990. Dawn also coached the NCC girls basketball team for a time.

The former NewCath basketball player and 1974 grad is the only coach to win an All “A” Classic state championship in both boys and girls basketball. He’s also the only 9th Region coach to win a regional title for both boys and girls.

Dawn’s 2015-2016 boys team reached the Kentucky Sweet 16 semifinals. He stepped down following that season and became principal, where he still holds that role.

In all, Dawn's teams won three 9th Region titles and 12 All "A" Classic titles.

Dawn began his coaching career at NCC with the boys basketball program in 1980 and was named head coach in 1990. He took a five-year break to follow his son’s college basketball career, then resumed coaching at NCC.

Dawn was named the girls’ head coach in 2009, a post he held for four seasons. He returned to the boys' team in 2013.

Highlands Archery Team Reaching New Heights

Several Bluebirds Have Perfect Rounds This Season

Contributed Photo. The Highlands archery team is in its third season.
On a Tuesday afternoon on one end of the fitness center at Highlands High School, one could hear the sound of arrows hitting their targets.

The Highlands Co-ed Archery team is in its third season as a program and is knocking down some doors. That includes several individuals recording perfect scores of 50 in senior Adam Groneck, junior Adam Flotemersh, sophomores Helen Campbell and Madison Opitz. Opitz and twin sister Mackenzie Opitz shot 50s last season.

The team has participated in several tournaments this year. Highlands took fourth out of eight teams in the open tournament at Conner Middle School on November 22 and 23. Individually, Madison Opitz won an open tournament at St. Henry on Dec. 14 shooting a 285.

"I think the biggest challenge for me is if you can see yourself getting 10 after 10, you get more nervous and more adrenaline," Madison Opitz said. "It causes you to shake and kind of forget the basics. You just need to learn to relax. Every shot is individual and don't put them together until the very end."

Teams of between 12 and 20 generally go to the tournaments. Team scores of 3100 qualify for state. Individuals can go to state if the team does not qualify for state. Scores are based on 12 shooters.

"We have finished pretty high in several tournaments," Groneck said. "In the two tournaments I've been in, in the first tournament, we scored one of the highest scores of this academic year. Then in my last tournament (Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference at St. Henry on Dec. 13), I shot my personal best this season, which was a 278. I've been seeing a definite improvement in the team throughout the season so it's been really exciting."

The co-head coaches of the team are Tracy Houston and Matt Stuart. Stuart said the goal for archers is shooting in the 270 and 280 ranges.

"They've come a really long way from out first year to now so we feel we're more competitive with some of the schools who have had programs longer," Houston said. "It's a lot of nuance. It's a lot of head game. There are so many steps and things to remember to do. If you mess up a little bit, everything is off. They've been getting much better at it and they've been helping each other more."

Houston said this marks the first year the team has had team captains. They are juniors Cassandra Erickson and Ethan Stuart. Ethan Stuart won the regional tournament last year shooting a 288.

"We see them in clusters and they assist each other," Houston said. "They've gotten to the point where they can recognize in each other the nuances they need to pay attention to, which is nice to see."

Individuals shoot five arrows per round. They shoot three times from 10 meters and three times from 15 meters. One scores 10 by hitting the yellow target in the middle that Houston describes as the size of a silver dollar. Fewer points are scored the more ring out from the center.

The team has 40 archers this season including six seniors. The junior class started as freshmen in the program two years ago.

Ingram's Sparetime in Alexandria will close their doors December 23

A popular diner in Alexandria has announced that it's closing their doors.

Ingram's Sparetime, located at 7807 Alexandria Pike, announced on their Facebook page that were are closing, with their last day being on December 23.

Now open at 2000 Memorial Parkway in Fort Thomas. Accepting new patients. 
Lisa Kremer took over the reins from her sister Christa Klein and family in September of 2018. Kremer has been working at the restaurant since it was reopened.

But Kremer said it's time to step away from the business to spend more time with family.

The Kremer family. Facebook

"First and foremost though, I am Mom and now, Grandma," she said. "At this time in my life, I need to be more present, and enjoy my family."

Known for its iconic 1950s-style diner six miles down the street from Northern Kentucky University, Chester Alford opened The Spare Time Grill in 1958. His son, Roy, ran it for 20-plus years and then Roy's son, Tony, ran it for 24 years.

The diner has appeared in two movies, "Fresh Horses" in 1972 and "Carol" in 2014.

For a short period of time the diner served candy and ice cream, but that concept closed in Spring 2016. That same spring former owner, Kevin Klein, saw a new "for lease" sign pop up. He immediately pulled into the diner's driveway and called the number. The Kleins met with the Alfords the next day. They shared their vision, their dream. The Alfords gave the Kleins time to remodel, and didn't ask for a dime until the day they opened. Sparetime's Belly & Soul Diner opened August 2016.