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Friday, January 31, 2020

NKY Chamber Receives 'Saints Salute' From Thomas More University




By Jessie Eden

During the Saint's women's basketball double header against the University of Pikeville on Thursday, Thomas More University awarded the NKY Chamber of Commerce with a Saints Salute.

A Saints Salute is a special award for Thomas More University's community partners. The NKY Chamber is the fifth recipient of this award distributed by the university.



The award was presented by Thomas More's President Joseph Chillo to Brent Cooper, president and CEO of the NKY Chamber during half time.

Several NKY Chamber leaders were also honored on the court during the presentations.

“The NKY Chamber has been a significant community partner of the University for many years,” said President Chillo. “Honoring them with a Saints Salute is a token of our appreciation for the work they do within our community and the investment they make in Thomas More. Our campus community is greatly enhanced by the partnership and support of the NKY Chamber.”

Past Saints Salute awardees include the Cincinnati Reds, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Republic Bank, and Alpha Delta Gamma fraternity.

Fort Thomas Native To Compete in Miss Kentucky Pageant This Weekend, Seeks Votes for 'People's Choice'



Leslie Edmondson, Fort Thomas native, will compete in Miss Kentucky pageant this weekend in Somerset.

By Jessie Eden

Fort Thomas native Leslie Edmondson will compete in the Miss Kentucky USA pageant this weekend in Somerset.

Leslie, a Highlands grad (15'), also has a degree from NKU. She went to the university on a full tuition scholarship and completed her B.A. in Marketing in just three years. At NKU, she was a Division 1 athlete and a member of Greek life. After her time at NKU, she then attended the University of Kentucky for her Masters in Business Administration.


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After Leslie graduated, she started a career with the U.S. Air Force to work as a Program Manager for c-17 aircrafts.

Leslie says her dream of being Miss Kentucky has been many years in the making and she has always put it off...but, recent events changed her mind.

Leslie Edmondson will compete this weekend as Miss Fort Thomas in the Miss Kentucky pageant.

"As Miss Fort Thomas, I had to pay tribute to our local fallen angels. Each one of their passings touched my heart in a unique way - as I have many things in common with each of them. I have put off the dream of competing for Miss Kentucky for many years. Something about Lilliana’s dream board set my soul on fire and I knew that chasing my dream had to come - now or never."

Leslie is also seeking support for the People's Choice award! You can vote for her by following this link. 

You can vote for Leslie by visiting misskentuckyusa.com/vote!

Hebron’s Ben Brandstetter named chair of Council on Postsecondary Education; Kim Halbauer vice chair




By Vanessa Fisse

Ben Brandstetter, of Hebron, is the new chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education, and Kimberley Halbauer, of Fort Thomas, is vice-chair.

The Council elected its leadership at its meeting earlier today at the University of Kentucky.

“It’s an honor to be chosen to lead the Council on Postsecondary Education,” said Brandstetter. “Outgoing Chair Zimmerman did an excellent job of guiding the Council through the selection of President Thompson and his first year, and I welcome the opportunity to build upon that momentum."


“This is an extremely important year for higher education as we work with the General Assembly to provide additional support for the state’s performance funding model and to secure $400 million in bond funds to support renovation and infrastructure needs of education facilities. By working together with all of our stakeholders, we will accelerate our goal to have 60 percent of Kentuckians with credentials by 2030,” he added.

Brandstetter, who replaces outgoing Chair Sherrill Zimmerman of Prospect, is president of Brandstetter Carroll Inc., a national architectural and engineering firm with locations in Lexington, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dallas. Brandstetter grew up in Lexington and attended the Georgia Institute of Technology where he received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He worked as a civil engineer in Raleigh, North Carolina, for a national engineering firm before becoming licensed as a professional engineer and returning to Kentucky to work at Brandstetter Carroll, Inc.

Halbauer is a senior vice president and investment advisors executive for Fifth Third Bank for Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky. She leads a team of 150 highly specialized investment professionals in the delivery of planning, investment management, banking and advisory services. Halbauer received her bachelor’s degree and graduated magna cum laude from Thomas More College. She replaces Brandstetter as vice chair.



In other business, the Council extended President Aaron Thompson’s contract for an additional two and one-half years, or until June 30, 2023. The contract extension followed the Executive Committee’s thorough evaluation of his performance with input from state policy leaders, members of the Governor’s administration, key members of the legislature, university and KCTCS presidents, CPE board members and staff. Thompson’s contract was due to expire Dec. 31, 2020.

“The feedback we received was outstanding, and we’re extremely pleased to have President Thompson represent higher education in this state. Because of his proven strong leadership and performance, we are extending his contract two and a half years,” said Zimmerman.

Thompson added, “Serving as president of the CPE is truly a blessing, and I’m very appreciative to the board for this contract extension. I look forward to continuing the work with our campuses and partners to produce even better results for our students, workforce and economy in the years ahead.”

In other board actions, the Council:

Approved six academic programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in systems integration engineering at Morehead State University.
  • Bachelor of Arts in business administration and a Bachelor of Science in urban studies at the University of Louisville.
  • Doctorate of social work, a Master of Arts in applied environmental and sustainability studies and a Ph.D. in arts administration at the University of Kentucky.
  • Accepted the Fiscal Year 2019 financial audit, which was conducted by Blue and Company of Lexington. The audit team reported no deficiencies.
  • Approved the 2020-21 tuition-setting timeline and the tuition and mandatory fee policy. The timeline calls for proposed tuition and fee ceilings to come before the Council at its April 24 meeting, with action on each institution’s proposed rates to follow at the June 19 meeting. There were no changes to the tuition and mandatory fee policy.
  • Authorized a memorandum of understanding between the Council and Morehead State University that provides nonresident students from specified states a tuition scholarship lowering their net cost below 1.3 times the in-state rate. Students must meet academic requirements, and no academically qualified Kentucky residents will be displaced as a result of the MOU.
The Council heard reports on Higher Education’s Return on Investment and from President Thompson and Interim Kentucky Education Commissioner Kevin Brown. Campus Good News reports were also available.

Resolutions were issued for former Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson, and outgoing Council members Donna Moore and O.J. Oleka.

The next meeting of the Council will be April 23-24 at Morehead State University. Meeting materials are available here.

Governor Beshear Unveils Budget

Beshear recommends teacher raise, school safety, full funding for Medicaid and pensions, 350 new social workers


By Vanessa Fisse

Gov. Andy Beshear outlined his first budget to lawmakers on Tuesday prioritizing education, health care and protecting our children, underlining his belief that a budget is a statement of values.

“It is a budget that not only ends years of painful cuts, it also makes a major investment in public education, fully funds expanded Medicaid, makes a historic investment in protecting our children, directs dollars to breaking cycles of poverty, and I believe will move us forward as a people,” Gov. Beshear said in his first budget address Tuesday night at the Kentucky Capitol.


Gov. Beshear proposed a balanced, responsible “Education First” budget for 2020-2022 including a $2,000 raise for teachers, 1% SEEK per pupil funding increase providing an additional $87.5 million for public schools, $11 million each year for new textbooks, $18.2 million for school security upgrades, and ending more than a decade of repeated and deep cuts to higher education.

“There are finally dollars to start reinvesting in our families,” Gov. Beshear said. “Let me be clear, these dollars are limited, and they won’t undo the pain of the last 14 years all at once. So we must invest wisely and we must lead with our values. To me, those values must begin with public education. And that is exactly where this education first budget starts: Public education is the key to breaking cycles of poverty.”

Prioritizing Kentucky children and their health and safety, the governor’s proposed budget includes funding for an additional 350 social workers, $5 million each year for preschool programs in disadvantaged areas, and $1 million each year, which would leverage millions more in federal funds, to enroll more children in the Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program (KCHIP). Gov. Beshear is committed to reversing the troubling trend of fewer eligible children being enrolled in KCHIP.

“Health care is a basic human right and it is our responsibility to sign every Kentucky child up for some form of health coverage,” he said.

RESPONSIBLE, BALANCED AND TRANSPARENT

State Budget Director John Hicks, who has worked on 16 budgets for eight Kentucky governors of both parties, said the budget is responsible, balanced and transparent. The proposal accounts for every dollar.

Gov. Beshear, Director Hicks and the budget staff crafted a budget with the lowest ratio of debt service to state revenues of any budget since the state adopted its debt affordability policy, relies on less than half of the fund transfers of recent budgets, less than half of the new revenue included in the current budget, and that adds to the rainy day fund. During the two fiscal years, Kentucky will retire more debt than it takes on.

The Consensus Forecasting Group, a panel of budget experts and economists, estimates the state having an additional $841.7 million in tax revenue for the biennium.

While each of the last two budgets has had at least $609 million in fund transfers from pots that no longer support their original purpose or from those with far more dollars than needed, this proposal is less than half at $288 million.

Gov. Beshear’s budget proposal includes $147.7 million in new revenue, drastically smaller than recent budgets, with those funds coming from sports betting, a tax increase on cigarettes and other tobacco, a new tax on vaping, and an increase in the minimum for the limited liability entity tax to adjust it for inflation. Republican lawmakers have already sponsored proposals that would boost some of those revenues as much, or even more, than the governor’s proposal.

By contrast, the last biennium budget created $388 million in new revenue, more than twice Gov. Beshear’s proposed new revenue.

“Those are the pieces to a responsible and balanced budget,” Gov. Beshear said.




EDUCATION

Gov. Beshear’s first budget is dedicated to his biggest priority: Kentucky children and their education. His proposed budget increases education spending by $400 million in the next biennium.

“We face a teacher shortage that threatens the quality of our public education in Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “Without good teachers, we cannot produce the best students or the best workforce. So our budget prioritizes our teachers.”

The spending prioritizes teachers with a one-time $2,000 raise for all full-time teachers, reinstates the teacher loan forgiveness program and teacher’s scholarship program, and recommends funding the full actuarial health insurance contribution for retired teachers.

The governor pointed out 15 states have given their teachers raises in the last two years, several led by Republican governors including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho and Mississippi.

Gov. Beshear’s plan would appropriate $18.2 million in school security upgrades to fund the first step in the school safety bill lawmakers passed in 2019. The amount equals the full funding the Kentucky School Board Association said is needed for statewide physical security improvements in our public schools.

“For our students to learn, we must also provide school facilities that are safe and protect our students,” Gov. Beshear said.

While the budget invests heavily in K-12 education, the governor said for the budget to be truly education first the state must also invest in post-secondary education. Following cuts to higher education in 12 of the last 13 years, the proposed budget ends the repeated slashing of post-secondary funding and begins building back with a 1% increase for all institutions.

“In this budget, we’re ending the cuts to our public universities and community college system,” Gov. Beshear said. “These cuts have been painful, and have led to consistent tuition increases for our students. And we are just one of two states in the entire country that hasn’t reinvested in higher ed. That should end tonight.”

HEALTH CARE

Gov. Beshear’s proposal includes fully funded Medicaid and Medicaid expansion. He said the state will work to sign up every eligible Kentuckian.

“Next is another area where we can’t afford to cut – health care. That’s because our people have some of the worst health outcomes in the country – we’re in the top 10 in lung cancer, diabetes and heart disease,” the governor said. “Access to health care is a basic human right and we can’t turn our backs on the progress that we’ve made.”

FURTHER PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN

With Kentucky often ranked as the worst state for child abuse, Gov. Beshear’s budget boosts funding to Child Protective Services to increase the number of social workers by 27%, from 1,309 to 1,659, to reduce the average caseload of 19 per social worker. The caseload is even higher in many locations. He implored lawmakers to support the investment, $7 million in fiscal year 2021 and $24.5 million in 2022, to reduce the abuse and neglect in Kentucky and better protect our children.

“This budget also makes historic investments into our most vulnerable – our children and our struggling families,” Gov. Beshear said. “That starts with addressing the rampant abuse and neglect of our children in the Commonwealth. And I want to address it now. Our social workers have too many cases and that has dire consequences. Abuse is not caught, kids fall through the cracks, dedicated public servants burn out. … Let’s act right here and right now to stop child abuse and neglect in Kentucky. ”

Gov. Beshear also designated funding to preserve child support enforcement, including an additional $13 million over two years.

ENDING THE PAIN

The budget, the first since the 2006-2008 biennium with no spending cuts in the general fund, ends 14 years of pain.

“Since 2006, we have seen deep, difficult and historic cuts in our state budgets. Those cuts were not simply numbers on a spreadsheet. They were lost services, lost opportunities, even lost lives. They were a lack of support to repair broken lives,” Gov. Beshear said.

“They meant our kids learned from outdated textbooks, our families drove on unsafe roads, our social workers were assigned far too many cases, and many of our teachers left the classroom. The last 14 years of cuts didn’t just ‘cut the fat,’ they went deep in the bone, year after year after year. Tonight, I am proud to report that I am submitting a budget that ends these 14 years of painful cuts.”

PAY INCREASES AND FUNDED PENSIONS

Gov. Beshear is proposing to fully fund pensions and give state employees a much-deserved 1% raise each year.

Local and state law enforcement would receive a $600 stipend increase, increasing the stipend from the Kentucky Law Enforcement and Firefighters Foundation Program to $4,600 for more than 8,000 law enforcement officers and more than 3,800 firefighters.

Kentucky state troopers also will receive salary increases aimed at retaining state police with the governor recommending $5.3 million in the 2021 fiscal year and $8.6 million in 2022.

OTHER VITAL PROJECTS AND EFFORTS

To help expand health care in the state, Gov. Beshear included the requested funding from the University of Louisville for a $35 million loan to acquire struggling health care facilities in Louisville.

Gov. Beshear also directs about $18 million in coal severance tax over two years to the respective Kentucky coal counties for the first time since the inception of the tax.

Transportation priorities include building the I-69 bridge and speeding up the Mountain Parkway.

“These projects will open up commerce in rural Kentucky in a major way and will improve the quality of life for our people that live in these regions,” Gov. Beshear said. “We’re also investing a record amount of money into the safety of our rural roads. Our rural roads are the seventh most dangerous in the country. We’ve lost nearly 7,500 of our brothers and sisters, our parents and children, on these roads over the last 10 years. Using a combination of state and federal funds, my administration will put $100 million to improve our rural road conditions.”

Following through on his commitment to equal pay for equal work, Gov. Beshear is proposing $1 million in grants each year for the Department of Local Government to administer to local governments to conduct equal pay audits. He said the state is leading by example.

“If we in government are going to demand women make the same amount as men in the private sector, we have to make it a reality in the public sector,” he said.

Gov. Beshear reinstates funding for the Commission on Women, reinstates the Office of Minority Empowerment and provides an additional $200,000 each year to reinvest in the Commission on Human Rights.

The governor, whose team has worked around the clock on the budget since he took office just seven weeks ago, proposed the historic budget in spite of Kentucky’s many challenges including a $109 million increase in the corrections budget fueled by a skyrocketing incarceration rate and crumbling infrastructure that has led to the state losing more than 1,200 beds.

“From a moral standpoint, criminal justice and prison reform is the right thing to do. My faith teaches me that,” Gov. Beshear said. “But we must also do it based on our current reality and on our budget. We cannot afford to continue this incarceration rate and educate our children.”

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Cold Spring Wants to Hear from City Residents on Potential City Facilities



The city of Cold Spring is surveying residents to learn what they want in a new civic and/or recreation center.

by Robin Gee, city council beat editor

The city of Cold Spring is considering the building of a new Civic and Recreation Center. Before any plans can be made, however, city officials say they want to hear from the public. They have created a survey available on the city website and have announced a public hearing to gather input and ideas.



The public hearing will be held on Monday, February 10, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Cold Spring City Building, 5694 East Alexandria Pike in Cold Spring. The Cold Spring Civic and Rec Center Survey is available on the city website.

The survey asks questions about current impressions of the city and ideas about its future, as well as specifics about what residents would like to see in a civic center, recreation center or combined facility.

Three NKU Grads Open New Restaurant in Former 'Toppers' Space


Bill Aseere, Michael Ash and Mark Halpin of Space Cowboys Restaurant Group to open new location in Highland Heights. (Photo: SCRG, LLC.)
By Jessie Eden

Three NKU grads are kicking off a new restaurant concept in Highland Heights this Spring and it combines two of the most important things when it comes to food -- sweet and savory -- to create one delicious idea.

Space Cowboys Restaurant Group, LLC., is currently working on opening a new restaurant in the former Topper's location in Highland Heights on Wilson Road. The space is located between Chipotle and Smashburger, right in front of NKU.

RELATED: Toppers Highlands Heights location has closed



The restaurant, "Donatos Pizza & Whit's Frozen Custard", combines pizza and custard. It will focus mainly on pick up and delivery for the pizza side but there will also be dine in options with interior and exterior seating for custard guests.

The group currently owns a Donatos Pizza & Whit's Frozen Custard location in Independence. The company also owns two Guthrie's locations -- one in Fort Wright and one in Erlanger. The location  on Mineola was acquired in 2019.

Space Cowboys Restaurant Group consists of three NKU grads; Bill Aseere, Michael Ash and Mark Halpin. Aseere has worked in the restaurant business for 22 years and is a city council member in Independence. Ash is the president of TLA Ashford and Halpin is a Senior Analyst for the IRS.

"We can't wait to expand our Restaurant Group to the area and feel that the market is really under served for quality product when it comes to pizza and ice cream (frozen custard)," said Aseere. "Our ownership group and store managers, are all Northern Kentucky University alumni. It is going to be rewarding to work with the University that helped so many of us get to where we are now!" 

The trio has been friends for many years. Aseere and Ash have been friends since kindergarten and became friends with Halpin in high school. Even the name "Space Cowboys Restaurant Group" is a nod to their friendship and participation on their high school and college sports intramural team.

National Website Highlights Tower Park and Fort Thomas History

Aerial view of Tower Park military homes.


By Jessie Eden

It's always nice to receive recognition and we knew as soon as we saw this mention about Fort Thomas, we wanted to share it with you.

Of course, we all know how amazing our city is... but, this article may surprise you with some historic details you didn't know.

Enjoy!



The Importance of Filing a Police Report After an Accident


Spencer Merk and Eric Gile of Merk & Gile, PLC.
Filing a police report after a car accident is an important step in making sure all the details are documented and all parties involved are protected.

It's important to contact the police any time you're involved in a car accident. In some states, contacting law enforcement is a requirement. Even when it is not, you are better off notifying the police to let them decide if they will come to the accident scene.

Once you've contacted the authorities, you will have done your part in protecting your own interests and following the law. This will work to your benefit if there is a lawsuit filed following the accident.

File a Report Even for Small Accidents
Even if there is only minor damage, it is still important to make sure an accident report is filed to document exactly what happened. The physical and medical damage isn't always apparent at the time of the accident, and you might notice additional injury or loss at a later time.

You also don't know what the other person in the car accident will decide to do or say after you have left the scene, and the police can help make sure the details are accurate.


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Filing a Police Report and Making a Claim 
Just because you file a police report does not mean you automatically are making an insurance claim. The police report serves only as a record of the incident.

Sometimes the parties to the accident choose to handle the financial issues between themselves rather than contact their insurance companies. Otherwise, you'll need to contact your insurance company for details on how to proceed.

Filing the accident report will not only provide your insurance company with a basis on how to properly handle your claim but it will also give them an accurate crash report.

Do not leave the scene until the police take a full report. An accurate report will ensure protection for you if there are any legal problems should arise as a result of the car accident. The police may help submit the report to the DMV for you if required.

Police Reports and Personal Injuries
No one is at their best after a car accident. You will likely be shaken up and not in a position to judge how you are doing. Police have experience in spotting potential issues and can be of help. They will also deal with the third party for you, which will provide some objectivity and relieve a lot of stress.

The police will question all involved parties and fill in the accident report details. Sometimes personal injuries don't show up until a day or two after the accident. If you didn't file a police report and there is no record of the incident, it may make things harder for you in the long run, such as not getting any insurance coverage for your medical expenses.

If the Police Do Not Come to the Accident
There may be a situation in which a police officer is not available because of your location or other reasons. Here are some reasons the police may not come to the scene of the accident:
  • In some states, the police are not required to go to the scene of an accident if the property damage value is too low. If you are concerned about injuries or other issues, make the police aware when you call it in. Having more information about what happened can help them decide if they will come anyway.
  • The police may make the decision not to come if there are no injuries.
  • If there is a public emergency or disaster underway, they may not be able to make it to the scene of the accident.
You should always make a call to the police on the scene and let them decide. If you are in a situation where the police do not come to the scene of the accident, then make sure you document the accident and damages thoroughly yourself.

Spencer Merk, Partner at Merk & Gile, PLC.
Information to Collect at the Accident Scene
If the police tell you they cannot make it to the accident, ask them what you should do. Make sure you take all the information necessary using a car accident form or information checklist. Also take down the name of the person you spoke to when reporting the accident, in case you need it later in court or for a settlement.
  • Find witnesses, if possible.
  • Write down, take pictures, or make an audio or video recording with your cell phone of the damages, location, and the other party or witness versions of what happened at the scene, if possible.
  • File your report with the police as soon as you can and give the police officer the information you collected.
You will need to file your own report and insurance claim if the police are not there to help. The information collected from the car accident can be one of the most important tools in determining fault and who is financially responsible for the car accident.

Always be honest and detailed with the police officer because it will help you in the long run. Filing a detailed and accurate report keeps the claims process smooth and quick, meaning you'll get paid faster on your claim.

What the Police Will Do at the Scene of a Car Accident
The police are there to help, and they will be able to provide support to the parties involved in the crash, interview witnesses and gather all necessary information about the accident. They will do some or all of the following:
  • Take down basic information
  • Make sure the area is secure and safe for traffic and all people involved
  • Call any emergency services that may also need to get involved to help, such as ambulances and fire trucks
  • Give tickets if this is required due to violations or negligence
  • Speak to witnesses, third parties, or any other people involved
  • Evaluate the situation to help avoid scams or other questionable circumstances
  • Prepare a report you can later use to file your insurance claim or use in court if needed
Know How to Contact the Officer Who Filed Your Report
After the accident report is filed make sure you get a card and/or direct contact information from the police officer who filed the accident report.

Often after an accident, you may only remember additional details after you've rested and calmed down. These details can be very important, especially if the car accident claim snowballs into a lawsuit.

If you find you have remembered some key details after the accident report is filed, contact the police officer and see if you can add these details to the accident report.

Pizza restaurant closes in Highland Heights

The Toppers location in Highland Heights is now closed. (Photo: Google Maps)


By Jessie Eden

The pizza restaurant, "Toppers" has closed in Highland Heights near NKU. It was located between Chipotle and Smashburger off of Wilson Road.

The Wisconsin-based chain now only has one location in the Greater Cincinnati area, near the University of Cincinnati. The two closest locations besides Clifton are in Indianapolis.


In 2017, the pizza franchise closed all 5 locations in Illinois. Over the past two years, the company has closed several different locations throughout the Northwest and Midwest.

Currently, the company only has locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

New Scam: Caller Impersonates Fort Thomas Officer, Demands Payment Over The Phone



By Jessie Eden

Fort Thomas Police say a new phone scam is circulating with a new tactic trying to steal your money.

While the concept of a phone scam is not new, scammers are getting smarter with their methods. As a result, many are figuring out new ways to trick you into giving them money.

In a press release this morning, FTPD says they have received several reports of scam calls from a man claiming to be a Lieutenant. The man uses the correct name and rank of an officer and informs the individual that they were expected to be in court as a witness... but, since they did not show up, they now owe money.



The caller then demands payment over the phone and threatens legal action if the individual does not agree to pay.

FTPD says this is NOT something they do.

If you have any information on calls like this, please report the incident to FTPD at 859-441-6562 or Campbell County Dispatch 859-292-3622.

KY Health Officials Monitoring for Coronavirus

KY Health officials actively monitoring for Coronavirus. (Photo: Unslpash)


By Jessica Eden

KY Health officials for the state of Kentucky say they are now actively monitoring for the Coronavirus.

In a press release this morning, state health officials announced that the KY Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) are investigating any reports that may indicate a coronavirus case.

Symptoms of the virus, per the CDC, include;

- Runny nose
- Headache
- Sore Throat
- Fever
- A general feeling of being unwell

DPH is also working with medical providers to raise awareness and keep medical professionals informed. If a case is determined and testing is required, the DPH and Center for Disease Control (CDC) will respond as needed.


“The Kentucky Department for Public Health works to improve the health and safety of people in Kentucky through prevention, promotion and protection, and our staff also educates Kentuckians about public health concerns like the coronavirus,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Even as Kentucky is not under direct threat from this virus, our health experts are taking proper measures to ensure the public has the most accurate information.”

Dr. Connie White, the DPH Deputy Commissioner, says the organization is treating the virus as a serious situation and it is being carefully monitored on the federal, state and local levels.

“We understand that some people are worried about this virus and how it may impact Kentuckians. Outbreaks of new diseases are always of concern, and with today’s connected world, an outbreak anywhere can be a risk. While the available information suggests a low immediate health risk for the general public, we consider any new infectious disease a serious concern and we are carefully monitoring the evolving situation and taking precautions," said Dr. White. "Currently the biggest risk we have in Kentucky now for respiratory illness is the flu, which has resulted in 30 deaths so far this season. So we highly encourage everyone who has not received a flu shot to get vaccinated.”

DPH staff also sent an advisory to clinicians statewide on Jan. 22 to update them on the virus and give guidance on symptoms and possible actions if they encountered a possible case.

“Based on what has been learned from past outbreaks – including outbreaks of related coronaviruses – finding cases quickly and responding effectively is key,” said Dr. White. “Rapid response helps ensure that the ill person receives the care they need, and it lessens the chance of spreading the illness. Fortunately, Kentucky has a strong disease surveillance system in place that includes partnerships with hospital and clinic systems as well as local health departments.”

Health care providers were also asked to alert DPH if a person with recent travel to Wuhan, China, becomes sick with respiratory symptoms. When cases are reported, the testing of samples can take several days through the CDC.

“When a new disease is circulating, it’s natural for people to ask what they can do to protect themselves and their families,” said Dr. White. “The best guidance at this point is to take the same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu: People should stay home when they are sick, cover their cough and practice good hand washing. If you are planning a trip to China, keep an eye on the news and be aware of this evolving situation. If you have recently returned from a trip to China and are feeling sick, call your health care provider and let them know of your travel and symptoms.”

For more information on the coronavirus, please visit the CDC's website.

Framed NKY to Relocate to Crescent Springs in March

Framed NKY in Fort Thomas will remain open until its new Crescent Springs location opens in March (photo: FTM file)

by Robin Gee

Framed NKY will remain open in Fort Thomas until its new location opens this spring. Owner Jennifer Sierra, who opened her framing business and gallery in Fort Thomas in late 2018, will move to a new location in Crescent Springs in early March.

Over 50 years experience in NKY. Call now, mention FTM. (859) 287-2499.

Sierra said the business has grown and, while she has loved being in the current location on North Fort Thomas Avenue, the building was not ideal for the framing business. Art for framing has to be carried up to the second floor work space, and, overall, space is tight throughout the store.

Her new location at 2519 Ritchie Avenue in Crescent Springs is in a mixed use commercial area and includes a loading dock and more space for parking. It’s a one-floor set up, allowing for ease of movement between the gallery and store space and the framing work.

"It’s right off the expressway, making it very accessible," she said. She had looked at other more urban locations, but wanted a space with ample parking and loading so that customers could park right at the shop and not have to carry artwork any distance.

RELATED: Framing with an Artist’s Eye at Framed NKY

Before Sierra opened Framed NKY, longtime Fort Thomas resident and council member Ken Bowman operated a framing shop in the same location. She bought the business from him. Sierra said serving the customers who have frequented the location for many years has been the highlight of her business.