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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Fort Thomas to Begin Partial Safe Opening of Parks and Recreation Facilities

Fort Thomas announces Phase One of plan to reopen parks and recreation facilities.

by Robin Gee, city council beat editor

Parks, open spaces and trails in Fort Thomas will be open for some activities starting June 1 with health and safety guidelines in place.

City Administrator Ron Dill announced Phase One of the city’s plan for reopening parks and recreation facilities, while continuing to practice measures to ensure resident safety.

"The city has spent considerable effort in balancing the offer of parks, facilities and other public amenities with the measure against maintaining public safety and confidence. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of our lives in many ways, and we are adjusting with each decision we make moving forwards to minimize its impact," Dill said in a recent memo about the plan.

He and city staff have been working with city officials to create a plan that would help the community resume as many normal activities as possible. They have also been working with government agencies, health organizations and neighboring communities to ensure that efforts follow regulations and guidelines to keep the community safe.

"This effort requires certain protocols beyond our previous routines and in some instances additional personnel and/or training is necessary. We ask for your continued patience and assistance as we all work toward being fully operational," he said.

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. Located at 90 Alexandria Pike in Fort Thomas Plaza. 

Phase One begins this coming week

Although Phase One will officially begin on June 1, the city will continue to monitor and adjust as needed. Here are some highlights:

  • All city parks, open spaces, trails remain open for passive recreational activities only; no groups, family units only.
  • Tower Park tennis courts and Highland Park disc golf course will be open — participants must provide their own equipment. Social distancing is required.
  • The Armory Gymnasium will be open to walkers beginning at 7:30 a.m., M-F only; basketball court will be available through reservation between 9 a.m. and noon, M-F only. Reservations are limited to one half-hour, must be family units/adult supervised and provide your own equipment. No practices or scrimmages permitted.
  • Park shelter rentals and game room/meeting room rentals can be reserved for dates beginning July 1 (for gatherings of 50 or less). Contact the Recreation Department at (859) 781-1700.
  • The Farmers Market has its opening day on Wednesday, June 3, from 3 to 7 p.m. in Tower Park. The market will be set up to comply with the Northern Kentucky Health Department standards but remains very accessible and full of traditional offerings. 

RELATED: Fort Thomas Farmers Market Returns June 3, New Safety Guidelines

Phase Two planned for mid-June

Mural Takes Shape as Newport Levy Bridgeview Box Park Prepares for Opening

A colorful mural marks the Bridgeview Box Park and celebrates the connection between Newport on the Levee, the Purple People Bridge and the Ohio River.

by Robin Gee

Work has continued on the Bridgeview Box Park at Newport on the Levee. A few of the six signed retailers and restaurants are set to open this weekend with more planned for the beginning of June.

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

Located in the plaza next to the Newport Aquarium, the Bridgeview Box Park features four shipping-like containers, an octagon-shaped structure and a food truck that will house six restaurants and retail businesses as well as seating areas and entertainment space.

The space offers an opportunity to dine out and shop while following health and safety guidelines in an open-air environment.

RELATED: Newport Levee Owners Get Creative With Bridgeview Box Park

Friday, May 29, 2020

Covid-19 cases jump, 9 new deaths

A bigger spike in numbers was reported by Governor Andy Beshear at today's press conference but paused before indicating the cause of the rise in positive Covid-19 cases.

"We'll have to wait to see over the next couple of days whether the increase in cases today is significant or just labs catching up. I don't want to suggest that it means something at this point either way," said Gov. Beshear.

> NEW CASES: 283 new cases, 113 yesterday, 158 average over last four days. (Total number in Ky: 9,464).

NKY numbers:
- 12 in Boone Co.
- 17 in Kenton Co.
- 10 in Campbell Co.
- 2 in Grant Co.

- Over 227,944 tests completed to date in Kentucky, up 6,000 since yesterday
- Total patients who have been hospitalized: 2,266.
- Total Patients Currently in Hospital: 499.
- Total Patients admitted to ICU: 940.
- Still Currently in ICU: 81.
- Recovered Patients: 3,231.

Total Death Toll: 418.

Remote renewal of I.D.
Order from the governor allows folks whose drivers license has been lost or expired during this coronavirus pandemic to have a renewal/replacement processed remotely, without having to go in the office.

Fort Thomas Resident Appointed to Kentucky Board

A former Campbell County Democrat Chairperson has been appointed to a Kentucky Board per Governor Andy Beshear.
(Img: Paul Whalen, FTM File)

Editor's Note: 
Paul Whalen of Fort Thomas has been appointed as a member of the Administrative Law Judges in the Department of Workers' Claims by Governor Andy Beshear. He is a former Campbell County Democrat Chairperson.

The full release, with all appointments made, can be viewed below;

Gov. Andy Beshear has made the following appointments to Kentucky boards and commissions.

Gov. Beshear has appointed Thomas Polites, Tonya Clemons, Paul Whalen, and Peter Naake as members of the Administrative Law Judges in the Department of Workers’ Claims.

- Thomas Polites of Lexington is an attorney at Wilson & McQueen, PLLC. He shall replace Jefferson Layson whose term has expired. Mr. Polites shall serve a term expiring July 14, 2024.

- Tonya Clemons of Georgetown is an attorney at Kopka Pinkus Dolin, PC. She shall replace Brent Dye, whose term has expired. Ms. Clemons shall serve a term expiring July 14, 2024.

- Paul Whalen of Ft. Thomas is an attorney for the U.S. Department of Energy. He shall replace Jane Williams whose term has expired. Mr. Whalen shall serve a term expiring July 14, 2024.
- Peter Naake of Louisville is an attorney at Priddy, Cutler, Naake & Meade PLLC. He shall replace Richard Neal whose term has expired. Mr. Naake shall serve a term expiring July 14, 2024.

- Gov. Beshear has appointed Leo Miller, Jack Dulworth, and Grover Arnett as members of the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Nominating Committee.

- Robert Leo Miller of Harlan is the Deputy Executive Director of SEKRI. He shall replace Runan Evans, who has resigned. Mr. Miller shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term ending June 13, 2023.

- Jack Dulworth of Louisville is the owner of the Dulworth Group. He shall replace John Senter, who has resigned. Mr. Dulworth shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term ending June 13, 2022.
William Arnett of Salyersville is the owner of Grover Arnett Law. He shall replace Megan Mersch who has resigned. Mr. Arnett shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term ending June 13, 2020.

Gov. Beshear has appointed Dr. Anthony Harkins as a member of the Kentucky Oral History Committee.

- Dr. Anthony Harkins of Bowling Green is a professor of history at Western Kentucky University. He shall replace Christopher Skates, who has resigned. Dr. Harkins shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term ending February 15, 2023.

Gov. Beshear has appointed John Soyars as a member of the Prosecutors Advisory Council.
- John Soyars of Hopkinsville serves as Christian County Attorney. He shall replace Robert Neace. Mr. Soyars shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.

Gov. Beshear has appointed Jacqueline Burnside, Jeanie Smith, Mary Lewis, Philip Prokes, Erin Milburn, Jack Jacobs, Kenneth LeMonds, Mike Stacy, and Deanna Ashby as members of the Standards and Assessments Process Review Committee.

- Jacqueline Burnside of Berea is a Professor of Sociology at Berea College. She will represent school board members. Ms. Burnside shall serve a term expiring May 27, 2024.
- Jeanie Smith of Alvaton is teacher for the Warren County Public Schools. She will represent social studies teachers and parents of public school kids. Mrs. Smith shall serve a term expiring May 27, 2024
- Mary Lewis of Catlettsburg is a teacher for the Boyd County Public Schools. She will represent science teachers. Mrs. Lewis shall serve for a term expiring May 27, 2024.
- Phillip Prokes of Lexington is a teacher for the Jessamine County Schools. He will be representing math teachers. Mr. Prokes shall serve a term expiring May 27, 2024.
- Erin Milburn of Harrodsburg is a teacher for the Mercer County Schools. She will represent language arts teachers. Ms. Milburn shall serve a term expiring May 27, 2024.
- Jack Jacobs of Louisville is a principal for JCPS. He will be representing principals. Dr. Jacobs shall serve a term expiring May 27, 2024.
- Kenneth LeMonds of Danville is a principal for the Burgin Independent Schools. He will be representing principals. Mr. LeMonds shall serve a term expiring May 27, 2024.
- Mike Stacy of Ft. Mitchell is the Superintendent of the Beechwood Board of Education. He will be representing superintendents and parents of public school students. Dr. Stacy shall serve a term expiring May 27, 2024.
- Deanna Ashby of Hanson is the Superintendent of the Hopkins County Schools. She will be representing superintendents. Mrs. Ashby shall serve a term expiring May 27, 2024.

Kentucky Recreation Submits Plan to Governor Beshear on Ways to Resume Park Activities

Tower Park

The Kentucky Recreation and Parks Society submitted a comprehensive plan last week to Governor Andy Beshear that lays out a timeline for resuming an array of sporting, exercise and other parks activities across the commonwealth.

The plan follows the same process that other industries have used to re-open safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. “A KRPS-led task force spent weeks writing this plan, and I think we have come up with an excellent set of science-based recommendations that will allow our parks and recreation departments to mostly if not fully re-open in a way that protects patrons and employees alike,”

KRPS Executive Director Terri Wilkerson said. “In short, we’re applying the Healthy At Home approach to our ballfields, our swimming pools, our gyms and our playgrounds. We have the same goal as everyone: To get back to some sense of normalcy as quickly and as safely as possible.”

She noted that parks departments have already played a vital role during the pandemic through the green spaces and trails they maintain. “Our parks professionals have also assisted with food programs, virtual programming, emergency management and by helping first responders and healthcare workers with such things as childcare,” she said. “This task force report is a blueprint we can use to do even more for the communities we proudly call home.”

Wilkerson said the report relied on a variety of resources, including surveys and professional input from more than 80 parks and recreation departments in Kentucky. Other information was gathered from such well-respected organizations as the National Recreation and

Park Association, the CDC, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, the United States Tennis Association and the governing bodies for other major sports. Re-opening plans were also compiled from other states’ parks departments and their KRPS counterparts.

The task force sets July 1st as the date to begin implementing the plan, starting with baseball and softball. “While we are obviously late in the year, it’s still important that we have a period of conditioning,” she said. “We think two weeks of practicing will give teams the time they need to organize and prepare. After that, we would see the first round of games being played locally, and then gradually move to more regional play. Crowds would need to be limited and properly spaced so they always stay in accordance with statewide recommendations for large groups.”

She said soccer and other youth sports activities would follow the same timelines and procedures. However, competitive swimming and outdoor basketball would be last to resume, because both carry the most risk of spreading the coronavirus and are among the hardest to monitor. “We also recommend delaying the opening of our playgrounds to the fall for the same reason,” she said. “Swings, slides and other high-touch surfaces are difficult to disinfect, and children have a hard time keeping their distance in those settings.”

Wilkerson said these plans could be scaled back should there be a rise in COVID-19 cases. “We also ask the public to be patient, because like most areas of government, our parks and recreation departments have seen our budgets slashed in recent days, some by a third to half.

As always, we will do the best we can with the resources we have, but the hope is that our budgets will rebound quickly. We must not forget that our departments contribute nearly $1 billion to the economy each year and provide countless memories while promoting a healthy lifestyle.”

"Stock Up for Health" Offering to Shop for People at Fort Thomas Farmers Market

"Stock Up for Health" Pre-ordered and Pre-filled Bags Offered This Summer at the Fort Thomas Farmers Market

A Camps Spring company is offering to help you get your Farmers Market goodies this summer.

859-905-0714 | This is an advertisement.

Kate Zink with "Stock Up For Health" will shop for you at the Market. There are two options; 

- $50 for a large bag
- $25 for a small bag

Each week, the bags will contain a mixture of products from our participating vendors. They will contain produce/plants, eggs, shelf stable items, bread/baked goods, and meat (large bags only).

Here’s how it works: 
- Pre-order each week at and place an order for either a $50 large bag, or a $25 small bag.
- Your order must be placed by noon, the Tuesday before our Wednesday market each week.
- Stock Up for Health accepts most credit cards.

There are two options for market bag pick-up:
- You can walk up to the booth at the market, or they are offering a drive-by option from 4-6 pm each week.
- To drive by, enter the market from our River Road entrance, and there will be a table set up close to the street, directly across the from the armory, to make Market Bag distribution easier.

Additional Details:
Please have your name on a sign, placed on your windshield and whether you’ve pre-ordered a $25 or $50, market bag, to make distribution easier and safer.

For more information, please email Kate,

Beshear Authorizes Renewing Licenses, ID Cards Remotely

Cardholders with expiration dates between March 1 and June 30 or those needing a replacement may apply to receive mailed credential

Normally, drivers would head to the Campbell County Court House to renew their licenses. (Note: This story image was updated to reflect the proper location (330 York St.) Previously picked was 1098 Monmouth. We regret this error.)

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday that he is issuing an official order temporarily authorizing circuit court clerk offices to process expired driving credential renewals and replacement requests remotely.

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The move is in keeping with Gov. Beshear’s emergency declaration related to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and Healthy at Work guidance meant to keep all Kentuckians healthy and limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“This order is the next right step to help clerks safely serve Kentuckians impacted by the office closures caused by the pandemic,” said Gov. Beshear. “The temporary measure will allow contactless service to help minimize crowding and help offices gradually return to full-service operations.”

Cardholders whose operator’s license, permit or identification card was lost or expired between March 1 and June 30, 2020, may apply with their local circuit court clerk to receive a new card in the mail. The order allows the remote application process to remain through July 31, 2020.

Applicants requesting a card renewal must not require any testing. Circuit court clerks in the applicant’s county of residence will administer the application process and mail the credential directly to the applicant. More information is available on the Administrative Office of the Courts COVID-19 web page.

The March emergency order is still in effect that extends the validity of cards by 90 days if the printed expiration date is March 18, 2020, or later.

“We’re driven to offer innovative solutions during this unprecedented time that provide Kentuckians safe options to maintain and renew credentials they rely on for more multiple uses,” said Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has reopened the Frankfort regional licensing office to offer select in-person services for residents of any Kentucky county. REAL ID applications cannot be accepted through the mail due to strict federal security standards. Applicants may visit to schedule an appointment online and to learn more about the services offered. Walk-ins are welcome during office hours Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Click here to view the order.

Senator Mitch McConnell Speaks at St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas, Outlines Plans Moving Forward

Sen. Mitch McConnell paid a visit to St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas on Friday and held a short press conference.

By Jessie Eden

Senator Mitch McConnell paid a visit to St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas on Friday morning where he spoke about the Covid-19 pandemic, thanked front line workers and nurses, and discussed what he feels are the next steps for the state of Kentucky.

The 30-minute press conference was Sen. McConnell's first public appearance since March and Sen. McConnell said he thought the appropriate thing to do was to visit various hospitals across the state to thank front line workers.  "Back in February we didn't know much about this disease," said Sen. McConnell. "We weren't sure what we were dealing with. So, they bravely went right into the face of this pandemic and at that particular space we didn't know how dangerous it was, especially with vulnerable these are the real heroes and I want to thank all of you for what you've done."

Sen. McConnell also touched upon several issues concerning unemployment, the budget and when he believes schools should be back in session. Fort Thomas Matters was on scene live-streaming the event. Here are the main takeaways;

- UNEMPLOYMENT: Sen. McConnell said he believes that paying unemployed recipients more than they would have made while working was a mistake and any future unemployment efforts will not have this. "We're taking a careful look at a fourth and final bill, a decision will be made in about a month. It will be narrowly crafted to help us for where we are a month from now, not where we were three months ago."

- STIMULUS BILL / ECONOMY: "We now of a debt as big as our economy...which has happened since WWII. We need to think through the next big step." He mentioned a current bill for $3 trillion that is currently in the works. Sen. McConnell stated that if there was another bill, it will be written in the senate. He said it will not be $3 trillion and through talks with Democrats, they will determine an amount. He also stated that it will not pass if it doesn't have liability protection for universities, hospitals and more. "Any bill that passes the senate will have liability protection so that they aren't facing an avalanche of lawsuits when they reopen." He also stated that $150 million has been set aside for state and local governments.

- SCHOOLS: "Looking forward, I think the two most important things to getting back to normal are jobs and kids. We got to have these K-12 open, colleges open, this fall. The country is simply going to go nuts if the kids aren't back in school August or September. Fortunately, universities are responding to that."

- PROTEST VIOLENCE IN LOUISVILLE: In response to a question regarding violent protests where 7 people were shot Thursday night in Louisville that were in response to police brutality against Breonna Taylor (Louisville) and George Floyd (Minnesota), Sen. McConnell stated the following; "You can understand the outrage and reaction. They need to be thoroughly investigated. Justice needs to be done. I've always been a support of demonstrations but they need to be peaceful...and this senseless violence in reaction to this is not helpful to anyone and I hope it will stop.

- CORONAVIRUS CLINICAL TRIAL: St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas has been chosen to participate in a clinical trial to create a better treatment for the Coronavirus. Sen. McConnell also recognized Gravity Diagnostics for their extensive testing the company has provided for the virus.

You can watch the full live-stream on the FTM Facebook Page.

St. Elizabeth Lung Cancer Screening and Care Receives Special Recognition

St. Elizabeth Healthcare was recently named a Care Continuum Center of Excellence (CCCOE) by the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer. With this designation, St. Elizabeth becomes one of more than 30 community hospitals recognized by the GO2 Foundation for providing patient-focused, comprehensive multidisciplinary lung cancer care.

To qualify for CCCOE status, a community hospital must meet rigorous qualifying criteria that ensures they are providing the highest level of patient care. Recognized programs offer a comprehensive range of services that span all phases of lung cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow up.

At St. Elizabeth this includes:
• Care from nationally known leaders in lung cancer care.

• The expertise of two nurse navigators to guide patients though the care they require.

• A multidisciplinary team approach that encompasses all areas of patient education and care options.

• Weekly meetings of the Nodule Review Board that foster collaboration and teamwork between the various specialties involved in cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment.

• Molecular biomarker testing that enables personalized treatment tailored to your genetic makeup.

• Minimally invasive biopsy methods and surgical techniques for faster recovery, fewer complications and better results.

• Access to the newest therapies and latest clinical trials for advanced care that’s on the forefront of technology and treatments.

• Education and support to help patients make informed decisions with the best outcome possible.

• The St. Elizabeth Cancer Center, a 250,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility designed with these patient needs in mind, is scheduled to open in fall 2020 to provide advanced cancer care in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati region.

The CCCOE designation underscores St. Elizabeth’s commitment to reduce the high rate of lung cancer common in our region. Since its launch in 2013, St. Elizabeth’s successful Lung Cancer Screening Program has taken direct aim at the area’s high lung cancer rates, completing more than 11,000 screenings and identifying more than 100 lung cancers under Stage III, when treatment is most effective.

St. Elizabeth previously earned and continues to maintain designations as a Screening Center of Excellence and Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence. As a CCCOE, we take that one step further to bring our patients access to high-quality lung cancer services without traveling to a large academic or research institution.

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The honor provides St. Elizabeth the opportunity to:
• Collaborate with other CCCOE programs to share best practices and learnings to ensure the highest
quality care.

• Access education and support resources for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

• Expand research and clinical study opportunities.

• Participate in the CCCOE Impact Study, which identifies opportunities for quality improvements within the System and provides comparative analysis of performance.

“We are proud and honored to be working with St. Elizabeth Healthcare as a GO2 Foundation Care
Continuum Center of Excellence. Their commitment will help save lives and improve long-term survivorship by giving patients access to high-quality, multidisciplinary care close to home. They are the example to follow,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, Co-Founder and President of GO2 Foundation.

“The team-based approach that we have is really key,” said Dr. Michael Gieske, Director of Lung Cancer Screening and Lead Physician, Ft. Mitchell St. Elizabeth Physicians. “It prevents patients from getting lost in the System and experiencing delays in their care. Our process can shave months off the time it takes to access care.”

St. Elizabeth is investing heavily in building programs and focusing resources on aggressive lung cancer screening and early detection and the Lung Screening Program is just one more example of St. Elizabeth being “right here” for the Northern Kentucky community.

To learn if you are a candidate for a screening, visit

Thursday, May 28, 2020

PHOTOS: Child Development Play-Care Hosts Drive-Thru Graduation

It is officially time for your daily dose of cuteness! Last week, these little ones from the Child Development Play-Care center in Fort Thomas were treated to their own little "drive-thru" graduation. 

Check out the photo gallery below for more adorable photos of these tiny graduates. As you can see by their faces, a good time was had by all! 

State Braces for Shortfalls in General, Road Funds

The following was released by LRC Public Information;

The state is bracing for a $456.7 million – or four percent – General Fund revenue shortfall and a nearly $162 million shortfall in the state Road Fund this fiscal year, based on revised estimates from the group responsible for the state’s revenue forecasts.

The Consensus Forecasting Group—a panel of independent economists whose forecasts are used in state budget decisions – today revised its estimates for both funds for Fiscal Year 2020 at the request of State Budget Director John Hicks.

Hicks requested the revisions in an April 30 letter amid economic disruptions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

State budget officials told the CFG that the projected General Fund shortfall can be addressed through a budget reduction plan. That plan was included in the enacted FY 2020-21 Executive Branch budget found in 2020 House Bill 352, according to Office of the State Budget Director official Greg Harkenrider.

Budget reduction plans can be used when an “actual or projected” General Fund or Road Fund shortfall is five percent or less below the official enacted estimate approved by the Kentucky General Assembly, said Harkenrider.

With the projected Road Fund shortfall for fiscal year 2020 expected to fall 10.4 percent below the official enacted estimate, that shortfall would not fall under the enacted budget reduction plan in HB 352. It must instead be addressed by future action of the General Assembly, said Harkenrider.

That could precipitate the need for the Governor to call lawmakers into special session “given (that) there is less than six weeks left in FY 20,” he told the panel.

The revised estimates agreed to by the CFG were based on “pessimistic” scenarios that anticipate steep declines in consumer spending, real GDP, manufacturing employment, and other key economic indicators – a reflection of the current national recession, which OSBD official J. Michael Jones, PhD said began the third quarter of this fiscal year.

Although the recession is only expected to last for three quarters, Jones said overall recovery time is expected to be “significantly longer” than in more optimistic scenarios.

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Kentucky’s General Fund collections were up 6.4 percent in the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 with year-to-date General Fund growth of 3.9 percent after March. That growth fell 1.2 percent after April, according to the OSBD. Total receipts fell 33.6 percent for April, a decline of $432.9 million, the agency reports.

For the Road Fund, the revised estimate largely reflects April receipts in motor fuels, motor vehicle usage revenue, and motor vehicle license revenue. Motor fuels receipts fell $7.5 million, or 11.8 percent, while motor vehicle usage receipts dropped $29.9 million or 60.1 percent per the OSBD. Receipts for motor vehicle licenses fell 20.2 percent.

The revised revenue estimate for the state’s General Fund for FY 2020 is $10.9 billion, down from the official enacted estimate of $11.4 billion. The revised revenue estimate for the Road Fund for FY 2020 is $1.39 billion, down from an estimated $1.55 billion in the official enacted estimate.
From the Legislative Research Commission

Campbell County Reopening: Library, Sheriff's Office Announce Plans

By Jessie Eden

As things start to reopen, several organizations have announced plans for how things will be different when they open their doors once more.

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

Campbell County Sheriff's Office - June 1

The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office will reopen to the general public June 1st, with one exception.

Appointments are NOT necessary but due to the close contact required to perform Pre-employment Fingerprinting , this service will not be available until later in the summer. An announcement will be made when this service returns.

Campbell County Library Plans

Per Governor Beshear, libraries can reopen as early as June 8 but the Campbell County Library is waiting to hear more on the specific guidelines the library will need to meet in order to open.

In the meantime, the library has introduced a new curbside pickup service at all branches. Each location also has a full supply of hand sanitizer stands and plexiglass guards. Buildings and materials continue to be sanitized and new safety protocols have been put into place for staff. 

In a statement released by the library, they hope to reopen very soon. "We would like to thank all of you for continuing to be patient as we learn more about these new guidelines. We do not have a reopening date set just yet, but please know that we are working hard to make sure we are ready for when we are able. In the meantime, please continue to utilize our curbside pickup service and what we offer online. We look forward to seeing you again soon!"

To read more about what the library is currently offering, click here.

NKU Breaks Ground on New Student Housing Project

For the first time in 17 years, NKU is breaking ground on a new dorm.

Northern Kentucky University is breaking ground on a new residential building, the first student housing construction on campus since 2003. The five-story, 77,200 square-foot development will fulfill a need for affordable living space at NKU.

More students are choosing to live on campus, and the project will meet the increased demand. The development will house 297 beds in a semi-suite-style. The design will help create a sense of community among residential students with large lounge areas, meeting rooms and a lighted event plaza.

“We know students who live on campus have higher retention and persistence rates, remain engaged and have a more fulfilling collegiate experience. This is an essential factor when we look at how to be a student-ready institution, and this new complex will offer more opportunities to build a community on campus,” said President Ashish Vaidya. “Especially in these uncertain times, this new construction is a welcome sign of things to come as we build the future home for our students.”

The L-shape design establishes a new focal point for the Boothe Residential Village, located along Kenton Drive. The residence hall also features dedicated study hubs and a double-sided kitchen. 

“This will be a modern living and learning environment unlike traditional residence halls offered,” said Arnie Slaughter, co-interim chief Student Affairs officer and dean of Students. “We listened to the feedback from our students when we designed this building, and we think they will be pleased to see it under construction.”

NKU partnered with Messer Construction Co., a nationally ranked firm that specializes in managing, developing and performing complex commercial construction, to lead the project’s construction.

“The Messer-TriVersity team is extremely excited to partner with NKU on this transformational Residence Hall project,” said Nick Rosian, operations vice president at Messer. “We realize the important role NKU plays in shaping the future of our region and are fortunate to play a part in moving their vision forward.”

The project is scheduled to open in 2021 and will be the first housing complex to achieve LEED Silver certification upon completion. NKU’s last residential construction was University Suites in 2003. For more on NKU’s University Housing, visit its website.

Area Students in Need Can Receive a Week’s Worth of Meals

By Robin Gee

No one should go hungry in our community. While many face what is known as "food insecurity" all year, even more families are finding themselves in need of help during the current crisis.

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Thanks to a Northern Kentucky church program, children and their families in our area have a new resource to help.

The Covington/Northern Kentucky United Methodist Church provides food to families in need through its UMC Food Ministry. Reverend Dr. Larry Karow, CEO of the program, has been providing food throughout the region to help support those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Starting Thursday, May 28, the organization will set up in the parking lot across from Highlands High School from 3 to 5 p.m. Students in and near Fort Thomas will be able to pick up seven days worth of food in one visit. They will be provided with boxes containing enough food to feed a child breakfast and lunch for a week.

According to Reverend Karow, the boxes contain kid friendly meals. Most are shelf stable, but others can be popped into the microwave. Also included are two half gallons of milk (one white, one chocolate).

For this program, families do not need to prove they are on a free or reduced meal program at school, nor do they have to live in the city of Fort Thomas. Guardians can pick up the meals for the children, who do not have to be present.

The church will return on subsequent Thursdays throughout June. For more information, see the UMC Food Ministry website.

The UMC Food Ministry was started six years ago as an effort to combat hunger in the community. The program has expanded and now has eight commercial kitchens, more than 200 food distribution sites and serves more than 1.6 million meals annually. The program partners with the YWCA, Boys and Girls Club, Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky, the USDA and other community organizations.

Highlands Alum Contributing for Indiana Tech Volleyball

Gessner Digging, Serving Well for NAIA School

PHOTO: Victor Njemanze/Indiana Tech Athletics. Indiana Tech defensive specialist/libero Olivia Gessner goes into serving motion in a game last season. The 2019 Highlands alum had 29 aces and 80 digs as a freshman helping Indiana Tech to a 26-10 record and spot in the semifinals of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament.
Highlands Class of 2019 alum Olivia Gessner looked forward to a similar role in college that she had in high school.

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The 5-foot-3-inch defensive specialist/libero helped the Highlands Bluebirds volleyball teams to consecutive 25-11 seasons mainly with her digging and serving abilities. As a senior in 2018 for the 36th District champions, Gessner had a team-high 322 digs and 69 aces.

Gessner ventured to Fort Wayne (Indiana) to play for the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics Indiana Tech Warriors and helped them to a 26-10 record including a 13-7 mark in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. Gessner saw action in all 36 matches recording 29 aces and 80 digs. The 29 aces ranked second on the team and in the top 25 in the WHAC.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Gov. Beshear: wearing a mask shouldn't be a dividing issue

Governor Andy Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack spent time during their daily press conference today addressing the growing political divide that masks have begun to take hold in the state as he noted that Kentucky's cases may be in a state of decline.

"Today, our numbers continue to suggest that we are no longer in a plateau, but a decline," said Gov. Beshear.

"Masks have become a dividing issue. Some states have mandated masks. We haven't done that, we have just strongly encouraged. Are you really going to make fun of someone for wearing a mask? We're not pressuring people, but we've got to protect one another," said Gov. Beshear.

"How in the world (does wearing a mask) make it something to be angry about?”

Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner for Public Health said that the steps taken, including wearing masks, have flattened the curve and saved lives.

"While I would rather every one to wear a mask. I think it's a calling and be on Team Kentucky, to be patient, kind and tolerant of each other and not turn into strife and conflict," said Dr. Stack.

WEDNESDAY 5/27/20 - SUMMARY UPDATE from Governor Andy Beshear:

NEW CASES: 127 new cases, 387, Saturday-Monday. (Total number in Ky: 9,077).

NKY numbers:
- 11 in Boone Co. (2nd most)
- 4 in Kenton Co.
- 2 in Campbell Co.

NKY Deaths: 97/F, Boone; 71/M, Boone

- Over 200,762 tests completed to date in Kentucky.
- Total patients who have been hospitalized: 2,142.
- Total Patients Currently in Hospital: 512.
- Total Patients admitted to ICU: 899.
- Still Currently in ICU: 82.
- Recovered Patients: 3,124.

Total Death Toll: 400.

Notes on reopening schedule:

GROW NKY Receives $25,000 Grant from Duke Energy Foundation for Work-Based Online Learning Platform

Powerful Communities Grant to help increase number of students connected to work-based learning opportunities

College & Career Readiness partners engaged in GROW NKY are now closer to launching an online platform for schools and employers across the region to use for connections to work-based learning experiences following the awarding of a $25,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation

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A strategic collective working to leverage Northern Kentucky’s assets to grow, attract and retain a globally competitive workforce, GROW NKY (Growing Regional Outcomes through Workforce) has been awarded the funds from Duke Energy Foundation’s Powerful Communities program. 

The program is designed to make strategic investments to build powerful communities where our natural resources thrive, students can excel, and a talented workforce drives economic prosperity for all. Led by the NKY Chamber, GROW NKY will use the funds to support development and implementation of a regional work-based learning online platform. The platform will aggregate a continuum of real-life occupational experiences with employers in high-demand industry sectors into one location, resolving an identified need to provide such a resource for students and businesses.

Additionally, the platform will in turn convene the business, nonprofit, education and workforce development communities into a single, united online space where they can post, search for and measure student participation in career awareness activities and work-based learning experiences. 

GROW NKY is confident the online platform will eliminate barriers by convening work-based learning opportunities in a single location – supporting 19,000 high school students across Northern Kentucky high schools, with the flexibility to serve additional student populations in time. The platform and its creation is also funded by Citi as part of its commitment to developing the future talent pipeline of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region.

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Insight Partners, Managing Partner, John Baines, who is GROW NKY’s Objective Lead for the project, is confident the tool will foster new levels of cooperation between business and education.

“The platform will help remove the barriers and reduce the work required to identify opportunities, create connections and manage the student’s experience … Our community has consistently demonstrated that individual success is best achieved through collective improvement,” said Baines. “By giving students meaningful industry exposure before they graduate, they’ll be better prepared and more engaged when determining what’s next.”

To learn more about the Regional Work-Based Learning Online Platform or for more information on GROW NKY, contact Leisa Mulcahy at (859) 578-8800 or email