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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Puts Focus on Increased Threats in the Wake of COVID-19



By Sarah Sanders
IT Director of Rudler, PSC

The COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) has brought about numerous unwanted changes in our daily lives, including one that, those outside of the IT field, may not have thought of: Increased cybercrime.

This July, Vladimir Voronkov, the United Nation’s counterterrorism chief, announced a 350% increase in phishing websites (websites that disguise themselves as legitimate/trustworthy in order to obtain users’ sensitive data) in the first quarter of 2020. While many of these cyber criminals targeted hospitals and health care systems, further hindering their responses to the pandemic, there was an overall 273% increase in large scale data breaches in 2020’s first quarter (as compared to 2019). With this in mind, businesses’ need for increased cybersecurity is obvious.

Now in its 17th year, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month , which takes place in October, is marking the need to address these constant threats with the theme “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” An effort of the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month offers a full slate of resources to assist in the fight against cyberattacks and protecting yourself and your business online. 

To best utilize them, though, it’s important to know the current threats circulating online and how to recognize them in order to combat them.

CYBERTHREATS 101

There are three primary cyberthreats online: (1) Phishing practices, (2) malware and (3) man-in-the-middle attacks. As mentioned above, phishing “fishes” for personal information by sending fraudulent emails, texts and/or emails to gain access to sensitive data such as credit cards to make purchases, or steal your identity to open lines of credit. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has created more opportunities for phishers, often posing as health organizations and delivering fake coronavirus-related news.

Malicious software – “malware” – are viruses that, once embedded on your computer’s hard drive, can cause numerous problems. These include: Blocking access to your network, installing harmful applications/programs on your computer without your knowledge, obtaining your passwords and other sensitive information by monitoring your keystrokes (spyware) and/or generally making your computer inoperable. Ransomware can also hold you hostage by demanding some form of payment to “release” your computer back to normal. 

With more people working remotely as a result of COVID-19, hackers are now joining active Zoom meetings and creating websites to mirror legitimate video communication channels, including Google classroom. Other scams may ask you to open a Google Docs file which, if opened, gives the hacker access to both your emails and all your contacts they may then message from your account, spreading their attack further once opened.

Last but certainly not least, man-in-the-middle attacks, also known as eavesdropping attacks, allow a third party to listen in or receive information being transmitted between two people.

These attacks often occur through unsecure public Wi-Fi networks – which is why it’s important to only use Zoom in secure settings – or by leveraging malware.

BE SMART & SAVVY

While the schemes may change, the best way to protect yourself against them is to be smart and savvy. Because we deal with confidential financial records, Rudler, PSC employees are required to participate in ongoing KnowBe4 training to help protect clients’ sensitive information.

In addition to leveraging ongoing training, these tips can help you and your employees avoid becoming some would-be criminal’s next victim:

  • Approach any unsolicited email with skepticism and caution; if the email address doesn’t match the sender’s origin name.
  • If there are typos present, an incorrect URL and/or low-resolution images in the message, it should likely be averted.
  • Likewise, government agencies such as the IRS will not contact you via email or phone; they will send you a letter in the mail asking you to contact them at a specific number.
  • Also, look for HTTPS-secured sites (there is usually a locked padlock icon in the address bar) before entering credit card information anywhere.
  • In addition, verify an unsolicited email’s links and/or phone numbers by Googling them against the site they supposedly represent first to make sure they match and are not a well thought out imitation.

If you suspect or verify that you or an employee has fallen victim to a cyberattack, disconnect any affected devices from the network where the hacker likely accessed your device, being sure to change passwords and PINS as well. Contacting an IT professional immediately to fix the situation is also highly recommended. 

Basic antivirus software will not typically be able to diagnose the source of the attack or clean your hard drive/server thoroughly enough where malware can be deeply embedded. After freezing company credit cards and bank accounts tied to the device, reporting the attack to the Federal Trade Commission and/or Homeland Security is also good practice as the scheme could be part of a larger attack.

By being smart and savvy, you can make this National Cybersecurity Month the perfect time to secure your organization’s most trusted information against outside threats.

Covid-19 Update for Tuesday, September 22

Gov. Beshear Provides Update on COVID-19

Visit the Governor’s Facebook page to watch today’s news conference



Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday updated Kentuckians on the state’s continuing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

“The tough news is tough news for us as a country: We’ve now lost 200,000 Americans to the coronavirus – 200,000. It’s difficult to comprehend that this virus that pretty much didn’t exist at the beginning of the year, in about six months would take 200,000 Americans,” the Governor said. “I certainly don’t have a challenge in my lifetime where we have lost so many Americans.





“And I can’t think of one in the past that’s occurred that some people denied. This virus is deadly, it’s real and it’s harming and killing us. And on a day when we’ve lost 200,000, and some numbers are going up, we have to understand our fight is still going on.

“It’s going to take as long as it takes, it’s going to be difficult. The fact that we’ve already lost 200,000 ought to tell you how powerful this virus is and make us commit to doing the right things to defeat it. Two hundred thousand. We’ve only got a couple Kentucky cities that are larger than 200,000.”

‘The Fast 4 at 4’


Gov. Beshear on Tuesday highlighted a variety of issues of importance to Kentuckians and the commonwealth.

National Voter Registration Day

Today is National Voter Registration Day, a nonpartisan civic holiday celebrating our democracy, observed on the fourth Tuesday of September since 2012. Gov. Beshear recognized the holiday and encouraged all Kentuckians to register on time and make their voices heard in November.

“This ought to remind everyone to register to vote and then make sure to vote,” said Gov. Beshear. “You have more opportunities to vote than ever, so we should be able to set a turnout record this year.”


Flu Shots

Gov. Beshear again emphasized that all Kentuckians who are able should receive a seasonal flu shot. Because we are still engaged in a very active fight against the coronavirus, health experts are warning that a bad seasonal flu outbreak might spark a “twindemic” that could overwhelm health care systems.

“I got mine the other day, it really doesn’t hurt and it protects you,” said Gov. Beshear. “It’s perfectly safe to do it.”

Higher Education Financial Aid Options

Today, the Governor highlighted financial assistance available for Kentucky students pursuing higher education.

“We want Kentucky students to be preparing for their futures now – whether that’s college or advanced training – so when we emerge from this pandemic, they’ll be ready to take advantage of the opportunities awaiting them,” said Gov. Beshear. “And we want every Kentucky student to access the federal and state assistance available to the greatest extent possible.”

The Governor also encouraged, “If you are in school and experiencing financial difficulty, contact your school’s financial aid office. They can help reassess your financial need, which could result in your aid being increased.”

Students can contact the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) at KHEAA.com or 800-928-8926 for questions about student financial assistance and how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA for the 2021-22 school year will become available here on Oct. 1, 2020.

KHEAA administers the state’s scholarship and grant programs. In fiscal year 2020, thanks to proceeds from the Kentucky Lottery, more than $272 million in state scholarships and grants were awarded to Kentucky college students.

Students can also turn to KHEAA’s sister agency, The Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC), Kentucky’s only source for state-based, fixed interest rate, competitive private education loans.

Loans administered by KHESLC help Kentucky students afford college when an unmet need still exists after all scholarships and grants have been exhausted.

KHESLC has also assisted thousands of borrowers with financial hardships during the COVID-19 by offering forbearances, which allow loans to be put on hold for specific amounts of time.

For more information on KHESLC and the resources offered to help education borrowers, visit KHESLC.com.





National Recovery Month

Today, Gov. Beshear recognized National Recovery Month, which is held every September to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.

“You meet some of the hard-working folks helping others through recovery, many of whom have gone through this themselves, dedicating their lives to help other people,” said Gov. Beshear. “You see a little bit of God’s grace right there.”

The Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy reports that roughly 22 million people in the United States are in recovery as of today.

The Kentucky Chamber started the Opioid Response Program for Business, which launched in June 2019, in response to Kentucky employers struggling to navigate the issue of workforce participation and overdose deaths.

“One special story: Rob Perez owns DV8 Kitchen in Lexington where all of his employees are in recovery,” said Gov. Beshear. “He shared his business has seen huge successes including a turnover rate that is 1/3 better than the national average and a longer tenure of employees. And, DV8 was named the 40th best restaurant in America.”

Case Information


As of 4 p.m. Sept. 22, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 62,731 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 824 of which were newly reported Tuesday. One hundred and thirty-four of the newly reported cases were from children ages 18 and younger, 22 of which were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was 6 days old.

“Not only do we have more cases than I’d like today – 824, and 134 are kids under 18 – but our positivity rate is back up over 4%, at 4.52%,” said Gov. Beshear.

Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported 7 new deaths Tuesday, raising the total to 1,119 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

The deaths reported Tuesday include an 87-year-old man from Hardin County; a 79-year-old man from Jefferson County; a 56-year-old woman from Marion County; a 69-year-old woman and two men, ages 79 and 90, from McCracken County; and a 92-year-old man from Taylor County.

“Let’s light our homes up green for these seven families. Let’s ring our bells every morning at 10 a.m. To the families it doesn’t matter when during this pandemic their family members passed away, it hurts just the same,” said Gov. Beshear. “Let’s make sure we show them the respect we have for everybody else.”

As of Tuesday, there have been at least 1,142,031 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was 4.52%, and at least 11,361 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

For additional information, including up-to-date lists of positive cases and deaths, as well as breakdowns of coronavirus infections by county, race and ethnicity, click here. To see all recent daily reports, click here.

Information about COVID-19 and schools is also being made available. To view the reports, click here for K-12 and here for colleges and universities.

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)


As of today, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for an additional three weeks of LWA payments. Eligible Kentuckians will receive $400 for the weeks of Aug. 22, Aug. 29, and Sept. 5 for each week a claimant meets the criteria.



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Eligibility criteria:


Individuals who qualify for a weekly benefit of at least $100 per week in unemployment compensation for each week covered by FEMA’s LWA
Individuals who have self-certified that their employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Payments will be automatically processed for claimants who meet the weekly benefit criteria and have already provided a self-certification. Claimants meeting the weekly benefit requirement who have not yet self-certified will be given an opportunity to provide the required self-certification, and those claimants will receive the benefit so long as FEMA funding remains.

More Information

Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Kentuckians can also access translated COVID-19 information and summaries of the Governor’s news conferences at teamkentuckytranslations.com.

Monday, September 21, 2020

NKU Empowers High School Girls at Young Women Lead Conference

NKU Empowers High School Girls at virtual Young Women Lead Conference, Sept. 24-25


Northern Kentucky University’s Institute for Talent Development and Gifted Studies invites high school girls to be bold, fearless and lead with confidence at the 10th Annual Young Women Lead (YWL) Live! from Sept. 24-25.




The popular conference will be delivered virtually this year, allowing high school girls to join whether they reside in the urban core, in the suburbs or on farms. YWL aims to change the way high school girls perceive themselves, challenge them to reach higher personal growth levels and encourage girls to pursue careers they may not have considered. 

The conference features interactive sessions and keynote speakers centered on LEAD: Leadership, Education and Development.

“Research shows that 70% of young women suffer from a lack of self-confidence and believe they do not measure up somehow, and more than half of all girls say that girls don’t consider a career in STEM because of lack of confidence,” said Dr. Kimberly Clayton-Code, director of NKU’s Institute for Talent Development and Gifted Studies. “These insecurities are stifling their dreams, and this conference plays a pivotal role in encouraging girls to pursue careers they aren’t considering.”

The virtual conference features a slate of award-winning presenters, including Julie Marie Carrier, Monique Coleman and Maryam and Nivaal Rehman as its keynote speakers. Carrier, a best-selling author and Emmy nominee, is recognized as the top coach for young women in the world by Leading Global Coaches/Thinkers 50. 



Actress Monique Coleman is most known for her role as Taylor McKessie in the High School Musical franchise and has also been named the first-ever United Nations Youth Champion. The Rehman sisters are twin activists, Disney filmmakers and students at the University of Toronto. WCPO-TV multimedia journalist Paola Suro will lead the discussions.

“We’re adapting this year’s conference so that we can continue empowering young women who will impact our community and beyond,” said Dean Ginni Fair, NKU’s College of Education. “With the virtual format, students can join in their classrooms, libraries or homes. We hope to engage even more students by eliminating barriers—such as location, fees, GPAs—to lift all high school girls.”

What: 10th Annual Young Women LEAD Conference
When: Sept. 24 or Sept. 25, at 9:00 a.m.
Where: Zoom link provided upon registration




The conference has empowered 31,000 high school girls through 46 in-person events over the past decade. Presented by Toyota, the Young Women Lead conference is free and open to all students.

“In a time when many students are learning from home, Toyota is grateful that high school girls can count on Young Women LEAD to continue delivering the same high-quality content as its in-person programs,” said Renee Robertson, General Manager of Production Control at Toyota North America. “The virtual events can reach more girls in more communities, improve their lives and put them in the driver’s seat to set the course for their future.”

In addition to NKU and Toyota, community partners include the Duke Energy Foundation and local SOAR participants, a leadership development program designed to help businesses develop their women for future leadership positions.

To learn more about the Young Women Lead Live! and to register, visit the website.

St. Elizabeth Offers New, Convenient Drive-Thru Flu Vaccinations

St. Elizabeth Offers New, Convenient Drive-Thru Flu Vaccinations



St. Elizabeth Physicians has expanded its flu vaccination program this year to include drive-thru dates and times at several locations conveniently located throughout Northern Kentucky. It is more important than ever to get a flu vaccine this year with COVID-19 still remaining in the community.


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Drive-thru flu vaccinations will be available at the following locations:


Wednesday, September 23 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Crittenden Primary Care (405 Violet Road, Crittenden, KY)

Saturday, October 3 from 8 a.m. to noon at Florence Pediatrics (7370 Turfway Road, Florence, KY)

Tuesday, October 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Crestview Hills Internal Medicine (334 Thomas More Parkway, Crestview Hills, KY)

Saturday, October 17 from 8 a.m. to noon at Highland Heights Primary Care (2626 Alexandria Pike, Highland Heights, KY)

To schedule an appointment:


Contact the St. Elizabeth Physicians Call Center at (800) 737-7900 or reach out directly to your St. Elizabeth Physicians primary care office. Appointments may not be scheduled through myChart.

People will remain in their vehicle at all times. Everyone will be required to wear a mask and you must bring an insurance card. Although no physician order is required, appointments are recommended in advance to ease capacity throughout the day. 





Flu vaccinations are available for persons 12 years and older.

“It’s important that people get their flu vaccines now so they will have protection when flu season hits in November,” says Dr. Robert Tracy, Primary Care Physician and Director of Quality at St. Elizabeth Physicians. “With COVID-19 still in the area, it’s more important than ever to keep flu cases down so as not to burden emergency rooms and hospitals. Our goal is to open avenues to give our community peace of mind and help Northern Kentuckians resume activities in the safest way possible.”

Highlands Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

  


Highlands High School seniors Julianna Russ and Matthew Young have been named Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. A third senior was also named but has asked to remain anonymous. 

Additionally, seniors Kayla Bolling and Cassandra Erickson were named as Commended students.



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Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. 

The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

In September, these high scorers are notified through their schools that they have qualified as either a commended student or semifinalist. More than two-thirds receive letters of commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise, and approximately one-third are notified that they have qualified as semifinalists. 



From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. By achieving National Merit Finalist standing, students qualify for significant college scholarships.

The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships established in 1955. For more information about the competition, please visit NMSC’s website at www.nationalmerit.org.

Free, Unlimited Talk and Text for Qualifying Kentucky Customers through StandUp Wireless

Kentucky Public Service Commission authorized unlimited voice service for residents who qualify for Lifeline program



Access to reliable voice and internet service is critical for Kentuckians battling the effects of COVID-19 and the state’s high unemployment rate.

StandUp Wireless, a Kentucky Lifeline provider, will now offer free, unlimited talk and text plus 3GB of data to qualifying Kentucky residents to ensure they can safely connect to the services, friends and family needed during this time. This benefit will be extended to both current and new StandUp Wireless customers.


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As a Lifeline provider, StandUp Wireless is authorized by the Federal Communication Commission and approved by the state of Kentucky to provide free wireless service to qualifying citizens who participate in programs such as Medicaid, SNAP and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or based on household income. 

The Lifeline program allows one qualifying line per eligible household so every home has access to critical voice and internet service, giving each family access to jobs, doctors and emergency services. Kentucky residents can find out if they qualify for the program at StandUpWireless.com/apply-now.

“Voice is still the most important app on our phones,” said Eric Schimpf, chief operating officer at StandUp Wireless. “We’re thankful that Kentucky’s Public Service Commission recognized the importance of funding this essential service so people can stay connected to telemedicine, employment opportunities, social service agencies and loved ones because they might not have the ability to afford it otherwise.”

Kentucky officials recognized the need for additional support for low-income Kentuckians during the pandemic and authorized unlimited voice service to residents who qualify for the Lifeline program. 

Unlimited calling will remain in effect until July 31, 2021.




Additionally, StandUp Wireless, which has operations offices in Newport, Ky., offers an easy-to-use online portal for enrollment and SIM kits that ship to customers in a matter of days so they can quickly get connected to the people and services they need. Customers are also able to sign up with their current phone and keep their current number.

Since 1999, StandUp Wireless has connected hundreds of thousands of customers to wireless services through the Lifeline program. The company’s mission is to keep communities connected by providing wireless access to those who need it most.

Visit www.standupwireless.com to learn more.

House Democratic Caucus members unveil Kentucky Voters’ Bill of Rights



Last Thursday, members of the Kentucky House Democratic Caucus presented what they call the Kentucky Voters’ Bill of Rights. The slate of legislation would expand early voting, extend voting registration, automatically restore voting rights for most felons after they complete their sentence and make voters more involved in the redistricting process after each Census.




“Voting is our most important civic duty, and yet we’re still operating under the same rules that have been in place for most of our country’s history,” stateRepresentative Maria Sorolis said. “We think it’s time to bring some of these ideas into the 21st Century. We already know many of our proposals are popular, because voters took full advantage of them during this year’s primary election and are poised to do the same for November’s general election. Those changes may have been put in place because of COVID-19, but they’ve proven their worth and should be permanent. We cannot understand why anyone would want to go back to making voting tougher.”

The Kentucky Voters’ Bill of Rights consists of more than a dozen main proposals. Those bills, along with comments from their primary sponsors, include:

· Early, in-person voting AND excuse-free absentee ballots: The former would have county clerks offering in-person voting at least a week before an election, including Saturday. Absentee ballots, meanwhile, would no longer require a qualified excuse. "I have studied voting rights and elections for years as a teacher and I am proud to support legislation that removes barriers so that people can participate in the political process,” state Representative Patti Minter said. “This is what democracy looks like.”

Representative Rachel Roberts said that her early voting legislation “adds ‘convenience’ as a valid reason for voting in-person at your clerk’s office before election day. The current system put an additional burden on clerks to verify travel or health excuses, and it invades the privacy of voters who may not want to share their travel dates or health concerns. Together, these early voting bills would help families, hourly workers, and those with transportation issues have more access to voting.”

· Permanent “cure” process for correcting absentee ballots: “Now that we have seen how much people like to vote by absentee ballot, my bill will make sure their vote isn’t rejected because of a technicality,” state Representative Cherlynn Stevenson said. “I want to see the emergency provisions put in place for this year’s general election carry forward in statute. People should be allowed to fix simple mistakes.”

· Expanded voting hours to 7 p.m.: “Every opportunity we have to expand access to the polls, within the frame of our constitution, should be used,” stateRepresentative Buddy Wheatley said. “Keeping our polls open another hour is clearly available to Kentucky voters and we should pass this simple non-partisan legislation. Greater voter participation is the goal here.”

· Automatic voter registration AND same-day voter registration: “Nearly 30 years ago, the passage of the federal Motor Voter law made it much easier for people to register to vote, and this builds on that work,” state Representative Josie Raymond said. “My legislation would automatically register eligible Kentuckians when they get or renew a state-issued ID like a driver’s license, and it would allow Kentuckians to register even on election day and then go vote. If we can run their debit card in less than five seconds, we can get them registered.”




· Repeal straight-ticket voting: “Kentucky is one of just six states that still allows this type of voting,” state Representatives Buddy Wheatley and Roberts said in a joint statement. “It’s time we do away with this relic, because each office should receive due consideration from voters.”

· Require advance notice of polling-place changes. “COVID-19 has shown us how truly important it is to notify voters about changes in their polling places,” Reps. Roberts and Wheatley said. “Our bill calls for voters to know two weeks in advance if there is a change in their polling location, which race(s) they apply to, and if the change is permanent or temporary. Polling-change notification helps ensure voters know when to vote and where to vote.”

· Automatic restoration of voting rights for felons AND expanded felony expungement: “Voting unfairly remains out of reach for too many Kentuckians,” state Representative George Brown, Jr., said. “It’s past time we restore those rights to anyone with a felony record who has completed his or her sentence and deserves to have a voice in who represents them. We’re one of the last states to do this, and it shouldn’t be that way. It’s time to pass a constitutional amendment and give these disenfranchised citizens the right to vote.” Rep. Brown is also sponsoring a bill to expand felony expungement in Kentucky. “This bill has positive implications beyond voting, but there is no doubt it would be a sizable help here, too,” he said.

· Redistricting reform/Fair maps: “In the next year or two, the General Assembly will once again re-draw House and Senate districts to reflect new Census data,” Reps. Stevenson and Sorolis said. “We want to make sure citizens are the ones taking the lead in drawing these maps rather than having legislators dictate their own districts in a way that increases their chance for re-election.”

· Other election changes would expand the list of which family members could request an absentee ballot for a voter having a medical emergency; make requesting an absentee ballot via the Secretary of State’s secure online portal permanent; provide additional secure drop boxes for absentee ballots; require provisional ballots in state races for voters whose identity cannot be verified by poll workers; and make it easier for Kentuckians to vote who do not have a permanent address.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Derrick Graham said at the press conference that “voting is our fundamental right as citizens, because we are all represented by government and should have a voice in deciding how it is run. This year’s election changes may be temporary because of COVID-19, but they’ve pointed us toward a better direction. It’s time to make these measures law.”

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Highlands-Ryle Video Highlights


 

Highlands Football First Win of the Season Over Ryle

Highlands Pulls Off Road Victory



Highlands senior defensive lineman Vance Morrow (50) wraps up Ryle senior running back Mathias Cusick (2) while sophomore linebacker Sam Robinson (52) closes in. Morrow and Robinson penetrated the Ryle backfield a lot in the 23-14 Highlands victory. Morrow had a safety late in the game to make the final score. (Img: Ed Harber)


By G. Michael Graham

It's a thing of beauty watching the read-option offense come together for the Highlands Bluebirds football team.

It has allowed the Bluebirds to go on long and sustained drives out of the shotgun spread offense. Even if they don't score points, they won the field position giving great opportunities for the 3-5 Highlands defense.






Highlands has had its most success with sophomore quarterback Charlie Noon keeping the ball through two games. Noon had 166 yards rushing on 27 carries and two touchdowns for an average of just under 6.14 yards per carry to lead the Bluebirds to a 23-14 non-district road win over the Ryle Raiders on Friday. Both teams are 1-1 on the season.

"When you run it right and the offensive (linemen) block like they did, it turns into big gains and can flip the tide of the game," Noon said. "That's what it did (Friday). We have to stick by our guys and keep building them up."

Friday, September 18, 2020

Beverly Hills Fire Group Files Lawsuit, "Blindsides" City of Southgate

A group of Beverly Hills Supper Club fire victims and their supporters have filed suit against the developers, city and county officials to stop development at the site.
 

by Robin Gee, city council beat editor

City officials in Southgate said they were "blindsided" by the announcement last night that members of a group of victims of the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club fire and their supporters have filed a lawsuit against the city and a developer planning to build a mixed-use project on the site where the supper club once stood.

The city issued a statement that read, in part, "The City of Southgate learned of the filing of the lawsuit challenging the Council’s decision to re-zone the property commonly known as Memorial Point only late last night. The City did not receive service of the lawsuit, nor even a courtesy copy of it, and only learned of the lawsuit itself through the press conference that the plaintiffs and their attorney unilaterally engineered."

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A statement by the developer, Ashley Builders Group, echoes the concerns of the city, stating they have been working with a group representing fire victims, as well as former Southgate officials, residents and first responders who were on the scene of the fire. 

The proposed development

In August, the city accepted a recommendation by the Campbell County Planning and Zoning Commission to approve a zone change for the $65 million development, known as the Memorial Point Project. The project involves about 78 acres, which includes the site of the former Beverly Hills Supper Club where a 1977 fire took the lives of 165 people. 

The project includes an assisted living center, a high-end luxury apartment community and a mix of single-family homes and smaller cottages. Also included are plans for two memorials to the fire victims — a permanent public memorial built at the base of the property near the intersection of Cannon Ridge and US 27, and a park on the actual site of the former club at the top of the hill.

The memorial at the top of the hill would be in a private park belonging to the project homeowners association. Some of the victims and their families and supporters objected to this part of the project in particular stating that they should not have to secure permission to visit the site where their loved ones perished. 

Two different views of agreements on the project

 

At a meeting to approve a zone change, some wore "Respect the Dead" tshirts to draw attention to their concerns over a proposed development on the site of the 1977 fire.

In their statement, the developers said they have been in contact with and working closely with members of the community who were fire victims to come to agreement with this most controversial portion of the project. Since its initial proposal, the developers have agreed to construct a fountain near where it is believed the Cabaret Room of the supper club stood, and provide access to the site on the anniversary of the fire. Still, the park would remain under the homeowners’ association control, and visitors would need to secure permission to visit at other times. 

A nonprofit group, Beverly Hills Supper Club, Respect the Dead, LLC, filed the suit against the Campbell County and Municipal Planning and Zoning Commission, the city of Southgate and Ashley Commercial Group to appeal the conditional use permit and the decision by the planning commission to grant a change in zoning for the property that would allow the project to move forward.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Campbell County Library Announces October 2020 Programming


Campbell County Library Announces October 2020 Programming


The Campbell County Library has released information on its upcoming programming for October which includes some in-person events as well as some virtual events.






If you haven't been to an event, you have three locations to choose from! There are three library locations in Campbell County;

- Cold Spring Branch (3920 Alexandria Pike)
- Carrico/ Fort Thomas Branch (1000 Highland Avenue)
- Newport Branch (901 E. Sixth Street)

To learn more about any of these programs, visit https://www.cc-pl.org/.


OCTOBER 2020:

In-Person Programs


Library Drive-In: ‘80s Throwback Double Feature 
Friday, Oct. 9 @ 7:30 p.m.

The Campbell County Public Library is proud to present a double feature drive-in movie around the side of their Newport Branch location. The first showing, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, will begin around 7:30 pm and be followed by Labyrinth. Limited spots available.

Curbside Trick or Treat!Saturday, Oct. 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Visit the Cold Spring, Carrico/Fort Thomas and Newport branches for curbside trick-or-treat. (Rain date is Oct. 24.) If patrons do not drive, it is okay to walk, just be mindful of traffic and social distancing.


Zoom Programs


Register for these online programs at www.cc-pl.org/events. Registrants will receive an email with the login information on the day of the program. These are live events only offered at the time and date listed. 

You are not required to have a Zoom account to join.


Book Discussions via Zoom

You’ve Been Booked
Monday, Oct. 5 from 7 p.m. to 8:45 pm 

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. Register to receive the link. Open to both teens and adults.

In Their Own Words Book ClubTuesday, Oct. 6 @ 6:30 p.m.

No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts. Register to receive the link. This book club is inspired by the #OwnVoices idea in YA literature.
Online Book ClubTuesday, Oct. 6 @ 7 p.m.

The Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles. Register to receive the link. New members welcome.

Brown Bag Book ClubWednesday, Oct. 7 @ 12 p.m.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson. Register to receive the link. New members welcome.


Fab Five and their Fabulous BooksThursday, Oct. 8 @ 6 p.m.

Naturally Tan by Tan France is the second of a Zoom series of book talks from the Netflix show Queer Eye’s “Fab Five” members. Series thanks to the support of ArtsWave. Adults.

Coffee & Conversation
Tuesday, Oct. 13 @ 2 p.m.

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue. Register to receive the link.

Cup of Crime Book ClubWednesday, Oct. 14 @ 7 p.m.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine. Register to receive the link.

Tuesday Book ClubTuesday, Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Register to receive the link. New members welcome.


Young Adults for Grown AdultsTuesday, Oct. 20 @ 7 p.m.

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake. Register to receive the link.

Real Men ReadThursday, Oct. 22 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Circe by Madeline Miller. Register to receive the link.

Coming to America: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Wednesday, Oct. 28 @ 6 p.m.

Explore themes of immigration to America. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This program is made possible by the Yiddish Book Center. Register to receive the link.



Zoom Programs for Adults


Homeschool Hangout Planning MeetingWednesday, Oct. 7 @ 2 p.m.

Virtual meet-up for homeschooling parents to discuss the school year and generate ideas about how the library can be of support. Register for the link.

So You Need Help Navigating Community ResourcesWednesday, Oct. 7 @ 6 p.m.

Joined by community partners from the Brighton Center, this discussion covers where patrons can look for help when facing difficulty paying utilities, finding or keeping housing, seeking addiction treatment and more.


Yoga & Meditation with Phoenix WilsonTuesdays, Oct. 13 & Oct. 27 @ 7 p.m.

Join this on-going class for a clear mind and invigorated body. Register to receive the link.

So You Need Help Finding Mental Health CareWednesday, Oct. 14 @ 6 p.m.

Campbell County Public Library will be joined by Holly Hill Child and Family Solutions, North Key Community Care and Family Nurturing Center to discuss how to find mental health care.


Remote Learning Parent Support GroupFriday, Oct. 16 @ 6 p.m.

Meet other parents who are teaching their children via non-traditional instruction (NTI) this year.

So You need Help Finding a JobWednesday, Oct. 21 @ 6 p.m.

Alongside community partners from the Brighton Center, we will discuss where to look for a job, how to apply, write a resume and navigate the other logistics of finding work.

Halloween Trivia NightThursday, Oct. 29 @ 7 p.m.

Patrons will get the chance to show off their knowledge of all things Halloween.

NaNoWriMo Preparation GroupFriday, Oct. 30 @ 6 p.m.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is an event where writers begin a fresh novel in the month of November and try their hardest to get 50,000 words in 30 days. Join the library to discuss tips and tricks on how to prepare. Register to receive the link.

Zoom Programs for Teens


Tween Book ClubFriday, Oct. 9 @ 4 p.m.

The BFG by Roald Dahl. Register to receive the link and receive a free copy of the book to keep. Ages 8-14.


Teen Writing GroupThursday, Oct. 15 @ 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

No matter the genre, patrons can share their writing and receive constructive criticism from the group. Register to receive the link.


Virtual Teen Hangout
Monday, Oct. 19 @ 5 p.m.

Drop into this virtual teen hangout to chat with library friends. Register to receive the link. Ages 11-19.


Virtual Tween HangoutFriday, Oct. 23 @ 4 p.m.

Drop into this virtual tween hangout to chat with library friends. Register to receive the link. Ages 8-14.


How to Make a Graphic Novel with Debbie Ridpath OhiSaturday, Oct. 24 @ 10 a.m.

Award-winning author-illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi will lend her expertise to guide patrons through how to create their own graphic novel. Register to receive the link. All ages.

Make Your Own Stickers!Monday, Oct. 26 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Participants will get the chance to create their own sticker using a black and white thermal printer. Following the event, at least one sticker will be available for pick-up at the Cold Spring Branch. Register to receive the link.

Zoom Programs for Children and Families


Cool Critters OutreachWednesday, Oct. 7 @ 11 a.m.

Get an up close look at the fascinating world of snakes, lizards, dragons, spiders and more during this interactive and educational activity. Register for link.


Thursday Morning with Miss NinaThursday, Oct. 8 @ 10 a.m.

Read a book and present learning activities to engage your child and help them develop important literacy skills. Ages 2-5. Register to receive the link.

Puppy TalesSaturday, Oct. 10 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Read a story or two to a specially trained therapy dog via Zoom. Sessions will be 15 minutes. Library staff will contact patrons after they register to schedule a specific time.

The Cincinnati Museum Center Presents: BatsWednesday, Oct. 14 @ 4 p.m.

Learn about these truly amazing yet misunderstood animals through a slide presentation, game, artifacts and more. Register for the link.


Thursday Morning with Miss Jennifer
Thursday, Oct. 15 @ 10 a.m.

Read a book and present learning activities to engage your child and help them develop important literacy skills. Ages 2-5. Register to receive the link.

Thursday Morning with Miss BrittanyThursday, Oct. 22 @ 10 a.m.

Read a book and present learning activities to engage your child and help them develop important literacy skills. Ages 2-5. Register to receive the link.

Thursday Morning with Miss MollyThursday, Oct. 29 @ 10 a.m.

Read a book and present learning activities to engage your child and help them develop important literacy skills. Ages 2-5. Register to receive the link.

Play Online

Register at www.cc-pl.org/events to receive instructions on how to attend these online programs.


CCPL Roblox ClubSaturdays, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 @ 4 p.m.

Each week, the club plays a different Roblox game on private servers hosted by the library. Register with an email address to receive a copy of the rules and a link to the server. Ages 8-14.

Minecraft Club OnlineMonday, Oct. 12 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Patrons can play Minecraft from the comfort of their own home through the library’s server. For the server IP or questions, email cgerner@cc-pl.org. Ages 8-14.

YouTube Programs

Go to YouTube.com and type campbellkylib in the search bar to watch these online programs. New videos are available at the time and date of the program.


YouTube Programs for Adults

Tech Tutorial: Learning Express Library — Job and Career AcceleratorThursday, Oct. 1 @ 6 p.m.

Join the Campbell County Public Library for this tutorial to learn about Learning Express Library. The event will cover the Resume Builder and Find a Career Match tool.

Kentucky OutdoorsFridays, Oct. 9, 16, 23 & 30 @ 6 p.m.

The Kentucky Environmental Education Center will teach patrons more about the state’s incredible surroundings in this YouTube Series. Each week’s video will feature a different topic.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving ChallengeFriday, Oct. 16 @ 12 p.m.

Librarians from the Cold Spring, Carrico/Fort Thomas and Newport branches will face off to create the best pumpkin carving. The comments on the video will decide who will win the Jack O’ Lantern Trophy for their branch.

YouTube Programs for Teens

Tween Scene: Learning the Kalimba
Friday, Oct. 2 @ 4 p.m.

This month's video will center around the kalimba, also known as the African Thumb Piano. The event will offer history and beginner tips for trying out the instrument. Ages 8-14.

Sam’s Critter Corner!
Wednesday, Oct. 7 @ 4 p.m.

Join Sam Rouse, adult/teen programmer at the Carrico/Fort Thomas branch, for a quick lesson about one of her pets. Her guest this month will be a Blue Death Feigning Beetle.

YouTube Programs for Children and Families

Baby Time with Miss NinaTuesday, Oct. 6 @ 10 a.m.

Help us build your baby’s language skills through engaging and interactive songs. Rhymes, simple movement games and books. Ages Newborn – 2.

Baby Time with Miss JoyceTuesday, Oct. 13 @ 10 a.m.

Help us build your baby’s language skills through engaging and interactive songs. Rhymes, simple movement games and books. Ages Newborn – 2.

CCPL Reads to Their PetsFriday, Oct. 16 @ 2 p.m.

Books and pets –– what could be better? In this virtual series, the people who work at the library will read to their pets.

Baby Time with Miss Arden
Tuesday, Oct. 20 @ 10 a.m.

Help us build your baby’s language skills through engaging and interactive songs. Rhymes, simple movement games and books. Ages Newborn – 2.

Fall on the Farm
Friday, Oct. 23 @ 2 p.m.

Learn how animals change with the seasons and enjoy a farm story with Good Green Earth Farm.

Baby Time with Miss Molly
Tuesday, Oct. 27 @ 10 a.m.

Help us build your baby’s language skills through engaging and interactive songs. Rhymes, simple movement games and books. Ages Newborn – 2.

City Partners with Local Organizations to Create Welcoming Entrance to Fort Thomas

Fort Thomas city residents, members of the Garden Club and Green Team, worked with city crews to create a beautiful and welcoming gardenscape leading into the city on Memorial Parkway


By Robin Gee, city council beat editor

City residents and visitors coming into Fort Thomas from Memorial Parkway will see a transformation has occurred at one of the three main entrances to the city. City work crews worked with volunteers from the Garden Club of Fort Thomas and the Fort Thomas Green Team to create a beautiful and welcoming gateway.


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The city provided top soil and city crews helped do ground preparation and planting, but the design of the space and the trees and other plantings were the work of and funded by Garden Club and Green Team members.
The project also had support from Kentucky State Representative Joe Fischer, who helped secure approvals to plant in the state right-of-way, and the Northern Kentucky Water District that brought a waterline under Memorial Parkway to provide water to the site.

The work of many hands

At a short city council meeting on September 14, City Administrator Ron Dill took the opportunity to thank the volunteers and city staff who worked on the project.

Dill said the city has been working with these groups of residents for several years on projects throughout the city. The Green Team, founded by Fort Thomas Garden Club members and other residents, mobilized to help direct plantings and landscaping around city signage throughout town.

Many volunteers took on the work, which was led by Alison Murphy, a volunteer and chair of the Green Team who happens to be a landscape designer and who has worked with the city on several other projects, said Dill.
The goal of the project was to create a vibrant streetscape and provide seasonal appeal with plant selections. "I am very excited for residents of Fort Thomas who walk or drive Memorial Parkway regularly to now have more nature to enjoy. My hope is that it's not only pleasant to view, but also provides shelter for birds, food for pollinators, and of course, our main goal of increasing tree canopy in our town," she said.



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An idea that grew from a special celebration

The Garden Club is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The Memorial Parkway Tree Planting Project concept grew out of the club's initiative known as the Centennial Tree Project, a plan to plant 100 trees around the city in honor of the centennial.
According to a recent release about the project, a committee of volunteers identified Memorial Parkway as a large area that could benefit from the addition of more trees. They approached the Green Team and the city to partner with the Garden Club.
The project actually began in 2015. "I remember when a small group of garden club members met in my kitchen to figure out how to increase the tree canopy in Fort Thomas, since reports had shown a decline over the years. The brainstorm coincided with our 100th anniversary and even though it took time, we laid the groundwork. It is gratifying to see the project come to fruition," said Lori Wendling, Garden Club member and chair of the Centennial Tree Project.


Said Dill, "Groups like the Garden Club and Green Team are key to enhancing our community. We have been coordinating efforts for decades and it’s part of what makes our town beautiful and civic involvement so strong. "

He noted that plans are still being discussed to beautify the other two main entrances to Fort Thomas — the approach near St. Elizabeth and the entrance at the south end of town on US 27.

NKU Offers Family Businesses Technology Support Through Drees Foundation Grant

Two centers within the Northern Kentucky University Haile/US Bank College of Business are behind a program designed to provide technical expertise to family businesses hit by the pandemic.

By Robin Gee

Much has been written about the plight of small businesses during the pandemic. Federal programs such as the PPP program (Paycheck Protection Program) and the CARES Act, as well as local efforts by cities to bolster area businesses, have been a lifeline for many during this time.



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Money to keep afloat is vital, but some businesses find themselves in need of other support as they are forced to adapt to a new way of doing business. The technology for moving online may be available but, for those whose interactions have been primarily face-to-face, it’s a challenge to learn how to use that technology and how to reach customers, market online and deliver goods and services.

Thanks to a new program through Northern Kentucky University (NKU), family-owned small businesses have free access to the technical expertise they need to adapt to the "new normal." The NKU Family Business Relief Program is funded by the Drees Family Foundation and operated through a partnership with two university centers within the NKU Haile/US Bank College of Business.

Taking a holistic approach


The NKU Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the NKU Small Business Development Center have collaborated to create the program that provides training and guidance for family-owned businesses as they use technology-based tools and platforms to adapt, and even grow, their businesses.

Participating businesses must be family-owned, businesses in which two or more family members operate the company and the majority of control lies with the family.

Businesses also must be headquartered in one of six Northern Kentucky counties — Boone, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton and Pendleton. The businesses must be clients of the NKU Small Business Development Center but can become a client when they apply for the program. The SBDC provides consulting services to support businesses with everything from planning to marketing to restructuring and more.

Staff and educators at both centers said they felt providing additional wrap-around services would be the best way to ensure the participants in the program had all they needed to succeed.

From triage to growth 

 

Catherine Glover, director of the NKU Small Business Development Center

Catherine Glover is the director of the NKU SBDC and a coach at the center. "Mid-March was when our business really started picking up...We went from an average of working with 10-12 businesses per week...to about 45-50 a week. And many of these didn’t need coaching as much as they did access to resources...hundreds of those sessions we had since March were solely focused on COVID relief."

Small businesses came to the SBDC with questions about how to access federal aid programs such as the PPP and EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loans) and whether and how they could qualify.

Glover said, while the SBDC does not provide loans, she and her colleagues in the Kentucky Small Business Development Center network wanted to help. "Our goal, our hearts and our guts, we wanted to be of service to small business, and if we could be that liaison to resources that would help. All the coaches across the state, every time there was a change, we would dig in so we could understand and serve the businesses...in March, April, May in particular we were in triage mode."




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While the pandemic continues to rage and take its toll on small businesses, she has seen a subtle change in how businesses are dealing with the situation. "Fast forward to June, we started seeing a transition back to people thinking innovatively, thinking about entrepreneurial opportunities...Most small business owners are continuously thinking about 'how do I do this better?' 'how do I reach this client,'" Glover said.

"So we started to see that thought process again. It went from emergency reaction, I have to survive, to we have to think again differently and we have to innovate, we have to pivot, we have to change and still stay afloat."

While many businesses are still facing severe challenges, operating at half-capacity and constantly aware of the need to meet health and safety guidelines, they are starting to reach out for more information on how to adapt and change for the time being – even to grow their business, she said.

 

Students provide expertise and gain experience

 
Zac Strobl, assistant director of the NKU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Family Business Relief Program is operated through the NKU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Assistant Director Zac Strobl explained how the program works.

Students work closely with the businesses to provide technical expertise and support. Paying for web hosting or purchasing applications are a minimal expense, but when it comes to converting to or adding to your business with online options, the big cost is the labor and support involved. This is where the students come in. For the students, it offers the opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on experience in their fields of interest.

"The example I gave recently is people owning a restaurant. When they are not able to operate as they usually do, they have to switch to a carry out system. And if they are a very small business, they don’t necessarily have the resources set up to do that. With the Family Business Relief Program we have students who can set up the whole system, integrate that technology so the restaurant could sell carry out items online.  That’s an easy example and a good idea of what we can do."

He said they have six or seven students working in the program as it is just starting. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds and fields – including those studying web development, entrepreneurship, business management, marketing and accounting. Some are going into fields where they may operate their own business, such as one student who is a photography major minoring in entrepreneurship.


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The application for the program is on the NKU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship website along with information on how to become a client of the NKU Small Business Development Center.

"On our end it’s just continuing to do what we do being a part of the picture that supports business success," said Glover.

"The hope is not only to help family-owned businesses adapt but it is indeed to grow...Things are different... I can’t imagine that mindset changing back to the way it was. That’s just not the way of progress, regardless of how you are pushed to accept or address progress yourself, you’re always looking forward, so not only to adapt but to grow is the intent here," she said.

In addition to the Family Relief program, the NKU SBDC is offering a number of business workshops online this fall. Coming up, they offer "Steps to Start a Business, Bringing Your Idea to Life" on September 23 and "Smart Start" on September 26.

For more information, check out the NKU Small Business Development website.

To apply to the Family Business Relief Program or to learn more, go to the NKU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship website.