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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Gov. Beshear Visits St. Elizabeth Healthcare to Celebrate Hospital’s 100,000th COVID-19 Vaccination

Governor encourages all Kentuckians 16 and older to sign up for their ‘shot of hope’ at more than 500 vaccination sites throughout the state

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman was St. Elizabeth's 100,000 Covid-19 vaccination. 

After announcing the Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge Monday, today, Gov. Andy Beshear visited St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s Training and Education Center to celebrate the hospital administering its 100,000th COVID-19 vaccination.

The Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge sets a goal of 2.5 million Kentuckians receiving at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. When that happens, the state can lift many restrictions on venues and businesses that cater to fewer than 1,000 patrons. 

“Together with partners like St. Elizabeth, we are winning our war against the coronavirus this year. This is how we get back to being able to do more of the things we all want to do,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are in a race to defeat this virus as other states see a deadly ‘fourth wave’ of COVID-19. We must not let that happen in the commonwealth. We need to vaccinate more Kentuckians, faster, which is what makes St. Elizabeth’s 100,000th vaccine milestone so special.” 

St. E CEEO Garren Colvin, Coleman and Gov. Andy Beshear. 

Gov. Beshear encouraged all Kentuckians 16 and older to sign up for vaccination appointments, available at more than 500 vaccination sites across the commonwealth. There is now a vaccination site close to where every Kentuckian lives.

Kentucky vaccination sites are currently administering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which account for approximately 95% of all COVID-19 vaccines administered in Kentucky so far. A small number of Kentucky providers that were administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine until Tuesday have briefly paused its use until receiving further guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

To sign up for a vaccination appointment through St. Elizabeth Healthcare, visit

If you have questions, call St. Elizabeth’s vaccine information hotline, 888-816-9265.

Navigational Lighting Project to close Daniel Carter Beard I-471 Bridge on 4/19

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) District 6 Office advises motorists that a navigation lighting project is taking place on various bridges.  The bridges are the 4th Street/Veterans Bridge (KY 8) – now complete, the John A. Roebling Bridge (KY 17), the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge (U.S. 25) – now complete and the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge (I-471).

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On  Monday, April 19, there will be a single lane closure on the Daniel Carter beard I-471 Bridge.  The closure will start at 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following morning.  If needed, contractors will work on Tuesday night during the same hours.

Motorists should be aware of the lane closure, crews and equipment during these hours.

Newport Catholic Principal, Ron Dawn, to retire

Ron Dawn. Provided. 

Earlier this week, Mr. Ron Dawn announced his decision to step down as principal of Newport Central Catholic High School, a position he has held for five years. His retirement comes after 41 years of teaching.

In a release, school officials said: “It is with grateful hearts that we thank Mr. Dawn for his dedication to the Catholic education of so many students over the past 41 years. We are losing an outstanding leader. Newport Central Catholic and its students have benefited immensely from his tireless and selfless work ethic and love for his alma mater. His loyalty and devotion to Newport Central Catholic is second to none. During his tenure as teacher, coach and principal he has been a great mentor and advisor for so many. We wish Ron all of God’s blessings today and every day of his retirement.”

Mr. Dawn began his career at Newport Central Catholic in 1979 teaching accounting and business courses. Over the years he has held numerous positions at the school including Business Department Chair, Dean of Discipline, Athletic Director and most notably Head Boys & Girls Basketball Coach. Athletic Director and Business Manager Jeff Schulkens said, “Ron has been an outstanding leader in many different roles here at NewCath. His service and loyalty to the school & students will be greatly missed.”

"I want to thank all of the parents, teachers and students who allowed me to have a great experience for so many years. People have always told me that I would know when it was time to retire, they were correct. I know it is time, but I will have so many fond memories to look back on. Thank you NCC Community,” said Dawn. 

Late Explosion Lifts Highlands Softball to Region Win

Bluebirds Win Eighth Straight

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior Anna Greenwell (4) waits on a pitch in a recent game.

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Sophomore pitcher Kennedy Baioni (5-0 overall) and the defense of the Highlands Bluebirds softball team (9-1) did its part in this victory.

Baioni struck out 14, walked just one and allowed five hits as the Bluebirds run-ruled the Conner Lady Cougars (2-9), 10-0 in six innings in 9th Region action Monday at Winkler Field. The game moved to Winkler Field because the game could not be played on Conner's field.

"Kennedy pitched a great game," said Milt Horner, Highlands Head Coach. "She was hitting spots. They got one girl to third base. We only had to make four (defensive) plays. When your pitcher is dealing like that, you don't have to play a whole lot of defense."

Conner has exploded for a combined 70 runs in its two wins. That includes a 42-26 road victory over Newport Central Catholic on April 7. Highlands moved to 4-0 in region play and Conner is 2-4.

Highlands scored its 10 runs in the fifth and sixth innings to force the run-ruling. The Bluebirds batted .444 (12-for-27) in the game. Senior Caroline Class led the way going 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and three stolen bases.

"I wish we would have started our rally sooner," said Gracie Schlosser, Highlands junior. "We face a lot of teams with fast pitchers so that's what we prepare for. So when we face slower pitchers, it's the timing we have an issue with. But once you do correct yourself, you'll get (good contact) right away."

Sophomore Carly Cramer went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and two runs scored for the Bluebirds. Cramer hit a two-run home run in the sixth to finish the game. 

Highlands Seventh grader Payton Brown went 2-for-3 with a triple and RBI and junior Anna Greenwell went 2-for-4 with three RBI, two runs scored and stole three bases. Senior Bri Tharps added a triple.

Highlands stole nine bases and drew five walks. Freshman Michelle Barth walked twice and seventh grade pinch-runner Cameron Markus stole two bases.

Highlands travels to Newport Central Catholic (3-2) on Wednesday. Game time is 5 p.m.

NKU SOTA Presents Outdoor Concert at Yeatman’s Cove

Yeatman's Cove. 

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Northern Kentucky University School of the Arts will be presenting a live, outdoor concert on April 22 and 23 at the P&G Pavilion at Yeatman's Cove.

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The NKU Philharmonic Orchestra and NKU Choirs will perform an uplifting outdoor concert, featuring the music of John Williams, the Wailin' Jennys, and more. Performers include two "on the rise" student artists and winners of the 2021 NKU Philharmonic Concerto Competition, Maddie Pittman on the violin and James Tober on the clarinet.

“As a result of this pandemic, we have been given a renewed perspective of the importance of the arts, specifically the importance of making music together and sharing live music with an audience” said Katie Barton, Director of Choral Studies. “This concert, ‘One Voice,’ is our demonstration to one another and the community that our music-making can persevere through a pandemic, and that, with one voice, we will continue to create, perform, and inspire.”

●      What: “One Voice” NKU SOTA Philharmonic Orchestra & Choirs
●      When: April 22 and 23 at 6 p.m.
●      Where: P&G Pavilion at Yeatman's Cove (705 E Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati, OH)

“Virtual learning in a pandemic is not an excuse to stop. It's an opportunity to get creative, do things in a new way, and to adapt. We're dedicated to continuing music. A significant dedication was required to make opportunities work that are both safe and done with excellence” said Amy Gillingham Culligan, Director of Orchestras. “This concert is something to celebrate. It is a testament to the resilience of our students and our artform.”

As safety is a top concern, all musicians will be masked, even utilizing special custom masks for the woodwind and brass players. Audience members will be required to wear masks and all will be socially distanced both on-stage and off. These protocols are in place to ensure that this is a safe and comfortable environment for everyone. It is advised to bring your own lawn chair or blanket.

EXCLUSIVE: New Business Purchases Space at One Highland Development

The Bisbe Capital team in front of their space at One Highland. It will be the north bookend of the property. (Left to right: Brandi Kohsmith, Mike Bisbe and Tabatha Schorsch)

By Jessie Eden

Another business in town will soon call One Highland home. Bisbe Capital, a newly formed business by Mike Bisbe, Brandi Kohlsmith and Tabatha Schorsch, has purchased the end unit that faces the bank. Bisbe Capital plans to move into the nearly 2,400 sq. ft. space in early 2022. His current office is located just down the block at 111 N. Fort Thomas Avenue. 

For Mike, it was an easy decision to stay in Fort Thomas. 

"I knew I wanted to spend the remainder of my career in Fort Thomas and when the opportunity came along to show the city we were here to stay, we jumped on it. We wanted to help keep the spaces there local and non franchised feeling, so buying a space there was something exciting and rewarding we could do to show our community we appreciated them welcoming us in over the years," said Mike. 

"I wanted to show Fort Thomas that Bisbe Capital was honored to keep our roots in Fort Thomas, a community built on deep roots itself.”

The purchase of this space allows Bisbe Capital the space to hold larger meetings while providing first floor access and an elevated look and feel. 

"It was time we gave Fort Thomas the same welcome they gave me 17 years ago," said Mike. "We also wanted the luxury look and feel our clients deserve, as well as first floor access to all our clients who no longer need to be tackling steps."

About Bisbe Capital

After several years with Edward Jones, Mike Bisbe and his team decided to branch off to start their own business. "After 17 years at Edward Jones, and with the ever changing environment in financial planning and investing, we needed more robust and deeper planning software, more investment options and the ability to be more competitive with our fees so our clients could benefit from all aspects of our move," said Mike. "We wanted to have our own identity and still be backed by a huge firm like Raymond James with a strong reputation of ethics and client satisfaction with a balance sheet that matched that standard."

Bisbe Capital's focus is on investment services and providing guidance that makes the most sense for those seeking to manage their assets. "Bisbe Capital was created for and with our clients at the forefront of all our decisions. We wanted to offer an ideal and unique experience to each client in order to serve their unique needs and goals. Our mission is to over-serve all our clients in the capacity needed and now we can."

Bisbe Capital joins Fort Thomas Coffee as two of the commercial tenants at One Highland, the $20 million luxury condo development One Highland, set to be completed in spring 2022.

The project is by Greiwe Development with partners North American Properties and Sibcy Cline. There is a total of 12,985 square feet of commercial space is being marketed.

It's the first project by Greiwe Development, the group that built 125 luxury condominiums in Mariemont and dozens more to Hyde Park, to include commercial space on the ground floor.

Rick Greiwe, principal of Greiwe Development, said that when looking to curate retailers for the first floor, it's important to find longstanding businesses who have a vested interest in their surrounding.

"We wanted to make sure we curated the right mix of businesses to enhance the lifestyle of the people who live in the condos above and provide benefit for the Fort Thomas community," he said.

He said that the advantage of buying a retail space like that is that, despite the higher upfront cost of purchasing rather than leasing, it offers the chance for long-term ownership in the community.

One Highland will have 18 condos ranging in price from $695,000 to $1.2 million.

To learn more about Bisbe Capital, please visit their website;

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Sargeant Park Volunteer Weekend this Saturday, Sunday in Dayton

Volunteers to clean up, make improvements to trails, 20-acre park on Covert Run Pike

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The City of Dayton and its Park Board will hold the Sargeant Park Volunteer Weekend this Saturday and Sunday -- April 17-18 – to clean up and improve the city’s 20-acre park at 999 Covert Run Pike in recognition of Earth Day, which is April 20.

1017 S. Fort Thomas Ave. 

On Saturday, volunteers will clear and chip dead honeysuckle and debris, then mulch new trails in park with the chipped materials. On Sunday, they will remove chain link fencing, tires, trash, and other debris and stain picnic tables. Volunteers are asked to report to the park at 10 a.m. on both days. 

“Excitement has been building about this newly reopened park,” said Sargeant Park Board Chairperson Amanda Bowman. “The Volunteer Weekend event allows our residents and nearby citizens to participate in the reawakening of this beautiful park and our newly installed trails there just in time for Earth Day.”

Participants are encouraged to wear long pants, long sleeves, sturdy shoes, hats, gloves, and eye protection. For those participating in Saturday’s chipping activities, event organizers ask you to bring hand tools, such as clippers and hand saws. Volunteer must sign a liability waiver before participating in the event. Children under the age of 18 may only be permitted to participate if accompanied by a parent or guardian. Drinks and snacks will be provided.

Improvements to Sargeant Park are being funded with grants from the Kentucky Recreational Trails program ($91,000), L’Oreal ($80,000), and Duke Energy ($2,000. The Parks Board has been working with Groundwork Ohio River Valley -- a nonprofit who mission is to transform the natural and built environment of urban communities – two build nearly two miles of trails in Sargeant Park, which has trail heads at both Covert Run Pike and Lincoln Road.

“The City of Dayton is extremely thankful for the state and community funding we received to make these needed improvements to Sargeant Park,” said Dayton Mayor Ben Baker. “We also deeply appreciate of all of the many hours of hard work our Park Board members and other citizens have contributed to make this park more beautiful and more accessible to our community.”

Highlands Run-Rules Host Holmes

Highlands Records Four Triples in Victory

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior pitcher Jason Noe sets up in the win at Covington Holmes on Monday. Noe struck out five picking up the win in his first decision of the season.

When the Highlands Bluebirds baseball team (4-3 overall) hit the ball hard at Meinken Field on Monday, it had a chance to roll far quickly on the turf field.

The end result turned into six extra-base hits in a 13-1 five-inning run-ruling of the Covington Holmes Bulldogs (1-6) in a 9th Region battle. Highlands is 2-0 in region play and Holmes is 1-4.

NKY Health Vaccination Clinics Pause Johnson & Johnson, Switch to Moderna Vaccine

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The Northern Kentucky Health Department announced today that they are pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reported cases of blood clots in individuals that were administered the vaccine. They are switching to Moderna's version of the Covid-19 vaccine until more information is know. 

The CDC and FDA announced that they are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in those individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine.

As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J & J) vaccine have been
administered in the U.S. including doses in Northern Kentucky from NKY Health and pharmacies. NKY Health has given 2,200 doses of J & J and has not had a report of this adverse event to date.

“Right now, these events appear to be very rare. However, until we learn more from the FDA, CDC, and the Kentucky Department for Public Health, we are taking reasonable actions to pause the use of Johnson and Johnson vaccine in our vaccination clinics and will instead use the Moderna vaccine,” said Lynne Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health for the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

According to a release, participants who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. 

"Describe the symptoms and that you have been vaccinated with J & J in the past three weeks so that it can be taken into consideration for your diagnosis and treatment," a release by the department instructed. 

Health care providers need to be aware of the potential for these adverse events in order to plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot. Health care providers should report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at

"COVID-19 vaccine safety is a priority for all of us in public health and health care,” said Dr. Saddler. 

“This is why there is such an extensive reporting system in place to track and investigate adverse reactions and to pause the use of vaccine when necessary - even with extremely rare events – to make sure we all understand what is happening before proceeding.”

Northern Kentucky-based Grammy Winner Says Start Local, Stay Involved

Producer and songwriter DJ Corbett hails from Northern Kentucky, but his work brings him to LA – and earned him a Grammy award.

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by Robin Gee

How does a Villa Hills teen headed to school with plans to play basketball end up with burgeoning music career in LA and a Grammy for his work on Best Rap Album of the year? Hard work and talent, of course, but also an understanding that dreams can start and grow right in your own community.

Check out the updates at One Highland! 

In the beginning, DJ Corbett, who now lives in Florence with his wife and three kids, had an interest in music but no formal training. In fact, his involvement in music was sparked while playing with a friend’s music app just for fun.

"I moved in with some of my friends after high school. One of them had a music program on a computer that plays a lot more like a video game. It’s called FL Studio, and that was my introduction to making music. I never had done any music before that. I was 18 and had no background in music whatsoever," he explained.

He said the app was so easy to use and so much fun, he couldn’t put it down. He attended Wittenberg University for a year with a plan to play basketball, but then decided he had to follow this new interest to see where it led.

Making connections

Corbett went to music school in Minneapolis for about five years and began to sell some of his work online. "I started working with local people up there and started getting involved in the music scene. Finding other people who were interested," he said.

The connections he was making were key. "I was selling my music online to create income. And, I started doing pretty good with that, started to develop relationships online and locally."

Being active and involved in the music scene both in Minneapolis and back home led him to meet like-minded people, some of whom had connections and success in the business. One of these people was Cincinnati-based rapper and producer Hi-Tek who expressed interest in Corbett’s work.

"That’s what got me back to Northern Kentucky...He was one of my idols, and I wanted to work with him. It was a high priority for me, so I came back here in 2010," he said.

While things did not go as he thought they would, he said, it did open the door to new opportunities – and new connections.

"I started working with local artists here and I ended up meeting my partner Sunny (SunZoo). He is the one who ended up plugging me in with all the Los Angeles work that’s going on now." 

Meet Ethan and the team.

The Grammy

SunZoo is a music producer and writer originally from Covington. He works with LA-based producer, songwriter and performer Hit-Boy who has produced work for many of the big names in the industry including Jay-Z, Kayne West, Drake and Nipsy Hussle.

Corbett and SunZoo worked together on Nas’ album "King’s Disease," garnering them a Grammy when it was named Best Rap Album at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

This was Corbett’s second nomination and first win. Last year, he was nominated for his work with Hit-Boy on the song, "Racks in the Middle" for the late Nipsy Hussle. While the song did not win for production, it did win a performance Grammy.

Corbett said it was an honor to be nominated twice and be a part of the winning team this year. "These sorts of things are kinda above what I was shooting for, so I was on a ride I didn’t even plan. But, maybe there is a bigger plan working for me."

Balancing life in Florence and in Los Angeles

On Corbett’s Instagram page, it lists him as "Music Producer, Songwriter, Family Man." When asked about the pressures of having a family here in Northern Kentucky (he is married with three small children) and working in LA, he said family is his number one priority and he has been fortunate the people he works with understand that.

"Luckily, I’m in with a good group out even when I’m not there, I’m getting some work from there that I can do remotely from here. But, it’s good to have the face card, for people to kind of know your personality, know your energy, and so that’s why it’s important to make the trips and get involved with what’s happening out there. They know the family is the priority and they don’t take any opportunities away from me for that. It’s a mutually respected thing," he said.

"I have three kids – seven, five and three – so we are right in the thick of raising them. It was really a challenge at first when I started going out there. But we started to figure out ways to make it more manageable for my wife when she’s the one at home with the kids."

A growing body of work

A visit to Corbett’s credits on Spotify displays an impressive body of work, much of it produced in the last two years.

"The music industry is so fast right now with streaming. People are releasing a lot more have to be prolific to stay ‘hot’ or in the conversation,” he explained. “And so, creating every day, doing sessions every day is a big part of what’s going on in the music industry right now," he explained.

The industry has changed so much in the last decade, and for quite a time the future of the business seemed up in the air. In a 2019 article, Rolling Stone took on the question of whether streaming had saved the industry.

"That’s how I would put it," said Corbett. "Streaming saved it, but at the same time, while it might be the best system we have right now, it’s still unfair to lots of writers, producers, creatives. Hopefully, in the near future, we will see a shift in the revenue sharing from some of the rights holders to the writers and others who are the ones creating this intellectual property."

In some ways, streaming has shifted things into a more independent model, and a lot of good has come of it, but the bigger labels have figured out how to reap the most benefit, he said.

"They still run the world when it comes to the music industry. Things are getting back to the way they were in the early 2000s. There’s almost a gold rush in the industry right now."

The Melody App

Corbett is doing his part in trying to make things a little easier for creatives in the business. He partnered up with Armand Auclair and Jordan Crone to develop a loop sharing app called The Melody App. The app helps producers find loops instantly and streamlines the process of obtaining them for use in their beats.

He said the app is an extension of what he already does for people within his circle. He thought why not expand this out, create an interface where producers could explore and discover loops instantly instead of having to search for them, and without the hassles that come with obtaining the rights and other issues. He wanted to create a more transparent process.

"We create everything originally. We have eight creators right now making all the loops, all guys we’ve worked with before, and we trust their quality. So everything you find on the app is completely original, and it’s completely easy to license and get up and running without any headaches or anything, just use it from our platform."

Those who use the app are given the terms upfront. Corbett and this team keep these clear and simple so a producer can find music for a variety of uses, whether it’s for a commercial or a song.

"The big issue with loops...My lawyer calls it the Wild Wild West of the music industry because there are just no standards of how you treat someone who makes a loop. Some people get cut into the revenue and some people get cut out."

Corbett hopes to ease some of that by providing clear terms and fair compensation. As a producer, he knows how hard it can be. 

"Almost everybody in the company is a producer so it’s made by producers for producers. It’s a total niche product, but I think it’s something that will serve the greater music industry. It’s model of how we can fairly compensate everyone. We are trying to make everything within the business and how people use it as transparent as possible...It’s what differentiates us from the rest of the pack."

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Sage advice: Start local

For those whose dream is to build a national following in the industry, Corbett had this advice that could apply to a number of industries:

"Don’t be afraid to just start getting involved in the local community of music because you never know who knows who. I would never have guessed the way I was introduced to the larger music industry was from a guy who was connected one town over from me," he said.

Highlands Girls Hoops Records Ninth Straight 20-Plus Win Season

Bluebirds Lose Nearly 85 percent of Scoring Next Season

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior Meg Gessner is a key returning player for the Highlands girls basketball team next season.

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Highlands Bluebirds head girls basketball coach Jaime Walz-Richey and some assistant coaches watched from the stands after the Highlands boys hoops team captured its first state championship in school history.

Some players such as sophomore point guard Alyssa Harris and forward Kelsey Listerman watched Highlands and Head Coach Kevin Listerman beat Elizabethtown, 79-60 at Rupp Arena on the television in the title game. Their season ended a week earlier on March 27 with a 54-42 loss to eventual 9th Region champion Dixie Heights in the region semifinals at Covington Holmes.

"We're very happy for the Kevin and the boys program for their hard work," Richey said. "Their dedication paid off to win a state championship. It's a once in a lifetime memory that will last forever. The girls program works in the same way. We're trying to get there too. It's just going to take special players that are going to put time in. The coaches are here to help and make a commitment to them. We hope it will eventually happen to us, too."

Richey recognized a number of the qualities on the state championship team. Senior point guard Sam Vinson is a Mr. Kentucky Basketball candidate. He has committed to play for Northern Kentucky University down the road.

"A lot of it is the time you put in. Sam Vinson just didn't go to the gym once a week," Richey said. "He lives in a gym. That's what great players do. They find their times to go to the gym. The miss going to the swimming pool in the summer to swim with their friends because they're in the gym working on their craft. So when it comes to big situations in games, they're able to perform."

The Highlands girls still recorded a ninth straight 20-plus win season finishing 20-7 after the team could not meet together over the summer because of the Coronavirus 2019 pandemic. The Bluebirds also won a seventh straight 36th District Tournament championship and continued the 9th Region's longest streak of consecutive appearances with their 11th in a row.

Highlands played host to a region quarterfinal this year after winning the district championship at Dayton. The Bluebirds knocked off Covington Holy Cross, 59-43 for just their second region quarterfinal win in five seasons.

Highlands graduates five seniors from the team in forwards Rory O'Hara, Kelsey Listerman, Emma Riccobene and guards Emma Mallery and Kate Vaught. That is about 85 percent of the team's scoring. O'Hara will take her talent to the NCAA Division II University of Tampa.

"Jaime, (Assistant coach) Bert (Richey) and the coaching staff as a whole are very creative," Kelsey Listerman said. "They provide the girls with the tools that they need to be able to win not just district, but the region. To be able to go on and win a state championship, I just think the girls have to want it just as bad as they do because if they don't and they don't put in the actual work outside of practice and the team stuff, that goal will never get achieved. I think that's what set a lot of people apart on our team toward the end of the season - who was staying late and who was coming in early to put in those extra hours."


Walz-Richey could not commend the seniors enough for their hard work this season. She said they came to practice and games each day and put other things aside. Walz-Richey said one could not tell if they had a bad day at school.

"You made a commitment to your team. You're here to get better," Walz-Richey said. "You don't worry about other things. I think that's going to be a key for every sport. We're just going to get back to the gym and worry about things we can control. Anything is better than last year because we weren't able to do anything team-wise. As a coach, I'm looking forward to getting my seventh graders and getting my eighth graders into the gym and working on fundamentals and things like that."

Walz-Richey said the hope is to be able to run the youth camp this summer to get younger girls interested in the program. She also hopes to take the returning players to a team camp.

"We're going to spend a lot of time on us getting better individually with skills and understanding the game of basketball," Walz-Richey said. "I think that's going to be a big key for us being able to beat girls one-on-one. Our system has always been that we can run sets. But sometimes in games, the kids are going to have to make plays."

Monday, April 12, 2021

Gov. Beshear outlines goals to lift most Covid-19 restrictions

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On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge: When 2.5 million Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the state will remove most capacity restrictions.

When the goal is met, the Governor said he will lift capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements for nearly all venues, events and businesses that cater to 1,000 or fewer patrons. In addition, he will end the curfew for bars and restaurants.

“The question is, how quickly can we get there? With the vaccine supply we have, we could get there in as little as three-and-a-half weeks from now. That minimum time frame might not be realistic, but we should get there in four to six weeks if we are intentional,” said Gov. Beshear. “We have to try everything to reach this point as quickly as possible. That will help us have a more normal summer than any of us could have imagined this winter.”

Want a Clean House?

Masking would remain in effect and mass gatherings would still be limited until COVID-19 variants are under control and more Kentucky children are able to be vaccinated. The Governor said Kentucky has reported cases of all three variants of concern: the B-117 variant first detected in the United Kingdom, the B-1427 and B-1429 variants first detected in California and the P1 variant first identified in Brazil.

The Governor said he estimates more than 1.6 million Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine; he added that vaccination data would update to that number in the next two to three days after the state’s reporting system completed a security upgrade.

As he encouraged Kentuckians to get vaccinated, the Governor referenced comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who said the US economy is at an "inflection point" and that economic growth and job creation could accelerate if the U.S. continues to increase vaccinations and avoids another wave of COVID-19.

Case Information
As of 4 p.m. Monday, April 12, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

New cases today: 270
New deaths today: 7
New audit deaths: 0
Positivity rate: 3.16%
Total deaths: 6,257
Currently hospitalized: 380
Currently in ICU: 104
Currently on ventilator: 54

NKY Numbers
Boone 8
Kenton 7
Campbell 2

“I urge everyone – for your own safety, for your own well-being – to make that choice to get vaccinated to keep yourself and your loved ones safe,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “Vaccines are available. For example, all Kroger and Walgreens stores in the state of Kentucky are offering COVID-19 vaccines. If we can all rally around this and go get vaccinated, we can get back to activities safely.”

Newport Schools to host vaccination clinic on April 17

The Newport Independent Schools is partnering with the Northern Kentucky Health Department to offer a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Saturday, April 17, at Newport Intermediate School. 

Learn more.

The clinic is open to any Kentucky resident 18 years of age and older and will be offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school, located at 95 W. Ninth Street in Newport. To schedule an appointment click here or visit the Newport Independent Schools website.  

The Johnson and Johnson single dose vaccination will be offered.  

Any Newport resident requiring assistance with accessing online registration should contact the Student Services Department at Newport Independent at 859-292-3001. 

"This is an outreach effort to ensure that the citizens of Newport and families we serve have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination," said Jennifer Stewart, Director of Pupil & Student Services for the Newport Independent Schools.  

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Weekend Highlands Round-Up: Baseball Falls in Final At-Bat

Tigers Remain Undefeated with Two-Run Bottom of Seventh

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands lost 4-3 to Louisville St. Xavier in the bottom of the seventh Friday.

The Highlands Bluebirds softball team (8-1 overall) was not able to play any of the three games at North Oldham on Saturday.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Greater Cincinnati Covid-19 vaccination efforts kick off April 9-11

Why is the Tower at Tower Park orange? Orange is the color used to track progress of vaccines in the area. 

Regional businesses, community partners, and health leaders from both sides of the river are launching a region- wide movement to vaccinate 80% of those eligible (age 16+) in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky by the Fourth of July by removing barriers to getting a vaccine. 

Get Out the Vax weekends will take place during the second and fourth weekends in April and May.

“It is critical that we vaccinate as many people as possible to end this pandemic,” stated Brent Cooper, President and CEO, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Cooper says the health of our citizens and workforce throughout the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region is key to our collective economic success and overall quality of life.

In the 15-county region, 35% of those who are eligible have been vaccinated, a good starting point to reach the 80% mark and set the stage for a Healthy Region as we move into the Thriving 20s. All can agree that getting vaccinated is the first step to a healthy economy, healthy region, and healthy community.

“Reaching that 80% milestone will bring us a big step closer in defeating the virus in our region,” said Craig Brammer, President and CEO for The Health Collaborative. “We are beginning to see the benefits of getting vaccinated, but barriers need to be removed so every community has access.”

Free Metro and TANK rides will be available for the Get Out the Vax weekends, with support from Fidelity Investments, and free Lyft rides courtesy of United Way 211 of Greater Cincinnati and our regional hospitals led by TriHealth and UC Health.

“This is another significant example of how leaders across the community in health, business, non-profits, civic, and more collaborate to drive communication and action to keep people informed, safe, and thriving during these unchartered times,” says Jill P. Meyer, President and CEO of Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

Regional attractions are also joining in. The Cincinnati Reds are offering discounted tickets, Monday through Thursday, for people who show verification of vaccination.

To track progress, digital thermometers will be displayed on billboards in various locations throughout the region and promoted on local media. The first Get Out the Vax weekend will be Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11. Progress to goal, along with vaccine appointment information, can be found on

Get Out the Vax is sponsored in part by Fidelity Investments and supported by Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and the Northern Kentucky Chamber, Hamilton County Test and Protect, and six regional health systems: St. Elizabeth Healthcare, The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Mercy Health, UC Health, TriHealth.


The Health Collaborative is a non-profit, data-driven organization founded in 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Health Collaborative brings together healthcare stakeholders in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky for the good of the community and provides them with the actionable data they need for healthier people, better care and lower costs. For more information, please visit


The Regional COVID Communications Center (RC3), a partnership between the Cincinnati Regional Chamber and The Health Collaborative, is an ongoing campaign that shares culturally competent and equitable information about COVID-19 prevention, community spread, testing availability, and other critical news to help individuals and businesses make smart decisions with the most current and credible information.

Highlands Thursday Roundup: Softball Dominates Holmes

Highlands, Campbell County Baseball Cancelled

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Bri Tharps settles in the outfield during a recent game.

The Highlands Bluebirds softball team (8-1 overall) scored double-digit runs for the fifth straight game run-ruling the Covington Holmes Lady Bulldogs (0-3), 17-2 in three innings.

Highlands moved to 4-0 in 9th Region action with the win. The Bluebirds have won seven in a row.

"I let the starters bat one-plus time through the line-up then I emptied the bench and let everybody play," said Milt Horner, Highlands Head Coach. "Everybody got a couple at-bats, which is good. Some girls got some opportunities and made some things happen. We did what we needed to do to take care of business."

Thursday, April 8, 2021

State Championship Sinking In for Highlands Players, Coaches

Bluebirds Finished Season with 30 Wins

PHOTO: Dale Dawn. The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team celebrates the state championship at Rupp Arena on Saturday. Highlands returns 11 players from that team that dressed for the tournament next year.

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Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball sophomore guard Will Herald and the rest of the players and coaches came back to Fort Thomas on Sunday just one day after the Bluebirds won the first Sweet 16 State Tournament crown in school history.

But Herald later ventured down to Longboat Key just south of the Tampa-Saint Petersburg area for Spring Break. Days after the four wins at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Highlands Head Coach Kevin Listerman, Herald and even junior forward Oliver Harris agreed the idea they're state champions may slowly sink in.

"I still can't get my mind around what happened," Herald said. "I remember as a kid just thinking about how we'll have a chance to win the region title one day and we did that this year. Going into the state tournament, I had some thoughts about how if we could win the state tournament, that would just make my day. I just want to thank God for getting the chance to even play there."

Highlands finished 30-4 winning 21 straight to bring home the crown. The Bluebirds not only made it to the last day of the postseason for the first time since 1997, they won 30 games besting the 28 wins from last year's team that lost 59-54 in the 9th Region championship game to Covington Catholic.

Listerman finished his eighth season as the head coach of the Bluebirds. Highlands made the region tournament in his first season in 2014, but did not go back to the region tournament again until 2019. The 2019 team lost to Cooper in the first round of the region tournament.

"I keep telling myself we're state champions," Listerman said. "But it's always followed by a giggle. I don't know what the right response is. I've never finished the season on a win. I'm still smiling, trying to reflect as much as possible, stay on top of text messages and social media most importantly saying thank you to the people that need to be thanked for what was an incredible season and an unbelievable run through the state tournament. The biggest thing for me is to share that gratitude that was a part of making this tournament a success for us."

Those texts include his family. Listerman and his brother Andy helped Covington Catholic to the 9th Region crown in 1992. But the Colonels lost in the first round of the state tournament to Lexington Catholic. His niece Kelsey Listerman just finished her senior season playing for the Highlands girls hoops team and helped the girls soccer team to a third straight region championship this past fall.

"I'm super excited for them," Kelsey Listerman said. "I know it's something he's wanted to cross off his bucket list for a while. It's exciting for him and those guys to get it."

Some of the players were glad to bring home that first gold trophy for their relatives who played on one of the previous 11 teams to make it to state. Will Herald's uncle Joe Herald played on the 1997 state runner-up team in addition to the 1998 and 1999 Highlands region championship teams. Junior guard Abe Hils is the grandson of the legendary Highlands and Northern Kentucky University Head Coach Ken Shields.

Shields and Kevin Listerman helped the Northern Kentucky University Norse to two Division II runner-up finishes in 1996 and 1997. Highlands won five region championships during Shields' tenure. But the Bluebirds won just one state tournament game in those five trips beating the now-defunct Louisville Westport, 68-62 before losing 58-52 to Christian County in the quarterfinals in 1979.

Kevin Listerman has always said the mark of good teams is consistency. He firmly believes state championships do not measure whether programs are succeeding or not.

"I'm much more concerned about process and having kids really, especially when they get to high school, buy into the process of what makes us successful of doing the work day in and day out," Kevin Listerman said. "Somewhere along the line in this postseason, I talked to our guys about champions are not about winning a game or a particular tournament. It's about how you approach every single day. That's really the mindset that I'm going to focus on and we've focused on that for the last several years."

Kevin Listerman credited the players, coaches and parents for taking the Coronavirus 2019 protocols seriously. The delayed season started Jan. 4. The Bluebirds lost a few games because of cases on opponents, but not because of cases on the team. 

Kevin Listerman's biggest concern was how the Bluebirds would handle the tournament format. But he credited the players for being able to mentally reset quickly for the next game. Highlands played at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Thursday, April 1 against Muhlenberg County. They received plenty of rest before facing McCracken County that Friday at 8 p.m. They had to come back less than 24 hours later to face Ashland at 2 p.m. before tipping off four hours at 8 p.m. against Elizabethtown in the state title game.

"Just because somebody came up positive, doesn't mean they made poor decisions," Kevin Listerman said. "But (we were) really trying to limit what we were doing and how they were doing things off the floor so that we could have a season on the floor. I know they didn't isolate themselves in a bubble. But I really think our kids took it to heart to try to do what they needed to do to stay healthy and play basketball. I think the parents really bought into that as well. It took everybody doing their absolute best to have the full season we did and to stay healthy. I can thank our school administration, our athletic department (enough). It takes so many people to have the success that we did."

Highlands graduates two starters on this team in guard Sam Vinson and forward Luke Muller. Both are headed to Northern Kentucky University to play basketball and golf respectively this fall. Vinson averaged 22.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game and Muller averaged 16.9.

The Bluebirds graduate two other seniors in forward Bryson Cody and guard Daniel Buchanan. Buchanan said he'll miss the camaraderie with the guys in the locker room cracking jokes.

"Throughout the season, we had to keep everyone in line making sure they were doing all the little things to make us successful," Buchanan said. "Bryson and I did that throughout the whole season."

Listerman said he would not mind this being the beginning of a great era of Highlands boys basketball. He has two boys in middle school in Vinnie and Dom. He hopes this title will inspire boys that age and younger to do great things when they get to high school.

"I want every kid to think he can play at Highlands. They can be the next Sam Vinson," Kevin Listerman said. "That they can be the next Will Herald. Those are great, great guys to emulate. I want to see your team year after year, which is mark of a good program, play with a high level of energy, a high level of execution. Sometimes, things work out like it did this year and you have an unbelievable run. Sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way. You can be disappointed in the result a little bit. But that doesn't change the way you approach what you do."