|Bluebirds Handle Vaunted Rowan County 2-3 Zone|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior forward Oliver Harris makes a pass in a recent game.|
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Friday, February 26, 2021
|Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, explaining Senate Bill 4, legislation he introduced relating to warrants that authorize unannounced entry, commonly known as no-knocks.|
Legislation to limit the use of no-knock warrants passed the Kentucky Senate today by a 33-0 vote.
|Rep. Jennifer Decker, R-Waddy, testifying on House Bill 574, which would promote both participation and security in elections.|
A bill to promote both participation and security in elections cleared the House floor today.
Decker said she and other lawmakers met with county clerks, members of the State Board of Elections, Secretary of State Michael Adams and many others when crafting HB 574.
|Representative McPherson, R- Scottsville, presents House Bill 363 on the House floor on Thursday. The measure passed 94-0.|
The House of Representatives passed a measure today that would allow parents and guardians of disabled minor or disabled adult to obtain a license plate to allow them to park in a handicap parking spot. This measure is sponsored by Representative Shawn McPherson of Scottsville.
|Senate President Pro Tempore David P. Givens, R-Greensburg, explaining Senate Bill 7, a measure he introduced relating to unemployment insurance benefits.|
The Senate unanimously passed legislation today designed to give relief to out-of-work Kentuckians who have been asked to return their unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.
|Kentucky Senate Chambers. FTM file.|
The Kentucky General Assembly’s 2021 session reached one of the milestones Capitol observers eagerly await with this week’s arrival of the deadlines to introduce bills in the Senate and House.
Now, with 881 bills filed for consideration, we have a fairly comprehensive view of the issues lawmakers may consider in the remaining weeks of the session. Legislation filed before the deadline included bills on education, elections, taxes, public safety, gambling, civil rights and numerous other topics.
An issue that has been the subject of many headlines over the past year was taken up by the Senate this week with the passage of legislation that would limit and set guidelines for the use of no-knock warrants, which allow officers to enter a premises without notice.
Under Senate Bill 4, the warrants would be allowed in limited instances when someone was believed to be in immediate danger or in other certain cases, such as those involving violent crimes or terrorism. These warrants would have to be executed by a SWAT team or a response team with special training. The bill would also specify in statute that it would be perjury if an officer made a false statement in an application for a no-knock warrant.
SB 4 passed the Senate on Thursday and now goes to the House.
House Bill 95 is aimed at helping those with diabetes by capping cost-sharing requirements for prescription insulin at $30 per 30-day supply for state-regulated health plans. The legislation passed the House on Tuesday and has been delivered to the Senate.
Senate Bill 10 would establish the Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity. The group would be formed to conduct studies and research on issues where disparities in areas including education, child welfare, health care, the economy and criminal justice system. Senate Bill 10 passed the Senate on Wednesday and has been sent to the House.
House Bill 574 would make some of the election procedures implemented last year to accommodate voting during the pandemic permanent. The legislation would offer Kentuckians three days – including a Saturday – leading up to an election day for early, in-person voting. It would allow county clerks to continue to offer ballot drop boxes for those who do not wish to send their ballots back by mail. It would also counties to offer voting centers where any registered voter in the county could vote. The bill passed the House on Friday and now goes to the Senate.
Senate Bill 67 would allow certain restaurants to sell alcohol, including cocktails, with to-go and delivery orders when purchased with a meal. The bill passed the Senate on Monday and now awaits action in the House.
House Bill 140 would permit telehealth services that were allowed to expand due to COVID-19 pandemic to remain in place even after the pandemic ends. This passed the House and Monday and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
|Walmart in Alexandria is located at 6711 Alexandria Pike.|
A women is under arrest after striking an Alexandria police officer with her car before leading them on a high-speed chance that ended across the river in Ohio.
|Bluebirds Win Make-Up Non-Region Game|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands sophomore point guard Alyssa Harris slides past a pick in a recent game.|
The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (13-5 overall) won a make-up non-region game over the Simon Kenton Lady Pioneers, 35-23 in a low-scoring affair Thursday in Fort Thomas.
|Cold Spring city council voted to appeal a recent decision by the attorney general that they violated open meeting law in two December meetings. FTM file. |
by Robin Gee, city council beat editor
At the February 22 council meeting, Cold Spring city council members voted to appeal a decision by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron that the city had violated open meetings laws in two meetings in December 2020.
According to the decision, the city had failed to give proper notice for two special meetings held December 17 and 30, and also had taken actions not on the agenda following executive sessions.
The attorney general ruled the city violated the law when it failed to respond to a complaint by Campbell County schools attorney Jason Reed that the council had not provided adequate information about how to access the meetings, which were held via Zoom. Cameron also agreed that the city was in violation because it took action after the closed session, while the agenda stated no action would be taken.
A battle of interests
The complaint stems from the ongoing battle between the city and the Campbell County School District over property belonging to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). The $6.5 million property is approximately 30 acres located at 3725 Alexandria Pike.
A circuit court ruling earlier this month established the city had a legitimate interest and the right to intervene, allowing the city to continue with its plan to become owners of the property through an agreement with developer Al. Neyer and the DAV. The pivotal part of the plan is to bring St. Elizabeth onboard to develop a healthcare facility on the site.
At the same time the school district is awaiting news on its move to condemn the property through eminent domain. The property would provide a building and acreage for a much-needed new middle school to serve the northern tier of the county.
The decision to appeal
Although the agenda for the February meeting stated council would go into executive session to discuss whether or not to appeal the decision, technical difficulties made that impossible. City attorney Brandon Voelker asked council if they would like to proceed with the discussion of the matter in the open meeting, although he would refrain from discussing courtroom strategy.
Voelker reiterated his public response to the decision. He cited three previous decisions that allowed for councils to take actions coming out of executive session even if these are not stated specifically on the agenda. Stating that an action might be taken has been considered more of a courtesy to the public, to let people know so they can decide whether to stay until the executive session is over, he explained.
He argued that this new decision departs from previous decisions, making it hard for public entities to know the correct and best way to proceed.
"My concern is this opinion stands for bad law because it goes against three straight holdings. It’s just not what they’ve ruled in the past...So the issue is now, they’re creating conflict as to what is the proper action to take."
Council member Cindy Moore noted the council does not create the agendas. "I was concerned because [the decision] said council had illegal meetings and all that, but ... we don’t make the agenda. We are just following the agenda we are given."
Voelker agreed, "You point out a fundamental problem. The attorney general of this state doesn’t even have an understanding."
Moore asked about penalties and fees involved. According to the law, the party making the complaint could be awarded court costs if the violations are proven to be willful, and the court could award the complaining party up to $100 per violation, and actions taken could be voided.
As far as fees to appeal, Voelker said, it would be minimal, under $250. The council voted to appeal the attorney general’s decision.
Ongoing technical difficulties
Technical and related communication issues have plagued the city’s council meetings since the decision to provide live meetings online. After the complaint by the school district, the city decided to return to offering in-person meetings to increase public access. Yet, most of the members have chosen to continue to join in the meetings remotely.
Sound issues in the council chambers have caused members joining via Zoom to ask for clarifications because they cannot understand everyone in the room.
Officials have tried different ways to address the sound situation. When City Administrator Steve Taylor asked if sound had improved for remote members, Moore said she still had some difficulty understanding what was being said.
Council member Chris Ampfer noted the sound coming from Taylor’s mike was good, but he could only hear clearly whatever came through Taylor’s mike, not from others in the room.
These issues forced the cancelation of the executive session part of the meeting as it could not be determined how members could return to open session after it was concluded. Paul Kloeker was the only council member to attend the in-person meeting. Members Ampfer, Moore and Deanna Hengge joined via Zoom. Members Lisa Cavanaugh and Adam Sandfoss were unable to access the meeting properly due to technical difficulties and so could not fully participate.
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Gov. Beshear to Co-Lead Governors’ Discussion on $2 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal with U.S. Transportation Secretary Buttigieg
|The scene at the Brent Spence Bridge after a lengthy repair, which was caused by a crash.|
|Phone: 859-905-0714 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is an advertisement.|
Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster will lead a virtual conversation with U.S. governors and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal.
It may not feel like it now but Spring will come to Campbell County and AJ Jolly Park is hiring Park Rangers, Camping and Concession Workers and Park Maintenance Workers.
|Fort Thomas Drug Center. FTM file.|
The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a measure aimed at providing additional oversight and ensuring cost savings in administering pharmacy benefits for Medicaid recipients in Kentucky.
|Bluebirds Own Six Straight Wins|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior guard Leyton Read brings the ball up the court in a recent game.|
|18 N. Fort Thomas Ave. Located in the Hiland Building.|
The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team (15-4) may not have run away with this one.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
|Merk & Gile Injury Attorney. 526 York Street, Newport. Free consultation 513-713-0862.|
|Dr. Laura Koehl, a Fort Thomas resident, will assume a leadership role in new national organization.|
|Barre3 Ft. Thomas. Located at 90 Alexandria Pike.|
The Notre Dame Academy (NDA) Board of Directors announced today that Dr. Laura Koehl is resigning from her position as President of Notre Dame Academy to take on a new role as Executive Director of the SND National Sponsorship and Network Office and Chief Operating Officer of the National Ministry Corporation.
|Rep. Patti Minter, D-Bowling Green.|
The U.S. Constitution guarantees due process for those accused of a crime or misconduct.
|Over 50 years experience in NKY. Call now, mention FTM. (859) 287-2499.|
Employee Retention Credit: The Little-Known Provision That Can Produce Big Savings on Quarterly Payroll Taxes
|John Wood, CPA, CVA, Principal at Rudler. Provided.|
By John Wood, CPA, CVA, Principal at Rudler, PSC
|Orangetheory Fitness, Newport Pavilion.|
The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has allocated $40,817,799 to Kentucky for emergency assistance to non-public schools in the state. All non-public schools may apply to the state for reimbursement of COVID-19 related costs, or to provide COVID-19 related services, through the recently authorized Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS) under the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER).
|Highlands Wins Fifth Straight|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior guard Leyton Read inbounds the ball in a recent game.|
|The economic impact of COVID-19 has affected people all over the country. Fort Thomas residents owe close to $200,000 to just two area utilities, but a federal program offers help. (FTM file)|
Fort Thomas, despite having a higher median household income than most cities in the county, has not escaped these financial troubles brought on by the pandemic.
Cooper addressed the February meeting of the Fort Thomas city council to let the city know help is available through a federal Community Development Block Grant Utility Assistance program.
What funds are available?
Cities are required to apply for the program on behalf of their communities and would serve as a pass-through for the funds. No city funds would be used, and the money would be distributed to residents through the local offices of the Community Action Commission (CAC).
The maximum allowed for each city application is $200,000, Cooper explained. She urged city officials to consider applying. The data shows city residents have almost reached that maximum with just the two utilities, SD1 and NKWD, she noted.
"This is before we have data from Duke, so we are quite certain the dollar amount is going to be well above the $200,000. We would encourage you to apply for the maximum, " she advised city officials.
Cooper and her colleagues are making the rounds throughout the eight Northern Kentucky counties within the NKADD jurisdiction to let cities know about the funds. She said the funds would be available to residents by about mid-April.
Through the program, city residents who are behind in utility bills due to the effects of COVID would be eligible for up to $250 a month for six consecutive months. These months could have occurred any time between January 21, 2020 and present.
As noted above, funds will likely be available by mid-April through the nearest Community Action Coalition office. People will need proof of city residence, delinquency notices and other information for the application. Full detailed information will be made available throughout the county as we get closer to the time funds become available, explained Cooper.
The program is designed specifically to help people affected by the COVID-19 crisis. It’s not for people who are habitually behind with their bills, Cooper said, although people self-identify their need in this case. If people owe more than the allotted amount, they would still need to work with their utility company on a plan for the remainder not covered by the program funds.
City council voted to pass a resolution allowing the mayor to make the application for the utility block grant program. Not only will the program help individual residents, said Cooper, but also provide some relief for area utilities.
The nearest CAC location to Fort Thomas is the Campbell County Neighborhood Center at 437 West Ninth Street in Newport. More information will be made available once the application is made and funds are ready for distribution.
|After six years of no action, it appears McDonald's is considering building on property in Cold Spring it has leased since 2014.|
|Meet Jessica, click here!|
by Robin Gee, city council beat editor
Although McDonald’s has leased the property at 3720 Alexandria Pike in Cold Spring since 2014, it is only recently that they have begun to make moves towards building on the site, although details have not been shared at this point.
Campbell County officials confirmed that the company submitted a building permit request in November 2020, but has not yet provided details about construction. In February, the company was set to present at the county Board of Adjustments with a request for a variance regarding placement and size of its sign, but that meeting was cancelled and has not yet been rescheduled.
The Burger King was located on the site, which sits across from the DAV property and in front of Furniture Fair, but the spot has been empty since 2015. The property is owned by Cold Spring Land Company, LLC, associated with Bellevue-based developer Brandicorp.
Fort Thomas Matters reached out to Brandicorp to ask about McDonald's move. Company officials confirmed that McDonald's has had the lease, but they had not been informed about any plans by the company.
Before the variance meeting could be held, Cold Spring Council Member Lisa Cavanaugh shared news of the move on social media, "I just got word that McDs (sic) is planning on coming into the old Burger King location in front of Furniture Fair...They've had first rights/option on that property for awhile."
At press time, no news was available, but Fort Thomas Matters will report developments as they unfold.
|Satellite view of the property leased by McDonald's at 3720 Alexandria Pike. The company submitted a request for a new building permit in November. (Google Maps)|
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
|40 years in the business! Home building, room additions, deck building, roofing, structural work, concrete, painting. (513) 205-4020.|
Faulkner started all 23 games for NKU, leading the team in scoring with 381 points. He averaged 16.6 points per game while shooting 41 percent from the floor and 79 percent on free throws. Faulkner also grabbed 5.4 rebounds a game, distributed 2.5 assists and swiped 1.5 steals per game. The native of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, registered six 20-point performances on the year, including a career-high 28 points at Kent State.
Throughout the course of the season Warrick started 21-of-23 games for the Norse, averaging 15.9 points per game on 46 percent shooting, 37 percent from beyond the arc and 82 percent from the free the line. He also averaged 2.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest.
Warrick elevated his play in League competition, ranking fifth in league-only games at 17.5 ppg. He maintained his impressive shooting by making 47 percent from the field, 39 percent from long range and 83 percent from the charity stripe. The Lexington, Kentucky, native had nine 20-point outings this year and his seven Horizon League Freshman of the Week honors tied for the third-most in league history.
|Local restaurants like Padrino Fort Thomas had to get creative during 2020. The newly opened restaurant is located at 14 N. Grand Ave.|
Legislation aimed at supporting the food service industry in Kentucky passed the House of Representatives unanimously today. Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville, sponsored the measure.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear joined Herschend Enterprises Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wexler, state officials and community leaders to announce that Herschend Enterprises has become a majority partner and operator of Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay amusement and water park located in Louisville, Kentucky.
|2000 Memorial Parkway.|
Georgia-based Herschend is the nation’s largest family-owned theme attractions and entertainment company. Herschend operates popular tourism attractions such as the Dollywood® Parks & Resorts in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and the Newport Aquarium® in Northern Kentucky.