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Thursday, November 25, 2021

2021-22 Highlands Bluebirds Boys Basketball Preview

Three Starters Return from State Championship Team

PHOTO: Dale Dawn. Highlands junior guard Will Herald (15) goes up for a shot against Ashland in the state semifinals at Rupp Arena in Lexington last year. Herald is one of three starters returning from last year's state championship team. Herald averaged 13.1 points per game last year.

It is the situation where every team in Kentucky would like to be entering the season.

Defending state champions.

The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team comes into the season hoping for another solid season starting with the return of three starters from last year's 30-4 team that brought home the first state championship in program history in April downing Elizabethtown, 79-60 in the championship game at Rupp Arena. The Bluebirds did it winning four games in three days including a semifinal win over Ashland Blazer (66-50) that same Saturday, April 3 afternoon. Highlands enters the season on a 21-game winning streak.

Teams generally do one of two things the season following a championship. They can continue to do the things that led them to that title and continue to add to the model of consistency or they can continue to revel in the glory of the championship and struggle. The last team to repeat as state champions is Louisville Fairdale in 1991.

The Bluebirds entered practice in October seeking to continue to be at least a 9th Region contender like they have been for the last couple seasons. They beat Conner, 77-67 on March 26, 2021 at Holmes for their first region crown since 2001. Head Coach Kevin Listerman is aware that no team wins the region every year.

"We've got a group that understands what it takes," Listerman said. "That's the culture that we've built over the last several years. It's about coming, putting in the work and knowing that it's part of the process. There's not any complacency or sense of accomplishment or entitlement. We have a lot of guys that are hungry to prove that last year wasn't an accident."

Covington Catholic holds the 9th Region record for most consecutive region championships with five straight between 1967 and 1971. Clay County and Louisville St. Xavier are tied with the most consecutive region titles with seven in a row. Clay County won seven straight 13th Region crowns between 1984 and 1990 and St. Xavier won seven straight 7th Region titles between 1937 and 1943.

Gone are four seniors including two NCAA Division I athletes who took their talents down the road to Northern Kentucky University. Point Guard Sam Vinson averaged 22.3 points and 9.4 rebounds last year. Vinson earned the Gatorade Player of the Year honor for boys basketball in Kentucky to conclude his storied career. He has started the first two games of the year for the Norse men's basketball team.

Forward Luke Muller averaged 16.9 points per game and is playing golf for the Norse. Muller led Highlands making 122-of-266 three-point tries for just under 46 percent last year.

Highlands also saw reserves Daniel Buchanan and Bryson Cody graduate. In addition, senior Abe Hils elected not to come back for his senior year focusing on baseball instead and junior Adam Dunn is not able to play this year as a result of an injury sustained during football season.

The three returning starters are senior 6-foot-2-inch guard Zach Barth, senior 6-3 forward Oliver Harris and junior 6-2 guard Will Herald. Barth may move to the point guard spot after averaging 10.3 points per game last year. 

Herald lit up Elizabethtown's 1-3-1 defense from outside in the championship game. He averaged 13.1 points per game last year. Herald made 102-of-192 three-point shots for 53.1 percent.

Harris did a lot of dirty work inside averaging 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds. Harris is the team's leading returning rebounder.

The Bluebirds used a seven-player rotation for most of the season. Senior 5-10 guard Leyton Read and senior 6-3 forward Cole Kocher gave Highlands quality minutes off the bench. Read had some key steals in the title game against Elizabethtown to help Highlands built the big halftime lead and Kocher had some offensive putbacks in the second half to keep the Panthers at bay.

"We have shooters all around the perimeter," Read said. "It's easy for us to make shots once we drive, opponents collapse and we create shots. We score at will mostly all the time. We have workouts two times a week and practice four times a week. We do sprint work, foot work, running all the time. Our conditioning is there. We're ready to go at all times."

Listerman said he has confidence in all 12 players listed on varsity. He said he could see nine or 10 players playing each games, especially early in the season.

Four reserves return from last year. They are senior 6-3 guard Austin Duncan, junior 6-2 guard Seth Ryan, junior 5-10 guard Coby Kramer and sophomore 6-5 center Brody Benke. Benke may give Highlands a post threat. But the Bluebirds have a lot of versatility.

"If anything, our work in the offseason has gotten more consistent," Duncan said. "We have a lot of assets this year that can come in (and contribute). Even our starters want to come out and show what they have. I think we're going to be a lot deeper this year than we were last year. But we have to keep the same energy up and just have confidence in ourselves."

Three sophomores fill out the roster. They are 6-0 guards Nathan Vinson, Brayden Moeves and 5-9 Cam Giesler.

Highlands averaged 1.27 points per possession last year outscoring opponents 2,802 to 2,145 for averages of just more than 82 to just more than 63. The Bluebirds made 1,046-of-1,925 shots for 54.3 percent including 360-of-458 from three-point range for 76.4 percent. They also had 964 rebounds averaging 28.4 per game.

"We have a very unselfish group and that's just a testament to these kids," Listerman said. "We put a real emphasis on playing fast and getting the shots that we want. They understand turning down good to get great. We talked about that after our scrimmage on (Nov. 13) and they've really taken it to heart this week."

Listerman expressed gratitude the season starts on time this year and more fans will be in the stands. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association delayed the start until January last year and basically parents were the lone people who could attend the games. Some students were allowed to attend during tournament time.

"I know our kids are excited about that," Listerman said. "They certainly deserve the opportunity to play in front of our community and our fans."

Highlands plays a loaded schedule this year. The Bluebirds travel to Marshall County to face the Cane Ridge Ravens from the Nashville (Tennessee) suburb of Antioch and an Alabama commit in 6-8 small forward Brandon Miller before facing the McCracken County Mustangs in a rematch of the state quarterfinal game. Cane Ridge finished state runner-up in Tennessee's largest Class 3A last year.

The Bluebirds also take on 2021 Ohio Division III state semifinalist Taft High from downtown Cincinnati and junior 6-4 shooting guard Reyvon Griffith, who has offers from the University of Cincinnati, Alabama, Kansas, Kansas State, Alabama, Louisville, Ohio State and Oklahoma State among others. Listerman said Huntington Prep (West Virginia) features two four-star and one three-star recruit.

Also on the home schedule is Vestavia Hills, a suburb of Birmingham (Alabama). Vestavia Hills features 6-3 junior point guard Win Miller, who has offers from Auburn, Georgia and Virginia Tech. Also on the schedule are Mason County, Louisville DeSales, Breathitt County, Louisville St. Xavier and Ashland in addition to the region and district opponents.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Fort Thomas to Consider Use Change for property on US-27 Smart Corridor

A change request would allow a new use and new life for a former auto repair business at 1513 Alexandria Pike. The new use would be to house equipment for a swimming pool business.
 
by Robin Gee

On Tuesday, November 23, the Fort Thomas Board of Adjustment will consider a request to allow a nonconforming use change for the property at 1513 Alexandria Pike. Formerly an automotive business and building with two apartments, the property is actually zoned Professional Office. 

The property sits on the US-27 Smart Corridor, a stretch of road from Newport on the Levee to Northern Kentucky University that includes the county and the cities of Newport, Southgate, Fort Thomas, and Highland Heights.

The smart corridor concept, which originated in Fort Thomas, is designed to decrease traffic congestion, improve transit, increase transportation options, and create safer sidewalks while also protecting bike lanes to accommodate tech- and entertainment-friendly environments.
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The new owner of the property, Bradford Pittman, has requested a change to allow him to use the property as a storage facility for his pool business equipment and vehicles. The request does not involve retail pool sales, only a place for storage of equipment belonging to the business.

The owner may use some of the space in the adjoining building as an office, said Kevin Barbian, general services director for the city, but it is not clear yet what the owner plans for the apartments. The owner has been working to repair some of the structure as he awaits the decision from the Board of Adjustment.

Criteria for acceptance of the change is based on whether the new use would be an imposition on the site, especially in terms of traffic, said Barbian.

Barbian said he expects the Board of Adjustment will likely grant the change as the business meets the basic criteria. It would actually bring less traffic and noise than the auto repair business formerly at that site.



As always, the public is invited to attend the public hearing at the meeting of the Board of Adjustment to be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Fort Thomas Community Center (Tower Park Mess Hall), 801 Cochran Avenue.


Driver who killed Newport couple gets life in prison

The scene in Campbell Circuit, in Judge Dan Zalla's courtroom. 

The driver charged in a high-speed chase that killed two and wounding two others, was sentenced to life in prison today. Judge Dan Zalla gave Mason Meyer, 28, life in prison on two counts of murder in addition to 20 years on the remaining charges of four counts of wanton endangerment, one count of fleeing or evading police, and one count of criminal mischief. 

The trial took place in Campbell County Circuit Court. 

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Meyer's charges and subsequent conviction occurred after a police chase on Aug. 7, 2020 ended with a crash at Press on Monmouth. According to police records, Meyer was driving a vehicle that slammed into a group of pedestrians, killing Gayle Laible, 80, and Ray Laible, 81, as they were eating outside on the patio.

The chase started after Meyer refused to stop for Cincinnati Police during a drug investigation. The chase, which started in Lower Price Hill, traveled across the Roebling Suspension Bridge, through Covington and into Newport.

Kirsten Johnson, 22, was inside of Meyer’s vehicle, as well as one other person. That third occupant has not been charged.

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Johnson was arrested and charged federally on gun and drug charges.

The Laibles' daughter, Angela Laible Endress, is suing Cincinnati Police, alleging that the chase was reckless. She said that she was relieved, but the verdict was bittersweet. 

"We can finally move forward. Today was about Mason Meyer, but the problem is that this was an unnecessary police chase that could've been stopped. I feel happy but I know there's a long road ahead," she said. 



NKY Chamber, meetNKY, Tri-ED Aligned to Promote NKY

Julie Kirkpatrick, president and CEO of meetNKY, spoke at the Fort Thomas council meeting on the shared vision of Northern Kentucky economic development organizations.


by Robin Gee

Representatives from three organizations with closely aligned missions to support and promote growth in Northern Kentucky are visiting cities, counties and other organizations across the region to share their vision to present a more unified voice in and for the region.

 
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Julie Kirkpatrick, president and CEO of meetNKY, a three-county tourism organization, brought the presentation to the November meeting of Fort Thomas City Council. Brent Cooper, president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and Lee Crume, president and CEO of the development-focused Tri-ED, are also making the rounds.

"The NKY Chamber, MeetNKY and NKY Tri-ED have been working together to better align our efforts, and we want folks to know what we’re up to. I have to say, the reception we’ve received has been wonderful! The cities and counties understand there are regional issues and opportunities that transcend the borders of their jurisdictions, and they’ve been eager to have these conversations," explained Cooper.

"We want the Northern Kentucky metro region to be aligned on major regional challenges wherever possible. Whether it’s workforce challenges, transportation issue, or opportunities for better health, we want to encourage the kind of conscious, long-term investments that have long been the drivers of local economic growth and high standards of living here in Northern Kentucky," he said. 

Orangetheory Fitness, Newport Pavilion. 

Shared concerns


Kirkpatrick briefed Fort Thomas council members and those present on what the three organizations have been doing. Right now, she said, all three are focused on workforce as a major concern.

Health, is another shared concern, she said, echoing the chamber’s motto "Good health is good business."

"We’ve been working with all our businesses and the visitor industry to make sure we make health a focus," she said.

"And transportation is obviously a big advocacy mission of all our organizations," she said. "You can’t visit Northern Kentucky if you can’t get to Northern Kentucky, so we are very interested in everything that’s going on in transportation."

Updates on projects at the NKY Chamber


Kirkpatrick started with an update (or a reminder) of initiatives at the NKY Chamber.

The organization puts leadership training and support at the forefront. The description of the chamber’s GROW NKY initiative from their website outlines the objective and mission of the project. "Growing Regional Outcomes Through Workforce (GROW NKY) is a strategic workforce collective comprised of leaders across key industries, educational institutions and community organizations working collaboratively to leverage the region’s assets to grow, attract and retain a globally competitive workforce."

Kirkpatrick also pointed out the organization’s leadership development programs, in particular the Women’s Initiative. In other chamber news, the organization recently hired Tami Wilson as the new vice president of Public Affairs.

Two events coming up at the NKY Chamber are:

  • "Where We Stand," a panel discussion with elected leaders from the Northern Kentucky Caucus and two members from the Senate and House leadership. It will be held Tuesday, November 30, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Triple Crown Country Club in Union.
  • Annual Chamber Dinner with the theme "Raising Our Spirits" will be held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington on Thursday, December 16, from 5 to 8:30 p.m.


Find information on these events and about membership on the NKY Chamber website.

Here’s what’s been happening with meetNKY


"We are working on destination assessment and strategic planning right now," said Kirkpatrick. She said she likes to look at Northern Kentucky as an amusement park and figure out what the next "ride" will be — and then focus on supporting that next project.

She then shared some news that is a source of pride for Fort Thomas. "We’ve also worked very closely with our good friends at Bourbon Review this year. Did you all know that Fort Thomas has one of the best bourbon bars in America here at the Midway Cafe? There are 11 bourbon of the best bourbon bars in Northern Kentucky, and I’m really excited that this year that Midway Cafe joined that list."

The B Line, is another initiative involving bars, restaurants and distilleries in our area that brings many new visitors to the area, Kirkpatrick noted.

"Finally, what I’m most excited about right now, we are working on a grant process with Southbank Partners to fully make the Riverfront Commons come to a reality," she said.


 




She is hopeful the money will come through with recovery plans to help bolster the tourism and hospitality industry, she said. "It’ll be great for Fort Thomas, great for Silver Grove, great for Bellevue—all of our cities—to have Riverfront Commons," she added. 

Learn more on the meetNKY website.

News from Tri-ED


The regional economic development organization, Tri-ED, is focusing on a four-pronged approach to building and expanding Northern Kentucky, Kirkpatrick said.

These include:

  • Developing a data-informed community leveraging the work of Northern Kentucky University
  • Activating the Northern Kentucky Port Authority to help make land ready for development
  • Delivering customized workforce solutions to help industries with the most demand to have a plan to get there
  • Targeted business growth and support for area industries

 

Tri-ED has a four-pronged strategy to encourage growth and development in Northern Kentucky.
 

For more, go to the Tri-ED website.

 

A look at the census for our region


Kirkpatrick noted that data from the 2020 census has just been released. Overall, the Greater Cincinnati area is on a growth trajectory, she said, but not at the pace of nearby regions such as Nashville and Columbus.

The workforce challenge continues with the census data showing that many in our workforce will have aged out by the year 2050.

The population growth is slowing, she said, and the population is getting older. And, new talent is leaving the area. Keeping up with other markets will be a challenge for the region.

"We’ve got to keep talent here and be aggressive about influencing people to move here," she said.

Summing up, Kirkpatrick said the mission of the Northern Kentucky organizations devoted to growing the region is to find ways to do exactly that.

"Everything we do is to build so that people will want to move, invest and thrive here. This is why we are working together."



Wreaths Across America Seeks Donations To Honor Those Who Lost Their Lives In Service

 


Wreaths Across America Liaisons. Wreaths Across America is a project to remember Veterans who have gone before us by placing wreaths on their graves during the Christmas season. This is a civic outreach program of the Campbell County Democratic Party and the John R. Little VFW in Southgate.

For the sixth year, the Wreaths cross America (WWA) group is raising funds and working with groups to place wreaths on the Civil War Lot and the VA's Soldiers' Lot at the Evergreen Cemetery on Saturday morning, December 18th. 

Those two locations within Evergreen Cemetery hold the graves of over 450 Veterans, including Union soldiers of the Civil War as well as soldiers of the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

William Horsfall

Young William Horsfall is buried in the Civil War lot at Evergreen. He is the youngest Medal of Honor Recipient. He was awarded the Medal for heroism at the Battle of Corinth, Mississippi at age 15.  After the Civil War he returned to Newport where he lived until 1922.  

Among those Medal of Honor Winners is a Veteran who was the first police officer killed in the line of duty in Newport in 1884. Paul Whalen, one of the annual organizers, says, “To date, we have raised funds to place wreaths on about 113 graves out of 450 needed. Please help us to honor these veterans by making a donation to assist in this endeavor.”

Wreaths are $15 each and donations are tax deductible. Checks should be made out to "WAA" (Wreaths Across America) and mailed to PO Box 22; Ft Thomas,Kentucky 41075. 

Checks should have Location KYESLS and Group KY 0098 written on them. Volunteers from the John R. Little VFW, the Campbell County Democrats, Sons of the American Revolution, Cub Scout packs, and the Young Marines have assisted with wreath placement in the past. The public is encouraged to participate or to be present for the ceremony on Saturday, December 18th. 


Click her to donate online. https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/pages/41869/Overview/?relatedId=0


Monday, November 22, 2021

Sam Vinson named Horizon League freshman of the week

Award follows standout performance against Eastern Michigan 
 
Sam Vinson. Photo by: Mikela Aynedjian. 

The Horizon League office announced on Monday afternoon that Northern Kentucky’s Sam Vinson was the Nike Horizon League Men’s Basketball Freshman of the Week after his sensational game against Eastern Michigan.
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Vinson made five of his nine field goal attempts in the game, including 4-of-5 from long range territory, and converted 3-of-4 at the charity stripe en route to 17 points. NKU’s starting point guard came up big in the second half, pouring in 14 of his points during stanza. Five of his second-half scores either tied the game or gave Northern Kentucky the lead, with two of those coming in the final two minutes of action to help the Norse pull out the late victory.
 
The native of Fort Thomas, Kentucky, is impacting the game in all facets. He sports averages of 7.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.3 blocks and 2.0 steals per game.




 
Northern Kentucky is 2-1 on the season after defeating Eastern Michigan last week. The Norse host Western Illinois tonight at 7 p.m. in BB&T Arena.

Testimony highlights desire for an electric vehicle tax in Kentucky

Photo by Bram Van Oost on Unsplash

Counties across the Commonwealth would like to see lawmakers make a few changes during the upcoming 2022 legislative session.
 
One of those changes includes establishing an electric vehicle tax or fee.
 
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Representatives from the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) presented the group’s 2022 legislative agenda to the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government today.
 
“The time for Kentucky to address this is now,” said Shellie Hampton, KACo director of government affairs. “Thirty states, including all of our neighbors, have already instituted an electric vehicle fee.”
 
Hampton also noted that many of the states that have implemented electric vehicle fees share the revenue with county governments.
 
KACo reports that nearly 40% of county roads are in need of moderate to significant repair, and that county governments own and maintain half of the roads in the state. Currently, counties only receive a portion of the motor fuel tax funds from the state to fund their own road departments.
 
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Hampton said while electric vehicles account for less than 1% of vehicles in Kentucky, and the initial revenues from an electric vehicle tax would be small, that number is expected to grow. 
 
“Automakers that account for roughly a quarter of the global auto sales in 2019, including Ford GM, Volvo and Mercedes, announced earlier this month that they will all work toward phasing out sales of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles by 2040 worldwide,” Hampton said.
 
Sen. Michael J. Nemes, R-Shepherdsville, asked if there had been a discussion about not establishing a separate electric vehicle tax and implementing just one “usage tax” instead. 
 
Jim Henderson, KACo executive director and CEO, said ultimately, KACo would like to see counties receive more money to take care of roads and bridges.
 
“As Shellie mentioned earlier, there are projections that as many as 30% of the cars that will be sold new by 2030 will be electric,” Henderson said. “So whatever we do, we really can’t wait much longer to start thinking about an alternative funding source for transportation.”
 
As of 2 p.m. Monday, no bills relating to an electric vehicle tax or fee had been pre-filed by any lawmakers. The Kentucky General Assembly cannot take any action on any proposed legislation until the 2022 legislative session begins on Jan. 4

State Rep. Rachel Roberts elected to national women’s legislative board


State Representative Rachel Roberts (D-67th) has been elected to the Executive Board of the Women's Legislative Network of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

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The Women’s Legislative Network is the active, vibrant and respected organization dedicated to promoting the participation, empowerment, and leadership of women legislators in the 50 states and the U.S. territories. There are currently 2,259 women serving in state legislatures across the country.  Every female legislator is a member of the Network by virtue of her service, and the organization is governed by a bipartisan, regionally-balanced board of 15 directors.

The Network sponsors informational policy forums and training workshops on topics of interest to women legislators and hosts networking events for women legislators at NCSL meetings. Recent Network programming has addressed the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, women’s leadership, women in the workforce, STEM education and human trafficking.

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

Rep. Roberts was elected November 4 at the Women’s Legislative Network annual business meeting during the NCSL Legislative Summit in Tampa.  She will serve as a regional member.

"It is a real privilege for me to serve on the board of the Women's Legislative Network," Rep. Roberts said. “I look forward to working with women leaders throughout the country and the world as together we face the challenges of an ever-changing global economy and society.”

The Executive Board of the Women's Legislative Network is made up of a president, president-elect, vice president, past president, eight regional members and two at-large members.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Newport executive search firm names new President

Mike Sipple Jr. 

Centennial Executive Search announces the promotion of Marcus Gardner from Chief Growth Officer to President.  

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Gardner joined Centennial earlier in 2021 at Chief Growth Officer and has repeatedly proven his strategic prowess and strong discernment for business growth and vision.  He joined Centennial with a lengthy history of delivering results by caring for and empowering people to do their best.  These traits continue to be pillars of his leadership, which make him an obvious choice for assuming the role of President at Centennial.  

Marcus Gardner is the new President of Centennial Executive Search.
  
Centennial is a family business, established in 1975, and owned by Mike and Susan Sipple and Mike Sipple Jr. Together, the Sipples have been on a succession journey to ensure the on-going success of their executive search business. This journey really got started in 2008, when Mike Sr. and Mike Jr. enrolled in the Goering Center’s program, Next Generation Institute. Through this incredible and thorough succession program Mike Jr. and Mike Sr. were able to evaluate their future and determine what was best for the business AND their families.

The Sipples recognize and fully embrace the fact that you need great support and resources to have a healthy succession.  Mike Sipple Jr. states it plainly, “Going at it alone is not the recipe for success.”  The Sipples have seen the results of good successions and very poor successions.  There was no doubt that a program like the one the Goering Center offers was the only way to come through the process without creating great pain for the family and business. 

Along with the Goering Center, many Centennial team members have played a huge role in the support and forward momentum of this succession. Many employees have stepped into greater leadership roles and new people were added to secure an outstanding team that is unified in their vision for the future. 

A clear strategic plan is key to finding the right people to lead your organization. The Sipples have been very intentional about finding the right leaders to reach their company’s long-term objectives. This is the same philosophy that drives their executive search activity.  Not just anyone will take your organization where you want to go.  The right people are necessary for future success.  

When Marcus Gardner was introduced to Centennial, his emotional intelligence and expertise were clear marks of a leader that Centennial needed, to execute the vision. As business owners, the Sipples had a vision, but they recognize that it takes the right team to execute that vision.  



Mike Jr. shares his confidence. 

“We’ve allowed the plan to unfold while finding the right leaders to reach our long-term objectives.  Seeing the plan being executed is very exciting. Our current team is extraordinary, and we’re poised to add extra talent and leadership to achieve our vision.”

Serving their clients has been a driving force for being proactive in the Sipples succession plan.  Their desire to continue Centennial’s high level of excellence and treat everyone with care is something they did not want to lose during the leadership transition.  Gardner has the character they were looking for.  

Mike Sipple Sr. and Mike Sipple Jr. expressed optimism in the announcement and promotion of Gardner. 

“Marcus has the heart for the work we do as well as the desire and experience to grow and scale. He will do this in a manner that will honor our strengths and build on our growth opportunities.”

FUEL NKU hosting Thanksgiving dinner for NKU community


Northern Kentucky University’s on-campus food pantry, FUEL NKU, will host its fourth annual Friendsgiving Celebration, inviting NKU students, faculty and staff for a community Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 22, 2021 in the James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union.

Since 2013, FUEL NKU has provided food and essentials to students in a compassionate, confidential and safe environment, and this remains true even when the university is closed for holidays.

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“We understand the last several months have been challenging for many folks at our university,” FUEL NKU Program Coordinator Nick Bliven said. “The FUEL NKU team hopes to provide a nourishing meal and a supportive environment for the campus community, especially with the holiday season approaching.”

With nearly 200 people expected to attend the Friendsgiving Celebration, community partners are joining FUEL NKU to host the feast on NKU’s campus. The Kroger Co. will contribute the turkey, while Busken Bakery will donate pumpkin pies. 

Chartwells, NKU’s external food services partner, pitched in to cover an array of side items and necessary table-setting items such as side dishes, tableware and drinks. In addition to the food, The Care Closet at NKU will provide coats, hats, gloves, and scarves for students as well.

What: FUEL NKU’s Friendsgiving Celebration Dinner
When: Nov. 27, 6-8 p.m. Check-in begins at 5:30 p.m.
Where: The H. Gordon and Thelma Martin Ballroom inside the James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union

The Friendsgiving Celebration dinner is open to all NKU students, faculty and staff. There is no cost to attend the event, but attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable item to donate to FUEL NKU. For more information, visit the event page on Facebook.

For more general information about FUEL NKU, visit its website.

🚨 Heads up: Clay Wade Bailey Bridge Lane Closure Scheduled

Unsplash: Clay Wade Bailey Bridge.


KYTC District Office would like to advise motorists that on Monday, Nov. 22, there will be a lane closure on the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge so that crews can work on the navigation lighting. The work will take place during the hours of 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

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Motorists should watch for crews, equipment and lane closures in the work zone.  This work is weather-dependent. 

Motorists can get Northern Kentucky road construction updates on District 6 Road Report.  Follow KYTC District 6 on our Facebook page at KYTC District 6 or on our Twitter page at KYTC District 6.  For Kentucky’s latest traffic and travel information, visit GoKy or navigate traffic by downloading the free Waze app at WAZE



Thursday, November 18, 2021

Sam Vinson leads NKU over Eastern Michigan, 74-73

#LINKAthlete, Sam Vinson, an NKU freshman led the way for the Norse. 

The Northern Kentucky men’s basketball team rallied to overcome Eastern Michigan in a nail biter at BB&T arena, 74-73. With the win, NKU improves to 2-1 on the year, while EMU slides to 1-2. 

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STAT LEADERS
·         Sam Vinson led the Norse in the scoring column, totaling 17 points. He went 4-of-5 (80 percent) on threes. 
·         Adrian Nelson notched a double-figure game and totaled 16 points. He went 8-of-9 (89 percent) from the field and added seven rebounds. 
·         Chris Brandon went contributed 11 points. He also had five rebounds, one steal and one block. 
·         Bryson Langdon led NKU in the assist column with a total of four. He had five rebounds and went 3-of-4 (75 percent) from the field goal. 
 
TURNING POINT 
·         With 13:31 left in the second half, the Norse were determined to close up the scoring gap after being down for quite some time. Vinson secured a free throw which set off a chain reaction of scoring that led to the Norse tying up the game, 42-42. From that point forward, it was a tightly contested game and set it up for Langdon’s game-winner with just seconds remaining. 



 
FIRST HALF SUMMARY  
·         David BΓΆhm buried a 3-pointer only two minutes into the game, the Norse had their first lead of the night, 5-2. 
·         With a crowd roaring slam dunk, Nelson recorded his first basket of the night. Less than a minute later, Nelson followed it up with a layup that was assisted by Marques Warrick. 
·         Vinson made a huge splash from beyond-the-arc and was assisted by Trevon Faulkner. 
·         With 9:00 left to go in the half, Warrick hit a pair of free throws to put the Norse back in the lead by one point, 17-16. 
·         EMU used a 13-1 run to grab control of the half. 
·         Off the fast break, Nelson pulled down the offensive rebound and secured a putback to help stop the bleeding. 
·         Vinson then came in clutch with the assist to Nelson, giving him his second alley-oop of the night, but Northern Kentucky trailed 35-24 at the break. 
·         NKU shot just 30 percent (9-of-30) from the field, while EMU made 52 percent (15-of-29). 
 
SECOND HALF SUMMARY  
·         In the first 15 seconds of the half, Trevon Faulkner’s jumper found the bottom of the net.  
·         Coming in hot at the 16:25 minute mark, Hubertas Pivorius nailed a three-pointer. The Norse were still down but cut into the lead, 39-33. 
·         Vinson sunk his first free throw at the 13:31 mark and on his second attempt, Brandon pulled down the offensive rebound. Brandon was fouled on the attempted putback and converted both free-throws, which put the Norse within three. 
·         Northern Kentucky underwent a 6-0 scoring run, capped by Vinson’s free throw to tie up the game at 42. 
·         While the teams toggled lead changes, a layup by Brandon put the Norse back on top, 63-62. 
·         Remaining on fire, Vinson left a mark from behind-the-arc with 1:59 left in the game and 47 second later he secured a lay-in to put NKU ahead, 69-68. 
·         The lead changes continued with EMU scoring only to see Pivorius respond with a three and push the Norse back in front, 72-71. 
·         With 13 ticks on the clock, the Eagles scored, but this time Langdon answered. He drove the length of the floor and converted a contested layup with just seven seconds left. 
·         Langdon then closed the game with a rebound on Eastern Michigan’s final attempt. 
 
 
GAME NOTES  
·         The Norse outscored the Eagles 50-38 in the second half. They went 6-of-10 (60 percent) from behind-the-arc and 18-of-31 (58 percent) from the field in the last 20 minutes of play.  
·         Northern Kentucky erased an 11-point second-half deficit. The last time NKU did that was on Jan. 2, 2021, when it came from 11 down with 16 minutes to play, winning 70-68. 
·         NKU had 36 points located in the paint and 24 off of second chance opportunities.  
·         At the three-point line, NKU 8-for-17 (47 percent) which is its highest for the season.  
·         Northern Kentucky’s bench was phenomenal for the night totaling 26 points. 
 
UP NEXT  
The Norse will compete in their fourth regular-season home game at BB&T Arena on Monday, Nov. 22, against Western Illinois. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN+ and heard on The Project. 

Fort Thomas Welcomes Two New Police Officers

Fort Thomas Police Chief Casey Kilgore introduced two new police officers, Tyler Laffin and Alex Hall. Both come to the department with solid police experience.

 

by Robin Gee

At the November city council meeting, Fort Thomas Police Chief Casey Kilgore introduced two new police officers, Robert Alex Hall and Tyler James Laffin. Each was sworn in at the meeting.

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"Alex Hall comes to us with approximately six years of police experience here in Kentucky, most recently with the Nicholasville Police Department," said Chief Kilgore. "Tyler Laffin comes to us with approximately four years of police experience with the Lexington Police Department."

Both officers come with good experience and training, said the chief, and "both had already been selected by their previous employers to serve on specialized teams, which is a big honor in our profession," he added.

“Both did great throughout the process, and we are fortunate to attract just talented individuals to serve Fort Thomas!”

The pair were welcomed by Mayor Eric Haas and council.


Economic Headlines Look Good for NKY, But Local Experts Advise Caution

A presentation to NKY Chamber members focused on the regional economy. From left to right: NKY President and CEO Brent Cooper, Janet Harrah of NKU and John Augustine of Huntington Bank.

by Robin Gee

Although it looks like the region is on the road to a full recovery, experts warn that the situation in Northern Kentucky, and across the country, may be more complex — and more volatile — than it seems.

"Yes, the economy is recovering, and yes, we expect that to continue into 2022; however, although the headline numbers look really good, if you look a bit below the surface you can see that there are large pockets of weakness in our regional economy," said Janet Harrah, one of two local economic policy experts who recently addressed members of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce as part of its "Eggs 'N Issues" series.

Harrah is the executive director of Outreach and senior director, Center for Economic Analysis and Development, with the Haile/US Bank College of Business at Northern Kentucky University. She was joined by John Augustine, chief investment officer at Huntington Bank, to discuss what is happening in our regional and national economy and what may be on the horizon in the year ahead.

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"Looking at this kind of data, from both a regional and national perspective, is invaluable for the business community," said Brent Cooper, president and CEO of NKY Chamber. "We’re all dealing with workforce and supply chain issues, as well as rising inflation."

In particular, the labor shortage has had a big impact on the Northern Kentucky economic outlook and presents challenges on the road to recovery, he noted.

Looking at the jobs market in Northern Kentucky

Fortunately, our region has had a long history of doing slightly better than the national economy in terms of jobs and unemployment, said Harrah, and that should continue. In fact, we are expected to add 3.5% more jobs in 2022, and the unemployment rate in Northern Kentucky is expected to be 3.7% compared to 4% for the nation in 2022. Yet, she said, we are facing challenges and uncertainty on the road ahead.

"Even as the number of employment rises and the unemployment rate falls, the number of people participating in the labor force in the MSA has plunged," she said. MSA stands for the Cincinnati Metropolitan Statistical Area, basically, the Greater Cincinnati region. 

 



"Today there are 35,300 fewer people in the MSA labor market than there was in 2019, so the labor market has shrunk by 3% in 18 months, that’s a huge decline," said Harrah.

She shared a disturbing national statistic as well. The national "quit rates" came out recently showing that 3% of Americans dropped out of the labor force this September alone.

Harrah said there is unevenness when it comes to jobs in the region. While some industries, most notably hospitality and leisure, have experienced drastic job losses, some industries, such as professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, and healthcare have added jobs. 

In Northern Kentucky, we’ve also suffered a loss of almost 10,000 manufacturing jobs.  Some of the local job losses in the government sector (down 6,700) can be attributed to the closing of the IRS facility in Covington, yet, she said, there are losses in local city and county government as well. 

 

Changes in the job market in our region show the uneven impact of the pandemic. Click to enlarge.
 

 Dueling Narratives

"At first blush, Kentucky economic data looks good. It looks like its recovered to pre-pandemic levels BUT only because of substantial federal support to individuals," Harrah said.

She noted that there are "dueling narratives" about several aspects of the economy right now. On the surface, the economy does appear to be rebounding — the good numbers are going up and the bad ones (unemployment rate, for instance) appear to be going down. Yet, scratch the surface, she said, and there are weaknesses.

She used personal income in Kentucky as an example. The headline numbers say personal income in the state is up, but much of that recovery is bolstered artificially.

She presented a chart that looked at personal income in Kentucky by quarter. A dip in the second quarter of 2021 shows where federal support to individuals started to be withdrawn. Without that support, personal income would be much lower, she said.

"From first quarter 2020 through second quarter of 2021, 6% of Kentucky’s personal income was from pandemic programs, totaling more than $77.3 billion."

A look at personal income shows how much federal support programs bolstered the numbers.
Click to enlarge. 

 Biggest Threat: Inflation

"The biggest risk I see is inflation...I’m not sure that anyone can predict with any certainty what is going to happen with inflation, with prices over the next 12-18 months. A lot of it depends on what happens with the supply chain," said Harrah.

"The experts at the Federal Reserve have been telling us for more than a year that this is just transitory and nothing to worry about, but I am not so sure I agree with that. We have not seen sustained levels of inflation above the 3% mark for more than 40 years. So, the millennials in the room have lived their entire lives in an environment where inflation was never greater than 3%. It’s currently double that at 6%." 

At 6%, inflation is the highest it's been in more than 40 years. Click to enlarge.


The effects of inflation are being felt in Northern Kentucky and across much of the nation already, she said. "October CPI [consumer price index] numbers have shown price hikes across a broad array of goods and services. Rents are rising substantially, vehicles, gasoline, medical care. These are the everyday purchases consumers feel first."

Harrah continued, "We are seeing hikes in nominal wages, and that’s good, but adjusted for inflation, these increases are not keeping up with rising prices. Commodity prices will go up and down so once the supply chain clears we expect food and gas to normalize. However wages, rent and health care costs rarely ever come down."

Consumer prices are not the only thing driving inflation, Harrah said. In addition there is also monetary inflation, which involves too much cash supply, and asset price inflation, the rise in the price of assets such as real estate, precious metals and stocks. We're currently experiencing all three types of inflation, she said.

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That nagging supply chain issue

Getting control over the Covid-19 virus is a key factor in the ongoing supply chain crisis, said Augustine.

"The world is recovering unevenly. We are lucky in this country to have Pfizer and Moderna. The rest of the world doesn’t. We would say, part of the supply chain being upside down right now is that many economies are being locked down...They were closing ports in China this summer because of the virus...Getting the virus tamped down would be the greatest help...Right now the epicenter is in Europe due to an uneven vaccination process."

Harrah noted that the United Kingdom and Europe are expected to have significant challenges with energy costs this winter, and the word is out that China has asked its people to stock up on food perhaps in anticipation of another shut down. All this puts pressure on an already stressed supply chain here and abroad, she said. 

Cooper said the NKY Chamber has been making this point about the connections between health and the economy. "Good health is good business," has become a motto for the organization highlighting the correlation between healthy people and a healthy economy.

Looking ahead in Northern Kentucky

The forecast for growth and jobs in our region looks good but caution is the word.
Click to enlarge. 

Summing up, Cooper said, "Both Janet and John did a wonderful job providing context, and a better understanding, of how we got here and where we’re headed. One big takeaway from me was regarding talent. Today reiterated the point that we are in a battle for talent nationally and internationally, and our business community is going to have to focus on growing, attracting and retaining talent if we want our Northern Kentucky metro region to continue to grow and thrive."

The next installment of the Eggs ‘N Issues series will be “Eggs ‘N Issues: Looking Forward to 2022 on Tuesday, December 14. The NKY Chamber website has more information about the event and about membership in the organization.