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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

First of two Honor Flights returns to CVG today, after being postponed last year by COVID

Honor Flight. FTM file. 

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Tri-State veterans and their guardians will return to CVG Airport to take the first Honor Flight in two years today.

Honor Flights had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but is back in full swing for these veterans to see their memorials and participate in ceremonies that honor their service to their country.

Learn more.

The flight departed at 7:30 a.m. and will arrive back at CVG at 8:35 p.m. Over 180 passengers were expected on the American Airlines chartered flight.

Honor Flight Tri-State’s sole mission is to fly veterans 65+, who served stateside or overseas, to their memorials in Washington, D.C. at no cost. All veterans traveling on this flight are from the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana area.

The trip includes visits to the World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Iwo Jima, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the US Air Force Memorial and other Washington D.C. sights.

The flight was preceded by bagpipes from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, a TSA color guard ceremony and other special remarks in the Welcome Point area on the Lower Level of CVG Terminal building.

Everyone on the trip was masked according to federal mandate.

The return flight to CVG will be on an American Airlines chartered flight. Each veteran is accompanied by a guardian.

This is the first of two Honor Flight Tri-States of the year. The second will be Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

To contribute or volunteer for Honor Flight Tri-State, please visit

Update: Fort Thomas Passes Tax Rates, Golf Cart Change on Hold

The city Law, Labor and License Committee met before the September 20 council meeting to consider a proposed change to the golf cart ordinance but decided not to recommend at this time. L to R: Connie Grubbs, Adam Blau, Jeff Bezold and CAO Ron Dill. 

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by Robin Gee, city council beat editor

Fort Thomas City Council met for a second meeting this month on September 20, designed primarily to provide a second reading in September for the proposed tax rate for Fiscal Year 2021-22.

Council passed the rate, which has not changed since 2019. It remains at $3.97 per $1,000 of valuation. Since this is not a year in which all properties are assessed unless there is a sale, most property owners can expect to pay the same as last year.


At the last council meeting, Mayor Eric Haas said the decision to keep the rate steady was made to provide some relief for homeowners affected by the pandemic economy.

The only other order of business was a second reading of the ordinance to update an older ordinance outlining the rules for chair and table placements for outdoor dining.

Both ordinances passed.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Council Holds Tax Rate Steady, Updates on City Projects

The golf cart question

It was expected that council might see a first reading of an amendment to the city’s golf cart ordinance passed in 2019. The Law, Labor and License Committee, which includes Connie Grubbs (chair), Ben Pendery and Ken Bowman, discussed the proposal to lower the driving age for the golf carts from 19 to 16 at their last meeting and decided to table it to give them more time to research the issue and speak with residents.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Council Committee Tables Golf Cart Amendment for Further Review

The committee met again just before the council meeting and decided not to recommend the item at this time. Yet, it was clear from their discussion they plan to revisit the issue.

Since their last meeting, the committee members spoke with community members and school officials, and reported a mixed response. Because there were still safety concerns and some hesitancy, the committee decided to put the issue aside for now.

Council member Pendery suggested they might consider a compromise position on the subject, perhaps permitting a 16-year-old to drive but under certain conditions, such as with a parent or older individual.

The mayor agreed and suggested other possible conditions such as grade point average and driving record.

Pendery also suggested they revisit the issue before next summer so that, if it passes, those affected would have the opportunity to enjoy the warmer driving season.

In Other Words: Celebrate Car Free Day September 22 at the Farmers Market

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Car Free Day is an international event celebrated every September 22 where people are encouraged to get around without cars. People are encouraged to ride their bikes or ride public transportation, carpool, vanpool, walk, or telecommute. This is the first year that Car Free Day is celebrated in the Greater Cincinnati area and Fort Thomas plans to participate. 

The annual celebration began in the mid-1990s as a way to raise environmental awareness regarding transportation and is now celebrated in over 3,100 cities in over 50 countries. Some cities organize parties, encourage bike picnics, or even running errands using your bike. The key benefit is a day with less traffic congestion, a greener environment, and reduced energy use. And as we saw last year during the lockdown, there was noticeable  uptick in air purity when there were fewer cars on the road.

You may even have noticed an increase in the number of students cycling to and from school as well as a number of organized rides through the city. You don’t need a high-tech bike and you don’t need the clothes or special shoes. All you need is a bicycle to enjoy the health benefits. Just get on your bike and take a spin around the neighborhood or pedal to a local restaurant or business. Or go to one of the local bike trails at Lunken airport or the Loveland bike trail or A J Jolly park. It’s a pleasant way to see the world and get some exercise.

The Cincinnati Off Road Alliance (CORA) and the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy (FTFC) and bike vendors will display at the Farmers Market on September 22. You will be able to pick up maps outlining local hiking trails. There will also be a community bike ride and a pop-up bike maintenance shop. So be sure to stop by to chat.

Fort Thomas is already a vibrant and energetic community and celebrating  this day only enriches the possibilities. Slow down. Enjoy the view. Help yourself and the planet. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Local cleaning company celebrates 35 years in business

Cheers to 35 years in business for Regal Maid!
(Img provided: Andy Venneman and his mom, Connie Venneman)

Regal Maid is a small, local, second-generation family-owned business that was founded in Fort Thomas in 1986. This year, the company is celebrating its 35 year anniversary! 

Regal Maid is currently owned and operated by Andy Venneman, a 1988 Newport Central Catholic graduate, but it was started by Andy’s parents, Connie, and Dave Venneman, in 1986. 

Andy's parents saw a need for a company-based cleaning service that would be able to meet the increasing needs of the growing dual-working parent environment. Dave had a business background, and Connie was a former teacher. They were stepping out of raising Andy and his brother and were looking for a change and new adventure.

Connie and Dave Venneman, Founders of Regal Maid
(Img provided)

Regal Maid started off as the first Molly Maid franchise in the Northern Kentucky area. In 1989, Andy’s parents were able to separate their ties with Molly Maid and founded Regal Maid as an independent, family-owned business.

Regal Maid’s success and longevity has come from being able to separate themselves from their competition. 

Regal Maid handles the liability, bonding, and worker’s compensation insurance. They also handle the employees’ taxes and social security withholdings. The Regal Maid staff provides the cleaning products to maintain the cleanliness of the customer’s property and strive to have the same cleaning staff service the customer’s home on a regular basis. 

“Our customers and staff like to see the same faces, and our customers like to feel that their homes are being cleaned by individuals, not companies,” said Andy. Some of Regal Maid’s staff have been with the company for 28, 22, 19, 16, 13 years, and some of Regal Maid’s customers have been using the cleaning service for over 34 years.

Regal Maid cleans homes and businesses daily, weekly, alternate weekly, every four weeks or on an 'as needed' basis. They also clean boats, apartments, RVs, and Airbnbs. Their service area is the Boone, Campbell, Kenton counties and the Greater Cincinnati area. Learn more about their cleaning services here.

After 35 years of success, Andy says it's all thanks to the customers. “The only thing we need, is your willingness to let Regal Maid help you with your cleaning wishes", said Andy. "We’ll take care of everything else so you can feel safe and secure.”

Click here to get a free quote from Regal Maid!

Cleaning questions? 

Call Andy Venneman at 859-781-3300 or click here to follow Regal Maid on Facebook and learn more!


Highlands-Ryle Football Highlights ranks best school districts across Kentucky

FTM file. has released their 2022 rankings of the Best School Districts in the state and Beechwood and Fort Thomas Independent Schools are at the top. 

Pittsburgh-based data company Niche builds its ranking based on academic and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education; teacher salaries and rankings; racial and economic diversity; and surveys from Niche users.

With 1,502 students, Beechwood Independent came in at the top spot while Fort Thomas Independent Schools, boasting 3,177 students over five schools, was ranked second. 

Beechwood. FTM file. 

In Northern Kentucky, Campbell County Public Schools, Walton Verona Independent Schools and Boone County Schools were ranked #17, #22 and #24 respectively on the Best District list. Also ranked were Kenton County Public Schools (#53) and Ludlow Independent Schools (#56)

Beechwood and Fort Thomas Independent also were ranked in the top ten for Best Places to Teach, Safest District and Best District for Athletes


Top 25 Schools Districts in Kentucky
#1 Beechwood Independent Schools 
#2 Fort Thomas Independent Schools 
#3 Murray Independent Schools 
#4 Boyle County Schools
#5 McCracken County Public Schools
#6 Pikeville Independent Schools 
#7 Oldham County Public Schools 
#8 Russell Independent Schools 
#9 Hazard Independent Schools 
#10 Elizabethtown Independent Schools 
#11 Bowling Green Independent Schools
#12 Harlan Independent Schools 
#13 Corbin Independent Schools
#14 Burgin Independent Schools
#15 Glasgow Independent Schools
#16 Woodford County Public Schools 
#17 Campbell County Public Schools
#18 Pulaski County Public Schools
#19 Fayette County Public Schools
#20 Barbourville Independent Schools
#21 Somerset Independent Schools
#22 Walton Verona Independent Schools
#23 Paintsville Independent Schools
#24 Boone County Public Schools 
#25 Williamsburg Independent Schools 

#53 Kenton County Public Schools 
#56 Ludlow Independent Schools 

Best Places to Teach in Kentucky
#8 Beechwood Independent Schools
#9 Fort Thomas Independent Schools 

Safest Schools Districts in Kentucky
#2 Beechwood Independent Schools 
#3 Fort Thomas Independent Schools 

Best School Districts for Athletes in Kentucky
#4 Fort Thomas Independent Schools 

NKU Awarded $1 Million Federal Grant to Combat Opioid Epidemic

NKU Griffin Hall Center for Informatics. 

Northern Kentucky University received $1 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as a part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program. This initiative was established to reduce the morbidity and mortality of substance misuse by enhancing rural residents’ access to prevention, treatment, and recovery support.

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“This past year, opioid overdose deaths surged across the country, driven by the isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the flood of dangerous fentanyl coming across our borders. Kentucky has tragically suffered one of the worst spikes in overdose deaths in the nation. With today’s federal grant announcement, we are continuing our efforts to reverse this painful trend,” said Senator Mitch McConnell.

“Overdose rates in Kentucky have increased by 53% over the past year - the second- highest increase among all states. Our goal is to help Kentucky’s rural communities overcome many structural healthcare challenges, and it starts with expanding access and recovery services for those battling substance use disorder,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya. “We are grateful for Senator McConnell’s advocacy on behalf of the Commonwealth, and his support of NKU as we develop a deeper culture of health for the region.”

In 2019, NKU was awarded a similar $1 million grant to help Owen County residents. The current funding allows the university to maintain its expansion into Carroll County. NKU will be supporting the efforts of 12 NKU faculty and staff and one graduate research assistant on the project, as well as continuing partnerships with St. Elizabeth Healthcare, NorthKey Community Care, Carroll County Schools, Three Rivers District Health Department, NKYADD, Triad Health and the Life Learning Center, to help Carroll County overcome many of their structural healthcare challenges.

NKU, with its collaborators from across northern Kentucky, is the only university in the Commonwealth to have received this award. The university’s Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) has spent the three years working in communities greatly impacted by the crisis.
The Institute for Health Innovation has previously worked in Owen and Carroll counties to address the opioid pandemic. In 2020, it received a grant to initiate new activities and support existing initiatives to strengthen evidence-based community-level opioid overdose prevention activities, and enhance public safety, public health and behavioral health collaborations.

Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Honors Phil Schworer with Community Award

Brent Cooper, NKY Chamber President and CEO, presents Phil Schworer with the NKY Community Award at Business After Hours on Thursday, Sept.16, at Boone County Distilling Company.

The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (NKY Chamber) honored Phil Schworer on Thursday with the NKY Community Award, sponsored by Central Bank.

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NKY Chamber President and CEO Brent Cooper presented Schworer, who recently retired as an attorney at Frost Brown Todd, the award during Business After Hours, a networking event that focuses on bringing together members and future members of the NKY Chamber to develop professional relationships. The event was held at Boone County Distilling Company in Independence, Ky. 

Schworer served the Northern Kentucky community both as a volunteer on various boards and as an attorney in the Florence, Ky., office of Frost Brown Todd, where he specialized in environmental law. Schworer was a long-time volunteer for the NKY Chamber, serving on the Board of Directors for six years, and, most recently, as a member of the finance committee. He led the NKY Chamber’s Total Resource Campaign, served as Treasurer of the Board and was a leading voice for the business community regarding environmental issues. 

“We are proud to present Phil Schworer with the NKY Community Award,” Cooper said. “For several years, Phil has supported the NKY Chamber’s mission and initiatives as a member of the board while also serving on several committees. Many don’t realize it, but Phil’s efforts behind the scenes helped Northern Kentucky get rid of the ‘Reformulated Gas Requirement,’ which saves our community millions of dollars each year. We are pleased to honor his work and wish him well in retirement.”   

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Ryle Overpowers Highlands in Fort Thomas

Bluebirds Battled Raiders Entire Game

PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands sophomore wide receiver Mateo Matteoli dives into the end zone in the fourth quarter against Ryle.

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The Highlands Bluebirds football team may have been overmatched in this home game particularly in the trenches.

But Highlands (3-2 overall) still found itself in the game in the fourth quarter. But the Bluebirds could not take advantage of the opportunity in a 27-13 loss to the Ryle Raiders (4-1) in non-district play.

"We just have to keep working," said Bob Sphire, Highlands Head Coach. "That was one of those games where Ryle clearly deserved to win. I give (the Raiders) all the credit in the world. I'm a big believer that if you just keep working hard, good things are going to happen. We're playing against really good football teams. We just have to stay the course. Nobody needs to panic. The good thing is our kids never quit. They never disintegrated into anything into anything that resembled a lack of team. Nothing fixes this except just continuing to work the plan and we're going to do that."


Ryle put up 405 yards of total offense on 86 plays for an average of between four and five yards per play. Highlands had 240 yards offensively on 48 plays for an average of five yards per play. The Raiders had 28 first downs to eight for the Bluebirds.

Senior running back Nathan Yowan led the Raiders with 14 carries for 98 yards for an average of seven yards per carry. Sophomore quarterback Logan Verax completed 21-of-33 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Gavin Ruark had a team-high six catches for 130 yards.

"Ryle is a phenomenal football team and I think they're extremely underrated in 6A," said Hayden Sphire, Highlands Offensive Coordinator. "I think they're going to be one of the teams in contention for a state championship. That doesn't mean that we played well. I didn't think we deserved to be in that game in the fourth quarter at all. We were fortunate enough to be. We have to learn to take advantage of those opportunities. You could tell the size and strength differences. Nobody said it was going to be a quick fix here. But I'm proud of the way our kids continued to fight throughout the game. That is Highlands football. It's a loss. But if we learn how to build off losses, it's going to be good for us in the long run."

Highlands junior quarterback Charlie Noon once again led Highlands completing 10-of-23 passes for 174 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Sophomore wide receiver Mateo Matteoli led the Bluebirds with three catches for 78 yards.

The Bluebirds had to make some adjustments without some key players offensively. Sophomore 6-foot-5-inch wide receiver Brody Benke could not play for the second straight week and senior speedy wide receiver Jacob Welch was also not able to play. Welch leads the Bluebirds with 19 catches for 322 yards and two touchdowns.

"We have to find guys who can make plays and I thought we did (Friday),"
Hayden Sphire said. "Mateo Matteoli stepped up and made a few plays. (Sophomore) Carson Class plays both ways. He gets gassed. We have to manage that a little bit better. (Senior) Oliver Harris is still dinged up. Hopefully, he's back 100 percent next week and will be ready to go. (Senior) Clayton Lloyd is steady. We just have to put the pieces together. We'll get there."

The Raiders drove into Highlands territory on the first possession. But a penalty forced them to punt.

Neither team scored in the first quarter. But the Raiders pounded the ball between the tackles with their huge offensive line led by the liked of junior Drew Dickerson and Yowan scored from a yard out 32 seconds into the second quarter to put the Raiders up for good at 6-0 after a failed two-point conversion pass.

Ryle went up 13-0 after Verax found junior wide receiver Kaden Gardner for a 12-yard touchdown with 6:07 left in the second quarter. After senior placekicker Summer Denigan made the point-after kick for the Raiders, she tried an onside kick. But Highlands sophomore Carson Shelton pounced on it at the Ryle 48.

The Bluebirds struck for a big play with five minutes left in the half. Noon found Class streaking down the right sideline for a 37-yard touchdown reception. The two-point conversion pass failed leaving Ryle up 13-6.

"We came out of the gate and did some good things," Bob Sphire said. "I think that's great because that shows that we can beat anybody on any given night. But at the same time, we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of young kids that are playing. Nobody's going to panic."

But Ryle responded with another long and sustained drive. The Raiders finished it when senior Gabe Savage scored from four yards out to put Ryle up 20-6 at halftime.

The Raiders seemed to put the game away on the first drive of the second half. Junior Lukas Colemire found fellow junior Jayce Harden for a 7-yard touchdown pass with 8:05 left in the quarter to put Ryle up 27-6.

But the Bluebirds clamped down on the Raiders after that. Senior linebacker Jackson Higgason batted out a potential touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.

Highlands stuck again in the fourth quarter. Noon found Matteoli for an 18-yard touchdown on the left sideline and junior kicker Davis Burleigh made the PAT to make the final score.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Bret Michaels Returns to Fort Thomas' Merchants & Music September 25

Bret Michaels performing at the 2015 Merchants & Music Festival. He returns this year to headline the 2021 festival. 

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by Robin Gee

After a hiatus last year due to Covid concerns, the Merchants & Music Festival is back, and with it, headliner musician Bret Michaels returns as promised. The festival is set for Saturday, September 25, in Tower Park, starting with a Kids’ Zone at 2 p.m. with music from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Michaels vowed to return this year after his appearance and the festival itself were cancelled in 2020. This will be the 16th year for the event that will also feature the return of several other acts including David Tucker, Borderline and Fort Thomas’ own The Leftovers. The after-party will feature returning band Mad Costanza.
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"We are very excited to be able to host Merchant’s & Music this year," said Mayor Eric Haas. "It is a great way for folks to enjoy an afternoon and evening of entertainment and experience the wonderful aspects of Tower Park."

Excitement running high

Katie Walters, a Fort Thomas native and owner of Katie Walters Events & Entertainment, will emcee the event. She has been involved with Merchants & Music from the beginning and said she is excited to be back this year.

"I have worked in front of and behind the scenes at Merchants & Music since its inception at the Tower Park Amphitheater. I help book the bands and emcee the event, so it’s very personal to me," Walters said. "I am so proud to be part of a team that brings our community together for such a great celebration. It has evolved and grown over the years to a 'must attend' event for all ages."

She also took the opportunity to thank the community and those working to bring the event to Fort Thomas. "The support the fest has received has been amazing. Thank you to the Fort Thomas Renaissance Board and everyone who has contributed and continues to contribute to its success."

Chanda Calentine is the new head of the Renaissance Board, joining the city as economic development director in July. "The event is going to be fantastic. We’ll have some of our local businesses participating, and some of our longtime vendors are coming back...We are excited to have all five of the bands back...and we’re happy to have St. Elizabeth with us and doing the sponsorship for Bands Against Cancer," she said.

"Overall, the biggest thing, is we’re offering a free event for kids and for the community, and it’s really about bringing everyone together in a safe way while having a blast."

With that said, she said organizers are paying close attention to CDC guidelines and doing all they can do to keep people safe. In addition to adding more porta potties, trash cans and other amenities, they are bringing in 400 bales of hay to help keep people separate and protected.

"We’re following all the protocols to keep people safe so they can truly enjoy the event," Calentine added.

Now open in the Fort! 33 N. Fort Thomas Ave.

Food, fun and the Kids’ Zone

Calentine outlined what’s in store. The free Kids’ Zone, located near the Amphitheater, opens up at 2 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. This year, the Cincinnati Circus will bring stiltwalkers, balloon animal making, face painting and more, she said. Children and the young-at-heart can have fun with yard games, carnival games, inflatables and a visit or two from favorite Disney characters. There’s even a misting area for quick cool down if it gets too hot. 
Merchants & Music, 2018. FTM file. 

Food vendors and trucks open at 3 p.m. There will be a wide variety of choices including pizza, Thai food, barbecue, pretzels, cupcakes — something for every taste, she said.

Sponsors this year are St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Braxton Brewing and First Financial. Proceeds from some of the drink and food sales will go to benefit Bands Against Cancer for the St. Elizabeth Cancer Center.

Midway Cafe will offer a special pink drink with part of the proceeds to benefit the cancer center. Braxton will also donate some of the proceeds from its sales. Grassroots & Vine will serve red, white, prosecco by the glass + Frose’, Sangria and Cocktails. 

Braxton is also partnering with the Fort Thomas Education Foundation to raise money for its programs.

About the bands

Michaels, famed frontman of Poison, is a singer songwriter who has continued his musical career as a solo artist as well as tv personality and actor. He headlined the show in 2015 and made a strong impression on the community, not only at the event but at an offsite visit to the VA Hospital where he took the time to meet with every patient personally.

Country singer David Tucker is originally from Bracken County and now lives in Nashville. He released a well-received debut album this year. He noted on his Facebook page that the Merchants and Music show marks his first full band show since the pandemic.

Borderline (aka Borderline 360) is a Campbell County favorite returning to the stage. The Leftovers are well-known and well-loved in the hometown as well. Mad Constanza is a fun ‘80s era cover band made up of Fort Thomas residents (and Highlands grads) who will round out the night.

Again, the Merchant and Music Festival takes place at or near the Tower Park Amphitheater on Saturday, September 25. The Kids’ Zone is open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., vendors open at 3 p.m. and music runs from 5 p.m. to midnight. The event is free and proceeds from some of the vendors and sponsors will benefit Bands Against Cancer for the St. Elizabeth Cancer Center. The festival is hosted by the Fort Thomas Renaissance Board, the city’s economic development and business support group.

PREVIEW: Highlands takes on Ryle in battle of 3-1 teams

Bluebirds Hope to Bounce Back Against Raiders

PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands sophomore defensive back Ty Boler (2) battles McNicholas junior wide receiver Ben BoBo (6) on Friday.

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The Blue and White put together a dominating performance in the first home game two weeks ago and would like to put out another good showing this week for the home crowd at David Cecil Memorial Stadium.

Highlands welcomes the rival Ryle Raiders of Northern Kentucky's Class 6A, District 6 in a battle of 3-1 teams Friday at 7 p.m. The Bluebirds enter the game coming off a tough 27-21 loss to undefeated Cincinnati McNicholas on the road.

The Bluebirds may have lost to a good team. But they left McNicholas knowing they had three opportunities to take the lead in the second half, but could not capitalize on them. 

Highlands Offensive Coordinator Hayden Sphire said finishing drives comes down to better physicality and execution. The goal is get four yards per play, but five is great. The Bluebirds gained 382 yards on 67 plays against the Rockets averaging 5.7 yards per play.

"We can't start behind the chains," Sphire said. "We did a good job against McNich in the third quarter getting the four and five-yard runs, staying ahead of the chains so we stay in 3rd-and-1. 3rd-and-seven is a little bit more difficult. (It's about) getting positive yards every play and not falling behind the chains."

The Raiders are also a few plays away from being undefeated. The Raiders opened the season with a 24-21 loss in Union to 4-0 Lexington Catholic. But Ryle has limited the last three opponents to seven points each including a 14-7 win at county rival Cooper on Sept. 3. Highlands has outscored opponents, 137-90 for averages of just more than 34 to 22.5 points per game and Ryle has outscored opponents, 124-45 for averages of 31 to just above 11 points per game.

The Bluebirds have put up 633 yards rushing and 938 passing for averages of just more than 158 rushing and 234.5 passing out of their Spread attack. Junior quarterback Charlie Noon leads the way there completing 47-of-71 passes for 696 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. He also has 343 yards rushing on 42 carries for an average of more than eight yards per carry and two touchdowns.

Learn more.

No other Highlands rusher has more than 77 yards on the season. But senior running back Griffin Richter could return this week.

"We hope to execute better than we have been," Richter said. "We just need to get in there, trust the offensive line and just put our heads down and go. We have to keep the legs going and drive forward."

Highlands has seen 12 different players rush the ball. The Bluebirds have shown the propensity to hand the ball off to wide receivers on jet sweeps among other plays.

"I think we found our run game a little bit against McNicholas and we have to continue that," Hayden Sphire said. "We have to continue to get better because it can open up the whole offense. We got a lot more production out of (juniors) Sam Robinson and Adam Dunn. They're going to have a lot of production."

Fourteen different Bluebirds have receptions this year. Senior wide receiver Jake Welch leads Highlands with 19 catches for 322 yards and two touchdowns. But senior wide receiver Clayton Lloyd has 10 catches for 120 yards and a team-high four touchdowns.

"They pick up on stuff really quick. On play calls, I try to make everything pretty easy," Hayden Sphire said. "I try to make sure play calls have a certain letter in them to help players know where to go and on what side the ball is going to. But I don't necessarily have to do that. I introduce something at the start of the day. By the end of the day, we're running it pretty well."

The 3-4 Highlands defense kept McNich off the scoreboard in the second half. The focus this week for the Bluebirds is cutting out the arm-tackling. That hurt the Bluebirds in the first half of the loss at McNicholas.

"It could be the difference between a win and a loss. If we get through the arm-tackling phase, it will be a lot easier on defense. It also takes a lot of pressure off our offense," said Jacob Hudson, Highlands senior defensive lineman. "You can be the only person on the side, have a bad angle and the opponents score. That is the game. Your could have a good angle and take them down."

Highlands Head Coach Bob Sphire said they key is tackle the legs as opposed to going up high where a strong running back can shove defenders off. The coaching staff has worked with the players on techniques such as the gator roll. He pointed out the team had a tackling station in a morning work-out Monday.

"I don't think they've been taught what I'm expecting to be taught. It's a transition," Bob Sphire said. "It's going to take a while to get there. It's just something that I believe in and it's also how much time you spend on it. It's that important so we'll do them at 6 a.m. if that's what we have to do. If we can't get them done at 6 a.m., maybe we'll come in at 5 a.m. and get them done. We're going to become a great tackling football team."

Highlands has allowed 592 yards rushing and 705 passing this year for averages of 148 rushing and just more than 176 passing this year. Senior linebacker Oliver Harris leads Highlands with 18 tackles this year and Dunn is second with 17.

The Bluebirds have two fumble recoveries and four interceptions returning half of each for touchdowns. Sophomore Carson Class and Dunn have one fumble recovery each. Class returned one 30 yards for a touchdown against Simon Kenton.

Robinson has two interceptions including one for a touchdown against Bowling Green. Junior Ryan DeBurger had a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown against Campbell County.

Ryle has put up 743 yards rushing and 662 passing for averages of just under 186 rushing and 165.5 passing. The Raiders are more balanced than they've been in recent years.


The Raiders run a Spread offense with two quarterbacks in junior Lukas Colemire and sophomore Logan Verax. Verax leads the Raiders passing completing 55-of-92 for 648 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. Colemire is one of five Raiders with 105 or more yards rushing on the season with 114 yards rushing on 23 carries and three touchdowns for an average of just under five yards per carry. Verax is second on the team with 137 yards rushing on 33 carries and two touchdowns for an average of just more than four yards per carry.

Junior Jayce Harden leads the Raiders with 171 yards rushing on 28 carries and a touchdown for an average of just more than six yards per carry. Bob Sphire said Colemire and Gabe Savage are not afraid to take on tacklers. Savage has 105 yards rushing on 14 carries and a touchdown for an average of 7.5 yards per carry.

The Raiders have four players with 10 or more catches and four with 120 or more yards catching on the season. Junior wide receiver Kaden Gardner leads the way with 12 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Harden has 11 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

"They're by far the best team we will have played up to now," Bob Sphire said. "They have the best mixture of huge size up front. We've played a few teams that were diverse on offense like McNich. But they're going to make us defend every square inch of the field. But offensively and defensively, they're a real veteran football team."

Ryle has allowed 385 yards rushing and 498 passing for averages of just above 96 rushing and 124.5 passing per game. Savage at linebacker leads the Raiders with 43 tackles on the season with 1.5 tackles for a loss.

The Raiders have four fumble recoveries and four interceptions on the season. Senior defensive back Nathan Yowan has two interceptions to lead Ryle with one pick-six.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Get the perfect fit with Alterations By Frances


Alterations by Frances can help with the perfect fit!

As Autumn gets into full swing, chances are you may need some coats or dress pants altered as cooler weather rolls in. Alterations by Frances can assist with all the adjusting your wardrobe may need to be ready for the next season. 

Alterations by Frances can assist with all of your sewing needs including; repairs, hemming, zippers, tailoring mens' and womens' suits, leather and fur.

No appointments are needed for the above services. 

Bridal appointments do require an appointment. Please call (859) 442-7397 to schedule.

Click here to follow Alterations by Frances on Facebook for more information.

Stressless Charity Event now underway at Best Furniture Gallery

There's never been a better time to experience the comfort of Stressless recliners!

 Best Furniture Gallery, located at 1123 S. FT. Thomas Ave., is hosting a special "Stressless" Charity Event.

Now through October 19th, you can save more than ever before by donating to charity. When you donate $50 to charity, you can take $200 off every sofa seat and up to $400 off select Stressless® recliners.

Be sure to stop by soon to take advantage of this special deal!

Design Services

Not sure where to start when it comes to redecorating your home? The pros at Best Furniture Gallery can help.

Whether you’re looking for a casual dining set to fit your growing family or a sofa to express your unique style, Best Furniture Gallery's Design Consultants can help. Their team understands that your furniture not only needs to look good but it also needs to be suited to how you live.

Their design associates will take the time to understand what you like and what you need. With their long history of helping customers select new home furnishings and accessories, you will feel at ease knowing that they assisted you in making the right design decisions.

In addition to in-store design services, Best Furniture Gallery consultants are happy to come to your home and help you make your selections. The in-home design service is a great value and it will help you finalize those finishing touches in your home.

Best Furniture Gallery is open on Mondays from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Wednesdays are by appointment only. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 pm. Closed on Sundays.

Click here to learn more about Best Furniture Gallery!

Fort Thomas Jewelers taking pre-sale orders for Antwerp, Belgium diamonds

Place an order today for a diamond from the diamond capital of the world!
(Img: Antwerp diamond, Fort Thomas Jewelers)

If you are searching for a truly breathtaking diamond for an engagement ring, wedding ring or some other special piece of jewelry, this is a great opportunity to get a top of the line diamond from Fort Thomas Jewelers.

After canceling the trip three times due to Covid-19, the Fort Thomas Jewelers team is heading back to Antwerp, Belgium for their annual diamond-buying trip. Antwerp is known as the diamond capital worldwide.

Fort Thomas Jewelers is now taking pre-sale orders Now through Saturday, September 18 so move fast! No budget it too big or too small! 

Fort Thomas Jewelers is offering this special opportunity to hand select diamonds exclusively for customers at unbeatable prices since they are buying direct.

As your direct diamond importer in the world's diamond capital, Fort Thomas Jewelers has access to an exceptional selection of diamonds found only in Antwerp. Customers are invited to drop by the store in Highland Heights, text, or call before the team leaves to discuss your specific diamond dreams. 

Let Fort Thomas Jewelers be your personal shopper while in Antwerp! 

To place an order, please call or text (859) 442-0506 or visit the Fort Thomas Jewelers website by clicking here.

(Img: Antwerp diamond, Fort Thomas Jewelers)

Silver Grove Saturday in the Park Festival is this weekend

FTM file. 

A full day of events for all ages will be held this Saturday during the Saturday in the Park festival at Silver Grove's Chief Sayers Park. 

"Silver Grove is an historic, wonderful, charming community that is a great place to visit," said Silver Grove Mayor Neal Bedel. "We invite everyone to come enjoy a great day of events, games, activities, live music, a car show, a vintage baseball game, food, drinks and more." 

Want a Clean House?
Following is the Silver Grove Saturday in the Park schedule of events: 
-5K Run/Walk 9 a.m. 
-Touch-a-Truck 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. on W. 3rd St. 
-Bounce Houses/Kids' Activities 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
-Community Vendors/Information/Martial Arts Demonstration/Food Distribution 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
-Vintage Baseball Game 1 p.m. 
-Four Mile Pig Food Truck 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. 
-Cruise-In 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on W. 3rd St. 
-Live Music by 4 Letter Word 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. 
"As the newest member of Southbank Partners, we know Silver Grove is a true treasure of Northern Kentucky's river cities," said Southbank Partners President Will Weber. "The Saturday in the Park festival is a tremendous opportunity to spend a day with your family and friends and enjoy all the activities that are planned." 

Colonel’s Kitchen to Close at the End of September

Colonel's Kitchen and Catering opened in Fort Thomas in 2018.

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by Robin Gee

In a brief announcement today, the owners of Colonel’s Kitchen & Catering have announced they are closing their doors permanently at the end of this month. 

They are located at 22 N. Fort Thomas Avenue in the Hiland Building. 

Their statement explains the situation: "It is with great sadness we are announcing Colonel’s Kitchen is permanently closing at the end of September. This has been a very difficult decision. The restaurant business is challenging in the best of times, which these certainly are not. We’ve struggled over a year, and it’s time we stop fighting a losing battle."

1013 S. Fort Thomas Ave.  

The restaurant’s owner, De Stewart passed away in 2018 soon after moving his popular Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices to Fort Thomas and opening his restaurant and catering operation, Colonel’s Kitchen and Catering opened in 2018.

The message from the owners went on to thank all for their support. "To our wonderful customers and friends, thank you for your business and support since we opened in 2018. You are the best and we will miss you."