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Monday, September 28, 2020

Fort Thomas Resident Named to Campbell County Library's Board of Trustees

Two new members are joining the Campbell County Public Library's Board of Trustees

The Campbell County Public Library’s Board of Trustees welcomed new members Jessica Schweitzer and Maggie Brown on Wednesday, Sept. 16. They will serve as secretary and trustee, respectively. Their terms officially begin Thursday, Oct. 1, and will expire on Sept. 30, 2024.

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“Jessica and Maggie have both illustrated a great passion for their communities and the services our library system provides,” said CCPL Director JC Morgan. “They are sure to bring unique perspectives and skills to the board as advocates for the Campbell County Public Library.”

A licensed and practicing physician assistant, Brown grew up in Fort Thomas with a great love for the public library. Her background marries the humanities with the sciences: Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Kentucky’s Georgetown College and a Master of Science in Health Sciences and Public Health from George Washington University.

“I believe that this opportunity within the Campbell County Public Library system would be the perfect addition to my foundational desire to maintain a dedicated relationship to my community and the services it provides,” said Brown, who also volunteers with the East Row Historic Foundation and the Junior League of Cincinnati.

Schweitzer of California, KY is well-versed in the ways of the library, having earned a Master’s in Information and Library Science from the University of Kentucky. As a parent of three young children, Schweitzer also frequents the library as a patron and has experienced first-hand the value its services bring not only to her own family but to the community at large.

The current board also includes Tracy Smith, president; Christie Fillhardt, vice president; and Jonathan S. Cullick, treasurer. The board meets at 5:30 pm on the third Wednesday of each month. All board meetings are open to the public. Depending on coronavirus restrictions, the meetings could be on YouTube or in-person. Visit for the most current information.

Exiting the board is former president Cathy Howard and former treasurer Paul Johnson.

“Cathy and Paul have diligently served our library and, in turn, the communities we touch. The departure comes as both end their second four-year term this year,” Morgan said. “We will miss their guidance and insight but rest easy knowing the good hands the board has been left in.” 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Highlands-Boyle County Video Highlights


Highlands-Boyle County Football Game Summary

Rebels Expose Bluebirds in Final District Tune-Up

Highlands senior Jason Noe takes off on a long kickoff return in the second quarter.
(Img: G. Michael Graham)

By G. Michael Graham

The seconds ticked down to 10 at the end of the first half.

The Highlands Bluebirds football team needed something positive to go its way on the drive in an otherwise rugged first half against the undefeated Boyle County Rebels. Sophomore quarterback Charlie Noon rolled right and fired to the right corner of the end zone from 20 yards out. Fellow sophomore wide receiver Brennan Kelsay came down with it with six seconds left in the half for the touchdown and sophomore kicker Davis Burleigh made the extra-point attempt.

That is the lone time the Bluebirds (1-2 overall) finished a drive in not just the game Friday, but the entire two-game series against the Rebels (3-0). Boyle County came into the game ranked second in Class 4A in the latest Associated Press poll. The Rebels won 46-7 after posting a 30-0 win over the Bluebirds in Danville last year.

"We played a great team. When you play a great team, you have to play great. We didn't play great," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "It's real simple. Things get compounded and exposed real quick against a great team. It's frustrating right now."

Friday, September 25, 2020

Fort Thomas Farmers' Market Claims 9th Place in National Contest, Announces Plans to Extend Through December

Great news! The Fort Thomas Farmers' Market is extending through December!

By Lori Greis

Fort Thomas Farmers Market 

We are excited to announce that the Fort Thomas Farmers Market finished 9th in the Nation, 2nd in Kentucky & 4th in the Southeast in the American Farmland Trust 2020 Farmers Market Celebration contest. 

THANK YOU to all in our community who voted, making this possible.

Our outdoor market season is coming to a close, with the final market on September 30th. However, we have BIG NEWS…the Market will move indoors, beginning on October 7th, 2020.

The indoor market will feature vegetables, meat, cheese, bread, wine, baked goods, and canned items. New vendors are being added to round out the selections offered. The December 9th Market will be a Holiday Bazaar, focusing on local, handmade gifts for the holiday shopping season.

The Indoor Market will be held in the Fort Thomas Mess Hall, located on Cochran Avenue in Tower Park. The indoor market will run on Wednesdays, 3:00-6:00 pm, October 7th – December 9th, 2020.

For more information and all the latest Market updates, please check our website.


Will Kentucky Supreme Court Decision Affect Newport Historical Horse Racing Facility?

The Newport Racing & Gaming facility in Newport Shopping Center is set to open next week. It is yet unclear if the recent court ruling against historical horse racing machines will impact it.

By Robin Gee

The answer to the question about the fate of the new gaming facility is uncertain at this point, but a decision announced late yesterday by the Kentucky Supreme Court does put the future of historical horse racing across the state in jeopardy.

The court decided unanimously that historical horse racing machines (HHR) do not meet Kentucky’s constitutional requirement as "pari-mutuel" gaming. Pari-mutuel is a term used to describe the type of betting used in horse racing.

According to the Sports Geek website, "Unlike most other forms of betting, the odds are not fixed. Rather than placing a bet against the race track, like one would with a bookie, horse racing bettors are wagering against each other...A horse racing track takes a minimal commission from all wagers as a fee for handling horse racing bets. It does not collect anything else when a bettor loses." 

RELATED: Newport Racing and Gaming to Open October 2

Churchill Downs cites a technicality

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) issued a brief statement in response to the decision pointing to a technical difference between the machines described in the court case, known as the "Exacta system," and the machines employed in their facilities.

CDI facilities do not use the Exacta system, but the company did acknowledge the impact of the decision on industry, thanking Governor Andy Beshear who expressed support and vowed to work with all involved for a resolution.

The company currently operates two historical horse racing facilities, Derby City Gaming and Oak Grove Racing, Gaming and Hotel with plans underway to open Newport Racing & Gaming October 2.

Ultimately, the issue is a matter for the Kentucky legislature. The governor could call a special session, or the legislature could decide to take up the issue early in its next session.

RELATED: Churchill Downs Shares Details on Historical Horse Racing Facility in Newport

Potential impact on jobs, city revenue

Still, right now there is no news on how and whether that decision will affect the new Newport facility, but officials are bracing for impact.

Newport City Manager Tom Fromme said he had several meetings with company officials but the the case against the HHR machines moving up through the courts was never mentioned. 

At a time when restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities in Newport are struggling, it was not welcome news. "This could have a dramatic impact on us...this is 80 jobs or more. It’s bad timing with all the uncertainty of the pandemic; restaurant business in particular has slowed up, closed down."

The city would not only lose jobs but also the revenue that comes from employee spending, payroll and fees. A loss of the facility would impact the Newport Shopping Center and even have a ripple effect on businesses around it, he said.

An issue for the legislature

Right now there has been no news about what will happen with the Newport facility, if anything. Fromme says Churchill Downs has well over $30 million invested in the facility, as well as all its investment in the two facilities already in operation.

He agreed that the issue must be addressed at the legislative level. Whatever happens, he said, he has confidence in the resiliency of the community. "We are known as fast-paced in Newport. We are used to things changing at the drop of the hat."

Still, he admits this is potential bad news, especially right before the grand opening. For now, city officials can only wait and see what will happen. In the meantime, said Fromme, "We will do everything we can to help Churchill Downs work through this...We hope that Kentucky legislators will take this matter up quickly. Kentucky has a tradition of more than 200 years in horse racing."

'Burkes Outlet' Celebrates Ribbon Cutting in Alexandria


Burkes Outlet is now open in Alexandria. (Img: NKY Chamber of Commerce)

By Jessie Eden

A new home goods store is celebrating its grand opening in Alexandria. 

Burkes Outlet, located at 7115 Alexandria Pike in the Village Green Shopping Center, held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday. The store is best known for its home goods, clothing and outlet-style prices.

Burkes Outlet is the first of a few new businesses to open in the shopping center. 

In July, Alexandria Mayor Andy Schabell announced at a city council meeting that discount tool merchandiser Harbor Freight will also share the space of the former County Market building at 7109 Alexandria Pike with Burkes Outlet. 

Harbor Freight has a tentative opening date planned for October 13.

Burkes Outlet is open Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Learn more about Burkes Outlet here.

Fort Thomas Plans Long Overdue Renovations and More for City Building

Rendering of the design concept of the renovated Fort Thomas city building

By Robin Gee, city council beat editor

Initial design concepts were unveiled this week for renovations and upgrades that will make the Fort Thomas city building more accessible and welcoming for residents and other visitors.

Representatives of Robert Ehmet Hayes & Associates, an architectural and design firm located in Covington and known to residents for their work on Fort Thomas school projects, presented the plans at the meeting.

A new roof, new HVAC, new windows, ADA-compliant restrooms and elevators — a long list of necessary and “deferred” maintenance and renovations will be addressed in a new project to bring the city building, built in 1968, up-to-date. Yet, city officials don’t plan to stop there. The project includes a reconfiguration of the space to make it more user friendly for the public.

"We want the building to be much more of a public-use facility, not just a building that houses city services," said City Administrator Ron Dill.

He explained that updating the building was included as a priority in the city’s Comprehensive Plan update. Officials and staff were aware of maintenance issues, and the renovation plan is meant to address these, but also to re-imagine and reconfigure the space to provide 24-7 accessibility and a much more welcoming interface for the public.

In addition to the updates that will bring aspects of the building into ADA compliance and address major replacements such as a new roof and new HVAC system, the plan is to build a small addition that will provide an entrance at the rear of the building off the parking lot. The new restrooms and elevator will be in that new space.

The front facade of the building will get a makeover as will the lobby area. The goal, said Dill, is to provide a more welcoming space and one that will allow the lobby to be open to the public at all times. 

Drop boxes will be provided for the various departments, and the lobby will provide wifi connectivity and other amenities. The renovation also will provide better meeting space that may be made available to civic groups and for lease for various meetings. 

Design concept rendering of the new back entrance to the Fort Thomas city building.

How much will this cost?

The project is estimated to cost about $5.5 million, but the good news is that the project can be done with no increase in taxes or cuts to the budget, said Dill.

Financing will come from a combination of money saved through refinancing existing debt, a favorable interest rate for new debt and money already in the budget in the Central Business District fund.

This year the city retired its debt on renovations to the police department and is refinancing with the new favorable rates. 

"I feel really good about the bid climate for competitive bids," said Dill. "The bond market is strong, and the interest rate is favorable. We will have the funding that makes this viable."

The city has saved money in recent years by deferring important renovations, but those would have needed to be addressed soon even without a major renovation, said Dill. In fact, the maintenance part of the project takes up about half the overall cost.

A year-long project once it’s started

Now that city officials have had a look at the design concepts, the next step is for the architectural firm to develop more detailed construction plans. City officials will look at these and, if all goes well, the hope is construction bids could go out before the end of this year and be approved in December.

Once the bids are accepted and work actually begins, Dill says it will be about a year-long project with a goal of completion by the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.

The aging building has needed repairs and a facelift for quite awhile, but the current pandemic forcing staff to limit access to the building even more, has highlighted the need for a more accessible space, said Dill.

"I’m excited about the idea of the building, being able to make the building much more of a public use facility as we come out of COVID situations," he added. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Covid-19 Summary for Thursday, September 24

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

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

“Let’s be thinking about what we can do for others at all times during this virus. This is a time that takes more compassion than any in my lifetime, and that’s with every challenge we face right now,” said Gov. Beshear. “Let’s remember that we’ve got to listen to each other and we’ve got to help each other.”

The Governor also highlighted the news that two Louisville Metro Police Department officers shot last night during protests in Louisville are expected to recover. The Governor noted that he was able to speak directly with one officer and a family member of the other.

“We know that the answer to violence is never violence and we are thinking about those two officers and their families,” said Gov. Beshear last night. “Hopefully we can find ways not just to listen to each other, but to hear. Stay safe. We care about each and every one of you.”

Today, the Governor reiterated: “I want to condemn this act of violence in the most stark terms. It is absolutely wrong. We want to make sure that any type of activity or demonstrations remain nonviolent and peaceful. Just one person can mar something that otherwise is done the right way.”

Case Information

As of 4 p.m. Sept. 24, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 64,158 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 745 of which were newly reported Thursday. One hundred and seven of the newly reported cases were from children ages 18 and younger, 20 of which were children ages 5 and under. The youngest was just 6 days old.

“Again, it seems like we are seeing a larger and larger and larger portion of positive cases being our young people,” said Gov. Beshear.

Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported 13 new deaths Thursday, raising the total to 1,137 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

The deaths reported Thursday include a 97-year-old woman from Bell County; an 86-year-old woman from Christian County; a 96-year-old woman from Fayette County; two women, ages 90 and 97, from Jefferson County; an 82-year-old man from Perry County; and four women, ages 62, 84, 89 and 94, and three men, ages 69, 87 and 88, from Warren County.

“The toughest part of today’s report – 13 new deaths. These are 13 individuals whose families will be mourning them. It’s a hard number for any given day; 13 individuals. And not on here is a friend of mine from Northern Kentucky who I just learned about an hour and a half ago had passed away after a multimonth battle with COVID-19,” said Gov. Beshear. “Let’s remember this virus is very, very real and it’s still out there. So let’s make sure that we light our homes up green, we ring those bells at 10 a.m. and that we try to reach out to these families who may be needing help.”

As of Thursday, there have been at least 1,301,407 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was 4.57%, and at least 11,570 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

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

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

Northern Kentucky Soccer Academy Merges with Kings Hammer Soccer Club

Kings Hammer Soccer Club and NKSA to Unify Soccer Operations in Northern Kentucky

NKSA and Kings Hammer Soccer Club join forces in new partnership. 
(Img: NKSA)

Kings Hammer Soccer Club, one of the largest youth soccer programs in the area, announced Thursday that it is expanding its soccer operations in Northern Kentucky with a new partnership with Northern Kentucky Soccer Academy (NKSA).

“With our partnership with Northern Kentucky Soccer Academy, we will unify soccer in the area and create a more diverse player pool,” said Kevin McCloskey of Kings Hammer Soccer Club. “Our Kings Hammer NKY coaches will continue the strong tradition of youth soccer in Northern Kentucky while providing greater visibility for players who want to advance their competitive careers. Bringing together talented coaches and more resource will provide an even stronger soccer environment and culture in this area.”

Wil Cagle, NKSA Director of Coaching had this to say; "I am very excited for NKSA to be joining Kings Hammer. Bringing the top programs, players, and coaches in the Northern Kentucky area together is going to provide tremendous opportunities for growth and development at all levels of play. Our common vision for the future of youth soccer in this area was central to the decision, and I am looking forward to being a part of it."

David Meyer, NKSA President added; “The current operations and leadership at Kings Hammer fit very well with NKSA’s goals and objectives for the continued development of our players and the development of soccer training and game facilities in Northern Kentucky. This is the right time to combine our clubs to unify youth soccer in Northern Kentucky and combine resources for the benefit of both programs.”

In addition to the regionally and nationally recognized Kings Hammer Soccer Academy (KHA), Kings Hammer Soccer Club offers three community programs to service Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky; Kings Hammer Sycamore (Sycamore Township and surrounding areas), Kings Hammer South (Boone County, Gallatin County, Grant County), Kings Hammer Central (Hamilton County, Kenton County, Campbell County and Pendleton County). Additionally, Kings Hammer Bluegrass offers youth soccer programs in central Kentucky.

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Each of the three community locations will offer the following programs:

  • Juniors Program (under 4-under 7 ages) – The Kings Hammer Juniors Program is a player-centered program that offers players the opportunity to develop technical fundamentals, balance/agility/coordination, and most importantly a fun and safe learning environment.
  • Youth Program (under 7-under 10 ages) – The Youth Program is designed for young players that are committed to the sport of soccer. The primary focus of the youth program is player development. Players are placed on age appropriate pools or teams to allow them to develop in the best environment. These appropriate environments are created to develop and challenge each player based on their current ability. Teams are created through the tryout period.
  • Pre-Academy (under 11-under 19 ages) – The Pre-Academy program is designed to provide players with the opportunity to train and prepare for the journey to our Kings Hammer Academy Program. The Pre-Academy also provides the opportunity for players to play other sports or have other interests outside of soccer. This program is designed to be flexible, convenient and affordable.

The Pre-Academy is the pathway to Kings Hammer Academy, which is one of the highest levels of development environments in the region. The Academy Program provides elite level coaching, facilities and competition to its players and teams. Kings Hammer Academy has produced players that have played at the state, regional, national, collegiate and professional levels.

No Property Tax Rate Increase This Year in Fort Thomas — and Trick or Treating Is on!

Trick or Treating is on for Halloween in Fort Thomas from 6 to 8p.m. on Saturday, October 31. Watch for details on additional celebration. Keep safe and have fun!

By Robin Gee, city council beat editor

Halloween (October 31) is happening in Fort Thomas, although it may not look exactly like it has in years past. The holiday falls on a Saturday this year. In normal times, that would be perfect timing for a big celebration, but this year cities are proceeding with caution. 

While plans for a Halloween themed event are underway, the decision has been made that trick or treating will happen from 6 to 8 p.m. in Fort Thomas.

Social distancing, avoiding large crowds and other safety precautions are encouraged. It is Halloween, so mask wearing should not bring much controversy, but, yes, masking up is also encouraged. 

Most of city council voted in favor of the move. Council member Ken Bowman abstained.

City staff is exploring possibilities for a special event that will replace the Jack-o-Lantern walk in the park. They are looking at a drive through event in Tower Park on the Friday before Halloween, but plans are still being ironed out. Watch the Fort Thomas city website for additional details. 

Welcome news for property owners

For the first time in decades, the city of Fort Thomas voted not to take the state’s recommended compensating tax rate plus an allowable four percent increase for the coming year. The tax rate will be frozen at the 2019 rate of $0.397 per $100 valuation of property.

At the September 21 meeting, council voted unanimously to hold the tax rate. With the impact of the COVID-19 and the uncertainty in the economy and people’s lives, members said they would not increase the tax burden for residents.

The city worked on a conservative budget for the coming year, but the initial budget had relied on taking the compensating rate plus the allowable four percent increase as the city has done most years.

At the June meeting to pass the 20-21 Fiscal Year budget, council member Mark Collier voted "no" to emphasize his concerns about increasing taxes at a time when so many residents and businesses were being impacted by the virus.

The city’s Finance Committee worked on the issue throughout the summer with an eye toward avoiding an increase. In August, they recommended not taking the usual increase, stating that the cautious budget and support from the federal CARES Act helped enable the city to forego the increase without causing much disruption with plans going forward.

Property tax bills will be mailed out according to the normal schedule. Payments can be dropped off at the city building, open during the week and on weekends throughout October. Times will be posted on the city website soon.

City administrator’s report

City Administrator Ron Dill reported on several ongoing city projects. The bottom line is that many are well on their way to completion this fall. 

Here’s a quick rundown: 

  • The Shelter Three project is nearing completion. The project includes the shelter itself as well as basketball court and parking lot resurfacing.
  • Resurfacing of parking areas around the Mess Hall are scheduled to be completed in October.
  • For the softball field in Tower Park, upgrade and fencing will also be completed in October

Newport Drainage Projects Planned Along Route 9 in Newport and Newport on the Levee

SD1 Partners with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to Bring Drainage Improvements along Route 9

Two local projects by Sanitation District 1 are about to launch in Newport. These projects will help to improve the flow of storm water in the area.

The first project will take place along Route 9 and last from approximately Spring 2021 to Fall 2021. This project will impact pedestrian traffic on the Fourth Street bridge. 

The second project will take place on Saratoga Street near Newport on the Levee and last until April 2021.

State Route 9 Realignment Project

Sanitation District No. 1 and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) are working together to improve drainage in Newport as part of KYTC’s State Route 9 realignment project.

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The project includes the construction of 388 linear feet of separate storm sewer along Route 9 and extending through the earthen levee to discharge directly to the Licking River. SD1 will construct various access structures and gates to keep the Licking River from backing up into the storm pipe when the river level is elevated.

The partnership allows SD1 to upsize the separate storm sewers within the footprint of the State Route 9 realignment project. The upgrades will accommodate the separation of 197 acres of drainage from the surrounding areas.

By installing long-term sewer upgrades in connection with the road improvement project, KYTC and SD1 will minimize road disruptions while reducing overland flooding and improving water quality.

“This gives SD1 and the City of Newport flexibility to solve future drainage needs, in addition to seeing a combined sewer overflow (CSO) reduction,” said Ralph Johnstone, SD1 chief engineer.

Separating the sewer system will eliminate approximately 10 million gallons of typical-year CSOs, moving SD1 closer to its Clean H2O40 amended consent decree goal of recapturing 85 percent of all typical-year CSO volume by the year 2040.

KYTC will reimburse SD1 for bidding and managing the construction of the storm sewer, estimated to cost $1.77 million. After completion, SD1 will own and maintain the storm sewer.

“Projects like this benefit everyone,” said Bob Yeager, chief engineer of the Covington Division of KYTC. “There’s no reason to tear up the road a second time, and SD1 can increase sewer capacity for growth in the Commonwealth.”

SD1 estimates construction will begin in spring 2021 and continue through fall 2021, pending board approval. The sewer improvements will complete the overall Route 9 road improvement project.

While the earthen levee is excavated, walkers will not be able to use the walkway located on top of the levee to access the Fourth Street Bridge. Signs will be posted.

Separate Storm Water Pipe from Sanitary Sewer Pipe near Newport on the Levee

Sanitation District No. 1 will soon begin work on the final phase of a project to separate storm water pipe from sanitary sewer pipe near Newport on the Levee. 

During this final phase of a project that started in 2018 with the installation of a separate storm water pipe through the earthen levee to the Ohio River, additional storm sewer will be installed along Dave Cowens Drive and Washington Street. This will complete the separation of storm and sanitary sewer pipe along Washington Avenue south to East 9th Street and Saratoga Street south to just past East 7th Street.

Once this final phase is completed, the sewer separation will eliminate 15 million gallons of typical-year combined sewer overflow (CSO) in the area, moving SD1 closer to its Clean H2O40 goal of recapturing 85 percent of typical-year Northern Kentucky CSO volume by the year 2040.

The project, at a total cost of $957,054, will also increase capacity in this area of Newport, improving drainage conditions and reducing the potential for flooding and building backups. The project will also promote redevelopment in the urban corridor by softening storm water management requirements due to the creation of a separate system.

“This separation project is another example of SD1’s commitment to maximizing the impact of our work in Northern Kentucky,” said SD1 Executive Director Adam Chaney. “While accomplishing our Clean H2O40 goals is important, we also regularly look for opportunities to reduce flooding and backups and promote growth and development. This project checks all of those boxes.”

The project is expected to be completed by April 2021.

Highlands-Boyle County Football Preview

Bluebirds Face Big Test Friday

Highlands sophomore quarterback Charlie Noon (1) runs away from Ryle senior linebacker Jackson Belk (42) in the 23-14 Highlands win Friday. Noon has 298 yards rushing on 46 carries and three touchdowns for an average of nearly 6.5 yards per carry rushing on the season. Highlands takes on undefeated Boyle County at 7:30 p.m. Friday. (Img: Ed Harber)

By G. Michael Graham

The final game before district play will be a dandy for the Highlands Bluebirds football team.

Highlands (1-1 overall) comes into the battle with the Boyle County Rebels off a much-needed 23-14 road win over the Ryle Raiders on Friday. The Bluebirds know some things have to improve quickly to pull off the win over the Rebels, who are still rolling with a new head coach.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

KLH Engineers, Safe Ship and Newport Elks Set Up Resource Room for 'The Barracks Project'


Three organizations combined forces to help local veterans as a part of The Barracks Project.

By Jessie Eden

Three organizations are working together to help provide important career resources for local veterans. 

KLH Engineers, Safe Ship, and the Newport Elks are setting up a fully equipped resource room in support of The Barracks Project career assistance program. 

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The "Keep Lending a Hand Community Fund" at KLH Engineers is donating furniture and equipment along with the help of several KLH employees who are volunteering to assist with the cleaning and set-up.

The Newport Elks received a National Elks Spotlight Grant to help with purchasing additional items needed and they also have volunteers helping. 

Safe Ship is moving and installing the donated items at a discounted rate while also donating their services.

These combined efforts will provide local veterans with a free resource for assistance with the following; resume building, job searches, interview skills, clothing, and help signing up and taking classes at Gateway Community and Technical College. 

Beshear Provides Covid-19 Update, Responds to Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Report

Gov. Beshear Provides Update on COVID-19

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

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

The Governor also was joined Wednesday by state Rep. Charles Booker and J. Michael Brown, secretary of the Governor’s executive cabinet, to respond to questions about the grand jury report into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville.

The Governor acknowledged that he could not control the decision made, but did call for more information to be released and committed to listening, hearing and doing more.

“I am committed to building a more just and equitable commonwealth for our people, and in honor of Breonna Taylor and her family,” Gov. Beshear said. “My prayer is we can work together to achieve a better world, that I can continue to listen, hear and have the courage to do what’s necessary to create justice and move forward, and that all of us – all of us – can come together to move closer to the world Breonna calls us to create.”

To view the full briefing, click here.

Case Information

As of 4 p.m. Sept. 23, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 63,517 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 796 of which were newly reported Wednesday. One hundred and eleven of the newly reported cases were from children ages 18 and younger, 24 of which were children ages 5 and under. The youngest were two 2-month-old babies.

“What I’d ask is that everybody, including those who may march today or go into their house of worship, please wear a mask,” the Governor said. “I know you will. This is so important.”

Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear reported 5 new deaths Wednesday, raising the total to 1,124 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

The deaths reported Wednesday include a 99-year-old woman from Christian County; a 50-year-old man and two women, ages 81 and 84, from Jefferson County; and an 83-year-old man from Marshall County.

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“We’ve already talked about one tragic loss today. And now we’re reporting five more people who we’ve lost to COVID-19,” said Gov. Beshear. “Let’s make sure we prevent more tragic losses. I want for us to build a better world.”

As of Wednesday, there have been at least 1,291,548 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate was 4.59%, and at least 11,480 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus.

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

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

More Information

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

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

Russell Taking Talents to Lexington

Senior Helped Highlands to Combined Swimming, Diving Crown

Highlands senior swimmer Mac Russell committed to the University of Kentucky a few days ago.

By G. Michael Graham

Off the top of her head, Amanda Johnson could not think of any former swimmer or diver that has gone to the University of Kentucky during her time leading the Highlands Bluebirds swimming and diving teams.

Senior Mac Russell will do that next fall when he just announced his commitment there. He will be right down the road on Interstate 75 so his family can come to his home meets. Lars Jorgensen is the head coach of the Wildcats.

Man Assaulted in Southgate, Suspect in Custody


Man assaulted in Southgate near the intersection of Alexandria Pike and Willow Street. Suspect is now in custody.
(Img: Google Maps)

According to a report from Fox 19, a 44-year-old man was assaulted on Monday night around 11 p.m. near the intersection of Willow Street and Alexandria Pike.

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Southgate Police say a 42-year-old man is accused of attacking the victim and is now under arrest. The victim did sustain head injuries from the assault but he denied medical treatment.

Police say the suspect used a brass knuckle/knife combo weapon on the other man when an argument led to the assault.

No names have been released at this time. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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

By Sarah Sanders
IT Director of Rudler, PSC

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Covid-19 Update for Tuesday, September 22

Gov. Beshear Provides Update on COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

‘The Fast 4 at 4’

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

National Voter Registration Day

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

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

Flu Shots

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

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

Higher Education Financial Aid Options

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Recovery Month

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

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

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

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

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

Case Information

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)

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

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Eligibility criteria:

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

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

More Information

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

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