360 Fireworks Party

Saturday, October 22, 2011

NEWS ROUND-UP -- SATURDAY EDITION

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
LATONIA BANK ROBBER'S TIES TO COVINGTON MURDER SUSPECT
Brian Schmidt, the 22-year old man arrested for robbing the Huntington Bank Latonia branch is the father of the child of Samantha Mayse, on trial for murder.
Schmidt was in jail after committing an assault, robbery and burglary when authorities said a cash-strapped Mayse, whose daughter was just 8 months old, allegedly set up 28-year-old Shawn Davis to be robbed by offering him sex at a Covington apartment in January 2009. The robbery turned deadly when one of Mayse's codefendants, Marion Lawson Parker III, hit Davis over the head with a porcelain toilet tank lid and then strangled him.
Read the full article.
Cincinnati Enquirer/Jim Hannah
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KY UNEMPLOYMENT RATE GOES UP
Rises from 9.5% in August to 9.7% in September.
WKYT
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COV FIRE DEPT BACK ON TOP IN CONTEST
With just days to go before the end of the Liberty Mutual "Be Fire Smart" contest, Covington is in the lead by 56 votes as of 11:36AM on Saturday. Wilmington, MA's fire department has traded the #1 & #2 spot with Covington throughout the contest. Have you voted yet? Help our team win a $10,000 grant to promote fire safety.
Be Fire Smart
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FREE BOOK ABOUT COVINGTON'S WILLIAM GOEBEL
He's more than just a park in Mainstrasse, trust. Read the new book "Wrath: A Novel of Kentucky" FREE now. Click the link and use the coupon code.
Smashwords
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PFIZER TO PAY KENTUCKY $14 MILLION FOR SHADINESS
Here's a shocker: A pharmaceutical company did something wrong and is actually going to pay for it.
Attorney General press release
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DOWNTOWN GROCERY STORE TO BOOST COLUMBUS
A long-time dream of many Covingtonians is to have a larger grocery store Downtown. Columbus is getting one.
“There is a growing residential market Downtown that is now large enough to support a grocery store,” Ricksecker said. “The challenge is communicating to retailers that there is still an unmet demand for retail services Downtown. “A successful venture like this will likely spur other ventures. “
Columbus Dispatch
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FORMER HOLMES ATHLETIC DIRECTOR INDUCTED IN HALL OF FAME
Ron Madrick led the Bulldogs' athletics program for 18 years.
Cincinnati Enquirer/Mark Hardin
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TRACK YOUR KIDS' SCHOOLWORK FROM iPHONE
A new app from the KY Dept of Education gives you real-time updates from every school district in the state, including homework assignments. Download it FREE and track your child's every move.
KY Dept of Ed press release
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THE U-S ARMY'S WAR ON KITTENS
It's not a joke and was inspired by the death of a soldier overseas who contracted rabies after breaking up a dogfight. Take a look at the poster:
There's another at the link.
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AND... JUST FOR FUN...
Love this video. It's amazing how natural babies and young children are with all the new technology. This video shows what happens when a baby grows accustomed to an iPad but is handed a traditional print magazine. Watch, and have a great weekend!


Friday, October 21, 2011

NEWS ROUND-UP -- FRIDAY LUNCH EDITION

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
@theRCnews on Twitter
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BREAKING: (12:05PM) Commissioner Shawn Masters tells The River City News that, "Mayor announcement should be made by the middle of next week." For background on who is being considered, click here: 2 More Names Surface in Search For Mayor Bowman's Replacement
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COVINGTON WOMAN AMONG THOSE ARRESTED AT OCCUPY CINCINNATI
20-year old Rebecca Crone was listed among the 23 people arrested at Piatt Park early this morning.
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CINCINNATI HAS ITS OWN POLITICIAN WITH NO FILTER ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Cincinnati Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz publishes home and email addresses of two Occupy Cincinnait protestors who emailed her with concern over her public remarks over the protests in Piatt Park.
Screenshot & info here: Cincy Voices
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OK, SO NOW NKU IS IN CINCINNATI TOO?
This morning I posted about how some popular music acts rocked the Madison Theater in Covington last night, but published on their Twitter feeds that they were in Cincinnati with no mention of our fair city (SEE: No Love for Covington From Pop Music Acts in "Cincinnati"). Now an event called PodCamp Cincinnati is set for Saturday at, where else, Northern Kentucky University. Boy, do we have an identity crisis in this area, or what?
Actually, this event (at NKU's stunning new Griffin Hall, home of the College of Informatics) sounds like an amazing chance to learn about social media. I hope to attend, even though I graduated from Northern Kentucky University and not UC-Highland Heights.
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OLD CAN FACTORY OPENS AS LOFT LIVING IN NORTHSIDE

"The old Can Factory needed someone to show it some love. It took several years, but Bloomfield/Schon + Partners have managed to create an outstanding example of good design using sustainable building practices and community engagement. These are all things we like in Northside. The American Can Lofts‘ 110 apartments range in size from a studio to a big 3BR, beautifully finished. Tenants have been moving in since September, with more moving in each month. The building is about 80% leased. There’s life where there was no life before."
Take a look at the building in the photo to the left and know that this type of project and urban revitalization can and does happen. Do you know of a few buildings in our city that could serve residents well? Congratulations, Northside! This is an awesome project.


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TURFWAY TO BE FULLY OWNED BY CINCINNATI CASINO DEVELOPERS?
That's what a report from Blood Horse claims. Turfway is co-owned by Caesars and Keeneland, but the report indicates that the Lexington track will sell its half to Caesars, which is developing the Downtown Cincinnati casino. Click link for details on why the company thinks adding Turfway to the mix could be a good deal.
Blood Horse
SEE ALSO: Horse breeding declines, but KY is still dominant
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DEMOCRATS STILL LEAD IN KENTUCKY ELECTIONS
Governor Beshear is two-and-a-half weeks from routing Sen. David Williams in this year's gubernatorial election. The rest of the Democratic statewide slate may ride his coattails to a sweep in November.
cn|2
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BEST BREAST CANCER AWARENESS VIDEO EVER
Maybe even more women will do regular checks if a hot guy tells them how? Oh, and watch it to the very last second.

Hat tip: Joe My God
SEE ALSO: Now your GPS can raise breast cancer awareness FOX 19
SEE ALSO: NKU Volleyball Team "Dig Pink" game tonight NKU Norse

NO LOVE FOR COVINGTON FROM POP MUSIC STARS IN "CINCINNATI"

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
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TOP POP MUSIC ACTS PLAY COVINGTON LAST NIGHT, BUT THANK CINCINNATI?
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Covington and Northern Kentucky's combination blessing and curse of being next to Cincinnati, struck again last night. Here's why: Q102's annual 'Bosom Ball' concert (that raises lots of money for breast cancer research) atrracts top talent every year. Covington's own Madison Theater played host this year to Hot Chelle Rae (who just had a number-one hit with "Tonight, Tonight), Andy Grammer (known for his top-5 hit, "Keep Your Head Up"), along with Christina Parri and Parachute who have both had a pair of top-20 hits in the US. But here are the reactions from the rising stars:
 
Hot Chelle Rae posts a pic to Twitter with a message that reads: "You ready, Cincinnati?".
Cincinnati? Guys, I love love love "Tonight, Tonight", but come on, this sign clearly states that you are standing in Covington, KY! Where's the love?
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Andy Grammer's Twitter page calls the event a "Stupid good line-up tonight in Cincinnati", and later posts, "Dear Ohio: the last 3 days with you have been freaking awesome!! I'll be back. Soon. :)".  But you were actually in Kentucky too, Andy! Don't you follow Hot Chelle Rae on Twitter and look at their TwitPics? Look, they even took one of you. Performing in Covington.
 
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But, wait! The Commonwealth finally got a shout-out from rising artist and Bosom Ball talent Christina Perri who tweeted to some fellow music artists: "in a taco free hotel in kentucky... bummer... eat one for me?". Better than nothing, right? Well, maybe. Her next tweet read: "oh + ps, can you send me detailed pictures of your tattoos? i think im gonna be a slutty you for halloween..."
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A band called Parachute (whose top-20 hits include the single "Something to Believe in") also ignored us on Twitter, tweeting, "What a great crowd at the Bosom Ball in Cincy!". Wait, maybe Covington did get a shout-out from them. Later, they posted this pic with a caption that read: "Random redneck bar singing karaoke w and crew? Why not."
 
Anybody recognize the place? Is this so-called redneck bar in Covington? Ah, who cares...
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The truth is, one of the more exciting daily moments in Covington is a drive on Madison Avenue and glancing up at the marquee of the Madison Theater and noticing the big names of rising stars or legendary acts and know that the place is bringing these people to our city. It is one of Downtown Covington's strengths that can be built upon by the community. And as for the acts at Q102's Bosom Ball, I hope they enjoyed their time in Covington, Kentucky, even if they never knew they were here.
 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

NEWS ROUND-UP -- LATE THURSDAY EDITION

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
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CINCINNATI COUNCILWOMAN DOES WORSE THING THAN STEVE FRANK
So where's the national outrage toward Leslie Ghiz? After receiving two emails from citizens upset with her pressuring Cincinnati's city manager to remove the Occupy Cincinnati protestors, Ghiz posted them in their entirety to her Facebook page, including the personal details of the people's home and email addresses. Ghiz deleted the post when it started circulating on Twitter. 
We purposely didn't publish screen shots of the posts due to the private information involved. It would have been relevant only in demonstrating the pettiness with which Ghiz offered the critics' opinions to her collection of angry friends. “These are some of the lovely emails my campaign has been getting because I believe the law should be applied evenly and equally to everyone,” the first introduction reads. How does she expect people to react to such sarcasm?
CityBeat

SEE ALSO: Cincinnati Enquirer: City Tells Protestors to Leave (Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the protestors were allowed to stay these past several days but were finally asked to leave when a parade was planned to honor a deceased billionaire?)
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MORE COVINGTON TRAFFIC DELAYS, THIS TIME IN LATONIA
Yikes, busy Winston Avenue down to one-lane each way? But the potholes will soon be gone! Beginning tomorrow (Friday, October 21, 2011), the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is going to set up the lane closures necessary to replace the bad slabs of concrete pavement between Grand Avenue and 43rd Street on Winston Avenue. This work will take place this weekend and next weekend. One lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained both weekends and normal traffic patterns will remain during the week. Once the slabs are replaced, another contractor will come in and patch the smaller potholes with a polymer material that will last longer than standard hotmix that is used.
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STATEWIDE SMOKING BAN BACK ON TABLE
A new bill, similar to one that failed earlier this year, will be pre-filed soon.
Frankfort State-Journal
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KENTUCKY'S LOWEST-PERFORMING SCHOOLS
None of Covington's makes the list, but one in Dayton did.
KY Dept of Education
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MAYBE THIS HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH STRUGGLING SCHOOLS...
More than 1 in 4 of Kentucky's children now live in poverty, an increase to 26.3% in the 2010 census from 20.8% in 2000. Overall, 19% of Kentuckians live in poverty now, good enough for 48th place nationally.
KY Kids In Focus
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BUT THIS WILL HELP SOMEONE! WINNING LOTTO TICKET SOLD IN NEWPORT
A $200,000 jackpot was won by someone who bought a ticket at Good Spirits Wine & Tobacco in Newport.
(Not The) Kentucky Post
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COVINGTON FEATURES PROMINENTLY IN THIS KENTON CO. YOUTUBE VIDEO
It's from the new NKAPC Direction2030 Campaign. Take a look.

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PHOTOS: COVINGTON POLICE HOLD SAFETY FAIR FOR DEAF KIDS
Our police are awesome. This is part of the 2011 "Kids Like Me" program. Photos at link.
Cov PD Facebook
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THIS IS THE BEST CAMPAIGN AD I'VE EVER SEEN
Put both of your real-life grannies in an ad, and cruise to victory in Kentucky.


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ONE ICE CREAM FLAVOR THAT'S TOO HOT FOR THE FREEZER
Ben & Jerry's "Schweddy Balls" is not a hit with grocery chains.
The flavor featuring fudge-covered rum balls has been absent from some grocery freezers since it was unveiled. The title was inspired by an innuendo-laced 1998 skit featuring Alec Baldwin as baker Pete Schweddy, who promises, "No one can resist my Schweddy balls."
Anybody see it anywhere in Covington or the other River Cities?
Associated Press

OMNICARE MOVE'S ARCHITECT SUBJECT OF ETHICS COMPLAINT

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
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The man who helped negotiate Omnicare's departure from government-subsidized office space in Covington to government-subsidized office space in Cincinnati now faces an ethics complaint over other matters. Four Democratic state representatives in Ohio want the Ohio Ethics Commission to examine whether venture capitalist Mark Kvamme has a conflict of interest between his public and private business dealings.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:
The group alleges that Kvamme remains a partner with Sequoia Capital, a venture capital firm with a stake in a China-based software company called VanceInfo. VanceInfo's clients include IBM and Microsoft, which have operations in Ohio, said Foley. ... The lawmakers questioned whether Kvamme is striking deals to enrich himself or help Ohio, or both.
Additionally:
The lawmakers also questioned Kvamme's ties to a California country club that has filed for bankruptcy. Kvamme and former Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld have guaranteed millions of dollars in loans to Malibu Associates, which owns the Malibu Country Club. But Foley said Kvamme failed to list the country club on his financial disclosure forms as a company he is running or has investments in.
And the Cincinnati Business Courier reports:
“On one hand, he has an interest in seeing that VanceInfo grows by absorbing work that might otherwise be done in North America, including Ohio,” said the letter. “On the other hand, he has a duty under the law to promote job creation and economic development in Ohio.”
Kvwamme declined to comment about specific allegations in the ethics complaint but implied they were politically motivated in this statement: "Since taking office the Kasich Administration has executed 154 economic development projects that have created more than 10,000 jobs and retained more than 20,000 jobs. In addition, these projects have created $400 million in new payroll, retained $1.3 billion in payroll and generated $1.5 billion in new capital investments.
It is unclear whether Omnicare's 500 Covington jobs is included in the "jobs creation" spin, since no jobs were actually created under the move, but simply redistributed. The loss of Omnicare in addition to the possible loss of its RiverCenter Boulevard neighbor, The Nielsen Company, may be as much as a $1.5 million loss of payroll tax revenue for the City of Covington. The original press release from Ohio Governor John Kasich's office announcing Omnicare's departure from its government-subsidized office space in Covington to its new goverment-subsidized office space in Cincinnati said:
Omnicare was Mark Kvamme's first meeting with a company outside of Ohio. The jobs-creation guru in Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s administration met with Figueroa in late January. At that meeting, (Omnicare CEO John) Figueroa said he wanted Omnicare to become a Fortune 200 company and we want to do it in Ohio, Kvamme said.
Kvamme's role in Kasich's administration is different than originally intended. Kasich had appointed Kvamme as Ohio's director of development, but because Kvamme does not even live in Ohio, Kasich was forced to create a new entity called JobsOhio which Kvamme leads, according to this report.

ROSEDALE BECOMES COVINGTON'S EIGHTEENTH NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
@theRCnews on Twitter
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NOTE: Commissioner Shawn Masters clarified an earlier version of this story that indicated Rosedale as the city's 18th neighborhood. He said on the Facebook page that Rosedale is the 18th member of the CNC and that there are in fact 20 neighborhoods in Covington. Sorry for any confusion (confusion that I still have over the designated number of neighborhoods. Help?).
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The Covington Neighborhood Collaborative announced in conjunction with the City that Rosedale in East Latonia will be officially recognized as Covington's eighteenth neighborhood association which is currently being formed and will hold a meeting next week. Bound by Winston Avenue between 40th & 43rd Streets in the west to the Licking River in the east, and then a larger north-south area that stretches from 47th Street in the south to all of Twin Oaks Golf Course in the north. The association will hold a meeting Tuesday, October 25, at 6:30PM at Latonia Elementary. The agenda includes discussion on the benefits of creating the organizaiton and other items. Rosedale joins Ritte's East Latonia and West Latonia as Latonia's three neighborhood associations. Find the neighborhood's new Facebook page here.
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For more information: Call City of Covington Ombudsman Suzanne Gettys at 859.291.2141
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AGENDA: Click Here (PDF)
IDEAS/GOALS FORM: Click Here (PDF)
ISSUES/PROBLEMS FORM: Click Here (PDF)
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Rosedale is shaded in pink in the center-right corner bordering the river:

NEWS ROUND-UP -- THURSDAY 20 OCTOBER

Compiled by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
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SHOULD COVINGTON OWN ANY PARKING GARAGES?
A case is made against municipal ownership of parking garages:
Cities provide transit because it affords an environmentally-friendly transportation option that’s accessible to those too poor to own a car. It encourages city-living in urbanized neighborhoods near stations and reduces automobile congestion. And the private sector neither can nor will construct a train through a built-up city. Absolutely none of these arguments apply to a parking garage. 
Click the link for the full-read. Then there's this amazing parking concept from Budapest:
Hat tip for both entries: Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish at The Daily Beast (my favorite blogger).
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MORE PEOPLE ARE RETIRING TO... KENTUCKY?
It's true. Welcome to the Bluegrass!
WBKO
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TOP STORIES FROM THE RIVER CITY NEWS:
Must-reads in case you've missed some of them today and this week:

Violent Crime Increase Prompts Rally, March
After six murders and a spike in other violent crimes, neighborhoods take to the streets

Covington Teen Beaten; Calls For & Against Curfew
A group of 10 beat up one Holmes student. Thankfully, all but one is now behind bars.

Sad Entry To Mainstrasse to Become Gateway To Neighborhood
Great news for this vibrant part of town. Details and pics of plans at link.

City Hall Is Falling Down
No, seriously, it is.

Candlelight Vigil for Covington Teen Bullied at School, Online
A very sad situation for the family of this Woodland Middle School student.
SEE ALSO: Commissioners Want Resolution Following Bullied Teen's Death
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NKY CHAMBER PRESENTS 2012 ECONOMIC OUTLOOK
They joined with Cincinnati's Chamber to present expectations that indicate continued slow growth. Read the whole report at the link.
Cincinnati USA (PDF file)
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SUSPENSION BRIDGE IS SUBJECT OF NEW BOOK
"The Roebling Legacy" author will speak on the subject at the Behringer-Crawford Museum.
Kenton County Connects/Nancy Daly
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GOOD & BAD NEWS FROM THE NKY INTL AIRPORT
The Good:
Pics from contruction at Terminal 3: @CVGAirport on Twitter
Pics from construction at DHL: Metro Flyer
The Bad:
Delta & United to raise fares (again): Cincinnati Business Courier
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IS WINNING THE POWERBALL YOUR RETIREMENT PLAN?
Even that's about cost more. Tickets will be $2 instead of $1 starting next week.
Louisville Business First


COVINGTON TEEN BEATEN, CALLS FOR & AGAINST CURFEW ON RISE

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
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Two students from Holmes walking home from school last week were accosted by a group of eight to teen youths that challenged the pair to a fight. When the boys declined, the larger group pounced on them anyway, severely beating one boy while the other was fortunate enough to flee. The attackers ranged in age from fourteen to nineteen and quick action by the Covington Police (particularly the school resource officer assigned to Holmes) all but one of the suspects is behind bars. The 19-year old adult is in Kenton County Jail, while the juveniles are being held in Campbell County. The attackers are being investigated for potential gang activity (all of them were students at a local alternative school).

Instances of crime involving Covington youth had some community members speaking in favor of the proposed daytime curfew Wednesday night at the police chief community forum. The proposed ordinance is modeled after one in Dallas, Texas and similar to one used in Newport. "It's lowered crime in Newport by eighty percent," said Bill Wells, President of the South Covington Community Action Association. "How many juveniles are up on a murder charge in Newport? And how many here?"

COVINGTON WOMEN MAKE SURE CITY'S HUNGRY HAVE DINNER

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
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Candace Witte (Left) runs a tight ship as head chef
one Wednesday per month at MACC
Two nights a week Madison Avenue Christian Church welcomes local families and individuals into their space for a dinner provided by volunteers and donations. Candace Witte, of Licking Riverside, became a team leader like Old Seminary Square's Kathy Groob when both served on a committee that met at the MACC for former Mayor Denny Bowman. Now, Witte is in charge of Wednesday nights once a month and pays to feed the hungry that range in age from babies to seniors. Witte and her team each contribute $20 to pay for the food themselves with occasional generous food donations by local businesses. Busken Bakery always provides donuts for the guests to take home with them following dinner. Wednesday night more than 70 people assembled at the MACC for dinner, a number lower than recent weeks where the guests were closer to two-hundred. The volunteers purchase, prep and serve the food and then clean-up. Want to help? Email Candace Witte or call the Madison Avenue Christian Church at 859.261.0226.
Below are photos from Wednesday night in which I was fortunate enough to be a part of this incredible, deciated group of volunteers:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

VIOLENT CRIME INCREASE PROMPTS RALLY & MARCH IN COVINGTON

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
A missing man found murdered and dismembered and the beating death of another man in the Eastside neighborhood has prompted activists to plan a march in early November. Helentown's Tom Wherry and Eastside's Bennie Doggett have called for "Stand Up Covington: A Rally Against Crime & Violence". The Eastside murders are part of six in the city this year, twice the number from last year and only two fewer than the previous four years combined.
 
The year before Police Chief Lee Russo arrived in town there were thirteen homicides. "I hope that if (these murders are) a spike that we will see, we won't get anywhere near that thirteen," Russo said Wednesday night at the Chief's community forum. Twenty Covingtonians gathered in a conference room at police headquarters to hear Russo speak of a spike in many categories of crime in multiple neighborhoods. "We've seen a remarkable increase in violent crime," Russo said.
 
It's not just Helentown, Eastside and Austinburg either. One of the six murders happened in Licking Riverside which is also dealing with an increase in car break-ins, a problem escalating throughout the city. "In the previous four months we averaged 31.8 cases (of car break-ins) per month. This past month we've seen 41," Russo said. Burglaries are also on the rise.

TOP DEMOCRATS CAMPAIGN IN COVINGTON

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
Kentucky's Democratic slate for the November elections visited Covington this morning (except for Governor Beshear who did join the group for an event later in Newport). Former long-time Mayor of Louisville Jerry Abramson, who is Beshear's running mate for Lieutenant Governor, joined Secretary of State candidate Allison Lundergan Grimes, incumbent Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, Auditor candidate Adam Edelen, and Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Farmer greeted Covingtonians at the Frisch's at 5th & Philadelphia. Here are some photos from the event:
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Democrats' bus parked at Frisch's

CITY HALL IS FALLING DOWN & OTHER NOTES FROM TUESDAY

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
@theRCnews on Twitter
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CITY HALL IS FALLING DOWN, LIKE SERIOUSLY
Was it the tension that's enveloped the place over the past six months? Not sure, but Covington's City Hall is in serious need of repair. The city approved a payment of $42,610 to Hummel Industries to fix the north wall where bricks are becoming dislodged and falling to the ground. That's dangerous enough, but we're talking a potential collapse of a 45-foot long, 3-foot tall section. The city engineer said that this has been an issue for nearly ten years but that it's become seriously urgent recently. Hummel Industries is said to have other experience working on City Hall projects. They are charged with improving structural steel and replacing bricks.
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LIGHTS BACK ON IN COVINGTON
What a night for breaking news -- and we got to cover it together as a community! Thanks! Click the link for photos and the story from last night's "blackout".
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MAINSTRASSE GETS NEW ENTRYWAY
Great news for this vibrant neighborhood. Click the link for that story.
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COMMISSIONERS SPEAK OUT AGAINST BULLYING
A resolution will be drafted and adopted by Covington's elected leaders urging the state legislature to pass anti-bullying legislation. This follows the suicide of a 13-year old Covington boy who suffered at the hands of bullies. Click link for that story.
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FIVE FIREMEN PROMOTED
Standing L-R: Brinkman, Bode, Adams,
Harris & Woodring
Congratulations to the five firefighters chosen for promotion Tuesday night. Paul Woodring is now an engineer, Michael Harris is an engineer/paramedic, Jimmy Adams is an engineer/paramedic, Graham Bode is an engineer, and Jeffrey Brinkman is now an engineer.
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'VERY IMPORTANT PROJECT FOR OVERALL DOWNTOWN PLAN'
BioLOGIC gets a loan from the city to build out its second floor. The money was supposed to come from a Duke Energy grant, but Duke says it needs 90 days before it can get the cash prepared for the project. So, instead, the City voted to offer a bridge loan in the amount of $100,000 and will be reimbursed when the Duke money comes in. A nervous Commissioner Steve Casper asked Community Development Director Jackson Kinney, "So, there's no risk, right?"
"Duke is indicating to us that they'll provide the funds and I believe it," Kinney responded. Kinney went on to describe bioLOGIC's buildout as a very important project for Covington's overall Downtown Plan. The buildout would be considered phase 2 of a life science business cluster around Pike Street. Phase 3 would involve bioLOGIC and the City redeveloping a separate building Downtown. BioLOGIC was said to have already been in discussions with three businesses that may occupy space in their renovated second floor.
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RIVERCENTER GARAGE PROJECT TO COME IN UNDER BUDGET
In asking for city funds to replace a deteriorated standpipe system at RiverCenter Garage, City Engineer Tom Logan announced that the overall project will come in $50,000 -$100,000 under the $2.6 million even with the $39,297 being requested for the standpipe system. In fact, had the project not come in so economically, the city may not have explored replacing that system at this time. More than 80% of the standpipe in the garage suffers from significant corrosion. The commissioners approved the funds.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"SAD" ENTRY TO MAINSTRASSE TO BECOME GATEWAY TO NEIGHBORHOOD

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
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UPDATE: Photos are now included at bottom of post!
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Mainstrasse parking lot as it is today
The heavily trafficked 5th Street parking lot adjacent to Covington's Mainstrasse, one of Greater Cincinnati's most vibrant neighborhoods, will be completely made over. The City Commission approved Tuesday night a $47,290 tab for Covington's role in resurfacing the lot. The infrastructure project was initiated by the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky which wanted to improve the bus stop situation for riders in that area. TANK will pay $47,263 for its share and Sanitation District 1 will take care of $30,547 to tend to water runoff issues.

The new parking lot will be more than a place for the cars driven by Mainstrasse's thousands of weekly visitors. "This creates a gateway to Mainstrasse, which prior to this (the entrance) has been sad to say the least," said Mayor Pro Tem Sherry Carran. TANK rolled back its service in the area to cut costs and wanted to enhance the location since it will be the bus line's main stop in Mainstrasse, Carran added. The city engineer's office reported that one bus stop a block away was lost and that while one block of driving may not seem like a lot, the change will save TANK $100,000 a year.

COMMISSIONERS WANT RESOLUTION FOLLOWING SUICIDE OF COVINGTON TEEN

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
The Covington City Commission weighed in Tuesday night on the suicide of a Covington teen last Friday (Read that story here: Candlelight Vigil Remembers Covington Teen Bullied At School, Online). Commissioner Shawn Masters used his time at the end of the meeting to criticize the Kentucky state legislature for failing to pass anti-bullying legislation this year, a measure for which Masters campaigned in Frankfort. "Kids can be cruel, and they were to Sam Denham," Masters said, speaking of the 13-year old Woodland student who shot himself inside his family's home. "I implore everyone to let these (bullied) kids know that it does get better and that there are resources."
 
Masters cited his own experience with bullying as a student. "They tell you it toughens you up. It did toughen me up but it doesn't toughen everyone up," Masters said.
 
Mayor Pro-Tem Sherry Carran agreed with Masters and shared her own story. "I got beat up by a few guys when I was in fifth grade, (City Manager) Larry (Klein) got beat up, a student in Wallace Woods was beat up last week," Carran said. "Our commission can pass a resolution to support anti-bullying legislation."
 
"I think we as a community are the ones that have to deal with it," Masters said.
 
"What we're talking about here is tolerance," said Commissioner Steve Casper.

POWER OUTAGE AFFECTS DOWNTOWN COVINGTON/PIKE STREET

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
@theRCnews on Twitter
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UPDATE 11:30PM: Lights are back on! Scroll down for full story and photos.
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UPDATE 11:00PM: 4,432 listed without power now. The outskirts of the city are all back on according to Duke, leaving those affected all concentrated in the urban core. It's coming back on fast!
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UPDATE 10:30PM: Duke now reports that 8,742 are without power, so it's coming back on, folks!
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UPDATE 9:45PM: Reports from readers at Facebook, Twitter and email indicate that power is popping back on across the city, but Duke's numbers remain the same. If you notice that your neighbor's power is back on, but yours is not, the Duke website says this:
Sometimes, you may notice your neighbor's lights come back on while you are still without power. There may be several explanations -- not all circuits are restored at the same time, and different parts of your neighborhood may be served by different circuits. Another might be that a restored customer’s service comes directly from a primary line, which is restored first, while a customer without service may be served off a secondary line.
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UPDATE 9:30PM: More power being restored in various parts of Covington, according to readers. However, Duke still reports the same number of outages.
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UPDATE 9:15PM: No change from Duke (10,954 without power) but readers are weighing at the Facebook page that power has returned to homes in Old Seminary Square and on West Robbins. Power is also out in Peaselburg.
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UPDATE:9:00PM: No change in amount of customers without power. Add Eastside & Austinburg to those communities affected by outage. A reader writes on Facebook, "Mid 1500 block of Scott and Greenup south towards Austinburg all dark." A reader on Twitter alerts us that The Bluffs are also without power, so we'll add Kenton Hills to the list.
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UPDATE 8:40PM: Still nearly 11,000 without power in Kenton County almost entirely concentrated in Covington's urban core. Affected neighborhoods include Downtown Covington, Pike Street corridor (Arts District/Westside), Old Seminary Square, Botany Hills and the cities of Ft. Mitchell & Ludlow.
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BREAKING
Leaving Tuesday night's Covington City Commission meeting, attendees were greeted by darkness along Madison Avenue south of 7th Street and along Pike Street west to Mainstrasse. City Hall was not affected. Duke Energy reports as of 7:44PM that more than 10,000 customers in Kenton County are without power.
7th & Madison near City Hall, no traffic lights

No traffic lights at Pike & Washington

No lights near the old Blue Bar on Pike Street entering Mainstrasse

Bus and cars navigating without traffic lights at Pike Street & Holman Avenue


Pedestrian light out at Pike & Greer


NEWS ROUND-UP #2 -- TUESDAY 18 OCTOBER

Compiled by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
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TONIGHT AT COVINGTON CITY HALL
Lots on tonight's agenda for the city commission meeting. City Hall will get a facelift; 5th St parking lot in Mainstrasse gets a redo; 5 firefighters will be promoted; More repairs for the RiverCenter garage; BioLogic is up for a $100,000 loan for improvements to its Russell Street space; and more. Read it at the link (PDF).
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SOMETHING IS BREWING IN KENTON COUNTY
I'm looking forward to details being hashed out. A new division of Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission called Direction 2030 has been very busy today on the social networking sites. From the website:
"Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice" is a community planning initiative centered on public input – your ideas and your opinions. It will help create a new comprehensive plan for Kenton County for the next 20 years, and is aimed at making Kenton County the perfect place to live. All residents of Kenton County are encouraged to participate.
So it's a plan to work toward a more comprehensive plan to shape the county over the next twenty years. Pay attention, folks. The first public engagement meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Dixie Heights High School in Crestview Hills from 5:30 p.m. to  7:30 p.m.
Direction 2030
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A STORM THAT LOOKS LIKE WINTER WILL BE HERE TOMORROW
Wait, didn't autumn just start? Why is winter nine months long in this area?
Weather BlogInKy
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BUT...MAYBE THIS WILL WARM THINGS UP...
In conjucntion with The Carnegie, CincyChic will present "In The Next Room Expo", featuring what they call the area’s top purveyors of passion and intimacy, including Pure Romance by Tisa, Erotic Time Parties, and Votre Vu with Julena Bingaman. The expo is paired with the theatrical production of the Tony-nominated play, "In The Next Room, or The Vibrator Play" by Sara Ruhl. Friday, November 4, 2011 - Sunday November 6, 2011. Click link for details.
Cincy Chic
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COVINGTON COMPANY EXPANDS TO MUMBAI, INDIA
Ashland, our last Fortune 500 company once Omnicare bails for its section-8 office space in Cincinnati, is opening up shop in India. Governor Beshear spent a lot of time in that country this year working on collaborations between their government and ours.
Cincinnati Enquirer
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STATE PATROL NOTES:
11 people died in crashes across Kentucky KSP
Operation Safe Driver underway KSP
Turn in your old Rx drugs KSP
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REALLY SWEET PHOTOS FROM INSIDE AND AROUND HOLMES
Image via
Art By Covington's Future says this about themselves:

"We are a group of talented middle school and high school students that love creating art! Our goal is to make money by making art, so we are learning basic business skills and financial responsibility through the Center for Great Neighborhoods. We are currently focused on event photography, website development and videography.
 
Check out their work and see what these talented kids are up to. It's also another example of the great things the Center for Great Neighborhoods does for Covington.
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SPEAKING OF CENTER FOR GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS...
What have they done for you lately? Well, CGN is celebrating its 35th anniversary this fall and is counting down on Facebook 35 highlights from their work over the years. You can celebrate with CGN on November 16th from 5:30 - 7:30PM at the Grand at 501 Madison Avenue. Follow the countdown on CGN's Facebook page.
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KY IN 2-WAY RACE FOR WORST STATE IN AMERICA FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Ouch.
The University of Kentucky is 2-4 and has not yet beaten a team from a BCS automatic-qualifying conference. The University of Louisville is 2-4 and has not yet beaten a team from outside Kentucky. Western Kentucky University is 2-4 and has not yet beaten a team worth a darn.
Thank God For Basketball.

COVINGTON GIRL'S LETTER TO OBAMA NOW PART OF BOOK

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
Na'Dreya Lattimore, 11
Image via Good Things Going Around
She was the darling of local media last summer when President Obama, while speaking before the National Urban Leage, read part of a letter from Covington's Na'Dreya Lattimore. Now the entire letter is part of a new book that's getting lots of critical praise, called Ten Letters: Stories Americans Tell Their President. The Covington Independent Schools student's story for the President was on education. From the President's speech:
I got a letter recently postmarked Covington, Kentucky.  It was from Na'Dreya Lattimore, 10 years old -- about the same age as Sasha.  And she told me about how her school had closed, so she had enrolled in another. Then she had bumped up against other barriers to what she felt was her potential.  So Na'Dreya was explaining to me how we need to improve our education system. She closed by saying this: "One more thing," she said.  (Laughter.)  It was a long letter.  (Laughter.)  "You need to look at us differently.  We are not black, we're not white, biracial, Hispanic, Asian, or any other nationality."  No, she wrote -– "We are the future."  (Applause.) 
Na'Dreya, you are right.  And that's why I will keep fighting to lead us out of this storm. 
In addition to the book honor, Na'Dreya, a student now at Holmes Middle School, was recently recognized as a "Kid of Character" by the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. I doubt that this is the last we'll hear from this rising young leader. (She's only 11!)
Recent interview with Na'Dreya here: FOX 19
Original story from last summer here: WCPO
New profile of Na'Dreya here: Good Things Going Around
Get book here: Amazon
Interview with the author: WBUR/NPR
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OTHER NOTES FROM COVINGTON INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS:
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MODELING CLUB HONORED FOR SERVICE
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Holmes HS Illusion Modeling Club
Image via CIPS Facebook
 
From the district's Facebook page:
"The Holmes High School Illusion Modeling Club, under the direction of Ms. Yvonne Burkart, received recognition from the Women's Crisis Center during the recent Day of Peace celebration. The Club donated $600 to the Women's Crisis Center to support children's issues there. The money was raised selling Club calendars."
 
 
 
 
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BOARD MEMBERS RECOGNIZED FOR VOLUNTEER EFFORTS
Covington Board of Education members Jerry Avery and Mike Fitzgerald were honored by OASIS, Inc (Offering Assistance Sustenance Information & Support), a faith-based agency in Covington's Eastside neighborhood. Avery was awarded the Friends of OASIS honor for work in the Eastside such as cleaning, repairing, painting and beuatifying. Avery also spoke out at a recent city commission meeting on behalf of residents concerned about police layoffs.
Fitzgerald was honored with the Director's Award for his donations of Christmas gifts to OASIS during the holiday season.
SEE ALSO: OASIS, Inc.
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MENTOR ONE STUDENT, CHANGE TWO LIVES
Shortly after the school year began, I sat down to speak with Superintendent Lynda Jackson. "We've been blessed with community involvement," Jackson said. "We have over two hundred mentors. 'Mentor a student, change two lives' is what we say here. We need more mentors, more people that are willing to take an hour a week to help a child. We need more citizens engaged."

PHOTOS: Delays Adding Up on Highway Avenue

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
Highway Avenue's reduction to a one-lane road managed by a single stop light for the next month took a toll on this morning's early commute. Drivers from Botany Hills and Ludlow/Bromley who commute into the city will have to add a little extra time in the mornings for the next several weeks as contractors work on reparing the floodwall closure seal on Highway Avenue between Western Avenue and Wright Street. The anticipated date of completion is November 15 and motorists are encouraged by the state to seek alternative routes if possible.
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Did you see this morning's news round-up including a story on a Covington girl whose letter to President Obama (which the President read on national TV) is being featured in a new book? Click Here

NEWS TIPS, STORY IDEAS, FEEDBACK? EMAIL ME. ANONYMITY ALWAYS GUARANTEED IF DESIRED.
 

NEWS ROUND-UP -- TUESDAY 18 OCTOBER

Compiled by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
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VIGIL FOR COVINGTON TEEN
If you missed last night's coverage by The River City News of the heartbreaking candlelight vigil for the 13-year old boy who killed himself following what his family calls bullying online and at school, click the link.
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COVINGTON GIRL'S LETTER TO OBAMA TO BE PART OF BOOK
She was the darling of local media last summer when President Obama, while speaking before the National Urban Leage, read part of a letter from Covington's Na'Dreya Lattimore. Now the entire letter is part of a new book that's getting lots of critical praise, called Ten Letters: Stories Americans Tell Their President. The Covington Independent Schools student's story for the President was on education. From the President's speech:
I got a letter recently postmarked Covington, Kentucky.  It was from Na'Dreya Lattimore, 10 years old -- about the same age as Sasha.  And she told me about how her school had closed, so she had enrolled in another. Then she had bumped up against other barriers to what she felt was her potential.  So Na'Dreya was explaining to me how we need to improve our education system. She closed by saying this: "One more thing," she said.  (Laughter.)  It was a long letter.  (Laughter.)  "You need to look at us differently.  We are not black, we're not white, biracial, Hispanic, Asian, or any other nationality."  No, she wrote -– "We are the future."  (Applause.) 
Na'Dreya, you are right.  And that's why I will keep fighting to lead us out of this storm. 
In addition to the book honor, Na'Dreya, a student now at Holmes Middle School, was recently recognized as a "Kid of Character" by the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. I doubt that this is the last we'll hear from this rising young leader. (She's only 11!)
Recent interview with Na'Dreya here: FOX 19
Original story from last summer here: WCPO
New profile of Na'Dreya here: Good Things Going Around
Get book here: Amazon
Interview with the author: WBUR/NPR
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COVINGTON DOG CATCHER MAY BE SENT TO COUNTY
City Manager Larry Klein told Kenton County's mayors that Covington wants to use the county for animal control services. 1 animal control officer remains on the city's staff following the layoff of another this past summer.
Cincinnati Enquirer/Mike Rutledge
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ONLY IN KENTUCKY: 'COAL & CORN TOUR'
The 2 GOP statewide candidates who actually have a slim chance of winning in a few weeks are ditching the rest of the ticket and going on tour together. NKY will be snubbed by the Coal & Corn Tour. Guess we'll have to settle for Paul Simon's tour at the Bank of Kentucky Center in November.
cn|2
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WHAT IS UP WITH ALL THE OPTOMETRISTS GIVING MONEY IN POLITICS?
$150,000 just between Governor Beshear and his opponent Senator David Williams! Seems there was a new law enacted this year allowing optometrists to perform a procedure traditionally reserved for ophthamalogists. See? There really is a lobby for everything.
WKYT
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MEET THE DEMS AT BIG BOY TOMORROW
Former Louisville Mayor and current Lt. Governor candidate Jerry Abramson will be there with down-ticket candidates. See them at 8:45AM at the Covington Frisch's Big Boy on 5th & Philadelphia. Then at 10:00AM join them at NKY Democratic Headquarters at 515 Monmouth Street in Newport.
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THE INTRIGUING STORY OF FRISCH'S PUMPKIN PIE
Hands down the best pumpkin pie around is at Frisch's Big Boy. A CityBeat reporter gets a little scoop from the Covington location on how the restaurant's dessert menu works and why the pie isn't on the menu year-round. Pretty interesting read!
CityBeat
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HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW VIDEO FROM THE KENTON COUNTY LIBRARY?
Learn all about parking while the library is under construction. (We really have a top notch library in Kenton County, and the Covington location is full of awesome people.)


Monday, October 17, 2011

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL REMEMBERS COVINGTON TEEN BULLIED AT SCHOOL, ONLINE

by Michael Monks
Find us on Facebook: The River City News @ Facebook
Candles surround a cross with a photo of Sam Denham, 13,
a Woodland student who killed himself Friday
"I don't know why this happened to my family, we may never know," said Dan Denham, the older brother of Sam Denham, a 13-year old Woodland Middle School student who killed himself Friday afternoon. A candlelight vigil was held Monday night at Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Taylor Mill. The ceremony brought out more than one-hundred people, most of them students from Woodland and Scott High School, to remember a young man who is said to have suffered bullying in the form of teasing both at school and online.
Mourners attend a vigil at St. Patrick
"Sam always tried to be a better person and he got that from our mom and dad," Dan Denham said. The boys' parents were comforted from their seats in the front of the church. Their mother, Carol Denham also spoke before the crowd, sharing stories of a loving young man who had a history of engaging other children who may seem aloof or without friends. "He always came to us for everything," she said. "This was not our child, it's like something snuck in and took him away."
The rise in national attention to the issue of bullying in schools is not lost on Kentucky. Ironically, it is currently Safe Schools Week in the state, as sponsored by the Kentucky Center for School Safety based at Eastern Kentucky University. A major focus of that organization is the new forum for bullying, the internet, which Sam's family says played a role in the teen's tales of abuse.
At Monday night's vigil, literature was shared with the attendees that instructed on how to handle bullying including an anti-bullying pledge that was signed by students and parents.
By signing this pledge, we the students of Woodland and Scott agree:
1) Value student differences & treat others with respect
2) Not become involved in bullying incidents of be a bully
3) Be aware of the school's policies & support system with regard to bullying
4) Report honestly & immediately ALL incidents of bullying to a faculty member
Some notes writted by students in attendance were read aloud to the crowd:
The boys and girls that made you do this were mean.
Another:
Sam is safe now. His sad thoughts are gone.
Another:
I'm going to be more gentle, patient and kind.
"We knew he was a good kid. He tried his best to help other kids be good," Carol Denham said of her son. "Get your kids to talk. Kids, talk to parents. If you see (bullying) going on, get someone to stop it."

Candles are lit at the altar

Visitation for Sam Denham will be Friday from 3 - 7:00PM at Chambers & Grubbs Funeral Home in Independence with a funeral service following. Internment at Floral Hills Cemetery in Taylor Mill, across from the school Sam attended, will be Saturday at 11:00AM.