360 Fireworks Party

Friday, August 31, 2012

NEWS ROUND-UP -- FRIDAY 31 AUGUST

THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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by Michael Monks 
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FIRE DAMAGES TWO HOMES IN BOTANY HILLS
The Covington Fire Department was busy overnight battling flames on Lexington Avenue in West Covington where two houses burned.
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Fire called suspicious: WKRC 
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SEE ALSO: Cincinnati Enquirer & WCPO 
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FORECLOSURE IMMINENT ON PEASELBURG PROPERTY
Sign at the foot of the hill that
leads to Emery Drive Apts.
Neighborhood Investment Partners (NIP), established as a private property investment company whose president is also the executive director of the public Housing Authority of Covington (HAC) and whose board of directors includes three members of the Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners, is not related to the Housing Authority of Covington, said director Tony Milburn. A special meeting of NIP's board of directors was called Thursday evening to deal with the imminent foreclosure of the property known as Emery Drive Apartments in Covington's Peaselburg neighborhood. The meeting was held at the Housing Authority of Covington offices.
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NIP purchased the property five years ago and is now in need of refinancing the loan through the Cincinnati Development Fund to whom the mortgage is due September 1. Aaron Wolfe-Bertling, executive director of HAC and president of NIP, explained that $1.7 million is owed on the property and proposed that a letter be written to the Cincinnati Development Fund extend the due date of a $400,000 payment so that the mortgage can be saved. Wolfe-Bertling blamed the downturn in the economy for the decline in the property's value and the rental rates that have remained flat.
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He also explained that the National Development Center could help in assisting with other possible financing options. The goal is to pay the $400,000 due reducing the note to $1.3 million and then paying the balance on a cash-flow basis.
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The mortgage is not the only issue facing the NIP-owned property. More than a dozen Peaselburg residents attended the meeting to voice opposition to one proposal on the table: putting additional HAC subsidized units in the development. They complained of declining property values, increased crime rates, and the eyesore of a shut-down swimming pool on the property. With City Heights just up the hill, Peaselburg has more subsidized housing than any other Covington neighborhood, they said. 
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Emery Drive is made up of five buildings with twenty-three units. NIP is interested in having HAC fill 11 of those units with subsidized housing for seniors and the handicapped. NIP director John Spence, who is also on the board of commissioners at HAC, said that this option would free up more flexibility in the other four buildings for more market-rate rental opportunities. In order for that to happen, HAC would have to issue a request for proposals from interested property owners that would like to use the subsidized vouchers and NIP would have to apply. 
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Covington Mayor Chuck Scheper and City Manager Larry Klein were on hand and Scheper suggested that HAC/NIP examine what a group called Cornerstone has done in turning around properties in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. "I don't want to have a black eye that we've defaulted on these loans even though it's not our responsibility," Scheper said. 
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None of this will matter if the Cincinnati Development Fund rejects NIP's plan and forecloses on the property. The board of directors voted to send a letter to CDF with a request for a delay of 75 days as they work at establishing a plan of action to save Emery Drive.
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WAR OF WORDS ERUPT AT COVINGTON SCHOOL BOARD MEETING
"We're not going to stay silent any longer, this time we're going to speak back." A war of words erupted at Thursday night's Covington School Board meeting over the vacancy that followed a resignation, and why an election won't be on the ballot.
Full story: The River City News 
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OTHER NOTES FROM THE SCHOOL BOARD MEETING: 
  • The School Board officially adopted the compensating tax rate on Covington properties, instead of taking the full 4% increase. This is the first time in several years that only the compensating rate will be added to property taxes by the Covington School Board.
  • Many of the staff members present at Thursday's meeting were there to be recognized for their work on a well-attended and well-received Ethics & Equity Conference at Holmes High School.
  • It was noted that enrollment is up at every school save for Latonia Elementary which is down slightly this year. 71 more students at John G Carlisle School resulted in the board approving the creation of a new Kindergarten teacher position and an instructor assistant position.
  • Covington Schools will continue to lease space from Gateway College to house its alternative school at a rate of $15 per square foot, which was the same price offered to Gateway when Covington Schools owned the building.
  • The district, along with its partners in Strive (Cincinnati Public and Newport Independent), will apply for a $40 million federal Race to the Top grant that would include the benefit of Kindles being placed in the hands of every student, allowing all text books to be accessed digitally.
  • According to the Facebook page of the Holmes High School Band, Superintendent Lynda Jackson was named among the administrators of the year by the Kentucky Music Educators Association.
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QUICKIES
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Deputy shoots man, then gives him CPR WBKO 
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KY State Police to increase patrols this holiday weekend WKYT 
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Gov. Beshear implements measures to increase integrity, safety of horse racing press release 
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After national attention, juvenile sex case is made public WDRB 
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It's not Auburn VS Alabama, but UK-UofL football rivalry has its own spice Herald-Leader 
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UK women's basketball coach buys Rick Pitino's old house Herald-Leader 
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Former UK basketball player becomes firefighter Herald-Leader 
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EDITORIAL: PRESUMPTION OF GUILT IN PILL ABUSE
From the State-Journal in Frankfort:
Politicians in Frankfort who still believe that government edicts can somehow or other deliver the commonwealth from the scourge of prescription drug abuse are once again approaching the issue with a butcher knife instead of a scalpel.
Full story: State-Journal 

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DOWNTOWN COVINGTON NIGHTSPOT CLOSES FOR GOOD
The Avenue Lounge and Patio is no more, celebrating its final night in operation Thursday. No reason was offered publicly, but Facebook lit up late last night as fans of the lounge expressed their sadness over its closing. 
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COVINGTON BUSINESS COUNCIL MAKES NEW HIRE
Congratulations to the CBC's Elizabeth Fricke who has been hired as the organization's administrative manager. She will also serve in that role for the Urban Partnership. Fricke is a graduate student at Northern Kentucky University in the Public Administration program and also serves as a Kenton Vale city council member. She is a graduate of Thomas More College. 
Elizabeth Fricke
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THIS WEEKEND IN COVINGTON!
NOTE: The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra concert scheduled for 7:30PM in Devou Park has been moved to the NKY Convention Center. Details on possible free parking are being finalized at City Hall.
A lot of fun is planned in and around the City this weekend. Covington Ombudsman Suzanne Gettys has put together a list with additional information you may need to know. Road closings for the fireworks? What's new at the Farmers Market? A concert at the Devou Park band shell and an exhibit at the Behringer-Crawford Museum. Click the link below for all the details.
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ALSO THIS WEEKEND:
This weekend the Covington Firefighters will be stationed throughout the city collecting for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. 100% of the money collected will go to support research and those affected by muscular diseases. Please take a moment and watch this emotional video of Shaun Probert, a Shaker Heights Fireman, Local 516, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2010. He is the new MDA spokesperson, replacing Kelly Crush, an IAFF Firefighter from Wichita Falls, TX Local 432 who died in March from ALS. Help us help our "Brother" who is now "on the other side of the boot" in helping the children who suffer from Muscular Dystrophy.
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SEE ALSO: Wolf & Company, the Fifth Street lunch spot, gets a great review in Wine Me, Dine Me 
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SMALL KENTUCKY TOWN IS CENTER FOR ECLIPSE CHASERS
Hopkinsville is chosen by the Heavens:
This southwestern Kentucky town has hit the astronomical jackpot. When a total eclipse of the sun darkens skies on Aug. 21, 2017, the show will last longer in a stretch of bucolic hill country near Hopkinsville than any place on the planet. It will last two minutes and 40 seconds, not much longer than the Kentucky Derby.
Full story: Huffington Post 

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