360 Fireworks Party

Saturday, March 31, 2012

CITY RELEASES STATEMENT ON ENDING DISPATCH CENTER

by Michael Monks 
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THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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The City of Covington has issued a press release on ending the city's dispatch center and terminating its sixteen employees. This is an update to the story that was first reported by The River City News. To see the original report, click the link below:
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Here is the release from City Hall:
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The City of Covington is getting out of the police and fire dispatching business.

The Covington Board of City Commissioners is expected to approve an order/resolution at its meeting on Tuesday night directing the City Manager to shut down its dispatch center in the Covington Police Department.

Over the past 13 years, three independent studies have concluded that a county-wide consolidated dispatch center will save the city millions of dollars while improving public safety.

Consolidation of emergency dispatch services is occurring on a regional and national basis. Kenton County is the only county in the state with three dispatch centers (Covington, Erlanger, and Kenton County). Both Campbell County and Boone County have combined dispatch service. Owensboro, a city roughly the size of Covington, has combined service with Davies County.

Changes in telephone technology are another reason behind the decision, Mayor Chuck Scheper said. "With the majority of 911 calls now coming from cell phones today, having multiple dispatch centers in close proximity to each other causes many of these calls to go to the wrong center because of location and topography," he said.

"Approximately one-fourth of all emergency calls are 'hand-offs' to other dispatch centers, which can add up to two more minutes in response time for first responders. In emergencies, time is of the essence and that extra two minutes can mean the difference between life and death."

Management Partners, a consulting firm hired by the city to study the issue, has indicated that centralization will not only improve public safety but will allow for greater cooperation among emergency services.

Nine different fire districts surround Covington and 19 different police forces operate in the county. Every member of the city's management staff interviewed by the consulting firm, including both the police chief and fire chief, agreed that a consolidated dispatch center would improve public safety, Mayor Scheper said.

"This will allow emergency first-responders to work more closely together and eliminate sending multiple agencies to the same incident, which sometimes now happens due to multiple dispatch centers in the county," said Covington Fire Chief Chuck Norris.

"Merged dispatch will provide better service to the community, enhance communications and cooperation between agencies, reduce redundant hardware and software, and enhance the long-range sustainability of the dispatch system," Norris said.

In addition to saving money and improving safety, Covington Police Chief Lee Russo said a merged dispatch system will provide valuable data for crime analysis and emergency planning.

"Information related to service demand and crime can be standardized across jurisdictions and will allow for analysis of crime and emergency service needs on a broader, more regionalized level," Russo said. "That will allow for better preparation for local jurisdictions to respond to current needs while planning for the future."

Mayor Scheper said that consolidated dispatching services will save the city about $1.2 million a year. The Covington dispatch center costs the city about $2 million a year to operate. 911 fees on landlines bring in about $670,000 and cell-phone fees bring in about $165,000 annually, resulting in a net deficit to the general fund of about $1.2 million, an amount that keeps on increasing because more people are eliminated land lines in favor of cell phones, Mayor Scheper said.

The 16 employees currently working at the Covington Dispatch Center will be offered a severance package. Some, if not all employees, will likely be offered employment with the consolidated dispatch center with comparable pay and benefits. Some may also choose to remain with the city under a "bumping rights" provision of collective bargaining agreement.

DISMEMBERED PARTS FOUND IN SOUTH COVINGTON MAY BELONG TO OHIO MURDER VICTIM

by Michael Monks 
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THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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UPDATE 5:30PM:
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The Urbana, Ohio police chief confirms that a murder victim in that Ohio city was dismembered and that part of the body was discovered this morning in Covington. Jessica Rae Sacco, 21, was found dead inside her apartment Friday morning in Urbana which is approximately 95 miles from Covington. Five suspects have been taken into custody including three that were rounded up this morning at a Hamilton, Ohio residence and two others arrested in Urbana. All five will be in court on Monday with three appearing in Hamilton and two in Urbana. Only one is charged with murder, Matthew Puccio, 25, who also faces charges of felonious assault, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence. He is being held on $532,000 bond. 
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Also arrested: 
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  • Andrew Forney, 26, charged with abuse of a corpse, obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence, and complicity to tampering with evidence. His bond is $42,500
  • Kandis Forney, 25, charged with obstructing justice and complicity to tampering with evidence. Her bond is $30,000
  • Christopher Wright, 37, charged with abuse of a corpse, obstructing justice, and tampering with evidence. His bond is $30,000
  • Sharon Cook, 25, charged with complicity to abuse of a corpse, complicity to obstructing justice, and complicity to tampering with evidence. His bond is $30,000
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Police believe that Sacco was killed on or about last Thursday, March 22. They believe that Puccio stabbed and suffocated her. Investigators believe that the other four suspects were present inside the apartment at the time of the killing and that Puccio and the Forneys then transported the body parts from the victim to Hamilton and then to Covington where they were disposed of near Hands Pike. 
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ORIGINAL POST FROM NOON, SATURDAY:
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Dismembered body parts were found this morning near Hands Pike in South Covington and they may belong to a victim of a murder in Urbana, Ohio. A source tells The River City News that severed legs were found dumped over a guardrail on Hands Pike but Covington Police Lieutenant Colonel Spike Jones could not confirm what the body parts were. "We received information from Urbana Police that there may be evidence here related to a homicide in their jurisdiction," Jones said.
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Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell could not confirm that evidence related to an Urbana murder was being collected in Covington but may be available for an update later this afternoon.

NEWS ROUND-UP -- SATURDAY MORNING 31 MAR

by Michael Monks 
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THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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LETTER FROM CITY HALL OFFERS SEVERANCE TO EACH DISPATCHER
In a move that caught Covington police dispatchers by surprise a letter was sent out Friday evening to all sixteen dispatchers offering a severance package and saying that dispatch services for the city were going to be handled by Kenton County on or around September 1. For details and for snippets from the letter, click the link. This story continues to develop. 
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NO REFERENCE TO DISPATCH ON TUESDAY'S COMMISSION AGENDA
There was no public discussion about the dispatch decision and as of Friday evening no item appears on Tuesday's city commission agenda that relates to the decision to fire all of the dispatchers. Here is what is planned for discussion: 
  • Four presentations One on the transition from Insight Cable to Time Warner; One on the Children's Home of Northern Kentucky; One on a health-related grant; and one on the Great American Clean-up
  • The City of Covington will accept the title to real estate located at 639 West 9th Street (no price is listed on agenda but the item reads "approving terms and conditions of settlement agreement)
  • Much of the rest of the short agenda involves the police department (a raise, a resignation, and honoring William Dometrich who died last week)
NUTS & BOLTS FROM COVINGTON SCHOOL BOARD MEETING
If you missed this week's earlier coverage of Wednesday's school board meeting, check out the links below:
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As for the agenda items, here is how it went: 
  • Six-month attendance report: Latonia 96.39%; Glenn O. Swing 95.53%; Sixth District 95.66%; Ninth District 95.86%; John G. Carlisle 95.97%; Holmes Middle 95.26%; Holmes High 91.61%; Holmes Alternative 83.8%
  • The board approved a contract with Bertke & Sparks to continue auditing services for the district
  • The district will collaborate with NKY Community Action Commission by offering 4 unused classrooms at Ninth District for head start education
  • The district will collaborate with the Carnegie on a contractual basis permitting the arts center to provide instructors in the arts each week at each elementary school
Additionally, students from BLOCK, an anti-bullying program in the district, were recognized for their work: 

Two eighth grade students from Holmes were also recognized for wowing business leaders during a visit to the school:
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SEE ALSO: A Holmes teacher won the Golden Apple award at the Excellence in Education dinner Thursday Click Here 
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HISTORIC RIVERSIDE DRIVE HOME SELLS!
A couple from Ohio purchased it. Find out how a trip on "Ride the Ducks" led to the sale -- at the link below. 
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GROUND IS BROKEN ON RIVER'S EDGE AT EASTSIDE POINTE
Ground is broken for the new housing development River's Edge at Eastside Pointe which replaces the former Jacob Price. Congressman Geoff Davis was on hand and at the link, you'll find out how the Jacob Price community center inspired his daughter to become a teacher. Lots of photos, too! 
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THIS WEEK'S MUGSHOT ROUND-UP
Who's going to prison and who got probation? Check out the full list from the Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney's office.
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SEE ALSO: The Northern Kentucky Policemen's Ball is tonight at the Radisson in Covington Click Here
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IN CASE YOU MISSED: FRIDAY'S HEADLINES
SWAT is called to the condo community of a local state representative; Report: Holy Cross's star quarterback commits to a college; Plus, Gov. Beshear declares New Orleans as part of "There's only one Kentucky" campaign... Those stories and more at the link. 
The RC News: Friday Round-Up 
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 SOMEBODY HIT THE MEGA MILLIONS
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See the winning numbers here
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Three winning tickets were sold across the country USA Today 
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FRANKFORT HEADLINES
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Tornado relief bill passes WBKO 
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VIDEO: School bus outruns tornado FOX 19
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SEE ALSO: FEMA closes Kenton County center FOX 19
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SEE ALSO: Warnings about asbestos in storm debris WBKO 
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SEE ALSO: Documentary chronicles tornado relief effort Cincinnati Enquirer 
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NKAPC/DIRECTION 2030 VISITS SCOTT HIGH SCHOOL
In search of student feedback on the future of Kenton County, Direction 2030 visited Scott: 
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QUICKIES
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MUST READ: Fired Park Hills police chief sues the city Cincinnati Enquirer 
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Taco Bell employee gets $56,000 check by mistake, but he cashes it anyway, gets indicted and shows up in court with weed in his pocket Cincinnati Enquirer 
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Ads spark increase in calls to the quit-smoking hotline WKYT 
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Derby Watch: All eyes on 'Union Rags' today Courier-Journal 
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BLUEGRASS BATTLE...
    COMMONWEALTH CLASH...
  IT'S THE MADDEST MARCH EVER!!!
Today may be the biggest ever in Kentucky sports history. UK, UofL, UofL, UK -- it's on.
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A great piece titled, "Please don't lose, Kentucky":
What Calipari has crafted at Kentucky verges on beauty. I'm not (too) embarrassed to say that. The last time we saw the ingredients mesh like this was with North Carolina in 2009, and Kentucky has the advantage of not having Tyler Hansbrough flopping around and goofing everything up. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's amazing speed and finishing ability, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller banging 3s, Marquis Teague setting it all up, Terrence Jones scoring on the run and in the post, and Anthony Davis sparking the breaks with blocks and finishing them with dunks, this team is an aesthetic delight. Talent is not enough, and a system is not enough. But when the system recognizes that the talent is hot, sets the control level at minimum, and starts making perfect sense in March, then we're all just leaping up from the tattered couch and laughing until it hurts. 
Grantland  
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Commonwealth is lucky to have two top coaches Herald-Leader 
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Refs may decide game today between Cats and Cards Herald-Leader 
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And lastly... if you are a Kentuckian (blue or red), get a hanky and watch this:

CONVICTED: MUGSHOT ROUND-UP 31 MAR

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THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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The following people are among a long list from this week's activity in Kenton County Circuit Court. Some are going to prison while others are on probation or in the felony diversion program. A few more are still wanted for failing to appear in court: 
Burglar dresses as salesman and breaks in Fort Mitchell home:
As Ft. Mitchell Police processed the crime scene, they noticed the house had a security system with video cameras. The homeowners had not armed the system before leaving because of recent malfunctions with the fire alarm. Captured on the video cameras was a tall, black male that appeared to be some sort of salesman but was seen walking all around the house over the course of almost 2 hours, two days prior on July 1, 2011. Although the broken door is not visible on camera, the man can be seen leaving the front door, then returning into the house twenty minutes later thru the same front door.

Unbeknown to Ft. Mitchell Police, the Ft. Thomas Police were investigating an attempted burglary in their city that occurred July 1, 2011. Their suspect also made entry thru a rear door of a home that appeared unoccupied but the homeowner was actually upstairs. When confronted by the homeowner, the tall, black man claimed to be a salesman. He was carrying a case with papers and wearing a name tag. When the owner went to call police, the man hurried to his car parked on the street. An alert neighbor saw the man, thought him suspicious, and recorded his license plate. Upon later learning of the break-in attempt, she provided the license plate number to Ft. Thomas Police.
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Read the rest of this tale at the link below.
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Here are some others:



There are more at the link below with an explanation of charges and recommended sentences from Rob Sanders's Commonwealth Attorney's office. Some have been sent away, some are awaiting sentencing, and others will get probation. Whatever they end up with, let's hope as a community that they return healthy and rehabilitated, otherwise the cycle continues. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

LETTER FROM CITY OFFERS SEVERANCE PACKAGE TO DISPATCHERS

by Michael Monks 
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THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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At the end of regular business hours Friday evening, Covington Police dispatchers were notified that their jobs were being eliminated and that the City of Covington will receive dispatch services from the Kenton County Police Department. Sixteen dispatchers, all members of the American Federation of Federal, State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union received letters explaining their severances. Excerpts:

In order for the city to have a structurally balanced budget and to position itself for future success we have to look at all areas...
(snip)
After much discussion and analysis we have determined that it is in the best interest of the city to no longer provide dispatch services. We have determined that it is feasible to allow Kenton County to provide dispatch servies for Covington. This is the best opportunity to insure continued quality service and safety for our citizens.
(snip)
The city informed the leadership of AFSCME this morning. We also discussed the best way to inform you of this before it became public. (snip)The decision is not a refelction of your individual performance. You have been an asset to the city and the management team is grateful for that. (snip)We have assembled a severance package worth one week's pay for each year worked which we hope will assist you and your family during this difficult period. (snip)We anticipate that the city will crease dispatch operations on or about September 1.
While the possibility of ending Covington's dispatch center has been a topic for several years, the issue has not been raised at any public city commission meetings and is not part of Tuesday's agenda as of Friday. Dispatchers will have the possibility of being hired on at Kenton County but were informed that the county is not currently hiring but when positions do become available preference may be given to Covington employees. 
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This story is developing. Expect updates as soon as possible. 

SOLD: HISTORIC RIVERSIDE DRIVE HOME IS OFF THE MARKET

by Michael Monks 
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THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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After being put on the market last summer, an historic Covington home finally sells to an Ohio couple that plan to keep the building a multi-family residential property while performing lots of renovations. The exterior is first on the agenda while the couple will also renovate one unit for themselves. Realtor Rebecca Weber tells The River City News that the couple was in town last summer on a Ride the Ducks trip down the river and noticed the for-sale sign in the property's yard. "The Ride the Ducks people always brought up the fact that a rare property was for sale," said Weber, who represented the home with fellow Huff realtor Joyce Herthel. "(The new owners) will do the same high caliber of work that was done to the Carneal House. It's going to be exciting for the whole neighborhood to breathe new life into that property." The River City News is withholding the final sale amount, which was in the high six figures, by request. That number will be made public in the coming days. 
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LAST SUMMER, THE RIVER CITY NEWS TOOK A TOUR OF THE PROPERTY WITH REALTOR REBECCA WEBER: 

NEWS ROUND-UP -- FRIDAY 30 MAR

by Michael Monks 
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THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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GROUND BROKEN FOR RIVER'S EDGE AT EASTSIDE POINTE
Ground is broken for the new housing development River's Edge at Eastside Pointe which replaces the former Jacob Price. Congressman Geoff Davis was on hand and at the link, you'll find out how the Jacob Price community center inspired his daughter to become a teacher. Lots of photos, too!
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THE ANSWER FOR BROKE CITIES (LIKE COVINGTON)?
The answer to saving broke cities may be right above our noses: tall, empty Downtown buildings in need of TLC. At the link, check out a report on how the concept is working in other cities and weigh in with your thoughts here. 
The River City News 
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SWAT TEAM CALLED TO REP. DENNIS KEENE'S FRANKFORT CONDO COMMUNITY
From the Dennis Keene (D-Wilder)'s Facebook page
Yesterday my morning began at my condo development in Frankfort with a police SWAT standoff with an armed man threatening to kill people. I was protected but was unable to return home until this morning. Good job by the Frankfort police and SWAT team. 
Glad you're okay, Representative! 
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ALSO IN FRANKFORT...
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Senate passes $19 billion 2-year budget Bluegrass Politics 
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Senate sends anti-meth bill to Gov. Beshear Bluegrass Politics 
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Senate sends personal home care bill to Governor Bluegrass Politics 
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The district of senate president David Williams gets lots of funds from roads bill Courier-Journal 
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Senate to consider human trafficking bill WKYT 
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Kentucky offers $10 million in tax incentives to Amazon Business First 
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Deadline to register to vote in May primary is April 23 press release 
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Louisville's government is among most tech savvy in country Business First 
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What is International Earth Hour? press release 
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April is Financial Literacy Month press release 
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THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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THE CARNEGIE SHARES HISTORIC PHOTOS
Check it out: 
The performing and visual arts center has a lot more at its Facebook page, so check it out. 
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Holmes High School showcases another soon-to-be graduate on its Facebook page. Check it out by clicking here
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CVS donates to Covington care center Cincinnati Enquirer 
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Kentucky high school basketball all-star team is coached by Holmes's head coach and will feature Holmes star Dontel Rice Cincinnati Enquirer 
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Holy Cross quarterback Kyle Fuller commits to Thomas More College reports Richard Skinner via Mike Dyer 
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WHAT'S THE VALUE OF DIRECT SERVICE FROM CVG AIRPORT?
It’s the age-old question for Greater Cincinnati corporate travel departments: How much more should we be willing to pay for direct-flight service? It’s a complicated question, no doubt. But there’s a reasonable argument that can be made for $458.90. 
The Business Courier has also assembled a CVG fare tracker.
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SEE ALSO: CVG adds service to Mexico, Caribbean Business Courier 
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QUICKIES
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Kentucky lands 1,200 construction jobs Business First
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Cincinnati wants Kentucky to clean up Purple People Bridge Cincinnati Enquirer 
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Newport Fitworks to close Cincinnati Enquirer 
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Best Buy to close 50 stores Business First 
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Renaissance of OTR's Gateway Quarter hearkens back to history CityBeat 
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         $640,000,000


What would you do with all that money? Go get a ticket and find out!
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Mega Millions could mean mega problems Cincinnati Enquirer 

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Record jackpot means cash for states Cincinnati Enquirer 
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COVINGTON MAN BUYS TICKET, BURNS IT ON STOVE
And... catches it all on video for you to watch. Click here.
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                                                   FINAL FOUR
Governor Beshear declares New Orleans to be part of Kentucky's "There's Only One" campaign: 
“There’s only one place where two Kentucky basketball teams are playing in the NCAA Final Four, and that is New Orleans,” said Governor Beshear. “It’s appropriate that we show them our appreciation for their hospitality to both of our teams and the thousands of Wildcat and Cardinal fans that will flock to New Orleans this weekend.”
“I’m happy to welcome both Kentucky and Louisville fans to the City of New Orleans,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “As the host of this year’s NCAA Final Four, we are honored to be named an “Only One” city for the weekend. We love having you, and we expect that you’ll have a spectacular time.”
The Governor issued an official proclamation for the city, which noted that “there’s only one place where this historic event (Final Four) is taking place, much like the unique places and attractions in Kentucky that make up the “There’s Only One” travel campaign such as Mammoth Cave, Cumberland Falls, the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, the Horse Capital of the World, the Kentucky Derby and many more.” 
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Meanwhile, the Governor travels to the Final Four on the state plane (but the state will be reimbursed) Herald-Leader
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What we learned from December's match-up between UK/UofL Herald-Leader 
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Dick Vitale weighs in on Dream Game 84 WHAS 
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Rick Pitino says there is no animosity between him and Calipari Courier-Journal 
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Cards are confident that they've improved Herald-Leader 
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John Calipari says he will never root against any team because it may come back to bite him Herald-Leader 
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Anthony Davis wins Player of the Year trophy Herald-Leader 
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Pitino falls short in Hall of Fame voting Card Chronicle 
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Civil war? So far, just civil Courier-Journal 
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Channel 64 to air UK special tonight Cincinnati Enquirer 
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Darius Miller understands rivalry's passion Herald-Leader 
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Derby winner Big Brown is Big Blue this weekend Herald-Leader

GROUNDBREAKING: RIVER'S EDGE AT EASTSIDE POINTE

by Michael Monks 
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THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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Future site of River's Edge
After years of planning and waiting the River's Edge at Eastside Pointe development will finally get underway. Thursday morning's groundbreaking was attended by Covington city leaders, the developers from Atlanta-based Integral, the Housing Authority of Covington, Eastside neighborhood leaders, and Congressman Geoff Davis whose daughter was inspired to become a teacher at the community center at Jacob Price which is what River's Edge replaces. "When I was first running for Congress I would park my car in the church lot (across the street) because my daughter who was in high school at the time answered an ad to teach reading in the community center," Davis said. "It inspired her to become a teacher."
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Today, only the community center building still stands as a final reminder of the 1930s housing project that sat on the site for nearly eighty years. River's Edge will be different in construction and philosophy. Instead of serving as a strictly-subsidized housing project, Integral has designed a mixed-income community in which some homes will be voucher-based while others are market rate. No one will be able to tell the difference. "The transformation taking place, the success in housing is based on relationships and investments in personal relationships," Davis said. "What's represented in this change in Covington is ultimately an investment in people and the cash will follow." 
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FOR BACKGROUND ON RIVER'S EDGE, SEE THESE PREVIOUS REPORTS: 
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PHOTOS FROM FRIDAY'S GROUNDBREAKING: 
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LOTS MORE PHOTOS BELOW, JUST CLICK THE LINK!
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THE ANSWER FOR BROKE CITIES?

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THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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According to a report in The Atlantic Cities, the secret to supporting cash strapped cities (like Covington) is to capitalize on Downtown buildings. The article uses progress in Asheville, North Carolina as an example: 
In its vacant state in the 1970s, the Asheville Hotel didn’t contribute much to the public coffers. Today, though, that same parcel of land is responsible for exponentially more property tax revenue that helps pay for police, parks and city streets.
We tend to think that broke cities have two options: raise taxes, or cut services. Minicozzi, though, is trying to point to the basic but long-buried math of our tax system that cities should be exploiting instead: Per-acre, our downtowns have the potential to generate so much more public wealth than low-density subdivisions or massive malls by the highway. And for all that revenue they bring in, downtowns cost considerably less to maintain in public services and infrastructure.
“We really are kind of preachy, because we know it works,” says Minicozzi, who has performed similar tax studies in 15 cities across the country. “And the reason we know it works is because cities have been here forever. That’s all we’re saying: think urban. When I talk with people about urbanism, we as hairless apes have lived in these things called cities for thousands of years. Now over these last 40 years, we think we don’t need them any more?”
So, broke cities: Need money? If you’ve got underutilized buildings in your downtown, do anything you can to fix them up, because that’s where your wealth comes from. This is Minicozzi’s first lesson.
Photos and more detailed examples of how this idea has worked in other cities -- at the link.
The Atlantic Cities  
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So, what do you think? Could this concept work in Covington?