Making the Leap: It’s Division I for Norse

It’s a new era for NKU and its athletes, as well as the region.

That’s Northern Kentucky University President James Vortruba’s assessment of the move to join the Atlantic Sun Conference and begin reclassification to NCAA Division I status in athletics during the 2012-13 academic year.

“This day has been a long time in the making,” says Votruba.

“Today we begin a new era not just for our athletics program, but for our institution and our region. Division I athletics will help position the university regionally and nationally in a way that otherwise would not be possible.

“We’ve said for several years that we would make this move when we could field competitive Division I teams without compromising other critical university priorities,” he said. “The other important component was to find a group of peer institutions that share our aspirations. The A-Sun is a great fit for us. The league has a diverse membership of large and small institutions, public and private. All share a deep commitment to academic achievement and athletic success.”

NKU is currently a member of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference. NKU has won three national championships at the Division II level during the past 11 years. “The rigorous competition within the GLVC has prepared us well for what we will face at the Division I level,” says NKU Director of Athletics Scott Eaton. “We are ready for the next step.”

Reclassification to Division I athletics is a four-year process that will begin in July 2012. During this four-year period,
NKU will not be eligible for NCAA


Shearer is Kentucky ‘Teacher of the Year’

Boone County High School English teacher Kimberly Shearer is the 2012 Kentucky Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year.

Shearer has taught English at Boone County for seven years. She is the school’s writing coordinator, supervised a pre-service teacher and has presented at an ACT Summit and National Council of Teachers of English national conference. Shearer has published work in the Community & Junior College Libraries Journal and received the Pulling for Kids and People Who Make a Difference award. Shearer was a finalist for Hixson Teacher of the Year.

Shear has a bachelor’s degree from at Georgetown College, a master’s degree from Northern Kentucky University and a second master’s degree from Western Kentucky University.


PNC Donates $10,000 to Covington Cleanup

Litter and graffiti cleanup in Covington has received a $10,000 boost from the Robert H. Reakirt Foundation of PNC Bank’s Charitable Trust Division.

Paid staff and volunteers pick up litter and weeds from sidewalks, power-wash sidewalks and remove graffiti from buildings as part of the Clean and Safe Program of the Covington Business Council Foundation (doing business as the Urban Partnership of Covington.)

Since its beginning April 1, more than 38,000 pounds of litter have been collected and more than 400 instances of graffiti removed.

“We appreciate the support of the Reakirt Foundation and PNC Bank as we create a more clean and welcoming environment for business owners and potential investors in Covington,” says UP Executive Director Pat Frew.


Ludlow’s Museum of Its Own

What started more than 20 years ago as a hobby shared by a husband and wife has evolved into amuseum preserving the history of the Ohio River community of Ludlow.

The chance for families to research their own history is a key attraction at the Ludlow Heritage Museum at 227 Elm St., a former city building and doctor’s office being leased by the city to the museum for $1 a year.

Yolanda Mitchell, a psychologist and teacher by profession who says she has always been passionate about history, moved to Ludlow when she was two years old, and introduced her husband Mark, an artist, to Ludlow’s rich history.

“We went for a walk one day, and I took him by the oldest houses in Ludlow and told him what I knew, which then was a limited amount,” Mitchell says. “He started getting really interested in it ... and he would spend his extra time at the library researching.”

The couple welcomed more than 200 guests to the grand opening in late October. The museum is open noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and by appointment by calling (859) 261-3451.

The Mitchells collected relics and traveled the country to learn more about the town and the family who started it. They met Ludlows in California and Minnesota — and still exchange Christmas cards with many of them.

Displays include original pieces of the Southern Railroad. Photos of Ludlow Lagoon amusement park draw the most excitement from visitors who remember going there as youngsters, she says.



It’s a chance to go to college without the morning classes. Professors in NKU’s Six at Six Series share expertise at 6 p.m. lectures costing $6. Students free. Lectures include:

Breaking Enigma: An Example of World War II Codebreaking: Dr. Chris Christensen, professor of Mathematics and Statistics, explores codebreaking. March 1, The Mercantile Library of Cincinnati. 414 Walnut St.; (859) 572-1448.

Cincinnati’s Medieval Manuscript Fragments: English Professor Dr. Tamara O’Callaghan explores the largely unknown and undocumented specimens of medieval manuscripts. March 22, Behringer-Crawford Museum, Devou Park, Covington. (859) 572-1448. — THE EDITORS

What’s Next For Southgate House?

The new year brings a Southgate House watch to see if the Newport venue will resurrect itself as one of the nation’s most unique live music clubs. For now, local music fans are in mourning as the venue was set to close Jan.1.

A protracted family legal feud caused longtime owner Ross Raleigh to sell his share of the building to his sisters, who have been vague about their plans. Raleigh has said he will open a club at another location.

But it’s hard to imagine it could be the same.

Over the last 20 years, the Southgate House, with three stages spread over the nooks and crannies of the 197-year-old mansion, had become ground zero for the area’s local music scene. Among touring acts, it had a national reputation as a rustic, intimate concert hall.

For fans, the Southgate House held a sense of musical discovery and daring sitting as a cozy, earthy relic across the street from the glitz of the Newport on the Levee entertainment complex.

— Rick Bird