Friday, March 30, 2007

Northern Kentucky Prescription Discount Card Now Available

Free prescription discount cards are available for most Northern Kentucky residents no matter what the income, age or existing health coverage. The prescription discount cards help Northern Kentucky residents get discounts on prescriptions any time they aren't covered by insurance.

No fees to join, and average prescription discount savings are at least 2o% when used at participating pharmacies. The card provides discounts on diabetic supplies and pet meds (if they take human medications) and is good for the whole family. Pharmacies that accept the drug discount card include Walgreens, CVS, Kroger and most other pharmacies in the area.

Pick up a prescription discount card at any Kenton County library, or call 1-877-321-2652 to find more locations where you can get a card. Since there are no eligibility requirements other than living in a participating Northern Kentucky county, you can start using the card right away.

The Northern Kentucky prescription discount card is available for residents of Boone, Bracken, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton , Mason, Pendleton and Trimble counties.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Skinny on Trying to Lose Weight: One Woman's Attempt to Balance the Scales

With a couple of important events coming up (SC beaches in April, parent's anniversary party in June), I'm starting down that inevitable path for spring. Spring means cleaning out the closets, long walks by the river and for me, an annual freak-out about how and when to lose the extra winter pounds.

When I was in college I did a lot of crazy diets. The grapefruit diet meant eating, you guessed it, grapefruit for every meal. The weight fell off but I couldn't look at (or smell) citrus for years. Another variation on the grapefruit crash diet involved strawberries and leeks (no joke).

I tried diet supplements too. Prone to migraines anyway, most of the "all natural!" diet pills send me over the edge with their high caffeine content. They don't help my (undiagnosed) ADD, either. Taking diet pills have helped me lose weight, but they also turn me into a rather unpleasant person (read: raving maniacal shrew). And inevitably, when I stop taking the pills, I eat like I've been on Survivor for six months.

As an adult, I know crash diets aren't the answer. Over the last several years I've moved into an uncomfortable relationship with gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free organic foods. It's uncomfortable mostly because I still like beer. And as yet, Yuengling, Full Sail and Shiner have not got on the organic, free-range bandwagon. A shame.

I've accepted the fact that I will always worry about my weight. The body you hated as a teenager becomes the body you wish you had in your twenties, which begets the body you'd kill and maim for in your thirties. I'm comfortable in my skin and reasonably happy with myself's self.

Of course, the best way to lose weight is to eat reasonable portions of healthy foods while following a dedicated regimen of exercise. But darn it all... it's spring again and I find myself asking a friend how the Hoodia diet pills are working for her. One last crash diet... And from then on, I'll follow the straight and narrow, I promise. Well, except for the occasional beer.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Missing the Point: Ft. Thomas Kentucky Veterans Memorial Shopping Plaza

With VA hospitals quickly becoming our country's not-so-secret shame, is the Ft. Thomas, Kentucky plan to build a veteran's memorial plaza really an appropriate use of funds?

The Veteran's Administration recently released the Environment of Care report in its attempt to address the problems in VA hospitals- and to address the recent negative press leaks. What the VA report won't tell you about VA hospitals:

- Veterans' hospitals have been downsizing, consolidating and closing for several years now (case in point- The old Fort Thomas VA Medical Center is now a nursing home);

- VA hospitals have been buying drugs in bulk to save money for approximately four years;

- Veteran hospital patients aren't given everything they need in the time they need it- toothbrushes, for example;

- Veterans face long drives to reach base pharmacies and even longer lines to get prescriptions filled;

- VA doctors are predisposed to ignore post traumatic stress disorder in medical diagnoses.

A few of the issues uncovered in the VA's Environment of Care report include moldy VA hospital rooms, leaking roofs and in one case, bat infestation. In addition, they're decorated with worn out carpets, antiquated waiting room furniture and not enough sleeper beds for guests.

Fort Thomas can find a better way to spend this windfall- an important way, that benefits local veterans, instead of building a memorial. With the current VA hospital backlash, building the plaza in front of the now-defunct VA medical center seems somewhat tasteless- and inappropriate.

If I were advising Ft. Thomas on public relations strategy, I'd tell them to take 10% of the money earmarked for the veterans memorial plaza and build a plaque. A plaque that explains how, in 2007, Fort Thomas donated a large amount of money to help local veterans- in ways that matter the most.

Read the full Environment of Care Report at the VA Web site.

Why Kroger went Kaput: More Tales from the Shelves

Friday night after Jo's CD release party I went to Bellevue Kroger to pick something up for Saturday (e.g., Recovery Day). The parking lot was filled to the brim with police cruisers and DARE SUVs. Uh-oh, I thought, some wack job tried to rob the till. Um, no. The Kroger computers were down. The police showed up en masse to prevent a potential shopping riot.

Next, I zipped over to the Covington Kroger at 15th & Madison (my friend Dave calls this store the Kroger That Kroger Forgot, but they do have a lot of the basics). They too, were closed, but no police cruisers were in sight. Just one random guy in the parking lot that chatted with me for a moment and a young cashier hanging out with her boyfriend. Same network problems. So what happened to Northern Kentucky Kroger stores last night? Actually, "it" happened to Krogers everywhere, as all Kroger stores were closed from approximately 10 to 2 EST last night.

Kroger, in an attempt to remove the (potentially) tainted Eukanuba pet food from its shelves, accidentally shut down the whole system. When cashiers tried to ring up sales, they received some kind of "no sale" or "not on sale" message, so they finally gave up the ghost and shut down for several hours while HQ sorted things out.

In case you were wondering.

The Dark Days are Over: Covington Suspension Bridge Reopens

The Roebling Suspension Bridge has reopened for passage between Covington and downtown Cincinnati.

Finally. The three-minute commute to downtown is back!

Note: The suspension bridge is expected to close again next year to be repainted. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Insight Broadband: What, Are You Kidding Me With This?

It all started innocently enough. Last summer Insight Broadband, the Northern Kentucky cable company, made some changes as part of an upgrade.

I can only guess what happened next but it probably goes something like this: Insight BB failed to do proper regression testing, e.g., 9 times out of 10, when you make a major systems change, somethin' else is gonna go bonk. And that's exactly what happened.

For me, the biggest problem I had with Insight BB last summer was faulty e-mail service. While it appeared that e-mails were being successfully sent, I'd later find that no, they went nowhere. Not exactly a prime position for a writer, facing deadline on top of deadline, to be in. Other Problems included shifty broadband cable service and pretty much no way to get a call through to Insight Broadband to get answers to my questions. Having said that.

I will give mad props to the CEO of Insight Communications, who sucked it up on-line and on TV, actually, where he apologized and basically said, we screwed up. That took a lot of guts and more than anything, it's the primary reason they retained this customer. In addition, Insight BB gave me a partial refund for the three weeks of poor e-mail service (Just a partial refund- I'm still a little frosted about that, but it beats a blank, as my friend Matthew always says).

It was an excellent retention tactic and it worked well- Insight Communications saw a 13% increase in revenues over year 2005, with more than 54,000 new customers signing on during the year and more than 1.4 million overall customers at year's end. High-speed insight bb revenue increased 26% over the previous year, too.

But the ongoing challenge for Insight Communications and CEO Michael Willner has to do with regaining my trust- and more importantly, the trust of Insight BB customers everywhere. last week, I again started experiencing e-mail problems. I didn't know how bad they were until I popped in Saturday to find a stack of e-mails waiting to be read, topped by, you guessed it, an apology from Insight Broadband.

So maybe this time everything will work out fine. I can only hope that my invoices hit their mark, and that my editors are happily slashing my turned-in-on-time work even as we speak. Because honestly, if all of those e-mails are lost, the only apology I will accept this time will be from Michael Willner. In person.

Nick Clooney Runs Darfur Film Tonight

Nick Clooney will be at the Art Academy tonight to show his short film Darfur, detailing the genocide that's tearing apart the troubled African nation. The showing is free and open to everyone.

The Art Academy is located at 1212 Jackson Street in downtown Cincinnati.

CD Release Party Friday, March 23rd

Jordana is having her CD release party tomorrow, Friday March 23rd at 7 pm at Tostado's Grill in Tusculum, located at 3500 Eastern Avenue in Cincinnati.

Jordana has a lovely, melodic turn of phrase and thoughtful, intelligent lyrics. And a big local fan base, so get there early if you want to sit down.

Stop by or buy her CD online at CD Baby.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

From the Absolutely Ridiculous File: The Kentucky Billboard Bill

The General Assembly reconvenes March 26th to discuss bills in progress. One Kentucky Senate bill, SB 155 (the Kentucky Billboard Bill), will allow billboard companies to remove trees that block billboards.

Under SB 155, a permit system would be set up to allow trees in the public right of way to be cut down if they impair billboard visibility from surrounding highways.

In exchange for highway dollars, Kentucky signed a bonus agreement some years ago that directly relates to billboard regulation. In addition to the environmental issues at hand, there seems to be some possibility that other parts of SB 155 would mean that 2.5 million in federal dollars would have to be repaid.

In other words, Kentucky Senate Bill 155 is a real "lose-lose" for almost everyone.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cracking Down on a Minor Problem in Mainstrasse

So jennguin and I went to the mainstrasse pub on Friday (completely blowing any chance we had of going out Saturday) and it was three-deep and knee deep at the bar with b-ball fans. There was a fellow there attempting to warble dave matthews but he could only work it during the commercial breaks- the sports fans were just not having it.

Since jenn turned 21 about ten minutes ago ("It was in October, auntie Lisa!") I wasn't too surprised that she got carded. Her ID wasn't checked all week, but I figured it would happen sooner or later. The funny thing was that the bartender asked for more forms of identification, too, and it took him a minute to make the decision to give us our Shiner Bocks. He checked my ID too (thank you) but puzzled over Jenn's for a couple of minutes.

Of note: Jenn is, like the rest of my family, from Oregon and got her OR driver's license the first year they started giving them eight year expiration dates. Ergo, the driver's license photo was taken when she was 16, and on break from a cross country match, with her blonde-ish hair in twin Mickey Mouse buns. The second piece of ID she proferred was her student ID from The George Washington U. In this photo, taken two years ago, she has long dark hair. Today she has shoulder-length curly reddish hair. So the ID checking went on for a while.

The bartenders told us there had been in fact a smackdown and a crackdown by the ABC (alcohol beverage control) down the street earlier in the evening and things were not looking well for a certain bar in the mainstrasse district. They apologized to us too, which we didn't think was necessary... Jenn, like most 21 year-olds, never gets carded and was pretty excited by the commotion.

It's not too surprising that the ABC finally stopped in to Covington Mainstrasse. But it's a hard go for the hard-working bartenders, and a bust can mean everything from getting fined, to getting fired, to getting banned from working at other bars or embroiled in a lawsuit. The ABC employs "investigative aides" to help them in their quest to "combat the sale of tobacco and alcoholic beverages to underage youth."

Whether the Friday night bust was a set-up or a just another night on the town is up for debate. Either way, if you get carded when you're out and about don't take offense; the waitstaff are just doing their job.

Phour Stars for Pho Paris, and Other Things to Do in Covington

Jennguin was in town last week from dc and i finally made it to Jean-Robert de Cavel's newest restaurant, Pho Paris on Greenup. I had a Vietnamese crepe, jenn had a sobu noodle salad and we split some wontons with a black bean & shrimp dip. Reasonably priced, friendly service and the food was div-ooon, baby. Will not wait so long or for out of town visitors to go back.

We also managed to stumble into Greenup Cafe on Saturday morning and as feared, now all I can think about is going back for another croissant... I have zero willpower.

My favorite ex-bartender from Coco's told me that the word is Jean-Robert will open another casual fare restaurant across the street, where Donna's Diner was located. He heard it will be another diner-type restaurant, Thank Goodness (still missing the bloody mary bar). Since Donna's, Jack Quinn's, et al moved so ungraciously away, the covington riverside district has been, well, almost boring.

Jerry the mailman says that Cavel is opening another restaurant on Greenup and not in the Donna's building, so, wonder of wonders, we may soon have a few picks around the corner. Hopefully Coco's will drop their prices back down when the places to eat become more competitive... They're too overpriced right now.

Other highlights from the week and to add to your list of things to do when people come in from out of town: hit the art museum, oohed and ahhed at basilica and traipsed through covington mainstrasse and the gaslight district in clifton. We also had sushi at the Waterfront, and yeah, it gets pricey, and there are a lot of cheesy people, but mostly, they're very friendly and don't harass you when you're talking to a friend or a sweetie-niece. And Josh at the Waterfront makes some of the best sushi around. All in all, a good week.

I'm behind on blogs, RFPs, Web pages and a magazine article so it's back to it this week.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

In Case You Were Wondering- A Daylight Savings Time Update

In case you were wondering if Stu stuck to his guns, and refuted Daylight Savings Time, a quick update from a phone call last night:

Stu: "Call me tomorrow after 1."

Me: "Why after one o'clock?"

Stu: "Because that will be after noon, my time."

The current estimate of US citizens on Daylight Savings Time: 294 million. Minus 1.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Covington Suspension Bridge Work on Schedule. Yes!

I checked out the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's site for updates on the Covington Suspension Bridge construction and it relays the following:

This BRIDGE REHAB(P) project was awardedto INTECH CONTRACTING LLC on 10/6/2006. The contract amount is $3,157,103.04 and the project is approximately 58% complete.

58% complete with about 6 weeks to go (the deadline is April 22, 2007) didn't sound that great so I contacted the engineer of record, who assures us that the project is "on or ahead of schedule." Yahoo!

Life can soon get back to normal in the historic riverside district, when we can cross 3rd street without getting mowed down by a squatter, cutting over to the Newport bridge. Chances are, there won't be so many people stopping and asking directions, either, but I don't mind that anyway. I've been explaining for years that you have to go to the next town over to get to the Levee.

Photo by Joe Dunckley. View more of his photos at