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NKY policewomen take down barriers for calendar Melissa Reinert

Female cops throughout Northern Kentucky are knocking down barriers and making a difference in their community. Not only are they working hard to serve and protect, but they’re posing proudly for a charitable cause. “NKY Women in Blue, a female officer calendar that focuses on fitness, strength, and confidence,” said Fort Mitchell Detective Jill Stulz. Stulz, 34, came up with the idea for the charitable project in 2015, after seeing a friend’s Facebook post that shared a link for a fireman calendar out of North Carolina. “I clicked on the link, not for the half uniform dressed, greased up, puppy holding buff fireman, but rather to read the article associated with it. I was wondering what the point of it was and how in the world they got approval to be greased up in their uniforms,” Stulz said. Stulz learned it was for a fundraiser the fire department does every year for its local animal shelter. Immediately she got the idea of police officers in Northern Kentucky doing something similar, but not focused on sex appeal. “I researched and settled upon a Northern Kentucky female officer calendar,” she said. “I wanted the proceeds to go to an organization whose clients could connect with the message we were trying to convey — promoting women as be-

Alesa Collinsworth of the Independence Police Department is featured in the “NKY Women in Blue” calendar. PHOTOS PROVIDED BY KATIE WOODRING

ing strong, confident and fearless. We first worked with the Women’s Crisis Center, and this year’s beneficiary is the Welcome House of Northern Kentucky.” Welcome House exists to end homelessness by guiding clients from housing uncertainty to housing stability through its services such as housing, service coordination, and income and benefits. The second edition, a 2018 calendar, will feature tasteful, professionally taken photographs of 13 regional female officers. Advance orders are being taken at NKY Women in Blue’s Facebook page. In the last few years, NKY Women in Blue has also become an organization with roughly 35 members, representing law enforcement agencies across Northern Kentucky. Stulz said the group is aiming to participate in more fundraising events

this year, as well as working with additional local organizations. Edgewood officer Julie Marzheuser, who has been a part of NKY Women in Blue since the beginning, is excited about its future, as well as the relationships she’s developed. “There aren’t very many female officers in Northern Kentucky and most agencies only have one or two females, if any,” she said. “I’m the only female at my agency so I love being able to work with other women in the field. We’ve not only become closer co-workers through this organization but we’ve also become great friends outside of work.” When Marzheuser was a little girl she dreamed of a career in law enforcement. “I would watch all the police and investigations TV shows as a kid, especially ‘Law & Order,’” she said. “I was glued to them,

Melody Parker of the Boone County Sheriff’s Office is part of the “NKY Women in Blue” calendar. PROVIDED/KATIE WOODRING

couldn’t get enough!” At age 35, the last 71⁄2 years she’s been living that dream at the Edgewood Police Department. “Few careers are as rewarding as law enforcement,” Marzheuser said. “Being able to help victims seek justice and find peace is one of the most reward-

ing aspects for me, especially when those victims are children.” Marzheuser especially loves being a role model for young girls. “I hope I’m able to positively impact them in one way or anSee CALENDAR, Page 2A

Ky. schools allowed to add Bible literacy classes Melissa Reinert

The Bible could be part of your teenager’s high school curriculum next fall. House Bill 128, signed by Gov. Matt Bevin in June, gives public schools’ site-based decisionmaking councils the option to create Bible literacy courses as a part of social studies curriculum for students in grade nine and up. Under the law, any courses would be electives, not requirements. According to the Kentucky Department of Education website, the purpose of these courses is to “focus on the historical impact and literary style from texts of the Old Testament or New Testament era, including the Hebrew Scriptures.”

The law requires that the courses maintain “religious neutrality and (accommodate) the diverse religious views, traditions and perspectives of students in the school.” The bill was sponsored and penned by Republican Rep. D.J. Johnson of Owensboro. According to Johnson, he was approached by several constituents to sponsor such a bill, so he looked into the issue. “In recent years, it has become fashionable to try to ignore the fact that the Bible did, in fact, play an important role in the development of not only the United States of America but much of western civilization,” Johnson said. “This trend is denying students the opportunity to fully understand this fact.” Some schools have offered Bi-

ble literacy classes in the past as an English elective, said Nancy Rodriguez, Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman. Legally, schools are free to offer elective courses on the Bible or other religious texts. House Bill 128, Johnson said, will “provide guidance and assistance” to school systems that want to offer Bible elective courses. Boone County Schools Superintendent Randy Poe said the district’s high school SBDM councils have offered such courses in the past. “When there is enough enrollment for a class it is taught,” he said. “If not enough enrollment for the elective — then it is not.” Several other Northern Kentucky school leaders have said their SBDM councils will also


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information,” she said. “However, it is expected the schools that have been offering these classes will continue to do so.” Rodriguez said, so far, the department has not received any positive or negative feedback regarding the electives. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky communications director Amber Duke said the ACLU has “fears about unconstitutional activity going on in the classroom” in light of this bill’s passage. “It is possible to have a constitutionally sound curriculum that is taught in an unconstitutional manner,” she said. “To date, we haven’t seen any guidelines or direction from the Department of Education on the standards for See BIBLE, Page 2A

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consider offering Bible literacy electives if there is enough interest among students. “Since it, an SBDM Council decision regarding which courses to offer at a school, our high school will consider the Bible literacy courses along with other electives as they determine what to list in the course catalog for next year,” Fort Thomas Schools Superintendent Karen Cheser said. Kenton County Schools spokeswoman Jess Dykes said: “It’s a site-based decision-making council decision that will be based on need.” According to Rodriguez, there is no way to track how many schools will offer the Bible literacy electives. “It is a local decision and the department does not track that

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