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B OONE COUNTY RECORDER

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THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017

BECAUSE COMMUNITY MATTERS

Gateway’s Covington dream doesn’t live up to reality Scott Wartman swartman@nky.com

Maybe they dreamed too big. A busy, vibrant urban campus with thousands of students going to class, eating at restaurants and shopping in downtown Covington seems less likely now, or at least expectations must be pared down. The relocation of some Gateway Community and Technical College programs to Boone County and Fort Wright disappointed some in Covington who had hoped the college would breathe life into the city. Gateway in the fall will move two programs – business administration systems and education – to its Boone County campus. Those programs had 300 students combined enrolled in the fall. The Two Rivers Middle School building won’t house any more college credit courses after the spring. Instead it will house high-school equivalency programs. Covington Mayor Joe Meyer described Gateway’s urban campus as a missed opportunity. “It’s out of our hands,” Meyer said. “Vast commitments were made to our community, 5,000 students downtown, and a pledge of $80 million to $90 million campus. All those things seem pretty far in the rearview mirror.”

THE ENQUIRER/PATRICK REDDY

See GATEWAY, Page 2A

Exterior of Gateway Community and Technical College building off Amsterdam Road, Covington. ÊThe vacant campus on a hillside overlooking Covington remains in limbo as developers and the state wrangle over price. Five developers bid $1.5 million to $3 million to buy and develop the 25 acres on the border of Covington and Park Hills, according to bid documents obtained by The Enquirer. The Enquirer/Patrick Reddy

Hebron is hometown for new medical clinic owner Chris Mayhew cmayhew@communitypress.com

HEBRON – Physician assistant Marquel Tipton decided to open a primary care medical clinic in her hometown rather than join a hospital’s medical practice. The Conner High School class of 1993 graduate and Hebron native opened Community First Express in March at 2091 North Bend Road in Hebron. The shopping center office has four patient examination rooms and relationships with four specialists including a podiatrist and chiropractor who can see people in the office. Tipton and her staff accept walk-ins for urgent care in addition to patients she sees on a regular basis. A three-generation history of family businesses in Boone County brought Tipton back after working in a pediatrics practice in London, Kentucky, and at a Navajo health

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THE COMMUNITY RECORDER/CHRIS MAYHEW

Physician assistant Marquel Tipton talks with her patient Justine Perkins in Tipton’s new Community First Express Care primary care practice and urgent care at 2091 North Bend Road in Hebron.

clinic in New Mexico. Tipton’s Auto Sales & Parts is her parents’ business and her uncle has an auto

sales business in Walton. Tipton’s grandfather Patrick operated an auto sales business in Boone County in the 1950s. “Coming back to Boone County was always the plan,” Tipton said. Hebron resident Joe Perkins said he switched to seeing Tipton for medical care because he feels he can get better personal attention there. Perkins’ 19-year-old daughter Justine even has Tipton’s cellphone to call with medical questions whenever she needs it. Tipton said she grew up with many of her patients’ families so she is able to develop a good rapport with patients. “This community, these are the people I love and grew up with and go to church with,” she said. Understanding family dynamics and a patients’ social support network is “huge” for a medical care provider, Tipton said. Community First Express is not affili-

ated with any area hospital group. Yet, Tipton still refers patients in need of specialized care to area hospital physicians. Being an independent is unique for the area, she said. “Primary care is really what we wanted to focus on for here,” Tipton said. Tipton’s office functions as an urgent care. “So, we can take care of fractures – anything besides surgical issues,” she said. She treats patients for respiratory infections and colds, diabetes maintenance, weight management and depression. Tipton makes a point of calling patients back personally to see how they are feeling after a visit to the office for treatment. “To be trusted, it’s definitely a privilege and I take it very seriously,” Tipton said.

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