Thursday, March 11, 2004

A George Clooney sighting would be a boost for Nick


Around Northern Kentucky

Pat Crowley

FLORENCE - The Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park - formerly known as the Jim Beam and GalleryFurniture.com stakes - has in the past attracted a handful of Hollywood celebrities.

Milton Berle, Barbara Eden, Kato Kaelin, Dean Cain, Red Buttons and Paula Abdul have attended the race in years past. OK, so maybe they're not "A" list celebs like those who flock to the Kentucky Derby each year.

But people still get a charge out of seeing the likes of a Chuck Norris hanging out in the track's VIP tent on race day.

On the same day as this year's race, March 20, actor George Clooney will be in Northern Kentucky to raise money for his dad's Congressional campaign.

Nick Clooney, an Augusta Democrat running in the 4th Congressional District, is expected to attend. Most politicians, particularly those on the ballot, typically work the VIP tent, which is loaded with the Northern Kentucky money crowd.

So will George make an appearance?

Not likely, according to dad's campaign office. George's private plane won't touch down until around 4 p.m., right around the time the $500,000 Lane's Ends feature race is set to be run.

But think about the campaign cash George could raise by strolling through the tent and trolling for contributions. Nick might want to try and get George to fly in a little earlier.

George will attend a pair of private fund-raisers Saturday night, one at a home in Villa Hills, the other at the Oriental Wok in Fort Mitchell.

Despite the opportunity for what the pols call "free media," the Clooneys' handlers are keeping it media-free, concerned that Republicans could take comments George makes and use them to bash Nick as a liberal.

FIRST ON THE WEB: Covington lawyer Rob Sanders is the first candidate in the crowded City Commission race to be up and running with a campaign Web site.

The address is www.electrobsanders.com. Sanders, a first-time political candidate, has posted his bio, where he stands on issues, information on campaign events and more.

Eleven candidates are on the May primary ballot. The field will be cut down to eight for the general election.

FRANKFORT UPDATE: A resolution being pushed by Northern Kentucky lawmakers that would eliminate vehicle emission testing in the region has passed out of committee and now awaits a vote before the full House.

And Sen. Katie Stine, R-Fort Thomas, has filed a bill that tweaks the state's education funding formula. If passed, the bill would result in more money for a number of Northern Kentucky public school districts.

Stine has worked to correct the formula for several years.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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