Jerry Boggs, Georgetown News-Graphic

Creative Commons

Kentucky ranks fourth in the nation for total light vehicle production, up from fifth in 2011. Kentucky ranked third nationally for production of passenger cars, and fourth for light trucks. In all, one in every 10 light vehicles produced in the United States during 2012 was made in Kentucky. Nearly all the cars produced in the state came from Toyota's Georgetown facility which increased its production by nearly 47 percent.

Toyota had predicted a big year for the Kentucky-built Camry sedan in 2012. The car had a new design, supplies of the Camry had been depressed by an earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the country was beginning to emerge from the long national recession. But they didn’t expect a year this big.

A year ago, there were surely many central Kentuckians unaware there even existed a school known as the University of Pikeville. The small eastern Kentucky school officially changed its name from Pikeville College in 2011. It was known as a rival to Georgetown College, particularly on the basketball court. Then, in 2012 UPike became a bone of contention across the state when a bill was filed in the Kentucky House of Representatives to bring the institution into the state public university system.

Georgetown voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to determine the fate of package alcohol sales in the city limits. Dozens of city residents have already cast their votes via early or absentee voting, said county elections coordinator Amber Hoffman. On Friday she reported 76 in-office absentee ballots had been cast. The office also has received four mail-in absentee ballots. Voting machines were delivered to polling precincts Friday, Hoffman said.

Toyota continues to reveal more about the latest car to be assembled at the company’s flagship plant in Georgetown. The company announced recently that the 2013 Avalon sedan will be the first full-hybrid entry in the premium mid-size automotive class. The Avalon, which is will be assembled at the Georgetown plant, will be equipped with both a traditional gasoline-powered engine and Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

Work is currently under way at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky to install a new production line at the Georgetown plant to build engines for a variety of vehicles. The new line will add more than 80 jobs at the plant but won't be ready to begin production for more than a year.

Jerry Boggs/Georgetown News-Graphic

State and company officials gathered at the Toyota visitors center Tuesday to announce the latest expansion of the auto maker's flagship manufacturing plant. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear was on hand to announce Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky will expand its operation to produce more 4-cyclinder motors in the Georgetown plant. The company is spending approximately $30 million to update a currently unused assembly line to produce more than 100,000 engines each year.

Georgetown News-Graphic

Georgetown Council member Brad Penn confirmed that Greg Reeves has been relieved of his duties as chief of police by Mayor Everette Varney. Penn said he was notified by the mayor in an afternoon phone call. By law, the Georgetown chief of police works under purview of the mayor. Personnel moves are at the mayor's discretion and need not be approved by the city council.

The supply problems triggered by natural disasters in Japan resulted in 50,000 fewer cars rolling off the Georgetown Toyota assembly line than the year before. According to figures released last week by Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, the automaker’s Georgetown plant produced 315,239 vehicles in 2011, down from 371,694 the previous year.

A team from the National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday that a tornado touched down in Scott County during Tuesday’s storm. The tornado was classified as an EF-1 and touched down at Soards Road near Longview Golf course. Crews also surveyed damage in downtown Georgetown and at Muir Lane but found roof damage at both locations came from straight-line winds.

Once again, Kentucky is leading the pack in one annual ranking. However, the ranking is an ignominious one as, for the fifth straight year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has named Kentucky the best state in the nation to be an animal abuser. The rankings are compiled following a study of laws around the nation designed to protect animals and punish convicted animal abusers.

Kentucky-Made Camry Sedans Korea Bound

Dec 6, 2011

Toyota announced Monday plans to export U.S.-built Camry sedans to its distributor in South Korea. The Camry has been the top selling car in America for 13 of the past 14 years and a best-selling car worldwide. This is the first time the U.S.-assembled Camry will be exported outside of North America, Toyota said. The vehicles are scheduled to arrive in South Korea beginning in January.

The sights and sounds of Sam’s Restaurant are familiar to many Scott Countians. Soon thousands of music fans are going to be privy to the charms of the already-famous eatery. Standing out one morning last week among the regulars taking their place at the bar and the waitresses delivering plates stacked high with pancakes or crispy onion rings, were two shiny black video cameras, their operators and director Dale Hufana.

Hunter Townsend says he was about to be a high-school dropout two years ago. On Monday, he received a standing ovation for his remarks at the Georgetown/Scott County Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at the Toyota Visitor’s Center. Townsend was one of several students on hand taking part in Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s Early College program at Elkhorn Crossing School.