Business and the Economy

Business news

Louisville Firm Unveiling Factory Messaging App

Sep 19, 2016
kentucky.com

A Louisville-based software and solutions company is about to unveil a new piece of technology that could have implications for Kentucky automakers like Toyota and Ford.

IGear Director of Partner and Client Services Tony Fink says sensors capture everything on equipment in today’s factories.  To help deal with the deluge of data, Fink says “squeak” technology was developed. 

Stu Johnson

Governor Bevin says the University of Louisville is a key component of a National Center to focus on automotive research in areas of automotive efficiency and sustainable transportation.  That could cover everything from online transportation services to self-driving cars.

He made that announcement Monday before the second Auto Vision Conference in Lexington. 

wymt.com

The leader of a non-profit economic development agency in Eastern Kentucky sees promise in the results of a just-released workforce survey.  It’s partly focused on efforts to lure new firms to the region that could offer employment to out-of-work coal miners.

Groundbreaking Ceremony to Give Blue Grass Stockyards a New Home

Sep 2, 2016
Blue Grass Stockyards via Kentucky.com

A Friday afternoon groundbreaking ceremony in Lexington could be the beginning of a new era for the Blue Grass Stockyards.  

It was seven months ago when a three-alarm fire destroyed the long time historic home of facility off Forbes Road.  Now, government, agriculture, and others in business are celebrating the start of construction for a new stockyards off Iron Works Pike. 

Trail Group Moving Forward with Five County Initiative

Sep 1, 2016
kentuckytourism.com

Work continues to connect biking, hiking, horseback riding, and water travel throughout five central Kentucky counties.  Members of the Bluegrass Bike Hike Horseback Trails Alliance met Wednesday in Versailes.  The Alliance’s Ed Council calls himself an ‘acquaholic’, born along the Chesapeake Bay.  He says the current trail initiative goes beyond waterways.  “It’s not only water trails, but it’s also land trails for horseback riding, for hiking, for biking and for off road and paved surface motorized trails,” said Council.

Ashland Estate Makes History With Hemp

Aug 30, 2016
Stu Johnson WEKU News

    

A mixture of history and present day agricultural interests are interwoven on the grounds of Ashland near downtown Lexington.  Henry Clay’s estate was home to an education-based hemp harvest Tuesday.

U.S. communities hard hit by coal industry layoffs in eight Appalachian states and Texas are being promised more than 3,000 jobs in several industries through a multimillion-dollar federal grant.  

Officials for the Appalachian Regional Commission and other agencies announced the 29 projects totaling nearly $39 million at a news conference in Huntington, West Virginia yesterday.  

Kentucky’s Farmers Markets Grow ‘Double Dollars” Program

Aug 9, 2016
kyfarmersmarket.com

   

The “Double Dollars” program offered through several farmers’ markets across Kentucky is growing.  Word of the expansion came during Tuesday’s celebration of Kentucky Farmers Market Week in Frankfort.

“Double Dollars” allows families receiving government nutritional assistance to double their spending power up to ten dollars daily by shopping at certain farmers markets.  The program began in 20-14 with private backing at six markets. 

Record Crowd Participates in Minority Business Expo

Aug 4, 2016
lexngtoncenter.com

    

A record crowd participated in this year’s Minority Business Expo in Lexington.  An organizer says it’s currently a positive environment for growing minority and women owned businesses locally.

Few Defects Earns Toyota High Ranking

Aug 1, 2016
assemblymag.com

  

The Scott County Toyota plant has earned another high mark in the production category.  This recognition comes from a familiar automotive review group.

The Georgetown Toyota automotive plant tied with the Kyushu  Japan Lexus facility for producing models with the fewest defects worldwide.  The honor comes from J.D. Power, the global marketing information services firm. 

Stu Johnson WEKU News

Lexington’s success in receiving $14.1 million in federal money for a trail project through downtown could mean increased business. The award, announced this week, offers more assurance the project will become a reality.

Talk of the Town Branch Trail has been prevalent at city hall and among advocates for a number of years.  But, this federal grant puts the trail from South Forbes Street to Midland and Third in a different category. 

‘Brexit’ Could Impact Kentucky Export Market

Jul 11, 2016
wtcky.org

    Since the United Kingdom ranks second as a destination for Kentucky exports, its decision to leave the European Union is expected to have some impact on some Kentucky businesses.

Kentucky World Trade Center President Ed Webb and his staff are telling companies in the bluegrass state doing business with Britain to ‘pause.’ 

Webb says it looks as if it could be a four year process for ‘Brexit’ to fully play out.  Still, he says it’s likely to be felt here.  “Exporting will be tougher for Kentucky into the UK.  That’s a challenge of the currency depreciating obviously.”

Ky. American Water Rates Expected to Rise This Fall

Jul 7, 2016
businesswire.com

Customers of Kentucky American Water Company should anticipate a 7.5% increase in their bills this fall.  The monthly increase for the average residential user is about $3 dollars.  It’s outlined in a settlement involving the water company, the city of Lexington, the attorney general’s office, and Community Action Council. 

Kentucky Tourism Gains

Jul 5, 2016
mykentuckybackyard.com

    

A study shows that tourism in Kentucky is doing pretty well.  It demonstrates the biggest jump in the past six years.

The Paducah Sun reports the Kentucky Cabinet for Tourism, Arts and Heritage recently released study shows the state with its largest overall gain in tourism dollars since 2009.

corvetteactioncenter.com

Kentucky officials say General Motors Corp. plans to invest $290 million at the automaker's Corvette plant in Bowling Green.

The company's North American manufacturing manager, Arvin Jones, said Friday the investment includes technology upgrades to improve the plant's manufacturing process. It could also create as many as 270 new jobs.

The investment announcement was made by Gov. Matt Bevin's office in Frankfort.

kyretail.msiconnect.com

A relatively small sample of Kentucky’s independent retailers shows mixed reviews when it comes to evaluating their local economies.  The springtime survey was conducted by the Kentucky Retail Federation.   Federation Spokeswoman Sarah Rowlette says respondents noted workforce numbers haven’t changed much since the last survey.  “While you know, it’s great that we’re seeing the workforce appears to be stabilizing, outlook is unclear.”

Retired Miners Rally for Health Benefits

Jun 14, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    An estimated 3500 retired coal miners and their families rallied on the issue of pension and health care benefits Tuesday in Lexington.  The participants were trying to get a message to Washington.

Retired miners filled Heritage Hall to lobby for the  Miners Protection Act.  It includes provisions related to preserving health care benefits.  The legislation comes following bankruptcy filings by certain coal companies.  

Toyota Marks 30 Years Since Groundbreaking in Central Kentucky

Jun 8, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    

Central Kentucky’s largest manufacturer is celebrating a 30 year anniversary.  The Toyota story has been one of great growth.

The atmosphere was light on a brilliant sunny day, outside the auto plant in Scott County.  Toyota President Wil James noted a plane overhead pulling a company banner.  “Now if you haven’t noticed, 30 years has just flown by.  How about that timing,”

GE Appliances Sale To China-Based Haier Is Final

Jun 7, 2016
bizjournals.com

General Electric’s Louisville-based appliance division has a new owner.

GE Appliances is now part of the China-based Haier Company. The multibillion-dollar sale was finalized on Monday.

About 6,000 people work at Louisville’s Appliance Park, which was constructed by GE more than 60 years ago. The division will now be called “GE Appliances, a Haier Company.”

Chip Blankenship will continue as president and CEO. He said employees should not expect any major shakeups under the new owner.

Lexington Herald Leader/Kentucky.com

Apple computer co-founder Steve Wozniak was in Lexington yesterday to be honored and speak at: ONE: the Alltech Ideas Conference.

Wozniak is the recipient of the 2016 Humanitarian Award for his  “dedication to inspiring innovation through education and creating one of the world’s most peaceful  revolutions.”

Alltech President Pearce Lyons welcomed Wozniak to the stage at Rupp Arena.

kentuckytourism.com

Businesses in a southern Kentucky tourist-rich area are hoping a National Park Service report released this week is an indicator of a strong upcoming summer season.  That report showed visitors to the state’s national parks spent over $113 million in the Commonwealth last year. 

Adam Phillips is McCreary County’s Tourism Director.  He says the area recently had a large trail race that had over 400 racers and others who accompanied them. “Obviously,” said Phillips, “That got us kind of off to a good start as far as the spring season goes.”

Chinese Lexmark Investment Not Expected to Change Workforce

Apr 20, 2016
afr.com

The planned purchase of Lexmark by Chinese investors is not expected to impact the local workforce. The $3.6 billion purchase is expected to be final by the end of 2016.

Lexmark officials say the anticipated acquisition by Apex Technology, PAG Asia Capitol, and Legend Capital Management will result in few, if any, new job losses at the Newtown Pike facility.  The layoffs of 143 workers earlier this spring are being called a “restructuring” separate from this week’s announcement. 

Number of Tax E-filers Trumps Paper Returns in Kentucky

Apr 6, 2016
kyforward.com

Officials with the Kentucky Department of Revenue are using safeguards to protect against growing concerns of fraud. Issues at the federal level earlier this year resulted in a break from processing state tax returns in Frankfort. 

Revenue Spokeswoman Pamela Trautner says the department is undergoing intensified reviews called ‘fraud edits.’  “It’s to try to match up information that’s from the return to make sure that that taxpayer and that return clearly is from the taxpayer and not somebody who is trying to file fraudulently,” said Trautner.

Bourbon Barrel Expansion in West Ky.

Apr 4, 2016
wkms.org

A company that produces bourbon barrels is expanding their operations in Kentucky, investing $12 million dollars in a new mill in Marshall County.

The American Stave Company is bringing around 48 full-time jobs to the area. The mill will produce wooden staves that will then be shipped to the company's cooperages to make bourbon and whiskey barrels.

Blue Grass Stockyards to Stay in Fayette County

Feb 26, 2016
wkyt.com

    Officials with the Blue Grass Stockyards announced Friday they are staying put and plan to rebuild in Fayette County.  The Forbes Road facility burned to the ground on January 30.  The new 100 acre site will is situated along Iron Works Pike near Interstate 75.

Kentucky Produce Targeted for More Restaurant Dining

Feb 16, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

The farming landscape across Kentucky has changed greatly over the past decade.  While tobacco was a mainstay for farmers in many Kentucky counties years ago, now a variety of crops come from the fields.  Farmers are hopeful that more restaurants will use their produce.  Lexington Chef Jonathan Searle is a believer is using local items in his kitchen.  “There is so much special stuff being grown around here," said Searle.

Blue Grass Stockyards Ready to Move Forward with Rebuild

Feb 10, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

The chief operating officer of the Blue Grass Stockyards is expecting a thorough cleanup of fire debris at the Lexington site to begin in earnest very soon.  Jim Akers appeared before the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday to discuss the massive blaze that destroyed the 70 year old livestock auction complex in late January. 

commons.wikimedia.org

Producers of Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey are toasting another year of strong sales and revenue growth. Leading the way is growing demand for high-priced, super-premium brands.

The Distilled Spirits Council said Tuesday that combined U.S. revenues for bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey shot up 7.8 percent to $2.9 billion in 2015. Domestic volume rose 5.2 percent.

Burley Grower Issues in 2016

Dec 30, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    

The number of tobacco growers in Kentucky has declined by tens of thousands over the last decade.  But, the long standing auction based sales practice has never gone away.

Lexington's Clark Manufacturer Expanding

Dec 29, 2015
forkliftaction.com

  CLARK Material Handling Company is expanding its Lexington operation.  It amounts to almost a five million dollar investment.

The four point eight million dollar investment by CLARK is expected to create 30 full time jobs at the Lexington facility.  The long standing manufacturer plans to begin production of its four-wheel electric and three wheel electric forklift trucks next May.  Those models were  previously produced in Mexico. 

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