Kentucky's Department of Travel and Tourism is working to expand culinary tourism across the state. Officials are launching the food focused website KentuckyCuisine.com. Department Spokeswoman Scottie Ellis says the goal is to get in on the front end of culinary tourism. "You know food is a necessary part of everyday life, but it is a very big part of travel. If you have a bad meal, it could ruin your entire experience," said Ellis.
Kentucky’s Bourbon industry has nearly doubled its workforce in the last two years and contributes $3 billion in gross state product to the state economy. The University of Louisville's Urban Studies Institute report shows the industry's economic contribution has increased by 67 percent from 2012.
Four concerts over two days in downtown Lexington during Halloween weekend are expected to challenge parking and traffic. Country star Garth Brooks will play two shows at Rupp Arena on Friday, October 31st and two more on Saturday, November first.
There are reports of gasoline prices under two dollars and 90 cents across parts of Kentucky. The price per gallon has been dropping at a rapid pace with less demand and an ample supply. Bluegrass AAA Spokesman Christopher Oakford says it's difficult to say how low prices will go. "You will see a wide variance in the price of gas. I can't really comment on how far it will drop or how long it will continue to drop unfortunately because there are so many factors that affect the price, particularly of oil," said Oakford.
The long standing Kentucky Equine Education Project this week is launching a nonprofit foundation. The KEEP foundation aims to provide funding grants for Kentucky's horse industry through educational efforts. Cara Stewart is the KEEP Grassroots Director. "There's a big need in supporting local horse shows, local youth programs, trail rides, breed associations and we wanted to have a venue to raise money specifically for those entities in some of our grant processes," said Stewart.
Lexington city leaders remain at odds with its cable TV carrier over a franchise agreement. The Lexington Council is expected to vote Thursday night on resolutions denying the transfer of the local franchise from Time Warner to Comcast, and from Comcast to Charter Communications. The vote comes as city officials are hearing customer concerns on service and cost.
October has been designated National Manufacturing Month. Kentucky is well known for its automotive, bourbon, and equine industries but an official with the state's Economic Development Cabinet says the Commonwealth is successful in other trades.
Joe Hall says Kentucky is home to more than 4,000 manufacturers with 220,000. "Well I think the significance really showcases the diversity of Kentucky's economy and we really are a manufacturing state," said Hall.
Charles Vice, Commissioner of the Department of Financial Institutions
The head of Kentucky's Department of Financial Institutions hopes to see some easing of federal banking regulations for community banks. Charles Vice testified earlier this month before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. Vice says community banks shouldn't have to bear the punishment for problems they didn't create.
A trade school associated with the Home Builders Association of Lexington officially opens Monday. About 28 students will participate in heating, ventilation, air conditioning or carpentry classes at the Building Institute of Central Kentucky.
Kentucky could one day be home to a sizable electric car battery manufacturer. That's according to Tony Hancock, Kentucky Argone Battery Center Director. Hancock's comments come as five western states were battling it out to land Tesla Motors' $5 billion battery factory. Tesla is expected to announce formally Thursday it's selected Nevada for its battery operation.
Kentucky farmers will likely benefit from the affiliation between the University of Kentucky and food delivery giant Aramark.
Officials announced Tuesday a new project within the public-private partnership.
The "Food Connection" initiative at UK is backed by a $5 million investment by Aramark. Officials say $1 million will be set aside to endow undergraduate and graduate internship and fellowships and $250,000 annually will be spread over 15 years for staff, programming, and research grants.
Lexington city leaders are hoping to use workforce related data to design a new job placement strategy.
Business and Education Network Director Billie Peavler updated Urban County Council members this week. Peavler says a report detailing workforce needs for 11 industries is expected later this year. "This is really about identifying what our current labor pool is, what our future needs of our employers are and building that pipeline for that. Attracting, retaining, and developing a skilled, educated, and talented workforce," said Peavler.
While the Rupp Arena project is on indefinite hold, Lexington city leaders still have expenses tied to the venture.
Plans to renovate Rupp and build a new convention center were postponed earlier this year. The decision came after the state general assembly turned down a request by project developers for $60 million. Project Manager Frank Butler's contract with the city runs through December of next year.
Participation in Lexington's annual minority-owned business expo continues to grow within and outside Kentucky. Over 500 attendees Friday heard advice on business planning, expansion, and start-up strategies.