Toyota Motor Corp. announced Monday that its production dropped 23.3 percent worldwide in the first six months of 2011. Company officials say the March 11 earthquake and tsunami severely affected the parts supply, leading to production slowdowns. The supply issue remains a concern at some North American and Japanese plants. But in Georgetown, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky has been running at 100 percent production since June.
Lexington may be Men's Health magazine's most sedentary city, but it's also the sixth best "value" city. That's according to Kiplinger magazine. In the newly published list, the business and finance magazine ranks Lexington number six in what it calls its ten best value cities.
While Lexington is still feeling the effects of the housing downturn, a new report issued by the Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator's office shows the city weathering the storm better than many. The report compiled by Fayette County PVA David O'Neill shows Lexington property values remaining relatively stable, despite a steady decline in home sales for the past five years. O'Neill says, while not immune to the downturn, the city's housing market hasn't seen the kind of fluctuations other cities have.
By Bill Estep, Lexington Herald-Leader & Linda J. Johnson, Lexington Herald-Leader
The percentage of people renting a place to live went up far more in Kentucky than those buying a home between 2000 and 2010, according to U.S. Census data. The downturn in jobs during the recession and tighter credit were key reasons, several real estate agents said. Statewide, the percentage of people renting their residence was 16 percent higher than in 2000, while the percentage of owner-occupied housing was up just 5 percent.
Community leaders and officials from Dynamic Fabrication in Beaver Dam announced Thursday the company will expand its Ohio County operation. The full-service steel fabrication facility, which currently serves the mining industry, will branch out to new industries as a result of the expansion – creating 22 new jobs and a $957,000 investment.
Big Sandy Power plant manager Aaron Sink told Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce members Tuesday that his company will be forced to shut down half of the facility's production of electricity by 2014 and lay off nearly 100 of its 120 employees if changes are not made in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new standards.
By Katheran Wasson, Frankfort State Journal & Paul Glasser, Frankfort State Journal
The Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education may have to move to Southern Indiana if an agreement to build a 12,000-square-foot facility at Frankfort's Capital City Airport falls through. Tim Smith, a teacher at Frankfort High School and chief executive officer of the nonprofit organization, says he’s got a lease in hand for use of a hangar at the airport – but no signature. The deal was contingent upon a corporate entity signing on to occupy a second hangar, but no one bid on the project. That’s hindering the group’s fundraising chances for the project, he said, and it could force the institute to move to another airport.
By all accounts, next week could be a watershed for automakers and the United Auto Workers when contract negotiations begin. The UAW will be negotiating with the nation’s Big Three automakers, including General Motors, which builds Chevrolet Corvettes at its Bowling Green Assembly Plant. GM and Chrysler were facing bankruptcy and Ford was saddled with debt during contract negotiations in 2009. All three were struggling to survive and many concessions were made by the unions just so workers would have jobs. But the landscape has changed.
Newly named Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport chief executive Candace McGraw believes airlines – those currently serving the region as well as those that might be lured here – will boost air service at the beleaguered airport. “We are poised for great things here at CVG,” she said on Wednesday as the Kenton County Airport Board unanimously voted to appoint her to replace former chief executive John Mok, who abruptly submitted his resignation this week.
A more than $28,000 grant from the Kentucky Arts Council is the largest award LexArts has received from the state agency in a few years. The arts council recently announced its funding allotments to 100 non-profit groups across Kentucky.
What will the cost of the Ark Encounter be for Grant County? To date, the project, which is estimated to bring more than 900 full and part-time jobs to the community, has cost a little bit of money, a 100-acre piece of property, some cooperation and a lot of time.
Microsoft is spending two million dollars in Kentucky and twelve other states in order to boost job training programs. The economy nationwide is still reeling from the economic downturn, but prolonged joblessness is nothing new to the Appalachian region. That’s why Microsoft announced its divvying up two million dollars to non profits from Pennsylvania to Mississippi. Company Vice President Fred Humphries says providing new computer software is vital to uplifting the economy throughout the region.
The Ark Encounter project is moving. Even though no dirt has been moved since the $150 million Grant County project was announced in November, there’s been much activity, mostly getting agreements signed, property purchased and data gathered. The project, which will involve a full-scale wooden replica of Noah’s Ark, as well as a bird sanctuary, a biblical village and animal shows, is on track for a ground breaking ceremony in late summer.
In a sweltering airplane hangar, Gov. Steve Beshear on Tuesday afternoon delivered refreshing news: Three Henderson industries intend to create up to 47 new jobs and invest more than $4 million here. “It’s a further indication that we are on the right track,” Beshear said, commending the “vibrant companies and smart entrepreneurs that are determined to not just survive the recession, but thrive and grow.”
One final test stands between Mine Shields Inc., and certification that could create more than 100 new jobs in Garrard County. But it's a big one. The test, which will take place Thursday in New Mexico, is the last of five necessary to get the company's mine refuge chambers approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, Mine Shields CEO Connie Hendren said.
For some, the Georgetown Goodwill store is a great place to bring jeans and old sweaters that no longer fit, purchase gently used furniture or to find old vinyl records. For Paula Kidd, the Goodwill store aided her in a time of need. Two years ago, Kidd started at the Georgetown store as a production clerk. Today, she's the store's assistant manager. Last year, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky employed more than 1,600 people at 59 locations.
Homegrown Lexington tech company SIS is expanding, pouring 5.5 million dollars into its operation. And state and local lawmakers are hoping that becomes a trend. In a time when officials are eager to tout job growth, it's no surprise to see ribbon cuttings drawing larger crowds. SIS, a local tech solutions company, celebrated its expansion Monday, along with the addition of 15 new high-tech jobs. And while that number may sound modest, they're the kind of jobs Governor Steve Beshear says signal recovery.
After 40-years in business, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Borders plans to liquidate. The company once operated four bookstores in Louisville, but the branches on 4th Street and South Hurstbourne were closed weeks after the company filed for Chapter 11 in February. The stores at Shelbyville Road Plaza and on Bardstown Road were to remain open through the Chapter 11 process, but will now close along with about 400 other branches that survived the first round of closures.
Community leaders and officials from TrollandToad.com attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday celebrating the expansion of the company’s Kentucky operations. The 18-year-old company, which specializes in games, moved into a new location in Corbin and has added 50 new jobs, bringing its total employment to more than 160. Over the next two years, the company plans to hire 100 more employees, for a total of more than 250 employees.
The inaugural Quaker State 400 brought mixed results for businesses near the Kentucky Speedway, with some saying their business was up while others were left wondering why the expected windfall fell short.
It’s been more than a month since production increased at the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Kentucky after a weeks-long parts shortage. The shortage was caused by the April earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which severed and disrupted supply chains. All of Toyota’s 13 North American plants saw production drop as a result.
Repairs to a railroad which cuts through the heart of a scenic central Kentucky town is sure to cause some disruption. But, it’s the view ‘down the track’ which excites business owners who cater to tourists. Railroad crossing repairs along four streets in Midway is expected to snarl traffic over the next couple of weeks. Each crossing will be impassible for a couple days while it’s upgraded. It’s inconvenient, but Mary Thoresen of Damselfly Gallery says it’s important to look at the big picture.
More than 700 Hitachi employees, including upper management from Japan and across the country, attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday in honor of the company's expansion, which will create 145 new jobs over the next three years. Harrodsburg's Hitachi plant already employs 2,000 workers. Gov. Steve Beshear was on hand in September when the company broke ground for the $48 million project.
Kentucky residents could feel the effects locally if Washington, D.C., politicians can’t come up with a solution to raise the debt ceiling by the beginning of August - although one state economist doubts the severity of the situation would be as bad as some have predicted. John Garen, the Gatton Endowed Professor of Economics at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, said there have been temporary disruptions of government business in the past. In those events, which are typically very brief, some federal employees are furloughed and offices are closed, he said.
More than politicians on Capitol Hill are taking stock in the current U-S debt ceiling debate. University of Kentucky professor of economics, John Garren says finding a solution to long term debt can be a confidence builder for Kentucky business people.
Louisville is among five cities chosen to receive money and assistance from the philanthropic arm of the Bloomberg company. Bloomberg Philanthropies is giving a total of $24 million to Louisville, Atlanta, Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans. The money will essentially pay for brain power, through what the charity is calling innovation teams. They’ll work with local governments to address pressing issues identified by city leaders.
The city of Cumberland is considering turning the water off for customers in outlying areas. That was revealed at Tuesday’s city council meeting where Mayor Carl Hatfield painted a stark picture of the city’s water problems. “Unless we get funds to rebuild our water distribution system, we will have to disconnect our service to customers in the outlying areas,” said Hatfield. “This is very serious. The new hookups that we have been doing have overburdened the city’s water system. Our water lines are so dilapidated that the added pressure from additional hookups causes them to pop open.”
One of Winchester’s most well-known businesses will celebrate another milestone Wednesday. Eighty-five years ago today, Ale-8-One founder G.L. Wainscott sold the first bottle of the local soft drink. The company has no official celebrations planned for the day, but the public is invited to share stories about Ale-8-One.
Work started this week on the new zipline at the Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area. The $200,000 project represents a major investment for the Harlan County Outdoor Board Authority, and recently the board learned about the opening of a competing zipline in eastern Kentucky. A private developer has opened a zipline attraction at Red River Gorge in Wolfe County, but representatives of the outdoor board downplay the significance of that opening on their project
WINCHESTER – Community leaders and officials from Senko USA celebrated the grand opening Monday of the company’s new distribution center in Clark County. The facility represents a capital investment by the company in excess of $4.8 million to date and will create 12 new jobs in the community by the end of the year.