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.
LEXINGTON - Community leaders and company officials from Allconnect Inc., a consumer services company, celebrated Monday the opening of the company’s new in-bound sales and customer care center in Lexington. The company announced its decision to locate the new facility in the Coldstream Research Campus earlier this year. The project represents a nearly $7 million investment and approximately 220 new jobs for the community.
A central Kentucky company is again sponsoring the largest equestrian event in the world. Alltech President Dr. Pearse Lyons announced Friday that his animal nutrition and brewery business will again be the title sponsor for the World Equestrian Games.
Under the direction of the Kentucky Economic Development Partnership Board, the Cabinet for Economic Development Friday announced it has engaged Boyette Strategic Advisors, an economic development consulting firm, to develop a statewide economic development strategic plan. Called "Kentucky’s Unbridled Future," the plan will provide direction to enhance job creation and investment in the state over the next several years.
The Nicholasville Trim Masters plant anticipates laying off more than 100 employees, Jessamine County Economic Development director Wayne Foster said. The said the factory will remain open. The company makes door trim, including injection molding and assembly, seat assembly and vacuum forming and assembly for the automotive industry.
For the first time in more than 80 years, Kentucky state government is depositing its receipts in a new bank. Earlier this year, the state awarded to JP Morgan Chase the contract to be its depository. Chase took over as the state’s new banker this week. Frankfort-based Farmer’s Bank had held the contract continuously since 1928.
Starting today at 5:oo this afternoon, Ford will begin hiring 1,800 workers for the newly re-tooled Louisville Assembly Plant. The plant recently underwent a $600 million renovation project to prepare it to build several new types of vehicles, including variations on the popular Escape. Ford says the plant is the most modern and flexible in the company. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer praised the move as an important step in his plans for the city.
A report released by Bowling Green-based Bluegrass Institute last month claims Kentucky’s Medicaid program is on an “unsustainable path.” The report, titled “An Unsustainable Path: The Past and Future of Kentucky Medicaid Spending,” was authored by John Garen, an economics professor at the University of Kentucky, and takes an in-depth look at the issues facing the state’s Medicaid program. “(Medicaid’s) expansive spending growth over the past 25 years has put increased pressure on state and federal budgets,” Garen said in the report. “Medicaid has failed to fulfill the goal of improved health for most of its recipients.”
When the economy has fallen and can’t seem to get back up, the job of industrial recruiter goes from difficult to nearly impossible. Yet Drew Dennis, executive director of the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Industrial Development Authority, has been on something of a roll ever since he started in April 2009. Mercer County’s industrial expansions have all come in the last year, with Corning, Hitachi and Wausau Paper all announcing major additions to their Harrodsburg operations. Those investments will result in more than 300 new jobs. In fact, the amount spent on expansions in Mercer County since the beginning of 2010 surpasses the $366,527,246 spent on new manufacturing facilities across the entire state of Kentucky during that period, according to state figures.
If David Weddle's idea works, natural gas from unused wells will play a growing role in meeting Kentucky's electricity needs.Weddle is president and c hief executive of Wellhead Energy Systems, which has developed a way to convert natural gas to electricity at the well and feed it into the power grid. The Somerset company's plan involves tapping so-called "stranded" gas wells to generate electricity. Stranded wells have been drilled but aren't producing. Wells can end up stranded for various reasons. For instance, a company might drill a well to preserve a lease, but it isn't connected to a pipeline to transport the gas. The electrical grid is much more extensive than the network of pipelines to gather and transport natural gas, creating an opportunity to convert the gas to electricity and feed it into the grid through lines that pass the site, Weddle said.
They took a flight aboard a C-130 Hercules, had a Meal Ready to Eat for lunch, and watched a live fire training session. Several civilian employers got a taste of military life at Camp Atterbury, Indiana this week as part of Boss Lift 2011. Dave Robinson, a resource manager for the Army Corps of Engineers in Harlan County, Kentucky, visited the Kentucky National Guard's 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.
The recent legalization of certain fireworks may help one stand manager go back to school. “I’ve wanted to go back,” said Will O’Neil, 22, who manages Tennessee Ted’s in Brighton Park. “I just need the money to do it.” He attended Kentucky State University for two years, then had to take off last year because he couldn’t pay for more classes.
The former vice president of a Kentucky oil and gas company and a former geologist were sentenced Thursday for defrauding hundreds of investors nationwide out of millions of dollars. Christopher Cello Smith, 50, of Prestonsburg, was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted by a federal jury of seven counts of mail fraud last July, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. Smith served as vice president of Target Oil and Gas Co. in Albany from 2003 to 2008. He also was sentenced to three years supervised release and a $500 mandatory assessment. U.S. District Senior Judge Joseph M. Hood imposed a a forfeiture judgment in the amount of $3 million.
Formal public hearings concerning proposed power rate increases sought by Big Rivers Electric Corp. and Kenergy Corp. are scheduled to take place in Frankfort next month. If the full rate increases are granted to both companies, residential rates for Kenergy customers would increase 9.97 percent. Commercial and industrial rates would increase by lesser amounts.
For years, the outgoing president at the University of Kentucky has urged faculty to launch "start-up" businesses. Lee Todd believes those efforts are paying off. Todd says ‘seed money’ along with commercialization centers where new businesses are nurtured helped set the stage for start ups. Then, he says an angel network of investors has helped fund such firms. As a result, Todd says recent rankings put U-K first in creating start ups among similar schools.
Formerly illegal fireworks are making up more than half of all sales this year, fireworks stand owners say. Will O’Neil, owner of Tennessee Ted’s for the past seven years, is specifically advertising the roman candles, firecrackers and bottle rockets that became legal in Kentucky about three weeks ago. While customers are pleased about the change in the law, some fire officials aren't. “From a personal standpoint, I’m not in favor of making the fireworks laws more lax because of the exorbitant number of fires and injuries across the state that we experience,” Frankfort Fire Chief Wallace Possich said.
The future of a landmark Lexington hotel remains uncertain after it was sold for $9 million at a master commissioner's sale Monday. Crowne Plaza Lexington — The Campbell House, at 1375 South Broadway, was in default on its $21 million mortgage. The property was purchased by the mortgage holder, JPMC 2006-CIBC14 South Broadway REO, LLC. Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine had awarded a judgment against the hotel's owners, Thoroughbred Campbell House LLC, on April 28 and ordered the property sold. She also appointed Chris Bryan, vice president of Hospitality Receiver LLC, to take over management of the hotel. Bryan hired Prism Hotels & Resorts, a hotel receivership and management company based in Dallas, to run the property on a day-to-day basis.
A Georgetown-built vehicle has been named the most American-built car by the website Cars.com. For the third year in a row, the Toyota Camry built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky and at the Subaru of Indiana Automotive plant in Lafayette, Ind., was named No. 1 as determined by the Cars.com formula for “most American car.”
Cities throughout Northern Kentucky have struggled in recent years to provide essential services in a struggling economy and council meetings often turn into contentious debates about budget issues. The city of Florence, however, has managed to maintain service levels, complete several capital improvement projects and maintain reserves of more than $20 million. So what sets the Boone County city apart?
Despite record-low interest rates and a surplus of available homes for sale, the housing market in Scott County and the region has yet to see a sign of relief from sluggish sales. According to the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors, 606 sales were reported in the region in May, compared with 839 in May 2010. There were 53 sales in Scott, down from 62 a year earlier. For the first five months of the year, 191 homes have been sold in the county, down from 241 for the same period in 2010.