On July 1, the state gas tax will increase 1.9 cents from 19.5 to 21.4 cents per gallon. The gas tax is tied to the average wholesale price of gasoline, which increased according to a survey in April, said Greg Harkenrider, acting deputy executive director for the Governor’s Office for Policy Research. Chuck Wolfe, spokesman for the Transportation Cabinet, said the gas tax increase will generate about $57 million in additional revenue. The money will go into the state road fund that pays for road construction and repairs. The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon.
When it comes to finding a job, teens have it rough right now. As workers ages 16 to 19 fill out applications, they will likely find less “help wanted” signs and more competition for available jobs. A decade ago, it was fairly common for teens to be employed at their first job or a summer employment position. According to an employment study released by Northeastern University, during the summer of 2000, 45 of every 100 teens held a job in the country.
The state Public Service Commission this week approved an expansion of Duke Energy Kentucky's energy-efficiency programs. The commission approved Duke's plan to continue 11 existing programs as well as add a new one called Residential Smart Saver in cooperation with the Kentucky Housing Corp., according to a PSC news release. The program will offer incentives of as much as $250 to cover part of the cost of items like air sealing, attic insulation, duct sealing, and tuneups for air conditioning and heat pumps. The incentives also will be available for the installation of high-efficiency heat pumps or air conditioners in homes.
Jennmar of West Kentucky Inc. is expanding its existing plant in Earlington by an additional 16,000 square feet, and will eventually add 20 to 30 new employees to the work force in Hopkins County. The $1.13 million expansion was announced Thursday. This will be the third expansion of Jennmar’s facility since it started manufacturing roof bolts for underground coal mining industry in 2007.
Requests for emergency food baskets in Fayette County have fallen slightly over the past year. God's Pantry director Marian Guinn says the per month requests have gone, on average, from about 1660 to 1600. Still, the number of people seeking help from the region’s best known food bank has nearly doubled since 2007. So, a plea is going out for volunteers to establish new food drives.
It was six o'clock. Like the rest of the staff of Bee Happy's, Tim Slone was waiting for folks to mosey into their new downtown Jackson restaurant on Main Street, to get a taste of their food, as well as to partake in the eatery's grand opening last Friday evening. It didn't take long for customers to pour in a few minutes later, and the sounds of servers talking to them about their orders mingled with occasional outbursts of laughter as well as the cries of “What would you like this evening?” and, “Can I get you a refill?”
On Monday, things went back to normal at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky. TMMK production has returned to 100 percent, up from 30 percent production levels the plant experienced from mid-April up to last week. The Georgetown production line was hurt by parts shortages caused by the continuing impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The largest Toyota plant in North America stopped the line for two non-production days each week in an effort to conserve parts supplies.
WEBstaurant Store Inc. has chosen Madisonville as its second location to operate a distribution center. WEBstaurant will hire 25 employees this summer, who will start to work within the next few weeks. Employment will eventually increase to 100, according to the company’s president, Dave Groff. The announcement was made during a news conference at the Madisonville/Hopkins County Economic Development Corp. on Thursday morning.
Trauth Dairy’s Newport plant will cease production by the end of August, ending more than 90 years of making dairy products in Newport. The plant will remain a distribution and administration center for the dairy company, Trauth’s owner, Dallas-based Dean Foods announced Thursday. The company said 80 people will lose their jobs at the plant by the time production ceases on Aug. 26.
Plans for the long-stalled Centre-Point project are the focus of a meeting this afternoon in Lexington. The downtown site’s original buildings were razed back in 2008 over the protests of several preservation groups. Hayward Wilkirson, who led the opposition, is now a board member for Progress Lexington. Wilkirson says the new plans resemble the original vision of preservationists.
Massey Energy is no more. A vote today by shareholders approved the coal company’s acquisition by Alpha Natural Resources. The $7.1 billion merger means Alpha now controls the second-largest coal reserves in the country. The company will also control more reserves of metallurgical coal, which is in demand overseas to make steel. The new Alpha Natural Resources will operate more than 180 coal mines and processing plants throughout Appalachia and Wyoming.
Shareholders have approved an $8.5 billion merger between Massey Energy and Alpha Natural Resources. Alpha’s acquisition of Massey will make it the second-largest holder of coal reserves in America. We reported yesterday on some shareholder concerns about Alpha’s plans to retain several Massey executives who were in oversight positions during the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia.
A Shelbyville business is considering doubling the size of its plant, and state economic development officials announced an incentive package for the company on Thursday. Creative Packaging Company, located at 1700 Isaac Shelby Drive, is considering doubling its 100,000 square-foot plant, and the potential expansion could create 25 new jobs over a 10-year period. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority Board in Frankfort granted preliminary approval for $500,000 in state tax incentives for the project, which calls for adding the new jobs at an average hourly rate of $10.88 to $12.51 per hour, averaging $14 per hour after employee benefits are included.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority on Thursday approved three $500,000 economic development bond grants to Harrodsburg to aid a trio of companies expanding there. The companies — Corning, Hitachi Automotive Systems America and Wausau Paper — will be required to hire nearly 300 new workers overall as part of their expansions to receive the grants. All three have also been granted other tax incentives in recent months.
FRANKFORT – Meaningful Use Technologies LLC and Korean-based Arcron Systems Inc. are each establishing its U.S. headquarters in a 5,000-square-foot facility in Newport to serve the North American markets. The information technology companies together will create 20 new jobs and invest a total of more than $1 million in Northern Kentucky, according to a press release from Gov. Steve Beshear's office.
The tornadoes that have killed more than 500 people in the Midwest and elsewhere this year will have a trickle-down effect on Kentucky. “There is no doubt that all of the disasters here in the Midwest, Alabama and earlier in April in North Carolina ... will affect insurance rates here,” said David Wiseman, an agent for Van Meter Insurance Group. “The basis of insurance is, you have to spread the risk. So there is no way to take a group of policyholders in a particular area and try to spread losses out over just those policies. You have to spread those losses over a larger number of policyholders.”
A report released Monday by the Toyota North America Quality Advisory Panel criticized the company’s structure of operations, with all major decisions coming from Toyota Motor Corp. in Japan. “Toyota has erred too much on the side of global centralization and needs to shift the balance somewhat toward greater local authority and control,” the panel advises.
FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved an expansion of residential energy conservation and efficiency programs for Kentucky Power Co. In an order issued Wednesday, the PSC authorized Kentucky Power to expand programs that promote installation of high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. The PSC also approved revised surcharges that will result in lower bills for residential customers, according to a PSC news release. Kentucky Power has about 176,000 customers in 20 Eastern Kentucky counties.
Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities are preparing to ask the Public Service Commission for rate increases that will take effect over the next five years. Company officials say the hikes are necessary to comply with environmental regulations. To comply with federal law, the utilities have to make their coal burning power plants pollute less. It’ll cost about $2.5 billion, and spokesperson Chip Keeling says that money has to come from customers.
The former U.S. controller for Nicholasville-based Alltech is suing the international animal feed company for sexual harassment, alleging she suffered three years of salacious emails, calls and assault by her former boss. The lawsuit says top officials at the company ignored the complaints of Amanda Jo Wester, who started at Alltech in 2007, about Eric Lanz, Alltech's director of the Americas at the time, and then retaliated against her. Wester recently resigned from the company, according to her attorney.
MURRAY – Local, state and company officials from Pella Corp. have announced the firm will expand its Murray operations - creating 75 new jobs by June. Pella manufactures and installs windows and doors for new construction and renovation projects. Demand for the company’s energy-efficient vinyl products is driving the expansion, according to a press release from Gov. Steve Beshear's office.
He gave many college students in the area their first jobs. For years, he anonymously placed gifts on the doorsteps of poor people at Christmas. Recently, when he was lying in a hospital bed trying to beat leukemia, he prayed for visitors who had come to pray for him. Serur Frank Dawahare Jr., one of the principals in a former Kentucky retail clothing dynasty, died Monday at his home in Lexington, apparently of complications from leukemia. He was 83. Read more...
CNN Money has listed the worst-performing Fortune 500 stocks for the last decade. The top spots went to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, investment banks and other companies that are blamed for leading into the recession. At the end of the list, though, at number 18, is media giant Gannett, a victim of the recession.
Polls are open for Facebook users to select nonprofit organizations, including some with Scott County ties, to be awarded new Toyota vehicles. Toyota Motor Corp.’s 100 Cars For Good Program appears on the Toyota USA Facebook page. Each day, the company will feature five nonprofit organizations and the highest vote-getter will receive the vehicle of its choice. The company will give 100 vehicles to 100 nonprofit organizations over 100 days.
Despite a drop in production and profits after the earthquake in Japan, Toyota Motor Company officials are optimistic about the automaker’s future. Toyota sales spokesperson Steve Curtis says the parts shortage that followed the earthquake has not been as long or severe as expected. Toyota profits dropped by 77 percent after the disaster, but Curtis says demand, at least in North America, remains high.
It was reported today that Humana intends to stop hiring smokers, where the action is legally permitted. The company wants to encourage healthy behavior among workers and already has a policy of not hiring smokers in southwestern Ohio.