Ground has been broken in Rowan County for construction of a new barrel making factory. It should be completed in about a year. The plant is expected to employ about 70 workers over the next few years. Independent Stave Company is investing more than seven million dollars in the facility. It will serve bourbon and wine distillers across the country.
Credit Kelly Hieronymus / The Keeneland Association
‘Phenomenal’ is a word used to describe this month’s yearling sale at Keeneland. Gross sales over its 12 days were up more than 27% over last year. Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell says their new format worked well. It saw a broad cross section of yearlings sold at a variety of prices. Plus, buyers had more time to inspect the merchandise. Russell says they had their best number since before the recession.
Potential chefs received food preparation tips during this weekend’s first ‘Crave Lexington’ festival. The event at the MoonDance Amphitheater in Beaumont included restaurant dishes made from scratch, food demonstrations, and live music. Christina Robinson says students from the Sullivan College Culinary program attended the event.
The public got a chance to quiz architects about their concepts for rebuilding Rupp Arena. Participants at a hearing Wednesday evening at the Kentucky Theater reviewed preliminary plans for upgrades to Rupp, a new convention center, and a waterfront park along a resurrected Town Branch Creek. Architect Robert Mankin says upper arena in Rupp will offer more than chair back seats in place of bleachers.
The first-ever list of the nation’s top 25 amusement attractions by a well-know travel web site includes the Kentucky Horse Park. The facility dedicated to equestrian sports is on a list generated by TripAdvisor.com. The park’s director of marketing, Lisa Jackson says the website includes reviews from average travelers.
High tech battery developer make move to Lexington's Spindletop complex.
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
Another “next generation” battery company is making a move to central Kentucky. Over the next decade, NOHMs Technologies plans to create over 150 jobs and invest over five million dollars in the effort. Founder Nathan Ball says the company develops the liquids, powders, and pastes which go into lithium-sulfur batteries.
Congressman Andy Barr (center) looks on as study into Depot's economic potential is unveiled.
Credit Charles Compton / WEKU News
Assuming they plan ahead, a new study says the local economy can thrive, even after the chemical weapons clean-up is complete at the Bluegrass Army Depot. Currently, hundreds of people are employed building the needed infrastructure. Hundreds more will then go to work destroying the Depot’s chemical munitions. The clean-up work could take a dozen years, and afterwards, Congressman Andy Barr says there could be rough times.
A central Kentucky mayor believes economic gains in one community can mean benefits in other nearby towns. Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner is welcoming Amazon and its 20 million dollar investment to the Bluegrass. The on-line retailer expects to hire more than 500 people eventually for a customer service facility.
By and large, most Kentucky corn producers are experiencing a much better year compared to last summer. Drought conditions wiped out many corn fields across western Kentucky. With steady rains in 2013, University of Kentucky Agricultural Economist Will Snell says it’s been a different story.
State budget analysts are predicting ‘less than robust’ growth over the next two years in the Commonwealth’s general fund. A slight decline is projected in the state’s road fund. Government financial analyst Greg Harkenrider told a group of Kentucky’s top economists today collections from the individual income tax are expected to go up between one and a half and four percent in the next two fiscal years.
Kentucky’s jobless rate for July moved up slightly. The unemployment figure at eight point five percent was one tenth of one percent higher than June’s rate. Kentucky’s trade, transportation, and utilities sector gained 26 hundred jobs in July. It’s the largest sector in Kentucky and accounts for about 20 percent of nonfarm employment.
Reporter Stu Johnson on new Megabus service between Lexington and Cleveland.
A bus ride from Lexington to northern Ohio should be quicker and cheaper. Megabus is launching a new connector service to Cleveland. Catching a Megabus at Lexington’s downtown transit center can start you on your way to Cincinnati. It’s there, where connectors are available for trips to Chicago, Cleveland, and Buffalo.
Keeneland will see an increase in the number of yearling thoroughbreds in the sales ring this September. Its catalogue, which was released this week, lists three-hundred more horses than were auctioned-off last September. Keeneland Vice President of Sales Walt Robertson says the increase comes despite the smallest crop of foals in North America in modern times.
WEKU's Stu Johnson reports on demand for locally-produced foods in Berea.
Efforts are underway in Berea to expand the market for locally grown foods. Well over half of Berea residents surveyed would like to see more locally grown foods. The food assessment was led by a group called Berea-LIFE, which stands for ‘Locally Integrated Food Economy.’ Still, the Community Farm Alliance’s Kenny Madden says most folks won’t limit their diets to just locally grown foods.
Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson join Ford Motor Company executives and employees at the Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP) to celebrate the company’s planned $600 million investment.
Credit Office of the Governor, Kentucky
Tennessee is, for a fourth consecutive year, ranked Number One in the nation for automotive manufacturing strength. Economic development publication “Business Facilities” has released its annual ranking, showing Tennessee as the top state. There are over 900 automotive plants in Tennessee. They’ve created over 6600 new jobs and have generated investments of nearly $1.1 billion.
Gov. Steve Beshear has unveiled a new name for the state's 75 unemployment offices. They've now officially been dubbed Kentucky Career Centers. Beshear said the new name reflects a new focus on services for both job seekers and job providers.
A significant transformation has taken place over the last decade in Madison County. Farmers have shifted from burley tobacco to beef cattle. County Extension Agent Brandon Sears says annual tobacco production has gone from 12-million pounds a year in the late 1990’s to about a million-pounds today. Sears says cattle now fuel the agricultural economy.
Hoping to help Kentuckians who’ve been unemployed for months, the state will spend over a million dollars in federal money on training programs. Terri Bradshaw with the State Office of Employment and Training says grants will support on-the-job training, customized training, and registered apprenticeships.
Interview with study co-author Nicole Smith of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce did a nationwide forecast for job creation for 2010 to 2020, and found Kentucky should do pretty well. Kentucky could expect 15 per cent in overall job growth, from 1.8 million jobs in 2010 to 2.1 million in 2020. Researchers say these numbers depend on relative economic calm - basically no crippling depressions or recessions.
The summertime is known for drawing more people out and about with recreation and vacation related activities. It can mean less attention on charitable organizations and their year round needs. Even one agency which typically sees increased response is feeling the pinch.
Kentucky’s unemployment rate experienced an uptick from April to May. It rose two-tenths of a percent, going from seven point nine percent in April to eight point one percent in May. The preliminary May jobless rate was still down slightly from a year ago. State economist Manoj Shanker said “The Kentucky labor market has softened, but hasn’t lost momentum. Unfortunately, not all of the new entrants into the labor force were able to find jobs in May, causing the unemployment rate to rise slightly.”
June has been proclaimed Dairy month across the Commonwealth. The proclamation came from Governor Beshear today. The governor says the Agricultural Development Fund has helped with a re-growth of Kentucky’s dairy industry. He says it’s come with 13 million dollars in grants and loans tied to dairy. More than 130 million gallons of milk are produced on Kentucky farms.
A holiday tradition will sound off in the heart of summer. Salvation Army’s red kettles are a common sight during December. But, next month, Lexington Salvation Army’s Townsend Miller says kettles and bell ringers will return to some store fronts.
A just released report says the 50 year old ‘Cardinal Stadium’ in Louisville is ‘not on the verge of collapse.’ But, the structural stability study does say the grandstand and storage areas under the stadium need to be fixed or taken out of service. State fair board officials earlier this year announced patrons for the outdoor concerts during this summer’s state fair would be seated only on the field.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (left) joined in a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday at Thunder Manufacturing's new Richmond facility.
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
A large Canadian automotive metal stamping firm will soon begin operations at its first manufacturing facility in the US. Those parts will be produced at a 30-thousand square foot factory in Richmond Industrial Park South. Thunder Manufacturing Chief Financial Officer Rahkesh Choudhary says the location and the skilled workforce made Madison County attractive.
The same kind of plastic cards used to track purchases at grocery stores will soon be used to track Lexington’s job seekers. Lexington Social Services Commissioner Beth Mills says the new cards will be issued to individuals who go to the Kentucky Jobs Center for help. Mills says they’ll then swipe the card whenever they return to the center.
A delegation from Kentucky is working to expand its business relationship with the state’s number one trading partner. The Governor, along with representatives from over 20 companies, meet this week with Canadian officials. Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet Spokesman Daniel Lowry says even a strong trade relationship can grow stronger.