Business and the Economy

3:03pm

Fri February 22, 2013
Business and the Economy

Lexington's Peanut Butter Factory Improvements

The almost age old smell of roasting peanuts along Lexington’s Winchester road is expected to continue for years to come.  J.M. Smucker is investing more than 40 million dollars in Lexington’s Jif plant.   Daniel Lowry with the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet says the investment is important for the state’s economy.  “They’re gonna make the plant better, you know they’re upgrading machinery.  They’ll expand their production line to meet increased demand.  So, things are going great for Jif.  That’s what we want to hear.  We want to make sure they can continue to compete and stay here in Kentucky,” said Lowry.

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1:11pm

Tue February 19, 2013
Business and the Economy

Grocery Stores Fighting Proposed Ban on Sales of Liquor and Wine

The Kroger Wine & Spirits store at Lexington's Hartland Shopping Center is separate from the Kroger grocery store. Liquor and grocery stores are waging a public relations battle over a legislative proposal that would prohibit wine and liquor sales in the actual grocery store.
Credit Lexington Herald-Leader

Kentucky grocery stores are fighting a proposal in this year's state legislature that would block their longtime goal of selling wine and liquor alongside other groceries. Some stores are distributing fliers to customers, urging them to tell their lawmakers to oppose House Bill 310. A consortium of grocers also ran full-page ads during the weekend against the legislation in newspapers in Lexington, Louisville, Ashland and Owensboro. Pushing the bill is a group formed late last year by independent liquor stores called Fighting Alcohol Consumption by Teens, or FACT.

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1:00pm

Tue February 19, 2013
Business and the Economy

State Agriculture Council Creates Five Year Strategic Plan

Credit Creative Commons

Kentucky's agriculture leaders are supporting a new five year strategic plan to help the industry in the state. The plan, put together by the Kentucky Agriculture Council, puts emphasis on agriculture education, creating new markets and recruiting new people to farming.

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3:38pm

Mon February 18, 2013
Business and the Economy

Bluegrass Army Depot Project Under Roof

Work on a plant that will neutralize chemical weapons at the Bluegrass Army Depot has hit a major milestone.    The Munitions Demilitarization Building is now under roof.  But work there could slow, unless Congress acts.  Site Project Manager Jeff Brubaker says the money could run out next month.  "We believe that additional funding will be made available shortly there after to keep the project moving forward.  However, we cannot with 100 percent certainty say that there may not be some impact later in the year,” said Brubaker.

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12:41pm

Sun February 17, 2013
Business and the Economy

Maker's Mark Decides Not to Reduce Alcohol by Volume

Credit Creative Commons

In response to criticism, Maker's Mark has decided not to reduce the alcohol by volume of its bourbon after all. The distillery had move to a 42-percent alcohol by volume; the switch back to the traditional 45-percent alcohol by volume is immediate. The Loretto, Ky., distillery has posted this statement to its website—which Sunday afternoon wasn't loading properly—and Facebook page.

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11:46am

Fri February 15, 2013
Business and the Economy

Keeneland Aims to Build Quarter Horse Racetrack Near Corbin

Credit Creative Commons

Imagine a top-flight racetrack in Eastern Kentucky with all the glamour and prestige of a premier entertainment venue married to the speed and electricity of Quarter Horse racing. Keeneland is envisioning just that. The Lexington Thoroughbred racetrack and sales company is teaming with Nevada-based Full House Resorts to buy the Thunder Ridge harness track in Prestonsburg for an undisclosed price and reinvent it as a Quarter Horse racetrack in the Corbin area, according to an exclusive story in Friday's Lexington Herald-Leader.

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12:39pm

Thu February 14, 2013
Business and the Economy

Lexington Home Sales Up 17 Percent in 2012

Credit Creative Commons

Since the recession that began in 2007, Lexington's housing market has been seeking a bottom from which to build. The market found it in 2012. Last year marked the first time since the mid-2000s that home sales grew compared to the year before, according to data released recently by the Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator's office. "That should be considered very encouraging," PVA David O'Neill said.

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12:52pm

Tue February 12, 2013
Business and the Economy

Kentucky Kingdom Group "Encouraged" By First Impressions

Ed Hart speaks to media outside of the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park.

Officials leading to group that’s expected to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park say their team is on the ground and money has been spent. The state fair board approved a lease agreement last month with the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company led by local businessman Ed Hart, who once operated the park before Six Flags took over. Hart's group agreed to spend $45 million in private funding over the first few years to reopen the park that’s been closed since 2009.

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12:19pm

Tue February 12, 2013
Business and the Economy

Less Potent Maker's Mark Not Going Down Smoothly In Kentucky

With too little distilled bourbon to meet demand, Maker's Mark is lowering the product's alcohol content from 90 to 84 proof.
Credit Credit Ed Reinke / AP

Kentucky is bourbon country. Bar shelves in Louisville are stocked with a crowded field of premium bourbons; the city's Theater Square Marketplace restaurant alone carries close to 170 different brands. So when news trickled out that longtime distillery Maker's Mark plans to water down its bourbon, locals were stunned. Bourbon has to be aged at least two years — and that's where Maker's Mark got in trouble. Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels says the company simply didn't make enough.

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5:53pm

Mon February 11, 2013
Business and the Economy

Kentucky's Economic Recovery Continues

Kentucky's General Fund tax revenues grew by 3.8 percent in January compared to figures from January 2012. That's an increase of $30.4 million, according to the state Budget Director Jane Driskell. Total revenues for the month were nearly $839 million compared to $908 million during January 2012. Receipts, according to a state news release, have grown 3.8 percent for the first seven months of the fiscal year.

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4:10pm

Mon February 11, 2013
Business and the Economy

West Liberty Reconstruction Gets a Financial Boost

Nearly a year after a tornado ravaged an eastern Kentucky community, the state today unveiled an economic aid package.  The Morgan County community of West Liberty will receive an additional 30-million dollars in private, state and federal aid.  West Liberty Chamber of Commerce Director Hank Allen says it’s hard to exaggerate the announcement’s significance.  “But, I think it is safe to say that for a community our size and the tragedy that was here on March the second, you know it’s a monumental day for us,” said Allen.

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5:41pm

Sun February 10, 2013
Business and the Economy

Maker's Mark Reduces Alcohol By Volume to Meet Demand

Credit Creative Commons

It's now going to take a little more Maker's Mark to get you tipsy, not that Maker's is the sort of bourbon one drinks just to get tipsy. Nonetheless. Maker's Mark is reducing its alcohol by volume by three percent in an effort to meet increased demand, says an e-mail from executives to Maker's Mark Ambassadors.

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6:50am

Fri February 8, 2013
Business and the Economy

Food Truck Issues Still Debated

Credit Creative Commons

Work continues to try and determine where Lexington mobile food vendors can set up shop downtown.  Members of the Food Truck Work Group reviewed draft recommendations Thursday at city hall.  Work Group Chair, Council member Shevawn Akers  says many restaurants and mobile food operators still disagree about placement on public streets.

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3:17pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Business and the Economy

Coal Mining Employment Holding Steady Since November

Credit Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

During the presidential campaign this fall, there was a lot of talk about a "war on coal." Coal miners held rallies for Mitt Romney, and some coal companies announced layoffs that they blamed on President Obama's energy policies and regulations. But the most recent data released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that coal mining employment has been fairly steady for the past few months. Last month, there were 82,000 employed coal miners (in the seasonally-adjusted data). In November, there were 83,000.

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12:16pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Business and the Economy

Winners Announced for Kentucky's Best Places to Work

The results are in for the ninth annual Best Places to Work in Kentucky competition. Seventy-three companies were honored, but their rankings have not yet been released. Those will be announced April 16 at an awards dinner at the Lexington Center.

12:13pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Business and the Economy

Toyota's Georgetown Production up 47 Percent Last Year

Credit Creative Commons

Kentucky ranks fourth in the nation for total light vehicle production, up from fifth in 2011. Kentucky ranked third nationally for production of passenger cars, and fourth for light trucks. In all, one in every 10 light vehicles produced in the United States during 2012 was made in Kentucky. Nearly all the cars produced in the state came from Toyota's Georgetown facility which increased its production by nearly 47 percent.

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2:09pm

Mon February 4, 2013
Business and the Economy

Pooling of Economic Resources

Business and government leaders in eight Southeast Kentucky counties continue to pool their economic recruitment resources.  Members of the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce met Monday in Prestonsburg.  Chamber President Jared Arnett says a multi-county approach to industrial development offers opportunities.  “So, each one of these counties is promoting the assets they have.  So, if you’re promoting an industrial park, but don’t have all the other pieces that are important to go along with that, it’s really a struggle in recruiting companies.  So, our goal is to really fill up these industrial parks to look at small manufacturing,” said Arnett.

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3:59pm

Sun February 3, 2013
Business and the Economy

Drastic Cuts to Kentucky Child Care Assistance Leave Low-Income Families With Few Options

Credit Creative Commons

Shironda Young waited two years to get her job as a cook. It's become the best job she's ever had. Now, Young may have to give the job up because of recently announced cuts to a state program that gives financial assistance for child care to low-income working families.  Young cooks for a university; she doesn't work in the summer. The staff at the day care for her four children have told her that she'll likely be denied entry into Kentucky's Child Care Assistance Program when she reapplies in fall 2013.

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3:56pm

Sun February 3, 2013
Business and the Economy

State Finance Outlook Dims

Standard & Poor’s Rating Services has downgraded Kentucky’s financial outlook from “stable” to “negative” amid concerns over unfunded liabilities in the state’s pension systems. While S&P noted the state is experiencing a healthy recovery in its economic base and has moderate debt burden, the ratings service said structural imbalances in the budget and sizable pension debts drove its outlook down.

2:51pm

Fri February 1, 2013
Business and the Economy

Economic Brainstorming at EKU

Madison County citizens from teenagers to seniors worked together today to help plot the economic future for the bluegrass community.  The Southern Growth Policies Board is assisting leaders from Richmond, Berea, and County governments to devise an economic development plan.  Scott Doron is director of the Southern Technology Council.  “We’re not into producing an eloquent theoretical plan that sits on a shelf.  We want highly doable, high impact actions that can lead directly to economic growth,” said Doron.

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2:52pm

Tue January 29, 2013
Business and the Economy

Automotive Prospects

A banner year for Kentucky’s automotive industry could carry over into 20-13.  For the first time since 2007, production inside the Commonwealth topped one million vehicles.  Recent renovations at the Louisville Assembly Plant have made it one of Ford’s most flexible, high volume plants.  Scott Ellis with the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics says such flexibility translates easily into profits.

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1:08pm

Tue January 29, 2013
Business and the Economy

Lexington Business Accused of Operating 'Massive Pyramid Scheme'

Lexington-based Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing operated a "massive pyramid scheme" involving more than 100,000 people and hundreds of millions of dollars, Kentucky and federal officials allege in a lawsuit against the company. The Corporate Drive headquarters and Danville warehouse of the multilevel marketing company were seized Monday, and the business was placed in receivership, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced during a news conference Monday afternoon. The lawsuit contends that more than 90 percent of the consumers who paid about $249 to join Fortune Hi-Tech lost their money.

3:24pm

Mon January 28, 2013
Business and the Economy

A Half Million Travel the Bourbon Trail

For the first time since its inception, over a half million people last year travelled the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  The new attendance record represents a 15 percent increase over 20-11.  Kentucky Bourbon Trail Experience Director Adam Johnson says there were visitors from all 50 states and over 50 countries.  “There’s places all along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail where you’ll just run into the guy that made it.  Just the other day people were telling me how they ran into Jimmy Russell down at Wild Turkey.  I mean, his name’s on a bottle.  People just love seeing the rock stars of our industry,” said Johnson.

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4:08pm

Fri January 25, 2013
Business and the Economy

Earned Income Tax Credit Promoted

Low wage earning Kentuckians are again being urged to file for federal earned income tax credits.  The plea came today/Friday from Governor Beshear in Lexington and Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson in Louisville.  West Liberty resident Zach Engle got married, bought a home, and then lost his job a year ago.  He was a tax credit beneficiary turned financial coach.  “My wife and I just recently celebrated our one year anniversary.  I have a job that I enjoy going to every day and I jumped at the opportunity given to me by my wonderful supervisor to become a vita volunteer tax preparer, giving me a chance to truly pay it forward,” said Engle.

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1:54pm

Fri January 25, 2013
Business and the Economy

Frankfort's Jim Beam Plant to Add Jobs by 2014

Frankfort’s Jim Beam plant will begin bottling the Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack Rum brands, adding around 45 jobs, the company announced Thursday. A release from Beam Inc. said the transition will be done in stages, and it is expected to be complete by at least the end of March 2014.

3:31pm

Tue January 22, 2013
Business and the Economy

Kentucky Kingdom Deal Encouraged by City Leaders

Mayor Greg Fischer says negotiations to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park are close to completion, but the parties involved remain silent about a possible lease. If a deal is reached — which could come as early as Thursday when the Kentucky State Fair Board meets — the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau will commit $100,000 annually for five years to get the park up and running, according to media reports.

2:16pm

Tue January 22, 2013
Business and the Economy

Gray: Lexington Tops 300,000 Population

In his State of the Merged Government Address, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray was expected to tout the agreement reached by the city and police and fire union leaders to reign in the unfunded liability of the city’s pension system. During the speech, Gray announced the city had topped the 300,000 mark for population.

5:24pm

Thu January 10, 2013
Business and the Economy

Kentucky Transportation 35 years From Now

All aspects of transportation in Kentucky cover a lot of ground.  Advocates from across the Commonwealth are gathering to discuss everything from pavement to air strips to barge traffic.   More than 400 people are attending the 35th Kentucky Transportation Conference.  Over the next 35 years, a staple of transportation, gasoline could take a back seat to electricity, natural gas, and even compressed air.  That could have a big impact on taxes collected from the sale of gasoline.

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2:49pm

Thu January 10, 2013
Business and the Economy

Borrowing for Campus Projects

Renovations to the University of Kentucky's football stadium and the University of Louisville are among the projects that will benefit from a bipartisan General Assembly agreement is allowing state universities to use their own ability to issue bonds for capital projects.  The soon-to-be approved projects were rejected during 2012 budget negotiations, but will be revived once lawmakers pass an authorization bill, House Speaker Greg Stumbo says.

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11:01am

Wed January 9, 2013
Business and the Economy

Smoking Ban’s Economic Effects Debated

Given how much Kentucky’s budget depends on tobacco taxes, would a statewide smoking ban deal it a staggering blow? A new poll shows public support for a smoking ban is inching up every year. Though the ban likely won’t get a vote during this year’s General Assembly, state politicians are confronting those economic questions more directly.

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