Coal companyAlpha Natural Resources announced today it will idle four underground mines in Harlan and Letcher counties. Two hundred miners will lose their jobs, while about sixty people will be moved to other positions or other mines.
Lexington-based Lexmark International announced Wednesday it has acquired a health care software company. It's the sixth such technology acquisition since mid-2010 for the printer company, which has expanded into more computer software and services. Lexmark paid $45 million for Minneapolis-based Acuo Technologies, which markets its Universal Clinical Platform software to hospitals and other health care providers.
Recyclers are always in the market for more converts. One way to do that is to better educate the public on the nuts and bolts of recycling. That’s was the purpose of tour today in Lexington of a downtown recycling center. The first week of January finds a larger than usual pile of recyclables in the receiving station, bound for processing.
A decline in coal mining tax revenue has many of Kentucky’s top officials concerned. House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Governor Steve Beshear say they are concerned about the declining revenues from the coal severance tax. The tax is used for a variety of state, county and local infrastructure projects, mostly in Eastern Kentucky. Beshear says the drop in revenue reflects the tough market for Kentucky coal.
For the first time ever, Pepsi beverages will be served at concession stands in Rupp Arena, the Shops at Lexington Center, the Lexington Opera House, Triangle Park and at Lexington Center events. G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Inc. of Cincinnati signed a partnership agreement with the Lexington Center Corp. to become the official beverage provider at several facilities controlled by the company beginning Jan. 2. Coca-Cola products have been served at Lexington Center since it opened 37 years ago, in 1976.
Economic growth in 20-13 could mirror the growth seen this year in Kentucky. Ken Troske, who directs the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Kentucky, predicts another two to three percent in economic growth. Troske adds this year’s economic improvement came slower than anticipated.
Elizabethtown residents Martin and Martha Moreman and their son, Matthew, 18, made a last-minute stop Sunday at Kohl’s to find a final Christmas gift. The gift was for the couple’s 8-year-old great-nephew. Though Martin Moreman said they didn’t have a specific toy in mind, the couple brought their son along to make sure the right present was chosen. Ultimately, the family picked out a remote control-operated truck. “We know him; we know what he likes,” Martin Moreman said.
Louisville's technology sector will become larger when two companies from New Albany, Ind., across the river to a historic building downtown. Gov. Steve Beshear on Tuesday welcomed Indatus and sister company Mocurao to an East Main Street building that was the original home of Four Roses bourbon.
One day, motorists in downtown Lexington may be asked to pump coins into street side parking meters at night. Currently, downtown parking at all meters is free after five p-m. By charging a fee, Lexington Parking Authority Director Gary Means says the city can open up more spaces in the evening. “Parking is a supply and demand issue and so if the demand becomes so great that some of the merchants start seeing, ‘hey there’s people parking in front of my bar, my restaurant all night long and they never move and Gary, what can we do about that? Then, we would start to look at enforcement,” said Means.
A Japanese company is said to be considering making an offer to buy Beam, Incorporated. An official with Suntory Holdings tells Bloomberg News that the Osaka-based whiskey and beer maker could make a solo bid for the American distiller or a joint offer with Diageo, the global spirits company headquartered in Britain.
A new state program will advise young entrepreneurs on how they can turn a bright idea into a business plan. Next June at Georgetown College, 50 high school students will learn more about innovation and creative thinking. Liz Knapp with the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation believes some of the ideas will later morph into profit-making products.
Despite experiencing one of the worse droughts in U.S. history, agriculture economists in Kentucky are projecting record cash receipts for the state’s farmers. During their annual outlook during the Kentucky Farm Bureau conference, economists from the University of Kentucky say they think Kentucky will break the $5-billion barrier in revenues this year.
Fayette County’s best opportunities for job growth may lie outside manufacturing. In a report delivered Tuesday to Lexington’s city hall, demographic specialist Ron Crouch made some predictions on job growth between now and the year 20-18. With suitable land in short supply, Crouch says there are few places to build new factories. “You know one of the things I hear in Lexington-Fayette County is , you need more manufacturing jobs. Well, in fact, because of cost of the land in Fayette County and the cost of doing business, you’re probably not an area that’s gonna attract a lot of manufacturing. It’s gonna be more health care, more retail trade, and more education,” said Crouch.
Starting this week, the Herald-Leader and four other Central Kentucky newspapers will charge for unlimited access to their websites, a growing trend as the newspaper industry continues to struggle with revenue declines. In Kentucky, more than half of newspapers now charge in some form for online access, said David Thompson, executive director of the Kentucky Press Association.
This week marks what might be called ‘prime Christmas tree’ cutting season. At least, that’s the hope for owners at Kentucky’s 15 Christmas tree farms. Steve McManus, who operates Cathole Bend Christmas Tree Farm in Garrard County, planted some 20 thousand trees in 2004. However, it was another four years before any of that crop went to market.
Lexmark International’s decision earlier this year to shutter its inkjet printer operations and lay off 550 Lexington workers might have surprised some, but it was mounting evidence of a business in transition. For the past several years, the Lexington-based printer maker has been in the midst of changing strategies and made five key acquisitions since 2010 designed to take the company further from its roots only in printers and more into computer software and services.
During December, Kentucky and its business climate will be featured in a 32-page supplement featured in American Airlines' onboard magazine for passengers. American estimates there's the potential for more than 12 million passengers to see the piece in Hemispheres during the month, according to a news release from Gov. Steve Beshear's office.
Now that Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky has celebrated more than 25 years of operation in Georgetown, more than 20 percent of its workforce is nearing retirement. In hopes of managing the large number of retirements, the company announced an incentive program for eligible workers if they agree to retire in intervals determined by Toyota.
Reducing homelessness in Lexington will in large part depend on the availability of affordable housing. That’s one direction a special government commission seems to be taking. The Mayor’s Commission on Homelessness has produced a draft report. Co-Chair Steve Kay says affordable housing will be key component of the final report. “If we can do a better job of providing adequate housing for those people, we can significantly reduce the numbers of people who are homeless and the number of people who are going to find themselves in a homeless situation. Housing is one of the key parts of what we will be addressing,” said Kay.
A large number of Kentucky arts and crafts people hope consumers do more than just shop in the Commonwealth. They are banking those holiday shoppers will also buy Kentucky-made products. Victoria Faoro (FAIR-oh) directs Berea’s Kentucky Artisan Center. “You know our hope is that people, new people will become aware of the wonderful products that are being made in the state and will think first about buying something Kentucky, whether it’s a Kentucky crafted quilt or mug or piece of jewelry or Kentucky Proud foods,” said Faoro.
First there was “Black Friday,” and then “Cyber Monday.” Now, consumers are urged to shop local on Saturday. Holiday sales are also important to small retailers. Lexington’s Bella Rose, which is a clothing boutique near the University of Kentucky, has displayed dresses in its window for more than 30 years. Store founder Betty Spain says the staff specializes in customer service…finding the ‘right dress’ for the ‘right woman’.
Gov. Steve Beshear on Tuesday joined company and local officials to welcome Davert USA to Bowling Green, according to a news release from the governor's office. The Canadian-based company chose Bowling Green as its first U.S. location and plans to create 20 new, full-time jobs and invest more than $2.3 million in the project.
A Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing a Kentuckian’s right to hunt and fish is on tomorrow’s ballot. It has not gotten much attention this election season. Pike County Representative Leslie Combs says the amendment is intended to preserve hunting and fishing rights, while also protecting the state’s wildlife populations. Combs, along with House Speaker Greg Stumbo, is a key sponsor of the legislation
Kentucky’s manufacturers are making gains. The manufacturing sector comprises about 16 percent of the state’s overall economy. State economist Manoj Shanker says factory activity is on the uptick. “Manufacturing has grown by about three percent for the first nine months of this year versus the first nine months of last year, which is good, compared to say, total employment which has grown by just two percent,” said Shanker.
There are no easy answers for ongoing farm labor shortages.
Increasingly, Kentucky’s farmers can’t find the help they need. Agriculture experts blame the slow economy and a nationwide crackdown on undocumented workers. However, the debate over illegal immigration has not been a campaign issue in the Commonwealth.
Kentucky’s Public Service Commission projects natural gas prices this winter will be the lowest in a decade. On average, customers can expect to pay about 12-percent less this November, as compared to a year ago. Over the last four years, commission spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says natural gas prices have dropped 43 percent. Melnykovych says the devastating storm in New England will not likely impact natural gas rates.
Kentucky’s agriculture industry is faring better than early predictions. The agriculture industry, which includes crops, cattle, and horses, last year earned over five billion dollars. That figure is beyond Kentucky’s reach this year, but, University of Kentucky Agriculture Economist Will Snell says many farmers should still do okay.