For the first time, a Lexus vehicle will be produced in the United States and it will be made at the Georgetown Toyota plant. The formal announcement came this morning from officials in New York and Scott County. Governor Beshear says it means 750 new Kentucky jobs at Toyota. “We realize the care and the pride that you take in that vehicle and that it requires the utmost in a skilled workforce, not to mention top quality components. Your confidence in the quality of Kentucky’s workers, especially our team here in Georgetown is appreciated and well placed,” said Beshear.
Kentucky Space, a nonprofit focused on space research and education, has announced plans for a program to assist businesses with similar goals. Called Space Tango, the program will see investments in as many as six companies from across the country. Among the resources offered are technical and ground operations centers at the Morehead State University Space Science Center and the University of Kentucky Space Systems Laboratory. Kentucky Space also offers the ability to work with various NASA sites.
Toyota is planning an ambitious new project for its flagship Georgetown plant that might see it producing a new vehicle and adding 750 jobs. The news came Wednesday when the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval to $146.5 million in tax incentives for the project, which is shrouded in mystery. Katie Smith of the state's Cabinet for Economic Development told the KEDFA board that the project is a vehicle model that is new to the plant, which would produce 50,000 of them annually beginning in fall 2015. She declined to name the vehicle model.
Kentuckians concerned with agriculture, business and education spoke out in favor of the latest federal immigration proposal during a phone conference organized by the Partnership for a New American Economy. The immigration proposal is being considered in the U.S. Senate, thanks to a compromise by a group of eight senators from both political parties. The plan would create a 13-year path to citizens, expand work visas and attempts to tighten border security.
Weapons storage igloos at Bluegrass Army Depot, near Richmond.
Layoffs were announced today at the Bluegrass Army Depot near Richmond. Within a few months, at least 74 workers will lose their jobs, but another hundred are likely. In a sense, Colonel Brian Rogers is returning his command to a peace time footing. As America’s military commitment to Iraq and Afghanistan has shrunk, so has its need for munitions. The combat veteran says laying off workers is the hardest thing he’s ever done.
The group working to re-open the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park has gotten $10-million in sales tax credits from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority. The Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company will release details of their plans for the park, including information on refurbished and new rides.
A close-up of the Cleveland Whiskey label. It debuted in early March across Northeast Ohio
On a recent Friday night, Clevelanders squeeze shoulder-to-shoulder inside the Market Garden Brewery and Distillery. They’re here for the launch party of Cleveland Whiskey. It’s available straight on the rocks, or in a number of cocktails. Sam McNulty is Market Garden’s proprietor. “People are loving it. The only problem is, we’re running out of it right now. So we’re running to the store and getting some more.”
New data from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet shows that coal production is down in Eastern Kentucky from previous years, and the region’s workforce is suffering. Coal production dropped more than 27 percent from 2011 to 2012 in Eastern Kentucky. This is the lowest production has been in the region since 1965. And as expected, coal mine employment fell in Eastern Kentucky too, by nearly 30 percent from the 2011 levels.
Summertime customers inspect produce offered by Berea College Farm.
Three roadside markets in Madison County have been added to a list created by the Kentucky Farm Bureau. The Farm Bureau program helps consumers find roadside stands that offer fresh produce and good customer service. Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney runs such a retail outlet.
Off-road parks are expanding into a new region of Kentucky. The privately-owned “Rush Off-Road Park” is situated just outside Ashland. The seven-thousand acre facility opens April 20th. Besides traditional off-road vehicles, Kentucky Adventure Tourism Assistant Director Seth Wheat says such parks also accommodate more recent designs. “And then, they also have trails that can accommodate your newer style side by side vehicles like Polaris Rangers and things of that sort. They’ve got trails for jeeps and four by four trucks that have been modified and customized to climbs rocks and climb hills,” said Wheat.
Amazon’s decision to build a customer service center in Winchester earned an award from a national magazine for investment and community impact. Trade & Industry Development magazine listed Amazon, General Electric in Louisville and Berry Plastics in Madisonville among the nation’s top 30 economic development projects from 2012 and winners of the magazine’s Corporate Investment & Community Impact Awards.
Credit Patrick Reddy/The Kentucky Enquirer file photo
Michael Zovath, senior vice president and co-founder of the Ark Encounter, in the collection room of Answers in Genesis with animals whose ancestors he said would have been on Noah's Ark. The company plans to build 510-foot-long replica of Noah's Ark on a site in Grant County. The project is being planned by Answers in Genesis, the organization that built the Creation Museum in Boone County.
Developers of the Ark Encounter theme park expect to begin construction this year at its Grant County site. The attraction, which developers estimate will draw 1.6 million visitors the first year, is envisioned as a full-scale wooden ark that would ultimately include museums, theaters, amenities, event venues and outdoor parking.