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.
Tax revenues coming into Lexington city hall seem to indicate the local economy is ‘relatively stable.’ The local unemployment rate in the six percent range, is about one percent lower than a year ago. City Revenue Director Bill Omara says a number of taxing categories are down slightly, but service-related fees are up. “Services category was over budget. That’s a large category that takes into detention fees, e-m-s fees, parks fees. Those types of fees that are general fund related,” said Omara.
Creating art and selling it are two very different things. In marketing their creations, the executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council, Lori Meadows says many artists struggle with setting a fair, but competitive price. “Really looking at pricing, what kind of marketing that you can do as an artist that will promote the image that you want to put forward,” said Meadows. To further their businesses, Meadows says artists must work well with buyers and galleries.