A western Kentucky aluminum smelter has notified employees that it plans to shut down operations on Aug. 20 unless it can get lower electric rates.
Century Aluminum has been in negotiations with its power supplier, Big Rivers Electric Corp., for more than a year. Both parties told the Messenger-Inquirer on Tuesday that they are still trying to negotiate a deal before time runs out.
Legislation to lower the smelter's electric bills was introduced during the General Assembly, but pulled due to misinformation that surrounded the issue.
Century gave a 12-month notice last year to Big Rivers saying it would not renew its power contract. The plant in Hawesville employs about 700 workers.
Kentucky manufacturers will benefit from a new partnership between universities, professionals, and state and federal partners.
The Advantage Kentucky Alliance was announced Friday at WKU's Center for Research and Development.
The aim is to move Kentucky from traditional manufacturing to advanced manufacturing. WKU President Gary Ransdell said it's important for universities to be involved in the economies they help create and sustain.
"Universities first and foremost have to be about economic development. The time has long since passed when our primary mission was to just educate students,"said Dr. Ransdell. "As I've said for many years, educating students is a means to a much more important end and that more important end is driving Kentucky's economy and improving the quality of like for people within the reach of our universities."
The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and local chambers of commerce will help connect manufacturers to alliance members who can address their needs, such as finding new revenue streams, developing new products and services, and learning new processes to become more efficient.
Kentucky’s attorney general is supporting federal legislation to curb recruiting abuses by for-profit colleges.
Jack Conway and 13 attorneys general are supporting the Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act sponsored by Sen. Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).
The bill restricts colleges and universities from using federal financial aid for recruitment, advertising, and marketing purposes.
"I support higher education and students who seek a degree to create a better life for their families, but many times I see those dreams turn to nightmares when students fall prey to a fast sales pitch from a for-profit college with a questionable reputation," Conway said. "The students end up with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and no degree."
With only two days left in this year's Kentucky General Assembly session, time is running out for supporters of legislation meant to keep two western Kentucky aluminum smelters—which employ about 3,000 people—from closing.
Under state law, the smelters are required to purchase electricity from the nearest company—Big Rivers Electric, in this case. The smelters say lower aluminum prices have them struggling to pay the bills; they're asking for more options for where they get electricity.
Their legislative supporters want to let the smelters purchase electricity on the open market.
Opponents argue that giving the smelters lower rates or open market options would increase prices for the average customer.
Gov. Steve Beshear will lead an international business trade mission to Canada this summer. The trip will be the first-ever trade mission of the Kentucky Export Initiative, and will be aimed at boosting commerce between the Bluegrass State and America’s northern neighbor.
Canada already serves as Kentucky’s number one export destination, with the commonwealth exporting $7.3 billion in products and services there in 2012. That’s more than four times the total goods and services exported to Kentucky’s number two trading partner, Mexico.
The Kentucky trade mission will take place June 4-7 in Toronto.
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a $5.2 million grant for out-of-work coal miners in eastern Kentucky.
The grant will fund re-employment services for miners who have been laid off. A statement from the Labor Department Monday says the funding will also help spouses of coal miners in the region who are looking to re-enter the workforce.
This grant was awarded to the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program. The program will train out-of-work miners and spouses to work in other industries in the region including business services, construction and health care.
A Daviess County restaurant and bar is on a quest to offer the world's largest selection of bourbons.
The Messenger-Inquirer reports Spirits at The Miller House in downtown Owensboro currently has at least 200 types of bourbon in stock on a daily basis. That's double what it had a year ago.
General manager Aaron King said that number puts it among bars with the largest selection of bourbons in stock. He said there are about 250 different bourbons.
"There are bars that claim they have 120 bourbons and say that's the largest collection and there are bars that say they have 250 bourbons," King said. "But when you go there, they aren't all in stock."
U.S. Bank plans to expand its mortgage operations in Owensboro, adding a new facility and 332 jobs to its operations in Daviess County.
The bank’s investment, announced Friday afternoon, comes at a time of increased demand for mortgage services in the area, and represents a $15.2 million commitment. U.S. Bank is the fifth-largest bank in the country, and currently has 1,900 employees in Owensboro.
As part of the expansion, U.S. Bank has been given preliminary approval for $2.8 million dollars in tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program.
Sports tourism is expected to have a $20 million impact on the Owensboro community this year.
Jared Bratcher is sports marketing director for the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
He told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer there will be more than 50 tournaments, including figure skating, hockey, baseball, running, soccer, softball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, fishing and football.
There's some type of tournament in town every month and they will fill every hotel room in the city on 10 weekends this year.