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Kevin Willis

The producers of Maker's Mark bourbon have announced a distillery expansion to keep pace with growing demand for the Kentucky whiskey.

The $67 million expansion announced Thursday comes about a year after the brand caused a stir. In early 2013, the whiskey known for its bottles sealed in red wax announced it was cutting the amount of alcohol in each bottle to stretch supplies. After backlash from customers, Maker's Mark quickly scrapped the idea and restored the alcohol volume to its typical level.

The expansion was in the works long before the flap and it comes amid growing sales at Maker's.

The brand shipped more than 1 million cases in 2011 and it forecasts shipments to reach 2 million cases later this decade.

National Corvette Museum

Eight cars that fell into a sinkhole at Bowling Green’s National Corvette Museum last Wednesday will be getting a little tender loving care. 

The prized sports cars were damaged when a 40 foot wide by 25 foot deep sinkhole opened up beneath the Skydome portion of the museum. 

Long-time Warren County Representative and former House Speaker Jody Richards says the cars will be sent off for refurbishing.

“General Motors is going to transport those to Detroit and they’re going to restore all eight of the Corvettes," the Bowling Green Democrat said. "They are very special corvettes and they want to restore them and they will eventually be back on display in the National Corvette Museum”         

Richards isn’t sure if the repaired cars will be back in Bowling Green in time for the Corvette Museum's 20th anniversary in August.  That's also when a new motorsports park will open in Warren County.

Abbey Oldham

A well-known Bowling Green restaurant is moving from its historic downtown location after being purchased by a new owner.

Mariah’s 1818 restaurant is headed to the Hitcents Park Plaza, in a different part of the city’s downtown. The restaurant was purchased by the MR Group Monday, and will be one of five restaurants opening in the plaza.

Bowling Green natives have taken to Mariah’s Facebook page to share their feelings on the move. Although there are some who support the change, many are sharing feelings of disappointment, saying that the Mariah’s Moore House location is what creates the beloved atmosphere of the restaurant, and that the new location simply won’t be the same.

Some accused the purchasing group of not understanding the historical significance of Mariah’s Restaurant and its location and what it means to the community.

Mariah’s responded on their Facebook page, saying the new location will provide more space and necessary updates which will better serve the community.

Mariah’s will be opened in the current location through March 31 and will open its new doors in April.

Kentucky’s coal industry shed more than 2,300 jobs last year, according to the latest numbers from the state Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Most of those losses were in eastern Kentucky .

The final quarterly coal report from the Energy and Environment cabinet wraps up a dismal year for the industry. And for Eastern Kentucky, this marks the 10th straight quarter of declining coal employment.

Since 2007, Eastern Kentucky has lost more than 6,000 coal jobs, just under half. Coal production has dropped even more drastically. At the same time, production and employment have grown modestly in the western portion of the commonwealth.

A number of factors are behind the decline, including pollution controls that allow plants to burn higher sulfur coal, like that mined in western Kentucky and Illinois.

Commission Approves Agreements on Hancock County Smelter

Jan 31, 2014

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved agreements that Century Aluminum of Kentucky says are necessary to keep operating a western Kentucky smelter.  

The agreements allow the smelter to be supplied power purchased on the open market by Kenergy Corp. rather than power generated by Big Rivers Electric Corp.

The PSC said in its order Thursday that the agreements are substantially the same as those it approved in August for the Century smelter in Hawesville.

The Hawesville smelter has about 700 employees and the Sebree smelter about 500.

Big Rivers has a pending rate increase request to compensate for revenue it will lose when it is no longer producing power sold to the Sebree smelter. In October, Big Rivers was granted a rate adjustment to compensate for lost revenue from the Hawesville smelter.

A global auto manufacturer is building a facility in Elizabethtown and creating 75 new jobs.

Hendrickson USA LLC creates suspension systems and components for heavy-duty vehicles. The $20 million facility will be built at T.J. Patterson Industrial Park in Hardin County.

Construction on the 100,000-square-foot building is expected to be complete later this year.

Jim Beam

Jim Beam is turning to Hollywood for its latest spokesperson as the company gets set to launch its first-ever global marketing campaign.  

In a video posted on the Jim Beam website, Master Distiller Fred Noe takes actress Mila Kunis on a tour of Jim Beam's Kentucky facilities.

Kunis, who’s starred in movies along with TV shows like That 70s Show and Family Guy, will be the centerpiece of Jim Beam’s new campaign branded “Make History”.  

The announcement of the world-wide marketing effort comes two weeks after Japanese company Suntory announced it was purchasing Jim Beam. The ads featuring Kunis start next month.

Flickr/Creative Commons

In an effort to improve job growth for existing and new employers across the state, the state of Kentucky is making workforce services available in one centralized location.  

Governor Steve Beshear laid out the details of the ‘WorkSmart Kentucky’ initiative Monday. The program involves matching employers with available workforce resources.

“Qualifying companies within the Commonwealth will be eligible for recruitment and job screening services at no cost. In addition, flexible grant funding will be available to offset the cost of customized and in house training needs,” said Beshear.

WorkSmart Kentucky is a partnership of the state’s Economic Development, Workforce Development, and Labor Cabinets along with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The governor says the new program fits in well with the state’s emphasis on health care and educational improvements.

Two Kentucky lawmakers are supporting a bill that would let the state lease public land for private development.

Under legislation from Republican Representatives Richard Heath and Ken Imes, hotels and other private developments could be built in public parks, with the state's permission.

But Imes says the bill isn’t about privatization.

“We’re not trying to privatize parks. Basically, I like to use the word ‘franchise.’ What I’m trying to do is save our parks system in Kentucky. It’s deteriorating rapidly through nobody’s fault other than we just can’t keep ‘em up.”

The previous state budget slashed the parks budget by over eight percent, which led to shorter park operating hours across the commonwealth.

Imes says his bill could open the door to private management of some state parks, which he says would reduce their operating cost to taxpayers.

A report from the federal government shows some good news for Kentucky enterprise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the state led the country in new businesses created during the second quarter of of 2013, the most recent data available.

Governor Steve Beshear's office says almost 6,700 new businesses opened in Kentucky during that quarter, many of them so-called "micro-enterprises", or businesses with five or fewer employees. The number represents an increase of more than 6% from the same period a year earlier.

Kentucky ranked second nationally by percentage in new businesses opened during the first quarter of 2013, third during the last quarter of 2012 and fourth during the third quarter of 2012.

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