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Business news

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is taking a firmer stand on conservative issues. Republican legislators have criticized the chamber in the past for supporting Democratic-led proposals like expanded gambling and a higher dropout age while staying quiet on so-called right to work and prevailing wage laws.

A Hancock County aluminum smelter is warning it might have to shut down its 700-employee operation if it can't negotiate better electric rates. Century Aluminum and power producer Big Rivers Electric Corporation appear to be at an impasse in their efforts to find a solution.

Thousands of 2013 Ford Escape vehicles produced in Kentucky are being recalled by the automaker. The vehicles have carpet that could interfere with breaking, and came off the assembly line between March 8 and June 7.

Business and government leaders say some utility customers in Kentucky have been contacted regarding a phony scheme designed to steal the Social Security numbers of those who participate. Attorney General Jack Conway says victims are told that a new federal bail-out program will pay their utility bills for them, but no such program exists. Conway says the people behind the fraudulent activity are giving out false bank routing numbers in an attempt to get personal information from their victims.

Patriot Coal Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week as it deals with reduced demand for coal and rising costs. Patriot has three operations in Henderson and Union counties in western Kentucky.

Ky Sec. of State's Office

State officials in Kentucky say more than 150,000 businesses in the state met the July 2nd deadline for filing annual report information with the Secretary of State's office. However, 37,000 didn't meet the deadline and are now listed as no longer "in good standing."  Those who failed to file in time still have sixty days to take care of the report.

The Better Business Bureau says an organization identifying itself as the "Soldier Relief Fund" has been contacting some local businesses, asking for donations to sponsor a soldier for a one hundred dollar phone card. The consumer protection group says the founder  of the fund was charged with fraud last year in connection with a charity scam in Indiana.

Kevin Willis

The bad national economy hasn't put a dent in one of Kentucky's signature exports. In fact, bourbon production has increased 115% over the past 13 years, according to Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers Association.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has signed a bill into law that’s designed to spur investments in the state’s automotive and parts manufacturing facilities. The bill amends the 2007 Kentucky Jobs Retention Act to allow manufacturers involved in the auto industry to request incentives, regardless of their location in the state.

Online retailer Amazon is now taking applications for about 15-hundred jobs at its new fulfillment centers in Lebanon and Murfreesboro.  Tennessee Career Center locations throughout Middle Tennessee are holding initial screenings and scheduling interviews through July 13th.

The Owensboro region is on a list for the top areas for job growth in the nation. The Owensboro metropolitan statistical area ranked 25th on a list compiled by Area Development magazine.

A southern Tennessee county is poised to gain up to 800 new jobs when a subsidiary of Fiat expands its auto supply plant. The nearly $54 million expansion of the Magneti Marelli plant in Giles County will provide a major boost to manufacturing jobs throughout the region.

The owner of Ellis Park in Henderson says he hopes to expand the horse track’s gambling options by Labor Day. Ron Geary wants to move ahead with plans to install instant racing machines, despite an ongoing lawsuit over the legality of those games in Kentucky.

Creative Commons

One of the world's largest coal producers says it will lay off about 750 workers in the Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia coalfields. It's the latest setback for an industry struggling for market share as utilities switch to cleaner and cheaper alternatives.

Administrative Law Judge Margaret A. Miller ruled that Cumberland River Coal Company improperly fired 52-year-old Charles Scott Howard of Letcher County after he was injured on the job. The judge ordered Howard reinstated and says the company must pay a $30,000 fine.

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