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Seventy-eight Tennessee municipalities have passed a referendum for wine to be sold in supermarkets.

They collected enough signatures to place the referendum on the Tennessee ballot Tuesday. Final voting results show all the communities passed the measure.

Currently, wine can be sold only in liquor stores. Because of a state law passed earlier this year, wine can be sold by grocery and convenience stores starting in July 2016 in the communities where citizens vote for the change.

Supermarkets and convenience stores can sell beer containing up to 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. Anything stronger can be sold only in package stores, which, as of July 1, are able to sell items other than booze, such as beer, mixers, glasses, corkscrews, food and cigarettes.

The largest employer in western Kentucky's Hancock County is breaking ground on an expansion so that it can begin manufacturing aluminum sheet for vehicle bodies.

Aleris officials say the company hopes to start shipping the aluminum sheet by early 2017. The company's 1.6 million-square-foot mill in Lewisport employs about 800 people and has been open since 1964.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Governor Steve Beshear and U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie were expected to attend Wednesday's groundbreaking for the $350 million expansion.

Beshear said in September when the expansion was announced that it was the single largest investment by a company in Kentucky in more than a year. He said Kentucky's aluminum industry added more than $2 billion to Kentucky's gross domestic product last year and accounts for more than 20,000 state jobs.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky’s bourbon industry keeps growing by leaps and bounds.  Highly-anticipated numbers released Tuesday morning show the industry nearly doubled the number of jobs it supports in Kentucky, from just under 8,700 in 2012 to 15,400 this year. 

The study was conducted by the Kentucky Agriculture Development Fund and the Kentucky Distillers Association.

The study also shows the impact on the state’s agriculture industry. Bourbon makers buy 40 percent of the grain they use from Kentucky farmers, translating into 56 million in sales.  It also means 1,360 agriculture jobs are supported by the bourbon industry. 

The report also says Kentucky farmers have the capacity to provide up to 80 percent of the bourbon industry’s grains.

Kentucky will benefit from a $105 million national settlement with AT&T over fraudulent billing practices. 

The settlement resolves allegations that AT&T Mobility placed charges for third-party services on consumers’ mobile phone bills that had not been authorized by the consumer, a practice known as “mobile cramming.” 

Consumers who have been crammed often complain about charges for premium text message subscription services such as horoscopes, trivia, and sports scores that they have never heard of or requested.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Tax revenues and tourist spending were up during the summer at Lake Cumberland thanks to water levels that returned to normal after being down for several years.

Carolyn Mounce, the head of the Somerset-Pulaski Convention & Visitors Bureau, says marina operators were happy this season with the lake traffic.

The southern Kentucky lake's dam underwent major repairs beginning in 2007. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates Wolf Creek dam, lowered lake levels by 40 feet to ease pressure on the leaking structure. The repairs have since been completed.

Abbey Oldham

With Kentucky’s bourbon industry continuing to expand, the head of a distiller’s association says the state could soon become “the next Napa Valley.” He also believes bourbon-related tourism could someday help economically-challenged counties in eastern Kentucky.

Every two years the University of Louisville produces an economic impact study focusing on the bourbon industry. The last study, in 2012, showed the industry was responsible for over 9,000 jobs in Kentucky, with over $125 million dollars in taxes going to state and local governments.

Speaking to CN-2 Pure Politics, Kentucky Distillery Association President Eric Gregory said the preliminary numbers he saw from the latest report were so incredible that he asked researchers to double-check their findings. Then he asked them to triple-check the numbers.

Gregory says the report will be made public soon.

He adds that he hopes someday bourbon-related tourism will stretch into Appalachia, with distilleries someday opening in the region. But first, Gregory said, counties wanting to be home to a distillery will have to vote to become “wet”, meaning that alcohol can be legally sold there.

Another glitch in the new 2015 Corvette, built at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, is coming to light. General Motors is warning owners not to use the "Valet Mode" of the Performance Data Recorder to secretly record audio in their cars because many states have laws against recording someone without his or knowledge.

GM posted a notice to dealers on a website for Corvette owners last week explaining the problem and saying a software update due next month should take care of the issue.

USA Today is reporting that, in the meantime, if owners choose to use the surreptitious recording system, they must tell everyone in the car a recording is taking place and obtain their permission.

Earlier this month GM asked dealers to stop delivery of about 2,000 cars until a part that attached the air bag to the steering wheel was fixed. Another 800 Corvettes, mostly already at dealerships, were being held because only one of the rear parking brake cables may have been fully engaged.

Both problems have been taken care of and those cars were released last week.

Aleris

An aluminum manufacturer says it will invest $350 million to expand its facilities in Hancock County.

According to the Governor’s Office, the announcement Wednesday by Aleris Corporation is the largestsingle project investment in Kentucky in over a year. The expansion in Lewisport will include the additionof new technology that will help create parts for the automotive industry as it shifts to broader aluminum use to make lighter vehicles.

The 1.6 million-square-foot facility in Hancock County employs approximately 800 people.

Construction is set to begin this fall, and Aleris hopes to begin shipping automotive body sheet to customers by early 2017.

Kevin Willis

One of commonwealth’s signature industries will be celebrated this week as the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival runs from Tuesday to Sunday in Bardstown.

The six day festival includes numerous events for both bourbon enthusiasts and teetotalers.

There are tastings, barrel-making demonstrations, cooking classes, and a 5-K run and walk.

The growth of premium small-batch bourbons and the spirit’s colorful history have contributed to its unprecedented growth in recent years.    

Festival executive director Linda Harrison says scores of people will line up for an autograph from Kentucky’s master distillers this week.

“Wonderful people, and they love to talk about bourbon and how much they love their craft,” Harrison said.

One of the more sought-after figures is Jimmy Russell, who’s been making Wild Turkey bourbon for 60 years at the distillery near Lawrenceburg.

Haier

A 30,000 square foot product research and development tech center is coming to Evansville. Haier America says the center will employ 50 new workers in what it calls “high-wage jobs”.  Haier makes home appliances and consumer electronics.

“Today’s announcement is also a symbolic victory for our region and signifies a re-emergence in the appliance industry in a city with a strong manufacturing history of producing refrigerators and large appliances,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke in a written release.

The tech center in Evansville is expected to open by early next year. 

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