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Hitcents

A new iPad app that attempts to recreate the experience of banging away at a manual typewriter is the brainchild of actor Tom Hanks and the creative minds at Hitcents in Bowling Green. 

Stuart Westphal was the point man for Hitcents on the project called “Hanx Writer”. Westphal says more than 20 members of the Hitcents team worked together to create the app. Designs for the project were inspired by actual manual typewriters.  

“It was actually a lot of fun,” said Westphal. “Tom sent three of his vintage typewriters to our Bowling Green office, which is our headquarters here at Hitcents. We unboxed them and it was kind of like a little holiday here at the office.”

Down to the smallest detail, the app is meant to replicate the look and sound of using a typewriter.

“Every opportunity that we get to go that extra mile, even if it’s something that not everybody would pay attention to, that’s important to us, and that goes all the way down to our code,” said Westphal.

Hear Tom Hanks’ interview with NPR’s Audie Cornish about the “Hanx Writer.” 

An automotive parts manufacturer is expanding its operations in Henderson County.

Budge Industries creates protective covers for vehicles, and announced Friday that it will expand its 75,000 square-foot facilities and create up to 37 new jobs. The $650,000 investment by the company will allow it to add new production lines at its Henderson County operation, as well as new ultrasonic welding equipment.

The expansion was approved for $200,000 worth of tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program.

Toyota

A southwestern Indiana city celebrated an announcement Friday morning, that promises to bring 300 new jobs to town.

Toyota says it will add 70,000 square feet to its production facility that produces The Highlander in Gibson County. Toyota says that means 300 new jobs and a $100 million investment. 

The Princeton Toyota plant already employs some 4,500 workers and turns out Highlanders, Sequoias and Sienna minivans.

Angel's Envy, Michter's, and Evan Williams are just a few of the names highlighting Louisville's growing trade in bourbon.

Just below Cherry Hall, one of WKU's grandest buildings, sits nearly 200,000 square feet of new student housing, built at a cost of $24 million. There is also a 30,000-square-foot, $10 million alumni center, and a 72,500-square-foot, $14.5 million Hyatt Place hotel scheduled to open in 2015. The New York Times profiled the partnership between WKU and Bowling Green that has impacted both campus and community.

For the first time in a year, quarterly data shows an increase in coal production in Eastern Kentucky. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the industry is rebounding. 

TVA to Cut More than 2,000 Jobs

Aug 6, 2014

The nation's largest public utility is eliminating more than 2,000 jobs as part of a $500 million cost-cutting campaign. 

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the Tennessee Valley Authority is making the cuts this year to pare expenses and make electric rates in the Tennessee Valley more competitive with neighboring utilities.

Most of the staff reductions are being made by not filling vacant jobs and through retirements and resignations by the end of next month.

TVA President Bill Johnson said this week that the voluntary reduction offers were well received and avoided the need for massive firings, although some employees are being laid off.

The staff cuts are the agency's largest in more than two decades.

Westlake Regional Hospital

State Auditor Adam Edelen is conducting a financial stress test of Kentucky’s rural hospitals.  He’s hosting a series of public meetings across the state this summer to get a better understanding of the challenges facing small, community hospitals.

"In a state in which 45 percent of people rely on rural hospitals for their hospital care, I think we have a moral and financial obligation to make sure we're doing everything we can to keep rural hospitals open," Edelen told WKU Public Radio.

Hospitals are expressing concerns about the expanding Medicaid rolls under the Affordable Care Act.  Also, Kentucky’s transition to Medicaid managed care in 2011 is still presenting problems.

"We're still seeing no pay and slow pay issues that are constricting the cash flow of rural hospitals which is making it more difficult to keep their doors open," added Edelen.  "Hospitals have also had to increase their administrative burden and that's something that can push a teetering hospital into bankruptcy."

Edelen cited the Nicholas County Hospital which declared bankruptcy and closed in May, laying off 80 employees.

The Auditor’s office is seeking the financial records of more than 60 hospitals in rural eastern and western Kentucky.  Edelen plans to issue a report this fall to the governor and legislature. 

Sales incentives helped U.S. auto sales rise in July, as major auto companies reported selling more than 120,000 more vehicles than the same month last year. GM retained its spot as the U.S. sales leader.

Sales of passenger cars rose by nearly 5 percent this July compared to last year, with sales of light trucks even higher, at 13.4 percent, according to data released Friday by research firm Autodata Corp.

GM sold 256,160 vehicles last month, beating Toyota's 215,802 and Ford's 211,467.

Freezer Company Creating Jobs in Todd County

Jul 30, 2014

A manufacturer of custom coolers and freezers has expanded to Todd County in southern Kentucky.

Governor Steve Beshear's office says Custom Cooler Inc. is creating 75 jobs and investing nearly $5.8 million in the manufacturing facility.  The project is Custom Cooler's second manufacturing facility in the U.S.

The 117,000-square-foot operation in Todd County will serve customers throughout the eastern and central United States and internationally.  Beshear's office says Kentucky beat out three other states for the investment.

Custom Cooler was established in California in 2006. It serves more than 300 domestic and international customers in the food industry.

To encourage the investment, the state gave preliminary approval for the company to receive performance-based tax incentives of up to $1.5 million.

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