A paper company has announced plans to invest $20 million in its facility in Hancock County and retain 452 jobs. Domtar Paper Company LLC says it will upgrade and add equipment to its Hawesville operation.
Domtar operates 13 mills throughout the world, including its pulp and paper facility in northwestern Kentucky. The Hancock County plant makes an estimated 80,000 tons of market hardwood pulp—used for paper production—and about 600,000 tons of printing grade paper each year.
One of the changes at the plant will be a new conveyor system, which Domtar says will lower operating costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the facility.
The amount of bourbon produced by Kentucky distillers has topped 1 million barrels for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Officials with the Kentucky Distillers' Association said Monday that 1,007,703 barrels were filled in 2012. The last time the total went over a million was in 1973 when 1,004,877 barrels were produced.
The group's president, Eric Gregory, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Kentucky's distilleries are experiencing double-digit sales growth and seeing landmark production levels while investing in new facilities.
The group says bourbon production is up more than 120 percent since 1999.
Century Aluminum in Hancock County and Big Rivers Electric Corporation have reached a tentative agreement that will allow the electricity supplier to buy market-priced power for the Hawesville smelter.
The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports Century Aluminum also announced today that it is purchasing the Webster County smelter Sebree Works-Rio Tinto Alcan.
The moves appear to at least stabilize the aluminum industry in the northwestern Kentucky region, which employs about 1,200 people.
A Lexus luxury brand vehicle will soon be built in the Bluegrass State. Toyota officials made the formal announcement Friday morning at the auto maker’s Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, where production of the Lexus ES 350 will begin in 2015.
Governor Beshear told Toyota leaders in attendance that he appreciates their decision to invest further in Kentucky.
“We realize the care and the pride that you take in that vehicle and that it requires the utmost in a skilled workforce, not to mention top quality components,” said Beshear. “Your confidence in the quality of Kentucky’s workers, especially our team here in Georgetown is appreciated and well placed.”
Kentucky Toyota workers will produce about 50,000 of the new Lexus vehicles annually once production begins in two years. The expansion will add an estimated 750 new jobs to a facility that already employs 6,600 workers.
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.