Union-backed coal miners in Kentucky and surrounding states are protesting a coal company’s bankruptcy proceedings they say jeopardizes pension and health care benefits for some 20-thousand retirees and dependents. Miners were picketing Wednesday outside Peabody Energy’s headquarters in St. Louis.
Two charter buses bound for St. Louis left early Wednesday morning from western Kentucky to join the protest led by the United Mine Workers of Amercia.
Peabody Energy is one of the nation’s largest coal companies and one of the companies the union accuses of orchestrating business deals that bankrupted Patriot Coal.
The Austrian-based plastic packaging company Alpla, Inc. has announced it plans a $22.4 million dollar investment to establish manufacturing operations at the Kentucky Transpark.
Alpla will locate its operations in Building IV at the Transpark. The building was constructed specutatively by the Bowling Green Area Economic Development Authority, and was on the market for less than a year since its completion. It's the fourth spec building project at the Transpark for the BGAEDA, and Spec Building V is already in the planning stages.
Alpla products include packaging for everyday items such as beverages, motor oils, and cleaning supplies.
Though the effort for a local option sales tax lacks support from principals in the General Assembly, Mayor Greg Fischer and other leaders from Kentucky's largest communities still went to Frankfort on Tuesday to push for a constitutional amendment.
Calling themselves the Metropolitan Alliance for Growth, the group is creating its own draft of legislation for a local option sales tax—but they call it LIFT, for Local Investments for Transformation.
The alliance is encouraging lawmakers to tackle pension reforms and a constitution to allow a local option tax for infrastructure projects, to be decided by voters. The alliance—which Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray lead— is made up of local officials from the state's metro areas, including Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky.
Bearing in mind legislative leaders' reservation about the local option sales tax, Fischer said the alliance is on a campaign to education people.
The Chairman Emeritus of Maker's Mark blames himself for the company's recent decision to lower the proof of its famous bourbon. Bill Samuels Jr., the son of the founder of Maker's Mark, tells the Courier-Journal he failed to foresee the worldwide surge in demand for Kentucky's famous spirit.
Maker's Mark has announced it will dilute its bourbon from 45 percent alcohol by volume, to 42 percent, so that more whiskey can be bottled to meet demand.
"I was the forecaster in chief around here...I must have been asleep at the wheel," Samuels told the newspaper.
State economic development officials say auto transmission products supplier U.S. Tsubaki Automotive plans to expand its facility in Portland, TN, adding 70 jobs in the process. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development says the company's expansion in Sumner County represents a $1.9 million investment.
Tsubaki Automotive offers state of the art power transmission products. The company supplies complete chain drive systems for engines and transmissions, including cam drives, balancer drives and oil pump drives. The systems typically include chains, tensioners, guides and sprockets.
Tsubaki's customers include General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Nissan and Honda. The company plans to host a job fair February 11th at the Sumner County Career Center.
Legislation introduced in both the Kentucky House and Senate is designed to help keep aluminum smelter jobs in the northwestern Kentucky region of Daviess, Henderson, Hancock, and Webster counties.
The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports Sen. Joe Bowen and Rep. Tommy Thompson, both of Daviess County, have introduced identical bills in their respective chambers. Bowen told the newspaper the legislation is aimed at allowing Century Aluminum in Hawesville to buy electricity on the open wholesale electricity market.
That is currently not allowed under state law.
Last summer, Century, which employs 700 workers, announced it would shutter its smelter unless either the price of metal went up or its electric rates dropped. The smelter terminated its contract with Henderson-based Big Rivers Electric Corp. Before that, Century was Big Rivers largest customer.
SERVPRO of Pulaski and Laurel Counties will establish its headquarters in London, create ten new, full-time jobs and invest $666,500 in the area.
The company specializes in in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial properties after fire, smoke or water damage. SERVPRO, in London since 2005, has constructed a 15,000 square foot facility to serve as its regional headquarters.
To encourage the investment and job creation in London, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved tax incentives for the company of up to $300,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program.
South-Central Kentucky area House members from both sides of the aisle are teaming up to push legislation that could send millions of dollars to the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport over the next five years to expand flights and services.
The Bowling Green Daily News reports the bill's sponsors include Democratic Representatives Jody Richards of Bowling Green and Wilson Stone of Scottsville, and Republican Bowling Green Representative Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green.
Yet to be determined is which airline route, either to Chicago or Atlanta, would best serve the airport's business customers if a commercial service is landed. Also under consideration is a less than daily flight with a leisure carrier.
If approved, the bill would direct $2 million for each of the next five fiscal years to communities that already have federal Small Community Service Grants. Bowling Green has received a $500,000 grant in that category.
Another western Kentucky aluminum smelter has given notice that it intends to shut down in a year because of increasing electric rates.
Media reported the Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter in the Webster County town of Sebree gave notice Friday of its intention to follow the lead of Century Aluminum in Hawesville. Century filed its notice in August.
The notice from Rio Tinto Alcan comes as Big Rivers Electric Corp. seeks a substantial rate increase citing the impending loss of Century, its biggest customer.
Rio Tinto Alcan spokesman Kenny Barkley said Big Rivers is seeking a rate increase from $50 per megawatt now to $60 per megawatt, and that rate isn't sustainable. The smelter has 488 employees.