Influencer Spotlight

Signature Industry: Bourbon renaissance bringing economic growth to Kentucky

06/07/2013 01:25 PM

Kentucky bourbon distillers are seeing a renaissance of the industry both in the United States and overseas, and as the product grows so do the distilleries and the jobs that come with it. Bourbon distilling creates more than 9,000 jobs in the Commonwealth, and the taxes incurred on the industry generate $6 million in local and state tax revenue. With the advent of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tourism is ever increasing attracting millions of visits in the last five years, and... Read more 

Signature Industry: Ky Bourbon booming, but distillers say high taxes and product shortages hamper growth

06/05/2013 07:10 PM

The Kentucky bourbon industry is the only industry in Kentucky that did a phenomenal thing during the economic downturn – it grew- but distillers say they still face obstacles. In 2012 distilleries put back more than 1-million barrels of bourbon to age in Kentucky. Those barrels have to age several years to become bourbon, and in the mean time distillers have to pay Kentucky taxes on the barrel every year that it sits in the Commonwealth. But it was an unexpected resurgence... Read more 

Former Maker's Mark president says genetically modified corn shouldn't be an issue in bourbon

05/23/2013 12:51 PM

As U.S. farmers increasingly rely on genetically modified crops to boost their yields, that has spawned new questions for makers of finished food products, including America’s official drink that’s distilled here in Kentucky. Bill Samuels Sr., the former President of Maker’s Mark, says genetically modified organisms don’t affect the end product of bourbon even though the liquor must be composed of at least 51 percent corn (and must be aged in new charred white oak barrels). But he said if... Read more 

Tired of Failing: Jefferson Co. school trying new programs, tutoring and teacher training to turn it around

04/17/2013 12:17 PM

Southern High School is among the half dozen persistently struggling high schools in Jefferson County that is trying to dig itself out of years of academic underachieving. But the school, which is in the heart of Okolona, faces a host of external challenges. More than one in 10 students is homeless. And more than 15 percent of families whose children go to the school live below the poverty line. Plus, the school’s population has been ravaged by academic flight, in... Read more 

State retiree says legislators should put on their "man pants" to deal with pension fund and keep promises

08/09/2012 08:55 AM

It’s well-known that Kentucky’s public employee pension system has been underfunded and now faces a total unfunded liability of nearly $30 billion. And perhaps no group is as interested in how Kentucky’s leaders will shore up the system than retirees who have paid their share into the system and now rely on its pension checks. Jim Carroll, a former communications director for the state parks department, is one of the retired state employees who closely monitor the ever developing problems... Read more 

Spotlight: House GOP's tax guru spent last decade pushing for reforms

04/11/2012 02:44 PM

As a tax preparer, Republican Rep. Bill Farmer saw the flaws in Kentucky’s tax structure, which prompted him to run for the legislature in 2002. Since then, he has pushed for revamping the system, including eliminating the personal income tax and replacing that state revenue by closing loopholes and spreading out the sales tax to other areas. Farmer is serving as one of the non-voting members of a blue ribbon commission Gov. Steve Beshear formed to suggest ways to change... Read more 

Spotlight: Winters wraps up Senate career after getting into politics to help students

04/10/2012 12:10 PM

Republican state Sen. Ken Winters of Murray began his political career at an age when most people already are retired. Winters, the former president of Campbellsville University, was 70 when supporters talked him into running for the open 1st state Senate District in 2004. And he said it was the chance to improve learning in Kentucky by becoming chairman of the Senate education committee that swayed him. Winters went on to push for changes to the statewide curriculum and testing... Read more 

Spotlight: After more than 400,000 miles, western Ky. lawmaker says its time for new blood

04/09/2012 08:39 AM

Since 1993, Rep. Fred Nesler has been making one of the longest drives in the General Assembly to Frankfort as the odometer on his Ford can attest. Nesler, a realtor and a Democrat from Mayfield, is retiring at the end of the year. He said he preferred to play a supporting role in passing legislation. The most high-profile legislation he sponsored in recent years was a 2002 bill allowing firefighters to have collective bargaining powers. Nesler isn’t picking sides in... Read more 

Spotlight: Rep. Napier says he's proud of bringing state funds back to 36th District

04/05/2012 04:50 PM

It might have fallen out of fashion for some Republicans to tout the public funds they’ve brought back to their districts for projects and programs — but not for Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster. Napier, who is retiring at the end of the year, has represented the 36th House District since 1985. He talked about what he tried to accomplish, how the legislature has changed and which two governors were most effective. This is the sixth report in the series Pure... Read more 

Spotlight: How has working in the Senate been lately? 'You have no idea,' Shaughnessy says

04/02/2012 04:41 PM

Democratic Sen. Tim Shaughnessy of Louisville spent the first half of his 24-year legislative career in the majority. So what have the last 12 years been like? “You have no idea,” said Shaughnessy, who said he once considered Republican Senate President David Williams a friend. But now “I don’t really know him anymore.” Shaughnessy decided last fall not to seek a seventh term in the Senate. And as he wraps up his last regular session, he explained how things changed... Read more 

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