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Date: 07-21-2014

Distillery planned in Eastern Kentucky to capitalize on history of moonshining and Hatfield-McCoy feud...

Kentucky is known for bourbon whiskey, and its Appalachian region was once known for illegal whiskey. Now a legal distillery will be built in a major coalfield town, in an apparent attempt to capitalize on the burgeoning interest in bourbon and the ways of making it, and on the history of the area, which includes the Hatfield-McCoy feud.

An Alltech distillery in Pikeville will produce a brand of bourbon that matches the history of eastern Kentucky, Gov. Steve beshear said.An Alltech distillery in Pikeville will produce a brand of bourbon that matches the history of eastern Kentucky, Gov. Steve beshear said.Alltech Inc., a Kentucky-based manufacturer of animal feed and additives that has expanded into brewing and distilling, will "turn a large section of buildings on Second Street in Pikeville into a brewery and distillery business," with new product lines, Russ Cassady reports for the Appalachian News-Express.

“We’re going to develop more products that we see as suitable for this area, something that’s unique to this area, something that ties in a lot of history to the area,” Alltech Master Distiller Mark Coffman told a local gathering. “We’re now trying to focus a little bit more on trying to bring visitors into this area. There’s a lot to see with this area, there’s a lot of history with this area.”

On a hill above Pikeville is the grave of Randolph McCoy, leader of the Kentucky family in the late-1800s feud with the Hatfields of West Virginia. Counties in both states have tried to cash in on the history, with such devices as a Hatfield-McCoy Trail for all-terrain vehicles, much of it through reclaimed surface coal mines. The area's coal industry has sharply declined, generating more interest in tourism jobs.

UPDATE, July 21: Gov. Steve Beshear told the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce's Business Summit and Annual Meeting that the distillery would have a name playing off the feud. He also announced that Alltech will locate an aquaculture facility and an egg laying and processing plant near Pikeville.


Beshear, Rogers announce industrial development investments for Eastern Ky. site; Pike to get Alltech plant...

Kentucky Press News Service

FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers Monday announced a new industrial development project for Eastern Kentucky.

They were joined by local and state officials in announcing an investment in infrastructure that will help to complete a new industrial site in Pike County.

The site, called Marion Branch, is a 380-acre former surface mine site which is within Pikeville city limits and owned by the city. Pikeville City Commission worked to obtain the infrastructure of a bridge, road, water and sewer to encourage business development in the area.

Global animal nutrition company Alltech, headquartered in Nicholasville, will become the first occupant on the new Marion Branch industrial site with plans to create an aquaculture and poultry layer facility. The project incorporates objectives of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative, begun by Beshear and Rogers in late 2013 to revitalize the struggling economy in Eastern Kentucky counties.

“Today’s announcement is proof that there are opportunities for economic development in Eastern Kentucky if we work to make them happen,” Beshear said in a statement. “This type of partnership, which brings in government resources along with private-sector investment, is an example of what we are trying to do with the SOAR initiative. We want local communities to be key drivers in recovery efforts, as is happening with this project.”

“Eastern Kentucky is a great place to work and live – we’re spreading the word that we’re open for business,” Rogers said. “One of the top companies in Kentucky is planting roots in our region, and other businesses should take notice of the benefits we have to offer with our competitive workforce, beautiful landscape and growing entrepreneurial support system. I commend Gov. Beshear and our state legislators for realizing the value of investing in the Marion Branch Industrial Site, and Pikeville city leaders for continuing to raise the bar for progress in eastern Kentucky.”

Alltech plans to invest in a brand-new aquaculture and poultry layer facility at the site, implementing its sustainable and natural solutions designed to help farmers feed a rapidly growing world population of 9 billion people by 2050.

“We are delighted to have the support of Gov. Beshear, Congressman Hal Rogers and the Commonwealth of Kentucky that will make it possible for Alltech and other companies to operate at the Marion Branch Industrial Park,” Deirdre Lyons, co-founder and director of corporate image and design at Alltech, said. “We are also thankful to the City of Pikeville for their continued support and shared vision for prosperity in eastern Kentucky. We hope that through our decision to build an aquaculture and layer facility at Marion Branch, as well as a new brewery and distillery in downtown Pikeville, we can be a catalyst for further economic development in the area.”

To support the project, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is providing up to $5.73 million for an access road to the Marion Branch Industrial Park. The money will come from a cabinet fund that is specifically for industrial access roads.

The new road will be wide enough to accommodate tractor-trailers. Work is to include paving and striping and installation of curbs and gutters. The city of Pikeville will perform the construction under an agreement with the cabinet.

In addition, the Kentucky Highway Plan provides $8 million for construction of a bridge over the Levisa Fork, which, with approaches, will connect the access road and U.S. 23. In order to advance this project, the state will expedite construction of the bridge.

The Marion Branch site is within five miles of downtown Pikeville. The city acquired the property with the intent to attract development, and has made improvements, including a sewer extension to the property.

“The City of Pikeville and its citizens are so very thankful for the leadership of Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers. We sincerely appreciate their commitment to helping the people of eastern Kentucky look for ways to diversify our economy,” Pikeville Mayor Frank Justice said in a news release. “Through the solid efforts of SOAR, we are making a difference.

Today’s announcement brings new hope and a golden ray of light to our region. I have had the pleasure of working with a city commission that is forward thinking, sees no boundaries and works in the best interest of those they serve. We are thrilled beyond words to have also formed not only a partnership, but also a close friendship with Dr. (Pearse) and Mrs. Lyons and Alltech. We welcome them as the first new business, with a hope of many more to soon follow in our newly developed industrial site.”

In focusing development efforts on the Marion Branch site, the Pikeville City Commission relied in part on findings by InSite, a consultant hired by AEP-Kentucky Power to help local officials with economic development and evaluate potential development sites. The 2013 Regional Blueprint for Economic Development report, submitted to the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce by InSite, found Marion Branch would be a premier site because it was owned and controlled by local government and had many amenities that would attract future businesses.


UPDATE, July 21: Gov. Steve Beshear told the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce's Business Summit and Annual Meeting that the distillery would have a name playing off the feud. He also announced that Alltech will locate an aquaculture facility and an egg laying and processing plant near Pikeville.Written by Al Cross

99 year old Morris Building in downtown Huntington on fire; occupants evacuated...

Lawrence Countians who are planning on attending the Regatta or take a cruise on the Belle of Cincinatti should check for best route aroung the fire.Lawrence Countians who are planning on attending the Regatta or take a cruise on the Belle of Cincinatti should check for best route aroung the fire.

By Catrina Vargo 

Huntington WV -- The Morris Building in downtown Huntington was fully engulfed in flames this morning according to 911 Cabell County Dispatch. 

The building is located in the 400 block of 9th Street, houses apartments as well as business offices.  Dispatch said it is believed that the fire started near the top floor, though the cause is unknown at this time.  No injuries have yet been reported. Firefighters have evacuated the building.

Streets around the Morris building are closed in order to allow emergency crew access to the area. Cabell County Emergency crews are on the scene as is other emergency services.

UPDATE on Huntington fire; 12:35 pm

According to Huntington Fire Chief, Carl Eastham, one firefighter has suffered a knee injury.  That is the only injury reported thus far.

"The fire has been 95% contained," Eastham said.

Firefighters are now extinguishing 'hotspots' in the building. There is some collapsing of the building in the stairwell area.

Eastham said the 99 year old building did not have sprinkler system.  

"We were fortunate to get a quick jump on it" said Eastman.

He also noted that technology helped with the situation, as they had a man on the West Virginia Building using face time, keeping abreast of the fire from a distance, relating the information back to the ground crew.

Firefighters also had to watch the weather closely.

"These ladders become a giant lighting rod in a storm," Eastham said.

The streets near the building should be open by three or four o'clock this afternoon according to Eastham.


Kentucky Power grants economic development scholarships to local professionals;

PIKEVILLE, KY – Three local professionals will soon receive top-flight economic development instruction thanks, in part, to economic development scholarships provided by Kentucky Power.  The three chamber of commerce executives, from Floyd, Johnson and Perry Counties, will attend the Kentucky Institute for Economic Development in Lexington from Aug. 20-23. The Institute is offered through the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics. The tuition for the Institute, $590 for each participant, will be covered through the Kentucky Power Scholarship.

“We are pleased to award these scholarships to our area chamber of commerce professionals.  In many instances they are the touch points for economic development activities in their areas,” said Brad Hall, external affairs manager for Kentucky Power.  “Through the scholarships, they will receive intensive training in basic economic development theory and practice.  It will provide them the tools they need to compete aggressively in the economic development and retention arena,” he said.  “They will also be provided with information that they can take back to their chambers -- and communities -- and share with other development professionals.”

Receiving the scholarships from Kentucky Power are:

Fran JarrellFran Jarrell


Fran Jarrell, executive director, Paintsville-Johnson County Chamber of Commerce

Kathy Allen, executive director, Floyd County Chamber of Commerce

Betsy Clemons, executive director, Hazard-Perry County Chamber of Commerce

“This is an accredited course through the International Economic Development Council, so it will be structured to provide the maximum benefit to its participants. The information, strategies, and development skills presented at the Institute will arm our local ED professionals with tools they need to market Eastern Kentucky to potential business developers,” said Greg Pauley, president and chief operating officer of Kentucky Power.  “It is another step we are taking to enhance the overall economic development effort in our service territory and all of Eastern Kentucky,” he said.  “Congratulations to each scholarship recipient.”

Kentucky Power is an operating unit of American Electric Power and provides electricity to approximately 171,000 customers in all or parts of 20 Eastern Kentucky counties. The company is headquartered in Frankfort and has major operating facilities in Ashland, Hazard, Louisa and Pikeville.


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