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Louisa-Lawrence Co., Ky

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Cabinet Launches Build-Ready Program;

Site development initiative designed to boost industrial property inventory, attract more companies, jobs; Can Lawrence Co. benefit?

Build Ready a good idea for Lawrence County?

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 11, 2014) – Economic developers know that having the right site and building inventory is a critical component in the site selection process. To maximize Kentucky’s opportunities to land highly competitive projects, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is launching its new Build-Ready program.

Build-Ready is a cost-effective way for communities to distinguish their site inventory to meet the needs of today’s site selectors.

In addition to shovel-ready sites and pre-existing buildings, communities now have the option of proactively preparing and marketing land to potential companies without assuming all the risk and cost of constructing a building.

In short, a “Build-Ready” site is just that – one in which the preparation work has been completed and construction can begin almost immediately.

“Build-Ready is meant to prepare more Kentucky sites for industrial development and generate additional opportunities for job creation in our communities,” said Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes. “Our goal is to shorten the timeframe for new and expanding companies to be up and operational, and this program will allow us to do just that.”

With a Build-Ready site, much of the work—other than actual construction—has already been completed. That includes having community control of the land to be developed, preparing a building pad (prepared ground/soil/environmental studies), conducting preliminary design work, including project costs and construction timeframes, obtaining approved site plan permits and having necessary utility and transportation infrastructure in place.

“Communities that meet the minimum standards for each requirement of the Build-Ready program will drastically reduce the time it takes a company to select a site, construct a new building and begin operations,” said Mandy Lambert, commissioner of business development at the Cabinet for Economic Development. “By expediting this timeline and putting companies in operation faster, communities will make their sites more attractive.”

Build-Ready sites will receive special designation on the Cabinet’s website and other collateral materials that will be marketed around the world.

The following are key objectives of the Build-Ready program:

  • Establish a “readiness” level for sites that meet the specs and standards currently being sought by industrial users in today’s market.
  • Drastically reduce the time it takes companies to build new buildings and locate on a site.
  • Give Kentucky a competitive advantage in the site selection process by streamlining the design, planning and permitting processes for greenfield locations.
  • Give communities with fewer resources and a lack of attractive building inventory the opportunity to have marketable properties that require a smaller upfront community investment than would a spec building.
  • Help Kentucky qualify for more projects and attract more industry.

Learn more about Build-Ready


Mountain Parkway Expansion Awarded $24 Million Federal TIGER Grant to Speed Construction;

Rep. Rogers, Gov. Beshear announce Salyersville segment to be widened two years ahead of schedule...

SALYERSVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 9, 2014) – The Mountain Parkway Expansion, the first major extension and widening of a crucial transportation link to Eastern Kentucky in a half century, today received approval of a $24 million federal TIGER grant that will speed construction of a crucial segment in Salyersville.

U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers and Gov. Steve Beshear have jointly sought grant opportunities such as the TIGER grant as part of their combined efforts to improve Eastern Kentucky known as the SOAR Initiative (Shaping Our Appalachian Region). U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx shared the news of the grant awards, which will be formally announced by USDOT this week.

“The widening and expansion of the Mountain Parkway in Eastern Kentucky is much more than a transportation project,” said Gov. Beshear. “It’s a transformation project for an Appalachian region that has been denied access to economic vitality because of inadequate infrastructure and limited mobility.”

“The work to improve eastern Kentucky is a marathon, but we are excited about the milestones that we continue to cross,” said Rep. Rogers. “There are many more projects on the horizon that will impact other counties in our region, and this announcement builds momentum around the opportunities that are growing through the grassroots efforts of SOAR.”

The grant from the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program will allow construction to begin two years ahead of schedule on a congested 2.4 mile segment that will extend the Mountain Parkway from its easternmost end at U.S. 460 and KY 114 in Salyersville.

The current segment is a bottleneck – with more than 80 entrances for restaurants, stores, medical offices and other properties. The expansion will create a safer, wider highway with controlled access points and back roads to maintain local access while improving a corridor for commercial and regional travel between eastern and central Kentucky.

Kentucky will cover the additional $15 million needed to complete the Salyersville segment, which has an estimated cost of $39 million. Right of way acquisition is scheduled to begin by year’s end and pre-construction work will begin next year. Construction is expected to be underway in the first half of 2016.

Widening the Road and Narrowing the Gap

The Mountain Parkway Expansion, proposed by Gov. Beshear and funded by this TIGER grant and the Kentucky General Assembly, will close the only gap in a 400-mile, four-lane, high-speed corridor for commerce and mobility across Kentucky from Pikeville to Paducah.

The 46-mile project will widen 30 miles of the existing parkway from two lanes to four lanes, and will extend the parkway another 16 miles by widening KY 114 from outside Salyersville to Prestonsburg.

Construction is expected to begin later this year on the first segment of the project, a parkway widening and interchange improvement project just west of Salyersville. The entire Mountain Parkway Expansion, which is expected to be completed in six to 10 years, has an estimated price tag of $753 million.

Aug. 19, 2014;

Inez man appointed to MSU board of regents; Booth Energy CFO is also chairman of Martin Co. BOE... 


Craig PreeceMOREHEAD, Ky.---Gov. Steve Beashear has appointed Kathy E. Walker of Paintsville and Craig Preece of Lovely to the Morehead State University Board of Regents.

“We are delighted with the appointments of Craig Preece and Kathy Walker to the MSU Board of Regents,” said President Wayne D. Andrews. “We know they will be committed to the University and our mission.  They support our goal of becoming the best public regional university in the South.”

Preece succeeds Wayne Martin of Winchester, who resigned in July. Preece will serve for the remainder of an unexpired term ending June 30, 2016.

Preece, chief financial officer of Booth Energy, received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Morehead State University.

After graduation in 1984, he joined the Walter P. Walters Insurance Agency. In 1986, the Martin County native accepted an accounting position with Booth Energy. He started an insurance agency along with several partners in 1989. Preece serves as vice president at the company, Elite Agency, which now has seven offices with locations across central and east Kentucky.

In 1995, Preece became the chief financial officer of Booth Energy and its various retail enterprises.

He was honored as the recipient of the 2013 College of Business and Public Affairs Distinguished Alumni Award. Preece is currently a member of several boards, including the Roy F. Collier Community Center in Inez, Coal Operators Associates, and Big Sandy Area Development.  He serves as chairman of the nominating committee for Big Sandy Community and Technical College, and is chairman of the Martin County School Board.  He is a former member of the board of directors of the MSU Foundation.

For more than 20 years, Preece has performed southern gospel, singing with the Journeymen and the Remnant. He and his wife, April, have three children: Whitney Paige Preece Schmitt, Sean-Craig and Cara Bell Preece, and recently became grandparents.

Walker is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Elm Street Resources Inc., an energy marketing company based in Paintsville.

Born in Tucson, Arizona, she grew up in Lexington. A graduate of Bryan Station High School, Walker received her Master of Business Administration from Xavier University. During her time at XU, she was selected for membership in Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business school honor society.

Prior to starting Elm Street, she served as controller of Agip Coal, USA in Washington, DC.

She is currently a member of the board of the Kentucky Coal Association, and the Executive Committee of the National Coal Council, Washington, D.C.  She is also a member of the Kentucky Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee, Louisville; and an advisory board member to the Center for International Business at Xavier University. Past accomplishments include founder and board member of the Ireland Chamber of Commerce in the United States of America; and founder and board member of First Security Bank, Lexington.

Walker and her husband, Marvin, an attorney, have two children, Bryan and Alessandra. Walker’s term will expire on June 30, 2020. She succeeds Cheryl U. Lewis of Hyden, who had served since 2008.

MSU’s 11-member governing board is comprised of eight citizens appointed by the governor and elected representatives of the faculty, staff and students.


Jason Blanton

Media Relations Director

350 University Street

Morehead State University


Conway urges phone companies to use call blocking technology; Too many unwanted calls getting through...

AG wants “NoMoRobo”...

Ky. AG Jack ConwayFRANKFORT, Ky. (September 9, 2014) – Attorney General Jack Conway today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow phone companies to utilize call-blocking technologies that would better protect consumers from unwanted calls and scams.

Call-blocking technologies, such as “NoMoRobo,” “Call Control,” and “Telemarketing Guard,” have been developed to enable phone carriers to identify and block unwelcome sales calls at their customers’ request. However, some phone carriers have not implemented this technology, in part because of the belief that federal law prevents carriers from blocking calls on their consumers’ behalf.

In a letter signed by 38 other state and territorial attorneys general, Attorney General Conway filed official comments today with the FCC. 

The letter formally requests an opinion from the FCC regarding phone companies’ legal ability to implement call-blocking technology.

  “My Office of Consumer Protection and I are committed to protecting Kentucky consumers from businesses that engage in harassing and illegal telemarketing,” Attorney General Conway said.  “Just as spam filters have helped reduce the amount of unwanted emails users receive, the adoption of call-blocking filters by phone companies may very well be an effective tool that can be used to help solve the telemarketing problem.”

Phone carriers have expressed concern that the FCC’s legal framework prohibits phone companies from determining which calls should be allowed to go through to a customer and which should be blocked. 

Last year, in explaining the obstacles that phone carriers face in implementing call-blocking technologies, US Telecom wrote to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance that “the FCC has concluded that call blocking is an unjust and unreasonable practice under section 201(b) of the Communications Act of 1934.”

Attorney General Conway encourages Kentuckians to sign up for Kentucky’s No Call List, which helps deter unwanted and fraudulent calls and text messages, by visiting Consumers who are registered on the No Call List and receive an unwanted call can also file a complaint on the website. 

A copy of the letter can be found here:


August 13, 2014;

Big turn out for Job Fair; over 20 employers present taking resumes and applications...

By Catrina Vargo 

Brenda Shumate with Workforce Services was pleased with the turnoutLouisa, KY -- The Kentucky Career Center hosted a job fair Wednesday, Aug. 13 from 10:00-2:00 at the Lawrence County Community Center in Louisa.  Bonnie Conn, Career Center Director said "People were lined up at 9:00 am this morning."

The job fair hosted over 20 employers including Calgon, CSX, Lawrence County Board of Education, Brown Food Service, Food City, Three Rivers Medical Center, Sun Ventures, the Jordan Center, and more.

"We've had a really good turnout" said Brenda Shumate, Assistant Director of Workforce Services, "there has been nearly 100 people here today."

John Riddle, Talent Advisor for CSX Railroad said he talked to about 35 people, "some with resume in hand" he said.  He said CSX is currently seeking track workers in Hazard and Maysville, but encouraged people to go online at to view all positions and to submit an application.

Melissa Thompson and Elaine DuVall from the Jordan Center said they talked to several people who filled out applications.

Bonnie Conn reminded people who are job hunting to visit the Career Center for assistance with resumes, copies, fax, computer, and more.  There is also a job club that meets every Wednesday at 10:00 am at the Community Center.  

For more information, call Bonnie or Bridgett at 606-638-4949