Faster Lane

Updates on business and economic news from across Kentucky compiled by the editors of the Lane Report.

Cover Story, Faster Lane

Where to watch the solar eclipse in Lexington

Parks & Recreation providing three viewing locations

solar eclipseLEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2017) — It won’t happen again in the United States until 2024, making 1-4 p.m., Monday, Aug. 21, the kind of opportunity no one should miss … a total solar eclipse, 95 percent visible in Lexington.

Lexington Parks & Recreation has three locations to enjoy the view – McConnell Springs, Raven Run and Thoroughbred Park. Complimentary glasses will be provided at all sites to make it safe to watch.

Sav’s Chill will be onsite at Thoroughbred Park with some eclipse specials, such as “moon pies” and “sundaes” for purchase. A Cup of Common Wealth will be onsite with a Chocolate Holler coffee cart with “light and dark” eclipse specials, including light and dark roast drip coffee, iced white chocolate blossom and a cold brew shaker (dark chocolate). They will also have some deals at their location across the street at 105 Eastern Ave.

School has been dismissed for the day, so Parks will bring along its Park & Play van at Thoroughbred Park. SplashJam, at nearby Northeastern Park will also be open.

The partial eclipse will begin around 1 p.m. and end around 4 p.m., with a maximum partial eclipse viewing time set for 2:28 p.m. Please bring a chair or blanket.

RELATED STORYKentucky Airbnb hosts to earn at least $146,000 during solar eclipse


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Kentucky Chamber asks Congress to address health care costs, premiums

Lane-KyChamber-piece-300x196In a letter sent to U.S. Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce expressed concerns about the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) provision in the Affordable Care Act and the impact it will have on small business in the state and requested permanent repeal of the provision.

The Health Insurance Tax acts like a sales tax on health-insurance policies purchased in the market by individuals and employers. While the tax, when implemented, is supposed to be paid by the insurance companies, the real cost will be passed through to the customers who pay for the insurance.

Congress delayed implementation of the HIT for 2017, but without immediate action, this tax is set to kick back in on Jan. 1, 2018, costing Americans, employers, states and the federal government $22 billion in 2018 and $267 billion from 2018 to 2027.

“Our member businesses want to be good partners in providing access to health care and creating new jobs, but, especially for small businesses, these higher health care costs will mean fewer resources to hire new workers and expand the economy,” Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson said.

In the letter, Adkisson pointed to new data from actuarial consulting firm Oliver Wyman, which estimates that over the next decade the HIT will increase the cost of premiums by $2,282 for individual and $6,190 for family coverage for small businesses and by $2,326 for individual and $6,675 for family coverage for large employers.

Because of the negative impacts to come from this provision, Adkisson expressed the Kentucky Chamber’s desire to see Congress further delay implementation of the Health Insurance Tax.

For more state government news go to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s The Bottom Line blog.

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Gov. Bevin makes appointments to Kentucky boards and commissions

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2017) – Gov. Matt Bevin has made the following appointments to Kentucky Boards and Commissions: 

Richard Whitehouse and Dr. Kenneth Payne have been appointed to the State Board of Medical Licensure. 

  • Richard Whitehouse, of Louisville, is executive director of the Kentucky Dental Association. He will represent citizens at-large and serve for a term expiring August 31, 2020.
  • Dr. Kenneth Payne, of Louisville, is an obstetrician/gynecologist at Norton Ob/Gyn Associates. He will represent licensed medical physicians and serve for a term expiring August 31, 2020.

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure is composed of 15 members, 11 of whom are appointed by the Governor. The Board is responsible for protecting the public by ensuring that only qualified medical and osteopathic physicians are licensed and initiating appropriate disciplinary action when violations of the Medical Practice Act occur. In addition, the Board regulates the practice of physician assistants, surgical assistants, athletic trainers and acupuncturists in the Commonwealth. 

David Greene has been appointed to the Louisville/Jefferson County Tourist and Convention Commission. 

  • David Greene, of Simpsonville, is general manager at Louisville Marriott Downtown. He will represent members at-large and serve for a term expiring August 13, 2020.

The Louisville/Jefferson County Tourist and Convention Commission is made up of nine members, three of whom are appointed by the Governor. The commission is charged with establishing and promoting events in Louisville and Jefferson County.

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Northern Ky. business, community leaders launch new regional philanthropic foundation

Bill Butler, at the podium, is chairman of Corporex Companies, LLC, who serves as the chair of the Council of Trustees for the Horizon Community Funds.

Bill Butler, at the podium, is chairman of Corporex Companies, LLC, who serves as the chair of the Council of Trustees for the Horizon Community Funds.

COVINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2017) — Over 250 Northern Ky. business, civic and non-profit leaders celebrated the launch of a new community foundation that will fund key community needs and programs in Northern Ky.

The official launch event for Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky was held Aug. 8 at the Metropolitan Club in Covington, where attendees learned about the history, the vision and the goals of the new foundation.

“The formation of the Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky is a major step towards bringing the wider Northern Kentucky community together at all levels in support of our local needs as well as to advance opportunities on a number of quality of life fronts,” said Bill Butler, chairman of Corporex Companies, LLC, who serves as the chair of the Council of Trustees for the Horizon Community Funds.  “Our commitment is to be a way for the entire population to feel they are part of making a difference in their community.”

The organization aims to increase philanthropic giving by Northern Ky. individuals, corporations and organizations for Northern Ky. purposes, to foster a giving community, and to build a qualified public charity resource base to better service social needs and projects benefitting the public good.

“By bringing together those with a philanthropic interest, we can better influence and support our growing Northern Kentucky region,” stated Bob Zapp, retired CEO of the Bank of Kentucky and a founding member of Horizon Community Funds.

The Horizon Community Funds will focus on helping break the cycle of poverty, supporting the arts, sparking development and innovation, enriching education, and improving the health and wellness of Northern Ky. The primary service area will be Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties of Northern Ky.

Nancy Grayson, president of Horizon Community Funds, said, “We are an organization that is truly of, by and for Northern Kentuckians, and as such, we will provide the opportunity for all people in our community to participate in building an energized culture of philanthropy, one that is easily accessible.  We seek to engage community members of all backgrounds, whether they are new to the giving process or established philanthropists.”

Chuck Scheper, chairman of Bexion Pharmaceuticals and a founding member of the organization, said, “The Horizon Community Fund provides an opportunity to channel our collective resources that not only will help our Northern Kentucky neighbors today but will also lay the foundation that will impact generations to come. Be a part of it – no gift is too small!”

For more information on the organization, visit

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Female entrepreneurs wanted for Aviatra Accelerators’ fall classes

Aviatra's Spring 2017 graduating LAUNCH class

Aviatra’s Spring 2017 graduating LAUNCH class

COVINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2017) – Aviatra Accelerators, Inc., an accelerator devoted to launching and sustaining women-owned startups and small businesses, is currently accepting applications for its Fall 2017 LAUNCH and EXPLORE classes.

Female entrepreneurs may apply for either class based on their businesses’ level of development.

LAUNCH is for female entrepreneurs and business owners who already operate a viable, well-vetted business with an established revenue stream and customer base. Entrepreneurs participating in the LAUNCH class are eligible to compete for capital to take their businesses to the next level. At the end of the LAUNCH stage, Aviatra will award up to $25,000 in low-interest loans to one or more of these businesses.

“Aviatra knows each woman’s business is unique and that’s why we don’t have a one-size-fits all approach,” said Angela Ozar, market manager for Aviatra Accelerators in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. “Our different programs are specifically tailored to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs so they can take what they learn and apply it to their businesses. We have educated more than 1,500 women over the past seven years and we are extremely excited to see who will be the next class of women to join Aviatra’s programming this fall.”

The LAUNCH class provides startups with a three-year financial projection workbook and business plan format validated by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Each entrepreneur is assigned an individual mentor and provided with introductions to vetted service providers.

The deadline to apply for Aviatra’s Fall 2017 LAUNCH class is Aug. 25. Aviatra Accelerators will announce the businesses that are accepted to this class on Sept. 6. The class will span nine weeks and will be held every Wednesday night from 6 to 9 p.m. at Aviatra Accelerators’ headquarters at 114 West Pike Street, Covington, Ky.

At the end of the class, all participants will present their business plans and funding needs to the Aviatra Loan Selection Committee. The recipients of the loans will be publicly announced at the Aviatra event in November. The LAUNCH class costs $500 per person and $250 for any additional business partner. You can apply for this class at

For women who have a great business idea or want to explore entrepreneurship, but aren’t quite ready to create a business plan and pursue funding at this time, then the EXPLORE class may be for them. EXPLORE is designed for first-time entrepreneurs, early-stage business owners, or anyone with a great idea for a business but needs guidance. Women who sign up for EXPLORE will work with Aviatra staff and the accelerator’s advisers and experts to help these women to validate their business ideas and create business plans.

In the EXPLORE program, participants will receive the tools that will bring their startup to life, and have professional experts provide support and guidance along the way. EXPLORE costs $250 per person. The class meets on Monday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Kentucky Innovation Network @ Northern Kentucky (former NKY ezone), which is located at 1 Innovation Alley, Covington, Ky. (a half block from Aviatra’s offices). The deadline to apply for EXPLORE is Sept. 7. You can apply for this class at

About Aviatra Accelerators (formerly Bad Girl Ventures)
From ideation to exit, and everything in between, Aviatra Accelerators is the go-to resource for women business owners. Aviatra Accelerators enables women to start and sustain businesses through their expertise in business basics, guidance from mentors and coaches, and access to capital. Because Aviatra recognizes that women and their businesses are each unique, the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offers three different programs tailored to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs at any stage of their business’ development. The organization operates offices in Northeast Ohio, Cincinnati, and Covington, Ky., Since its launch in 2010, Aviatra Accelerators has educated and assisted more than 1,100 female entrepreneurs and awarded more than $850,000 in loans to businesses in the regions they serve.

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Private support for Murray State University exceeds $7.2 million in 2017

MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University during the 2017 fiscal year received $7.2 million in total gifts from private support. At the close of the fiscal year, a total of 14,507 gifts were made to benefit the university.

“Private support is vitally important and allows for all of our academic programs to maintain high standards of rigor, relevance and excellence. We hold high expectations for our students, and these gifts help ensure that our students have the opportunity to achieve their goals,” explained Murray State President Bob Davies.

Dollars raised support nearly every area of the university, including student scholarships, academic research, campus improvements, study abroad activities, university libraries, Racer Athletics and WKMS.

The university received several significant planned gifts during the last fiscal year, including the Eagle Rest Plantation valued at over $2.6 million from Judge Jimmy Don Robinson. Additional gifts and pledges include more than $1.9 million in support of the new Engineering and Physics building scheduled to open in fall 2017. Of the funds raised last year, more than $1.6 million was given in support of student scholarships.

Scholarship support affords opportunities for students
Historically, student scholarships have been one of the most well-known areas of support for the university. The Murray State University Foundation, Inc., an independent nonprofit corporation which accepts private support to the university, authorized more than $3 million in student scholarships for the upcoming 2017-18 academic year. During the 2016-17 academic year, more than 2,100 scholarships were awarded totaling $2.8 million in student support.

“Since 1946, the Foundation has been pleased to assist the university in receiving and managing private support and is extremely grateful to the numerous alumni and friends who make donations each year,” said Dr. Bob Jackson, president of the Murray State University Foundation, Inc.

Charitable gifts to Murray State University and the Murray State University Foundation, Inc., are tax deductible for federal income tax purposes.

About Murray State University: Murray State University provides an “Opportunity Afforded” for more than 10,000 students through a high-quality education with experiential learning, academic and personal growth and the ability to secure a lifetime of success. Since 1922, the true value of higher education has been found at Murray State University, where our commitment is to afford endless opportunities for developing leaders in the community, the country and the world. The university’s main campus is located in Murray, Ky. and includes five regional campuses. For more information on Murray State university, please visit

About Murray State University Foundation, Inc.: The Murray State University Foundation, Inc. was established in 1946 to “do and perform all things necessary for the development, growth, expansion, progress, the accomplishment of educational objectives, the development of the physical plant, the improvement of the faculty, and aid to the student body and alumni of Murray State University.” The Foundation is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit corporation that is separate and not affiliated with the university. The Foundation serves as the umbrella organization for accepting private support to the university.

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Personnel Cabinet to provide employment information, more at Kentucky State Fair

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2017) — Visitors to this year’s Kentucky State Fair are invited to stop by the Personnel Cabinet’s booth to learn about the many career opportunities available with the commonwealth and the valuable benefits offered to state employees.

Personnel Cabinet staff will be on hand to help answer questions about the commonwealth application process, including what to expect when applying for a job through the new online Career Opportunities System. An average of 550 open job positions are available each month through the commonwealth, the state’s largest employer.

Information on employee benefits — including health and life insurance, employee assistance programs, the adoption program, deferred compensation and more — will also be available.

“We’re looking forward to showcasing commonwealth job opportunities at this year’s Kentucky State Fair,” said Personnel Cabinet Secretary Thomas B. Stephens. “The commonwealth offers one of the best career opportunities out there. We encourage anyone interested in a job in public service to stop by and learn more about the opportunities that are available.”

The Personnel Cabinet’s booth will be located in South Wing B of the Kentucky Exposition Center, and will be open from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. each day of the fair, August 17-27.

Additional information is available here

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$25,000 grant from The UPS Foundation will fund Challenger Learning Center missions

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2017) — Kentucky Science Center received a $25,000 grant from The UPS Foundation, which drives global corporate citizenship and philanthropic programs, to offer Challenger Learning Center missions to hundreds of middle and high school students.

The grant lifts much of the financial burden that prevents students from participating in this valuable offsite educational opportunity by fully underwriting transportation and covering 75 percent of Challenger Learning Center mission costs.

Field trips will be awarded on a first come, first served basis with priority given to Title I (with 75 percent or more of students on free or reduced lunch programs) Middle Schools in Jefferson County as part of the sixth-grade curriculum on space.

As funding remains available, missions will be offered to Title 1 7th – 8th grades, then Title 1 high school 9th – 11th grades – specifically Astronomy, Aviation, and Communications classes – followed by JCPS schools with the next highest percentage of students on free or reduced lunch programs (70 percent down to 65 percent, etc.)

Each Challenger mission meets Next Generation Science Standards and Jefferson County Public School Standards in Science, Engineering, and Literacy. While fulfilling these necessary educational standards, the Challenger Learning Center curriculum helps teach valuable STEM skills through hands-on immersive experiences and 21st century learning.

The International Challenger Center for Space Education was created by the families of the shuttle disaster to carry on the spirit of their loved ones and the crew’s educational objectives. There are currently 48 Challenger Learning Centers worldwide, and the facility in Louisville at the Academy at Shawnee is unique in its partnership between the Kentucky Science Center (KSC) and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS).

Modeled after real-life experiences, space missions allow students to serve as scientists, engineers, and astronauts where they man Mission Control and the International Space Station. Using communication and collaboration skills, students are assigned to work in Communications, Life Support, Data, or Navigation and are given specific tasks that when completed help ensure that the mission is successful. In the newest mission installed in spring 2017, Expedition Mars, students build rovers, monitor life support with robots and science tools, conduct experiments, and plot navigation courses while attempting to find life and water on Mars.

Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, Ga., The UPS Foundation identifies specific areas where its backing clearly impacts social issues. In support of this strategic approach, The UPS Foundation has identified the following focus areas for giving: volunteerism, diversity, community safety and the environment.

In 2016, UPS and its employees, active and retired, invested more than $116.6 million in charitable giving around the world. The UPS Foundation can be found on the web at To get UPS news direct, visit

“The UPS Foundation is honored to support the Kentucky Science Center’s efforts to encourage people of all ages to do science in engaging, educational, and entertaining ways to inspire a lifetime of learning,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and chief diversity and inclusion officer at UPS. “Our goal is to fund powerful programs that make a lasting difference to the global community.”

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UofL Hospital emergency nurses take first place in competition

UofL Hospital emergency nurses (from left) Frankie Parra, Beth Sum, Nate Davison and Bridget Genardi.

UofL Hospital emergency nurses (from left) Frankie Parra, Beth Sum, Nate Davison and Bridget Genardi.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2017) – A team of emergency nurses from University of Louisville Hospital took first place in a state competition of emergency medical skills.

UofL Hospital beat six other teams from hospitals in the region to take top honors in the “SIM WARS” emergency simulation competition. The competition took place this month at a continuing education conference held by the Kentucky State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association at The Campbell House in Lexington.

Each team of four emergency nurses was presented with an emergency scenario in which they had to apply their skills to save a patient. The patient was a life-like mannequin programmed to talk and interact with the team, telling them what was wrong and where he was hurt. The mannequin had a heartbeat and was breathing as a person in distress would.

The team made an assessment and treated the mannequin in detail, just as they would a real patient that was brought in by EMS. The competition took place in front of a panel that was in the room, judging their skills and timing.

The team from UofL Hospital included Frankie Parra, Beth Sum, Nate Davison and Bridget Genardi, all BSN. “I have to say I am really proud of these guys,” said Patricia “Trish” Higgins, interim director of emergency services for UofL Hospital. “It meant a lot for them to win.”

The Emergency Nurses Association was formed for nurses in emergency health care to pool resources, set standards and improve emergency nursing, and currently has more than 40,000 members in more than 35 countries. Its mission is to advocate for patient safety and excellence in emergency nursing. The association has chapters in each state, and three chapters in Kentucky.

SIMS WARS was sponsored and judged by Air Evac Lifeteam, an air ambulance company.

Parra, who is the emergency nurse educator at UofL Hospital responsible for training new nurses, said he had attended the conference last year and wanted to return home this year with a win. Parra has been an emergency nurse for seven years, and at the hospital for nine.

“It’s neat to put our name out there and what we do,” Parra said. “We focus our training on what it would be like in real life.”

He said it takes a special type of person to be an emergency nurse. “You have to be flexible, and handle whatever comes at you,” he said. “It can start as an easy day, but very quickly turn around. It’s all about being ready. You have to be prepared for the worst.”

While he trains new nurses, he said the rest of the team would have been just fine in the competition without him.

“They are very talented,” he said.

Higgins said Parra and the team are part of a younger, up-and-coming generation of emergency nurses.

“This is how we work every day,” said Higgins, who has worked in emergency medicine for 17 years. “There is a lot of teamwork in the emergency department. I’ve worked in a lot of other emergency departments, and I’ve really noticed the teamwork here. The ER nurses here are a special group.”

Sum has been an ER nurse for a year after graduating from college. Parra said that speaks to Sum’s talents.

“To work at a Level 1 trauma center as a new graduate is quite a challenge and accomplishment,” Parra said. “Those like Beth who do really have what it takes, it’s an elite group of nurses.”

Sum said she loves her job.

“You never know what you are going to get. It’s a lot of variety, but you have to be able to handle the stress.

“It’s a great group of people to work with. Just when you think you’re flooded, there are three people behind you saying, ‘How can I help?’ That’s what makes us different.”

She and Parra said that in the end, it’s all about the patient.

“We have to be prepared – for them,” Parra said. “They are the motivation for the good work we do here.”

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Ky. Power announces $30 million regional power grid upgrade; will be first of several projects

ASHLAND, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2017) – Kentucky Power on Monday announced the Eastern Kentucky Transmission Program to strengthen and upgrade the regional power grid over five to seven years to better service customers.

The first of several projects under the multi-million dollar program is a $30 million improvement. The Hazard-Wooton Project will generate combined annual tax revenue of about $270,000 for the city of Hazard and Perry and Leslie counties. The project includes rebuilding 7 miles of existing 161-kilovolt (kV) transmission line and making upgrades to additional transmission facilities. The work will reduce the likelihood of outages and decrease restoration times.

Other Eastern Kentucky Transmission Program projects will replace aging equipment to ensure continued reliable electric service for customers. Work will take place in Bell, Clay, Knox, Leslie and Perry counties and is expected to happen in several stages. Each project will be announced to the public prior to any field work.

“These transmission projects represent a significant investment in eastern Kentucky and will improve reliability for our customers,” said Kentucky Power President and COO Matt Satterwhite. “The projects show how we are modernizing our power delivery infrastructure and supporting our commitment to provide our customers with safe and reliable electrical service.”

The company will host an open house to provide details about the Hazard-Wooton project to the public and affected landowners. The open house is scheduled for Thursday, August 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Hazard Community and Technical College at One Community College Drive in Hazard. Visitors may come any time during the open house to learn about project details, view maps of proposed routes and speak with company representatives.

“This open house provides customers an opportunity to be involved in our process by providing us feedback on our preliminary route,” Satterwhite said.

The transmission line to be rebuilt starts at the company’s substation on East Main Street and continues west through Hazard along the ridge just north of Hazard High School. The line then continues southwest out of Hazard and connects with the substation on Wooton Creek Road. The majority of the line will be rebuilt within or adjacent to existing right-of-way. Kentucky Power plans to file for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with the Kentucky Public Service Commission later this fall. Project information is posted at

Kentucky Power, based in Ashland, provides electric service to about 168,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties. It is an operating company of American Electric Power.