FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on economic development progress; a recognition for Georgetown Police Department’s Master Senior Officer Teresa Hollon; disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts in Eastern Kentucky; awards for cleaner water projects and to nonprofits; inclement weather; the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline; public health; and the reopening of the Jefferson Juvenile Detention Center. He also named Ethan Almighty, a dog that travels the commonwealth to advocate for other shelter animals, and his family as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.
Economic Development Update
Gov. Beshear highlighted five economic development projects that are expected to create nearly 320 jobs and that represent more than $360 million in new investment.
The Governor also announced that the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority had its first meeting of the year. The board approved state tax incentives for projects bringing over half a billion dollars in new investments and nearly 600 Kentucky jobs.
“I am very happy to share more great news about our economy, which continues to show amazing strength,” said Gov. Beshear. “And we’re not slowing down. We’re starting off 2023 the way we finished 2022, by bringing significant job-creating economic development projects to the commonwealth.”
The Governor announced an expansion in Ghent for North American Stainless (NAS), the largest fully integrated stainless steel producer in the United States. The company will expand its presence in the commonwealth with an addition to its 4.4 million-square-foot facility in Carroll County, creating 70 new full-time jobs with a $244 million investment.
“I have lived in Kentucky for 31 years and I am proud to be here. I want to thank all the talented employees at NAS. I want to thank all the elected officials of Kentucky and D.C. for all the help they have brought to support the $3 billion investment that we made in Kentucky,” said Cristobal Fuentes, NAS CEO. “This is the biggest investment from Spain in the United States. We manage 50% of stainless steel made in North America. This demonstrates our commitment to our customers and to Kentucky.”
The Governor announced further growth in the state’s electric vehicle industry as LioChem e-Materials, a subsidiary of Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co., will locate a new facility in Simpson County with a $104.4 million investment, creating 141 quality jobs for local Kentuckians, to support EV battery production.
“I couldn’t be happier or more thrilled to call Kentucky our home. So, I want to thank you Governor for the support and thank you all, state of Kentucky, for supporting this venture,” said John Easley, president of LioChem. “We look forward to being a part of this community.”
Gov. Beshear announced leaders at Carter Lumber Co., one of the nation’s largest lumberyard businesses, will expand its presence in Bowling Green with an $8.1 million investment, creating 86 quality jobs. The new construction is part of the company’s rebuilding efforts following the devasting tornadoes that impacted much of Western Kentucky in December 2021.
Gov. Beshear highlighted continued momentum of the state’s manufacturing industry, as Precision Sonar & Outdoors, a producer of GPS and sonar mounting systems, announced an expansion of operations in Benton with a nearly $2.2 million investment creating 12 full-time jobs for the local community.
The Governor announced a new investment from Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry, as startup Henderson Distilling Co. will establish a new distillery in Henderson County, creating 12 full-time jobs with a $5 million investment.
Gov. Beshear Presents Kentucky Colonel to Senior Officer
The Governor presented a Kentucky Colonel commission to Master Senior Officer Teresa Hollon from the Georgetown Police Department for exemplary service to her community. Officer Hollon served her country for seven years with the Kentucky National Guard and as an Estill County EMT for five years. She is retiring after 20 years of service with the Georgetown Police Department.
“Officer Hollon has served our commonwealth for 44 years through various roles. She is an exceptional leader and caring member of the Georgetown community,” said Gov. Beshear.
“Thank you to Officer Hollon for her dedicated time with the Georgetown Police Department and the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Georgetown Police Captain Josh Nash. “She has served her citizens well and we wish her the best in retirement.”
Eastern Kentucky Flood Update
Gov. Beshear provided an update on Eastern Kentucky’s stabilization and rebuilding efforts.
“This week marks six months since the floods devastated Eastern Kentucky and took the lives of 44 Kentuckians,” Gov. Beshear said. “The day the floods hit, I made a promise that we would be there until every structure and life is rebuilt. But we aren’t just committed to building back Eastern Kentucky, we’re going to build back stronger to ensure the future for these communities and the families who live there is brighter than ever before.”
Currently, 235 families are housed in travel trailers. Kentucky State Parks are now housing 25 people, down from the 360 people sheltered on Sept. 1, 2022.
Just under 1,100 state- and county-owned bridges have been inspected by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Approximately 100 were found to need replacement or major repair. To date, 33 of those bridges have been replaced and 13 others have been repaired.
If flood victims need help, they should call FEMA directly or visit a Multi-Agency Resource Center. Visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources for more information. FEMA is still approving claims and actively working to help flood victims.
The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $13.1 million from more than 41,000 donors. To contribute, click here.
Today, Gov. Beshear also announced over $4.6 million in awards from the Eastern Kentucky SAFE Fund. Today’s awards include:
- $414, 674 for three projects in Fleming Neon;
- Over $1.1 million to the Knott County Fiscal Court to fund a FEMA match;
- Over $390,000 to Letcher County Water and Sewer District to fund a FEMA match;
- $25,548 to Magoffin County Water District for FEMA project match;
- $300,000 to Mountain Water District to help with strained fiscal liquidity; and
- Just under $159,570 to the City of Whitesburg for three projects.
Since September 2022, Eastern Kentucky has received over $31.2 million in SAFE Fund payments.
Gov. Beshear Announces Second Rebuilding Location in Eastern Kentucky
Tuesday, as part of his ongoing commitment to help Eastern Kentucky rebuild after devastating flooding six months ago, Gov. Beshear announced a second location for new, high-ground homes.
Located just five miles from downtown Hazard, the 50-acre building site is close to schools, shopping centers and the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center. Plans for the first phase of the site include approximately 150 houses, partially funded by the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund in partnership with local nonprofit builders.
“Rebuilding on high ground is a chance to lift up entire communities with upgraded infrastructure and safe, affordable, energy-efficient homes,” Gov. Beshear said. “But our work in Eastern Kentucky is not done until there is prosperity in the entire region.”
The Ison family is contributing prime land for the project.
Funding for Clean Water, Nonprofits in Pike and Perry Counties
Tuesday, Gov. Beshear announced more than $3.8 million in awards to expand access to clean water and support nonprofits in Pike County. He also announced over $8 million in awards for Perry County, including waterline updates, sewer infrastructure projects and nonprofit assistance.
Winter Weather Update
The Governor provided an update on recent inclement weather in the commonwealth. He encouraged Kentuckians to stay alert as scattered snowstorms and 15 to 25 mph winds impact Kentucky. Some areas are expected to receive at least an inch of snow. Gov. Beshear also reminded everyone to drive carefully and stay aware of weather conditions.
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Gov. Beshear provided an update on 988, the easy-to-remember, three-digit mental health crisis hotline, which connects Kentuckians facing thoughts of suicide, mental health distress or an addiction crisis to compassionate and trained counselors who can help.
The Governor reported it has been just over six months since Kentucky took part in the national changeover to 988. During this time, trained counselors have responded to an average of 2,420 calls per month, which is a 26% increase of calls per month compared to the first half of 2022, when the 10-digit National Suicide Lifeline was the primary phone number.
Additionally, there has been a 14% decrease in abandoned calls since activating 988, and 92% of the call centers across the state have answer rates of less than 20 seconds.
Public Health Update
Gov. Beshear also updated Kentuckians on influenza, RSV and COVID-19. The spread of influenza seems to be declining but remains at elevated levels in Kentucky. Locations and appointments for the flu vaccine can be found at vaccines.gov.
The Governor said the most recent COVID-19 data shows there have not been substantial increases in cases or hospitalizations in Kentucky. However, most Kentucky counties have moderate or high COVID-19 Community Levels. He encouraged those who are eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccine booster.
Jefferson Juvenile Detention Center to Reopen
The Governor said that the Jefferson Juvenile Detention Center will reopen next week and begin accepting male juveniles who have been ordered to secure detention.
The detention center was temporarily closed in November after Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facilities management performed a test fire alarm which raised questions about the system’s functionality. Since then, DJJ has been making improvements to the facility, including upgrades to the doors, locks and fire alarm system.
The building has now been cleared for partial occupancy. Only one living unit will be opened at this time and will house 10 males. The other two living units are continuing to receive upgrades and will open once the upgrades are complete.
Only male juveniles younger than 14 or who have been charged with lower-level offenses (class D felony or lower) will be housed at Jefferson Juvenile Detention Center. DJJ central office leadership will be filling in at the detention center until a superintendent is hired.
“I am committed to fostering a juvenile justice system that meets the needs of today’s at-risk youth and works to rehabilitate them, so when they leave, they will have a better foundation to succeed and hopefully not return to the system,” said Gov. Beshear.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
The Governor named Ethan Almighty, a dog that travels the commonwealth to advocate for other shelter animals, and his family as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. He thanked the Kentucky Humane Society for their incredible efforts to save Ethan’s life and to protect other animals like him.
“Ethan’s journey has been nothing short of amazing,” said Gov. Beshear. “Left at the Kentucky Humane Society in horrible condition, Ethan recovered with the help of some pretty incredible Kentuckians. Now, Ethan travels far and wide to teach us the importance of caring for our animals.”
On Monday, Gov. Beshear joined the Kentucky Humane Society to declare January as Ethan Almighty Shelter Animal Awareness Month in Kentucky.