Economic developmentworthy of incentives
Fayette County's economic future looks a little rosier after Wednesday's announcement that Lockheed Martin will add 224 jobs as part of a $26 million investment in its Bluegrass Station operations during the next few years.
The announcement came just days after the state approved more than $15 million in tax incentives for the expansion.
The incentives will cover the cost of upgrading facilities Lockheed Martin uses to refurbish military aircraft and vehicles.
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There are many ways states can use tax incentives to encourage economic development — some of them good and some not very good at all. Helping to expand existing businesses — those with roots and a record of performance in Kentucky — has always struck us as one of the better uses of such incentives.
In this instance, a global technology company already responsible for generating 1,856 full-time jobs in Kentucky — either in its own operations or at affiliated companies — will use these incentives to increase that number by more than 10 percent.
Sounds like a good investment to us. Certainly, it will provide a welcome boost for the Bluegrass region's economy.
Eloquent champion of state rightly honored
Burley Coulter, Margaret and Mat Feltner, Wheeler Catlett, Old Jack Beechum would be proud.
Wendell Berry, their creator — who in some ways is also their creation — was awarded the National Humanities Medal, putting him in lofty company.
Berry's protests of mountaintop removal mining, including being part of a group that occupied Gov. Steve Beshear's office, have placed him in the spotlight of late.
The recognition by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony was for what Berry has produced at a solitary desk on his farm on the Kentucky River in Henry County: a body of creative work and scholarship that spans 50 years and fills more than 40 books.
Berry penned seminal texts of the environmental and sustainable agriculture movements. His work also includes rich, deep novels, short stories and poetry. Their settings, characters and conflicts, while universal, are also unmistakably, quintessentially and beautifully Kentuckian.
Both a graduate and former faculty member of the University of Kentucky, Berry, 76, severed his ties with UK and withdrew his papers from its archives last year to protest the decision to name the men's basketball team's residence the Wildcat Coal Lodge, in exchange for construction funds from the coal industry.
Berry's estrangement complicates what should be a moment of unabashed pride for his alma mater. But, with this honor, he stands taller than ever for Kentuckians who strive to create art or scholarship, or to live by the dictates of conscience. It also makes for a more interesting story.
Right leader to push education advances
Outgoing Fayette County schools Superintendent Stu Silberman and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence should make a good fit.
As Silberman said, he has big shoes to fill, succeeding the late Robert Sexton as executive-director of a citizens group that has driven improvements in education in Kentucky for almost 30 years.
Silberman is well qualified by his experience, his passion for public schools and his enthusiastic leadership style.
Economic pressures and political discord have weakened Kentucky's momentum in improving education since the historic reforms of the 1990s. Silberman and the Prichard Committee can help rev things back up.