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Commentary on life in Kentucky

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Louisville Regional Vision for the Decade to Come
Want to participate in the regional visioning process for the 27-county Greater Louisville area? The more participation, the better the final outcome, whose goal already has been set: make Louisville the “Idea Capital of the World: Where Imaginations and Individuals Thrive.”

To take the first step toward getting involved, all you have to do is send a text message. Send the word “IDEA” to 28553 and you’ll start getting updates on the Regional Visioning Campaign that is being chaired by Jim Fugitte, CEO of Elizabethtown’s Wind Energy Corp.

It’s a joint effort of Greater Louisville Inc. – The Metro Chamber of Commerce and One Southern Indiana, a counterpart organization based across the Ohio River in New Albany.

Last year, top business and community leaders gathered at GLI’s GLIDE trip to examine goals for the regional visioning plan that will guide development and investment throughout the region over the next decade. World-renowned facilitator Lance Secretan led the retreat, where participants arrived at a regional “dream.”

Secretan and Humana President/CEO Michael McCallister were keynote speakers at GLI’s annual meeting March 2 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. More than 1,000 guests joined business and community leaders in celebrating community success and defining goals for the next decade of growth in the region.

Secretan currently is helping Humana, which was born as a nursing home company and then became a hospital operator before it became one of the nation’s largest health-insurance providers, through another reassessment of itself.

“Humana, one of Louisville’s largest corporate citizens, has been able to stay true to its vision despite the tumultuous times in the healthcare industry,” said Joe Reagan, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. “Now, our entire region can benefit from the same forward-thinking approach to growth and development. Last night’s event was truly a celebration of the innovation that will help drive Louisville to become a hot spot for ideas and imagination.”

Last month’s Lane List of the Largest Accounting Firms in Kentucky might have concluded a little bit too soon. Ranked by number of CPAs at the firms operating in Kentucky, it ended with a trio of firms that each have 16 certified public accountants. After the February issue hit offices and homes around the state, however, we heard from Lindy Carns of the Lexington-based firm of Dulworth, Breeding Karns & Pleasants LLP.

“We, too, have 16 CPAs on staff, and a couple of ‘almost CPAs,’ ” Carns wrote via e-mail, arguing that her firm merits at least an honorable mention for our magazine’s “prestigious list.”

Consider it done.

The numbers published in the February list came from the Kentucky Board of Accountancy. We’ve learned here at the magazine over the years, though, that the accounting firms are very competitive about their position on this annual list. We take that as a compliment, and we encourage the continuing growth in the state’s accounting services sector, which is important to the economic growth that benefits the entire state.

100 Years Later, A Finishing Touch on the Capitol
When Kentucky’s beautiful Beaux Arts statehouse celebrates its 100th birthday in June, the rotunda for the first time will feature a set of four murals that were a never-implemented part of the building’s original design. The themes will be agriculture, industry, civilization and integrity.

“The murals will be designed to be of our time and yet timeless: They will look, effectively, as if they were meant to be in Kentucky’s State Capitol Building and always were in the State Capitol Building,” said Jeff Greene, project director and president of EverGreene Architectural Arts, the New York City firm performing the work.

This legacy project of the Capitol Centennial Commission is being financed privately by a gift from Marion and Terry Forcht of Corbin, Ky. The murals project is the largest single donation in the history of the Capitol.

The Forchts own Forcht Bank and Forcht Group of Kentucky, a management services company comprised of 95 separate companies and more than 2,100 employees with headquarters in Lexington and Corbin.

“Terry and I are proud to have this opportunity to be part of the centennial celebration honoring Kentucky and its beautiful Capitol building,” said Marion Forcht. “Kentucky is a state of both opportunity and great beauty. We are very proud to say we are Kentuckians.”

The state lacked money for the original murals. Then misfortune derailed an effort in 1912 to get them accomplished. Frank Millet, a noted war correspondent also famous for his work on public building murals, was on his way to Frankfort to discuss designing or working on the murals when he died in the sinking of the Titanic.

Special thanks to the Forchts for their generous role in the resurrection of the project.

Calipari Bourbon Bottle

The latest offering in the Maker’s Mark/Keeneland charitable bottle series’ is a certain color of blue and features a likeness of University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari. An estimated $300,000 in proceeds from sales of 24,000 numbered, limited-edition bottles will benefit the UK Symphony Orchestra Outreach Program to elementary school. “I’m not sure the world is ready for my face on a bottle, but if it helps the university, I’m all for it,” Calipari said. Available statewide April 2, opening day of Keeneland’s Spring 2010 meet, bottles are expected to retail for $49.