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By wmadministrator

Sales in fiscal year 2008 for the Kentucky Lottery Corp. (KLC) totaled $778.2 million, surpassing last year’s record-breaking level by $34 million, or 4.6 percent. The new sales record led to prize payouts of $493.1 million, or 63.4 percent of sales, the highest amount ever paid in prizes by the KLC during a fiscal year. The commonwealth received dividend transfers of $192.1 million during the year to be used for the literacy, college scholarship and grant programs funded by KLC proceeds.

Statewide voter turnout for the presidential primary elections in May was 32.2 percent, marking the highest turnout in Kentucky history for a presidential primary. Franklin, Knott and Floyd counties had the highest turnout percentages with 54.9, 47.2 and 45 percent of registered voters turning out to vote, respectively. Monroe, Cumberland and Clinton counties had the lowest turnout percentage with 10.6, 15.1 and 15.3 percent, respectively. Statewide, Democrats, Republicans; and voters listed as “Other” turned out at 43.5, 19.7 and 3.9 percent, respectively.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Kentucky State University and Western Kentucky University, has been awarded a matching grant of $55,780 to identify new niche market opportunities for sheep and goat products. Kentucky is one of the top five states in number of goats with 81,400 as of Jan. 1, according to the Kentucky office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Kentucky’s sheep inventory totaled 37,000, with sales of Kentucky sheep and goats totaling an estimated $20 million in 2007.

With $43 million being cut from Kentucky’s education programs as a result of state budget shortfalls, school districts across the state have been forced to cut personnel. Statistics from the Kentucky School Boards Association show nearly 90 of the state’s 174 districts have implemented job cuts, with a total of 455 teaching positions and 520 teachers’ aides positions eliminated. The numbers represent about 1 percent of the state’s 42,000 teachers.

Citing continuing declines in revenue, two of the state’s largest newspapers are laying off employees. The Louisville Courier-Journal is cutting about 15 positions and leaving others vacant as part of cost-cutting moves implemented by its parent company, Gannett Co. The Lexington Herald-Leader issued a voluntary buyout program last month in an effort to reduce its full-time workforce. In June, the company cut its staff by about 35 through buyouts and layoffs, but Publisher Tim Kelly told employees that “the economy continues to worsen, and we must make the painful choice to reduce expenses further.”