- Associated Press - Thursday, December 11, 2014
Kentucky: No tax breaks for Noah’s Ark project

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky has withdrawn its offer of tax breaks for a religious-themed park that would feature a 500-foot-long wooden ark because its organizers plan to screen park employees based on religion.

The planned Ark Encounter park has evolved from a tourism attraction into an outreach for the Christian ministry that is building it, state Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart said in a letter to the group’s lawyer on Wednesday.

“Certainly, Ark Encounter has every right to change the nature of the project from a tourism attraction to a ministry,” Stewart wrote in the letter. “However, state tourism tax incentives cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination or otherwise be used to advance religion.”

The long-planned attraction is being built by a nonprofit subsidiary of Answers in Genesis, the Kentucky-based Christian ministry that operates the popular and controversial Creation Museum. Foundation work and earth-moving are underway at the site in Grant County near Williamstown.

Mark Looy, vice president for outreach at Answers in Genesis, said in an email Wednesday evening that the group is exploring its legal options.

The project had received preliminary approval in July for up to $18 million in tax rebates.

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Kentucky: No tax breaks for Noah’s Ark project

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky has withdrawn its offer of tax breaks for a religious-themed park that would feature a 500-foot-long wooden ark because its organizers plan to screen park employees based on religion.

The planned Ark Encounter park has evolved from a tourism attraction into an outreach for the Christian ministry that is building it, state Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart said in a letter to the group’s lawyer on Wednesday.

“Certainly, Ark Encounter has every right to change the nature of the project from a tourism attraction to a ministry,” Stewart wrote in the letter. “However, state tourism tax incentives cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination or otherwise be used to advance religion.”

The long-planned attraction is being built by a nonprofit subsidiary of Answers in Genesis, the Kentucky-based Christian ministry that operates the popular and controversial Creation Museum. Foundation work and earth-moving are underway at the site in Grant County near Williamstown.

Mark Looy, vice president for outreach at Answers in Genesis, said in an email Wednesday evening that the group is exploring its legal options.

The project had received preliminary approval in July for up to $18 million in tax rebates.

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Bourbon tourism gets new shot of momentum

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Bourbon tourism in Kentucky’s largest city received another shot of momentum Wednesday when the spirits giant behind the Jim Beam brand said it plans to open a whiskey-related attraction featuring a small working distillery.

The Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse is expected to open next year in a downtown entertainment district, Beam Suntory Inc. said. Its request for tax incentives related to the multi-million-dollar project won preliminary approval Wednesday from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority.

The venture will offer a “hands-on opportunity to experience the heritage and craftsmanship of bourbon,” said Beam Suntory vice president Kevin Smith.

Beam Suntory becomes the latest big name in bourbon to open or roll out plans for projects in Louisville to tap into the growing popularity of getting a firsthand look at Kentucky’s $3 billion bourbon industry - and sampling the state’s signature spirit.

Last year, the the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience opened just steps from where the whiskey pioneer who inspired the Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc. brand fired up his own stills two centuries ago.

Earlier this year, Brown-Forman Corp. said it will build a downtown distillery to produce Old Forester bourbon, its founding brand. The facility will be open to tours and will have a tasting room, exhibits and bourbon-making demonstrations.

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Parole denied for Kentucky woman in Knoxville case

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A parole board has denied release for a Kentucky woman convicted of facilitation in the 2007 torture-slaying of a Knoxville woman.

WATE-TV in Knoxville (https://bit.ly/1ICFjk4https://bit.ly/1ICFjk4 ) reports Coleman, of Lebanon, Kentucky, was denied parole on Wednesday at a hearing in Nashville. She is serving a 35-year sentence.

The station said more than 45 people attended the hearing to oppose parole for the 26-year-old Coleman. She will not be up for parole again until December 2020.

Deena and Gary Christian described the pain they feel over the loss of their 21-year-old daughter, Channon. Gary Christian said he would “give anything” for time with her.

Coleman told the board she made a mistake and is a “changed person.”

Coleman was acquitted of any crimes against Christian’s boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, who was raped and shot and his body set on fire.


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