Thursday, January 8, 2004

Lab buyout could result in moving it to Boone County

Around Northern Kentucky

Pat Crowley

Boone County is in the running for an economic development prize that would bring an investment of $20 million and more than 400 jobs.

LabOne, the Kansas-based company that this week finalized its $38.5 million purchase of the core laboratory run by the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, may build a new lab near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Health Alliance employees were told about the possible move to Boone County during a meeting earlier this week. Northern Kentucky economic development sources also confirmed the company's interest in areas west of the airport in Hebron.

LabOne has not said where the new lab will be built but has said it will open later this year. The company is also scouting elsewhere in Kentucky as well as Ohio.

Danny Fore, president of Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, the region's economic development recruitment agency, said Wednesday he could not "confirm or deny" LabOne's interest in Boone County.

A BOUNTY ON DEMOCRATS: During a recent meeting in Frankfort between House Democratic leadership and Kentucky's new Republican governor, Ernie Fletcher, Speaker Jody Richards said getting along would be a lot easier if U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell weren't recruiting GOP candidates to run against House Democrats.

Democrats are livid that McConnell, the titular head of the state's GOP, has offered to raise $25,000 or more for any Republican willing to take on a Democrat.

McConnell, known for his love of hardball politics, isn't backing down.

"Sen. McConnell is proud of his record of supporting Republicans candidates at all levels. He looks forward to continuing this effort in the future," according to a statement from his Washington office.

FENNELL PONDERING STATEHOUSE RUN: Newport City Commissioner Beth Fennell, a Republican, has confirmed her interest in possibly running for the Kentucky statehouse seat that Democrat Jim Callahan of Wilder is vacating at the end of this year.

"A lot of people have asked me to run, so I'm giving it some serious thought," Fennell said Wednesday.

The filing deadline is Jan. 27.

Two Democrats will face off in the May primary: Campbell County Commissioner Ken Rechtin and Wilder Councilman Dennis Keene.

A Rechtin-Fennell race would be particularly interesting given that they served together on the Newport commission.

THEY SAID IT: "The only way (the Kentucky General Assembly) will pass a gambling bill is if the governor proposes it, promotes it and pushes it. He says he is not going to do that, so I assume it is dead on arrival." - House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green.


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