Biz Briefs of the Week: August 9, 2012

Freedom Metals President Announced

Freedom Metals, Inc., a leader in the scrap metal industry since its inception in 1983, recently announced that Spencer Blue would succeed his father, Bruce Blue, as President of the company. Bruce Blue made the announcement to the company’s more than 180 employees last week.
Spencer Blue has worked in many capacities with Freedom Metals. In his now seven years of management with Freedom Metals, he has been instrumental in growing the ferrous (or steel) side of the business. Blue has also helped Freedom Metals improve internal operations and efficiencies by upgrading technologies and building necessary infrastructure.
With two scrap yard locations in Kentucky, Spencer and Bruce Blue started a third operation in Winchester, Ky. in 2010. Recently, Freedom Metals added a fourth scrap yard by acquiring Bates Iron/Metal in January, 2012. Also in 2012, the Blues founded Blue Alloys, which will allow them to enter the stainless steel scrap market. Freedom Metals’ growth has been recognized nationally with its recent selection as No. 61 in the Inner City 100, a list of the fastest-growing inner-city companies in the United States compiled by Fortune Magazine and The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. The company also regularly ranks in the Inc. 5,000 fastest growing companies list and Business First’s Fast 50 list. For more information, visit

First Fresh Wins Gold

Kentucky-based First Fresh extra virgin olive oil, launched this year by Sanders and Co. LLC, was awarded “Prestige Gold” at the recent TerraOlivo Mediterranean olive oil competition in Jerusalem, Israel. The third edition of the competition chose First Fresh out of 408 entries from 18 countries in the southern and northern hemispheres. A diversified panel of judges from 10 countries rated entries based on 13 attributes within the categories of aroma, flavor, harmony, complexity and persistence to determine the winners, listed in the June 20, 2012 issue of Olive Oil Times.
First Fresh extra virgin olive oil is based in Maysville, Ky. and produced in California, and is available to specialty retail stores, supermarkets, grocers and restaurants at wholesale pricing, with a minimum purchase of one case (12 bottles per case). For more information, visit

28/28 Open House Event

The Morton Center, a facility that provides specialized counseling and educational services to individuals and families struggling with alcoholism and other addictions, will host an Open House Sept. 7 to kick-off a series of fundraising events called “28/28.” Neighbors and community members are invited to stop by the location at 1028 Barret Ave., between 5 and 8 p.m. to tour the facility and learn more about The Morton Center.
Brown-Forman is the Presenting Sponsor of “28/28” – a nod to 28 years of service by The Morton Center and the 28 sponsors, hosts and restaurants who will participate. The series of events will include private parties, informal gatherings and dinners out at local restaurants. Proceeds will help to provide treatment subsidies for individuals and families struggling with alcoholism and other addictions. For a complete schedule of events go to or follow The Morton Center on Facebook. For more information call 502.451.1221 or email

LAHTF Announces Director

The Louisville Metro Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Inc., is pleased to announce Rachel M. Hurst as their Executive Director. Ms. Hurst has 15 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector. She previously chaired the mayoral task force on the AHTF and is president of Hurst Consulting. Her background includes work on poverty, civil rights, and affordable housing.
The LAHTF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to receiving and disbursing monies to organizations dedicated to addressing Louisville’s affordable housing needs of low-income individuals and families. The organization serves as a catalyst for low-income housing by assessing the community housing situation and needs, convening partners, and securing, investing and leveraging funding. For more information visit

Republic Earnings Release

Republic Bancorp, Inc. is pleased to report a net income of $92.1 million for the first six months of 2012, representing a $12 million, or 15 percent, increase over the first six months of 2011. Diluted Earnings per Class A Common Share increased to $4.38 for the first six months of 2012, while return on average assets (ROA) and return on average equity (ROE) during the same period were both industry-strong at 4.94% and 35.19%, respectively. For the second quarter of 2012, Republic earned a net income of $9.6 million, a $915,000, or 11%, increase over the second quarter of 2011. Diluted Earnings per Class A Common Share increased to $0.46 for the quarter. ROA and ROE were both solid during the quarter at 1.16% and 7.17%, respectively. As a result of Republic’s continued strong performance, the company announced a 7% increase to its regular quarterly cash dividend payable in July. This represents the 12th consecutive year Republic has raised dividend payouts to its shareholders.
Republic Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: RBCAA), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is the holding company for Republic Bank & Trust Company (“RB&T”) and Republic Bank.

WaterStep New Headquarters

WaterStep, a nonprofit organization that works to save lives at risk from waterborne illness around the world, has just purchased a 38,000 sq. ft. building in Old Louisville that will serve as the organization’s new headquarters beginning this fall. The building, located at 625 Myrtle St., has been vacant for over 6 years and needs cosmetic and capital improvements. The organization plans to complete the renovations and begin operating in the new facility in early fall, just in time for the 2012 St. James Court Art Show, which draws thousands of people to the neighborhood each year. The additional space in the new building will allow the organization to increase their training programs and manufacturing of their water tools.

Since its founding in 2001 (then known as EDGE Outreach) WaterStep, a Louisville-based organization that provides solutions to the root causes of waterborne illness, has provided safe drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people in developing communities and disaster areas in more than 23 countries. WaterStep is currently seeking donations and funding to support the capital improvements needed for the new facility. For more information, call 502.568.6342 or visit

Shelters Win Grants

The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Foundation has announced the six winners of the Animal Shelter Assistance program totaling $5,000. The winners of the grants were presented this week to shelters around the state. Winners include:
Central Kentucky Regional Humane Society, Lancaster, Ky. – $1,000 will be used to provide an efficient and sanitary method of bathing and grooming sheltered animals to promote a healthy environment and adoptable pet.
Animal Refuge Center, Vine Grove, Ky. – $500 will be used to spay and neuter Chihuahuas taken in from a local puppy mill and being held here to help ease some overcrowding in the county shelter.
Breckinridge County Animal Shelter, Hardinsburg, Ky. – $1,000 is going to purchase stainless steel modular cage banks to be used for kenneling puppies and increasing the overall capacity in the shelter.
Peaceful Paws Springs, Inc., Ravenna, Ky. – $750 will help finish existing construction projects on the facilities.
Allen County Animal Shelter, Scottsville, Ky. – $1,250 will be used to provide a shaded play area for animals in the shelter in the dog run area.
Logan County Humane Society, Russellville, Ky. – $500 will be used to help purchase dog food for the facility. An additional $250 is being offered by the Logan County Cattlemen’s Association.
The Animal Shelter Assistance program was funded in its second year from a donation made by Boyle County cattle farmer, Jim Gage. This year the program received over 20 applications from across the state, and there are plans to continue the program in the future. For more information visit or call 859.278.0899.