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Posted by sonny 03/10/2009 @ 08:07

Tags : kentucky, states, us

News headlines
Kentucky announces three won't return to basketball team - USA Today
(AP) — Kentucky announced Tuesday that three players from last year's squad are leaving the program, bringing the Wildcats closer to their roster limit of 13 scholarship players. Sophomore forward AJ Stewart plans to transfer, as does 6-foot-3 freshman...
Beshear directs Kentucky State Police to offer multilingual ... -
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear Wednesday ordered the Kentucky State Police to offer written driver's license tests in multiple languages. Beshear's office, in a news release, said KSP recently decided to offer the test in English only “largely for...
Suicides Prompt Kentucky Army Base Closure -
FT CAMPBELL, KY - Fort Campbell Army Base in Kentucky has been ordered closed for three days while commanders try to identify soldiers at risk of hurting themselves and get them help. The closure began Wednesday. Out of 64 suicides or suspected...
Kentucky's jobless rate holds steady - Forbes
AP , 05.26.09, 02:20 PM EDT Kentucky's unemployment rate for April remained unchanged from a month earlier at a 25-year high. The state said Tuesday that unemployment held steady at 9.8 percent in April, the same as in March but 3.7 percentage points...
Borel's main man stays busy - ESPN
But dealing with a media blitz is old hat to 65-year-old Hissam, who single-handedly managed the press after Borel's first Kentucky Derby victory on Street Sense in 2007. Now he's at it again after Borel's Derby victory on Mine That Bird,...
Number Of Swine Flu Cases In Kentucky Continues To Rise - Lex 18
That brings the total number of confirmed H1N1 cases in Kentucky to 38. The principal at Anne Mason Elementary said the second student is recovering at home and is under a doctor's care. LEX 18 is told the first student at the school to contract swine...
Kentucky settles with Eli Lilly over Zyprexa marketing -
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has settled with drug maker Eli Lilly and Co. over allegations of improper marketing of its Zyprexa antipsychotic drug. Indianapolis-based Lilly will pay the state $5.1 million but will not admit any violation of...
Zenyatta: Come and get her - ESPN
Sure, Giacomo's Kentucky Derby victory in Louisville made them national forces in 2005, but their loyalties should remain with the racetracks and fans that have given them their countless thrills and financial returns. In a struggling racing economy,...
Kentucky coaches lament suspension of 'ideal' player Jeremy Jarmon - Memphis Commercial Appeal
Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks and athletic director Mitch Barnhart remain disappointed that the NCAA chose to suspend former Houston High football star Jeremy Jarmon for this season, effectively ending his college career....


Map of the United States with Kentucky highlighted

The Commonwealth of Kentucky ( /kɨnˈtʌki/ (help·info)) is a state located in the East Central United States of America. Kentucky is normally included in the group of Southern states (in particular the Upland South), but it is uncommonly included, geographically and culturally, in the Midwest. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth. Originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 it became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th largest state in terms of land area, and ranks 26th in population.

Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State", a nickname based on the fact that bluegrass is present in many of the lawns and pastures throughout the state. It is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world's longest cave system, the greatest length of navigable waterways and streams in the Lower 48 states, and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River. It is also home to the highest per capita number of deer and turkey in the United States, and the nation's most productive coalfield. Kentucky is also known for thoroughbred horses, horse racing, bourbon distilleries, bluegrass music, automobile manufacturing, tobacco, and college basketball.

The origin of Kentucky's name (variously spelled Cane-tuck-ee, Cantucky, Kain-tuck-ee, and Kentuckee before its modern spelling was accepted) has never been definitively identified, though some theories have been debunked. For example, Kentucky's name is unlikely to mean "dark and bloody ground" as is commonly believed, because it does not occur with that meaning in any known Native American language. It also is not a combination of "cane" and "turkey". The most likely etymology is that it comes from an Iroquoian word for "meadow" or "prairie" (c.f. Mohawk kenhtà:ke, Seneca këhta'keh). Other possibilities also exist: the suggestion of early Kentucky pioneer George Rogers Clark that the name means "the river of blood", a Wyandot name meaning "land of tomorrow", a Shawnee term possibly referring to the head of a river, or an Algonquian word for a river bottom.

Kentucky borders on seven states, from both the Midwest and the Southeast. West Virginia lies to the east, Virginia to the southeast, Tennessee to the south, Missouri to the west, Illinois and Indiana to the northwest, and Ohio to the north and northeast. Only Missouri and Tennessee, both of which border eight states, touch more states. Kentucky's northern border is formed by the Ohio River and its western border by the Mississippi River; however, the official border is based on the courses of the rivers as they existed when Kentucky became a state in 1792. In several places, the border does not follow the current course of the appropriate river. Northbound travelers on US 41 from Henderson, upon crossing the Ohio River, will find themselves still in Kentucky until they travel about a half-mile (800 m) farther north. A horse racing track, Ellis Park, is located in this small piece of Kentucky. Waterworks Road is part of the only land border between Indiana and Kentucky.

Kentucky is the only U.S. state to have a non-contiguous part exist as an exclave surrounded by other states. Fulton County, in the far west corner of the state, includes a small part of land, Kentucky Bend, on the Mississippi River bordered by Missouri and accessible via Tennessee, created by the New Madrid Earthquake.

Kentucky can be divided into five primary regions: the Cumberland Plateau in the east, the north-central Bluegrass region, the south-central and western Pennyroyal Plateau, the Western Coal Fields and the far-west Jackson Purchase. The Bluegrass region is commonly divided into two regions, the Inner Bluegrass — the encircling 90 miles (145 km) around Lexington — and the Outer Bluegrass, the region that contains most of the Northern portion of the state, above the Knobs. Much of the outer Bluegrass is in the Eden Shale Hills area, made up of short, steep, and very narrow hills.

These regulations have reined in the proliferation of counties in Kentucky. Since the 1891 Constitution, only McCreary County has been created. Because today's largest county by area, Pike County, is 788 square miles (2,041 km2), it is now impossible to create a new county from a single existing county under the current constitution. Any county created in this manner will by necessity either be smaller than 400 square miles (1,000 km2) or reduce the land area of the old county to less than 400 square miles (1,000 km2). It is still theoretically possible to form a new county from portions of more than one existing county (McCreary County was created from portions of three counties), but the area and boundary restrictions would make this extremely difficult.

Located within the southeastern interior portion of North America, Kentucky has a climate that can best be described as a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa), or that all monthly average high temperatures are above freezing. Monthly average temperatures in Kentucky range from a summer daytime high of 87 °F (30.9 °C) to a winter low of 23 °F (-4.9 °C). The average precipitation is 46 inches (116.84 cm) a year. Kentucky experiences all four seasons, usually with striking variations in the severity of summer and winter from year to year.

Kentucky's 90,000 miles (140,000 km) of streams provides one of the most expansive and complex stream systems in the nation. Kentucky has both the largest artificial lake east of the Mississippi in water volume (Lake Cumberland) and surface area (Kentucky Lake). It is the only U.S. state to be bordered on three sides by rivers — the Mississippi River to the west, the Ohio River to the north, and the Big Sandy River and Tug Fork to the east. Its major internal rivers include the Kentucky River, Tennessee River, Cumberland River, Green River and Licking River.

Though it has only three major natural lakes, the state is home to many artificial lakes. Kentucky also has more navigable miles of water than any other state in the union, other than Alaska.

Kentucky has an expansive park system which includes one national park, two National Recreation areas, two National Historic Parks, two national forests, 45 state parks, 37,696 acres (153 km2) of state forest, and 82 Wildlife Management Areas.

Kentucky has been part of two of the most successful wildlife reintroduction projects in United States history. In the winter of 1997, the state's eastern counties began to re-stock elk, which had been extinct from the area for over 150 years. As of 2006, the state's herd was estimated at 5,700 animals, making it the largest herd east of the Mississippi River.

The state also stocked wild turkeys in the 1950s. Once extinct in the state, today Kentucky has more turkeys than any other eastern state.

Although inhabited by Native Americans in prehistoric times, when explorers and settlers began entering Kentucky in the mid-1700s, there were no major Native American settlements in the region. Instead, the country was used as hunting grounds by Shawnees from the north and Cherokees from the south. Much of what is now Kentucky was purchased from Native Americans in the treaties of Fort Stanwix (1768) and Sycamore Shoals (1775). Thereafter, Kentucky grew rapidly as the first settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains were founded, with settlers (primarily from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania) entering the region either over land via Braddock Road and the Cumberland Gap, or by water down the Ohio River from points upstream, or up the Ohio River from the Mississippi. The first part to be settled was the northern part, along the Ohio River, with Lexington and Washington being the first major settlements. A detailed account of this can be read in the memoirs of Spencer Records. Next, the southern part of the state was settled, via the Wilderness Trail, which went along the Great Appalachian Valley and across the Cumberland Gap, blazed by Daniel Boone, traditionally considered one of the founders of the state. Shawnees north of the Ohio River, however, were unhappy about the settlement of Kentucky, and allied themselves with the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Kentucky was a battleground during the war; the Battle of Blue Licks, one of the last major battles of the Revolution, was fought in Kentucky.

After the American Revolution, the counties of Virginia beyond the Appalachian Mountains became known as Kentucky County. Eventually, the residents of Kentucky County petitioned for a separation from Virginia. Ten constitutional conventions were held in the Constitution Square Courthouse in Danville between 1784 and 1792. In 1790, Kentucky's delegates accepted Virginia's terms of separation, and a state constitution was drafted at the final convention in April 1792. On June 1, 1792, Kentucky became the fifteenth state to be admitted to the union and Isaac Shelby, a military veteran from Virginia, was elected the first Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Kentucky was a border state during the American Civil War. Although frequently described as never having seceded, a group of Kentucky soldiers stationed at Russellville did pass an Ordinance of Secession under the moniker "Convention of the People of Kentucky" on November 20, 1861, establishing a Confederate government of Kentucky with its capital in Bowling Green. Though Kentucky was represented by the central star on the Confederate battle flag. the legitimacy of the Russellville Convention may well be questioned. Only a year earlier, philosopher Karl Marx wrote in a letter to Friedrich Engels that the result of a vote deciding how Kentucky would be represented at a convention of the border states was "100,000 for the Union ticket, only a few thousand for secession." Kentucky officially remained "neutral" throughout the war due to Union sympathies of many of the Commonwealth's citizens. Even today, however, Confederate Memorial Day is observed by some in Kentucky on Confederate President Jefferson Davis' birthday, June 3.

Kentucky provided the second largest number of African-American soldiers to the Union during the Civil War. Many enlisted at Camp Nelson in the inner Bluegrass region. Union army refused to enlist black soldiers in state regiments, ten percent of black Kentuckians still enlisted, either directly with the Union army or in regiments from other states. This percentage is greater than the seven percent of white Kentuckians who served in the Civil War. Camp Nelson provided the Union Army with over 10,000 African-American soldiers, making it the third largest recruiting and training depot for African Americans in the nation. The state of Kentucky refused to pass laws to abolish slavery and would not ratify the 13th Amendment. This refusal was directly linked to the slave owners in Kentucky, who equaled only 20% of the state’s population. Slavery officially ended in Kentucky after 13th Amendment was ratified by enough state to become national law.

The Black Patch Tobacco Wars, a vigilante action, occurred in the area in the early 1900s. As result of the monopolization of the tobacco industry, tobacco farmers in the area were forced to sell their tobacco at greatly reduced prices. In response, many local farmers and activists united to refuse to sell tobacco to the tobacco industry. A vigilante wing, the "Night Riders" were a group of people who terrorized farmers who sold their tobacco at the low prices demanded by the tobacco corporations. They participated in the firing of several tobacco warehouses, notably in Hopkinsville and Princeton. In the later period of their operation, they also were known to physically assault farmers in the middle of the night who broke the boycott.

On January 30, 1900, Governor William Goebel, flanked by two bodyguards, was mortally wounded by an assailant while walking to the State Capitol in downtown Frankfort. Goebel was in the process of contesting the election of 1899, initially assumed to be won by William S. Taylor. For several months, J. C. W. Beckham, Goebel's running mate, and Taylor fought over who was the real governor until the Supreme Court of the United States decided in May that Beckham was the rightful governor. Taylor fled to Indiana and was later indicted as a co-conspirator in Goebel's assassination. Goebel remains the only governor of a U.S. state to have been assassinated while in office.

Kentucky is a commonwealth, meaning its government is run according to the common consent of its people. It is one out of only four states that call themselves commonwealths. Kentucky is also one of only five states that elects its state officials in odd numbered years (The others are Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia). Kentucky holds elections for these offices every 4 years in the years preceding Presidential election years. Thus, the last year when Kentucky elected a Governor was 2007; the next gubernatorial election will occur in 2011, with future gubernatorial elections to take place in 2015, 2019, 2023, etc.

Kentucky's legislative branch consists of a bicameral body known as the Kentucky General Assembly. The Senate is considered the upper house. It has 38 members, and is led by the President of the Senate, currently Republican David L. Williams. The House of Representatives has 100 members, and is led by the Speaker of the House, currently Democrat Greg Stumbo.

The executive branch is headed by the governor and lieutenant governor. Under the current Kentucky Constitution, the lieutenant governor assumes the duties of the governor only if the governor is incapacitated. (Prior to 1992, the lieutenant governor assumed power any time the governor was out of the state.) The governor and lieutenant governor usually run on a single ticket (also per a 1992 constitutional amendment), and are elected to four-year terms. Currently, the governor and lieutenant governor are Democrats Steve Beshear and Daniel Mongiardo.

The judicial branch of Kentucky is made up of courts of limited jurisdiction called District Courts; courts of general jurisdiction called Circuit Courts; an intermediate appellate court, the Kentucky Court of Appeals; and a court of last resort, the Kentucky Supreme Court. Unlike federal judges, who are usually appointed, justices serving on Kentucky state courts are chosen by the state's populace in non-partisan elections.

The state's chief prosecutor, law enforcement officer, and law officer is the attorney general. The attorney general is elected to a four-year term and may serve two consecutive terms under the current Kentucky Constitution. The current Kentucky attorney general is Democrat Jack Conway.

Kentucky's two Senators are Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning, both Republicans. The state is divided into six Congressional Districts, represented by Republicans Ed Whitfield (1st), Brett Guthrie (2nd), Geoff Davis (4th), and Hal Rogers (5th), and Democrats John Yarmuth (3rd) and Ben Chandler (6th).

Judicially, Kentucky is split into two Federal court districts: the Kentucky Eastern District and the Kentucky Western District. Appeals are heard in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Where politics are concerned, Kentucky historically has been very hard fought and leaned slightly toward the Democratic Party, although it was never included among the "Solid South." In 2006, 57.05% of the state's voters were officially registered as Democrats, 36.55% registered Republican, and 6.39% registered with some other political party.

From 1964 through 2004, Kentucky voted with the winner of the election for President of the United States. In the 2008 election, however, the state lost its bellwether status when John McCain, who won Kentucky, lost the national popular and electoral vote to Barack Obama. Kentucky has voted Republican in six of the last eight presidential elections, including George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. Bush won the state's eight electoral votes overwhelmingly in 2004 by a margin of 20 percentage points and 59.6% of the vote. However the Commonwealth has also supported the previous three Democratic candidates elected to the White House, all elected from Southern states: Lyndon B. Johnson (Texas) in 1964, Jimmy Carter (Georgia) in 1976, and Bill Clinton (Arkansas) in 1992 and 1996.

Kentucky's body of laws, known as the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS), were enacted in 1942 to better organize and clarify the whole of Kentucky law. The statutes are enforced by local police, sheriffs, constables, deputy sheriffs and deputy constables. Unless they have completed a police academy elsewhere, these officers are required to complete training at the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training Center on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University. Additionally, in 1948, the Kentucky General Assembly established the Kentucky State Police, making it the 38th state to create a force whose jurisdiction extends throughout the given state.

Kentucky is one of 36 states in the United States that sanctions the death penalty for certain crimes. Those convicted of capital crimes after March 31, 1998 are always executed by lethal injection; those convicted before this date may opt for the electric chair. Only three people have been executed in Kentucky since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted the practice in 1976. The most notable execution in Kentucky, however, was that of Rainey Bethea on August 14, 1936. Bethea was publicly hanged in Owensboro for the rape and murder of Lischia Edwards. Irregularities with the execution led to this becoming the last public execution in the United States.

Kentucky has been on the front lines of the debate over displaying the Ten Commandments on public property. In the 2005 case of McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that a display of the Ten Commandments in the Whitley City courthouse of McCreary County was unconstitutional. Later that year, Judge Richard Fred Suhrheinrich, writing for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of ACLU of Kentucky v. Mercer County, wrote that a display including the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta, The Star-Spangled Banner, and the national motto could be erected in the Mercer County courthouse.

As of July 1, 2006, Kentucky has an estimated population of 4,206,074, which is an increase of 33,466, or 0.8%, from the prior year and an increase of 164,586, or 4.1%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 77,156 people (that is 287,222 births minus 210,066 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 59,604 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 27,435 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 32,169 people. As of 2004, Kentucky's population included about 95,000 foreign-born (2.3%). The population density of the state is 101.7 people per square mile.

Kentucky's total population has grown during every decade since records began. However, during most decades of the 20th century there was also net out-migration from Kentucky. Since 1900, rural Kentucky counties have experienced a net loss of over 1 million people from migration, while urban areas have experienced a slight net gain.

The center of population of Kentucky is located in Washington County, in the city of Willisburg.

The five largest ancestries in the commonwealth are: American (20.9%), German (12.7%), Irish (10.5%), English (9.7%), African American (7.8%). Only eight Kentucky counties list an ancestry other than "American" as the county's largest, those being Christian and Fulton, where African American is the largest reported ancestry, and the state's most urban counties of Jefferson, Oldham, Fayette, Boone, Kenton, and Campbell, where German is the largest reported ancestry. Southeastern Kentucky was populated by a large group of Native Americans of mixed heritage, also known as Melungeons, in the early 19th century. Groups like the Ridgetop Shawnee are organizing the descendants of those early Native American settlers.

African Americans, who made up one-fourth of Kentucky's population prior to the Civil War, declined in number as many moved to the industrial North in the Great Migration. Today 44.2% of Kentucky's African American population is in Jefferson County and 52% are in the Louisville Metro Area. Other areas with high concentrations, besides Christian and Fulton Counties, are the city of Paducah, the Bluegrass, and the city of Lexington. Many mining communities in far Southeastern Kentucky also have populations between five and 10 percent African American.

Today Kentucky is home to several seminaries. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville is the principal seminary for the Southern Baptist Convention. Louisville is also the home of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Lexington has two seminaries, Lexington Theological Seminary, and the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky. Asbury Theological Seminary is located in nearby Wilmore. In addition to seminaries, there are several colleges affiliated with denominations. Transylvania in Lexington is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ. In Louisville, Bellarmine and Spalding are affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. In Owensboro, Kentucky, Kentucky Wesleyan College is associated with the Methodist Church and Brescia University is associated with the Roman Catholic Church. Louisville is also home to the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and their printing press. Louisville is also home to a sizable Muslim and Jewish population.

Religious movements were important in the early history of Kentucky. Perhaps the most famous event was the interdenominational revival in August 1801 at the Cane Ridge Meeting house in Bourbon County. As part of what is now known as the "Western Revival", thousands began meeting around a Presbyterian communion service on August 6, 1801, and ended six days later on August 12, 1801 when both humans and horses ran out of food. Some claim that the Cane Ridge revival was propagated from an earlier camp meeting at Red River Meeting House in Logan County.

The total gross state product for 2006 was US$146 billion, 27th in the nation. Its per-capita personal income was US$28,513, 43rd in the nation. Kentucky's agricultural outputs are horses, cattle, tobacco, dairy products, hogs, soybeans, and corn. Its industrial outputs are transportation equipment, chemical products, electric equipment, machinery, food processing, tobacco products, coal, and tourism. The Eastern Kentucky Coal Fields are recognized as being among the most productive in the nation.

Kentucky ranks 4th among U.S. states in the number of automobiles and trucks assembled. The Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac XLR, Ford Explorer, Ford Super Duty trucks, Toyota Camry, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Solara, and Toyota Venza are assembled in Kentucky.

Unlike many bordering states which developed a widespread industrial economy, much of rural Kentucky has maintained a farm based economy, with cattle, corn, and soybeans being the main crops. The area immediately outside Lexington is also the leading region for breeding Thoroughbred racing horses, due to the high calcium content in the soil (from the underlying limestone) making the pastures especially productive. Despite being the 14th smallest state in terms of land area, Kentucky still ranks 5th in the total number of farms, with more farms per square mile than any other U.S. state. The average farm size in Kentucky is only 153 acres (0.6 km2).

Kentucky ranks 5th nationally in goat farming, 8th in beef cattle production, and 14th in corn production.

There are 5 income tax brackets, ranging from 2% to 6% of personal income. The sales tax rate in Kentucky is 6%. Kentucky has a broadly based classified property tax system. All classes of property, unless exempted by the Constitution, are taxed by the state, although at widely varying rates. Many of these classes are exempted from taxation by local government. Of the classes that are subject to local taxation, three have special rates set by the General Assembly, one by the Kentucky Supreme Court and the remaining classes are subject to the full local rate, which includes the tax rate set by the local taxing bodies plus all voted levies. Real property is assessed on 100% of the fair market value and property taxes are due by December 31. Once the primary source of state and local government revenue, property taxes now account for only about 6% of the Kentucky's annual General Fund revenues.

Until January 1, 2006, Kentucky imposed a tax on intangible personal property held by a taxpayer on January 1 of each year. The Kentucky intangible tax was repealed under House Bill 272. Intangible property consisted of any property or investment which represents evidence of value or the right to value. Some types of intangible property included: bonds, notes, retail repurchase agreements, accounts receivable, trusts, enforceable contracts sale of real estate (land contracts), money in hand, money in safe deposit boxes, annuities, interests in estates, loans to stockholders, and commercial paper.

To boost Kentucky's image, give it a consistent reach, and help Kentucky "stand out from the crowd", former Governor Ernie Fletcher launched a comprehensive branding campaign with the hope of making its $12 - $14 million advertising budget more effective. The "Unbridled Spirit" brand was the result of a $500,000 contract with New West, a Kentucky-based public relations advertising and marketing firm to develop a viable brand and tag line. The Fletcher administration aggressively marketed the brand in both the public and private sectors. The "Welcome to Kentucky" signs at border areas have Unbridled Spirit's symbol on them.

The previous campaign was neither a failure nor a success. Kentucky's "It's that friendly" slogan hoped to draw more people into the state based on the idea of southern hospitality. Though most Kentuckians liked the slogan, as it embraced southern values, it was also not an image that encouraged tourism as much as initially hoped for. Therefore it was necessary to reconfigure a slogan to embrace Kentucky as a whole while also encouraging more people to visit the Bluegrass.

Kentucky is served by five major interstate highways (I-75, I-71, I-64, I-65, I-24), nine parkways, and three bypasses and spurs. The parkways were originally toll roads, but on November 22, 2006, Governor Ernie Fletcher ended the toll charges on the William H. Natcher Parkway and the Audubon Parkway, the last two parkways in Kentucky to charge tolls for access. The related toll booths have been demolished.

Ending the tolls some seven months ahead of schedule was generally agreed to have been a positive economic development for transportation in Kentucky. In June 2007, a law went into effect raising the speed limit on rural portions of Kentucky Interstates from 65 to 70 miles per hour.

Greyhound provides bus service to most major towns in the state.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Ashland, South Portsmouth and Fulton, Kentucky. The Cardinal, Trains 50 and 51, is the line that offers Amtrak service to Ashland and South Portsmouth. Amtrak Trains 58 and 59, the City of New Orleans, serve Fulton. The Northern Kentucky area, is served by the Cardinal at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. The Museum Center is just across the Ohio River in Cincinnati.

As of 2004, there were approximately 2,640 miles (4,250.4 km) of railways in Kentucky, with about 65% of those being operated by CSX Transportation. Coal was by far the most common cargo, accounting for 76% of cargo loaded and 61% of cargo delivered.

Bardstown features a tourist attraction known as My Old Kentucky Dinner Train. Run along a 20-mile (30 km) stretch of rail purchased from CSX in 1987, guests are served a four-course meal as they make a two-and-a-half hour round-trip between Bardstown and Limestone Springs. The Kentucky Railway Museum is located in nearby New Haven.

Other areas in Kentucky are reclaiming old railways in rail trail projects. One such project is Louisville's Big Four Bridge. If completed, the Big Four Bridge rail trail will contain the second longest pedestrian-only bridge in the world. The longest pedestrian-only bridge is also found in Kentucky — the Newport Southbank Bridge, popularly known as the "Purple People Bridge", connecting Newport to Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kentucky's primary airports include Louisville International Airport (Standiford Field), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), and Blue Grass Airport in Lexington. Louisville International Airport is home to UPS's Worldport, its international air-sorting hub. There are also a number of regional airports scattered across the state.

On August 27, 2006, Kentucky's Blue Grass Airport in Lexington was the site of a crash that killed 47 passengers and 2 crew members aboard a Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet designated Comair Flight 191, or Delta Air Lines Flight 5191, sometimes mistakenly identified by the press as Comair Flight 5191. The lone survivor was the flight's first officer, James Polehinke, who doctors determined to be brain damaged and unable to recall the crash at all.

Being bounded by the two largest rivers in North America, water transportation has historically played a major role in Kentucky's economy. Most barge traffic on Kentucky waterways consists of coal that is shipped from both the Eastern and Western Coalfields, about half of which is used locally to power many power plants located directly off the Ohio River, with the rest being exported to other countries, most notably Japan.

As a state, Kentucky ranks 10th overall in port tonnage.

The only natural obstacle along the entire length of the Ohio River was the Falls of the Ohio, located just west of Downtown Louisville.

Kentucky is subdivided into 120 counties, the largest being Pike County, Kentucky at 787.6 square miles, and the most populous being Jefferson County, Kentucky (the county containing Louisville Metro) with 693,604 residents as of 2000.

County government, under the Kentucky Constitution of 1891, is vested in the County Judge/Executive), (formerly called the County Judge) who serves as the executive head of the county, and a legislature called a Fiscal Court. Despite the unusual name, the Fiscal Court no longer has judicial functions.

The Greater Louisville Metro Area has a 2006 estimated population of 554,496, while the Louisville Combined Statistical Area (CSA) has a population of 1,356,798; including 1,003,025 in Kentucky, which is nearly 1/4 of the state's population. Since 2000 over 1/3 of the state's population growth has occurred in the Louisville CSA. In addition, the top 28 wealthiest places in Kentucky are in Jefferson County and seven of the 15 wealthiest counties in the state are located in the Louisville CSA.

The second largest city is Lexington with a 2006 census estimated population of 270,789 and its CSA, which includes the Frankfort and Richmond statistical areas, having a population of 645,006. The Northern Kentucky area (the seven Kentucky counties in the Cincinnati CSA) had an estimated population of 408,783 in 2006. The metropolitan areas of Louisville, Lexington, and Northern Kentucky have a combined population of 2,169,394 as of 2006, which is 51.5% of the state's total population.

The two other fast growing urban areas in Kentucky are the Bowling Green area and the "Tri Cities Region" of southeastern Kentucky, comprising Somerset, London, and Corbin.

The largest county in Kentucky, is Pike, which contains Pikeville, home of Hillbilly Days. It also contains the small towns of Elkhorn City, South Williamson, and Coal Run.

Although only one town in the "Tri Cities", namely Somerset, currently has more than 10,000 people, the area has been experiencing heightened population and job growth since the 1990s. Growth has been especially rapid in Laurel County, which outgrew areas such as Scott and Jessamine counties around Lexington or Shelby and Nelson Counties around Louisville. London is currently on pace to double its population in the 2000s from 5,692 in 2000 to 10,879 in 2010. London also landed a Wal-Mart distribution center in 1997, bringing thousands of jobs to the community.

In northeast Kentucky, the greater Ashland area is an important transportation, manufacturing, and medical center. Iron and petroleum production, as well as the transport of coal by rail and barge, have been historical pillars of the region's economy. Due to a decline in the area's industrial base, Ashland has seen a sizable reduction in its population since 1990. The population of the area has since stabilized, however, with the medical service industry taking a greater role in the local economy. The Ashland area, including the counties of Boyd and Greenup, are part of the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2000 census, the MSA had a population of 288,649. About 20,000 of those people reside within the city limits of Ashland.

Only three US states have capitals with smaller populations than Kentucky's Frankfort (pop. 27,408), those being Augusta, Maine (pop. 18,560), Pierre, South Dakota (pop. 13,876), and Montpelier, Vermont (pop. 8,035).

Population growth is centered along and between interstates I-65 and I-75.

Louisville is the state's largest city with a metro population of 1.2 million.

Lexington is the state's second largest city with a metro population of around 500,000.

Although Covington, Kentucky only has a population of 42,000, the Kentucky side of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky metropolitan area has a population of over 450,000.

Kentucky maintains eight public four-year colleges and universities. The two major research institutions are the University of Kentucky, which is part of the land grant system, and the University of Louisville. Both combine for over 99% of endowment in the system and rank first or second in academic rankings and average ACT scores in the state system. The other six colleges in the state system are regional universities.

The state's sixteen public two-year colleges have been governed by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System since the passage of the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997, commonly referred to as House Bill 1. Prior to the passage of House Bill 1, most of these colleges were under the control of the University of Kentucky.

Berea College, located at the extreme southern edge of the Bluegrass below the Cumberland Plateau, was the first coeducational college in the South to admit both black and white students, doing so from its very establishment in 1855. This policy was successfully challenged in the United States Supreme Court in the case of Berea College v. Kentucky in 1908. This decision effectively segregated Berea until the landmark Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

Kentucky has been the site of much educational reform over the past two decades. In 1989, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the state's education system was unconstitutional. The response of the General Assembly was passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) the following year. Years later, Kentucky has shown progress, but most agree that further reform is needed.

Although Kentucky's culture is generally considered to be Southern, it is unique and also influenced by the Midwest and Southern Appalachia. The state is known for bourbon and whiskey distiling, tobacco, horse racing, and gambling. Kentucky is more similar to the Upper South in terms of ancestry which is predominantly American. Neveretheless, during the 19th century, the state Kentucky did receive a substantial number of German and Irish immigrants, who settled primarily in the Midwest. Only Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia, all also border states, have higher German ancestry percentages than Kentucky among Census-defined Southern states. Kentucky was a slave state, and blacks once comprised over one-quarter of its population. However, it lacked the cotton plantation system and never had the same high percentage of African Americans as most other slave states. With less than 8% of its current population being black, Kentucky is rarely included in modern-day definitions of the Black Belt, despite a relatively significant rural African American population in the Central and Western areas of the state. Kentucky adopted the Jim Crow system of racial segregation in most public spheres after the Civil War, but the state never disenfranchised African American citizens to the level of the Deep South states, and it peacefully integrated its schools after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education verdict, later adopting the first state civil rights act in the South in 1966.

The biggest day in horse racing, the Kentucky Derby, is preceded by the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville. Louisville also plays host to the Kentucky State Fair, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, and Southern gospel's annual highlight, the National Quartet Convention. Owensboro, Kentucky's third largest city, gives credence to its nickname of "Barbecue Capital of the World" by hosting the annual International Bar-B-Q Festival. Bowling Green, Kentucky's fifth largest city and home to the only assembly plant in the world that manufactures the Chevrolet Corvette, opened the National Corvette Museum in 1994.

Old Louisville, the largest historic preservation district in the United States featuring Victorian architecture and the third largest overall, hosts the St. James Court Art Show, the largest outdoor art show in the United States. The neighborhood was also home to the Southern Exposition (1883–1887), which featured the first public display of Thomas Edison's light bulb, and was the setting of Alice Hegan Rice's novel, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch and Fontaine Fox's comic strip, the "Toonerville Trolley.

The breadth of music in Kentucky is indeed wide, stretching from the Purchase to the eastern mountains.

Renfro Valley, Kentucky is home to Renfro Valley Entertainment Center and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and is known as "Kentucky's Country Music Capital," a designation given it by the Kentucky State Legislature in the late 1980s. The Renfro Valley Barn Dance was where Renfro Valley's musical heritage began, in 1939, and influential country music luminaries like Red Foley, Homer & Jethro, Lily May Ledford & the Original Coon Creek Girls, Martha Carson, and many others have performed as regular members of the shows there over the years. The Renfro Valley Gatherin' is today America's second oldest continually broadcast radio program of any kind. It is broadcast on local radio station WRVK and a syndicated network of nearly 200 other stations across the United States and Canada every week.

Contemporary Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman is a Paducah native, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Everly Brothers are closely connected with Muhlenberg County, where older brother Don was born. Kentucky was also home to Mildred and Patty Hill, the Louisville sisters credited with composing the tune to the ditty Happy Birthday to You in 1893; Loretta Lynn (Johnson County), and Billy Ray Cyrus (Flatwoods). However, its depth lies in its signature sound — Bluegrass music. Bill Monroe, "The Father of Bluegrass", was born in the small Ohio County town of Rosine, while Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, David "Stringbean" Akeman, Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones, Sonny and Bobby Osborne, and Sam Bush (who has been compared to Monroe) all hail from Kentucky. The International Bluegrass Music Museum is located in Owensboro, while the annual Festival of the Bluegrass is held in Lexington.

Kentucky is also home to famed jazz musician and pioneer, Lionel Hampton (although this has been disputed in recent years). Blues legend W.C. Handy and R&B singer Wilson Pickett also spent considerable time in Kentucky. The pop bands Midnight Star and Nappy Roots were both formed in Kentucky, as were country acts The Kentucky Headhunters, Montgomery Gentry and Halfway to Hazard, as well as Dove Award-winning Christian groups Audio Adrenaline (rock) and Bride (metal).

Kentucky's cuisine, like much of the state's culture, is unique and is considered to blend elements of both the South and Midwest, given its location between the two regions. One original Kentucky dish is called the Hot Brown, a dish normally layered in this order: toasted bread, turkey, bacon, tomatoes and topped with mornay sauce. It was developed at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. The Pendennis Club in Louisville is the birthplace of the Old Fashioned cocktail.

Kentucky is the home of several sports teams such as Minor League Baseball's Class A Lexington Legends and AAA Louisville Bats. They are also home to the Frontier Leagues Florence Freedom and several teams in the MCFL. The Lexington Horsemen and Louisville Fire of the af2 appear to be interested in making a move up to the "major league" Arena Football League. Major league teams in nearby cities, typically have strong fan support depending on the part of the state, with Nashville teams having strong fan support in South Central and most of Western Kentucky, Nashville and St. Louis teams competing for loyalties in the Purchase, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Chicago teams predominating in the Louisville area, and Cincinnati teams having strong support in Central and Eastern Kentucky. The northern part of the state lies across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, which is home to a National Football League team, the Bengals, and a Major League Baseball team, the Reds. It is not uncommon for fans to park in the city of Newport and use the Newport Southbank Pedestrian Bridge, locally known as the "Purple People Bridge," to walk to these games in Cincinnati. Many restaurants and stores in Newport rely on business from these fans. Also, Georgetown College in Georgetown is the location for the Bengals' summer training camp.

As in many states, especially those without major league professional sport teams, college athletics are very important. This is especially true of the state's three Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs, including the Kentucky Wildcats, the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers, and the Louisville Cardinals. The Wildcats, Hilltoppers, and Cardinals are among the most tradition-rich college basketball teams in the United States, combining for nine championships and 22 NCAA Final Fours; and all three are on the lists of total all-time wins, wins per season, and average wins per season. Louisville has also stepped onto the football scene in recent years, with eight straight bowl games, including the 2007 Orange Bowl. Western Kentucky, the 2002 national champion in Division I-AA football (now Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), is currently transitioning to Division I FBS football.

Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville was the primary location for training and rehab for WWE professional wrestlers from 2000 until February 2008, when WWE ended its relationship with OVW and moved all of its contracted talent to Florida Championship Wrestling.

Unless otherwise specified, all state symbol information is taken from Kentucky State Symbols.

The world famous Louisville Slugger baseball bat is made in Kentucky.

Kentucky's 2001 commemorative quarter.

Thunder Over Louisville is the largest annual fireworks show in the world.

Kentucky's horse farms are world renowned.

The Daniel Boone National Forest.

The Ohio River forms the northern border of Kentucky.

Many Kentucky cities have historic areas near downtown, such as this example in Bowling Green.

US Highway 23 cuts through the rugged Cumberland Plateau near Pikeville.

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United States congressional delegations from Kentucky

These are tables of congressional delegations from Kentucky to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.

Until November 9, 1792, Kentucky was a part of Virginia. During that time, Virginia sent a representative to Congress from the portion that would later become Kentucky.

After statehood, Kentucky had two representatives.

For fifty years, Kentucky had 11 seats.

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Lexington, Kentucky

Skyline of Lexington, Kentucky

Lexington (officially Lexington-Fayette Urban County) is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 66th largest in the United States. Known as the "Thoroughbred City" and the "Horse Capital of the World," it is located in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass region. In 2007 the city's population was estimated at 279,044 anchoring a metropolitan area of 447,162 people and a Combined Statistical Area of 658,143 people.

Lexington ranks 10th among US cities in college education rate, with 39.5% of residents having at least a Bachelor's Degree. It is home to the headquarters of Lexmark International, the Kentucky Horse Park, Keeneland race course, Red Mile race course, Transylvania University, and the University of Kentucky.

Lexington has been selected to be the site of the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games.

Lexington was founded in June 1775 in what was then Virginia (17 years before Kentucky became a state in 1792). A party of frontiersmen, led by William McConnell, camped on the Middle Fork of Elkhorn Creek (today called Town Branch and rerouted under Vine Street) at the location known today as McConnell Springs. Upon hearing of the colonists' victory in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, on April 19, 1775, they named their campsite Lexington after Lexington, Massachusetts. Due to the danger of Indian attacks, permanent settlement was delayed for four years. In 1779, Colonel Robert Patterson and 25 companions came from Fort Harrod and erected a blockhouse. Cabins and a stockade were soon built, making the fort a place of importance. The town of Lexington was established on May 6, 1782, by an act of the Virginia General Assembly.

By 1820, it was one of the largest and wealthiest towns west of the Allegheny Mountains. So cultured was its lifestyle, Lexington gained the nickname "Athens of the West." One early prominent citizen, John Wesley Hunt, became the first millionaire west of the Alleghenies. Slaves were widely held and used as laborers, field hands and domestic servants in Kentucky. In 1850, 1/5 of the state's population were slaves, and Lexington had the highest concentration of slaves in the state.

Many of 19th Century America's most important people spent part of their lives in the city, including both American president Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis (who attended Transylvania University in 1823 and 1824), Civil War General John Hunt Morgan, US senator and vice president John C. Breckinridge, and US Senator and presidential candidate Henry Clay. Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, was born and raised in Lexington; the couple visited the city several times after their marriage in 1842.

Lexington hosted one of the first drug rehabilitation clinics, known as the "Addiction Research Center," which opened in 1935. The first alcohol and drug rehabilitation hospital in the United States of America was also known as "Narco" of Lexington, as well as the "Addiction Research Center". This was later converted into a federal prison.

Lexington, which includes all Fayette County consists of 285.5 square miles (739.4 km2), mostly gently rolling plateau, in the center of the inner Bluegrass Region. The area is noted for its beauty, fertile soil, excellent pastureland, and horse and stock farms. Poa pratensis (bluegrass) thrives on the limestone beneath the soil's surface, playing a major role in the area's scenic beauty and in the development of champion horses. Numerous small creeks rise and flow into the Kentucky River. The Lexington-Fayette Metro area is home to 5 counties that make up the metro area. These counties include: Clark, Jessamine,Bourbon, Woodford, and Scott. This is the 2nd largest metro area in the Ohio Valley and in Kentucky.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 739.5 km² (285.5 mi²). 736.9 km² (284.5 mi²) of it is land and 2.6 km² (1.0 mi²) of it (0.35%) is water.

Lexington is in the transition area between a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa)and a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa). Summers are hot and humid, and winters are cool with mild periods.

The average temperature in Lexington is 54.9 °F (13 °C). Annual precipitation is 45.68 inches (1,200 mm). Lexington and the Bluegrass have four distinct seasons that include cool plateau breezes, moderate nights in the summer, and no prolonged periods of heat, cold, rain, wind, or snow.

Lexington has the dubious distinction of being recognized as a high allergy area by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The results for the spring of 2008 rank Lexington at 1st.

Lexington features a diverse cityscape. From its vibrant downtown that features much-needed infill projects to its famed horse farms, the city prides itself in featuring an urban growth boundary that includes greenbelts and strict zoning definitions. This has been done to not only protect the Bluegrass landscape from further sprawling development, but to ensure that tourism, one of its leading industries, is not affected.

The city is home to several notable high rises. The Lexington Financial Center is currently the tallest building, followed by Kincaid Towers, and then the World Trade Center complex. It is also home to many other notable structures, and to many new urban developments within two major districts. In recent years a number of large condominium projects and shopping centers have opened in the old Tobacco Warehouse District just south of Downtown. Construction is also ongoing on the states's new tallest building, CentrePointe, which will be 550 feet (170 m) tall when completed in 2010.

Lexington faces a unique challenge among American cities in that it must manage a rapidly growing population while maintaining the character of the surrounding horse farms which give the region its identity. To do so Lexington enacted the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary in 1958, where new development could only occur in the Urban Service Area and set a strict minimum acerage requirement (currently 40 acres) in the Rural Service Area. A historic District Zoning Overlay was adopted as well to protect the historic character of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Two years later, a comprehensive Design Plan for the downtown was completed, which called for the removal of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway lines on what is today's Vine Street. In 1967, the Urban Service Area shrunk; various zoning regulations were also amended from the original 1958 issue. Several years later, in 1973, the first Lexington Comprehensive Plan was completed.

In 1980, the Comprehensive Plan was updated and the Urban Service Area was modified to include Urban Activity Centers and Rural Activity Centers. The Urban Activity Centers were commercial and light-industrial districts in urbanized areas, while Rural Activity Centers were retail trade and light-industrial centers clustered around the Interstate 64/Interstate 75 interchanges. In 1996, the Urban Service Area was expanded when 5,300 acres (21 km2) of the Rural Service Area was acquired through the Expansion Area Master Plan. This was not without its controversy, as it was the first major update to the Comprehensive Plan in over a decade. The Expansion Area Master Plan included impact fees, assessment districts, neighborhood design concepts, design overlays, mandatory greenways, major roadway improvements, stormwater management and open space mitigation for the first time; it also included a draft of the Rural Land Management Plan, which included large lot zoning and traffic impact controls. A pre-zoning of the entire expansion area was refuted in the Plan. A 50-acre (200,000 m2) minimum proposal was also defeated, although the mention of the proposal led to a deluge of 10-acre (40,000 m2) subdivisions in the Rural Service Areas.

Three years after the expansion was initiated, the Rural Service Area Land Management Plan was adopted, which increased the minimum lot size in the agricultural rural zones to 40-acre (160,000 m2) minimums. In 1998, a moratorium was issued on rural lot creations to curb the development of new rural 10-acre (40,000 m2) subdivisions that were incompatible with the existing agricultural uses. Two years later, the Purchase of Development Rights plan was adopted, which granted the city power to purchase the development rights of existing farms; in 2001, $40 million was allocated to the plan from a $25 million local, $15 million state grant. An Infill and Redevelopment study was also initiated during that time, along with design guidelines for the areas surrounding the new Fayette County courthouses.

In 1974, the governments of the city of Lexington and Fayette County, Kentucky combined to create the current Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Lexington has an elected mayor and city council-style of government.

On November 7, 2006, Jim Newberry was elected Mayor of Lexington. In January 2007, he succeeded Teresa Isaac, the city's mayor since 2002. During Isaac's tenure as Mayor, Lexington was the largest American city with an Arab-American mayor.

The Urban County Council Clerk is Liz Damrell. The Deputy Clerk is Susan Lamb.

Primary law enforcement duties within Lexington are the responsibility of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Police. The Division of Police resulted from the merger of the Lexington Police Department with the Fayette County Patrol in 1974. The Fayette County Sheriff's Office is responsible for court service, including court security, prisoner transport, process and warrant service, and property tax collection. The University of Kentucky Police Department, the Transylvania University Department of Public Safety, Blue Grass Airport Public Safety, the Veterans Affairs Police Department and the Kentucky Horse Park Police also have jurisdiction within their geographic areas in Lexington-Fayette County. In addition, the Lexington-Fayette Animal Care & Control exercises law enforcement over animal control issues and the Kentucky State Police, Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources can be seen performing their respective law enforcement duties within the county.

The Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Jessamine, Scott, and Woodford counties. The MSA population in 2006 was estimated at 436,684. The Lexington-Fayette-Frankfort-Richmond, KY Combined Statistical Area had an estimated population of 645,006 in 2006. This includes the metro area and an additional seven counties.

As of the census of 2000, there were 260,512 people, 108,288 households, and 62,915 families residing in the city. The population density was 915.6 people per square mile (353.5/km²). There were 116,167 housing units at an average density of 408.3/mi² (157.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.04% White, 13.48% African American, 0.19% Native American, 2.46% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.21% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.29% of the population.

There were 108,288 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 14.6% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,813, and the median income for a family was $53,264. Males had a median income of $36,166 versus $26,964 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,109. About 8.2% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.3% of those under the age of 18 and 8.6% of those ages 65 and older.

With its abundance of government and technology jobs, Lexington has one of the nation's most stable economies. Economists have referred to Lexington as having "a fortified economy, strong in manufacturing, technology and entrepreneurial support, benefiting from a diverse, balanced business base". The Lexington Metro Area had a July 2008 unemployment rate of only 5.4%, compared to national average of 6.1%. Lexington was named the 5th best city for "Businesses and Careers" in 2008 by Forbes Magazine, and the 5th best city for Young Professionals in 2008 by Kiplinger.

As such, the city is home to several large corporations. There are three Fortune 500 companies located within the city, Affiliated Computer Services, Lexmark International and Hewlett Packard, employing 1,200, 3,450, and 250 respectively. United Parcel Service, Trane and, Inc. have a large presence in the city, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky is within the Lexington CSA in adjoining Georgetown. The city is also host to a Jif peanut butter plant that produces more peanut butter than any other factory in the world, and to the Forcht Group of Kentucky, a holding company that employs more than 2,100 people across Kentucky. Forcht Group operates several businesses in Lexington including First Corbin Bancorp, Kentucky National Insurance Company, My Favorite Things, BSC, a bank data services company, and First Lab, among others.

Another large employer, the University of Kentucky, employs 10,668, however, it does not include the College of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service which has a staff of over 900. The University is the ninth largest economic company in the state of Kentucky, with an annual budget of $1.4 billion, and the College of Medicine within the University is the 21st largest company in the state.

Other sizable employers include the Lexington-Fayette County government and other hospital facilities. This includes the Fayette County Public Schools, employing 4,651, and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, employing 3,936. Central Baptist Hospital, Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph East, and the Veterans Administration Hospital employ 6,206 total.

According to the United States Census, of Lexington's population over the age of twenty-five, 22.4% hold a bachelor's degree, 11.4% hold a master's degree, and 3.1% hold a professional degree. Just 2.6% hold a doctorate degree. Lexington was also ranked 10th in a list of America's most educated cities with a population of more than 250,000, ranked by percentage of bachelor's degrees among residents 25 and older, according to the United States Census Bureau. A report released by Jack Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, Lexington ranks 13th in the United States in terms of literacy rate. The index was compiled through six indicators of literacy, including Internet sources, newspaper circulation, the number of bookstores, library resources, education and periodical resources.

The city is served by the Fayette County Public Schools. The system consists of 5 high schools, 11 middle schools, and 33 elementary schools, along with six private schools. There are also two traditional colleges, the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University. Other institutions of higher learning include Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Sullivan University, Spencerian College, Strayer University, Commonwealth Baptist College, and a newly opened distance learning extension of Indiana Wesleyan University.

Lexington is home to many thriving arts organizations including a professional orchestra, two ballet companies, professional theatre, several museums including a basketball museum, several choral organizations and a highly respected opera program at the University of Kentucky. In addition, there are several events and fairs that draw people from throughout the Bluegrass.

Mayfest is a free outdoor festival that takes place annually over Mother's Day weekend. Held in Gratz park between the Carnegie Center and Transylvania University, the festival typically features up to 100 art and craft booths, live entertainment throughout the weekend, food, children's activities, adult activities and literary events, free carriage rides, a traditional Morris and Maypole dance and various demonstrations.

Lexingtonians gather downtown for the Fourth of July festivities which extend for several days. On July 3, the Gratz Park Historic District is transformed into an outdoor music hall when the Patriotic Music Concert is held on the steps of Morrison Hall at Transylvania University. The Lexington Singers and the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra perform at this event. On the Fourth, annual festivities include a reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the Old Courthouse, a waiter's race in Phoenix Park, a parade, a country music concert, and fireworks. Also, throughout the day street vendors sell their wares and food to the downtown visitors. The Fourth of July is considered to be the biggest holiday in Lexington.

The Lexington Christmas Parade: Held usually the first Saturday in December, the parade route follows Main Street between Midland and Broadway. Festivities include a pre-parade "Santa's Sleigh" charity race, food, light entertainment, and post-show activities.

Lexington is home to numerous museums and historical structures. One of the most famous is Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate along Richmond Road east of downtown. This two-story museum is a National Historic Landmark and was the former home of statesman Henry Clay.

Lexington Public Library, in the Phoenix Park area near the geographic center of Lexington, houses the world's largest ceiling clock, a five story Foucault pendulum and a frieze depicting the history of the horse in the Bluegrass. The library and its branches also house art galleries and traveling exhibits.

Another important museum is the Lexington History Center in the old Fayette County Courthouse in the heart of downtown. It offers two museums, one dedicated to the history of the region and the other dedicated to public safety. A third museum, devoted to the history of pharmaceuticals in the Bluegrass, is under construction. It will also be home to the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum in 2007 as well.

The local Woolworth's building appears on the National Register of Historic Places for being the site of civil rights protests against segregation during the 1960s. Nonetheless, the building was demolished in 2004 and turned into a parking lot.

Lexington's largest daily circulating newspaper is the Lexington Herald-Leader. It is also home to another daily circulating newspaper, two weekly publications, several bi-weekly and monthly papers, Chevy Chaser Magazine, Southsider Magazine, Business Lexington Newspaper and The Lane Report, a monthly statewide business magazine. The region is also served by seven primary television stations, including WLEX, WKYT, WTVQ, The CW, WKLE, and MyNetworkTV. The state's public television network, Kentucky Educational Television (KET), is headquartered in Lexington and is one of the nation's largest public networks. Lexington is also host to eighteen radio stations.

Lexington has over 100 parks ranging in size from the .20-acre (810 m2) Smith Street Park to the 659-acre (2.7 km2) Masterson Station Park . There are also six public golf courses at Avon, Kearney Links, Lakeside, Meadowbrook, Tates Creek and Picadome and four dog parks, at Jacobson, Masterson Station, Coldstream, and Wellington. It also has two public 18-hole disc golf courses at Shillito Park and at Veterans Park, and a public skate park at Woodland Park, featuring 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) of "ramps, platforms, bowls, and pipes".

Lexington is home to two historic horse racing tracks. Keeneland, sporting live races in April and October since 1936, is steeped in tradition where much has not changed since the track's opening. The Red Mile Harness Track is the oldest horse racing track in the city, and second oldest in the nation. This is where horses pull two-wheeled carts called sulkies while racing, also referred to as harness racing. The Kentucky Horse Park, located along scenic Iron Works Pike, is a relatively late-comer to Lexington, opening in 1978. It is a working horse farm and an educational theme park, along with holding the distinction of being a retirement home for some of the world's greatest competition horses including Cigar. It will play host to the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games.

The city is home to Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, a 734-acre (3.0 km2) nature preserve along the Kentucky River Palisades. There are 11 miles (18 km) of back-country hiking trails that range from wheelchair-accessible paved trails to difficult single-track trails. It is common to run across hopeful Appalachian Trail backpackers. The city has recently purchased land adjacent to the park which will make Raven Run the largest park in the city. Raven Run is home to over 56 species of trees, 600 species of plants, 200 species of birds, and other wildlife. Remains of a grist mill, homestead and limekiln remain. The preserve also has a nature center and various educational programs throughout the year. Such programs include seasonal wildflower walks, stargazing during the warmer months, evening insect tours, and historical walks and presentations.

The Arboretum is a one-hundred-acre preserve adjacent to the University of Kentucky. It features the Arboretum Woods, a small, 16-acre (65,000 m2) Bluegrass Woodland patch that is home to eighteen native Kentucky tree species, and more than 50 native Kentucky grasses and herbs. It also has 1,500 varieties of roses in the Rose Garden, a Home Demonstration Garden, and numerous paved paths and trails.

The city also plays host to the historic McConnell Springs, a 26-acre (110,000 m2) park within the industrial confines off of Old Frankfort Pike. There are two miles (3 km) of trails that surround the namesake springs, historic dry-laid stone fences, and historical structures.

The University of Kentucky is by far Lexington's most popular team. The school fields 22 varsity sports teams, most of which compete in the Southeastern Conference. The most famous team by far is the men's basketball team, led by head coach Billy Gillispie. The Kentucky Men's Basketball team have won 7 NCAA Championships and are the winningest program in college basketball history.Lexington's only other collegiate team, the Transylvania University Pioneers compete in NCAA Division III athletics.

Lexington is home to the Lexington Legends, a Class A minor league affiliate of the Houston Astros. Since its inception in 2001, Lexington has produced numerous major leaguers including John Buck (Catcher) of the Kansas City Royals, Kirk Saarloos (Starting Pitcher) of the Cincinnati Reds, and Mike Gallo (Relief Pitcher), of the Colorado Rockies. The Legends belong to the SAL (South Atlantic League), have one league title (2001) and four playoff appearances since 2001. Roger Clemens pitched in one game for the Legends in 2006 as part of his preparation to return to the Houston Astros.

The city is also home to the Lexington Horsemen, an arena football team in the arenafootball2 league. They have had strong success since their founding and have never missed the playoffs and have made it to the championship three different times winning one and coming very close in the other two.

Lexington was at one time home to the Kentucky Thoroughblades, a minor league (AHL) hockey team that played between 1996 and 2001. For one season (2002-2003) the ECHL Men O' War played minor league hockey in Lexington.

Lexington has been known as a major center for Race Horse breeding since the late 18th century due to the high calcium content in the soils of the Inner Bluegrass Region, which leads to stronger bones and greater durability in horses. The city is home to two horse racing tracks, Keeneland and the The Red Mile harness track. The Kentucky Horse Park in Northern Fayette County host the Rolex Kentucky Three Day, one of the top 5 annual equestrian eventing competitions in the world. The city will be hosting the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the world's largest equestrian event.

Lexington is serviced by both Interstate 64 and Interstate 75, though neither they nor any other freeway run through the city proper. New Circle Road (KY 4) acts as an inner-beltway around the city, Man o' War Boulevard is a semi outer-beltway south of New Circle Road, and numerous U.S. routes and arterial highways radiate out from downtown to provide access to the numerous bedroom communities ringing the metropolitan area. Citation Boulevard is planned to provide some relief to northern New Circle between Leestown Road and Russell Cave Road. Lexington suffers considerable traffic congestion for a city of its size due to the lack of out- or inbound freeways, the proximity of the University of Kentucky to downtown, and the substantial number of commuters from outlying towns.

Lexington is accessible by air with approximately 65 direct and nonstop flights daily from the two runways of Blue Grass Airport. Seven major airlines operate connection service at Blue Grass, including Allegiant Air, American Eagle Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Continental Express, Northwest Airlink, United Express, and US Airways Express.

The airport is located four miles (six km) west of the city at the intersection of US 60 (Versailles Road) and Man o' War Boulevard..

Prior to today's public transit city bus system, LexTran, Lexington was served by numerous private transit systems. The first such system was the Lexington Railway Company omnibuses which began operation in 1874 that used horse-drawn stagecoaches. The name changed to the Lexington Street Railway Company soon after to avoid confusion with the steam railroads. In 1890, the system was upgraded to streetcars and was referred to as the Kentucky Traction and Terminal Company. The streetcars ceased operations in 1938 when they were replaced by motorized buses under the Lexington Railway System name, which later became the Lexington Transit Corporation.

By the early 1970s, expenses associated with the operation of the motorized buses soon outstripped revenue for the Lexington Transit Corporation. In April 1972, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government incorporated the system under the local government and renamed the system LexTran. In 1997, LexTran introduced the Lexington Bluegrass Mobility Office. It offers carpooling and vanpooling computer ridematching services and Lex Van, a work commute vanpool leasing program.

Today, LexTran operates eight routes from 5:30 AM to 11:20 PM seven-days-a-week from the Lexington Transit Center along Vine Street in downtown. In 2004, the system received additional funding from a successful ballot initiative to implement a new property tax dedicated to helping fund the LexTran system. Since the tax referendum passed, LexTran's system has grown by 50% and the number of passenger boardings and operators more than doubled. The bus fleet will increase from 53 as of May 2007 to 60 by August 2007 as well.

For 2007, LexTran is poised to receive several upgrades to its fleet of buses and facilities. A renovation and expansion of the main LexTran facilities on East Loudon Avenue, expected to cost $7.5 million, has $4 million already secured. LexTran is also seeking $3.1 million for new buses, $1.5 million for an Automated Vehicle Locator, and $800,000 to purchase new fare boxes. Phase one of the expansion project includes the construction of a new bus fuel and wash building at 109 West Loudon Avenue, along with upgrades to the restrooms and break room at the Lexington Transit Center.

The Lexington Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is responsible for transportation planning for Fayette and Jessamine Counties. This includes activities such as carpool matching, administering a commuter vanpool program, air quality forecasting, bicycle and pedestrian planning, congestion management, and developing transportation plans and documents.

All four are, like Lexington, major centers of the Thoroughbred breeding industry in their respective countries.

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Source : Wikipedia