Lisa Autry

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum.  She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years.  Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville.  She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky.  Many of her stories have been heard on NPR. 

Ky.gov

Governor Matt Bevin is on an economic development trip to Asia this week. The trade mission to Japan and the Republic of Korea will encourage more job creation in Kentucky.

  Kentucky continues to make strides in the number of residents who are able to obtain and afford health insurance. But those gains may be at risk if the state moves forward with its Medicaid waiver. 

Fewer Kentucky children are dying at the hands of an abuser, but the number of cases of child abuse is drastically rising. 

WFPL.ORG

A poll released this month by Western Kentucky University suggests that Mitch McConnell is the least popular among the state’s two Republican U.S. Senators.

A survey of more than 500 of the state’s residents at least 18 years old gave the Senate Majority Leader a 30 percent approval rating. WKU Political Science Professor Joel Turner heads the Social Science Research Center at WKU, which conducted the poll.

He says popularity typically hasn’t been behind McConnell’s rise to leadership.

LRC.GOV

 

An ethics panel will meet tomorrow to consider a case against four Republican lawmakers who signed a secret sexual harassment settlement. The hearing by the Legislative Ethics Commission is the result of a complaint filed by a Democratic lawmaker. 

IStock

Kentuckians are being told to take steps now to prepare for their home heating 
demands this winter. 

Inventories of U.S. heating oil and propane are lower this year than last year. Weather is the main factor in the demand for propane and colder winters both increase demand and impact deliveries. While propane production has increased in the U.S. the past several years, there are several challenges, including less storage capacity at production facilities.

Mary Meehan

Another community in south central Kentucky has signed off on the creation of a needle exchange for drug abusers. In a 4-3 vote, the Barren County Fiscal Court approved the program that will allow intravenous drug users to swap dirty needles for clean ones at the local health department.

Kentucky.com

The backlog of untested rape kits in Kentucky has grown larger than the initial 3,000 discovered in 2015.

While testing is complete on the original backlog, officials uncovered 1,500 so-called “boomerang kits”.

Those are rape kits sent to the crime lab, not tested for various reasons, and then returned to law enforcement agencies.

The state recently received a nearly $3 million federal grant to test those kits from the U.S. Department of Justice.

LRC.GOV

An ongoing investigation into sexual harassment in the Kentucky legislature still hasn’t determined who paid to settle the claims and for how much. Former House Speaker Jeff Hoover and his accuser are denying the hush money came from political donors.

WFPL

U.S. Senator Rand Paul is breaking his silence about this month’s attack outside his Bowling Green home.  His neighbor, Rene Boucher, is charged with misdemeanor assault after allegedly tackling Paul from behind while he was mowing his lawn.

Senator Paul told Fox News Tuesday that Boucher made some comments right after the attack to “try to indicate why he was unhappy,” but the Republican lawmaker didn’t elaborate.

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says Kentucky farmers continue to gain more access to major grocery chains. 

Quarles says the Kentucky Proud program is expanding to help the state’s beef producers. 

A plan is underway to process beef cattle in Wolfe County, and distribute the ground beef to more than 80 Kroger stores in Kentucky.

The superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools says the pension proposal unveiled by Kentucky’s Republican leaders is "second-rate" compared to the current retirement system. 

Dr. Nick Brake applauds GOP leaders for not raising the retirement age to 65 for teachers, but fears that other reforms, if enacted, would make it harder for the state to attract quality educators.

The superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools says the pension proposal unveiled by Kentucky’s Republican leaders is second-rate compared to the current retirement system. 

  Attorney General Andy Beshear is asking the General Assembly to consider legislation that would provide better protections to Kentuckians affected by a data breach.  The proposed changes to state law follow a major hacking at Equifax.

Eastern Kentucky residents have access to more mental health providers than the rest of the state, but proportionately, there are fewer primary physicians in the Appalachian region.

Public employees in the Bowling Green region worried about their retirement benefits have a chance to hear from state lawmakers in a town hall. 

Legislators from south central Kentucky will speak in Bowling Green Wednesday evening at a public meeting hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police. 

Governor Matt Bevin has promised to call a special legislative session this fall to rein in the state's pension debt.  Consultants have recommended pay cuts for some retired workers while freezing the benefits of most other public employees. 

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green knows a thing or two about natural disasters, having experienced a massive sinkhole in 2014.  Now the museum is offering a hand to Florida residents trying to escape Hurricane Irma. 

The museum off I-65 is opening its parking lots for cars, trailers, and RVs.  The offer is extended to anyone, not just Corvette owners. 

Ken Herald and his wife were visiting the museum Thursday.  The couple from Fort Meyers, Florida was headed to Indianapolis to stay with relatives.  While they won’t be camping out at the museum, Herald says he appreciates the gesture.

Eighteen members of the Kentucky Air National Guard are in Texas helping stranded residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. 

The 123rd Special Tactics Squadron out of Louisville specializes in swift-water rescues, confined-space operations, and emergency medical care. 

"The 123rd STS has taken all of it's equipment down, ATVs and inflatable motor boats, to provide search and rescue, and any support as needed," said Major Steve Martin.

Kentucky state senator Dennis Parrett is joining the chamber’s Democratic leadership. The senator from Hardin County will replace ousted minority whip Julian Carroll in the 2018 legislative session.

Kentuckians wanting to fly on a plane, enter federal buildings, or visit military posts will need a new driver’s license or identification card in the near future. 

Unlike most states, the commonwealth is out of compliance with the Real ID Act, a federal law that was passed in 2005 following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 

The law requires new cards with added security features, and a new process for how the cards are issued. 

As the U.S. Senate this week voted to hold debate over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear accused some Republican politicians of “religious hypocrisy.”

Beshear said some lawmakers have turned their backs on people who need health care. The former Democratic governor said it’s unfortunate that elected leaders take advantage of religion and use it as a political tool.

"When a politician running for office talks in religious terms people believe them and think that's a good person, and vote for them.  The problem is that a lot of these guys and gals preach like the prophets when they're running and govern like Pontius Pilate when they're serving," Beshear told WKU Public Radio. "What kind of Christian principles is it when you want to throw 22 million people off health care coverage? There may be problems with the Affordable Care Act, and we need to fix them, but the answer isn't to turn millions of people out of the health care they desperately need."

A group of Kentuckians tasked with setting up a framework for charter schools to operate is officially down to work.

A federal judge in Kentucky has denied an Iraqi native’s bid to vacate his life sentence on terrorism-related crimes. 

Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and a co-defendant were arrested in 2012 while living in Bowling Green. 

Hammadi argued that his court-appointed attorney James Earhart assured him he would get a lesser sentence if he pleaded guilty.   The 29-year-old Hammadi also contended that he didn’t know a life sentence was possible as a result of his plea, or else he would not have pleaded guilty. 

Lisa Autry WKU Public Radio

Every first Saturday in May, Kentucky is home to the most exciting two minutes in sports.  On August 21, the state will be home to the most exciting two minutes in astronomy…two minutes and 40 seconds to be exact. 

Hopkinsville, Kentucky will be the epicenter of the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the United States in 99 years.  For a town of just over 30,000 people, it’s a really big deal.   


Some Kentucky and southern Indiana physicians have been charged in what U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions calls the largest health care fraud takedown in the nation’s history. 

The medical providers from Louisville and Evansville were indicted Thursday on multiple offenses, including illegally prescribing opioids, billing for unnecessary treatments, identity theft, and money laundering. 

After struggling with low recruitment numbers in recent years, Kentucky State Police are opening doors for a larger pool of applicants.

The Kentucky State Police agency is holding town hall meetings across the state in an effort to boost recruitment numbers that have declined in recent years. 

The meetings will highlight some new requirements aimed at attracting a larger pool of applicants.  Aspiring troopers were once required to have 60 hours of college credit and two years of active duty service as a soldier or police officer. 

"There's a lot of young men who come out of school and go to work on the family farm or straight into the workforce," said Trooper BJ Eaton.  "Out east or west, we have a lot of young men who follow in family footsteps and go to work in the coal mines, so they wouldn't have those minimum requirements that we've always required."

Trey Grayson is leaving the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.  The former Republican politician says he is “looking at other options,” but has not yet decided on his next career move. 

Grayson has served as president and CEO of Chamber since 2014. 

“Trey has accomplished many great things as the leader of our Chamber and presided over one of the best legislative sessions for Kentucky businesses in recent history,” said Brent Cooper, who will serve as interim president of the Chamber. “I know I speak for the entire Chamber membership and staff as well as the Northern Kentucky community when I say that we are extremely grateful that Trey came back home to lead our organization.”

Many companies in Kentucky say the jobs are out there, but the workers are not. 

The state Society for Human Resource Management released a survey this week of 1,084 companies.

Eighty-four percent of the companies surveyed said they’re having trouble filling jobs.  The survey found the biggest shortages are in healthcare, engineering, and skilled trades.  Most of the businesses are expecting growth in the next few years, increasing the need for qualified employees. 

Secretary Hal Heiner in the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet says a high school diploma is no longer enough.

"Many of the experts are predicting that in about eight years, 2025, 80 percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require a credential or some education past high school," Heiner told WKU Public Radio.

Members of the LGBT community and their supporters want a judge in south central Kentucky to resign over his opposition to gay adoptions. 

Judge Mitchell Nance, a family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties, has recused himself from presiding over adoptions by homosexual parents.  He said he believes allowing gay couples to adopt is not in a child’s best interest.  His announcement has drawn a range of opinions, some calling for him to step down from the bench.

In a rally outside the Barren County Courthouse, Chadwick Shockley of Glasgow said he knows Judge Nance personally and was surprised by his recusal.

"It was like a kick in the head for him to infer that I was not fit to be a parent," Shockley told WKU Public Radio.  "I've raised two sons and a daughter with my husband."


Pages