Lisa Autry

Reporter/Producer

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. 

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Somerset Mayor's Office

Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler made his first court appearance on Friday stemming from a hit-and-run involving a juvenile last month. 

Girdler’s arraignment was postponed after the prosecutor recused himself.  Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield filed a motion to step down from the case, citing a conflict of interest. 

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear will either appoint another county attorney or have an attorney from his Special Prosecutions Unit prosecute the case. 

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Kentucky’s top corrections official says staying out of prison could be as easy as having a job for some former inmates.

The state is developing a partnership between prisons and industries in hopes of both decreasing recidivism and filling vacant jobs.  Under the initiative, industries would move some operations to prison grounds, and provide training and near private sector wages to inmates.

A felony record often shuts former inmates out of the job market and that increases their chances of committing more offenses and returning to jail.  

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The chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court says there’s a growing movement across the nation to reform the pre-trial justice system. 

John Minton, Jr. says the current method of setting bail disproportionately affects low-income defendants who aren’t able to pay for release after being charged with low-level, non-violent offenses.

“We don’t need to lose sight of the number one, bedrock principle and that is the presumption of innocence operates in every case, so that presumption does not need to be lost," Minton told WKU Public Radio.

Jane Venters\Melinda Dalton

A new family court judgeship for Pulaski, Lincoln, and Rockcastle counties has created a three-way race.

A second family court judge is being added to the 28th Judicial Circuit, which has the heaviest family court caseload in the state.

Among the candidates is Somerset attorney Jane Adams Venters.  Venters has been practicing since 1985 and specializes in family law and civil litigation.

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour has lost one of its attractions with the closure of a Bowling Green distillery. 

Corsair Distillery closed its doors on Friday, laying off six employees.  Founded in Bowling Green in 2008, the small-batch distilling company became a stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour and exposed the city to visitors from around the world. 

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A new poll suggests that a majority of Kentuckians think the nation’s criminal justice system is in need of reform, and they want U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring reform legislation to the floor for a vote. 

Kentucky’s other U.S. Senator, Rand Paul, has long been a proponent of criminal justice reform.  He spoke in a teleconference on Thursday with Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner and representatives from the Justice Action Network and Freedom Works.

Bobby Ellis

Kentucky’s interim education commissioner says more high school students need to take advantage of early opportunities to earn credits in postsecondary education. 

During his State of Education Address this week, Wayne Lewis encouraged more participation in the state’s Dual Credit and Work Ready scholarships that offer tuition assistance and a path toward college or a technical career. 

WKU

Western Kentucky University President Timothy Caboni says the first year of his tenure wasn’t what he envisioned as financial challenges forced the school to make difficult decisions through reorganizations and layoffs.

"I can't tell you how proud I am of the way our campus responded.  And yes, we bent as a university, but we did not break," Caboni said.

As a new academic year gets underway, Dr. Caboni outlined his priorities in the annual Convocation to faculty and staff on Friday. 

Credit Kate Ter Haar/Creative Commons

The public is being asked to weigh in on Kentucky’s foster care and adoption system that has ballooned to include more than 9,000 children. 

The state’s Citizen Foster Care Review Boards are preparing to hold community forums around the state and the first one takes place Friday in Elizabethtown. 

Recommendations gathered at those meetings will be sent to the Kentucky legislature, governor, and Supreme Court. 

An education board in Kentucky has voted to eliminate a requirement that public school teachers earn a Master’s degree to continue in the profession. 

The Education Professional Standards Board voted on Monday to approve a waiver that eliminates the mandate for teachers to move to Rank II.  The panel said the move will provide school districts with greater flexibility in recruiting and retaining educators. 

Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton says when he initially learned of the decision, he was worried the state was lowering standards for teachers.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Kentucky’s public schools would be required to post the national motto of “In God We Trust” inside their buildings under legislation that’s been pre-filed for next legislative session.  The bill is being sponsored by State Representative Brandon Reed, a LaRue County evangelist.

“In a time of rampant drug use, increasing school violence, and mounting cases of suicide among our youth, we need God in our schools now more than ever,” stated Reed.

WKU PBS

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky says President Trump should continue revoking the security clearance of former government officials. 

Paul is applauding the President's decision to revoke the security clearance of John Brennan.  The former CIA director has been critical of the president for meeting with Vladimir Putin and maintaining a dialogue with the Russian leader.  Trump and Paul maintain that diplomacy with Russia is necessary.

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A former Western Kentucky University football star has been charged with drug trafficking.  Nacarius Fant was arrested in Bowling Green on Tuesday afternoon. 

The Bowling Green -Warren County Drug Task Force with help from Kentucky State Police took Frant into custody during a traffic stop at Chesnut and Regents Streets. 

Fant was charged with four counts of trafficking in a controlled substance (over four grams), which is a Class C Felony.  Drug Task Force Director Tommy Loving says the investigation began six weeks ago and police made four undercover cocaine purchases from Fant before his arrest.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Kentucky’s Legislative Ethics Commission is asking state lawmakers to update an existing law to specifically prohibit workplace sexual harassment by lawmakers against their staff. 

The legislative ethics law currently doesn’t include such language.  The ethics panel has investigated such cases in the past, mostly recently involving former House Speaker Jeff Hoover, but on the grounds of misuse of public office. 

Legislative Ethics Commission Director John Schaaf told WKU Public Radio that updating the law would remove any questions about whether the panel has jurisdiction to investigate sexual harassment allegations against lawmakers.

WKU

Employees of Kentucky’s public colleges and universities will continue to receive tuition assistance in the upcoming fall semester, despite the end of a program that allowed them take some classes for free at other schools. 

The General Assembly this year eliminated a statewide mandatory tuition waiver requirement that allowed full-time employees of post-secondary institutions to take up to six credit hours per semester at no cost.  House Bill 592 retained those benefits only for employees of state and locally operated secondary area technology centers.

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