WKU Public Radio News

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The award-winning news team at WKU Public Radio consists of Dan Modlin, Kevin Willis, Lisa Autry, and Joe Corcoran.

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Former Bardstown Mayor John Royalty will likely avoid jail time after being criminally charged with abusing his power and violating privacy laws while in office.

WDRB reports Royalty made an agreement with prosecutors that includes delaying the case for five years.

The agreement also allows Royalty to have the case expunged from his record.

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The process of adding another family court judge for the Somerset region is moving along.

The filing period opened Monday for candidates seeking the new judgeship that covers Pulaski, Lincoln, and Rockcastle counties.

The 28th Judicial Circuit has the heaviest family court caseload in the state.

The Commonwealth Journal reports that current Family Court Judge Marcus Vanover closed more than 3,800 cases in 2017.

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The number of Tennesseans casting ballots during the state’s early voting period continues to increase.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett told The Tennessean that early voting is up about 2 percent compared to the same time period during the 2014 election cycle.

The early voting period in the Volunteer State began July 13 and ends July 28. A little more than 273,000 ballots had been cast by July 20.

J. Tyler Franklin

The cost of Governor Bevin’s ongoing investigation of former Governor Steve Beshear’s administration has doubled to $1 million, with Kentucky taxpayers footing the bill.

Bevin initially approved a two-year, $500,000 contract for an Indianapolis law firm in 2016 to search for corruption in the Beshear administration.

The Herald-Leader reports the Bevin administration has now approved a two-year, $500,000 extension of the contract.

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Kentucky is taking steps to counteract one of the fastest growing hepatitis C infection rates in the nation.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that can lead to liver infection if untreated. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, and jaundice.

It’s most commonly spread when people share needles or other equipment to inject drugs.

A law that went into effect July 1 made Kentucky the first state to require health care providers to test pregnant women for the virus.

Ryland Barton

A Kentucky college student has produced a documentary about the saga surrounding the recent passage of a new public pension law, and the loud protests of public school teachers who opposed the measure.

The 25 minute documentary is called 151, a reference to the bill number of the controversial pension law.

The Herald-Leader reports it was produced by Asbury sophomore John Bowling, and recent University of Kentucky graduate Sawyer Holcomb.

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A liberal group is taking aim at a Kentucky judge who is on President Trump’s short list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees.

The group Demand Justice is behind a digital ad portraying federal appeals court judge Amul Thapar as a far right jurist who wrote a 2016 ruling that threw out a prohibition against judges making political contributions.

The Herald-Leader reports it’s one of five ads the activist group is releasing against judges who appeared on an official Supreme Court short list issued by the White House last fall.

WKU Athletic Communications/Media Relations

Western Kentucky University is mourning the loss of its men’s golf coach.

Phillip Hatchett was killed early Sunday morning after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle with other cyclists on U.S. 68 in Logan County.

Hatchett was 55 years old.

Investigators in the Logan County Sheriff's Office have reported that 27-year-old Robert Stokes of Elkton, in Todd County, was driving west about 7:30 a.m. Sunday when he came upon the bicyclists in the emergency lane, also headed westbound.

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The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that part of Kentucky’s death law in unconstitutional.

The decision stems from a case involving a man convicted of murdering a Muhlenberg County teenager 20 years ago.

Robert Keith Woodall was sentenced to death after pleading guilty to viciously attacking 16-year-old Sarah Hansen, raping her, and then dumping her body in a freezing lake where she drowned.

WKU

The longest-serving professor at Western Kentucky University has passed away.

Mary Ellen Miller taught English at the school for 54 years. She died over the weekend in Bowling Green at the age of 83.

She had been recuperating at Greenwood Rehabilitation Center after suffering a fall.

A post on the WKU English Department’s Facebook page said Miller’s death “is an enormous loss for the English Department, WKU, our region, and the arts community”.

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2nd District U.S. House Race

Kentucky Democrats have chosen a former self-employed musician who lives in Grayson County to face Republican U.S. Congressman Brett Guthrie in the November general election.

Hank Linderman took 30 percent of the vote in a four-way Democratic primary.

He won by about 700 votes over the second-place primary finisher, Brian Pedigo of Glasgow.

Guthrie didn’t face a GOP primary challenge.

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Western Kentucky University has named a new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Dr. Terry Ballman will begin August 1, succeeding David Lee, who is retiring. 

Ballman is currently Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at California State University in San Bernardino. 

“I was drawn to the mission of WKU as a student-centered applied research university that prepares students of all backgrounds to succeed in a global society,” Dr. Ballman said in a news release. “After visiting WKU’s beautiful campus, and meeting with dedicated faculty, staff and students, I was even more intrigued with the opportunity to serve.”

WKU SGA

The president of the Student Government Association at Western Kentucky University says she’s lost confidence in the school’s administrators. 

After months of distress, Andi Dahmer is going public with allegations that some fellow SGA members have harassed and threatened her safety, and claims the university has done little to remedy the threats. 

The College Heights Herald first reported that Dahmer has been the target of harassment since the fall semester.  Dahmer says she’s done nothing to warrant the treatment, but thinks her political views may have contributed to the tensions.

Lisa Autry

Kentucky’s Second District Congressman is holding what his office is calling “Conversations with Constituents” in three parts of our listening area this week.

Republican Brett Guthrie will be in Radcliff Monday, April, at the Colvin Community Center.

He’ll be in Danville Tuesday afternoon at the Boyle County Public Library, and at the Western Kentucky University campus in Owensboro Wednesday

All of the events begin at 3 p.m. local time.

Guthrie’s office says the gatherings will be unscripted, and will allow local citizens to address the Bowling Green Congressman about any issue they feel is important.

Motorists planning to travel south on Interstate 65 are being warned to expect extremely heavy traffic this weekend.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Office in Elizabethtown says slow driving conditions havebeen experienced in recent years heading into the week when many schools are out on spring break.

Friday afternoon and early evening are expected to see the heaviest traffic volume, although Saturday and Sunday will likely be much more congested than what’s usually experienced on the weekend.

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