Colin Jackson

Morning Edition Host/Reporter

Colin Jackson joined the WKU Public Radio news team in October 2018 as Morning Edition Host and Reporter. Jackson comes to Kentucky from Michigan where he worked in the newsroom of NPR member station WDET in Detroit. He also has experience as a host and producer with Townsquare Media in Lansing, Michigan and Impact 89FM in East Lansing.

Colin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Relations & Policy and Spanish from Michigan State University. 

Bowling Green area environmental activists celebrated Earth Day Thursday night with a rally and march from the campus of Western Kentucky University to the Warren County Justice Center.

The Sunrise Movement-organized event called for collective action against climate change in the form of policy changes, increased recyling, and decreased reliance on fossil fuels, among other steps.

Co-organizer De'inara Carter said she's encouraged by the Biden Adminstration's move to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, but wants more steps taken on the local level.

"I would like to see more recycling away from WKU," Carter said. "We do need to start mandating things within the city. Going green, solar panels...really getting our rural community together, getting them in on the conversation."

Whether it's art, literature, bluegrass, blues, or any other cultural form, Black Kentuckians have had a hand in shaping it.

Now, a new series airing Saturdays at 9:35 a.m. ET/8:35 a.m. CT during Weekend Edition on WKU Public Radio is exploring that history.

Show host and WKU student Lamont Pearley said The African American Folklorist will be an opportunity to provide a look at the more personal side of culture.

"The thing with folklore, outside of history or entertainment, is we have an opportunity to honor, celebrate, and platform the auntie that lives next door that only three people know about this lady. But those three people, since they were born, she provided some cultural service," Pearley said.

Hear more from Pearley below:

Colin Jackson

Saturday marked the one-year anniversary since Louisville police killed EMT Breonna Taylor during a raid on her home.

Several Bowling Green area residents gathered Saturday at the SoKY Marketplace to hold their own remembrance of Taylor's Life.

First-term Bowling Green City Commissioner Carlos Bailey was among those who spoke at the memorial.

He said proposals like a ban on no-knock search warrants like the one that led to Taylor's death can protect both citizens and officers.

"We want to protect people but also want to protect law enforcement as well. But we also want to make sure that people are held accountable when things do go awry. So hopefully, we've been talking behind the scenes and hopefully those conversations have been productive," Bailey said.

Taylor family

A Saturday event is giving residents in the Bowling Green area the chance to gather in solidarity to mark the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death during a police raid in Louisville.

The rally organized by the group Bowling Green Freedom Walkers plans to honor the 26-year-old paramedic’s life with guest speakers, coat and jacket collections, and a banner to be presented to Taylor’s mother.

Karika Nelson, a founding member of the group, says she’s seen some progress since Taylor’s death, but would like to see more.

“I think Kentucky, since this whole movement with Black Lives Matter and after Breonna Taylor, that it has opened a lot of people’s eyes,” Nelson told WKU Public Radio. “But just saying, or seeing, or coming to a protest is not good enough—just agreeing with the theory. You have to be able to change somebody else’s mind, or stand up whenever it’s not the popular thing to stand up for.”

Warren County Public Schools

Warren County Public Schools will soon decide whether to accept new boundaries for its elementary schools.

The WCPS school board will vote at a Feb. 22 meeting on the proposed changes, which impact the boundary lines for a little less than half of the elementary schools in the district.

WCPS communications director Morgan Watson said being one of the fastest growing districts in the commonwealth means the district must re-examine its boundaries every few years.

"Whenever the district looks at the possibility of changing the boundary lines, they look at many things, including the transportation of students to and from the schools, proximity of that available transporation to and from the school. They also look at socio-economic background and future developments of schools, current developments in those areas," Watson said.

Ft. Knox

The Ft. Knox Army base has made substantial progress on getting its allotment of COVID-19 vaccine to patients.

The military installation first began administering the shots it received from the U.S. Dept. of Defense during the opening phases of its campaign on Jan. 6.

Dr. James Stephens, Chief of Preventive Medicine at Ft. Knox, said the Army post had administered 100% of the doses it had received within about two weeks.

"We are getting by-name lists regarding the military especially. We've already gone through several of the lists," Dr. Stephens said. "For the beneficiaries, those people who are active duty service members or family members who are high risk or otherwise, that is what the MEDDAC is working on right now."

Courtesy of Colmon Elridge

In November, Colmon Elridge became the first Black person to become the chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party.

He's taking over at time when America is facing a racial reckoning.

A grandchild of a housekeeper who was never allowed to use the front door where she worked, the Georgetown, KY, resident is now a welcome guest at the governor's mansion. It's a journey he said he takes with him every day.

However, Elridge is also inherting a party that has suffered several losses in recent elections, meaning the work is cut out for him.

Kentucky Department of Education

The Kentucky Department of Education's first ever chief equity officer has experience with adversity, segregation, and public schooling.

The Arkansas native and nationally honored former school superintendent, Dr. Thomas Woods-Tucker, plans on taking those lessons with him to the Bluegrass State.

The Kentucky Board of Education issued a resolution in July declaring its commitment to addressing inequality. It was a move that helped convince Woods-Tucker to take the position.

During a conversation this month WKU Public Radio, just days after starting the job, Deputy Commissioner Woods-Tucker said few other states have taken that step.

Colin Jackson

As COVID-19 cases surges, it's tempting to look back at other epidemics the country has faced, including HIV and AIDS in the 1980s and 90s.

Since COVID-19 is especially dangerous for those with pre-existing conditions, the care HIV and AIDS positive individuals receive is vital. One western Kentucky-based organization is continuing to provide as many services as possible during the pandemic.

In non-pandemic times, Matthew 25 AIDS Services, Inc. health educators LaDeirdre Mumford and Jenika Soni's job would involve going out into the community. Their normal duties range from holding testing events to attending activities like health fairs or even drag shows, and just about everything in between. 

Colin Jackson

Tuesday is the first day of early voting in-person voting in Kentucky.

Warren County residents showed up steadily starting Tuesday morning at the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center—or SKyPAC—to cast their ballots ahead of the November general election.

Chasity Rodgers voted along with some older family members earlier in the day, then came back in the afternoon to bring her neighbor. She said she hasn't missed an election so far.

Joel Brouwer

The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates there are 1,747 public symbols of the Confederacy still in place in the United States.

Rather than take down salutes to the losing side after the American Civil War, as was the case following the Revolutionary War, World War II, and the U.S. invasion in Iraq, monuments went up.

In his new book, Down Along with That Devil's Bones, author Connor Towne O'Neill explores dedications to Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest in the cities of Selma, Alabama, and the Tennessee cities of Murfreesboro, Nashville and Memphis.

Jessica Mason / Bowling Green International Festival

The 30th annual Bowling Green International Festival is taking place this weekend in a way unlike ever before.

Keeping with the 2020 tradition of social distancing, this year's festival will take place for free online via live stream on the event's website and Facebook page.

Leyda Becker is the international communities liason with the city of Bowling Green, as secretary for the festival's board of directors.

She said planners looked at similar events around the nation that also went virtual, in an effort to figure out how to best convert the experience of walking around Circus Square Park and learning about different cultures to an online-only medium.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Jeremy W. Osborne

The deadline to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census form is Sept. 30. That means counties like Warren are stepping up their door-to-door efforts to count every resident.

In the spring, the bureau started sending out surveys through the mail. As of Monday, 67.6% of Kentucky households had completed the census form on their own.

In Warren County, that estimated number is only 66.4% of estimated households. It's a number the Bowling Green-Warren County Complete Count Committee would like to see move higher.

Colin Jackson

The Bowling Green Police Department honored Ret. Chief Doug Hawkins on his last day Friday with a luncheon at the SOKY Marketplace Pavillion.

Local law enforcement, county and government officials, gathered to celebrate Hawkins' 30 years with the department.

Hawkins said he's most proud of brining a police training academy to Bowling Green.

"Establising the Bowling Green Law Enforcement Academy is going to be, I think, a pivotal moment in the history of the department, and I think it is going to pay dividends for many, many, many years to come," Hawkins said.

Warren County Public Schools

Two new therapy dogs will be waiting for Warren County Public Schools students who are returning this fall. 

The addition is among the latest steps to better serve children's mental health needs ater the school received a federal grant last year.

Todd Hazel is director of student services for WCPS, and a caretaker for one of the new labradoodles. He said dogs have a unique way of helping students.

"In schools for over 20 years, I've seen how well dogs interact with students. And you can take a child who's going through a crisis that may not want to talk to an adult, or have anything to do with an adult. But you can bring a dog in, and it's amazing how quick that child can open up," Hazel said.