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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Lisa Autry

Western Kentucky University is taking another step toward increasing access and affordability for low-income students. 

President Timothy Caboni announced a new initiative on Thursday called the Hilltopper Guarantee. Starting next fall, WKU will be tuition-free to any first-year students from Kentucky who receive Pell Grants and have at least a 3.0 high school GPA.  

“This is a tremendous promise to the young people of this state, that we can guarantee if you’re from a low-income family but you’re a high achiever, a four-year degree from WKU is in your future," Caboni said.

Fons Cervera

Warren County Public schools will continue with a hybrid schedule of classes through the end of the calendar year. 

The decision is based, in part, on the state’s new system that tracks the number of coronavirus cases in K-12 schools. 

Under the state’s new metric for reopening schools to in-person classes, Warren County is in the Red category, meaning a daily rate of 25 individuals per 100,000 have a confirmed case of COVID-19. 

Gov. Andy Beshear is recommending any county in the Red category postpone all in-person learning until it reaches Yellow status, meaning less than ten confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 individuals. 

J.C. Kirby and Son Funeral Home

Funeral services are set for Bowling Green’s top infectious disease expert. Dr. Rebecca Shadowen passed away on Friday at the age of 62 following a four-month battle with COVID-19. 

According to her obituary, a walk-through visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m-9:00 p.m. at J.C. Kirby and Son Lovers Lane Chapel.  A private funeral service for family will be held at 1:00 p.m on Thursday, with burial to follow in Bowling Green Gardens.  The family requests all attendees wear masks and maintain social distancing to avoid the further spread of the coronavirus.

As the nation pauses to remember the 19th anniversary of the nine-eleven terrorist attacks on Friday, Daviess County residents will honor first responders close to home. 

The First Responders Memorial was erected on the lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse in the spring, but COVID-19 delayed its dedication.  The marker has been covered since then and will be unveiled during a ceremony at noon on Friday. 

Sergeant Adam Johnston with Owensboro Police says it’s been decades since Owensboro and Daviess County have had a first responder die in the line of duty.

“Unfortunately we won’t go without having another one.  It’s just a matter of time, but with training and safe habits, we’ve been able to go this long without a line of duty death.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky has now eclipsed 1,000 deaths since the coronavirus outbreak began six months ago.

Governor Andy Beshear called it a tough and unfortunate milestone in announcing on Wednesday that 1,004 Kentuckians have now died from COVID-19 since March.

“They’re one of us, and no matter how old they were, they deserved time," Beshear said. "No matter what other complicating health factors they had, this played a part in it, and we owe it to them to work hard to limit the future casualties we have.”


WKU

New research shows the number of Kentucky high school students enrolling in dual credit courses has increased more than 75 percent in recent years. Higher education leaders see dual credit as an effective gateway into college.

The dual credit program allows high school students to enroll in college courses at their high school, nearby college, or online, and receive credit that counts toward high school and college completion.

A report from the Council on Postsecondary Education measured the impact of dual credit on student success at public, four-year universities.  It's the first comprehensive study since Kentucky launched a statewide dual credit policy and scholarship program in 2016 to improve participation.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s chief election officer says voter registration numbers are slowly rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The number of new registrants flatlined in March, in part, because COVID-19 made it difficult to hold voter registration drives. 

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams announced this week the number of Kentuckians registered to vote increased slightly following the June primary election. 

From June 24-July 31, a total of 21,548 people were added to the state's voter rolls.

Kentucky Red Cross

The American Red Cross has deployed some Kentuckians to Texas and Louisiana to assist with relief efforts following Hurricane Laura, which hit the Gulf Coast last week

The Category 4 hurricane made landfall last Thursday just south of Lake Charles, Louisiana, packing 150-mph winds and a storm surge that officials said was as high as 15 feet in some areas. At least 18 people were killed.

The coronavirus pandemic is changing how the Red Cross responds to disasters. While COVID-19 hasn't changed the agency's mission, it has changed how missions are carried out. For instance, instead of mass shelters, the displaced are being housed in hotels and dormitories.


Lisa Autry

Ahead of Monday’s reopening, leaders at Western Kentucky University have their fingers on the launch button for what’s being called the Big Red Restart.  The campus is coming back to life after in-person learning was canceled due to the coronavirus.

"Did you guys get everything out of the car?," asks Anna Tranter. "The refrigerator? What about the microwave? Oh, it's right there."

Tranter is moving into a residence hall at WKU, a rite of passage for thousands of incoming freshmen.  She’s from the northern Kentucky town of Edgewood, and plans to major in fashion merchandising.  Her family is helping her move into her room on the 6th floor of Minton Hall.


BGISD

Less than a week before the new school year starts, the superintendent of the Bowling Green Independent School District, Gary Fields, has tested positive for COVID-19. 

"On Friday, when I spoke to the Board of Education about returning to school, I said a reality of the current time is that positive cases of COVID-19 will occur and there will be times when students and staff are isolated or quarantined," Fields wrote in a Facebook post. "At the time of that statement, I did not realize how close that reality would be for me."

In a statement, Fields said he had an anti-body test on Thursday morning as a free service offered to all school district employees.  That afternoon, Fields was told he tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, but there wasn’t a need for him to isolate unless he developed symptoms.  He then received a nasal swab test, and on Monday evening, Fields says he learned the second test was positive.

Warren County Public Schools

The Warren County Board of Education has affirmed Superintendent Rob Clayton’s decision to resume classes in-person next week. 

School board members voted 3-2 Monday night on a reopening plan that includes both in-person and online instruction. 

Students who chose to participate in the virtual academy will see no changes, but students who prefer in-person classes will be separated into two groups.  Each group will attend in-person classes two days a week and be home three days a week for virtual instruction.


WKU

For the first time since the coronavirus hit in March, Western Kentucky University will reopen to in-person learning next Monday.

During his annual convocation to faculty and staff on Monday, President Timothy Caboni acknowledged the difficulty of the past five months while sharing some of the school’s milestones. 

In a departure from a packed auditorium at Van Meter Hall, President Caboni delivered his speech virtually to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.  While acknowledging the coronavirus as the largest challenge in WKU history, Caboni highlighted some successes in recruitment, retention, and graduation.


Creative Commons

On the same day that Kentucky hit a new record for the number of COVID-19 cases, the Hardin County Board of Education voted Wednesday evening to proceed with in-person classes.  

The school district, with 14,600 students, is planning to begin the academic year on Aug. 24 by offering traditional classroom instruction, as well as a virtual academy.  That was the district’s original plan before Gov. Andy Beshear advised districts to postpone in-person classes until Sept. 28. 

Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Brown has said school systems could face a state shutdown if they defied the governor’s recommendation.  John Wright, Director of Public Relations for Hardin County schools, says the board’s 4-1 decision reflected what most families in the district wanted.

Kentucky school districts are going back to the drawing board as they prepare to reopen under the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Andy Beshear has recommended that school districts not resume traditional in-person classroom instruction until September 28, and instead begin the school year remotely. 

Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton issued a statement on Tuesday calling the governor's recommendation a surprise.

"The negative impact on our most vulnerable students along with the harships it will create for our working families and the industries they serve are insurmountable," wrote Clayton.

Starting next fall, Western Kentucky University will admit some students without taking into account their scores on standardized tests. 

Members of the Board of Regents heard a presentation on Friday about how the school is placing less emphasis on the role of tests like the ACT when it comes to enrolling freshmen.

President Timothy Caboni said the school wants to reward four years of high school success instead of one day of testing.

“While testing can tell you some portion of a student’s capability and capacity, the GPA in high school is the best predictor of college success, so we think we should use that more than other metrics," Caboni told reporters following the Regents meeting.

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