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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Freedom From Religion Foundation

A federal judge has ordered the state of Kentucky to pay more than $150,000 in legal fees stemming from a lawsuit against the state Transportation Cabinet. 

The state must pay for work performed by attorneys for the ACLU of Kentucky and the Freedom from Religion Foundation.  The two groups represented Kenton County resident Ben Hart. 

Hart, who is an atheist, filed a lawsuit in 2016 after the Transportation Cabinet denied him a personalized license plate that read “IMGOD.”  The Division of Motor Vehicles said the message was “not in good taste.” 


Kentucky Division of Emergency Management

Emergency crews in Kentucky are monitoring continued rainfall that poses the risk for a second round of flooding in some counties. 

Many homes were damaged and several people had to be rescued from their vehicles last week in some of the worst flooding to hit the region in decades.  Michael Dossett, director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, says the flooding rivals the historic 1977 flood that resulted in ten deaths in eastern Kentucky.  A 74-year-old man from Whitley County who was reported missing last week was found dead in his submerged car on Monday night.

Eight counties in southeast Kentucky are under a state of emergency.


Lisa Autry

The Bowling Green Police Department has won approval to open its own training academy.  

Recruits in Warren and surrounding counties currently have to travel to the Department of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond, and be away from their families during weekdays for five months. 

Police Chief Doug Hawkins says the local academy will offer curriculum and training that’s specific to Bowling Green.


Some federal lawmakers from Kentucky are urging the Army to choose Fort Knox for a new leadership headquarters.

The Hardin County post is one of three finalists for the Army’s fourth corps headquarters, which is a three-star level command that oversees deployment of divisions and brigades throughout the world. 

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, and Congressman Brett Guthrie sent a letter this week to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.  The letter lists Fort Knox’s assets such as housing, education, and medical services both on post, and in nearby Louisville. 


Lisa Autry

The U.S. Department of Justice is opening an office in Bowling Green that will house full-time federal prosecutors.

Until now, local law enforcement had to make the two-hour commute to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Louisville when working on federal cases. 

Russell Coleman, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, said having federal prosecutors working out of Bowling Green will expedite the resolution of cases.


Lisa Autry

Kentucky’s first anti-discrimination law protecting gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals was approved 20 years ago by the city of Louisville, ushering in a new era of LGBTQ rights. 

Since then, more than a dozen communities have passed what supporters call fairness ordinances.

Mark Twain once said “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Kentucky, because everything there happens 20 years after it happens anywhere else.”

LGBTQ individuals and their advocates are hoping Daviess County joins the national trend of protecting members of the group through a change in local law. Often referred to as a fairness ordinance, it would protect the LGBTQ population in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodations.  Gender identification and sexual orientation would be added to an existing law barring discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, and age.

TVA

The Tennessee Valley Authority shut down the last operating unit at its coal-fired power plant in western Kentucky over the weekend.

The TVA board of directors voted last year to retire the unit at the Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County.

For more than 50 years, the Paradise Fossil Plant has kept the lights on for nearly ten million customers across seven southeastern states, including Kentucky and Tennessee. 

Thinkstock

Kentucky’s attorney general has joined Indiana, Tennessee, and 15 other states in urging a federal appeals court to uphold an Ohio law that bans abortions when the unborn child has Down Syndrome. 

Attorney General Daniel Cameron has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  A three-judge panel initially invalidated Ohio’s law, but the entire Sixth Circuit, which has more than a dozen judges, recently agreed to rehear the case. 

The brief argues while current law allows a woman to have an abortion, she doesn’t have the right to decide whether a child lives or dies based on a perceived disability.  The brief says those types of abortions are discriminatory against the unborn child. 


LRC Public Information

A measure is moving through the Kentucky legislature that would provide the necessary funding to build a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green.

The Kentucky House of Representatives will vote on Monday on HB 24, sponsored by State Rep. Michael Meredith.

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee  passed the bill last week that puts $2.5 million toward design work.

Alix Mattingly

Frankfort will welcome hundreds of Muslims from across Kentucky on Wednesday, Jan. 22, for the inaugural Muslim Day at the State Capitol.

Muslims from all over the commonwealth will tour the building, meet with legislators, and pray in the rotunda. 

A resolution in the Kentucky House of Representatives in support of the event states that the Muslim community is "a positive contributor to the health and economic well-being of Kentucky, with Muslims serving as doctors, professors, auto workers, small business owners, and in numerous other professions."

Waheeda Muhammad chairs the Kentucky Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.  In an interview with WKU Public Radio, she said the event is not government-sanctioned.


Lisa Autry

General Motors workers in Kentucky and seven other states are transitioning from temporary to permanent employment.  The automaker announced on Wednesday that 1,350 temps will gain full benefits by the end of March.

One of the main sticking points in last fall’s contract negotiations between GM and the UAW was the use of temporary workers.  Those employees typically put in full-time hours, but don’t have many of the same benefits as permanent employees. 


A Kentucky lawmaker has reintroduced a bill that would give crime victims the same rights afforded to the accused, including a voice in the criminal justice system.

Marsy's Law would guarantee crime victims constitutional protections, including the right to be notified of all court proceedings, the right to be present for those hearings, and the right to be heard in any hearing involving an offender’s release, plea, or sentencing. 


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One of the races on the ballot this year will feature a rematch for a seat in the Kentucky legislature that represents part of Daviess County.

DJ Johnson is challenging incumbent State Representative Jim Glenn in the 13th District House race.

The 13th District election in 2018 was one for the record books.  Democrat Jim Glenn held the seat for a decade before being defeated by Republican DJ Johnson in 2016.  Two years later, Glenn won the seat back by only one vote.  When a recanvass didn’t change the outcome, Johnson requested a recount, which ended in a tie.  That left a special committee of House lawmakers to decide the winner of the race. 

Lisa Autry

Australia is burning, and across the globe in Kentucky, one man is watching in horror and disbelief.

More than one billion animals have perished in the devastating wildfires ravaging the country, and that staggering loss of wildlife is hard to accept for Australia native Mick McGill, who manages Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo

"Excuse me, excuse me," McGill says as he enters the kangaroo enclosure. "There are 30 kangaroos in here and it’s feeding time now.”

Even 10,000 miles away, he feels at home.  McGill's face beams as he picks up Weston, a red kangaroo who is spoiled.

“He’s my good boy. This is my little baby I raised at home. He thinks I’m his mother," McGill says. "He’s about a year and three months now. When he grows up he’s going to be over six feet tall.”

U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Kentucky

A federal prosecutor in Kentucky says, if warranted, his office is prepared to prosecute those convicted in state court who received pardons from former Governor Matt Bevin.

U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman says if the crimes took place in the Western District of Kentucky, they will be treated like any other violation of federal law.  Once the findings of the investigation are presented to his office, Coleman says he’ll consider the statute of limitations, double jeopardy, and evidentiary requirements to determine whether the cases meet federal standards for prosecution. 

“The uniqueness of a situation of federal prosecution following a state executive pardon will, however, require ultimate approval by the highest levels at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.," Coleman said in a statement.

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