Lisa Autry


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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Owensboro Public Schools FB

The Owensboro and Daviess County school boards will meet Thursday afternoon to consider the districts' plans to return to a five-day schedule of in-person classes.

Both school systems plan to welcome students back full-time on March 22. 

In a joint news conference on Wednesday, the districts said a decrease in COVID-19 cases and an increasing supply of the vaccine make reopening possible. 

Daviess County Superintendent Matt Robbins said it’s important for teachers and staff to see students in-person for the remaining nine weeks of the school year.

“We know they need us, and frankly, we need them, Robbins said. "There’s a lot of needs of our children from academic to mental health, social, emotional, anxiety issues. We need to see them so we can begin to diagnose those needs.”

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The Kentucky Department of Education is preparing to administer state assessments this spring, despite disruptions in learning brought on by COVID-19. The tests are expected to reveal the impact of the pandemic on student achievement.

The U.S. Department of Education, so far, has not granted waivers on statewide testing as it did for the 2019-2020 school year. In a Sept. 3 letter to Chief State School Officers, then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wrote that states should not anticipate such waivers this academic year.

Kentucky administers tests in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and 10; in science at grades 4, 7 and 11; and in social studies and writing at grades 5, 8 and 11. 

In addition, students in 11th grade take a state administration of the ACT.

Lisa Autry

Governor Andy Beshear says Kentucky is in a position to receive an influx of the COVID-19 vaccine when the first major shipment arrives next month. 

Beshear visited a Kroger Health mass vaccination site in Bowling Green on Friday. The clinic has already vaccinated some 2,300 people in the week since it opened.  Beshear said the state is getting about 80,000 doses of the vaccine each week, but has the capability to administer more than a quarter-million doses per week. 

“We can build out the infrastructure to when we get several hundred-thousand vaccines a week, that we are capable of already providing, that we can get them out quickly and our citizens do not have to wait," Beshear said. 

Close to 300 total vaccination sites are open in Kentucky, including 28 new ones announced on Thursday.  The additional vaccination clinics include locations in Albany, Campbellsville, Hartford, Bardstown, Owensboro, Somerset, Leitchfield, and Russellville.

Lisa Autry

Some regional vaccination clinics in Kentucky are still offering the COVID-19 vaccine despite the winter storm. 

A clinic run by Kroger Health is open at Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green.  Bruce Kessler was there on Thursday and said he didn’t let the weather deter him from getting his first injection.  

“We’re fairly brave when we need to get out," Kessler said. "Front wheel drive vehicles are a marvelous creation, and I had been out yesterday and knew the roads were pretty okay where they had been scraped,   so I felt like we could get to the mall, no problem.”

Kessler received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine with his twin 18-year-old daughters.  His wife and son who are both educators have already received both doses.

Winter storm watches and warnings are posted for much of Kentucky through Thursday night. 

Dangerous ice accumulations are expected across the southern half of Kentucky, mainly south of the Western Kentucky and Bluegrass Parkways, with the worst beginning Wednesday evening. A mixture of mainly sleet and snow is expected north of the parkways. 

Meteorologist Kyle Wilkins with the National Weather Service in Louisville doesn’t expect this event to rival the ice storms of 2009 or 2018.

“But this is enough to definitely have impacts," Wilkins told WKU Public Radio. "There will probably be some limbs brought down. There’s going to be traffic impacts. There are probably going to be some power outages, but it’s not going to be anything like those big storms that everyone remembers.”

Blood Assurance

TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital is hosting a community blood drive in Bowling Green on Tuesday, Feb. 9,  to help reverse a nationwide decrease in donors during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Blood Assurance, a regional non-profit blood center, is conducting the drive. Account Manager Bob Murray said donors will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies, which few donors actually possess.

“Even though you may have felt bad or felt like you had the flu or COVID back in September, we’re finding most people are still negative for those antibodies," Murray said.

The board of directors for the Owensboro-Daviess County Airport has scheduled a closed session meeting Tuesday afternoon following the arrest of the airport’s director. 

Rob Barnett is charged with impersonating a peace officer, a felony. The Daviess County Sheriff’s Department responded to a disturbance at Barnett’s home last week.

According to the arrest report, Barnett’s 14-year-old daughter called 911 to report he was intoxicated and threatening to physically assault her. The juvenile said there were guns in the home and that she and her siblings feared for their safety. 

Glasgow Independent Schools

After nearly a year of disruptions from COVID-19, a school system in southern Kentucky is returning its youngest students to a full schedule of in-person classes on Monday, Feb. 1. 

Older students will be phased in at a later date.

Glasgow Superintendent Keith Hale said COVID-19 cases are in a plateau, and he feels comfortable sending students back with the proper safety measures in place.

“We know the transmittal rate at the elementary school level is almost non-existent. I think it’s less than one percent," Hale told WKU Public Radio. "We feel good. Our community is wanting their kids in schools and I think it’s time.”

Material Handling Systems Facebook

A new manufacturer is coming to Bowling Green and creating 200 jobs.  Material Handling Systems, based in Bullitt County, is expanding its operations by adding a new facility in the Kentucky Transpark. 

MHS produces conveyor systems for companies, including UPS, FedEx, and Wayfair. In a virtual news conference on Thursday, CEO Scott McReynolds said Bowling Green is a good fit for the company.

“Of course, the access to major transportation routes, proximity to our other operations, and it’s a growing population center with a strong workforce and a great quality of life for our employees," McReynolds said.

The Medical Center in Bowling Green is finding success in an outpatient treatment for COVID-19. 

The hospital has given more than 500 monoclonal antibody infusions to patients with underlying health conditions who may be at risk of being hospitalized, or who might have a more serious case of the virus. 

The treatment is offered through drug-makers Eli Lilly and Regeneron.

“Both of these have been found to shorten the duration of the worst of the symptoms and help to decrease the severity of the virus in many patients," said Dr. Melinda Joyce, Vice President of Corporate Support Services for Med Center Health.

Lisa Autry

Kentucky hospitals say they can’t keep up with demand for the COVID-19 vaccine.  A scarcity of supply has given hospitals thousands more appointments than they can accommodate. 

The Medical Center at Bowling Green has received more than 12,000 requests for appointments the hospital hasn’t been able to schedule because it hasn’t received enough vaccine. 

"I am so, so very pleased with the desire for vaccine coming that's coming from our community," said Dr. Melinda Joyce, Vice President of Corporate Support Services for Med Center Health. "It's fabulous we have this many people who want to get vaccinated, and that's what we've always wanted from the very beginning."

Daviess County Fiscal Court Facebook

A partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement has crippled a drug trafficking organization in Owensboro.

Five members of its member are behind bars and charged with multiple felonies after conspiring to distribute 151 pounds of methamphetamine, 3.5 pounds of counterfeit pills with suspected fentanyl, and other drugs.

“The Owensboro Police Department remains committed to getting narcotics and dangerous offenders off the streets of Owensboro," said Owensboro Police Chief Art Ealum in a news release. “This investigation is undoubtedly the most significant narcotics investigation in our department’s history, which speaks to the magnitude of the drug epidemic in the Owensboro Metropolitan Area."

Western Kentucky University

Students at Western Kentucky University return to campus on Tuesday for the start of the spring semester, and they’re being asked to follow the same coronavirus safety measures that were in place for the fall semester. 

David Oliver, Emergency Manager at WKU, said masks, reduced class sizes and enhanced cleaning have worked well over the past several months. Oliver said the school’s COVID-19 numbers stayed relatively flat throughout the fall semester while positive cases in the community were rising.

“We didn’t have anybody who said, 'I know I got it in this classroom' or 'I know I got in from this lab','" said Oliver. "We had no cases between the health department or others that traced back to one of the academic settings.”

Lisa Autry

Some Kentucky teachers are rolling up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine, and doing so ahead of schedule.  

The state’s rollout for school employees wasn’t scheduled to begin until late Jaunary or early February, but some communities have enough vaccine to let educators and support staff jump to the front of the line.

While the state is still rolling out the vaccine to health care workers and long-term care residents, some counties have moved on to the state’s next phase, which includes educators and all school staff such custodians, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers. 

School personnel from Warren and Simpson counties are now getting the vaccine by appointment only at a mass distribution clinic operated by The Medical Center in Bowling Green.

Lori Dubree, the school nurse at Lost River Elementary, this week checked in at the Health Sciences Complex on the Medical Center campus where vaccinations are taking place.

Lisa Autry

The Medical Center in Bowling Green is casting a wider net in vaccinating the public against the coronavirus.

The hospital is serving as a mass vaccination site for people living in the south-central Kentucky region.

While most frontline health workers have already been immunized, the Medical Center is moving on with Phase 1B in the state’s vaccination plan.  This group includes first responder, K-12 school personnel, and seniors age 70 and older.