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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Warren County Clerk FB

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says technical issues affecting vehicle-related transactions at county clerk offices have been resolved. 

A statement posted Tuesday on the agency's Facebook page says delays may be experienced as clerks work through a backlog of requests.

For the last week, the state has experienced intermittent outages with its electronic inventory system which dates back to 1983.  A transfer from the current database to a new one prevented all county clerk offices from processing registrations, transfers, and titling.

Warren County Clerk Lynette Yates told WKU Public Radio that she’s never experienced an outage like this before.

WKU

The Western Kentucky University Board of Regents has signed off on a budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

In a special meeting on Friday, members approved a $375 million spending plan that includes an increase in tuition for undergraduate students. The Board passed the 2022 fiscal year budget with one dissenting vote from Student Regent Garrett Edmonds. 

The budget also permanently removes the distance learning fee on classes taught remotely, which the university says will result in a tuition savings to students of about $2 million. 

After holding the line on tuition last year during the pandemic, Regents approved a 2% hike, which will help create about $2 million that will go into a compensation pool for faculty and staff raises.  Speaking to reporters following the budget vote, WKU President Timothy Caboni said the university is seeing the effects of salary compression.

Lisa Autry

City leaders in Bowling Green have passed a $122 million budget that increases spending without tax hikes.

The city commission gave unanimous, final approval to the spending plan during a meeting Tuesday night. The budget is for the 2021-22 fiscal year beginning July 1. 

Coming off spending cuts in the current year’s budget due to uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, the next one boosts funding thanks to increased revenue projections. 

The spending plan also increases wages for the city’s lowest paid employees to $15 an hour.  Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott said the minimum wage increase was given “out of necessity” as the nation faces a pandemic-related worker shortage.

“We’re in the same competition to get people to work," Alcott told WKU Public Radio. "We’ve got to entice people to come work for us just like everyone else.”

Mary Meehan

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is closing its two COVID-19 vaccination centers in Kentucky on Thursday, June 10.

In April, FEMA opened military-run vaccination clinics in Henderson and Laurel counties, both rural areas with lower vaccination rates at the time. 

The clinic at the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Agency was capable of giving 250 doses of the vaccine per day, but averaged about 40 injections daily.  Henderson Mayor Steve Austin said the clinic was a bit out of the way and may have posed a transportation challenge for some residents.

“Honestly, the walk-in clinic didn’t draw the number of people we hoped it would," Austin told WKU Public Radio. However, the satellite vans they sent out to different areas did very well.”

Lisa Autry

The head of the Kentucky Supreme Court says the past 14 months have been the most challenging in the history of the modern court system. 

However, as courts return to full, in-person proceedings, Chief Justice John Minton, Jr., says the judicial system should retain lessons learned from the pandemic.  

COVID-19 proved the importance of electronic filing and remote technology in the court system.  In recent remarks to an interim legislative committee, Chief Justice Minton said COVID-19 forced courts to pivot to phone and video proceedings.

“If the pandemic had struck a decade, even five years ago, our ability to operate remotely would have been seriously curtailed, but we were able to persevere and use this technology to our advantage," Minton said.

Kyeland Jackson

A man pardoned by former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is facing a murder charge for a second time. 

Patrick Baker was released from prison in 2018 following his conviction in state court. Now, he’s being charged again, but this time, by federal prosecutors.

A federal grand jury in London, Kentucky, has indicted Baker on charges of murder, committed during a robbery and kidnapping related to drug trafficking.  The indictment accuses him in the 2014 shooting death of Donald Mills, and the theft of oxycodone pills in Knox County. 

Baker was arrested Sunday in Frankfort. 

Lisa Autry

Vaccinated or not, the masks come off June 11. Kentucky’s mask mandate will be officially lifted that day, with a few exceptions. As that date nears, the state is making a concerted effort to boost the number of residents protected against COVID-19.

While more than half of Kentucky’s adult population is vaccinated, the state lags in the number of minorities rolling up their sleeves. 

It wasn't Sunday and it wasn't a potluck, but 19-year-old Rachel Rodriguez was recently at the fellowship hall of her church on a weekday afternoon. She was there to get the coronavirus vaccine.

"I want to get it over with. I’m stoked honestly. I heard it doesn’t hurt," she said while laughing.

LaRue County Schools FB

Summer break will be getting off to an early start for students in LaRue County. 

The school district says it will end the year four days early due to a bus driver shortage.

An online statement by the district says LaRue County schools will use four days of built up instructional time to wrap up the school year on Friday.  Otherwise, the shortage of bus drivers would have forced the district to move to virtual learning for the remaining days.  

Elisa Hanley, Branch Manager of Pupil Transportation for the Kentucky Department of Education, says the shortage has been coming for a while and is being felt nationwide.  She adds districts across Kentucky have been stepping up in unusual ways to finish the school year.

Jess Clark

The head of Warren County Public Schools says he doesn’t support the district offering students a “do over” school year

Kentucky lawmakers approved legislation this year allowing students to apply for an extra year to retake courses in response to school disruptions related to the pandemic.  The decision whether to give students the supplemental year was left up to local school boards, but the decision would have to apply uniformly for all requests.  

WCPS Superintendent Rob Clayton said those decisions are best made at the school level on an individual basis.

“Anytime a parent wishes to consider retaining their student, we engage in conversations to look at both the positives and potential unintended consequences," explained Clayton. "My primary concern with the bill is the fact that it’s all or none.”


Lisa Autry

Warren County has been awarded state funding for three highway projects that will improve safety around schools.  

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman visited Bristow Elementary School on Wednesday with a ceremonial check in the amount of $880,000. 

“In order to have the type of state we want, we have to honor and invest in our schools," Coleman said. "I’m a former teacher and I know kids’ well-being, their education and their safety, go hand in hand and they are inseparable.”

One of the projects will eliminate left-hand turns against traffic on U.S. 31W in front of Bristow Elementary.  Traffic exiting the school will be able to more safely cross the busy, four-lane highway. 

Another project will create an additional left-turn lane at the new Cumberland Trace Elementary School.  Funding will allow dual left turn lanes at the intersection of KY 2158 and KY 234.

Kentucky has seen the second-highest jump in gasoline prices in the nation, with a 12-cent increase over the past week. 

Still, the state’s average gas price of $2.85 a gallon, as of Wednesday, is still 16 cents less than the national average of $3.01. That’s the most expensive gas has been since 2014. 

Lynda Lambert, a spokeswoman for AAA’s East Central Division, says the spike in Kentucky was recorded before the shutdown of a national pipeline. She adds the main factor in the price of gas is the cost of crude oil, which has been on the rise.

“That is due to quite a bit of optimism around the world because of the vaccine rollout and we’re seeing improvement in the pandemic situation, so, they’re feeling more confident and feeling demand will increase," Lambert told WKU Public Radio.

Lisa Autry

The Medical Center in Bowling Green is honoring the legacy of Dr. Rebecca Shadowen.

The region’s top infectious disease specialist died last year from COVID-19. A memorial tree was planted Monday afternoon on the hospital campus at the corner of High St. and 2nd Ave.

Her husband, retired physician David Shadowen, said one of her last professional acts is still having a positive impact.

“I think what people should remember about my wife is that she was really interested in patient care and taking care of people. The last big project she did was helping develop the COVID unit and protocols for taking care of COVID patients, which I think has been successful," Shadowen told reporters. "We’ve lost over 200 people in our area to COVID, but by the same token, we’ve had over 1,000 people in the hospital get out alive.”

Mary Meehan

Gov. Andy Beshear is stressing that appointments and walk-ins are available at two vaccination sites in western and eastern Kentucky, both supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Beshear helped launch the Community Vaccination Center in Henderson on Wednesday.  He said despite the state’s gains against the virus, the pandemic isn’t over, and the solution is getting more Kentuckians vaccinated.

“If we didn’t already know, we’ve learned our decisions every day, our actions every day, that we take or we don’t can be the difference of life and death to those around us," Beshear said in a news conference.

Lisa Autry

The Vatican has restored a priest of his duties within the Catholic Diocese of Owensboro. 

Father Joseph Edward Bradley was permanently suspended from public ministry in 2019 following allegations of sexual abuse by two minors in the 1980s. During that time, Fr. Bradley served as Dean of Students and Principal of Owensboro Catholic High School.

The local Diocesan Review Board found the accusations credible and permanently suspended him two years ago. Bradley filed an appeal with the Vatican which immediately reinstated his priestly duties last week. 

The Vatican decree notes “given the imprudent behavior of the cleric throughout the course of his ministry in education, the Congresso (Vatican body) imposes a penal precept (restriction) on the cleric, according to canon 1739, through which he is forbidden to enter any primary or secondary school for a period of five years.”


Hardin Co. Chamber of Commerce

The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce has a new President and CEO. 

Following a three-month national search, Margy Poorman has been hired to lead the business organization. 

Poorman previously served as director of economic development for the city of Canton, Ohio.  Most recently, she was the public policy and legislative coordinator for AultCare, a health insurance provider in the Buckeye State.

During an announcement on Tuesday in Elizabethtown, Poorman said she looks forward to promoting a community where Fort Knox plays a significant role.

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