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

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.

Lisa Autry

The city of Bowling Green is beginning 2021 with a new mayor for the first time in a decade. 

Todd Alcott was sworn into office in December after winning the mayoral race over two write-in candidates. Alcott succeeded Bruce Wilkerson, who dropped out of the race for re-election last year after serving as Bowling Green mayor since 2011. 

Alcott brings a military background to his new role. In an interview with WKU Public Radio, the retired Air Forice Lt. Col. said the skills he acquired in the military translate to running city government.

"I was never a flier. I was always in charge of personnel, people, facilities, manpower, and finances, Alcott said. "This is a government by the people. That was a government for the people. I feel like people are the same. We want to make sure our taxes, our revenue, go to the things that make us a better quality of life."


Med Center Health

The Medical Center in Bowling Green is serving as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site for health care workers. 

Med Center Health system is offering vaccine clinics to health care workers in the state’s 1a phase for vaccine distribution, which covers virtually all frontline staff who offer direct patient care in hospitals or long-term care settings. 

The Medical Center’s vaccination site is available to healthcare employees in all eight counties served by the Barren River District Health Department.  That covers the counties of Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Simpson, and Warren.

Dr. Melinda Joyce, Vice President of Corporate Support Services for Med Center Health, says there’s a reason many health care workers can’t be vaccinated at their place of employment.


Kevin Willis

A Kentucky congressman says the riots that took place in the U.S. Capitol left a pit in his stomach. 

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie was in his office watching the Senate proceedings on television when the Capitol went on lockdown Wednesday. 

Guthrie spoke to WKU Public Radio by phone from an undisclosed location and confirmed that he was safe. The Bowling Green Republican said he doesn’t think President Trump bears any responsibility for the mob violence.

“I don’t know of any inciting he did, no," Guthrie said. "People should know better than to do that, to break into the Capitol building, and we’ll figure out how it happened and who did it. Matter of fact, I think all protests need to be peaceful, and it’s not a protest if it’s not. It’s just a violent act.”

Moonlight BBQ Facebook

The city of Owensboro is giving an economic boost to local restaurants and bars impacted by COVID-19.

As long as they’re in good standing with the city and don’t owe delinquent taxes, the establishments are eligible for the Restaurant/Bar Supplemental Payroll Program.  City Manager Nate Pagan says the service industry has borne the brunt of restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the virus.

“The Owensboro City Commission wanted to do a program specifically for restaurant workers, those that have had shifts cut and had a sizable negative impact on their income this year," Pagan said.


Lisa Autry

Kentucky’s court system has remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but its operations look very different.  Judicial centers are limiting access to the public and many hearings are taking place virtually.  Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, Jr. issued an order postponing jury trials until at least Feb. 1.

In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Minton said he felt the decision was necessary until the state gets a better handle on the spread of the virus.

“People can make choices about whether they go out and shop, socialize," Minton said. "They can make those choices, but it you’re summoned for jury duty, that’s not a choice you get to opt out of.”


Med Center Health

Residents and staff at a long-term care center in Allen County are among the first in Kentucky to get vaccinated against COVID-19.  

Cal Turner Rehab and Specialty Care in Scottsville is immunizing about 100 residents and workers this week. The nursing home is owned by Med Center Health whose hospital in Bowling Green was one of 11 in Kentucky to receive the state’s first shipment of the vaccine. 

Eric Hagan, Vice President of Rural Hospitals for Med Center Health, says once residents and staff are vaccinated, the facility will be able to lift restrictions on visitation.

Med Center Health

An emergency room physician who was the first person in Bowling Green to receive the COVID-19 vaccine says he hasn’t experienced any adverse reactions. 

Dr. William Moss at The Medical Center was first among frontline workers to receive the Pfizer vaccine on Monday.  He described the moment as euphoric after a difficult nine months of treating the sickest coronavirus patients.  Twenty-four hours after the injection, Moss said he was having no side effects other than soreness in his arm.

"The aches and pain, a little fever. We’re all going to have a little bit of an immune response and that’s actually a good thing," Moss said in an interview with WKU Public Radio. "That means it’s working.”


Med Center Health

You could say the Medical Center in Bowling Green struck pharmaceutical gold on Monday.  The 337-bed hospital received a portion of Kentucky’s first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine and has begun immunizing frontline workers. 

With fanfare, 975 doses were were delivered in a thermal shipping container labeled ‘fragile’ and its contents packed in dry ice.  The Medical Center was among 11 Kentucky hospitals to receive the vaccine first because it has a rare, ultra-cold freezer that can store the vaccine at minus 80 degrees, the required temperature for the Pfizer vaccine.

That's colder than temperatures in Antarctica.


Salary cuts made during the COVID-19 pandemic are being restored to faculty and staff at Western Kentucky University. 

During Friday's Board of Regents meeting, WKU President Timothy Caboni thanked the campus community for making shared sacrifices.  He announced all salary reductions will end this month and employees will receive reimbursement for the amount withheld since July 1. 

The cuts were made as the school prepared for an uncertain fall semester due to the pandemic.  However, enrollment this fall exceeded projections and Caboni said the university expects no additional cuts to state funding through the end of the fiscal year.


Mary Meehan

If flu vaccination rates are any predictor, not nearly enough Kentuckians will get the COVID-19 vaccine to achieve herd immunity. 

Herd immunity happens when a virus can't spread because it keeps encountering people who are protected against the infection. 

According to CDC data, Kentucky’s flu vaccination rates among counties ranged from 19 to 53 percent last year.  The statewide average, historically, is around 40 percent.  Dr. Dale Toney, president of the Kentucky Medical Association, says he hope that’s not a harbinger for COVID-19 immunizations. 

“Sixty to 70 percent is what’s estimated to achieve herd immunity for the COVID infection," said Toney in an interview with WKU Public Radio.

Credit Marty Osbourn, Kentucky Pediatric/Adult Research COO

The Medical Center in Bowling Green is preparing to immunize nearly a thousand of its employees against the coronavirus once a vaccine receives emergency approval this month from the Food and Drug Administration.

It's one of 11 Kentucky hospitals selected to receive the first shipment of Pfizer's vaccine.  Dr. Melinda Joyce, a pharmacist and VP of Corporate Support Services for Med Center Health, says all 11 hospitals were chosen because they have rare, ultra cold freezers that can store the vaccine at minus 94 degrees, which is the required temperature for the vaccine.

“We’ve had one for a while because there are certain items used in the surgery area that need to be stored at that temperature, but most hospitals do not have that kind of freezer capability," Joyce told WKU Public Radio.

Emergency and critical care staff who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients will be among the first to get inoculated.

Hickory and Oak

Some economic relief is coming to restaurants and bars struggling under COVID-19 restrictions in one western Kentucky city. 

Henderson Mayor Steve Austin is granting a 12-month waiver on alcoholic beverage license renewal fees for all businesses that sell alcohol.

Establishments that haven’t paid their fees this year can postpone payment until 2021 and those that have already paid fees this year will not pay in 2021. 

Governor Andy Beshear imposed a ban on indoor seating last month amid a surge in new cases of the coronavirus.  Restrictions are scheduled to be lifted Dec. 13, but Austin says restaurants and bars will be struggling beyond that date.


Douglas Frederick

A Hardin County man who recovered from COVID-19 is urging other survivors to donate plasma to help in research and healing. 

Douglas Frederick, 63, of Elizabethtown, spent nearly 30 days in the hospital during October and November.  He doesn't know where or how he contracted the virus, despite taking precautions. 

The U.S. Army veteran received convaslescent plasma as part of his treatment. Recovered patients have developed antibodies, which researchers think can more quickly fight the infection in sick patients.  Frederick, who is retired from the Elizabethtown Independent School District, says he thinks plasma helped save his life.

“Someone who was very gracious enough to donate so that I could get two bags of plasma, which I believe wholeheartedly helped me out," Frederick told WKU Public Radio. "If they can donate, if they’ve had COVID and recovered from it, then by all means, donate and help someone else.”

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The memory of a young girl from Allen County who was murdered five years ago is helping bring alleged child predators to justice.

On Monday, federal prosecutors announced the arrests of seven men following undercover stings in Elizabethtown and Louisville in late 2019.

The investigation was dubbed “Operation Gabbi Doolin.”  The seven-year-old from Scottsville was kidnapped and murdered while at her brother’s football game on November 14, 2015. 

During a news conference, Russell Coleman, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, held up a cell phone and said child predators are taking advantage of more kids at home  who are unsupervised during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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