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. 

Ways to Connect

Swedish Match

A tobacco manufacturer in Owensboro is increasing its workforce by a quarter with a newly completed expansion. 

Swedish Match, which produces snuff and chewing tobacco, recently added 34,000 square-feet of space and added 120 new jobs. 

Joe Ackerman, Marketing Director for New Products, says the company is now producing a tobacco-free oral nicotine pouch called ZYN which appeals to consumers in several ways.

Public Domain

More children are living with relatives in Kentucky than any other state in the nation.  Nearly 100,000 youth are in kinship care because of their parents’ drug use, incarceration, abuse, or neglect. 

The first story of our series explored how the Henderson County school district is offering a support group for relative caregivers to tend to their physical and emotional needs. 

Our second story shows that getting financial support is often a bigger hurdle to overcome.


Lisa Autry

Democrat Adam Edelen says he’s running for governor to bring 21st century leadership to Kentucky. 

The solar energy entrepreneur and former state auditor says the commonwealth isn’t putting pillars in place that support modern economic development. 

In a speech to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club on Wednesday, Edelen said the state hasn't prepared enough for the digital age.

“Next time you’re outside of Bowling Green proper and you find yourself at a McDonald’s between 4:00 and 6:00 in the evening, it will be chock full of people not just there to buy hamburgers and milkshakes, but because the most reliable provider of wi-fi in Kentucky is a McDonald’s," Edelen stated.

Lisa Autry

Kentucky has the highest rate of children being raised in kinship care situations in the nation.

Kinship care means a child is being taken care of by a relative other than a parent. Most of those relatives are over the age of 50, and many of them struggle with their health and live on fixed incomes. 

Some 96,000 children in Kentucky are being cared for by kinship providers or close family friends known as fictive kin. 

In the first of a two-part series of reports on the state of kinship care in Kentucky, we have a look at one western Kentucky school district that's doing what it can to help kinship families get through the new normal.


Somerset Community College

Students living in southern Kentucky will soon be able to get four-year degrees at Somerset Community College. 

Four universities, including Western Kentucky University, plan to offer bachelor’s degrees through the two-year college in Pulaski County. 

The school announced the initiative in December, but released which schools are participating on Monday.  Three other schools taking part are the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, and Morehead State University.

WFPL

A western Kentucky town may repeat history by passing a Fairness Ordinance. 

A public meeting will be held in Henderson on Monday evening to gauge interest in a law that would give civil rights protections to the LGBTQ population. 

Former Mayor Joan Hoffman helped pass a fairness law in 1999 that was repealed 18 months later because of changes on the city commission.

Lisa Autry

A judge has denied a motion to exclude the death penalty against the man accused in the brutal death of a young Allen County girl. 

Timothy Madden returned to Allen Circuit Court on Friday for a pre-trial hearing.  Madden is charged with kidnapping, raping, and murdering seven-year-old Gabbi Doolin in 2015. 

Allen Circuit Judge Janet Crocker ruled that Madden would remain eligible for a death sentence if he is convicted.  Doolin’s cousin Lori Wilson said the family feels that if there’s ever been a case that warranted the death penalty, it’s this one.

Creative Commons

The state Attorney General’s Office is issuing a scam alert after several Kentuckians reported losing money to two computer virus scams. 

In the last two months, the attorney general’s office has received complaints from Kentuckians in Daviess, Fayette, Franklin, Jefferson, and Johnson counties with losses totaling more than $92,000. 

A Jefferson County victim alone lost $89,000 and, so far, hasn't been able to recover the stolen funds.

GM

General Motors is making a major investment in the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green. 

Top executives from the automaker held a news conference at the factory on Thursday afternoon to announce that GM is adding a second shift and more than 400 hourly jobs to support production of the new production of a new Corvette model, known as the C8.

Despite criticism from President Trump over GM closing the Lordstown, Ohio plant earlier this year, CEO Mary Barra said GM is committed to keeping production in America.

“Since 2009, we’ve invested more than $22 billion," stated Barra. "In this plant alone, more than $900 million.  We’re investing in this country, creating in good paying jobs, and we’re really proud of that.”

General Motors

General Motors says it will make a major announcement on Thursday afternoon at the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green. 

CEO Mary Barra and other top executives will reportedly announce the factory will build the new mid-engine Corvette and begin a second shift to meet demand for the C8, the eigth generation of the sports car.

GM also plans to relocate several hundred laid off workers from other GM plants to the Bowling Green plant.

Lisa Autry

The new head of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education says he expects colleges and universities to re-evaluate their course offerings just as Western Kentucky University has recently done. 

WKU is preparing to eliminate 101 academic programs while transforming and expanding others. 

In an interview on Thursday with WKU Public Radio, CPE President Aaron Thompson said schools are eliminating both people and programs to contend with a decrease in state funding, declining enrollment, and increasing pension obligations.

Lisa Autry

Kentucky’s chief justice of the Supreme Court says he expects bail reform to come up again in the state legislature. 

John Minton Jr. says the current method of setting bail disproportionately affects low-income defendants who aren’t able to pay for release after being charged with low-level, non-violent offenses. 

Minton addressed members of the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club on Wednesday.

Despite legislation failing to pass the General Assembly this year, he said going to a cashless bail system has bi-partisan support.

John Thomas

A Catholic priest in Kentucky says this week’s fire of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris will likely bring people of all faiths together. 

The Catholic icon has been a house of worship and tourist destination for more than 850 years. 

In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Father John Thomas, pastor of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Bowling Green, said the timing of the blaze is significant.

Lisa Autry

The Catholic Diocese of Owensboro has released the names of more than a dozen priests who have credible allegations against them for sexual abuse of a minor. 

The list includes the names of priests who have served in the Owensboro diocese, and who have had one or more allegation of sex abuse substantiated. 

In a news conference on Friday afternoon, Bishop William Medley said while every allegation of abuse is reported, it doesn’t mean that the authorities will pursue charges.

"Often, allegations are not received until years and even decades after an incident," Medley noted. "In some cases, the accused priests have been deceased before an allegation has been made."

WKU

The faculty regent at Western Kentucky University says he expects a proposal to suspend some academic programs will pass an initial vote on Friday. 

A committee made up of faculty members has recommended the school eliminate 101 programs, although many have no students currently enrolled. 

In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Dr. Claus Ernst said faculty he’s spoken to are largely in support of the recommendations.

“I think there’s a feeling that it could have been worse, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say faculty is happy. We’re all anxious about what the future will bring. Some programs will be cut even though they have some students in them, may not be a lot of students, but for any faculty member whose program is cut, that’s devastating.”

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