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. 

Ways to Connect

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.

Lisa Autry

For the third year in a row, Kentucky ranks first in the nation the for the rate of child abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services "Child Maltreatment 2019" report released this year.

Based on 2019 numbers, the most recent year for which data is available, Kentucky had more than 20,000 abuse and neglect cases, more than double the national average. 

Poverty, the state’s drug epidemic, and the high number of children in foster care are believed to be some of the most important contributing factors. But experts are worried the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a spike in child abuse numbers for 2020.  Chrisie Sherrard, assistant director of the Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center (BRACAC) in Bowling Green, said the full effect of the pandemic may not be seen for a while.

Lisa Autry

Following more than a year of restrictions due to the pandemic, Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner is pressing Gov. Andy Beshear to set a reopening date for restaurants, bars, and other businesses. 

Ryan Quarles held a roundtable discussion in Bowling Green on Wednesday with farmers and restaurant owners, as well as food suppliers and distributors.

Quarles said bars and restaurants have suffered more under the coronavirus than any other industry.  He’s on a listening tour around the state, hearing from business owners who have struggled under what Quarles calls inconsistent and confusing executive orders from the governor’s office.

Mary Meehan

A newly released poll suggests Kentucky has a good chance of reaching herd immunity with the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Herd immunity is achieved when a significant amount of the population is vaccinated or immune to infection. Experts believe herd immunity will be possible when that applies to 70-85% of the population. 

The poll found 71% of Kentucky adults have already received or intend to get the vaccine. The 29% of Kentuckians who said they hesitant to get the shot were more likely to be male, Republican, and live in suburban or rural communities.

Ben Chandler heads the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which funded the survey. He says much of the hesitancy toward the vaccine can be attributed to misinformation.

Lisa Autry

A health expert from The Medical Center in Bowling Green says the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine won’t be crippling to Kentucky’s vaccination efforts. 

Kentucky has received few shipments of the one-doses vaccine, but the commonwealth is joining all other states and temporarily suspending use of the vaccine to investigate potentially dangerous blood clots. 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been distributed mostly to Kentucky’s independent pharmacies and the correctional system.  Dr. Melinda Joyce, VP for Corporate Support Services for Med Center Health, says the mass vaccination clinic run by the Medical Center has received none of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and doesn’t plan to in the future.

"What I am concerned about though is whether this will increase the vaccine hesitancy we’ve seen," Dr. Joyce told WKU Public Radio.

Lisa Autry

Former President Donald Trump is endorsing Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator for re-election.  Rand Paul will be seeking a third term in office in 2022.

In a statement on Thursday, Trump said Senator Paul has “done a fantastic job for our Country, and for the incredible people of Kentucky.”  Paul was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and ran for president in 2016. 

Trump and Paul are former political rivals, often clashing when they both sought the GOP presidential nomination. But Paul later became one of Trump’s allies.  During a stop in Logan County last week, Paul praised the former president for expanding the party.

“I think President Trump did a good job bringing working class people into the party," he told reporters. "At times there’s been a sense that Republicans were more of a country club, richer people’s party. Trump really brought in a lot of America’s working class and that was good for the party.”

More than 1.5 million Kentuckians have so far received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but when it comes to fully vaccinated individuals, rates vary greatly among the state's 120 counties, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Apr. 8, Kentucky had fully vaccinated 20.6% of its total population, slightly higher than the national rate of 19.9%.  Only eight Kentucky counties had fully vaccinated at least a quarter of their total populations. 

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

CDC figures released on Thursday show Woodford County has the highest rate of fully vaccinated residents in Kentucky at 31.3%, followed by Fayette and Pike counties at 28.7% and 28.5%, respectively.  Rounding out the top ten most vaccinated counties are Franklin, Perry, Letcher, Floyd, Hancock, Nicholas, and Lyon.

Lisa Autry

A U.S. Congressman from southern Kentucky says the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in the state is "phenomenal" and improving every day. 

Rep. Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green toured a vaccination site at the T.J. Samson Health Pavilion in Barren County on Monday.

"This is something to see come to fruition. It just shows when people really work together, they don't let partisanship or other things get in the way, we can make big things happen," Guthrie said. "Lines were really long in Janaury, and now people can call and get almost a same-day appointment to come here."

The T.J. Regional Health system has given out more than 11,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine since the end of December at its locations in Glasgow and Columbia.

A research facility in rural Kentucky is encouraged over new results of a study on the Pfizer vaccine in children. 

The pharmaceutical giant has announced its COVID-19 vaccine is 100 percent effective against the virus in children between the ages of 12 and 15. 

Kentucky Pediatric\Adult Research in Bardstown was the only clinic in the state to test Pfizer's vaccine on adolescents and itenrolled 66 participants.  Research Director Marty Osbourn says the efficacy rate is remarkable.

“It’s in a small selection of patients. We’ll see over time how accurate that is. I truly believe it’s accurate based on the results we have so far," Osbourn told WKU Public Radio. "It’s pretty amazing 100 percent of the patients who received the vaccine did not get symptomatic COVID.”