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Regional
1:28 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Fort Campbell Soldier Dies in Afghanistan

The U.S. Defense Department says a Fort Campbell soldier has died after being struck by enemy fire in Afghanistan.

The military says 31-year-old Staff Sgt. Thomas A. Baysore Jr. of Milton, Pa., died Thursday in Paktya Province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell.

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Regional
10:49 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Audit: Army Paid $16M to Deserters, AWOL Soldiers

Even as the Army faces shrinking budgets, an audit shows it paid out $16 million in paychecks over a two-and-a-half-year period to soldiers designated as AWOL or as deserters. It's the second time since 2006 the military has been dinged for the error.

A memo issued by Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Ky., found that the Army lacked sufficient controls to enforce policies for reporting deserters and absentee soldiers to cut off their pay and benefits immediately. The oversight was blamed primarily on a failure by commanders to fill out paperwork in a timely manner.

The payments from 2010 to 2012 represent only a fraction of the Army's nearly $44 billion projected payroll for 2013. Auditors and a watchdog group derided the waste as government agencies grapple with automatic spending cuts.

Education
10:23 am
Fri September 27, 2013

New Testing Data: Kentucky Schools Show Improvement Over Last Year

According to new data on state assessments, Kentucky students are making progress in basic subjects like reading and math.  In the second year of the Unbridled Learning testing system, overall student performance showed improvement from 2012. 

“The statewide data clearly show we are making progress, though slower than we would like,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday in a news release. “We’ve raised expectations and aligned them with what students need to be successful; we are moving in the right direction toward the goal of providing a world-class education for every Kentucky student and ensuring all children graduate college/career-ready,” he said.

Here are some of the  scores within the WKU Public Radio listening area.

Bowling Green city schools rank Proficient with an overall district total of 60.0 out of 100 while Warren County schools are classified as Needing Improvement with a total score of 58.3

The Elizabethtown Independent school district gets the top ranking of Distinguished at 64.3 as the overall score while Hardin County schools come in at Proficient with a total ranking of 58.4. 

Somerset Independent has an overall score 61.2, making the district Proficient while Pulaski County schools receive the top score of Distinguished at 64.9. 

Another Distinguished school system is Daviess County with a district score of 63.9, while Owensboro city schools are ranked as Needing Improvement with a total ranking of 54.1. 

You can see how every school system in the state fares, as well as scores for individual schools by clicking here.

Education
8:11 am
Fri September 27, 2013

WKU Freshman Wins National Military Youth Award, Meets President Obama

RaShaan Allen (second from left) meets President Barack Obama inside the Oval Office
United States Army/Fort Knox

WKU freshman RaShaan Allen discusses his recent visit to Washington, D.C.

September has been a whirlwind month for Western Kentucky freshman RaShaan Allen.

He’s a redshirt freshman on the WKU football team and just just re-joined the team after spending time in the nation’s capital.

“It was actually my second time there, but I’ve never seen Washington like that. I got to do so many things. I got to meet the president.  I got a tour of the Pentagon and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I got to do community service activities at the VA hospital. It was just an amazing experience and I couldn’t let it pass me by.”

Allen, the son of Army Sgt. 1st Class Crystal Singer,  was honored in Washington after he was named the Boys and Girls Club of America Military Youth of the Year and he received a 20-thousand dollar scholarship.  But the 18-year-old's journey hasn't always been easy. 

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Arts & Culture
8:06 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Kentucky Supreme Court Won't Hear Case over Use of Bill Monroe's Name

Bill Monroe is credited with being the "Father of Bluegrass Music."

The Kentucky Supreme Court has denied a request to review a case over how the name of legendary bluegrass musician Bill Monroe can be used.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports that means a court of appeals ruling stands. The panel concluded that county officials meant to grant the festival the legal right to use Monroe's name but failed to formalize the agreement in writing before a falling out occurred in 2004.

The battle isn't quite over yet, though.

Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Foundation of Kentucky Inc. Director Campbell Mercer said the Ohio County Industrial Foundation and Bill Monroe's son, James Monroe, obtained a temporary injunction in Tennessee to prohibit him from using the name.

Mercer says he hopes the Kentucky court rulings will help his case in Tennessee.

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Education
4:00 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Holliday: Kentucky Needs to Improve Math Scores

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says while Kentucky students improved their overall test results from last school year, the state still needs to do a better job with math.

The education department released its annual data measuring individual school and district success Friday. This is the first year Kentucky has comparable results since the state underwent education reforms and changed its accountability system last year.

Kentucky met its annual goals as a state, but over 40 percent of schools fell short. Holliday says part of the problem is math scores and success at the middle school level.

“While we did make improvement we would have liked to have seen it go a little bit faster and so we’ve gone back in and we’re going to be working really hard with schools and districts over the next school year to support them," said the education commissioner.

Holliday says Kentucky’s 86 percent graduation rate was among the top nationwide, but it should  be paired with the fact that just 55 percent of students who graduate are prepared for college or career.

Regional
3:30 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Prosecutors in Kentucky Concerned About Changes to Criminal Code

While lawmakers this week celebrated reforms to Kentucky’s criminal justice system, prosecutors warn it’s no time for a party. 

Proponents say the reforms successfully cut corrections costs and enhanced drug treatment programs.  Reforms also allow the state to delay the prosecution of some drug possession offenders while they seek treatment.   

Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Leveridge says those offenders are often back on the street, without any penalty.

“There case be reviewed from time to time just to see how it’s going, but they don’t have to enter a guilty plea or anything like that and there’s very little structure or options for those people to get treatment,” he said.

Leveridge stresses drug traffickers are still prosecuted with vigor.  He adds low-income and homeless Kentuckians may have a hard time arranging drug treatment.

Politics
3:14 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Second Kentucky House Member Accused of Sexual Harassment

Rep. Will Coursey, D-Symsonia
Credit Legislative Research Commission

A second lawmaker from western Kentucky is being accused of sexual harassment.  Louisville attorney Thomas Clay is representing Nicole Cusic, who claims she was retaliated against when she complained about the behavior of State Representative Will Coursey. 

“For instance, I believe he was asking one of the interns to go to the Governor’s Ball with him, and there were some other things that involved explicit language, which she thought was inappropriate.”

Cusic, who was Coursey’s secretary, claims she was transferred out of his office when she confronted him. Coursey, a Democrat from Symsonia, is represented by Paducah attorney Mark Edwards.

“Mr. Coursey’s position is that he’s never had an inappropriate relationship with anybody, and the lady who’s making the complaint did work for him, but the reason she was transferred was that she had a poor work history.”

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Regional
12:43 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Both Lanes of I-65 South at Hart County Now Open Following Crash

Update at 3:34 p.m.:

Cleanup from this morning’s crash on southbound Interstate 65 at Exit 58 is complete.  All lanes are open and the 14 feet width restriction is lifted.  It will take an hour or so for the 6-8 miles of queue to clear and for traffic flow to return to normal.

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Arts & Culture
12:35 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Author Michael Morris Loves to Find Eccentric People in "Small Southern Towns"

Michael Morris, author of Man in the Blue Moon.
Credit Kevin Willis

Kevin's interview with Michael Morris

Michael Morris is a man with a passion for southern fiction. His latest book is called Man in the Blue Moon, and he is in Bowling Green Thursday promoting the new work, and speaking to different organizations around town.

Man in the Blue Moon was the fall selection for the SOKY Reads! program, a community "one book" reading project in southern Kentucky.

Morris stopped by the studios of WKU Public Radio to talk about writing southern fiction, and how he got into writing late in life.

Here are some excerpts of our conversation:

You're giving a writing workshop today at WKU about writing southern fiction. What's distinctive about southern fiction? What makes it stand out from other genres?

“I just think the way we speak is different, obviously. That stands out. There are other aspects to the south that you don’t find in other places in the country. A lot of it has to do with the food. You know, we plan a big celebration around our food—the Sunday dinners."

"You know, William Faulker said the difference between the north and the south is that in the north the crazy relatives are hidden in the attic. In the south, we put them on the front porch and let them wave to everybody."

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