Emil Moffatt

Station Manager

Emil Moffatt returns to WKU Public Radio as station manager. Moffatt was previously at the station from 2013-2014 as local host of All Things Considered. His new duties also include overseeing operations for WKU’s student station, WWHR 91.7.

Moffatt’s news experience includes a year at Nashville Public Radio and three years at WBAP radio in Dallas. Prior to that, Emil was a minor league baseball play-by-play announcer in Fort Worth, Texas.  

Moffatt holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is an avid runner and enjoys movies and live music. 

Kentucky’s readiness to respond to an infectious disease outbreak ranks in the bottom half in the nation according to a new report compiled by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The report shows Kentucky meets just 3 of 10 key indicators.

“I think it’s good because it helps to highlight strengths and weaknesses,” said Kentucky's Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Kraig Humbaugh.  “On the other hand, I think we have to consider that we can’t really compare year-to-year because last year or the year before, they didn’t have the same metrics. And the other thing is, it may not be representative of the state’s preparedness as a whole.”

Dr. Humbaugh says, in general, Kentucky is prepared to handle an outbreak.

One of the categories in which Kentucky did make the grade was vaccinating young children.  Dr. Humbaugh says vaccination is critical for people of all ages.

Clinton Lewis/WKU

Oregon native Bryan Lietzke has been in the U.S. Air Force for eleven years.  He’s been deployed to Afghanistan five times.

On Saturday afternoon he’ll have a new experience: he’ll receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Systems Management from WKU.

What will he feel as he walks across the stage?

“I don’t know…probably satisfaction,” said Lietzke.

Some 1,300 WKU students will receive their diplomas on Saturday at Diddle Arena. But not all of them had quite the same college experience as Lietzke.

Lietzke posted a 4.0 grade point average and he did so while taking his classes online. Some of the classes he took while at Fort Knox, other times at Fort Drum in New York and still other times while in Afghanistan.  

Kentucky continues leading the nation in a dubious category: the percentage of children living in poverty.  A new report finds that level has gone up 36 percent over the past two years.

Dr. Guy Shrake says the still-recovering economy may be partially to blame for the number of children living below the poverty line

“As a pediatrician myself, it is possible that there still is some residual from the impacts of the recession a number of years ago,” said Dr. Shrake.

But he also cites another factor.

“In a general sense, we do know that more children are in one-parent family than there have been in the past and that that is definitely a cross-connection for having more children in poverty,” said Dr. Shrake.

In 2012, only 23 percent of children in Kentucky were living in poverty. In the most-recent America’s Health Rankings report released today by UnitedHealth Foundation, it’s at nearly 32 percent. 

Christian County Sheriff's Office

One of the K-9 officers working with the Christian County Sheriff’s department is now wearing a high-dollar piece of protective equipment. 

Timo is a seven-year-old Dutch Shepard who’s now sporting a $3,500 bulletproof, stab-resistant vest.  Deputy Sean Head has been Timo’s handler for the last year.

“It’s no different from me going to a call and having no vest on – I kind of feel bare,” said Deputy Head. “It does give me added protection knowing that if I have to place him in danger like that, he has protection as well as I would.”

The vest came from a company called Vested Interest, which received $335,000 in donations to produce the protective gear.  Several law enforcement agencies around the country were selected to receive the special vests. 

Head says he’s trying to encourage other K-9 handlers to apply as well.

Some of the most popular apps designed for smart phones and tablets come from the team at Hitcents, a tech company based in Bowling Green.  The firm received attention earlier this year when it unveiled an iPad app called Hanx Writer that simulated a vintage typewriter. 

Now, they’ve customized the app for the smaller screen of the iPhone. 

Hitcents Graphic designer Ava Oliver says scaling down the design was a difficult task.

“I guess the biggest struggle is that the iPad was more the size of a typewriter – similar.  And then, the iPhone [is] much smaller,” said Oliver. “It was kind of interesting to make those keys small, still beautiful, and yet functional.”

Art director Joe Tudor and says the project was challenging, but rewarding.

“iPads are fun and interesting but they aren’t very portable,” said Tudor.  “Everyone has a phone and a device and it really serves as an extension of the app to get it in more people’s hands. So we’re really excited about the opportunity to let more people experience the app and experience the ‘typewriter feel’.”

 The iPad app proved popular when it was released this summer.  The design for the app is based on vintage typewriters from Tom Hanks’ personal collection.

Someone has paid $28,050 for the right to purchase the first bottle of bourbon produced in Hardin County in nearly 125 years. 

Boundary Oak Distillery churned out its first batch of bourbon this month and held an online auction to sell barrel sponsorships. 

Boundary Oak Master Distiller Brent Goodin says the product inside that barrel should be top quality, when it’s ready to drink in two years.

“We have a very unique distillery in the fact that all of our water comes a spring-fed source. Our grains are all here from Hardin County,” said Goodin. “We think along with those natural aspects of our distillery, along with our wonderful grains that we have here locally, we can make a very superior, high-quality bourbon.”

Goodin says a change in law has made it easier for craft distillers to exist. The $28,000 paid by the auction winner is believed to be one of the top prices ever paid for a Kentucky bourbon.

WKU

A Muhlenberg County woman, whose teaching career spanned more than a half-century, has been selected for induction into the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame. 

Mary Armstrong remembers taking her first teaching job in 1940.  

“You know I loved every child that I ever had,” said Armstrong.  “My first school was in a two-room school house in Marshall County.  I had [grades] 5-8 and another teacher had 1-4. And, I loved children.”

She then taught 6th grade social studies at Bremen Elementary from 1953 until her retirement in 1999. She says she never stopped thinking about her students, even when she was on vacation.

“In all my traveling, I would take pictures and films and develop them and use them. Like I went to Israel, I had pictures of Israel and I used those when we studied that,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong earned her degree from WKU in 1958.

Emil Moffatt

Abraham Lincoln’s place in history is well-defined. He’s the great emancipator, the man who preserved the Union.   

Jefferson Davis’ legacy, however, is a little more complicated.

The two men were born within 120 miles of each other in rural parts of Kentucky.  Today, the Lincoln birthplace in Hodgenville is a National Park, featuring a granite memorial rising above rolling green hills.

“There’s four flights of the steps as you head up to the memorial, said park superintendent Bill Justice. “They are, in their own way, an invitation to go up and go into the memorial itself."

A replica of the austere log cabin in which Lincoln was born sits inside the ornate structure.

“There’s also a beautiful skylight up above there that provides an opportunity for natural light to flow into the building,” said Justice. “It has a very ‘memorial’ feel to it; the beautiful pink granite around the edge, the plaster-finished fixtures on the wall, the florets in the ceiling.  [It’s a] really, really beautiful interior for this memorial.”

Emil Moffatt

Plans to give the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame a permanent home continue moving forward. 

The man spearheading the  project, Mike Pollio, says fundraising efforts have netted nearly a million dollars so far.

“We’re really excited about where we are,” said Pollio. “You know a million dollars is obviously a lot of money in today’s times. We’re only about $120 thousand short of building it.”

Pollio says they hope to break ground in July. The Hall of Fame could open a year later.   The Elizabethtown City Council is expected to vote next week on giving organizers a title to the property on West Dixie Avenue.  

Preliminary designs call for a historic church to be used as part of the Hall of Fame. A new building will be constructed next to it.

WKU Athletics

The pregame entertainment prior to WKU’s game with Army this weekend will come from above.

The U.S. Army Parachute team, known as the “Golden Knights” will be performing along with a special guest – WKU president Gary Ransdell. 

Ransdell is scheduled to do a tandem jump while holding on to the game ball.

“This is one way that I think we can highlight the importance of military service, not only to this university, but certainly, most importantly, to our nation and what those young men and women mean to our freedoms and their efforts to protect those freedoms,” said Ransdell.  “So that’s the primary reason I’m doing this.”

And while Ransdell doesn’t regularly jump out of planes, he’s no rookie either.

“I’ve done this once before, this is not my maiden voyage,” said Ransdell.  “I did it at Fort Knox with the Golden Knights a few years ago and it was an amazing experience.  There were 8-10 people standing around watching that one, so this one will be a little bit different.”

Megan Stearman/WKU Athletics

WKU women’s basketball team is eyeing a return trip to the NCAA tournament.  Last spring, the team made its first appearance in “The Big Dance” since 2008. 

Head coach Michelle Clark-Heard took questions Tuesday during basketball media day. She says the team will be tested early with a season-opening WNIT appearance and then a trip to Louisville.

“I can’t look into the crystal ball and tell you what our record will be or how many wins we’ll get,” said Clark-Heard.  “But, I can tell you one thing and I can promise you. We’re going to play as hard and we’re going to compete and we’re going to have a chance to be in the ballgame the last five minutes.  When we do that, I think we’ll have the opportunity to get the girls in the position to have a chance to win.”

In March, the WKU women lost to Baylor 87-74 in the first round of the NCAA tournament

Both WKU basketball teams were beset by key injuries last season.

Men’s basketball coach Ray Harper also met with the media Tuesday.  His team opens the season November 15th against Austin Peay.

Bill Luster

Looking back on his five decades as a newspaper photographer in Louisville, Bill Luster recalls an assignment that took him to a strip club called the Toy Tiger. 

The Toy Tiger was threatening to sue a nearby nursing home after some of its residents brought in an exotic dancer for a birthday party. So the nursing home thought a field trip was in order. The result of the assignment was a photo of three women from the nursing home and a much younger, shirtless man.

“This is my most fun assignment ever,” said Luster.  “Because, they were just having a good time.  Some of the women were a little apprehensive about it, but they enjoyed themselves.”

It’s just one of Luster’s photos currently on display at Gallery 916 in downtown Bowling Green.

At first glance, an area of land near the state hospital in Evansville seems like a perfect place for a dog park. 

But not everyone’s on board with the proposed location.

Denise Johnson, executive director of Evansville’s Parks and Recreation department, says the 6.7 acres is well suited for a dog park.

“No. 1 there’s shade.  And you’ve already got very large trees that are 120 years old or less – but very large.  You’ve got great shade, and you’ve got a level surface to start with,” said Johnson.

She also says there is plenty of parking, it’s easily accessible by car and they’ve already worked out a deal with the state to acquire the part of the land that doesn’t already belong to the city. 

But Johnson says plans for the dog park are on hold right now. 

WKU Athletics

Jimmy Feix, who became the first Western Kentucky University football player to earn All-America honors, and later, the school's winningest head coach, died Sunday afternoon.  He was 83 years old.

“He is the coach. He’s the heart-and-soul of Hilltopper football,” said Paul Just, WKU’s sports information director emeritus.   “He lived it as a player, he lived it as an assistant coach, he lived it as a head coach; he lived it as the A.D.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.  Feix is survived by his wife Frankie, two adult sons and several grandchildren.  News of Feix’s passing was announced by the university Sunday night.

James Wyne Feix was born in Henderson on Aug. 1, 1931 and first made his mark on the Hill in the early 1950s as a quarterback for Western.  He was named to the All-Ohio Valley Conference team in 1951 and 1952. He led the team to a conference championship in 1952.

Emil Moffatt

Thousands of Kentucky workers continue looking for new opportunities in a state where the employment landscape continues to dramatically change.  Coal jobs have seen a steep decline – as have manufacturing positions – many of which have been relocated overseas. 

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes says congress can take action to make Kentucky and every other state more attractive to U.S. companies.

“We can fund investments in American businesses that create jobs for Kentucky workers,” said Grimes in a phone interview with WKU Public Radio Wednesday. “I think we can expand tax credits for businesses relocating to the United States and end the tax breaks for businesses that ship jobs outside of the Commonwealth.  Rebuilding Kentucky’s manufacturing sector is a priority for me,” said Grimes.

As for increased EPA regulations which have been partially blamed for the loss of coal jobs, Grimes says, if elected, she will work closely with lawmakers from both parties to make sure national energy policy has a “meaningful, long-term place” for coal.

Grimes is trying to defeat five-term incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell in the November 4th election.

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