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 and a producer for Dallas Stars radio broadcasts.  

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. 

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.

City on a Hill

A new movie called The Song comes out in theaters Friday. The film is the first full-length feature directed by Bowling Green native Richie Ramsey.

The Song is said to be inspired by the Song of Solomon, so it's no surprise the film about a singer-songwriter is heavy with religious imagery. One of the first conversations between main characters Jed King and Rose Jordan involves a debate over a popular song from the 1960s that's based on biblical text.

Jed: I love that song too, it’s just not the Beatles.
Rose: Yeah it is.
Jed: No it’s the Byrds, you’re thinking of the Byrds.
Rose: No. Agree to disagree.
Jed: No, you’d still be wrong.
Rose: The lyrics are in the Bible. Can we agree that God wrote them?

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

For the last 10 weeks, Mustered Courage, a bluegrass quartet from Melbourne, Australia has been zigzagging across America in a white conversion van that, according to the band, hasn’t always been the most dependable.

“When we’re traveling down the road, it’s a lot better than when we’re on the side of the road, I’ll tell you that much,” said banjo player and lead singer Nick Keeling.

“We’ve had a couple of van breakdowns,” added guitarist Julian Abrahams.

They've also been crammed into small hotel rooms, eaten food of varying quality and had to dodge cars in some larger northeast cities while trying to cross the street.

Keeling is originally from Austin, Texas, Abrahams is a native Australian. The two met at school where they were studying jazz.  Later they would play together in a hip-hop band.

“Jazz actually has a lot of similarities to bluegrass the improvisation is such a key element to bluegrass music. Jazz is all about soloing and playing as many notes as you can, or as little notes as you can,” said Abrahams.

“Nick and I played too many notes in jazz, so we got ousted and banned from playing jazz; blacklisted and banished to the wasteland of bluegrass music,” said Abrahams with a grin. “Hip-hop? Well, we just didn’t want to be mid-30 year-old white rappers from Australia, so we thought we might be more suited to playing bluegrass in our 30s.”

General Motors

General Motors says it is delaying shipments of thousands of 2015 Corvettes and telling dealerships that already have the new models to stop selling them for the time being.  A spokesperson at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant says two safety issues are at the heart of the decision.

One issue concerns rear parking brake cables, the other with the part used to connect the airbag and steering wheel.

Bill Visnic, senior analyst with edmunds.com says the entire auto industry, not just GM, has learned lessons in the last year about disclosing potential safety problems.

“There’s definitely erring on the side of caution in this case,” said Visnic. “But at the same time, it’s just more-or-less simply the right thing to do, particularly when you’re talking about a high-performance model where someone might be using the car in fairly extreme conditions, you want to make sure you have all the requisite safety items where you need them to be.”

Over the last six years, a new type of online learning has developed across the country. They are classes called MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses.  WKU is offering its second such course this fall, called Origins and Progressions of Sports in America. It’s taught by retired kinesiology professor Randy Deere.

“It’s a free course and it’s not like a typical online course that you might sign up for through the university,” said Deere.  “All the material has to have…you have to have open access, open domain material.”

Deere says an unlimited number of people can sign up for the class. He says 70 people took the course this summer.

“Sport is a big domestic product and a huge domestic product financially for our country. It’s who we are it’s what we do and the information we’re trying to disseminate gives people a nice background of the country and how sport fits into it,” said Deere.

Deere says the course promotes lots of discussion among those who participate.  The MOOC begins September 21st. 

Kentucky Historical Society

When a young Bowling Green woman’s diary was published as a book in 2009, it gave a glimpse of life in Kentucky during the Civil War.

But those entries weren’t the end of Josie Underwood’s story.

A Louisville woman was browsing a bookstore when she picked up a copy of the diary.

 “[She] realized that she was related to the Underwoods and that she had some family papers and decided to go looking through her closet and lo and behold discovered that she had the second volume of Josie Underwood’s diary, ” said David Turpie, editor of the Register, a publication of the Kentucky Historical Society which has published Volume 2 of Underwood’s diary. It mainly covers the years 1862-66

“It also helps us to understand the thoughts and feelings of one individual, one young woman from Kentucky and that life went on for her,” said Turpie.

Tonya Ratliff’s 15-year-old son Tyler has been living with diabetes for 10 years.  Two years ago, doctors told the Owensboro family they’d have to start replacing the insert in Tyler’s diabetes pump more frequently.

“It already was a lot, and that would double it," she said. "So I was like ‘I don’t think I can do that,'."

With three sons, it would be an extra financial burden the Ratliff family. Their doctor told them about a foundation that helps pay for medical expenses not covered by a healthcare plan.  

Since 2007, the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation has given 7,500 grants across the country. In the last three years, 90 of them have been in Kentucky, providing nearly $300,000 for families with children 16 and under. The organization is trying to increase the number of Kentucky families who receive assistance.

“It was a life-changing experience for us, because we literally lived paycheck to paycheck and this was a great burden off of us,” said Ratliff.

The program can cover up to $5,000 dollars in expenses, and each child can receive a maximum of $10,000 over a lifetime.

Hitcents

A new iPad app that attempts to recreate the experience of banging away at a manual typewriter is the brainchild of actor Tom Hanks and the creative minds at Hitcents in Bowling Green. 

Stuart Westphal was the point man for Hitcents on the project called “Hanx Writer”. Westphal says more than 20 members of the Hitcents team worked together to create the app. Designs for the project were inspired by actual manual typewriters.  

“It was actually a lot of fun,” said Westphal. “Tom sent three of his vintage typewriters to our Bowling Green office, which is our headquarters here at Hitcents. We unboxed them and it was kind of like a little holiday here at the office.”

Down to the smallest detail, the app is meant to replicate the look and sound of using a typewriter.

“Every opportunity that we get to go that extra mile, even if it’s something that not everybody would pay attention to, that’s important to us, and that goes all the way down to our code,” said Westphal.

Hear Tom Hanks’ interview with NPR’s Audie Cornish about the “Hanx Writer.” 

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

More than six months after a 45-foot sinkhole swallowed eight classic cars at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, the museum’s board of directors has decided the fate of the hole and the Corvettes that were rescued from its depths.

Earlier this summer, board members had strongly considered leaving part of the sinkhole intact and making it part of the museum experience.  But the estimated costs associated climbed to over a million dollars.

On Saturday morning, as thousands of Corvette fans buzzed around the museum, the board decided the sinkhole would be completely filled in a project set to begin this November.

“We really wanted to preserve a portion of the hole so that guests for years to come could see a little bit of what it was like, but after receiving more detailed pricing, the cost outweighs the benefit,” the museum’s executive director, Wendell Strode said in a written statement.

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