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. 

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.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

The cars are already buzzing around the new Motorsports Park track across the highway from the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.  Museum officials held a grand opening ceremony Thursday morning. 

Bill Thomas from Corpus Christi, Texas is among the thousands of Corvette owners who made the trip. He says he’s anxious to take his 2014 yellow convertible Z-51 on the track.

“I haven’t been on this track yet, but we had a police escort from Little Rock, and we got up to 112 miles an hour coming up here,” said Thomas.

Corvette Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode says plans originally called for only one portion of the track to be open by now, but says the project has come in ahead of schedule.  

“Because of the great support of yourselves, corporate sponsors, acre club members and many other folks that have stepped up,” Strode told the crowd gathered for the grand opening ceremony.  “Not only do we have a two-mile West course, we have a one-mile East course, a three-mile combined course and a 22-acre paddock.”

Emil Moffatt

For 72 hours earlier this month, residents in Toledo, Ohio were told not to use the city’s water because of  toxic algae bloom.  It’s a story that gave many a renewed appreciation for being able to turn on a faucet and drink what comes out.

In Warren County, Bowling Green Municipal Utilities is in charge of the treating the water and delivering it to the community.

Doug Kimbler, superintendent of treatment plants,  took us  on a tour last week so we could get a better idea of what actually goes into the process.  We started by overlooking the source: the Barren River on the east side of downtown. Then, we briefly stepped inside.

“We have two pumps actually running in here right now, it’s fairly hot day for Bowling Green. We’ll probably produce somewhere between 21 and 22 million gallons of water between Bowling Green and Warren County for the day,” said Kimbler above the din of the pumps.

Kentucky LRC

A recent survey shows Kentucky ranks near the bottom when it comes to average Internet speed. One Kentucky lawmaker says a bill that passed with bi-partisan support the Senate, but languished in the House, could help boost access to broadband.  

Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover says Senate Bill 99 would have reduced companies’ obligation to provide traditional landline service to some areas of Kentucky, freeing them up to invest in broadband.

“Speaker[Greg] Stumbo made a commitment last summer that that bill would be voted on. He indicated he did not support it, but he would allow it to be voted upon this past legislation session,” said Hoover.

The bill was approved by the Kentucky Senate on a 34-4 vote, but was not put up for a full vote in the House.  The Jamestown Rep. says the bill was changed this year to reduce the number of residents whose traditional landline service might be affected. He says it would have been less than 5,000 households.

“But the important thing was, it would have allowed AT&T and some others to move forward on their hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in infrastructure to better serve those exact areas,” said Hoover.

Critics object to the part of the bill that lets phone companies cut back on the areas in which they’re required to provide landline telephone service.

Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site

At an auction house in North Carolina Tuesday morning, hundreds of Civil War artifacts hit the auction block.  The collection represents the life’s work of a Perryville, Kentucky man who died in April.

Jimmy Johnson says his company, based in Angier, N.C., has been dealing with Civil War relics for 30 years.  

“Lots of times you get little bits and pieces of different collections, but in this case, we’ve just got such a wide variety of different items,” said Johnson 

The collection belonged to James “Cotton” Reynolds of Perryville. He was 84 when he died this spring.

His two daughters were at the auction house Monday where hundreds of collectors previewed the trove of Civil War artifacts.

 “Obviously they’re excited, it is an emotional thing anytime you’re selling your parents items, it’s an emotional event,” said Johnson.  “But they saw their Daddy nurture these items and collect them over the years.” 

Bringing It Home the Movie

A documentary called "Bringing it Home," which trumpets the benefits of industrialized hemp, was shown before an audience in downtown Hopkinsville Saturday.

The film, by two North Carolina filmmakers spotlights the effort to use hemp as a building material for homes and warehouses.

 “[It’s] a material that is mold and mildew resistant, fire-retardant, pest-resistant and in addition to that, it’s absorbing carbon out of the atmosphere as well as toxins. What they’ve found is that it’s not only breathable but a very good thermal regulating construction material," said film co-director Linda Booker.

Booker has shown the documentary in several states, says the film was well-received in Christian County.

 “It was really great to see such a diverse audience of all ages,” said Booker.   “I know that there were farmers there and people just interested in looking at new job opportunities and new economic opportunities for your state.  And of course we talk about this on a national level as well."

Several industrial hemp pilot projects associated with state universities continue this summer across Kentucky. The mission of those projects is to figure out which types of hemp seeds grow best in the current climate.  The documentary’s co-director is Blaire Johnson.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

For months, crews with heavy construction equipment have been busily converting a busy Bowling Green intersection from one controlled by traffic lights to a roundabout.

“It’s been a little chaos, but we’ve managed,” said Betty Kirby who lives in the neighborhood.

“But this whole week, we haven’t gotten any U.S. Mail and I really didn’t think that was necessary to stop the mail. We got here, so I don’t know why they didn’t bring the mail. I guess it’ll get here next week,” she said.

Kirby says the roundabout should help relieve congestion in the intersection as long as drivers “watch what they’re doing – which they don’t a lot of times.”

The roundabout at the intersection of University Boulevard, the 31-W Bypass and Loving Way was officially unveiled Friday morning with a ribbon- cutting ceremony.  Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon was among the state, county and city officials who attended.

“I think this is an extraordinary advantage to moving traffic safely and continuously through this tremendously active roadway.  This intersection is very important to getting people to and from work and home safely,” said Buchanon.

Emil Moffatt

The first weekend in August in western Kentucky means only one thing: Fancy Farm. The small town suddenly transforms into the epicenter of the Kentucky political universe.

And to keep a tradition going for 134 years, it takes some pretty committed volunteers.

“Each family in the church has a responsibility and this family has taken care of the hamburgers and hot dogs for decades,” said Will Hayden, who was working the grill Saturday morning.

Hayden and Brad Page of Fancy Farm spoke to us as they were cooling down after a long morning and afternoon tending to a hot grill. Page says they normally start grilling between 7:00 and 7:30 in the morning. Fancy Farm has been a part of their lives as long as they can remember.

“Oh, I’m 45, so 42 [Fancy Farms] that I know of,” said Hayden.

Page also says he started volunteering as a child.

“It’s been handed down generation to generation.  I’ve got my kids, and his kids,”  said Page pointing to Hayden. “Hopefully they’ll get in there and get at it.”

Emil Moffatt

Late Wednesday morning Bob Thomas was pontificating about the state of the local economy and congress as he was filling up his green Toyota pickup truck at the city owned fuel station.  The facility is bare-bones with no snacks, no sodas and no lottery tickets.  It’s not on a main thoroughfare, but set back a bit from Highway 27.

It has been open less than a week, but has generated plenty of controversy and nationwide attention. It’s believed Somerset is the first municipality to sell gasoline directly to customers.

“It should have been this way years ago: fair,” said Thomas.  “You get me? If the people at the refinery is making money on the gas and the city is going to make a little money. I don’t mind you making you a  living whenever you come to work for me and pay you a fair wage.  But I don’t want to send you to the Bahamas on a 30 day vacation, though.”

It was complaints similar to Thomas’ that led Somerset’s City Council to broach the topic of selling its own gasoline.  The city had already been selling compressed natural gas for two years. In fact, much of the infrastructure the city needed to begin selling gasoline was already in place to service Somerset’s fleet vehicles.

Orchestra Kentucky

Joe Roberts, a Bowling Green native who played guitar for more than a decade as a part of Orchestra Kentucky shows, died Monday of an apparent heart attack.  He was 56 years old. 

Roberts was a member of the group The Rewinders. He was a self-taught guitar player who received acclaim for his solos.

“Well he really loves music and you could see that in his playing,” said Orchestra Kentucky music director Jeff Reed. “When he played solos, it was definitely from the heart and it exhibited his love for the music he was playing.”

Roberts’ death came just days before Orchestra Kentucky’s scheduled “Beatlemadness” concert in Bowling Green. Reed says the song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” won’t be the same without Roberts’ guitar solo.

“That song has become associated with Joe as he would play the Eric Clapton solo.  You know, Eric Clapton played the original guitar solo,” said Reed.  “He never failed to get a standing ovation whenever we played it in the many places we played around the United States.”

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

For 33 years, hundreds of the members of the very tight-knit community of Corvette owners make their way to Bowling Green for the Corvette Homecoming.  It’s happened every summer since 1981 and heat can usually be the biggest weather concern. But this year, the problem was rain.

There was a steady drizzle all day Saturday in Bowling Green – not conducive to walking around and looking at Corvettes in a parking lot. The cars were still there, just not in the numbers as have been seen in past years.  Most of the action was taking place inside, under the roof of the Sloan Convention Center where some of the most prized Corvettes were on display.

Fans of the car from all over the country were in attendance. For some, they make it a yearly pilgrimage.

“Just the camaraderieship. Mingling with people, having fun, talking Corvette stuff.  Good stuff,” said Cedric Wingo of Clarksville, Tennessee.

Emil Moffatt

Disappointment from earlier this year has been turned inside-out for the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport. 

In late April, Governor Steve Beshear vetoed $750,000 dollars from this year’s budget that would have gone to help lure a commercial airline to Bowling Green for the first time in decades.  But airport general manager Rob Barnett learned Thursday morning, Kentucky will be able to invest that $750,000 dollars in July 2015 in the second year of the biennium.

“We now have a total incentive package of two million dollars to offer airlines that might be interested in servicing Bowling Green, Kentucky,” said Barnett.

Barnett says a recent study showed over 700,000 airline tickets were purchased by residents in Warren and nine surrounding counties over the past year. He says he’ll continue dialogue with potential airline partners over the next year. Barnett says he never lost confidence that the airport would receive the state funding, even after the veto in the spring.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says it is working toward compliance with the federal REAL ID Act from 2005.  The law sets 39 standards that must be met in order for a state-issued driver’s license to be accepted at certain high-security locations. Kentucky is one of 10 states currently not in compliance.  That means Kentuckians trying to access restricted areas at federal facilities will have to present a passport or military ID beginning July 21. 

Lisa Tolliver with the Transportation Cabinet says the state has completed a key step needed for an extension and is waiting to hear back from Homeland Security.

“What we’re doing is just working toward it. We don’t have a timeframe as to when we’ll be completely finished,” said Tolliver. “But once we get an extension – that will allow Kentucky driver’s licenses – they won’t be compliant, but they will be acceptable.”

As early as 2016, non-compliant driver’s licenses may prevent someone from boarding a commercial airliner unless they have a second form of ID.  But that provision can't be enacted until after Homeland Security has evaluated states’ progress early next year.

Master Musicians Festival

Counting Crows, a band which had several hits in the 1990s, is set to perform this weekend at the Master Musicians Festival in Somerset.  The schedule of artists also includes St. Paul and the Broken Bones, a band featured in March on Morning Edition.

Festival president Tiffany Bourne says organizers aren’t restricted to any particular kind of music when they finalize the lineup.

“We just look at any and all genres for musical excellence,” said Bourne. “We try to bring musical excellence to rural Kentucky.  We don’t really have a criteria, we just pick what we think the crowd’s gonna like.”

Bourne says this weekend’s lineup will include some local fare.  Four local singer-songwriters have been chosen to perform in the “Songwriter Social” at Noon Eastern Saturday.

“That’s another great part of our festival is that we have a lot of local bands that get to share the same stage as national artists,” said Bourne.

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