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

Former Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning says there’s a good chance the man who took his place in the Senate will run for president in two years.  Bunning says Rand Paul has done a “good job so far” in the Senate, but still has some time to gauge who his primary opponents might be.

“Right now, my answer is ‘yes’,” said Bunning when asked about Paul’s prospects of a White House run in 2016.  “My gut feeling is, he will feel out the primary field and see. If he thinks he can win the primary, then I think he will continue.”

Great American Brass Band Festival

The Great American Brass Band Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend in Danville.  Brass band music fans from around the world are expected to descend upon the town for the event.

“The best brass bands play on our stages – it’s quite an honor for them to do so. And so we bring the best of the best, and I think that’s part of why we’ve survived for 25 years and we intend to be around for many more, ” said executive director Niki Kinkade.

Kinkade says the event is expected to draw 30,000 people this weekend.

“It’s very much a community driven festival, we are basically financially supported by our community and through volunteerism and through all sorts of different activities that go on over the four-day weekend," said Kinkade. "The entire community comes together and helps to put this event on.”

International Bluegrass Music Center

Ground is expected to be broken later this month on the International Bluegrass Music Center in downtown Owensboro.  The city has already pledged $3 million to the project and now Daviess County says it’s contributing $500,000 dollars to the project over the next five years. 

County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly says the music center will be the next step in the development of downtown that already includes the new convention center and two new hotels.

“This area, this block – an entire block – sits right at the end of that corridor,” said Mattingly.  “It certainly will be an attraction to people who come into the community for conventions and in and of itself will be an attractor for visitors.”

Mattingly says the county’s money for the project comes from excess from a hotel-motel tax. He says in the past, similar money has been used to pay a million dollars on a bonded indebtedness of the Riverpark Center.

“We thought that since this [money] comes from visitors who come into this community, it’s specifically tasked to be spent on arts organizations in the downtown area and tourism,” said Mattingly.

The Bluegrass Music Center could open as soon as next year. The $12 million project has also received $5 million dollars in private donations. It's scheduled to include a 1,000-seat indoor theater and a 2,000-seat outdoor stage.

Emil Moffatt

After a 10 minute climb up a gentle incline just off the main trail at Mammoth Cave National Park, Rick Toomey stands on a wooden platform overlooking Dixon Cave.

“It’s one of our most important hibernation sites,” said Toomey, the park’s research coordinator.

He says during the winter thousands of bats, including several different species hibernate here.  But those numbers might be on the verge of a drastic change.

“This is a site that could be vastly altered in five years.  In five years we might go in there and find five or ten bats total,” said Toomey. “It’s a very realistic possibility based on what’s been seen elsewhere. And that would be devastating to our ecosystem up here.”

The problem: White Nose Syndrome. It started in the northeast in 2006. It was first noticed at Mammoth Cave in 2013 and has since spread to the caves that welcomed nearly half-a million visitors last year.

Toomey says the fungus that gives White Nose Syndrome its name is just one of the symptoms of the devastating disease.

National Corvette Museum

A milestone was reached Tuesday morning at the site of the new Motorsports Park in Bowling Green.  Crews began laying pavement for the 3.1 mile road course across the highway from the Corvette Museum. 

“We’re using a 3D paving system, which is something relatively new to the paving world, there’s only a few contractors who use it,” said Motorsports Park General Manager Mitch Wright.  “What they’re telling us, is that it will hold the surface to within an eighth of an inch – which is pretty amazing if you think about it.”

Wright says the quality of surface can make or break a track and first impressions are important.

“If the track is rough or bumpy, or whatever – that’s what it becomes known as. If you’ve got an extremely smooth surface, that’s again, just a huge added benefit to us.”

Wright says the paving process is expected to take about a month.  The track is set to open in August in conjunction with the Corvette Museum’s 20th anniversary celebration.

Emil Moffatt

Next to Western Kentucky University’s main dining hall a red, metal cardboard crusher – one of three on campus, flattens a mess of card board boxes into a tightly-compacted bunch ready to be hauled away. But cardboard is just part of the equation. Throughout campus, there are hundreds of recycling bins, encouraging students and staff to reduce the amount of trash WKU puts into landfills.

“Anything the university no longer wants that is not in a trash can,” said Sara Hutchison, WKU’s recycling and surplus coordinator. “That can be cardboard and the single-stream recycling, which includes the aluminum cans, tin cans like a Campbell’s soup can; plastic bottles; mixed paper – magazines, newspaper, office paper.”

Hutchison is our tour guide for an inside look at what happens to all of the discarded by-products of a college campus.  

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

If you’re up late Friday night – or early Saturday morning, you could be in store for a dramatic light show in the sky.  Dr. Richard Gelderman, director of WKU’s Hardin Planetarium says we could see the best meteor shower of the year – possibly the decade.

“A comet has just passed near the sun and we are about to run into its trail,” said Gelderman.  “That’s going to probably be a whole lot of dust. It’s going to come when the moon is not going to be in the sky, so it will be nice and dark and it will come when our part of the earth is slamming right into the dust stream.”

Gelderman says the best time to view the comet will likely be between midnight and 2 a.m. central time Saturday morning, but he notes those time estimates aren’t always precise.

Crews continue working to patch a large sinkhole at the Austin Peay University football field in Clarksville, Tennessee.  University spokesman Bill Persinger says the hole is near the north end zone of the field.

“At first it was just a relatively small hole in the track," said Persinger.  "As they progressed with their construction and began to dig to remediate the sinkhole, they ended up realizing it was much larger than anticipated."

The hole measures 40-feet wide and 40-feet deep.  Persinger says sinkholes are common in that part of Tennessee because of the topography.

“In fact, some of the main features of our campus at the center points of campus are remediated sinkholes that are now student gathering areas we call ‘the bowls’,” said Persinger.

He says renovation work on Governors Stadium expected to be complete in time for Austin Peay’s football season opener.

Emil Moffatt

Just days away from the Kentucky primary, Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has her eyes fixed on November and a potential general election matchup with incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell.

In front of an estimated crowd of more than 200 supporters Friday evening at Circus Square Park in Bowling Green, Grimes spoke after being introduced by State Rep. Jody Richards. It was the final stop of the day on Grimes' bus tour of Kentucky. 

“The energy, the excitement is contagious,” Grimes said to the crowd.  “I know you are ready, not only for May 20th but to give me enough shoe leather to run all the way until November.”

Grimes’ criticism of McConnell was unrelenting, calling the incumbent the “senator of yesterday.”

“Yesterday’s view of minimum wage, yesterday’s view against women getting equal pay for equal work. Yesterday’s view against actually bringing funding here for our universities, yesterday’s view against actually realizing it’s the job of a U.S. Senator to actually bring jobs to this state,” said Grimes.

Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site

A searchable database containing the names of 5,800 Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the battle of Perryville is now available online, thanks in part to a computer science class at Centre College in Danville. 

Kurt Holman, manager of the Perryville Battefield State Historic Site, has worked for three decades collecting the names. He reached out to the college looking for assistance in building an online version of the database.

Emil Moffatt

At a coffee shop just down the road from the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport it’s 10:45 in the morning, and Sonya Dick has just a couple hours before she hops in a rental car and drives to Indianapolis for business.   She works as a clinical specialist for a regenerative tissue company.

“I work with customers, researchers, people all over the United States and other countries, as well.  I cover Latin America and the Asian Pacific for our company,” said Dick.

That means she’s on the road a lot, normally driving to Nashville to catch a flight there. But what if she could connect to a larger airport without having to drive down I-65?

“It would be a huge change for me,” said Dick.  “I would save approximately – it’s an hour-and-a-half to the airport each way – at least three hours a week that I could be home or I could be more productive for work or just enjoying my time at home.”

It’s been over three decades since there was commercial air service in Bowling Green. Airport manager Rob Barnett says they’ve done comprehensive studies on where people from the Bowling Green area are flying. He says 94 percent of the 720,000 airline tickets purchased in Warren County and nine surrounding counties go through Nashville.

Emil Moffatt

Less than a month ago, Evansville was on the receiving end of good news from Indiana University. A site in downtown Evansville was chosen from among four proposed locations for a $69.5 million dollar medical education and research center.

On Tuesday, the president of IU, Dr. Michael McRobbie was in town to check out the site. But first, he spoke for a half-hour at the Evansville Rotary Club. Rotary officials said it was the largest crowd they’ve ever had.

After lunch, McRobbie and Evansville mayor Lloyd Winnecke boarded a trolley for a driving tour of the new site – encompassing 170-thousand square feet bordered by Southeast 4th and 6th streets, Cherry and Locust streets.

When they got off the trolley, it was pointed out that both Winnecke and McRobbie were wearing strikingly similar blue, pinstriped suits.

The two men weren’t only in sync with their wardrobes, but also with their feelings about the impact the new medical center will have on downtown Evansville.

Emil Moffatt

Kentucky added over 1,700 jobs in the tourism sector last year, bringing the total number of commonwealth residents employed in the tourism industry to 175,000.  Bob Stewart, Kentucky’s Secretary of Tourism, Arts and Heritage says the number of jobs dependent on visitors is actually a lot more. 

“We think about the front-line folks, but there are lots of other jobs,” said Stewart. “People who are involved in marketing; people who are involved in management of business and attractions and so-forth and so-on. It really does ripple through the economy.”

Overall, Kentucky saw a 2.6 percent boost in tourism spending, bringing the overall economic impact to $12.6 billion in 2013. 

Stewart says the Bourbon Trail and so-called “adventure tourism”, or activities that make use of the state’s natural resources – are among the reasons for the boost in tourists.  He also says the number of industry conventions and business meetings are also on the rise. 

Emil Moffatt

The journey across Kentucky continues Thursday morning for 150 military veterans taking part in the Ride 2 Recovery Bluegrass Challenge.  

Dan Wermuth was an avid cyclist growing up.  But a broken back suffered during the Vietnam War kept him away from the bike for years.  That was until a Ride 2 Recovery event came through the Florida town in which he was living.  Since then, he’s taken part in 10 rides, but many of his fellow cyclists are much younger veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I have a lot of connection with them because…especially coming from the era that I did – they didn’t appreciate us so much when we came home. That’s an understatement.  We will not let that happen for our young guys,” said Wermuth. 

Creative Commons

Last month, Indiana became the first state in the nation to formally repeal the controversial Common Core education standards that were adopted in 2010. Monday, the Indiana Education Roundtable will vote on a new set of standards for the state’s public schools.

Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teacher’s Association says the trouble with Common Core started before the standards were officially adopted. She says some districts had the resources to properly train and prepare teachers to deal with Common Core. But others, she says, chose not to devote their limited resources to training.

Meredith says the new standards won’t be all that different from Common Core.

“There are some things that, no matter what you call the standards, you must teach in order for students to really be ready for whatever is coming at them down the road,” said Meredith. “For example, some very basic math and language arts skills: you can’t eliminate those just because there’s a ‘Common Core’ label on them or just because they’re from an old set of standards. They’re very important.”

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