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. 

A study finds the number of Kentucky high school students earning college credit through Advanced Placement classes has grown by 100 percent over the last five years. That’s double the national average, according to Joanne Lang with Advance Kentucky, a group that works with schools to encourage students to take advanced placement classes. She says AP classes give students a big head start.

“Just this week we released a study that shows the longitudinal impact – that is – how are kids doing in college,” said Lang. “Does AP participation in high school make a difference in how successful kids are in college? And we find it’s a resounding ‘Yes’.”

Lang says they’ve seen a boost in the number of low-income and minority students earning AP credit.

“It’s student populations that are traditionally underrepresented in advance placement – not only in Kentucky but nationwide,” said Lang. “That’s our target audience. Can we build many more of those students into the population of AP and rigorous success?”

Lang says Advance Kentucky strives to work with 10-20 new schools per year.  For the past five years it’s been funded by the National Math and Science Initiative, the Kentucky Department of Education and several other agencies, both public and private.

Emil Moffatt

The city of Owensboro has embraced the Ohio River in recent years, hoping it will lead to a revitalization of the downtown area and now the city is awaiting the results of a study on whether a marina would help attract even more residents and visitors to the river.

“We’ve asked these consultants to come back and tell us about the possibility of building not a seasonal marina, but a year-round marina at English Park," said city manager Bill Parrish.  "It would be just down the road from our downtown redevelopment."

The city recently built a convention center by the Ohio River and two hotels are under construction.

Parrish says that the study is expected to be complete by April 1.  Part of that study involves a public comment session at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the police department community room.

“This is a study to see if a marina makes sense and what the cost might be.  We would be absolutely open to it being operated by the city, by a private entity or a public-private partnership of some type,” said Parrish.

Larnelle Harris

It will be a homecoming of sorts Monday night at SKyPAC in Bowling Green as WKU alumnus Larnelle Harris performs at a Christmas concert with Orchestra Kentucky. 

“It’s going to be fun to get back and do this Christmas concert. It will kind of jump start our Christmas this year so we’re looking forward to it,” said Harris.  “And SKyPAC, this is a new auditorium and I think it’s going to be quite a living room and I think it’s a testament to how Bowling Green keeps moving ahead”

Throughout his four-decade career, Harris has performed at Carnegie Hall, The White House and even the Kremlin after the fall of the Soviet Union.

“All of those places have been great and to do the first concert at the Palace of Congresses at the Kremlin was indeed an exciting thing.  But I’ve gotta tell you, I enjoy being right here in Louisville and having the opportunity to go to my own church and sharing there has been a joy.”

Harris is a member of three Halls of Fame, and has won five Grammy awards.  Tonight’s Christmas concert is the first of two scheduled for Orchestra Kentucky this month. The group will also present A Rockin’ Christmas on December 14.

Emil Moffatt

Eighteen-year-old Gerald Givens was a member of the Butler County High School Band in 1960 when then-Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy made a campaign stop in downtown Bowling Green.

“We were in front of his car, so when I got through with the parade I grabbed my camera and ran back up the street so I could get a good picture of him, which I did,” said Givens.  “After that, we just disbanded, got on the buses and went back to Morgantown at that time.”

Givens captured a picture of the future president, riding in a red car with a Kennedy/Johnson sign strapped to the side.

“I was 18 years old and politics and all that didn’t register a whole lot.  But I knew it was a big event because the streets were packed up one side and down the other,” said Givens.

Emil Moffatt

A few miles down a winding gravel road in Scottsville sits a brown building with the words Advance Canine Academy in block letters above the door. Behind that building are four vehicles sporting dusty  windows and flat tires. They serve as part of the training ground for these future K-9 officers.

Gene England tosses a marijuana-scented tennis ball is tossed into the car and one of the dogs-in-training races in after it, searching high-and-low to find which crevice or under which seat the ball went.

When the dog emerges, England implores a handful of students to remember what they saw.

“Jumping, spinning, barking, licking, biting – every bit of that stuff – you’ll find more drugs off those indications than you’ll ever find off this one [scratching],” said England. “As of Day 1 when you write in your journal, you’ve gotta write how your dog behaved out here today, you log it.” 

Law enforcement and government officials say drug trafficking is becoming more common in these parts, even though Kentucky is a long way from the Texas border with Mexico.

“We just recently had one of our dogs down in Ohio County hit eight pounds of crystal meth and a pound and a half of heroin.  We’ve never encountered heroin in all my years in Kentucky until recently,” said England.  

For over four decades, England has been training dogs. Law enforcement dogs in particular.  His rural property in Allen County has plenty of space for the dogs and their handlers to learn the ropes. 

WKU

Of all the college campuses across the United States, only 75 can officially be called “Bike Friendly Universities” and WKU is now among them.

The League of American Bicyclists praised Western Kentucky for the leading the way to a healthier, more sustainable future.  For the university’s Parking and Transportation director Dr. Jennifer Tougas, that’s the whole point.   

“Bicycling is a very economical way to get around on short trips around town and it saves students who are strapped on cash a lot of money," said Tougas.  "It also has a lot of health benefits as well.” 

She says the addition of bike lanes along Chestnut Street and over 600 bike rack spots has been worth the investment.

"From the university’s point of view, if we can reduce parking demand that reduces the need to build more parking decks which are extremely costly or to build additional parking lots which have additional environmental effects."

More information on biking at WKU and in Bowling Green.

National Weather Service

Eight years ago this week, an F3 tornado tore through parts of Northwest Kentucky and Southern Indiana.  It claimed two-dozen lives and left hundreds injured. Rick Shanklin with the National Weather Service Paducah office said several factors led to the devastation.

“The main factor was the fact that it moved through at night. We had a major tornado that moved through a metropolitan area and unfortunately when you factor in that it impacted a mobile home park, that’s about the worst scenario that could occur,” said Shanklin.

The November 6, 2005 tornado traveled 41 miles and featured winds that reached an estimated 200 miles per hour. It touched down originally in Smith Mills in Henderson County.

Shanklin and several colleagues attended a gathering at a Red Cross facility in Evansville Wednesday.

National Park Service

Five historic sites across Kentucky have been added to the sprawling Lincoln Heritage Trail. Director Warren Greer says the new sites include the Lincoln National Scenic Byway, the Joseph Holt Home in Breckenridge County and a Lincoln memorial in Louisville. 

The Heritage Trail was re-instated in 2008 and Greer says Hodgenville continues to draw more visitors than others.

“By far the birthplace is the most-visited site. They have well over 100,000 visitors a year. That’s the real draw to Kentucky,” said Greer. “The other sites get quite a bit of visitation too. In Lexington you have the Mary Todd Lincoln House and Ashland you have the Henry Clay Estate.”

Greer says 300,000 visitors check out Lincoln historic sites every year in Kentucky.  There are now a total of 19 sites on the Lincoln Heritage Trail.

Emil Moffatt

As a member of the Bremen High School basketball team in the late 1970s, Ray Harper was twice the district’s player of the year.

“Every night it was a battle and there were some great rivalries.  We had seven high schools in the county – there’s only one high school now,” said Harper.  “It helped prepare me in the sense that you had to be ready to play every night and couldn’t take a night off and you could never underestimate your opponent."

The high schools in Muehlenberg County were consolidated into one, Bremen High School is no more, but the memories remain.

"It’s good to get back and reminisce and see those guys. We had some really good teams and some great memories that will last a lifetime,” said Harper.

Harper is in his third season as the head men’s basketball coach at Western Kentucky as a native of the commonwealth, he understands the importance of high school basketball.

“The thing I’ve always said is if you get a kid from a high school in Kentucky they’ve been coached.  The learning curve isn’t as great as it is for some kids."

High school basketball in Kentucky is a big deal. There’s a Hall of Fame honoring the state’s best through the years, but right now, it’s just a collection of names.  There’s no building,  no permanent museum...no brick-and-mortar.

WKU Dept. of Civil Engineering

The Civil Engineering Department at WKU is set to unveil a plaque tonight in honor of Anna Zhidkova, an engineering student from Russia, who died October 14, just five months after graduating from the university.

Zhidkova, who was also a pole-vaulter on the WKU track team had enrolled in graduate school at the University of Kentucky and left for Lexington the day after graduating from Western.  In August she was diagnosed with cancer.

Her parents will attend tonight’s ceremony in the Civil Engineering Student Resource Room.

One of Anna’s professors, Warren Campbell, was inspired by her positivity.  He and his wife visited Zhidkova in her hospital room in Lexington.

“Anna had a tumor on her spine that paralyzed her from the waist down and she was lying on her back in the bed and showing her father how to fly a little radio-controlled helicopter and she was just as cheerful as she was when she was here [at WKU],” said Campbell.  “I don’t know where that kind of courage comes from.”

The average price for a gallon of gas in Kentucky stands at $3.40 a gallon of regular, according to AAA East Central.  That’s about four cents higher than the national average.  But drivers across the commonwealth are seeing a fairly dramatic swing in prices – $3.05 in some places to $3.55 in others.   AAA’s Roger Boyd with says that difference is caused by several factors.

“Basically what we see is what the market will bear [with] pricing and also with specific issues dealing with what refinery delivers to which area of the state,” said Boyd.

He says barring any unforeseen world events, gas prices should hold steady or drop slightly as we continue through the fall.

Visit Danville/Boyle County

Eighteen months ago, Kentucky announced that Constitution Square in Danville would no longer be a part of the state parks system.  That’s when the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership took over.  Using a half-million dollar grant from the department of Housing and Urban Development, the inside of several historic buildings were renovated.

 Jennifer Kirchner with the Danville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau says Constitution Square is an important site to preserve.

Crews have spent the weekend cleaning up the Metcalfe County Courthouse as they try to rid the building of black mold. 

The courthouse is over 150 years old and Judge-Executive Greg Wilson says the black mold isn’t the only problem. He says he’s been trying to convince the county to purchase a nearby building that went on sale four months ago.

“We already know we’ve got asbestos and lead paint. So I’ve been trying to negotiate and get something worked out to buy this building where we can move the courthouse.  But I haven’t had any luck with that.”  

Tax Foundation

Kentucky continues to rank in the middle-of-the-pack when it comes to having a business-friendly tax climate.  The 2014 study, released Wednesday by the non-partisan Tax Foundation in Washington takes into account the corporate tax rate, individual income tax, sales tax, unemployment insurance tax and property tax rate. 

Kentucky’s ranking dropped from 24th in the nation last year to 27th this year.  The study finds Kentucky’s tax code didn’t change that much, but the ranking reflects changes in states with similar numbers. 

Meantime, Indiana ranked 10th in the nation for best business tax climate – earning high marks for low property taxes.  Tennessee ranked 15th thanks in part of a low individual income tax.

Click here to read the full report.

AT&T

Update 9:40 p.m.
AT&T reports that it has restored service after an interruption Tuesday afternoon. 

In a statement released by the company, AT&T said "a cable cut earlier today impacted service for some AT&T customers. Technicians rerouted wireless traffic and service is currently running normally. We know customers count on their wireless services, and we apologize for this inconvenience." 

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