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

The last three months have been full of good news for the 2014 Corvette Stingray.  In November it was named Automobile Magazine’s Car of the Year, followed the next month by the same honors from Autoweek.  Monday, it was named the Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

It’s a car with a long and storied past – and no place is that more celebrated than at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. In August, the museum will celebrate its 20th anniversary. As part of the celebration, the Corvette Museum will open a new Motorsports Park featuring a 3.1 mile road course on 184 acres just across the highway from the museum.

Leading the planning for the track is Motorsports Park General Manager Mitch Wright – a former professional race car driver-turn-motorsports park operator, who’s been behind the wheel for most of his life.

“I started quite young – I was 11 years old when I started racing go-carts,” said Wright.  “From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to race…I wanted to race something.”

The flu season is now considered “widespread” across Kentucky, recently upgraded from “regional”.  While state health officials say they aren’t seeing anything out of the ordinary,  they’re still urging residents to take proper precautions.

Dr. Kraig Humbaugh with the state’s Department for Public Health says it’s normal for flu season to peak after the start of the New Year. He says in some particularly bad years, it peaks again near beginning of spring and can sometimes last until May.  Therefore he says, there’s still plenty of time for a flu shot to be effective

“My advice would be, for folks that haven’t had an opportunity to get it  --  or have been procrastinating --  to get that vaccination as soon as they can so their bodies can develop those antibodies to protect them against the flu,” said Dr. Humbaugh.

Dr. Humbaugh says this year’s vaccine does offer protection against the H1N1 strain. While other states have had it worse, he says thus far, he knows of only one adult death in Kentucky blamed on the flu. 

A Kentucky community along the Ohio River is receiving $2 million to create a regional port facility.  The state’s Agricultural Development board has awarded the money to the Meade County Riverport Authority. 

Joe Wright, chairman of the authority says the port facility in Brandenburg will give farmers in the area a chance to process, store and load their product onto barges.

“We all know that a large portion of the grain produced in the United States goes overseas," said Wright. "To get overseas, it has to get on the water and the quicker you can get it on the water, the cheaper it is to sell and the better and easier it is to sell overseas."

Wright says the facility will serve seven counties in Kentucky and 2-3 counties across the river in Indiana.  When the port is completed, it’s estimated that 5-6 million bushels of grain will be shipped from the facility. Officials hope to double those numbers in coming years.

Kentucky has seen a stark contrast in weather patterns over the past two years.  State climatologist Stuart Foster says 2013 will go down as a year with mild temperatures and above-average rainfall.

“Last year, we had a very significant drought particularly in the western part of the state and some very high temperatures,” said Foster.  “But this summer, we never came close to 100 degrees the entire summer and instead of drought, we dealt with an excess of precipitation.”

On average, the state was one degree below normal, temperature-wise for the year, while rainfall totals were seven inches above normal.  Foster says the models don’t show much change in the outlook for 2014. 

“There are really kind of equal chances based on climatology looking ahead as to whether it’s going to be warm or cold, wet or dry. We just don’t have a strong signal right now,” said Foster.

Although March through May is typically regarded as “severe weather season” in Kentucky, the state saw incidents of tornados in both January and November of this year.

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. 


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.