Joe Corcoran

Morning Edition host; Reporter/Producer

Joe Corcoran has been WKU Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” host and news anchor since 2003. Joe’s received numerous awards for his on-air work including the Associated Press’s “Best Radio News Anchor in Kentucky” twice. Several of his stories have aired on NPR’s “All Things Considered”.

A graduate of Syracuse University, Joe spent most of his career in television journalism both on-air and in management at stations in North Carolina, Iowa and Illinois.

In Bowling Green, Joe is active in his church as well as with the Bowling Green Area of Commerce. He is on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Associated Press.

He and his wife Patricia are the proud parents of three children and the “extremely” proud grandparents of two granddaughters, Claire and Vivian.

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Joe Corcoran

The city of Owensboro is known for a lot: bluegrass music, barbecue, and its downtown riverfront.

It’s also known for holding the last public execution in America.

Eighty years ago, tens of thousands of people from all over the country crowded Owensboro’s downtown and newspapers all over the country carried the front page story of the hanging of a black man convicted of raping a white woman.

The echoes of that event are still being felt in Owensboro eight decades later, especially for one woman who witnessed the event as a young girl.

It was still dark early that morning of August 14th, 1936.

Rachel Abbott, who was five at the time, was still asleep when her older sister tiptoed across the room to her bed and woke her up. “I didn’t know what was going on,” Abbott recently told WKU Public Radio. “My sister was eight so she probably knew more about it than I did.”

What was going, just two blocks away, was the hanging of Rainey Bethea.

WKU

As many as 200 Western Kentucky University employees will soon pay at least five times for health benefits.

Members of the building services, grounds, landscaping and recycling departments are being outsourced August 1 to Sodexo Management Services.

Those making minimum pay will get a dollar-an-hour raise, while a smaller group making more than that will get an hourly boost of between 54 and 95 cents.

WKU Human Resources director Tony Glisson said the move is in response to a $6 million budget cut from the state announced earlier this year.

“When that type of reduction occurs, the university has to look deep and wide for opportunities to reduce costs, become more efficient, to look for creative arrangements, new partnerships that may not have been in place previously,” he said.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Eric Molina

The leader of Bowling Green-based health group says a needle exchange for intravenous drug users is the best way to fight the state’s addiction problems.

Dennis Chaney, director of the Barren River District Health Department, is applauding the Bowling Green city commission’s decision Tuesday to approve a needle exchange program.

The exchange must now be approved by Warren County Fiscal Court. It has already been authorized by the Warren County Board of Health.

Chaney said he understands those who feel a needle exchange will enable drug users.

But he thinks it’s the best way to break down barriers and start the healing process.

“The opportunity is for those folks who would participate in the program, the responsibility is for us to try to develop a relationship with those folks just like what you may have and you may enjoy with your primary care physician,” Chaney said.

flicker/creative commons/Pascal Gaudette

It's almost impossible not to play with a kitten, but a scratch from one could lead to trouble.

According to Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Iass El Lakkis of The Medical Center in Bowling Green, Cat Scratch Fever is usually mild but, in rare cases, can lead to hospitalization for eye problems, disorientation or liver infection. "Mostly patients will have skin swelling, small bumps or redness, usually three to ten days after they're exposed," he said.

More often than not, though, Cat Scratch Fever is treated with simple antibiotics and lingers for about three to four weeks.

Bowling Green PD

A man killed in a shoot-out inside a Tennessee home has been confirmed as the same man who robbed a Bowling Green bank this week.

Bowling Green police say Eddy Connor was hiding inside the home after escaping from a police chase Tuesday. He was discovered when the homeowner returned home Wednesday morning. Both Connor and the unidentified homeowner were killed in an exchange of gunfire.

Connor reportedly had an extensive criminal record in his native Florida and was featured on a 2012 episode of the TV show “America’s Most Wanted”. He reportedly escaped from jail more than half a dozen times.

Bowling Green PD

A woman is in custody and a man-hunt continues in Tennessee for a man accused of robbing the Citizens First Bank on Campbell Lane in Bowling Green Tuesday morning.

The woman, 53 year old Colleen Watkins, was captured Tuesday afternoon following a vehicle pursuit. The unidentified man ran from the van she was driving and is still at large.

Video from the bank shows the man waiting in line and then demanding money from a teller when he got to the counter. No gun was shown.

The man then ran behind the bank and got into the van driven by Watkins.

Franklin police spotted the van several hours later and chased it into Portland, Tennessee, finally stopping it with the use of spike strips that flattened its tires.

The male passenger took off into the woods off Tennessee Route 25.

Watkins is in the Sumner County jail on a first degree robbery charge. More charges are possible.

Henderson Police Department

A Henderson man will appear in court Wednesday after being charged with vandalizing the city’s Memorial Day display.

Police say 27-year-old Anthony Burrus drove his car through a display of more than 5,000 crosses in the city’s Central Park early Saturday morning.

As many as 160 of the crosses were damaged or destroyed.

Henderson police officer Jennifer Richmond said the city’s Memorial Day observance went off as scheduled Monday, thanks to some fast repair work.

“To my knowledge, they were able to get the crosses back in the ground, and repair some others that had been destroyed,” Richmond said.

The crosses were repaired by members of the Henderson fire department, the American Legion and local residents.

Burrus told police he has no memory of what happened.

He’s been charged with criminal mischief in the first degree and leaving the scene of an accident.

UK

The Medical Center at Bowling Green became the 16th affiliate to join the statewide network under the University of Kentucky's Markey Cancer Center.

President and CEO of Commonwealth Health Corporation and The Medical Center Connie Smith said patients in south-central Kentucky will now "have access to the latest clinical trials, educational opportunities for physicians and staff and additional outreach and education resources for the community."

The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network was created to provide high quality cancer care closer to home for patients across the region, according to a written release from the Medical Center. The Medical Center is the regional referral center for cancer care in the region with almost 1,000 cancer cases diagnosed at the hospital annually, according to the release.

Executive vice president for Commonwealth Health Corporation Sarah Moore told WKU Public Radio the Medical Center can now provide patients access to additional specialty and subspecialty physicians and advanced technology while allowing them to stay close to home for their treatment. The Medical Center has been an accredited cancer program for 12 years.

Other health providers in the Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network include Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, Methodist Hospital in Henderson and TJ Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow.

Creative Commons

The federal Department of Justice is closing its investigation into the hiring practices of the Bowling Green Police Department.

Last summer the DOJ said it was looking into the low number of African-American police officers on the force.

Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson says federal investigators have told the city they found nothing out of the ordinary.

“They went through the process and what we understand, there was a statistical anomaly regarding the number of minorities that have been employed over the last couple of reviews and they wanted to examine our practices to determine that we weren’t setting up any artificial barriers to the hiring of minority applicants”

Bowling Green conducted its own investigation into the police department’s hiring practices.

WKU Athletics

Former Western Kentucky University men's basketball coach Ray Harper has been hired in the same position at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. He'll be formally introduced at a news conference in Jacksonville Thursday morning.

Harper resigned from WKU last month following the suspension of three players for undisclosed reasons. It was announced this week those players are no longer enrolled at WKU. School President Gary Ransdell has said those suspensions were the "primary reason" behind Harper's resignation March 17th.

WKU hired former Mississippi State head coach and Texas A & M assistant Rick Stansbury as head coach March 28th.

Harper coached for five seasons at WKU after becoming interim coach in the 2011-12 school year. He compiled an 89-64 record. He led the Hilltoppers to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first two seasons but failed to reach any post-season tournaments in his last three years.

Harper's taking over a program at Jacksonville State that went 8-23 last season, including a 4-12 record in the Ohio Valley Conference.

After being suspended from the Western Kentucky University men's basketball team last month for undisclosed reasons, three former players have now officially left the school.

In a statement released late Tuesday afternoon, WKU Athletics Director Todd Stewart said "Fredrick Edmond, Marlon Hunter and Chris McNeal are no longer enrolled at Western Kentucky University. They have been released from their scholarship and are able to pursue other opportunities."

The three were dismissed from the team for undisclosed reasons after a ruling by the University Disciplinary Committee. The Committee and the athletics department cited federal privacy laws in declining to release any details of the case.

Former coach Ray Harper resigned immediately following the players' suspensions. He's reportedly being considered for the head coaching position at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. New coach Rick Stansbury made it clear during his introductory news conference last week that the three would not be on the team next season.

Fredrick Edmond has signed with an agent and will forego his senior year of college eligibility to play professionally overseas. Both McNeal and Hunter are freshmen.

WKU

Western Kentucky University president Gary Ransdell says the school will tap into the University Reserve Fund to meet mandated budget cuts ordered by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Bevin ordered an immediate 4.5% cut to all higher education funding. For WKU, that amounts to a little over $3.3 million.

In an email to WKU faculty and staff Monday afternoon, Ransdell wrote the timing of the budget cuts left him with no other choice but to take the money from the Reserve Fund. "Given the lateness in the fiscal year and the extraordinary circumstances that would be required of the campus to reduce campus operating budgets that have already been obligated," he wrote, " we have decided the best course of action is to seek approval at the April Board of Regents' meeting to draw down the University Reserve Fund to carry us through the end of the fiscal year."

The Western Kentucky University women's basketball season came to a close Sunday night as the Lady Hilltoppers lost to South Dakota 68 - 54 in the quarterfinals of the Women's National Invitational Tournament.

The Lady Tops finish the season with a 27 - 7 record, they're 103 - 32 overall under the first four years of head coach Michelle Clark Heard's leadership.

Kendall Noble led Western with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Tashia Brown added 12 points.

Trailing by nine points going into the fourth quarter, Brown's jumper got her team within seven points but with 8:55 to play but WKU was unable to get any closer.

Ivy Brown fell just short of her second consecutive double - double with 8 points and 10 rebounds.

Joe Corcoran / WKU Public Radio

The Screaming Eagles of Fort Campbell’s 101st Airborne Division Air Assault are once again in harm’s way on foreign soil. Five hundred soldiers are in Iraq and Kuwait on an advisory mission, called Operation Inherent Resolve, aimed at helping the Iraqis in their fight against the terrorist group ISIS.

The troops’ official departure ceremony was hard on their family members. It was also hard on the feelings of those off base who've seen it all before.

At a recent Casing the Colors ceremony, service members from Fort Campbell packed up the unit’s flags and pennants and prepared them for their journey to the Middle East. The symbols of unit pride and identity are then unfurled in foreign war zones to signify a new base of operations.

Speaking to soldiers and family members in attendance at the base, Staff Sergeant Cara Duda read from the ceremony's official history. "The very soul of a military unit is symbolized by the colors under which it fights," she said. "They record the glories of the past, stand guard over its present destiny and insure inspiration for its future. Today the colors serve as a binding symbol of continuity and a point of inspiration for the future. Commanders and soldiers come and go but the colors will remain steadfast."

WKU Athletics

The WKU womens' basketball team beat Dayton 89- 72 at E. A. Diddle Arena in their opening round game of the Women's National Invitational Tournament. WKU was led by Conference USA Player of the Year Kendall Noble's 27 points.

They'll stay home to play their second round game Monday night at 7:00 pm central time against UT-Martin. It will be the first meeting between the teams since 1981.

During Thursday night's game, Noble got most of her points at the free throw line hitting, 17 out of 18 attempts. That's the fourth most free throws in a single game in WKU history. They were the most in a game for the Lady Toppers since 2008.

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