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.

Ways to Connect

Court Appointed Special Advocates of South Central Kentucky has received a $100,000 gift from Commonwealth Broadcasting.  CASA is a non-profit agency that helps child victims of abuse, neglect, or dependency find safe foster homes. 

The donation will benefit CASA's $2 million I am for the Child campaign which aims to expand programs and increase public awareness of CASA's role in the community.  The gift also includes a free, five-year lease at Commonwealth Broadcasting's headquarters on the Glasgow public square. 

"We've been serving children from the Glasgow area for over ten years but this is the first time we have a physical office there that people can come to and where we can meet with our advocates," CASA Executive Director Will Constable told WKU Public Radio.

CASA currently serves about 160 children, mostly from Warren County.

WKU Sports

Tonight's season opening home football game for the WKU Hilltoppers might actually feel more like an away game for them.

Home or away, teams usually sequester themselves in a hotel the night before a game to get themselves focused and go over last minute details without distractions. But with thousands of Corvette enthusiasts in town for the 20th anniversary of the Corvette Museum this weekend, there were no available hotel rooms in Bowling Green.

Warren County Public Schools filed a brief with the Kentucky Board of Education Friday formally appealing Commissioner Terry Holliday's final Order in the on-going dispute over non-resident students.

The state board will hear arguments October 7 in Frankfort from attorneys for both the county and city school districts.

There have already been two rulings against the county school system in its fight to prevent as many as 750 students from being allowed to attend city schools. In June, county schools' attorney Jacinta Porter filed an 80 page document of exceptions against hearing officer Mike Wilson's recommendation favoring the city district that was essentially the same ruling he made a year ago.

A national gathering of state legislators has included six Kentucky laws in its list of suggested legislation for the rest of the nation.

The Lexington based Council of State Governments cited the state's statutes related to altered cash registers, clearing criminal records of victims of forced prostitution and requiring businesses to report data breaches as models for other lawmakers to use. The complete list of suggestions will be included in a booklet this winter.

The other Kentucky measures cited provide civil liability protections to engineers and architects who volunteer their services after a natural disaster, allowing victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to remove their addresses from public voter registration rolls and automatically terminating parental and custody rights of anyone convicted of felony rape when the mother keeps the child.

Photo by WKU Public Radio photojournalist Abbey Oldham

"It's an exciting time to be a Hilltopper."

That's how first year head coach Jeff Brohm started off WKU football media day inside Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium Saturday morning, just hours before the first of the team's 23 scheduled practices that afternoon.

Besides a new head coach, the third in the past three years, the Tops begin the season in a new conference, moving to Conference USA this summer after decades in the Sun Belt Conference. They finished 8-4 last year, their eighth season in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

"We're excited about joining the new conference," Brohm said, "It'll be a challenge for us and we'll have to earn respect but that's what college football is all about if you want to become the best."

Brohm said the team had a good summer working on strength and conditioning to get in the best shape possible so a lot of players can see game action on both sides of the ball and they can stay fresh. But right now, all the team is thinking about and working towards is the first game of the regular season.

WKU Athletics

After 32 years as a member of the Sun Belt Conference, WKU has now officially become a member of the newly re-aligned, 14 member Conference USA. It's a move Athletic Director Todd Stewart has been working toward for several years, but even he admits it's a high-risk, high-reward situation.

Stewart spoke with Joe Corcoran about leaving the comforts of the Sun Belt for the new challenges ahead.

Kentucky State Police in Bowling Green were contacted by the Logan County Detention Center regarding an inmate that had escaped.

21 year old Christopher Scarbrough of Russellville is described as a white male, 5'11", 160 pounds with brown hair and eyes. He was last seen at the Logan County Detention Center Sunday afternoon.

Anyone with any information on Scarbrough's whereabouts is asked to call State Police at 1-800-222-5555.

A Western Kentucky University researcher has been chosen as a co-winner in a "Science Idol" competition in Washington, D.C.

Jill Maples shared the award as a recent symposium on biomedical research excellence. Maples is an assistant professor in WKU's department of kinesiology, recreation and sport.

The symposium was sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.

Last month's ruling in the ongoing dispute between the county and Bowling Green city schools over non-resident students is now being challenged in court. County schools' attorney Jacinta Porter Monday filed an 80 page document of exceptions to hearing officer Mike Wilson's recommendation that up to 750 Warren County students be allowed to attend city schools in the coming school year.

Wilson's recommendation last month was the same one he made a year ago and that was approved by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. It was seen as a win for the city school system. The county  wanted the number of non-resident students limited to just siblings of current students.

In a prepared statement, Warren County Superintendent Rob Clayton said, "We remain confident that the Commissioner will appropriately modify Mr. Wilson's recommendation to ensure the process is transparent, fair and equitable. In addition, we anticipate that the Commissioner's ruling will minimize the negative financial impact of the recommendation."

Joe Corcoran photo

The next four days are a bargain hunter's dream as the 11th annual "400 Mile Sale" returns to the Commonwealth. It's Kentucky's yard sale, stretching along Highway 68 from Maysville to Paducah and into western Tennessee, and giving people a chance to show off their trash and treasures to anyone and everyone willing to stop and look.

This is the fourth year Wayne Wade has set up shop at his friend's yard in Warren County. He says he likes the spot since it's under two big trees that give them shade from the sun and cover from the rain.

Holley Performance Products says the research and development facility at their Bowling Green headquarters will bring a $1.3 million investment and create 20 new jobs. It's being described as a work cell for designing new exhaust systems.

The work cell will develop and prove new designs, processes and manufacturing techniques. It will focus on improving processes and methods in order to decrease production time, accommodate sales volume and maintain high quality of products.

The facility will allow Holley to expand its exhaust product lines under their Hooker Header and Flowtech brands including premium quality exhaust systems for late model muscle cars and trucks and classic vehicles.

Holley has been in Bowling Green since 1951. It employs more than 250 people at its Russellville Road facility.

Lexington Herald-Leader photo

In February, Pastor Jamie Coots was bitten by a rattlesnake during his serpent handling church service in eastern Kentucky and was dead within hours. This week his 21-year-old son nearly suffered the same fate.

Jamie Coots was bitten on his right hand by a six-foot long rattler Monday morning as he was using a hooked pole to take venomous snakes from a cage he keeps at his mother's house. He was trying to get two into a carrying case and was reaching for a third when the other rattler lunged out of the cage at him and bit him on the index finger of his right hand.

The call went out for fellow church members to come and pray for his recovery and about two dozen people went to the house. Coots, in line with his religious beliefs,  refused medical assistance.

Earlier this year, Coots told WKU Public Radio being bitten by poisonous snakes is part of his job. "I like to handle snakes," he said, "I've been bit five times, strictly cottonmouths. But one of those bites, God was moving on me, the thing reached and grabbed me right in the back of the shoulder and never did hurt me. I just kept right on dancing with fire in one hand and a snake in the other."

MacDonald & Owen Lumber Company recently acquired the dry kiln facility, Kerr Forest Products, in Bowling Green. Now, the company has been approved for incentives, with plans to invest $2.6 million and create 18 full-time positions.

The hardwood lumber company already has locations on Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.  The company serves a world-wide customer base, offering a product line of more than twenty different species of kiln dried lumber as well as custom drying, planing and sanding.

Owner and CEO David Twite says the move to Bowling Green will allow MacDonald & Owen to extend their global reach through the close proximity to materials and freight options. The company is expecting to produce an additional five million board feet of hardwood lumber annually focusing on high quality Appalachian hardwoods.

This is the second economic development announcement for Bowling Green this year. It brings total capital investment to nearly $153,000 and the creation of 90 new jobs.

Constellium N.V., a European aluminum company, and Japanese aluminum company UACJ Corporation say they'll establish an aluminum production facility at the Bowling Green Transpark. A $150 million capital investment is expected and 80 new jobs. It's the largest capital investment for the South Central Kentucky region in more than a decade.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said the investment further solidifies the state as a key player in the auto industry. The two companies will supply aluminum "Body-in-White" sheet to the North American auto industry. The Joint Venture will have an initial target capacity of 100,000 metric tons, about 220 million pounds, supplied by cold rolled coils supplied by both partners' rolling mills.

Construction of the plant is expected to begin this summer.

There have been ten economic development announcements in the past 18 months in Bowling Green, totaling more than $285 million in capital investment and over 450 new jobs. This is the largest total capital investment in the state of Kentucky so far this year.

Champion Petfoods USA Inc. plans to open its first U. S. kitchen in Logan County, creating 147 new jobs and an $85 million investment. The company specializes in in "Biologically Appropriate" pet foods using fresh local ingredients. It's headquartered in Alberta, Canada.

Champion's ORIJEN and ACANA dog and cat food brands feature unique, fresh regional ingredients. They're sold in more than 70 countries. The company does not outsource food production and makes all of its products in its own kitchens. The $85 million investment will go toward building a kitchen in Auburn with construction set to begin this summer.

Company executives say Logan County's agricultural heritage and proximity to ranches and farms makes its location a good fit. In a release, Governor Beshear said, "not only will Champion Petfoods bring vital agricultural jobs to the region, but it will also create a new customer base for nearby farmers and ranchers."

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives of up to $8.7 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. KEDFA also approved Champion for tax benefits of up to $1.3 million through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act.

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