Kevin Willis

News Director

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio.  He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.  He is a broadcast journalism graduate of WKU, and has won numerous awards for his reporting and feature production.  Kevin grew up in Radcliff, Kentucky and currently lives in Glasgow.

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Sports
12:57 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Epic Day of Sports Set for Saturday at Lindsey Wilson College

The Lindsey Wilson College football team will kick off a history-making day Saturday in Columbia, Ky.
Credit LWC Athletics

Lindsey Wilson College is making history this weekend.

The Adair County school is hosting four first-round national tournament events Saturday, the first time that’s been done in the history of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Here’s a rundown of what the day has in store for Blue Raider fans:

  • Football: LWC vs. Faulkner University (AL), noon at Blue Raider Stadium
  • Women’s Soccer: LWC vs. Columbia College (MO), 4:30pm at Reuling Stadium
  • Volleyball: LWC vs. Xavier University (LA), 6:30pm at Biggers Sports Center
  • Men’s Soccer: LWC vs. Lindenwood University-Belleville (Illinois), 7:30pm at Reuling Stadium

Lindsey Wilson Director of Public Affairs Duane Bonifer says some extremely dedicated fans plan to attend all four events.

“We’ve heard from a lot of Blue Raider fans from throughout the Columbia-Adair County area who have asked if the dining center is going to be open special hours so that they can fit in meals between events,” Bonifer told WKU Public Radio.

Bonifer is also predicting that more than a few pizza deliveries will be made to campus Saturday.

Immigration Debate
12:39 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Head of Refugee Assistance Center in Bowling Green Cautiously Optimistic Ahead of Obama's Speech

Albert Mbanfu, on the right, is the Executive Director of the Bowling Green International Center.
Credit Abbey Oldham

The leader of the Bowling Green International Center says he hopes President Obama will announce that undocumented immigrants in the U.S. will not face deportation.

Albert Mbanfu says he’ll be watching the President’s speech Thursday evening with the hopes that Mr. Obama will take executive actions that clarify the status of undocumented immigrants.

“When you’re not sure if you’ll be with your kids tomorrow, you plan for contingencies, rather than thinking about how to comfortably raise your family,” the native of Cameroon said.  

Mbanfu believes the fear of deportation psychologically cripples many immigrants who would otherwise contribute greatly at the workplace and community.

“If you have that comfort in you, that a police officer is not looking over your shoulder to arrest you and send you back to your country, or wherever you came from, then you can think rationally, you can do things in a more composed manner, and that will translate into whatever job that they may be doing,” Mbanfu told WKU Public Radio.

Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell warned from the Senate floor Thursday that “Congress will act” if lawmakers believe the President oversteps his legal authority and unilaterally changes U.S. immigration law Thursday night.

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Health & Politics
2:29 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Guthrie Wants Obamacare "Re-Write", Focus on Getting Medical Devices on U.S. Market Sooner

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, a Republican from Bowling Green
Credit Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s Second District Congressman is predicting a major “re-write” of the Affordable Care Act next year.

Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie would have an up-close view of such an effort, as he was named vice-chair of a key House Health Subcommittee Wednesday.

Guthrie says the complicated structure of the federal health law makes it difficult to change certain aspects of the A.C.A without creating unintended consequences elsewhere.

“You hear a lot of people say, ‘let’s keep what we like and fix what we don’t like.’ And there are things that we need as part of our system. We need to make sure that people have health care if they’re sick, and pre-existing conditions don’t push them out of the marketplace.”

But the Bowling Green Republican said adding so many additional Americans to the healthcare system made it impossible for President Obama to keep his pledge that everyone could keep the doctor and health plan that they wanted.

The Congressman also expressed concern about states—like Kentucky—that expanded their Medicaid rolls as part of Obamacare.

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Sports
3:43 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Kentucky's High School Championship Football Games to Remain at WKU Through '18

Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium at WKU
Credit Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s six high school state football championship games will remain in Bowling Green through 2018.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association announced Tuesday that it will continue its partnership with WKU and Russell Athletic for at least four more years. KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett says while there are larger football stadiums in the Commonwealth, WKU’s L.T. Smith Stadium offers the perfect venue for the games.

“And what we hear from the fans that come, from the coaches who come, to the players who have played here is that the intimacy of a packed or a nearly packed house sometimes trumps some of the bells and whistles that they’ll never see anyway.”

The state football championships moved to Bowling Green in 2009 after 30 years in Louisville. W-K-U Athletic Director Todd Stewart says his school’s coaching staff loves hosting the games because it exposes potential recruits and their families to the campus, stadium, and community.

“Our coaches have always felt that if they can get a recruit here on campus then we have a great chance to get them, because they’ll see everything. And so for us to have six state championship football games here every year, which is obviously bringing 12 high-caliber teams here , exposes our program to them, and vice-versa.”

The 2014 state championship games will be played at WKU December 5-6.

Arts & Culture
2:41 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Kentucky Gospel Music Celebrated at WKU

The Northern Kentucky Brotherhood will be featured at Tuesday's Cultural Enhancement Series program at WKU.
Credit nkybrotherhood.com

Some of the best gospel musicians in the Bluegrass State will be in Bowling Green Tuesday evening.

The WKU Cultural Enhancement Series is sponsoring the show called Kentucky Glory: Gospel Music from the Commonwealth.

“It’s going to bring together the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood, an acapella African-American group from Covington,” said Brent Bjorkman, director of the Kentucky Folklife Program at WKU, and a member of the Cultural Enhancement Series committee. “Also, Paul Mosely and his friends—he’s an award-winning thumbpicker, but they also play some sacred music as well. And starting out the show is our very own John Edmonds, from the Bowling Green area.”

Bjorkman says the music presented Tuesday evening is a kind that impacts many people in the region.

“Church, going to church, and worshipping is very much part of many peoples’ lives here in the commonwealth. So it’s a wonderful thing to bring together African-American and white churches. Everybody really has a connection to this particular kind of music we call gospel.”

The show begins at  7 p.m. Tuesday at the Downing Student Union auditorium.

Regional
1:47 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Indictment Alleges Over 1 Million Pain Pills Illegally Sold in Eastern Kentucky

Prescription drug abuse has taken a major toll in parts of the country, including eastern and southeastern Kentucky.

A pain clinic operator is charged with distributing over 1 million pills in southeastern Kentucky before his offices were shut down.

The Herald-Leader reports that a federal indictment against Joel Shumrak was unsealed Thursday, and details new allegations related to his pain clinics in Georgia and South Florida. A federal grand jury charges Shumrack and Michael Johnston of conspiring to distribute pain pills and Xanax in Clay County, Kentucky, over a nearly six-year-period beginning in 2008.

The two men are accused of taking part in a scheme where Kentuckians came to the clinics in Georgia and Florida and received prescriptions for pain pills without undergoing any legitimate medical examinations.

Court records accuse Shumrack of making $15 million through the effort and hiding the money in an off-shore account.

Eastern Kentucky drug dealers sometimes sponsor trips by addicts to other states where they can load up on pills via fake pain clinics. The dealer and addict then divvy up the pills once the addict returns home.

Education
4:31 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Kentucky Seeks Public Input on Proposed Standards for Social Studies, Arts Classes

Public input is being sought on proposed standards for social studies and arts classes in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Department of Education is asking for feedback on proposed standards for social studies and arts and humanities.

The Herald-Leader reports Kentuckians can register their thoughts through December 5.

The proposed changes are a result of legislation passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2009 that required the state to update academic content standards in all subjects.

Kentucky was the first state to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative. New English and math standards have been in place since 2011, followed by a new science curriculum.

If approved, the new social studies and arts and humanities standards would be introduced during the 2015-16 school year.

Those interested in reviewing the proposed standards and offering feedback can do so by clicking on these links:

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Education
12:26 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

New Society for Lifelong Learning at WKU Gearing Up for First Semester of Classes

Credit WKU

WKU is hoping to attract those over the age of 50 to a new organization that will offer classes ranging from financial planning to art history.

The Society for Lifelong Learning at WKU will begin offering non-credit courses next March, with the curriculum largely based on member input. The WKU group is modeling its efforts on more than 500 other lifelong learning institutes throughout the country.

Society member Frank Kersting says many of those surveyed indicated they would like to take classes that help explain major events and issues they’ve faced during their lifetimes.

“We found that individuals here would like to have courses that reflect their generation. So a lot of the classes will deal with who we were, back when we were younger.”

Kersting says the classes will not involve grades or papers, and are intended to be pressure-free.  

“We are not only going to offer courses every semester that address a variety of interests that individuals over 50 have, but also provide a social network for individuals to meet other people of like mind and interests,” he told WKU Public Radio.

The Society for Lifelong Learning is holding an open house this Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green.

Politics
2:44 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Preview of '16? Rand Paul Uses GOP Wins to Criticize Clinton

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Bowling Green

Mitch McConnell isn’t the only Kentucky Senator basking in the afterglow of Tuesday night’s election results.

Rand Paul is using the election as an opportunity to criticize the woman many consider to be the next Democratic Presidential front-runner: Hillary Clinton.

Sen. Paul says he won’t formally decide on whether or not to launch a 2016 presidential bid until next spring. But the Bowling Green Republican is acting the part of a White House contender, and judging from recent comments, he firmly believes Hillary Clinton is his biggest obstacle to winning the presidential contest.

Paul has wasted no time in describing Tuesday night’s Republican victories around the nation as a “repudiation of Hillary Clinton.” In speeches and interviews following the election, Paul has pointed out that the former First Lady and New York Senator campaigned on behalf of several Democratic Senate candidates who ultimately lost—including Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky.

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Politics
2:57 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

McConnell and Grimes Criss-Cross Kentucky on Final Full Day of Campaigning

Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sec. of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

One of the most expensive Senate races in U.S. history will come to an end Tuesday evening when voters decide between Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Grimes spoke to supporters at the Bowling Green United Auto Workers Hall Monday morning. She was dismissive of recent polls that show Sen. McConnell with a growing lead. An NBC/Marist poll released over the weekend gave McConnell a nine point lead.

“That’s the Washington D.C.-beltway punditry.  As you can see, the energy is palpable,” Grimes said, in reference to supporters at her Warren County event. “Kentuckians will have the final word in this election, and I do believe that they are bringing this race home, and will bring us across the finish line successfully.”

Grimes is hoping to become Kentucky’s first female U.S. Senator. On the final day of campaigning before votes are cast Tuesday, the Secretary of State is flying around the state, making appearances with Governor Steve Beshear, Former Governor Martha Layne Collins, and Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

McConnell is spending Monday alongside his fellow Kentucky Republican Senator, Rand Paul of Bowling Green. The two are flying around the state and speaking at airports across the commonwealth, including those in Bowling Green and Owensboro Monday afternoon.

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