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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An Owensboro man is leading an effort to move a Confederate statue off the Daviess County Courthouse lawn.

Twenty-two-year-old Jesse Bean started a petition on the website Change.org to convince local leaders to act.

Bean says he was inspired to take on the issue following the weekend violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and efforts in Lexington to move a pair of Confederate statues away from that city’s downtown.

Bean says the local statue should be displayed at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History.

Flickr/Creative Commons

The leader of a Kentucky auto industry group says it’s not hard to imagine the day when self-driving cars will be commonplace.

Dave Tatman, executive director of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association, points out that many of the vehicles we’ve been driving for years have been hinting at the future.

“You see autonomous features in the cars we drive every day,” Tatman said. “You know, my truck’s got lane departure warning, it’s got forward collision avoidance. That’s all part of autonomy. So I think that autonomous vehicles are here to stay.”


WKU Public Radio

Kentucky’s Secretary of State is again refusing a request to provide state voter information to a federal committee.

In a statement released by her office, Alison Lundergan Grimes said she was declining for a second time the request from her Kansas counterpart, Kris Kobach, who is the head of the Committee on Election Integrity created by President Trump.

The commission was formed after the president claimed millions of people cast illegal ballots in last year’s election. No evidence exists to support the claim.

U.S. Army

One of the latest scams making the rounds in Kentucky involves a caller who claims to be raising money to cover Veterans Affairs medical bills and aid homeless veterans.

The caller claims to represent a bogus charity called “Coalition for Veterans of America.”

The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office says its received multiple reports from Kentuckians—including one from state police—who say they’ve been contacted by the scammers.

WKU

Western Kentucky University President Timothy Caboni says the school can help fill local employment needs while also broadening the perspectives of its students.

Caboni’s first week as WKU President comes at a time when the state is putting increased pressure on colleges and universities to help address workforce development concerns.

Caboni says he wants WKU to prepare students to make a good living, while also preparing them to have a good life.

“I think that having that balance is important. That preparing people to go into the workforce and into a profession is key, but also ensuring they have the critical thinking and broader communication skills to be successful over a lifetime,” WKU’s 10th president said.

Caboni says one of his chief goals is for WKU to recruit “more and better” students who can graduate in four years. Degree productivity is a key point of Kentucky’s new performance-based funding model for higher education.

You can hear our full interview with Timothy Caboni here:


Kentucky LRC

The Secretary of Kentucky’s Justice and Public Safety Cabinet says he’s thrilled with the impact of the state’s needle exchange programs.

John Tilley believes the 32 local needle exchange efforts in Kentucky represent a change in how the state is facing the growing problems of opioid addiction, and diseases spread through the use of infected syringes.

Tilley says many of the addicts participating in needle exchanges are deciding to get help.

“They are five times—five times—more likely to enter treatment. And we’ve had great success in getting people who go to these programs into treatment, so that’s a public health win. We have to do it to battle back Hepatitis C—that’s a public health nightmare in Kentucky.”

WKU

Western Kentucky University is renaming an academic building after a longtime Warren County lawmaker.

The school’s Board of Regents Friday approved renaming the Mass Media and Technology Hall after Jody Richards.

The Bowling Green Democrat has served in the Kentucky House of Representatives since 1976, and was House Speaker for 14 years—the longest anyone has ever held that position.

A statement from the university said Richards was instrumental in securing state funding to construct the Mass Media and Technology Hall, as well as at least seven other campus buildings.

A renaming ceremony will be held Thursday, May 4, at 1 p.m.

Creative Commons

Kentucky State Police officers are teaming up with the federal government to collect unused and outdated prescription medications.

Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and drop-off locations will be set up at locations across the commonwealth.

State Police spokesman Josh Brashears says it’s opportunity to get rid of medications that could be accidentally ingested by children, stolen, or misused.

“Any kind of solid dosage units—pills or liquid cough syrup, anything like that, we can accept and safely dispose of that.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul thinks China is the key to keeping the erratic North Korean regime in check.

The Bowling Green Republican said Beijing can put even more political and economic pressure on North Korea, after that country recently suffered an embarrassing failed missile launch.

“I do agree with the Trump administration that talking to China, and trying to get China involved, is an important part” of getting North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un “to behave,” Paul said.

Speaking to reporters at his Bowling Green office Monday, Paul said China has tremendous leverage with Pyongyang given North Korea’s economic woes.

David Brinkley

Kentucky’s Second District Congressman thinks lawmakers will need to have a greater say in any future U.S. military action in Syria.

Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie said it remains to be seen if the Syrian regime will change its behavior after last week’s U.S. missile attack on an airfield. His comments come as questions are raised over the role Congress should play in approving the kinds of strikes carried out

“And I actually do think the president had the authority to do what he did the other day, but I think if we’re going to engage and move forward, it needs to have Congressional authorization,” Rep. Guthrie said. “I said that when President Obama was president, and I’ll say it now.”

WKU

An attorney representing Western Kentucky University’s student newspaper thinks an open records lawsuit could take several months to resolve.

The comments from Mike Abate come after a hearing related to the lawsuit scheduled for Monday was canceled.

WKU is suing the College Heights Herald and the University of Kentucky student newspaper to prevent the release of documents related to potential sexual harassment allegations made against university employees.

The hearing was canceled after WKU agreed to a motion allowing the state Attorney General’s office to intervene on the side of the newspapers. Abate says it’s a key development.

Kentucky State Parks

Hundreds of volunteers are expected at an event Saturday designed to clean up the area around a southeastern Kentucky park.

The group PRIDE serves 42 counties in the region, and is kicking off its Spring Cleanup Campaign Saturday morning at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.

PRIDE president Tammi Wilson says the effort will target trash pickup along the roadway leading into and out of the park in McCreary and Whitley counties.

“We’ve had as many as 507 volunteers at this event at one time. We pick up about, just under, a thousand bags of trash on that 27 miles of roadway. So you can just imagine the impact that that makes—almost a thousand bags of trash no longer on the roadway," Wilson said.

Creative Commons

A new statewide polls finds 42 percent of Kentucky adults say they aren’t getting the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables.

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll also found that the availability of healthy food options remains a barrier for many low-income Kentuckians.

Nearly one-quarter of low-income earning adults said they didn’t have easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables and whole-grain foods. Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky President Ben Chandler said better eating would lead to better results for the commonwealth.

City of Bowling Green

The mayor of Bowling Green says he doesn’t think recent comments about a so-called “massacre” in the city will harm its reputation.

A senior advisor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway, cited what she called the “Bowling Green massacre” in defense of the administration’s controversial travel ban. Those comments were aired Thursday night in an interview on MSNBC.

Two Iraqi citizens were arrested in Bowling Green in 2011 on terrorism charges, but there were no attacks or deaths related to the incident.

Western Kentucky University has identified 22 students and two faculty members who are from the countries impacted by President Trump’s executive order banning entry into the U.S.

The school issued a statement Monday saying it doesn’t know of any affected students or faculty members who are currently overseas or being prevented from re-entering the U.S.

Trump’s order barred travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

WKU says its advising students and employees from those seven countries to avoid leaving the U.S. while parts of the ban are still in place.

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