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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Regional
2:40 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Fort Knox Solider Apprehended in Connection with Wednesday Shooting Death

A Fort Knox soldier is being charged with murder in connection with Wednesday’s shooting death of a civilian employee at the Hardin County post. A news release from the Fort Knox public affairs office says Marquinta Jacobs is assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

Jacobs was apprehended in northern Tennessee by Portland Police and agents with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

Fort Knox officials say the shooting appears to be a domestic issue, as opposed to a random act of violence. The shooting took place early Wednesday evening in a parking lot outside the U.S. Army Resources Command headquarters at Fort Knox.

Regional
8:08 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Woman Found Dead in Rural Barren County Identified

The woman found dead in a wood line off of Brock Road in Barren County has been identified as 39-year-old Cassandra Hernandez of Bonnieville, Ky. The cause of death is still under investigation.

Kentucky State Police were notified by Barren County dispatch Thursday, March 28, that a body had been found.

Arts & Culture
9:49 am
Tue April 2, 2013

WKU Professor has Ph.D in Kentucky Barbeque, Shares Passion in New Book

A man doing what he loves: author and barbeque aficionado Wes Berry at the Smokey Pig in Bowling Green
Credit Kevin Willis

Kevin's audio story with Wes Berry, Kentucky barbeque aficionado

When it’s lunch time at the Smokey Pig barbeque restaurant in Bowling Green, be prepared to wait in line. This place opens at 10:30 a.m., and within an hour on a recent Tuesday, almost every table was taken and every seat claimed. I came to the Smokey Pig today to meet with a man who claims to be afflicted with something he calls H.E.B.D--Hyper Enthusiastic Barbeque Disorder.

Wes Berry, the self-diagnosed victim of H.E.B.D is also a Ph.D-holding Professor of English at WKU. And he has just authored a book—not about fine literature or poetry—but about his true passion: barbeque. And more specifically, the kinds of barbeque one can find in the Bluegrass State.

The Kentucky Barbeque Book is Berry’s love letter to his favorite food and state. The Barren County native says he’s eaten at 168 barbeque restaurants, joints, shacks, festivals, and Catholic church picnics in the commonwealth.

All in the name of good research, of course.

Barbeque: Monroe County Style

The Smokey Pig is the place Wes and I have chosen to talk about Bluegrass State barbeque. I follow Wes’s lead regarding what I order. They say “when in Rome”, and when it comes to barbeque, Wes Berry is Caesar.

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Economy
10:37 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Report: Twenty Percent of Residents in Kentucky, Tennessee, on Food Stamp Program

One in five Kentuckians and Tennesseans currently receives food stamps through a federal assistance program. Nationally, the number of food stamp recipients has increased 70% since 2008.

Twenty-percent of Kentucky residents receive help through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—or SNAP--which provides food stamp benefits for the needy. In Tennessee, 21% of residents are on the program, along with 14% of Indiana residents.

Analysts agree that the biggest reason for the increasing numbers on assistance is the poor job market and national increase in poverty.

But a report in The Wall Street Journal also points out that states are able to ease income tests for would-be participants, allowing those with relatively higher incomes and savings to take part in the program. As of December of 2012, a record 47.8 million Americans received benefits through SNAP.

Regional
5:17 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Warren County Grand Jury: No Indictment in Brandon Bradshaw Shooting

Kentucky State Police troopers and Warren County court security officers stood guard inside the Warren County Justice Center before the results of a grand jury investigation were formally revealed.
Credit Kevin Willis

A Warren County grand jury has returned no indictments in the shooting death of 27-year-old Brandon Bradshaw of Bowling Green.

In a news conference Wednesday evening, Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Cohron announced that grand jury members earlier in the day decided Tommy Brown acted within the law when he shot Bradshaw three times on Feb. 26.

The investigation into the shooting was carried out by the Kentucky State Police.

Bradshaw died from his wounds Mar. 2 at a hospital in Nashville.

Brown is a Warren County court security officer. He was not on duty or in uniform at the time of the shooting.

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Education
6:49 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Glasgow City Council Passes Resolution Pledging Support for WKU Expansion

The WKU-Glasgow campus
Credit glasgow-ky.com

The Glasgow City Council has unanimously passed a resolution pledging the city's support for an expansion of the WKU-Glasgow campus.

Glasgow mayor Rhonda Riherd Trautman says the resolution passed at Monday night's meeting offers the city's bonding authority to help fund a building expansion at the school's regional campus in Barren County.

WKU President Gary Ransdell has talked repeatedly in recent weeks about the need for the school to find alternative revenue streams in order to pay for major projects, in light of declining state aid for higher education.

WKU-Glasgow administrators say they need more classrooms, office space, and food services.

Sports
10:13 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

What Could Have Been: WKU Goes Ice Cold, Loses Close Contest to #1 Kansas

The WKU Hilltoppers gave the #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks all they could handle Friday night, leading at the half and remaining within four points with 25 seconds left in the game.

But WKU went ice cold offensively in the second half, and Kansas held on to win 64-57.

WKU shot only 31% from the field for the game, and the Hilltoppers went 3-20 from three-point range.

Senior point guard Jamal Crook ended his WKU career with 13 points, 9 rebounds, and four assists.

WKU fans now have the 2013-14 season to think about, with forward George Fant and guard T.J. Price returning to form a nice nucleus for the two-time defending Sun Belt Conference champions.

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Sports
9:15 am
Fri March 22, 2013

WKU Men's and Women's Basketball in Postseason Action this Weekend

WKU senior guard Jamal Crook
Credit WKU Athletics

It’s a BIG weekend for WKU basketball. The men’s team will try to make history Friday night in the NCAA tournament, and the Lady Hilltoppers are looking to win their second game in the women’s NIT.

No #16 seed has ever beaten a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Yet we keep being told by college basketball analysts that some day that very thing is going to happen. Will it be Friday, when the WKU Hilltoppers take on the top-seed Kansas Jayhawks?

Kansas is one of the deepest, most experienced teams in the country, with four senior starters. And they’re playing only 30 minutes away from their campus in Lawrence, Kansas. The Jayhawks are well-known in Kansas City, having just won the Big 12 tournament there.

The Hilltoppers? Not so much.

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Education
4:47 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

WKU President: Expect Another 5% Tuition Increase, No Employee Salary Increases

WKU President Gary Ransdell says anything less than a five-percent tuition increase next year will result in a loss of jobs on campus. In a presentation to faculty and staff Wednesday, Dr. Ransdell outlined his thoughts on the school’s budget, tuition rates, and employee compensation.

He says if the Council on Postsecondary Education approves a four-percent tuition hike instead of the five-percent increase the school is seeking, it won’t be enough.

“Then we have to figure out where we’re going to come up with $1.3 million. A one-percent tuition increase equals $1.3 million. So we’ll have to reduce our spending by $1.3 million in some fashion or another. And the message here is that’s likely to result in a loss of jobs.”

Dr. Ransdell also said faculty and staff will likely see no salary increase next year, because such a boost would have to be paid for by eliminating positions on campus. WKU Faculty Regent Patty Minter told WKU Public Radio after the meeting that she disagrees with the notion that the only way to increase pay is by cutting jobs.

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Politics
8:37 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Some Kentucky Democrats Wooing Grimes--Not Judd--for Senate Run

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, appearing in Frankfort alongside Senate President Robert Stivers
Credit Kentucky LRC

High-ranking members of the Democratic Party—including a former President—are reportedly trying to convince a new candidate to challenge Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell next year. Some Democrats are concerned about the potential candidacy of actress Ashley Judd, who has been the subject of intense media speculation lately.

According to a report in Politico, some prominent Democrats are trying to convince Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to launch a Senate campaign. The 34-year-old Grimes comes from a family with deep connections to Kentucky Democratic Party politics.

The online political journal says former President Bill Clinton met with Grimes for 35 minutes in Owensboro earlier this month, when Clinton was in town for a fundraiser benefitting the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center. Grimes has also reportedly met with officials from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

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