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
1:44 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Kentucky's #1 Girl's Basketball Team Coasts to First-Round Sweet 16 Win

Kentucky's top-ranked girl’s basketball team is off to an impressive start in the Sweet 16 basketball tournament. The Marion County Lady Knights beat Bowling Green 64-to-43 Wednesday afternoon in the opening game of the tournament at WKU’s E.A. Diddle Arena.

The Lady Knights will next take on Montgomery County Friday afternoon in the tournament quarterfinals.

Marion County is now 36-0 on the year and is trying to become just the third Kentucky girl’s team ever to go an entire season undefeated.

Another team from the WKU Public Radio listening area, the Henderson County Lady Colonels, lost their first-round game Wednesday. Anderson County beat the Lady Colonels 65-54.

The Owensboro Catholic Lady Aces face off against Lincoln County Thursday afternoon.

Sports
4:50 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

WKU Hilltoppers Get Praise from Fans, Now Await Selection Sunday

WKU sophomore guard T.J. Price is welcomed back to Bowling Green by WKU President Gary Ransdell.
Credit Kevin Willis

The WKU men's basketball team received a hero's welcome Tuesday afternoon after their trip home from the Sun Belt Conference championship. Monday night's win in the title game means WKU will play in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.

After being congratulated by fans outside E.A. Diddle Arena, sophomore forward and Bowling Green native George Fant said he wasn't thinking about what tournament seed the Hilltoppers will receive this Sunday.

"I don't know what we deserve. I don't really want to get into that. I'm just happy with the fact that we're there. For a team that was supposed to be the seventh-best team in our conference, to do this two years in a row is unbelievable," said Fant, who scored 17 points and had 13 rebounds in Monday night's win over Florida International.

Sophomore guard T.J. Price also refused to predict what seed he thought WKU would receive. The Louisiana native says he can't wait to experience the excitement of the NCAA tournament again.

"Just the feeling...when you step out on that court there's no better feeling ever. I remember last year how I felt, and I've always said I wanted the same feeling again, and now I get that chance," Price told WKU Public Radio.

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Business
1:33 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Gov. Beshear to Lead Kentucky Trade Mission to Canada

Gov. Steve Beshear will lead an international business trade mission to Canada this summer. The trip will be the first-ever trade mission of the Kentucky Export Initiative, and will be aimed at boosting commerce between the Bluegrass State and America’s northern neighbor.

Canada already serves as Kentucky’s number one export destination, with the commonwealth exporting $7.3 billion in products and services there in 2012. That’s more than four times the total goods and services exported to Kentucky’s number two trading partner, Mexico.

The Kentucky trade mission will take place June 4-7 in Toronto.

Regional
10:37 am
Tue March 12, 2013

At Mammoth Cave, First Effects of Sequester-Related Cuts Being Seen

Mammoth Cave estimates sequester-related budget cuts will impact 38,000 visitors.
Credit outdoorbasecamp.com

The superintendent of Mammoth Cave National Park has announced the south-central Kentucky attraction has begun to implement budget cuts related to the sequestration. Sarah Craighead says Mammoth Cave is prepared to cut five-percent of its budget.

In the first effects of the cuts that will be felt by the public, the Houchin Ferry and Houchin Ferry campground did not open this week as scheduled. Houchin Ferry shuttles vehicles across the Green River near Brownsville.

In a previous interview with WKU Public Radio, Superintendent Craighead mentioned there will fewer cave tour options this summer, as well.

"We will not be hiring about seven seasonal tour guides that we intended to hire for the summer. And as a result we will eliminate a couple of the tours, because we won't have the guides available to give those tours," Craighead said.

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Politics
9:35 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Politico: Important Democratic Group Not Ready to Embrace Ashley Judd Candidacy

A report says Ashley Judd will announce plans to run for Senate around the time of the Kentucky Derby.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) isn't ready to throw its weight behind a possible Kentucky Senate run by actress Ashley Judd. Politico reports the group's executive director, Guy Cecil, called Judd just one in a "handful of quality candidates in Kentucky" who could take on U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Cecil, in a conference call with reporters Monday, refused to deny a separate report in the Louisville Eccentric Observer that said the DSCC is reevaluating Judd, while giving a second look at another possible Democratic Senate challenger: Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Citing a poll that shows 55 percent of Kentuckians view McConnell unfavorably, Cecil described the Louisville Republican as "one of the most unpopular senators in the country."

Meanwhile, The Huffington Post's Howard Fineman has reported Judd has told advisors that she plans to announce her Senate candidacy around the time of the Kentucky Derby, which is May 4.

Sports
8:15 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

WKU Hilltoppers Are Again Headed to NCAA Big Dance After Winning Sun Belt Championship

Credit WKU Athletic Meda Relations

It wouldn't be a postseason without the WKU Hilltoppers winning four games in four days.

WKU pulled off the feat for the second straight season, beating Florida International Monday night 65-63 for the Sun Belt Conference Championship.

With the win, the Hilltoppers will make their second straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Sophomore forward and Bowling Green native George Fant led the Toppers with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Senior guard Jamal Crook also scored 17, including some clutch late-game free throws that helped seal the deal for WKU.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Holder Tells Sen. Paul President Could Use Deadly Force Against Americans in U.S.

Update at 12:52 p.m.:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is filibustering the nomination of John Brennan as the next C.I.A director.

Paul, a Bowling Green Republican, is expressing his displeasure with Brennan's testimony on the issue of the possible use of drones by the U.S. government to attack citizens on American soil.

Paul is also upset with a letter sent to him by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. In the letter, Holder said the President had the right to order drone strikes against American citizens in the U.S.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate Wednesday, Paul said "no one person, no one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country."

Original post:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is blasting Attorney General Eric Holder's statement that President Obama could order the use of deadly force against an American inside the United States. The claim came in a letter Holder sent to Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul that was released Tuesday.

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Sports
11:13 am
Wed March 6, 2013

WKU's Clark-Heard Named Sun Belt Coach of the Year, Gooch and Govan Earn First Team Honors

WKU's Chastity Gooch is the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and a member of the All-Conference First Team.
Credit WKU Athletics

WKU’s Michelle Clark-Heard has been named the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year. Two of her players—sophomores Chastity Gooch and Alexis Govan—were named First Team All-Conference selections in a survey of the league’s coaches and media members.

Gooch was also named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year.

Voters recognized Coach Clark-Heard for turning the team around in her first season on the hill. The Lady Hilltoppers take a 20-9 record into this week’s conference championships. Last season, the team won only nine games.

Gooch has averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds this season. Govan averaged over 20 points a game, and hit more than 42-percent of her three-point attempts.

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Politics
9:48 am
Wed March 6, 2013

DeCesare Not Shocked by Look of Democratic-Favored Redistricting Maps

New redistricting maps would have a big impact on Warren County Rep. Jim DeCesare (right)
Credit Kentucky LRC

A Warren County lawmaker says he's not panicking yet about the new redistricting maps passed by a House committee Tuesday. If the maps became a reality, Republican Representative Jim DeCesare would find himself in a new district alongside two other House GOP colleagues--Mike Meredith of Brownsville and C.B Embry of Morgantown.

DeCesare told WKU Public Radio he wasn't shocked by the new maps.

"I'd like to say I'm surprised, but I'm not,” said the Rockfield Republican. “It's kind of what they tried to do last year. Apparantly the House Democratic leadership is trying to eliminate three Republican members in one fail swoop."

Redistricting is often used as a tool by the majority party to protect their own, while modifying or eliminating districts friendly to the minority party. The new maps still have a long way to go before becoming law. They would have to pass the full House and Senate, and then be signed into law by Governor Beshear.

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Regional
2:12 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Bid to Paint Owensboro's Blue Bridge Less Than Half of Estimate

Owensboro's Glover Cary Bridge will get a new paint job four years earlier than originally anticipated.

A contract has been awarded to an Ohio company that will be responsible for painting Owensboro's "Blue Bridge." The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced the winning $10 million bid placed by Spartan Contracting, LLC, was less than half of the engineer's estimate for the project.

The Glover Cary Bridge crosses the Ohio River and connects Owensboro and southern Indiana. Transportation Cabinet spokesman KeithTodd says the bridge is scheduled to be closed May 13-November 15 during the first phase of the painting project.

"The bridge was scheduled to be painted in 2017, and some of the community leaders in Owensboro wanted to go ahead and move up the painting date of the project. They have just completed a renovation of the Owensboro riverfront, and they wanted the bridge--which is right in downtown Owensboro--to get a new paint job," Todd told WKU Public Radio.

Kentucky and Indiana are splitting the cost of the project.

An estimated 8,500 vehicles cross the Glover Cary Bridge on an average day.

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