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.

Ways to Connect

Abbey Oldham

An amendment championed by Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator would change the way deployed military personnel are counted in the Census.

Rand Paul’s amendment would require the Census to count all deployed servicemen and women at the base or port where they lived before deployment. Currently, those individuals are counted as part of the U.S. overseas population.

Senator Paul, a Republican from Bowling Green, told WKU Public Radio the change would make a big difference to communities around Fort Campbell.

“A lot of things are decided based on how big your community. So if we don’t count the soldiers, and, let’s say Hopkinsville had 49,000 people, but if we did count the soldiers and Hopkinsville had 59,000 people, it would make a big difference in how the government treats the city of Hopkinsville.”

Paul’s amendment, known as the Service Members and Communities Count Act,  was added to the National Defense Authorization Act Thursday. Two years ago, the same amendment was attached to legislation but was ultimately removed before the bill was signed into law.

Daviess Co Fiscal Court

An estimated 1,000 African-Americans who fought for the Union in the Civil War are being honored in Owensboro.

The Daviess County Bicentennial Committee is unveiling a historical marker on the courthouse square Friday evening for the Daviess County men who fought in what were known as “colored” infantries and cavalry units during the war.

The marker will be unveiled at 6 p.m. at the northwest corner of the courthouse.

Committee Co-chair Aloma Dew was one of the driving forces behind getting the marker established. She says the black men who volunteered for the units took great personal risks.

“We know of a couple of men who walked from Pleasant Ridge, which is about 15 miles outside of Owensboro, into Owensboro to sign up. They were slaves and they knew that if they were apprehended there would be a high cost to pay,” Dew said.


A Lexington brewing and distilling company is setting up a beer production line in Bowling Green.

Alltech, which produces Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, delivered a production-level brewing system Wednesday to WKU’s Center for Research and Development. No date has been set as to when the production line will begin operating, though it could start sometime this fall.

When complete, the brewing system would be the largest to be located at a university.

Alltech is leasing the space from WKU and will begin a craft beer brewing operation, while also paying the renovation and installation costs.

Meanwhile, some WKU administrators have been working on a proposal for a major and minor in brewing and distillation. Potter College of Arts & Letters Assistant Dean Andrew McMichael says the university has been seeking input from industry leaders.

WKU Athletics

WKU has a new leader of its baseball team. The school will introduc John Pawlowski Thursday afternoon as the new head coach of the Hilltopper baseball program.

Pawlowski formally coached at Auburn and the College of Charleston, and has been to 11 NCAA tournaments as either a head coach or assistant coach.

WKU announced last month that Matt Myers wouldn’t be retained following four seasons as the school’s baseball coach.

Here's a look at Pawlowski's coaching career:

Pawlowski’s Coaching Career

2014-15: San Diego State Assistant Coach (2 Years; 2 NCAA Tournaments)

2009-13: Auburn Head Coach (5 Years; 167-126 Record, and 1 NCAA Tournament)

2000-08: College of Charleston Head Coach (9 Years; 338-192 Record)

Lisa Autry

The two surviving members of a 2014 Muhlenberg County house fire are filing a lawsuit against a construction company.

The fire killed LaRae Watson and eight of her children after an electric heater ignited combustible materials inside the home. Chad Watson and his daughter, Kylie, are suing Owensboro-based Jagoe Homes, claiming the company hasn’t fulfilled its promise to build the Watsons a new home at no cost.

The lawsuit was first reported by WFIE-14 TV in Evansville. The suit claims the Watsons suffered “severe emotional harm and distress” when they didn’t receive the home they say they were promised.

Owensboro attorney Travis Holtrey is representing Jagoe Homes, and says a response to the lawsuit will be filed soon.

“We have full confidence that after that answer is filed, and after the matter is presented in the proper format, it will be determined that Jagoe Homes did not violate any law," he told WKU Public Radio Wednesday.

Holtrey wouldn't comment on whether or not Jagoe had made a promise regarding the building of a new home for the Watsons.

Kentucky State Police investigators are asking the public for information related to a Logan County arson case.

The fire that destroyed a residence on Spring Street in Auburn has been ruled intentional by the Kentucky State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Anyone with information related to case is asked to contact the state’s Arson Task Force at 1-800-27-ARSON.


WKU and Mammoth Cave National Park are partnering in an effort to revive the Folklorist in the Park program.

The effort is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and will document the cultural heritage in and around the Mammoth Cave region. Josh Chrysler, a recent graduate from the WKU Folk Studies graduate program, has been hired as the project’s summer folklorist.

“What I’ll be doing is going around talking to people who live in the communities in and around Mammoth Cave, and I’ll be doing ethnographic interviews and oral histories documenting the traditional culture, arts, and music of the region," Chrysler said.

The materials collected this summer during the project will be housed in the Folklife Archives in the Kentucky Museum at WKU.

Chrysler will also work with Mammoth Cave National Park to develop evening programs for the public this summer focused on traditional arts and culture from the area.

Chrysler and the Kentucky Folklife Program would also like to ask for help in this project. If you or anybody you know practices a traditional skill or art, including but not limited to basketmaking, quilting, traditional music, hunting practices, traditional food preparation or recipes, contact Josh Chrysler at (270) 791-8653.

Thursday’s recanvass of two Kentucky primary election races has not changed the election night outcome.

Clerks in all 120 counties double-checked their totals from the GOP primaries for governor and agriculture commissioner, and reported those totals to the state board of elections.

Following the recanvass, Matt Bevin remains the victor over James Comer in the gubernatorial contest, and Ryan Quarles maintained his more than 1,400 vote margin of victory in the agriculture commissioner’s race.

James Comer’s campaign manager issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying Comer was on vacation with his family in Florida and would make an announcement Friday concerning the next steps he’ll take regarding the governor’s race.

Comer could ask for a recount—something that would require a lawsuit and would be paid for by the candidate.

Office of Lt. Gov.

Kentucky’s highest female office-holder is hoping more women will become political candidates.

Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen, speaking to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club Wednesday,  said a recent study showing Kentucky near the bottom of the nation in the number of women office holders is proof there’s a problem.

The report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research ranks Kentucky 46th in the nation when it comes to the number of females holding elected office.

“I think women have to work harder to prove themselves. I think often they are considered not to have the strength that a man has, or the power that a man has. And the truth is women are doing everyday an incredibly courageous job of balancing complicated lives and careers.”

Despite her concerns, Luallen said she believes an increasing number of younger women in Kentucky are beginning to believe they can succeed at all aspects of running for office.

“They can raise money successfully, they can convince people to support them—it’s a very, very achievable goal to run for office as a woman.”


The Warren County Clerk predicts her office will complete Thursday’s recanvass in about one hour.

Lynette Yates doesn’t believe there will be great changes to the vote totals in the Republican primaries for governor and agriculture commissioner. She says her office will first scan electronic cards that compiled totals from each voting machine in the county.

“Then we have tapes coming out of each of those voting machines that back up those numbers. So what we will do tomorrow is get all of those tapes out of all of our precincts, and recalculate everything, and go over all the numbers.”

After the recanvass, each county clerks office will fax their updated numbers to the state board of elections.

“I don’t think that there will be a lot of change,” Yates said. “There shouldn’t be—but sometimes calculations with the machines may not have scanned correctly, or something like that. That would be very obscure for something like that to have happened.

James Comer asked for a recanvass of the GOP gubernatorial primary that he lost to Matt Bevin by 83 votes. The other race being recanvassed tomorrow is the Republican Agriculture Commissioner primary, which Ryan Quarles won by a little more than 1,400 votes over Richard Heath.