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

WKU

WKU is receiving praise for the number of Fulbright Scholars it produced last year.

The six grants awarded to WKU students ranks third in the nation among schools offering Master’s degrees, according to a list compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education. WKU’s six current Fulbright Scholars are teaching English and conducting research in five countries: Costa Rica, England, Germany, Turkey, and Vietnam.

Melinda Grimsley-Smith, with the school’s Office of Scholar Development, says a growing number of students are seeing the value of scholarships that offer an international component “where they’re taking a year off, or a year in between here and grad school, or between here and a job to go out into the world for a year and live in another culture and be a cultural ambassador for the United States.”

She also believes part of the school’s recent success stems from its efforts at convincing more students that they have a shot at landing prestigious grants, like the Fulbright.

“Students are more and more willing to take the risk of applying, I think. They’re more willing to think of themselves as compelling and competitive candidates for national scholarships.”

WKU’s 2014-15 Fulbright Award recipients are:

Abbey Oldham

Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the day a sinkhole opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, swallowing up eight vintage vehicles.

While the sinkhole damaged the facility, it also led to a spike in attention and attendance at the museum.

In the age of the internet and social media, the images of eight classic corvettes falling from the floor of the Bowling Green museum into a sinkhole went viral.

YouTube footage of the event has been viewed more than 8.5 million times, and museum officials say they saw a 67-percent increase in attendance for the year.

You can see a photo slideshow of the Corvettes being extracted from the sinkhole here.

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (Flickr Creative Commons)

A new partnership between WKU and EKU will make it easier for workers in the Bowling Green and Owensboro areas to receive OSHA certification.

EKU houses the only OSHA Training Institute Education Center in Kentucky. But under an agreement between the two schools, EKU personnel will lead OSHA training courses at the Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green, and at the WKU-Owensboro campus.

Dr. Sue Parrigin, with WKU’s Career and Workforce Development office, says the idea is to expand the number of individuals in the region who can lead OSHA training classes.

“OSHA has what’s called a 10-hour and a 30-hour card, and these trainers will be prepared to go into business and industry and train employees in order to receive their 10 and 30-hour certification with OSHA.”

During 2013-14, EKU’s OSHA Training Center enrolled more than 1,800 students in classes taught in Richmond and Louisville. EKU authorized outreach trainers led 820 classes for more than 9,000 10 and 30-hour OSHA certification.

Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons

The new leader of Kentucky’s Democratic Party believes avoiding a hotly-contested gubernatorial primary will benefit Democrats in November.

Patrick Hughes told WKU Public Radio Tuesday his party is rallying behind Attorney General Jack Conway, the only high-profile Democrat running to succeed Governor Steve Beshear. Hughes thinks Conway’s experience running for state-wide office gives him advantages over whoever wins the Republican primary in May.

“Jack is able to get the financial support necessary to run a statewide election, he’s able to get the political support to win a statewide election. So, if anything, those elections that he didn’t win only made him stronger because they built his network.”

Conway has served as Attorney General for two terms, and lost the 2010 U.S. Senate race to Rand Paul. He also ran unsuccessfully in 2002 against 3rd District Republican U.S. Rep. Anne Northup.

The only other Democrat on the primary ballot is retired state engineer Geoff Young.

Flickr/Creative Commons

The Bluegrass State has seen another record-setting year for exports.

Kentucky shipped $27.5 billion worth of goods to other countries in 2014, the fourth straight year the state broke its previous mark.

Joe Hall, with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, says many people would be surprised to know that the state’s leading export category isn’t auto parts or bourbon, but aerospace products.

“Our aerospace products are really diverse,” he said. “We have companies that are making parts for jet engines. We have companies that are making small satellites that are orbiting earth as we speak.”

Kentucky exported nearly $8 billion worth of aerospace parts and products last year—a 38 percent increase over 2013.

The commonwealth’s number one export destination remains Canada, followed by Mexico and the United Kingdom. Kentucky exports to France jumped by 93 percent last year.

Kentucky’s Top Five Export Markets in 2014:

Kentucky LRC

A Warren County lawmaker says momentum is building against what’s known as internet sweepstakes games.

Republican Senator Mike Wilson has filed a bill that would outlaw cafes where the games are played.

The cafes sell telephone and internet time, which allows customers to enter online sweepstakes that offer payouts.

The state Attorney General’s office has issued an opinion saying that the games are an illegal lottery.

“They award a prize by chance in return for consideration. While they may appear to offer fair consideration for value received in the form of internet access, the consideration is merely incidental to the game of chance,” said the opinion, written by Assistant Attorney General Matt James.

When Ron Paul ran for president in 2008 and 2012, his rallies were decidedly unpretentious affairs, appropriately suited to the scrappy outsider nature of his campaign. His son is trying things a little differently.

Update at 4:41 p.m.:

I-65 North has been reopened at the site of a multi-vehicle crash near Munfordville. However, it will take some time for congestion along the interstate and nearby U.S. 31-W to clear.

Update at 3:25 p.m.:

The following update was released by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet:

I65 northbound is closed due to a multi-vehicle crash on Green River Bridge between Horse Cave (58) and Munfordville (65).   The crash is within the widening project work-zone.  The bridge is also under construction.  The bridge wall received impact.  The bridge has been inspected for safety and there is no cause for structural concern at this time.

Emil Moffatt

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center in Bowling Green is receiving a $750,000 gift aimed at supporting arts education in the Scottsville area.

SKyPAC announced the gift from the Laura Goad Turner Charitable Foundation Wednesday. A news release issued by the performing arts center said $500,000 of the gift will be used over the next five years to support SKyPAC’s Arts-In-Education program in Allen County schools.

The remaining $250,000 will be used as a matching grant to support the Engaging HeARTs—Enriching Lives campaign, which aims to raise $6 million over the next three years to support arts education, local performances, and entertainment.

The Laura Goad Turner Charitable Foundation’s mission is to provide support to residents of the Scottsville-Allen County area.

WKU Athletics

WKU’s upcoming football season features road trips to Vanderbilt, Indiana, and LSU.

The Hilltoppers’ 2015 schedule includes eight Conference USA games, with five of those contests at home. WKU kicks off the season September 5 in Nashville, against the Vanderbilt Commodores. The team’s home and league opener is the following week against Louisiana Tech.

See the entire WKU 2015 football schedule here.

WKU returns 17 starters from last season’s team that finished 8-5, including a win in the Bahamas Bowl.

One of those returnees is quarterback Brandon Doughty, who led the nation in passing yards and touchdown passes last season.

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