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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WKU
9:51 am
Tue January 8, 2013

WKU Soccer Record-Holder Playing in French Pro League

Former WKU soccer star Libby Stout
Credit WKU Athletics

You never know where life will take you after graduation.

For 2011 WKU graduate and soccer star Libby Stout, the "where" became France. Stout plays in a professional women's soccer league there, following her record-setting career at WKU.

The Courier-Joural interviewed Stout about life in Europe, adapting to the French language and culture, and comparing "futbul" in the U.S. to what she's experiencing overseas.

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2013 General Assembly
9:13 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers Open 2013 Session with Several Hot Topics on To-Do List

Kentucky lawmakers Tuesday began the new legislative session with a lot on their plates. Legislators are expected to take up the state's struggling pension system for government retirees, changes to the state tax code, legislative redistricting, and more.

The House and Senate convened at noon eastern time.

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Politics
8:45 am
Mon January 7, 2013

McConnell: Tax Discussions Off the Table Moving Forward

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell says he'll oppose efforts by the White House to raise any more tax revenue moving forward, telling ABC News the "tax issue is finished."

The Kentucky Republican's stance on the issue differs from calls by many Democrats--and even some House Republicans--to look at a major reworking of the U.S. tax code, including the closing of some provisions and raising new revenue.

The New York Times reports McConnell is focusing intently on spending cuts, saying President Obama should take the lead on future fiscal plans.

Politics
3:04 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Freshman Kentucky Congressman Seeks to Repeal Gun Free School Zones Act

Republican Rep. Thomas Massie (4-KY)

Kentucky's fourth district U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie says he wants to repeal the 1990 Gun Free School Zones Act, according to a published report.

The  Lewis County Republican was sworn into office this week in Washington D.C., and receives great support from the Tea Party.

“Gun free school zones are ineffective. They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments,” Massie said in a statement. “Gun free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.”

Regional
1:01 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Tennessee Seeking Alternative Drugs to Be Used in Lethal Injection Process

Tennessee’s Department of Correction Commissioner says he’s pursuing the use of drugs that could be used to execute inmates on death row. The Volunteer State’s entire stock of a key lethal injection drug was confiscated by the federal government in 2011 over questions about whether the drugs were legally obtained.

Commissioner Derrick Schofield says his department is urgently working to secure drugs that could be used to execute inmates.

The Tennessean reports there are currently 84 people sitting on the state’s death row, with 67 of those inmates having been there for more than a decade. Since 2011, there’s been a national shortage of the drug thiopental, which was widely used by states during the lethal injection process.

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Economy
8:54 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Report: Beshear Considering a Push for Expanded Gambling Minus Links to Horse Racetracks

Turfway Park in Florence, Ky

The Courier-Journal is reporting that Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear will consider proposing an expanded gambling package this year that does not include increased gaming at the state's horsetracks.

Beshear says that may be the only way he can get a gambling bill passed in the state legislature.

The Governor has tried unsuccessfully in the past to get a casino gambling bill through the Kentucky Senate. Expanded gambling supporters have hoped that last year's retirement of former Senate President David Williams, who opposed increased gaming, would better the bill's odds in 2013.

Education
4:06 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Beshear Will Press Again to Raise Kentucky Dropout Age to 18

Should Kentucky high schoolers have to wait until the age of 18 before they can legally drop out?

Gov. Steve Beshear thinks so, and he is vowing to again try to get such a law passed in the next General Assembly, which gets underway Jan. 8. Beshear and his wife, Jane Beshear, have long been proponents of gradually raising the state's dropout age from 16 to 18. In the past, the Beshears backed a measure that would incrementally raise the dropout age over a period of years to 17 and then to 18, giving students, parents, and school districts time to adjust to the new rules.

Proponents say such a change in state law would have far-reaching societal benefits since dropouts are more likely to go to prison or rely on welfare.

Opponents say while the idea may be well-intentioned, it would simply force disruptive and uncaring students to remain in classrooms against their will, having unintended negative consequences for other students, teachers, and administrators.

Regional
9:38 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Daviess County Rep. Hoping for Redistricting, Better Interstate Connectivity for Owensboro

A view from Smothers Park in downtown Owensboro
Credit City of Owensboro

A lawmaker representing Daviess and Ohio counties hopes legislators will tackle redistricting during this upcoming General Assembly--as opposed to putting it off until 2014. Democratic Representative Tommy Thompson of Owensboro told WKU Public Radio the sooner new legislative boundaries are created, the better.

“And that way people would know what districts they’re going to be working in. If there are new districts, they’d have time to acquaint themselves with new constituents in their district. So I just think that we’d be better served to deal with it sooner rather than later,” said Thompson.

Kentucky lawmakers created new legislative maps last year, but the new boundaries were found to be unconstitutional, meaning legislators have to start from scratch.

Thompson says he wouldn't be surprised if lawmakers tackled the redistricting issue during a special session after the official 2013 legislature is over. Many lawmakers believe the worst-case scenario would be waiting until the 2014 session to redraw the lines, because a new state budget will already be taking up a great deal of legislators' attention that year.

Possible Interstate Connections for Owensboro/Daviess County Region

Business and political leaders in the Daviess County region are trying to figure out the best--and most cost-effective--way possible to link the area up with an interstate. Rep. Thompson says he's excited about the possibility of connecting the region to the I-67 project in Indiana.

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Politics
8:47 am
Thu January 3, 2013

What Difference Will Elevation of Stivers, Absence of Williams Have on 2013 General Assembly?

Robert Stivers is expected to be the next Kentucky Senate President.

A southern Kentucky legislator says one of the biggest questions heading into the next legislative session is how lawmakers will react to the absence of David Williams. The longtime Republican Senate President resigned his seat in the legislature late last year to become a Kentucky circuit judge.

Robert Stivers of Manchester is expected to become the next Senate leader when the 2013 General Assembly begins January 8. Democratic Rep. Wilson Stone of Allen County told WKU Public Radio he'll be interested to see what--if anything--changes when Stivers leads the Senate through his legislative agenda.

"People would say that President Williams really had good discipline within his caucus. And so that allowed him to be really powerful not only in the Senate, but really in Frankfort in general," said Stone, a Democrat from Scottsville. "Now, whether Robert Stivers now will have that same discipline, and move in the same direction, I don't know. It's hard to say."

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Sports
3:39 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Louisville Stuns Florida in Sugar Bowl Upset

Terell Floyd returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the game, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater directed several scoring drives and Louisville surprised favored Florida 33-23 Wednesday night in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

Shaking off an early hit, Bridgewater came back to throw for 266 yards including touchdown passes to DeVante Parker and Damian Copeland against a Florida defense that was among the nation's top three in most passing stats. 

Louisville went into the game ranked #22 nationally, and Florida was #3.

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