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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2013 General Assembly
2:00 am
Fri December 21, 2012

GOP Lawmaker: Stivers Likely Not as "Divisive" as David Williams

With the 2013 Kentucky legislative session not far away, a lot of focus has been placed on the man considered to have the best chance of becoming the next Senate President. Republican Robert Stivers is expected to take over leadership of the chamber from David Williams, the Cumberland County Republican who resigned to become a circuit court judge in southern Kentucky.

A GOP lawmaker from our region told WKU Public Radio he doesn't believe there will be a great deal of policy change under the new Senate leader.

Rep. Michael Meredith of Edmonson County says the biggest difference could be in personality.

"David has been one of the most intelligent people to serve in the city of Frankfort for many, many years. He was very well-versed on policy, very well-versed on issues, but could be a very divisive character as well. And I can see some changes in that. Robert could very well not be as divisive as David was," said Meredith.

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Sports
7:42 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

WKU Senior Jamal Crook Out 4-6 Weeks with Broken Foot

WKU senior Jamal Crook is a senior guard from Louisville.
Credit WKU Athletics

The bad hits just keep on coming for the WKU men's basketball team. Senior point guard Jamal Crook is out 4-6 weeks with a right foot fracture sustained during Sunday's loss at Murray State.

The Courier-Journal reports the injury couldn't come at a worse time, as the Hilltoppers are getting ready to play one of the top teams in the nation, the Louisville Cardinals. WKU head coach Ray Harper says his team is suffering through the worst rash of injuries he's seen in his long coaching career.

Health
12:55 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Hitting Tennessee at Twice the Rate of National Average

The recent national outbreak of fungal meningitis has taken an especially strong toll on Tennessee. Despite the fact that other states reported more exposures to tainted steroid shots, only one state has a higher meningitis attack rate than Tennessee.

The fungal meningitis outbreak has been traced back to tainted steroid shots produced at a compounding center in Massachusetts.

An article published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine shows a wide variation in the rate of meningitis infections in states that received shipments of the tainted medicine. Tennessee has the second highest attack rate in the nation, with 10.9 infections per 100 people.

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Health
9:50 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Food Pantries in Kentucky Working to Make Sure Children Have Enough Food Over Holidays

With the end-of-year holiday season upon us, charities throughout the listening area are trying to make sure needy children are stocked up with enough food to last through the school break.

The Hardin County-based Feeding America, Kentucky's Heartland provides food-insecure children in 33 counties a backpack full of food that can be taken home from school on Fridays. The group's development director, Tami Delaney, says sponsoring agencies in each county try to make sure the program participants are given enough non-perishable items to help them through the time away from school.

"What (the agencies) actually do is double up during the holiday season, so if they know a child is going to be out, they'll provide two bags of food. So they try to make sure that enough is sent home to cover the holiday time, and our pantries are also available," Delaney told WKU Public Radio.

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Tax Code Reform
9:25 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Givens: Don't Expect Major Kentucky Tax Code Reform in 2013

A state senator who represents parts of south-central Kentucky isn't betting on major changes to the state's tax code this upcoming legislative session. Overhauling what's been described as an antiquated tax system is at, or near, the top of many lawmakers' agendas.

Sen. David Givens, who represents Allen, Barren, Edmonson, Green, Metcalfe, and Simpson counties, says while there's a lot of talk in the air about streamlining Kentucky's tax code, he doubts anything will pass during the 2013 General Assembly.

"From what I gather, I don't think the tax reform issue is far enough down the road that we can make those sorts of changes in the session ahead, with it being a short session," the Greensburg Republican told WKU Public Radio.

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Health
12:08 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Haslam: Sandy Hook Massacre Likely to Impact Gun Debate in Tennessee

The mass-killings last week in Newtown, Connecticut have begun a national dialogue about America’s gun laws. In Tennessee, Governor Bill Haslam says the killings will likely have an impact on proposed gun legislation set to be taken up next year in the Volunteer State.

Gov. Haslam says he believes schools and universities in Tennessee should be allowed to legally ban their workers from bringing guns to work. The Tennessean reports it’s a position that puts Haslam at odds with some fellow Republicans in the Tennessee legislature. Some lawmakers in the state are proposing legislation that would force employers to allow workers to have guns in workplace parking lots, as long as owners keep those firearms in their vehicles.

A poll taken for Vanderbilt University before Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown showed 53% of Tennesseans surveyed supported the so-called “guns in trunks” legislation.

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Economy
11:06 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Report: McConnell, Senate Republicans Willing to Compromise on Higher Taxes

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is reportedly signaling that he and fellow GOP Senators are open to a strategy that would likely lead to the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for the nation’s highest earners. The website Politico is reporting McConnell talked about Senate Republican strategy late last week during a dinner in Washington with lobbyists.

Citing multiple sources in the room, Politico reporters say McConnell told those in attendance that Senate Republicans were looking to take a “two-bill strategy” to resolving the fiscal cliff crisis. Under such a plan, two different bills would be advanced in Congress, giving each party the chance to vote on the approach they favored, while knowing only one measure will actually be signed into law.

Poltico reports McConnell suggested he believed Senate Republicans could support a bill that renewed the Bush-era tax cuts for all but the top 2% of wage-earners, and increased taxes on capital gains and dividends from 15% to 20%. At the same time, the GOP-led House would pass a second bill that would extend the Bush tax cuts for all Americans. Such a move could possibly allow House Republicans to save face with supporters who are against raising any taxes.

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Politics
12:16 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Alexander: Senate Should Not Change Filibuster Rules

Tennessee’s senior U.S. Senator is speaking out against proposed changes to the filibuster. Republican Lamar Alexander says efforts to limit filibusters would cost the Senate its historic function as a brake on legislation that otherwise might be rushed through the chamber.

The 72-year-old Alexander tells The Tennessean says without the filibuster the Senate would become “just like the House”, where a simple majority vote would win each time. When a Senator engages in a filibuster, it takes 60 votes to bring it to an end, so that the legislation in question can be considered for a vote.

Some Democrats are talking openly about changing Senate rules in January that would allow a simple majority vote to change the filibuster policy, as opposed to the 67 votes that have been the standard.

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Sports
10:00 am
Fri December 14, 2012

No Holiday Rest for the Hilltoppers: Three Major Games on the Road Await

WKU sophomore forward George Fant
Credit WKU Athletics

The WKU men’s basketball team is preparing for a tough three-game stretch away from home, starting this Sunday afternoon at longtime rival Murray State. WKU has had the week off for final exams, but some major tests are still ahead for the men’s basketball team.

The Tops will hit the road for Murray to take on the 7-1 Racers Sunday, in a game that will be televised on the Hiltopper Sports Satellite Network. It will be the 150th time the two in-state rivals have played.

Next Tuesday, WKU travels to Richmond, Virginia, to take on Virginia Commonwealth. The VCU Rams are one of the top mid-major programs in the country, and are battle-tested already this young season, with a win against Memphis, and losses to Duke and Missouri.

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Sports
9:53 am
Thu December 13, 2012

WKU's Kendall Noble Out for Year with ACL Tear

WKU freshman Kendall Noble

WKU freshman Kendall Noble will miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season after suffering a torn right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in Sunday’s game at Kent State. A full recovery is expected back in time for the 2013-14 campaign.

“Any coach does not want to hear that about their players,” said WKU head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. “I am really sad that the fans did not get to see Kendall Noble this year. The greatest thing about that is we will have her for four more years and everyone will have the chance to see how special she is. She came back in the Morehead State game and had a really good game and then this happens. She is an unbelievable young lady from an unbelievable family.”

WKU Public Radio reported on ACL injuries earlier this year, in a profile of WKU senior wide receiver Marcus Vasquez, who tore a knee ligament in a 2011 game.

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