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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Politics
11:25 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Kentucky AFL-CIO Begins Mail Campaign Against McConnell, Cites Major Mobilization Ahead of Vote

Credit AFL-CIO

The Kentucky AFL-CIO is launching a mail campaign against Senator Mitch McConnell that the group says is part of a “massive political mobilization” that will also include knocking on doors, worksite fliers, and phone banking.  

The labor group is coming to the aid of McConnell’s Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The state AFL-CIO says it will distribute over 70,000 mailers in the coming days attacking Sen. McConnell, saying the Louisville Republican has “been in Washington too long, and he’s lost his way.” The labor group blasts the incumbent for voting against bills that would increase the minimum wage and black lung benefits for miners.

An AFL-CIO spokesman told WKU Public Radio there are over 350,000 current and retired workers in Kentucky who are members of the labor group.

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Regional
2:50 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

WKU Army ROTC Remembers Graduate Killed in Action with Race, Scholarship Effort

1LT Eric Yates was a WKU ROTC cadet killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
Credit WKU Army ROTC

The WKU ROTC program is remembering a fallen comrade during a memorial event in Warren County.

First Lieutenant Eric Yates was a Hardin County native and WKU graduate who was killed in action four years ago today in Afghanistan.

Wednesday evening marks the fifth annual Eric Yates Memorial 5K Run and Walk, with all proceeds going to a scholarship fund for WKU ROTC cadets.

“This particular run, last year, supplied two different scholarships. But our goal this year is at least five scholarships for our ROTC cadets,” said Andrea Greenwood, with the WKU Department of Military Science.

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Education
1:46 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

New Centre College Scholarship Program Targets First-Generation Students

Centre College in Danville, Ky.
Credit Centre College

Centre College in Danville is unveiling a new scholarship program endowed by the largest single gift ever given to the school.

J. David and Marlene Grissom of Louisville have agreed to fund a four-year, full tuition scholarship that will go to ten first-generation college students each year beginning in the fall of 2015. J. David Grissom is a Centre graduate who served as chairman of the school’s board of trustees for two decades.

The total amount of the gift isn’t being made public, but Centre officials say it’s the largest ever received in the Danville school’s 195 year history.

Centre’s Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Bob Nesmith, says the school is already recruiting the first class of Grissom Scholars.

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Sports
1:01 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Doughty Named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week for Second Time this Season

WKU senior quarterback Brandon Doughty
Credit WKU Athletics

WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty is being honored for his record-breaking performance in Saturday’s loss to Middle Tennessee.

The Blue Raiders beat the Hilltoppers 50-47 in double overtime, dropping WKU to 1-2 on the season.

The loss came despite Doughty’s 593 yards in passing and four touchdowns. The passing yards set WKU and Conference USA records, and earned the senior quarterback the league’s Offensive Player of the Week  award for the second time this season.

Doughty was previously recognized after he threw for 569 yards against Bowling Green State in WKU’s season-opening win.

Arts & Culture
1:46 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Not Your Grandfather's Rocking Chair: WKU Features Over Twenty Chairs Made By Kentucky Artist

The Nixon chair, with White House photo of Nixon, Cornett, and Rep. Walter Powell
Abbey Oldham, WKU Public Radio

A set of chairs currently on display at The Kentucky Museum on WKU’s campus offers a glimpse at some of the finest pieces of Appalachian art ever created.

The exhibit, “Chester Cornett: Beyond the Narrow Sky” features over 20 chairs made by Cornett, a simple and quiet man from the Appalachian region of Kentucky who possessed an amazing talent. Cornett was born in 1913 in Letcher County, and learned chair-making from his grandfather and uncle. He served in WWII, and then returned to his mountain home in 1945.

Brent Bjorkman, director of the Kentucky Folklife Program at WKU, says Cornett seemed to be at peace when he was creating chairs—a peace that alluded him in other aspects of his life.

“He grew up as a loner,” Bjorkman told WKU Public Radio. “Chester was a mountain kid who had difficulty fitting in with the community. He was also married a couple of times, and I think dealing with people was pretty hard for him. So I think he back again and again to expressing himself through this creative form that he felt was something familiar to him.”

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Sports
4:33 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Four to Be Inducted Into 2014 WKU Athletic Hall of Fame

The 2014 WKU Athletic Hall of Fame class be inducted this November.
Credit WKU

WKU has announced the names of four individuals who will make up the 24th class of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. The quartet will be inducted during WKU’s homecoming weekend, Nov 7-9.

The four are:

  • Dan King/ Men’s Basketball 1952-54; Baseball 1952-54

King helped the basketball team win 85 percent of its games during his time on the Hill, and a star on the school’s 1954 team that won 4th place in the NIT. Coach E.A. Diddle oncecalled King, a 6’5” power forward, the fastest player he ever coached.

King also once pitched both games of a doubleheader and won both contests. He helped lead the WKU baseball team to two Ohio Valley Conference championships, in 1952 and 1953.

  •  Darnell Mee/ Men’s Basketball 1991-93

Mee was named an All-America selection in 1993, the same year he helped lead the Hilltoppers to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Mee scored 1,253 points during his career, ranking him 18th all-time on that list. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1993 and played in Denver from 1993 to 1995.

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Politics
4:10 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Rand Paul Headlining Two Events This Week in New Hampshire

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky
Credit WKU PBS

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has several appearances in New Hampshire this week—appearances  that are likely to further the impression that the Bowling Green Republican is planning to run for the White House.

Sen. Paul is scheduled to speak at an event Thursday in Manchester, New Hampshire, that is hosted by Generation Opportunity, a libertarian-leaning youth group the website Politico says has ties to the Koch brothers.

On Friday, Paul will headline the New Hampshire Republican Party’s Breakfast in the Granite State,  a unity event following Tuesday’s state primary.

New Hampshire, of course, is one of a handful of early caucus and primary states that plays an outsized role in U.S. Presidential elections. Paul’s brand of libertarianism has many fans among Granite State Republicans, who are known for their independent streak.

Paul has said he will announce in early 2015 whether or not he is running for the White House in 2016.

Agriculture
1:56 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Southern Kentucky County to Decide on Possible Changes to Ordinance Involving Chicken Houses

Cumberland County leaders could decide this week whether to change the county’s poultry production ordinance at the request of a company.

Cagle’s Keystone Foods of Albany has asked the Cumberland County Fiscal Court to make a number of changes, including allowing producers to have four chicken houses on their property as opposed to two, and decreasing the minimum distance between a chicken house and another dwelling from 2,500 feet to 1,500 feet.

Another change would increase the amount of birds allowed in a chicken house from 23,000 to 25,000.

Some Cumberland County residents have spoken out against the changes at public meetings, and want the issue put on the ballot so that voters can decide.

An agriculture committee appointed by Cumberland County Judge-Executive John Phelps is to deliver its recommendation at a meeting Monday evening, with a possible Fiscal Court vote coming at a meeting Tuesday.

8:30 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Politico: Rand Paul is America's Most Interesting Man (In Politics)

In a ranking of the Politico 50, the online political magazine says Kentucky's junior U.S. Senator--and possible 2016 presidential candidate--is scrambling the way we think about terms like "conservative."
A civil liberties-loving peacenik with millennial appeal? Who's willing to show up even at a midsummer NAACP convention to talk to a near-empty room? There's no doubt Rand Paul is turning out to be a different kind of Republican, bringing libertarian-and contrarian-ideas to the national stage in a novel and calculated blurring of Washington's otherwise rigid ideological battle lines.
Regional
3:13 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Chief Justice Minton Announces Study Looking at Caseloads for Kentucky Judges, Urges Pay Raises

Chief Justice John Minton
Credit Kentucky Supreme Court

Kentucky’s judicial branch is set to begin a study that will examine the balance of caseloads throughout the state.

Speaking to reporters after his annual “State of the Judiciary” address to lawmakers Friday, Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, Jr., said there is a perception held by many that some parts of the state have too few judges, while other regions have too many.

“And rolled up in that is the continuing concern in Daviess County of the need for family court, Daviess County being the largest jurisdiction in the state without family court.”

Seventy-one of Kentucky's 120 counties have family courts.  In counties that don't—such as Daviess—circuit judges are tasked with hearing cases regarding adoption, paternity, and domestic violence.

The Kentucky Supreme Court in 2012 certified the need for two family court positions in Daviess County, but budget constraints have delayed any action.

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