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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Sports
8:49 am
Sun March 23, 2014

Covington Catholic Goes to Overtime to Win 2014 Sweet 16 Championship

Kentucky's 2014 Boys' basketball champion will be crowned Sunday in Lexington.
Credit UK Athletics

Update at 3:42 pm:

Covington Catholic is the winner of the 2014 Kentucky Boys' Sweet 16 title after beating Scott County 59-51 in overtime.

Original post:

Bowling Green High School's bid to play in the 2014 boys' high school basketball championship came up short Saturday, as the Purples fell to Covington Catholic in the semifinal round.

Covinton Catholic won the game 81-68 at Lexington's Rupp Arena.

Earlier Saturday night, Scott County beat Trinity 62-56 in the other semifinal.

Scott County and Covington Catholic face each other Sunday at 2 p.m. eastern for the state championship.

It's a big day for basketball in the Bluegrass State. At the same time the high school title is being decided, the UK Wildcats will be playing No. 1 seed Wichita State in the NCAA tournament. The winner of that game will play the Louisville Cardinals Friday in the Sweet 16.

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Sports
11:35 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Bardstown, Bowling Green, and Hopkinsville Among Eight Teams in Action Friday at Sweet 16

Update at 3:21 pm:

Scott County beat Johnson Central 64-55 Thursday.

Update at 1:34 pm:

Trinity beat Hopkinsville 74-56 Thursday. The Shamrocks now advance to one of the two Saturday semifinal games.

Original post:

The field has been cut in half at the Kentucky Boys Sweet 16.

Friday features four quarterfinal matchups at Rupp Arena, with the winners facing each other in two Saturday semifinals. The state champ will be crowned Sunday afternoon.

Here is Friday's schedule, with all times eastern:

Trinity 74, Hopkinsville 56  FINAL

Scott County vs. Johnson Central  1:30 pm

Bowling Green vs. McCracken County  6:30 pm

Bardstown vs. Covington Catholic  8:00 pm

Sports
8:52 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Bowling Green, Bardstown, Wayne County Hope to Advance Thursday in Sweet 16

The 2014 Kentucky boys' basketball champion will crowned Sunday at Rupp Arena.
Credit KHSAA

Update at 9:49 pm:

Bardstown beat Pleasure Ridge Park 75-70 Thursday night.

Update at 12:43 pm:

McCracken County beat Wayne County Thursday afternoon, 81-74.

Original post:

Three teams from our listening area put their dreams of a state basketball championship on the line Thursday in Lexington.

It's day two of the Kentucky Boys Sweet 16 tournament, with Bardstown, Bowling Green, and Wayne County hitting the Rupp Arena court in first-round contests.

Here is Thursday's schedule, with all times eastern:

Wayne County vs. McCracken Co.  12:00 pm

Bowling Green vs. Knott County Central  1:30 pm

Bardstown vs. Pleasure Ridge Park  6:30 pm

Clay County vs. Covington Catholic  8:00 pm

Health
5:54 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

WKU to Seek Private Operators for Campus Health Services

The new WKU Health Services facility was built in 2008.
Credit WKU

WKU is seeking to privatize the on-campus Health Center that serves students, faculty, and staff.

In an email to WKU employees Wednesday afternoon, President Gary Ransdell said he and Vice-President for Finance and Administration Ann Mead met with WKU Health Center staff to inform them of the decision.

Dr. Ransdell said the school could realize $1 million in savings by allowing a private operator to run the health center. He also said private sector medical providers could operate WKU Health Services in a more efficient manner, and offer "enchanced services" for students, faculty, and staff.

Dr.Ransdell described the WKU Health Center staff as “terrific”, and said the school would encourage the successful bidder to continue to employ current workers. However, the WKU President acknowledged that couldn’t be guaranteed.

Arts & Culture
3:47 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Bluegrass Musician Buried in Unmarked Somerset Grave to Get Proper Marker, Ceremony

Leonard Rutherford (left) and Dick Burnett. It was recently discovered that Rutherford was buried in an unmarked cemetery in Somerset.
Credit Kentucky Explorer

A bluegrass musician buried in an unmarked grave in Somerset is going to receive a proper grave marker this weekend.

Leonard Rutherford was a popular bluegrass artist in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, and performed as part of the Burnett-Rutherford Duo.

But Rutherford fell on hard times and was found dead along a Somerset road in 1951 at the age of 53.

Somerset Cemetery manager Tricia Neal says Rutherford's grave site was only recently identified when a local historian began asking about the long-forgotten musician.

"I started looking and I couldn't find him anywhere,” Neal told WKU Public Radio. “And I ended up just finding a penciled-in name on the back of an old index card. It had a note where he had been buried in this grave, and I went out to the cemetery and found it."

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Education
9:43 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Rupp Arena Beckons for Students at Schools Competing in Sweet 16

The Kentucky Boys Sweet 16 champion will crowned Sunday afternoon in Lexington.
Credit KHSAA

Attendance at some schools in our listening area could be light today and tomorrow--but not because of weather.

The Kentucky Boys Sweet 16 basketball tournament gets underway Wednesday in Lexington, and many students from participating schools will be at Rupp Arena, as opposed to the classroom.

Bowling Green High School plays its first round game tomorrow afternoon against Knott County Central. Bowling Green High Principal Gary Fields says his school system understands that attending the tournament is a great experience for students.

"We didn't want to dismiss school, so what we're doing is if a student buys a ticket and travels with their parents or family friends, then they are excused from school that day. It is an absence. We're required to count them absent, but it's an excused absence," Fields told WKU Public Radio.

Fields says calling off school wasn't an option, especially since Bowling Green has missed five days already due to winter weather. Several county school systems in our region have missed a dozen or more days.

Other schools in our listening area competing in the Sweet 16 are Bardstown, Hopkinsville, Owensboro, and Wayne County.

Sports
1:34 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Bowling Green, Owensboro, Bardstown Among Schools Competing for Sweet 16 Title

Lexington's Rupp Arena is the site for the 2014 Kentucky Boys Sweet 16 basketball tournament.
Credit UK Athletics

March Madness isn’t just for the collegiate basketball ranks.

One week after Kentucky crowned a girls’ champion, the state’s best boys’ teams are set to open their Sweet 16 tournament Wednesday at Lexington’s Rupp Arena.

Here is a schedule of the tournament's first-round games, with all times eastern:

Wednesday

South Oldam vs. Hopkinsville  12:00 pm

Trinity vs. Owensboro  1:30 pm

Scott County vs. Fleming County  6:30 pm

Campbell County vs. Johnson Central  8:00 pm

Thursday

McCracken County vs. Wayne County  12:00 pm

Knott County Central vs. Bowling Green  1:30 pm

Bardstown vs. Pleasure Ridge Park  6:30 pm

Clay County vs. Covington Catholic 8:00 pm

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Health
2:14 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

With Deadline Approaching, Nearly 300,000 Kentuckians Have Signed Up for Health Insurance

The deadline to sign up for insurance through the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, and avoid a 2015 tax penalty, is March 31.

The vast majority of Kentucky's health benefit exchange enrollees are signing up for coverage under Medicaid.

Numbers released Thursday by the state show 80 percent of those who have signed up for medical coverage through Kentucky's benefit exchange have done so through the expanded Medicaid program. The remaining 20 percent will get coverage through private insurance companies.

Kentucky has enrolled nearly 300,000 people so far in its health exchange, known as Kynect. Deputy Executive Director Bill Nold says officials are pleased with the number of young Kentuckians who have signed up through the exchange.

"If you look at our total enrollment, about 48 percent are under the age of 35," Nold said.

Health exchange operators throughout the nation have been concerned that not enough younger, healthier people would sign up for coverage before the March 31 deadline.

Those younger customers are needed to subsidize health care for older and less healthy individuals.

Sign Up Saturday

To avoid a tax penalty in 2015, people must have signed up for insurance by the end of March, or at least be insured for nine months of the year.

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Education
3:38 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Southern Kentucky Superintendent Open to Idea of Year-Round School

North Jackson Elementary is one of the Barren County schools that has missed 16 days due to winter weather.
Credit Barren County Schools

The superintendent of Barren County Schools says he would be willing to consider the idea of year-round school.

The concept has come up recently following several episodes of harsh winter weather that led many school systems to cancel classes over a dozen times.

Barren County Superintendent Bo Matthews says it might be a good idea to think about officially shortening the summer break, since it is often gets impacted by make-up days caused by bad weather.

"The summer break, if you will, continues to get smaller if you look at school calendars around the state,” Matthews told WKU Public Radio. “So, in some respects, it wouldn't be a stretch to see us begin to creep further into the month of June."

Barren County has missed 16 days this school year due to bad winter weather. Lawrence County has missed 32.

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Politics
10:00 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Bill Regulating Use of Drones by Police Languishing in Kentucky General Assembly

House Bill 342 would require police in Kentucky to first get a warrant before using drones to gather evidence on suspects.

A bill that seeks to define how drones could be used by Kentucky law enforcement groups has yet to get a hearing in the General Assembly. 

Under the measure, police would have to secure a warrant before using a drone to gather evidence against an individual.

Kentucky ACLU program director Kate Miller says it’s important to note that House Bill 342 does not ban all uses of drones by law enforcement groups.

“There was recently a train derailment in Louisville. If they wanted to take images of that in order to help out with the cleanup, they would be allowed to use a drone for that," Miller told WKU Public Radio. "But if they think I’m a suspicious character and want to check out what I’m doing, they’re going to need a warrant for that.”

Miller says the bill would continue to allow police to use drones to search for missing persons without getting a warrant.

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