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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Business
10:50 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Corvette Stingray Wins Second "Best Car of 2014" Award

The 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray is bringing home another award.
Credit Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is driving home a second car of the year award.

The vehicle manufactured at the Bowling Green General Motors plant has been named Autoweek's Best Car for 2014. Automobile magazine last month gave similar honors to the Stingray.

"The thing about the Corvette is that it's always been a good sports car for the money. But I can tell you that it's really the best sports car you can buy right now regardless of price," said Wes Raynal, editor of Autoweek.

Raynal says the new Corvette has a more comfortable and better-built interior than previous versions of the vehicle. He believes the Stingray will continue the Corvette's image as an iconic car.

"I don't know if you've ever seen that poster of the '63 Stingray, and the tagline is something like, 'They don't write songs about Volvos,'" Raynal told WKU Public Radio. "It's part of America. It's like Elvis, and Bruce Springsteen, and Coca-Cola, and Levi's."

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Sports
3:28 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

WKU's Andrews and Boyd Win Sun Belt Player of the Year Honors

WKU running back Antonio Andrews is the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.
Credit WKU Athletics

The WKU football team is no doubt still smarting from not receiving a bowl bid.

Maybe some postseason awards will ease the pain a bit.

Senior running back Antonio Andrews was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year Wednesday, while senior linebacker Xavius Boyd won the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Andrews rushed for a school-record 1,730 yards this season, and led the nation in all-purpose yards for the second straight campaign. The Ft. Campbell High School graduate scored on a conference-leading 16 rushing touchdowns.

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Regional
2:11 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Public Input Session in Henderson Over Big Rivers Rate Increase Rescheduled

A meeting where members of the public can sound off about a requested rate increase by Big Rivers Electric Corporation has been rescheduled.

A meeting was to be held Dec. 10 in Henderson, but was called off due to bad weather. The new date is Monday, December 16, in the Stagg Meeting Room at Henderson Community College, beginning at 5 pm.

The meeting will include a presentation by staff with the Kentucky Public Service Commission about the proposed rate increase by Big Rivers, the biggest power supplier in the region. Earlier this year the PSC granted a rate increase of $54 million by Big Rivers after the loss of its biggest customer, Century Aluminum of Hawesville.

Public comments will begin no later than 6 pm.

A second public meeting will be held in Frankfort on January 8, and will be linked through video conference to sites in Brandenburg, Owensboro, and Paducah.

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Arts & Culture
2:47 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Photo and Video Exhibit at WKU Explores the Stories, People of Owensboro

Clint Tucker, 33, Owensboro, Ky., offers bedtime kisses to his daughter, Savannah "Scooter" Tucker. Photo by Lexi Namer
Credit Mountain Workshops

WKU Photojournalist-in-Residence Josh Meltzer and WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis explore the photo and video exhibit Owensboro: An Old River City Discovers New Life.

A photograph and video exhibit on display at WKU’s Mass Media and Technology Hall is dedicated to documenting the stories of those who live in Owensboro and Daviess County.

Owensboro: An Old River City Discovers New Life features 40 photographs and 21 video narratives. It’s the work of those who participated in the 38th annual Mountain Workshops, a one-week hands-on workshop led by the WKU School of Journalism and Broadcasting's photojournalism sequence.

For five days in October a group made up of both student and professional  photojournalists made their way to Owensboro to find interesting people and stories that could be told through still and video images.

WKU Photojournalist-in-Residence Josh Meltzer, who  helps direct the Mountain Workshops, met WKU Public Radio’s Kevin Willis at the gallery to talk about how some of the images came to life.

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Politics
2:29 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Guthrie: While Repealing ObamaCare May Not Happen, Major Changes Likely to Come

Rep. Brett Guthrie (right) speaks to a Bowling Green area businessman Friday.
Credit Kevin Willis

Kentucky's Second District Congressman believes the problems with the rollout of Obamacare make it more likely major changes will be made to the law.

Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie is sponsoring a ten-point bill that includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Speaking Friday to a gathering of area business leaders, Guthrie said while a repeal isn't likely, the public is getting a glimpse of the problems related to greater government involvement in health care.

Guthrie also said Republicans missed an opportunity to highlight those points when the federal government was shut down.

"I think what would have been better for us, as the government shutdown was happening is not just, ‘let’s repeal Obamacare, and if not the government shuts down.’ Why don’t we say, ‘here’s our alternative to address people in the insurance market that are being priced out of the market without affecting it for everybody else.'”

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Agriculture
4:48 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Sequester Cuts Could Cost Kentucky Tobacco Farmers Millions of Dollars

Kentucky tobacco farmers stand to lose an estimated $12 million because of federal budget cuts related to the sequester. Those cuts are scheduled to hit the next round of price support payments sent to about 100,000 Kentucky tobacco farmers and quota holders.

Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney told WKU Public Radio the payments should be exempt from the federal spending cuts.

"This shouldn't even be considered for sequestration because it's actually a contract that was signed between the tobacco producers and the tobacco manufacturers. Really, the federal government was just holding the money and making the program work."

Haney says members of Kentucky's congressional delegation and farm lobby are teaming up with their counterparts in other states as the next tobacco quota payment nears.

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Arts & Culture
1:15 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

WKU Author's Latest Book Explores Dark Family Secrets

Author and WKU English Professor David Bell

David Bell's interview with WKU Public Radio

It's been a good couple of months for author and WKU English Professor David Bell.

He recently won the Le Prix Polar International de Cognac, a prestigious French literary award given to the best crime novel published by a non-French author, for his 2011 book Cemetery Girl. His most recent book, Never Come Back, was published in October.

Never Come Back tells the story of Elizabeth Hampton, who--in the book's opening pages--arrives at her mother's home to find police detectives and crime scene investigators.

David Bell spoke to WKU Public Radio about the origins of his new work, and how Bowling Green and his parents have influenced his writing.

Where did you come up with the idea for your new book?

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Agriculture
2:45 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Sustainable Glasgow Wants to Turn Unused Building into Permanent Home for Local Farmers' Market

The Bounty of the Barrens Farmers' Market is currently held along the courthouse square in downtown Glasgow.
Credit www.glasgow-ky.com

If a Barren County organization has its way, an unoccupied building on Glasgow's downtown square will be turned into a year-round farmers' market.

Sustainable Glasgow has applied for a matching grant from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund to pay for half of the cost of renovating the building.

"It could be our permanent home, it would be on the square, we could have an indoor food court, and we could market more local farm products and farm-to-table prepared foods," Sustainable Glasgow President Jerry Ralston told WKU Public Radio.

The group's plans for the facility would also include a full commercial kitchen and cold storage for produce that could be sold by vendors in the building and wholesaled to local restaurants, schools, and hospitals.

Ralston says he hopes to hear within the next few months whether Sustainable Glasgow's grant application has been approved.

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Regional
9:02 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Young Veteran at WKU Helps Other Military Students Navigate Maze of College Life

Kent Johnson, now a WKU senior, served as a U.S. Marine in As Saqlawiyah, Iraq.
Credit Kent Johnson

Kent Johnson's interview with WKU Public Radio

Monday is Veteran's Day, and all across our region and nation, people are taking part in parades and ceremonies honoring those who have served in the military.

With U.S. personnel still fighting in Afghanistan, and following eight years of fighting in Iraq that formally ended in 2011, we thought we would introduce you to a young veteran from our region who is now helping other veterans create new lives after leaving the active service.

Kent Johnson joined the U.S. Marines in 2004 after graduating from high school in Columbia, Tennessee. As a member of a Marine Corp Infantry Unit, Kent served two tours in the Middle East, including a combat deployment to a town outside of Fallujah, Iraq. He got out of the service in 2008.

Here are some excerpts from our interview with Kent:

What was life like for you after you got out of the Marines?

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Economy
11:01 am
Wed November 6, 2013

WKU Prof: Same-Sex Marriage Legalization has Little Impact on State Income Tax Receipts

The Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in June.

WKU Economics Professor Susane Leguizamon talks about her research detailing the effects same-sex marriage could have on federal and state income tax receipts.

The debate over same-sex marriage is one that has heated up this year, with the Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which blocked the federal government from recognizing gay marriage. Seven states in 2013 saw same sex marriage legalized through court order, laws passed by state legislatures, or through popular vote.

WKU Economics Professor Susane Leguizamon has conducted  some research about an aspect of same sex marriage that most people probably haven't thought about: namely, what would the impact of nationwide gay marriage be on federal and state income tax receipts?

The research conducted by Prof. Leguizamon and her two co-authors finds 23 state would see a new fiscal benefit from same sex marriage legalization, while 21 would see a decline. Seven states wouldn't be impacted in this way since they don't have income taxes.

You can request a copy of the research by emailing Prof. Leguizamon here.

Here are some excerpts from our conversation with Prof. Leguizamon:

How would same-sex marriage legalization impact the income tax revenues of the three states in our listening area: Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana?

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