Lisa Autry

Reporter/Producer

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum.  She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years.  Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville.  She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky.  Many of her stories have been heard on NPR. 

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Nearly two years have passed since the ambush-style murder of a Bardstown police officer and still no one has been arrested. 

Police are hoping a new video plea from Jason Ellis’ wife will provide fresh leads in the case.  In an online video, Amy Ellis says her family needs closure.

"His family, our two sons, his wonderful friends and I, cannot heal without knowing who and why he was taken from us by this senseless murder," Amy says.  "Someone somewhere can come forward.  This is my plea.  Do not hide in the dark shadows any longer.  Have the courage to help end this horror and show that justice can prevail."

Ellis, a 33-year-old police officer was gunned down May 25, 2013 as he was heading home after his shift.  He had stopped to remove tree limbs that had been placed on a Nelson County highway exit ramp. 

The reward in the case now exceeds $185,000.

Lisa Autry

A major expansion is in the works at the Bowling Green Corvette Assembly Plant. 

General Motors announced today a $439 million investment for facility upgrades, including a new paint shop.  Construction will begin this summer and take about two years to complete. 

Plant Manager Jeff Lamarche says the investment shows GM’s commitment to the Bowling Green facility.

"It's really clear that GM is not just committing for years ahead, but committing to the community, the plant, and the men and women here in Bowling Green," Lamarche told WKU Public Radio.  "It's basically recognition for the great job everybody's done."

The new paint shop will be 450,000 square feet, almost half the size of the current assembly plant.  The expansion is not expected to create any additional jobs. 

Thursday's announcement follows nearly $135 million invested in the plant over the last four years for the new seventh generation Corvette and the Performance Build Center. 

Last month, GM announced it would invest $5.4 billion in its U.S. facilities over the next three years.

KSP

The Kentucky State Police agency is looking for a missing two-year-old  believed to have been taken by her mother's boyfriend.

The girl has been missing since Sunday from Monroe County.  Police think she is with 25-year-old Anthony Dale Barbour of Summer Shade.  Tuesday night, a car believed to be Barbour's was found in the area, abandoned in a field.

Barbour may be in possession of a .22 caliber rifle and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Barbour is white, 5'11," 140 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes, and has some facial hair.

The child is 24" tall, weighs 25 pounds, and has blond hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information is asked to call KSP at (270) 384-4796.

Lisa Autry

The chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court says electronic case filing is paving the way for a more efficient court system in the state.  John Minton Jr. spoke Monday in Warren County, one of 11 Kentucky counties adopting the program this week. 

By transitioning from a paper-based system, electronic case filing gives the public 24-7 access to court documents.

Minton said e-filing is ushering in an important new era for the Kentucky justice system.

"It makes our system a modern system that reflects what society around us is doing," Minton told WKU Public Radio.  "We're now less tethered to paper and are more accessible electronically, and we also believe this will be a huge cost-savings in the future."

Since the start of e-filing in December 2013, nearly 600 attorneys and other users have filed more than 20,000 documents electronically.

E-filing will expand this week to Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hancock, Logan, Metcalfe, Ohio, Simpson, Todd, and Warren counties. 

The program, now used by 72 counties, should be available statewide by the end of the year.

When Kentucky voters head to the polls for Tuesday's primary, a ban on electioneering will be in place, although it will be less strict than a previous law struck down by a federal judge.

Earlier this month, the state Board of Elections approved an emergency regulation banning electioneering with 100 feet of polling places.  Private property is exempt.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says a buffer zone between campaigners and the voting booth is necessary.

"The reason we have an electioneering ban is to give voters the confidence and comfort to know that when they go to the polls on election day, they won't face harassment or intimidation by individuals trying to support of oppose particular candidates," Grimes tells WKU Public Radio.

The regulation prohibits people from displaying signs, distributing campaign literature, or soliciting votes within 100 feet of a polling location.

A state law that banned electioneering within 300 feet of polling locations was struck down by a federal judge and the ruling was recently upheld by a federal appeals court.  The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a 100 foot ban. 

A court date has been set for a judge to hear arguments in a right-to-work lawsuit against Hardin County. Oral arguments will take place in U.S. District Court in Louisville on August 4.

The lawsuit challenges a local right-to-work ordinance approved January 13 by Hardin Fiscal Court.  A group of labor unions filed a federal lawsuit to stop the measure. 

Hardin County is one of about a dozen Kentucky counties that have passed local laws making it illegal for employers to require their workers to join a labor union or pay dues.

Advocates say the law will make the county more attractive to businesses and create jobs, but opponent say it is designed to crush labor unions and lower wages.

At issue is whether local governments have the authority to pass such laws.

A state lawmaker and a county attorney are squaring off for the Republican nomination for Kentucky Attorney General in the May 19th primary. 

State Senator Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville faces Lawrence County Attorney Mike Hogan. 

Both men agree substance abuse and cyber crimes will be the most pressing issues for the next AG, but disagree over who is better qualified to lead the office.  

The 34-year-old Westerfield touts his legislative experience.

"As the top law officer of the commonwealth whose charge includes the public safety of Kentucky, I think it's a waste of the position to not engage with the General Assembly, and I have shown I can do that as a part of the General Assembly," Westerfield tells WKU Public Radio.

Westerfield, a former assistant commonwealth’s attorney, points to his efforts to revamp the state’s juvenile justice system and pass heroin legislation.

Three people are under arrest for drug trafficking on or near the WKU campus. 

Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force Director Tommy Loving said the arrests followed a two-month investigation. 

"We were able to work a confidential informant in and make multiple drug purchases," Loving told WKU Public Radio.  "One was selling psychedelic mushrooms.  The other two were actually portraying the drug as LSD, but it turned out to be a synthetic hallucinogen."

Twenty-two-year-old Jonathan Springer was arrested at the Farm House Fraternity where he lived.  Nineteen-year-old Justin Vandusen was a resident of Zacharias Hall, and 20-year-old Natasha Jacobs lived in Pearce Ford Tower. 

All three students were indicted by a grand jury and remain in the Warren County Regional Jail.

About 570 union workers at a western Kentucky aluminum smelter have been locked out of the plant after voting down a company contract offer. 

A statement on Century Aluminum’s website says the lockout was to begin at 8:00am today. 

Workers at the Hawesville plant rejected a fourth offer from the Century on Monday. 

A press release from the company says its final offer included pay increases, fixed costs for health insurance, and new language on overtime.  United Steelworkers Local 94-23 simply stated on its website the union had rejected the company’s offer. 

According to Century, the lockout will allow other personnel to operate the plant uninterrupted.

One week from Kentucky’s primary election, the four Republican candidates for governor still have some convincing to do.

A survey conducted last week by Public Policy Polling shows only three points separate three of the four GOP contenders.  The poll puts James Comer in the lead with 28 percent support, followed by Hal Heiner at 27 percent, and Matt Bevin at 25 percent.  The survey did not include former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott. 

Despite accusations that he abused his college girlfriend, Comer maintains the highest favorability rating of the three candidates.  While he emphatically denies the abuse allegations, 50 percent of voters have a positive opinion of him.  Bevin is close behind at 48 percent.   Heiner is in last place with his 44 percent favorability rating. 

The poll questioned 501 Republicans and was funded by the Democratic PAC Kentucky Family Values.  The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%.

The winner of next Tuesday’s primary will likely face Democratic frontrunner Jack Conway in the November election.

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