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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Regional
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Cuts Will Be Restored to Child Care Program for Kentucky's Working Poor

Kentucky is restoring cuts to a program that helps low-income parents work by providing them with affordable daycare for their children. 

The childcare assistance program has been closed to new applicants since April 2013 because of a budget shortfall.  Eligibility guidelines were also dropped, which cut several thousand kids from the program and closed some daycare centers. 

Terry Brooks with Kentucky Youth Advocates told WKU Public Radio the cuts were counter-intuitive.

"The folks who felt the pinch were hard-working Kentuckians in low-income jobs, and the reason they were able to take those jobs was becauseof  these child care supports which allowed them to put their children in high-quality daycare centers and have some government support," explained Brooks.

Starting August 4th, new applications will be accepted and eligibility will increased from 100 percent of the federal poverty level to 140 percent. 

Brooks said restoring the cuts will be good for the economy.

Education
1:36 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

WKU Working Toward Enrollment Rebound

Credit WKU

WKU’s fall semester is still about five weeks away, but enrollment numbers are on pace to increase over last year.  The WKU Board of Regents was told Friday that a 100 to 250 increase in students is expected, reversing last fall’s decline. 

"The full-time students in Kentucky are going up, the out-of-state students are increasing, the international students across the globe are looking strong, so I think it's in a healthy place," said Dr. Brian Meredith, WKU's Chief Enrollment and Graduation Officer.

A drop in tuition revenue in the fall 2013 and spring 2014 semesters contributed to a $3.1 million revenue shortfall.  The university is making up for the loss, partly, by privatizing health services on campus.

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Regional
12:32 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Scottsville Trio Sentenced in Pain Pill Theft, Distribution

U.S. District Courthouse in Bowling Green, KY.

Three Allen County residents have been sentenced in federal court for conspiring to sell pain pills stolen from a local pharmacy. 

Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky say that 46-year-old Lynn Harper Denton stole hydrocodone pills from her employer, Stovall’s Prescription Shop in Scottsville over a five-month period in 2012.  The retail value of the stolen painkillers was nearly $30,000. 

A tearful Denton apologized to her family in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green on Thursday before Judge Joseph McKinley sentenced her to eight months of home incarceration followed by two years of probation. 

Denton sold the pain pills to Katherine Virginia Rookstool who admitted selling them to Jeffrey Clay Stinson, a street-level dealer.  Rookstool also received eight months of home detention followed by probation for two years.  Stinson was given a 27-month prison term and three years of supervised release.

Regional
2:58 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Hardin County Works to Stave Off Fort Knox Cuts

As the U.S Army works to downsize, thousands of jobs are at risk at Fort Knox.  The community around the central Kentucky post is mounting a campaign to save more than 4,000 military and civilian jobs that could be lost by 2020.   

The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce has organized a letter-writing campaign in hopes of influencing the Army’s decision.  Chamber President Brad Richardson says the state has made a strong commitment to Fort Knox since the 2005 base realignment and its related growth. 

"The state stepped up more than any state in the nation to support the growth so we feel the Army needs to look at us more as a growth installation rather than contracting the installation," Richardson told WKU Public Radio.

Richardson cited $251 million in new schools, roads, and other infrastructure around the post. 

The cuts the Army is considering at Fort Knox would be on top of the 3,500 positions already eliminated with the inactivation of the Third Brigade Combat Team.  Under a worst case scenario, 4,100 hundred jobs would be cut, resulting in a $500 million loss in payroll.

Regional
4:08 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Kentucky Sees Drop in Food Stamp Recipients

For the first time since the Great Recession, most states are seeing a drop in the number of people relying on food assistance from the government. 

According to an analysis by a non-profit Washington D.C. think tank, 47 out of 50 states over the last year have seen their food stamp caseloads shrink.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put Kentucky in the mix. 

Nearly 56,000 fewer Kentuckians were on food stamps at the end of June compared to a year ago, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

"There's a strong connection between how many people are eligible for food stamps or receiving food stamps to unemployment and the economy, so those things are pretty closely related," says Jason Bailey, executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. 

Bailey says Kentucky is adding jobs, but at a modest pace.  He predicts it will be at least three years before the number of available jobs returns to pre-recession levels. 

Kentucky’s unemployment rate has been on a gradual decline for the past five months.  June’s jobless rate stood at 7.4%.

Regional
5:00 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Cave City Voters to Decide Alcohol Expansion

In south central Kentucky, some Cave City voters will head to the polls tomorrow for an up or down vote on alcohol sales.  Voters will decide whether to approve package liquor sales. 

A strong supporter is Sharon Tabor, executive director of the Cave City Convention and Visitors Bureau.  She says when tourists are in town, Cave City loses business to Bowling Green.

"People will go south to Bowling Green," she adds.  "They will eat at restaurants and stay at hotels in Bowling Green, drive back to Cave City to enjoy Mammoth Cave or Dinosaur World, and then they go back to Bowling Green."

Tabor thinks Cave City is also losing out when it comes to economic development.  By voting to go “wet,” package stores could locate in the area. 

Cave City has been "moist" since 2006, meaning some restaurants can sell liquor by the drink if they meet certain state law requirements.

Regional
4:49 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Bowling Green Company Signs on as Sponsor of Motorsports Park

A rendering of the Holley Control Tower and Event Center sits in front of the stage at the NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green on Thursday, July 17, 2014.
Credit Abbey Oldham

The National Corvette Museum has landed another major sponsor for its Motorsports Park that will open in September. 

Holley Performance Products will sponsor a 12,600-square-foot control tower and event center. 

"It's a two-story building.  The bottom floor consists of classrooms, a lobby, and a retail area," said Motorsports Park General Manager Mitch Wright.  "The second floor will be the race control area, and in addition to that, there will be a 2,100-square-foot viewing deck up there."

Holley is the second major company to sign on as a sponsor of the park, joining Michelin Tires. 

Construction is about a week ahead of schedule for the track’s grand opening on Labor Day weekend. 

The Motorsports Park features a three-mile road course on nearly 200 acres just across I-65 from the Corvette Museum.

Regional
1:43 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Date Set for Bowling Green's Annual Balloons, Tunes, and BBQ

U.S. Bank is the title sponsor of the 24th annual Balloons, Tunes, and BBQ festival in Bowling Green.
Credit Lisa Autry

A summer tradition returns to Bowling Green September 4-7.  It’s the 24th annual Balloons, Tunes, and BBQ Festival that raises money for charity. 

Organizers held a kickoff celebration Thursday at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport. 

All proceeds from the event will benefit United Way of Southern Kentucky, which puts the money back into the community.

"It literally goes to help people from cradle to grave, whether it's Wee Care Nursery that provides affordable daycare so that a mom can go to school or work or all the way up to Hospice at the end stages of your life," said United Way Marketing and Communications Director Mandy Hicks.  "This is a great opportunity to have some fun and give back."

The event, which features hot air balloons, music,  food, rides, and competitions raised more than $60,000 last year. 

This year’s concert  lineup includes Nashville recording artists David Nail, Jana Kramer, and The Farm.

Politics
12:36 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Centre College Issues Debate Proposal to Kentucky's U.S. Senate Nominees

The Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College in Danville, Ky was home to the 2000 and 2012 vice presidential debates.
Credit Centre College

Centre College knows a few things about hosting political debates, having performed twice before national audiences. 

The Danville school now is offering to host an exchange between U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and his Democratic challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes before the November election. 

Centre hosted the 2000 and 2012 vice presidential debates.

"We're excited at Centre that the most important election in the nation is taking place in Kentucky this fall," Dr. Richard Trollinger, Vice President of College Relation, told WKU Public Radio.  "We think, in a sense, it would be an opportunity missed if we didn't offer to make our team and facilities available to the candidates to take their message to the people of the commonwealth and beyond."

The proposed debate would take place September 3 from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. before a live audience on campus.  Centre has also secured a network of TV and radio stations to broadcast the debate to a statewide audience.

Both candidates have received multiple invitations, but so far the two sides have not reached any debate agreements.  Centre has requested a response from the campaigns by August first.

Regional
12:14 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

WKU Students Biking for Alzheimer's Reflect on Grueling, Rewarding Summer

The WKU bicyclists are wrapping up a 3,000-mile cross-country ride to raise money for Alzheimer's research for the BrightFocus Foundation. Their goal is to raise $100,000.
Credit www.bike4alz.org

Their bodies are sore, but some WKU fraternity brothers are having the most memorable summer of their lives.  Twelve members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity are wrapping up a cross-country bike ride to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. 

Drew Tingle of Franklin is riding in honor of his grandfather who passed away with dementia.  WKU Public Radio reached Tingle as he was pedaling through West Virginia.  He shared one of the highlights of the trek.

"We were climbing Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado.  We probably climbed ten miles," said Tingle.  After climbing for several days we got to the top and we all got to lay in snow in the middle of June on top of this mountain 11,000 feet in the air."

The college students typically pedal 70 to 80 miles a day and have faced all types of terrain from snowy mountains to dry deserts.  Along the way, they’ve relied on the generosity of strangers, including many churches for housing. 

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