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. 

Ways to Connect

The post office in downtown Bowling Green is close to being sold, and the public will have a chance to weigh in later this month on where the new facility will be located.

The downtown post office on East 11th Ave. is under contract, but the sale has not been finalized.  Phillip Doyle, a Postal Service real estate specialist, says three locations are under consideration for a new postal facility that will be in close proximity to the current one. 

"The existing location was placed where it would be most accessible to the greatest number of customers in the market place and that's still the case," Doyle told WKU Public Radio.

Ohio County Tourism

Ground will be broken this spring in Ohio County honoring native son and Father of Bluegrass Bill Monroe. 

A May ground-breaking is planned for a 48,000 square-foot museum at Everett Park in Rosine.  Ohio County Tourism Director Jody Flener says the attraction will feature items from Monroe’s last home in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

"We have everything from his bull horns over the top of his mantle to the radio he used to listen to, to pictures and awards," Flener told WKU Public Radio.

Kentucky Career Center

The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet is consolidating career centers across Kentucky in an effort to save millions of dollars. 

The state has 51 offices that provide assistance with unemployment benefits, worker training, and job placements.  Under a reorganization, the career centers will be reduced to 12 hubs, including Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Owensboro, and Somerset.  Eight existing satellite offices will also remain. 

Office of Employment Training Spokeswoman Kim Brannock says the goal is to make services more flexible by offering in-person assistance at one of the hubs, as well as over the phone and online.

Wikimedia Commons

The wife of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell will be in the hot seat Wednesday as confirmation hearings continue for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet.  Elaine Chao is the nominee for U.S. Transportation Secretary. 

Among the pressing issues facing the next transportation secretary will be how to boost the nation's aging infrastructure to accommodate population growth.  

The Associated Press reports that Chao's record as U.S. Labor Secretary suggests she'd have a light hand when it comes to safety regulations and would seek to shift responsibility from the federal government to states where possible.

KentuckyTourism.com

A popular rest stop on the Western Kentucky Parkway in Ohio County has closed its doors and switched off the gas pumps.  The rest area will remain shut down while the state Transportation Cabinet looks for a new vendor.

Because of liability issues, the state decided to close the Beaver Dam rest area when the current vendor’s lease expired.  After the vendor submitted an incomplete application, the Finance Cabinet has begun looking for a new one.

Brescia University

Brescia University is working to determine what caused a fire on campus Wednesday night.  Flames were reported from the Moore Center around 7:00 p.m.

The building sustained minimal damage. 

"We are grateful for the service of the local first responders and for the thoughts and prayers from the Brescia University family," said Kayla Altman, Director of Public Relations and Marketing.  "We were very fortunate!"

The Moore Center is currently undergoing a renovation and expansion.  The fire isn’t expected to affect the construction timeline.

Louisville VA Medical Center

Veterans living in and around Hardin County are being asked to voice their support for a VA hospital in Radcliff.  A public meeting will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Colvin Community Center in Radcliff.

Radcliff Mayor and retired Army Colonel Mike Weaver argues that Hardin County would be the most easily accessible location for a new veterans medical center.  The city has offered to donate 50 acres of land for the project that would replace the aging Robley Rex VA Medical Center in Louisville.

Currently, the only approved site for the hospital is near Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway in Louisville.  Weaver says the proposed Jefferson County site brings traffic and parking challenges just like the current facility.

"I'm a veteran myself and I've been using the VA medical care system for over 20 years.  I know how difficult it is to get from where I live to the VA hospital where it currently is," Weaver told WKU Public Radio.  "For instance, I have an appointment tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.  Because of traffic, I plan to leave the house at 6:00 a.m. for a 45 minute drive just so I can be on time."

A VA spokesperson said last week that plans are proceeding for the Louisville site and no other locations are being considered. 

The public comment period runs until January 11.  The VA will review the comments before issuing a final version of an impact study.

Ryland Barton

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says his office will ramp up efforts in 2017 to combat human trafficking. 

With assistance from the attorney general's office, 28 people were arrested this year in Kentucky, accused of forcing others into sex or labor trading.  One of the arrests was in Louisville during the week of the Kentucky Derby where a 14-year-old girl was rescued. 

Beshear says human trafficking is occurring in every county of the state.

WKU Athletics

Western Kentucky University has hired Mike Sanford as the next head football coach. 

The 34-year-old Sanford has spent the past two seasons as Notre Dame's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. 

In a news conference Wednesday, Sanford said he’s been eyeing the WKU job for a while.

Warren County Regional Jail

An employee of Bowling Green city schools has resigned following allegations of sexual assault involving a teenage boy.  Houston Bunton is charged with sexual abuse and sodomy. 

The 24-year-old was a teacher’s aide and the assistant girls basketball coach at Bowling Green High School.  The alleged misconduct involved a 15-year-old boy who was a student at the school.  The student told police he was sexually assaulted at Bunton’s house over Thanksgiving weekend. 

According to the arrest citation, Bunton admitted to police that he inappropriately touched the boy.

Healthcare.gov

More than 30,000 Kentuckians have signed up for health insurance since the state transitioned to the federal exchange on November 1.  Healthcare.gov replaced the state’s previous insurance portal known as Kynect.  This time last year, more than 27,000 Kentuckians had enrolled in coverage, according to state officials. 

Melissa Grimes works for Community Action of Southern Kentucky, which serves 11 counties.  She oversees the assistors who are trained to help enrollees navigate the online process.  Grimes says it’s taking longer to enroll people under the federal exchange.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Fresh off their historic wins in the General Assembly, Kentucky House Republicans are strategizing this week at a retreat in Bowling Green. The GOP caucus has 23 new members heading into the 2017 legislative session.  Republicans control thestate House for the first time since 1921, and maintain a comfortable majority in the Senate.

WKU

Plans for a sports medicine complex at Western Kentucky University have been scrapped, at least for now. 

After issuing a request for proposals in September, WKU has determined that no proposal met all the requirements of the RFP.  Therefore, and the university was unable to award a contract and is closing the current RFP process.

WKU agreed to bid the project after Western Kentucky Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates filed a formal protest against the way the university created the 99 year, $22 million deal with the Bowling Green Medical Center.  WKONA's protest claimed the deal was done in secret, without a competitive process. 

"The animosity in our medical community in Bowling Green just becomes so toxic, and the hatred is very disturbing to me," WKU President Gary Ransdell told WKU Public Radio.

WKU issued an RFP for a medical provider to construct the complex, lease the campus health clinic, and provide orthopaedic services to student athletes.  With the bidding process closed, the university plans to pursue other options to build a sports medicine facility through private support or other means.

Lisa Autry

The trial of a Scottsville man charged in the brutal murder of a young girl is still more than a year away. 

Timothy Madden returned to court Friday afternoon for a pre-trial hearing.  Allen Circuit Judge Janet Crocker set a March 31 deadline for attorneys to request a change of venue.  After the hearing, Madden's attorney Travis Lock said he would ask for the trial to be moved to another county.

"Can Tim Madden get a fair trial in Allen County, Kentucky?  I think that's very questionable," Lock stated.  "I think it's going to be tough to impanel a jury in any contiguous county.  I'm not sure where this case should be tried.  I'm sure that's something the court will address in due time."

Madden is facing the death penalty for allegedly kidnapping, raping, sodomizing, and murdering seven-year-old Gabbi Doolin last November. 

The case will not be ready for trial until late next year.  Judge Crocker said she would not set the trial date near the anniversary of Doolin’s death or the holidays.  Therefore, the death penalty case is expected to be tried in January 2018.

A former Franklin doctor whose prescribing practices resulted in patient deaths will have to wait a while longer to learn his punishment. 

Roy Reynolds returned to federal court in Bowling Green Wednesday for sentencing after pleading guilty earlier this year to illegally prescribing pain and anti-anxiety medicine. 

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Kentucky, two patients under Reynolds’ care died from drug overdoses.  One was a 46-year-old man with a history of illegal drug use and psychiatric issues.  Two days prior to his death, Dr. Reynolds prescribed him 180 Oxycodone pills and 90 Xanax tablets. 

Dr. Reynolds is also accused in the death of a 41-year-old man with a history of doctor shopping and drug and alcohol abuse.  An autopsy of his body showed Hydrocodone at 30 times the therapeutic concentration.

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