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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Kentucky Democratic Party

The new leader of the Kentucky Democratic Party says the “Republican experiment” has failed. 

In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Chairman Ben Self accuses the GOP of waging a war on the middle class by creating right-to-work and prevailing wage laws. 

He also thinks sexual harassment allegations looming over Republicans and a pension proposal rejected by many public employees jeopardizes some House GOP members in next year’s elections.

Republicans gained control of the Kentucky House last year for the first time since 1921, but Self believes Democrats have a real opportunity to take back the chamber.

Wednesday was National Philanthropy Day and Western Kentucky University celebrated in a big way.  The school announced a $1.3 million gift from George and Cynthia Nichols to support the school’s diversity initiatives. 

Cynthia Nichols said she and her husband were both first-generation college students.

"I had no clue what I wanted to get involved with, and really didn't know how I could afford it.  I credit Western Kentucky University and this entire community that wrapped their arms around us and took us forward, stated Nichols.  "What's also important about going to college is sustainability. Once you get them here, how to you engage them to keep them here?"

Ira Gelb/Creative Commons

Kentucky’s hotel industry is being enlisted to help fight human trafficking, a crime that Attorney General Andy Beshear says is occurring in every community.

“Today we are giving traffickers notice that we are fighting back with a strong team who is committed to training thousands of hotel staff on how to help a victim escape and put an end to this crime," Beshear said in a press release.

Beshear announced a new partnership Tuesday that will include a training program called See Something-Say Something-Save a Life.  Employees in the hotel industry will learn how to identify and report human trafficking.

Lisa Autry

The neighbor who has admitted to assaulting U.S. Senator Rand Paul outside his Bowling Green home made his first court appearance Thursday. 

Rene Boucher pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor fourth degree assault charge in Warren District Court. 

Boucher told police he attacked Paul from behind while the Republican lawmaker was mowing his yard last week.  Speculation has been rampant about what prompted the physical altercation. 

A family friend previously told WKU Public Radio that the alleged assault was likely related to property and that Boucher had expressed anger about not being able to sell his home because of the trees on Paul’s property.

On Thursday, Boucher's attorney Matt Baker backed up those claims.  In an interview with NBC News, Baker was asked if the attack was about a "messy yard."

NPR

A close friend and neighbor of Rand Paul is sharing some information about what could have prompted the recent assault on the U.S. Senator. 

Retired physician Rene Boucher, also a neighbor, told police he attacked Paul from behind as the Republican lawmaker mowed his lawn last Friday. 

Alicia Stivers tells WKU Public Radio that she was the first person to see Paul following the attack and it apparently was related to property.

"He said that when he got up, Rene said something like 'I've been trying to sell my house for ten years and your trees are in the way,'"said Stivers.

Warren County Regional Jail

Some new information is coming to light as to why a retired physician assaulted U.S. Senator Rand Paul at his Bowling Green home over the weekend. 

According to the arrest warrant,  Rene Boucher admitted to police that he went onto Paul’s property and tackled him causing broken ribs and cuts to Paul’s face. 

Boucher's attorney, Matt Baker, issued the following statement to WKU Public Radio:

"Senator Paul and Dr. Boucher have been next door neighbors for 17 years.   They are also prominent members of the local medical community and worked together when they were both practicing physicians.  The unfortunate occurrence of November 3rd has absolutely nothing to do with either's politics or political agendas.   It was a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial.  We sincerely hope that Senator Paul is doing well and that these two gentlemen can get back to being neighbors as quickly as possible."

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Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says Kentucky farmers continue to gain more access to major grocery chains. 

Quarles says the Kentucky Proud program is expanding to help the state’s beef producers. 

A plan is underway to process beef cattle in Wolfe County, and distribute the ground beef to more than 80 Kroger stores in Kentucky.

Lisa Autry

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is downplaying the indictment of President Trump’s former campaign manager.   Paul Manafort and an aide are the first to be criminally charged in the investigation into possible Russian influence in U.S. politics. 

Senator Paul says the charges have nothing to do with collusion with Russia and instead accuse Manafort of money laundering and not paying taxes before going ever joining the Trump campaign.

Overall enrollment at Western Kentucky University is stagnant from this time last year, which has helped create a nearly $15 million budget deficit.  Members of the Board of Regents expressed concern at their quarterly meeting Friday.

The current student population is 20,267, only ten fewer students from fall 2016.

Overall, the numbers are flat, but excluding dual credit and Gatton Academy students, there’s a three percent decline in the number of students on campus.

Sobering and serious were how some regents described the enrollment picture.

Christian County Detention Center

A new poll suggests that a man charged in the brutal death of a young Scottsville girl can’t get a fair trial in Allen or adjacent counties. 

A random sample of residents in Warren, Barren, Simpson, Monroe, and Christian counties was taken to gauge their knowledge and opinions about the case of Timothy Madden.  He’s charged in the kidnapping, rape, and murder of seven-year-old Gabbi Doolin in 2015. 

Fifty-six percent of respondents in Warren County felt Madden was guilty of the crime and nearly 50 percent had the same opinion in Barren and Simpson counties.  Farther away in Christian County, just 11 percent of those polled thought Madden was guilty. 

Lisa Autry

For some Kentuckians, Wal-Mart is now offering a game changer when it comes to grocery shopping. 

The company launched its online grocery sales and pickup service at its two Bowling Green stores on Wednesday.

Consumers can select their items online, drive to the store, and have personal shoppers load their groceries without ever leaving their vehicle.  

Andrew Myers is the assistant manager of e-commerce at Wal-Mart's Morgantown Road location.  He says the pickup service is a sign of the times as more shoppers seek convenience.

An event this week in Bowling Green is aimed at giving past criminals a second chance while filling a few thousand job vacancies in the region. 

An expungement fair will be held Wednesday to help prospective workers with a criminal past wipe the slate clean.  The state legislature passed a bill last year allowing Kentuckians convicted of certain felonies, often drug offenses, to have their records expunged. 

Robert Boone heads the South Central Workforce Development Board and says a September screening event yielded 28 people considered work-ready.

Creative Commons

The superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools says the pension proposal unveiled by Kentucky’s Republican leaders is "second-rate" compared to the current retirement system. 

Dr. Nick Brake applauds GOP leaders for not raising the retirement age to 65 for teachers, but fears that other reforms, if enacted, would make it harder for the state to attract quality educators.

Two Campbellsville residents have been arrested for obtaining and distributing prescription drugs under false pretenses.  Investigators say the pair illegally distributed more than a thousand Suboxone tablets. 

Steve Davis, Inspector General for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, says Suboxone is used to wean addicts off of opiates, but it still has addictive qualities.

"It is itself an opiate, but it's a partial antagonist, which means it doesn't have the full effect that a full-fledged opiate would have," Davis told WKU Public Radio.  "One of the primary differences is that it doesn't cause respiratory distress when it's over-utilized."

An assistant men’s basketball coach at Western Kentucky University has resigned after being arrested over the weekend for driving under the influence of alcohol. 

Officers with the Bowling Green Police Department responded to a collision in a restaurant parking lot that involved Ben Hansbrough and another driver.  According to the arrest citation, the driver of the other vehicle, as well as the arresting officer said they could smell alcohol on Hansbrough’s breath.

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