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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Lisa Autry

A public school teacher in Warren County has launched a bid to unseat Kentucky State Senator Mike Wilson.  

Jeanie Smith is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 32rd district that covers all of Warren County.  At her campaign announcement Monday outside Cherry Hall at Western Kentucky University, Smith said the state must invest in working families. 

"Kentucky families are working hard and playing by the rules, yet the deck is stacked against us," said Smith.  "We deserve to live in a state where hard work is compensated with fair wages, and it's time that the wealthiest Kentuckians start paying their fair share."

Smith told WKU Public Radio that she thinks the current tax structure is unfair and wants to be part of the conversation when lawmakers address tax reform.

The Fairness Campaign

The largest city in Kentucky without a fairness ordinance will host its first pride festival later this month. 

The October 21 event in Bowling Green will feature music, performances, and vendors, as well as a rally at city hall.  The day will conclude with a pride crawl in the evening that will feature drink specials, live music, and drag performances at participating venues. 

Chris Hartman heads the Fairness Campaign based in Louisville and says he commends local organizers for holding the inaugural event.

Kentucky's attorney general is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down an Ohio law that he thinks suppresses the vote.  Andy Beshear’s action is aimed at preventing a similar law in the commonwealth.

Under the Ohio law, citizens are removed from the voter rolls if they fail to cast a ballot during any two-year period.  Supporters say the move improves the accuracy of voter rolls. 

Given there are no Kentucky elections this year, Beshear says a similar law could disenfranchise every Kentuckian who failed to vote in 2016 by barring them from casting ballots in 2018.  He says certain voters would be disproportionately excluded, such as minorities, low-income, and disabled voters. 

The president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says opioid abuse is taking a toll on the state’s economic growth and development. 

David Adkisson says many people looking for work can’t pass a drug test, and many of those who do have jobs are leaving the workforce because of untreated or under-treated addictions.  That has contributed to a low workforce participation rate, according to Adkisson.

"If we were simply at the national average, there would be 165,000 more workers in the Kentucky economy than there are today," stated Adkisson.  "Opioid addiction is one of the contributing factors to that, but it's a significant factor."

Kentucky’s Republican U.S. Senators are on opposite sides in the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

The bill by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy would give block grants to states to create their own health care systems.  The funding would replace Obamacare's tax credits and Medicaid expansion.  The measure would also repeal the individual and employer mandates. 

Speaking on the Senate floor, Kentucky Senator and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the legislation for taking more decision-making power out of Washington.

Lisa Autry

A new ambulatory surgery center is coming to Bowling Green.  Tristar Greenview in partnership with Graves-Gilbert Clinic broke ground Wednesday on a new facility off Lovers Lane. 

Dr. Kamal Singh practices general medicine and says the facility will include three operating suites and areas for other procedures.

"We will be at par with all of the other metropolitan areas as far as the sophistication of the equipment and the quality of care," Singh told WKU Public Radio.  "Rather than going through the bureaucracy of a hospital, it will be more like a doctor's office experience."

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The research and support staff arm of the Kentucky General Assembly is bouncing back from a difficult era. 

The National Conference of State Legislatures has released a satisfaction survey among employees at the Legislative Research Commission in Frankfort.  The agency improved in nearly every category since a 2014 audit when at the height of a sexual harassment investigation involving a state lawmaker and female LRC staffers.

The number of Kentuckians who plan to retire from state and local government this month is up nearly 38 percent from September of last year.  Some state legislators and advocates for public workers fear many of them made their decisions prematurely.

Data released Thursday by the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees shows that about 750 public employees will retire this month. The average number of September retirements over the past four years was around 550.

Lisa Autry

Some Kentucky lawmakers say drastic recommendations issued to pay down the state’s pension debt have no legislative support. 

Legislators from south central Kentucky addressed a packed room last night of public workers and retirees in Bowling Green concerned about how pension reforms will change their benefits.  Among them was Terry Eidson who retired from state government in 2006.

"Employees and retirees are feeling a little devalued and demeaned in all this, and it just doesn't sit well," Eidson told WKU Public Radio.

Public employees in the Bowling Green region worried about their retirement benefits have a chance to hear from state lawmakers in a town hall. 

Legislators from south central Kentucky will speak in Bowling Green Wednesday evening at a public meeting hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police. 

Governor Matt Bevin has promised to call a special legislative session this fall to rein in the state's pension debt.  Consultants have recommended pay cuts for some retired workers while freezing the benefits of most other public employees. 

City of Bowling Green

A Bowling Green city commissioner charged with DUI will have to wait longer to have his day in court. 

The trial for Slim Nash was postponed after the commonwealth’s key witness didn’t appear at Tuesday's proceedings.

Officer Larry Zuniga with the Bowling Green Police Department, who arrested Nash, was absent from court because he was checking on family in south Florida following the hurricane.

"The judge issued a show cause and Office Zuniga will have to explain to the judge what happened," Special Prosecutor Don Jones told WKU Public Radio.  "I do think we're all understanding of where the officer's heart was, but there was a subpoena issued, so the judge will want him to explain that on the record."

The American Red Cross expects to be in Texas helping residents recover from Hurricane Harvey for several months, and in Florida if Hurricane Irma strikes.

Jennifer Capps heads the South Central Kentucky chapter which will hold an orientation and training session on Monday in Bowling Green.

"The country is being impacted greatly," said Capps.  "We have our seasoned volunteers that have done this for years and gone out on ten, 20 deployments. There is a great interest right now and people want to get involved, and there are lots of ways to do that."

National Corvette Museum

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green knows a thing or two about natural disasters, having experienced a massive sinkhole in 2014.  Now the museum is offering a hand to Florida residents trying to escape Hurricane Irma. 

The museum off I-65 is opening its parking lots for cars, trailers, and RVs.  The offer is extended to anyone, not just Corvette owners. 

Ken Herald and his wife were visiting the museum Thursday.  The couple from Fort Meyers, Florida was headed to Indianapolis to stay with relatives.  While they won’t be camping out at the museum, Herald says he appreciates the gesture.

American Red Cross

A Bowling Green woman has responded to more than two dozen natural disasters but says Hurricane Harvey is the worst she's seen because it’s so widespread. 

Carol Gray is a Red Cross volunteer working near Corpus Christi, Texas.  She’s going to shelters and neighborhoods, providing meals to displaced or stranded residents.  This is her 24th disaster response, and Gray says each experience is different, but the takeaway is the same.

"Always appreciate what you have because it can be gone in the blink of an eye," Gray told WKU Public Radio.

Gray plans to leave Texas this weekend and will likely head to Florida as that state braces for a possible hit from Hurricane Irma. 


Western Kentucky University is reacting to President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend the DACA program which has given undocumented students temporary protection from deportation since 2012. 

In many cases, DACA or Deffered Action on Childhood Arrivals, has given young immigrants known as Dreamers the opportunity to pursue a college education.

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