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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Attorney General Andy Beshear says part of the solution to Kentucky’s drug epidemic begins at home. 

Beshear announced a new program Tuesday that will help get unused pain killers out of home medicine cabinets, a place where family or friends often begin their drug abuse. 

The AG’s office has launched the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program which uses the drug deactivation pouch Deterra.  Kentuckians will be able to place their unused medication into the pouch, fill it with warm water, wait 30 seconds, seal the pouch, and shake the pouch before disposing of it in normal trash. One pouch destroys 45 pills, six ounces of liquid or six patches.

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Emergency management agencies throughout Kentucky are used to being storm ready--but now they’re eclipse ready. 

First responders have spent the past several months preparing for potential threats that come with large events.  Melissa Moore, with the Warren County Emergency Management Agency, says they’ve been trying to anticipate problems before they happen.

“We’re pre-staging all of our fire apparatus. We’ve talked to the police department, the sheriff’s department. They’re going to be pre-staging people in order to reduce response times. The ambulance service is doing the same thing.”

Flickr/Creative Commons/Minnesota DOT

As someone who spent most of her career in international business, Joann Bundock has seen some amazing sights all over the world, but she’s headed home to her native Kentucky to see something else pretty spectacular-the first total solar eclipse to travel the width of North America in 99 years.

“My husband woke me up one morning and said ‘We’re going to Kentucky. There’s going to be a total eclipse of the sun and it’s going right over your family’s farm in Kentucky,'" Bundock told WKU Public Radio.  "This has been on his bucket list forever.”

The couple from Toronto, Canada will be among the sea of humanity rolling into western and southern Kentucky this weekend.  NASA estimates that as many as half-a-million people will converge on the region.

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The U.S. is preparing to experience this summer’s blockbuster show-the first coast to coast total solar eclipse in 99 years. 

While solar eclipses aren’t uncommon, this one is significant. Not only is it a total solar eclipse, meaning the moon will completely blot out the sun, it will also be visible in portions of 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina. 

It’s been 38 years since a total eclipse was visible from the continental United States - and even then it was visible only in the northwestern U.S. & Canada.  Many eclipses are only visible from remote parts of the globe.


Lisa Autry

Every first Saturday in May, Kentucky is home to the most exciting two minutes in sports.  On August 21, the state will be home to the most exciting two minutes in astronomy…two minutes and 40 seconds to be exact. 

Hopkinsville, Kentucky will be the epicenter of the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the United States in 99 years.  For a town of just over 30,000 people, it’s a really big deal.

Dubbed "Eclipseville,” at least 50,000 visitors from around the globe are expected to descend on Hopkinsville.  Local parks will become campsites.  The National Guard will mobilize for crowd control.  Schools will close.

Jonell Edwards has lived in Hopkinsville since 1953 and has never seen her hometown this excited about anything.

"People from overseas are coming. I think everything is going to be crowded," stated Edwards.  "It’s only going to last a few minutes, but everybody’s coming to see it.”

Lisa Autry

The Bowling Green City Commission has voted to pursue legal action related to the once-troubled downtown parking garage wrap. 

The city hired a northern Kentucky law firm last month to investigate potential civil claims over the construction and operation of the property formerly known as Hitcents Park Plaza. 

Slim Nash was the only commissioner to vote against pursuing lawsuits.  He says the city has already spent more than $100,000 for investigations that resulted in no charges.

Lisa Autry

Kentuckians wanting to fly on a plane, enter federal buildings, or visit military posts will need a new driver’s license or identification card in the near future. 

Unlike most states, the commonwealth is out of compliance with the Real ID Act, a federal law that was passed in 2005 following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 

The law requires new cards with added security features, and a new process for how the cards are issued. 

Administrative Office of the Courts

A circuit judge from Somerset wants to join Kentucky's highest court.  Judge David Tapp announced Thursday that he will campaign for the state Supreme Court in 2018. 

Judge Tapp has been a circuit court judge for the past 14 years, presiding over cases in Pulaski, Rockcastle, and Lincoln counties.

He served as a law enforcement officer, private attorney, and prosecutor before joining the bench. 

"I've focused on quite a few years on some of the issues facing my immediate community, but frankly those challenges exist throughout Kentucky," Tapp told WKU Public Radio.  "We have tremendous challenges involving substance abuse, under-employment, and a number of other issues which play out in the courts."

WFPL

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky says he’s working with President Trump to offer relief to millions of Americans needing affordable health insurance coverage.  

In an interview with WKU Public Radio Tuesday, Paul said the president is considering executive action on health care reform. 

With discussions on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act now stalled, Paul says he’s trying to push his idea of association health plans, which would allow Americans to join large groups across state lines for less expensive health insurance.

WKU Police Department

Three finalists have been named in the search for Western Kentucky University’s next police chief.  Each of the candidates will interview in private before the search committee and speak in open forums next week. 

The finalists include Jim Hyde who retired as the assistant chief of the Bowling Green Police Department in 2016.  Another finalist is Mitch Walker who has been with the WKU Police Department since 2012 and has served as interim chief for the past year.  The third finalist is Tom Saccenti who is currently the police chief at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.

NASA

A total solar eclipse will race across the U.S. this month from Oregon to South Carolina, offering a once-in-a-lifetime celestial show. 

On Aug. 21, the moon will pass in front of the sun, casting its shadow across all of North America.  All of Kentucky will see a partial eclipse, but many places in the commonwealth will experience a total eclipse. 

With two minutes and 40 seconds of totality, Hopkinsville is considered the best viewing location in the world, but an astronomy professor at Western Kentucky University says other cities in Kentucky are attractive viewing spots, as well.  Dr. Richard Gelderman says, for example, Franklin will have totality for two minutes and 25 seconds.

Clinton Lewis

The 10th president of Western Kentucky University, Dr. Timothy Caboni, is officially at the helm.  Caboni was sworn in Friday by Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton, Jr. during the quarterly meeting of the Board of Regents.

“Very few occasions are this special,” President Caboni said afterwards.  “I look forward to continuing the remarkable trajectory WKU is on as we go forward and working with all of our stakeholders.”

The oath of office was also administered to new Regent George Nichols III of Potomac, Maryland.  He was appointed to the Board by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin earlier this month.

Lisa Autry

As the U.S. Senate this week voted to hold debate over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear accused some Republican politicians of “religious hypocrisy.”

Beshear said some lawmakers have turned their backs on people who need health care. The former Democratic governor said it’s unfortunate that elected leaders take advantage of religion and use it as a political tool.

"When a politician running for office talks in religious terms people believe them and think that's a good person, and vote for them.  The problem is that a lot of these guys and gals preach like the prophets when they're running and govern like Pontius Pilate when they're serving," Beshear told WKU Public Radio. "What kind of Christian principles is it when you want to throw 22 million people off health care coverage? There may be problems with the Affordable Care Act, and we need to fix them, but the answer isn't to turn millions of people out of the health care they desperately need."

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A group of Kentuckians tasked with setting up a framework for charter schools to operate is officially down to work. 

The Charter Schools Advisory Council held its first meeting on Monday and began developing regulations on how to implement the alternative public schools.  One of the members is Dr. Gary Houchens, a professor at Western Kentucky University. 

"It's a lot of stringent oversight of the process, and I think both charter applicants and authorizers will be happy with the structures that we're putting into place," Houchens told WKU Public Radio.

A federal judge in Kentucky has denied an Iraqi native’s bid to vacate his life sentence on terrorism-related crimes. 

Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and a co-defendant were arrested in 2012 while living in Bowling Green. 

Hammadi argued that his court-appointed attorney James Earhart assured him he would get a lesser sentence if he pleaded guilty.   The 29-year-old Hammadi also contended that he didn’t know a life sentence was possible as a result of his plea, or else he would not have pleaded guilty. 

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