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
1:39 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Effort Underway to Expand Alcohol Sales at WKU

A student governing body at WKU is working to amend the university's alcohol policy.

The Student Government Association and its executive committee have approved a resolution to expand alcohol sales to on-campus restaurants and at some catered events.  William Berry is an SGA senator-at-large.  He co-authored the resolution and argues more than half of the student population at WKU is of legal drinking age. 

Berry says it’s also a safety issue because students drink off campus and return to their dorms intoxicated.

"I surveyed a pool of around 200 students, and the research I found was that 74% of students have themselves or know of someone who has driven home while under the influence of alcohol," Berry explained.

WKU already allows alcohol sales at sporting events and during tailgating. 

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Politics
2:41 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Paul Asks Congress to Declare War on ISIS

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY
Credit Abbey Oldham

Kentucky Republican Rand Paul introduced a resolution Wednesday in the U.S. Senate declaring war against the Islamic State. 

Paul said he believes the president should have come to Congress before authorizing military action against the terrorist group.

"Our founding fathers wanted to make it difficult to go to war," explained Paul.  "They wanted to have the authority of Congress, you had to have some consensus from the public at large before going to war, and they didn't give the power unilaterally to the president.  The president for the last four or five months has been acting illegally and unconstitutionally."

The U.S. began air strikes in Iraq and Syria a few months ago.  Senator Paul argues the current war must be made valid or be ended. 

The Bowling Green Republican says he does support a military campaign against ISIS, claiming the American embassy and consulate are threatened.

Business
4:08 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Lieutenant Governor Certifies Two 'Build-Ready' Sites in Warren County

Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen (center) helps cut the ribbon on two Build-Ready sites in the Kentucky Transpark in Warren County.
Credit Lisa Autry

Kentucky’s newly-appointed lieutenant governor was in Warren County Tuesday to certify two locations in the Kentucky Transpark as Build-Ready sites. 

Crit Luallen said the designation means Warren County has an extra advantage in the competitive hunt for new jobs.

"The whole concept is to give site selectors who are looking for a place to invest and create jobs a ready-to-go location, one for which the preparation work has already been completed, the legal and zoning obstacles have been removed, and the red tape has already been cut," Luallen explained.

Governor Beshear announced the state’s first Build-Ready site last month in Henderson. 

While in Bowling Green, Luallen praised Warren County for having the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 4.8%, according to the latest figures.

Politics
12:28 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Still Mum on Presidential Run, Rand Paul Announces U.S. Senate Re-election Bid

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY

With no fanfare, Rand Paul announced Tuesday he’s running for a second term in the U.S. Senate in 2016. 

The Bowling Green Republican made no public announcement, but in a phone interview, he said he had some unfinished business in the Senate.

"I'm excited that Republicans taking over the Senate gives us a chance to do some of the things I campaigned on and that includes trying to address the massive debt that confronts our nation," Paul stated.

Senator Paul is widely expected to seek the GOP nomination for president in 2016, as well.  An announcement is planned for March or April. 

Senior adviser Doug Stafford said the low profile Senate announcement doesn’t mean Paul is more serious about a presidential run.

"We felt the senator's record and what he wants to accomplish speak for itself," commented Stafford.  "Here's hear in Washington today, doing the job the people of Kentucky sent him to do.  He's happy and proud to seek re-election for that job."

Kentucky law prohibits a candidate from running for two offices simultaneously, but Paul’s advisers say they have “multiple avenues” to get around the law, including a court challenge or turning the state’s presidential primary into a caucus.

Agriculture
3:23 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Kentucky Seeking Hemp Growers for 2015

WKU Assistant Gardener Jenny Comer assists agriculture student Corinn Sprigler with cutting down hemp plants on the WKU farm.
Credit Lisa Autry

The application window is now open for Kentucky farmers and processors who want to grow hemp for research in 2015. 

Several Kentucky universities, including WKU, grew hemp this year for the first time in decades.  The application deadline for the next round  is January 1.

The first round of pilot projects yielded a lot of data about production methods, seed varieties, and processing techniques. 

"This past year we were as far west as Murray and as far east as Bath County.  We'd like to see that continuation or even expansion on either end," said Adam Watson, Industrial Hemp Program Coordinator in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.  "Definitely, we have different growing environments in Kentucky."

Applications are available on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's website at www.kyagr.com/hemp.  Applicants who are selected will undergo background checks and site visits.

Regional
2:05 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Grayson County Authorities Search for Missing Juvenile

James Evert Vincent
Credit Leitchfield Police Department

Leitchfield Police are searching for a teenager who has been missing for a week.  Detective Kevin Smith says 17-year-old James Evert Vincent was last seen by his guardian when he was dropped off at Grayson County High School on the morning of November 25th.

"We don't know for sure if he's still inside the county, but every piece of information we get, we're following up on it," Smith told WKU Public Radio.

Vincent is white, about five-feet-six and 130 pounds.  He has brown hair and blue eyes and was wearing a partial beard when last seen.  Vincent also has a tattoo on his left arm of a Chevrolet emblem with his name inside. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Leitchfield Police Department at (270) 259-3850.

Regional
9:28 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Bowling Green Recognized by National Geographic

Credit National Geographic

National Geographic recently named Bowling Green a Top 10 All-American City in its new book “World’s Best Cities: Celebrating 220 Destinations.” 

Bowling Green was picked because it’s home to the Corvette. Telia Butler with the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau says the designation gives the city more international acclaim.

"National Geographic is such a major news outlet.  People all over the world look to National Geographic for information on places to go visit, usually exotic or unique places.  This will put Bowling Green on the map for people who may not have considered coming here before."

Louisville was the only other Kentucky city featured in the publication.  Louisville was named a Top to Food city because of the Brown Hotel, home to the famous Hot Brown.

Regional
10:33 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Hardin County Woman Chosen to Help Decorate the White House for Christmas

Kate Bateman of Radcliff will join an all-volunteer pool of Americans who will decorate the White House for Christmas.
Credit Kate Bateman

Never mind that it's not even Thanksgiving yet, Kate Bateman has Christmas music playing inside her Radcliff, Kentucky home.  When you visit, you'll find she's obsessed with Christmas.

"Bad enough that I put up five trees.  I have Santas in a showcase that stay out all year long.  I have a six-foot tall Santa in the foyer and he's out all year long," explained Bateman.  "It's kind of an overkill I guess, but I love Christmas."

The retired Hardin County Schools art teacher will soon combine her passion and talent to help America’s First Home sparkle for the holidays.  Bateman is part of an all-volunteer group of people from all over the country selected to help decorate the White House for Christmas.  She first learned about the opportunity while watching a special on HGTV. 

"I thought to myself 'Man, I'd love to do that!' but it wasn't a good time for me," she said.  "I was still teaching and I said 'I'm going put that on my list for when I retire."'

Fast forward a few years to the end of last month when Bateman learned the application she submitted over the summer had been accepted.  She leaves for Washington on Thanksgiving Day.  The opportunity puts a crimp in her traditional Thanksgiving plans, but she doesn’t mind.

"My youngest daughter had already said she wanted to host Thanksgiving at her house this year and I was all for that," stated Bateman.  "I'm making the pies the day before.  Their dad will take the pies over, and I'm on a plane.  And I'm so okay with that!"

Bateman will join a group of about 100 volunteers ranging from florists to lawyers who will put their mark on the 132-room White House.  She doesn’t have her assignment yet, but the suspense, she says, is part of the fun.

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Health
5:00 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Kentucky Scores Passing Grade in March of Dimes Report Card

Credit FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A new report shows Kentucky continues to make strides in reducing the number of babies born premature. 

Just over 12 percent of babies in the state last year were born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, which was an improvement for the 7th year in a row.  The commonwealth received a 'C' on the latest March of Dime Report Card.

"Not many years ago, we had an 'F,' so we have improved significantly, said Katrina Smith with the Kentucky March of Dimes Chapter.

Smith credits the improvement to better education by health departments, hospitals, and other health care providers.  Still, reducing premature births is still a challenge in Kentucky.  Smith told WKU Public Radio too many women smoke while pregnant.

"The CDC has identified smoking in pregnancy as one of the main things to avoid to prevent a preterm birth," explained Smith.  "We do have significantly higher rates of pregnant women who smoke in Kentucky, and that's one of the things we're working on."

Babies who survive an early birth can face a lifetime of health challenges.  Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants.

Arts & Culture
1:52 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

SKyPac Announces Campaign to Seize on Holiday Giving

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center opened in Bowling Green in in 2012.

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center is joining a national charitable giving movement known as #Giving Tuesday.  The campaign capitalizes on the spirit of generosity during the holiday season. 

An anonymous donor is pledging to match up to $50,000 during the campaign for a total of $100,000.  Executive Director Jan Allan Zarr says the donations will be used to fund SKyPAC’s performances, galleries, and educational programs.

"Once of the things people don't understand is that SKyPac is a non-profit organization," Zarr told WKU Public Radio.  "We're not making profits on everything we produce, whether it's a show or the children's educational programs.  We rely a lot on those contributed funds that come in to help us."

When asked if SKyPAC is in financial trouble, Zarr said 'no', but acknowledged what he called bumps in the road, including the recent loss of Kentucky Stages.  Zarr said he hopes the loss in revenue can be made up through the #GivingTuesday campaign while SKyPAC looks for another resident company.

SKyPAC's #Giving Tuesday campaign begins December 2 and runs through New Year’s Eve.

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