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
9:44 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Three Indicted for Abuse, Neglect at Somerset Home for Mentally Disabled

Three former workers at a Somerset facility for disabled adults have been indicted on charges of abuse and neglect. 

According to the Kentucky Attorney General's Office, a Pulaski County grand jury returned indictments against 22-year-old Coty King of Pine Knot, 21-year-old Cody Burton, and 22-year-old Timothy Ball of Pine Knot.  All three were employees of Oakwood Manor.

Both King and Burton were first arrested in September.  Investigators say King allegedly enticed two residents to hit each other while videotaping the fight on his cell phone.   Burton is accused of participating in the incident and failing to report it.  Further review of video recovered from the phone led to Ball's arrest for his alleged involvement in another incident staged by King. 

Oakwood offers care for people with mental and developmental disabilities. It almost closed after a string of citations in 2005 and 2006, but new management took over in 2007 and allegations of abuse and neglect have been rare in recent years.

Regional
4:13 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Search Resumes on Barren River for Missing Man

A man went missing Sunday near these rapids under the Old Louisville Road Bridge in Warren County.
Credit Lisa Autry

The search continues on Barren River in Warren County for a missing swimmer. 

Several witnesses said a white male with dark hair and a beard yelled for help before being pulled under the water near some rapids Sunday afternoon. 

Spokeswoman Deborah Williams with the Warren County Rescue Department says the stormy weather Sunday night suspended rescue efforts.

"It's bad enough to be on the water in rainy conditions, but when you add lightening to the mix, it's really dangerous for our teams to be out there, and then when you get tornado warnings, you've got another issue," explained Williams.

Searchers from the Warren County Rescue Department were back on the water Monday and being assisted by crews from Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.  Twenty-four hours after the man went under, Williams says the search will likely become a recovery. 

Regional
5:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Warren County Students Will 'Jump' Their Way Through New York City

Left to right: Sarah Armstrong, Rachel Yarano, Kaelin Odil, Coach Vickie Odil, Mia Odil, and Jenna Baldwin of the Jumpin' Jaguars
Credit Lisa Autry

On a Tuesday after school, the gym at Natcher Elementary in Warren County hosts a team in training.  The Jumpin’ Jaguars are bound for the Big Apple. 

This competitive jump roping team will perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. They are coached by Vickie Odil, who has two children on the team.

Two hundred other jumpers from across the nation will add to the pageantry of the parade with their synchronized jumps and turns.   Odil says only five students, all from Warren County, were chosen to represent the Commonwealth.

"The coaches had to submit their names, each child had to be 12 years and older, they had to be at a certain skill level, they had to have competed nationally," explains Odil.  They had to be able to do the routine that they're doing which looks pretty easy, but when you try it, it's pretty hard, especially when you're doing it with others and staying right on task."

The local jumpers are Mia Odil from Drakes Creek Middle School, Rachel Yarano from South Warren Middle School, and Jenna Baldwin, Kaelin Odil, and Sarah Armstrong, all from Greenwood High School.

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Business
5:00 am
Sun November 17, 2013

Kentucky-Built Corvette Considered the Best

'14 Corvette Stingray
Credit General Motors

A national publication has named the 2014 Corvette Stingray as Automobile of the Year.  In an announcement Saturday in Michigan, the car was recognized for its “newfound sophistication and heart-pounding performance.” 

The Stingray, produced at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, is the first new version of the iconic sports car in nine years. 

Jean Jennings is President and Editor-in-Chief of Automobile Magazine.  She told WKU Public Radio that given General Motors’ near collapse, the car is a “stunning achievement.”

“In the darkest times, the engineers and designers never let off the gas, never let a detail slide by as good enough," remarked Jennings.

Another GM vehicle, the Cadillac CTS, came in second place among contenders for Automobile of the Year.

Education
2:22 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Founding President of KCTCS Announces Retirement

Dr. Michael McCall
Credit KCTCS

After 16 years at the helm, Dr. Michael McCall says he will retire in January 2015 as president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.  

“I have been privileged to work with a dedicated Board, outstanding cabinet, committed college presidents along with extraordinary faculty and staff,” McCall said. “Together we have built a comprehensive two-year college system that is the envy of the nation. I am extremely proud of the work we have accomplished to enhance the educational attainment in the state.

The Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997 created KCTCS by joining the 14 community colleges of the University of Kentucky with the 15 technical schools in the Kentucky Workforce Development Cabinet. 

McCall’s first challenge was to consolidate the 29 separate schools into 16 comprehensive community and technical colleges. 

“Dr. McCall’s achievements as president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System are only outweighed by his commitment to improving the quality and access to education for all Kentuckians—despite their age, economic status or geographic location,” said Governor Beshear.

Under his leadership, KCTCS has become the place where higher education begins for many Kentuckians.  A press release from the system says nearly half of the state’s postsecondary education students are enrolled in a KCTCS school.

Dr. McCall will stay on as president of KCTCS until a successor is found.

Environment
2:39 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

TVA Decides Coal-Fired Power Plant in Western Kentucky Will Stay Open

Paradise Fossil Plant is located in western Kentucky on the Green River near the village of Paradise.
Credit Tennessee Valley Authority

The Tennessee Valley Authority has decided not to close a coal-fired power plant in western Kentucky.  The nation’s largest utility was facing congressional pressure to keep open the Paradise Fossil Plant.

In a vote Thusday, the TVA's Board of Directors decided that one of the three units at the plant in Drakesboro will continue burning coal, while the other units will be converted to natural gas. 

“It’s unnecessary and tragic that the Obama administration’s actions have forced utilities to discontinue coal operations at any of these units,” U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a statement.  “I fought hard to prevent these changes and fortunately one of the units will continue to burn coal, saving hundreds of jobs."

In his statement, McConnell also vowed to continue fighting what he called the Obama administration’s anti-coal agenda that threatens the livelihood of Kentuckians.

In a meeting last month with McConnell, TVA President Bill Johnson said several factors, including the current regulatory environment, forced the utility to review the future of the Paradise Fossil Plant.  McConnell responded that Muhlenberg County couldn’t take anymore hits, given the upcoming retirement of Kentucky Utilities’ Green River plant in 2016. 

Business
5:00 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Beshear Cuts Ribbon on Bowling Green Plastics Plant

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear presented a gift to Alpla, Inc. CEO Guenther Lehner.
Credit Lisa Autry

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear was in Bowling Green Monday to celebrate the opening of a manufacturing plant.

Austrian-based Alpla began operations in mid-August at its facility in the Kentucky Transpark.  The company invested $22.4 million in the plant and created 72 full-time jobs.

Governor Beshear helped cut the ribbon on the new factory which makes plastic packaging for beverages, cosmetics, and household items.

"Among their customers is Sun Products right here in Bowling Green," explained Beshear.  "You might not know the Aalpla name, but I guarantee you have held in your hand an Alpla-packaged product."

Alpla's Bowling Green plant brings the number of foreign-owned companies in Kentucky to 412.

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Education
9:59 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Deadline Approaching for Kentucky's Adult Learners

Some 15,000 Kentuckians have an important deadline approaching.  December 18th will be the last day to take the current version of the GED test.  People who have passed part, but not all of the high school equivalency exam must complete all portions of it before a new test is rolled out in January and their previous scores are wiped out. 

Reecie Stagnolia is Vice President of Adult Education at the Council on Postsecondary Education.  He says this will be the last chance to take the test using pencil and paper.

“As we look at the age demographics of the population who take the test, we think most individuals use technology in some form or fashion in their daily lives, and those skills will be adaptable to where they will be prepared to take the test using a computer," remarks Stagnolia.

This will be the first upgrade to the GED test since 2002.  The new version will allow test-takers to get their scores the same day, but the cost will double from $60 to $120.   

Regional
4:39 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Military Official: Kentucky Army Posts Will See Another Round of BRAC

Col. David Thompson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs
Credit kcma.ky.gov

As operations in Iraq and Afghanistan come to a conclusion, a top military official in Kentucky says Fort Knox and Fort Campbell, like military installations around the country, might see changes in coming years.  In a speech Wednesday to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club, Colonel David Thompson said BRAC is coming again to military installations nationwide.

“It’s gonna come with a vengeance in my view," predicted Thompson.  "As we come out of this war effort, the infrastructure that we have out there is clearly unsupportable.  From a business perspective, you can’t have more structure than you have force.  At some point, the math is not going to work.”

In 2005, the military’s Base Realignment and Closure moved an influx of soldiers to Fort Knox and spurred massive growth in the region.  Thompson, who heads the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs, expects another round of BRAC changes by 2017.  Recently, Fort Knox learned the post would lose its only combat brigade, which Thompson called a harbinger of things to come. 

Col. Thompson believes Fort Knox and Fort Campbell are both well positioned in the event of another BRAC.  However, he said Kentucky needs to work to increase the value of its two installations before then.

Health
4:40 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Kentucky Official: Thousands Losing Current Health Insurance Plans Will Get Better Deal

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes

About 280,000 Kentuckians will have to trade in their current health insurance policies in the months ahead and enroll in other plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act.  One Kentucky official is confident those affected will get a better deal. 

Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes oversees the commonwealth’s online health exchange.  She tells WKU Public Radio that those who don’t get to keep their current insurance plans will get better coverage under the federal health care law.

"There are a lot of plans out there that people claim they love and enjoy, but I assure you, the plans they can receive now are better," claims Haynes.  "They're richer benefits and plans."

Haynes says some current insurance policies don’t meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act, which grants coverage for pre-existing conditions and expands coverage to a wide range of preventive care services. 

Asked about the Obama administration’s earlier claim that people could keep their current insurance, Haynes says that’s still the case for about 96 percent of Kentuckians.

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