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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Teachers across Kentucky are giving mixed reviews on a new plan to reform the state’s retirement systems for public sector workers. 

One Warren County teacher credits lawmakers for making compromises, but says the legislation still balances pension reform on the backs of public servants. 

Kim Coomer teaches high school students at the Warren County Area Technology Center.  She praises lawmakers for not forcing current teachers into defined contribution, or 401(k)-style plans.  Coomer says having a guaranteed benefit is important for teachers because they don’t get social security benefits to act as a buffer in retirement.

Warren County Regional Jail

The neighbor charged with attacking U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky will make his first appearance in federal court next month. 

Court documents show Rene Boucher will have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green on March 9.  The 59-year-old Boucher has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of assaulting a member of Congress. 

In a plea deal signed by the retired anesthesiologist, he admitted the attack in November was prompted by an ongoing dispute over yard maintenance.  Senator Paul suffered broken ribs and contracted pneumonia as a result of the injuries. 

Law enforcement agencies in Kentucky say their resources are being strained by a rash of threats against schools following last week’s shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.

Extra security is being added at many schools across the commonwealth where students have threatened violence, most often on social media. 

The Logan County Sheriff's Office posted this warning on its Facebook page Tuesday night:

Sedgwick County Detention Center

The man arrested for a triple homicide in Allen County on Monday had a history of run-ins with the law. 

Edward Dilon Siddens is charged with three counts of murder, theft of an automobile, and violation of an emergency protective order. 

The bodies of his grandparents and an uncle were discovered just outside their home near Barren River Lake Monday morning. 

Seventy-three-year-old Jimmy Siddens, 72-year-old Helen Siddens, and their 41-year-old son Jimmy Siddens II had sustained gunshot wounds.

A 15-year-old male student from Barren County is under arrest after threatening violence on social media. 

A student at Glasgow High School told administrators Friday morning about the online post which showed a fellow student holding a gun and knife.  The photo accompanied what police called troubling and disturbing threats.  Glasgow Police Lt. Jimmy Phelps says the threats, however, weren't specific.

"The threats that were made did not mention a person or a location where these treats would be carried out," Phelps told WKU Public Radio.  "It did not name a school and it did not name anyone."

Lisa Autry

City leaders in Glasgow have signed off on a syringe exchange for intravenous drug users.  The program would allow addicts to swap dirty needles for clean ones at the local health department. 

The measure narrowly passed Monday evening on a 5-4 vote.  Two council members were absent and another abstained from voting.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The Kentucky Democratic Party says pension reform shouldn’t come from a demand letter by wealthy Republican activists. 

The Lexington Herald-Leader first reported that in the letter to members of the General Assembly, the state GOP chairman said any pension changes must include moving future teachers and state workers from a defined benefits system to a defined contribution plan.  The letter was also signed by national anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and Bill Samuels, Jr., chairman emeritus of Makers Mark, among others. 

Traci Peppers Facebook

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has appointed Glasgow Attorney Traci Peppers as the interim family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties.  The vacancy was created when Judge Mitchell Nance resigned over his refusal to hear adoption cases involving gay couples. 

Peppers is a private practice attorney who specializes in family law cases. She formerly served as assistant prosecutor in the Barren and Metcalfe Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.

“It is an honor to serve the children and families in our community, and I promise to work hard for the community that I love," Peppers said in a statement from the governor's office.

Fred Gott Facebook

A day before he was scheduled to go on trial, a former Bowling Green physician has admitted to illegally prescribing pain killers.

Fred Gott will avoid what was expected to be a month-long trial in federal court.  The 66-year-old former heart doctor pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green. 

Gott was charged in a federal indictment that alleged health care fraud and unlawful distribution of controlled substances.

According to prosecutors, Gott transitioned his practice from cardiology to pain management, which he wasn’t qualified to do. He was charged with prescribing controlled substances, including Fentanyl and Methadone, without a legitimate medical purpose between 2006 and 2013.

Nicole Erwin, WKMS

A week after the Marshall County High School shooting, media outlets are grappling with the question of whether to identity the juvenile suspect. 

Kentucky’s largest newspaper released the 15-year-old’s name in a story earlier this week. 

Amanda Crawford teaches media ethics at Western Kentucky University.  She says while the teen’s identity has been widely disseminated online, journalists are held to a higher standard for publicizing such information.

Lisa Autry

Most of us this time of year take for granted a warm home or hot meal, but sometimes the most basic necessities are out of reach for some.  Winter can be a dangerous time for the homeless, when frostbite can take hold in minutes amid numbing wind chills. 

When cold temperatures become a matter of life and death, homeless shelters fill up quickly, but some area churches in Bowling Green are filling the gap.

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 1:40 p.m.:  According to the Kentucky Secretary of State's website, Republican Todd Alcott has withdrawn from the race.

Tuesday is the deadline for candidates seeking office this year in Kentucky to officially file to run, and there’s no shortage of candidates seeking the seat of long-time State Representative Jody Richards of Warren County.

The eight-person race for Richards’ seat in the Kentucky House features five Democrats and three Republicans.  Bowling Green City Commissioner Brian “Slim” Nash filed his candidacy papers Tuesday to seek the Democratic nomination for the 20th District House seat.  He joins fellow Democrats Rick DuBose, a retired Assistant VP for Alumni Relations at Western Kentucky University, former Bowling Green Mayor Eldon Renaud, WKU history professor Patti Minter, and attorney Ashley Porter. 

Bowling Green-Warren County Community Education

Community Education programs in Kentucky are in a bit of a panic as state lawmakers work to hammer out a new state budget.  Governor Matt Bevin’s budget proposal strips funding for all 95 community education programs in the commonwealth. 

If funding were eliminated, perhaps the greatest impact would be felt in the local non-profits' before and after school program for elementary children.  Many working parents depend on the service that sends Community Education employees into schools to provide childcare outside of normal school hours. 

Nicole Erwin, WKMS

A criminologist in Kentucky says it’s hard to know if the suspected teen shooter at Marshall County High School fits the profile of a typical mass murderer. 

The identity of the 15-year-old gunman still hasn’t been released two days after he allegedly killed two students and injured 18 others.  Dr. Daniel Phillips teaches sociology and criminal justice at Campbellsville University. 

"Being young like 15 to 25, being male, that's the profile of a lot of people who do violence throughout our country," Phillips told WKU Public Radio.  'Do I think there's a way you could go into a school and pick out a person who might do this? Probably not.'"

Lisa Autry

Kentucky Congressman James Comer says he thinks the Senate needs to use the nuclear option in order to approve a long-term spending bill.

Following a speech to members of the Barren River Area Development District on Wednesday, the Tompkinsville Republican said he has spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Louisville about changing the rules in his chamber that would allow an appropriations bill to pass with a majority of votes.

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