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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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.

Health
5:00 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Tougher Tobacco Regulations Taking Effect on Kentucky Property

Smoking is already prohibited on most state-owned property in Kentucky, but starting this week, the policy becomes stricter.  Under an executive order by Governor Steve Beshear, all types of tobacco products will be banned. 

The Kentucky chapter of the American  Lung Association believes the policy creates momentum for a comprehensive statewide smoking ban when lawmakers return to Frankfort in January.

"There's public support, a number of health care organizations and businesses support it, and we feel like there is the legislative votes to make it happen," said Director of Advocacy Heather Wehrheim.

Kentucky has one of the highest smoking rates in the country.  Anti-smoking advocates have unsuccessfully pushed a statewide ban on smoking in public places for several years and are hopeful 2015 will be the year the legislation clears the General Assembly.

Tobacco restrictions on state property take effect November 20.

Politics
11:10 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Greer Announces Run for Kentucky House Speaker Pro Tem

Kentucky State Representative Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg
Credit Facebook

A state lawmaker from Brandenburg plans to run for House Speaker Pro Tem when the Kentucky General Assembly convenes in January. 

Representative Jeff Greer is sending out letters Friday to his Democratic colleagues announcing his plans to run for the leadership post. 

Elected in 2007, he represents Meade and portions of Bullitt and Hardin counties.  Greer told WKU Public Radio that joining House leadership would be good for his constituents. 

"Normally, the leadership team gets the last look at the budget before it comes up for a vote," explained Greer.  "You get to negotiate with the Senate on the budget, and that's a huge responsibility."

The pro tem position became vacant this week when Representative Larry Clark of Louisville announced he’s stepping aside from the post he’s held since 1993.

Democrats maintained their 54-46 advantage in the Kentucky House in last week’s election.  Leadership elections will take place on the first day of the 2015 legislative session which is set for January 6.

Regional
12:59 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Bowling Green Widow Asks for Wrongful Death Lawsuit to be Dropped

Brandon Bradshaw who shot in February 2013 when he pulled over his truck following a traffic dispute with then-Warren County court security officer Tommy Brown.

A federal judge has dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from an apparent act of road rage last year in Bowling Green. 

Twenty-seven-year-old Brandon Bradshaw was shot three times in a parking lot on the 31-W Bypass and later died at a hospital. 

Bradshaw’s widow filed the lawsuit against Tommy Brown, who at the time, was an off-duty Warren County court security officer.  Brown claimed he shot Bradshaw in self-defense after the two argued in traffic.  Also named as defendants were law enforcement and medical personnel, accused in the suit of reckless disregard for Bradshaw’s life. 

Heidi Bradshaw’s attorney Gary Logsdon told WKU Public Radio that he voluntarily withdrew the lawsuit at her request.

"I honored that request because these are very difficult cases, difficult not just in the legal sense, but they take a toll on a person who participates, and that's a personal toll," said Logsdon.  "She told me the lawsuit and any funds derived from this would not heal the hole in her heart and the longer we litigated the less she came to peace and closure."

According to Logsdon, there were no settlements in the case. 

U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley dismissed the civil suit Wednesday in federal court in Bowling Green.  The criminal case was resolved last year after a Warren County grand jury did not find enough evidence to indict Brown.

Education
3:37 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

KCTCS Board Recommends New President

Dr. Jay Box
Credit KCTCS

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is close to having a new leader. 

The Board of Regents met in special session Tuesday and recommended Dr. Jay Box as the next president. 

Dr. Box is the current KCTCS chancellor, a position he’s held since 2009.  The Texas native came to Kentucky in 2002 to serve as president of Hazard Community and Technical College.  During his time as chancellor, Dr. Box is credited with helping eliminate barriers for community college students transferring to the state’s public universities. 

“After an extensive national search we are pleased to have identified a candidate who matches the presidential profile developed in collaboration with our search consultant, search committee, board, faculty, staff and student representatives,” Board of Regents Chairman P.G. Peeples said in a news release. “Dr. Box has played a key role in shaping the learning opportunities KCTCS provides and he has demonstrated strong leadership and dedication to our students, faculty and staff.”

The KCTCS system is referring to Box as the preferred candidate.  A forum will be held in Versailles on November 18 for college presidents, faculty, staff, and students to meet Box.  The next day, the Board of Regents will review feedback and is expected to approve a final contract for Box.  

Dr. Box replaces Dr. Michael McCall as KCTCS president.

Regional
1:43 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Bowling Green Pastor Elected President of Kentucky Baptist Convention

Tom James is pastor of Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green and president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Credit Kentucky Baptist Convention

The pastor of a Bowling Green church is the new president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. 

Tom James of Eastwood Baptist Church was elected to a one-year term during the Convention’s annual meeting in Bowling Green Tuesday. 

James told WKU Public Radio his primary focus will be on missionary work both abroad and at home. 

"We've turned our churches into observers and they no longer take ownership of the Great Commission which tells us to reach our neighbors beginning in our Jerusalem and go to the ends of the earth," said James.  "What we have to do is recast the vision for our people of their own personal responsibility to share the gospel."

James replaces Chip Hutcheson of Princeton as KBC president.

The KBC is the state’s largest religious organization and is made up of about 2,400 churches with a total membership of more than 750,000.

Regional
1:47 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Kentucky Baptist Convention Withdraws from Church for Supporting Gay Marriage

Crescent Hill Baptist Church Pastor Jason Crosby urged KBC members not to cut ties with his congregation.
Credit Kentucky Baptist Convention

The Kentucky Baptist Convention has voted to sever ties with a Louisville church after its decision to support homosexuality. 

Crescent Hill Baptist Church announced last year that sexual orientation and gender identity would not be a factor in hiring, ordinations, or performing marriage services. 

The KBC is holding its annual meeting today in Bowling Green.  Executive Director Paul Chitwood told WKU Public Radio the vote to disassociate from the church was difficult but necessary.

"We are grieved by the necessity of that decision," said Chitwood.  "However, given the fact that Crescent Hill has chosen to affirm homosexuality, it really places them outside of the Bible's teaching and outside of Baptist beliefs."

Crescent Hill Pastor Jason Crosby maintains the Bible doesn’t explicitly condemn homosexuality.

"In addition to that, we concluded that Jesus' clear instruction to love others as ourselves is what drew us to reach the conclusion that we would fully welcome and affirm gay and lesbian individuals here at the church," stated Crosby.

Crescent Hill is scheduled to perform its first gay marriage ceremony at the end of the month. 

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Health
9:00 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Beshear Optimistic on Successful Round Two for Kynect

Governor Steve Beshear visits a Lexington call center that fields questions about Kentucky's online health exchange Kynect.
Credit Kentucky State Government

Kentuckians seeking health insurance only have a few more days before they can apply for coverage on the state's online health exchange.

The state launched its Kynect website last October, signing up more than 521,000 uninsured on private plans or Medicaid.  The second open enrollment period begins this Saturday on the 15th.

Governor Steve Beshear told WKU Public Radio that while the rollout of Kentucky’s health exchange was a model for the rest of the nation, a few changes are being made to better serve the public.

"We're working on an app you can access on your cell phone and we're hopefully going to have more kynectors on the ground," said Beshear.  "We're looking at various ways to make it as easy as possible for people to understand what this is and to get health care."

The state is also working with more insurance agents and increasing its call center staff to reduce wait times. 

Open enrollment lasts until February 15, but sign-ups should be made by December 15 to ensure coverage by January 1.

Regional
3:41 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Restoration Work Begins on Corvettes Damaged in Sinkhole Fall

The 2009 Blue Devil Corvette was the first car to be rescued and restored from a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum.
Credit National Corvette Museum

The first car pulled from the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green is looking all sleek again. 

General Motors unveiled the restored 2009 Blue Devil this week, which was the least damaged of the eight cars that fell into the sinkhole in February. 

"I think it's exciting not just for us, but everyone who's been following this story," says NCM Marketing and Communications Director Katie Frassinelli.  "As soon as pictures surfaced on the Internet of the restored car there were a lot of cheers.  Everyone thought it looked beautiful and were excited to see the first step in what will be an an eight-month process."

Starting Monday, the Skydome where the sinkhole occurred will be closed for repair work which will take eight months.  Afterwards, the restored Blue Devil will return to the Skydome where it will be on display. 

GM also plans to restore the One-Millionth Corvette and the 1962 Tuxedo Black Corvette.

Click here for a video by Chevrolet on the restoration of the 2009 Blue Devil.

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