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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Lisa Autry

Veterans advocates say the hard part has just begun as Bowling Green seeks to open the state’s fifth veterans nursing home. 

Officials from the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs offered a sobering update Tuesday to area lawmakers and veterans at the American Legion Post in Bowling Green. 

During this year’s General Assembly session, lawmakers authorized $10 million in state funding for a 90-bed skilled nursing facility, but the money hasn’t actually been appropriated.

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Efforts to repeal a controversial tax increase by Daviess County public schools have fallen short. 

School board members voted in May to levy a nickel tax to help fund construction of a new Daviess County Middle School and renovations to Apollo High School. 

Opponents failed to collect enough signatures on a petition by the June 30 deadline to force a special election to recall the tax.

The projects would cost a combined total of about $50 million.

Lisa Autry

A new partnership between a Bowling Green health care provider and local farmers is getting fresh produce in the hands of low-income patients with chronic medical conditions.  

Under a program called Farmacy, some patients at Fairview Community Health Center will get a prescription for free fresh fruits and vegetables at one of the local farmers markets.

To be eligible, patients' income must fall below 100 percent of the federal poverty level and they must have at least one of the following conditions: diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

Kentucky ranks 34th in the nation in overall child well-being, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The 2017 Kids Count Data Book shows the commonwealth ranking even lower in the category of economic well-being at 39th among states. Terry Brooks with Kentucky Youth Advocates says poverty remains the state’s most persistent challenge for children.

"Unless and until we begin to attack poverty in an intentional and long-term manner, we're just nibbling at the edges of every other sector connected to kids," Brooks told WKU Public Radio.

The Bowling Green Independent School District has approved a tax increase for city residents to help renovate its aging high school. 

A nickel tax was passed unanimously at the BGISD Board of Education meeting Monday night.  It will raise property taxes from 78.1 cents per $100 of assessed property value to 83.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

The tax increase is expected to generate more than $11 million toward the $60 million renovation.

The Kentucky State Police agency is holding town hall meetings across the state in an effort to boost recruitment numbers that have declined in recent years. 

The meetings will highlight some new requirements aimed at attracting a larger pool of applicants.  Aspiring troopers were once required to have 60 hours of college credit and two years of active duty service as a soldier or police officer. 

"There's a lot of young men who come out of school and go to work on the family farm or straight into the workforce," said Trooper BJ Eaton.  "Out east or west, we have a lot of young men who follow in family footsteps and go to work in the coal mines, so they wouldn't have those minimum requirements that we've always required."

Lisa Autry

A new partnership will give some Western Kentucky University students a direct path to medical school without having to leave Warren County. 

Ground was broken Tuesday next to the Bowling Green-based Medical Center for a four-year regional medical school through the University of Kentucky. 

Dr. Don Brown will be the Assistant Dean of the UK College of Medicine at the Bowling Green campus.  He says the hope is to alleviate a physician shortage in Kentucky.

"There's studies that show if you do a residency in a state, you're more likely to stay in that state," Brown told WKU Public Radio.  "We believe if you do undergraduate here, then medical school, and a residency, the chances are very good that you'll stay in the state."

Flickr/Creative Commons/U.S. Department of Education

The Kentucky School Boards Association says it has some questions about an executive order by Governor Matt Bevin. 

The order creates a Charter Schools Advisory Council that will help implement charters for the first time in the commonwealth. 

“The historic charter school legislation passed during this year’s General Assembly session represents a truly momentous step forward in providing quality choices for Kentucky’s most vulnerable students,” said Gov. Bevin in a statement. “This advisory council will play a vital role in ensuring the success of this exciting new educational option. Public charter schools will create the promise of real opportunity for young people and their families where hope does not currently exist.”

Charter school legislation signed into law by Governor Bevin says local school boards and the mayors of Louisville and Lexington would be the primary authorizers of charter schools.

A petition is circulating in Daviess County that would recall a nickel tax approved by the local school board.  The nickel tax is the equivalent of 5.7 cents per $100 of assessed property. 

The tax increase would be used to renovate Apollo High School and build a new Daviess County Middle School.  Both projects have been deemed essential by the Kentucky Department of Education.

The recall effort is being spearheaded by former county commissioner Gary Boswell.

"I'm hearing that most people don't want their taxes increased for any purpose right now," Boswell told WKU Public Radio.  "Not that there's ever a good time to raise taxes, but incomes are not going up as high as taxes."

A Warren County grand jury has indicted seven men in relation to a fight at a fraternity house at Western Kentucky University, according to a news release from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office.

Six of the seven defendants are WKU football players and the other is a former player.  They include Quinton Baker, Xavier Lane, Tyler Obee, Cecil Stallings, Andrew O’Bryan, Jachour Pearson, and Christopher Johnson. 

The men are accused of unlawfully entering the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house on March 5 where four of them allegedly assaulted an individual.  In a report by the Bowling Green Police Department, the victim was identified as Jerald Armfield, a Pike alumnus. 

Lisa Autry

A Kentucky congressman says he’s convinced that Russia tried to interfere in this country’s presidential election. 

However, Representative Brett Guthrie says there is no evidence that President Donald Trump was involved.

"There's no evidence at all of any collusion between what Russia did, or attempted to do, and the Trump administration," stated Guthrie.  "That's what the special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into, but my point is let's not create facts before they exist."

In a speech to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club Wednesday, Congressman Guthrie said he thinks Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails which proved embarrassing for Hillary Clinton's campaign.

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Investigators are working to determine why two media organizations in Kentucky were the targets of a bomb threat and vandalism over the weekend. 

A letter was found on a printer at Southeast Kentucky Publishing in London on Saturday that threatened to blow up the newspaper printing plant.  The text of the letter is below:

“Good Morning, I’ll be brief. I installed several explosives in the building. If you do not send in the amount of $25,000 by May 31st I will blow up this whole block. If you try to contact the police, I’ll know. I also have access to your computers and email addresses. Go to the nearest Western Union agency and send the amount to Emerson Eduardo Rodrigues Setim. The passport number is FO645170. It’s a brazilian passport. The city that the money will be withdraw is Chicago, Illinois, USA. Do as I say and no one will get hurt. P.S. I repeat if you try to contact the police I will known.”

Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Trey Grayson is leaving the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.  The former Republican politician says he is “looking at other options,” but has not yet decided on his next career move. 

Grayson has served as president and CEO of Chamber since 2014. 

“Trey has accomplished many great things as the leader of our Chamber and presided over one of the best legislative sessions for Kentucky businesses in recent history,” said Brent Cooper, who will serve as interim president of the Chamber. “I know I speak for the entire Chamber membership and staff as well as the Northern Kentucky community when I say that we are extremely grateful that Trey came back home to lead our organization.”

Flickr/Creative Commons/Chris Hunkeler

Many companies in Kentucky say the jobs are out there, but the workers are not. 

The state Society for Human Resource Management released a survey this week of 1,084 companies.

Eighty-four percent of the companies surveyed said they’re having trouble filling jobs.  The survey found the biggest shortages are in healthcare, engineering, and skilled trades.  Most of the businesses are expecting growth in the next few years, increasing the need for qualified employees. 

Secretary Hal Heiner in the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet says a high school diploma is no longer enough.

"Many of the experts are predicting that in about eight years, 2025, 80 percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require a credential or some education past high school," Heiner told WKU Public Radio.

A Daviess County lawmaker isn’t surprised by a consultant’s report released this week that shows how Kentucky’s pension systems became the worst funded in the nation. 

A consultant’s report released this week shows the systems combined have seen nearly $7 billion in negative cash flow since 2005, as benefits paid to retirees greatly exceeded appropriated funding. 

State Senator Joe Bowen of Owensboro co-chairs the Public Pension Oversight Board.  He says there are a number of reasons why the retirement plans got into the current crisis. 

For one, the state has been basing contributions to pension plans on a level percent of payroll rather than a level dollar.

"We funded based on an anticipation of payroll growth that never happened," Bowen told WKU Public Radio.  "Instead of just a level dollar funding mechanism, we used a percent of payroll, and the payroll never happened, so we kept getting further and further behind."

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