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
9:20 am
Mon August 12, 2013

New Judgeships Unlikely in Kentucky's Special Session

Daviess County has the largest caseload of any county in Kentucky without a family court.  The Kentucky Supreme Court last year certified the need for two family court positions in Daviess County, but budget constraints have delayed any action.

"The money has not been allocated,” says Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, Jr.  “The budgets have been so strained in the last few years that expansion of any sort has been put on hold.  I've not met any resistance from legislators in terms of the need, it's just a matter of the funding."

Minton says family judgeships could possibly be created without additional state appropriations.  He says when a judge retires in one part of the state, that judgeship could be moved to a county in need of a family court. The retiring judge would not be replaced if he or she had a small caseload.  The Administrative Office of the Courts can decertify a judgeship if deemed no longer necessary because of declining caseloads.

"There are places where the populations and caseloads have grown and there are places where the populations and caseloads have shrunk over time," says Minton.  "It's been several generations since we have addressed the deployment of judicial resources around the state, so it needs another look."

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Regional
12:32 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

German Auto Supplier to Locate in South Central Kentucky

An automotive supplier is opening a plant in south central Kentucky that will create more than 100 jobs.  Germany-based Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems will build a new manufacturing facility in Russell Springs, creating 155 full-time jobs and investing $29 million dollars in the commonwealth. 

Dr. Schneider produces parts for companies such as Ford, GM, BMW, and Volkswagen. 

Russell Springs was chosen over 69 other potential sites adding to Kentucky’s growing list of foreign investors. 

“At the end of an intensive selection process, we decided to choose Russell Springs,” said Wilhelm Wirth, member of the Dr. Schneider board of directors. “The decisive factors included the quality and expandability of the facility and the competitive location costs.

The announcement marks the third German-owned company to locate in the commonwealth this year, all three of which serve the auto industry. 

So far this year, Kentucky ranks third nationally for light vehicle production and first on a per capita basis.

Politics
9:14 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Kentucky House GOP Leaders Offer 'Fairer' Redistricting Plan

House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover unveiled a GOP-backed redistricting plan Thursday at a news conference in Frankfort.
Credit KY House Republican Caucus

Kentucky House Republican leaders are offering a legislative redistricting plan that would force eight incumbents to run against each other next year.

The map unveiled Thursday by House GOP Leader Jeff Hoover affects four Republicans and four Democratic lawmakers. 

Hoover told WKU Public Radio the GOP plan is very different from a plan put forth earlier this year by Democrats that had nine Republicans running against each other, but no Democrats.

"What we put forward was a much fairer plan that puts one pair of Democratic incumbents against each other, one pair of Republican incumbents against each other, and two mixed pairings where there is an incumbent Republican against an incumbent Democrat," explains Hoover.

Given population shifts in Kentucky over the past decade, Hoover says it's impossible to redraw legislative boundaries without pitting incumbents against each other. 

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Politics
12:23 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Abramson Not Running for Governor in 2015

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson addresses the Elizabethtown Rotary Club.

Kentucky's Lieutenant Governor says he is taking a pass on running for governor in 2015.

Speaking Tuesday afternoon to the Elizabethtown Rotary Club, Democrat Jerry Abramson said he wants to spend his remaining two-and-a-half years in Frankfort as an education advocate.

"You don't need to be an elected official to be a public servant," the former Louisville mayor told reporters after his speech. "I see myself really getting involved in public service by advocating for kids, by speaking out, by meeting with parents."

Abramson had previously said he was considering a gubernatorial bid. He told his Hardin County audience Tuesday that he wants to be an "education warrior" who helps the commonwealth develop a more skilled and educated workforce.

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Regional
8:03 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Barren County's New Sheriff is No Stranger to the Department

Kent Keen speaks to community members following his introduction as the new sheriff of Barren County.
Credit Lisa Autry

When Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer began looking for a new sheriff, she didn't have to go far.  She choose Kent Keen, who retired from the Glasgow Police Department and joined the sheriff's office a year ago as a school resource officer.  

Monday's announcement attracted a standing room- only crowd inside a Barren County circuit courtroom.  A full contingent of uniformed officers stood behind him as Keen pledged to run the department by the book.

"I have three guidelines that I operate off of, and that's the KRS (Kentucky Revised Statues), the Barren County Sheriff's Department policy manual, and the Bible, just to be honest with you," explained Keen. "Some God-given common sense may go a long way, folks."

Noticeably present at Monday's announcement was Deputy Aaron Bennett, who stood trial in May alongside former Sheriff Chris Eaton. Bennett was also accused of using excessive force on a suspect in 2010 and lying about it to federal investigators.  Bennett was acquitted on all charges. He told WKU Public Radio that seeing Keen sworn in felt like the beginning of a new era at the sheriff's office.

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Business
10:08 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Tennessee Hosts Tax-Free Shopping

Just in time for the start of a new school year, Tennessee is giving shoppers a tax break this weekend.  During the three-day tax holiday, shoppers can save almost 10 percent on tax free clothing, school and art supplies and computer purchases. 

Shoppers will not pay state or local sales tax on select clothing and school supplies with a price of $100 or less per item and computers with a price of $1,500 or less. 

The three-day holiday runs until 11:59pm on Sunday. 

The tax-free weekend was started in 2006. According to the state department of revenue, the annual event each August saves Tennesseans between $8 and $10 million in taxes.

For more information, click here.

Regional
3:16 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Former Barren County Sheriff Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison

Former Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton will spend a year and a half in prison related to his trial on civil rights violations. Eaton was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Bowling Green. 

In a courtroom packed with family and friends, Eaton wept as he talked about all the things he could no longer do as a convicted felon, such as coach Little League and volunteer in schools. He told U.S. District Court Judge Joseph McKinley that he felt like a “child predator."

“My life is over as I know it,” sobbed Eaton.

Judge McKinley replied that by all accounts, Eaton was a model citizen, but his punishment must reflect the seriousness of the convictions and the former sheriff's position of authority. 

“The buck stops with you”, said McKinley. “You were in charge that day.”

Judge McKinley strayed from the prosecution's recommendation of at least seven years and ordered Eaton to serve 18 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

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Politics
4:36 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Grimes Launches Bus Tour Ahead of Fancy Farm

Kentucky's presumed Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate was in Bowling Green Wednesday, her first stop since her official campaign kick-off Tuesday in Lexington that drew more than a thousand party faithful. 

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is on a bus tour through western Kentucky ahead of Saturday's Fancy Farm political picnic.  She told a crowd gathered at the FOP Lodge in Bowling Green that Washington is lacking the compromise seen under former Democratic Senator Wendell Ford.

"Compromise, common ground, it's not something to be ashamed of," said Grimes.  "Indeed it's necessary and I believe vital to preserve and protect the country that each of us equally loves.  I'm in this race because I believe it needs to be that way again."

Grimes' speech was light on specifics concerning policy.  She declined to speak with reporters covering the event.

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Education
9:59 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Kentucky Moves to Ease College Admissions Process

Kentucky high school seniors will soon be able to send electronic transcripts to state colleges and universities, as well as some out of state schools, using the free eTranscript process.

Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson made the announcement Tuesday.

“The statewide adoption of electronic transcripts will streamline the college admissions process, in some cases allowing students to complete the process totally online,” said Abramson. “The eTranscript system will be easy for our students to use, and it will reduce costs and save time for all parties.”

Jefferson County will be the first to make the system available districtwide. By the end of the year, Kentucky eTranscript should be available to students in public and private high schools across the state.

Students will also be able to upload documents such as letters of recommendation for paperless delivery.

An example of an eTranscript can be found here.

Politics
1:10 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Democratic Kentucky Senate Candidate Sues Party, Claiming Favoritism

Ed Marksberry is running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014.

A Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky is suing his own party, alleging favoritism of one candidacy over others.

Ed Marksberry claims the Kentucky Democratic Party is unfairly and illegally promoting the campaign of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the most well-known and well-funded candidate in the Democratic field so far. 

Marksberry, an Owensboro contractor, filed a lawsuit this week against Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Logsdon. Marksberry says in suit that he was shocked by a July 1 email from the state party announcing Grimes’ campaign because the party had refused to make announcements on his behalf.  Marksberry claims he was told that sending such communications would violate the party’s by-laws, which prohibit the party from using its resources to support one candidate over another in a primary election. 

Marksberry tells the Lexington Herald-Leader the state party is favoring the rich over the working class in his party.  Neither the Grimes’ campaign nor the state Democratic party have commented on the lawsuit.  Marksberry could not be reached Tuesday by WKU Public Radio.

Marksberry, who lost a 2010 bid for Congress, says he is considering running for the U.S. Senate as an Independent.  The winner of the Democratic primary next May will face either Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell or Tea Party activist Matt Bevin, the only two candidates so far in the GOP primary election.

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