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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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.

Regional
5:00 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Barren County's Embattled Sheriff Will Learn Fate This Week

Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton's resignation takes effect this Wednesday, one day before he is sentenced in federal court. 

In May, Eaton was convicted on two felony counts of witness tampering related to the alleged beating of a suspect and a cover-up that followed. 

Kentucky law, in some cases, allows an elected official to remain on the job until all appeals are exhausted.  John Caudill, a Bowling Green attorney and former federal prosecutor, says it would have been very unlikely for the sheriff to stay in office.

"Once you're convicted, in order to stay out, you have to show you have a substantial issue of law or fact that is likely to result in reversal of the conviction, a new trial, or the sentence that you would serve is so short that it would be effectively be completed by the time the appeals process is done," explains Caudill.

Sheriff Eaton will be sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green.  According to a sentencing memorandum filed in federal court, prosecutors are seeking a seven to nine-year prison term, which Eaton's defense attorney calls unreasonable.  Frankfort Attorney Guthrie True is seeking ten to 16 months. 

The sheriff will be sentenced on the same day that former deputy Adam Minor will learn his fate.  Minor cooperated with prosecutors and testified at trial in exchange for a lighter sentence.  Prosecutors are recommending that he serve no time behind bars.

Regional
5:45 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Convicted Barren County Sheriff to Resign

Ahead of his August 1st sentencing, Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton will resign from office at the end of the month. WKU Public Radio learned of the resignation in a sentencing memorandum filed in federal court. 

In May, Eaton was convicted on two felony counts of witness tampering relating to the alleged beating of a suspect and a cover-up that followed.  

U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley last week denied a motion to overturn the verdicts or grant the sheriff a new trial.  Prosecutors are asking for a prison sentence of seven to nine years, while the defense is hoping for ten to 16 months. 

With his resignation, Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer says she will have to appoint a new sheriff to serve out the remainder of Chris Eaton’s term, which ends next December.

Regional
4:44 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Judge Uphold Verdicts in Barren County Sheriff Case

The Aug. 1 sentencing of Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton remains on schedule after a federal judge rejected a motion for acquittal or a new trial. 

In May, Eaton was convicted on two counts of witness tampering during a trial in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green.  The sheriff and two other law enforcement officers were accused of beating a suspect in handcuffs and trying to cover-up the incident to federal investigators. 

The witness tampering convictions stem from Sheriff Eaton asking two deputies to lie in reports to the FBI about what they saw at the scene of Billy Stinnett’s arrest.  U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley this week issued a ruling upholding the jury’s verdicts. 

“Ultimately, based on evidence presented at trial, a reasonable juror could believe that while there was not sufficient evidence to convict Eaton on the unreasonable use of force charges, there was sufficient evidence to believe that Eaton engaged in witness tampering," McKinley wrote in his order.

When he is sentenced next month, Eaton faces up to 20 years in prison, though under federal sentencing guidelines, he is likely to receive a much lighter sentence.

Politics
9:27 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Congressman Guthrie Announces Re-election Bid, Won't Run for Governor

Brett Guthrie was first elected to Congress in 2008.

Kentucky's 2nd District Congressman announced Tuesday that he will run not run for governor in 2015. 

Republican Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green will instead seek re-election to the U.S. House. 

“I am not running for any state office in 2015, although I was humbled by the number of people who asked me to run for Governor,” Guthrie said. “I went to Washington solve big problems and to leave a better America behind for the next generation. I’ve spent every day doing that and I feel that my time and energy is best spent on solving the big financial and economic problems we face as a nation,” Guthrie said.

Guthrie made his intentions known in a press release, which stated he has raised more than $1 million for his re-election campaign.  Guthrie is currently in his third term in the U.S. House.

Business
4:08 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Bowling Green Citizens Ask Attorney General for Gas Price Probe

A Bowling Green man is asking Kentucky's top law enforcement officer to investigate why gas prices in the city are always 20 to 40 cents higher than in surrounding communities. 

Edward Caston, a retired businessman, says he's not against businesses making a profit, but he thinks Bowling Green residents are being treated unfairly.  Caston has gathered more than 25,000 signatures on a petition and believes that's enough to warrant the attorney general's attention.

"I'm gonna ask him if he wants ten thousand or 20,000 names.  We'll just take our time and get the names," says Caston.  "We want an investigation.  "We want to know why and how they can get away with this for so many years."

Economists contend that price variations are are not necessarily indicative of price-gouging or price fixing.  

Caston plans to deliver the petition to Attorney General Jack Conway's office on Wednesday. 

The AG's office investigated gas prices statewide in 2008 and concluded that Marathon Petroleum has a monopoly on the wholesale gasoline market in Kentucky, which has led to higher prices.  The study did not look specifically at Bowling Green. 

The attorney general forwarded the investigation to the Federal Trade Commission, which took no action.  The FTC was recently asked again to look at the findings.

Regional
5:00 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Fort Knox Making Strides at Becoming Net Zero Post

An artist rendering of a generating facility that will convert methane gas pumped on the post into electricity.
Credit Fort Knox Public Affairs

Fort Knox is on its way to becoming a net zero post, meaning it will produce as much or more energy than it consumes. 

The Army post in central Kentucky is building generating facilities to convert its own natural gas into electricity. 

Fort Knox Energy Manager R.J. Dyrdek says the post of about 40,000 people, will be able to completely go off the grid in the event of an emergency.

"Fort Knox, as you can remember, experienced the ice storm of 2009.  We had five days of no power, so that rallied Fort Knox to understand the need for energy security," replies Dyrdek.

Fort Knox currently gets most of its power from Louisville Gas and Electric, but Dyrdeck says by next fall, the post would be capable of operating without any outside power.  The effort is expected to save Fort Knox nearly $8 million a year. 

The government wants all military installations net zero by 2030.  Fort Knox is expected to reach the milestone much sooner.

Politics
2:17 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Senator Paul Wants Answers on Drones, Threatens to Block FBI Director Nominee

Rand Paul (R-KY)

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is telling FBI director Robert Mueller that he will object to the nomination of his successor until he gets answers on domestic drone use.

In a letter this week to Director Mueller, Senator Paul turns up the heat for an explanation of how the FBI uses surveillance drones on U.S. soil.  

“The American people have a right to know the limits that the federal government operates under when using these drones, and whether further action is needed to protect the rights of innocent Americans," writes Paul.

The letter is a follow-up to a previous letter sent on June 20 that asked for a response by July 1.  Senator Paul states in his latest correspondence that until he gets adequate answers to his questions, the Kentucky Republican will object to the nomination of James Comey as the next FBI director and encourage his colleagues to the do the same. 

Drone use is a hot-button issue for Paul, who in March, filibustered for 13 hours the nomination of CIA Director John Brennan over the use of domestic drones.

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