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
1:56 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Senator Paul Presents Medals to Family of Deceased Air Force Veteran

U.S. Senator Rand Paul presented military service medals to Colonel George Hickey, son of Airman 1st Class Billy Hickey in a ceremony in Bowling Green.
Credit Lisa Autry

Decades later, the family of a Kentucky native and military veteran finally has the medals honoring his service.  Airman First Class Billy Hickey was a Korean War veteran who was held for nearly three years as a prisoner of war. 

U.S. Senator Rand Paul presented the medals to his son Colonel George Hickey in Bowling Green Monday.

“I never was able to get these medals and I'm very glad the senator was able to get them for me," said Hickey. 

Col. George Hickey was presented the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal & Silver Star Attachment, and the United Nations Service Medal.

Senator Paul, whose family has a history in the Air Force, said being able to present the medals was gratifying.

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Politics
7:15 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Senator Paul Signs on to Bill Cutting Aid to Syria

Rand Paul (R-KY)

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has introduced a bill in Congress to block military funds to Syria.  The measure is aimed at preventing further U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war. 

Senator Paul, a Republican from Bowling Green,  is co-sponsoring legislation that would ban direct or indirect aid for military operations in Syria, but would not prevent humanitarian aid. 

The bi-partisan legislation is also supported by Senators Tom Udall, Mike Lee, and Chris Murphy, all of whom have spoken out in opposition to President Obama’s decision to arm rebel groups in Syria. 

“The President’s unilateral decision to arm Syrian rebels is incredibly disturbing, considering what little we know about whom we are arming," said Paul.  "Engaging in yet another conflict in the Middle East with no vote or Congressional oversight compounds the severity of this situation. The American people deserve real deliberation by their elected officials before we send arms to a region rife with extremists who seek to threaten the U.S. and her allies.”

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Regional
11:27 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Kentucky Supreme Court Overturns Conviction in Death of Todd County Child

Garrett Dye is serving a 50-year prison sentence at the Green River Correctional Complex.
Credit Kentucky Department of Corrections

The conviction and 50-year prison sentence of a Todd County teenager has been overturned after the Kentucky Supreme Court concluded his confession was coerced.

The high court on Thursday ordered a new trial for 19-year-old Garrett Thomas Dye. Dye was convicted in 2011 of beating his adopted sister, 9-year-old Amy Dye, to death.

Justice Will T. Scott concluded that police improperly told Dye, then 17, that if he didn't confess, a jury would convict him and hand down a death sentence. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that anyone under 18 is ineligible for execution.

The case drew the attention of state lawmakers. Records were released showing that social workers either ignored or dismissed allegations of abuse and neglect against the child.

Education
11:05 am
Thu June 20, 2013

A Q&A with Incoming Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton

Rob Clayton

Rob Clayton was chosen unanimously this week by the Warren County Board of Education to become the next superintendent of the public school district.  He comes from South Oldham Middle School in Crestwood, Kentucky where he served as principal the past seven years.  Lisa Autry spoke with him.

What attracted you to this job?

I was mainly attracted to the position because of the people, the quality of the students, staff, and school community.  There's a tremendous reputation out there in the state that's certainly well-deserved and I was aware the school board was committed to high levels of achievement and continuous improvement.  That certainly gives me great confidence in our ability to excel.

You just completed your 20th year in education.  Talk about how your past experiences brought you to where you are today.

I began in 1993 as a high school science teacher and coached football and track and field at Pleasure Ridge Park High School in Jefferson County.  I was attracted to being a teacher primarily because previous teachers I had and their influence on me.  I feel fortunate to be able to say that I've rarely worked a day in my life in education because I truly enjoy working with kids, watching them grow, and helping them find the opportunities I think all kids deserve.  Most recently, I've had the opportunity to be have a larger influence on my students from an administrative standpoint (as principal of South Oldham Middle School).

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Politics
4:05 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

To Count or Not to Count is the Question for Kentucky's Special Legislative Session

Kentucky lawmakers will go into special session later this year to craft new maps of political districts based on the most recent U.S. Census data.  Legislative leaders want a tentative agreement in place before returning to Frankfort, but one of the hang-ups is whether to include federal prisoners being held in the commonwealth.

Kentucky law says a prison cell is not a residence, and the inmate population can, but doesn't have to be taken into account when drawing political maps.  State lawmakers counted federal prisoners when they approved a new Congressional map last year.  That map was upheld by a judge while the legislative and judicial maps were ruled unconstitutional. 

Lawmakers will use this year's special session to redraw legislative and judicial maps.  Legislative leaders agree on the need for consistency, and contend they can't use one set of data for one map and different data for another.  House Speaker Greg Stumbo wants the congressional map amended and argues it would have a minimal impact on districts.

"There's only about 8,500 federal prisoners and the average congressional district is 770,000," explains Stumbo.

Senate President Robert Stivers argues consulting again with each congressman would prolong a costly special session.

"So now we get into a situation where we're engaging the federal delegation in a special session issue," remarks Stivers.

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Education
5:00 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Warren County School Board Ready to Make Superintendent Choice

The Warren County Board of Education will meet in special session Tuesday night to decide on a new superintendent. 

The three finalists are Allen Barber, a Warren Central High School graduate who currently works in school administration in Eagle Point, Oregon.  Rob Clayton is a middle school principal in Oldham County, Kentucky, and Dr. Franzy Fleck is a superintendent in Burbank, Illinois. 

The new superintendent of Warren County public schools will take over for Tim Murley who retired earlier this year. 

Politics
5:00 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Governor Beshear: Legislature Will Accomplish Redistricting

This week, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is expected to issue the date for a special session on redistricting.  He met last week with legislative leaders to plan for the session, amid growing pressure to finish the task. 

The state supreme court ruled the General Assembly’s first attempt at redrawing political boundaries unconstitutional.  Two lawsuits have been filed seeking to speed up the process, and one calls for redistricting to be done by federal judges, but Governor Beshear says that’s not the way to go.

“You know, the courts are sort of divorced from the political setting and the legislature needs to take care of its own business and take care of its own districts and so, they’re gonna step up and do that," Beshear says.                               

The goal is for lawmakers to have a tentative agreement before they return to Frankfort to avoid a lengthy special session, which would cost taxpayers about $60,000 a day. It takes at least five days for a bill to work through Kentucky's legislative process, which means taxpayers would foot at least a $300,000 bill.

Education
3:39 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

KCTCS Regents Approve Tuition and Salary Increases

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System Board of Regents held its quarterly meeting Friday at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Cumberland campus. 

The board approved a $928,704,000 budget, which includes a tuition hike for students and a salary increase for faculty and staff for the 2013-14 academic year. 

The budget includes a 2.86 percent increase in tuition for in-state students.  Tuition will rise from $140 per credit hour to $144.

“KCTCS remains committed to providing Kentuckians with a quality education that is both affordable and convenient,” said Board Chairman P.G. Peeples. “Our statewide system of 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses continues to be the best postsecondary education value in the state.”

The board also adopted KCTCS President Michael B. McCall’s recommendations for a two percent salary increase for full-time faculty and staff.  The two percent or $1,000 (whichever is larger) salary increase will apply to faculty and staff who receive favorable performance evaluations.

Regional
9:24 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Elizabethtown Mayor Dies Unexpectedly

City officials in Elizabethtown say Mayor Tim Walker died unexpectedly early this morning. 

Hardin Memorial Hospital issued the following statement: "It is with deep sadness that we inform the community of the passing of Mayor Timothy Walker this morning at 5:33 a.m. at Hardin Memorial Hospital. At this time, please keep the Walker family in your prayers. At the request of the family, please respect their privacy.”

Walker’s body is being transferred to the state medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.

Walker was 54 years old.  Before being elected mayor in 2010, Walker was a former city firefighter, a city councilman, and businessman.

Check back later for updates to this story.

Regional
2:07 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

South Central Kentucky Residents Charged with Stealing Painkillers from Pharmacy

A former pharmacy worker and two other Allen County residents were indicted this week by a federal grand jury in Bowling Green.  The trio is charged with conspiracy to distribute pain medicine that was stolen from a pharmacy by a former employee. 

According to the seven count federal indictment, 46-year-old Lynn Harper Denton, who worked at Stovall’s Pharmacy in Scottsville, conspired to sell more than $5,000 worth of stolen Hydrocodone. 

Also charged in the indictment are two other Allen County residents, 34-year-old Katherine Virginia Rookstool and 47-year-old Jeffrey Clay Stinson. 

If convicted at trial, each defendant faces a minimum of 25 years in prison.

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