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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Education
12:00 pm
Sun June 2, 2013

Public Invited to Meet Warren County Superintendent Finalists

Allen Barber

Warren County parents and teachers will have the chance Monday night to hear from the three men vying to be the next schools superintendent.  A public forum will start at 7 p.m. at Greenwood High School. 

Allen Barber is a Warren Central High School graduate and 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. 

Community Relations Coordinator Don Sergent says the next chief of schools in Warren County will face a couple of challenges.

"We're a growing district and a very diverse district, so they're probably looking for someone who can handle the issues that arise out of that growth, which a lot of times means building, and we've done a lot of that, and then the diversity dealing with ESL, the English as a Second Language population," explains Sergent.

The Warren County Board of Education will hold interviews with the finalists later this week, and a new superintendent will be named by June 21.

Regional
4:54 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Slain Bardstown Police Officer Remembered as Fun-Loving Family Man

A K-9 officer and dog from Allen County came to Bardstown Thursday for the funeral of slain Officer Jason Ellis.
Credit Lisa Autry

Bardstown police officer Jason Ellis has been buried at a Nelson County cemetery following an emotional funeral service Thursday.

Ellis was shot to death last Saturday after he got out of his cruiser to pick up debris on the Bluegrass Parkway in Nelson County. The murder remains unsolved, with investigators not publicly identifying any suspects or motives in the case.

Hundreds of mourners--many of them police officers from across the state and nation--came to Bardstown Thursday for Officer Ellis' funeral. Friends remembered Ellis as a fun-loving family man who was proud of his work taking drugs off the street with his canine partner.

During the funeral service, a friend spoke of Ellis' previous life as a minor-league baseball player who decided to hang up his cleats and pursue law enforcement once he got married and became a father.

Ellis leaves behind a wife, Amy, and two sons, ages six and seven.

Meanwhile, a Louisville businessman is giving $50,000 to a reward fund set up to find the person or persons responsible for killing Officer Ellis.

Gus Goldsmith is also giving $10,000 to a fund to help the Ellis family.

Goldsmith says Ellis' death "hit home". Goldsmith's brother was murdered during a pawn shop robbery 38 years ago, and police never found the killer.

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Regional
5:24 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Bardstown Police Chief Vows Justice as Slain Officer is Laid to Rest

Officer Jason Ellis
Credit Bardstown Police Department

A slain Bardstown police officer will be laid to rest Thursday, even as the person responsible remains undetected.  Colleagues will bury Officer Jason Ellis who investigators say was ambushed on the job. 

The 33-year-old Ellis was on his way home from work Saturday morning when he stopped to move debris on the Bluegrass Parkway in Nelson County.  He was shot multiple times after getting out of his cruiser.  Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin believes Ellis was targeted, saying the planning and execution of the attack was "methodical and precise." 

Compunding the sadness of Ellis' colleagues is the fact there remains no suspects or motive for the crime.  Chief McCubbin says he will not rest until there is justice.

"The happiest day will be, cause this is certainly the worst day, but the happiest day will be when we've got this person or persons, in whatever fashion we get them.  We will get them," says McCubbin emphatically.

Ellis leaves behind his wife and two sons, ages six and seven.  Following the funeral Thursday morning, a procession will go through Bardstown on the way to the cemetery for the community to pay respects along the route.  

The Fraternal Order of Police has set up two accounts at a local bank.  Wilson and Muir Bank and Trust is accepting donations to a memorial fund for the officer's family and a reward fund for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Regional
12:44 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

KSP: Female Body Found off I-65 in Hardin County

Kentucky State Police say mowing crews discovered a woman's body along Interstate 65 in Hardin County Wednesday morning.  Trooper Norman Chaffins says the body was found on northbound I-65 in a grassy area near the 99 mile marker. 

"We do know the body had been there for some time.  We don't know the exact time the body had been there.  That's something we'll determine with some accuracy once the body has been examined by the medical examiner," said Chaffins.  "Once we get a description of the body, we'll be able to put that out and compare with any missing persons reports."

Investigators do suspect foul play.  As police process the scene, the right lane of I-65 from mile marker 98 to just pass mile marker 99 will be closed for several hours.

Regional
5:00 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Kentucky Child Care Providers Worried Over Impending Cuts

Starting in July, Kentucky will offer low-income families less help with daycare costs. 

The state is changing income guidelines for the Child Care Assistance Program.  More than 14,000 children live in families who will earn too much to qualify but too little to pay for child care and still make ends meet. 

Lori Moses is the owner of Baby Tender daycare in Elizabethtown.  She fears the cuts will force more parents to quit their jobs to stay home with their children.

"If they don't come, then that affects our business because we obviously need children to keep the business going," explains Moses.  "That means laying off staff if we don't have the children, so it's a big cycle."

Kentucky Youth Advocates recently surveyed child care providers and found that 77% of them were extremely concerned about the impact of the cuts.  Governor Beshear is being urged to find a budget solution and reverse the decision. 

Child advocates say when parents receive child care support, they are more likely to get and keep a job, and stay off of welfare.

Regional
9:13 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Attorney for Convicted Barren County Sheriff Files Motion for Acquittal, New Trial

Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton

The attorney for Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton is working to keep his client out of prison.  Guthrie True filed a motion Thursday asking a federal judge to overturn Eaton's two felony convictions or grant him a new trial.  

A federal jury earlier this month found Sheriff Eaton guilty of directing two deputies to make false reports to the FBI about a 2010 arrest.  Suspect Billy Stinnett alleged he was beaten after being placed in handcuffs. 

Two other officers were acquitted on all charges.  Eaton's attorney, Guthrie True, says it's hard to understand the witness tampering convictions for a crime the jury concluded never occurred.

"I think everybody as well as he and I are a little confounded by the jury's verdict, so we're going to sit tight and see what the court does," says True.

Chris Eaton faces up to 20 years in prison on each count.  However, under sentencing guidelines, he is likely to serve one to two years on each count.  Sentencing is scheduled for August 1, but in the meantime, Eaton is back on the job as Barren County sheriff.

Regional
3:42 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Grand Jury Will Hear Case of Warren County Volleyball Coach Accused of Sex with Minor

Brian Gifford
Credit Warren County Regional Jail

The case against a Bowling Green volleyball coach accused of having sex with an underage girl is headed to a grand jury. 

Twenty-eight-year-old Brian Gifford was in Warren District Court Friday and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. 

A Kentucky State Police investigation found that Gifford had sex on multiple occasions with a 15-year-old player that he met while coaching for the Barren River Area Volleyball Organization.  Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Cohron says the investigation is ongoing.

"Our main concern is to make sure that any children affected by this individual come forward, and if anybody does have information we would ask them to contact Kentucky State Police or the Commonwealth's Attorneys Office," urges Cohron.

Gifford remains in the Warren County Regional Jail.  His attorney Alan Simpson declined to comment Friday.

Education
11:05 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Twelve Make Up First Class of Warren County Schools Hall of Distinguished Alumni

Twelve professionals make up the inaugural class of the Warren County Public Schools Hall of Distinguished Alumni.  It's a diverse group whose backgrounds range from the military and medicine to business and sports. 

School System Attorney Bart Darrell helped create the Hall, and he says it's as much for current students as it is for alumni.

"We certainly want our students here now to see the bar that has been set for them and realize there were some really great folks who came before them, and they need to try to live up to those standards," says Darrell.

Inductees will be honored in a ceremony Saturday evening at the Sloan Convention Center in Bowling Green.  They include Amy Milliken, Jonathon Holland, Dr. Kenneth Bastin, Dr. Sharron Francis, Dr. Jenks Britt, Dr. James Lafferty, Dr. Jackie Lawrence, Daymeon Fishback, David Clark, Clemette Haskins, Charles Hardcastle, and Billy Ray Smith.

Education
9:09 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Finalists Selected for Warren County Schools Superintendent

Rob Clayton

The Warren County Board of Education has named three finalists for superintendent.  A screening committee narrowed the applicant pool from 14 to these three:

- Allen Barber, Director of Human Resources/Secondary Education for Jackson County District Nine in Eagle Point, Oregon.

- Rob Clayton, Principal of South Oldham Middle School in Crestwood, Kentucky.

- Dr. Franzy Fleck, Superintendent of Burbank School District 111 in Burbank, Illinois.

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Regional
1:33 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Centre Student's Road to Graduation Began in Pakistan

Ibrahim Jadoon graduates from Centre College this weekend, thankful for his American education. He will spend the next year in Malaysia as a Fullbright Scholar.

Ibrahim Jadoon will graduate with honors this weekend from Centre College in Danville. His family left Pakistan and moved to the U.S. when he was three. When Osama bin Laden was captured two years ago just blocks from Jadoon's former home, he did a lot of reflecting.

"It was disappointing because, if people don't know, Pakistan is a relatively new nation," explained Jadoon. "I realize it was the Pakastani government's poor border security, it's inability to remove extremist militant groups like the Taliban, and it's general dysfunction that enabled bin Laden to stay hidden for so long."

Jadoon often thinks about how his life would have been different had his family stayed in Pakistan.

"The United States, for all of its faults we sometime talk about in the news, unequivocally houses the best institutes of higher education in the world," said Jadoon. "I feel lucky just to be in the U.S., but in about four days when I graduate, I will join the surprisingly seven percent of the world that actually has a college degree."

The Pakistani-American spoke to Lisa Autry about how his life may have turned out had his family had not left Pakistan, and what he thinks are the prospects for a democracy in his home country. 

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