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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Agriculture
8:04 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Kentucky Senators McConnell, Paul Co-Sponsor Hemp Bill

Legislation to allow hemp farming is moving on both the state and federal levels.  The Kentucky Senate has given its approval, and now a bill in Washington seeks to lift a federal ban on the crop. 

Republican senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky have joined Oregon Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden in co-sponsoring a bill that would allow farmers to cultivate and profit from industrial hemp.  Specifically, the bill would remove hemp from the Schedule One controlled substance list, and would define it as a non-drug. 

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Arts & Culture
3:00 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Merle Haggard to Headline Owensboro's 2013 R.O.M.P

Credit International Bluegrass Music Museum

Country music legend Merle Haggard will headline this year's Romp Festival near Owensboro. The three-day bluegrass festival is held as a fundraiser for the International Bluegrass Music Museum.  Marketing Director Danny Clark says Haggard is sure to please with a mix of country and bluegrass.

"I'm really glad he's coming because he has such a tie-in with bluegrass music. A lot of people know he actually recorded a bluegrass albumn a couple of years ago and had a lot of great performers on there with him,” says Clark.

The 76-year-old Haggard will be joined at ROMP by other legends like The Del McCoury Band and Sam Bush. This year's festival will be June 27th through 29th at Yellow Creek Park. The full lineup of performers and ticket information is available online at RompFest.com.

Business
1:23 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Western Kentucky Miners Join Protest of Coal Company's Bankruptcy

Union-backed coal miners in Kentucky and surrounding states are protesting a coal company’s bankruptcy proceedings they say jeopardizes pension and health care benefits for some 20-thousand retirees and dependents. Miners were picketing Wednesday outside Peabody Energy’s headquarters in St. Louis.

Two charter buses bound for St. Louis left early Wednesday morning from western Kentucky to join the protest led by the United Mine Workers of Amercia.

Peabody Energy is one of the nation’s largest coal companies and one of the companies the union accuses of orchestrating business deals that bankrupted Patriot Coal.

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Education
2:38 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

State of the Union Address Will Recognize Former Technical Education Student from Kentucky

Brad Henning
Credit Atlas Machine/John Fitzgerald

When President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday night, a former Kentucky student will be sitting in the audience. Breckinridge County native Brad Henning will be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama.  

The State of the Union speech will  emphasize the importance of training workers with skills that lead directly to good jobs in industries such as advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and information technology. The president is expected to recognize Henning, who as a journeyman machinist. 

The 23-year-old’s career started as a student at Breckinridge County High School when a teacher got him interested in taking a machining class at the Breckinridge Area Technology Center. By his senior year, Henning worked as a co-op student with Atlas Manufacturing of Louisville, and by graduation, he was offered a full-time job.

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Politics
1:48 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell Wants to Hear Sequester Solution in State of the Union Address

Washington’s top-ranking Republican is urging President Obama to offer solutions to avoid automatic spending cuts during his State of the Union address tonight.  Unless Congress and the White House strike a deal by March first, more than a trillion dollars will be cut from both domestic and defense spending over ten years. 

In a floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is also urged the president to address what he calls the real consequences of Obamacare.

"I could stand here and tell you that Republicans warned about most of these things until we were hoarse. That we saw it all coming and said so: the higher costs, the higher premiums, the tax hikes, the lost jobs, and the potential for millions to lose their plans. The President dismissed all that, and he got his legislative win," said McConnell in a Senate floor speech.

Aides to President Obama say the speech will be heavy on the economy, while also focusing on withdrawal from Afghanistan and the current debate over guns.  WKU Public Radio will air live coverage of the State of the Union address and the Republican response starting at 8pm central, 9pm eastern time.

Education
12:43 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

WKU Regional Campus Directors Given New Titles

Formerly referred to as directors, Dr. Sally Ray in Glasgow, Dr. Ron Stephens in Elizabethtown and Dr. Gene Tice in Owensboro are now Regional Chancellors. 

“These leaders play a critical role in their respective communities and are responsible for providing access to higher education and driving up the number of degree holders in their regions,” said President Gary Ransdell,  in a statement to WKU Public Affairs. 

“They are active in their communities, work closely with the presidents of the other postsecondary institutions and education leaders in the region and are engaged with academic leadership on the main campus in Bowling Green. I believe the title of Regional Chancellor demonstrates our recognition that our regional campuses are critical to our mission and that these leaders operate with a high level of independence and accountability," said Dr. Ransdell.

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Politics
3:58 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Attack Ad Targets Ashley Judd's Senate Consideration

Actress Ashley Judd has made no decision about running for U.S. Senate, but the Kentucky native is already the subject of an attack ad. The online video was posted by the conservative super PAC American Crossroads.

The ad mocks Judd’s past comments about her commitment to President Obama, in which she calls him “brilliant” and says she “will go wherever the president wants me to go.” The ad also borrows a quote from Judd's grandmother who called her a “Hollywood liberal.” 

The ad posted on YouTube goes on to show a clip of a speech the actress made in which she called Tennessee home. Judd grew up in Kentucky and went to college at U-K, although she has lived in Tennessee for several years. She was a Tennessee delegate to the Democratic National Convention last year.

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Education
11:30 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Kentucky Education Chief to Testify in Washington

Terry Holliday (left) and Gov. Steve Beshear
Credit kyteacher.org

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday will appear before a congressional panel in Washington Thursday. The hearing is titled “No Child Left Behind: Early Lessons from State Flexibility Waivers.”

Commissioner Holliday will discuss Kentucky’s experience in applying for and implementing a waiver from certain requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. Kentucky was one of the first states granted a waiver by the U.S. Department of Education in February 2012.

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Politics
2:16 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Former Kentucky State Auditor Mulling Bid for Governor

Crit Luallen

A high-profile Kentucky Democrat is going on the record saying she will not run for U.S. Senate next year. Instead, Crit Luallen said Monday she was considering a run for governor in 2015. 

In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, the former state auditor said she was having “casual conversations” with consultants and a pollster.  Luallen said she’s also getting encouragement from her biggest supporters. 

Meanwhile, Luallen’s close friend, Attorney General Jack Conway, said recently he too was taking a serious look at running for governor. Asked if she would skip the race if Conway decided to run, Luallen said “I don’t expect we will ever have to face each other in a showdown. I think we will work this out.” 

Luallen added that she is not interested in running for lieutenant governor or U.S. Senate.

Arts & Culture
4:29 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

SKyPAC Deciding Best Use for Bowling Green's Capitol Arts Center

The Capitol Arts Center in downtown Bowling Green

About 80 citizens gathered in Bowling Green over the weekend for a public meeting on the future of the Capitol Arts Center downtown. Tom Tomlinson is executive director of the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, which now operates the Capitol.  Asked if the historic venue can continue to compete with SKyPAC and WKU's Van Meter Hall, Tomlinson said "yes."

"I think it's a matter of size," said Tomlinson.  "There are activities that are appropriate for our (SKyPAC) 1,800 seats.  There are activities appropriate for the 1,100-seat Van Meter Hall, and then there are activities more appropriate for the 600 or so seats currently at the Capitol."

Based on community feedback, Tomlinson says there's a strong desire to see the Capitol used as an independent and/or foreign film venue, as well as an expansion of youth programs. 

Other public meetings are planned in the coming months.

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