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
3:47 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Black Bear Sightings Reported in South Central Kentucky

Credit Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

If you live in south central Kentucky and recently thought you saw a black bear, your eyes weren’t deceiving you. They are, in fact, roaming the region but one expert says it’s perfectly normal.

"This is the time of year when young bears are getting kicked out of the nest and striking out on their own.  Probably what people are seeing are young male bears, 110-130 pounds, and a year-and-a-half old," explains Mark Marraccini with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Black bears are more common in eastern Kentucky, but sightings are becoming more common in other parts of the state. Marraccini adds that the bears are likely traveling north from Tennessee.

There have been recent sightings in Allen and Logan counties. 

Bears tend to have a natural fear of people, and if left alone, they pose no risk to humans. Kentucky law prohibits feeding bears.

"Don't do things to cause these bears to become nuisance bears, let them be wild bears. Kentucky has plenty of cover and natural foods for bears to sustain themselves and they will do so," adds Marraccini.  "People have a tendency to want to feed them to hold them in an area because they enjoy watching them, and that's understandable, but it's easy for them to see people as an easy source of food handouts and then start ignoring their native foods, the forest foods."

When bears become a nuisance, Fish and Wildlife officials have to step in, which most often, results in euthanasia. 

Regional
10:02 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Sinkhole Repairs Delayed at National Corvette Museum

A 40' wide by 60' deep sinkhole opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum February 12.
Credit National Corvette Museum

Visitors to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green can continue to see the sinkhole that swallowed eight classic cars throughout the summer. 

The Skydome where the collapse occurred will not be repaired until after the museum’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.

"We decided to leave the Skydome as is until the end of August because we already have about 6,500 Corvette enthusiasts pre-registered for the event, and they all want to see the cars and the hole," says Marketing and Communications Manager Katie Frassinelli.

Attendance at the museum since the February 12 collapse has been up nearly 50% over the same time period last year. 

"The feedback we're receiving from guests is that a lot of them are stopping in who may not have otherwise," adds Frassinelli.  "People are planning visits to Bowling Green specifically to see this.  If you talk to some of the hotels, they're seeing more visitors because of this."

Given the recent boost in attendance, the museum is expected to hit its 3 millionth visitor within the coming days.

The museum is awaiting price estimates on the various options to repair the Skydome, from keeping all of the sinkhole, to leaving just a small portion of it, to restoring the building to the way it was before.

Agriculture
4:49 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

WKU Becomes Home to Hemp Pilot Project

The 2014 Farm Bill allows state agriculture departments and universities to grow industrial hemp for research. The projects were delayed when the federal government detained a shipment of imported seeds. After taking the matter to court, federal drug officials eventually issued a permit for the seeds.

Hemp seeds are in the ground in south central Kentucky.

Twelve varieties of the seeds were planted this week in a small, experimental plot at the WKU farm. 

The research at WKU will be similar to projects at the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University, but WKU Agriculture Professor Todd Willian says the results may not be entirely the same.

"Soils can vary even in short distances.  Of course the climate is relatively the same, but a little bit different when you go further north, so it will be interesting to see," stated Willian.  "We really don't know exactly how it will grow.  We know it grew well in the past in Kentucky, but that was many, many decades ago."

The Bowling Green hemp is being grown with a focus on fiber and hemp seeds. 

The crop has a growing season similar to corn and should be ready for harvest this fall.

Politics
4:01 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

McConnell Invites EPA to Visit Eastern Kentucky

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY
Credit McConnell Press Office

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell is inviting the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to his home state. 

He wants the EPA to hold a hearing in eastern Kentucky to discuss its plan to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. 

The EPA held 11 listening sessions around the country before issuing proposed regulations this week that call for reducing carbon emissions from power plants by one-third by 2030. 

In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, McConnell chides the agency for turning down his request to hold one of those meetings in Pikeville, the heart of coal country. 

Now, the EPA has announced it will hold four additional meetings, and again, Kentucky was not on the list. 

"Once again, I was disappointed when neither Pikeville, nor any other location within 5 hours of Eastern Kentucky, appeared on this list," McConnell writes.  Sadly, the locations you chose for these hearings are too distant and costly for most Kentuckians to easily attend.”

With the coal industry employing 7,000 Kentuckians and accounting for 90% of the state’s electricity, McConnell renewed his call for the commonwealth to be included on the listening tour.

"As some of the people most affected by this proposed rule, my constituents deserve to be looked in the eye and told how the proposed rule will affect them," he adds.

The EPA's proposal has been blasted among Kentucky Republicans and Democrats, including McConnell's U.S. Senate challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes.

Regional
4:04 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Warren County Father Accused of Kidnapping Toddler in Custody

Robert Pomeroy
Credit Warren County Regional Jail

A non-custodial father in Warren County accused of kidnapping his daughter turned himself in to authorities Wednesday. 

Twenty-five-year-old Robert Pomeroy allegedly broke into a home Monday night and took his 20-month-old child. 

He fled the area with his girlfriend Sabrina Vanmeter, who was arrested Tuesday. 

The toddler was unharmed in the kidnapping.

Both Pomeroy and Vanmeter were taken to the Warren County Regional Jail.

Politics
12:42 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

McConnell Coal Bill Won't Come Up for Vote

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid objected to calling for a vote on Senator Mitch McConnell's Coal Country Protection Act.
Credit McConnell Press Office

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky introduced the legislation this week to head off the EPA’s new rule to reduce carbon emissions at power plants, but Democratic leadership is not allowing the bill to come up for a vote.

On the floor of the Senate Wednesday, Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked consideration of Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s Coal Country Protection Act. 

McConnell responded that President Obama's new energy regulations would "ship middle class jobs overseas, splinter our manufacturing base, and boost energy costs for struggling families."

“Opponents of this bill would be supporting job loss in Kentucky, our economy being hurt, and seniors’ energy bills spiking – for almost zero meaningful global carbon reduction," asserted McConnell.

The EPA announced this week a plan to reduce carbon emission at power plants by 30 percent over 15 years.  McConnell’s bill would prevent the new rule from taking effect until the Obama administration can prove no jobs will be lost and that energy prices won’t increase. 

Regional
3:19 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Law Enforcement Looking for Warren County Father Accused of Abducting Daughter

Robert Pomeroy is wanted by the Warren County Sheriff's Office for burglary and kidnapping.
Credit Warren County Sheriff's Office

Update at 3:00 p.m.:  One of two people suspected of kidnapping a toddler Monday night in Bowling Green has been arrested.  Sabrina Vanmeter was found Tuesday at a home on Jack  Simmons Road.  She was taken to the Warren County Regional Jail.

Original post:

The Warren County Sheriff’s office is looking for a non-custodial father who’s accused of kidnapping his child from a home in Bowling Green. 

Twenty-five-year-old Robert Pomeroy allegedly broke into the home of the child's mother on Scottsville Road Monday night and snatched the 18-month-old girl from a bathtub. 

Pomeroy then fled with the child and his girlfriend Sabrina Vanmeter in an off-white, late-model, four-door Lexus.  An Amber Alert was not issued.

"It has a lot to do with who the suspect is, whether it's a non-custodial parent or if there's insufficient evidence that the child is in harm's way, it doesn't meet criteria," said Public Information Officer Stephen Harmon in the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.  "Certainly for the integrity of the Amber Alert system, you want to make sure when it's activated that it meets criteria and this case did not."

Robert Pomeroy is described as 5'10" tall, 180 pounds with a shaved head and thin beard.  He was last seen wearing a black shirt and camouflage pants. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Warren County Sheriff’s Office at (270) 842-1633.

Regional
3:20 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

New VA Health Clinic Opens in Bowling Green

Bowling Green's new VA clinic is located in an 88,000-square-foot space in the Fairview Plaza off the 31-W Bypass.
Credit Lisa Autry

In the wake of a nationwide scandal over veterans’ health care, a new outpatient clinic has opened in Bowling Green. 

U.S. Congressman Brett Guthrie helped cut the ribbon on the facility Monday.  He said that by bringing medical care closer to home, the clinic can hopefully avoid some of the problems plaguing the national VA system. 

"Someone told me that it took a little time to get an appointment, but once they got the appointment, they had good care.  If we have the care part figured out and can get the scheduling figured out, I think it will be a great experience for the people coming into this facility," said Guthrie.  "We have strong veterans' advocates and I can guarantee you that if it doesn't work well, we're going to know about it.

The nearest Veterans Affairs hospital is in Nashville, so having a clinic in Bowling Green will cut travel time for veterans in Warren and surrounding counties. 

Bowling Green’s new VA clinic, operated by Humana, offers primary care including diagnostic services, women’s health, and mental health care.

The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Politics
5:00 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Rand Paul Advocates Republican Takeover of Kentucky House

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY

Republicans think this may be the year to take the reins of the Kentucky House of Representatives. 

Democrats hold a 54-46 advantage in the House, their slimmest majority in decades. 

U.S. Senator Rand Paul stumped last week for several western Kentucky GOP House candidates.  At a stop in Bowling Green , he said control by one party since 1921 does a disservice to Kentucky.

"We have to compete with other states and I think we're somewhat at a disadvantage right now with Tennessee and Indiana," claimed Paul.  "They've had more innovations with education, prevailing wage, their income taxes are lower, and they're  out-competing us.  I think it would be good for Kentucky to think about whether or not we have another party in charge."

Senator Paul is planning a fundraiser this summer for Jenean Hampton of Bowling Green who’s challenging long-time Democratic State Representative Jody Richards.

Politics
3:21 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Rand Paul has Eye Toward White House and the Operating Room

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY, performs free eye surgeries for the uninsured while in Congress.
Credit Rachel McCubbin, Deputy State Director for Senator Paul

He may have his eyes on the White House in 2016, but U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky also wants to return to medicine one day.

While Congress is on spring recess, Senator Paul spent time this week in Paducah, performing pro bono cataract surgeries on four patients who didn’t have insurance.

"Sometimes it's more rewarding than politics because you diagnose a problem and fix it, and people usually see better within a day or two," commented Paul Thursday in Bowling Green.

Paul was an ophthalmologist for 17 years before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010.  Senate ethics rules prevent him from practicing medicine for profit while in Congress. 

While he mulls a presidential run, the free surgeries are a way to keep his surgical skills sharp.

"Part of our problem is that we get people in office who give up on what they used to do and never want to come back to what they used to do," Paul said.  "I think it's good to have people who are not necessarily in there for a career, but that have other careers."

Senator Paul will go to Guatemala in August where he will perform about 200 similar surgeries in three days with a team of surgeons from the University of Utah. 

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