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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Kentucky County Judge Executive Association

In the weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, some county judge-executives in Kentucky have stopped presiding over marriages altogether rather than perform a same-sex wedding ceremony. 

John Settles, president of the Kentucky County Judge-Executive Association, estimates about half of the state’s county leaders have turned away same-sex couples while the other half have not.

"One in particular said we all have sinned, even heterosexuals," Settles commented to WKU Public Radio.  "He figures that everyone he marries is a sinner anyway, and he can't discriminate between the sins."

As judge-executive of Washington County, Settles has performed about 350 marriages in his 16 years in office, but since the Supreme Court ruling, he has stopped the practice due to his religious beliefs. 

"I have a strong belief in the Bible as the word of God and I believe the Bible states that marriage is to be between one man and one woman," Settles states.  "It's my firm belief that that's the way it was intended to be from the very beginning."

While county clerks are bound by state law to issue marriage licenses, judge-executives are not required to perform marriage ceremonies.

On a 3-2 vote, the Owensboro City Commission has approved a measure that does away with primary elections for city offices.  Mayor Ron Payne says city primaries are unnecessary in non-partisan races.

"With a two-year city commission term, under the present system, you're elected one year and you're filing in January and starting to run again," Payne tells WKU Public Radio.  "You spend one year devoted to city business and the other year campaigning."

Opponents of the new Owensboro ordinance argue that primary elections allow candidates to interact more with voters. 

A state law that took effect in January allows cities to eliminate primaries. The law does not affect primaries for county, state, or federal offices.

Bowling Green voted last year to eliminate primary elections for city offices.

Nelson County Sheriff's Office

Police are investigating the disappearance of a Bardstown woman whose car was found abandoned on the Bluegrass Parkway.  Nelson County Sheriff Ed Mattingly says 35-year-old Crystal Rogers hasn’t been seen or heard from since July 3.

"What made us alarmed is that her keys, purse, and phone were still inside the car and the car had a flat tire," Mattingly told WKU Public.  "It's also unusual for her not to have contact with her family."

The car, a maroon 2007 Chevy, was found Sunday off the westbound lanes of the Bluegrass Parkway at mile marker 14. 

Rogers is 35 years old, 5-foot-9, and 150 pounds with blonde shoulder-length hair. Anyone with information is asked to call the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office.

Two women are running this year for Kentucky’s second-highest office.  Jenean Hampton of Bowling Green is the lieutenant governor nominee on a Republican ticket headed by Matt Bevin. 

Hampton ran unsuccessfully for State Representative Jody Richard’s seat in 2014. 

Hampton touts her private sector experience and says she and Bevin will focus on making Kentucky a right-to-work state and addressing the state’s pension shortfall, which she believes threatens economic development.

"It could have a dampening effect on everything we do," Hampton told WKU Public Radio.  "Let's say we do everything else right.  We get our tax code revamped and we become a right-to-work state.  If a company is looking at our balance sheet and sees that we do not have a viable plan to address our $34 billion shortfall, they still may not come."

Hampton is a former businesswoman and Air Force veteran.  If elected, she would become Kentucky’s first African American statewide officeholder. 

On the Democratic side, State Representative Sannie Overly is on a ticket headed by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.

A county clerk in Kentucky is standing firm in his decision not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

Casey County Clerk Casey Davis has asked Governor Beshear to provide some alternative for clerks who have moral objections to the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide. 

Casey County remains one of only three counties in Kentucky that are not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

Davis says he’s tired of being told he’s not doing his job.

"I did take an oath and the oath didn't say in it that I would lay aside my personal beliefs and do my job," Davis told WKU Public Radio.  "The oath does say that I will do this job to the best of my ability, so help me God, and my ability cannot go past what my conscience will allow."

Davis is also refusing to issue marriage licenses to heterosexual couples so that he can’t be accused of discrimination.  He doesn’t see it as an inconvenience since marriage licenses can be obtained in any Kentucky county and not just the county where a couple lives. 

Davis says his constituents can vote him out in the next election, but he will not resign from office as some county clerks in other states have done.

General Motors has named a new manager for the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green. 

Kai Spade will take the helm September 2nd.  The announcement was made in a blog post by the National Corvette Museum. 

Spade is currently Director of European Powertrain Test Facilities, Engineering Operations, and Quality in Ruesselshiem, Germany. 

He replaces Jeff Lamarche who was promoted to plant manager at Flint Assembly and Stamping in Michigan.

Gregory Bourke

A Louisville couple was in the U.S. Supreme Court chambers witnessing Friday's landmark decision that makes gay marriage the law of the land. 

Gregory Bourke says he and his husband of 11 years felt a sense of great relief.

"I was in the courtroom with my husband and we were holding hands, Bourke told WKU Public Radio.  "We just looked at each other and it was like a great weight came off our shoulders."

Bourke and Michael De Leon were legally married in Canada in 2004 and have two adopted children.

Under the Supreme Court ruling, the commonwealth must now allow gay unions and recognize those marriages performed out of state.

The Family Foundation of Kentucky, which vigorously opposed same-sex marriage said the justices are a "court gone rogue."  
 
Senior Policy Analyst Martin Cothran said the people of Kentucky have been betrayed by the decision because the people of the state voted overwhelmingly in 2004 to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

With a U.S. Supreme Court decision expected any day now, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says state agencies are making preparations should the justices vote to allow gay marriage. 

"One area would be in taxation," Beshear told WKU Public Radio.  "Our revenue department is looking at that in terms of filing a joint married return."

The wording on marriage license forms would also have to change to accommodate same-sex couples. 

Beshear said his administration has anticipated the ruling going each way and have steps in place to comply if the nation's highest court orders the commonwealth to allow and recognize same-sex marriages.

Many legal scholars expect the Supreme Court to strike down Kentucky’s prohibition on gay marriage.  A federal judge last year struck down the ban, but a federal appeals court reversed the ruling.

Bowling Green Independent School District

Bowling Green High School has named William King as its new principal. 

King had been serving as the Freshman Principal of Bowling Green High for the past five years.  Before that, he spent three years as the school’s Literacy Coach and Curriculum Coordinator and five years as a social studies teacher. 

King is a graduate himself of Bowling Green High.  He holds Bachelor's, Master's and Rank 1 degrees from WKU.

King replaces former principal Gary Fields who was promoted to superintendent of city schools.

KCTCS

Pay raises are on tap for employees of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. 

The Board of Regents approved a new budget of $888,114, 300 during it's quarterly meeting on Friday at Hopkinsville Community College. 

The spending plan represents a $36 million reduction from the previous year due to a decline in state funding, the decision not to raise tuition, and a decrease in enrollment. 

“I applaud President Box and the board for their commitment to keeping education affordable by not raising tuition for 2015-16,” said KCTCS Board of Regents Chair P.G. Peeples in a news release. “Despite these belt-tightening times we cannot continue to place the burden of decreased state support on the backs of our students.”

The budget does allow a one percent or $1,000 salary increase, whichever is greater, for full-time faculty and staff.

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