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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Lisa Autry

As the U.S. Senate this week voted to hold debate over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear accused some Republican politicians of “religious hypocrisy.”

Beshear said some lawmakers have turned their backs on people who need health care. The former Democratic governor said it’s unfortunate that elected leaders take advantage of religion and use it as a political tool.

"When a politician running for office talks in religious terms people believe them and think that's a good person, and vote for them.  The problem is that a lot of these guys and gals preach like the prophets when they're running and govern like Pontius Pilate when they're serving," Beshear told WKU Public Radio. "What kind of Christian principles is it when you want to throw 22 million people off health care coverage? There may be problems with the Affordable Care Act, and we need to fix them, but the answer isn't to turn millions of people out of the health care they desperately need."

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A group of Kentuckians tasked with setting up a framework for charter schools to operate is officially down to work. 

The Charter Schools Advisory Council held its first meeting on Monday and began developing regulations on how to implement the alternative public schools.  One of the members is Dr. Gary Houchens, a professor at Western Kentucky University. 

"It's a lot of stringent oversight of the process, and I think both charter applicants and authorizers will be happy with the structures that we're putting into place," Houchens told WKU Public Radio.

A federal judge in Kentucky has denied an Iraqi native’s bid to vacate his life sentence on terrorism-related crimes. 

Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and a co-defendant were arrested in 2012 while living in Bowling Green. 

Hammadi argued that his court-appointed attorney James Earhart assured him he would get a lesser sentence if he pleaded guilty.   The 29-year-old Hammadi also contended that he didn’t know a life sentence was possible as a result of his plea, or else he would not have pleaded guilty. 

Some Kentucky and southern Indiana physicians have been charged in what U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions calls the largest health care fraud takedown in the nation’s history. 

The medical providers from Louisville and Evansville were indicted Thursday on multiple offenses, including illegally prescribing opioids, billing for unnecessary treatments, identity theft, and money laundering. 

Lisa Autry

Veterans advocates say the hard part has just begun as Bowling Green seeks to open the state’s fifth veterans nursing home. 

Officials from the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs offered a sobering update Tuesday to area lawmakers and veterans at the American Legion Post in Bowling Green. 

During this year’s General Assembly session, lawmakers authorized $10 million in state funding for a 90-bed skilled nursing facility, but the money hasn’t actually been appropriated.

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Efforts to repeal a controversial tax increase by Daviess County public schools have fallen short. 

School board members voted in May to levy a nickel tax to help fund construction of a new Daviess County Middle School and renovations to Apollo High School. 

Opponents failed to collect enough signatures on a petition by the June 30 deadline to force a special election to recall the tax.

The projects would cost a combined total of about $50 million.

Lisa Autry

A new partnership between a Bowling Green health care provider and local farmers is getting fresh produce in the hands of low-income patients with chronic medical conditions.  

Under a program called Farmacy, some patients at Fairview Community Health Center will get a prescription for free fresh fruits and vegetables at one of the local farmers markets.

To be eligible, patients' income must fall below 100 percent of the federal poverty level and they must have at least one of the following conditions: diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

Kentucky ranks 34th in the nation in overall child well-being, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The 2017 Kids Count Data Book shows the commonwealth ranking even lower in the category of economic well-being at 39th among states. Terry Brooks with Kentucky Youth Advocates says poverty remains the state’s most persistent challenge for children.

"Unless and until we begin to attack poverty in an intentional and long-term manner, we're just nibbling at the edges of every other sector connected to kids," Brooks told WKU Public Radio.

The Bowling Green Independent School District has approved a tax increase for city residents to help renovate its aging high school. 

A nickel tax was passed unanimously at the BGISD Board of Education meeting Monday night.  It will raise property taxes from 78.1 cents per $100 of assessed property value to 83.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

The tax increase is expected to generate more than $11 million toward the $60 million renovation.

The Kentucky State Police agency is holding town hall meetings across the state in an effort to boost recruitment numbers that have declined in recent years. 

The meetings will highlight some new requirements aimed at attracting a larger pool of applicants.  Aspiring troopers were once required to have 60 hours of college credit and two years of active duty service as a soldier or police officer. 

"There's a lot of young men who come out of school and go to work on the family farm or straight into the workforce," said Trooper BJ Eaton.  "Out east or west, we have a lot of young men who follow in family footsteps and go to work in the coal mines, so they wouldn't have those minimum requirements that we've always required."

Lisa Autry

A new partnership will give some Western Kentucky University students a direct path to medical school without having to leave Warren County. 

Ground was broken Tuesday next to the Bowling Green-based Medical Center for a four-year regional medical school through the University of Kentucky. 

Dr. Don Brown will be the Assistant Dean of the UK College of Medicine at the Bowling Green campus.  He says the hope is to alleviate a physician shortage in Kentucky.

"There's studies that show if you do a residency in a state, you're more likely to stay in that state," Brown told WKU Public Radio.  "We believe if you do undergraduate here, then medical school, and a residency, the chances are very good that you'll stay in the state."

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The Kentucky School Boards Association says it has some questions about an executive order by Governor Matt Bevin. 

The order creates a Charter Schools Advisory Council that will help implement charters for the first time in the commonwealth. 

“The historic charter school legislation passed during this year’s General Assembly session represents a truly momentous step forward in providing quality choices for Kentucky’s most vulnerable students,” said Gov. Bevin in a statement. “This advisory council will play a vital role in ensuring the success of this exciting new educational option. Public charter schools will create the promise of real opportunity for young people and their families where hope does not currently exist.”

Charter school legislation signed into law by Governor Bevin says local school boards and the mayors of Louisville and Lexington would be the primary authorizers of charter schools.

A petition is circulating in Daviess County that would recall a nickel tax approved by the local school board.  The nickel tax is the equivalent of 5.7 cents per $100 of assessed property. 

The tax increase would be used to renovate Apollo High School and build a new Daviess County Middle School.  Both projects have been deemed essential by the Kentucky Department of Education.

The recall effort is being spearheaded by former county commissioner Gary Boswell.

"I'm hearing that most people don't want their taxes increased for any purpose right now," Boswell told WKU Public Radio.  "Not that there's ever a good time to raise taxes, but incomes are not going up as high as taxes."

A Warren County grand jury has indicted seven men in relation to a fight at a fraternity house at Western Kentucky University, according to a news release from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office.

Six of the seven defendants are WKU football players and the other is a former player.  They include Quinton Baker, Xavier Lane, Tyler Obee, Cecil Stallings, Andrew O’Bryan, Jachour Pearson, and Christopher Johnson. 

The men are accused of unlawfully entering the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house on March 5 where four of them allegedly assaulted an individual.  In a report by the Bowling Green Police Department, the victim was identified as Jerald Armfield, a Pike alumnus. 

Lisa Autry

A Kentucky congressman says he’s convinced that Russia tried to interfere in this country’s presidential election. 

However, Representative Brett Guthrie says there is no evidence that President Donald Trump was involved.

"There's no evidence at all of any collusion between what Russia did, or attempted to do, and the Trump administration," stated Guthrie.  "That's what the special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into, but my point is let's not create facts before they exist."

In a speech to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club Wednesday, Congressman Guthrie said he thinks Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails which proved embarrassing for Hillary Clinton's campaign.

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