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
3:19 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Federal Funding Uncertain for Kentucky Road Projects

Road construction projects in Kentucky and the rest of the country will be in jeopardy if Congress doesn’t find a way to replenish the national Highway Trust Fund. 

The fund, which reimburses states for transportation costs, is expected to dry up by late summer.  As a precaution, Transportation Cabinet Spokesman Chuck Wolfe says Kentucky has delayed the start of some projects.

"We had about $195 million worth of contracting work that we would have advertised for bids last month, but did not do so," comments Wolfe.

The Highway Trust Fund has always been funded by the federal gasoline tax, but Congress hasn’t raised the tax since 1993.  Inflation has increased the cost of construction and cars have become more fuel efficient, resulting in shortfalls in the fund.

Wolfe says in the past Congress has tapped into other sources of taxpayer dollars, but has been reluctant in doing so. 

Regional
1:04 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Bowling Green Aviation Enthusiasts Wait for Big Reveal of NASA Jet

The tail of the restored T-38 Talon is shown while parked inside a hangar at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport. The full reveal will come Saturday.
Credit Dan Cherry

An aircraft that played a key role in America’s “Space Race” is preparing to go on display at Bowling Green’s Aviation Heritage Park. 

The supersonic jet, called a T-38 Talon, was used by NASA for training exercises before being retired in 2011. 

“Every man to walk on the moon has flown this T-38," AHP President Jim Wright said in a news release.  "The pedigree of this aircraft is  just phenomenal.”

The now-restored jet was flown by the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts, including Kentucky’s own Terry Willcutt.  The Logan County native and WKU graduate will be on hand for the plane’s reveal this Saturday at the annual Hanger Party, a fundraiser for the Aviation Heritage Park.

"It's going to make a tremendous exhibit for Aviation Heritage Park,  Executive Vice President Dan Cherry told WKU Public Radio.  "It's smaller than the others we have out there, but it's got tremendous curb appeal.  It's really an attractive airplane."

The jet was found in the Arizona desert in March.  It had been sent to storage at an Air Force base in Tucson.

Cockpit restoration on the T-38 Talon will continue over the summer before the storied aircraft takes its place as the fifth addition to the Aviation Heritage Park on Three Springs Road.

Regional
1:40 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Former Therapist at Barren County Clinic Pleads Guilty to Theft, Fraud

A former co-owner of a Barren County mental health treatment center has pleaded guilty to theft and fraud. 

Earlier this year, a Barren County grand jury indicted 36-year-old Jeremy Catron on charges of unlawful taking over $10,000 and engaging in a scheme to defraud the Kentucky Medicaid program.  Catron pleaded guilty Monday to both charges. 

Catron is the former co-owner of Alliance Counseling Associates.  As a therapist, Catron submitted claims to Medicaid for services that were not performed. 

At sentencing in July, prosecutors from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office will recommend five years of probation on the condition Catron pays more than $24,000 in restitution to the Medicaid program.

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.

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