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’s attorney general is taking another opioid distributor to court.  Andy Beshear has now filed four lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies which he says are responsible for an influx of addictive painkillers into the state. 

In a news conference on Thursday, Beshear announced that he is suing AmerisourceBergen for what he alleges are deceptive business practices that have flooded the commonwealth with opioids.  In the lawsuit filed in Floyd Circuit Court, Beshear accuses the company of violating laws that require pharmaceutical companies to notify law enforcement of suspiciously large volumes of opioids coming into the state.

Creative Commons\Brent Moore

A greeting card manufacturer says it will close its plant in Nelson County early next year, laying off about 450 workers. 

American Greetings Corporation recently lost a major contract which would have cut production at the Bardstown plant by nearly half.  The company decided to close the central Kentucky plant and move that work to two other plants. 

Horse Cave Police Department

No disciplinary action has occurred at the Horse Cave Police Department, a day after the FBI confirmed that the department is the focus of an ongoing federal investigation. 

Hart County Sheriff Boston Hensley told WKU Public Radio that his department and Kentucky State Police have agreed to provide police coverage in Horse Cave on an as needed basis.  However, Trooper Jeremy Hodges, public information officer for KSP, says no Horse Cave police officers are on leave at this time.  Horse Cave City Attorney Pat Ross also said there’s been "no job action." 

Kate Howard, WFPL

A judge has ruled that, despite his case being dismissed, Billy Joe Miles cannot have his record expunged. 

The retired Owensboro businessman and former University of Kentucky Board Chairman was indicted on charges of raping a home health care worker.  However, just before the case went to trial in January, the charges were dropped due to credibility issues with the prosecution’s main witness in the case. 

In making his ruling, the judge sided with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office which acted as special prosecutor on the case.  The AG’s office recommended the case be dismissed “without prejudice,” meaning the government could reopen the case.  It also means the 78-year-old Miles, who is battling dementia, isn’t eligible to have his record expunged. 

Wikimedia Commons

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky spent six figures lobbying members of the General Assembly just in the first month of the 2018 session.  Their efforts are bearing some fruit.

The Kentucky House passed a budget bill Thursday that includes a 50 cent hike in the cigarette tax. 

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is pressing lawmakers to raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by one dollar.  CEO Ben Chandler sees a 50 cent tax increase as an ineffective compromise.  He thinks 50 cents isn’t enough to make smokers give up the habit.

Christian County Detention Center

A new trial date has been set for the Allen County man charged in the brutal death of a young girl more than two years ago.  Timothy Madden returned to court on Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing. 

The capital murder case against the 40-year-old Madden will now go to trial on July 23.  Madden's Attorney Travis Lock questioned whether he could be ready to present his case by then.  The defense attorney said he’s still working to collect mitigation evidence in the event that Madden is found guilty.

Lisa Autry

A state of emergency is in effect for many towns along the Ohio River that are experiencing moderate to severe flooding.  Owensboro is dealing with some of the worst flooding it's seen since 1997.   

Sustained rainfall has led to major flooding in the western Kentucky town, even forcing schools to close Tuesday in Daviess County.  According to the National Weather Service, Owensboro has received around seven inches of rain since last Thursday.

Teachers across Kentucky are giving mixed reviews on a new plan to reform the state’s retirement systems for public sector workers. 

One Warren County teacher credits lawmakers for making compromises, but says the legislation still balances pension reform on the backs of public servants. 

Kim Coomer teaches high school students at the Warren County Area Technology Center.  She praises lawmakers for not forcing current teachers into defined contribution, or 401(k)-style plans.  Coomer says having a guaranteed benefit is important for teachers because they don’t get social security benefits to act as a buffer in retirement.

Warren County Regional Jail

The neighbor charged with attacking U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky will make his first appearance in federal court next month. 

Court documents show Rene Boucher will have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green on March 9.  The 59-year-old Boucher has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of assaulting a member of Congress. 

In a plea deal signed by the retired anesthesiologist, he admitted the attack in November was prompted by an ongoing dispute over yard maintenance.  Senator Paul suffered broken ribs and contracted pneumonia as a result of the injuries. 

Law enforcement agencies in Kentucky say their resources are being strained by a rash of threats against schools following last week’s shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.

Extra security is being added at many schools across the commonwealth where students have threatened violence, most often on social media. 

The Logan County Sheriff's Office posted this warning on its Facebook page Tuesday night:

Sedgwick County Detention Center

The man arrested for a triple homicide in Allen County on Monday had a history of run-ins with the law. 

Edward Dilon Siddens is charged with three counts of murder, theft of an automobile, and violation of an emergency protective order. 

The bodies of his grandparents and an uncle were discovered just outside their home near Barren River Lake Monday morning. 

Seventy-three-year-old Jimmy Siddens, 72-year-old Helen Siddens, and their 41-year-old son Jimmy Siddens II had sustained gunshot wounds.

A 15-year-old male student from Barren County is under arrest after threatening violence on social media. 

A student at Glasgow High School told administrators Friday morning about the online post which showed a fellow student holding a gun and knife.  The photo accompanied what police called troubling and disturbing threats.  Glasgow Police Lt. Jimmy Phelps says the threats, however, weren't specific.

"The threats that were made did not mention a person or a location where these treats would be carried out," Phelps told WKU Public Radio.  "It did not name a school and it did not name anyone."

Lisa Autry

City leaders in Glasgow have signed off on a syringe exchange for intravenous drug users.  The program would allow addicts to swap dirty needles for clean ones at the local health department. 

The measure narrowly passed Monday evening on a 5-4 vote.  Two council members were absent and another abstained from voting.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The Kentucky Democratic Party says pension reform shouldn’t come from a demand letter by wealthy Republican activists. 

The Lexington Herald-Leader first reported that in the letter to members of the General Assembly, the state GOP chairman said any pension changes must include moving future teachers and state workers from a defined benefits system to a defined contribution plan.  The letter was also signed by national anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and Bill Samuels, Jr., chairman emeritus of Makers Mark, among others. 

Traci Peppers Facebook

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has appointed Glasgow Attorney Traci Peppers as the interim family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties.  The vacancy was created when Judge Mitchell Nance resigned over his refusal to hear adoption cases involving gay couples. 

Peppers is a private practice attorney who specializes in family law cases. She formerly served as assistant prosecutor in the Barren and Metcalfe Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.

“It is an honor to serve the children and families in our community, and I promise to work hard for the community that I love," Peppers said in a statement from the governor's office.

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