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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Education
9:17 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Special Needs Kentuckians Eligible for Retroactive Diplomas

Kentucky high school graduates with special needs may now request an alternative high school diploma from their local board of education. 

State Senator Dennis Parrett of Elizabethtown sponsored legislation last year to give students who finished a modified curriculum an alternative diploma. Until then, they were given only a certificate of attainment. 

Under a change that took effect in January, special needs students who graduated before the law took affect, may now retroactively request an alternative high school diploma. 

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Education
4:49 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Southern Kentucky School System in Line for State Takeover

The State Board of Education will meet in special session Wednesday to consider taking over management of a southeast Kentucky school system. The Monticello Independent school district has waived its right to appeal a state takeover. The problems plaguing Monticello schools are not academic.

A financial analysis by the Kentucky Department of Education finds enrollment is declining while expenditures remain too high for the size of the district. 

A revenue forecast dated January 7 of this year estimates the general fund for Monticello will end the current school year with a negative balance of more than a million dollars. Additionally, the state last month had to advance over  $700,000 to Monticello to continue operating and make payroll.

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Agriculture
10:36 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Hemp Prospects Dim in Kentucky House

A measure legalizing industrial hemp in Kentucky sailed through the state Senate last week, but a more skeptical audience awaits the bill in the House. 

Industrial hemp once thrived in Kentucky, but the crop has been banned for decades since the federal government classified it as a controlled substance related to marijuana.  Hemp supporters say it re-emergence can help farmers and create jobs turning its seeds and fibers into products. 

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, however, says supporters still have not made a convincing case.

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Education
3:02 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

WKU Expands MBA Program to Elizabethtown

Starting this fall, WKU’s Elizabethtown campus will offer a Masters of Business Administration. Students will be able to choose from three tracks:  the full-time, online, or professional MBA.

The Professional MBA was created to meet the scheduling needs of busy adults by meeting on alternate Saturdays for two years. The program is open to professionals, business owners, and managers with five years of experience. 

WKU’s PMBA program recently placed in the top 5 percent nationally on the standardized exit exam for graduates of MBA programs. 

“This top ranking proves that we have an excellent faculty, an applied curriculum, and a cohort program that works,” said Bob Hatfield, associate dean of WKU's Gordon Ford College of Business.

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Agriculture
8:04 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Kentucky Senators McConnell, Paul Co-Sponsor Hemp Bill

Legislation to allow hemp farming is moving on both the state and federal levels.  The Kentucky Senate has given its approval, and now a bill in Washington seeks to lift a federal ban on the crop. 

Republican senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky have joined Oregon Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden in co-sponsoring a bill that would allow farmers to cultivate and profit from industrial hemp.  Specifically, the bill would remove hemp from the Schedule One controlled substance list, and would define it as a non-drug. 

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Arts & Culture
3:00 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Merle Haggard to Headline Owensboro's 2013 R.O.M.P

Credit International Bluegrass Music Museum

Country music legend Merle Haggard will headline this year's Romp Festival near Owensboro. The three-day bluegrass festival is held as a fundraiser for the International Bluegrass Music Museum.  Marketing Director Danny Clark says Haggard is sure to please with a mix of country and bluegrass.

"I'm really glad he's coming because he has such a tie-in with bluegrass music. A lot of people know he actually recorded a bluegrass albumn a couple of years ago and had a lot of great performers on there with him,” says Clark.

The 76-year-old Haggard will be joined at ROMP by other legends like The Del McCoury Band and Sam Bush. This year's festival will be June 27th through 29th at Yellow Creek Park. The full lineup of performers and ticket information is available online at RompFest.com.

Business
1:23 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Western Kentucky Miners Join Protest of Coal Company's Bankruptcy

Union-backed coal miners in Kentucky and surrounding states are protesting a coal company’s bankruptcy proceedings they say jeopardizes pension and health care benefits for some 20-thousand retirees and dependents. Miners were picketing Wednesday outside Peabody Energy’s headquarters in St. Louis.

Two charter buses bound for St. Louis left early Wednesday morning from western Kentucky to join the protest led by the United Mine Workers of Amercia.

Peabody Energy is one of the nation’s largest coal companies and one of the companies the union accuses of orchestrating business deals that bankrupted Patriot Coal.

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Education
2:38 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

State of the Union Address Will Recognize Former Technical Education Student from Kentucky

Brad Henning
Credit Atlas Machine/John Fitzgerald

When President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday night, a former Kentucky student will be sitting in the audience. Breckinridge County native Brad Henning will be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama.  

The State of the Union speech will  emphasize the importance of training workers with skills that lead directly to good jobs in industries such as advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and information technology. The president is expected to recognize Henning, who as a journeyman machinist. 

The 23-year-old’s career started as a student at Breckinridge County High School when a teacher got him interested in taking a machining class at the Breckinridge Area Technology Center. By his senior year, Henning worked as a co-op student with Atlas Manufacturing of Louisville, and by graduation, he was offered a full-time job.

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Politics
1:48 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell Wants to Hear Sequester Solution in State of the Union Address

Washington’s top-ranking Republican is urging President Obama to offer solutions to avoid automatic spending cuts during his State of the Union address tonight.  Unless Congress and the White House strike a deal by March first, more than a trillion dollars will be cut from both domestic and defense spending over ten years. 

In a floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is also urged the president to address what he calls the real consequences of Obamacare.

"I could stand here and tell you that Republicans warned about most of these things until we were hoarse. That we saw it all coming and said so: the higher costs, the higher premiums, the tax hikes, the lost jobs, and the potential for millions to lose their plans. The President dismissed all that, and he got his legislative win," said McConnell in a Senate floor speech.

Aides to President Obama say the speech will be heavy on the economy, while also focusing on withdrawal from Afghanistan and the current debate over guns.  WKU Public Radio will air live coverage of the State of the Union address and the Republican response starting at 8pm central, 9pm eastern time.

Education
12:43 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

WKU Regional Campus Directors Given New Titles

Formerly referred to as directors, Dr. Sally Ray in Glasgow, Dr. Ron Stephens in Elizabethtown and Dr. Gene Tice in Owensboro are now Regional Chancellors. 

“These leaders play a critical role in their respective communities and are responsible for providing access to higher education and driving up the number of degree holders in their regions,” said President Gary Ransdell,  in a statement to WKU Public Affairs. 

“They are active in their communities, work closely with the presidents of the other postsecondary institutions and education leaders in the region and are engaged with academic leadership on the main campus in Bowling Green. I believe the title of Regional Chancellor demonstrates our recognition that our regional campuses are critical to our mission and that these leaders operate with a high level of independence and accountability," said Dr. Ransdell.

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