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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Politics
8:42 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Kentucky Governor Talks Legislative Priorities, Including Tax Reform, Hemp, and Gambling

Gov. Steve Beshear

The 2013 Kentucky General Assembly reconvenes February 5 to take up some major pieces of legislation. Lisa Autry spoke with Governor Steve Beshear about his priorities for the session. The two discussed state pension reform, the prospects of legalizing industrial hemp, Beshear's stance on increasing gambling in the commonwealth, and other topics.

On the subject of casino gambling legislation, Gov. Beshear told WKU Public Radio he isn't optimistic such a bill will pass in this year's General Assembly. The session is only 30 days, leaving little time for the much-discussed issue.

Unlike in the past, however, the Governor says future casino discussions may not focus just on the horse industry. Past legislation called for placing casinos at the state's racetracks, but Beshear says there isn't enough support that idea in the legislature.

He says he's willing to look at having free-standing casinos in the Bluegrass State. Opponents of expanded gaming say the state shouldn't depend on gambling to raise revenue, and some question what they consider overly-optimistic projections of how much money more gaming would really bring to the Bluegrass State.

Business
12:00 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Tax Season Opens Jan. 30, Slighty Behind Schedule

The Internal Revenue Service will begin accepting tax returns Jan. 30. The IRS had planned to open tax season on Jan. 22, but had to push back the date because of last-minute tax changes Congress made to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. 

Kentucky IRS spokesman Luis Garcia says the agency has had to re-program its computers and forms to reflect the late changes. 

"A lot of work, but we want to make sure the filing season runs as smooth as possible," Garcia replies.  The majority, 81% of people in Kentucky get a refund and we want to make sure that money gets sent as quickly as possible."

Despite the late start to tax season, the filing deadline remains April 15th.  This isn't the first time the IRS has had to deal with late action by Congress.  Two years ago, President Obama and lawmakers were at odds on many of the same issues.  That delayed the opening of tax season to mid-February.

Economy
2:45 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Kentuckians Can Benefit from National Foreclosure Settlement

The state Attorney General's Office says Friday is the last day for Kentuckians to file a claim to receive a payment under the national mortgage settlement.  Thousands of borrowers who lost their homes between 2008 and 2011 may be eligible to receive a payment.

The nation's five largest mortgage servicers agreed to the settlement with the federal government and 49 state attorneys general last year. 

"Basically this settlement settles claims by the attorneys general that during the housing crisis and foreclosure crisis in the United States, these banks had allegedly engaged in fraudulent behavior which included robo signing documents that it filed with the court," said Allison Martin, a spokeswman for the Kentucky Attorney General's Office.

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Business
10:17 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Kentucky AG: Constitutional Amendment Needed to Enact Local Option Sales Tax

The mayors of Lexington and Louisville believe Kentucky needs a local option sales tax to stay competitive. The tax is levied temporarily to finance public infrastructure projects, but an opinion issued this week by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office says voters would first need to approve a constitutional amendment. 

According to the opinion, local governments nor the General Assembly may enact a local option sales tax without changing the state constitution. The Courier-Journal reports the opinion was requested by the Louisville Metro Council. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray want counties to be able to locally increase the statewide sales tax and use the additional revenue for public projects.  Voters would have to approve the tax and the projects it would fund in a local referendum.

In an opinion issued Monday by Attorney General Jack Conway, the first step would be amending the state constitution.

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Regional
5:00 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Husband Charged in Death of Henderson Guidance Counselor, Coach

Steven Cotter
Credit Henderson County Jail

Nearly eight months after a western Kentucky guidance counselor and coach was killed, her husband is now formally charged with murder.  A Henderson County grand jury last week indicted 36-year-old Steven Cotter on a charge of wanton murder.

Michelle Cotter was fatally shot in her home on May 15th 2012, the last day of the school year in Henderson county where she was a dance instructor.  The 38-year-old Cotter was also the guidance counselor at College View Middle School in Daviess County.

According to police, the morning of her death, Michelle's husband, Steven Cotter, called 911.  When officers arrived, they found Michelle with a gunshot wound to the chest and her husband in the home with a firearm.

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Business
5:00 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Return of the Stingray: GM Unveils Bowling Green-Made 2014 Corvette

2014 Stingray Corvette
Credit gm.com

The next generation Corvette is no longer a secret. With much fanfare, General Motors unveiled a revamped Corvette in Detroit Sunday night, the first new version of the iconic sports car in nine years.

"This car is all new from the ground up and it's absolutely the best performance car we know how to engineer and build," said General Motors North America President Mark Reuss. "I will eagerly put this car up against any of the top performance cars in the world. In terms of design, technology, and performance, this car is second to none."

The 2014 model, so new that it shares only two parts with the current model, picks up cues from the 1963 Stingray. It's described as the most powerful standard model ever, but GM promises it will be the most fuel-efficient Corvette. At the unveiling in Detroit, Reuss offered kudos to the Bowling Green plant for bringing the car the life.

"A few weeks ago we traveled to Bowling Green and drove the first cars made at the plant. Their commitment made this Corvette worthy of the Stingray name once again," praised Reuss.

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Business
4:44 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Bowling Green GM Plant Awaits Big Reveal of Next Generation Corvette

A previous model of the Corvette. The 2014 model will be unveiled Sunday in Detroit.
Credit gm.com

This weekend has been a long time coming for Corvette enthusiasts.  General Motors will unveil the next generation car on Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  The reveal couldn't be more exciting for Dave Tatman, manager of the Bowling Green GM plant where the new model will be produced.

"We've had people from the Bowling Green assembly plant traveling to Detroit for almost three years now working with engineers in Detroit side by side on this car," says Tatman.

The 2014 Corvette will go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, and Tatman says the car is literally all new.

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Regional
10:14 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Kentucky Courts Will Hear Case Against Oxycontin Maker

The Kentucky Attorney General's Office has won a round in a lawsuit against a major drug manufacturer.  The state is suing Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin, alleging the company lied about the addictive nature of the drug.  Purdue Pharma wanted the lawsuit against them heard in federal court in New York, but an appeals court has returned the case to Kentucky.

"I am relishing getting that company in front of a jury in Pike County to talk about what they have done in the way they have marketed this particular type of painkiller," says Attorney General Jack Conway.

Conway says Purdue Pharma helped fuel an epidemic of prescription drug abuse across Kentucky.  He expects the trial to result in a big recovery for the state that can go toward treatment for addiction.

Health
12:03 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Owensboro Hospital in Need of More Doctors

Owensboro Medical Health System
Credit OMHS

Based on a study, the Owensboro region needs additional primary care physicians. Owensboro Medical Health System is recruiting  two dozen doctors this year to meet the needs of the hospital's service area in western Kentucky and southern Indiana.

The local economy stands to benefit. 

OMHS spokesman Gordon Wilkerson says physician recruitment is much like starting a small business. 

"A physician is going to, just by effect, bring patients and that creates jobs in other areas like nurses, x-ray technicians, pharmacists, and so forth," said Wilkerson.

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Regional
10:15 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Kentucky School Shooter Loses Bid to Withdraw Guilty Plea

Credit Kentucky News Network

The man who shot and killed three classmates at a Paducah High School in 1997 has lost a bid to withdraw his guilty plea. The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cinncinati ruled Thursday that 29-year-old Michael Carneal could have acted sooner to seek a new trial.  The unanimous opinion upholds a 2011 ruling by a federal judge who denied Carneal’s request.

Carneal shot into a prayer circle at Heath High School in Paducah, killing three classmates and wounding five others. 

Attorneys for Carneal, who was 14 at the time of the shooting, argued he was mentally unfit to accept responsibility for the crime. Carneal pled guilty in 1998 and did not ask to withdraw the plea until 2009. 

The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office argued the appeal was not timely and therefore his conviction and life sentence should stand.

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