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. 

Ways to Connect

Flickr/Creative Commons/Ava Randa

A southern Kentucky education leader is issuing a warning to parents about a controversial new series on Netflix.  The superintendent of Warren County schools is worried about the way the show handles the issue of suicide and young people.

The series “13 Reasons Why” chronicles the suicide of a young woman who leaves behind 13 messages to people in her life that she blamed for her death.  The drama also addresses bullying, substance abuse, rape, and depression. 

Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton says he doesn’t recommend young people viewing the series.

"I do think that if a parent finds that their child is going to watch it, it would be best if they would watch it with them," Clayton told WKU Public Radio.  "The one benefit of that is that it would open up some potential dialogue."

Louisville VA Medical Center

A new veterans medical center in Louisville is another step closer to becoming a reality.  The U.S. Veterans Affairs Administration released its final environmental impact study on Friday.

According to the study, property near Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway is the preferred site to build the hospital that will replace the outdated one on Zorn Avenue.  The study also looked at a location on Factory Lane near I-265. 

The report says there could be negative effects on air quality, noise, utilities, and traffic, but adds that measures can be taken to minimize the environmental impact.

Barren River Area Safe Space

A new Kentucky law removes a barrier that victims of domestic violence often face when making the decision to leave their abuser. 

Lawmakers this session passed a bill that allows those with long-term protective orders to break a rental lease with 30 days notice to their landlord.  Without that protection, victims often stay in abusive homes and relationships. 

Tori Henninger heads Barren River Area Safe Space, a domestic violence shelter in Bowling Green.  She says the legislation will also help prevent financial hardships for the abused.

A former Monroe County physician is headed to prison for over-prescribing pain medicine that resulted in patient deaths. 

Clella Hayes was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Bowling Green. 

In testimony before the court, the 42-year-old mother of two was hailed by her family and colleagues as someone whose life was devoted to serving others.  Her sister, Sarah Higgins, asked for leniency.

"When we were little, all I ever remember hearing her say was that she wanted to become a doctor," Higgins said.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Brent Moore

The city of Bardstown is not expected to venture far in its search for a new mayor.  Councilman Dick Heaton says one of the six council members will likely be appointed to the office in a special meeting Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. 

Heaton says the new mayor will be tasked with moving the city forward, following the ouster of John Royalty.

"That's going to be our priority," Heaton told WKU Public Radio.  "We've got to work to regain the trust and confidence of the people of our community, and also rebuild the morale among employees at city hall."

Royalty was removed from office immediately following a two-day hearing last week.

Western Kentucky University students and faculty have a new funding source to tap into for things like research, travel, and equipment. 

SpiritFunder will allow the public to contribute money to various projects and initiatives at WKU, much like GoFundMe and KickStarter. 

Similar platforms are being implemented at universities across the nation as a way to bring attention to small projects that might otherwise go unfunded.  Typical campaigns will range between $2,ooo and $10,00o.

"When you're talking about two thousand dollars, a gift of five dollars or ten dollars really adds up," said Heather McWhorter, Director of Leadership Annual Giving at WKU.  "Even if you can't make a major gift to the university, you can still make a difference."

Flickr/Creative Commons/Floyd Wilde

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has vetoed a portion of a bill that will help fund a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green. 

Part of the bill would have required the state to pay back bonds supporting the project before it spends money on another debt.  Bevin vetoed that language, saying it sets a bad precedent. 

The bill was co-sponsored by State Representative Michael Meredith.  The Brownsville Republican says the vetoed portion contained language added by a Senate committee.

Phillip Bailey

A new poll suggests Governor Matt Bevin is gaining more approval from Kentuckians after getting off to a rough start early in his tenure. 

The poll by Morning Consult ranked the nation’s most and least popular governors.  Registered voters were questioned from January through March of this year.  Fifty percent of Kentuckians approved of Governor Bevin’s job performance, up from 33 percent in early 2016. 

The same poll ranked Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell as the country’s least popular senator.  Forty-four percent of Kentucky voters said they approved of the 30-year Senate veteran. 

City of Radcliff

Radcliff Mayor Mike Weaver is working with some local entrepreneurs to put together a proposal to build a new veterans hospital in Hardin County. 

Weaver says a new law allowing public-private partnerships would reduce the cost and expedite the construction schedule. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs has estimated its preferred location in Louisville would cost around $900 million and construction would take ten years.  Weaver says some veterans don’t have that long to wait.

"The youngest World War Two veteran is 90, the youngest Korean War veteran is 80, and the youngest Vietnam veteran is 62," Weaver told WKU Public Radio.  "You know and I know that those people can't wait ten years for a hospital."                

Weaver says investment groups would build the hospital under budget and within four years. 

Lisa Autry

The attorney for a man charged in the death of a young Allen County girl wants the trial moved out of the region.

Attorney Travis Lock filed a change of venue request Friday afternoon in Allen Circuit Court on behalf of Timothy Madden.  Lock previously told WKU Public Radio that his client couldn't get a fair trial in Allen County due to publicity surrounding the case.

"I think it's going to be tough to impanel a jury in any contiguous county," stated Lock.  "I'm sure that's something the court will address in due time."

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has approved a three to five percent limit on tuition increases for the upcoming school year. 

During a meeting Friday at Northern Kentucky University, the board said tuition hikes were needed to help schools offset less state funding, as well as increases in operating costs and retirement fund contributions. 

Even with the additional tuition revenue, campuses will face an $11.5 million shortfall for the 2017-18 year.

CPE President Bob King said it’s important to consider the net price of going to college as opposed to the sticker price.

"Even though the sticker prices go up, the net price to our students actually over the last five years has been relatively flat," King told WKU Public Radio.  "That's because the campuses have been able to provide significant amounts of financial aid, either through tuition discounts or scholarships."

David Brinkley

Kentucky is making progress in addressing a backlog of untested rape kits.  A 2015 audit revealed the commonwealth had more than three-thousand untested kits, which include physical evidence collected from sexual assault victims. 

Attorney General Andy Beshear says about 1,500 of those kits have now been examined and the DNA entered into a national crime database.

"We have active investigations going on right now," Beshear told WKU Public Radio.  "The hits suggests there is at least one serial rapist that has been identified and this is an absolute critical step that we are going to follow through with until every single victim has their kit tested."

Kentucky Court of Justice

The Logan County Justice Center is expected to reopen this afternoon following a suspected bomb threat. 

A bailiff who was opening up the building Monday morning noticed what appeared to be an explosive device strapped to the rear door of the justice center. 

The Kentucky State Police’s Hazardous Devices Unit determined the device was a hoax.

The threat was reported before the justice center opened for business, and no evacuations were necessary.  Some nearby streets were closed as a precaution but have since reopened.

Lisa Autry

The parents of a young Scottsville girl murdered in 2015 are keeping her memory alive by helping students pay for college. 

The Gabbi Doolin Memorial Scholarship Fund was announced Thursday at Allen County-Scottsville High School.  Gabbi was a second-grade student at the Allen County Primary Center when she was killed.  Amy Doolin says her seven-year-old daughter wanted to be a teacher.

"I believe she would have done great at that.  She was very smart.  She loved to read and even do homework," Doolin told WKU Public Radio.  "I believe she would have went to college one day.  We want to give some other child that opportunity to further their education and do it in her memory."

Warren County Sheriff's Office

A 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s department is preparing to become Warren County’s next jailer.  Stephen Harmon will officially take over operations April 11. 

Current Jailer Jackie Strode is retiring March 31 after more than 20 years at the helm.  Harmon says he has big shoes to fill, but is up for the challenge.

"There's about a 100-person staff, around 600 inmates in custody, and then a seven-million-dollar approximate budget, so there's a lot for me to learn," Harmon explained.

Harmon currently serves as the sheriff’s department’s public information officer while also overseeing the dispatch and records units. 

Harmon will serve the remainder of Strode’s term that ends December 31, 2018.  He then plans to run for a full term as jailer.

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