Lisa Autry


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

Seven Republican Kentucky House members are asking the state to look into how taxpayer funds are used by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

The lawmakers have mailed the state Auditor and Treasurer a letter asking for an audit of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

According to a statement from the Cabinet, health departments in Louisville and Lexington received about $330,000 in federal funds this fiscal year for Planned Parenthood services.

Republican Representative Tim Moore of Hardin County says if the state refuses to audit the group’s funding, he’ll sponsor a bill to halt all taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood.

"The General Assembly, to our understanding, has never approved that kind of expenditure that would support Planned Parenthood, and that has not been forthcoming," Moore told WKU Public Radio.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services says all public funds that support Planned Parenthood were approved by lawmakers in the last two-year budget.

The GOP request for an audit comes as abortion opponents continue to criticize Planned Parenthood’s family planning services. The group says those services are vital for low-income women, and points out federal law prohibits taxpayer money to fund abortions.

Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport

Aviation students in the Owensboro region can complete their degrees and receive training without ever leaving home under a new program between Owensboro Community and Technical College and Eastern Kentucky University. 

Under the agreement, students will take their first two years of classes at OCTC and complete their bachelor’s degree at EKU online.  They’ll then have hands-on training at the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport. 

EKU’s Director of Aviation Ralph Gibbs says programs like this will fill a real need.

"There's a forecast demand of pilots over the next 20 years that is 500,000," Gibbs told WKU Public Radio.  "That's such an astronomical number that even if I had the next 20 years to create new pilots at the Richmond campus, it wouldn't even put a dent in it."

EKU has similar agreements with community and technical colleges in Hazard, Middlesboro, and Ashland.

Kentucky Attorney General's Office

A for-profit college in Kentucky has agreed to pay more than $1 million in a settlement with former students.  Multiple lawsuits accused Owensboro-based Daymar College of enrolling students through bogus claims about job placement and transfer credits. 

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway sued Daymar College, alleging the school violated consumer protection laws.  Former students claimed in lawsuits that they were deceived about the quality of Daymar’s degree programs and were left deep in debt with few career opportunities. 

The total settlement is for $12.4 million, and requires Daymar to pay $1.2 million to qualified students who attended the school between 2006 and 2011. 

At a news conference Thursday, Conway acknowledged the amount is only a small portion of the tens of thousands of dollars in loan debt incurred by students.

"We wanted to get as much as we could for the students in this affected period," said Conway.  "It's not all that we wanted.  I'll readily acknowledge that, but based on Daymar's financial situation, we really thought that it was the best we could get."

Under the deal, Daymar denies any wrongdoing, but Conway said the settlement speaks for itself.

"I've practiced law and been attorney general for seven and a half years," he added.  "You don't agree to a settlement worth 12 and a half million dollars, as well as strong injunctive terms for two years with a compliance monitor if you didn't do anything wrong."

Daymar will also forgo collection of $11 million in debt owed it by former students.  The school had no immediate comment.

For-profit colleges are under scrutiny across the nation for low graduation rates and enrolling students who are unable to pay their bills.

Funtown Mountain Facebook

The future of an amusement park in south central Kentucky looks grim as the owner faces legal troubles.  Officials have closed Funtown Mountain just off I-65 in Cave City because of safety violations. 

Cave City Police Chief Jeff Wright says much of the park has been destroyed since owner and Louisville businessman Will Russell announced publicly that he was giving away some of the property.

"The bottom building where the gift shop used to be is ransacked.  Everything is broken, torn out.  Everything that used to be inside the building like ice cream machines, coke machines, they've all just been thrown out in the parking lot," Wright told WKU Public Radio.  "In all my law enforcement career, I've never seen anything like this happen.  To be honest with you, it's just been an embarrassment to the city of Cave City as far as I'm concerned."

Russell himself has caused some of the destruction, claiming it was a form of art. 

Russell made the following statement on the Funtown Mountain Facebook page Wednesday:

"When we acquired the property in June, there were buildings and warehouses full of old stock and souvenirs that we could never use," wrote Russell.  "This is why we decided to let the people of Kentucky have these items for free. This has created some good will towards the project and inexplicably some animosity from a small group of opposing voices."

The post also noted that Russell is taking some time to execute plans for Funtown Mountain and that he intends on it being a full-time amusement park by spring 2016.

Russell has been arrested twice since July and is facing drug and alcohol charges. 

Russell purchased the old Guntown Mountain property and re-opened it in June as Funtown Mountain.  He received a $250,000 loan from the Kentucky Tourism Development Land Program and raised more than $26,000 through an online campaign.

A substitute teacher for Bowling Green city schools will remain in jail on child pornography charges.  A detention hearing was held Friday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green. 

Leon Lussier was arrest Tuesday on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography.  He was denied bond by Magistrate Judge Brent Brennenstuhl who said the 49-year-old Lussier posed a risk of harm. 

An international investigation launched by Canadian police alleges Lussier was streaming child pornography videos.  Authorities says a search of his Bowling Green home uncovered videos of children engaged in sex acts.

Lussier has worked as a substitute teacher in Bowling Green schools since 2012.  Following his arrest, the school system placed Lussier on indefinite suspension. 

He will return to court September 23 for arraignment.

Lisa Autry

The National Corvette Museum marked a milestone Thursday when it celebrated the reopening of the Skydome, the site of a massive sinkhole collapse on February 12, 2014. 

Eight prized cars fell into the 45-foot hole and most suffered extensive damage. 

Executive Director Wendell Strode thanked the community for its support throughout the ordeal.

"While we had a disastrous situation, everybody worked together and we're back better than ever, stronger than ever, more united than ever," Strode told WKU Public Radio.  "It's just a great day."

Construction Manager Mike Murphy of Murphy, Scott, and Daniel reflected on the past 18 months and said each phase of reconstruction had its challenges.

"Initially, it was how to get all the cars out safely with the structure in the condition it was in, so it was two-fold," Murphy explained.  "We had to secure everything first to bring the heavy equipment in, and then extract the cars, and of course a lot of them weren’t intact. This was the first big challenge."

The repair work took the Skydome from three levels to one, which created more display space. 

A substitute teacher for the Bowling Green Independent School District is under arrest on child pornography charges. 

A letter that went out Wednesday to staff and parents says Leon Lussier was suspended from employment indefinitely while he is under federal investigation. 

According to Superintendent Gary Fields, Lussier passed background checks before he was hired in 2012.

"On all of our employees, we do state and federal criminal background checks," Fields told WKU Public Radio.  "There were no red flags on those reports, as well as professional references that applicants have to complete, as well."

Fields said the 49-year-old Lussier has worked in all schools buildings in the district, but there’s no indication any of his victims were students.  It's also unlikely that Lussier received or viewed images while on school grounds.

"Our substitute teachers do not have access to logging into the computers or have any access to technology while they're in the building," explained Fields.

Lussier holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees and has been in education since 1998. 

He was arrested at his home Tuesday and taken to the Warren County Regional Jail.  Lussier is scheduled to appear Friday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green.

A district judge in Warren County has agreed to serve a one-month suspension from the bench following an investigation by the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission. 

The probe found that Judge Sam Potter, Junior’s alcohol dependency affected his job performance.  According to the commission, he appeared in court disheveled and engaged in erratic behavior. 

Potter’s attorney Charles English said while public officials are held to a higher standard, anyone call fall victim to alcohol addiction.

"Even judges are subject to this disease," English told WKU Public Radio.  "Judge Potter unfortunately became an alcoholic, but he's gone through a treatment program now, and fortunately he's cured."

Judge Potter returned to the bench July 1, and English says he has been performing admirably.  Under an agreement with the Judicial Conduct Commission, Potter will serve an unpaid suspension for 30 days beginning December 15.

LRC Public Information

A state lawmaker has pre-filed a bill for the 2016 General Assembly that would give a financial boost to Kentucky’s struggling retirement systems. 

The legislation would stop the sweeping of excess funds from the Public Employees’ Health Insurance Trust Fund into the General Fund. 

Under his bill, Representative Brad Montell, a Shelbyville Republican, said the surplus would instead be used to address the unfunded pension liability.

"We're not talking about small amounts of money here," Montell told WKU Public Radio.  "We're talking about in excess of $160 million, and over time that can make a big difference."

Most recently, the reserve dollars have gone to help fund the state’s heroin law and the road fund.  While they are worthy investments, Montell thinks money placed into an account for the benefit of public employees should be used for that exact purpose. 


The ride-sharing service Uber has come to Bowling Green. 

Uber uses a mobile app to connect people who need rides with available drivers, who use their own cars to carry passengers. 

Telia Butler with the Bowling Green-Warren County Convention and Visitors Bureau took an inaugural ride last week.   She thinks the service will be beneficial to Kentucky’s third largest city.

"In some other conventions and conferences where I've attended elsewhere, this has been a popular way for people to get around at night time when they have free time to go out to dinner or something like that," Butler told WKU Public Radio.  "A lot of people talk about the small town charm we still have here which is very popular, but with these big-city amenities coming, as well, it's making us more progressive in those markets."

Uber was already available in Louisville and Lexington.  Part of its target audience in Bowling Green is WKU students.

Uber has drawn criticism from traditional taxi companies, which have raised questions about the safety and oversight of ride-sharing companies.