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. 

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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.

A former police officer and school administrator from Grayson County has pleaded guilty to violating federal and state sex abuse laws, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Kentucky. 

Stephen Miller was a police officer in Leitchfield when he resigned from his job following complaints of inappropriate conduct toward women.  The 45-year-old Miller then began working at Bluegrass Challenge Academy, a residential, educational program run by the Kentucky National Guard and located at Fort Knox. 

Miller had supervisory authority over the students.  He pleaded guilty to engaging in abusive sexual conduct with three female students and sodomy with a fourth student.  The incident occurred at the academy over a six-month period in 2013.  Miller faces up to 11 years in prison at his sentencing in November. 

John Smith, who was director of the Bluegrass Challenge Academy, is under indictment for failure to report child abuse.

The Kentucky Department of Education has released the names of the five candidates under consideration for commissioner. The list includes one candidate from Kentucky. 

  • Buddy Berry, superintendent of Eminence Independent Schools in Eminence, Kentucky.
  • Kathleen Airhart, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer for the Tennessee Department of Education 
  • Christopher Koch, interim president of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • Lloyd Martin, chief executive officer for Universal School Solutions, an education consultancy firm
  • Stephen Pruitt, senior vice president at Achieve, Inc., an independent, nonprofit education reform organization. 

The Kentucky Board of Education will meet Friday and Saturday in Lexington to conduct second interviews with each of the five candidates.

The new commissioner will replace current Commissioner Terry Holliday, who is retiring next week.

The board has selected Associate Commissioner and General Counsel Kevin Brown to serve as interim commissioner starting Sept. 1 until a new commissioner can begin.

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he will introduce a constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling when the General Assembly convenes next year. 

Outgoing Governor Steve Beshear has pushed casinos as a way to generate revenue throughout his two terms in office. 

He blames the failed attempts on the Republican-led Kentucky Senate and infighting in the horse industry.

"Many in the horse industry want it limited only to racetracks and they're afraid free-standing casinos will somehow make the racetracks less profitable and there would be less people who would want to go to them," Beshear told WKU Public Radio.

Beshear is hopeful the question of whether to allow casinos will be placed on the ballot for voters to decide in November 2016.  Casino legislation must first clear the Kentucky House and Senate. 

Under Stumbo’s proposal, seven casinos could open statewide and 70 percent of proceeds would benefit education.  Twenty percent would go to the state retirement system, and the remaining 10 percent would go to racetracks.