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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Gregory Bourke

A decision this week by the Boy Scouts of America to allow same-sex leaders has a Louisville man ready to serve.

Greg Bourke was the leader of his son’s troop for 11 years before he was forced out for being openly gay. That was three years ago.  This week, the organization ended its ban on gay adult leaders.  Bourke says it was time. 

"This organization has been around for 105 years and any organization that is going to survive that long has to be willing change with the times," Bourke told WKU Public Radio.

Bourke plans to re-apply for Boy Scout leadership and is cautiously optimistic. The new policy gives troops affiliated with religious organizations the freedom to choose leaders that fit their beliefs. 

Bourke’s troop is chartered by the Catholic church he attends and he says the church itself has been supportive.  The decision, though on whether he’ll be allowed back as a troop leader, will come from the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Barren County Detention Center

A former Barren County magistrate was arrested early Thursday morning and charged with terroristic threatening, assault, and menacing. 

According to the arrest citation, Chris Steward is accused of twisting the wrist of an 18-year-old member of his family and waving a knife at her. 

His wife told police she felt her life was threatened when Steward made the statement that “he would go to a funeral before he would go through another divorce.” 

Steward was arrested at his home in Park City around 2:00 am Thursday.  He was taken to the Barren County Detention Center and later released on bond. 

Steward is due in court on August 10.

Nelson County Sheriff's Office

A search and recovery team from the Louisville Metro Police Department is back at work Wednesday in Nelson County. 

Authorities won’t say what they are looking for, but Sherry Ballard suspects the search is for her daughter Crystal Rogers, who’s been missing for nearly a month.

"It's hard because we're praying that we find something just to know where she's at, and at the same time, we're praying we don't find nothing, because we know if we find something here, it's not going to be the outcome we're looking for," Ballard told WKU Public Radio.

The lake is not far from Rogers’ boyfriend’s family farm where she was last seen July 3.  Two days later, her car was found with a flat tire on the Bluegrass Parkway in Nelson County.  

Jenean Hampton

The Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame will announce the 2015 class of inductees Wednesday. 

Among them is Kentucky’s Republican nominee for lieutenant governor.  Jenean Hampton of Bowling Green joined the Air Force after graduating from high school in Detroit.

"I was one of the only people in my class who did not to go to work for one of the big three automakers," Hampton told WKU Public Radio.  "I wanted to do something more important than make cars so I joined the Air Force instead as a computer systems officer."

Hampton spent seven years in the Air Force, which included a deployment to Desert Storm. 

She will join 24 other veterans in a formal induction ceremony in Frankfort in September. 

Hampton is on a ticket headed by GOP gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin.  They will face Democratic nominee Jack Conway and his running mate Sannie Overly in the November election.

The Bardstown community has launched a social media campaign to help in the search for a missing woman.  Crystal Rogers hasn’t been seen in three weeks.  

Local businesswoman Mary Taylor decided to challenge other businesses in the area to purchase shirts that read “Pray for Crystal.”  Business owners then take pictures of their employees wearing the shirts and post them on social media. 

Taylor said it's important to keep Rogers' name alive.

The goal of the campaign is to raise $100,000 to place in a trust fund for Rogers’ five children.

"We just got to thinking about the financial cost of raising five kids while they're searching for their mother, and however the case ends up, how large that cost would be for grandparents and other family members over the next however many years, for five children," Taylor told WKU Public Radio.

Rogers' car was found abandoned on the Bluegrass Parkway with a flat tire. 

Her boyfriend was the last person to see her on July 3.  He took a polygraph but the results were inconclusive.

Somerset Police Department

The Somerset Police Department will soon have an extra set of eyes in the sky. 

According to the FAA, it’s the first law enforcement agency in Kentucky to receive federal approval to fly an unmanned aircraft. 

Captain Shannon Smith said it should not be confused with a military-type drone.

"It's not a spy plane as some people have called it," Smith told WKU Public Radio.  "It's designed as an aerial photography platform and that's exactly how we intend to put it into play."

The drone will supplement the department’s existing gyroplane.  Smith says the un-manned aircraft will be especially helpful in search and rescues.  It could also be used in criminal investigations to gather evidence, though police would still need to obtain search warrants. 

The aircraft is expected to be off the ground by the end of summer.

An effort is underway in Owensboro to help prevent drunk driving. 

A program called SafeRide provides free rides to people who have consumed too much alcohol at restaurants and bars, or any venue that serves alcoholic beverages. 

One of the architects of the program is City Commissioner Bob Glenn who says the service is needed in Owensboro which is home to four colleges.

"We have lots of young people with a social life," Glenn told WKU Public Radio.  "We have a convention center with thousands of guests every week attending events where alcohol is served, and we're a city that has a lot of festivals where alcohol is served."

Businesses can purchase $10 vouchers that can be given out to customers who are intoxicated.  The vouchers can be used for a free cab ride home.  The city partnering with Yellow Cab, but hopes to add other taxi companies and a limo service in the future. 

One restaurant is already participating and Glenn expects more to come on board by the end of summer.

The program does not use taxpayer dollars, and is instead, funded through voucher sales and private donations.

An eastern Kentucky man has been sentenced to life in prison for the overdose death of a woman. 

It's the first time in Kentucky that a life sentence was imposed in an overdose death involving prescription drugs. 

Fifty-five-year-old Terry Smith, of Manchester, was accused of giving oxycodone pills to Patty Smallwood in 2011.  She went to sleep and never woke up.  A toxicology report following her death showed four times the therapeutic level of the painkiller in her system. 

U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said the sentence should send a message to prescription drug dealers.

"They are not only putting the lives of their customers or victims at risk, but they're putting their own freedom at risk," Harvey told WKU Public Radio.

Smith ran a large-scale drug trafficking ring in eastern Kentucky.  He would recruit addicts to travel to out-of-state pill mills to obtain prescriptions painkillers.  The individual then gave the pills to Smith, who kept a portion for himself and divided the rest among the people who made the trip.

Because of Smith's criminal history, he received a mandatory life sentence under federal law.

Kentucky Department of Parks

The Kentucky Department of Parks will no longer sell merchandise featuring the Confederate battle flag at park gift shops.

The policy is modeled after one recently established by the National Park Service in the wake of the church shootings last month in South Carolina.

"We're doing it because we want our parks to be welcoming to all people and we feel like this is a step in the right direction," Department of Parks Spokesman Gil Lawson told WKU Public Radio.

Under the policy, already in effect, items such as caps and shirts bearing the Confederate emblem are banned from gift shops.  There are some exceptions, including items featuring both the U.S. and Confederate battle flags, and educational material such as books and DVDs.

The ban will primarily affect gift shops at three sites that feature Civil War history: the Jefferson Davis Birthplace, the Perryville Battlefield, and the Columbus-Belmont State Park.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear plans to issue an executive order on Wednesday that confirms the state’s existing policy toward arming National Guard members. 

The order comes nearly a week after five servicemen were shot to death in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

Through the executive order, Governor Beshear will reiterate that Kentucky already has security procedures in place to protect guard members at armories, recruiting stations, and training facilities. 

"We anticipated these kinds of possibilities, and some time ago, we already instituted the protections that states like Indiana and others just created," Beshear told WKU Public Radio.

Before the Chattanooga shootings, Kentucky already allowed Guard members to carry weapons while on duty with approval from their commanding officer.  In addition, Guard members are allowed to carry concealed weapons as long as they have a state permit. 

While Governor Beshear is confident of the measures already in place, his executive order instructs Kentucky’s adjutant general to take whatever steps he feels are needed to secure military facilities.