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

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Fifty-three undocumented foreign nationals living in Kentucky were recently arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

An immigration order issued by President Trump in late January said any immigrant living in the country illegally could be up for deportation, but the government has described the arrests as routine. 

Arrests were made last month in Louisville, Lexington, Shelbyville, and Owensboro.  Twenty-two of the 53 illegal immigrants were convicted criminals.  Their convictions included DUI, burglary, drug possession, theft, and wanton endangerment. 

Eleven had been previously deported from the U.S. and illegally re-entered.  Most were from Guatemala and Mexico.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Mickey Champion

As President Trump’s administration ramps up immigration enforcement across the nation, a new report finds that illegal immigrants in Kentucky make significant contributions to the state and local economies. 

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy based in Washington, D.C., says undocumented immigrants pay more than $36 million a year in Kentucky income, property, sales, and excise taxes.

Anna Baumann is a research and policy associate at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.  She says the contributions of illegal immigrants shouldn't be overlooked.

Lisa Autry

Supporters of what's known as a fairness ordinance will lobby the Bowling Green City Commission Tuesday evening. 

Members of the LGBT community and others will speak during a work session following the regular city commission meeting.  No action can be taken, but proponents will be allowed to address city leaders. 

The fairness measure would update the city’s civil rights ordinance to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.  A fairness ordinance would prevent discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. 

Commissioner Slim Nash introduced the ordinance during the commission’s February 21 meeting.  The motion wasn’t seconded and died without any discussion.

Although the Kentucky General Assembly met for only five days in January, lobbyist spending broke a record for the first month of an odd-year session. 

Lobbyists spent $2.1 million in the five days kicking off the session before lawmakers recessed until February.  This year’s total is a 14% increase from the $1.8 million spent in the first month of 2015, the previous odd-year session. 

According to the Legislative Ethics Commission, January 2017 spending almost reached the total spent in January 2016 when lawmakers were in session for the entire month. 

Jacob Ryan

A Bowling Green immigration attorney says many undocumented immigrants in the region are asking if they’ll be impacted by President Trump’s recent executive orders.

Brett Reynolds says it’s a hard question to answer amid court challenges and a lack of consistency in messages coming from Washington.

He’s advising people in the country illegally to lay low for the time being.

"My advice would be to just stay the course, and stay under the radar. Don't call attention to yourself. Don't get a speeding ticket, don't get a DUI. Anything like that is going to put you at risk for being removed fairly expeditiously."

Lisa Autry

Some Kentucky businesses are placing their names on a growing national list of sanctuary restaurants. 

At least ten businesses in the commonwealth have declared themselves sanctuary restaurants, meaning they have zero tolerance racism, sexism, and xenophobia.  The designation also bans harassment against anyone based on their immigrant or refugee status. 

Home Café in Bowling Green has joined the movement.  Owner Josh Poling says restaurants can’t survive without immigrants, documented or undocumented.

Lisa Autry

Bowling Green will not become the next Kentucky city to enact a fairness ordinance that would have banned discrimination against the LGBT community. 

The measure failed during a city commission meeting Tuesday afternoon. 

Supporters of the fairness ordinance chanted ‘shame’ when no other commissioner made a second motion to approve the proposed ordinance introduced by Commissioner Slim Nash. 

The measure would have extended civil rights protections to the LGBT community in areas such as housing and employment.

Bowling Green Fairness Coalition

Update: The effort to pass a fairness ordinance failed to receive a vote at Tuesday's Bowling Green City Commission. You can read about that here.

Original post:

When the Bowling Green City Commission meets Tuesday, it will be a historic moment for members of the LGBT community. 

For the first time, a fairness ordinance will be on the agenda that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone because of their gender identity and sexual orientation. 

Members of the local LGBT community and supporters have spent years making speeches, delivering petitions, and holding rallies in support of extending civil rights protections to individuals based on their gender identity and sexual orientation.  Commissioner Slim Nash is fulfilling a campaign promise by introducing the ordinance. 

“I have come to believe whole-heartedly that there is a problem," Nash told WKU Public Radio.  "I’ve met many people who are willing to share their story with me, but who are reluctant to share their story with the larger public out of fear.”

Nash’s proposal before the Bowling Green City Commission would add lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals to the city's current law that prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, age, color, and nationality.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Adam Theo

A growing movement to amend the U.S. Constitution is making its way to Kentucky.  A group called Convention of States will be in Frankfort Tuesday to lobby members of the General Assembly. 

State Representative Jim DeCesare has filed a resolution on the group’s behalf that calls for a national convention under Article 5 of the Constitution. 

The Warren County Republican says the resolution calls for two amendments.  One would require federal budgets to be balanced, and the other would give states sovereignty from federal mandates.

The Henderson County school system is preparing to begin random drug-testing. 

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, middle and high school students who participate in extra-curricular activities and those applying for a parking permit will be subject to the testing. 

Band Director Adam Thomas says he hopes the new policy will be a deterrent. 

"If they're at a party or something like that and somebody offers them something, we really hope they will say 'What if this is the week I get drawn in the random testing and we've got the big game on Friday or state marching band on Saturday? I don't want to miss out on that because I made one poor decision.'"

National Corvette Museum

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green has named a new curator.  Derek Moore from Garrettsville, Ohio will join the museum staff in early March. 

Moore is currently the curator of transportation history at the Cleveland History Center.  Before that, he held a similar role at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

As curator for the National Corvette Museum, Moore will be responsible for researching  and producing exhibits, as well as planning the acquisition and safekeeping of collection pieces related to Corvette history.

David Osbourne

Twenty-eight years ago, as a Daviess County sheriff’s deputy, David Osbourne went to the home of Darrell Perry to serve an eviction notice.  Perry had never been on the radar of local police, so Osbourne thought serving him with papers would be routine business.

“We didn’t get in an argument inside the house.  He didn’t even raise his voice.  He just said, ‘Why are they doing this to me,'" Osbourne recalled.  "We got back outside by the driveway.  My cruiser was parked behind his car.  I walked to my cruiser.  I didn’t watch him, and the next thing I knew I heard the first shot go off.”

Osbourne was struck four times, including in his back.  The bullet nicked his spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down.  The six-foot, 250-pound shooter then jumped on top of Osbourne.

WKU

Western Kentucky University President Gary Ransdell is preparing to write a new chapter in his higher education career.  Dr. Ransdell will retire from WKU on June 30 after leading the school for two decades. 

Next January, Dr. Ransdell will become president of the Semester at Sea program based in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Every semester, 600 students and 30 faculty members from across the world live and study on a ship that circles the globe. 

Ransdell says heading the program will allow him to continue his passion for global learning.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Floyd Wilde

Supporters of building a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green hope a new feasibility study will help make the project a reality.

The study identified south central Kentucky as the region most in need of a long-term care facility for veterans.  The two closest facilities are in Radcliff and Hanson, each more than 60 miles away from Bowling Green. 

The study looked at the projected veteran population through 2043.  Kentucky is currently home to around 330,000 veterans.  While the number of veterans is expected to decrease by about 80,000 by 2043, Kentucky is expected to see an increase in retired female service members.  Commissioner Norman Arflack in the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs says the need reflects the changing military dynamic.

U.S. Postal Service

Bowling Green postal carriers who work out of the downtown post office will relocate later this month. 

The delivery unit will move to the Scottsville Road location on February 21.  U.S. Postal Service Spokeswoman Susan Wright says there should be few disruptions to service.

"Some customers may notice a slightly different time of day in their regular delivery and that's simply because the carriers will have a new line of travel," Wright told WKU Public Radio.

All retail and P.O. Box services will remain downtown.  Passport services, package pickup, and hold mail pickup will move to the Scottsville Road site.

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