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

An executive order from the White House has hiring at Mammoth Cave National Park in limbo. 

President Donald Trump has issued a hiring freeze across federal government, including national parks.  Some new exemptions appear to roll back the freeze on hiring seasonal workers, who are crucial to Mammoth Cave in south central Kentucky. 

Spokeswoman Vickie Carson says the park is still waiting for the National Park Service to give the all-clear for hiring.  Otherwise, Carson says a lack of seasonal workers could force the park to alter its cave tour schedule.

"Here at Mammoth Cave, our primary resource is the cave, and to go inside the cave, you have to have a ranger go with you, and that's partly for protection of the visitors, but it's also for protection of the cave," Carson told WKU Public Radio.

Lisa Autry

More Kentuckians are getting involved in their communities, but fewer citizens are trusting of the media.  Those are some of the findings contained in the 2016 Civic Health Index released by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Speaking Wednesday at Western Kentucky University, Grimes said the growing distrust of the media is perpetuated by fake news.  As more people get their news online, she said it’s important to get it from multiple sources.

"While it makes people feel good about hearing the same news they like over and over again, and they're communicating with folks of similar values, they're not hearing both sides of a story, and importantly, there's someone making a profit off all of this," Grimes told WKU Public Radio.

Lisa Autry

The head of the Kentucky International Center in Bowling Green says he is disappointed by President Trump’s proposed plan to restrict the flow of refugees to the U.S. 

Albert Mbanfu says it’s now unlikely that any Syrian refugees will be coming to Bowling Green.  Forty Syrians were scheduled to arrive in Bowling Green this year, despite concerns from many in the community. 

"This goes against everything the U.S. stands for," Mbanfu told WKU Public Radio.  "It pains me that we've reached the point where fear has overcome reason and passion is just taking over."

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order that includes a four-month halt on all refugee re-settlements, as well as a temporary ban on refugees coming from predominantly Muslim countries.


The man chosen as the preferred candidate to lead Western Kentucky University is meeting with the campus community this week. 

Dr. Timothy Caboni comes from the University of Kansas where he serves as Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs.  He brings experience in teaching, administration, fundraising, communications, and legislative relations. 

Dr. Tamela Smith represents staff members on the Board of Regents, and says she hopes their concerns will be recognized by the next president.

"There's things we're behind on for compensation.  We had over 22% turnover in 2015 and outsourced 200 staff positions in 2016," Smith stated.  "Those are significant issues that affect morale."

Flickr/Creative Commons/U.S. Department of Education

The birthday cutoff for kindergarten in Kentucky is moving up two months. 

Children must be five years old on or before August 1 of this year in order to enter kindergarten for the 2017-18 school year.  The previous cutoff was October 1. 

Bowling Green Schools Superintendent Gary Fields says the change won’t affect that many students.

"I think this is an acknowledgement that many parents were not opting to start their children in kindergarten if their sons or daughters were born in August and September," Fields told WKU Public Radio.  "As an example, in the Bowling Green schools, we currently have 312 kindergarteners, and this law would have impacted ten of those students."

The General Assembly changed state law to implement the earlier cutoff based on the premise that younger students may not be ready for kindergarten and may not get off to a successful start.

Warren County Regional Jail

A Bowling Green man involved in a shooting Sunday night outside a restaurant has died. 

Witnesses told police the incident happened in the parking lot of Puerto Vallarta on Scottsville Road. 

Twenty-two-year-old Victor Rangel Orozco died from a gunshot wound to the chest.  Twenty-one-year-old Jamie Garcia, also of Bowling Green, told police he was sitting in a vehicle behind Orozco looking at a handgun he was attempting to purchase from the victim.  Garcia said he thought the gun was unloaded, pulled the trigger, and fired into Orozco’s vehicle.

Jenean Hampton

Kentucky’s lieutenant governor wants to inspire the next generation of small business owners. 

Jeanean Hampton has launched the state’s first Entrepreneurship Challenge, which is a business pitch competition open to all Kentucky students in grades 9-12. 

Teams must have between two and four students with two adult advisers who could be parents, teachers, or business leaders.

Hampton is a retired Air Force captain who earned an MBA with a focus on marketing, entrepreneurship and electronic commerce. 

The post office in downtown Bowling Green is close to being sold, and the public will have a chance to weigh in later this month on where the new facility will be located.

The downtown post office on East 11th Ave. is under contract, but the sale has not been finalized.  Phillip Doyle, a Postal Service real estate specialist, says three locations are under consideration for a new postal facility that will be in close proximity to the current one. 

"The existing location was placed where it would be most accessible to the greatest number of customers in the market place and that's still the case," Doyle told WKU Public Radio.

Ohio County Tourism

Ground will be broken this spring in Ohio County honoring native son and Father of Bluegrass Bill Monroe. 

A May ground-breaking is planned for a 48,000 square-foot museum at Everett Park in Rosine.  Ohio County Tourism Director Jody Flener says the attraction will feature items from Monroe’s last home in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

"We have everything from his bull horns over the top of his mantle to the radio he used to listen to, to pictures and awards," Flener told WKU Public Radio.

Kentucky Career Center

The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet is consolidating career centers across Kentucky in an effort to save millions of dollars. 

The state has 51 offices that provide assistance with unemployment benefits, worker training, and job placements.  Under a reorganization, the career centers will be reduced to 12 hubs, including Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Owensboro, and Somerset.  Eight existing satellite offices will also remain. 

Office of Employment Training Spokeswoman Kim Brannock says the goal is to make services more flexible by offering in-person assistance at one of the hubs, as well as over the phone and online.

Wikimedia Commons

The wife of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell will be in the hot seat Wednesday as confirmation hearings continue for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet.  Elaine Chao is the nominee for U.S. Transportation Secretary. 

Among the pressing issues facing the next transportation secretary will be how to boost the nation's aging infrastructure to accommodate population growth.  

The Associated Press reports that Chao's record as U.S. Labor Secretary suggests she'd have a light hand when it comes to safety regulations and would seek to shift responsibility from the federal government to states where possible.

A popular rest stop on the Western Kentucky Parkway in Ohio County has closed its doors and switched off the gas pumps.  The rest area will remain shut down while the state Transportation Cabinet looks for a new vendor.

Because of liability issues, the state decided to close the Beaver Dam rest area when the current vendor’s lease expired.  After the vendor submitted an incomplete application, the Finance Cabinet has begun looking for a new one.

Brescia University

Brescia University is working to determine what caused a fire on campus Wednesday night.  Flames were reported from the Moore Center around 7:00 p.m.

The building sustained minimal damage. 

"We are grateful for the service of the local first responders and for the thoughts and prayers from the Brescia University family," said Kayla Altman, Director of Public Relations and Marketing.  "We were very fortunate!"

The Moore Center is currently undergoing a renovation and expansion.  The fire isn’t expected to affect the construction timeline.

Louisville VA Medical Center

Veterans living in and around Hardin County are being asked to voice their support for a VA hospital in Radcliff.  A public meeting will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Colvin Community Center in Radcliff.

Radcliff Mayor and retired Army Colonel Mike Weaver argues that Hardin County would be the most easily accessible location for a new veterans medical center.  The city has offered to donate 50 acres of land for the project that would replace the aging Robley Rex VA Medical Center in Louisville.

Currently, the only approved site for the hospital is near Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway in Louisville.  Weaver says the proposed Jefferson County site brings traffic and parking challenges just like the current facility.

"I'm a veteran myself and I've been using the VA medical care system for over 20 years.  I know how difficult it is to get from where I live to the VA hospital where it currently is," Weaver told WKU Public Radio.  "For instance, I have an appointment tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.  Because of traffic, I plan to leave the house at 6:00 a.m. for a 45 minute drive just so I can be on time."

A VA spokesperson said last week that plans are proceeding for the Louisville site and no other locations are being considered. 

The public comment period runs until January 11.  The VA will review the comments before issuing a final version of an impact study.

Ryland Barton

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says his office will ramp up efforts in 2017 to combat human trafficking. 

With assistance from the attorney general's office, 28 people were arrested this year in Kentucky, accused of forcing others into sex or labor trading.  One of the arrests was in Louisville during the week of the Kentucky Derby where a 14-year-old girl was rescued. 

Beshear says human trafficking is occurring in every county of the state.