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

Lisa Autry

Tennessee will soon maintain an online registry of convicted animal abusers. 

The effort will start January 1 and will be similar to a sex offender registry where people can check to see if they live near someone who has harmed animals. 

Spokeswoman Amber Mullins with  the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley says the registry also gives shelters more information in the adoption process.

"This registry will be an extra step in making sure the animals we have are going to the best homes possible," Mullins told WKU Public Radio.

Mullins says the registry may help communities on a larger scale since there is often a link between animal abuse and human violence.

Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill this year that created the animal abuse registry, the first of its kind in the country.  First-time offenders will remain on the list for two years, while the names of multiple offenders will stay on the registry for five years.

When Kentucky lawmakers begin writing a new state budget next month, they’ll be asked to fund a family court position in Daviess County. 

State Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, Jr. says Owensboro is the largest area of the state without a family court judge.

"We do have an obligation for family courts, in my opinion, across the state.  We have not been able to roll that out across the state due to financial constraints," Minton told WKU Public Radio.

Family court judges preside over divorce, custody, and domestic violence cases.  Currently, those cases in Daviess County are heard by district and circuit judges. 

The goal of family court is to keep the cases in front of a single judge rather than having the cases bounce back and forth between multiple judges.

A new report is offering a snapshot of how Kentucky’s economy has fared since the end of the national recession. 

In a report prepared for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, University of Louisville Economics Professor Paul Coomes says the Bluegrass State now has 20,000 jobs above it's pre-recession peak. 

Payrolls in five of the nine economic regions of the state grew by 20 percent or more since 2009. However, payrolls declined in the Mountain region by 13 percent. 

The dwindling coal industry is only partly to blame.  Professor Coomes says the loss of coal jobs is a long-term trend.

"Regardless of coal prices or regulations, mining has shedded jobs even while it added output for 20 or 30 years, and that's because of automation," states Coomes.

While Kentucky added jobs at a slightly slower pace than the national average since the recession, the commonwealth had a better growth rate than all border states, except Tennessee and Indiana.

The bright spot has been in manufacturing, which has seen jobs increase three times the national rate.

The state auditor’s office has completed its investigation of a commercial development in downtown Bowling Green. 

The audit released Tuesday shows that a lack of oversight fueled many of the project’s problems.

The audit said both the city and county failed to properly oversee the project that included businesses in a part of the downtown parking garage formerly known as Hitcents Park Plaza. 

The development has created a host of legal and financial troubles, including lawsuits and liens on the property. 

The audit found that lack of oversight and confusing contracts helped create a $4.5 million deficit.  The report also cited the developer’s lack of experience in construction and the use of funds for expenses not permitted by project agreements. 

The audit did not reveal whether any of the issues were criminal in nature.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Olaf Gradin

When the 2016 legislative session begins next month, state lawmakers will consider expanding the Kentucky Safe Infants Act to include churches. 

The state law currently allows parents to drop off unwanted newborns, three days old or less, at police and fire departments, and hospital emergency rooms without being criminally charged. 

State Representative Donna Mayfield of Winchester, who has pre-filed legislation, thinks parents would feel less culpable surrendering their children at churches.

"Someone that's in the position of having a newborn baby and just doesn't know what to do, I could understand they were be hesitant to march into a police station or fire department," Mayfield told WKU Public Radio.  "I just think we should cover all the bases when trying to protect newborn infants."

Mayfield says her bill is supported by several child advocacy and religious groups across the commonwealth.  Since the Kentucky Safe Infants Act became law in 2002, 38 infants have been dropped off at safe havens.

Lisa Autry

The chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court says inadequate pay threatens the state’s ability to attract the best attorneys to judicial office. 

John Minton, Jr. will ask for a five percent raise for all judges and justices in the next state budget.  He says a pay hike is long overdue.

"In the last 20 years, Kentucky has fallen farther and farther behind the rest of the country," Minton told WKU Public Radio.  "We're well below the national average for our trial court judges.  We're dead last in all the states surrounding us."

Kentucky’s judges and justices earn between $112,000 to $140,000 a year.  According to the National Center for State Courts, the state’s Supreme Court justices rank 45th in the nation in pay, appellate judges 37th, and circuit judges 42nd. 

Minton says low salaries have been compounded by recent reductions in pension benefits for new judges coming on board. 

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul believes his presidential bid will “exceed expectations.” Speaking in Bowling Green Monday, Paul discredited polling that shows him trailing badly for the Republican nomination.

"We think that a lot of young people are not included in polls, college students and younger people with cell phones, and we think that's where our great strength is," Paul told WKU Public Radio.  "We also think we do better with independents than any other candidates, and independents are allowed to vote in the caucus in Iowa and the primary in New Hampshire."

A recent average of seven national polls taken this month shows Paul with less than 2-and-a-half-percent support in the GOP presidential primary.

"The polls that are out there are kind of like American Idol," he added.  "They're sort of a quick popularity contest, but they aren't necessarily polling voters."

Paul said he would re-assess his campaign after elections are held in the four early-voting states. Paul says given the number of undecided voters, he thinks the GOP race for president is still wide open.

Although he said Donald Trump’s front-runner status is concerning, he would support him if he becomes the eventual nominee.  However, he thinks Trump would be "wiped out in a landslide" in the general election. 

Meanwhile, Paul also continues campaigning for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat.  Paul touted a list of endorsements issued Monday by Kentucky's federal and state delegation, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, all five Republican congressmen, the governor, and the GOP leaders in the state legislature.

Lisa Autry

A Scottsville man charged with raping and killing a young girl was indicted Friday by a special grand jury in Allen County. 

Timothy Madden was formally charged with kidnapping, rape, sodomy, and murder in the death of seven-year-old Gabriella Doolin. Madden is scheduled to appear in Allen Circuit Court for arraignment on January 13.

Doolin’s body was found November 14 in a creek behind Allen County-Scottsville High School.  The cause of death was determined to be strangulation and drowning.  According to an arrest warrant, Madden’s DNA matched evidence recovered from Doolin’s body. 

Madden and the girl’s parents were acquaintances.

Kentucky Governor's Office

After eight years, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear leaves office next week.  In this interview with WKU Public Radio's Lisa Autry, the two-term Democrat talks about his accomplishments, regrets, and future plans.

The country was in a recession when you took office in 2008.  Are you satisfied with how you are leaving Kentucky's economy?

I'm very excited about where we are from an economic standpoint in Kentucky.  As you mentioned, when I came into office, the Great Recession had just hit us in the face.  All our families and state government were suffering, but we worked through it, and look today at just how far we've come.  We got up to 11% unemployment during the recession.  We're now at 4.9%.   That's lower than the national average and it's lower than most states.  We have created a lot of jobs and more are coming online.  We just announced 2,000 more jobs at the Ford plant in Louisville.  Our economy is beginning to boom.  It's not all over the state.  In our coalfields, we've got some issues, but overall, I feel very good about the economy.

As you leave office, tax revenue is expected to grow in coming years and the state is expected to have a budget surplus at the end of this fiscal year, but your successor has said the state is in a "financial crisis" considering the $500 million in additional expenses in the next budget in areas like pensions and Medicaid.  How do you respond?

The incoming administration is going to start off with a better financial picture than I've had for eight years.  They ought to be excited about that because the economy is booming and they're going to have a lot more revenue to deal with in terms of what they want to do for Kentucky.  There are always more demands for money than there is money, but that's what leadership is all about.  You have to make tough choices and decide what your priorities are.  You have to move the money around to where you think it will do the most good.  They're going to being able to support education, they'll be able to continue the health care advances we've made, and they'll be able to come up with a long-term solution for the teacher's pension system.  We did that during my eight years with KERS, and they'll be able to do that for this too.  So, they're in good shape and they're in a lot better shape than I ever was.

Lisa Autry

A Scottsville man charged with killing a seven-year-old girl last month will return to court later this month for a preliminary hearing. 

Timothy Madden’s hearing in Allen District Court Wednesday was postponed after his attorney, Travis Lock, requested more time to review a new report on DNA evidence.  A judge re-scheduled the hearing for December 14, although a grand jury could indict Madden in the meantime. 

The 38-year-old Madden is charged with raping and murdering Gabriella Doolin who disappeared November 14 while watching a football game with her family at Allen County-Scottsville High School.  Lock said he has subpoenaed surveillance video from "local establishments."

"Obviously any time there are audio or video recordings that are made in close proximity to the time of the alleged crime, then those recordings are going to be critical pieces of evidence, one way or the other," Lock told WKU Public Radio.

In a related case, Madden’s son Bradley also remains in jail.  He pleaded not guilty Wednesday to terroristic threatening and intimidating a participant in the legal process.  He allegedly made obscene comments and threats to police regarding his father’s arrest. 

Simpson County Jail

The son of an Allen County man charged with killing a young girl is now behind bars himself. 

Bradley Madden is the son of Timothy Madden who is charged with raping and killing seven-year-old Gabriella Doolin of Scottsville. 

Since his father’s arrest, Madden has allegedly sent the Scottsville Police Department several messages on Facebook.  Police accuse Madden of making obscene comments and threats toward officers, including the statement “I am coming for you.” 

The 20-year-old Madden is charged with terroristic threatening and intimidating a participant in the legal process. 

Bradley Madden is being held in the Simpson County jail. His father remains in the Barren County Detention Center under $1 million bond.

Lisa Autry

Ohio County is home to Bill Monroe, the man known as Father of Bluegrass music. 

His hometown is preparing to kick off a campaign to raise a half-million dollars to build a museum in his honor.  That’s despite the fact that a much larger International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro is only 40 miles away.

For more than a decade, a collection of Bill Monroe’s personal items has been sitting in a dusty storage facility.  The location is secret for security reasons.  Locked away are his old gray Cadillac, a plow, furniture, suits, and awards.  Monroe’s last mandolin is stored in a separate, climate-controlled facility. 

Sixteen years ago, Ohio County bought the collection from Monroe’s family.  Jody Flener heads the county’s Tourism Commission and says part of the deal was that the items had to stay in Ohio County.

”The connection is to Ohio County for Bill Monroe," Flener told WKU Public Radio.  "What’s exciting about living in Ohio County is that you still have people who grew up with Bill Monroe and we even have relatives still here."

In December, the county hopes to start fundraising for a 15,000-square-foot museum to house the memorabilia.  It’s planed for the tiny town of Rosine, just a few miles from where the Bluegrass icon was born and buried.  That’s only a half-hour drive from the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro – but Flener says it wouldn’t be redundant.

Vicky Carson-Mammoth Cave National Park

The search continues for a missing Bowling Green man whose car was found abandoned last week at Mammoth Cave National Park. 

The family of Randy Rascoe reported him missing to Bowling Green Police in May.  Last Thursday, he car was found in the parking lot of the visitor’s center at Mammoth Cave.  Park Spokeswoman Vicky Carson says Rascoe knew the area well.

"The family said he comes to the park every fall, but he would come out pretty often to walk the trails," Carson stated.  "He was an outdoorsman.  He and one of his brothers would go fishing and camping together."

The foot search has expanded to an aerial search.  The Civil Air Patrol has been asked to conduct a fly-over of the park. 

His family says Rascoe was traveling and had not communicated with them in several months.

Anyone with information that could help find Rascoe is asked to call the Park Watch telephone line at (888) 219-1599.

Lisa Autry

The accused killer of a seven-year-old Allen County girl was in court Monday for arraignment. 

A judge entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Timothy Madden, also of Scottsville.  He is charged with kidnapping, rape, sodomy, and murder. 

Gabriella Doolin’s body was found in a creek November 14 and the cause of death was determined to be strangulation and drowning. 

Madden’s defense attorney Travis Lock of Bowling Green said it was too early in the process to comment on any evidence in the case.

"What we do know is that we have the best system of justice on plant Earth and one of the reasons we have such a wonderful justice system is that every human being accused of a criminal offense has the right to due process no matter how heinous that crime may be," Lock told WKU Public Radio.

A police citation said Madden’s DNA matched evidence recovered from Gabbi's body.  Lock said it appears Madden and the Doolin family knew each other. 

The 38-year-old Madden will return to court December 2 for a preliminary hearing.  He is being held in the Barren County Detention Center on $1 million bond.

Barren County Detention Center

A Scottsville man accused of killing a young girl will make his first court appearance Monday. 

Thirty-eight-year-old Timothy Madden will be arraigned in Allen District Court on charges of kidnapping, rape, sodomy, and murder. 

Seven-year-old Gariella Doolin, also of Scottsville, was found dead in a creek behind Allen County-Scottsville High School on November 14.  An arrest warrant said the child died from strangulation and drowning. 

Madden is being held in the Barren County Detention Center on $1 million bond.